Feature

Saved by soot, a new Van Gogh, Surrogate mom

A 12-year-old New York girl sustained only minor injuries after falling 14 stories down the chimney of her apartment and landing on a pile of soot and ash.

A 12-year-old New York girl sustained only minor injuries after falling 14 stories down the chimney of her apartment. Grace Bergere was showing a visiting cousin the stunning vistas of the city from the roof of her building in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. To get a better view, she climbed up a 25-foot ladder alongside the chimney; when she got to the top, she fell in. But her plummet was cushioned by a 2-foot-deep pile of ash and soot at the bottom of the shaft. “It’s a miracle,” said Grace’s father, “an absolute miracle.”

A previously unknown portrait by Vincent van Gogh has been discovered—lurking underneath another one of his works. Van Gogh routinely recycled his canvases; art experts estimate that up to a third of his early paintings hide others. So using advanced X-ray analysis, scientists at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands scanned van Gogh’s 1887 landscape Patch of Grass and found the face of a woman. With its somber demeanor, it bears a striking resemblance to the portrait of a model van Gogh painted in a series of studies leading up to his 1885 painting The Potato Eaters, which is regarded as his first major work.

Only one day after a litter of three white tiger cubs was born at the zoo in Caney, Kan., their mother stopped caring for them. The tiny cubs wandered around helplessly. But zoo owner Tom Harvey had an inspiration: He brought in a golden retriever to act as their surrogate mother. The idea worked; the dog, named Isabella, is licking, cleaning, and even nursing the cubs as if they were her own. Harvey said the adoptive mother had just recently weaned her own puppies. “The timing couldn’t have been any better,” he said.

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