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    Police Arrest Pipeline ProtestersAnd Get Paid by the Pipelines Owner

    A controversial gas pipeline has Massachusetts State Police in its pocket, more than $770,000 in recent payments seem to indicate.

    Since April, more than 70 activists have been arrested protesting a natural gas pipeline that would run through miles of Otis State Forest in Massachusetts. But while those protesters await trial, their arresting officers are earning serious money from Kinder Morgan, the energy company behind the pipeline. In just five months, Kinder Morgan has paid Massachusetts State Police nearly $773,000 for extra security details, according to invoices obtained by local activists and published by the Berkshire Eagle.

    Kinder Morgan has been fined tens of millions for incidents involving pipeline explosions, oil spills, and deaths. But in April, the company won a federal contract to build the Connecticut Expansion Project, a natural gas pipeline between New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. That path takes the pipeline through Otis State Forest, a protected parkland in Massachusetts, where rare species live, activists say.

    Within a month of winning the contract, Kinder Morgan was already planning to take on those activists. The company enlisted a special kind of security force: the state police.

    Kinder Morgan declined The Daily Beasts request for comment, stating that the company does not comment on police matters.

    In June, the Massachusetts State Police sent Kinder Morgan a hefty bill. The invoice first reported by MuckRock this summer, revealed that Kinder Morgan had racked up nearly $116,000 in pipeline security and pipeline authority services from state police.

    The invoice showed how many security hours individual state troopers had logged at the Otis Forest pipeline siteand each officers hourly rate.

    The top hourly rate of $127.99 per hour went to two state police captains in April and May, the first invoice shows. That rate is above average for the two captains, who made approximately $200,000 in 2016, according to state salary documents. Other police were close behind, earning an hourly $111.59 on Kinder Morgans dime. Most worked security at the pipeline on eight-hour shifts.

    But one of the captains earning an hourly $127.99 logged 16 hours in one April shift at the pipeline. Kinder Morgan paid him $2,047 for that days service. And by August, Kinder Morgans payments to state police would nearly double.

    Invoices obtained by a local activist and shared with the Berkshire Eagle reveal four more months of payments. From April to September, some state troopers earned over five figures working as Kinder Morgans unofficial security force, with one sergeant earning over $19,000 across 24 shifts, and a captain earning over $13,000 for 11 shifts.

    Kinder Morgan sent Massachusetts State Police $108,131 in June, $160,254 in July, $200,105 in August, and $188,339 in September, bringing the total to nearly $773,000.

    Those rising figures mirror a rise in protests from local activists. In July, police arrested two dozen activists in Otis State Forest, after a demonstration at the pipeline site. Activists told MassLive they were having a protest picnic at the future pipeline site, and knocking on a Kinder Morgan office door in the area.

    Relations between police and protesters have since taken a turn for the violent. In early November, state police officers used a Taser on a 24-year-old protester who was running away. Law enforcement said the man was resisting arrest and shoved an officer who attempted to stop him.

    But activists on the ground described police as showing up in excessive numbers. In a Facebook post, the environmental group Sugar Shack Alliance described protesters as being outnumbered three to one.

    As usual, ratio of law enforcement to water protectors and Sugar Shack and local residents about three to one, the group wrote, plus three police dogs… for the protection of the police we were told.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/police-arrest-pipeline-protesters-and-get-paid-by-the-pipelines-owner

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    The night Barbuda died: how Hurricane Irma created a Caribbean ghost town

    Two and a half months after Barbuda was battered by 185mph winds, the island remains ruined and largely uninhabitated. Now locals are questioning if people will ever return

    Walking the streets of the small Caribbean island of Barbuda on a Friday afternoon, you are likely to see more goats than humans.

    Dogs, cats and horses, all of which roam freely about the island now that fences are down, also seem to outnumber people. The streets are empty and the houses at least the ones still standing are abandoned. The island is like a ghost town.

    Barbuda, which covers only 62 square miles, was the first to feel the force of Hurricane Irma. When the storm made landfall on the night of 6 September, it hit Barbuda at about 185mph. A two-year-old boy died and an estimated 90% of properties were damaged.

    Two days later, fearing Barbuda would be hit again, this time by Hurricane Jose, the prime minister ordered an evacuation. All 1,800 residents were ferried to Antigua, Barbudas much larger sister island, which suffered only minor damage.

    Jose passed without incident, but the government warned that diseases caused by stagnant water and issues with vermin had rendered it unsafe for habitation, and it was three weeks before residents were allowed to return. Even now, weeks after the evacuation order was lifted, this island is eerily deserted.

    Debris
    Debris in the Codrington lagoon, Barbuda. Photograph: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images

    Barbuda is quiet, quiet, quiet. Its dead, says Kendra Beazer, 24, the youngest member of the Barbuda council, the islands ruling body.

    Another councillor, Wayde Burton, 38, says that Fridays – when I visited the island – through to Sundays were the quietest times for the island as people come over from Antigua early in the week and stay a few days to clean up before going back to Antigua for the weekend.

    Burton says life is slowly returning to the island, although little more than a tenth of its population has returned. Two months after the hurricane hit, a restaurant, a bakery and a supermarket have opened their doors, though, as electricity is yet to be restored, the businesses are running off generators. But even at its most occupied, Burton estimates there are 250 people on the island.

    Kendra
    Kendra Beazer, a councillor on Barbuda, has called the governments attempts to change land tenure laws on Barbuda disaster capitalism. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

    Beazer and Burton travel back and forth between the islands. In Antigua, Beazer stays in a rundown hotel, paid for by the government. Some Barbudans are staying with friends and family in Antigua or abroad, others in impromptu shelters.

    One shelter, at the Sir Vivian Richards cricket stadium, is run by stadium staff and overseen by Denise Harris, the arenas HR and accounts manager. She recalls how her boss was called by a government minister on the day of the evacuation. They said: We are sending you 80 Barbudans. We had 197. We thought it was just for two weeks or so, but now its two months. They were just brought here, nothing was in place for them.

    Harris says the stadium has remained largely functional despite the continued presence of 142 people, but is adamant the situation cannot continue. Honestly, I dont think they can be here past the end of December, says Harris. We have England coming in February.

    Denise
    Denise Harris works at the Sir Vivian Richards cricket stadium, where 142 Barbudans are still sheltering after Hurricane Irma. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

    She says the large number of supporters accompanying the England team can sometimes be a handful, with weeks of preparation necessary. That would be impossible with the locker rooms full of people on camp beds.

    Some aid agencies are operating on Barbuda. Samaritans Purse, housed in a large white tent, is among those on the island, and has been providing equipment and water treatment units. The Red Cross has brought medical kit, enabling the consulting and emergency rooms at the Thomas Hanna hospital to reopen.

    Yet the rebuilding efforts seem piecemeal. Burton cleans and repairs houses with a group of friends. They scrounge plywood and corrugated iron from the wreckage to patch up roofs.

    On Dominica, a nearby island devastated by Hurricane Maria, aid organisations are out in force and each night the military clears debris from the streets. Barbuda feels almost abandoned in comparison.

    The recovery effort has been challenging. Few people on the island have house insurance, while many rent their homes; neither group is clear about its role in the rebuilding process. But Barbudans agree the evacuation has made rebuilding far slower.

    Knacynthar
    Knacynthar Nedd, leader of the Barbuda council, sits on the doorstep of a house that lost two walls and its roof. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

    Lots of homeowners refuse to come back home because they say theres nothing for me to come back to, says council leader Knacyntar Nedd as she cleans out a building. We had to leave the next day [after the hurricane], so people didnt have time to process the damage to their homes. Now people are seeing the magnitude of the damage. They get here, they walk around their house, they pick up a few things and then they go back to the boat.

