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05 May 17:40

Police Looking For Man Who Stalked And Groped Woman In West Hollywood

by Juliet Bennett Rylah
Police Looking For Man Who Stalked And Groped Woman In West Hollywood He followed her when she boarded the bus and tailed her after her stop. [ more › ]
27 Apr 14:57

When Did It Become Allowable to be Pregnant in Public?

by Lisa Wade, PhD

When my mom wants to tell me I look fat, she tells me people will think I'm pregnant. I recently asked her, "so?" I mean, I'm not. But if a stranger thinks I am, how does that possibly have a negative impact on my life?

Pregnancy wasn’t always something women did in public. In her new book, Pregnant with the Stars, Renée Ann Cramer puts public pregnancies under the sociological microscope, but she notes that it is only recently that being publicly pregnant became socially acceptable. Even as recently as the 1950s, pregnancy was supposed to be a private matter, hidden behind closed doors. That big round belly was, she argues, “an indicator that sex had taken place, [which] was simply considered too risqué for polite company.”

Lucille Ball was the first person on television to acknowledge a pregnancy, real or fictional. It was 1952, but it was considered lewd to actually say the word “pregnant,” so the episode used euphemisms like “blessed event” or simply referred to having a baby or becoming a father.

Almost 20 years later, in 1970, a junior high school teacher was forced out of the classroom in her third trimester on the argument that her visible pregnancy would, as Cramer puts it, “alternately disgust, concern, fascinate, and embarrass her students.” So, when Demi Moore posed naked and pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair just 21 years after that, it was a truly groundbreaking thing to do.


Today being pregnant is public is unremarkable. Visibly pregnant women are free to run errands, go to restaurants, attend events, even dress up their “baby bump” to try to (make it) look cute. All of this is part of the entrance of women into the public sphere more generally and the pressing of men to accept female bodies in those spaces. The next frontier may be breast feeding, an activity related to female-embodied parenting that many still want to relegate to behind closed doors. We may look back in 20 years and be as surprised by intolerance of breastfeeding as we are today over the idea that pregnant women weren’t supposed to leave the house. Time will tell.

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

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04 May 16:36

Charming Human Channing Tatum Does an Interview With Autistic Reporter Carly Fleischmann

by Jackson McHenry

Channing Tatum, a man who could easily get by on his looks alone, somehow has a heart, too. He did an interview with Carly Fleischmann, who cannot communicate verbally due to her autism and instead relies on a keyboard, as part of her web series Speechless With Carly Fleischmann. And boy, Carly goes for the tough questions: What does Channing's wife do that he doesn't understand? How many girls would he leave work with when he was a stripper? Would he date a 21-year-old with autism? It's almost as if she has an ulterior motive. Jenna better watch out.

08 Apr 16:20

High School Production of Sweeney Todd Ends with Real Cut Throats

by Madeleine Davies

A New Zealand high school’s production of Sweeney Todd went wrong (or, from another angle, completely right) when two students suffered real neck cuts from a prop razor during their opening night performance.


22 Apr 19:21

The week's best photojournalism

by Lauren Hansen

Native Brazilians sing and dance during the Indigenous Youth Games of Pataxos nation in Santa Cruz de Cabralia, Brazil. | (REUTERS/Roosevelt Cassio)

A chimpanzee screams after escaping from Yagiyama Zoological Park in Sendai, Japan. | (REUTERS/Kyodo)

Lemi Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia celebrates after winning the Boston Marathon. | (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Greek actress Katerina Lehou lights a torch during the dress rehearsal for the Olympic flame lighting ceremony at the site of ancient Olympia in Greece. | (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis)

A rowing team practices on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. | (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Louis Marquez carries his dog through floodwaters in Houston, Texas.| (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A Buddhist monk sleeps while other monks and novices gather to receive alms at Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani, Thailand. | (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)

Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, pose in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. | (REUTERS/Money Sharma/Poo)

Wild bluebells form a carpet in the Hallerbos, also known as the "Blue Forest," near Halle, Belgium. | (REUTERS/Yves Herman)

An abandoned breakfast is seen in a tea shop after a suicide bombing at a nearby government building in Kabul, Afghanistan. | (REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail)

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers stack elephant tusks, part of an estimated 105 tons of confiscated ivory to be set ablaze at Nairobi National Park in Kenya. | (REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya)

Prince's star adorns a wall in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the pop super star often performed. | (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

**See last week's best photojournalism**

04 May 15:52

Women are less happy than men in marriage, so why does the media insist otherwise?

by Lisa Wade, PhD

To Post Secret, a project that collects personal secrets written artistically onto postcards, someone recently sent in the following bombshell: “Ever since we started getting married and buying houses,” she writes, “my girlfriends and I don’t laugh much anymore.”


Her personal secret is, in fact, a national one.  It’s part of what has been called the “paradox of declining female happiness.” Women have more rights and opportunities than they have had in decades and yet they are less happy than ever in both absolute terms and relative to men.

Marriage is part of why. Heterosexual marriage is an unequal institution. Women on average do more of the unpaid and undervalued work of households, they work more each day, and they are more aware of this inequality than their husbands. They are more likely to sacrifice their individual leisure and career goals for marriage. Marriage is a moment of subordination and women, more so than men, subordinate themselves and their careers to their relationship, their children, and the careers of their husbands.

Compared to being single, marriage is a bum deal for many woman. Accordingly, married women are less happy than single women and less happy than their husbands, they are less eager than men to marry, they’re more likely to file for divorce and, when they do, they are happier as divorcees than they were when married (the opposite is true for men) and they are more likely than men to prefer never to remarry.

The only reason this is surprising is because of the torrent of propaganda we get that tells us otherwise. We are told by books, sitcoms, reality shows, and romantic comedies that single women are wetting their pants to get hitched. Men are metaphorically or literally drug to the altar in television commercials and wedding comedies, an idea invented by Hugh Hefner in the 1950s (before the “playboy,” men who resisted marriage were suspected of being gay). Not to mention the wedding-themed toys aimed at girls and the ubiquitous wedding magazines aimed solely at women. Why, it’s almost as if they were trying very hard to convince us of something that isn’t true.

But if women didn’t get married to men, what would happen? Marriage reduces men’s violence and conflict in a society by giving men something to lose. It increases men’s efforts at work, which is good for capitalists and the economy. It often leads to children, which exacerbate cycles of earning and spending, makes workers more reliable and dependent on employers, reduces mobility, and creates a next generation of workers and social security investors. Marriage inserts us into the machine. And if it benefits women substantially less than men, then it’s no surprise that so many of our marriage promotion messages are aimed squarely at them.

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

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04 May 21:15

This Chinese Fast Food Spot in Hawthorne Makes Gigantic Egg Rolls

by Joshua Lurie

chubby rain

And perhaps the best General Tso's chicken in LA

Hawthorne, a tiny city southeast of LAX, is probably best known for producing the Beach Boys, and more recently, Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX. When it comes to food, the South Bay hamlet has been short on innovation, apart from a small Pakistani community. But since February, Hawthorne has housed Chubby Rice, a modern Chinese-American restaurant that skips gloppy sauces and heavy batters in favor of flavorful cooking.

The plate that best exemplifies their approach is their rendition of General Tso’s chicken. The famous dish, synonymous with Chinese-American cooking, actually has roots in Taipei and was the subject of a documentary called "The Search for General Tso." Chubby Rice’s version may be L.A.’s best, featuring dark meat tossed with onions, scallions, garlic, white button mushrooms, and a savory soy-rich sauce that gets smoky from the wok.

