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Northern Europeans are lighter-skinned than others at the same, or more northern, latitudes. Pigment modifies the amount of UV light, too much UV reduces folate, leading to birth defects. Too little UV reduces vitamin D, leading to skeletal and birth defects. Melanin also causes blonde hair and blue eyes to darken after puberty. Arctic dwellers get their vitamin D from meat. Grains have no vitamin D, but usually only grow in lower latitudes with lots of sun, whose UV radiation provides the vitamin. The warm Gulf Stream allowed northern Europeans to grow grains for food, reducing their intake of vitamin D and keeping their melanin levels low.

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Local deaths

Deaths of noteworthy persons

Eydie Gormé, 84, singer ("Blame It on the Bossa Nova"), (Aug 10).

Eileen Brennan, 80, Emmy Award-winning actress (The Last Picture Show, Private Benjamin, Clue), bladder cancer (Jul 28).

Dennis Farina, 69, actor (Law & Order, Get Shorty, Unsolved Mysteries), pulmonary embolism (Jul 22).

Cory Monteith, 31, actor (Glee) , heroin and alcohol overdose (Jul 13).

Jean Stapleton, 90, actress (All in the Family), (May 31).

George Jones, 81, Country music singer, hypoxic respiratory failure (Apr 26).

Richie Havens, 72, Folk singer and guitarist, heart attack (Apr 22).

Allan Arbus, 95, American actor (M*A*S*H, "Sydney Freedman"), heart failure (Apr 19).

Jonathan Winters, 87, comedian and actor, natural causes (Apr 11).

Annette Funicello, 70, actress (The Mickey Mouse Club) and singer ("Tall Paul"), complications from multiple sclerosis (Apr 8).

Margaret Thatcher, 87, British politician, Prime Minister (1979–1990), stroke (Apr 8).

Roger Ebert, 70, film critic (Chicago Sun-Times, Siskel & Ebert), thyroid cancer (Apr 4).

Joe Weider, 93, Bodybuilder , heart ailment (Mar 23).

Hugo Chávez, 58, Venezuelan politician and military officer, President (since 1999), respiratory failure (Mar 5).

Bonnie Franklin, 69, Actress (One Day at a Time), pancreatic cancer (Mar 1).