    In some cases, property damage that was initially minor has been compounded by the prolonged absence from the island. Beazers house, which has a concrete roof, survived the storm in reasonable shape. But the shutters were blown off and the windows broke. The evacuation order meant he had to leave the island before he could repair the windows, and rain got into his property, ruining most of his belongings.

    We had to stay in Antigua, and so much of the stuff started to grow mould and smell, so I just had to throw everything away, he says.

    Burton and Beazer are both members of the Barbudan Peoples Movement, which sits in opposition on the Barbuda council and in the federal legislature. They blame the government for the slow recovery. They think Gaston Brownes Antigua Labour party government is using the hurricane to consolidate power in Barbuda, particularly over land, which is held through a complicated tenure system.

    A few days after the hurricane, the prime minister proposed revising the system to allow Barbudans to buy their title deeds for $1. Beazer, who finds the announcements timing suspicious, calls the policy disaster capitalism.

    He and Burton are also angry that work on building a large commercial airport on Barbuda, part of the deal for the Paradise Found resort funded by Robert De Niro and James Packer, resumed quickly after the hurricane, well before the small airport was refenced and made operational again.

    When you hear that theyre already clearing land to build the new airport, yet you havent put up the fence at the old airport to allow for regular travel, it makes you question, says Beazer.

    Devon
    Devon Warner and his daughter Che Niesha work on the roof of a home in Codrington, Barbuda. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Interviewed in his office in Antigua, Browne acknowledges rebuilding had been slow. Its been about six weeks and weve not made significant progress, says the prime minister. We just dont have the resources.

    He says this is because the government wants to build more climate-resilient homes, which requires financial resources Antigua and Barbuda doesnt have. If we do not raise the necessary resources well be forced to do patchwork, to rebuild existing properties with the same galvanised roofs and so on, and next hurricane well be back to square one.

    Eli Fuller, an Antiguan businessman who runs a boat tour company, says some of the blame for the delays has to be shouldered by Barbudans themselves. Theyre not going over to clean their own homes, says Fuller. Its their culture from birth that everything is done for them. I dont know how Antigua is going to get them out of the shelters.

    Fuller has made more than 40 trips and counting to Barbuda since the hurricane, transporting people and supplies. He is scornful of Antiguans he knows who, he says, sent money and aid to Dominica after Hurricane Maria, but didnt send anything to Barbuda out of resentment.

    This reflects the mistrust between the two islands. Barbudans say Antiguans look down on them and want to control their island; Antiguans say Barbudans sponge off their tax dollars and use the complicated land system to deny access to Antiguans wanting to start businesses there.

    Barbudas
    Barbudas Codrington lagoon after Hurricane Irma. The storm inflicted catastrophic damage. Photograph: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images

    Honestly, we were never close, says Harris, the woman running the shelter at the cricket stadium. We say we are brothers and sisters, but were not. I used to think, the further away the better. I think the hurricane was needed to bring us closer. Ive never been so close to so many Barbudans.

    No one knows if or when Barbuda will return to normal. Estimates range from one to three years.

    Fuller has the bleakest prognosis. The Barbuda as we know it died with that evacuation order, he says. They dont want to go back. How can they go back? Why would they go back?

    On that issue, all are agreed: if Barbuda is to have a chance of recovery, it needs to be reinhabited. The more we stay away the more were going to lose, says Burton.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/nov/20/the-night-barbuda-died-how-hurricane-irma-created-a-caribbean-ghost-town

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    Obama advisor really believes cutting taxes on the wealthy is ‘giving’ money to rich people

    There’s been a lot to distract from tax reform efforts on Capitol Hill, but for the record, former Barack Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer is paying attention, and he’s appalled at the Republican effort to “give” rich people more money.

    Read more: https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2017/11/18/obama-advisor-really-believes-cutting-taxes-on-the-wealthy-is-giving-money-to-rich-people/

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    Koko, The Talking Gorilla

    “SURELY THE WORLD’S MOST ACCOMPLISHED GORILLA”—PBS, 1999

    Koko was born in 1971 as Hanabi-Ko at San Francisco Zoo. She was described as “tiny,” “unnourished,” “sickly,” “cheerful and curious.” At 12 months, suffering from near-death malnutrition, she was separated from her biological mother and adopted by Penny Patterson, a 24/25-year-old graduate student, who began teaching her American Sign Language (ASL). , about Dr. Penny Patterson’s experiences as Koko’s mother and teacher, was published in 1981 with a quote from Koko re herself on the cover: “Fine animal gorilla.”

    Today Koko can comprehend ~2000 words of spoken English and more than 1000 signs of ASL. Her placid, zany, surreally idyllic, somewhat mysterious life on an indoor/outdoor compound in Northern California with a number of cats/dogs/humans and one other gorilla is nurtured, documented, and promoted by The Gorilla Foundation via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and koko.org in a tonally distinct and consistent manner—with captioned photographs (KokoPix), videos (KokoFlix), staff-written anecdotes (KokoBLOG), coverage of auxiliary characters, and brief descriptions of her daily activities and communications.

    Despite a strong decrease in media coverage the past decade (in the 80s and 90s she interacted on video with William Shatner and Robin Williams, idly appeared in the —“Koko, a gorilla that researchers say has a vocabulary estimated at more than 500 sign-language words, cried after it was told that its pet cat had been killed, officials said Tuesday”—and was the subject of a full-length documentary, at least 3 books, and a TV/VHS special narrated by Martin Sheen) Koko is probably still the most famous nonfictional gorilla to have ever existed or that will ever exist.

    THE GORILLA FOUNDATION

    Founded in 1976 by Dr. Penny Patterson—who seems to have remained in daily contact with Koko since then, or earlier—to “save gorillas from extinction, and inspire our children to create a sustainable future for all great apes,” The Gorilla Foundation is a tightly-knit, devoted, focused, tonally confident non-profit 501c3 corporation with the ability to easily release or renew a variety of long-term, pre-internet, non-culture-specific memes via 6-15 reoccurring characters, all connecting back to Koko who exists, one could say, as the vessel that without which The Gorilla Foundation could not fully express itself, but with which The Gorilla Foundation is able to comfortably—almost transcendently—express itself continuously.

    The Gorilla Foundation’s medium-large cast of characters (Smoky “the cat,” Flower “the dog,” Ron Cohn “the principle photographer,” Ndume “the Silverback Gorilla,” “Caregiver” Jana, “Caregiver” Andrea, etc.) has a mostly name-and-one-image-based, almost “flat”—or “invented”—affect (in service of eliciting intimacy and amusement, I feel, rather than to convey good/evil) that, to me, is reminiscent of a 16-bit RPG, maybe specifically Final Fantasy III. One seems to almost “play” Koko’s internet presence, “exploring” it calmly, “saving” one’s game when finished, returning hours/days/months later to continue from the previous session, except here the game is unwinnable (but can be multiplayer, I feel, based on having Gmail chatted with a friend as we both navigated Koko’s internet presence, sending each other Koko-related links).

