TIME animals

Happy Sloth Week! Here’s a Live Sloth Cam

A glimpse at life in the slow lane

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Starting today, Animal Planet is celebrating Sloth Week, which is like Shark Week for people who were too slow getting their acts together to tune in to Shark Week.

So there’s no better time than the present to check out the live sloth cam from Zoo Atlanta launched in October, featuring a Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth named Cocoa, a 21-year-old male, and his “lady friends” Okra Mae and Bonnie. Sloths may move slowly, but Cocoa was quick to make a move on the 19-year-old Okra Mae, who is now pregnant and is expected to have their baby in July.

TIME Family

Grieving Daughter Takes Life-Size Cardboard Cutout of Deceased Father Around the World

A moving tribute to a man who always wanted to travel the globe

A Virginia dad died from stomach cancer at 52 before fulfilling his lifelong dream of traveling the world. Now, CNN reports his daughter, New York-based artist Jinna Yang, 25, made it come true by going around Europe in April with a life-size cutout of her dad Jay Kwon Yang, taking photos of it in front of landmarks.

“Most of the time when you see a life-sized cutout, it’s of Justin Bieber or One Direction, and it’s usually in a nine-year-old’s room,” Yang told CNN. Plus, the six-foot-tall cardboard figure folded up, so in terms of transportation, she joked, “I didn’t have to pay for an extra seat for dad!”

 

TIME animals

Discerning Cat Walks 12 Miles Back to Old Home Because He Didn’t Like His New One

Getty Images

Curious George?

A cat ran away and walked 12 miles back to its old home after its owners moved to a different neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian reports.

The new renters reportedly called and said they thought they found the two-year-old tabby named George, which showed up and kept wanting to be pet.

Last year, a tortoiseshell cat named Holly made headlines for trekking 200 miles back home to West Palm Beach, Florida, after running away from the family vacation at a R.V. rally in Daytona Beach. While scientists don’t know for sure how a cat could find its way home from a long distance, they say cats navigate in familiar areas via sight and smell. Patrick Bateson, a behavioral biologist at Cambridge University, told the New York Times, it’s possible that cats can sense “the smell of pine with wind coming from the north, so they move in a southerly direction.”

 

TIME celebrity

WATCH: Tarik and The Roots Perform Amazing Harry Potter Rap on The Tonight Show

It's magical

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On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night, Tarik and The Roots performed a rap inspired by Harry Potter.

The late-night host has been doing the show in Orlando this week. He also went to “Ollivander’s wand shop” to buy a magic wand and inevitably turned the entire sketch into one big penis joke.

Universal Orlando in Florida announced Wednesday that the Diagon Alley extension to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park will open on July 8.

PHOTOS: The Harry Potter Theme Park

TIME World Cup

Here’s The “Official” World Cup Condom

DKT International

Looks like Brazil's flag, tastes like Brazil's signature drink.

The world’s biggest condom maker Karex claims its World Cup-themed condom is in high demand at the FIFA tournament in Brazil, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The yellow and green condoms are supposed to look like the Brazilian flag and are supposed to taste like a Caipirinha, the country’s national cocktail made with sugar, lime, and cachaca (a sugar-cane-based Brazilian white rum). The family planning and HIV-prevention non-profit DKT International ordered the condoms, which are being distributed via the brand Prudence, to promote safe sex during the sporting event.

About 700,000 packs of three have been sold since they debuted in February, and an additional 864,000 have been distributed this week, The Wall Street Journal reports. Available in Brazilian pharmacies and supermarkets, each pack costs $1.39.

Condom distribution was also part of a nationwide safe-sex campaign at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa due to the country’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. At the time, FIFA was accused of airing ads for the reportedly higher-cost brand Durex over more affordable brands and repeatedly denied allegations by sexual health charities that it was blocking the distribution of safe-sex materials at the event. Cape Town’s tourism organization put 160,000 condoms in hotel rooms in June 2010. And a local doctor made headlines for working to offer latex condoms with “teeth-like” hooks designed to attach on a man’s penis and fight rape during the tournament.

Earlier this week, Brazilian health officials handed out condoms and tested people for HIV through the UNAIDs program “Protect the Goal” program. Recent articles about the 2014 World Cup have touted Brazil’s HIV/AIDS program as a “model” for other developing countries.

TIME politics

President Obama Meets a 17-Foot Talking Giraffe

Mandel Ngan – AFP / Getty Images

Its name is Russell

President Barack Obama checks out a 17-foot-tall, 2,200-pound talking robotic giraffe named Russell on the South Lawn of the White House during the Maker Faire, a showcase of innovation in business, technology, and manufacturing. The commander-in-chief, who jokes about the size of his ears, said he liked the ears on the electric animal created by Lindsay Lawlor of San Diego. He also observed that Russell has a bit of a British accent when it said “that tickles” (dialogue captured below via BuzzFeed):

As the Democratic president stares at the giraffe in the photo below, perhaps he’s wondering whether it can take on a GOP elephant.

Mandel Ngan – AFP / Getty Images
TIME nation

The Most Influential Garages in History

A view of the inside of the parking garage where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward held late night meetings with Deep Throat, his Watergate source who later turned out to be Mark Felt, the FBI's former No. 2 official, August 27, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

This weekend the Arlington, Virginia County Board voted to approve the demolition of the garage where FBI agent Mark Felt (famously nicknamed “Deep Throat”) fed news tips to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward for his exposé on the Watergate scandal.