 Joshua Lurie
General Tso's chicken at Chubby Rice

Each plate comes with a choice of two sides. Clearly a restaurant called Chubby Rice calls for a mountain of fried rice stir-fried with egg and dime cuts of lap cheong sausage. You also have the opportunity to snag an egg roll here, which just might be the pinnacle of Chinese-American egg rolls in Los Angeles. Blistered wrappers cradle crumbled pork and vegetables in a ratio you won’t find many other places. A larger version listed under the "Bite Me" section as Chubby egg roll on the menu is the size of a small burrito.

Chubby Rice took over a Korean restaurant called Pojang and shares a strip mall near Hawthorne High School with a nail salon, insurance office, and Mexican restaurant. The glass-fronted space features white and orange walls and wood tables dressed with small succulents.

The pinnacle of Chinese-American egg rolls in Los Angeles

Jason Lau and wife Helen originally hail from Hong Kong. They ran a restaurant called Golden Crown for 30 years in Mountain Home, Idaho, an Air Force town outside of Boise with 120 seats and 150 menu items. They retired a couple years back and got bored, so they relocated to Los Angeles and resurfaced with their greatest hit dishes. Daughters Linda and Alice, and Alice’s wife Joe Fang, now run the show.

Fang said of the Laus, "They cook for guests like they cook for their own family." That means less oil, no MSG, and a mix of soybean and vegetable oils. For instance, Chubby wings are fried chicken drumettes, with meat scraped down the bone to resemble meaty lollipops, but they sport especially thin, crispy sheathes.

 Joshua Lurie
Pan-fried dumplings at Chubby Rice

The family makes dumplings in-house, filling thin skins to produce spicy pork and shrimp wontons submerged in chile oil and showered with scallions. Pan-fried dumplings feature rosy cores crafted with pork, cabbage, and bok choy. Dip in the aforementioned chile oil or a tangy blend of soy sauce and vinegar.

To start, it’s also worth considering the crab rangoon — bat-shaped wontons filled with oozing cream cheese, crab, and minced vegetables. Dip the golden results in house-made amber-hued sweet and sour sauce.

Fang is particularly proud of his family’s pork chop sandwich, which features a crispy boneless Taiwanese-style chop piled with tangy vinegar-based slaw and rich chile aioli on a massive roll that’s buried in an avalanche of French fries.

 Joshua Lurie
Fried pork sandwich at Chubby Rice

Unlike at many Chinese-American restaurants, you won’t have to play hide and seek with the meat when ordering Mongolian beef. This version projects transparency, with thin strips of juicy beef sporting noticeable sears and judicious saucing. Orange chicken features a touch of citrus, but isn’t drowned in viscous sauce and peels.

Salt and pepper is another preparation does Chubby Rice’s protein section justice. Scored tubes of calamari come lightly battered, sporting crisp coats, soft cores, and a shower of chopped chilies, garlic, and scallions.

You won’t have to play hide and seek with the meat

Another stop forward with Chubby Rice’s approach is their packaging. Every entree comes in a three-compartment container, but instead of Styrofoam or plastic, Chubby Rice opts for compostable cardboard, an eco-friendly update on tradition.

Is Chubby Rice changing the direction of Chinese food in Los Angeles? No, but the family has applied 30 years of lessons learned to bring a fresh, thoughtful take to fast casual cooking. The food might not be space age, but based on the crowd at a recent lunch, they’ve clearly already captured the imagination of aerospace engineers and rocket scientists.

Chubby Rice, 12836 Inglewood Ave., Hawthorne, 424.456.4341

02 May 13:00

Move to Return Grizzly Bears to California Will Be an Uphill Push

by Craig Miller

Who says the grizzly bear has vanished from California? On the contrary, it’s nearly ubiquitous in the Golden State—on everything from the state flag to T-shirts and coffee mugs.

Of course, the bears themselves have been absent for nearly a century.

Before the Gold Rush, the best guess is there were probably 10,000 grizzlies in California. But in the space of about 75 years, they were trapped and hunted into extinction. Though no one can say with certainty when the last bear expired, by 1930 even unconfirmed sightings had winked out.

“They can be brought back,” insists Noah Greenwald, conservation director for the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity. In 2014, it petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to expand areas for grizzly recovery into California.

The Gold Rush and repeating rifle proved to be the undoing of the California Grizzly. By the mid 1920s, they had been trapped and hunted into extinction.
The Gold Rush and repeating rifle proved to be the undoing of the California Grizzly. By the mid 1920s, they had been trapped and hunted into extinction. (University of California/Bancroft Library)

That petition was denied. The agency said it didn’t want to divert resources from its efforts to rebuild the brown bears’ populations elsewhere in the Lower 48. Currently wildlife officials estimate there are no more than 2,000 grizzlies spread across Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington (with a much larger population in Alaska).

“Certainly in Yellowstone National Park, which gets more than three million visitors a year, grizzly bears are a tremendous draw there and a real source of joy,” observes Greenwald.

And yes, they can be a source of danger. A female grizzly with cubs killed a hiker in Yellowstone last year—but bear attacks are exceedingly rare. So the Center for Biological Diversity is betting on taking its case directly to the public. It’s gathered about 13,000 signatures on an online petition, and is about to launch the next phase of a web and social media campaign under the banner, “Bring Back the Bear.”

The "Bring Back the Bear" campaign features a bearless state flag.
The “Bring Back the Bear” campaign features a bearless state flag. (Gyro/Center for Biological Diversity)

“I do think it’s something—with some education and with further study—something that people could and will rally around,” Greenwald speculates.

Hollywood hasn’t exactly advanced the cause, doing for Grizzlies more or less what “Jaws” did for sharks—last year’s Oscar nominee for best picture being only the latest example. Leonardo DiCaprio’s violent encounter with a mama grizzly was likely the most talked-about scene in “The Revenant.”

There Are Bears—And Then There Are Grizzlies

Right now, the only encounter possible with a native California grizzly, is at the California Museum in Sacramento, where Monarch, the bear that served as a model for the state flag, stands stuffed behind glass walls.

Clearly some prefer their grizzlies that way and they’re not alone. State wildlife officials are, to say the least, skeptical of the bid to reestablish the bears in California.

Listen to the Story:

Yellowstone grizzly recording by Bernie Krause/Wild Sanctuary

Marc Kenyon is a bear biologist; a big, bearded bear of a guy himself, Kenyon heads the state’s Human-Wildlife Conflict Program.

“That grizzly would turn this thing into a tin can in a hurry,” says Kenyon, showing me the trailers his agency uses to trap and transport injured or wayward black bears.

Kenyon’s agency puts the number of black bears in California at somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000—but clearly black bears are not grizzlies, which can easily be twice the size, a thousand pounds or more. And even though the bears would be placed in remote areas, there’s no guarantee they would stay put.

“One thing I can tell you about bears is that bears roam,” says Kenyon. “And they’ll roam a long distance.”

The Center for Biological Diversity has identified nearly 8,000 square miles of potential habitat in the remote Sierra Nevada, with a smaller area near the Oregon border. Kenyon’s not sure it’s enough.

“I can only imagine how far a grizzly bear in California might roam,” he says, “in search for food, in search for mates, in search for its own habitat, its own territory.”

Source: Center for Biological Diversity
Source: Center for Biological Diversity (Teodros Hailye/KQED Science)
Source: Center for Biological Diversity (Teodros Hailye/KQED) Source: Center for Biological Diversity (Teodros Hailye/KQED)

Even advocates, like nature journalist Jason Mark, concede that this wouldn’t be an easy lift.

“I don’t want to at all underestimate the challenge of something ambitious like this,” says Mark, author of “Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man.”

