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12 Feb 20:03

Pope and Russian Orthodox Church leader meet for the first time in history

by (Becca Stanek)


Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, sat down for a historic meeting early Friday afternoon at José Martí International Airport in Havana. The meeting between the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity marks the first such meeting in history and is a symbolic step in repairing relations between the two factions that split nearly 1,000 years ago.

The leaders are expected to have a conversation and then sign a joint declaration, which will likely focus on their shared concerns over Christian refugees in Syria and Iraq.

11 Feb 19:10

Justin Bieber Reflects on His Monkey, Apologizes to 'The Mayan People or Whatever' 

by Ellie Shechet

Justin Bieber is on the cover of GQ’s March issue, and the interview inside is beautifully, delightfully unsurprising.


11 Feb 14:32

Suffragist Valentines: “Love Me, Love My Vote”

by Lisa Wade, PhD

On February 14th, 1920, suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt founded the League of Women Voters. The League would go forward where the suffrage movement left off, thanks to the passage of the 19th amendment granting the right to vote to women.

Before that day, suffragists had used Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to spread their message. This 1915 valentine suggests that there will be no love on Valentine’s Day until women get the right to vote:


This 1916 valentine suggests that women love men who stand up for their right to vote:


And this one from 1918 suggests that if men really loved women, they’d give them suffrage.


Happy early Valentine’s/League of Women Voters’ Day!

Via Ms. Magazine; images borrowed from the League of Women Voters.

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

(View original at

06 Feb 12:36

Meerkat Pups Go Exploring At Taronga Zoo

by Chris Eastland

Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (5)
Two Meerkat pups born January 7 at Australia’s Taronga Zoo are already practicing the skills they’ll need as adults. 

Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (9)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (15)Photo Credit:  Paul Fahy

The pups, which are the first to be born at Taronga Zoo in nearly seven years, have just started venturing out of their nest box.  At less than one month old, they’re already eating solid food like mealworms and insect larvae.  The pups are also practicing to be sentries by standing on their hind legs.  Meerkats take turns standing as sentries to protect their social group from predators and other threats.

Keepers think that the pups are a male and a female, but the genders will be confirmed later this month when they have their first vaccinations and veterinary exam.   Keepers perform quick health checks and weigh-ins regularly to ensure that the pups are healthy and comfortable in the presence of keepers.

As with all Meerkat young, the yet-to-be named pups are developing very quickly. Despite only weighing less than an ounce at birth, they now weigh more than a quarter of a pound.  

Meerkats are native to southern Africa, where they inhabit arid locales such as the Kalahari and Namib Deserts.  Living in clans of about 20 individuals, Meerkats construct large networks of underground burrows.  Aside from acting as sentries, they exhibit other social behaviors such as babysitting and protecting young of other group members.  Meerkats are not under significant threat and are classified as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the Meerkat pups below.

Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (2)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (8)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (10)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (11)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (12)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (20)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (22)

Related articles
05 Feb 16:55

Woman Crashes Own Funeral After Husband Thinks He's Had Her Successfully Killed by Hit Men

by Madeleine Davies

Surprise, motherfucker.

Noela Rukundo is a ghost. Or at least that’s what her husband Balenga Kalala thought when she arrived at her own funeral after he’d been told that she was murdered by the Burundian hit men he had hired to kill her last February.


05 Feb 17:24

Hungry baby sea lion wanders into a San Diego restaurant, seats herself

by (Becca Stanek)

Employees at an upscale San Diego restaurant opened for business Thursday morning to find one very hungry diner already there: An 8-month-old sea lion. The pup apparently made her way into the restaurant overnight and then wandered over to a booth with an ocean view before falling asleep.

"[She] was a little bit early for [her] high tide breakfast reservation," Marine Room executive chef Bernard Guillas wrote on Facebook, later telling Reuters that it was "almost like she wanted to have dinner."

When experts from SeaWorld's Animal Rescue Center showed up to rescue the pup, they confirmed that the baby sea lion was indeed in need of a good meal. Experts say she was dehydrated and severely underweight, weighing less than half that of a typical 8-month-old California sea lion.

Upon her arrival at SeaWorld's facility, she finally got the meal she'd been looking for. Experts say they're "cautiously optimistic" the pup will recover and be able to return to the wild.

This sea lion rescue marks one of many this year as higher-than-normal ocean temperatures caused by El Nino have impacted animals' food supply. SeaWorld alone has rescued 47 sea lions and other marine animals this year.

