There’s new hope for saving the world’s rarest cat after 2 Scottish kittens were rescued.

The Scottish wildcat is a critically endangered species, believed to be the last remaining wild feline species in Britain. By some estimates, there are only about 35 of them left in the wild. Their numbers have been decimated through hunting, environmental changes, and crossbreeding with feral house cats. (For all of the cat parents out there, yes, it looks much like a very large tabby.)

But there’s a new ray of hope — all thanks to the discovery of 2-month-old orphaned kittens in the Scottish highlands.

They were found dehydrated, hungry, and dangerously close to a road. Now, they have a chance to not only survive, but give a shot in the arm to their entire species thanks to the Wildcat Haven, a group called that’s helping rehabilitate these cats.

“I almost fell off my chair when I saw the photos,” Wildcat Haven chief scientific adviser Dr. Paul O’Donoghue said. “The markings looked amazing, far better than any kitten I’d seen in a zoo, but in a very exposed place. It seemed likely they had been abandoned or orphaned and were in grave danger.”

Wildcat Haven has a donation-based adoption program that aims to do everything from protecting their habitats to neutering the feral cats whose numbers are dwindling thanks to crossbreeding.

As cute as these two rescued kittens are, the real success will be seeing them and others growing up to be like “the beast”— a very large Scottish wildcat that was recently spotted surviving and thriving in the Clashindarroch Forest.

Saving the Scottish wildcat and other endangered species won’t be easy, but our united efforts are a win for our planet’s biodiversity.

There have been recent success stories of people coming together to make real progress in restoring habitats and protecting the creatures who live there.

Even if you’re not a cat person, helping save an entire species is something worth supporting.

Watch a video of the kittens below:


Making Your Own Delicious Gummy Bears At Home Is Easier Than You Think

What is it about gummy bears that makes them so irresistible for everyone from toddlers to teens…and full-grown adults?

Perhaps we’ll never know whether it’s their squishy consistency or their sugary flavor, but one thing we do know is that we can finally stop spending money on the store-bought versions. Yes, my friends, you can indeed make these childhood treats at home!

And the recipe is really easy!

Your kids are about to tout you as the best parents ever.


Cat Person: the short story that launched a thousand theories

Kristen Roupenians 4,000-word tale about a stilted romance sent the internet into meltdown this week. Heres the lowdown on the battle lines that formed

After inspiring a cacophony of venom on Twitter, an exhausting avalanche of hot takes and a chasm of opinion between those who think it is a work of genius and those who consider it misandrist drivel, is there anyone left who is still a Cat Person person? The New Yorker short fiction by Kristen Roupenian follows the stilted romance of Margot and Robert, whose ultimately unfulfilling relationship is fuelled only by the power of text message banter.

The 4,000 word story has provoked, at the time of counting: a BBC short story written from the perspective of Robert; a Twitter account that only tweeted responses from bewildered men, to the scornful laughter of quite a few more women; and responses from approximately 10,000 millennials, who recounted their own slightly sad dating experiences. It is perhaps the most talked about short story ever, apart from maybe Annie Proulxs Brokeback Mountain (also published in the New Yorker, in 1997) or The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (which graced the magazines pages in 1948).

Spared the internet sleuthing … Brokeback Mountain author Annie Proulx. Photograph: Patrick Kehoe for the Observer

It is now easier to read about Cat People than the story itself, with Proulx and Jackson spared the intense internet sleuthing to which Roupenian and her story have been subject. Irate readers have determined to win arguments about a creative work that is arguably subjective, like all art before it, and can be what anyone wants it to be. Here are some of the battle lines.

Is it fat shaming or slut shaming?

When they finally make fairly rewardless love, Margot is dismayed by Robert and his belly, thick and soft and covered with hair, but they have sex regardless; she decides that saying no would make her seem spoiled and capricious. Robert, meanwhile, obsesses over Margots sexual history, invents imaginary men to compete with for her time and ends the story (spoiler alert) by calling her a whore. So, maybe it is both. Maybe it is neither. Based on the haunted reactions of many women to the story, the pertinent questions to ask are: why do women try to please even when they hate it? And do men truly not notice this?

Is Roupenian Margot? Is Robert real?

Roupenian told the New Yorker that the story was inspired by a small but nasty encounter I had with a person I met online. So, arguably yes to both.

Is it fiction or is it an essay?

Falling as it does in this era of sexual anxiety and #MeToo, some people have claimed that Roupenians story is a polemical essay on modern sexual politics, as though fiction cant tackle contemporary events and New Yorker editors dont rush out stories to fall in the middle of relevant public conversations (surprise: that is what they did).

Does Robert even have cats?

No way.


Cats help a Japanese chef take on American sushi

There’s something so satisfying about watching sushi being made.

JunsKitchen carefully crafts five American-inspired sushi rolls, which explores the difference between American and Japanese sushi. Jun says in the video’s comments that Japanese sushi focuses on “enjoying the pure flavor of ingredients that are in season,” while American sushi is based on the combination of flavors.

As Jun assembles the sushi, his two cats (Haku and Nagi, according to the description on his website) look on, giving their approval as he lets them sniff the ingredients. 

Sushi is good. Cat-approved sushi is even better. 


Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are joining forces for animals everywhere.

Breaking news, internet: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are planning a reunion on May 7, 2016.

Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central.

Unfortunately, the two won’t be announcing a “Daily Show Part 2” nor will they be launching a Stewart-Colbert 2016 presidential ticket.

It’s a shame we’ll never know what those campaign rallies would look like (but one can dream).

Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images.

The pair will, however, be doing arguably the next best thing: fighting for animal rights.

Photo by Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego via Getty Images.

Stewart and Colbert are headed to the Montclair Film Festival together on Saturday, May 7, and the former “Daily Show” host plans to introduce “Unlocking the Cage.” Colbert is on the festival’s advisory board, and his wife, Evelyn, is the board president.

Unlocking the Cage” follows the story of lawyer Steven Wise, who aims to “break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans.”

“Given that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, why not chimps?” a film explainer given to Upworthy noted.

Photo courtesy of “Unlocking the Cage,” used with permission.

In the film, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Wise and his legal team argue certain creatures with advanced cognitive capabilities like chimpanzees, dolphins, and elephants should be provided with certain personhood rights in order to protect them from abuse.

If it seems odd that Stewart is spending his retirement introducing animal rights films, you probably missed the memo on the comedian’s long-term retirement plans.

Stewart’s pristine, 12-acre property outside New York City has been transformed into an animal safe haven.

Last October, Stewart and his wife, Tracey, announced their New Jersey farm would become a Farm Sanctuary.

Farm Sanctuary a group that raises awareness around the injustice of factory farms has properties throughout the U.S. like Stewart’s where abandoned and rescued animals are housed.

We’re going to build new advocates, new curious learners, and new leaders for this very important movement,” Tracey announced at a gala for the nonprofit last year about the Stewarts’ new plans.

(I never thought I’d be jealous of a pig until now.) GIF via CBS This Morning/YouTube.

It’s hard to fathom a Stewart-Colbert reunion that isn’t worthy of our attention.

These are the men who brought us the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, after all.

But a reunion to shine a light on our furry friends in need seems especially fitting for a dynamic duo with such big hearts.

(And I’m still holding out hope for Stewart-Colbert 2020). Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.


Margaret Atwood: women will bear brunt of dystopian climate future

Booker prize-winning author predicts climate reality will not be far from scenarios imagined in her post-apocalyptic fiction

Climate change will bring a dystopian future reminiscent of one of her speculative fictions, with women bearing the brunt of brutal repression, hunger and war, the Booker prize-winning author Margaret Atwood is to warn.

This isnt climate change its everything change, she will tell an audience at the British Library this week. Women will be directly and adversely affected by climate change.

The author, whose landmark novel The Handmaids Tale has been turned into an acclaimed TV series depicting a dystopian future in which women are deprived of all rights and turned into breeding machines for men, predicts conflict, hardship and an increasing struggle for survival for women as climate change takes hold.

More extreme weather events such as droughts and floods, rising sea levels that will destroy arable land, and disruption of marine life will all result in less food, she explained before the event. Less food will mean that women and children get less, as the remaining food supplies will be unevenly distributed, even more than they are.

The results she predicts bear a strong similarity to some of the futures she imagines in her fiction, including the post-apocalyptic novel Oryx and Crake, in which the treatment of women in conflict-ridden societies is a strong theme. She went on: [Climate change] will also mean social unrest, which can lead to wars and civil wars and then brutal repressions and totalitarianisms. Women do badly in wars worse than in peacetime.

The Handmaids Tale has been turned into an acclaimed TV series. Photograph: MGM/Hulu

Under Her Eye the title is taken from The Handmaids Tale will bring together prominent figures from the arts, politics and science in a two-day festival devoted to exploring womens futures under climate change and environmental damage, and proposals for avoiding the worst effects of global warming, some of which are already locked in because of our failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as scientists have advised.

Alice Sharp, director of the arts and science organisation Invisible Dust, which is curating the festival, told the Guardian she hoped the event would be the first of many. We think this is the first time that the arts, sciences and politics of climate change have been brought together under one roof with a focus on women, she said. Womens voices are too rarely heard in discussions of climate change.

One of the leading women speaking at the conference is Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief, who oversaw the signing of the Paris climate agreement in 2015. She said: Climate change remains one of the greatest threats to achieving sustainable development and its effects fall hardest on women.

But she sounded a note of hope, acknowledging the activism of women on environmental issues. Countering this reality is the gritty determination, boundless energy and unwavering spirit of women across the world, whose knowledge, skills and leadership are being harnessed in delivering solutions. Climate change is one area in which women have decisively contributed to the progress we are making.

The two-day event will take place on Friday and Saturday at the British Library, as part of the 2018 centenary of womens suffrage, and will feature screenings, performances, talks and debates. Among the 40 speakers will be Prof Joanna Haigh, co-director of the Grantham Institute, one of the worlds leading centres on climate policy and science; former Nasa science editor Laura Tenenbaum; Kate Raworth, self-styled renegade economist and author of Doughnut Economics; and New Zealand artist Ahilapalapa Rands.

Womens lives, particularly in developing countries, are likely to be more affected by climate change than those of men, because they are so reliant on agriculture, and bear the burden of work such as fetching scarce water and firewood, and have fewer options than men, who tend to be more mobile. Women and children are also worst affected by indoor air pollution, caused by smoky cooking fires.

Yet the annual meetings on climate change held by the UN have few forums for discussing the particular problems faced by women, and women make up only a minority of the delegates.

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the UKs Green party, who will also take part, said: We know that women in the arts give a unique perspective when it comes to climate change, and that they will have an important role to play in the future. There is a rich history of women guarding our environment, which is why they should be front and central to efforts aiming to counteract climate change.


Insanely cute puppy is a 10/10 in the smile department

We may have a next social media dog in the making. Is there anything a dog can’t do?

The answer is no. Dogs can do everything, including smile.

Blink and you’ll miss this dog slowly smiling directly at the camera, like only the cutest of cute things can do.

Give it a bone because this pooch just won our hearts. This Twitter video was posted on Sept. 5 and it already garnered 141k retweets. We can totally see why.

Can someone look at me the way Hoss looks at its owner? Thanks. 


The Snowman, Yogi Bear and Hollywood’s unintentionally funny movie posters

The campaign for serial killer thriller The Snowman has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, and its not the first time a designer has caused accidental lols

Although Im obviously no expert, it wouldnt surprise me if The Snowman turned out to be a historic flop. That isnt a slight against Jo Nesbo or Michael Fassbender or Rebecca Ferguson or Tomas Alfredson, who are all talented people. But it is a slight against whoevers in charge of The Snowmans marketing campaign, because it is absolutely preposterous.

The trailer, as we already know, attempted to wring a nonexistent sense of dread out of some actual snowmen, even though snowmen sit slightly below Porgs in their ability to terrify the populace. And now we have the posters which, although they ostensibly take the form of ransom notes from a serial killer, look as if they were drawn by a slightly distracted toddler.

Its hard to think of a movie poster as unintentionally hilarious as The Snowmans. However, Im sure we can come pretty close.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

If only we could forget. Photograph: PR

If youve made a middling romcom and you want to draw attention to it, why not create a series of guerrilla-style posters that go out of their way to disparage the female lead character by name, while barely referencing the film at all? Well, perhaps because youve picked a relatively common name for your character, and people who share that name are likely to feel victimised and terrified by it. This was the case with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which announced itself with handwritten posters reading You suck, Sarah Marshall, You do look fat in those jeans, Sarah Marshall and My mom always hated you Sarah Marshall, that only succeeded in annoying real-life Sarah Marshalls or, worse, the family of a Sarah Marshall whod just died.