    Attractively, and interestingly, to me, The Gorilla Foundation—despite being a non-profit with a stated, concrete mission—is not afraid to openly convey information that is tonally vague, “politically incorrect,” or potentially irrelevant/detrimental to its mission, for example:

    1. A photo (first on page six) from KokoPix displays a Ron Cohn, in the near-background, looking down with an earnestly depressed facial expression as Koko looks at the camera with an extremely-wide-open mouth. Ron Cohn’s expression is not addressed in the photo’s caption or title (“Expressive Koko!”) because, I feel, The Gorilla Foundation, in not acknowledging or somehow otherwise mollifying Ron Cohn’s depressed facial expression, is conveying that it is comfortable with the reality that not everyone, even in a non-profit, can display happy or excited facial expressions all the time.
    2. Another photo (see above-right) is of Koko’s naked backside, as she seems to be moving away from the camera, toward something in the distance, and is titled “Koko’s rear” in what seems to be an openly “deadpan” manner, reminiscent of a college student taking a photo of their drunken, naked, unknowing roommate and titling the photo “Frank’s Ass” and putting it on Facebook or their blog.
    3. Koko’s WishList contains 2 philosophical/spiritual DVDs that are overtly, almost comically, for humans on the staff of The Gorilla Foundation—

      —and which reference sentiments conventionally nonexistent in non-profit organizations (“emptiness,” unhappiness), as they “seem depressing,” but here are presented consecutively, without qualification or explanation, almost as if in opposition to conventionally “positive” DVDs that could’ve been listed there instead.

    The Gorilla Foundation, like a tree or cloud or other thing from nature, seems to mostly present itself only to an ideal, abstract, fully internalized audience—one that does not question sincerity or intent, that does not require justification or meaning, that would rather The Gorilla Foundation not pause (to defend itself, to allow others time to comprehend it) but to continue always with what it’s already doing. In this manner The Gorilla Foundation exists more in actualization of itself than in opposition to something else, which implies, to some degree, that it doesn’t earnestly believe it—or anything—“needs” to exist or is “right” or “wrong,” rather that its “mission” is a temporary concept, created by itself to directionalize itself, that without which [The Gorilla Foundation] wouldn’t exist.

    An overview of Koko’s brand

    KOKO’S BRAND (VIA THE GORILLA FOUNDATION)

    The Gorilla Foundation’s chief meme-form—

    [specific gorilla] [verb associated with humans] [item associated with humans]

    —does not exclusive employ Koko (sometimes it has employed Ndume, Koko’s current “mate,” or Michael, who died in 2000 from heart failure and was described in his obituary as Koko’s best friend) but it’s when Koko, with her uniquely alienated situation and strong “personal brand,” is the conduit that the low-level memes transcend the emotional void of meme-hood and become more like “things of ‘art’” which, though lacking the viral potential of memes, are perhaps more useful as sustainable palliatives—rather than temporary distractions—for existential issues such as limited-time, death, confusion and therefore more memorable and lasting.

    The Gorilla Foundation has generated a variety of memes—

    • watching romantic comedies
    • having “favorite” movies (, , )
    • cradling tiny kittens, baby human dolls, or “troll” dolls
    • flossing
    • finger-painting
    • reading fan mail
    • getting her back scratched by a grinning Dr. Penny Patterson
    • photographing herself
    • celebrating birthdays and holidays with “feasts” or costumes
    • climbing things in her outdoor compound
    • sitting on grass in sunlight in a lightly dazed, cat-like manner
    • eating chia seeds, acacia shoots, red roses
    • “daintily” peeling and eating oranges
    • strategizing on how to gain “enrichments” (toy-like items or food items placed in areas out of reach without the use of creativity)
    • interacting with celebrities in situations where the celebrities seem categorically more interested in her than she in them
    • laying amongst toys for adolescent humans in the manner of a “passed-out drunk” laying amongst their recent, personal wreckage
    • staring at “to do lists” posted on walls while holding a pen in a professional manner.

    —that with Koko as their node have aggregately, at some point, 20-40 years ago, enacted a uniquely class-spanning, difficult-to-earnestly-shit-talk, subtly unzany brand of extreme zaniness that seems to have come into existence gradually, over decades, independent of chance-like associations with short-term cultural obsessions and without logos or catch-phrases or non-factual self-description (the front page of koko.org contains no adjectives re Koko), almost as an “accidental” side-effect of simply satisfying Koko’s existential and evolutionary needs in a publicly documented manner.

    One can discern the accidental nature of Koko’s brand by looking at photographs of her and feeling unable to easily identity the time period or cultural climate (unlike the brands of, say, David Bowie or even Woody Allen, whose relatively slight cultural-inflection, in terms of aesthetic, is still enough to place a photo him in a decade). Like the closed system of the universe—self-defining, defaultedly expanding, toneless-by-way-of-encompassing-all-tones—Koko’s brand, because it overlaps completely (or near completely) with her existence, will never seem to change yet is not, by definition, stagnant.

    The result is that Koko can do or “say” anything and it will strengthen her brand. She will never seem “out of character” because she has displayed a range of tones and behaviors comprehensive and wide-ranging enough that she has acquired, among other things, the bankruptcy-proof qualities of the major corporation that has expanded to so many sectors that it’s no longer identifiable with one product and is now, transcendently, outside the success-failure spectrum.

    Curiously, engaging in violent or other directly immoral—defined here as “that which, within a context, and in comparison to something else within the same context, increases the pain and suffering of those within the context”—behavior seems to be the only way Koko could ruin her brand to any degree. In a universe where the only innate direction, arguably, of conscious beings is to “avoid pain”/“seek pleasure,” the maintenance of Koko’s brand is at once evolutionarily, existentially, and morally/politically appealing in a way that one could imagine earnestly saying things about how if Sartre were alive today he might consider Koko, not Che, to be “the most complete [entity] of our age.”

    SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF KOKO’S BRAND

    “DEADPAN” MANNER

    One assumes, in most moments of one’s life, that Koko’s specific brand of “deadpan”—resulting mostly from the hundreds of photos/videos of her displaying neutral facial expressions in contexts that, as a gorilla, can seem troubling to “grim”—is accidental, that she doesn’t comport herself in service of conveying, for comic effect, that her experience of concrete reality is one of low-level, self-aware, not unenjoyable exasperation.

    But in certain moments of one’s life, usually while feeling relatively content, calmly showering after waking at 5PM, the suspicion that Koko’s existence is absolutely “accomplished with a careful pretense of calm detachment, displaying little to no emotional or person involvement,” or “deadpan,” seems to gain prominence, moving in a self-powered manner toward the factual, like a neuroticism becoming an insanity, though mostly in a controlled manner, to amuse oneself.

    As with cats or hamsters, especially those viewed on computer screens, one feels reluctant to fully inhabit the somewhat bleak worldview that would 100% deny Koko’s ability to discern and manipulate tone. It’s possible, one sometimes thinks while idly perusing koko.org at 4AM, that Koko’s acceptance of her forthcoming nonexistence is what causes her facial expression to “relax” in times of stress, counter—especially for gorillas, maybe—to conventional “flight-or-flight” behavior.

    The Gorilla Foundation seems to encourage this interpretation of Koko (see photo of Koko staring out a window), increasing the emotional depth of her brand by promoting that thoughts like “Koko endures situations calmly by allowing the sensation that ‘it’s okay to die’ to neutralize most of her negative emotions” be interpreted without complete sarcasm, but with some identification and, if possible, emotional satisfaction.

    NEUTRAL FACIAL EXPRESSION

    Koko’s specific “neutral facial expression” is characterized by “beady” eyes, a “dead gaze,” and her “mountainous head,” of which only the mouth, it seems, can discernibly move. In the rare photo where Koko appears to have explicitly chosen not to display a neutral facial expression she seems almost belligerently sarcastic and is ultimately completely unsuccessful—in a manner, however, that actually seems deliberately unsuccessful and therefore completely successful, in that the viewer actually believes, even more, now, that Koko’s neutral demeanor is inherent, ever-emanating, uncontrollable.

