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How online dating is changing who we marry in unexpected ways

Thanks to the rise of numerous dating apps and sites, such as TinderOKCupid or Match.com, dating culture has experienced a significant shift over the past two decades.

» RELATED: Tired of swiping for love? This new dating app sends you straight to the first date

And though online dating has received its fair share of bad press with accusations of fueling hook-up culture, stories of scam artists and of first dates gone wrongnew research shows online dating has influenced the nature of society in some positive ways.

>> Read more trending news

For their study, economics professors Josue Ortega at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna in Austria examined how online dating has changed the racial diversity of society.

» RELATED: Report: Every 3 hours, an online dater gets scammed

The authors hypothesized that internet dating services may be a driving force behind stronger marriages, interracial partnerships and a primary way for people to connect with those outside their social circles.

“Understanding the evolution of interracial marriage is an important problem, for intermarriage is widely considered a measure of social distance in our societies,” the authors told MIT Technology Review.

They created a simulated model network of men and women of different racial backgrounds in which everyone wants to marry a person of the opposite sex, but can only marry someone with whom they have a connection.

» RELATED: Atlanta ranked among worst cities for dating 

The model is a reflection of society, which Ortega and Hergovich said is essentially “a web of interlinked nodes.”

According to the professors, most people are connected to close friends and family (and some others) with about 100 nodes. And changing the network, like building new highways, can completely change how the network functions, they said.

» RELATED: What happened the year interracial marriages increased more than 400% in Georgia?

“Our model predicts nearly complete racial integration upon the emergence of online dating, even if the number of partners that individuals meet from newly formed ties is small,” Ortega and Hergovich told MIT Technology Review.

They then compared the model results with the rates of interracial marriage in the U.S.

Since the 1967 Loving v. Virginia U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized marriage across racial lines, intermarriage has increased steadily, according to the Pew Research Center.

In 2015, Pew found that 1 in 6 American newlyweds (17 percent) married a person of a different race or ethnicity. In 1967, only 3 percent did.

“It is intriguing that shortly after the introduction of the first dating websites in 1995, like Match.com, the percentage of new marriages created by interracial couples increased rapidly,” they said.

But it’s possible that, as MIT Technology Review noted, the reduction in the percentage of white Americans was a contributing factor in the rise of interracial marriages in the U.S.

» RELATED: RE:Race – AJC staffer Pete Corson on interracial marriage

Still, research authors said the change in the population’s composition can’t fully explain the huge increase in intermarriage.

Overall, according to Pew research, more and more American adults (approximately 39 percent in 2015) say interracial marriage is generally good for American society.

In 2010, 24 percent of American adults said it was a positive trend.

More from Pew Research Center.

The professors’ model also predicted that marriages established online are more robust and less likely to end in divorce, a hypothesis backed by previous research from the University of Florida in 2013.

The pre-published version of the study is available online at arxiv.org and is currently undergoing its full peer-review process.

Company pulls Anne Frank children’s costume after criticism

A few weeks ahead of Halloween, a costume company has pulled an online listing for an Anne Frank outfit.

>> Read more trending news

The costume was removed from HalloweenCostumes.com Sunday after customers and other internet users found the listing distasteful. 

The costume featured a blue long-sleeved dress with an elastic beret and an over the shoulder brown bag. The item’s description read as follows: 

“We can always learn from the struggles of history! Unfortunately, World War II shook the world in a way that no one could have foreseen. It ... created some unexpected heroes, where even a young girl like Anne Frank with nothing but a diary and hope could become an inspiration to us all. We can all learn from someone like that!”

Social media users criticized the costume and wondered why workers at the company thought it was appropriate. 

Ross Walker Smith, who works as a public relations specialist with HalloweenCostumes.com responded to the criticism with a statement. 

“We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays,” he wrote. “We offer several types of historically accurate costumes, from prominent figures to political figures to television characters ... We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time.”

Smith apologized on behalf of the company for any offense the costume may have caused.

WATCH: 'Izzy's here!' Men find family dog thought killed in California wildfire

A tearful reunion was caught on camera as two men located their family dog alive after a wildfire tore through their mother’s home in California.

>> Click here to watch

The men hiked for miles to survey the damage and said they figured their beloved dog, Izzy, was killed in the blaze.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

But to their surprise, she was completely unharmed.

“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Jack Weaver said. “It was elation. We came walking around the corner; we didn’t expect to see her. We were just there to video the house for my parents.”

>> Read more trending news

The men said their mother was ecstatic to learn that Izzy was alive.