He says the hardest part might be “changing the way that we think of what wild nature is good for.”

“Is it good, for us, just as a place to go recreate and watch and look at, or does wild nature have some intrinsic rights of its own?” he asks. “And in that sense the bear does have a right to return to what was once its homeland.”

Mark says the large carnivores could have ecological benefits, aiding in seed dispersal and balancing populations of smaller prey animals.

But Kenyon isn’t convinced that it’s the best thing for species like California’s declining deer population, or even for the bears themselves at this point.

“For a stable grizzly bear population, we’re looking in excess of 200 animals—that can find each other,” says Kenyon. By comparison, the Yellowstone grizzly population numbers about 700.

“If you get down to a density where the animals can’t find each other, you’re lessening the chance for them to breed,” he says, “and then you’re lessening the chance for the species to survive in the long term.”

C. Hart Merriam's hand-colored map shows grizzlies in widely varied habitats across California. He also identified several subspecies.
C. Hart Merriam’s hand-colored map shows grizzlies in widely varied habitats across California. He also identified six subspecies. (University of California/Bancroft Library)

Grizzlies … in Oakland?

Which brings us to the Oakland Zoo, where construction crews have started work on its California Trail project. The exhibit will feature the state’s iconic critters from big cats to condors, and the centerpiece will be a three-acre grizzly “habitat.”

“You know, unfortunately they tell sort of the sad history of humans and wildlife here in California,” says Colleen Kinzley, who directs animal care, conservation and research at the zoo.

“We want people to be aware of that,” she says. “I mean, despite the fact that the grizzly bear is on our flag and our state seal, many people don’t know that grizzlies existed in California and are really a part of this habitat and environment.”

The zoo is preparing for its first bears-in-residence sometime next year. And Kinzley says the best way to “bring back the bears” in the wild would be to let them come back on their own.

“You can’t just plop a large predator into a location and say, ‘Alright, everybody just get along,'” she says. “The bear will lose if you don’t have complete buy-in from all the different constituencies.”

It would be a long shot, to be sure, but it’s theoretically possible that, say, the tiny population of grizzlies in the Washington Cascades might work their way down into California, much as wolves have drifted down from Oregon.

“It would be a long way off but I think probably easier than getting everyone to agree to bring bears from somewhere and put them in California,” says Kinzley. Kenyon agrees.

In any case, it’s likely that for a long time to come, the only way to see live grizzlies in California will be with a big fence around them.

Featured art by Laura Cunningham, author of A State of Change and co-founder of the desert conservation group Basin and Range Watch.

03 May 17:45

The Gore and Ecstasy of the 19th Century Wax Woman

by Madeleine Davies on Pictorial, shared by Kelly Faircloth to Jezebel
The Gore and Ecstasy of the 19th Century Wax Woman

While sculpture and the study of anatomy have always worked in tandem, models of the human—specifically female—form took a specific turn during the 1800s, when anatomical wax sculptures of women’s bodies became a source of public curiosity and entertainment. A model of this kind was called an “anatomical Venus.”

“For most of the 19th century, at least one anatomical Venus was on display at any given moment,” writes Gaby Wood of the Telegraph. She continues:

Presented as marvels, puzzles and objects for popular education, these models came apart to reveal the layers beneath the skin. A word sometimes used to describe them was “Florentine,” not just because the most intricate example had been made in Florence, but also because there was something exotic and erotic about them. This totally naked woman could be undressed still further: right down to her arteries and intestines.

One possessor of three widely circulated female wax models (called the Sleeping Beauties) was a woman named Marie Gresholtz, who had grown up teaching wax art to French royalty and, as the monarchy violently fell out of popularity, would later produce wax models of the aristocracy’s decapitated heads. In 1802, Gresholtz fled to London, where she became known by her more popular moniker: Madame Tussaud.

Upon her arrival in England, Wood states, “Madame Tussaud now found herself directing a strange theatre of female objectification and male fantasy.”

The Gore and Ecstasy of the 19th Century Wax Woman
Wax model of Kendall Jenner on display at Madame Tussauds in London, England, 2016. Image via Getty.

While the models served an educational purpose (the model featured up top, created by Italian sculpture Clemente Susini, remains on display at science museum in Bologna), they were also often posed in expressions of ecstasy—a parted mouth, clenched fingers and curled toes, eyes half closed. But with these sexy wax broads, you could also remove their skin and play with their organs. Hot?

Of this kind of wax model (supposedly built to educate the medical community and the public about the human body), Wood—promoting Morbid Anatomy Museum founder Joanna Ebenstein’s upcoming book The Anatomical Venus—wonders:

Why would one bother to decorate it with ribbons and pearl necklaces? If the organs are made of wax, why should the hair and eyelashes be real? Why engineer it so that the fake woman can cry or bleed?

Let’s all read Ebenstein’s book to find out. (Suspected answer: Men are pervs.)

Image via Wikipedia Commons.

17 Apr 10:58

Rejected Cheetah Cub Finds a Home at Cincinnati Zoo

by Chris Eastland



Four Cheetah cubs in the Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery now have a brother from another mother:  A lone Cheetah cub, just 12 days older than the zoo’s litter of four, arrived in Cincinnati from Oregon’s Wildlife Safari after his mother was unable to care for him.

25614535764_e41463f765_bPhoto Credit:  Mark Dumont   

Wildlife Safari and the Cincinnati Zoo, both members of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition (BCC), agreed that it would be beneficial for the single cub to join the four cubs being cared for in the zoo’s nursery.  “Socialization and companionship, ideally with other Cheetahs, is important at this age,” said Christina Gorsuch, Curator of Mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Because the four premature cubs in the Nursery are still receiving critical care, it will be a week or two before they’re introduced to the bigger cub.  “He’s stronger and much larger than the other cubs.  We will supervise initial visits and ease him into the mix,” said Gorsuch.

All of the cubs will eventually become ambassadors for their species. Two males will move to another zoo and the others will remain in Cincinnati as part of the Cat Ambassador Program.        

Nursery and vet staff are doing everything they can to help the cubs gain weight and make it past the critical one-month milestone. They will remain in the nursery for four to six more weeks.   Visitors may be able to view the cubs through the nursery windows, but some feedings and exams will take place behind the scenes.   

Cheetahs are endangered, and their population worldwide has shrunk from about 100,000 in 1900 to an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 Cheetahs today. 

See more photos below.



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02 May 16:47

Wallaby Joey Surprises Taronga Zoo Keepers

by Andrew Bleiman

1_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (16)

Keepers at Taronga Zoo are celebrating the unexpected birth of an endangered Brush-tailed Rock-Wallaby – more than a year after its father left the Zoo!

The joey recently started peeking out from mother Mica’s pouch to the surprise of keepers and delight of keen-eyed visitors.

“We weren’t planning for another joey, so it was quite a shock when we started seeing something moving inside the pouch,” said Keeper, Tony Britt-Lewis.

2_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (8)

3_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (9)

4_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (10)Photo Credits: Paul Fahy / Taronga Zoo


The birth is the result of a phenomenon known as embryonic diapause, which enables certain mammals to extend their gestation period and time the birth of their young.

The reproductive strategy, which is used by a number of marsupial species (including: Kangaroos, Wallabies and Wombats), usually occurs when adverse environmental conditions threaten the survival of the mother and her newborn.

“It’s an interesting survival mechanism that allows the mother to delay the development of the embryo in drought conditions or if she already has a joey in the pouch,” said Tony.

