TIME animals

Giant Snails the Size of Tennis Shoes Are Waging Terror in Florida

The invasive snail was discovered in Miami in 2011

Giant African snails that can grow to the size of a tennis shoe are thriving in southern Florida, eating hundreds of plant species and even the stucco off houses more than four years after the state launched a $10 million program to eradicate them.

The snails were first discovered in Miami in September 2011, AFP reports, the first invasion since the 1960s. Since then the species has spread to new territory, including the southern suburbs of Miami and the neighboring Broward County.

“The fact is they’re a human and animal health threat and they’re a threat to Florida’s agriculture. We can’t let the population continue,” said Mark Fagan, a spokesman for the state agriculture department.

The giant African snails have continued to elude the state’s eradication efforts, which can prove fruitless when the gastropods climb trees to avoid chemicals on the ground, or hibernate below the soil for months at a time.

Still, over 158,000 giant African snails have been removed in the past four years, with the last sighting reported in April, officials said. Two years must pass since the last snail is found alive in the wild for the state to declare the species eradicated.

[AFP]

TIME animals

See Cecil the Lion and Other Animals Light Up the Empire State Building

Images of endangered animals were projected onto the New York City landmark

Images honoring Cecil the lion and other endangered species illuminated the south side of Empire State Building on Saturday evening, broadcasting the plight of mass extinction onto one of New York’s most iconic landmarks.

The one-day show, called Projecting Change, is part of a promotion for the upcoming documentary Racing Extinction, which is set to air on Discovery Channel in December, according to the film’s official Facebook page. Projections of birds, tigers and bears were featured on the building, in addition to images of Cecil the lion, whom authorities say was killed illegally by an American dentist on July 1.

endangered wolf on ESB. #racingextinction amazing movement #cecilthelion #empirestatebuilding

A photo posted by craig hatkoff (@chatkoff) on

TIME animals

Watch Adorable Baby Turtles Crawl to the Ocean

Nesting season is from May to October

Beach sand isn’t the easiest place to walk, especially if you’re a baby turtle.

In this video shot by Mike Ross of Naples, Fla., young turtles carefully crawl out of the sand at Barefoot Beach and make their way slowly into the waves of the ocean.

The nesting season for turtles is May through October, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Turtles make between 40,000 and 84,000 nests annually on the Florida coast. Each nest contains between 80 and 120 eggs.

TIME Appreciation

This 5-Year-Old Girl Saved Her Mother and Baby Brother’s Lives After a Crash

A brave girl takes action

Several weeks after a serious car crash, 5-year-old Lexi Shymanski from British Columbia is being celebrated for saving the lives of her mother and baby brother.

Lexi’s mother, Angela Shymanski, lost control of her car on June 8 after falling asleep at the wheel on the way home from a family vacation near Calgary in Canada with Lexi and now 4-month old Peter. The car fell over a steep, 40-ft. embankment, knocking the mother unconscious, according to Metro News.

The little girl unclipped the five-point harness on her car seat and climbed barefoot up the embankment and flagged down a driver to help.

“It’s crazy,” Shymanski told Metro. “I only can remember one or two times where she got out of her five-point harness previously. She somehow got out, adrenaline or whatever, and barefoot hiked up the embankment.”

The mother suffered a broken back and the baby a serious brain bleed, but they are in recovery. The daughter is credited with saving their lives.

[Metro News]

TIME Bizarre

Woman Sues Credit Agencies After They Declare Her Dead

It took months of phone calls, letters and emails to convince the agencies she was alive

(ST. LOUIS)—A 40-year-old St. Louis woman isn’t dead, but she said she spent months trying to convince credit reporting agencies that she’s alive.

Alexandria Goree is suing Experian, TransUnion and Equifax over the glitch, contending that it was difficult to get loans or a new home, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Her suit, filed last week in federal court, said Goree found a “deceased” notation on her credit files in the summer of 2013. Such a notice can appear when a creditor informs a reporting agency that one of its customers has died.

“Wow. Words can’t really explain how I felt,” she said. “It was just emotional.”

She said she had to deal with numerous rejections from credit card companies and local businesses because the credit reporting firms said that she was dead.

“Anything that would require monthly payments,” she said, “I was only able to purchase with cash.”

Representatives of TransUnion and Experian told the newspaper that they couldn’t comment on pending litigation. A spokesman for Equifax said the company’s attorneys were just notified about the lawsuit and needed more time to research it.

Goree said the misinformation hurt her efforts in finding a new place to live after her grandson’s 2013 hit-and-run death outside her former home in north St. Louis County home. Her landlord agreed to let her break her lease to move away from the street where 2-year-old Darion Griffin was struck. Her lawsuit contends that a series of rental housing applications were rejected.