Yogi Bear

Two bears one innuendo? Photograph: PR

One of two things happened here. One possibility is that the Yogi Bear marketing team simply wanted to play up the partnership between Yogi Bear and BooBoo, making them both look as happy and approachable as they could while utilising their famous height difference, and decided to adapt the phrase Great things come in pairs to reflect their Ursidae nature. The other possibility is that they knew. They knew both meanings of come and both meanings of bear. One of these possibilities definitely happened, and Im not sure which is worse.


Fake truth. Photograph: PR

The poster for Colin Farrell drama Ondine has only retroactively become excruciating, and thats all down to its tagline. Back in 2009, The truth is not what you know, its what you believe seemed like nothing more than a meaningless jumble of words that appeared to have more emotional resonance than it actually did. Fast forward eight years and its become the primary slogan for everything bad in the world. The truth is not what you know, its what you believe is what caused Trump and Brexit and countless other global catastrophes. It is post-truth incarnate.

Tomb Raider

Is that uncomfortable, Alicia? Photograph: PR

A poster more notable for its witless use of Photoshop than anything else. At this stage, nobody has seen the new Tomb Raider movie but, judging by Alicia Vikanders appearance here, its likely to be the story of a woman tragically born with a foam pool noodle for a neck, who realises her potential for raiding tombs after spinning her head around like a concussed owl for three and a half hours.

The Accidental Husband

And his accidental cardboard wife. Photograph: PR

You havent seen The Accidental Husband. Of course you havent. Nobody has. However, from its poster we can safely assume that Colin Firth and Jeffrey Dean Morgan both play men in love with the same cardboard Uma Thurman cinema standee. However, their love is compounded by the fact that theyre both suing a local surgeon for botched arm transplant operations. How will I ever get Cardboard Uma to love me if my hand looks absolutely nothing like the rest of my body? Firth whines at one point.

Bangkok Dangerous

Thumb and thumber. Photograph: PR

I asked a few friends if they knew of any unintentionally awful movie posters, and the response was universally: What about that film where Nicolas Cages thumb looks like a penis? So, behold, here is the Bangkok Dangerous poster, in which Nicolas Cages thumb looks like a penis.

Street Kings

Street Kings and the magic gun. Photograph: PR

Again, this is a film I havent seen because life is finite and my time here is precious. However, it seems to be about Keanu Reeves magic gun, a sassy little thing that apparently fires even when Keanus hand is nowhere near the trigger. Can these two lovably mismatched rogues a cop who only wants to kill some people and a gun who wants to mow people down indiscriminately find commonality by the third act? Fingers crossed!

12 Years a Slave

Christopher Ervin (@cpervin)

Also, look at this Italian poster for 12 Years A Slave

March 3, 2014

You remember 12 Years a Slave, right? It won Oscars for its unflinching portrayal of Brad Pitts face, right up nice and close, beaming against a glorious sky, at the exclusion of everything else, for two and a half hours. Actually, now I come to think of it, there might have also been a black man in the film. I cant remember who he was, though, because he was barely in it and you could never see his face properly. Still, Brad Pitt.

Confessions of a Shopaholic


Angry bear charging a car is a good reminder never to mess with bears

Even from the safety of your vehicle, a charging bear is nothing to mess with.

Cody Kunau and his friend Samantha were driving to the Yakutat Lodge in Alaska for dinner when they encountered a large grizzly bear on the side of the road. As they approached the animal, it quickly scurried across the road and into the woods.

“This is a somewhat normal occurrence for here,” Kunau wrote. “Usually, the bears run off and catching a close up glimpse is hard. We slowed our vehicle down to where we saw the bear cross the road when suddenly it erupted from the bushes and came after our vehicle.”

The bear charged the car, following as the two pulled away in a hurry.

“Holy fuck, we just got charged by a bear,” Kunau can be heard saying in the clip.

The two were unable to find anything that would agitate the bear in the area, so they continued to the lodge where they warned locals of the really angry bear down the road.


The roaring (drunk) 20s: literature’s biggest party animals

As the holiday party season gets into full swing, we should acknowledge the great partiers of days gone by: specifically, the modernists

The life of a writer can be a quiet business, spent hunched over a manuscript in a quiet countryside house. In a contemporary twist, writers usually live God-knows-where in order to teach in a creative writing program.

But for much of the 20th century, writers flocked to cities. This was particularly true in the 1910s and 1920s, when modernism was exploding onto the scene. So, in the evenings, the greats often broke their solitude to commune with each other over a drink (or seven). This led both to some pretty fascinating dinner party conversations and more than a few party mishaps and infelicities.

Just in time for the holiday party-racket that afflicts even non-writers, we thought wed remind you of a few of them.

Edna St Vincent Millay, pictured here in 1925, was one of the most-admired poets of her time. She was also a great beauty. Photograph: Corbis

Edna St Vincent Millay, New York, 1920s: She was green, positively green

Poet and party girl Edna St Vincent Millay was a fixture of Greenwich Village bohemia in the 1910s and 20s. Social life then centered on the Provincetown Playhouse and the Pagan Romps and Art Model Frolicks of Webster Hall. But the everyday parties were more intimate, born of the desire to meet and misbehave with fellow writers and artists.

In 1917 the painter Charles Ellis was a recent arrival from Ohio, but he already knew who the current literary sensation was, and invited her to a party with his friends at their Macdougal Street apartment. We were sitting in front of our fireplace drinking mulled wine, he recalled. It was an extremely cold winter, one of the coldest in the history of the city, I believe. Wed burn anything we could find, wooden street signs, anything. Then wed put the poker in the wine to heat it. Little Vincent was sitting there with us and had a couple of glasses and we were all talking intensely. I suddenly looked up at her and she was green, positively green. I took her to the bathroom and told her what to do and she did it, and she was all right after that.

At that point, the sensitive Millay was still a shy little girl, right out of Vassar. Her sister Norma remembered the deliberate effort she and Edna put in to become modern girls: We sat darning socks on Waverly Place and practiced the use of profanity as we stitched. Needle in, shit. Needle out, piss. Needle in, fuck. Needle out, cunt. Until we were easy with the words.

Some members of the Bloomsbury set at a quiet tea on the verandah in 1929. Photograph: Dora Carrington/Getty Images

Bloomsbury, 1920s, London: The lack of refinement of their idols

The Bloomsbury set werent a particularly shy bunch to begin with. One afternoon in 1907, Lytton Strachey walked into the parlor where Virginia Woolf was sitting with her sister, Vanessa Bell, and pointed to a stain on Vanessas dress, demanding, Semen? After a hushed moment of astonishment, Woolf recorded, All barriers of reticence and reserve went down. A flood of sacred fluid seemed to overwhelm us. Sex permeated our conversation.

Bloomsbury parties attracted an eclectic and distinguished crowd. David Bunny Garnett, a fixture of the group, recalled seeing Picasso chatting to the swashbuckling silent-film actor Douglas Fairbanks. At another, at the home of John Maynard Keynes and his wife Lydia, the guest of honor was the prolific romance novelist Berta Ruck, who was idolized by the household servants. Garnett remembered:

Unfortunately, Walter Richard Sickert, who had been paying court to her, had discovered that she could sing and had an extensive repertoire of the old risqu music-hall songs which he adored. She was delighting us with: Never trust a sailor an inch above your knee.

At its conclusion, I noticed that the housemaid, supported by the cook, was being led downstairs sobbing. Both were bitterly disillusioned by the lack of refinement of their idol.

But performances at other parties were more successful, as Quentin Bell remembered Marjorie Strachey giving obscenely comic renderings of nursery rhymes and Sickert performing a version of Hamlet at Keyness Twelfth Night party, in 1923.

Langston Hughes, here pictured in 1958, was a fixture of the parties of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. Photograph: Robert W Kelley/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Harlem Renaissance, New York, 1920s

ALelia Walker, heiress to her mothers African haircare and cosmetics empire, was nicknamed by Langston Hughes the joy goddess of Harlems 1920s. She was a lavish hostess who in 1928 decided to turn her home on 136th street into a cultural center, where she could display art and throw parties for young artists to mingle with potential patrons. She named it the Dark Tower after a Countee Cullen poem and stenciled Hughess The Weary Blues on the wall.

The invitation announcing her new venture read: We dedicate this tower to the aesthestes. That cultural group of young Negro writers, sculptors, painters, music artists, composers and their friends. A quiet place of particular charm. A rendezvous where they may feel at home to partake of a little tid-bit amid pleasant, interesting atmosphere.

Membership was $1 a year, and the parties ran from nine at eve til two in the morn. Broadway stars and nightclub singers entertained an eclectic, freethinking crowd. The lesbian activist Mable Hampton attended a party in the 1920s that was a revelation to her: There was men and women, women and women, and men and men, she said. And everyone did whatever they wanted to do.

Walkers most notorious party was possibly apocryphal, according to historian Steven Watson. For the evenings victuals, she reversed the racial hierarchy, serving her white guests pigs feet, chitterlings, and bathtub gin, while the black guests, seated in separate and more posh quarters, dined on caviar, pheasant and champagne.

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, pictured here in a quieter moment of their lives sometime in the 1930s, were notorious partiers. Photograph: Alamy

The Fitzgeralds, the French Riviera, 1920s

Literatures most notorious partiers, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, married on 3 April 1920 at St Patricks Cathedral in New York and embarked on a months-long bender to celebrate. They were kicked out of two luxury hotels for their revelries, and the papers reported on them breathlessly. Zelda herself recalled the era as though in a haze: Under the sombre ironic parrots of the Biltmore a halo of golden bobs disintegrated into black lace and shoulder bouquets … It was just a lot of youngness.

The famous party scenes in Fitzgeralds novels were often based on real events, transformed by a similar kind of nostalgic, liquid haze. The dinner party in Scotts 1936 novel Tender is the Nightis based on a party at the Villa America on the French Riviera, home of expat hosts Gerald and Sara Murphy, models for the novels central couple.

According to a 1962 New Yorkerprofile of Murphy, Fitzgeralds bad behavior was more provocative and childish than glamorous and louche. He started things off inauspiciously by walking up to one of the guests, a young writer, and asking him in a loud, jocular tone whether he was a homosexual. The man quietly said Yes, and Fitzgerald retreated in temporary embarrassment.

After more antics, including throwing a fig at a princess and punching the writer Archibald MacLeish, Fitzgerald began throwing Saras gold-flecked Venetian wineglasses over the garden wall. He had smashed three of them this way before Gerald stopped him. He was banned from the house for three weeks but forgiven soon enough.


RIP, Stubbs: Alaska town mourns the death of its cat mayor

Stubbs, a big yellow cat who survived a dog assassination attempt during his 19-year tenure as honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, died peacefully last Thursday. He was 20.

Stubbs was elected in 1998 through a write-in campaign. According to the AP, the 900-person town has no human mayor, and perhaps that’s just as well Stubbs appeared to be extremely popular with the electorate.

Stubbs the Cat Mayor of Talkeetna #whp

A post shared by Stubbs Mayor Cat (@stubbsmayorcat) on

And despite surviving both a dog attack in 2013 and false rumors of his death in 2016, Stubbs remained trusting and cuddly to the end, a quality his family lauded in a statement Saturday.

“[Stubbs] was a trooper until the very last day of his life; meowing at us throughout the day to pet him or to come sit on the bed with him and let him snuggle and purr for hours in our lap,” the statement reads.

“Thank you, Stubbs, for coming into our lives for the past 31 months; you are a remarkable cat and we will dearly miss you.”

The late mayor will likely be succeeded by a kitten named Denali, who reportedly “has the exact same personality as Stubbs.”

Here’s hoping he also has the same political acumen. Rest in peace, Mr. Mayor.


Guy decides to use his drone for one important job: flying a big stuffed bear around

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It’s bird, it’s a plane, it’s a big flying… bear?

Hunter Clearly (@Cyranek_ ) found the best way to use his new DJI Mavic Pro drone by flying a plush bear (known as the Tiny Headed Kingdom Bear, but to Clearly, simply Bart) across the sky. 

Just imagine the horror and confusion on neighbors’ faces. The perfect writing inspiration for the next season of Black Mirror

“I got curious as to how much weight the drone could carry. Googled and found out it could lift two pounds,” said the 19 year old to Mashable. “Me and my roommates were looking around for something to lift, saw the bear. We weighed the bear and found out it was a perfect two pounds.”

And up the bear went. 

Of course, that small-headed bear elicited some pretty choice reactions from a bewildered internet.

The tweet already has over 2,000 retweets and 6,000 likes. Although the bear didn’t stay in the air for too long, it was still a great experiment for Clearly. 

“My job is to make content for the internet so I was hoping it would get shared around,” said Clearly. “I’ve never seen any of my posts blow up this fast though. Definitely made my day waking up in the morning to 1000+ notifications.”

He’s still interested in trying other weird objects and scaring the hell out his neighborhood. 