Experienced mother Mica was carrying another joey in her pouch up until August last year, some five months after the only resident male, Sam, had moved to another wildlife park. Keepers suspect that Mica mated with Sam soon after giving birth to the joey growing in her pouch, and the resulting embryo stayed dormant while her pouch was occupied.

Tony said keepers are yet to determine the sex of the surprise joey, but it appears to be very healthy and about six months of age.

“Mica is a confident and attentive mum and her joey looks to be very strong. It shouldn’t be long before we start to see it venturing out of the pouch to take its first wobbly steps,” he said.

The Brush-tailed Rock-Wallaby (Petrogale penicillata), also known as the Small-eared Rock-Wallaby, is one of several Rock-Wallabies in the genus Petrogale.

Once abundant and widespread across the rocky country of southeastern Australia, Brush-tailed Rock-Wallabies are now listed as an endangered species in NSW (New South Wales, Australia), and they are classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. They were hunted extensively for their meat and fur in the early 1900s and today they continue to be threatened by habitat loss and introduced predators, such as foxes and feral cats.

Taronga Zoo is part of a coordinated program helping with the recovery of the species. Visitors may spot the newest joey in Taronga’s Platypus Pools exhibit.

5_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (11)

6_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (3)

7_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (4)

8_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (6)

9_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (13)

10_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (14)

11_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (1)

12_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (5)

13_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (18)

14_Wallaby Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (7)

02 May 19:50

You Can Now Wake Up to the Dulcet Sounds of a New Motivational Alarm Clock From the Rock 

by Kelly Faircloth
You Can Now Wake Up to the Dulcet Sounds of a New Motivational Alarm Clock From the Rock 

Great news, sunshines: you can now start every morning with a motivational alarm clock app from none other than Dwayne Johnson himself. It’s called, of course, “The Rock Clock.”

That’s according to the Verge. Johnson announced the move with a black-and-white Instagram video of himself smashing an analog alarm clock with a sledgehammer.

Upon downloading, you set a goal for yourself, so that the Rock can periodically encourage you to reach your goals—“I’m gonna be checking in with you guys,” he says, in the first video uploaded for subscribers, “I’m gonna be reading your goals daily, because I have access to everything because I am a secret ninja.” Then you can select from a wealth of ring tones:

There are 25 in all, and apparently The Rock has “created” each one. He personally recorded some of them, like an acoustic guitar-backed “Good Morning Sunshine” and a mashup of sounds that comes from his dog, Hobbs. There are also a couple where he just incessantly repeats the words “beep” and “ring ring,” or another where he smashes a harp as it plays the sort of melody you’d hear in other alarm apps. Johnson is a master at appealing to his various audiences; the “Old School” ringtone pulls in his WWE catchphrases, and “Let’s Ride” is surely meant for the Fast and Furious crowd.

You can even choose to sync your clock with the Rock’s personal timetable, which is presumably very hardcore.

The app is now available in an app store near you. Best of luck.

Photo via Getty Images.

27 Apr 09:15

The obsessive glory of England's World War reenactors

by Jackie Friedman

In 2012, after moving to London from the U.S., photographer Daniella Zalcman found herself in professional limbo, unable to work while awaiting her visa. Setting out to find a creative, personal project that might also help her settle into her new surroundings, she happened across the weird world of historic reenactors and felt strangely at home.

Private leauan Joe Smith at the Victory Show in Leicestershire, England. | (Daniella Zalcman)

A "Salute to the 40s" event at the Chatham Dockyards. | (Daniella Zalcman)

"I grew up in Maryland/Virginia [where] Civil War reenactment is very popular," Zalcman said in an interview. "I have always liked the spirit of historical reenactment."

British historic reenactment groups, of which there are many, gather mostly on summer weekends, and the events are open to the public. For two years, when the weather got warm, Zalcman traveled around southern England, with the occasional trip to Normandy, France, to photograph these rather meticulous European hobbyists.

"I'm a bit of an obsessive person myself, so I like seeing what others get obsessive about. And boy, do they obsess — I've overheard so many friendly arguments over whether this button is the right color or that patch is sewn in the right place," she said. "They really want to make sure they're getting it right."

Squadron Sergeant-Major Nick Gibson, Royal Engineers. | (Daniella Zalcman)

French reenactors run drills as German Wehrmacht soldiers at the Merville Battery in Normandy, France. | (Daniella Zalcman)

Zalcman focused on World War I and World War II groups. And the events she attended ranged from live battle scenes rich with authentic uniforms, weaponry, and play-by-plays, to living history displays where curious observers and participants are encouraged to walk through and ask questions about each set-up.

To photograph these weekend warriors, Zalcman chose one of her favorite cameras — a twin-lens reflex (a manual from the 1950s) — that not only captured beautifully warm photos with a vintage feel, but also happened to be the same type of technology World War II photographers would have used at the time. “I think the reenactors definitely appreciated that I was using a camera that was more or less from the right period," she said. "I feel like they thought I was approaching the project with the same spirit of traveling back in time."

Italian reenactor Pierantonio Farina takes a photo on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, while doing an impression of a U.S. press photographer. | (Daniella Zalcman)

Lois Banyard, Women's Auxiliary Air Force ground crew, at the War and Peace Revival in Folkestone, England. | (Daniella Zalcman)

Ieuan Joe Smith during a live battle reenactment in Leicestershire, England. | (Daniella Zalcman)

Couple. | (Daniella Zalcman)

Red Army encampment at an event in Leicestershire, England. | (Daniella Zalcman)

D-Day. | (Daniella Zalcman)

German prisoner, World War I, at the War and Peace Revival in Folkestone, England. | (Daniella Zalcman)

Jason Hopkins, Royal Air Force aircraftman, at the War and Peace Revival in Folkestone, England. | (Daniella Zalcman)

**To see more of Daniella Zalcman's work, visit her website, Twitter, and Instagram**

27 Apr 01:00

'Harry Potter' actor to pursue a career in MMA

by Victor Rodriguez

Does Slytherin House have a ground game? Asking for a friend.

Combat sports in general appeal to people from all walks of life. Every so often, combat sports tend to attract people from the world of the arts (the non-martial kind, of course). After the utter demolition display we witnessed during Mickey Rourke's performance in Russia, now we have another thespian taking the plunge into the world of competitive fisticuffs.

As Us Magazine reports, an actor known for his role in the Harry Potter films has now begun to dedicate himself to MMA.

Actor Josh Herdman played the character Gregory Goyle in the massively successful films, and after the conclusion of the franchise, took his experience in training Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and segued that into MMA training. The 28-year-old has been training for some time, and even recently had his first fight, which he won at welterweight via unanimous decision, against Polish fighter Janusz Walachowski, in London this past weekend.

After performing in all eight films in the Harry Potter franchise (Seriously? When did all of this happen?), Herdman cited a desire to move on to combat sports partly due to his background. His father Martin was a boxer and tried his hand at acting, as well. The actor also expressed his displeasure with the process, as he explains:

"I still have an agent and still go for auditions. It's just a little bit like playing the lottery for a living."

Seeing as how the entertainment industry is a fickle one, it certainly is easy to find yourself disillusioned with things if you don't find projects to work on. At least Herdman has the opportunity to channel his focus elsewhere for the time being. You know you've made it in the MMA world when you have a Tapology profile, and here's the one for Herdman. No plans have been announced for any future fights and he has no inclination to abandon his acting career.

29 Apr 17:47

Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World’s Most Powerful Particle Collider

by KQED Science

A small mammal has sabotaged the world’s most powerful scientific instrument.

The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable.

“We had electrical problems, and we are pretty sure this was caused by a small animal,” says Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, the organization that runs the $7 billion particle collider in Switzerland. Although they had not conducted a thorough analysis of the remains, Marsollier says they believe the creature was “a weasel, probably.” (Update: An official briefing document from CERN indicates the creature may have been a marten.)