Izzy is now resting comfortably at home with the rest of the family.

Groomer gives matted, abandoned dog a much-needed makeover

A Florida dog groomer is being praised for her quick work in helping save an abandoned dog in distress.

The groomer’s husband told WFTV's Angela Jacobs on Friday that the dog was found late Wednesday after good Samaritans saved it from being hit by a car along a road in Oviedo.

The dog was so severely matted, the groomer’s husband said, it could barely see through its neglected and overgrown hair. The dog also had to be carried and was unable to walk or wag his tail.

>> Read more trending news

BGE Grooming was contacted due to the dog’s poor condition. The dog groomer, Kari Falla, immediately opened the salon at midnight to begin working on the dog. 

WFTV learned Falla worked on the dog until after 3 a.m. to return its coat to good condition.

A viewer familiar with the incident contacted WFTV and said, “She (Kari) didn't stop there. Today she got with a local vet and they took the dog and they are currently housing and going to find a forever home.”

While the dog undergoes its medical evaluation, Falla reported on her Facebook page that the dog is playing happily with lots of tail-wagging. 

Top Halloween food safety tips

From bobbing for apples at a party to devouring a bucket of candy, food is definitely a big part of enjoying Halloween. But it can also lead to problems such as food-related illnesses, allergic reactions or even incidents such as choking.

>> Read more trending news

The following top Halloween food safety tips from the FDA  and the CDC will help keep your guests and little ghosts and goblins safe.

Prevent an allergic reactionIf your child has a food allergy, the following can let them enjoy their Halloween haul while avoiding any problematic foods:Look for teal pumpkinsFamilies who display teal pumpkins offer non-candy treats for trick-or-treaters who may have allergies.Check all treatsMake sure your child knows not to eat any candy before you check it at home. Look for ingredient lists on pre-packaged candy, and throw out any homemade treats since you can’t positively identify their ingredients.Buy treats for your childBuy some small trinkets (check out the non-candy suggestions listed below) to give your children on Halloween. That way, if they end up not being able to eat much of their candy, they won’t feel left out. Exchange or donate what your child can’t eatFind a local Halloween Candy Buy Back event in your area where kids can exchange candy for cash or prizes. You can also donate candy to active duty service members or other organizations. Check for signs of tamperingAlthough tampering with candy is rare, it does happen. The CDC recommends consuming only factory-sealed food items. Look for any evidence of the following:

  • An unusual appearance
  • Discoloration
  • Tiny pinholes
  • Tears in wrappers

Throw out homemade treats unless they’re from someone you know very well. If something looks suspicious, throw it out, and if you find actual evidence of tampering, notify the police.Eliminate choking hazardsSome Halloween treats can be choking hazards, especially for small children. Look through their bags to eliminate the following:

  • Peanuts
  • Hard candies
  • Gum
  • Raisins
  • Gooey candy like caramel, taffy or marshmallows
  • Small toys such as balls or marbles

In addition, make sure kids don’t lie down when they’re eating their Halloween candy, since this can increase their risk of choking.Make sure treats you serve at home are safeCandy from outside your home isn’t the only possible treat-related danger. If you’re hosting a Halloween party or planning other holiday activities for your family, take the following precautions:Clean fruitIf you’re bobbing for apples, rinse them thoroughly and use a produce brush.Avoid raw doughDon’t eat raw cookie dough or cake batter, which can contain bacteria.Refrigerate properlyDon’t leave food out on the table or counter for too long. Keep items refrigerated until they’re ready to serve, and don’t leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.Offer non-food alternativesYou don’t have to limit yourself to handing out candy. Kids enjoy small toys or other treats, and you won’t have to worry about allergies or stuffing them with too much candy. Dollar stores are great places to pick up multiple items packaged together, such as the following:

  • Glow sticks
  • Plastic rings with spiders, skulls, etc.
  • Small bubble bottles
  • Stickers
  • Mini notepads
  • Bouncy balls
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Vampire teeth
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stencils
  • Silly bands
  • Small playing cards
  • Small cans of Play-Doh
  • Finger puppets

Trick-or-treating: Top Halloween safety tips

Halloween should be about treats, but some tricks such as dangerous situations can quickly ruin the fun. The following trick-or-treating safety tips can help you and your kids avoid issues.COSTUME SAFETY

Costumes and other components can create hazards if you’re not careful. The following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Safety Council will help you make sure your child’s disguise doesn’t cause any hazards:

