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Astonishing Coral Reef Found At Amazon River’s Mouth

Astonishing Coral Reef Found At Amazon River’s Mouth

Coral reefs are having their worst year ever,and widespread extinction looms,but it’s not time to despair just yet. A vastand previously unseenreef has been discovered in the most unlikely of places, and it is surviving better than most.

Coral only grows in salt water, so river mouths are usually accompanied by breaks in barrier reefs, often the only place ships can cross. Moreover, rivers bring with them muddy water, which blocks the sunlight shallow water species need to grow. So the mouth of the Amazon, home to world’s largest freshwater discharge, is almost the last place you would look for a coral reef. So no one did.

Yet Brazilian scientists found one there anyway. A paper in Science Advancesreporting their findings could just as easily be titled Coral Reefs, A New Hope. It reportedly stretches for more than 960 kilometers (600 miles), and is between 30 and 120 meters deep (100 and 400 feet),but amazingly had not been discovered until now.

The Amazon pumps out so much water thatit freshens surface waters far out from land.At greater depths, however, deep currents keep the water salty enough to support the formation of the calcium carbonate body structures that make up coral reefs.

If it wasn’t for all that fresh water, the mouth of the Amazon would be a perfect place for coral, with a huge continental shelf covered in water shallow enough for reefs to thrive, which they have been doing since sea levels rose after the Ice Age. At present, the high sediment load from the river settles relatively quickly in the inner and mid shelves, the paper reports, preventing coral growth close to shore, but making the outer shelf much more inviting. Muddy waters interfere with growth for several months a year, but clear waters from August to January allow corals to flourish.

A report of coral reef fish in the area dates to 1977but it wasn’t until last year that the existence of a reef system in the area was reported.The latest paper estimates the reef is 9,500 square kilometers (3,700 square miles) in size.

Such a vast system will take years to survey, but the authors made a start on the upper slope. They report an abundance of large sponges and other filter feeders, occupying patches up to 300 meters (1,000 feet) long and up to 30 meters (100 feet) high at the northern end, while the south is richer in corals.

The Amazon reef is less biologically diverse than other tropical reefs, which house a quarter of the world’s marine species.Nevertheless, the authors report finding 73 species of reef fish and 40 corals, some previously unknown in Brazilian waters. Among the many sponge specimens 29 have yet to be recognized, and may represent new species

The reefs are vulnerable to changes in sea level, ocean chemistry, and temperature, but structure dating indicates the southern corals are still growing, demonstrating an adaptive capacity that may prove applicable to corals elsewhere.

Disturbingly, however, oil production has started nearby. Resilient as these reefs are, they’re unlikely to survive a major spill.

Rodrigo Moura of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro with one of the corals dredged from the mouth of the Amazon where none were expected to live. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

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Revolutionary Brain Implant Restores Hand Movement In Quadriplegic Patient

Revolutionary Brain Implant Restores Hand Movement In Quadriplegic Patient

For many, paralysis orlimb lossis a lifelong burden, and scientists across the world have been working around the clock to restore movement to these unfortunate few. Now, a newNaturestudy showcases what is not just a step but a leap forwardin medical science.

A young man, who became a quadriplegic during a diving accident, is today able to grasp objects and even play video games using his own hand and fingers, after a novel device was surgically inserted into his brain. This remarkable breakthrough, spearheaded by researchers at The Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center, promises to revolutionize the way paralysis is treated in the future.

This is the first technique of its kind, study co-author Chad Bouton ofthe New York-based Feinstein Institute for Medical Researchtold IFLScience. Neural recordings have been linked back to the body to allow movement in a human.

How to move a paralyzed hand. Nature Video via YouTube.

The patient, Ian Burkhart, is a 24-year-old quadriplegic from Ohio, whose neural connections between his brain and limbs were severed. This type of paralysis used to be incurable, but as demonstrated just last October, quadriplegia can be partlyovercome: Surgeons managed to restore partial functions to patients hands and arms by connecting healthy nerves to damaged ones.

This new technique involves a different surgical method. A device called NeuroLife, invented by the non-profit research and development organization Battelle, is a pea-sized array of electrodes designed to send brain signals down to a paralyzed limb via connections outside the body.

Those first movements gave me hope, Burkhart said in a press conference. People wont look at me and think Im a cyborg.

Unfortunately, restoring movement is not that simple. Translating electrical signals from the brain into actions is incredibly difficult; even the U.S. militarys scientific research wing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recognizes that.

To overcome this challenge, researchers from Battelle painstakingly recorded neural signals being generated in a paralyzed personsmotor cortex, the brain region that controls movement, before gradually deciphering which signals corresponded to which type of movement.

Over the course of a decade, they amalgamated these signals into a series of algorithms designed to understand these neural impulses. Through their efforts, and in collaboration with OSU, they successfully managed to box up these algorithms in the NeuroLife device.

Ian Burkhart plays a guitar video game, demonstrating he now has precision movement restored in his hand and fingers. Ohio State University/Battelle

After carefully implanting one end of the device into Burkharts brain, the other end was connected to his right arm and hand via small cables running down his sleeve, bypassing his damaged spinal cord. In 2014, he first demonstrated the use of the device by opening and closing his hand by simply thinking about it.

This was followed by months of training sessions designed to both reacquaint his brain with his armand to allow him to strengthen the muscles he had long-since been unable to use. Today, he is now able to use his hand and, significantly, his fingers to perform far more complex, precision-based tasks, including holding a phone to his ear, swiping a credit card, and picking up cutlery. He can even play the video game Guitar Hero.

Its important from a psychological view, to move your own limb, Dr. Ali Rezai, a co-author of the study and a neurosurgeon at OSU, told IFLScience. Playing a video game is just an element of normal life, and that’s all Ian wanted.

Far from just treating paralysis, the uses of this technique are theoretically endless. In the future, this could be used to help victims of stroke and those with brain damage, Bouton added. With this research, weve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

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Sneaky Octopus Makes Daring Escape Through Aquarium’s Drain Pipe Into Pacific Ocean

Sneaky Octopus Makes Daring Escape Through Aquarium’s Drain Pipe Into Pacific Ocean

Everyone loves a goodprison breakstory. “Escape from Alcatraz.” “The Shawshank Redemption.” “The Great Escape.” They imbue within us a sense of hope, daring, and adventure.

Now, a new tale of derring-do in New Zealand of a real-life prison escape may be added to this pantheon of greats: An octopus has outwitted its human captors and is now on the run in the Pacific Ocean. Considering the size of said ocean, its unlikely hell ever be recaptured.

As reported byBBC News, the National Aquarium in the coastal settlement of Napier was once home toInky the octopus, but no more. This particularly crafty, aquatic fellow managed to squeeze through a small gap in his enclosure left behind after some routine maintenance work, before sliding across the floor looking for an escape route.

He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean and off he went, said aquarium manager Rob Yarrall, as reported byRadio New Zealand. He didn’t even leave us a message. Staff were shocked to arrive at the scene to find no Inky and a trail of octopus tracks left behind by the former captive.

The staff should have realized long ago not to underestimate the power of these highly intelligent cephalopods; after all, they can escape from anything even the inside alocked jar.

Rather sadly, Inky left behind his tank-mate, another octopus, which the staff say theyll be monitoring extremely closely from now on.

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They’re being called ‘Walmart’s worst nightmare.’ And I *really* hope it comes true.

They’re being called ‘Walmart’s worst nightmare.’ And I *really* hope it comes true.


Meet WinCo, a retail chain with just under a hundred stores in eight states. They’re growing fast and somehow manage to undercut Walmart’s “always low prices.”

Compared to Walmart’s more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. alone, perhaps it’s a little premature to call them “Walmart’s worst nightmare.” But hopefully we can all agree it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for Walmart to lose more business to a company like this.

Here are four ways WinCo is CRUSHING Walmart.