The shutdown comes as the LHC was preparing to collect new data on the Higgs Boson, a fundamental particle it discovered in 2012. The Higgs is believed to endow other particles with mass, and it is considered to be a cornerstone of the modern theory of particle physics.

Researchers have seen some hints in recent data that other, yet-undiscovered particles might also be generated inside the LHC. If those other particles exist, they could revolutionize researcher’s understanding of everything from the laws of gravity, to quantum mechanics.

Unfortunately, Marsollier says, scientists will have to wait while workers bring the machine back online. Repairs will take a few days, but getting the machine fully ready to smash might take another week or two. “It may be mid-May,” he says.

These sorts of mishaps are not unheard of, says Marsollier. The LHC is located outside of Geneva. “We are in the countryside, and of course we have wild animals everywhere.” There have been previous incidents, including one in 2009, when a bird is believed to have dropped a baguette onto critical electrical systems.

Nor are the problems exclusive to the LHC: In 2006, raccoons conducted a “coordinated” attack on a particle accelerator in Illinois.

It is unclear whether the animals are trying to stop humanity from unlocking the secrets of the universe.

Of course, small mammals cause problems in all sorts of organizations. Yesterday, a group of children took National Public Radio off the air for over a minute before engineers could restore the broadcast.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit
28 Apr 19:15

Cafe Gratitude Owners Say They're Getting Death Threats From Vegans

by Juliet Bennett Rylah
Cafe Gratitude Owners Say They're Getting Death Threats From Vegans The couple decided to abandon veganism over a year ago, but the controversy didn't surface until last week. [ more › ]
28 Apr 20:10

Why you need to be following Japan's giant, wearable cat heads

by (Colette Bennett)
This guy is living the dream making giant cat heads out of felt.
28 Apr 02:40

Officials Have a Disgusting Plan to Remove the San Onofre Whale Carcass

by Elijah Chiland

The body of a gray whale that washed up on shore will be chopped into pieces and taken to a landfill

A gray whale carcass washed up on shore at San Onofre State Beach over the weekend, giving curious visitors a rare opportunity to see one of the largest animals in the world up close. Now, however, it's getting pretty smelly, and the Orange County Register reports that the remains could lure sharks to the popular surf spot. Don't worry, though, state parks officials have a plan: just cut the whale into pieces and haul them off to a landfill.

If this sounds more like something a murderer would do on an episode of Forensic Files, know that state parks Public Safety Superintendent Kevin Pearsall isn't thrilled about the idea either. "If that is what ends up being done to it, it's going to be very messy," he tells the LA Times. "It's going to be probably upsetting to kids." Marine biologist and research boat captain Mike Bursk agrees, telling the Register that the whale will soon reach a point in the decomposition process "where an indescribable muck will come out. It will be just hideous... like a stew."

Why have officials chosen such a revolting method for removing the whale? Well, mostly it's because they don't have much choice in the matter. "It couldn’t have washed up in a worse place," state parks Superintendent Rich Haydon tells the Register. Because the beach is very small, burying the whale in the sand (a common option for carcass removal) is not an option. Pulling it back out to sea probably also won't work; tides are likely to bring it back onto shore. The Register notes that in the 1970s, Oregon state highway officials learned the hard way that blowing up a whale carcass with dynamite is not an effective removal technique.

Officials are expected to start removing the whale as soon as tomorrow, dropping the pieces off at a nearby landfill. "It's not the greatest thing," Pearsall tells the Times, "but it's unfortunately where these large animals end up at some point, due to their size and lack of space for them."

28 Apr 17:43

Disney animators drew really cute fanart of 'Game of Thrones' characters as cats

by (April Siese)
Even the shame kitty looks shockingly domesticated.
26 Apr 14:00

Shawn Jordan signs with WSOF: 'I look forward to fighting for their heavyweight strap'

by Nick Baldwin

i forgot about how this guy's nipple is his tattoo's belly button

Former UFC heavyweight Shawn Jordan has signed with WSOF. He discusses the UFC opting to not re-sign him, fighting for the WSOF title in the future, and the possibility of him retiring prior to the new deal with WSOF.

Heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter Shawn Jordan decided to test the free agency waters last year prior to an October UFC fight with Ruslan Magomedov, which he would lose by decision. Following the loss, which snapped a three-fight winning streak (all knockouts), the organization quietly did not re-sign Jordan (18-7).

"Yes, they did not re-sign me," Jordan told on Monday. "No real reasoning. Most likely because I didn't re-sign before the loss.

"The division is shallow and all my fights are good. Yet they let me go."

The former Louisiana State University football player has sought a new contract ever since he was informed the UFC was no longer interested in his services, and has been out of luck -- until now. Jordan announced on his Twitter that he has signed with World Series of Fighting (WSOF).

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to compete for the WSOF now," Jordan told "It's a great opportunity to make some waves in a new pool of heavyweights. I look forward to fighting for their heavyweight strap soon.

"The good thing about signing with the WSOF is now we can make up some income through sponsors. It's a new champ tee in my career and I'm ready to prepare for an opponent."

Jordan did not share the specifics of WSOF's offer, although in a back-and-forth exchange on social media on Sunday, WSOF president Ray Sefo revealed what could be Jordan's purse.

Without confirming whether or not the above numbers are accurate, Jordan said that his purse with WSOF is lower than what he was making as a UFC fighter.

"Well, it's pay, but it's less than I was making," he said.

Prior to getting signed to WSOF, Jordan was considering stepping away from the sport and pursuing another career. He graduated at LSU with degrees in Kinesiology (human movement) and chemistry.

Jordan's first fight with WSOF has not been confirmed at this time.

25 Apr 03:44

Former Sen. Harris Wofford shares he's marrying a man 20 years after his wife's death

by Catherine Garcia

In a poignant piece for The New York Times, former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.) announced that 20 years after his wife's death, he is getting remarried, this time to a man he felt an "immediate spark" with 15 years ago.

Wofford writes that his wife of 48 years, Clare, died of leukemia in 1996 at the age of 70. He was "sure I would never again feel the kind of love Clare and I shared," and assumed he was too old to find someone else. During a trip to Ft. Lauderdale five years later, he met Matthew Charlton, then 25, and he was struck by his "inquisitive and thoughtful manner and his charm." The pair were decades apart in age, "yet we clicked," Wofford wrote, and a friendship was formed. Wofford and Charlton enjoyed traveling together, and as time went on, "we realized that our bond had grown into love," Wofford wrote. "Other than with Clare, I had never felt love blossom this way before."

It took him three years to tell his sons and daughter about his new relationship, and his children have welcomed Charlton into the family (Charlton's parents have also embraced Wofford). Their bond "is entirely natural" to some, while others view it as a "strange surprise," and now, 15 years after meeting, Wofford, 90, and Charlton, 40, are getting married on April 30. "Too often our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall — straight, gay, or in between," Wofford writes. "I don't categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness." Read Wofford's entire essay at The New York Times.

27 Apr 14:00

Couple Convicted of Letting Toddler Die of Meningitis After Treating Him With 'Natural' Remedies

by Anna Merlan
Couple Convicted of Letting Toddler Die of Meningitis After Treating Him With 'Natural' Remedies

A Canadian couple has been convicted of letting their toddler son die of bacterial meningitis by failing to seek proper medical treatment for him. David and Collet Stephan gave their 19-month-old son Ezekiel a variety of naturopathic remedies, herbs and supplements, only calling an ambulance after he stopped breathing.

