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Stephen Hawking quotes: Words of wisdom, humor from the physicist and pop culture icon

World-renowned physicist and pop culture icon Stephen Hawking not only had a brilliant scientific mind but also a way with words. Here are nine memorable quotes from Hawking, who died Wednesday at age 76:

>> MORE: Stephen Hawking dead at 76Photos |  Notable deaths 2018  |  Celebrities react

1. "Life would be tragic if it weren't funny." 

– New York Times interview, 2004

2. "So next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist." 

– "Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking," 2010

3. "People who boast about their IQ are losers." 

– New York Times interview, 2004

4. "Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking." 

– British Telecom ad, 1993

5. "Women. They are a complete mystery." 

– New Scientist interview, 2012

6. "However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope." 

– Hong Kong press conference, 2006

7. "I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." 

– "Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays," 1993

8. "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet." 

– "Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking," 2010

>> Read more trending news 

9. "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all." 

– "Stephen Hawking's Universe," 1985

Photos: Stephen Hawking through the years

Professor Stephen Hawking died at his home in Cambridge, England, on March 14, 2018. He was 76.

NASA mission unlocks more secrets about Jupiter

Information compiled by the Juno space mission to Jupiter shows that the atmospheric winds of the solar system’s largest planet run deeper than had originally been thought, NASA reported on its website.

>> Read more trending news

Other data released Wednesday revealed that the massive cyclones that surround Jupiter’s north and south poles are unique to the solar system. The findings are part of a four-article series that will be published in the March 8 edition of the journal, Nature, NASA said.

“These astonishing science results are yet another example of Jupiter’s curve balls, and a testimony to the value of exploring the unknown from a new perspective with next-generation instruments. Juno’s unique orbit and evolutionary high-precision radio science and infrared technologies enabled these paradigm-shifting discoveries,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “Juno is only about one third the way through its primary mission, and already we are seeing the beginnings of a new Jupiter.”

Children unable to properly hold pencils because of technology, report says

Does your kid spend a lot of time on smart devices? It could affect their writing early on, according to a new report. 

>> Read more trending news 

Doctors from England recently expressed concerns about children’s ability to properly hold pencils compared to youth from 10 years ago.

“Children coming into school are being given a pencil, but are increasingly not able to hold it because they don’t have the fundamental movement skills,” Sally Payne, head pediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, told The Guardian

She said technology may be preventing children from developing the hand muscles they need to control and grip pencils. 

“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play, such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes,” Payne said. “Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”

>> Related: Ohio lawmakers could mandate students learn cursive handwriting again

A 2012 study, which videotaped 120 fourth-graders writing, revealed that four “mature” pencil grasps yielded the best results for legibility and speed: the dynamic tripod, dynamic quadrupod, lateral tripod and lateral quadrupod. Researchers also noted one “immature” grasp pattern and one alternating grasp pattern, which they said both negatively affected legibility and speed. The findings were published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Another small study from 2012 explored the effects the handwriting experience can have on functional brain development in pre-literate children. Researchers observed children, aged 0 months to 4 years old, as they wrote, traced or typed letters and shapes. The individuals were then shown images of the letters and shapes while the scientists captured images of their brain from an MRI scan. The scientists discovered that handwriting was most effective for “recruiting components of the reading systems in the brain.” 

“Handwriting is important for the early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions known to underlie successful reading,” they said.

>> On AJC.com: Making the Grade: National program focuses on handwriting skills

However, British scholars agree with the doctors. They also believe kids aren’t developing these fundamentals early enough. 

“One problem is that handwriting is very individual in how it develops in each child,” Mellissa Prunty, vice chair of the National Handwriting Association, said. “Without research, the risk is that we make too many assumptions about why a child isn’t able to write at the expected age and don’t intervene when there is a technology-related cause.”

While they didn’t specify when they’d continue their investigations, they did note that curricula should incorporate handwriting targets. However, they believe excessive technology use may continue at home. 

Want to learn more about the report? Read it at The Guardian.

What is the DASH diet? Heart-healthy diet may also reduce risk of depression

People who eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains may experience lower rates of depression over time.

>> Read more trending news

That’s according to new preliminary research published Sunday in the journal American Academy of Neurology, for which scientists examined 964 participants with an average age of 81 for symptoms of depression.

Participants in the study were monitored for symptoms and asked to fill out questionnaires about their eating habits, including how their habits lined up with the traditional Western diet, Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

>> On AJC.com: 5 signs you should ask your doctor about depression

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a plan developed to lower blood pressure without medication. The research involved in its development was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

According to dashdiet.org, the lifestyle meal plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts and beans.

>> Related: People with depression are more likely to use certain words — here’s how they express themselves

With a high concentration of key nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, the diet has been shown to help lower blood pressure, as well as lower the risk of heart disease, bad cholesterol, heart failure, body weight, diabetes, kidney stones and some kinds of cancer.

Now, researchers say the diet can help reduce risk of depression.

"Depression is common in older adults and more frequent in people with memory problems, vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or people who have had a stroke," study author Laurel Cherian said in a news release. "Making a lifestyle change such as changing your diet is often preferred over taking medications, so we wanted to see if diet could be an effective way to reduce the risk of depression." 

>> On AJC.com: What you need to know before starting the keto diet

The participants involved in the study were divided into three groups based on how closely they adhered to the three types of diets. Researchers found those in the two groups that followed the DASH diet most closely were less likely to develop depression than people in the group that did not follow the diet closely.