WinCo: Smart business model makes for low prices and good customer experience.

Walmart: Tops the list of retailers with THE WORST customer satisfaction ratings.

Walmart keeps prices low, in part, by systematically understaffing their stores. So if you’ve ever wondered what’s up with those empty shelves in your local Wally World, there’s your answer.


WinCo: Employee pay starting around $11 per hour.

Walmart: Employee pay starting around $8 per hour.

Walmart’s absurdly low wages cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year in public assistance for their workers (food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, etc.). Meanwhile, the company also profits from taxpayers by using a loophole that allows their executives to take home millions of dollars on top of their salaries.

Walmart is exploiting its workers so badly that even investors think they deserve a raise.


WinCo: Health benefits and pensions for employees working 24+ hours per week.

Walmart: Cutting health insurance for employees working less than 30 hours per week.

Despite billions in profits and redonkulous executive pay packages, Walmart is kicking thousands of part-time workers off their health plan. Those who remain eligible for Walmart’s health coverage are paying a lot more out of pocket. Suffice it to say their workers are not happy.


WinCo: Employee-owned through stock ownership program.

Walmart: More than half-owned by one of the world’s richest families.

WinCo’s employee stock ownership program makes the interests of the company and its employees one and the same. Their people work harder and stick around for longer because the success of the company means success (and retirement) for them.

Between employee stock ownership and 401(k) plans, hundreds of WinCo workers now have retirement savings of over $1 million.


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12 things you should never, ever say to teachers.

12 things you should never, ever say to teachers.


Let me say that I am NOT a teacher I found this on a blog (listed below) that is all about and by teachers. And it’s the kind of thing I hope gets legs so people stop asking these kinds of silly questions.

Oh, and next time your state wants to cut teacher pay and benefits, speak up!

1. We’ve all been to elementary school, so aren’t we all kind of experts on it?”

Umm, no. You’ve been sick before does that make you a doctor

2. When I retire, I still want to do something, so I think I might take up teaching.”

Teaching is not a hobby, like gardening or sailing. Teaching will likely make your old job feel like a vacation.

3. Have you ever thought about making your class more fun?”

No, I do my best to make it as boring as I can.

4. If you really cared about kids, you wouldn’t worry about the salary.”

I love my students. I love teaching. I also love being able to support my family and feed my kids.

5. If you managed your time at school, I bet you wouldn’t need to plan lessons and grade on the weekends.”

OK, I’m a little busy at school. I teach and work with students almost every moment of the day. Spending 20 hours a week outside of school on prep and grading is normal for me.

6. You’ll never be a truly great teacher until you have your own kids.”

Actually, yes I will. The relationship between teacher and student is quite different from that of parent and child.

7. Why do you make them read so much and write so many essays? Why do you give such hard grades?”

Because it’s my job. Because my students are here to learn. Because they’ll need these skills to survive in the world. How many reasons do you need

8. I pay taxes in this district, so technically you work for me.”

Sorry, we’re not your minions. That’s not how it works. Taxes support public goods and services such as the fire department, police, parks, and yes, public schools for the community as a whole. And by the way, teachers pay taxes too

9. Ohh, you teach kindergarten. That must be fun playing and singing all day.”

Yes, my life is just like Disney movie. I sing and the children and the little animals of the forest come running. Actually, in kindergarten, we teach our students the foundational literacy and math skills as well as the social and emotional skills that set them up for success in every grade to follow

10. Why are you so strict? They’re just kids.”

We make plenty of time for laughter and fun in my classroom. But rules and routine are not only necessary, they help children to feel safe, secure, and valued in the classroom community.

11. How hard can it be? You have all summer off.”

A longer summer break is one of the benefits of choosing teaching as a career. But keep in mind, it’s not all summer. I spend weeks every July and August on professional development and curriculum planning. And during the school year, I work 12 hours a day all week long and at least one day every weekend. Add it up and our vacation days are about the same.

12. Teaching is nice, but don’t you want to be more successful and make more money?”

I teach because I want to make a difference. I teach because what I do every day matters for kids.

That’s what success looks like.


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A beautiful friendship: Two World World II heroes bound by loyalty and a barber’s chair | Fox News

A beautiful friendship: Two World World II heroes bound by loyalty and a barber’s chair | Fox News

Courtesy Jason F. Wright

You might think 97-year-old Ralph Kimball of Murray, Utah, would be more careful with his hair. Instead, this World War II veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient says with a sly chuckle, I trust it to a kid.

That kid is 91-year-old Wayne Chidester of Springville, Utah. Chidester is also a World War II veteran, and in the age of social media and digital relationships, their lengthy, loyal friendship is refreshing.

Approximately once a month for more than 30 years, Kimball has visited Chidesters barbers chair for what he calls the perfect haircut and a reminder of what matters most in the world.

When the two friends are together and Chidesters scissors work their magic, observers must marvel at the nearly 200 combined years of life experience.

Those who know these friends say their pre-wired sense of duty and loyalty flavors every aspect of their lives. They’re loyal to God, family, friends, work and country.

I first met Wayne back when I was young, in my early 60s, Kimball told me during a recent interview. Every Saturday, he still drives from Springville up to Real Barbers in Midvale. There is no one better. Id recommend him to anyone who wants a perfect haircut.

He said that? Chidester asked when he heard of his friends recommendation. He is such a gentleman.

The two men have experienced everything over more than 350 haircuts. Theyve rejoiced in their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and theyve mourned the loss of their beloved wives. Chidester recently said goodbye to Montez, his high school sweetheart and bride of more than 67 years. Kimballs wife of 63 years, Marie, has been gone since 2004. He later married widow Beverly Stuznegger, whom he calls a beauty and a gem.

Typical of their generation, both men would rather discuss their families, friendship or weather than their bravery during the war. While Kimball and Chidester each spent most of their military careers in the Pacific theater, Kimball fought with the Armys 7th infantry division and Chidester was a Navy man, doing damage control as a shipfitter. Although the two men escaped serious injury and returned home safely to their families, both had many friends who did not.

But I believe the Lord takes care of veterans, Chidester said. We all came back so different everyone does and even today we need all the help we can get.

Back home, Kimballs post-war career was in finance, and he worked for the original Zions Savings Bank and Trust Company. Meanwhile, Chidesters wife went to cosmetology school and encouraged her husband to study for his barbers license. With jobs scarce, he wisely took her advice, and in 1947 he earned his license.

Chidesters scissors havent stopped since.

When I asked them to explain their successes in life, love and friendship, both men relied on a deep sense of loyalty. Kimball remembers arriving for his haircut one Saturday and discovering that Chidester had left town for a family reunion. Though other barbers were available, men he knew well and who were very capable, Kimball simply said thank you and returned home.

I went back the next week for my cut, Kimball said. When youre loyal, youre loyal.

When I told Chidester about the gesture, he was both surprised and humbled. Well, he said, hesitating. Well, if he said he did that, then he must have. What a kind man.

On his days off, Chidester enjoys spending time with family and looks forward to his Saturday trips to work in the barbershop. Kimball spends time with his wife and plays music, completely by ear, on a keyboard in his condo. He also enjoys writing and is proud to have landed several letters to the editor in local papers.

Speaking of their shared loyalty, the men praised the military and the men and women who have served America at any time, on any front and in any uniform. Chidester and Kimball risked it all for the country they love, and both would do it again.

Those who know these friends say their prewired sense of duty and loyalty flavors every aspect of their lives. Theyre loyal to God, family, friends, work and country.

As Chidester and Kimball count the days until their next Saturday appointment and all the others they pray will follow, that warm loyalty shows no signs of slipping.

Im not sure what Id do if Wayne ever retired, Kimball said of his trusted friend. Im just not sure.

Once again, Chidester was humbled.

He said that? Chidester asked. Hes always been so kind to me, so pleasant. Im very thankful.

