Thursday, March 6, 2014

Penguins Are So Much Like Humans... But These Tiny Penguins Wearing Jumpers Will Make Your Heart Burst

The Penguin Foundation on Phillip Island in Victoria saves the lives of penguins - by putting them in jumpers.

When penguins are caught in oil spills, their feathers become matted, making it hard for them to stay warm or hunt for food.

When penguins are caught in oil spills, their feathers become matted, making it hard for them to stay warm or hunt for food.
Phillip Island Nature Parks

Until they can be cleaned, the jumpers help to keep the penguins warm and also stops them from ingesting oil in attempts to clean their feathers with their beaks.

Until they can be cleaned, the jumpers help to keep the penguins warm and also stops them from ingesting oil in attempts to clean their feathers with their beaks.
Phillip Island Nature Parks

Once the penguins are treated, they are released back into the wild in their birthday suits.

Once the penguins are treated, they are released back into the wild in their birthday suits.
Phillip Island Nature Parks

The Penguin Foundation has some dedicated volunteers who knit the jumpers, including 95-year-old Merle Davenport, who has knit over 1000!

The Penguin Foundation has some dedicated volunteers who knit the jumpers, including 95-year-old Merle Davenport, who has knit over 1000!

But they always need more. You can contribute a jumper by downloading a pattern here. Get as creative as you like!

But they always need more. You can contribute a jumper by downloading a pattern here. Get as creative as you like!

If you can’t knit, you could always “adopt” a penguin to help fund the rescue and rehabilitation operations.

If you can't knit, you could always "adopt" a penguin to help fund the rescue and rehabilitation operations.

To find out more, check out the Penguin Foundation website or like them on Facebook.

Letter From a Death Row Inmate... Learn What Life on Death Row is Like

This is a reply to Gawker - from Ray Jasper, who is scheduled to be put to death in Texas in March.
Jasper was convicted of the 1998 murder of a recording studio owner. Jasper was 18 years old at the time. He has been in prison for the past 15 years.
The purpose of publishing these letters is to hear directly from people whose voices are not often heard. This is not a referendum on the guilt or innocence of any inmate. Ray Jasper responded to our questions numerically, so we will briefly list them here:

  1. What do you think the chances are of your execution occurring as scheduled?
  2. Can you describe daily life on Death Row?
  3. Can you talk a bit about your own past and upbringing?
  4. Has your time in jail changed your political or religious beliefs?
  5. Do you have any thoughts on how the media and the public view the death penalty?
  6. What else would you like to say to the public about your life, your situation, and what you think it means for our country?
Letters From Death Row: Ray Jasper, Texas Inmate 999341 
Letters From Death Row: Ray Jasper, Texas Inmate 999341
Mr. Nolan,

I hope you're genuine in your endeavor and I hope you achieve your goal with your writing. I numbered your questions to match my answers. I'm sure you can take it from there. Can I receive a copy of how you publish this or the name of the website?

1) I think any execution has a 50/50 chance of taking place. It comes down to the legalities of the case. The controversial issue in my case has been narrowed down to racial discrimination concerning the State of Texas purposely striking Black people from the jury panel. Racial discrimination on trial juries has a long-standing history in Texas. It was really made known in the Thomas Miller-el case where Dallas had a guide for their prosecutors to strike all minorities from the jury panel. So it's about whether the Courts will consider the issue worth halting the execution.

2) Daily life on death row is like living in a black & white TV, while the rest of the world is [in] a full color high definition plasma TV. I've done my best to live above the circumstances by studying self-help and spiritual books. Ghandi once said that prison is not a punishment for an enlightened person, it only gives them more time to deepen their divinity. I agree. I was a teenager when I came to death row and over the last 15 years I've written several books & screenplays. I've turned a negative into a positive, while others around have lost their mind, dropped their appeals or committed suicide. I think who you are matters more than where you are.

3) I grew up like most young blacks at a disadvantage, susceptible to the street life out of the environment and a lack of education. For most young blacks we rebel out of subtle racism and being targeted by the police. For young blacks, cops are the enemies. I've been falsely arrested and beat by the police before the age of 18. It's like how can society expect young blacks to be [compliant] with the same law that poses a threat to their life. You never hear of black cops beating or killing young whites, but its so common to hear about white cops beating and killing young blacks.