  • Look for light-colored, flame-resistant costumesLook for masks, wigs, costumes and other components that are labeled as flame-resistant or made of flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon. Also choose light-colored costumes when possible since they’re easier for drivers to spot at night.
  • Look for a proper fitMake sure all masks, shoes and other parts of your child’s costume fit well. He or she should be able to see well and walk without tripping over a costume that drags the ground or because of shoes that are too large. 
  • Take care with makeupBuy only nontoxic Halloween makeup, and always test it in a small area first, the CDC recommends. Remove it before bedtime to help prevent irritation.
  • Use safe accessoriesUse swords, knives and other accessories made of soft materials that won’t cause injury if your child falls on them.
  • Make your child more visible.The CDC suggests adding reflective tape to your child’s costume and treat bag to make him or her more visible.
  • Protect their eyesSkip wearing decorative contact lenses to avoid injuring your eyes, and don’t let your kids wear them.

ROAD SAFETY

Drive carefully and keep your kids safe as they navigate neighborhood streets with the following tips:

  • Slow down and be cautiousIf you’re driving on Halloween, slow down in residential neighborhoods and watch out for trick-or-treaters who may unexpectedly dart into the street. Especially if they’re wearing dark costumes, they can be difficult to see. 
  • Be visibleTurn your headlights on, even if it’s still light outside, so you’ll be more visible to trick-or-treaters.
  • Arm trick-or-treaters with flashlightMake sure your trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, but teach them to carry it facing downward so they don’t temporarily blind oncoming drivers.
  • Stick to sidewalksWalk on sidewalks when possible, and if they’re not available, walk on the left side of the road so you’re facing traffic.
  • Cross the street safelyCross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles.
  • Make sure kids are supervisedIf you’re not accompanying your kids, ensure that they’re going with another adult or an older, responsible young person if they’re under 12. CANDY SAFETYMake sure you child’s candy doesn’t cause any harm with the following tips:
  • Inspect your child’s candyTell your kids to wait until you can look through their candy at home before they eat any. Tampering is rare, but it does happen. Look for any tears in wrappers, tiny pinholes, or anything that looks discolored or unusual. Throw out anything that isn’t commercially wrapped, unless it’s a homemade treat from someone you personally know well.
  • Check for allergensIf your child has a food allergy, read the ingredient label of commercially wrapped treats to make sure it doesn’t contain any allergens. Skip homemade treats, since you can’t be sure of what they contain.
  • Look for teal pumpkinsIf you see a teal pumpkin at a home, that signifies that it’s safe for trick-or-treaters with food allergies since the homeowners offer non-food treats like small toys. Look for homes that display these if your child has allergies, and provide this welcoming sign of safe treats for kids who visit your home.
  • Check for choking hazardsCheck through non-candy treats to make sure they’re not a choking hazard to your child if he or she is younger. Also go through their candy and eliminate any hard candies or any other items they could choke on.

SAFE TRICK OR TREAT LOCATIONS

Choose the safest locations for your child to visit with the following tips:

  • Visit ‘trunk or treat’ eventsOrganizations such as churches often hold trunk or treat events where people decorate their opened trucks and hand out candy. This helps children stay in a confined area and avoid streets and traffic.
  • Hit the mallMalls sometimes have Halloween events where stores give out candy to children in costume. You’ll avoid traffic and other outdoor hazards while ensuring that weather won’t be a factor.
  • Check with neighborhood associationsIf you live in a community with a neighborhood association, these organizations often have information about which houses are handing out candy. The association may also host a clubhouse party for the holiday.
  • Use Nextdoor’s treat mapThe social network site for neighborhoods has a Halloween treat map that lets you and your neighbors “advertise” that you’ll be handing out Halloween candy. You can use it to plan the best route for your trick-or-treaters.
  • Know which houses to avoidSeveral states prohibit registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween, and at least one, Maryland, requires them to post “No candy at this residence” signs. You can also check the U.S. Department of Justice’s website for links to your state’s sex offender registry or download a mobile app that you can use along the way to tell you which homes to avoid.

Best 2017 pop culture Halloween costumes

Halloween is the perfect time to make a statement about this year’s pop culture hits and misses. According to Insider, some of the most popular pop culture Halloween costumes in 2017 will include pregnant Kylie Jenner, Wonder Woman and a Playboy Bunny.

According to Quartz, what this says about us, besides that we like to dress up, is that our collective psyche is riddled with TV and movies. But Quartz also pointed out the common human desire to be more powerful, which is why superheroes are a Halloween fashion staple. 

Other pop culture favorites appearing this Halloween season include any costume that has Disney characters. In September, Pinterest noted that just the term “Disney costume” has been pinned more than 675,000 times this year, with Belle and Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast” leading the pack. 