Elena Ferrante: The cat brought in a snake and left it under my bed. Screaming, I chased it out

The novelist on learning to accept fear

Elena Ferrante: The cat brought in a snake and left it under my bed. Screaming, I chased it out

The novelist on learning to accept fear


Indian child star of new movie Lion ‘denied US visa to attend premiere’

Eight-year-old Sunny Pawar plays a key role in film but has reportedly not been given a visa to attend Los Angeles and New York screenings of the movie

The eight-year-old Indian star of a film starring Nicole Kidman has reportedly been denied a US visa he needed to attend its New York premiere.

The Weinstein Company, which is distributing the film, says Sunny Pawar was due to fly with his father to Los Angeles and New York for screenings of the film Lion, which also stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.

Sunny plays Saroo Brierley, a young Indian boy who becomes lost on the streets of Kolkata and ends up in an orphanage before being adopted by an Australian couple. 25 years later, the adult Saroo now played by Dev Patel uses Google Earth to find the family from which he was separated.

The Weinstein Company is attempting to obtain a last-minute visa for Sunny and his father, but fear that it may have been denied due to immigration concerns. We are doing everything we can to fight this, Weinstein Company president David Glasser said.

We believe it must be the effect of immigration paranoia. He, of course, poses absolutely no threat to anyone. We want him to be a part of the celebration of this film and his performance. We fully intend to go through the proper resources and appeal with the state department for assistance.

It was not immediately clear when Sunnys visa had been applied for. He did not attend the films screening at the Toronto film festival.

The US consulate in Mumbai has been contacted for comment.

Lion is released in the US on 25 November, Australia on 19 January and the UK on 20 January.


James Corden gave out ‘consolation puppies’ at the Grammys

Yes Seinfeld gets a puppy. As if just being Seinfeld isn't reward enough.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS

Okay, so instead of a prestigious award they got a puppy.

At the Grammys on Sunday, host James Corden didn’t just dish out those little golden gramophones. “Consolation puppies” were handed out to nominees who didn’t win their category.

Jerry Seinfeld (who was nominated for Best Comedy Album) was given a puppy called Roxy and Corden described her as “a biter”.

Many were happy to see the pups at the event.

But not everyone was so thrilled about living dogs being handed out as prizes.

Mashable reached out Grammys to find out where the puppies were sourced and what happened to them after the ceremony but they were unavailable for comment. We will update the story accordingly when we receive a response.


Why pandas are black and white and 24 other things you might not know about these animals.

Is there anything cuter than a panda bear?

I mean, really … just look at that face.

Its no accident that these adorable creatures have come to symbolize vulnerable species worldwide they are simply irresistible. Scientists even have a name for species like pandas “charismatic megafauna” because these animals have such widespread popular appeal that they can help mobilize people into getting involved in conservation efforts all around the world.

In China, pandas or Xiongmao as they are called there have become a national treasure. People come from all over the world just for the chance to see one of these beloved black-and-white cutie pies.

But how much do you really know about this bear? Here are 25 things that you should know about the un-bear-ably cute panda.

1. For years, scientists werent sure if pandas were a type of bear, raccoon, or something else entirely. (Goofy fluff monster perhaps?) But recent genetic studies have shown that they are, in fact, bears.

2. Their fur might look silky and soft, but it’s actually thick and coarse to keep them clean and warm.

3. The giant panda’s range once included central, southern, and eastern China, as well as neighboring Myanmar and northern Vietnam.

But today, their habitat has been reduced to just 20 isolated patches of misty bamboo forests in western China.

4. The forests that pandas call home are located high in the mountains at least 4,000 feet above sea level. And in the summer, pandas can climb as high as 13,000 feet in search of food.

5. Pandas play a crucial role in keeping their habitat healthy because when they roam, they spread seeds, helping vegetation grow.

6. Scientists didnt know why pandas were so distinctly black and white until recently. Turns out, it helps them camouflage and communicate.

According to a March 2017 study published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, their colors help them blend into their snowy and shady environments, while their black ears signal aggression to predators. In addition, their black eye patches help them recognize other pandas.

7. They are known as giant pandas because as adults, they can weigh as much as 330 pounds.

But when they are born, they are anything but giant: They weigh only 3.5 ounces, roughly the same weight as your cellphone.

8. Pandas actually have the digestive system of a carnivore but have adapted to a vegetarian diet.

They dont have the extra stomachs that some herbivores, such as cows, have to help digest plants and grasses. This means they only digest about a fifth of what they eat.

9. In order to survive, they must spend about 12 hours eating and chow down on 26 to 84 pounds of bamboo every single day.

10. While bamboo makes up 99% of their diet, they sometimes also eat flowers, roots, honey (just like Winnie the Pooh!), fish, birds, and even the occasional rodent.

11. Pandas have an elongated wrist bone that functions like a thumb and helps them grab onto bamboo stalks while they are eating.

They also have very broad and flat molars to help them crush bamboo shoots, leaves, and stems as they chomp away.

12. Unlike most bears, pandas dont hibernate. This is because their diet of bamboo which is low in nutrients doesnt allow them to store enough fat for hibernation.

So during the winter, the bears survive by simply heading down the mountains to warmer parts of the forest.

13. But because of their unique diet of bamboo, their poop could be used as biofuel.

Pandas have a short intestinal tract, with some pretty strong microbes living in there to help them digest all that tough bamboo quickly. These microbes are so potent that they could be useful to scientists looking for a new fuel source.

14. Pandas spend up to 12 hours sleeping every day.

This allows them expend fewer calories in a day, saving energy. (And sometimes they sleep on their backs which is adorable!)

15. They can climb trees and swim.

16. Pandas don’t really play well with others.

Except when its time to mate (or when a mother is rearing her cubs), pandas go to great lengths to avoid each other and remain solitary. If two pandas run into each other, theyll growl, swat, lunge, and even bite each other.

17. You won’t see a panda roar, but they are very vocal.

Giant pandas make a number of different sounds, including honks, huffs, barks, howls, and bleats, which sounds just like a lamb or goat. Young cubs also croak and squeal.

18. Smell is important to pandas because it helps them communicate with each other.

Pandas have scent glands under their tail and secrete a substance that they use to mark trees, rocks, bamboo, and bushes and the smell is so strong, even humans can smell it.

19. The scent marks they leave are like individual ID cards they tell other pandas smelling them a whole lot about themselves.

Each scent mark tells pandas the age, sex, reproductive condition, and social status of the bear that left it as well as how long the scent has been there. Each one is believed to be unique.

20. Male pandas like to leave their scent high up on a tree, so theyll perform handstands to get it up there.

21. Pandas are commonly believed to be poor breeders, but this isnt actually true.

They only breed once every two to three years though, and it is very difficult to get them to mate in captivity, which is why so many people have the wrong impression about their fertility. But, according to the World Wildlife Fund, their reproductive rates are actually comparable to those of the thriving American black bear.

22. In the wild, a typical female panda will give birth to about five litters in her lifetime.

23. A panda litter is usually one or two cubs, which are born blind and dont open their eyes for 45 days.

Cubs are completely dependent on their mothers for the first 14 months of their lives, and they dont usually leave her until they are 18-24 months old.

24. Today, pandas have fewer predators than they did historically.

Tigers once lived in their range, but they no longer do, and leopards that are found in the region are reduced in numbers. However, golden cats, yellow-throated marten, dhole, and weasels live in the same habitats and are known to prey on cubs.

25. But now pandas have a new threat: humans.

Large areas of bamboo forests have been cleared for agriculture, timber, and fuelwood, which has reduced their habitat and made it harder for them to find bamboo. Not only that, but roads and railroads have fragmented forests, isolating panda populations from each other and preventing them from being able to mate and reproduce.

Poaching is still a problem too. Stricter laws and greater public awareness have helped rein in the problem, but pandas are still sometimes killed by poachers, or they are harmed accidentally by traps and snares set for other animals.

But there is some good news. The number of wild pandas is actually growing, thanks to conservation efforts over the past decade.

In fact, the number of wild giant pandas has increased from 1,596 in 2003 to 1,864 in 2015 nearly 17%. In September 2016, their conservation status was updated from endangered to vulnerable.

Of course, pandas still need our help because they are not out of danger just yet. They still need our support so their populations can keep growing. And that way, maybe one day soon, we can have a thriving population of pandas in China once again.


The Secret Life of Pets review hyperactive with furry laughter

So what do humans really do all day? Their pets are baffled in this frenetic New York-set family animation

Toy Story has been rewritten for pets in this family animation, packed with quirkily voiced characters of all shapes and sizes, frenetically hyperactive, and crammed with detail in the traditional manner plenty of swooning images of New York that appear to belong to a more romcom-type of film. Just as pet owners wonder what their pets do all day while theyre out, pets are baffled as to what their human masters and mistresses find to occupy themselves with during this mysterious time of work. Max (voiced by Louis CK) is a terrier who is outraged when his owner brings home a new rescue dog that he must now live with: Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet). At first mortal enemies, they become pals when they find themselves collarless and menaced by strays. Its not ground-breaking, but there are laughs, and it is a good audience movie.

Watch the trailer for The Secret Life of Pets


Lenin the cat lover: rare photos of Soviet leader go on show in Oxford

Exhibition coinciding with centenary of October revolution includes image of revolutionary in wig and makeup, and stroking a cat

Rare and largely unseen images of Lenin from a vast British archive which for nearly a century has been promoting cultural relations between the UK and Russia are to go on display in Oxford.

The photographs include Lenin in disguise, almost unrecognisable in makeup, wig and clean shaven, and show a less well-known side to the ruthless revolutionary leader: Lenin the cat lover.

The photographs are all drawn from the archives of the British Society for Cooperation in Russian and Soviet Studies (SCRSS), which was set up in 1924 to foster good artistic and scientific links, in a exhibition timed to coincide with the centenary of the revolution that brought Lenin to power.

Its main early supporters were from the Bloomsbury set people such as John Maynard Keynes, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster and George Bernard Shaw.

The Soviet Union may have gone but the society, based in Brixton, south London, continues today. Russia and the Soviet Union continue to fascinate people, said Ralph Gibson, honorary secretary of the SCRSS. Every aspect of its history, culture and language has been a key part of the 20th century.

Most of the photographs are being shown publicly for the first time and while some images will be familiar to experts, for the vast majority of people they will be something new, they wont have seen them in an exhibition context, Gibson said.

There are many striking images, including the photograph of Lenin without his familiar bald head and manicured goatee, produced for his fake ID card when he needed to flee Petrograd in 1917 and cross the border to Finland.

An ID card issued in the name of KP Ivanov, used by Lenin while in hiding in 1917. Photograph: SCRSS/TopFoto

A photograph taken by Lenins sister Maria in 1922 shows him stroking a cat at his residence in the village of Gorki, near Moscow.

The exhibition at the North Wall arts centre in Oxford marks the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution and aims to explore the lives of ordinary people in the years after the uprising.

They range from Georgian mothers being taught to write for the first time, to a photograph of smiling babies in tin saltwater baths at Nursery No 5 of the 8th Tobacco factory in Moscow a reflection of the revolutionary zeal to properly look after and educate Russian children.

Lenin: Leader of the Russian Revolution is at the North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, from 8 to 18 November 2017.


Kind family tries to release baby squirrel they nursed back to life, but things take a turn

After nursing an injured squirrel back to life, a kind family from Collierville, Tennessee, decided it was time to return their little buddy to the wild. 

But Tom the cat had other plans.

After placing the baby squirrel on a tree in their yard, the man in the clip affectionately rubs its back.

“There you go. Go on up that tree,” the man says. Then, out of nowhere, Tom swoops in and rips the poor little squirrel right off the tree.

According to the YouTube description, Tom did drop the squirrel at the family’s front door, as cats do. Unfortunately, the poor little thing did eventually succumb to its initial injuries — though Tom totally had nothing to do with it. 


Nocturnal Animals review Tom Ford’s deliciously toxic tale of revenge

Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams star in the gripping story of a broken-hearted ex-husband who wreaks vengeance decades later with his unpublished novel

Nocturnal Animals delivers a double shot of horror and Nabokovian despair: its excessive, outrageous, a story within a story about the super-rich and super-poor. Director Tom Ford has adapted Austin Wrights 1993 novel Tony and Susan, magnifying its cruelties and ironies, and bringing to it a sheen of hardcore porn and pure provocation.

This movie had its premiere at Venice earlier this year, and it was every bit as horribly gripping and intimately upsetting this second time around. But now I was struck by its emphasis on the writers brooding, solitary life: the writer for whom autobiographical fiction is therapy and revenge. Watching this film, I found myself wondering how Evelyn Waughs first wife felt when she received her copy of A Handful of Dust, and realised exactly how the author felt about her.


Dead man squawking: Sean Penn joins Angry Birds movie

The Oscar-winner is to co-star with Jason Sudeikis and Josh Gad in the big-screen adaptation of the mobile game

Sean Penn has been cast in the forthcoming Angry Birds movie.

The Oscar-winning actor will provide the voice of a surly bird called Terence, who communicates only in grunts and growls. It will be Penns second foray into animation after voicing the father in the dubbed version of Persepolis.