The people who adhered to the DASH diet most closely were 11 percent less likely to become depressed over time compared to the lowest group, the study found. 

On the other hand, the participants who closely followed a Western diet, which is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables, were more likely to develop depression. 

>> Related: Why more US teens are suffering from severe anxiety than ever before — and how parents can help

But Cherian noted that the research shows only an association and does not prove that DASH diets lead to a reduced risk of depression.

"Future studies are now needed to confirm these results and to determine the best nutritional components of the DASH diet to prevent depression later in life and to best help people keep their brains healthy," Cherian said.

>> On AJC.com: Want to try the Mediterranean diet? Study finds it works only for rich people

Cherian and her team will present the research at the American Academy of Neurology's 70th annual meeting in Los Angeles in April.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Additionally, approximately 800,000 people die of suicide each year — that’s one person every 40 seconds. From 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate in the U.S. rose by 24 percent. Furthermore, according to recent data released Thursday by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled from 2007 to 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

College student discovers true paternity in science class

One woman got a whole lot more than she paid for in a college science class when she uncovered a nasty family secret.

>> Read more trending news

The unnamed student discovered that her father — the man who had raised her since she was a child and who she called “dad” for her entire life — wasn’t really her father. He was her uncle. And the story is just as bizarre as it sounds. Thankfully, Twitter user “Anya” managed to explain it:

Who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? 13 things to know about Parkland high school’s namesake

When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name.

>> Read more trending news

Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life.

  • Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.”
  • Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist. 
  • Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature. 
  • It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed. 
  • “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.”
  • Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.  
  • In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem.
  • In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today. 
  • Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.”
  • Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later
  • When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.”
  • She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College. 
  • On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm.

Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas. 

Elk downs helicopter as crew tries to capture it near Utah reservoir

A helicopter crashed Monday afternoon in Utah’s Wasatch County, taken down by an elk that its crew was trying to capture. 

Officials with Wasatch County Search & Rescue said on Facebook that the two-member crew walked away from the crash with minor injuries. The crash took place near Currant Creek Reservoir, which is about 85 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. 

>> Read more trending news

“The Australian flight crew was in the process of netting a cow elk, which jumped and hit the tail rotor of the helicopter,” according to a statement from Wasatch County Search & Rescue. “This almost severed the tail rotor and ended the flight of this chopper.” 

The crew members, who received cuts and bruises, were treated by paramedics from nearby Fruitland and were expected to be fine. 

“As for the chopper, not so good,” the statement read. “Not something you see every day when an elk brings down a chopper.”

The helicopter was contracted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, according to KUTV in Salt Lake City. A spokeswoman for the DWR told the news station that the elk was killed in the crash. 

The crew planned to sedate the elk and fly it to have a tracking collar placed on it for later study by biologists, the news station said. 

WATCH: Boston Dynamics' 'robot dog' taught to open doors

Robots are already changing the world around us – and in some people’s minds, getting ready to take over the world – but at least one of them has good manners.

>> Watch the video here

Boston Dynamics, the company behind Atlas (an upright bipedal robot that looks like it’s wearing a space suit), Spot (a 4-legged robot that sprints like a cheetah) and Handle (a wheeled robot that can spin, squat and jump), has introduced their newest creation – SpotMini, a robot the company has taught to open doors.

>> Read more trending news 

The newest video is only 45 seconds long, but it shows one discouraged SpotMini that gets stuck at a door. Thankfully, another SpotMini arrives – and this one is built with an arm that can grab the handle and pull the door open, allowing the first robot through before following behind.

Boston Dynamics designs robots with real-world applications that range from searching damaged buildings to chasing criminals.

Amino acid in asparagus could cause cancer to spread, study says

Are you a fan of asparagus? Beware, because the food contains an amino acid that has been associated with spreading breast cancer, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute recently conducted an experiment, published in the Nature journal, to determine how asparagine, the amino acid that builds protein, may be linked to the disease. Foods with higher concentrations of the compound include asparagus, soy, dairy, poultry and seafood.

>> Related: New cancer 'vaccine' completely wipes out tumors in mice -- human trials are on way

To do so, they attempted to block the production of asparagine in mice with a drug called L-asparaginase. They also fed the animals a low-asparagine diet. After analyzing the results, they found that both methods reduced breast cancer’s ability to spread.

Scientists then used the mice studies to assess human breast cancer patients. They discovered “the greater the ability of breast cancer cells to make asparagine, the more likely the disease is to spread,” the authors wrote. They said this could also be the case for kidney and head and neck cancers.

>> On AJC.com: Breast cancer treatment may trigger heart problems, study says

“Our work has pinpointed one of the key mechanisms that promotes the ability of breast cancer cells to spread. When the availability of asparagine was reduced, we saw little impact on the primary tumour in the breast, but tumour cells had reduced capacity for metastases in other parts of the body,” the study’s lead author, Greg Hannon, said in a statement. “This finding adds vital information to our understanding of how we can stop cancer spreading – the main reason patients die from their disease.”

In addition to chemotherapy, researchers believe doctors should give patients asparagine-restricted diets to help prevent the illness from spreading. They also want to further their investigations to understand how to make the drug work with patients.

>> Related: Pharmaceutical company touts 'breakthrough' cancer treatment 

“The next step in the research would be to understand how this translates from the lab to patients and which patients are most likely to benefit from any potential treatment,” study co-author Charles Swanton added. “It’s possible that in future, this drug could be repurposed to help treat breast cancer patients.”

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