    In one of the aforementioned photos (first on page six) Koko’s mouth is open “extremely wide” in the style of a energetic, confident, young woman at a college football game who has had six beers, but every other area of Koko’s face seem firmly neutral, to a degree that “neutral” still seems to be the most-accurate description of her facial expression (one discerns simply that the mouth is open extremely wide in a temporary, meaningless manner that can be completely ignored).

    Imagining a confused facial expression at the front of Koko’s head is like imagining an apple by focusing exclusively on an image of an orange. Imagine Koko alone somewhere, hugging herself and crying. Now focus on her facial expression. Does it seem neutral? Even with strong contextual influence it seems like I cannot—without actuating a grotesquely unreal image or villainizing as evil and therefore angry when neutral—imagine Koko with anything but a neutral facial expression, even if she were to display a fully angry or depressed facial expression.

    When one encounters a paradox like this (and one does often, with Koko’s brand) one can ignore it by thinking about other things or one can force it to “make sense” by distorting it—or one can receive the paradox in entirety, not assimilating it, but assimilate ourselves to it, and, by doing so, increase the metaphysical space in which phenomenon can be utilized and experienced.

    MOUNTAINOUS HEAD

    The size and shape of Koko’s head—larger and more protruding than that of other gorillas I’ve seen on the internet—allows Koko to effortlessly and continuously convey a seasonal, archetypal, cosmic neutrality. One views Koko’s head and automatically intuits, to some degree, the indifference of the universe (via subconscious associations: “mountainous,” mountain, trees, leaves, seasons, Earth’s movement around the sun, stars’ movements around black holes).

    Perceiving the enormous, pineapple-y—or boulder-like, depending on angle—non-face portions of Koko’s head one also experiences a relenting of “wanting/needing to know,” feeling calmly vulnerable to the mystery of what’s inside the part of Koko’s head that extends above the “original” top of her head. With some effort one discerns only “ridiculous” explanations—that it’s actually hair that all gorillas condense with their hands into a bone-like matter for defense purposes, that gorillas’ brains are cone-shaped, that there’s a single muscle inside that can suddenly flex to deceptively power an arm or leg for predatory purposes.

    RESISTS EITHER-OR DESCRIPTION

    1. Koko seems both borderline retarded and to be a skilled genius, in that her IQ has been tested as between 70 and 90 on a human scale (on which below 70 is retarded) and she is more fluent in English and ASL than any other gorilla in history. She seems both “stupid” and highly intelligent in a manner that has no analogy in humans, even considering “idiot savants,” in part because, as a gorilla, she already seems, via stereotype, “stupid” (a dolphin with an IQ between 70 and 90 would, to most people, seem fully intelligent).

    2. Koko seems only vaguely female, in that the concept of her, in part because she’s of a species that is arguably male-inflected, creates a space in one’s cognition that, in my case, was filled with the previously meaningless phrase “exact gender.” I seemed to think “what is Koko’s exact gender” sometimes while idly perusing koko.org which has a subtle effect, in its lack of gender cues (no pink/blue clothing or yearning for a male gorilla or application of lipstick or jewelry or motherly behavior toward an infant gorilla), of further obscuring Koko’s gender by making her seem like a small child rather than a grown woman. It’s not uncommon to realize, after amounts of time ranging from minutes to weeks, that one has been thinking of Koko as a boy or man for that period of time.

    ”DELIGHTFULLY ALIENATED”

    Koko is in daily contact with one gorilla and probably 5-15 cats/dogs/humans. She was born in a zoo, removed from her biological mother, and raised by a human whom she refers to as her mother, despite, according to The Gorilla Foundation, knowing the species difference. She was taught to communicate using a different species’ language. Her featured, nearly life-long, as-yet unachieved goal is to move to a compound in Maui that would better simulate her natural environment—equatorial Africa, where she has never been—and most of her life is now documented on the internet, likely without her knowledge or comprehension.

    Yet—like a child in a fantasy who escapes a mundane or terrible reality into a world of elves, trolls, wizards—Koko’s situation seems somehow magical, ever-interesting, exciting, almost the opposite of alienating.

    “SLAPSTICK” EFFECT

    Imagine Koko watching a reporter cover a hurricane from inside the hurricane, navigating Facebook, or looking at a “grainy” photograph of a big-headed extraterrestrial—or doing anything where she isn’t moving her body, limbs, or head—and you’ll discern, weakly then with sudden clarity, that when Koko is engaged in a stationary activity the situation will seem firmly “slapstick,” a genre of humor based completely on violent, full-bodied movement.

    CONSONANT-VOWEL-CONSONANT-VOWEL NAME

    Koko was born as Hanabi-Ko (Japanese for “fireworks child”) but quickly became known as “Koko,” taking on a form that has proven successful across cultures and time-periods, from corporations (Bebe) to people (Bebe Zeva) to pet names (Bobo) to authors (Kobo Abe) to restaurants (Koko!) to pop stars (Lady Gaga). One suspects her brand would be cripplingly less compelling, that she would be currently “homeless” or dead after being purchased by a zoo deep in Russia, if her name were Susan or, like her fellow gorillas, Ndume or Michael, names which seem to almost proudly lack the moxie, fearlessness, and avant-nature of a Kobo or Koko or even Coco.

    FINANCIAL PROBLEMS

    Despite coverage from , , , , multiple YouTube videos with over 200,000 views, being featured in a Robin Williams’ stand-up routine, being the inspiration for Amy in Michael Crichton’s , and being sponsored by Sting, the aforementioned Robin Williams, Gloria Steinam, and others, massive mainstream success, to the point of financial security, seems to have eluded Koko apparently, as one of her 3 goals in life, since at least 1993, has been to move to a habitat in Maui, but only half the funds have been raised in 17 years.

    Perhaps Koko is not able to achieve the success of a Madonna or a Michael Jordan because her brand is inherently indescribable within the conventional journalistic technique (“non-boring” sentence followed by a number of other sentences “proving” the first sentence), due in part to her multidisciplinary nature and that she lacks the kind of intense, strategic focus that can manifest as unself-aware self-parody, which seems required for extreme media coverage.

    It may be simply that because she’s a gorilla there’s a “cap” to her level of fame or marketability, in that humans cannot fully identify with gorillas. Often, it seems, one feels interested in Koko for days or weeks, while in a certain mood, then suddenly doesn’t feel anything for Koko—feels “nothing” for Koko. Media, potential sponsors, and Hollywood may be aware of this and deliberately stay away from Koko, to a degree that financial problems have become a part of her brand.

    MALLEABLE NATURE

    The following 4 perspectives of Koko show that, though idiosyncratic and distinct, she is also a kind of “blank slate,” able to be successfully conveyed in a variety of manners.

    1. A Wikipedia search of Koko yields 6 subjects under “People, animals, and plants.” The Koko of this essay, listed fourth—above “Emperor K?k?, the 58th emperor of Japan”—is described as “Koko (gorilla), an ape who underwent training in Gorilla Sign Language.” With its focus on information that seems factual even without attribution, Wikipedia’s initial description presents Koko as insignificant, common, vaguely nonexistent. One imagines that thousands of gorillas have undergone training in Gorilla Sign Language, and that it’s a boring, repetitive, mostly unsuccessfully program endured by graduate students for bureaucratic reasons related to degree completion.

