This Photographer Captures Tokyo’s Stray Cats At Their Absolute Funniest

When we think of stray cats, our minds often fill with montages of sad, ragged animals set to the tune of depressing Sarah McLachlan music. (Thanks, ASPCA.)

But the stray kitties seen through Japanese photographer Masayuki Oki‘s lens are anything but. Although shining a light on the plight of stray animals is crucial, it’s arguably just as important to shed similar light on their happiest moments to show them running and playing like the cats that grace us with their presence at home.

Affectionately referring to his fuzzy subjects as busanyan, which literally translates to “ugly cat,” Oki’s work throws the imagery we’re used to in sharp relief against scenes of stray animals finding happiness in the unlikeliest places.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that Oki took this photo on a Monday morning before the cat had his coffee. I feel you, my man.

Totally original, copycat.

Here we have a picture of me between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any given Sunday.

“Get a room!”

“Mom, you have to do this right now? Seriously?”

“Get in the tree, they said. It will look totally natural, they said.”

Nothing like a little yoga…or some pre-nap stretching. Either one.

“It’s noon. Maybe you should get up. Just a thought.”

That moment when you’re mad at your boyfriend but then he tries to get all cute.

If you’ve ever posed for an Instagram outfit photo, you know this cat’s struggle.

When you try to take a sleeping selfie but everyone knows the truth.

No one likes a photobomber. (Just kidding. We all do.)

If my experience means anything, she just ate an entire pot full of mac and cheese and has no regrets.

Take that, Sarah! These cats are living their truth, and it’s hilarious.

(All images subject to copyright by Masayuki Oki.)

To learn more about Masayuki Oki’s photography, be sure to check out his website and follow him on Facebook and Instagram! There’s plenty of cuteness to go around, people.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/adorable-strays/

The Angry Birds Movie review game spin-off that doesn’t quite reach Lego Movie levels

The addictive smartphone game has been shoehorned into an amusing animation narrative whose ridiculousness is part of its appeal

Thats right: a film has been made out of the addictive smartphone/tablet game Angry Birds, where catapults ping flightless birds at the little pink piggies who have stolen their eggs. This movie is driven by a naked commercial imperative though perhaps no more than any other film and it doesnt match up to the hyperactive, clever surreality of the Lego Movie. Yet there is a kind of pleasure and fascination, mixed with exasperation, in seeing how the game has been mangled and bent into the shape of the conventional animation narrative, with zappy little dialogue moments, funny characters and some sophisticated touches for the grownups (including a nod to The Shining, of all things).

Jason Sudekis voices Red, the grumpy red bird with big eyebrows who is the star of the game. After a rage outburst, he amusingly has to attend anger management sessions, but then the piggies arrive, pretending to be the birds friends while scheming to take away their eggs. To rescue them, Red has to rediscover his inner righteous anger and to re-invade the piggies domain. For this he must use the catapult the piggies have, erm, given them as a present, and he must also detonate the huge mounds of TNT that the piggies have left lying around. The sheer contrived ridiculousness is part of the fun. But you really do have to know the game.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/may/09/the-angry-birds-movie-review-game-spin-off-that-doesnt-quite-reach-lego-movie-levels

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.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/before-and-after-pets/

Library of Congress asks for profound books, gets Dune and The Cat in the Hat

Public poll shuns giants such as Toni Morrison and William Faulkner, but Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Stephen Kings The Stand are in

Frank Herbert, Robert M Pirsig and Dr Seuss are in. Henry James, Norman Mailer and Edgar Allan Poe are out.

A public poll for the Library of Congress to choose 65 books by US authors that had a profound effect on American life has thrown up some surprises.

Herberts Dune, a 1965 science-fiction novel adapted into a film starring Sting, Pirsings cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and childrens favourite The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss real name Theodore Geisel all make the cut. So too does the prolific and popular Stephen King with The Stand.

But literary giants such as William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, John Updike and Tom Wolfe do not. The library, the biggest in the world with more than 162m items, does not claim the list is a definitive rank of greatness.