Penns minimal performance has been previewed in new clip.

He joins a cast that includes Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Peter Dinklage and Maya Rudolph. This big-screen adaptation of the popular mobile game follows the start of the war between birds and pigs. It is scheduled for release in the UK on 13 May and in the US on 20 May.

Penn appeared most recently in the action thriller The Gunman, which received mostly negative reviews (the Guardians Peter Bradshaw called it flabby) and did poorly at the box office. His next film as a director, the South Africa-set drama The Last Face starring Charlize Theron, is tipped to premiere at this years Cannes film festival. He is also set to play US president Andrew Jackson in the forthcoming TV mini-series American Lions.

Penn is also still embroiled in the El Chapo controversy after his interview with the drugs baron for Rolling Stone caused ire. He is reportedly not involved in a planned biopic of the cartel head and has expressed his regret over the impact of his article for Rolling Stone.


Bears Ears is my property. And yours. And Trump’s. Here’s why he shouldn’t have killed it.

On Monday, Dec. 4, President Donald Trump announced that he’d be slashing the size of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument.

The southwestern landscape — which currently covers 1.3 million acres of red rock canyons, sweeping vistas, and archaeology sites, such as ancient cliff dwellings — would be shrunk to about 15% of its current size. Another nearby monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, would also be cut by about half.

National monuments are sites already owned by the federal government that have been set aside as particularly important to cultural or natural heritage. The Statue of Liberty is a national monument, for example.

Bears Ears was designated as a national monument in late 2016 by President Barack Obama after lobbying from local environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts, and local Native American tribes to protect them from oil and gas extraction, logging, mining, or other environmental harms.

In his announcement about this decision, Trump explained, “Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington.”

But this is a wild mischaracterization of how protected lands actually work and who owns them.

National monuments aren’t just pretty places for elites kept around for their good looks. They’re assets that belong to the people — and there are lots of reasons why that matters.

Tourists check out ancient rock art at Bears Ears. Photo by Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr.

For one thing, they’re a good investment.

National parks, monuments, and other public lands are the backbones of domestic tourism and outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, and hiking. The outdoors industry is worth more than $800 billion a year and supports 7.6 million jobs.

In fact, a study showed that just being near protected lands could help bring economic growth to small towns or rural areas.

For another, the wild areas of the United States help nourish and sustain its citizens.

About 124 million Americans get their drinking water from national forests and grasslands. And forests remove as much as 10% of America’s carbon emissions from the atmosphere each year.

Finally, many of them help protect our history from literal grave-robbers.

Ancient cliff dwellings. Photo by Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr.

Bears Ears, for instance, has been home to the local Native American tribes since time beyond memory and is home to thousands of important historical and archaeological sites, some dating back as far as 13,000 years ago. Looting, vandalism, and grave-robbery has plagued the area for years, and archaeologists and historians were hoping that federal protection might finally put an end to it. Now those hopes have been dashed.

“This is the worst-case scenario,” Jason Chuipka, co-owner of Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants, told Nature.

The New York Times quoted Helaman Thor Hale and Andrea Hale, who are Native Americans, as saying of Trump’s move, “It’s a historical trauma our people have been through over and over.”

But listen, you’re not here for a deluge of facts and quotes. If you are, there are plenty of amazing articles and resources out there that show how incredible our parks and monuments are. What you’re here for is this:

This land is not just Trump’s land. It’s your land.

The Valley of the Gods in Bears Ears. Photo by Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr.

National parks and monuments aren’t the president’s land or Congress’ land. They are just the stewards of them. The real owners are all of us.

Trump’s decision is already being challenged in the courts. On Monday, a coalition of Native American tribes filed a lawsuit. Environmental organizations like The Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society have followed suit, and the retailer Patagonia announced it will as well.

Until these cases are decided, however, the fate of Bears Ears is uncertain.


You’ll Feel Nostalgic When You See What These People Just Made For Their Cats

Cats are finicky creatures. While most dogs just blindly love you and everything you do for them, cats prefer to be impressed. I personally appreciate anyone who keeps their standards high, so I have a soft spot for felines (and the fact that they’re stunning doesn’t exactly hurt).

These cat parents know a thing or two about that. When they decided that their feline friends needed a cat complex to keep them entertained, they brought their favorite video game to life. Avid lovers of the Mario Bros. franchise, they created something incredible for their favorite kitties.

If you remember running Mario through those iconic tubes as a kid, you’ll appreciate what they pulled off.

Using simple materials, they recreated everyone’s favorite pixelated obstacles, and they all came together to form the most incredible cat complex of all time.

The best part is that these portals are fully functional. They really aren’t messing around.

Each portion is made of extremely lightweight birchwood, and the soft fabric that’s sewn onto the pipes helps cats get a firm grip when they start climbing around. Safety first!

Their kitties loved it so much that they decided to produce it and sell it online!

(via BoredPanda)

If you’re looking to buy something special for your four-legged friend, be sure to head over to the Catastrophic Creations website! Cats love to play, and they love to lounge even more. These clever elements will help them do both safely.

For regular updates, follow Catastrophic Creations on Instagram!


These adorable shelter pets are eager to prove that adopting is the way to go.

There are tons of reasons to adopt when you’re looking for a pet.

Before you make your decision, though, these adopted pets would like to weigh in.

Did you know that if just 10% of the families who plan to get pets in the next year choose to adopt, all the dogs and cats currently entering shelters will have homes? You could help make a big difference!

And if that’s not enough to convince you, why don’t you hear what the adopted pet community has to say? Lots of pets are adopted through The Shelter Pet Project, which is a joint effort between The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, J. Walter Thompson New York, and The Ad Council to make shelters and rescue groups the first place that potential pet-owners turn to when looking to add a friend to their family.

When the rescue pets heard what The Shelter Pet Project was doing, they wanted to help. They even made a video! Watch:

Yup, shelter pets are definitely social media-savvy.

And ready to hang out with you, whether you want to stay in all day…

Image courtesy of Harvey/Instagram.

…and all night…

…or if you want to hit the town!

Want a beach bud? Your rescue pup is by your side:

Image courtesy of Jelly the Frenchie/Instagram.

Or perhaps you’d rather be on the water?

Or you can stay on land and stretch out in the sun!

How about a gardening buddy?

Photo courtesy of Bonnie.

Or a dinner date:

Photo courtesy of Holly/Kellyanne Lark.

You’ll always have a buddy to keep you from getting bored:

…or to make a gloomy day a little brighter.

Photo courtesy of Henry.

Even if you already have pets, why not consider adding an adopted pet to the family? Many adopted pets are eager to make friends!

“Most pets end up homeless through no fault of their own … meaning shelters and rescue groups are full of wonderful, family-ready pets,” writes Kenny Lamberti, acting vice president of the companion animals department at The Humane Society of the United States in an email.

Rescue pets are every bit as cuddly, lovable, and ready to fit into your home as any animal out there. And, says Lamberti, “whether you want a dog, cat, rabbit, parakeet or hamster, shelters often have the best selection of animals anywhere.”

See for yourself: Use The Shelter Pet Project’s site to find adoptable dogs and cats or shelters near you and see who’s out there looking for a new home. (And even if you’re not ready to adopt, lots of shelters need fosters and volunteers, so there are plenty of ways to help out.)

Image courtesy of Cali and Oscar/Instagram.

Pretty soon, you could be snuggling with an adopted pet of your own!


7 kinds of animals that you can eat with no factory farm involved

So you want to eat meat, eh? There’s a dilemma.

Ever since the release of Michael Pollan’s seminal book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” more people all over the world have been trying to decide if their lives could use more locally harvested food including meat.

The existing meat production pipeline is flawed. Pollan and many others like Eric Schlosser (of “Fast Food Nation” fame) and the documentary “Samsara” have showed us just how bad it really is. Some folks go vegan or vegetarian, but others have tried to figure out ways to get locally raised animals.

Image of Michael Pollan by Sage Ross/Wikimedia.

Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”
Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”

Can you eat meat ethically?

What is there to do if you would prefer meat to be a source of protein in your diet but want to have it in an ethical and eco-friendly way?

The answer might be in your backyard. Literally.

If you live in an area that has access to wild game, you may want to consider hunting. Seriously! Many people have turned to personally hunting their meat, and the vast majority of those who are passionate about it harvest game in ways that are safe, clean, and quick.

Ask yourself: Is that more or less ethical than, for example, a cow grown while standing on piles of manure, force-fed antibiotics, and unable to turn around or even move? Or a chicken with its beak cut off, unable to move in its cage or do anything except eat and well, you know. How about what happens when animals reach the “killing floor” where they’re executed en masse and “disassembled” before they make it to the local “Mall*Wart” in your city?

If you do it yourself, it can get you closer to your food supply and in touch with its life cycle.

Even though I’ve hunted since I was a kid, “Omnivore’s Dilemma” got me even more interested in putting wild game into my freezer and onto our table. Knowing a lot more about your food sources is key to understanding why it matters so much to your health and happiness. And, prepared right, wild game is absolutely delicious.

Also, I still thank every animal I take for giving food and sustenance to my family.

Replacing things like factory-farmed cows and chickens with wild game is possible.

You can also look into organic/grass-fed animals on local farms, but that can get pricey. We’ve done it to the tune of $900 for a half cow, and you must have a deep freeze on hand to store it.

But small-game hunting can be cost-effective and good exercise, and it’s not a big lift when it comes to cleaning and cooking.

Some people use a bow and arrow, a small-caliber rifle like a .22, or even a simple single-shot shotgun available for $100. For that matter, there are many people who like to hunt with birds of prey trained
falcons, hawks, and more.

Whatever method you use, once you’ve got your license, it’s time to get out there!

What are some good options to hunt?

Let’s go through some varieties of game that can usually be found in open areas around the United States.

1. Rabbits

Cottontails, hares, and jackrabbits all provide a great meal when you harvest them humanely and ethically. Rabbit season starts in September or October in most parts of the country. The taste? A lot like chicken, but a little stronger flavor. You can really make it tasty with a good ol’ hasenpfeffer recipe (or as Bugs Bunny would call it … rabbit stew).

Thumper … I mean, the cottontail rabbit. Image by Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia.

2. Squirrels

Bushy tail (fox) squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and prairie dogs are all in the same scientific family. As opposed to hoofing it through the woods and grasslands for rabbits, squirrel hunting is more for people who like to sit for a while. The taste is also kinda like chicken, but a lot greasier. Think dark meat.

The common fox squirrel. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

3. Upland birds

Pheasant, quail, grouse, Hungarian partridge, and other species are actively eating and preparing for the winter months late in the year, starting around September. Definitely a way to burn some calories because hunting them requires hikes through woods, grasslands, and farm fields, where you can see them flush, often with a great flourish of color.

As you might have guessed, the taste is very much like chicken!

The ring-necked pheasant. Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr.

Bonus: Here’s a pheasant recipe I created years ago, but it’ll work with pretty much any small game.

4. Waterfowl

Waterfowl include geese, ducks, and other birds that stay close to water. At 12 to 15 pounds per bird for an adult goose, they can easily feed a family. It’s very much a dark meat; in fact, goose breasts look as dark as steaks before and after you cook them. The taste is very much like duck, rather than turkey. All are fabulous, on the grill or slow-cooked in the oven or pressure cooker.

“Honkers,” as they’re sometimes called. If you’ve ever been close to a flock, you know why. Image by Alan Wilson/Wikipedia.

5. Deer, elk, and other cervids

This is definitely deep-end-of-the-pool hunting not small game. And it takes a deeper relationship with the local population to really make it ethical.

“The Three Kings.” Image by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

A word on “trophy” animals (i.e., those with a lot of antlers) versus those intended for food and culinary delights: Though the picture I took here is of bucks, I take the female variety (“does”) too. There’s a reason why.

If the herd gets out of balance from too many does, then bucks can die from food scarcity in the winter months. Read: They starve.

I’ve been regaled with many a tale of winters being so harsh in parts of the country that deer eat tree bark and pine needles to survive. That’s not good, and they suffer, so it’s far better to harvest enough of them each year so that the herd is strong.

“Hiya, human!” Photo of bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

In the mountain states, elk and other cervids (ruminant mammals that are members of the Cervidae family) are also frequently harvested. These will supply hundreds of pounds of venison at a time.

I’m a bow hunter myself, and it takes tons of patience, practice, skill, and the ability to sit quietly for hours on end. My 7-year-old wants to go deer hunting in a few years, but I’ve already warned him that he cannot talk for hours at a time a feat I do not think it’s humanly possible for him to accomplish.

The taste is like beef, with much less fat. Cooking venison is a skill unto itself, and you frequently will have to cut the cooking time in half versus beef, or it will be very dry. They’re much like grass-fed beef in that regard. The varying types of cervids produce subtle taste differences. I am fond of whitetail deer and elk, but some folks love caribou and antelope, too.