05 Feb 19:00

Driving Down Sunset With Angelyne, LA's Original 'Famous for Being Famous' Icon

by Marie Lodi on The Muse, shared by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd to Jezebel

Angelyne—first name only—was doing the whole “famous for being famous” thing back when Kim Kardashian, reality television and Instagram thots were just a twinkle in our eyes. With her low-cut, pink mini dresses and blonde bouffant, she is the eternal Barbie, and the quintessential Holly-weirdo. Her appeal is her mystique—the fact that everyone knows about her but doesn’t actually know anything about her.


05 Feb 16:40

Tierpark Berlin Shares a Secret…Don’t Squeal!

by Andrew Bleiman


Djamila, the Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig, hit lucky number 7 with the birth of her litter. The piglets arrived January 27 at Tierpark Berlin.

The farrow has been happily confined to their stable, where it is warm and cozy. Except for the occasional squeak or wriggle, the piglets are content to stay close to mom, for now.



4_csm_Haengebauchschweine_Tierpark_Berlin_2016__10__5946037c73Photo Credits: Tierpark Berlin

Djamila is a ‘native’ Berliner and was born at the Zoo in 2011. The Tierpark Berlin introduced this dwarf breed to Europe in 1958.

The Pot-bellied Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) is a domesticated pig originating in Vietnam. Considerably smaller than standard American or European farm pigs, adults can weigh about 43 to 136 kg (100 to 300 lb).

Pot-bellied Pigs are considered fully-grown by six years of age, when the epiphyseal plates in the long bones of the legs finally close.

Because Pot-bellied Pigs are the same species as ordinary farmyard pigs and wild boars, they are capable of interbreeding. However, a 2004 study revealed extreme genetic diversity in indigenous Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pigs. They were also genetically different from each other according to location of origin in Vietnam.

The Pot-bellied Pig is a popular pet, but many breeders recommend the spaying or neutering of both sexes at a young age if the owner does not wish to breed them. Many local laws also require licensed pet pigs to be neutered to reduce aggression. The hooves and tusks are also recommended to be trimmed.

Sadly, Pot-bellied Pigs are often abandoned when owners discover that these pigs actually grow to larger sizes and require more care than they believed. Others are forced to give up pet pigs due to local ordinances.

Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig associations recommend adoption from local shelters instead of buying. Others like the Southern California Association for Miniature Pot-bellied Pigs and the California Pot-bellied Pig Association are actively involved in housing abandoned pet pigs. Despite this, shelters often have difficulty in finding new homes for abandoned pigs.





04 Feb 19:45

Photos: The Goth, Blood-Drenched Baby Shower Of Your Nightmares (NSFW)

by Emma G. Gallegos
"People are so uptight about kids and everything surrounding child birth," mom-to-be Kirsten Bosio told LAist. "It's a relief to laugh about it." [ more › ]

04 Feb 16:16

Diminutive Duiker Born at Los Angeles Zoo

by Andrew Bleiman

12486097_10156425933595273_5020895740945745106_oPhoto Credit: Susan Pearson

A Red-flanked Duiker was born the end of January, at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The diminutive bovid was recently photographed enjoying the California sun.

The Red-flanked Duiker (Cephalophus rufilatus) is a species of small antelope found in western and central Africa. They grow to almost 15 in (35 cm) in height and weigh up to 31 lb (14 kg). Their coats are russet, with greyish-black legs and backs, and white underbellies.

Red-flanked Duiker feed on leaves, fallen fruits, seeds and flowers, and sometimes twigs and shoots. The adults are territorial, living in savannah and lightly wooded habitats.

The females usually produce a single offspring each year. Breeding and births tend to occur year round as young animals have been seen during the wet and dry season. Gestation is about five-and-a-half months. Duikers are considered precocial but are concealed in vegetation by their mother for several weeks after birth. They are sexually mature when they are about one year old, but probably do not breed until later. Lifespan in captivity is up to 10 years.

Adult males and females are, in general, similar in appearance, but males have short backward-pointing horns up to 9 cm (3.5 in) long. Females are often hornless, or may have shorter horns. Both males and females have large preorbital glands on their snout in front of their eyes, which form bulges in their cheeks. These are common to all members of the genus Cephalophus but they are larger in the Red-flanked Duiker than in other species.

The Red-flanked Duiker is an adaptable species. The removal of trees by logging and the conversion of its natural habitat into more open savannah and farmland have allowed it to increase its range. It is fairly common in the areas in which it is found, though numbers are decreasing, in general, due to severe hunting pressure.

The Red-flanked Duiker was one of the four most frequent species of bushmeat on sale in the Republic of Guinea, along with Maxwell's Duiker (Cephalophus maxwelli), the Greater Cane Rat (Thryonomys swinderianus), and the Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus).