Guy Lamolinara, director of National Book Festival, said: Its not supposed to be a diverse list or the best American books. Its the books that are most dear to people.

Novels were the clear winner over biographies and histories. Im most surprised how much of it is fiction, Lamolinara added. It shows peoples fascination with the creative process of writing.

Some 17,200 people responded to the librarys survey. Of the 65 books included, 40 were picked directly by the public. An additional 25 titles were selected by the public from a list created for the 2012 Library of Congress exhibition Books That Shaped America.

A new free exhibition, America Reads, opened at the library on Thursday, featuring rare editions usually withheld from public view, along with a video in which six Pulitzer Prize winners, including Jennifer Egan and Rita Dove, discuss the books that they think shaped the US.

Perhaps reflecting preoccupations in a presidential election year, the new batch of 40 titles has a healthy dose of politics. There is Profiles in Courage, a Pulitzer-winning book ostensibly by the former president John F Kennedy, though since alleged to have been mostly written by Ted Sorensen, his speechwriter and aide. Also present is All the Presidents Men, journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernsteins account of the Watergate scandal that toppled Richard Nixon, adapted into a movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

And there is more than a hint of Donald Trump. Robert Penn Warrens All the Kings Men charts the rise of a demagogue, while Ayn Rands The Fountainhead features an egocentric architect with whom the Republican nominee has said he identifies. Indeed, Rand, whose Republican admirers include Trump and the House speaker, Paul Ryan, also has Anthem in the list of 40 books, adding to Atlas Shrugged on the original list of 25.

Ayn Rand evidently has a large fanbase, Lamolinara commented.

Other striking choices on the new list include Kurt Vonneguts Slaughterhouse-Five, Alex Haleys Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Alice Walkers The Color Purple, John Steinbecks Of Mice and Men and East of Eden, Sylvia Plaths The Bell Jar, Ernest Hemingways The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises, Ken Keseys One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Hunter S Thompsons Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Among the less conventional books is The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smiths 1830 sacred text of the Latter-day Saint movement; Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child; and the stage plays Death of a Salesman and The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

The original group of 25 included canonical texts such as Harper Lees To Kill a Mockingbird, Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin, JD Salingers The Catcher in the Rye, John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath, F Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby, Margaret Mitchells Gone With the Wind, Dr Seusss The Cat in the Hat, Herman Melvilles Moby-Dick, Joseph Hellers Catch-22 and Benjamin Spocks Baby and Child Care.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/17/library-of-congress-american-books-public-poll

Angry Birds knock Captain America from top of box office pecking order

App-inspired film takes $39m in debut weekend, with young audiences praising movie despite critics mixed reviews

The Angry Birds Movie soared to $39m in its debut weekend at the US box office, knocking Captain America: Civil War off its perch at the top. New adult comedies Neighbors 2 and The Nice Guys struggled to get their footing, according to comScore estimates on Sunday.

Rovio Animation spearheaded the production of The Angry Birds Movie, which cost around $73m and opened strongly internationally last weekend. The film has already earned $150m worldwide, according to estimates from Sony.

The Angry Birds Movie features the voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Danny McBride and, as an attempt to create a compelling story out of a fairly simplistic app-based game, has received mixed reviews from critics. Audiences under 25, however, gave the film an A CinemaScore, which should help the film continue to perform well over Memorial Day weekend.

Its very difficult turning a video game property into a successful movie, said Josh Greenstein, Sonys president of worldwide marketing and distribution. To use a bad pun, we are flying high.

ComScores senior media analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, said the success of Angry Birds likely had more to do with family appeal and ingrained brand recognition.

Families are always looking for out-of-the-home content, Dergarabedian said, noting also that the film was the latest in a string of very successful PG-rated films including The Jungle Book and Zootopia.

PG is the hot new rating now. There used to be a stigma that younger teens wouldnt be interested. The numbers prove that when you go after the broadest base possible, you can be highly successful.