Of course he did, I told him. Because thats what loyalty is all about.

Jason F. Wright is a New York Times bestselling author, columnist and speaker. His latest release is an ebook exclusive on the origin of the Christmas Jars movement. Buy “Christmas Jars Journey” on Amazon today. Subscribe to his weekly columns, join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. His latest book, “The James Miracle,” is available on Amazon. 

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JK Rowling posts letters of rejection on Twitter to help budding authors

JK Rowling posts letters of rejection on Twitter to help budding authors

Harry Potter writer shares publishers brush-offs for first Robert Galbraith novel to inspire other authors

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has shared two rejection letters she received from publishers while writing under her pen name, Robert Galbraith.

The famous author posted them on Twitter to encourage other writers.

She posted the letters relating to her first post-Potter novel, The Cuckoos Calling, after a fan asked for a picture of a rejection letter.

She said: The Potter ones are now in a box in my attic, but I could show you RGalbraiths?.

J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 25, 2016

By popular request, 2 of @RGalbrath‘s rejection letters! (For inspiration, not revenge, so I’ve removed signatures.)

One of the letters, from publishing house Constable & Robinson, said: I regret that we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we could not publish it [your book] with commercial success.

The letter also suggested she double-check in a helpful bookshop or in the biannual buyers guide of Bookseller magazine about who the current publishers of her fiction genre were.

The second letter, from Creme de la Crime, explained that the publisher had become part of Severn House Publishers and was unable to accept new submissions at the moment.

The author Joanne Harris joined the Twitter discussion, saying she got so many rejections for her popular 1999 novel Chocolat that she made a sculpture ….

In reply to a fan who asked if any of the publishers who had rejected her had turned down Harry Potter, she said: Yes, the publisher who first turned down Harry also sent RGalbraith his rudest rejection (by email)!.

She ended the conversation by giving a fan advice on getting the courage to risk it all, telling them: I had nothing to lose and sometimes that makes you brave enough to try.

The Harry Potter series has sold more than 400m books and Rowling has won multiple awards. The eight film adaptations of the novels have been named as the second-highest grossing franchise and film series of all time.

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Hedgehog Petting Cafe Opens Up In Tokyo

Hedgehog Petting Cafe Opens Up In Tokyo

As there are no wild hedgehogs in Japan, seeing one is quite a treat. To fill this gap in the market with some prickly cuteness, a hedgehog-themed cafe has opened in Roppongi District, Tokyo.

Since February, customers have been queuing at the “Harry” cafe to have the opportunity to pet the hedgehogs.The name “Harry”stems from awordplay onthe Japanese word for hedgehog. For 1,000 yen ($9) on weekdays and 1,300 yen ($11) on holidays, the cafe offers an hour of petting and playing with a selection of hedgehogs. Theres even a menu of different colorsto choose from.

In case hedgehogs arent your thing, the same building also has a rabbitcafe owned by the same people.

Mizuki Murata, who works at the cafe, told Reuters, We wanted to show people the charm of hedgehogs, which give the impression of being hard to handle. We wanted to get rid of that image by letting people touch them.

She added, The cutest thing about hedgehogs is getting them to finally open up and show you their face.

Although some people have doubted the suitability of petting these shy and nocturnal creatures, hedgehogs can be comfortably kept as pets. In Japan, these prickly beasts areparticularly popular astiny companions. That said, if you see a hedgehog out and about in the wild its always best to leave them be. However,if youcome across onein your garden,its advised you feed them meaty cat or dog food and water notbread and milk.



A photo posted by eko tjoek (@ekotjoek) on Apr 7, 2016 at 4:32pm PDT


What do you call a huddle of hedgehogs? #hedgehogcafe #hedgehog #tokyo #japan #kawaii #lostgirlintokyo

A photo posted by Dan the Girl (@lostgirlintokyo) on Feb 8, 2016 at 9:51pm PST


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NASA Saves Kepler Spacecraft After Unknown Emergency Left It Stranded

NASA Saves Kepler Spacecraft After Unknown Emergency Left It Stranded

NASAs planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has been saved from disaster after an unknown problem left it floating helplessly in space 120 million kilometers (75 million miles) from Earth.

At the end of last week, NASA announced that Kepler had gone into a fail-safe Emergency Mode (EM) due to an unknown problem with the space telescope, leaving engineers rushing to findthe source of the problem over the weekend.

“During a scheduled contact on Thursday, April 7, mission operations engineers discovered that the Kepler spacecraft was in Emergency Mode (EM),” NASA said in astatement. “EM is the lowest operational mode and is fuel intensive. Recovering from EM is the team’s priority at this time.”

But now the agency has announced that Kepler has recovered. Unfortunately,the cause of the problem is still not clear, so Kepler is not completely out of the woods yet. The spacecraft reached a stable state on Sunday morning and has since switched into a low fuel-burn mode. Scientists will investigate the spacecraft this week to try and work out what the problem was.

“The anomalous EM event is the first that the Kepler spacecraft has encountered during its seven years in space,” NASA said in its latest statement, adding that mission operations “remain vigilant”.

NASA first detected the problem towards the middle of last week, when scientists had been trying to point the spacecraft towards the middle of the Milky Way for a new round of observations.Owing to the serious nature of the issue, NASA allocated the Kepler team priority access to the Deep Space Network, the Earth-based communications network used to talk to spacecraft around the Solar System. Even using this, though, back-and-forth communication with the spacecraft took 13 minutes, owing to its distance from Earth.

Kepler 452b is the most Earth-like planet found by Kepler to date.NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Kepler was initially launched in 2009 to find planets beyond the Solar System using the transit method observing the dip in distant stars as planets passed in front. Via this method,the spacecraft has found thousands of potential exoplanets, far more than every other planet-hunting telescope combined. Understandably, then,NASA is pretty keen to keep the successful mission going, at least until its successor the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launches in 2017.

This is not the first time Kepler has encountered a bit of a setback, though. In July 2012, one of the four gyroscopic reaction wheels used to orientate the spacecraft failed, meaning scientists had to devise an ingenious solution to use pressure from solar wind to act as a makeshift fourth wheel.

Thanks to these efforts, the spacecraft was able to resume operations as part of the K2 mission in 2014, continuing to find planets beyond the Solar System. Earlier this year, 100 new planets were reported as part of this secondary mission.

And now, Kepler’s groundbreaking mission can hopefully continue.

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Man Puts 4 Tomato Slices On A Bucket Of Dirt. Now Watch What Follows Just 12 Days Later

Man Puts 4 Tomato Slices On A Bucket Of Dirt. Now Watch What Follows Just 12 Days Later

Want to learn a quick and easy way to grow tomatoes? This is an awesome tip and all you need are overripe tomatoes to start growing new ones with.

Basically, you take an overripe tomato and a pot with soil in it. In this demo composting potting soil is used. You slice up the tomato in quarter-inch thick slices and then just toss four of the slices into the pot, sprinkling them with just enough dirt so that they are all covered.

You want to water them every now and again and within only a week and a half you should have a pot full of like 50 or so sprouting seeds. Pretty cool, right? Youll want to transfer the bigger seedlings into different pots so they can grow. Usually 2 per pot is recommended. Thats literally all you need to do to start growing fresh and delicious tomatoes!

Really amazing tip and definitely one to share with all your gardening friends and family!

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WATCH: Dog Gets Caught Using Bathroom Like A Human (Must See!)

WATCH: Dog Gets Caught Using Bathroom Like A Human (Must See!)

Potty training can be one of the most frustrating and annoying phrases of owning a beloved pet.

Some get it rather quickly, but others leave you dreaming about waking up to a nice pile of poo or urine on your carpet. This dog was so smart, he was able to do something even his buddy can’t: use the bathroom like a human. This completely cuts down on wee wee pad expenses and a hilarious sight to behold!

this awesome and smart dog on Facebook!

