Are you growing weary of dealing with bad news every day? Are you to the point when enough is enough? Did the vibe culminate this morning when you tried to open a cereal box without the aid of power tools and now there are Kix rolling all over your kitchen floor? If so, it may be time to take a deep breath and experience some nice news coming your way. 


To begin this escapade, you may be getting smarter because your brain is getting bigger. “A new study by researchers at UC Davis Health found human brains are getting larger. Study participants born in the 1970s had 6.6 percent larger brain volumes and almost 15 percent larger brain surface area than those born in the 1930s.”


This development has short term and long term benefits. “Larger brain structures like those observed in our study may reflect improved brain development and improved brain health. A larger brain structure represents a larger brain reserve and may buffer the late-life effects of age-related brain diseases.” (


Not only is your brain expanding, but so could your bank account. Right now it's spring cleaning time. Be sure to go through those unopened boxes in your basement before you toss them in the trash. There could be treasures inside. “An original print edition of the comic book that introduced Superman sold at auction last week for a record-breaking six million dollars.” 


If you don't have that Superman issue, don't give up the quest. “Million-dollar sales of original super hero comic books have become more common in recent history, with a copy of Captain America's first issue selling for $3.1 million in 2022, and the first ever Marvel comic selling for $1.2 million in 2019.” (


Speaking of spring, it's always a good feeling when the hummingbirds return. Watching them hover around hummingbird feeders is a relaxing simple pleasure. But did you know that hummingbirds can see colors that humans can’t? “Being able to see this way is especially useful for hummingbirds, whose endless quest for sugar is aided by their ability to discern different-colored flowers.” 


There's another reason watching these acrobats is fun. Unlike other birds, they  can fly backward. “Only hummingbirds can truly fly backward, and it’s thanks to the unique, extremely agile muscles in their wings.” (


In order for those hummingbirds to appear, we need warmer weather. Mlive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa has a dandy prediction. “The polar vortex now going bye-bye for the summer. The shrinking and disappearing of the polar vortex is occurring right now.”


In semi-technical terms, we're now in the “final warning” phase. “As the upper atmosphere warms, the polar vortex slows down, almost stops spinning and then totally dissipates. In other words, the fading of the polar vortex right now is a big step toward permanent spring temperatures and the march toward summer warmth.”



Warmer weather means there will be more food trucks out and about. These operations will feature many tasty menu items. As you enjoy the fare, give thanks that they probably won't offer some of the “outlandish street foods from across the globe” detailed in a DictionaryScoop article. 


Ant larvae tacos, deep fried tarantulas, and boiled sheep's hooves are a few of  choices. The one “delicacy” from America on the list is the Rocky Mountain Oyster. In spite of the name, this has nothing to do with seafood. Read more and see the “appetizing” photos at:


Finally, if you still are plagued with stress (and even anger), some new research has an interesting antidote. “Writing negative reactions on paper and shredding it or scrunching and throwing in the bin eliminates angry feelings.” 


If this seems too simple to be true, you should know that the results even surprised the scientists. “We expected that our method would suppress anger to some extent. However, we were amazed that anger was eliminated almost entirely.” 


Why does this “shredding” appear to produce positive outcomes? “Researchers believe the shredder results may be related to the phenomenon of 'backward magical contagion', which is the belief that actions taken on an object associated with a person can affect the individuals themselves. In this case, getting rid of the negative physical entity, the piece of paper, causes the original emotion to also disappear. Researchers concluded that 'the meaning (interpretation) of disposal plays a critical role' in reducing anger.” (


This might fall into the category of things that make us feel good, but we don't know why. You know, like popping bubble wrap. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and