The PG-13 rated Captain America: Civil War was not too far behind, earning an additional $33.1m for a second-place spot, which brings its domestic total to $347.4m. Even in his third weekend in theaters, the superhero proved mightier than R-rated comedies Neighbors 2 and The Nice Guys, both of which underwhelmed.

Neighbors 2 brought in only $21.8m less than half of the first films $49m opening in 2014. But the film from the director Nick Stoller also cost only $35m to make.

Were really proud of Neighbors 2, said Nick Carpou, Universals president of domestic distribution. Were not just out there trying to go to the bank on something. It really is a different take.

Stars Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron all returned for the sequel which puts a new spin on the frat next door idea by having the young familys new neighbors be a sorority comprised of girls upset about the unequal rules for fraternities and sororities.

The R-rated 70s-set buddy comedy The Nice Guys grossed $11.3m for a fourth-place spot. Warner Bros handled the domestic distribution for the Shane Black-directed film, which stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe and has been very well received by critics.

While the comedy openings might be less than hoped for, both could still provide decent counterprogramming to the spectacle-driven films opening on Memorial Day weekend, when mega productions X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass take over.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/22/angry-birds-captain-america-nice-guys-box-office

Edward Snowden: Governments can reduce our dignity to that of tagged animals

In this foreword from The Assassination Complex, a new book about drone warfare, the whistleblower explains why leaking information about wrongdoing is a vital act of resistance

Ive been waiting 40 years for someone like you. Those were the first words Daniel Ellsberg spoke to me when we met last year. Dan and I felt an immediate kinship; we both knew what it meant to risk so much and to be irrevocably changed by revealing secret truths.

One of the challenges of being a whistleblower is living with the knowledge that people continue to sit, just as you did, at those desks, in that unit, throughout the agency; who see what you saw and comply in silence, without resistance or complaint. They learn to live not just with untruths but with unnecessary untruths, dangerous untruths, corrosive untruths. It is a double tragedy: what begins as a survival strategy ends with the compromise of the human being it sought to preserve and the diminishing of the democracy meant to justify the sacrifice.

But unlike Dan Ellsberg, I didnt have to wait 40 years to witness other citizens breaking that silence with documents. Ellsberg gave the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other newspapers in 1971; Chelsea Manning provided the Iraq and Afghan war logs and the Cablegate materials to WikiLeaks in 2010. I came forward in 2013. Now another person of courage and conscience has made available the extraordinary set of documents published in The Assassination Complex, the new book by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of the Intercept.

We are witnessing a compression of the timeframe in which unconstitutional activities can continue before they are exposed by acts of conscience. And this permits the American people to learn about critical government actions, not as part of the historical record but in a way that allows direct action through voting in other words, in a way that empowers an informed citizenry to defend the democracy that state secrets are nominally intended to support.

Daniel
Daniel Ellsberg in 1973. Photograph: BBC/ITVS/AP

When I see individuals who are able to bring information forward, it gives me hope that we wont always be required to curtail the illegal activities of our government as if it were a constant task, to uproot official lawbreaking as routinely as we mow the grass. (Interestingly enough, that is how some have begun to describe remote killing operations, as cutting the grass.)

A single act of whistleblowing doesnt change the reality that there are significant portions of the government that operate below the waterline, beneath the visibility of the public. Those secret activities will continue, despite reforms. But those who perform these actions now have to live with the fear that if they engage in activities contrary to the spirit of society if even a single citizen is catalysed to halt the machinery of that injustice they might still be held to account. The thread by which good governance hangs is this equality before the law, for the only fear of the man who turns the gears is that he may find himself upon them.

Hope lies beyond, when we move from extraordinary acts of revelation to a collective culture of accountability within the intelligence community. Here we will have taken a meaningful step towards solving a problem that has existed for as long as our government.