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They Were Riverdancing Until Two Guys Sneak Up Behind Them. Now Watch What Happens Next

They Were Riverdancing Until Two Guys Sneak Up Behind Them. Now Watch What Happens Next

Dance battles are awesome! Here we have a killer dance battle where three riverdancers face off against two amazing tap dancers! Its an extremely unique battle and quite a sight to see. They jack the intensity up big time as both these teams want to outdo each other. The audience is going nuts and you will too once you see these crazy skillful performances!

Share this amazing dance battle with friends and family!

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Inside the Campaign to Be the Next James Bond

Inside the Campaign to Be the Next James Bond

Not a day goes by without a devastatingly handsome British man talking about his desire to play James Bond. But does all this campaigning actually work?”>

Tom Hiddlestondashing, debonair, smooth cocktail of a man Tom Hiddlestonis on a grand, exhaustive press tour right now for two big, buzzy projects he has out. Its why you cant escape headlines about him, most making a great big deal about a great big role he wont stop talking about.

And that great big role is not one he has actually played, or is promoting. The twistpresumably to garnish a shaken, not stirred martiniis that the role Hiddleston wont shut up about playing is James Bond.

The star of the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light and the upcoming AMC series The Night Manager has found himself in a bit of an unusual situation for an actor. Hes not just on a press tour for those two roles. Hes on the campaign trail for another one, too.


Hiddleston, it seems, really wants to be the next James Bond. Almost as much as headline-hungry interviewers want him to be.

Few roles are dream cast more fancifully than that of the international spy with the license to kill.

The process is familiar: Culture at large swoons over a suave British rising star with strong cheekbones who fills out a designer suit, and said dreamboat is suddenly wielding a revolver and running from exploding buildings in our collective minds.

When it seems that one Bond is on the verge of retirementas increasingly grouchy Daniel Craig indicated amongst huffs, puffs, and scowls while promoting Spectre suddenly the casting rat race ramps up. And its not just us who are placing bets on who might take over. Its U.K.s most handsome men themselves.

And so actors like Hiddleston, Idris Elba, and Henry Cavill are all publicly throwing their hats in the ring, joining the likes of Damien Lewis, Tom Hardy, and Aidan Turner, whom producers are said to be keen on taking the reins. Its a campaign more crowded than a Republican primary in winter. But, thankfully, more attractive, and with contenders far more qualified.

Hiddleston fanned the flames on his chances in a recent interview with The Sunday Times, saying, I simply love the theme tune, the tropes, and the mythology. I love the whole thing. If it ever came knocking, it would be an extraordinary opportunity.

OK, not exactly, MAKE ME YOUR BOND, WORLD! But still, an enthusiasm to satisfy those who are #TeamTom.

Its a chicken and egg situation: He wont stop talking about it, but we also keep making him talk about it. Yet engaging each and every journalist in a giddy conversation about the possibility isnt exactly an effective way to silence rumors.

Then there was this past weeks meta moment when, in the U.K. finale of The Night Manager (which appears stateside later this month), Hiddleston, dressed in a bespoke suit, gestures at a bartender and asks, Excuse me, sir. Could I have a vodka martini, please?

Hiddleston had a laugh about the timingthe episode airing at the peak of all the Bond discussionin an interview with Marlow Stern for The Daily Beast. Honestly, I didnt think about it as I said it, he said. I cant remember if it was in the script or I improvised it. Im pretty sure I improvised it though because, actually, [co-star] Hugh Laurie really loves a vodka martini.

Hiddleston has actually shared the screen with another Bond frontrunner, Beasts of No Nation and Luther star Idris Elba. Asked if they joke together about the rumor-mill, Hiddleston laughed, I know, right? We should. What the hell is going on? Honestly, I have no control over it.

At one point someone who did have control chimed in on all the rumors. Former Sony head Amy Pascal, it was revealed in an email unearthed by The Daily Beast in the Sony hacks, had said, Idris should be the next Bond.

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In fact, enthusiasm for the possibility of Elba in the role, which would make him the first black James Bond, is so rampant that hes been dubbed The Peoples Bond. To Elbas credit, unlike Hiddleston, he tends to be a bit more sheepish and reluctant to talk about all the rumors.

Can we talk about the media obsession with you playing James Bond? The Telegraphs Chris Harvey asked him in an interview last winter. Can we not? he bluntly replied.

By that point, Elba had been questioned about it heavily. He even seemed to be enjoying it.

If human beings want to know if theres any connectivity between all of us, the one thing Ive heard around the world universally is that, Youll be great at James Bond! Elba toldVarietyin September. If it should happen, thats proof theres connectivity amongst human beings. If everyone wants something, they can make it happen. That would be true.

His explanation for wanting to end the discussion is interesting in the context of a piece about Bond campaigning.

Because it feels like Im campaigning, and Im not, he said. At first it was harmlessoh I know, wouldnt be great?and now its started off racial debates. Im probably the most famous Bond actor in the world, and Ive not even played the role. Enough is enough. I cant talk about it anymore.

The racial debate he is talks about likely refers to author Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the new James Bond novel Trigger Mortis and said that he believes Elba is probably a bit too street for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.

The comment drew understandable controversy, particularly when you consider the tone-deafness of shooting down an opportunity to modernize a franchise that, with Spectre, could use some shaking up. (Heh. Get it?)

Thats why other more traditional candidates talking up their chances elicit a few groans.

Theres Henry Cavill, for example, currently putting people to sleep in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Appearing on Graham Nortons talk show in the U.K., Cavill said hed love the chance to be 007: Obviously Im very busy with the Superman stuff, but if there were any windows and they wanted me to do that kind of role it would be great, and I would love to do it.

Would it be greedy to be both Superman and Bond? Greedy or awesome? Cavill replied, revealing a personality for the very first time.

The truth is, that the Bond campaign lives on the press cycle of these actors other projects. Elba was assaulted with questions about it during the Beasts of No Nation tour. Hiddleston and Cavill are in the news about it now. Brace yourself, Moneypenny, because the onslaught is still to come.

Google for a list of Bond contenders, and see names like Damien Lewis (Homeland), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), and Aidan Turner (Poldark) emerge as odds-on favorites.

While Hiddleston has said that rumors about his involvement with the next film are all speculation and Elba made clear that he not met with Bond producers.

A thinly sourced article in the Daily Mail, however, indicated that Lewis had been given an unofficial nod from producers to be the new agent. It was also reported that Turner was flown to L.A. to have talks with Bond producers. And, at various junctures, bettors have set Hardy as the odds-on favorite for the role, using methods that presumably only Q would know.

And thus we arrive at the silliness of all these Bond inquiries, rumor mills, and campaigns.

As weve learned through reports of Star Wars casting (and basically every superhero film), when a role like this is made vacant, pretty much all of Hollywood is brought in to meet or audition for it. And ask any of the actors if theyd like to play a role like James Bond (and, you know, become one of the richest and most famous people in the world), should we be surprised that the answer almost uniformly is: Uhyeah?

Elba, for what its worth, seems to be self-aware, bordering on defeatist, about this very thing: It doesnt matter how many people want me to do it, he told U.K.s Esquire. It doesnt mean Im going to get it.)

Its not that there isnt a history of this. Clive Owen jokes often about the ridiculousness of the Bond rumor mill, having been hailed as the fan favorite to take over for Pierce Brosnan, which Daniel Craig eventually did.

Bond was the best thing that never happened to me, he said. Its easy to keep saying no to a role that youre not being offered.

Its not the rumor mill or the campaigning thats new, or even the glut of worthy contenders. Its the breathless pace of the online news cycle that exaggerates every whisper about the casting process into a breaking news story that spreads like a virus through the internet and social media thats new. And thus here we are.

So is there really a campaign going on for James Bond? As long as we dont see Tom Hiddleston walking the streets of London in a homemade leather catsuit wielding a riding crop, I think were safe.