    2. A article, pressured, one assumes, to preemptively justify each subject it focuses on, begins with “Koko the gorilla has been featured in THE NEW YORK TIMES, her face has graced the covers of prestigious magazines, 3 books have been written about her, and scientists hang on her every word,” a lede that would seem sarcastic in most other contexts (it seems unlikely that a non-profit organization like would be sarcastic in this manner) presents Koko as iconically powerful, extremely famous, profoundly interesting, almost God-like (“scientists hang on her every word”).

    3. When interviewed in 2009 by the about his visit with Koko William Shatner said “I [was] frightened to death” then relates how he approached Koko repeatedly saying “I love you” and that Koko responded by staring with “brown eyes” before “cupping,” or holding Shatner’s genitals from below.

    4. In Robin Williams’ stand-up routine he relates how Koko wanted him to “lift his shirt,” which he did, after which “[Koko] reached out and grabbed both my nipples […] She grabs me by the hand and starts to take me to the back.” The YouTube video refers to the gorilla as “Coco the Silverback Gorilla,” however, possibly to denote that the routine, though autobiographical, is fictional—in service of comedy not truth.

    LOW-LEVEL SEX SCANDAL

    This period in Koko’s life, documented on her Wikipedia page between “Koko’s cats” and “Popular Culture,” as “Sexual harassment,” was covered by  with an article titled “Gorilla Foundation rocked by breast display lawsuit” featuring the tagline “Former employees say they were told to expose chests.” The article cites 2 employees who claimed to have been fired because they “refused to expose [their] breast[s] to perform acts of bestiality with one of the gorillas” and quotes Dr. Penny Patterson as allegedly saying “Koko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples. I will turn my back so Kendra can show you her nipples.”

    The article says:

    The subject of books, videos and documentary films, the hairy linguist participated in what was called the first interspecies chat on the Internet in 1998, attracting more than 8,000 AOL users.

    San Francisco attorney Stephen Sommers, who is representing Alperin and Keller, has a transcript of that chat.

    “There’s a history with this nipple thing,” he said, leafing through the transcript and pointing out the word “nipple” — which he’d highlighted in pink — each time it appeared.

    The history, as such, might date back to Koko’s mother, who reportedly did not have enough breast milk to feed her.

    As of November 21, 2005 all claims of sexual harassment have been dropped because “the foundation and the parties involved reached a settlement.”

    The Wikipedia section ends with a sentence that uses the phrase “Koko’s lawyer” in a manner that could be used in creative writing classes to explain Hemingway’s “iceberg” theory of writing: “Jody Weiner, Koko’s lawyer, writes about Koko and sexual harassment in the book Kinship With Animals.”

    Koko’s goals and future

    GOALS

    Koko’s top 3 wishes in life, repeatedly mentioned throughout her internet presence, in most press releases, and in subscription materials (I donated $25 to The Gorilla Foundation at some point and now regularly receive Koko-related things in the mail) are:

    #1 “A gorilla baby to love”
    #2 “Move to the new Maui Ape Preserve”
    #3 “People to be ‘polite’ to gorillas”

    Though Koko herself lists it as second, moving to Maui is presented, aggregately, I feel, as definitely the main goal of The Gorilla Foundation.

    The first movement toward moving to Maui occurred in 1993 when The Gorilla Foundation signed a 65-year lease to use 70 acres of Maui Land & Pineapple Co. land as a gorilla preserve, according to an article in The Maui News. The purpose of the preserve would be to establish a home simulating “the tropical rain forests of Africa” and, in extension, be a “vital step” toward saving gorillas from extinction.

    The first concrete action occurred in 2000, when the foundation obtained the necessary permits and constructed a small building, an enclosure, a reservoir.

    In 2007 the project was described as “going through a redesign phase to take advantage of advances,” which most people would probably interpret as meaning “it will never be finished, it seems,” as there will likely not ever be a time when advances are not available to “take advantage” of in another “redesign phase.” No concrete progress has been made since the 2007 announcement, according to the “Maui Ape Preserve” section of koko.org, which says that $2 million has been raised.

    According to Dr. Penny Patterson “All of Koko’s wishes are within reach. Koko could potentially still conceive or adopt a baby gorilla, and members of her species are known to live well into their fifties. In addition, work is underway to make the Maui Preserve a reality that we believe will play an important role in furthering the survival of the species. We feel there is a lot to celebrate. Happy birthday, Koko, good friend and ‘fine gorilla person’!”

    FUTURE

    According to the average lifespan of a Western Lowland Gorilla is 35 years. Though lifespan increases in captivity, Koko, who turns 40 on July 4 of this year, is still morbidly elderly, and with only 608 followers on Twitter, art that sells for  $150-$350, a brand too complex, at this point, for journalists to successfully pitch to their editors, and a global network of increasingly powerful media corporations focused on publicizing natural disasters, political gaffes, religious fervor, and [other conflict-based memes] it seems unlikely that Koko will achieve any of her life wishes (the third, for humans to “be polite” to gorillas, seems less a wish than either an idle yearning or a weakly inflected joke).

    This conventionally depressing aspect of Koko’s life is featured prominently in press releases and on koko.org, perhaps because The Gorilla Foundation, through readings of Buddhist and philosophical texts and as a natural expression of its unafraid brand, feels no sadness about it, due to viewing goals as relevant only for the direction they provide in the otherwise directionless period between birth and death, regardless of achievement. In this worldview existence itself is the only “accomplishment,” after which there is only a half-sarcastically directionalized “play,” which, if there is any, may be the core sentiment that powers a brand more focused on amusing itself than on qualifying itself upward within a culturally, societally, or politically defined hierarchy.

    TWITTER ACCOUNT (@kokotweets)

    The Gorilla Foundation’s first Tweet (bit.ly link to a CNN Europe article about a gorilla named Jookie) happened 29 AUG 2009. As of 24 FEB 2011 The Gorilla Foundation’s Twitter account has 608 followers (the low number seems baffling to a degree that it seems somehow deliberate), 218 Tweets, and is on 48 lists.

    Whomever controls Koko’s Twitter account seems impressively consistent, given the precariously complicated tone that has been employed via medium-frequent “scare quote” usage, a naïf-like “deadpan,” a consistently unpredictable usage of exclamation marks, an at-times grim-seeming detachment. There are no stock phrases, I think, and punctuation and formatting seem consistent—except some periods, arguably. The sentences are direct, concrete, and seem to trust that the reader will “get it.”

    A Tweet with an exclamation mark seems unexpectedly—almost bleakly—exhilarating:

    A Tweet without an exclamation mark seems ominous to grim:

    Koko “purrs” in almost every Tweet she’s in:

    Some Tweets are short, direct:

    The first sentence of this Tweet provides context skillfully, I feel:

    Some Tweets, in their focus on concrete description and avoidance of idiom, seem highly open to interpretation. These Tweets, for example, could be viewed as “disapproving”:

    Some Tweets convey potentially complicated (for 140 characters) anecdotes deftly, with clarity and concision:

    Selected photos from KokoPix, The Gorilla Foundation’s “photo blog.”

    KOKOPIX

    KokoPix is a “photo blog” created 01 JAN 2000. As of 24 FEB 2011 there are 1363 photos—each with a title, a date, a photographer credit, a caption (click photos for their captions).