However, the Red-flanked Duiker occurs in a number of reserves and protected areas where it is less liable to be killed for meat, and it is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

04 Feb 16:40

New York's Hottest Fashion Week Accessory Is: Vapes 

by Rachel Vorona Cote

Nothing says “cool” and “fashion” like a vape, and the fashion label General Idea has been really leaning in to that century-old truism: for Men’s Fashion Week, they handed their aggressively bored models a key accessory.


02 Feb 20:24

The Zika virus is now sexually transmitted in the U.S.

by (Jeva Lange)

The mosquito-borne Zika virus was transmitted through sexual contact with an ill individual in Dallas, Texas, becoming the first such case in the United States in 2016, ABC reports.

"Now that we know Zika virus can be transmitted through sex, this increases our awareness campaign in educating the public about protecting themselves and others. Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections," a Dallas County Health and Human Services official said.

The World Health Organization declared Zika a global health emergency on Monday due to an "explosive" number of cases in South America. While patients rarely die of Zika, it may cause a neurological birth disorder in infants whose mothers harbor the virus. Read more about the Zika outbreak here.

02 Feb 19:20

This Japan Zoo's Escaped Zebra Drill Is a Jaw-Dropping Creative Triumph

by Ellie Shechet

Sometimes, news events take place that are difficult to put to words.


03 Feb 18:17

Taxi Driver Kidnapped By Escaped OC Inmates Tells His Harrowing Tale

by Juliet Bennett Rylah
Taxi Driver Kidnapped By Escaped OC Inmates Tells His Harrowing Tale A 74-year-old taxi driver who was kidnapped by three escaped inmates recounts the harrowing, 7-day ordeal. [ more › ]

01 Feb 23:23

Taco Bell Wants to Surprise You With A Mystery Menu Item This Weekend

by Danny Jensen
Taco Bell Wants to Surprise You With A Mystery Menu Item This Weekend To help you celebrate Super Bowl Sunday, Taco Bell wants you to buy a new, secret menu item without knowing what it is. [ more › ]

31 Jan 17:50

Here's Leonardo DiCaprio Vaping at the SAG Awards 

by Stassa Edwards

Here’s prominent vaping advocate Leonardo DiCaprio doing his thing during Saturday night’s SAG Awards. There’s is truly no better accessory for an Armani suit than a steely-eyed look and a vape pen.


02 Feb 14:45

Watch "the LARPosal": the most epic Live Action Role Playing proposal of all time

by Megan Finley
Oh nothing, it's just Matt and Brittany surrounded by 30 of their closest friends who came together to pull off a Live Action Role Playing proposal...
Oh nothing, it's just Matt and Brittany surrounded by 30 of their closest friends who came together to pull off a Live Action Role Playing proposal…

I'm proud to say that one day, my best friend and I became evil and kidnapped our buddy Matt before he could propose to his girlfriend. What happened next, is the stuff of legend…

The legend of the LARPosal — the most epic proposal of all time! Or, as my friend — the new engaged Brittany — explained it:

brittany and matt LARPosal

My boyfriend Matt proposed to me in the most elaborate way possible. He, along with all of our closest friends, orchestrated an epic LARP (Live Action Role Play) adventure where I got to play the hero and save him from a terrible evil. To say that I'm the world's luckiest girl is the understatement of the century.

This is Brittany on her quest to rescue her future fiancé, aided by mermaids

Watch the bride-to-be fight trolls, entertain dragons, speak to mermaids, and ugly cry as the entire day unfolds in a super-sweet proposal.

(Psst: Yes, I know it's long. But it's edited Pop-Up Video-style, and narrated by Grant Imahara, and features my ridiculous acting. Trust me, it's completely worth spending your lunch hour on this.)


Congrats Matt and Brittany, I was honored to be a part of this, and I can't wait to see feature whatever the hell y'all do for the actual wedding!

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01 Feb 16:18

Colobus Monkey is ‘Jamming Good’ at Saint Louis Zoo

by Andrew Bleiman


A tiny male Eastern Black-and-white Colobus Monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo's Primate House on January 10. The little one was given the name Ziggy as a nod to rock star David Bowie who passed away on the day the infant was born.

Colobus infants are born with all white hair and a pink face. In contrast, adults are primarily black, with white hair encircling their faces and half of their tails. Adults have a distinctive mantle of long white hair extending from their shoulders around the edge of their backs. Infants will change gradually until they reach adult coloration at about 6 months.