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His Dog Wouldnt Stop Barking At The Front Door

His Dog Wouldnt Stop Barking At The Front Door

The state of Florida has a reputation for being, well, pretty weird. As someone who was born and raised in the state, I can say that reputation is pretty well deserved. It seems like every bizarre story you hear on the news comes from somewhere within the borders of the Sunshine State. I’m not exactly sure why that is, maybe the salty beach air and Disney magic make for a dangerous combination. 

One thing that makes the state of Florida really unique is its wildlife and their remarkable ability to get a little too close for comfort. Alligators are awesome creatures, but I’d rather not have one in my swimming pool, thank you very much. One Florida man recently experienced this reality when he found a dangerous predator lounging on his front porch. Phil Hendra lives in Fort Myers, and when his dog wouldn’t stop barking, he assumed there was a squirrel or cat outside his home. But when he opened the front door, Phil received the surprise of a lifetime. 

Waiting outside his front door was a full-grown Florida panther. Scroll down to keep reading and see what happened next.  

When Phil saw the panther, his first reaction was to grab his phone and take a picture.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Being a good Florida resident, Phil knew just how rare this incident was. Florida panthers are extremely endangered. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation says there are less than 100 of them left in the wild. He described the incident to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and told them:


[The panther] stayed for about 20 minutes and laid down for a bit. It looked at us inside the window then slowly walked away, and we have not seen it since. My parents have lived here since 1988 and they may have seen a younger panther about two years ago, but nothing compares to this once in a lifetime experience.

The image of the curious panther was posted on social media and soon became an Internet sensation.

Make sure to SHARE this remarkable story with your friends and family.

H/T: Wochit News


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Finally! A Dating App For People Who Just Want To Click On Pictures Of Tractors And Never Go On Dates

Finally! A Dating App For People Who Just Want To Click On Pictures Of Tractors And Never Go On Dates

Theres definitely no shortage of different types of dating apps on the market, but even so, a large number of people havent had luck with any of them. Well, one awesome new app is trying to scoop up these dissatisfied users with a totally unique approach. Say hello to LuvConnect, a dating app for people who just want to click on pictures of tractors and never go on any dates!

If youre single, want it to stay that way, and have a deep desire to click on thousands of pictures of tractors, then this just might be the dating app youve been waiting for. Heres how it works:

Download the app on your phone and create a profile. Once youve filled in some basic information about yourself (favorite movies, music, a brief bio, etc.), youre ready to jump in and start clicking on pictures of tractors. LuvConnect lets you click on tractor pictures once or even twice, if you really like the picture or just feel like clicking twice for no reason. Another fun feature is that you can browse other users profiles, but you cant message or match with them in any way. Swipe left or swipe rightboth actions just give you more pictures of tractors that you can click on until your thumbs get tired or your phone runs out of battery.

Um, yeah, we want this yesterday.

The dating app boasts a library of over 3 million clickable tractor pictures, including pictures of utility tractors, orchard tractors, garden tractors, and more. As far as we can tell, the apps biggest flaw is that there are no pictures that feature two tractors in the same picture or three green tractors all lined up next to each other. But its still brand new, and hopefully the apps creators will make that available in future versions.

Weve seen countless dating apps come and go, but this one seems like the real deal. Check it out!

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Here Are All My Good Batman Ideas

Here Are All My Good Batman Ideas

So Ive been coming up with Batman ideas for a very long time. Ive got so many Batman ideas, but Im not doing anything with them myself. I thought I should collect all my good Batman ideas and put them somewhere the guys who make Batman could maybe read them and use them. If these people are seeing this post and like my Batman ideas, go ahead and use them in Batman movies or comics or whatever. Okay, here we go:

  • Batman gets his arm cut off and then has to learn to be the best at doing everything with one arm. I think Batman is ambidextrous, so it shouldnt matter which arm.
  • We could see Batman using a batarang to shave. Maybe he nicks himself and doesnt even wince.
  • Scarecrow releases a gas over Gotham that makes everyone rude and verbally nasty toward Batman.
  • Bigger muscles.
  • Someone traps Batman in a prison where all the prisoners dress like Batman and claim to be Batman so he cant convince the guards to let him out on the basis of being Batman.
  • Why not let Stephen King make Batman for a little while?
  • Batman finally gets his teeth removed so no one can see them glint in the dark.
  • The Batmobile should go through more wheat fields, I think.

Here are all my good ideas for gadgets:

  • A batarang that distracts people by yelling like a guy
  • A batarang you can only see with night vision
  • A batarang made out of glass that can go through metal detectors
  • A grappling hook that also pulls out teeth
  • A bat tent
  • A bat telephone
  • A bat air balloon
  • A pill that lets Batman spit acid
  • Trained crow (extra smart and knows to be quiet)

I can probably think of more gadgets if the people who make Batman are reading this and like the direction these are going in, but not these specifically. Now, here are some more Batman ideas in general:

  • Batman does a bullfight.
  • Scarecrow releases a gas over Gotham that makes everyone think theyre Batman, and it turns out some people are very well-prepared to be Batman.
  • In The Dark Knight, Two-Face should have had two guns.
  • At one point, a thug could be like, Arent you going to break my arm? and Batman could say, I already did, and the guy looks down and his arm is broken without him even having noticed, and when he looks back up, Batmans gone. This would excite anyone.
  • Batman could wink at the reader just once to show that hes known theyre there this whole time.

Heres a thought I just had: Its that the people who make Spider-Man might also be reading this, or maybe they know the guys who make Batman. Either way, here are a few of my good Spider-Man ideas. I dont have as many as Batman ideas, but I dont mind:

  • Spider-Man does one of those really high Red Bull jumps.
  • Spider-Mans dentist notices that his teeth are all beat up, and Spider-Man claims its from a roller coaster accident so the dentist doesnt think hes Spider-Man, but the dentist has his suspicions, and maybe later he becomes a dental-inspired villain.
  • Spider-Man fires his web at a bird and swings from it. Itd probably have to be something big like a condor though.

Okay, thats it for Spider-Man. Here are all my good ideas for names of new Batman villains:

  • Strikeout
  • Breakbeat
  • Big Apple
  • A guy who touches you and then he controls your bones. Forever?
  • Greek Fire
  • Killer Beethoven
  • A tall woman with a secret
  • Guess Who
  • Justin Strength
  • Lab Rat

I thought of these ones just now, if the people who do Batman have stuck around.

  • The Joker gets trapped in the back of a police car and Batman has to decide whether to let him out.
  • If Batman does a bullfight, he could wear a red cape or use spray paint from his belt to make his cape red.
  • Scarecrow releases a gas over Gotham that makes everyone illiterate, and the city descends into chaos.
  • If Batman gets his teeth removed, he should keep them and make them dentures to be Bruce Wayne with.
  • Batman survives electrocution, but it changes his personality and now hes a big-time Christian.
  • Batman goes on Charlie Rose in costume.

Okay, thats it.

Those are all of my good Batman ideas. I hope the people in charge of doing Batman read this, or else it really was for nothing because no one else is really in a place to do anything with these ideas. I dont need any money for any of these because I am independently wealthy. Thanks.

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Dinosaur Prank! See What Happens When a Raptor Lurks in the Parking Garage.

Dinosaur Prank! See What Happens When a Raptor Lurks in the Parking Garage.

What if you were walking to your car which is parked in the mundane workplace garage, and suddenly you encountered something absolutely terrifying? Such was the case for numerous victims, the last of which wet her pants, when the usual boring parking garage received an unusual visitor! This is one of the most epic pranks ever!

How could you not freak out at this thing? Its so realistic looking not to mention the movement is so natural that it seems more impossible that this creature is NOT the real deal! Awesome prank!