    Some photos are of other animals that live on the indoor/outdoor compound:

    Some photos seem direct yet vague:

    Some photos are of inanimate objects or nature:

    Some captions seem strongly sarcastic (if read without knowledge of Koko’s brand):

    Koko is credited as photographer in some photos:

    Many photos are creatively playful:

    Dr. Penny Patterson (b. 1947) and Koko (b. 1971):

    Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/tao-lin/2011/02/koko-the-talking-gorilla/

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    Princes William And Harry Are Set To Play Iconic Characters In Star Wars The Last Jedi

    The majority of people can attest to fantasizing about becoming a prince or princess at least once. However, as we have learned from the trials and tribulations of the British Royal Family, life as a royal is far from being a real-life fairy tale.

    From the moment princes and princesses are born, they are under constant scrutiny, and this scrutiny is arguably worse for people who marry into the Royal Family, with the press being highly criticized for their treatment of Princess Diana. But her sons William and Harry have proven that it is possible to live a relatively private royal life whilst enjoying the perks of the job. Since their mother’s untimely death at the age of 36, the Princes have guarded their right to privacy, with Prince William and his wife Kate suing members of the press who invaded their privacy in France by taking photographs of a topless Kate. In fact, the Royal couple went as far as having a $26,400 yew hedge planted around their London home, Kensington Palace, to prevent unscrupulous members of the press and the public from invading their privacy. Whilst some people argue that the Royals are public property because the taxpayer funds their lavish lifestyle, both William and Harry have served their country alongside ordinary civilians in the army as well as carrying out their royal duties. The Royal Family is a huge source of stability in society, promoting British values in times when the government is unable to do so. Prince Harry and William have also candidly spoken about their mother and life as royals, proving that they are not willing to shy away from people’s fascination with the Royal Family, and they give back in many ways by spending their time working for charitable causes. Now they’ve shown their fun side once again by cameoing in The Last Jedi. The Princes’ cameo in the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise was confirmed by actor John Boyega this summer. The 25-year-old who plays Finn also revealed that the Royals were not the only big names to make cameo appearances. William and Harry are pictured below during an April 2016 visit to Pinewood Studios in London. Prince William has described himself as a “total geek” about Star Wars movies. A number of sources previously revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the Princes will be playing stormtroopers in the movie alongside actor Tom Hardy and musician Gary Barlow. They will be guarding Boyega’s character, Finn, in an elevator. However, this Royal cameo will be a Jar Jar Binks and you’ll miss it moment because stormtroopers’ faces are hidden by their helmets. But it’s easy to imagine what 35-year-old William and 33-year-old Harry would have looked like on set.

    Boyega confirmed what sources revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. He said that being with Prince Harry and William as well as Hardy and Barlow “wrapped in Stormtroopers costumes” looked like a “strange contrast of a weird family.”

    Meeting members of the Royal Family has long been regarded as an honor, and, because of this, many people feel intimidated by their presence. But Boyega said that it was “more fun than intimidating” ultimately describing it as “a great experience”. The Last Jedi will be released in December this year. When Prince Harry and William visited Pinewood Studios in April of last year, as you would expect from siblings, they challenged each other to a lightsaber battle. They were also shown a number of props from the movie, including animatronic heads. They are pictured below posing with the cast. However, this is unlikely to be the last time that the Royals hit the headlines over the coming weeks. Speculation about an impending engagement announcement between Prince Harry and his 36-year-old girlfriend Meghan Markle is rife, especially now that it has emerged that she is bringing her dogs to the UK. “The fact she’s started the process of moving them to England is the clearest hint yet that she sees her future living in London with Harry,” a source close to the Suits star revealed. It has also been revealed that Markle has left her role in Suits, once again implying that she is preparing herself for life as a future princess. Thanks to Harry’s commitment to privacy, the two were able to keep their relationship under wraps for six months before making it official in November of last year. This video explains when the two could have possibly gotten engaged this summer: We hope that the Princes’ privacy continues to be respected and wish Harry and Meghan all the best in their blossoming relationship. The Princes’ Star Wars cameo will certainly make for interesting viewing for future royals!

    Read more: http://www.viralthread.com/princes-william-and-harry-have-just-filmed-a-stormtrooper-cameo-in-the-last-jedi/?all

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    A UPS Driver Heard A Cry For Help And Called The Police, But The Victim Shocked Them

    When you’re a delivery driver, I’m sure you see and hear lots of crazy things.

    If you were walking around dropping off packages and heard persistent cries of, “Help me! Help me!” that sounded like an elderly person who needed some help, you’d probably help them, right? That’s exactly what happened to one UPS driver, so he called his wife and asked her to alert the authorities. When police showed up, the “victim” wasn’t even human.

    This is Diego, and he’s a 41-year-old parrot who can do impressions of dogs, cats, and a few human phrases, including, you guessed it: “Help me!”

    Screenshot Youtube / Inside Edition

    His owner Susan Baird says that Diego doesn’t like being alone, so he says the phrase when he wants some companionship. She happened to be out when the driver stopped by, and she wasn’t surprised when she heard his story.

    Here’s more information about this totally wacky incident in the video below.

    Youtube / Inside Edition

    Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/parrot-help-me/

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    A Ranking Of The Worst ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Couples

    Naming the best couple on is easy: It’s Lisa and Ken, and they may well be the best couple on the planet. Sure, Ken is essentially a well-dressed sofa cushion for Lisa’s parade of animal companions, but I can’t even get my boyfriend to sit through a full episode of without grumbling about how he’s going to throw acid in his eyes, let alone support me through the purchase of two ponies, eight swans, seven turtles, and eight dogs. So, it’s a shame that with such a good role model, the SUR staff is still seemingly incapable of distinguishing “soulmate” from “person who also works here”—or in Jax’s case, “female in my eyeline.” Here’s a ranking of ’s worst of the worst.

    Tom and Ariana

    What’s the worst thing you can say about this couple? They’re kind of boring, and he wears more makeup than she does? She’s pretending to be anti-marriage to get screen time not dying to get engaged? Yeah, move along. They don’t actively hate each other, and they have not said things to each other on TV that have made me gasp. They’re fine.

    Katie and Tom

    Ugh, I was really hoping to rank these two lower, seeing as most of the episodes surrounding their wedding were so goddamn traumatizing, I couldn’t even enjoy the finale. I just don’t understand how that Vegas trip wasn’t a bigger red flag for either one of them, let alone the running joke about how sexless they are. That being said, they are still a pretty good couple by standards (no cheating further than making out, vaguely promising couples’ therapy, etc.).

    Jax and Carmen / Jax and Tiffany

    If you’re thinking, “Who?” here, you have a good point. Tiffany is the girl in Vegas who paid for Jax’s hotel room in which he banged another girl, and Carmen is the girl Jax was actually dating when he first got together with Tiffany. Were either of these relationships founded on more than physical attraction and shots? No, but in their defense, they didn’t then stay together for three years and systematically ruin each other’s lives, which is pretty much the M.O.

    Jax and Brittany

    Speaking of that M.O., here’s Jax and Brittany! Unlike Carmen/Tiffany, Brittany becomes fully invested, moves to LA, and is gifted new boobs—after which she’s berated and humiliated for not showing her gratitude by doing things like “making sandwiches” and “not being around so much.” Brittany is a very sweet if painfully stupid naïve girl—she deserves better than a relationship that renders both parties half as attractive as they were when they came in.

    Kristen and Tom

    Everyone tends to focus on how unrelentingly batshit Kristen became post-breakup (and there’s a lot to focus on), but the relationship itself was also pretty fucking awful (the cheating, the constant fighting, the general vibe of two people who just couldn’t figure out how to leave each other). That being said, I was full-on bawling when they had a brief emotional moment post breakup; they were probably once in love before it became a who’s-shittier competition.