Bonus: If you want to go full-on mountain person, you can learn how to make a coat or blanket from the hides, as well as other fancy things from other parts. Double bonus: If you have dogs, venison bones are great for them to chew on. (Just be sure to do it safely!)

6. Wild turkey

No, not THAT Wild Turkey

This is another “sit and wait” creature to hunt, and they have extremely acute eyesight and hearing, so they’re not easy. But taste one even if you’ve had “free-range” turkey before and you might just be hooked.

“Hi Tom. Have you met … Tom?” Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

7. Wild boar/pig

I’ve not yet had the experience of hunting these, but (SPOILER ALERT!) it is the critter that Pollan ends up harvesting at the end of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” along with local mushrooms and vegetables. In some parts of the country especially the South they are frequently harvested year-round. The taste is definitely pork, with older animals having a “musky” flavor.

“Oink? Not quite, Bub.” Image of wild boars near Kennedy Space Center by NASA/Wikimedia.


For the pescatarians out there, catching and cooking your own fish can be magical. You only need access to waterways, ponds, or lakes, and a simple cane pole with a hook and night crawler will do. The kids will love it, and cooking fresh catfish or trout over a campfire is a great experience.

The species “Cerveza Metallica,” with the author’s buddy Dave. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

There are, of course, tons of other critters in pockets of the country that can also be harvested as well, like alligators, goats, crabs, lobsters, bears, and more.

Hey, it beats store-bought, right? Check with local ethical hunters to see what might be available to you!

What if the whole idea of hunting game yourself is still not for you? That’s fair.

Here’s an idea: Why not trade with someone for locally sourced meat?

If you don’t want to go through with hunting and taking your own animals, you could arrange a trade with someone you know. “Hey, Jane, I’ll prepare the bread from locally raised grain and roast some locally-grown vegetables if you can harvest the venison steaks. Deal?”

Or even get together with friends and family who hunt and make it a feast!

Bon apptit!

Also, for a little taste of what “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is all about, check this video out:


Leona Lewis on joining Broadway’s Cats: ‘The show’s got a lot of heart’

The X Factor made her a global star, then she provided Jimmy Page with his proudest post-Zep moment. Ten years on, Lewis is making the leap to Broadway

When it comes to credentials for a long career in pop, winning The X Factor has proved about as reliable as a degree from Trump University. However, there has been one unexpected beneficiary of the endless stream of starry-eyed warblers the world of stage musicals, which have long provided a safe harbour for former contestants.

In the UK, Pop Idol winner Will Young went on to star in Cabaret, while X Factor semi-finalist Diana Vickers soon found herself treading the boards in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in Londons West End. In the US meanwhile, American Idol has sent a busy succession of contestants to Broadway, from Clay Aiken, who had a run in Spamalot, to 2007 winner Jordin Sparks, who performed in Lin-Manuel Mirandas pre-Hamilton hit In the Heights.

Now, however, theres been a transatlantic exchange, with the most successful ever winner of The X Factor UK landing directly on the Great White Way. On Sunday, the musical Cats officially opens, with Leona Lewis donning whiskers and a tattered tail to play Grizabella, the Glamour Cat. The show revives the Andrew Lloyd Webber juggernaut, whose lyrics are based on TS Eliots Old Possums Book of Practical Cats. (Its most famous song, Memory, also bastardizes the poets Preludes and Rhapsody on a Windy Night.)

Cats original production started in 1981 and ran for 18 years (21 in the West End); this upgraded version, with a young cast performing their paws off, also looks poised for success. Lewis took the role after Nicole Scherzinger pulled out at short notice. With a strange circularity, the former Pussycat Doll, who had performed the role in the 2014 West End revival, had decided to take up an offer to become a judge on The X Factor instead.

Its so weird, muses Lewis about the coincidence as she sits on a sofa in her dressing room on a sweltering midweek afternoon, wearing the regulation 2016 summer uniform of a giant denim shirt dress. I guess its a small world, really.

Leona Lewis and the cast pose outside the theatre. Photograph: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

She was asked to join the cast by Lloyd Webber, who told the Economist that he was furious when Scherzinger quit. Lloyd Webber called Lewis to ask whether she was interested, but insisted that she audition. Being a seasoned trouper, she flew to New York (she has homes in Los Angeles and London) and within a few days the part was hers. She will play Grizabella until October, not a long stint by theatre standards. Id just come off a tour, I was having some time off and it just seemed like the perfect role because its not a long commitment.

Until One Direction came along, Lewis was the most successful X Factor contestant ever. Poised and humble, with a stratospheric voice, she won the contest in 2006. A year later her second single Bleeding Love was No 1 in 35 countries, including the US, while its parent album Spirit sold 9m copies worldwide not quite as much as the 15m American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson achieved with her second album, Breakaway, but still serious numbers.

After a few years, however, she and Simon Cowell, the X Factor judge and her label boss, came to disagree about which musical direction she should go in (she made a dubstep-tinged album inspired by Kate Bush and Tears for Fears; he wanted her to do Motown-style covers) and Lewis left his label. A subsequent stint with Island Records ended a few weeks ago, and now Lewis is moving on. This week she has been recording We Are Free from the Gladiator soundtrack with legendary film composer Hans Zimmer; she is also working on a single to come out later this year. Two years ago she alarmed some fans by writing an open letter in which she described the stress she had been under as her relationship with Cowells label deteriorated, but now Lewis says she feels creatively unshackled: Having had a decade from doing [The X Factor] to now, Im freed up to do things that I have always wanted to do.

If Lewis picked Cats as to remind the public of her indisputable talents, she chose well. She gets the big number, Memory, coolly drains it of most of its schmaltz, and then belts it with such passion and precision it probably ends up in Times Square. The pressure of handling such a showstopper doesnt faze her: Lewis is a stage school kid who first saw Cats aged seven. I know the song, Ive sung it since I was a little girl its been exciting [to perform], more than too much, she says.

Shes used to high-stakes performances. Two years after The X Factor, in which she had to crush the competition in front of an audience of millions every week, she performed Whole Lotta Love with Jimmy Page at the handover ceremony at the Olympics in Beijing. Page described it, quite sincerely, as his proudest moment outside Led Zeppelin. We spent loads of time together in Beijing and hes like a lovely uncle, so kind, says Lewis of the once notorious guitarist. All the iconic rock stars Ive gotten to meet are like that. They are all so chill, and have no ego theyre very confident and secure in themselves.

Lewis is a vegan and animal rights activist. She refused to open the Harrods sale because they sell fur coats, said she would give up her career in return for a global ban on vivisection, and even managed to stop her German boyfriend, brought up on bratwurst, from eating meat. Did her empathy for the animal kingdom influence her interpretation of the role a moth-eaten kitty shunned by her fellow felines, but taking comfort from memories of her glory days?

Lewis winning the X Factor in 2006. Photograph: Ken McKay/REX

Shes gracious enough to take the question seriously. Its weird, isnt it, because I also got offered a part in The Lion King when I was younger, she says. There is definitely something for putting that kind of vibe out there maybe that played a part in me taking on the role of an animal. As for real-life felines, she feeds a stray cat that stalks her land in LA, but is more of a dog and horse person. Cats are more standoffish. But it depends. My cousins got this big tabby cat that Im in love with.

Lewis is not the kind of pop star who mouths off, gets into Twitter feuds or makes controversial videos. In the age of Kanye and Rihanna, where outrage is a potent currency, that can make her seem an anomaly. Yet along with animal rights, there are other issues that she feels moved to speak out about most recently, the massacre of 49 people at Pulse, the gay club in Orlando, Florida. It struck a chord, she says. I think of my friends that could have been there, or it could have been me that was there. Putting yourself in that position is just so devastating. Its terrible, this world were living in now and it just seems to get worse and worse. Every day youre turning on the news and some other tragedy has happened. Its awful.

So whats the role of a performer in all this to provide escapism from the horrors of daily life? Lewis disagrees. When people come and see a show I hope that they take away something from it, she says. The shows got a lot of heart. Grizabellas someone thats been outcast and the storyline is about acceptance and love. That is a deeper reason as to why I do music. I dont think its escapism at all, actually. I think its really meaningful. Its about people coming away feeling moved and having a bit more love in their heart.


Porgs look eerily similar to these earthbound animals (and toys)

Porgs might be native to the planet Ahch-To, but the new Star Wars creatures arriving in December with the new The Last Jedi film look strangely familiar.

After more details about the puffin-like creatures came out Thursday, we couldn’t look away. It’s so cute, but also scary maybe even evil?

But there’s hope that the flying, nest-building creatures are the new trilogy’s version of the Ewok.

Here’s what the suspiciously cute porg reminds us of:

A sea otter (wearing goggles) or an otter-penguin hybrid.

Image: Robert Giroux/Getty Images

Speaking of penguins, it looks like one.

A colleague thought “penguin fetus” was more accurate. Or a weird penguin mixed with a robot. But plain-old penguin works, too.

Image: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego via Getty Images

As Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo already said, these little dudes look like the Star Wars version of puffins.

Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Those eyes make it look just like a baby owl.

Or one of these owl-shaped cabins.

Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Hatchimals, a strange hatching toy with those big round porg-like eyes.

Image: REX/Shutterstock

The likeness to a Furby is strong with this one.

Image: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

It kinda, sorta, maybe even looks like a tamagotchi come on, with the oval shape, you see it right?

Image: Nigel Howard/Evening Standar/REX/Shutterstock

A baby seal they even have the same shocked expression.


If a Japanese chin dog doesn’t look like a porg nothing does.

Image: David Pearson/REX/Shutterstock

Bonus: Actor Wilford Brimley

Maybe it’s the mustache in the exact shape of the porg’s mouth, but something about the 82-year-old actor known for 1982’s The Thing strikes quite a resemblance to the Star Wars critter.

Image: matt Campbell/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

After all this, it’s safe to say porgs look a bit odd, if not cute. But the fact that babies are called “porglets” is irresistible.


Squirrel fails to obtain birdseed but nails its ‘Wrecking Ball’ moment

Don’t you ever say I just walked away. I will always want you” — this squirrel to this bird feeder, probably.

For those not in the bird feeding game, there is a type of motorized, weight-activated bird feeder called the Yankee Flipper, which spins interloping squirrels around in the circle until they lose their grip on its base. Sound wild? It is — but Yankee Flipper videos are all over YouTube.

But there’s never been a Yankee Flipper video quite like this one from YouTuber user Lindsey Jackson. It’s set to Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” and timed flawlessly.

Did anyone else tear up? Okay, that’s fine. Anyway, the clip (which was originally posted in late April) went viral after it was tweeted by @GabbyGeno earlier this week. So far, it’s gotten about 245,000 favorites, which is a lot of favorites for a human, let alone a squirrel. 

It seems like the squirrel should get some birdseed as a prize, maybe? Just spitballing here.

Related: please enjoy this GIF of another Yankee Flipper squirrel. I will be watching it all weekend.


Thundercat on breakout album Drunk, laughing at racism and his ‘sexy cat’, Tron

The bass maestro and jazz extraordinaire has collaborated with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Pharrell Williams. But his greatest inspiration may be his cat, Turbo Tron Over 9000 Baby Jesus Sally

Thundercat sits crosslegged and barefoot on a round leather chair, his white Birkenstocks thrown casually to one side. With his zen posture, ornate gold jewellery hanging from his septum and air of insouciance, he brings to mind a buddha. Or at least a buddha with dreadlocks and diamant-rimmed sunglasses.

The bass player and jazz extraordinaire otherwise known as Stephen Bruner is only 32, yet he already has an impressive musical contacts book, his collaborators ranging from Snoop Dogg and Erykah Badu to Pharrell Williams, Wiz Khalifa and the sultan of yacht-rock, Kenny Loggins. Bruners childhood was spent playing in bands with Kamasi Washington, his best friend is Flying Lotus and his time in the studio with Kendrick Lamar, where the pair dived through old jazz records, ended up indelibly shaping the sound of To Pimp A Butterfly.

But it is his third and most successful solo album to date, Drunk, which has brought him to London and the windowless back room of Londons Heaven nightclub, where we meet. Drunk is a wild odyssey of 23 tracks each less than three minutes long that fuses Bruners untouchable jazz credentials with punk, hip-hop, stoner psychedelia, funk and 80s soft rock, his soulful falsetto voice pondering subjects as varied as anime, losing your wallet and police brutality.

There are many questions I want to ask about the album but what Bruner really wants to talk about is his cat. Tron or more specifically Turbo Tron Over 9000 Baby Jesus Sally has long been an inspiration for the bass maestro (Tron Song, which features on his second album, is a loving ode to her) and the time away from her on tour is taking its toll.

The thing about Tron is shes a very humanised cat, and is a sweetheart but also very weird, which I enjoy because Im pretty weird, he says, reaching for his phone to show me an endless photo stream of Tron in various outfits, including a cat sailor suit. I treat my cat like shes my therapist or something, because I talk to her all the time and as shes gotten older she talks back. Its pretty funny.