A costume that became cliché in its first season is Pennywise, the kid-killing clown from the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.” Pinterest saves for clown makeup and costumes are up 941 percent this year. If you must join the horde, please, please, step away from red balloons near sewers in suburban neighborhoods. Other pop culture Halloween costume popular on Pinterest included “Baywatch” characters, frat boys and Wednesday Addams. One of the most popular Halloween makeup options is pixelated face makeup, which has been pinned more than 26,000 times. 

>> Read more trending news

Hit pop culture Halloween costumes from the media

Ripped-straight-from-the-headlines costumes make their own kind of scary Halloween statements, even if those headlines come straight from TMZ or People.

Fake News: Insider reports a mini dress of newspaper clippings stamped “Fake” in big red letters sold by costume retailer Yandy. Pregnant Kylie Jenner: You may not be unique, but you’ll be in good company in one of Yandy’s $60 pregnant Kylie Jenner costume. Hef and a Playboy bunny: 2017 claimed the life of  Hugh Hefner. Sure, dressing as the dapper (if elderly) Hef and a Playboy bunny is a time-honored Halloween tradition, but this year’s news adds a morbid touch to the Playmate (Yandy, $80) and Hugh Hefner (Target, $40) couples costume. Dancing hot dog from Snapchat: The wildly popular dancing meme from Snapchat makes a hot pop culture Halloween costume. You can pick up a  $40 hot dog suit from Target, but you must supply the over-the-ear headphones yourself. Handmaid: Hulu’s 2017 hit, based on the Margaret Atwood novel, "The Handmaid's Tale," is a dark metaphor for the current civil rights and political climate. A handmaid ensemble is easy to pull off for one or a group, from thrift store finds or ready-made purchases like the $64 version from Azure CostumesLa La Land: Another great couples’ idea from the Pinterest people, and if you can jitterbug and whatnot, all the better. For the snarkiest, include a “Moonlight” costume in the group as a nod to the 2017 Best Picture Oscars mix-up. April the Giraffe and her baby from Animal Adventure Park: With giraffe costumes and make-up running wild on Pinterest (up 1,200 percent from last year, unless someone made a typo), what a great time to dress as the ever-pregnant and finally a mom April the Giraffe. Depending on your companions and physical condition, you may want to go for pregnant April, during her eternal labor, or with her offspring. Kinder, gentler pop culture costumes

Groot: According to Pinterest, searches for this soulful, leafy “Guardians of the Galaxy” character’s costume have gone up 133 percent in the past year. It’s a more involved costume than most, with those branches and all, but it has the prime advantage of also having a baby costume option: Baby Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”Bob Ross and Tree: That’s a happy tree, mind you, a perfect foil to 2017’s political and environmental strife. And hey, Pinterest reports 25,000-plus saves on the costume idea. Unicorns: Rainbows and sparkles will be in the forecast for Halloween 2017 trick-or-treating and costume parties for sure, with searches for unicorn costumes up 110 percent this year on Pinterest. According to Quartz, “The draw seems to be childlike positivity and magical thinking, allowing people see themselves and the world through rose- (and cobalt-) colored glasses.” “My Little Pony”: With the 2017 release of the “My Little Pony” movie, the  animated characters should give you plenty of sweet costume options for every optimist on the block. Just be sure your costume has a pony name and a birthday on Equestria.

Puppy with 6-pound tumor left at shelter with note to euthanize him

Staff at an animal shelter in Ohio said they found a dog dropped off on the shelter’s premises, and the dog’s former owner wrote a note instructing the dog be euthanized. 

 

Staff workers at Gallatin County Animal Shelter and County Animal Hospital ignored the note attached to the dog, who is about a year old, and instead took him to an animal hospital to undergo surgery to remove a 6-pound tumor hanging from his stomach.

The dog, named Clyde by a shelter volunteer, underwent a two-hour surgery on Tuesday. 

>> Read more trending news 

Hospital staff were outraged at Clyde’s condition and at the fact that an owner would wait so long before seeking help. Workers became devoted to saving Clyde, who is now up for adoption.

“He’s only a year -- way too young for a death sentence,” Shari Wyenandt, of HART Animal Rescue, told WLWT5. “I mean, he was in pain, dragging [the tumor]. It was already rupturing from being drug on the ground.”

Workers at the animal hospital think the tumor may have been growing for six months.

Now, the tumor is being biopsied to see if the dog will need further treatment.

An update on HART’s official Facebook page indicated Clyde is happy and healing.

