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  • ABC News(PESARO, Italy) -- Having grown up in a tiny room in his family’s home in Pesaro, Italy, 27-year-old architect Leonardo Di Chiara is used to living a minimalist lifestyle.His latest project, the aVOID tiny house, currently on display -- and inhabited -- by the architect in Berlin, takes the concept of reductionist living to the next level.Measuring just 96 square feet and equipped with all one needs to live, the home seeks to challenge the concept of traditional housing.“It’s a tiny house and it’s on wheels, so you can move it wherever you want. You can live wherever you want,” the architect told ABC News.aVOID is part of the tiny-house social and architectural movement started in the U.S. in the 1980s and has seen a resurgence in the past several years. The concept centers around downsizing one’s home to live a more sustainable and minimalistic lifestyle, using few resources.Since 1973, the typical size of a U.S. home has doubled -- peaking at just over 2,600 square feet, according to U.S. census data. Tiny houses, meanwhile, are typically 100 to 150 square feet, on wheels, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.With furniture such as tables, chairs, a bed and a sofa folding out of the walls of the structure, Di Chiara’s home has been likened to a Swiss Army knife. Yet the project is no novelty -- Di Chiara hopes it will be a model for those who want to live with less, without the burden of paying high rents increasingly plaguing many large cities, including Berlin.Di Chiara intends for its user to live in unoccupied spaces in the city.He said he hopes aVOID will be part of what he calls migratory neighborhoods -- clusters of tiny homes on wheels integrated within city centers.For now, it's a work in progress. "Living in the tiny home is a challenge," Di Chiara admitted, largely because it is still a work in progress. He is constantly discovering problems and finding ways to resolve them, often with the help of products provided by sponsors who believe in his vision, he said."I realized that the air inside gets too stuffy, especially during the night," Di Chiara said. To resolve the problem, he partnered with a company that provided a prototype ventilation system.Despite the challenges, Di Chiara said he plans to live in the house for an entire year, but aims to call it home for life once it is perfected. He said he also allows others to try out living in the house for a night or two, provided they give him feedback.Di Chiara’s aVOID house is one of over a dozen small structures on the Bauhaus Museum campus in Berlin. It is part of the "Tinyhouse University," a nonprofit founded in 2016 by German architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel that brought together architects, designers and refugees to explore different housing typologies.“We want to create solutions for living in an innovative way that allow people to be very active in the process of living, including designing, building and living in the house,” said Di Chiara. Some of the tiny buildings are cafes, while others are living spaces and workspaces.aVOID is a prototype for a single working professional and takes inspiration from the Bauhaus design movement, which combined art with the industrialization process.Di Chiara is working on lowering the production costs to make aVOID available to anyone who would like to own it, regardless of their income level. The materials for the home cost €45,000 (about $56,000), and it was built and customized by the architect himself. Di Chiara said he hopes to eventually be able to lower total production costs to €30,000 (roughly $37,000) through mass production.First, though, he'll need to get others onboard. It's currently illegal in Berlin to have a migratory neighborhood along the lines of Di Chiara's vision, so his goal is to first raise awareness of tiny-house living before holding serious discussions with city officials. He said he plans to set his sights on Mi
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a South Carolina woman stood in court this week and pleaded guilty to abducting an infant from a hospital nearly two decades ago and raising the girl as her own daughter, many were left asking this: Who would steal a baby? And why?Gloria Williams admitted she acted alone in 1998 when she walked into a Florida hospital dressed as a nurse and walked out with the newborn, whose name was Kamiyah Mobley. Williams raised Mobley for 18 years as her own daughter in South Carolina, renaming her Alexis Kelli Manigo.It turns out that dressing as a nurse to make it easier to navigate around hospital nurseries undetected is a common practice among women who have stolen babies from hospitals, John Rabun, the director of infant abduction response at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), told ABC News.Williams’ crime was first discovered when Mobley told a friend she had been abducted as a baby. That tip was sent anonymously to Rabun’s center in 2016.In 2016, in the weeks after Mobley’s whereabouts were first discovered, Rabun traveled to the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, now known as UF Health, where Mobley was born. Nurses there recounted to him their memory of the abduction, including the fact that Williams was nearly caught with Mobley before she was able to escape the hospital successfully."As she was leaving the mom’s room with [Mobley] in her arms, two other nurses were rushing down the hall with another mother who was in labor," Rabun said. "They saw Williams, dressed as a nurse, carrying Mobley in her arms -- which was against hospital procedure -- and told her she couldn’t arm-carry the baby. So she went back into the mom’s room and talked to her for a while, waits for the coast to clear in the hallway. Then she takes the baby out.""That’s how good of con women these women are," Rabun added.The NCMEC has confirmed 325 cases of infant abduction -- nearly all are female abductors -- over the past five decades. In analyzing those abductions, they’ve discovered that not only do many abductors use similar tactics to steal babies -- like dressing as a nurse, as Williams did -- but also nearly all abductors fit a similar profile.What should you look for if you fear your loved one might be thinking of stealing a baby?Many women who steal babies do so in a desperate attempt to keep a boyfriend or husband they fear may leave them if they don’t have a child to bind them