Baby_colobus_monkey_with_big_sister_1-17-16_credit_Ethan_Riepl_Saint_Louis_Zoo_1542032_webPhoto Credits: Saint Louis Zoo Primate Keeper Ethan Riepl


Mom Cecelia (age 16) is the dominant female in the group, and she is an experienced mother who is taking great care of her newborn and 1-year-old Simon. Her 3-year-old daughter Kivuli is an eager "babysitter." Also in the family is 28-year-old matriarch Roberta, mother to 3-1/2-year-old daughter Pili, and 2-year-old daughter Binti. Nine-year-old father Kima watches proudly over the family.

"Everyone in the Colobus Monkey family has a role in caring for newborns," says Joe Knobbe, Zoological Manager of Primates at the Saint Louis Zoo. "Cecelia allows the young females some time with the infant, holding or even carrying him. They are learning important skills that will help them become great mothers, too, someday."

The family can be seen at the Zoo’s Primate House. Visitors can see the infant poking his head out to look at his new world.

The Eastern Black-and-white Colobus Monkey (Colobus guereza) is found throughout the forests of east and central Africa.

Colobus Monkeys grow to a max weight of about 15-30 pounds and a length of about 30 inches. They are strictly leaf-eaters and spend most of their time in treetops. They live in troops of about five to ten with a single dominant male and several females with young.

Gestation for the Colobus is about six months. There is no distinct breeding season, and females will typically give birth every 20 months. The entire troop may play a part in caring for the newborn. He will cling to the mother, or others allowed to care for him, for the first seven months of life. After that time, he will begin to play more with other juveniles.

The Colobus Monkey is currently classified as “Least Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. At one time the monkey was hunted for its beautiful fur for use in making dance costumes, capes, and hats. Today, their biggest threat is habitat encroachment by humans for the development of agriculture, housing and roads.

The birth at the Saint Louis Zoo is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program created to manage a genetically healthy population of Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys in North American zoos.

29 Jan 15:00

Hey! VINA: a New App That’s Like Tinder for Girl Friends

by Marie Lodi

There are dating apps for every fetish and even one that matches people to potential pets , but what about an app that helps women make new female friends? Finally, there is one, and it’s called Hey! VINA. It works similarly to Tinder, but instead of sexy hookups, it connects new female friends with each other through shared interests, favorite activities and “life stage.”


27 Jan 21:55

99-Year-Old Lady Wakes Up to Find a Kinkajou Chilling on Her Chest, Like, 'Hey, Girl'

by Clover Hope

An elderly woman in Miami awoke to find a kinkajou named Banana cuddling on her chest. “Oh it’s a cute kinkajou!” is what she didn’t yell out.


28 Jan 13:05

Australian police foil ISIS plot involving suicide-bombing kangaroo

by (Jeva Lange)


An ISIS-supporting Australian teenager was arrested last April on terrorism charges for allegedly planning to pack a kangaroo full of bombs and let it loose on police, The New York Daily News reports. Sevdet Besim, 19, had pledged his allegiance to ISIS online, although its not yet clear if he was in touch with the terrorist organization.

According to reports, Besim planned to strap bombs onto a kangaroo, paint it with the ISIS logo, and set it on police. "I'd love to take out some cops. I was gonna meet with them then take some heads ahaha," Besim reportedly wrote to an overseas friend. Besim had also planned to run over a police officer and then behead him on April 25, an Australian holiday.

Besim has pleaded not guilty to the terror crimes.

28 Jan 20:48

“Are You My Model?” By Leonardo Dicaprio

by Joanna Bradley

A gorgeous Brazilian model sat on a pile of beach towels.


Illustration by Gabe Gordon


The beach towels groaaaned like a 41 year-old actor.

“I must go somewhere where I can get service on my iPad,” the model said. So away she went.

The pile of beach towels flipped and flopped and flipped and flopped until…

Out popped Leonardo DiCaprio!


Illustration by Gabe Gordon


“Where is my model?” he said into his phone to Siri. Siri did not know. “I will go and look for her,” he said. Siri said, “Okay, Leo.”

Down the beach Leo went. He couldn’t fly, because he left his helicopter in St. Barth’s, but he could sort of still walk even though he was pretty drunk.

He saw a hot mom in a bikini. “Are you my model?” he asked the mom. She just stared at him. “Oh…oh, wow, you’re Leonardo DiCaprio. Jesus, you look terrible.”


Illustration by Gabe Gordon


He saw Gisele Bundchen lying on a beach towel. “Are you my model?” he said to Gisele. “Not anymore,” Gisele said.

“Are you my model?” Leo asked a brunette playing paddle ball. “How could I be your model?” said the brunette. “I weigh 130lbs.”