Is that a personalised Chanel cat sweater? I ask, as he pauses over a picture of him and Tron in matching designer sportswear. He nods and laughs, a warm gravelly giggle, like a parent cooing over a newborn.

Shes a little model cat. I always tell her shes sexy. I know its really awkward because everyone tells me: Stop calling your cat sexy. But Im like: Why would I stop calling Tron sexy? Shes a sexy cat!

Its this endearing weirdness, a lifelong commitment to what he calls the tradition of not giving a fuck, that has always fed into Bruners music. His dedication to the bass has been obsessive since he was four (his father and brother are also both acclaimed jazz musicians) but is absent of any uptight jazz puritanism, and he has happily lent his talent to every genre under the sun. There was the decade playing bass for legendary thrash band Suicidal Tendencies and then, in the mid-2000s, the time spent on tour in Snoop Doggs band. As a session musician at LAs Silver Lake Studios, he crossed paths with artists from Ty Dolla $ign to Bilal and finally Erykah Badu, who picked him out to join her live band and play on the New Amerykah studio sessions.

But it wasnt until he met LA rapper and producer Flying Lotus a decade ago that he considered singing, let alone making his own solo records. From when I was a kid I was always very quiet within myself, I was never attention-hungry, he says, recalling how he was bullied at school for looking like a girl. I wouldnt even tell you Id play bass, my friends only knew I did because I spent all my time playing. And in the beginning of me becoming a songwriter, Id get freaked out because it meant talking about things Id usually keep internal, you know. But that changed the moment that Lotus told me that I should start singing.

Bruner released his first solo project The Golden Age of Apocalypse in 2011, which positioned him as an artist who could flit between improvised jazz, leftfield electronica and smooth soul within the space of a single song. It was followed by Apocalypse in 2013, and then his more sombre 16-minute long EP, The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, which was rooted in his grief over the sudden death of his close friend, the piano prodigy Austin Peralta.

Bruner finds it impossible to pinpoint the moment he started creating music for Drunk, though much of it came through working on both Lamars To Pimp A Butterfly and Washingtons The Epic. For a long time it was a weird, twisty-turny selection of songs that seemed impossible to shape into a single record, until Flying Lotus came up with an idea.

I remember the day we decided on the name, he says. It was funny as hell because the things told in jest are usually the truth, you know, and Lotus was like: This albums insane, you should just call it drunk. And we realised that was exactly the name of the album. The funny thing is the title is what holds it together.

The record does stumble drunkenly between the laughably silly falsetto of Captain Stupido (I feel weird/ comb your hair/ brush your teeth) to serious themes such as heartbreak, sinking into an emotional black hole and the narcissistic perils of social media. Drink Dat, his track with Wiz Khalifa, was simply lifted from a conversation between the pair when they were both going through a tough time in love (Khalifa was about to divorce Amber Rose) and they took to weed and Bombay Sapphire to forget their troubles.

Working with Lamar was a game-changer for Bruner, not only because it landed him his first Grammy, and he speaks about him with almost reverence. Kendrick helped me to understand how to be very driven and stay focused, he says. To this day I wish I was just in the studio with him because the dude is just insane. Hes pretty serious in the studio. You can be joking around but youll miss it, because he moves so quick.

Drunk is not merely lighthearted fare and songs such as The Turn Down grapple with the USs race problem. Did the highly politicised nature of To Pimp A Butterfly feed into his songwriting?

Bruner fiddles with his wallet and admits, a little dejectedly, that while Black Lives Matter has brought an important conversation to the fore, it has also ensured that every black musicians output is now discussed in the context of race.

Its already too much for me, he says and shrugs: Look, the political message of To Pimp A Butterfly didnt have to filter in. Im black, so I experience that on a consistent basis. I grew up in LA where these things were always happening, but its almost as if people didnt believe us before. Cops shooting black guys in the back of the head for no reason? Thats not new to me, I grew up knowing that, but its not something that I want to guide my path. So I laugh to keep from crying because its pretty depressing watching everybody act like a bunch of blithering idiots.

It doesnt even feel like racism is real, it just feels like the weirdest ploy, like were just being had on so many levels, he says, laughing loudly again. Its even kind of funny when you think about it. A reason not to like someone is because youre black. Cmon, man. How dumb is that?

We conclude that laughter should be utilised more to undermine racism.

I dont need to tell myself that Im black, or that Im proud of being black, I just am and it just doesnt matter, shrugs Bruner, slipping his feet back into his Birkenstocks. How about that for once?

Drunk is out on Brainfeeder


Zoos and aquariums are reviewing their animals and it’s kind of adorable

Image: francois guillota/AFP/Getty Images

Zoos are giving animals Amazon-esque species ratings, and it’s honestly kind of great.

The trend started Friday with the Oregon Zoo in a tweet hashtagged #rateaspecies. Other animal conservancies got in on the fun – including aquariums – providing informative ratings for people looking to, er, buy the products.


Squirrel breaks into house and shows no mercy in attacking a police officer

No human or animal is above the law…not even if its a food-stealing rodent. 

Brockport Police Department posted body cam footage of a squirrel resisting arrest after eating cookies from a New York home. The squirrel jumped on the officer before looking for an escape route. 

The Facebook video has over 300,000 views and 3,000 shares. The attack didn’t harm the officers in any way and brought them more laughs than pain. 

According to the post, the squirrel was eventually captured and released with no bail. Don’t underestimate the police department for putting their lives on the line to capture this thief. 


Star of anti-dolphin killing film The Cove held by Japanese immigration

Ric OBarry seen in documentary about slaughter in a Japanese village says government is waging a war on dolphins

The star of Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, about the killing of dolphins in a village in Japan, has been detained by immigration authorities at Tokyos Narita international airport.

Ric OBarry an American known for training the dolphins used in the TV series Flipper said immigration officials told him he could not enter Japan on a tourist visa because he was not a tourist, according to his lawyer, Takashi Takano.

Takano said officials accused OBarry of having close ties with the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, which OBarry denies. Immigration officials said it was their policy not to comment on individual cases.

Takano said he was appealing against the detention, and that the Japanese government would decide on whether to allow OBarry into the country or deport him. It was not clear when a decision would be made.

The Cove, which won the 2009 Academy Award for best documentary, shows the slaughter of dolphins herded into a cove in the fishing village of Taiji and bludgeoned to death.

The Japanese government is cracking down on those who oppose their war on dolphins, OBarry said in a statement sent to the Associated Press through his son, Lincoln OBarry.

Officials in Taiji, a small fishing village in central Japan, and fishermen have defended the hunt as a tradition, saying that eating dolphin meat is no different to eating beef or chicken.

Most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat. Many say they are horrified by the dolphin killing and there is a campaign against the Taiji hunt. Animal welfare activists say the hunt is driven mostly by the lucrative sale of dolphins to aquariums, with the income from the sale of meat simply an added extra.

OBarry has been stopped and questioned by Japanese immigration before. He has also been taken into custody by local police on the suspicion of not having proper travel documents before being released. But this is the first time he has been detained in this way. He has the support of high-profile celebrities, including Sting, the US ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, and the former Guns N Roses drummer, Matt Sorum.


Dogs at a shelter were sorted into Hogwarts houses to stop breed discrimination

Humans aren’t the only ones that can turn into wizards. 

The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando animal shelter is sorting dogs based on their personalities into Hogwarts Houses from the Harry Potter series in order to increase adoptions. 

Everyone, including dogs, deserve a magical destiny. 

“Pawgwarts” was inspired by the famous wizardry school Hogwarts, which, of course, sorted people into four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Ravenclaw.

However, the sorting event got a doggy makeover with houses like Gryggindogs (the brave ones), Hufflefluffs (the loyal ones), Ravenpaws (the smart ones) and Slobberins (the cunning ones). According to ABC News, the dogs are sorted based on their interactions with their toys and each other. 

It’s not surprising that the Florida shelter found out they host a lot of Hufflefluffs, which only makes sense. Let’s face it, all cats are Slytherins.

Once the dog is sorted, they are given their perspective color scarves and charts for potential adopters to view. The main takeaway of the sorting is to eliminate breed discrimination and look at dogs for who they truly are.

(And spoiler alert: All dogs are amazing.)

According to ABC News, the shelter has seen an increase in traffic and possibly sparked a bigger conversation about giving every dog, regardless of breed, a chance to have a family. 

The non-profit even created an online quiz for dog owners to sort their own pets into the Hogwarts houses.

Just imagine what Hogwarts house Lassie is in. Or Bo Obama. The Portuguese water dog is definitely a Gryffindor. 


Kim Kardashian picked an interesting time to adopt two identical puppies

Kim sees your human twins, Bey, and raises you two puppies.
Image: GC Images

Look, we’re not saying there’s any wrong time to announce that you’ve brought two literal snowballs into the family, but right after news that Beyonc’s twins were born is an interesting choice.

Especially if, like Kim Kardashian, you’re rumored to have some bad blood with Queen Bey. And yet, here’s Kim K (who has often expressed disinterest in pets because they’re filthy) posting pictures of puppies on Twitter when everyone’s freaking about about the Jay Z and Beyonc’s twins.

Girl. Girl. Girl.

As the great philosopher Kanye West posited on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, “Are they called Pomeranians because they fit in the palm of your hand?”

One apparently belongs to Penelope, North’s cousin/bestie and the daughter of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick.

Anyway, maybe it’s a coincidence! Maybe it has nothing to do with Bey giving birth right around North West’s birthday. Are celebrities petty? Unclear.

What we do know is that these puppies are extremely cute, Bey and Jay’s twins are extremely cute, and there’s a persistent rumor that Kanye West and Jay Z aren’t as tight anymore because Bey allegedly doesn’t care for Kim.

Hey, Kimye, we don’t blame you. We’d be hurt, too, if Beyonc posted a selfie from across the globe during our wedding that she declined to show up to. And again, those puppies are exquisite. Everyone wins.


16 Adorable Rescued Pets Before And After Their Adoptions

As the proud owner of a rescued dog, I know all too well what a difference a few days of love, good food, and a comfy puff can do for a scared pet.

While my dog was “just” malnourished, I’ve written about plenty of pups and kittens who saw God knows what in their past lives. But once they’re shown some affection and a good home, their whole demeanor, and hopefully perspective on life, changes.

To prove just that point, check out some of these amazing before and after adoption photos. Get ready for some serious feels.

1. Luna was found starving and covered in mud. Just look at her delight after finding her forever home!

2. Penny was rescued from the county shelter with a slew of medical problems…but that all changed after some trips to the vet and a whole lotta love.

3. Bug was found in the middle of nowhere not long after she gave birth. She was so timid until she went home with her mom.

4. Vitrio was found on the streets severely beaten and incredibly malnourished. Now he’s in a loving home with plenty of furry companions.

5. Lilo didn’t come into her beautiful “erect ears” until she was free of the shelter.

6. When she found Wombat, his rescuer thought he was blind. Luckily, he wasn’t and he’s now living the good life.

7. Poor Lily was forced to fight and lost an ear from it. After six days, she stole her new human’s hearts.

8. Gunny had been at the shelter for more than 100 days when his new owner fell in love with him.

9. An amazing Good Samaritan rescued this stray dog from the streets in Chile.

10. This sweet girl was surrendered with a few other litter mates. After some time in a new home, she clearly found her joy.

11. Matilda was found wandering on the side of the road with mange. A visit to the vet and a little love was all it took to get her back to 100%.

12. Pickles was so scared when he was in the shelter, but now he’s happy as can be!

13. Lea went from scared and grey to fabulous and snowy white!

14. Benny was found on the street with mange and a ton of other health issues. After some time in foster care, the cutie went to a forever home.

15. Kibby’s forever home had no idea that she would go from frail kitten to a fluffy, hyper cat.

16. Taboo was pulled from a kill shelter in the nick of time, and after some training, she’s become quite a lovely lady.

It’s clear that anything is possible with a little love, a ton of treats, and a trip to the vet. I highly recommend opting to adopt rather than shop. Saving one life saves the others who can be taken in after them.


Paddleboarder ruthlessly taken down by a reckless dolphin

You never realize just how large dolphins are till one of them body-slams you. 

Andrew Hill, an Australian paddleboarder, came face-to-face (er, body-to-body?) with a dolphin while boarding off the coast of Gracetown, West Australia.

The moment was captured by photographer Lucas Englert, the man behind surfing Instagram account lubricatedsurf. Englert was getting ready to film some surfers when he caught footage of Hill’s encounter with the small pod of dolphins. 

The group of eight or nine dolphins decided to catch the same wave as Hill. As the wave picked up, one of the dolphins leapt out of the water and crashed right into the paddleboarder and knock him right off the board. 

But don’t fear — Hill told 7News Perth that the injury was no worse than what he’s experienced playing rugby.

“Hats off to him,” said Hill about the dolphin. “He collected me really well.”

Presumably, “collected” means something like a tackle in Australia?

Either way, hats off to them both. 