Not all leaks are alike, nor are their makers. David Petraeus, for instance, provided his illicit lover and favourable biographer information so secret it defied classification, including the names of covert operatives and the presidents private thoughts on matters of strategic concern. Petraeus was not charged with a felony, as the Justice Department had initially recommended, but was instead permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanour. Had an enlisted soldier of modest rank pulled out a stack of highly classified notebooks and handed them to his girlfriend to secure so much as a smile, he would be looking at many decades in prison, not a pile of character references from a Whos Who of the Deep State.

David
David Petraeus in 2010. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

There are authorised leaks and also permitted disclosures. It is rare for senior administration officials to explicitly ask a subordinate to leak a CIA officers name to retaliate against her husband, as appears to have been the case with Valerie Plame. It is equally rare for a month to go by in which some senior official does not disclose some protected information that is beneficial to the political efforts of the parties but clearly damaging to national security under the definitions of our law.

This dynamic can be seen quite clearly in the al-Qaida conference call of doom story, in which intelligence officials, likely seeking to inflate the threat of terrorism and deflect criticism of mass surveillance, revealed to a neoconservative website extraordinarily detailed accounts of specific communications they had intercepted, including locations of the participating parties and the precise contents of the discussions. If the officials claims were to be believed, they irrevocably burned an extraordinary means of learning the precise plans and intentions of terrorist leadership for the sake of a short-lived political advantage in a news cycle. Not a single person seems to have been so much as disciplined as a result of the story that cost us the ability to listen to the alleged al-Qaida hotline.

If harmfulness and authorisation make no difference, what explains the distinction between the permissible and the impermissible disclosure?

The answer is control. A leak is acceptable if it is not seen as a threat, as a challenge to the prerogatives of the institution. But if all the disparate components of the institution not just its head but its hands and feet, every part of its body must be assumed to have the same power to discuss matters of concern, that is an existential threat to the modern political monopoly of information control, particularly if were talking about disclosures of serious wrongdoing, fraudulent activity, unlawful activities. If you cant guarantee that you alone can exploit the flow of controlled information, then the aggregation of all the worlds unmentionables including your own begins to look more like a liability than an asset.

Valerie
Valerie Plame in 2006. Photograph: Haraz N Ghanbari/AP

Truly unauthorised disclosures are necessarily an act of resistance that is, if theyre not done simply for press consumption, to fluff up the public appearance or reputation of an institution. However, that doesnt mean they all come from the lowest working level. Sometimes the individuals who step forward happen to be near the pinnacle of power. Ellsberg was in the top tier; he was briefing the secretary of defense. You cant get much higher, unless you are the secretary of defense, and the incentives simply arent there for such a high-ranking official to be involved in public interest disclosures because that person already wields the influence to change the policy directly.

At the other end of the spectrum is Chelsea Manning, a junior enlisted soldier, who was much nearer to the bottom of the hierarchy. I was midway in the professional career path. I sat down at the table with the chief information officer of the CIA, and I was briefing him and his chief technology officer when they were publicly making statements such as: We try to collect everything and hang on to it for ever, and everybody still thought that was a cute business slogan. Meanwhile, I was designing the systems they would use to do precisely that. I wasnt briefing the policy side, the secretary of defense, but I was briefing the operations side, the National Security Agencys director of technology. Official wrongdoing can catalyse all levels of insiders to reveal information, even at great risk to themselves, so long as they can be convinced that it is necessary to do so.

Reaching those individuals, helping them realise that their first allegiance as a public servant is to the public rather than to the government, is the challenge. That is a significant shift in cultural thinking for a government worker today.

Ive argued that whistleblowers are elected by circumstance. Its not a virtue of who you are or your background. Its a question of what you are exposed to, what you witness. At that point, the question becomes: Do you honestly believe that you have the capability to remediate the problem, to influence policy? I would not encourage individuals to reveal information, even about wrongdoing, if they do not believe they can be effective in doing so, because the right moment can be as rare as the will to act.