Leonardo DiCaprio pulled on his beard. He took a hit off his vape. The hot mom was not his model, Gisele and the brunette were not his model.


Illustration by Gabe Gordon

“I have a model,” Leo said. “I know I do. I had sex with her this morning. I will find her! I will. I WILL!”

Just then, Leonardo DiCaprio saw some seaweed in the shape of a woman float by. “You are my model!” he said, and he walked out into the water.

His Hawaiian-print swim trunks filled up, up, UP with air and floated around his hairy beer belly.

“Oh no,” said Leo. “I’m way too high to be swimming.” He crawled back to his chaise lounge.

Just then, the Brazilian model came back with her iPad. “I know who you are! You are not a hot mom, a Gisele, or a fat brunette!

Illustration by Gabe Gordon

Illustration by Gabe Gordon

“You are a hot, young Brazilian woman who tolerates my saggy pecs and dirty beard in exchange for nine months of A-list publicity, and you are my model!”



Illustrations were provided by Gabe Gordon, a far-sighted angel/artist working across multiple platforms in New York. He loves talent shows and always wins them. On Instagram at @therealnedschneebly

29 Jan 19:00

Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden Defies Gravity

by Gregory Han

Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden Defies Gravity

Whether it’s magnetic levitating skateboards or floating audio speakers, it seems we’re obsessed with the idea of defying gravity whenever given the opportunity. But outside of Marty McFly aspirations and questionable audiophile claims, it seems the best use of magnetic flotation at this point isn’t functional, but simply decorative.

The Hoshinchu Air Bonsai is nothing but magical, a floating miniature forest that spins suspended over a magnetic electrified pedestal, a feat accomplished for no reason except it’s very, very cool.

A Kickstarter project which has already reached well beyond its goal, the floating bonsai tree concept is advertised as a two-piece system, comprised of an “energy base” and the plant potted “little star”. The flotation system can hold up to .66 lbs of weight at a little more than 3/4 of inch in height above the base.

Because of import laws the Hoshinchu cannot ship their sets with Japanese bonsai. Thus, they’re working with regional bonsai and plant makers in the U.S. to coordinate delivery of “matsu, a pine tree from your country”. Otherwise, this is a $200 BYOB (“bring your own bonsai”) set, delivering only the components to piece together your own plant setup. Still, it’s sure to be an enticing opportunity to up your centerpiece game, and should spark some creative arrangements for those florally creative.


29 Jan 01:00

Mapping Los Angeles Coyote Sightings Over the Last 13 Years

by Bianca Barragan

I saw one running full speed down the street my parents live on the other night. We have a lot in the park and areas surrounding the zoo, but I'd never seen one in my parents' neighborhood before.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 3.34.21 PM.png
Map via KCET

Likely because of Southern California's persistent, years-long drought, coyotes have been showing up closer to civilization more and more. In Irvine, city officials are using paintballs to "haze" bold coyotes, and in Los Angeles, though they've mostly avoided human encounters, there is definitely an increased coyote presence. The number of calls to Los Angeles Animal Services about "coyote concerns" back up the anecdotal evidence, and to show the coyote hotbeds, KCET's mapped them all.

The plot points correspond to the location where the report of the sighting was made. The color of the points matches up to the year that a coyote call was made, and also includes any information that the Animal Services staff noted at the time. The data shows that in 2013 there were five times as many calls as there were in 2010. Though the last two years have seen a decline since the 2013 peak (above 500), the totals are still more than double the 2010 number, which was around 100. Where are all these coyotes hanging out?

· Coyotes: Kill Them or Coexist? [KCET] · Biologists Have Discovered Los Angeles's Urban Coyotes Are Neighborhood Stereotypes [Curbed LA]
28 Jan 13:00

I Can’t Stop Thinking About This Drawing by a Man With No Hands or Feet

by Jerry Saltz

The first thing you’ll think while looking at the infinitely intricate art of Matthias Buchinger — possibly through extra-large magnifying glasses — will be Unbelievable. Consider the interlacing ornamentation, teeny-tiny penmanship, minuscule portraits, and other feats of drawing that dazzle on their own terms; then consider that Buchinger was born in Germany in 1674 without hands or legs and, with the help of brushes and tools attached to his stumps, became, in addition to a world-class illusionist and magician (part of the exhibition is drawn from the collection of Ricky Jay), among the greatest calligraphers of his time and a master of the art of micrography (drawing with words). Also, he could thread a needle, was a marksman, and worked in four languages all over Europe. And he fathered 14 children by four wives and was famous enough for his profligacy, in addition to his work, that in England “Buckinger’s boot” became a euphemism for vagina (since his only “limb” was his penis). At this point, you’re in some Borgesian twilight zone of trust, love, misgiving, and terrible queasiness: “Am I being duped? By the Met?”

“Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay” is at the Met through April 11.

*This article appears in the January 25, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.

Read more posts by Jerry Saltz

Filed Under: art ,matthias buchinger ,the met ,metropolitan museum of art ,new york magazine ,art appreciation

28 Jan 18:58

Leonardo DiCaprio Met With the Pope to Discuss Environmental Concerns, Then They Exchanged Some Light Reading

by Emma Barrie

pussy posse

Leonardo DiCaprio met with Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican to discuss their shared environmental concerns. "Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you," Leo said in Italian as he arrived. (We know what you're thinking— Leo learned Italian?? Swoon! But calm down, he's an actor. He knows how to act like he speaks Italian.) Leo then kissed the Pope's ring, which has since probably increased in value. DiCaprio also gave Francis a book of works by the 15th-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and showed him the reproduction of Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights that had hung over his crib as a child. Why his expecting parents registered for a triptych painting that depicted a vision of hell is anyone's guess, but DiCaprio said he thought the painting represented Francis's environmental concerns. Leo then gave the Pope a check to use for charity works, and the Pope gave Leo some books, which he'll have to add to his Kindle. The Pope said nothing about The Revenant, but after Leo left, he's rumored to have said, "I'm never washing this ring."

Read more posts by Emma Barrie

Filed Under: leonardo dicaprio ,the pope ,pope francis ,environmental concerns ,leo and the pope

28 Jan 19:03

This is what an Airbnb room specifically designed for 'Netflix and chill' looks like

by (Jeva Lange)

Ever wanted to stay the night in a meme? Now you can: The Netflix & Chill Room is booking guests for $400 a night.

The room is a special project designed by ART404 and artist Tom Galle, complete with a Netflix-branded comforter, pillowcases, and mini fridge stocked with champagne, wine, spirits, and soda within reach of the bed. There is also, of course, an HD projector, AppleTV, and Netflix account available for all your streaming needs.

The Netflix & Chill room is located in New York City's West Village, but it is only available to rent on Saturdays. "If you have a week of Netflix and Chill nights, the experience would dull over the week. So we want to keep it to that one pinnacle moment," one of the artists who worked on the room, Alyssa Davis, told the New York Daily News.

Despite the implications of the name, the artists assure guests there is no pressure in staying in the Netflix & Chill room. "[Guests] experience something different than just going to a hotel. It's bringing a part of the internet to a real life experience. You don't have to sleep with a girl there or a guy there, we're just bringing the joke to real life," Galle said.

28 Jan 19:15

Dax And Kristen Do Africa

by Enty

24 Jan 10:40

This doctor helped the dying end their lives with dignity. Then he was diagnosed with cancer.

by (Brooke Jarvis)

Peter Rasmussen was always able to identify with his patients, particularly in their final moments. But he saw himself especially in a small, businesslike woman with leukemia who came to him in the spring of 2007, not long before he retired. Alice was in her late 50s and lived outside Salem, Oregon, where Rasmussen practiced medical oncology. Like him, she was stubborn and practical and independent. She was not the sort of patient who denied what was happening to her or who scrambled after any possibility of a cure. As Rasmussen saw it, "she had long ago thought about what was important and valuable to her, and she applied that to the fact that she now had acute leukemia."

From the start, Alice refused chemotherapy, a treatment that would have meant several long hospitalizations with certain suffering, a good chance of death, and a small likelihood of truly helping. As her illness progressed, she also refused hospice care. She wanted to die at home.

Six months after Rasmussen started seeing Alice, he wrote in her chart about his admiration for her and her husband: "Together they are doing a wonderful job not only preparing for her continued worsening and imminent death but also in living a pretty good life in the meantime." But there were more fevers and bleeding and weakness. In late January, she asked him to write her a prescription for pentobarbital.

Three days later he arrived at her farmhouse with four vials of bitter liquid. Though the law didn't require it, he liked to bring the drug from the pharmacy himself, right before it was to be used, so that there would be no mistakes.

Over nearly three decades as a physician in Oregon, Rasmussen had developed many strong beliefs about death. The strongest was that patients should have the right to make their own decisions about how to face it. He remembers the scene in Alice's bedroom as "inspiring, in a sense" — the kind of personal choice that he'd envisioned during the long, lonely years when he'd fought, against the disapproval of nearly everyone he knew and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, for the right of terminal patients to decide when and how to die.