4. My time in jail introduced me to politics. I was too young and uneducated to understand politics before I got locked up. Now, I see everyone has their own agenda and ideology of how society should function and those in political offices enforce their own agenda upon others. I think politics is a shark's pool. There's not much empathy involved.

I am a deeply religious person. I respect all religions, especially those who 
sacrifice for the service of God. I have a strong faith in Christ, but I do see religion is often misused and Americans are too intellectual to be truly religious spiritually. Many people are only outwardly religious. I was religious people who wanted Christ to be executed. It was religious clergy who persecuted Martin Luther King as an extremist. One has to be careful of those who choose the letter of the Spirit. Paul said, "The letter kills, the Spirit gives life." Jesus said only those the Spirit understand the kingdom of God.

5) The way the media covers the death penalty depends of the agenda of that media outlet. The media is not neutral. I think whether a person is pro or anti-death penalty, we should all be against injustice. Those who do not see the death penalty as unjust should do their homework. Every major newspaper in Texas has taken a stance against the death penalty due to their investigative journalism. They know what's going on behind the scenes. The average person in Texas cannot explain the difference between murder and capital murder. The public is under the impression the people receive the death penalty for murder and murder, in Texas, is not punishable by the death penalty. There are thousands of people who committed murder and capital murder who are not on death row, but in regular prison. To say one person guilty of capital murder should live and another person guilty of capital murder should die is an injustice in [and] of itself.

I suggest reading the book TRIAL & ERROR: THE TEXAS DEATH PENALTY by Lisa Maxwell. It just came out this year and it highlights all the injustices of the Texas death penalty that many people never knew or forgot about over the years.

6) My life is a testament of what it is to be young & black in America. Black [people] are incarcerated at a higher rate than any other race because we are ignorant to the laws that govern society. As Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon on which you can use to change the world." I gave up in school after a friend died when I was 11 years old. I didn't officially dropout until 16. By 18, I was facing the death penalty. I had no idea what capital murder was by definition or the law of parties. The Bible says that understanding makes a person depart from wrongdoing. People must be taught, even if its not in a school. We are all interdependent and we can educate each other. Adults need to have the courage to talk to teenagers and teach them how to make a smoother transition into adulthood. Over a million teenagers are arrested every year in America. 5 out of 6 black teenagers will drop out of high school. When you're young it's hard to see the road up ahead and many teens lack a long term vision for their life. They must be taught in the school of life by adults who cross their path.

Note: I apologize for all the mistakes, but I'm stuck in the 80's with a E-typewriter, not a laptop. Any other questions let me know. I wish you success on your endeavor. Enjoy the season.

Peacefully, Ray

Source: Gawker

Top 10 most dangerous roads in the world...

10. TongtianHighway, Zhangjiajie, China(中国张家界通天大道) 

TongtianHighway, Zhangjiajie, China []

Tongtian Highway, located at the Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park in northwestern Hunan province, China, is a winding mountain road to the famous Tianmen Cave, which is located on the mountain peak. Measuring more than 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) in length and 200 meters (656.17 feet) to 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) above sea level, the road has 99 sharp turns. It took eight years and about 100 million yuan(US$16.2 million) to construct the road.The Tongtian Highway is known as the "First wonder of China's highways."

9. Trollstigen Road, Norway(挪威特罗斯蒂路)

Trollstigen Road, Norway [] 

Trollstigen means "The Trolls Ladder" in Norwegian. The road comes in the world dangerous roads' list because of its narrow and sharp bends. Located in the southwest part of Norway, it has 11 sharp turns at 2,800 feet above sea level, with an average slope of 9 degrees. Due to its sharp bends vehicles are no longer allowed on the road.

8. Stelvio Pass, Italy(意大利斯泰维奥坳公路)

Stelvio Pass, Italy [] 

Italy's Stelvio pass is located at the east of the Alps, near the Swiss border.The road is risky because of its 48 sharp turns at 9,045 feet above sea level. It is known as one of the longest winding roads in the country. Although there are no high cliffs along the road, people are advised to drive slowly.