    Stassi and Frank / Stassi and Jax

    I’m grouping these together, because we don’t see much of either, and they have similar trends. The relationships themselves are mostly Stassi bitching and Jax/Frank being a whiny little shit. They both have one HORRIFYING feature (Jax: impregnating a stripper; Frank: distributing Stassi’s sex tape), and are otherwise unremarkable. I would’ve loved to see the Malibu Barbie/Ken phase of Jax & Stassi, but Stassi was too smart to be another cog in Jax’s sex addiction take him back, and I applaud her.

    Jax and Laura Leigh

    This relationship was deliciously hard to watch. I don’t think Jax paid a single piece of positive attention to Laura Leigh that wasn’t related to either his dick or Stassi’s presence, meaning I spent way too much time screaming, “He doesn’t even LIKE you,” at my TV. But seriously, if a guy is nervously smiling instead of responding with words 9/10 times, take his cue and assume they are not words you want to hear, LL! And please, either take your helium voice down a couple pitches, or tell fewer chilling meth-addiction stories in it; the combination is not workable.

    Scheana and Shay

    Ugh, this couple wins for most brutal offenses over a long-ass period of time. It’s honestly sad that Scheana didn’t realize he had a pill addiction for their entire relationship, and that she somehow felt a chemistry between them that was never visible to a single viewer undoubtedly less present for Shay, if at all, behind the far more pressing issue of where he was going to get his next high. I hope Scheana finds someone who does more than sullenly tolerate her presence and that Shay finds his way off my TV screen forever.

    Kristen and James

    Finally, what do you get when you put the two most determinedly awful people in the world together? A Weinstein-Trump sandwich ’s worst couple! This relationship involved cheating, lying, hints of alcoholism, verbal AND physical abuse, and also managed to be exceptionally un-fun to watch, given the fact that you are rooting for no one and nothing other than the sweet release of death for all parties involved.

    Even just recapping those relationships was exhausting—I have no idea how these people lived through all of them. Thankfully, in three weeks (!!!), I can go back to doing what I do best: getting drunk on Monday nights and continuing to watch this blessed cast do things I would never have the lack of shame strength to do myself. Blessings.

    Read more: http://www.betches.com/ranking-of-worst-vanderpump-rules-couples

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    Meet the organization doing everything it can to make sure pets go to forever homes.

    There are few things quite as special as adopting a pet.

    Take it from someone who hates a mess but ended up bringing two rescue kittens into her tiny New York apartment. After years of fretting over the decision, it took just one day for me to realize the amazing amount of love you receive far outweighs any annoyance.

    Did they run around like wild cheetahs and scratch all the furniture? Sure, but I also woke up to one sitting on my pillow and the other squished into my moccasin. It was love at first meow. Just as you adopt a pet, they bring you into their pack, and the bond only strengthens with time.

    My husband, Mark, with our cat, Bill.

    That, in essence, is why organizations like the Michelson Found Animal Foundation do what they do — put pets in good homes.

    However, there are always more pets waiting to find theirs, and they require food, love, and care too.

    Approximately 7.6 million pets enter animal shelters in America each year. According to Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of Michelson Found, there are currently several thousand pets in 20 different shelters in Los Angeles alone. Unfortunately, shelters rarely have enough time, money, or manpower to care for all of the animals that come to them, which, in some cases, results in animals being euthanized.

    But that’s where Michelson Found Animals Foundation comes in — they’re an animal rescue umbrella organization that offers a variety of resources that help make pet adoption easier and more accessible. Their thousand volunteers work tirelessly to make sure as many pets as possible get to go home.

    A kitten at an Adopt and Shop shelter. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

    “Our mission is saving pets and enriching lives,” Gilbreath says. “And that’s not only the lives of the pets that we save, but also the people who love them.”

    The people who love them includes the many volunteers and staff members who interact with them on a daily basis.

    “I like knowing everyday when I wake up and come to work, I’m making a difference in an animal’s life, says one staffer.

    Sure, they’re giving them care and attention, but they’re also helping them get ready to head on to greener pastures, aka a new family. What could be more fulfilling?

    “Being an adoption counselor is so gratifying because you see an animal find its forever home and walk out that door for the last time,” says one volunteer.

    One kitten going to their forever home. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

    While the job may be its own reward, these people definitely deserve some recognition.

    SoCal Honda Dealers thought so too.

    That’s why they surprised the Michelson Found Animals Foundation volunteers with free lunch.

    A Helpful Honda person with Lori Hitchins, chief people officer with Michelson Found Animals Foundation. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

    But that wasn’t their only surprise. They also provided lunch for all the animals in the shelter. That’s approximately 44 dogs, 66 cats, and 168 kittens in foster care and at the adoption center. And they made sure to buy through the organization’s Adopt and Shop program too, so all the money went to saving more animals.

    Needless to say, the volunteers were incredibly grateful, and even more so when the staffers stuck around and played with some of the shelter’s residents.

    But more importantly, the gesture is a great example of the little things anyone can do to help enrich the lives of shelter animals, even if it’s just one bag of kibble at a time.

    A Helpful Honda person playing with one of the shelter dogs. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

    Adopting and shopping can go together, so long as you do it at a place like this.

    Even if you’re not ready to adopt right now, if you have friends with pets, consider getting them a gift from Adopt and Shop or donating to Michelson Found Animals Foundation in their name. They, their pet, and all the prospective pets and pet owners out there will thank you for it.

    Learn more about these amazing organizations here:

    SoCal Honda Dealers: Adopt & Shop

    These volunteers are paid in love by the sweet animals they rescue.

    Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    This was written by Upworthy writer Ally Hirschlag.

    Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/meet-the-organization-doing-everything-it-can-to-make-sure-pets-go-to-forever-homes

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    Sorry Blake Shelton, but here are the 12 actual sexiest men alive

    Blake Shelton became People‘s Sexiest Man Alive on Tuesday and we all collectively let out a big sigh. 

    Image: giphy

    Seriously People? There are a ton of reliable (unproblematic) men who should grace the cover and restore faith in what makes celebrities actually sexy. 

    Here are a few options that any able-minded person would have picked over Blake Shelton.

    1. Idris Elba

    Image: Via giphy

    Idris Elba is the most obvious person that should have won sexiest man alive. Children watch Thor and think he’s Jesus. And now he is giving us this look for People‘s failures.

    2. Mahershala Ali

    Image: via giphy

    Mahershala Ali and his breakout roles in Moonlight, House of Cards, and Hidden Figures is all that is right with the world. He won an Oscar, but his Sexiest Man Alive title is long overdue. Peace and blessings, indeed.

    3. Kit Harington

    Image: via giphy

    How can you say no when the King of the North is holding a baby wolf?

    4. Tom Hardy

    Image: via giphy

    Between his looks and consistently altered voice in movies, Tom Hardy’s work as the sexiest man alive has been adding up for years. 

    5. Oscar Isaac

    Image: via giphy

    Though he’s gone on to be the breakout star in Star Wars, Oscar Isaac’s camaraderie with his cat in Inside Llewyn Davis should’ve won him the Sexiest Man Alive title since 2013. Long overdue, People.

    6. Mark Ruffalo

    Image: giphy

    Do we need to explain this? Mark Ruffalo, the Hulk, the social activist, and the go-to guy for all your swooning needs. He’s also an amazing dancer (Have you seen 13 Going On 30?).

    7. All the Chris’s

    Image: giphy

    Why focus on one country singer when you can have four actors all with the same name grace the cover? Individually they are beautiful, together they are a powerhouse of Chris’s ready to take over the world.  