together, analysis of past abduction cases has found. They are of child-bearing age and may already have children at home, according to the NCMEC. They may pretend to be pregnant, they may have recently lost a baby due to miscarriage, or they may suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from becoming pregnant themselves, the NCMEC has found.They may also visit hospital nurseries while they’re planning the abduction to ask questions about procedures and case the layout of the maternity floor. They might become familiar with hospital staff and may even be friendly to the victim’s parents, as Gloria Williams was, Rabun said."She’s armed with enough knowledge that when she goes into the hospital, she can walk the walk and talk the talk," Rabun said.What can hospitals do to prevent this?Hospitals are aware of this threat and have taken an aggressive, layered approach to safeguard their maternity wards against it in the years since Mobley was abducted, according to Bonnie Michelman, executive director of police, security and outside services at Massachusetts General Hospital and former president of the International Association for Healthcare Safety and Security.Michelman estimates 80 percent of hospitals in the U.S. now use both electronic tagging for babies and an ID banding system for parents. The electronic tagging system sends an alert if a baby is moved out of the maternity ward, while the ID bands verify parents’ identiti
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- DNA kits, such as those from Ancestry.com, give millions of people a peek into their genetic makeup.  Now, a product called BabyGlimpse is using some of that DNA scanning technology to give you a possible preview of what your baby could be like.BabyGlimpse reveals "the brighter side of personal genomics," according to its website. It claims to allow two potential parents to see the chances that their future child might have, say, light or dark hair, a sweet tooth or certain allergies.Like other companies' kits, BabyGlimpse has customers supply their saliva for scanning. After the kit is sent away for analysis, an app lets you see -- via pie-chart graphics -- what Mother Nature could have in store for your offspring in terms of appearance, wellness and genetic heritage.The creators stress that the scan isn't a medical test; it’s merely a "fun and informational" way to see what "unique characteristics and quirks" they could pass on as a parent -- for $99.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Skipping the chocolate this Valentine's Day could have a "ripple effect" on your partner's weight loss, according to a new study.The study, published this month in the research journal Obesity, found that when one partner commits to losing weight, the other partner is likely to lose weight too.The six-month clinical trial looked at 130 couples in which one spouse was following Weight Watchers. The other spouse was given basic information on healthy eating but was not formally dieting, according to the study's lead researcher, a professor of behavioral psychology at the University of Connecticut.The study, funded by Weight Watchers, found nearly one-third of the weight-loss program participants' spouses also had successful weight loss within six months, proving what the lead researcher called a "ripple effect."The study also found the majority of partners leading the weight-loss charge were women.Megan Murphy and her partner, Kevin Minnick, are marking this Valentine’s Day having lost a combined 120 pounds after Murphy joined Weight Watchers in 2016.Minnick, 28, became inspired by Murphy, who has since lost more than 30 pounds, and began to focus on his own weight loss. He joined Weight Watchers a few months after Murphy, 29, and has lost 89 pounds.Murphy said she was able to lose even more weight, after struggling with it for several years, when Minnick became motivated to do the same."Having this person there who supports me in all other aspects of my life walking this path with me made it sustainable," Murphy said.How to create a 'ripple effect' in your relationshipThe opposite of the "ripple effect" for couples can also be true, Mandy Enright, a New Jersey-based registered dietitian who specializes in helping couples with nutrition, told ABC News."I’ve had couples where one partner is ready to make a change and the other partner continues to buy items the other person doesn’t want in the house," Enright said. "The partner is continuing to be an instigator rather than a support toward their goals."There are five simple steps couples can take to get on the same page when it comes to weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle, according to Ensign and Maya Feller, a New York-based registered dietitian.1. Start with a plan.Establishing a plan at the start of a couple's journey can "reduce power struggles" later, Feller said.She described the process of changing eating and exercise habits as "partner work" and said couples can serve as each other's "peer counselors.""There should be really clear expectations of how they're going to support each other," Feller said, citing examples of defining when grocery shopping will happen and who is going to prepare meals.2. Communication is key."You can’t have just one person doing it and the other person not playing a role," Enright said.She recommends using both written and verbal communication to make sure each partner knows, for example, the meals that are planned. Enright's clients have found success displaying their weekly meal plan on a board in the kitchen and using apps that allow both partners to remotely contribute to a grocery list, she said.Communication also comes into play when telling your partner your motivation behind the changes and old habits they may be continuing that are no longer helpful, the two dieticians said.Feller recalled an experience with a client who was advised not to eat a certain baked good because of high cholesterol, but the person's partner had been stopping at a bakery for decades and bringing the item home."We had to communicate to say, 'I know you’re stopping to get this because it’s out of love, but let’s understand that when she eats this, it’s unhealthy for her,'" Feller recalled saying.3. Know and share your motivation.Focusing on weight loss to just satisfy your partner will likely not help you achieve success on your own, Feller said."You have to be really clear
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