7. Guoliang Tunnel Road, China(中国郭亮隧道)

Guoliang Tunnel Road, China [] 

The Guoliang Tunnel Road was built in the Taihang Mountains of China's Henan province by 13 neighboring villages. It took five years to complete, and a few villagers died, in accidents, during the construction. The road is 1.3 kilometers (0.81 miles) long, 12 feet wide and 15 feet high, which makes the road extremely scary. The tunnel has 30 windows that allow drivers to enjoy the spectacular view of the Taihang Mountain. The mountain is known as "the long corridor in cliffs."

6. Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan(巴基斯坦牧场仙路)

Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan [] 

Situated at the base of Pakistan's 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, the Fairy Meadows is a picturesque destination. However, getting to this beautiful place is not an easy experience. A part of the trip involves one of the most dangerous roads of the world. It is only a 6-mile-long uneven gravel road, without any safety guardrail, that takes one hour to get through.

5. Los Caracoles Pass,Chile/Argentina(智利/阿根廷罗斯卡拉高莱斯路)

Los Caracoles Pass,Chile/Argentina [] 

The Los Caracoles Passis a road passing through the Andres Mountainsbetween Chile and Argentina.The road features countless hard switchbacks and hairpin's turns, without any safety guardrail. The road is covered by snow almost all year long, making the drive even more difficult.

4. Atlas Mountains Road, Morocco(摩洛哥阿特拉斯山路)

Atlas Mountains Road, Morocco [] 

The Atlas Mountains Road was built between Marrakech and Ouarzazate in Morocco. The road has numerous twists and turns, providing a test of both skills and nerves for drivers. The 117-mile drive takes about four hours, but the magnificent view is worth seeing.

3. Col de Turini, France(法国图里尼山路)

Col de Turini, France [] 

The Col de Turini is a high mountain pass in the Alps in the Alpes-Maritimes department, in France, with anelevation of 5,200 feet. It is famous for the Monte Carlo Rally, which is held every January on the tight road with its many hairpin turns. The road is composed of 34 sharp turns and some straight ways, being regarded as one of the most charming roads in the world. However, it is probably not an ideal road for people who advocate"safety first."

2. James Dalton Highway, U.S.(美国道尔顿公路)

James Dalton Highway, U.S. [] 

Measuring 414 miles, James Dalton Highway is a gravel road beginning at the Elliott highway, north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse, near the Arctic Ocean. It was built as a supply road to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in the 1970s. Trailers and tractors often use the road. There are no gas station or supermarket along the road, so it would be best to have a car equipped with extra fuel, food and other supplies.

1. Old Yungas Road, Bolivia(玻利维亚永加斯北路)

Old Yungas Road, Bolivia [] 

Bolivia's Old Yungas Road is the most dangerous road. It is better to call it "The Road of Death" because it has taken more than thousands of lives – between 200 and 300 every year. The road is extremely narrow and often wrapped by a fog and vapors. The road twists and turns for about 40 miles between La Paz and Coroico, offering no protection from the sheer cliffs. Its highest latitude reaches over 3,000 meters. While driving on this dangerous road, you must believe on your destiny rather than your driving skills.

Fortunately, a brand new bypass was eventually built. If you want to have a glimpse of this death road, you could choose the new road; if you like teasing death, then there is always the old road.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cats And Dogs Vs. Human Furniture... The Pets Lose The Battle

We love having cats and dogs around as our furry companions, but we often don’t give them much thought when we arrange our homes (unless you own any pet furniture). Nonetheless, our pets are understanding – they try to make do with human furniture. Things don’t always go as planned, however, and when they get stuck, their humans are there to capture their hilarious fails. 

Granted, cats often like to squeeze into tight spaces, so some of them might actually have meant to fit into those ridiculous positions. But others have that look on their face where you can tell that they have no idea what’s going on. And the dogs… well, the dogs have no excuse. As lovable as they are, they are often not the most graceful creatures, so their battle with human furniture is a difficult one. 

Let’s have a moment of silence for the pets that have failed in their battles vs human furniture. And then laugh at them. 

Image credits: Isabel Clownsnack


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