That lowly garage has earned a high place in history. Here’s our unofficial ranking of the most influential slabs of concrete throughout time. Together they have transformed a grimy afterthought into hallowed ground.

It is believed that the founders of Hewlett-Packard (HP), David Packard and Bill Hewlett, developed their first product, an audio oscillator, in the garage behind Packard’s house on 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto. Now a California historic landmark, it is known as the “birthplace of Silicon Valley.”

• Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computers Inc. in 1976 and assembled the first computers in the garage of Jobs’s childhood home in Los Altos, California. In October 2013, the Los Altos Historical Commission voted to designate the 2066 Crist Drive residence a “historic resource.”

• In September 1998 Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page filed for incorporation, and in the same month, they set up a workspace in a garage that they rented from Susan Wojcicki — now YouTube’s CEO — on Santa Margarita Avenue in Menlo Park. The company grew out of the space in February 1999 and moved its eight employees to Palo Alto.

• The waffle-patterned sole of Nike sneakers date back to a Sunday morning in 1972, when the late Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman poured urethane rubber into a waffle iron in his garage. The experiment ruined the iron, but he stuck with the idea, and the “waffle” sole went into full-scale production in the mid-1970s.

• When Walt Disney moved to California in 1923, he built his own camera stand in his uncle Robert’s North Hollywood garage and transformed the space into his animation studio. Soon after that, he signed a contract to produce the Alice Comedies series about a girl and her cat, which The Walt Disney Company considers “the start of the Disney company first known as The Disney Brothers Studio.” Fans have been known to pay tribute to the Disneyland creator by leaving Disney souvenirs in front of the garage, which is now part of the Stanley Ranch Museum in Garden Grove, California.

Herzog & de Meuron‘s concrete-and-glass Miami Beach garage at 1111 Lincoln Road boasts luxury retailers inside, setting a new aesthetic standard for generally dreary American parking garages, which the New York Times has described as “the grim afterthought of American design.” The structure shows a parking lot can also be a “civic space,” owner and developer Robert Wennett told The Wall Street Journal.

• The glass garage in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), where the father of Ferris’s friend Cameron kept his 1961 Ferrari, is part of a real home in Highland Park, Illinois. Ferris (Matthew Broderick) and Cameron took the car for a joyride through Chicago. Crain’s Chicago Business reports the residence finally sold last month for $1.06 million after five years on the market.

 

 

TIME Business

All Aboard! Thomas the Tank Engine Theme Park to Open in the U.S.

In this 2012 photo provided by Edaville USA, a father and son watch Thomas the Tank Engine roll down the track at an annual Day Out with Thomas event at the Edaville USA theme park in Carver, Mass. Edaville USA / AP

Groundbreaking begins next month.

A theme park dedicated to Thomas the Tank Engine is expected to open in the U.S. next summer, the Associated Press reports. Thomas, a talking train, is the star of his namesake’s hit children’s TV show.

Located at Edaville USA Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts, “Thomas Land” will include, according to the AP:

” … four rides based on the television show, with the highlight being a 20-minute train ride on a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine. A roller coaster, drop tower, Ferris wheel and other rides will feature more Thomas characters, including Toby, Cranky the Crane and Harold the Helicopter.”

Groundbreaking begins in July, and the theme park is expected to officially open in summer 2015.

Versions of “Thomas Land” can be found in the United Kingdom and Japan, but the one in the U.S. is expected to be the biggest.

TIME animals

China Won’t Let Pandas Make World Cup Predictions After All

Giant panda Ying Mei sits next to a box of food with the Brazilian flag on it, during an event called "Panda Predicts World Cup Results", ahead of the 2014 World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia, in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, June 12, 2014. China Daily / Reuters

Authorities worry the press would be more than the pandas could bear

China is backing out of a stunt in which pandas would make World Cup predictions, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Authorities worry that the swarm of people and cameras may jeopardize the health and safety of the animals, a spokesperson for China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas told the WSJ.

It was reported that the animals were expected to call matches by “either picking food from bowls marked with the national colors of competing teams, or climbing trees flying certain flags,” according to a post today on the WSJ blog China Real Time Report. According to the South China Morning Post, it was also suggested that pandas “would take part in races wearing the vests of different nations to predict winning teams.”

Fans will now have to turn to a Swiss guinea pig named Madame Shiva or a piranha named Pele for prognostications.

MORE: 1,600 Papier-mache Pandas Storm Hong Kong Airport

TIME animals

A Nursing Home for Dogs Is Opening in Japan

nursing home aeonpet group
Getty Images

The service is reportedly expected to cost $1,000 a month

A so-called “nursing home” for elderly dogs opens in Tokyo this month, The Telegraph and NBC News report.

The luxury retirement facility run by Aeon Pet, a subsidiary of the Japanese supermarket brand Aeon, is expected to start with 20 dogs, providing them access to a gym, swimming pool, and round-the-clock veterinary care. NBC News reports the cost will depend on dog size and breed, but is estimated to be $1,000 a month.

This concept may be considered a way to reduce the number of stray dogs that are killed. The Telegraph points out that there was a push in 2013 to make owners responsible for their pets until their deaths. “Elderly owners who are hospitalized may have no one to care for their pets and other owners may move to a new apartment that does not allow pets,” according to a Japan Times editorial published last year, which also argues some owners just do not realize how much care an animal needs long-term.

Aeon hopes to expand the concept nationwide.

(h/t The Week‘s Speed Reads)

MORE: Dogs-Only Swimming Pool in Spain

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