“With how sweet he is, he will have no problem finding a home,” Wyenandt said of the shepherd/husky mix.

Read more at WLWT5.

RELATED: A dying dog made it down the aisle to be by his human’s side one final time

Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

President Trump says you'll be hearing 'Merry Christmas' a lot more this year

Declaring victory on the “war on Christmas” at Friday’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., President Trump said he’ll be saying “Merry Christmas” during his first holiday season as president.

>> Read more trending news

“We’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word ‘Christmas’ because it’s not politically correct,” he said, explaining that politically correct culture has made it difficult to celebrate the holiday. “You go to department stores, and they’ll say ‘Happy New Year,’ or they’ll say other things, and it’ll be red -- they’ll have it painted -- but they don’t say -- Well, guess what? We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”

The crowd at the Christian public policy conference went wild, cheering on the president as he went on to call for tax reform, calling the possibility a “Christmas gift.”

President Trump has frequently used the “war on Christmas” to fire up the evangelical Christian wing of his base, saying on the campaign trail that political correctness prohibits people from proudly celebrating Christian holidays such as Christmas.

“So, when I started 18 months ago, I told my first crowd in Wisconsin that we are going to come back here someday, and we are going to say Merry Christmas again,” he said at the time. “Merry Christmas. So, Merry Christmas everyone.”

Most popular Halloween costumes for 2017

The National Retail Federation predicts that 179 million Americans will partake in Halloween festivities in 2017 and that 48 percent plan to dress up. That’s a lot of costumes! Those trying to stand out for a party or costume contest and those who want to fit in with the rest of the trick-or-treat crowd can both benefit from these predictions for the top costume picks for Halloween 2017 from the NRF and Pinterest.

>> Read more trending news 

 Most popular children’s Halloween costumes for 2017

The little ones will be dressing up as heroes this Halloween, with more than 3.7 children planning to dress as action characters or superheroes, according to the NRF. That figure doesn’t even include the Caped Crusader. Batman on his own will provide costume inspiration for 2.9 million child Halloween costumes, tied for second with a generic princess in the NRF rankings. Wonder Woman also makes a solo appearance on the list.  The entire NRF Top 10 list of the most popular Halloween costumes for kids: 1. Action/superhero 2. Batman character tied with Princess3. Animal (cat, dog, monkey)4. Spider-Man5. Star Wars character6. Witch7. Marvel Superhero (excluding Spider-Man) tied with Pirate8. Ghost9. Disney Princess10. Wonder Woman  Most popular adult Halloween costumes for 2017 In September, Pinterest and fashion search platform Lyst released predictions for the top Halloween costumes of 2017. The list included a frightening trend: costume ideas spawned by the kid-killing clown Pennywise in the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.” Searches for clown makeup have increased by 941 per cent on Pinterest this year, and Lyst also reported a rise in searches for shirts with expansive ruffled shoulders and pom-pom shoes like the odious clown wears. It may sound like a stretch but … giraffes are another go-to costume for Halloween this year. Pinterest data indicated pins for giraffe costumes ideas and makeup tutorials are up 1,200 percent compared to 2016, and Lyst data also indicated a 27 percent increase in searches for giraffe fashions since this past June. You can thank April the giraffe, and her long pregnancy that was one of the top viral stories of 2017.The TV set and other streaming devices also helped make certain costumes popular. This is the second season for “Stranger Things” character costumes to be making the trick-or-treat and party rounds, with 40 percent more Pinterest saves year over year. These costumes have the added allure of being simple to make and wear, especially the trucker hats and ‘80s T-shirts Pinterest and Lyst are predicting. “Game of Thrones” characters were up 91 percent on Pinterest and Jon Snow all by his lonesome had 280 percent increased costume saves on Pinterest. Quartz has a helpful hint for anyone wanting to jump in on this costume trend. Those gnarly Night’s Watch capes are repurposed IKEA rugs. Just in from the 2017 widescreen, Pinterest users currently have more than 230,000 Wonder Woman costume ideas saved while pins of Beauty and the Beast characters have jumped 680 percent, including some sweet group costumes for Gaston and the milkmaids.Here are some other top choices on Pinterest for Halloween 2017:Top group costumes Daenerys and Jon Snow from “Game of Thrones” “Baywatch” cast members  “Stranger Things” cast members  Top family costumes “Beauty and the Beast” “Jurassic Park”  Mother of Dragons (Daenerys)  Top solo costumes Wonder Woman  Hippie  Girl Scout  Makeup Unicorn  Giraffe  Spider-Woman 

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