Chelsea
Chelsea Manning. Photograph: AP

This is simply a pragmatic, strategic consideration. Whistleblowers are outliers of probability, and if they are to be effective as a political force, it is critical that they maximise the amount of public good produced from scarce seed. When I was making my decision, I came to understand how one strategic consideration, such as waiting until the month before a domestic election, could become overwhelmed by another, such as the moral imperative to provide an opportunity to arrest a global trend that had already gone too far. I was focused on what I saw and on my sense of overwhelming disenfranchisement that the government, in which I had believed for my entire life, was engaged in such an extraordinary act of deception.

At the heart of this evolution is that whistleblowing is a radicalising event and by radical I dont mean extreme; I mean it in the traditional sense of radix, the root of the issue. At some point, you recognise that you cant just move a few letters around on a page and hope for the best. You cant simply report this problem to your supervisor, as I tried to do, because inevitably supervisors get nervous. They think about the structural risk to their career. They are concerned about rocking the boat and getting a reputation. The incentives arent there to produce meaningful reform. Fundamentally, in an open society, change has to flow from the bottom to the top.

As someone who works in the intelligence community, youve given up a lot to do this work. Youve happily committed yourself to tyrannical restrictions. You voluntarily undergo polygraphs; you tell the government everything about your life. You waive a lot of rights because you believe the fundamental goodness of your mission justifies the sacrifice of even the sacred. Its a just cause.

And when youre confronted with evidence not in an edge case, not in a peculiarity, but as a core consequence of the programme that the government is subverting the constitution and violating the ideals you so fervently believe in, you have to make a decision. When you see that the programme or policy is inconsistent with the oaths and obligations that youve sworn to your society and yourself, then that oath and that obligation cannot be reconciled with the programme. To which do you owe a greater loyalty?

A
A placard in support of Edward Snowden. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

One of the extraordinary things about the revelations of the past several years, and their accelerating pace, is that they have occurred in the context of the United States as the uncontested hyperpower.

We now have the largest unchallenged military machine in the history of the world, and it is backed by a political system that is increasingly willing to authorise any use of force in response to practically any justification. In todays context that justification is terrorism, but not necessarily because our leaders are particularly concerned about terrorism in itself or because they think it is an existential threat to society. They recognise that even if we had a 9/11 attack every year, we would still be losing more people to car accidents and heart disease, and we dont see the same expenditure of resources to respond to those more significant threats.

What it really comes down to is the reality that we have a political class that feels it must inoculate itself against allegations of weakness. Our politicians are more fearful of the politics of terrorism of the charge that they do not take terrorism seriously than they are of the crime itself.

As a result, we have arrived at this unmatched capability, unrestrained by policy. We have become reliant upon what was intended to be the limitation of last resort: the courts. Judges, realising that their decisions are suddenly charged with much greater political importance and impact than was originally intended, have gone to great lengths in the post-9/11 period to avoid reviewing the laws or the operations of the executive in the national security context and setting restrictive precedents that, even if entirely proper, would impose limits on government for decades or more. That means the most powerful institution that humanity has ever witnessed has also become the least restrained. Yet that same institution was never designed to operate in such a manner, having instead been explicitly founded on the principle of checks and balances. Our founding impulse was to say: Though we are mighty, we are voluntarily restrained.

When you first go on duty at CIA headquarters, you raise your hand and swear an oath not to government, not to the agency, not to secrecy. You swear an oath to the constitution. So there is this friction, this emerging contest between the obligations and values that the government asks you to uphold, and the actual activities that you are asked to participate in.

CIA
CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

These disclosures about the Obama administrations killing programme reveal that there is a part of the American character that is deeply concerned with the unrestrained, unchecked exercise of power. And there is no greater or clearer manifestation of unchecked power than assuming for yourself the authority to execute an individual outside a battlefield context and without the involvement of any sort of judicial process.

Traditionally, in the context of military affairs, we have always understood that lethal force in battle could not be subjected to ex ante judicial constraints. When armies are shooting at each other, there is no room for a judge on that battlefield. But now the government has decided without the publics participation, without our knowledge and consent that the battlefield is everywhere. Individuals who dont represent an imminent threat in any meaningful sense of those words are redefined, through the subversion of language, to meet that definition.