The Stephans’ case has sparked a larger debate in Canada about whether naturopaths, who are not exactly real doctors, should be allowed to treat children at all. The other issue is the conduct of the Stephans themselves, who, as the jury heard, tried seemingly everything short of taking their son to the hospital before his death in March 2012. From CBC:

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s negative experiences with the medical system.

The toddler was sick for nearly two and a half weeks before his death. David Stephan told police that natural remedies had worked in “every single scenario” in the past. He’s vice president of Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., a supplements company.

CBC reports that there were gasps in the courtroom when the Stephans were convicted of “failing to provide the necessaries of life” to the boy. A Facebook page supporting the couple, Prayers for Ezekiel, is full of claims that the government and/or the medical establishment are attacking the family for their beliefs. Another page set up to support them, Stand 4 Truth, accuses the court system of “censoring” testimony that would exonerate them. The case has been covered on virtually every anti-vaccination and “natural health” blog, from the perspective that the Stephans are being crucified for opposing the medical establishment.

The couple will receive a date for their sentencing hearing on June 13.

The Stephans with their surviving children and a photo of Ezekiel. Screenshot via Stand 4 Truth

26 Apr 11:45

This is one Boba Fett-ching hairstyle

by Megan Finley
Photo via Instagram
Photo via Instagram

Did you know that there was a Star Wars hair contest on Instagram? Which is cool all on it's own, ammaright? But did you also know the winner of the Star Wars hair contest was one of our very own Offbeat Bride, Anya? She of the amazing Australian rainbow wedding!

Man, do we have talented readers…

Instagram Photo

You can check out more Star Wars hairstyles by checking out the Star Wars Pop Locks hashtag on the 'grams. Or you can get a happy rainbow fix by checking out Anya's wedding photos on Offbeat Bride. Either way… these are the dose of awesome you're looking for.

Recent Comments

  • Sarah E Brewer: Wow!! I looked through the rest of the hashtag and the rest are mostly (truly gorgeous) balayage in sci fi… [Link]
  • Cyndie: So cool! [Link]

Join the discussion

25 Apr 09:32

This start-up wants to replace your address with 3 random words

by April Joyner

Flocks of confused, gawping tourists notwithstanding, it's typically pretty easy to find any address in Manhattan, where streets are aligned to a grid. But in most of the world, this isn't the case. Indeed, nearly 75 percent of the world, especially in developing countries, lacks a precise street address. This can pose an enormous challenge, and not just for mail delivery. Consider aid organizations sending food and water to people who desperately need it, or firefighters rushing to the site of an emergency. It's critical that they be able to easily find the place they're going to.

That's where what3words comes in. The London-based company, founded by Chris Sheldrick and Jack Waley-Cohen in 2013, uses a novel approach to make locations around the world easier to find.

Here's how it works: what3words' global map divides the world into 57 trillion 9-square-meter areas, and assigns a unique, three-word name to each square. For example, the White House sits at engine.doors.cubs, while the Taj Mahal can be found at according.gloom.broads. (By virtue of their size, places like these actually have more than one set of names associated with them.) Just type in the three words on what3words' site and it shows you where to go. Or vice versa, if you want to learn the words; just pick a spot on the map or enter a street address or latitude and longitude coordinates.

"The idea is that it's more specific than postcodes, which were invented when posting letters was the main form of communication, and simpler than GPS coordinates, which are too complex for the average person to remember," wrote Jeff Parsons in the Mirror.

An algorithm generates each three-word phrase. It filters out profanity, avoids homophones to reduce the chances for mistakes when an address is spoken (hear vs. here), and safeguards for slip-ups with singular and plural words. If you accidentally type engine.door.cubs instead of engine.doors.cubs, you'll get a location halfway around the world — your mistake should be obvious. The system comes in nine languages, including Portuguese, Swahili, and Turkish. It's available on its own as an app, but is also integrated into an array of other companies' and apps' mapping systems.

Poor address systems are a widespread problem, and the implications for people without an address are vast: "This cohort of 'unaddressed' can’t open a bank account, can’t deal properly with a hospital or an administration, let alone get a delivery. This is a major impediment to global development," Frederic Filloux wrote in Quartz.

Shipping companies have been aware of the problem for quite some time. Sheldrick, the company’s CEO, says that UPS estimates it could save $50 million a year if its trucks drove one mile less every day. Getting lost less would certainly help. “That's an incredible statistic that we're trying to fix," he says.

The concept for what3words arose from a gripe Sheldrick had in his previous job as an events promoter: he consistently had trouble directing musicians to the proper entrances at large venues. "In that instance, you can't just give a generic address," Sheldrick says. A mathematician friend of his came up with the concept of dividing the map into squares with easy-to-memorize names.

It was initially a challenge to get companies on board: "A lot of people are scared to take the risk of being first," Sheldrick says. But what3words found a supporter in Navmii, a London-based company that makes a navigation app for smartphones. Navigation-tech companies, says Sheldrick, field many complaints from users about GPS glitches, which often arise from incorrectly tagged locations. "That's been our strategy since day one: Find the organizations that really struggle with addressing, so that they become our advocates," Sheldrick says.

What3words is now used in more than 170 countries across every continent except Antarctica. In addition to navigation companies, its customers include NGOs, online retailers, and travel companies, which pay to integrate what3words into their internal mapping systems. The World Bank has used what3words in Tanzania to track and maintain public water access sites throughout the country. The company has received $5 million in funding from investors such as Intel Capital, reports TechCrunch, and last year, it won the Innovation Grand Prix at Cannes.

It's key that the three-word phrases are easy to memorize, because many of the people who are served by what3words' system don't have a smartphone to look them up. Instead, Sheldrick says, once they've been given their address by an aid worker, or a neighbor who has a smartphone on hand, they can simply make note of the phrase for future reference. He gives the example of Rocinha, a slum in Rio de Janeiro, where residents are beginning to use what3words as an alternate address system to receive mail.

Next up, says Sheldrick, is adding more e-commerce and transportation companies as customers. The company will also soon finalize its first partnership with a national postal service.

Another technology what3words is keenly interested in: drone delivery. There's been talk for years of companies like Amazon using drones to ship packages, and most recently, the drone manufacturer Zipline has contracted with Rwanda's government to deliver medical supplies. It's an ideal application for what3words, and one that may prove to be quite lucrative, Sheldrick says: "People will have to start thinking far more precisely about location when it comes to drones dropping things."

25 Apr 15:42

“Mary Had a (Very) Little Lamb!”

by Andrew Bleiman

1_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall 5

A tiny Ouessant Lamb was born earlier this month at Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall, UK.

Park Director, Nick Reynolds, commented, “We keep Ouessant Sheep in the Fun Farm here at Paradise Park. As one of the world's smallest breeds, their lambs are very tiny and very cute…hopefully visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of our new arrival.”

2_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall

3_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall 2

4_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall 3Photo Credits: Paradise Park

The Ouessant (or Ushant) is a breed of domestic sheep from the island of Ouessant off the coast of Brittany, France. Occasionally called the Breton Dwarf, it is one of the smallest breeds of sheep in the world. Rams are around 49 centimetres (19 in) tall at the shoulder, and the ewes about 45 centimetres (18 in).

Most Ouessant are black or dark brown in color, but white individuals do occur. The rams have relatively large horns, and ewes are polled.

The Ouessant existed exclusively on its home island until the beginning of the 20th century, and it is still a rare breed today.

The breed is primarily used for wool production. In Paris, the city government recently began using a small herd of Ouessant sheep to graze public lands.

