We all need to get down and dirty occasionally–especially when we’re kids. Exposure to the bacteria in soil is a major factor in creating our immune systems. In fact, one of the causes of childhood asthma, which is rampant in big cities, is that kids don’t get DIRTY anymore.

In LiveScience.com, Ker Than reports that when researchers exposed mice to a common harmless microbe that’s found in soil, it improved their ability to cope, meaning that soil bacteria might also be an effective antidepressant. Than quotes researcher Chris Lowry as saying, "[These studies] leave us wondering if we shouldn?t all be spending more time playing in the dirt."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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You may think that describes YOU, if you find yourself craving that delicious serotonin-raising substance. Most of us are slaves to chocolate, but what it REALLY describes is the child labor used to pick cocoa beans in West Africa.

In the Independent, Humphrey Hawksley describes conditions on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, where?despite a pledge by chocolate companies 5 years ago?indentured children are still the most common form of labor. They are virtual slaves. Hawksley quotes one child as saying, “I used to go to school, but my father has no one to work on the farm, so he took me out of school. My mother’s a long way from here. I haven’t seen her for 10 years?since I was two years old.”
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Stan Hall penetrated deep into the jungles of Ecuador in search of hidden records in an expedition that included astronaut Neill Armstrong. They sought these records in the legendary Caves of Tayos, and now Stan tells the story of this extraordinary adventure to Dreamland guest host William Henry. Then Linda Howe tells us about the first crop circle of the season–right here in the US!

NOTE: This show summary, previously published on our old site, may contain broken links.read more