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Chicken decapitation and battered cats: Hollywoods history of animal cruelty

The sight of a duckling having its foot prised off in Lars von Triers new film sent Cannes audiences scurrying. But its nothing compared to these real-life horrors

If I am not looking forward to Lars von Triers The House That Jack Built when it eventually comes to UK screens, it is not because of the violence against women and children that helped earn the film an early round of disgusted reviews. No, what really fills me with dread is the prospect of seeing a duckling having its leg torn off with pliers.

Even after Peta weighed in to confirm that Von Trier didnt really torture a duckling (the effect was achieved using movie magic and silicone parts), the idea leaves me feeling queasy. (Regardless, the film itself sent guests scurrying for the exit during its international premiere at Cannes earlier this month). Half a century of watching horror movies may have accustomed me to misogynistic violence on screen (which is not to say I enjoy it), but it hasnt inured me to the mistreatment of animals.

Had Von Trier really tortured that duckling, he would have been following in a long and dishonourable tradition of auteurs treating animals even more badly than they treat actresses. Andrei Tarkovsky had a horse shot in the neck and pushed down a flight of stairs in Andrei Rublev (1966). Jean-Luc Godard filmed a pig having its throat cut for Weekend (1967). Chickens were decapitated in Sam Peckinpahs Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). Bernardo Bertoluccis 1900 (1976) contains scenes of frogs being tortured and a terrified cat being strung up so that Donald Sutherland can crush it to death with his head. The director cuts away from the act (thank heaven) and I like to think Sutherland didnt really kill the cat, but the Italians do have previous form in this regard. The writer Curzio Malaparte, in a 1943 essay about Mussolini, describes a traditional Tuscan holiday entertainment in which working-class men, hands tied behind their backs, would batter cats to death with their shaven heads.

Bob Dylan (and doomed chicken) in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Francis Ford Coppola incorporated footage of a water buffalo being hacked to death in Apocalypse Now (1979). Bla Tarrs Stntang (1994) shows a cat being manhandled; Tarr insisted the cat wasnt harmed, but clearly he wasnt concerned about showing it being swung around by its forepaws. Between takes of Park Chan-Wooks revenge thriller Oldboy (2003), the actor Choi Min-Sik, a devout Buddhist, was caught on film apologising to the live octopuses he was eating which makes you think of Lewis Carrolls Walrus, weeping for the oysters he is devouring.

The Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act of 1937 prohibits the exhibition or supply of a film [in the UK] if animals have been cruelly mistreated for the purposes of making the film. The British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) still cuts non-faked animal abuse, although it is more lenient on arthouse than horror. Stntang and Oldboy were passed uncut, but the new Blu-Ray releases of Sergio Martinos The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978) and Umberto Lenzis Cannibal Ferox (1981) have each been shorn of about two minutes footage of, among other delights, turtle-dismembering, iguana-splitting and cute furry creatures being attacked and eaten by huge snakes.

Pure carnage: at least 25 horses had to be put down during the filming of The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936). Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros

But then both films come trailing notoriety, having once been classed as video nasties. The extras on both re-releases include interviews in which the films respective directors awkwardly address the animal cruelty. Martino says: In a way, it was a constructed scene because we put the monkey and python together, but we didnt plan for that to be the ending So it was really unpleasant to watch.

It is here that many cinephiles, including me, find ourselves faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, we are vehemently opposed to censorship. We are also aware that animals die every day to feed us, and we wear leather shoes. On the other hand, I would rather not watch scenes of animal cruelty, and if this makes me a hypocrite, so be it. It is upsetting enough watching a deer being swallowed by a python on one of David Attenboroughs nature specials, but Attenborough himself drew the line at reality-show contestants killing crocodiles, pigs and turkeys just to get a shot.

The Adventures of Milo and Otis: there are rumours that at least 20 cats died during production. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

Humans have been abusing animals for entertainment since the dawn of time, and film-makers havent shown themselves any more principled than bear-baiters or bullfighters. The otherwise admirable stunt pioneer Yakima Canutt invented a device called The Running W, which brought down galloping horses, often injuring or killing them in the process. At least 25 horses were killed or had to be put down during filming of The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), so enraging Errol Flynn, the films star, that he attacked his director, Michael Curtiz. Such was the public outcry when a horse broke its spine after being ridden off a 70ft cliff during filming of Jesse James (1939) that American Humane (AH, the US equivalent of the RSPCA) was finally tasked with overseeing the treatment of animals on Hollywood sets.

Even then, it seems AHs trademarked seal of approval is no guarantee that No animals were harmed. While researching my book Cats on Film, I found claims that at least 20 cats died during the production of Koneko Monogatari (1986), a Japanese film about a ginger and white kitten and his pug pal, retitled by US distributors as The Adventures of Milo and Otis, with a voiceover by Dudley Moore. AH gave it a thumbs up, and the rumours have never been verified, but it is obvious when you watch the film that animals are frequently in distress. The BBFC cut 16 seconds from the film and gave it a U certificate, but outtakes of a cat falling off a cliff and desperately trying to scrabble out of the sea to safety are enough to make me never want to see it again.

And here I am being hypocritical again, because while I balk at cruelty to kittens or ducklings, I can just about tolerate non-cuddly scorpions and ants being set on fire in The Wild Bunch (1969) or horrible reptiles hacked to bits in Cannibal Ferox. But hooray for CGI, which now makes any sort of real animal torture redundant. Today, Id film those scenes in a different way, Lenzi admits in his interview on Cannibal Feroxs Blu-Ray release. Id probably re-do it now with more help from the special FX department.

Anne Billson is the author of Cats on Film


Mark Duplass on HBO’s Animals: ‘The TV show world is terrible’

We find out how the Duplass brothers got stars such as Jessica Chastain on board for their new show Animals, and why they are trying to revolutionise the way television works by using the pillowtalk of animated pigeons

One Friday night while sitting in their Bushwick apartment drawing the talking animals that would eventually become the HBO show Animals, Phil Matarese and his co-creator Mike Luciano heard a bunch of people having fun while heading to the bar. Matarese leaned over to Luciano to ask: Why arent they at home working on their passion project?

Animals, which debuts its first episode this Friday on HBO at 11.30pm EST, is a strange show, and it took an even stranger route to the television. It swerved through the indie film world, via producers Mark and Jay Duplass, in a process that could possibly upend the traditional way that most TV shows make it to air.

The passion project started when Matarese and Luciano were working together at an ad agency in New York. One day through the window in their office they saw two pigeons and decided to give voices to the creatures. Basically we took that riffing we did and we put it into my laptop and we threw some images against it, Matarese says. And that was our first Animals short.

The concept has always stayed essentially the same: each episode features a different animal found in New York City (rats, cats, dogs, pigeons, squirrels and even those much disputed Central Park carriage horses) talking to each other in improvised bits voiced by Matarese, Luciano and a series of guests. The critters are then brought to life with Matareses lo-fi and rather gritty animation. The shorts started airing on digital-short clearinghouse Channel 101 and then at the New York Television Festival, which helped the pair get a manager.

Thats when Mark and Jay Duplass stepped in. The brothers are as famous for their roles in The Mindy Project and Transparent, as they are for writing/directing/producing/starring in DIY Sundance favorites such as The Puffy Chair and Cyrus. With their show Togetherness set up at HBO (season two kicks off 21 February), the pair were on the lookout for other television projects. They knew Matarese and Lucianos manager, who made the necessary connections.

We made them this pitch that was very cynical, Mark Duplass says. It was like: The TV show world is terrible either they buy it, they give you a lot of notes that youre angry about but follow because you want to get the show done and they greenlight it and youre lucky enough to get to make a show you dont like any more. Or they stretch you out for two years teasing you and then dont make your show.

I was like: Come with us, lets try this independent television format, raise some independent money and then go out and sell it as it is. Maybe it only ends up on a Yahoo or YouTube channel, or we end up at HBO, which I didnt think was really going to happen.

Mark and Jay brought Matarese and Luciano out to LA and set them up in an apartment. When camped out there, Matarese and Luciano came up with outlines for the shows and started recording the voiceovers in a home-made sound booth. Mark also started asking some of his friends to do guest voices.

I would call my close friends at the time who wouldnt scoff that we were in this apartment, he says. So it was like Nick Kroll at first. Then: Should we call Aziz [Ansari]? Didnt he just sell out Madison Square Garden? Is he going to want to come to our smelly bedroom?

They ended up with an impressive roster of guests including Kroll, Jessica Chastain, Wanda Sykes, Cobie Smulders, Molly Shannon, Ellie Kemper, Jon Lovitz, Horatio Sans, Rob Corddry and the Duplasses themselves. The results are episodes such as one about a pair of rats that go to a party and end up making babies and taking little blue pills that are supposed to help with libido. Another episode sees a pigeon thinking he might be a female because he mistakes a golf ball for an egg.

Its very much like the Adult Swim show Home Movies, but with a look that is intentionally arts and crafts, like something made in a Brooklyn apartment. The creative team likes to joke about how the drawings look rather amateurish. We were bringing in artists who drew too well and it didnt look shitty enough, Mark Duplass says. It was like: Do we just have them draw left-handed? Phil had to teach them how to draw like a seven-year-old a little bit.

The Duplasses approach to both making the show and selling it was very much informed by their experience in the indie film world. They even brought the first two episodes of the show to premiere at Sundance 2015, where HBO eventually bought it. It was the first TV show to debut there without a channel already signed on. It was a reverse engineering of the independent film model into the television space, Mark says. My hope at the time that TV buyers would see what we were making and think it was good and we could offer it to them at a price that would be cheaper than what they would have to pay to make it themselves.

Matarese thinks the show never would have been bought if they didnt use this method. Its so unpitchable, our show, because its a sketch show but its not and the mouths on the animals dont move, he says. We had to make it and show it to people. That was the only way it was going to work.

This method had great success and its something Duplass Brothers Television which has an overall deal at HBO and is also producing a series of films for Netflix is eager to try again, especially because its a way to apply their homemade film-making approach to the small screen, where there are tons of players looking to snap up as much content as they possibly can.

I will say this its cool, but its an immense investment of your time and money, more so than a movie, in my opinion. The gamble is bigger, Mark says, getting us back to the passion project that Matarese and Luciano were so bummed out they were working through instead of heading to the bar. Mark says that he and Jay had the same sort of work ethic when they were young, but with movies instead of television.

So does this mean that independent productions could be the future of television? Would the Duplass brothers recommend it? Not really, because I want to be the only one who is doing that and I want to be looked at as cool and trailblazing, Duplass says. But if it was someone close to me that I love I would tell them that its a cool model.

Animals begins tonight on HBO at 11.30pm EST


Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird’s latest music video tackles a tough topic.

By the time September rolled around, the city of Chicago was on the verge of its 500th murder in 2016.

In just over nine months, nearly 3,000 people in the city were shot, roughly matching the total for all of 2015. While the root cause of this violence can be debated, one thing people from around the political spectrum should be able to agree on is that something needs to be done.

Musician Andrew Bird wanted to do something about gun violence, especially as it concerned his hometown of Chicago.

That’s why he teamed up with Everytown for Gun Safety last fall. Together, Bird and the Everytown movement found a way to make gun safety a key theme in both his latest album (“Are You Serious?”) and its ensuing tour.

“The rhetoric around gun violence has gotten so reactionary that it seems no one is talking sense,” says Bird in a press release. “Everytown is an organization that is talking sense, making points that no one can argue with.”

What started as a plan to donate $1 from every ticket on his U.S. tour and sell special edition T-shirts in support of Everytown’s cause quickly turned into something much more ambitious.

Bird and Everytown joined forces with director Natalie Morales to create a music video meant to highlight not just the body count, but as Bird says, “the psychic toll that gun violence is taking on our citizens.”

In this latest endeavor, a music video for Bird’s 2013 song, “Pulaski at Night,” Bird, Morales, and Everytown take a look at the new reality of what it means to be a kid in America specifically, one in Chicago.

The “day in the life” style video centers around a single student as he navigates his way through disruptive lockdown drills during class and as he passes pop-up memorials for gun victims between home and school. It’s a reminder that the world isn’t as safe or as innocent as we’d like it to be for our children.

“I used to throw up my hands and say, What can we do? It’s complicated, but thats lame,” adds Bird. “Theres so much we can do and Everytown is out there doing it.”

Will this music video single-handedly put an end to gun violence? Of course not. Will it spark conversation about what we, as a society, can do to address this problem? Absolutely.

Everytown is pretty thrilled to have artists like Bird and Morales on board in their mission to promote gun safety through common sense solutions.

Jason Rzepka, director of cultural engagement at Everytown, stresses the importance of using a variety of strategies in bringing attention to this important issue, saying, “Eradicating gun violence from our communities will require all of us, using every tool at our disposal.”

You can watch the brand new music video for Andrew Bird’s “Pulaski at Night” below.