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Two Deserving Sisters Get The Makeover Of A Lifetime

Two Deserving Sisters Get The Makeover Of A Lifetime

Who doesn’t love a good makeover? Seeing someone who hasn’t had the time, energy, or money to put into their appearance get a whole new look is just exciting. Sometimes the aesthetic overhaul has a heartwarming meaning behind it, sometimes it’s a chance for bonding between fathers and daughters; whatever the reason behind the change in appearance, it’s always interesting so see what the subject of the makeover looks like on the other side.

Take these two sisters, for instance. As happens to so many women, they suddenly found their lives had been totally taken over by caregiving. Gloria Flaherty, a 59-year-old grandmother, moved all the way to Queens, New York to care of her elderly mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Anyone who has been a full-time caregiver to someone with the disease knows that it is absolutely a full-time job. Then, there’s Gloria’s younger sister Marta Fugett. Although she’s the baby sister, she’s still a mother of six and grandmother of three! Spending her time with all the kids and grandkids is fun, but “she’s never done anything for herself. She takes care of everyone but herself,” big sis Gloria explains. Clearly that strong nurturing instinct runs in the family!

Luckily, Plaza Ambush Makeovers absolutely saved the day. The popular segment featured on The TODAY Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb shows people getting pulled from the crowds outside NBC studios and sent off to the studio for fabulous makeovers. Celebrity hairstylist Louis Licari and television personality Jill Martin choose the lucky recipients and oversee the makeovers from start to finish. Although the makeover recipients don’t know what’s happening until the big reveal, it seems like these two sisters certainly weren’t disappointed!

Be sure to SHARE this awesome before-and-after video with your family and friends.



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Japan Reveals Plans For An Invisible Train

Japan Reveals Plans For An Invisible Train

Japan is known for its harmony between technology, design and nature. It also has a pretty awesome train network that boasts the worlds fastest train. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that a Japanese rail network is in the midsts of designing an express train that seamlessly blends in with its environment.

Renowned architect Kazuyo Sejima has been commissioned by Seibu Railways to design a concept of an invisible train. Of course, theres no sorceryinvolvedthe train will actually give this impression using a semi-reflective mirrored exterior to reflectits surroundings. Although the project is currently still in its concept stage, they say seven of these trains could be rolling through the idyllic countryside and bustling cities of Japan as early as 2018.

While this is Sejimas first foray into designing trains, she has a wealth of experience designing buildingsof a similar reflective style, which have earnedher the Pritzker Architecture Prizeoften referred to as the Nobel Prize of the architecture world.

In a news release, Sejima said: “The project concept was introduced to me as ‘a new limited express train like nothing seen before.'”

She added: “The limited express travels in a variety of different sceneries, from the mountains of Chichibu, to the middle of Tokyo, and I thought it would be good if the train could gently coexist with this variety of scenery. I also would like it to be a limited express where large numbers of people can all relax in comfort, in their own way, like a living room, so that they think to themselves ‘I look forward to riding that train again.'”

See you there (or not).

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They were asked 1 question, and it stopped their fun. It’s adorable and a great lesson.

They were asked 1 question, and it stopped their fun. It’s adorable and a great lesson.


Kids are awesome, and they look to us for guidance, rules, and leadership.

Their brains are always developing, taking in information, and forming opinions about everything so they can grow up and become awesome adults.

Filmmakers at SoulPancake have the same idea and talked to a gaggle of tiny tykes and asked four questions. Three of the questions made the kids super happy, like these two: “Do you like school?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A paleontologist

A pilot

SoulPancake also asked the kids what they liked about preschool.

“Learning music.”

Preschool sets the stage for a better future for all of us.

Attending preschool is correlated with kids who graduate high school; graduates have a higher success rate in finding jobs, becoming innovators, and contributing to our tax base so that we can grow to be a stronger society. So, when you hear people dis the idea of preschool, remind them that you and I want to retire with ease. We want future generations to take care of us and maybe even get us out of some of the messes we’ve put on ourselves.


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Lorde just told her 2.7 million Instagram followers about an amazing chef who’s paying it forward.

Lorde just told her 2.7 million Instagram followers about an amazing chef who’s paying it forward.


Lorde posts a lot of great stuff on Instagram.

But it’s not all serious wet hair selfies, triumphant shots of single-arm-hugging Taylor Swift, ocean party pics, and serious seatbelt selfies.

Photos by lordemusic/Instagram.

Recently, the singer gave a massive Instagram shoutout to a New Zealand chef who’s using his time and talent to pay it forward in a great way.

His name is Michael Meredith, and Lorde told her 2.7 million followers to go support his organization, “Eat My Lunch,” which donates a fresh, healthy meal to a hungry child in New Zealand every time a customer buys lunch.

(sorry for the text wall) hey kiwis! something a little out of the ordinary to share with you today, but something that means a lot to me. as you know, the cost of life in auckland (and new zealand!) is high. the heartbreaking result of that is that a really appalling 1 in 4 kids are living in poverty, and going to school without lunch. it makes me wanna cry thinking about kids who can’t eat at school, and therefore probably find it pretty tough to focus and learn too. so when i found out about michael meredith’s awesome new thing, EAT MY LUNCH, i was chuffed. the idea is for $10, you get a super yum healthy lunch which changes every day delivered to your work or school, and for every lunch you buy a second lunch is given to a kiwi kid who needs it. HOW COOL IS THAT?! i emailed them like “i travel too much to eat a lunch, but how can i GIVE TWO instead?” and they came back to me saying they were just about to launch a new thing, hopefully nationwide eventually, where you can do just that. and the first day is today. you can subscribe to do this at – even if it’s $10 a week, that’s 2 less coffees (or one less cold pressed juice, jesus!!) and two kids get to eat lunch. it’s a no brainer, really. this week, i’m sponsoring te papapa school in onehunga for all the lunches that they need, and i’ve also subscribed to GIVE TWO as their first subscriber. so what are you waiting for? if you’ve got $10 to spare, jump on it. ok that’s it THANKS 4 READING and lots of love from me
A photo posted by Lorde (@lordemusic) on

Eat My Lunch, the organization Lorde is so chuffed about, was started by a New Zealand couple with Meredith’s help.

Meredith is the brains behind the appropriately named restaurant Merediths, which has won a slew of awards and is, by all accounts, super fancy.

He’s giving away his immense skills for free to try to make sure no child in his home country, no matter how poor, goes hungry.

According to Eat My Lunch, even in a country as wealthy as New Zealand, “One in four children … live in poverty and go without lunch every day.” Every time a customer makes a purchase, Eat My Lunch sends a sandwich, fresh veggies, and a treat assembled by Meredith and his partners to a local school serving children in need.

And if, like Lorde, you’re so pumped about the idea that you want to give both lunches instead of eating one yourself, well … you can give two. Super easily too. From anywhere in the world.

Although right now, Eat My Lunch only operates in New Zealand, it’s part of a larger trend.

Photo by Upworthy/YouTube.

Like Rosa’s Pizza in Philadelphia, where customers can pre-purchase $1 slices to feed the homeless. Or Tabrizi’s in Baltimore, which skipped the city’s annual Restaurant Week and opened up their dining room to homeless patrons.

It’s pretty awesome to see all these chefs using their skills to make a difference in the lives of people who need it most.

And it’s great to see Lorde using her valuable social media space to offer some epic support.

Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images.


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Yes, he went there: You’re awesome. This is as funny as it is inspiring. Which is very.

Yes, he went there: You’re awesome. This is as funny as it is inspiring. Which is very.


Who, me?

Kid President is a wise little charmer.

He says you’re a hero you just don’t know it yet.

It’s about strength.

Not lifting-car strength.


Nothing’s stronger than that,” according to K.P. It’s what changes things.”

You’re way more than you think you are,” he says.

“You’re more than your problems, and you’re more than your mistakes.” Kid President

So, what does Kid President mean by “hero,” anyway?

