Around the World with the BBC:On the Ebola front line

We arrive at the Ebola Treatment Centre in the forested town of Gueckedou in South East Guinea to a grim scene.

A tiny bundle is wrapped in white plastic sheeting, and stone-faced men are loading yellow disinfectant cans into a pick-up truck.

We are invited to see the heart-breaking task they are about to perform.

We drive for a few minutes into the forest. When we arrive, a small hole is already prepared.

This is the final resting place of the latest victim of Ebola: a four-month-old baby boy called Faya.

He caught the virus from his mother, who died a few weeks earlier.

His is the 20th anonymous grave in this dark and lonely clearing.

"I was there with him just before he died," says Adele Millimouno, a Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) nurse recruited from a nearby village.

"I had been feeding him milk. I stepped away, just for a short break, but then I was called back and he was dead. I was totally devastated."

This is just another day on the front line of the latest Ebola outbreak. Gueckedou was where the first case of the disease was reported in March.

- Tulip Mazumdar

More from the BBC on the ebola outbreak in West Africa:

The mysterious woman in black walking across the US
Some locals have called her a ghost, others have called her a prophet, but regardless of her true identity, a mysterious woman shrouded in black has left Americans spellbound as she travels by foot across the country.

This “woman in black,” as she has been named on social media, has walked more than 1,000 miles, acquiring a loyal social media following.
One Facebook page has accumulated nearly 60,000 followers.
So who is the real “woman in black” and why is she walking from Alabama to Virginia?
BBC Trending went to West Virginia to meet the “woman in black”.

The mysterious woman in black walking across the US

Some locals have called her a ghost, others have called her a prophet, but regardless of her true identity, a mysterious woman shrouded in black has left Americans spellbound as she travels by foot across the country.

This “woman in black,” as she has been named on social media, has walked more than 1,000 miles, acquiring a loyal social media following.

One Facebook page has accumulated nearly 60,000 followers.

So who is the real “woman in black” and why is she walking from Alabama to Virginia?

BBC Trending went to West Virginia to meet the “woman in black”.

superjusticeanimefan:

From the first tweet about Global, to the last. We’re going to miss you on the news show, Jon Sopel! You’ll always be our Global presenter.

If you’re missing Jon Sopel - he’s not going *too* far - he’ll be reporting from our Washington bureau (home of this Tumblr) as North America Editor. We’ll try to get him Tumblring.

Coral are facing a whole reef-load of challenges, from warming, acidic oceans, to development and exploitation.
The last thing they need are hungry hordes of bumpheads, gorging on their very fabric.
What do you do when an endangered species does things that are bad for the environment?

Coral are facing a whole reef-load of challenges, from warming, acidic oceans, to development and exploitation.

The last thing they need are hungry hordes of bumpheads, gorging on their very fabric.

What do you do when an endangered species does things that are bad for the environment?

#BBCtrending: Why US actor David Duchovny is suddenly big in Russia

Ecologists say the shortage of wild animals means that in many countries more labour is now needed to find food.

Children are often used to fill this need for cheap workers, especially in the fishing industry.

"A child at a UK airport is more likely to grow up to be prime minister than perish on the forthcoming flight… the child is more likely to win an Olympic gold medal or receive the Nobel prize in physics."

BBC News - How odd is a cluster of plane accidents? (via bf79)

(via bf79)

"I’m only a child in age and appearance," Ezadine, 9, says matter-of-factly. "But in terms of morals and humanity, I’m not.

The conflicts in Syria and Gaza are having a a devastating impact on the lives of children. The BBC’s Lyse Doucet who has been following the lives of six Syrian children, and who has just returned from reporting in Gaza, reflects on how war will shape the futures of young people there for decades to come.

Syria and Gaza’s children of War

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According to new research from Boston University, young children with a religious background are less able to distinguish between fantasy and reality compared with their secular counterparts.

In two studies, 66 kindergarten-age children were presented with three types of stories - realistic, religious and fantastical. The researchers then queried the children on whether they thought the main character in the story was real or fictional.

While nearly all children found the figures in the realistic narratives to be real, secular and religious children were split on religious stories. Children with a religious upbringing tended to view the protagonists in religious stories as real, whereas children from non-religious households saw them as fictional.

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BBC News - Study: Religious children are less able to distinguish fantasy from reality

Our Echo Chambers blog looks into a recent study about childrens’ belief systems and whether such research can be more than a political cudgel for both secular and religious groups

NPR Science: Sorry, Lucy: The Myth Of The Misused Brain Is 100 Percent False

jtotheizzoe:

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

If you went to the movie theater this weekend, you might’ve caught the latest Scarlett Johansson action movie called “Lucy.” It’s about a woman who develops superpowers by harnessing the full potential of her brain.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “LUCY”)

SCARLETT JOHANSSON: I’m able to do things I’ve never done before. I feel everything and I can control the elements around me.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That’s amazing.

WESTERVELT: You’ve probably heard this idea before. Most people only use 10% of their brains. The other 90% of the basically dormant. Well, in the movie “Lucy,” Morgan Freeman gives us this what-if scenario?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “LUCY”)

MORGAN FREEMAN: What if there was a way of accessing 100% of our brain? What might we be capable of?

DAVID EAGLEMAN: We would be capable of exactly what we’re doing now, which is to say, we do use a hundred percent of our brain.

WESTERVELT: That is David Eagleman.

EAGLEMAN: I’m a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine.

WESTERVELT: And he says, basically, all of us are like Lucy. We use all of our brains, all of time.

EAGLEMAN: Even when you’re just sitting around doing nothing your brain is screaming with activity all the time, around the clock; even when you’re asleep it’s screaming with activity.

WESTERVELT: In other words, this is a total myth. Very wrong, but still very popular. Take this clip from an Ellen DeGeneres stand-up special.

(SOUNDBITE OF STAND-UP SPECIAL)

ELLEN DEGENERES: It’s true, they say we use ten percent of our brain. Ten percent of our brain. And I think, imagine what we could accomplish if we used the other 60 percent? Do you know what I’m saying?

AUDIENCE: (LAUGHTER).

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “TOMMY BOY”)

DAVID SPADE: Let’s say the average person uses ten percent of their brain.

WESTERVELT: It’s even in the movie “Tommy Boy.”

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “TOMMY BOY”)

SPADE: How much do you use? One and a half percent. The rest is clogged with malted hops and bong residue.

WESTERVELT: Ariana Anderson is a researcher at UCLA. She looks at brain scans all day long. And she says, if someone were actually using just ten percent of their brain capacity…

ARIANA ANDERSON: Well, they would probably be declared brain-dead.

WESTERVELT: Sorry, “Tommy Boy.” No one knows exactly where this myth came from but it’s been around since at least the early 1900’s. So why is this wrong idea still so popular?

ANDERSON: Probably gives us some sort of hope that if we are doing things we shouldn’t do, such as watching too much TV, alcohol abuse, well, it might be damaging our brain but it’s probably damaging the 90 percent that we don’t use. And that’s not true. Whenever you’re doing something that damages your brain, it’s damaging something that’s being used, and it’s going to leave some sort of deficit behind.

EAGLEMAN: For a long time I’ve wondered, why is this such a sticky myth?

WESTERVELT: Again, David Eagleman.

EAGLEMAN: And I think it’s because it gives us a sense that there’s something there to be unlocked, that we could be so much better than we could. And really, this has the same appeal as any fairytale or superhero story. I mean, it’s the neural equivalent to Peter Parker becoming Spiderman.

WESTERVELT: In other words, it’s an idea that belongs in Hollywood.

(Source: NPR)