By the time he retired, Rasmussen had helped dozens of patients end their lives. But he kept thinking about Alice. Her pragmatism mirrored the image he had of how he would face such a diagnosis. But while he had often conjured that image — had faced it every time he walked a dying patient through a list of inadequate options — he also knew better than to fully believe in it. How could you be sure what you would do before the decisions were real?

"You don't know the answer to that until you actually face it," he said later — after his own diagnosis had been made, after he knew that he had cancer and that he would soon die. "You can say you do, but you don't really know."

The knowledge hid in the back of Rasmussen's mind — a flitting worry you don't look at directly — for a few days before he really comprehended it.

He was on his way home from a meeting of the continuing-education group he had joined after his retirement. One of the group's members had asked him to let the others know that she had been diagnosed with a glioblastoma — a type of brain tumor whose implacable aggression he knew well. A glioblastoma can cause seizures, memory loss, partial paralysis, even personality changes. You can treat the tumor with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but it will always come back, often in more places. The timeline can be uncertain, but the prognosis never is. The median period of survival after diagnosis is seven months.

As Rasmussen drove away from the meeting, his left hand was draped on the wheel of his Tesla. It felt, as it had for several days, oddly numb, as if he'd been holding a vibrating object for too long. He'd ignored the feeling, chalking it up to spending too much time power-washing pinecones off his cedar-shake roof.

Maybe it was what had happened at the meeting, or the clarity of a wandering mind. All at once he focused on the sensation — on how localized it was, on the fact that it hadn't gone away — and he knew. Something was wrong. "I've either got MS," he thought, "or I've got a brain tumor."

Instead of driving home he went straight to an urgent-care clinic, where a doctor sent him to the E.R., where another doctor gave him an MRI, which showed a tumor. It was, he learned later, a glioblastoma about an inch in diameter. Barring an accident, it would be the thing that killed him, sometime in the suddenly too near future.

Eight days after his MRI, Rasmussen went to the hospital to have part of his skull cut away and his tumor sliced out. He had considered whether having surgery violated his usual advice about not wasting one's final months seeking painful and unlikely cures, but because his tumor was localized and fairly accessible, he and his surgeon decided that the odds were good enough to try.

The surgery was a success — though Rasmussen lost the use of his left arm, the entire visible tumor was removed, and he was able to leave the next day. Of course, success was only a slower form of failure: He was still going to die. He never let himself, or anyone around him, forget that his reprieve was temporary. "It's not if I pass away," he corrected his lawyer, his accountant, his friends. "It's when I die."

Before he retired, Rasmussen had often tried to help his patients and their families think of the process of dying as an opportunity, a chance for clarity and forgiveness, for thoughtful, meaningful goodbyes. He hoped to hold on to that belief for himself. When he pictured a good death, the image was simple: calm and peace, without much physical suffering, and his family with him in the house where he'd lived for 18 years with Cindy, his wife; where the kids had grown up; where the windows looked out on his bird feeders and his flowers.

It wasn't time yet. Five months after the surgery, he stopped chemo and radiation. He began to feel better, stronger, and was even able to use his left hand a little. Still, every time he had a headache or nausea he wondered whether the tumor was growing back. But whenever he started to feel sorry for himself, he'd administer a stern mental shake: "We all die," he'd tell himself. "It's never fair to anybody. So buck up."

Privately, he had no idea whether or not he'd take advantage of Oregon's assisted suicide law. He consulted a list that he'd kept of his Death With Dignity patients. At first most had been urgent cases: people with all kinds of terminal diseases, who were suffering intensely and wanted to take the drug right away. As time passed, people began coming to him sooner after their diagnoses, before they knew how their diseases would develop. Some only asked questions, and others wanted to have the pentobarbital handy, a just-in-case comfort that made them feel more in control. The majority of his patients never took the medication.

Every death was different, though most had details in common: reminiscing in advance, goodbyes filled with love, family members saying that it was OK to stop struggling. There was the death with the Harley-Davidsons: He'd pulled up to the house and there were motorcycles everywhere, people in leather drinking beer on the lawn, just the party his patient wanted.

Of course, not everyone wanted a party, and he respected that too. Often there were only a few family members, and sometimes it was just him and the patient, alone together at the last. Only once did someone ask to die completely alone, in quiet privacy behind the closed door of a bedroom.

He remembered a woman whose mastectomy had not stopped her breast cancer from metastasizing to her lungs. Her huge family came in for the weekend. They had a picnic on Saturday, went to church on Sunday, and then all the kids and grandkids filed through her bedroom to say goodbye. He waited outside the door until they were done and then he brought her a dose of pentobarbital. She drank it and died. That one stuck with him: "It was about as ideal a death as I possibly could have imagined."