5_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall 4


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26 Apr 18:35

The 1970s Feminist Fight Against Pay Toilets

by Kelly Faircloth on Pictorial, shared by Kelly Faircloth to Jezebel
The 1970s Feminist Fight Against Pay Toilets

You’re looking at assemblywoman March Fong Eu smashing a porcelain toilet on the steps of the California capitol building on April 26, 1969. She was protesting pay toilets in public buildings.

Once upon a time, wrote Pacific Standard in 2014, many of the publicly accessible restrooms in America—think rest stops and airports—cost a dime to enter. But the practice collapsed over the course of the 1970s, thanks to concerted lobbying efforts.

It wasn’t just women who opposed the pay toilet. The Committee to End Pay Toilets in America, or CEPTIA, managed to generate quite a lot of press and attention for the cause and three of its four founders were men. Eu’s bill—which would be defeated the day after her toilet-smashing, according to the Eugene Register-Guard—was supported heavily by F.L.U.S.H, Free Latrines Unlimited for Suffering Humanity, which was founded by Sacramento Union columnist Tom Horton. You don’t stop having to go just because you don’t have the correct change in your pocket.

But there was a feminist case against the practice, too, and that’s the argument March Fong Eu was making. Urinals were oftentimes free, meaning the financial burden fell disproportionately on women. And as the momentum for women’s lib built, pressure grew against the practice of charging for access. NOW sometimes joined the fight. For instance, a February 1975 issue of The Cumberland News reports on hearings before the Maryland state Senate that, “‘The practice of installing and utilizing pay toilets is sexually discriminatory in that women are usually discomforted by them and men are not,’ said Naomi Mestanas of the National Organization for Women.”

The 1970s Feminist Fight Against Pay Toilets
1974; via Google’s newspaper archives.

There was a fair bit of cheeky performativity to these protests, obviously. (I mean, CEPTIA was founded by a bunch of high schoolers and called “CEPTIA.”) But the push worked. (It didn’t hurt that, as Pacific Standard points out, ensuring free public access to shitters was, generally, an uncontroversial and popular move for local politicians.) Eu continued to lead the charge and in 1974 California would ban pay toilets in public buildings. In 1975, the Associated Press covered what was by then a full-on trend:

The argument against pay toilets is linked to the drive for equal rights for women. Opponents of pay toilets argue that women are unfairly handicapped by the locks on booths in public restrooms.

The publication State Government News, issued by the Council of State Governments in Lexington, Ky., reported that legislatures in 20 states were considering measures to abolish, or at least restrict, the pay toilet.

Something to think about the next time you find yourself fishing frantically for a quarter to put in the tampon machine at the airport.

The 1970s Feminist Fight Against Pay Toilets

Photo via AP Images.

25 Apr 09:08

The eerie wilds of Chernobyl

by Jackie Friedman

In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Soviet Union exploded. Radiation fumes were released into the air traveling northwest, across the nearby town of Pripyat, up to the border with Belarus, and beyond.

A 1986 aerial view of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. | (AP Photo/Volodymyr Repik)

In the wake of the explosion in what is now Ukraine, the Soviet Union was painfully slow to react, calling the "radiation situation" merely an "accident." Residents in Chernobyl and Pripyat (which numbered more than 60,000 combined) weren't told to evacuate for 36 hours. It was only three days after the explosion, when radiation alarms were triggered at a nuclear plant in Sweden more than 600 miles away, that officials were forced to admit the severity of the disaster. Thirty-one people died as an immediate result of the explosion, but there are likely thousands of cases of cancer linked to the radiation exposure, though the precise number is impossible to calculate.

A few hundred people did return to their homes, despite the radiation exposure. And the plant continued to run until 2000 when it was finally shut down for good.

Today, 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster, while the rotting towns surrounding the nuclear site remain largely abandoned, Chernobyl has welcomed some new breeds of residents. The dense woodlands are now home to thriving populations of bison, wolves, boars, eagles, and other animals. Defying scientific expectations, these animals are reproducing. Indeed, there are more animals living there now than before the explosion. Scientists are studying the animals to see if people could eventually safely repopulate the site of the world's biggest nuclear disaster. Below, a look at the eerie beauty of the wild Chernobyl.

A white-tailed eagle sits on an abandoned school's roof just 19 miles from the exclusion zone in Tulgovichi, Belarus, on Jan. 29, 2016. The Chernobyl exclusion zone is an officially designated area that spreads out approximately 1,000 square miles from the nuclear site. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

Wild boars walk in the forest of the state radiation ecology reserve in the exclusion zone near the village of Babchin, Belarus, on Feb. 22, 2011. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

A white-tailed eagle lands on a wolf's carcass in the exclusion zone in the abandoned village of Dronki, Belarus, on Feb. 15, 2016. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

Elk peek through the brush near the abandoned village of Dronki, Belarus, on Jan. 28, 2016. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

Birds nests dot the trees in a park outside the village of Babchin, Belarus, on Jan. 26, 2016. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

Wolves walk in the exclusion zone in the abandoned village of Orevichi, Belarus, on Feb. 25, 2016. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

Bison meander in the exclusion zone near the abandoned village of Dronki, Belarus, on Jan. 28, 2016. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

A white-tailed eagle picks the carcass of a fox near the village of Babchin, Belarus, on Jan. 12, 2009. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

An elk runs in the exclusion zone near the village of Babchin, Belarus, on Jan. 27, 2016. | (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

23 Apr 15:52

L.A.'s Iconic, Hated Dingbat Apartment Is an Endangered Species

With our Frank Gehry buildings and iconic downtown landmarks, Angelenos know great architecture when they see it. Or at least great architecture in the sense of what's conventionally accepted as pleasing to the eye. Few people would argue the magnificence of Union Station or the Walt Disney Concert Hall —...
25 Apr 14:00

Pounded in the butt by the mystery of Chuck Tingle, Amazon's weird erotica king

by (April Siese)
Love is real. Is Tingle, too?
22 Apr 16:56

Subscribe to This Podcast: An Exclusive Interview with “The Blaze with Lizzie and Kat”

by Michele Villery

got to do a thing

10441001_298875590319565_6665387146476844115_nFeel like going back in time with me? Who didn’t love the exploits of Brenda and Brandon Walsh?  Together with their friends, Kelly, Dylan, Donna, David, and Steve they were a part of one of the biggest shows on TV, “Beverly Hills, 90210”.

Now, you can re-live the series through the hugely successful podcast “The Blaze with Lizzie and Kat” which releases new episodes every Monday on iTunes and Sticher. Recently, I had a chance to talk to the show’s hosts Lizzie and Kat about their podcast, their hysterical run in with a famous guest star from the series, and more!  Make sure you follow the girls on their website  and  twitter!

How did you pick 90210 as your podcast?

Kat: Both Lizzie and I had watched the series’ early seasons in their original airing at an inappropriately young age thanks to having older sisters (who were the gateway to everything cool in the early ’90s). We connected over binge-watching the DVDs all over again when in college and years later, in 2014, we decided a podcast would be a great excuse to wax poetic about our mutual affinity for this beloved show.

Lizzie:  We take our love of Beverly Hills, 90210 —but also a critical eye developed over years of working in the entertainment industry and a lifetime of pop culture snarking— and break down an episode of the series with a special guest.  In re-watching and dissecting each episode today, it’s easy to ridicule the dated fashions (bike shorts under miniskirts!) and set decorations (colossal cordless phones with retractable antennas!), but all things considered, the underlying narratives told across the series still hold up!

When do new episodes drop?