“Heroes are just ordinary people who’ve done extraordinary things that inspire other people to be extraordinary.”

Like Nathaniel, age 12.

Because the little things we do are a big deal.

Think: Who’s been a hero to you?

A parent, teacher, or a friend? Let them know, the same way this little wise man is letting you know right now. Make someone’s day great.

And don’t wait for some signal from on high.

Just trust that you can do something to make things better. Kid President says, You have everything you need to make someone’s day more awesome.”

It’s time to be the hero you’re meant to be.

Message received. And now, back to being a kid.


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A customer walked into his pizza shop and changed Philadelphia with $1 and a single Post-it note.

A customer walked into his pizza shop and changed Philadelphia with $1 and a single Post-it note.


Rosa’s Fresh Pizza offers a taste of New York-style pizza to the people of Philadelphia.

But that’s not all they serve. Rosa’s and their customers have teamed up to feed the city a daily taste of hope and kindness.

Philadelphia is the poorest large city in the country.

And it’s the city with the worst deep poverty rate in the U.S., with roughly 185,000 people (including 60,000 kids) living on incomes below half of the federal poverty line.

Owner Mason Wartman, who left his Wall Street desk job to open the shop, says pay-it-forward pizza started with one customer, one dollar, and one Post-it note.

Mason Wartman stands at the helm of Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.

The customer was inspired by an Italian coffee house practice called caff sospeso (suspended coffee), by which customers can pre-purchase cups of coffee for less fortunate customers.

Wartman wrote the purchase on a Post-it and slapped it on the wall behind the register to be redeemed by the next homeless patron to enter the store.

As word spread, more and more customers participated.

And Rosa’s wall blossomed with colorful notes signifying acts of kindness and a guaranteed slice for everyone who walked in, regardless of their ability to pay.

Since that first pay-it-forward slice, Rosa’s has provided nearly 10,000 pizza slices to needy Philadelphians.

Pre-purchased slices now represent a whopping 10% of Rosa’s business. And it’s having a remarkable impact on the community, showing not only that acts of kindness can be contagious, but also how a small gesture of support can have a ripple effect of positivity.

In the video, Wartman tells the story of a homeless regular who disappeared for a while only to return having found a new job and wanting to pay it forward as others had done for him.

And in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wartman notes that some have even said the program has helped to keep them out of trouble with the law:

“[Wartman] said people who receive the slices have told him the generosity helps them avoid committing petty crime to get money for food. ‘I knew it saved people money,’ Mr. Wartman said. ‘I hadn’t considered that it stopped people from committing crime.'”

If one small business acting as a hub of kindness can have this kind of effect, can you imagine the possibilities of entire communities of consumers and businesses doing the same thing?


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Man Leaves Pastor an Envelope That Says Please Dont Be MadWhen He Opens It, Hes Speechless

Man Leaves Pastor an Envelope That Says Please Dont Be MadWhen He Opens It, Hes Speechless

He left it behind at the church breakfast

Last year, the First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina was conducting their traditional offering when one of the counters came across an envelope that stopped her dead in her tracks.

But it wasn’t the amount of money that was so moving…it was the message.

“After the service we have a couple of people called counters who process the offerings and put them in our safe,” Pastor Patrick Hamrick told ABC News. “The secretary called me over and in the envelope was a dime, a nickel, and three cents. That was the 18 cents. We flipped it over and the note was there.”

Scrawled in blue pen, the note read, “Please don’t be mad. I don’t have much. I’m homeless. God bless.”

“We were very touched by it,” said Hamrick. “I just had a phone call from the person who says that he’s the one.

One church member, Barry Collins, said he thinks the man left the envelope behind after their Sunday breakfast. The church does what’s called a “Muffin Ministry” each Sunday where they offer a free breakfast to the homeless people in their community.

Pastor Hamrick told the stranger that he could get the community together to help him if he would make his identity known, but he wanted to remain anonymous.

“He’s asked me to keep it between me, God, and the church,” said Hamrick. “He’s not upset about it, he just feels that he wants to be private. I have to honor it professionally.”

“It warmed our hearts because proportionally that gift could be an average middle class person giving 1,000 dollars,” he continued. “I feel like he gave everything he had that morning and it’s a touching example of someone who has so little to give.”

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Get A Good Mood Garden Growing With These Eight Upbeat Greens!

Get A Good Mood Garden Growing With These Eight Upbeat Greens!

In my experience, its hard to feel down when youre surrounded by green and growing things!

Whether you have a total green thumb or struggle to keep houseplants alive, spending time in a garden any garden is just about guaranteed to boost your mood.

Of course, the soothing effects of gardening arent just limited to spending time in that environment what you choose to grow in your little corner of the earth can also make a huge difference for your disposition!

If you have access to a backyard, community garden, balcony, or even just a good-size fire escape, you can grow your very own good mood garden, designed to carry those upliftingeffects straight from the garden to your kitchen!

All you need is a small plot of land (or an array of sturdy planters), topsoil, and a handful of positivity-promoting plants to get going! Check out a few of our favorites in the gallery below!




Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

This one’s pretty much a no-brainer if you ask us! Chamomile grows everywhere it’s even considered a weed by some and it’s very hardy and easy to grow. You may even want to keep it potted so it doesn’t take over your garden.

Best of all, it’s a well-documented sleep aid and calming herb, which is why I’ve always considered chamomile tea to be the ultimate balm to any bad day. Dry the flowers and steep your own soothing tea at home!

Sunflower Seeds


Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Nothing says cheerful like a big, exuberant row of bright yellow sunflowers! You’ll feel happy every time you look at them, and once their season is done, the seeds will be ripe for harvesting.

Sunflower seeds are full ofnatural phenylalanine, which reduces depression when consumed as part of a natural diet.



Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Oregano is a savory herb that’s easy to grow quickly and in large quantities, though it’s usually happiest in a large container. Fresh or dried, it’sa tasty addition to pizza and pasta sauce, but it also has lesser-known medicinal properties!

It’s great for heart health, and it’s flush with fatty acids that help your body produce feel-good chemicals!

Black-Eyed Peas


Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

If you live in fairly warm climate, make sure to give black-eyed peas a shot! These members of the legume family like a long summer with plenty of warm weather, and will be happy to reward you in turn with plenty of folates when you’re ready to eat them!

Folates help promote seratonin and dopamine in the brain, which are both key to having a serene mood and getting a restful night’s sleep.



Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

For gardeners, tomatoes are an easy and natural choice! Give them partial sunlight and a strong structural support, and these vines will grow tall and produce their signature red and yellow fruit in abundance!

Tomatoes go with every meal imaginable, especially in the summertime, and their skins areloaded with lycopene, a nutrient that reduces inflammation, which can often cause depression and anxiety.

Blue Potatoes


Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

You may not see blue potatoes all that often, but you should definitely consider starting a few in your own garden!Heck, you don’t even need a garden; potatoes will grow anywhere, given a little dirt and water.

Best of all, these unique blue potatoes are loaded with iodine, which is key to maintaining a healthy and balanced thyroid, and stabilizing the hormones that control your mood.

Swiss Chard


Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Chard is one of the hardiest crops there is, so you get plenty of bang for your buck with this plant! It will keep growing into the autumn, supplying you with leafy, nutrient-dense greens that stir-fry into delish cooked greens or can be chopped into a tasty salad!

Their most noteworthy feature? Oodles of magnesium, which is key for boosting energy levels!



Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Last but not least, the easiest way to get a good mood going is by planting yourself a drift of lavender.

This fragrant herb will bring bees and butterflies from miles around, and just walking alongside is like aromatherapy. Bring the good mood indoors by drying it and making sachets, and enjoy the lovely and cheerful scent every time you work outside or throw open the window!

What other plants would you add to a good mood garden? Let us know in the comments below, and tell us whether you would ever make your own version of this project.