Bear on couch too damn chill to eat you

Image: courtesy of mandy stantic

Bears don’t have any interest in your miserable standing desks, thank you very much.

Mandy Stantic was visiting a garbage dump in Northern Manitoba last spring when she came upon a black bear sitting on a discarded sofa. Stantic, whose photos just recently went viral, had specifically driven to the dump with her daughter to see the dump (god bless Canadian road trips) when she discovered the bear just lounging.

“The bears are always very active at the dump. This one must have been in the mood to relax after eating his full and climbed up on the couch to get comfortable,” Stantic told Mashable

“Not unusual to see bears at the dump, but to see one sitting just casual like a human was pretty unique and I had to take a picture.”

Image: courtesy of mandy stantic

According to Stantic, the dump is a common hang out spot for the area’s local bears. What it lacks in greenery and pleasant odors it more than makes up for in bears lounging on La-Z-Bears.

All this bear needs is a lava lamp and some frozen pizza to become its spirit human, Al Bundy. 


Good Samaritans in Houston haul 21 dogs to safety in a single boat

After Hurricane Harvey, a group of good Samaritans came to the rescue of dozens of good dogs.

Houston resident Betty Walter found herself stranded in floodwaters in the wake of the storm. She was also sheltering 21 dogs (some of which belonged to her neighbors) and wasn’t sure how they would all get to safety.

Luckily, the dog rescue crew came along. They loaded all 21 dogs on the boat — Walter walked alongside — and hauled everyone away.

“I was worried there was too many dogs on the boat and it would tipped [sic] over,” Walter wrote in a Facebook post. “I told them I would stay behind and for them to make 2 trips. They said NO we are taking all and you. We had 21 dogs on this boat.”

To get out, the humans had to slog through water higher than her head, she added.

Eventually, Walter and all 21 took shelter at a crew member’s house in nearby Kemah, Texas. At the time of writing, they were all doing fine.

WATCH: Smiling rescued donkey is so happy to be back on solid ground


Calm your dogs down with this fabulous doggy leotard

This determined little boy just sent out an urgent PSA on behalf of a beloved four-legged friend. 

Six-year-old Roman is calling on his followers to rescue Legend, a deaf and lovable Labrador retriever currently at Skagit Valley Humane Society in Burlington, Washington. The adorable video has more than 18,000 views, and counting.

Roman’s passion for rescuing canines began when he was just 4-years-old, according to mom, Jennifer McConn. 

“He opted to forego receiving presents on his fourth birthday and instead asked for donations so he could give those to a local rescue in Texas,” McConn told Mashable. “It’s kind of taken off since then.” 

McConn said Roman typically enjoys interacting with dogs. He and his mom often make videos to spread the word about pups in need. 

Now, for his latest mission, Roman is determined to find a home for Legend.

Roman and Legend

Image: jennifer mcconn

Image: jennifer mcconn

Image: jennifer mcconn

Legend is just one of many dogs McConn and Roman have helped. 

In fact, McConn runs her own animal rescue organizations, PAWS & Read and Project Freedom Ride, dedicated to caring for, sheltering, and rescuing dogs from kill shelters in Texas. 

“We transport dogs up to rescues and humane societies such as Skagit Valley Humane Society or to our direct adopters,” said McConn. 

“Typically dogs that are in the humane society are our first priority to visit but there is always one or two non-Project Freedom Ride dogs that pull on our heart strings, like Legend.” 

Image: jennifer mcconn

Image: jennifer mcconn

Roman is a true example that you can be a hero at any age.


Fans of Hemingway’s six-toed cats can breath a sigh of relief after Hurricane Irma

All the cats survived.

As Hurricane Irma blew through the Florida Keys over the weekend, some of the archipelago’s most beloved residents ran for shelter — on their six-toed feet.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum on Key West is home to a long lineage of six-toed cats, descendants of the esteemed author’s own polydactyl cat, Snow White.

These unique felines had many fans and museum employees worried for their safety in the face of the storm.

Happily, David Gonzales, the museum’s curator, told MSNBC on Sunday that all 54 cats had successfully weathered the storm. Gonzales and other employees spent Saturday night in the museum with the cats.

“The cats are accustomed to our voices and our care. We love them. They love us. We all hung out together,” Gonzales said. 

The curator told The Washington Post he felt confident that the museum’s humans and animals would remain safe. “We are not in a flood zone. This is an 18-inch block-limestone building that has been here since 1851 and is still standing,” Gonzales said of the Spanish Colonial style home.

Hemingway lived in the house in the 1930s and continued to visit Key West until his death in 1961, according to the museum. The cats are one of the museum’s most popular attractions and spend their days lounging in the home or garden.

Not all of the cats have six toes, but they all carry the polydactyl gene, the museum says. Most of the cats have six toes (instead of the normal five) on their front feet. Some have extra toes on their back feet as well, where most cats have only four toes. 

Some of these famous felines have famous namesakes.Cats named Kim Novak, William Scott, and Gremlin, among others, are buried beneath marked headstones in the home’s cat cemeteries in the garden. 

In addition to their extra digits, these cats may be extraordinary in other ways. Gonzales told MSNBC the cats were aware of the impending storm, and “some of them actually ran inside, knowing it was time to take shelter. Sometimes I think they’re smarter than the human beings.”


Careless whisker: Universal to release album for cats

David Teie from University of Maryland creates Music for Cats featuring purring, suckling noises and cello to calm felines

They are a particularly tough audience picky, moody, often impossible to please but cats represent an untapped music market, according to one of the worlds biggest record labels.

Universal Music has announced it will be the first major label to release an album that is not for human consumption although, until cats get bank accounts, humans will have to pay for it.

David Teie, an American cellist and music researcher based at the University of Maryland, has created Music for Cats, saying it is an absolutely serious undertaking . He said: It is the biggest challenge with this, people think it is silly. But I think it is the way the brain works . If I look at a door and say thats a fish, you are going to say thats a door . Everybody knows what music is and animals are not included. If you really look into it, whats silly is the idea that only one species could have music available for it.


Here is your reminder that sea turtles are cute

Swim, my dude.
Image: Theresa Keil, National Aquarium Event Photographer

In what may be the world’s most pleasant Mad Lib, 14 sea turtles named after breakfast foods were released into the ocean on Wednesday after a brief period of rehabilitation by the National Aquarium care team.

The turtles, some of whose names are Waffles, Bagel, Granola, and (my personal favorite) Quiche, said “what’s up” to the Atlantic as part of a larger release event on Florida’s Little Talbot Island. 

And in case you haven’t thought about how cute sea turtles are recently, let me remind you: they are cute.

Look, for example, at this friend, who has the face of a Pokémon and a heart of gold.

Image: Theresa Keil, National Aquarium Event Photographer

This one is waving goodbye (to its caretaker), but also hello (to its home). If this concept doesn’t make you tear up at your desk, I don’t know what to tell you.

Image: Theresa Keil, National Aquarium Event Photographer

This one is about to swim. :’)

Image: Theresa Keil, National Aquarium Event Photographer

This is a big moment for these reptiles, who have really been through the wringer. Per the aquarium, all of them were discovered “cold-stunned and stranded” along the coast of Massachusetts before being placed in the aquarium’s care.

“As ectothermic, or cold-blooded, animals, their body temperature relies on the temperature of their surroundings,” rehabilitation manager Kate Shaffer told a local outlet in Florida. “So when the temps there drop too low and they can’t find their way out of Cape Cod Bay, they hit the beaches.”

So what should you do if you come across a sea turtle yourself? First, give it a breakfast name — Omelette and Cream of Wheat are available. Then, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission recommends keeping your distance — but you should contact the local conservation commission if the turtle appears injured or disoriented.

And because I know you want to know, here are all the turtle breakfast names of which Mashable is currently aware.

  • Waffles

  • Bagel

  • French Toast

  • Doughnut

  • Sticky Bun

  • Hash Brown

  • Granola

  • Oatmeal

  • Quiche

  • Flapjack

  • Cereal

Image: Theresa Keil, National Aquarium Event Photographer

Congrats to all the breakfast turtles!


Woman finds her cats passed out after eating her marijuana plants

Forget catnip, the good stuff is here.

A woman in Massachusetts had a little issue with her grow lights for her cannabis plants, so she moved them to her porch in order for them to continue to soak up the sun a bit. 

Unfortunately, the woman found out the hard way that her two cats have developed a taste for the sticky icky, and she found them sprawled out of the floor, surrounded by half-eaten weed plants. 

It’s unclear if the cats would actually get stoned from eating the plants raw, but it sure seems like they enjoyed it. 


Children’s books with humans have greater moral impact than animals, study finds

Undercutting the ageless tradition of sugaring ethical lessons with endearing animals, new research suggests human protagonists are needed to change behaviour

Forget the morals that millennia of children have learned from the Hare and the Tortoise and the Fox and the Crow: Aesop would have had a greater effect with his fables if hed put the stories into the mouths of human characters, at least according to new research from the University of Torontos Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

In the Canadian study, researchers read one of three stories to almost 100 children between four and six years old: Mary Packards Little Raccoon Learns to Share, in which anthropomorphic animals learn that sharing makes you feel good; a version of the story in which the animal illustrations were replaced with human characters; or a control book about seeds.

Before they were read the story, the children chose 10 stickers to take home and were told that an anonymous child would not have any stickers to take home. It was suggested to the children that they could share their stickers with the stickerless child by putting them in an envelope when the experimenter was not looking. After they had been read the story, the children were allowed to choose another 10 stickers, and again asked to donate to the stickerless child.

The study, which has just been published in the journal Developmental Science, found that those children who were read the book with human characters became more generous, while in contrast, there was no difference in generosity between children who read the book with anthropomorphised animal characters and the control book; both groups showed a decrease in sharing behaviour, they write.

The academics, led by Patricia Ganea, associate professor of early cognitive development at OISE, said that existing studies using the same method showed that before they are six, children share hardly any stickers with their friends, and even after age six, children keep most of the stickers for themselves, so the task offers a lot of room for children to change their sharing behaviour after reading the story.

But reading a book about sharing had an immediate effect on childrens pro-social behaviour, they found. However, the type of story characters significantly affected whether children became more or less inclined to behave pro-socially. After hearing the story containing real human characters, young children became more generous. In contrast, after hearing the same story but with anthropomorphised animals or a control story, children became more selfish.

Ganea said that while a growing body of research has shown that young children more readily apply what theyve learned from stories that are realistic this is the first time we found something similar for social behaviours.

The finding is surprising given that many stories for young children have human-like animals, said Ganea.

From Aesop to the Gruffalo via Winnie-the-Pooh, talking animals play a major part in childrens literature. A 2002 review of around 1,000 childrens titles found that more than half of the books featured animals or their habitats, of which fewer than 2% depicted animals realistically, the majority anthropomorphising them.

Ganea felt that it would be useful for childrens authors to be aware of her research. We tell stories to children for many reasons, and if the goal is to teach them a moral lesson then one way to make the lesson more accessible to children is to use human characters. Yes, we should consider the diversity of story characters and the roles they are depicted in, she said.

Chris Haughton, author and illustrator of animal picture books including Oh No, George! and Shh! We Have a Plan, felt that while a simple instructional moral message might work short term, the stories that have longer impact are the ones that resonate deeply. I read Charlottes Web as a child and I know that made a big impression on me. I thought about it for a long time after I read the story. I identified with the non-human characters. That, among other things, did actually turn me into a lifelong vegetarian. I think a truly engaging and quality story that resonates with the child will be replayed in their mind and that has the real effect on them and the course of their life, he said.

Picture book author Tracey Corderoy said that in her experience, where the main characters of a moral tale are animals as opposed to humans, the slight distancing that this affords the young child does a number of important things. It softens the moral message a little, making it slightly more palatable. Some would feel that this waters it down and makes it less effective. But the initial saving-face that using animals brings quite often results, I feel at least, in keeping a child reader engaged.

Kes Gray, the author of the bestselling rhyming animal series Oi Frog and Friends, was unperturbed by the researchers findings. Authors and illustrators have no need to panic here, as long as we keep all of the animal protagonists in all of their future stories unreservedly cuddly. Big hair, big eyes and pink twitchy noses should pretty much nail it, he said.


If you forgot that birds can fly and it’s awesome, these photos will remind you.

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… Oh, wait. It actually is a bird!”

Photographer Xavi Bou snapped his first photo about 15 years ago. He kicked his career off in the fashion and advertising industries, but before long, his animal-loving roots took over. He itched to turn his lens toward the natural world.

“Like an amateur naturalist, I can recognize the tracks of many animals,” Bou said in an email. “One day I asked myself, ‘What track would be left by birds in flight?’

With that question, a new project was born one he calls “Ornitographies.”

Bou takes dozens of photos per second of birds in flight, often more than 1,000 in one sitting. Then he digitally stitches them together into a single image.

The results reveal complex, chaotic, and strangely beautiful patterns.

His work captures nature’s hidden beauty, which is anything but random.