Inevitably, that conceptual subversion finds its way home, along with the technology that enables officials to promote comfortable illusions about surgical killing and nonintrusive surveillance. Take, for instance, the holy grail of drone persistence, a capability that the US has been pursuing forever. The goal is to deploy solar-powered drones that can loiter in the air for weeks without coming down. Once you can do that, and you put any typical signals-collection device on the bottom of it to monitor, unblinkingly, the emanations of, for example, the different network addresses of every laptop, phone and iPod, you know not just where a particular device is in what city, but you know what apartment each device lives in, where it goes at any particular time, and by what route.

Once you know the devices, you know their owners. When you start doing this over several cities, you are tracking the movements not just of individuals but of whole populations.

By preying on the modern necessity to stay connected, governments can reduce our dignity to something like that of tagged animals, the primary difference being that we paid for the tags and they are in our pockets. It sounds like fantasist paranoia, but on the technical level it is so trivial to implement that I cannot imagine a future in which it wont be attempted. It will be limited to the war zones at first, in accordance with our customs, but surveillance technology has a tendency to follow us home.

Here we see the double edge of our uniquely American brand of nationalism. We are raised to be exceptionalists, to think we are the better nation with the manifest destiny to rule. The danger is that some people will actually believe this claim, and some of those will expect the manifestation of our national identity, that is, our government, to comport itself accordingly.

Unrestrained power may be many things, but it is not American.

Paul
Paul Revere, c1800. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It is in this sense that the act of whistleblowing increasingly has become an act of political resistance. The whistleblower raises the alarm and lifts the lamp, inheriting the legacy of a line of Americans that begins with Paul Revere.

The individuals who make these disclosures feel so strongly about what they have seen that they are willing to risk their lives and their freedom. They know that we, the people, are ultimately the strongest and most reliable check on the power of government.

The insiders at the highest levels of government have extraordinary capability, extraordinary resources, tremendous access to influence and a monopoly on violence, but in the final calculus there is but one figure that matters: the individual citizen.

And there are more of us than there are of them.

The Assassination Complex: Inside the Governments Secret Drone Warfare Programme by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of the Intercept, with a foreword by Edward Snowden and afterword by Glenn Greenwald, is published by Serpents Tail (8.99) and Simon & Schuster ($30).

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/03/edward-snowden-assassination-complex-governments-tagged-animals-drone-warfare-whistleblower

They Added A Photo Filter When Taking Pictures With Their Pets This Is Hilarious

While Snapchat has been around for a while now, filters and their popularity have definitely grown recently. The technology allows you to digitally transform your face with everything from ears to full-on goofy disguises. At times, the results are hilarious…but sometimes, it’s just plain weird.

Just as taking selfies made its way to the animal kingdom, so have Snapchat filters. As you could imagine, the photos are pretty ridiculous:

Now give me sultry.

“I wear my sunglasses at night.”

“How do ya like my ‘stache?”

Everyone looks pretty unsure here.

This might give me nightmares.

This cat-bunny is a lil’ scary.

This is what happens when the cat pulls an all-nighter.

#NotImpressed

This dog is going to Coachella.

No one should use this panda filter.

If you’ve ever considered putting makeup on your dog, here’s proof for why you shouldn’t.

“Ma’am, do you know why I clawed your face?”

LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!

Here comes (unhappy) Peter Cottontail!

Fluffy’s feeling a bit zombie-like this morning.

I’m so glad cats and rabbits don’t look like this.

Harry Catter, is that you?

Doggy filter inception.

Well that’s not particularly flattering.

Awww, don’t cry!

Either way, she’s a cutie.

(via Bored Panda)

Have you ever used Snapchat filters on your fur friends? Share your photos in the comments!

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/pet-filter/

Just Like Humans, Killer Whales Culture Is Driving Their Evolution

Just because they cant sing opera or ride a unicycle doesnt mean that animals dont have culture, and theres no better example of this than the killer whale. As one of the most brutal predators on the planet, orcas may not fit the profile of a cultured creature. However,these beasts of the sea do display a vast range of highly refined behaviors that appear to be driving their genetic development, according to new research.