And if you love the idea of growing a happy place in your ownbackyard, make sure toSHAREwith fellow gardeners!

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What Makes Us Conscious?

What Makes Us Conscious?

Do you think that the machine you are reading this story on, right now, has a feeling of what it is like to be in its state?

What about a pet dog? Does it have a sense of what its like to be in its state? It may pine for attention, and appear to have a unique subjective experience, but what separates the two cases?

These are by no means simple questions. How and why particular circumstances may give rise to our experience of consciousness remain some of the most puzzling questions of our time.

Newborn babies, brain-damaged patients, complicated machines and animals may display signs of consciousness. However, the extent or nature of their experience remains a hotbed of intellectual enquiry.

Being able to quantify consciousness would go a long way toward answering some of these problems. From a clinical perspective, any theory that might serve this purpose also needs to be able to account for why certain areas of the brain appear critical to consciousness, and why the damage or removal of other regions appears to have relatively little impact.

One such theory has been gaining support in the scientific community. Its called Integrated Information Theory (IIT), and was proposed in 2008 by Guilio Tononi, a US-based neuroscientist.

It also has one rather surprising implication: consciousness can, in principle, be found anywhere where there is the right kind of information processing going on, whether thats in a brain or a computer.

Information And Consciousness

The theory says that a physical system can give rise to consciousness if two physical postulates are met.

The first is that the physical system must be very rich in information.

If a system is conscious of an enormous number of things, like every frame in a film, but if each frame is clearly distinct, then wed say conscious experience is highly differentiated.

Both your brain and your hard drive are capable of containing such highly differentiated information. But one is conscious and the other is not.

So what is the difference between your hard drive and your brain? For one, the human brain is also highly integrated. There are many billions of cross links between individual inputs that far exceed any (current) computer.

This brings us to the second postulate, which is that for consciousness to emerge, the physical system must also be highly integrated.

Whatever information you are conscious of is wholly and completely presented to your mind. For, try as you might, you are unable to segregate the frames of a film into a series of static images. Nor can you completely isolate the information you receive from each of your senses.

The implication is that integration is a measure of what differentiates our brains from other highly complex systems.

Integrated Information And The Brain

By borrowing from the language of mathematics, IIT attempts to generate a single number as a measure of this integrated information, known as phi (, pronounced fi).

Something with a low phi, such as a hard drive, wont be conscious. Whereas something with a high enough phi, like a mammalian brain, will be.

What makes phi interesting is that a number of its predictions can be empirically tested: if consciousness corresponds to the amount of integrated information in a system, then measures that approximate phi should differ during altered states of consciousness.

Recently, a team of researchers developed an instrument capable of measuring a related quantity to integrated information in the human brain, and tested this idea.

They used electromagnetic pulses to stimulate the brain, and were able to distinguish awake and anaesthetised brains from the complexity of the resulting neural activity.

The same measure was even capable of discriminating between brain injured patients in vegetative compared to minimally conscious states. It also increased when patients went from non-dream to the dream-filled states of sleep.

IIT also predicts why the cerebellum, an area at the rear of the human brain, seems to contribute only minimally to consciousness. This is despite it containing four times more neurons than the rest of the cerebral cortex, which appears to be the seat of consciousness.

The cerebellum has a comparatively simple crystalline arrangement of neurons. So IIT would suggest this area is information rich, or highly differentiated, but it fails IITs second requirement of integration.

Although theres a lot more work to be done, some striking implications remain for this theory of consciousness.

If consciousness is indeed an emergent feature of a highly integrated network, as IIT suggests, then probably all complex systems certainly all creatures with brains have some minimal form of consciousness.

By extension, if consciousness is defined by the amount of integrated information in a system, then we may also need to move away from any form of human exceptionalism that says consciousness is exclusive to us.

Matthew Davidson, Phd Candidate – Neuroscience of Consciousness, Monash University


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See a company that only hires people deemed ‘unemployable.’

See a company that only hires people deemed ‘unemployable.’


Looking for work can be a nightmare.

GIF via

Looking for work with a criminal record? Even worse.

There are a lot of employers who won’t even consider someone with a prior felony conviction. And in the United States, there are an estimated 12 million people with those.

12 million people. That’s so many. But for those who have done their time and wish to rebuild their lives, where the heck are they supposed to start?

There may be a job open in Lawrence, Kansas.

It’s at a place called Sun Cedar, and they will only hire you if you’re a reformed felon or a recovering addict or homeless. Essentially, if you’ve been deemed as “unemployable” in today’s workforce, you’re just who they are looking for.

It’s kind of genius.

Shine Adams is the brain behind it. After his friend was released from prison and wasn’t able to land a job, Adams came up with a solution.

It only involved three things:

  1. Cedar wood scraps
  2. A basement
  3. A friend seeking work

They started making little cedar trees out of the scraps, and people bought them. I mean who doesn’t love the smell of cedar? BAM! An inspiring small business idea was born.

Image via Sun Cedar.

Business is boomin’, but bigger would be better for everyone.

Sun Cedar has seen such success at providing meaningful employment to community members deemed “unemployable” so why not try to reach out to even more people?

By giving more people work experience and allowing them to build their resumes, these folks will eventually be able to move forward into other careers. Shine and his crew hope to expand Sun Cedar, finalize their nonprofit status, and keep making great products that people love. They’ve got some cool stuff going on.

They are more than just air fresheners!


Amy Solomon sums it up best. (She’s a senior adviser to the assistant attorney general in the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice):

“It is critical that we, as a society, provide a path for individuals who have served their time and paid their debts to compete for legitimate work opportunities. It is, in fact, our only choice if we want people with past criminal involvement to be able to support themselves and their families, pay their taxes, and contribute to our communities.”

It’s true.

An employee of Sun Cedar. Hello! Image via Sun Cedar.

Sun Cedar is giving people a second chance and a reason to keep trying.

And bonus! they’re fighting the stigma of criminal records and homelessness at the same time.

Check out this feature on their company, and if you think it is making a difference in the lives of its employees and community, consider sharing this, checking out their website, or supporting their Kickstarter to keep them going!


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Remember that pizzeria that was feeding the homeless? See what happened when you shared their story.

Remember that pizzeria that was feeding the homeless? See what happened when you shared their story.


You may recall the story of Rosa’s Fresh Pizza from the first time we covered it back in March 2015.

The Philadelphia-based eatery is making sure kindness isn’t just a slogan in the City of Brotherly Love. They invite customers to pay it forward by pre-purchasing $1 slices of pizza for homeless patrons.

And people happily chip in.

Our interview with Mason Wartman, owner of Rosa’s, and some of his customers was viewed over 35 million times on Facebook alone.

And you, Internet, took a page out of the pay-it-forward playbook, sharing the story over 800,000 times!

Scroll down to watch the interview.

Since then, Wartman says, business at Rosa’s has been picking up steam.

His email update four months later had us smiling ear-to-ear:

It has been more than three months since you posted our story on Upworthy. It’s been a CRAZY past couple months, but the business is both making more money and helping WAY more people than ever before.”
Mason Wartman

As of June 2015…

  • Rosa’s has given away more than 23,000 slices (a 130% increase in just four months!) and is providing meals free of charge to up to 100 people on any given day.
  • The uptick in business means Wartman needs more employees. And true to Rosa’s pay-it-forward spirit, he’s hiring through agencies that connect homeless folks with jobs.
  • And they’ve even started selling official Rosa’s apparel, which features designs by homeless artists. Half of all the revenue goes right back to supporting Philly’s homeless community through pay-it-forward pizza. So far, T-shirt sales have funded a full 10% of donated slices.

Not only does it generate more attention for this really great program (which in turn generates more food for the homeless), but it sends a powerful and unexpected message:

Business can thrive on kindness.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about Rosa’s, check out our interview with Wartman. And of course, pay it forward and pass it on.


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