    8. Alexander Skarsgård 

    Image: giphy

    A rising star that grace the big screen in The Legend of Tarzan (shirtless for most of it) and won an Emmy for Big Little Liars. His brother is also Pennywise, so be very afraid Shelton. 

    9. Luke Bryan 

    Image: giphy

    Alright People, you wanted a country singer, why not go with Luke Bryan instead? He has the looks, the charms and he’s going to be a judge on American Idol

    10. Jeff Goldblum – MVP

    Image: giphy

    It’s surprising Jeff Goldblum hasn’t graced the cover of every magazine for every title known to man. He’s bringing sexy from the past, present and near future. Blake Shelton wishes he was on his level of royalty. 

    We can’t continue the list until People decides on 2018’s medicore Sexiest Man Alive cover, but we have a few honorable mentions that didn’t quite fit the cut just yet.

    Honorable Mention #1: Michael B. Jordan 

    Image: giphy

    Don’t underestimate Michael B. Jordan’s charisma. He starred in the hit Creed and next year will star in Marvel’s Black Panther, so be inspired by your next selection.

    Honorable Mention #2:  Jon Hamm

    Image: via giphy

    Jon Hamm isn’t as big as he was during his Mad Men days, but he is an American Institution. He excels in drama and comedy. And did we mention he’s an American Institution?

    We fully expect to see this list take over the next 12 years of Sexiest Men Alive. Don’t fail us again, People.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/16/sexiest-men-not-blake-shelton/

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    Want to live longer? Get a dog

    (CNN)The benefits that come with owning a dog are clear– physical activity, support, companionship — but owning a dog could literally be saving your life

    Dog ownership is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and death, finds a new Swedish study published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports.
    For people living alone, owning a dog can decrease their risk of death by 33% and their risk of cardiovascular related death by 36%, when compared to single individuals without a pet, according to the study. Chances of a heart attack were also found to be 11% lower.
      Multi-person household owners also saw benefits, though to a lesser extent. Risk of death among these dog owners fell by 11% and their chances of cardiovascular death were 15% lower. But their risk of a heart attack was not reduced by owning a dog.
      “A very interesting finding in our study was that dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household,” said Mwenya Mubanga, an author on the study and PhD student at Uppsala University.
      As a single dogowner, an individual is the sole person walking and interacting with their pet as opposed to married couples or households with children, which may contribute to greater protection from cardiovascular disease and death, said the study.
      Owners of hunting breeds, including terriers, retrievers,and scent hounds, were most protected from cardiovascular diseaseand death. However, owning any dog will reduce an owners risk of death, just to different extents, said Tove Fall, senior author of the study and Associate Professor in Epidemiology at Uppsala University.
      The study looked at over 3.4 million Swedish individuals between the ages of 40 and 80 sampled from a national database and the Swedish Twin Register over a 12-year study period.
      “We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results,” said Fall. This includes taking the dog out for a walk in any weather condition.
      The findings also suggest increased social well-being and immune system development as additional reasons why dog ownership offers protection against cardiovascular disease and death.
      One factor behind this may be because dogs bring dirt into homes and they lick you, which could impact your microbiome — the bacteria that live in your gut — and thus your health.
      “It may encourage owners to improve their social life, and that in itself will reduce their stress level, which we know absolutely is a primary cause for cardiovascular disease and cardiac events,” said Dr. Rachel Bond, Associate Director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the research.

      More to be revealed

      Fall believes that while their study provides strong evidence for the health benefits of dogs, their work is not done yet, since it does not answer why dogs achieve these results or why specific breeds seems to offer more protection.
      Bond commented that owners of hunting breeds may be getting more exercise because these dogs are more active as opposed to small dogs who do not require as much exercise.
      There are also other factors that still need to be considered, such as the owner’s personality and general physical health and activity.
      “It is hard to say if there truly is a causal effect. This study in particular, excluded patients with heart disease in general, and we know that disabled people may be less likely to own a dog so that really raises the question if owning a dog lead to heart health or is it merely a marker for people who are more likely to have good heart health,” said Dr. Bond.

      Tell us your story
      We love to hear from our audience. Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter and Facebook for the latest health news and let us know what we’re missing.

      While Bond may not prescribe a dog as treatment for a patient, she said that she will not discourage owning or buying one, or expressing the benefits of owning one.

      Benefits beyond Sweden

      While the research was carried out in Sweden, Fall does believe it may also apply toother countries, including the U.S., since popular breeds and people’s attitudes toward dog care are similar.
      However, some factors that may affect the results are thedifferences in climate and socio-economic backgrounds, noted Fall.
      “We have a colder climate so we have indoor dogs where owners take their dogs out for a walk. In warmer climates, they could keep them in the yard and won’t have to actively take them for a walk,” said Fall.
      “I think it would be hard to take the data from Sweden and apply it to the US since we have a more diverse population. More studies should be obtained in the United States,” said Bond.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/17/health/dog-owners-heart-disease-and-death/index.html

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      21 Things I Very Much Wish I Could Ask My Dog

      1. “What’s with the acting like every noise is a death threat and freaking the fuck out? Do you have to sound like the BTK Killer is at the door just because someone is vacuuming?”

      2. “Do you love me? How much? And is this love solely dependent on me continuing to feed you chicken that I’ve hand shredded specifically for you?”

      3. “What do you do all day when I’m not home? And more importantly, do you miss me?”

      4. “If I had a million dollars to spend on you, what would you WANT me to spend it on? My friend Chrissy said ‘Squirrel Reserve’ is a good option, but I would like to know what you enjoy.”

      5. “Do you miss people? Like specific people? And would you be okay with me guilting them with this info?”

      6. “Why are you staring at me? And why do you just stare at space/the wall with more intention than I’ve ever seen?”

      7. “Do you really hate all other dogs? Or is it an act?”

      8. “Do you know how snazzy you look after a haircut? Because you look very cute and very snazzy.”

      9. “How do you feel about the stereotype that all dogs must hate cats? Do you find that problematic?”

      10. “What’s your favorite food? And if I figured out a way to feed you more of it, would you stop going on hunger strikes whenever I’m gone?”

      11. “What do you dream about? I know people like, wrote Buzzfeed posts and Tumblr posts theorizing, but tell me what you REALLY dream about.”

      12. “WHY ARE YOU SO FUCKING CUTE HOW DID THIS HAPPEN OH MY GODDDDDDD???!”

      13. “What do dogs say to each other? Do you guys shit talk us? Do you have dog cliques?”

      14. “Earlier this fall when you wouldn’t put weight on your foot, how exactly did you hurt yourself? What did you do? Because it happened while I was sleeping and it still really bothers me!”

      15. “Do you buy into the idea that dogs take on the personalities of their owner or do you think we were just obviously meant to be?”

      16. “Do you have memories? If so, what’s your favorite? Mine is anytime you actually snuggle me and how you always check on me when I’m sick.”

      17. “In 2012 you licked my then roommate’s sandwich and proceeded to stare him down after the lick until he conceded and gave you the whole sandwich, how long did you plan out to do that? How premeditated was that attack?”

      18. “Who is your favorite person besides me?”

      19. “What would be a picture perfect day to you?”

      20. “When did you learn to climb on the counters and how did you know to only do it when I’m not around?”

      21. “Am I your favorite thing on Earth? (Please say yes because you’re mine <3)

      Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/kendra-syrdal/2017/10/21-things-i-very-much-wish-i-could-ask-my-dog/

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      Cats Are Thugs

      Read more: http://www.ifunny.com//pictures/cats-are-thugs/

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