In July of last year, Rasmussen went in for a new MRI. The scan showed the tumor, the same size and back in the same place it had been the year before. He consulted with his surgeon, who told him that the tumor was once again a good candidate for removal. Rasmussen would most likely lose the use of his left arm altogether, but if all went very well, he would have a one-in-three chance of living to the second anniversary of his diagnosis.

"I'll leave tomorrow for the trip," he told Cindy after meeting with the surgeon — meaning a cross-country road trip that he'd been talking about. Cindy was stunned. She hadn't thought he'd actually go. But he was adamant, and then he was gone.

He drove east through Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, along long, open stretches of quiet road. He brought recorded lectures to keep him company: one about St. Francis, a series on the Higgs boson, and a particularly interesting lecture about gnosticism.

As he drove, he tried to visualize what his life would be like if he underwent surgery or stopped treatment altogether. He imagined losing more of the use of his left side and eventually ending up in hospice, bedbound. That part didn't bother him so much. He knew it was coming no matter what. But he didn't like thinking about stopping treatment, not yet. It was too passive, too final. It just made him too sad.

Somewhere around the ninth day of his trip, he had a thought that excited him. "The task of learning to be a hemiparetic person," of living with paralysis on his left side, could be an adventure, another learning experience. "To take on a challenge is always satisfying," he explained later. Relief washed over him. He had made a decision.

He wasn't planning to have the surgery right away, but an hour after arriving home he had a seizure. Four days later he was back in the O.R., and surgeons were once again scooping a tumor from his brain. He woke to find himself paralyzed not just in his arm, but throughout the left side of his body. For days he was noticeably quiet. After three days he moved to a nursing-care facility. The first morning there, he called Cindy to tell her that he'd been very sad the night before. "Did you cry?" she asked.

"No, I didn't cry," he replied. "But I was mourning the loss of my independence."

On Oct. 1, he was admitted to the hospital for a new MRI. The results showed that his tumor had not only grown back but expanded into the middle of his brain. "I want to go home," he said.

Cindy set up a hospital bed in the living room looking out over his gardens. His stepchildren arrived from New York and Seattle. For four nights Cindy and the kids stayed by his bed, each night thinking it would be the last. Instead, he grew stronger for a time — a month that Cindy calls "one of the most meaningful experiences I've ever had and probably will ever have." He visited with friends and family, watched a slide show of old pictures, listened as music therapists played his favorite songs on the ukulele.

Rasmussen had already started the paperwork for Death With Dignity, but he didn't want to add the final touch, his own signature. Near the end of October, he was speaking only a few labored words at a time. One day he asked Cindy to help him stand so he could get up to go to the bathroom, something he hadn't done in weeks. He was so weak and frail that Cindy told him it was impossible. She says she saw the realization happen then: "This is it."

On Oct. 29, Rasmussen signed the paperwork and his siblings flew in from Wisconsin, Illinois, and North Carolina. He planned to take the drug the next week, after what Cindy calls "a memorial service while he was still alive." Sixteen people gathered around Rasmussen; one by one they told him what he had meant to them and what they would remember about him.

He was alert but not talking much on the morning of Nov. 3. His family intertwined their arms in a circle around him and put piano music on the stereo. He raised the cup of secobarbital mixed with juice — papaya, orange, and mango, his favorite — and drank it down. His eyes closed. Cindy, sobbing, realized how similar the scene was to what he used to describe when he came home from someone else's death. "It was awful," she says. "But at the same time, I was glad that he was able to end his life on his terms."

Half an hour later, he quietly stopped breathing.

Copyright © Harper's Magazine. All rights reserved. Excerpted from the January 2016 issue by special permission.

27 Jan 18:00

Sculptural Footwear Made of Concrete

by Caroline Williamson

Sculptural Footwear Made of Concrete

Just recently completing her Masters in Fashion Footwear at the London College of Fashion, designer Sandra Plantos created Presence as her graduate collection, where she drew from her architectural background. Exploring both materiality and the act of making, Plantos abstracted natural materials and how they’re used on a daily basis to elevate their “status” in the form of evocative footwear.


The collection utilizes concrete as a way to entrap and restrict the movements of the user, essentially making the footwear immovable and slowing down the pace of everyday life. The result is an multi-sensory experience as the physical act of moving slowly decelerates the mind and the processing of imagery, making the tactile qualities of the material become more noticeable, thereby enhancing the experience of the “self”.

The deconstructed nature of the conceptual footwear makes them sculptural, with spaces created for the feet to reside.