The word culture comes from the Latin colere, which literally means to cultivate. In other words, it refers to anything that is acquired or learnt, rather than instinctive or natural. Among human populations, culture not only affects the way we live, but also writes itself into our genes, affecting who we are.

For instance, having spent many generations hunting the blubbery marine mammals of the Arctic, the Inuit of Greenland have developed certain genetic adaptations that help them digest and utilize this lipid-rich diet, thereby allowing them to thrive in their cold climate.

Like humans, killer whales have colonized a range of different habitats across the globe, occupying every ocean basin on the planet, with an empire that extends from pole to pole. As such, different populations of orcas have had to learn different hunting techniques in order to gain the upper hand over their local prey. This, in turn, has a major effect on their diet, leading scientists to speculate that the ability to learn population-specific hunting modalities could be driving the animals genetic development.

Publishing their findings in the journal Nature Communications, an international team of scientists explain how they analyzed the genomes of 50 orcas from five different populations, inhabiting a range of locations in the North Pacific and Antarctic Oceans.

Among the whales included in the study, some came from populations known to feed mainly on penguins, some ate a diet consisting mostly of mammals and others feasted on fish. After examining their genetic make-up, the researchers found that the orcas fit into five neat ecotypes, or genetically distinct geographic varieties of whale, thereby indicating just how synchronized their genes are with their culture.

They suggest this has occurred as populations have developed highly specialized, often ingenious hunting techniques such as the creation of artificial waves in order to knock seals off ice floes, as made famous by the BBCs Frozen Planet documentary series. By teaching these strategies to their young, the whales have developed a deep-rooted culture, reinforcing their diet and leading to certain selective pressures upon their genes.

For example, fish-eating ecotypes were found to carry certain genes that enabled them to more effectively digest their scaly prey, while those that hunt blubbery mammals were more genetically attuned to this fatty diet.

All in all, the study authors suggest that culture-genome evolution may not be exclusive to humans after all, and urge other researchers to place more focus on the role of animals culture in driving their genetics.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/just-humans-killer-whales-culture-driving-their-evolution

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.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/diy-gummy-bears/

These Stuffed Animals Might Look Funny, But What They’re Doing For Kids Is Amazing

When we were little, our stuffed animals served as fluffy confidantes.

They sat with us at our tea parties, they stayed close at night to fend off bad dreams, and they comforted us when we were sick. What they didn’t typically do, however, is teach us important lessons that would ultimately stick with us for a lifetime.

But one Japanese organization aims to change all that. Second Life Toys allows parents to send their kids’ damaged stuffed animals in for “transplants” to teach them about the beauty of organ donation.

While thousands of people are registered organ donors in the States, the issue gets little attention in Japan.

There are quite a few reasons why Japanese people have mixed feelings about organ donation. For one, belief systems in Japan dictate that bodies should be whole upon cremation, which understandably discourages them from registering.

Along with that, the 1968 Juro Wada case, which involved harvesting organs from a braindead patient at a point when the determination of brain-based death was still hotly contested, embedded an association between organ donation and unethical activity deeply into the cultural consciousness.

Representatives from Second Life Toys believe that they can flip the script on this pressing issue by teaching kids the importance of organ donation at a young age.

Their program walks little ones through the process in a way that they can understand. Here’s how it works.

A parent sends photos of their child’s damaged toy to the company, and upon approval, they mail the stuffed animal in for “surgery.” Using parts from donated toys that look much different than the rest of the recipient, they repair the defect and mail it home.

And the program works the other way, too! Those who choose to donate unused toys receive letters from the company explaining how their toys were used to save stuffed animals in need.

Their goal is to help young people develop positive attitudes toward organ donation.

For more information about the initiative, check this out!

The best way to make change is to work from the ground up. After all, children are the ones who will build a better future someday. If you want to learn more about this project, be sure to check out the company’s website.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/organ-donor-toys/