She said it took months of phone calls, letters and emails to convince Experian and TransUnion to return her to the land of the living. It’s unclear if Equifax also has done so.

TIME Music

Dave Grohl Has the Best Response to the 1,000 Italian Fans Who Played ‘Learn to Fly’

Dave Grohl
Nick Wass—Invision/AP The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl performs at RFK Stadium on July 4, 2015, in Washington.

The rocker made a video...in Italian

Rocker Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters loved the video that 1,ooo of his Italian fans made playing “Learn to Fly.”

The fans from the group “Rockin’ 1,00o” made the video to convince the Foo Fighters to do a concert in Cesena, Italy.

In a response video posted on the Foo Fighters Facebook page, Grohl spoke in Italian, saying, according to a rough translation by a Facebook commenter: “Hi, Cesena! I am David, hello. I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian. Only a little, a little. That video — but how beautiful! Very beautiful. Thank you very much [literally: a thousand thanks]. We are arriving [coming], I promise. We’ll see each other soon. Thank you very much. I love you. Bye.”

The event was organized by Foo Fighters fan Fabio Zaffagnini.

TIME Bizarre

Man’s iPhone Miraculously Still Works After Falling From a Plane Over Texas

He found it under a mesquite tree

A Texas man used an app to find his iPhone in a rural pasture after it fell 9,300 ft. (2,834 m) from a Beechcraft Bonanza airplane on a flight from Houston.

The phone fell out of the aircraft during a Monday flight, when a pressure change caused the door to open slightly. The owner of the phone, Ben Wilson, a Texas businessman, used the Find My iPhone app to locate the phone. They found it with a map and a satellite image.

“It was by the side of the road south of Jacksboro, under a mesquite tree,” Wilson told the Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Texas. “It was in one piece, scratched a bit on the corners but it still worked,” he said.

TIME society

You Can Make a Teen Cancer Patient’s Birthday Wish Come True by Doing One Simple Thing

The North Carolina 16-year-old has done many selfless acts for other kids

A 16-year-old cancer patient has a simple birthday wish: lots and lots of birthday cards.

North Carolina native Chris West has had three bouts of cancer since he was first diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011. Over the years, he has done many selfless acts, such as raising money for other kids. This year, for his birthday on Aug. 19, he’s asking strangers to send him birthday cards to cheer him up. His address is: Chris West PO Box 5244 Concord NC 28027.

Read more at People.com.

TIME society

A Police Officer Who Stopped to Fix a Boy’s Bike Is Going Viral

"It's so small to me, I was just helping a kid out, but it's big to everybody else"

Connecticut police officer Michael Castillo’s small gesture to “serve and protect” his community has gone viral on social media.

The 27-year-old officer received a call about a fight happening outside a Target in Ansonia, Connecticut, on Monday, but when he arrived, he saw a group of young neighborhood kids just hanging out, he told ABC News.

Castillo, who has been an officer for three years, then noticed that one of the boy’s bikes was broken, so he grabbed some tools out of his SUV cruiser and set to work, fixing the bike chain and tightening up the tire.

“I told them, ‘All right, guys, go play somewhere else besides the Target parking lot,’ ” Castillo told the news outlet. “They’re good kids.”

Little did he know that Faith Taylor, a passerby, had snapped a photo of the sweet moment and posted it to the Ansonia Police Department Facebook Page.

“…it’s nice to see an officer in a good and kind way… Give this guy some kudos!” she wrote.

The photo has received almost 1,000 likes and over 300 shares since it was posted on Monday.

“It feels great. It really does,” Castillo told News 8. “There is so much negativity in police work everywhere, just to get this one thing, it’s so small to me, I was just helping a kid out, but it’s big to everybody else. I think this shows a positive outlook on police work.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME astronomy

See an Incredible Photo of Friday Night’s Blue Moon

blue moon statue liberty new york
Eduardo Munoz—Reuters A full moon, known as the Blue Moon, is seen next to the Statue of Liberty in New York on July 31, 2015.

It usually happens just once every couple of years

The second full moon of July rose Friday night, a phenomenon referred to as a “blue moon.”

Though the phrase “once in a blue moon” is meant to describe a rare event, a blue moon is neither rare, or blue. “Blue moon” is actually a term used to describe the second full moon in a single calendar month. Most years only have 12 moons, but this year has 13, which happens every two to three years, according to astronomers. “Blue moons” don’t actually appear blue, but the moon can appear blue after events on earth like wildfires and volcanic eruptions, according to NASA.

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