New episodes drop every Monday at 12:00am Pacific time, and are available on iTunesour website, and podcast apps like Stitcher and Pocket Casts. Because we’re going through the episodes of the series chronologically, we encourage our listeners to watch the show along with us on Hulu Plus. Also, throughout the week, we post funny screenshots from the episode on our Instagram page.

How often do you record an episode? 

We try to record once or twice a week, but the schedule really varies based on our guest’s availability and trying to plan ahead around work and travel. One of the things we love so much about recording our show is that almost without exception, we record in person with our guests, so we get a chance to socialize and have some wine with these creative people we admire.

Who’s your favorite 90210 couple?

Lizzie: Kat and I aren’t always in agreement when it comes to 90210 (she being an “Andrea,” and me being a “Donna”/ “Brenda”/ “Steve” hybrid), but we are united in our steadfast belief that the series’ OTP (One True Pairing) will forever be Brenda and Dylan.

What’s your favorite episode from the series?

Kat: On the podcast we break down one episode of the original series at a time, and we’re currently in the midst of the show’s third season (a.k.a. “Senior Year”). Of the episodes we’ve covered to date, we deemed the Season 2 episode “U4EA” so iconic that we made it the basis of our first live show with guest Christine Elise McCarthy (who played “Emily Valentine” in the episode). The Season 2 episode “The Next Fifty Years” —in which Scott Scanlon accidentally shoots himself at his sixteenth birthday party— is another one fans of 90210 will never forget, and we were grateful to have comedian Pete Holmes join us and bring levity to an otherwise heavy episode.

Lizzie: Looking to the future, we’re so excited to cover the infamous prom episode later this season. We also can’t wait to arrive at the Season 5 storyline involving the electrical fire at Steve’s illicit house party, which results in Kelly being badly burned and forming a very special bond with fellow survivor Allison.

Who have been your favorite guests so far?

This is such a tough question! Our tenth podcast, about the Season 1 episode “Isn’t It Romantic?” was the first time that we got a chance to interview someone associated with Beverly Hills 90210, writer Karen Rosin. We were so nervous to meet her, and it was great that she came to the recording with a bundle of notes she’d prepared while re-watching the episode! We’ve since gotten to know her husband Chuck, the series’ executive producer, who contributes to our podcast with a weekly behind-the-scenes segment.

Do the stars of the show listen to the podcast?

We’re not sure which stars listen on a regular basis, but we do know that Shannen Doherty and Gabrielle Carteris are at least aware of the podcast. Also, Ian Ziering and Tori Spelling follow us on social media and interact with us periodically via those platforms!

I see that you sell merchandise. How has having merchandise helped your brand (with regards to the show?)

The merchandise is something that we do more for fun than to generate significant revenue for the podcast. We offset the costs associated with producing the show with the support of our awesome sponsor, Greenwich Letterpress, a New York-based letterpress studio. Listeners can also show their support by shopping through our Amazon link (at no cost to them) or making a direct donation. We mainly view the merchandise as an additional branding opportunity, and great way for people to enjoy 90210 inside-jokes as well, like the “U4EA Dealer” shirt.

You’ve had a lot of people from the TV series on the show.  Who would you love to have on the show as your dream guest?

Lizzie:  We’ve long dreamt about having Nicole Richie and Diablo Cody —both 90210 superfans— on the podcast. We’ve noticed (via her Twitter) that actress Gabby Sidibe was recently re-watching the series, and we’re dying to get her take on the shenanigans at West Beverly High. We’ve also heard that stars like James Franco, Sophia Bush, and Lena Dunham are fans of the series, and we think it would be so much fun to sit down with them to discuss their 90210 journeys!

Kat: Among the original 90210 cast members, we think Douglas Emerson (who portrayed the ill-fated Scott Scanlon in Seasons 1 and 2) would be a MAJOR get. There’s still a good deal of urban legend surrounding his decision to leave the most popular teen show of the time, never to act again. We wonder what he’s up to now!

You also have a live version of your podcast.  Can you tell me how long it takes to prepare for a live show compared to a regular podcast recording?

Last year we put on our first live show, but it definitely won’t be our last. A regular podcast recording takes a few days’ worth of research, preparing the show outline, and editing. The live show took weeks of planning to make sure we produced the best show possible, including editing a trailer for the episode we’d be discussing, creating a playlist of songs to pipe into the theater while the audience was getting seated, and organizing the run of show. We had the amazing Prom Queen come all the way from Seattle to perform a song live onstage, giveaways for every audience member, and production help from Kat’s sister Alexx and the staff of the Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics. We’re still working out the details, but you can expect some more live versions of the podcast this summer and fall!

Did you see the Unauthorized 90210 film on Lifetime? If so what were your thoughts?

Prior to the Lifetime movie’s October premiere, we had its screenwriter Jeff Roda on our podcast to discuss his process and entreat listeners to watch.  While we were disappointed by some of the film’s omissions —for example, there was no reference to first-season regular Douglas Emerson, or to older cast members Carol Potter and James Eckhouse— we were titillated by a handful of revelations. Among them: upon seeing an early cut of the show’s campy pilot, Gabrielle Carteris (“Andrea”) was so certain the series would be D.O.A. that she immediately applied for a bartending job.

Will you be covering the 90210 reboot after you’re done covering all of the original episodes?

Unlikely. We’ve talked at length on the podcast about not feeling like the reboot resonates with us nearly as much as the original series, but we did welcome our friends Brendan and Derick on the show after our first season to defend the new series to us. We watched a couple of episodes, and had fun discussing them with the guys, but it’s doubtful we’ll dig into them much further on the podcast. It would be more likely that when we’re done with Beverly Hills 90210, we might consider podcasting about another TV show or topic instead.

Any funny stories happen to you while recording?

Kat: We haven’t had any major mishaps while recording yet (*knock on wood*), but generally speaking producing this podcast has resulted in some very memorable encounters! Top of mind is the time we unexpectedly ran into Paul Johansson (who portrayed the infamous KEG brother “John Sears” in Season 4 of 90210) at a comedy event in Hollywood. For reasons we still do not fully understand, this particular cast member sighting made both Lizzie and me —contrary to our usual ability to maintain professional composure during ‘celebrity’ encounters— transform into giggling fangirls.

Lizzie: We finally mustered the courage to approach Paul and introduce our podcast when, at the last second, I nervously bailed —dashing behind a corner and leaving Kat to address Paul on her own! When I finally joined the conversation, the only words I could formulate were “John Sears! KEG!” …Despite our goofiness, Paul was very gracious and even offered to pose for a picture.

What advice would you give to new podcasters?

Podcasting is a lot of work, and you’re probably going to be doing it for free —in fact, at a cost— so make sure you’re creating a show that you enjoy. We enjoy everything about our podcast, from the subject matter to our dynamic as co-hosts, the details of production, and getting to interview our awesome guests. If any one of those elements felt more like a chore than a fun hobby that we get to do, it really would be tough to put out our show every week. One thing that’s been incredibly helpful has been building a network of friends on social media who can help with technical questions, reaching out to potential guests, and spreading the word about our show. Finally, push yourself to make the best show you can. Before we released our first episode, we built sound booths to improve the quality of our recordings, set up our web presence, had our logo designed, and backlogged half a dozen episodes so we could be ahead of our schedule. We figured we had one chance to make a first impression, and we wanted to put our best foot forward —although it’s easy for us to tell how much more professional the show has gotten after two and a half seasons! As avid podcast listeners, we know how easy it is to turn off a new podcast if the hosts seem bored or unfocused, or sound like they’re all talking into a built-in laptop mic. We wanted to make sure that even people who’d never watched Beverly Hills 90210 could enjoy our rapport and the quality of our episodes, and we feel confident we’ve achieved that.