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Meet The Man Who Want People To See Pit Bull Dogs as “Cuddly”

Posted by admin on Jul 14, 2014 in news, opinion

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Pit Bull dogs tend to have a public image problem. They’re consistently viewed as “dangerous dogs”, and regularly vilified by the media. Other breeds get a bad rep as well; rottweilers, and boxers also fall into the perceived danger dog category. Yes, some of these dogs have done the things they’re accused of; – one of the most recent high profile incidents being that of Mickey, an Arizonan pit bull who mauled a 4 year old child.

If this had happened a few years ago it’s pretty likely that Mickey would have been put down, but instead he was given a prison sentence. Yes, a real one. The dog was charged to be neutered and defanged, sentenced to live in a no kill animal shelter inside an Arizona prison. Bizarrely, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, (he of the angry views on immigration) was behind this odd dog life sentence.

Artist Douglas Sonders has been working to change the public perception and opinion of pit bull’s as dangerous dogs, and cases like Mickey might suggest that his work has been reaping benefit. Sonders has been working toward since 2012, when he started the “Not a Bully” campaign, to help humanize the “dangerous dogs” breeds.

His journey started at a Petco adoption event. Sonders had been mourning the death of his pet boxer, Winston Churchill, after an aggressive tumor took his life. He felt he was ready to love again, and wanted a pet that he could connect too.

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“I saw Emma, my pitbull mix, and fell in love, “ he wrote via email. “She had been in foster care for 9 months because nobody wanted her: because she was black and a pit bull. She was such a sweet girl and I knew that she deserved a chance to be in a forever home where she would be loved.”

This was Sonders first time owning a pit bull and straight away he noticed a difference.. from other people.“People scowled at me on the street, one lady screamed and ran away despite Emma’s perfect behavior. I learned something had to be done to change the negative stigmas.”

To help change the negative perception of pit bulls and other dangerous dog breeds, Sonders created the “Not a Bully” campaign.

This campaign uses Sonders skill as a photographer to show pit bulls in a very different light. Forget those images of slavering jaws and crying toddlers, he shows the dogs as they are, removed from negative stereotypes.

“The goal of Not A Bully is to share the stories of inspiring Pit Bulls that have been through the worst (abuse, dog fighting, bait dogs, etc) and still serve the community in a positive way. We want to show that even in the worst circumstances, these dogs are capable of living wonderfully positive and inspiring lives with the love and care of a responsible owner,” Sonders said. Read more…

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Stupid Technology That You Don’t Want or Need: Instagram sunglasses and a GIF taking camera

Posted by admin on May 20, 2014 in geekery, lists, opinion, technology

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The world is full of great and amazing inventions, things that wow the mind and blow the senses. And then come the not so amazing, those that give pause, make one think ‘eh, and simply seem like a wonderful way to blow a lot of resources. That’s what I’m celebrating now, the many odd and surreal parts of technology that we really *might* have been better off without.

The Ten Lens

What is it: Think of these as Instagram sunglasses, shades that let you see the world through a variety of rose colored filters.

Why: Why let real life get you down? Why not view it all through pretty tinted lenses, that makes everything slightly saccharine and glowy? Who needs to reminisce over old times when every day has an old-timey feel. Yes, this is basically exactly what actual tinted sunglasses do, but these are “Tens Lens” sunglasses so it’s totally different. Seriously, the creators say that, “Whilst typical sunglasses block out the light with desaturated, cold colors; Tens work with the warmth of the sun to lend an uplifting tint to the world beyond the lens.” Absolutely not the same thing (insert eye-roll).

And that’s why you should pay 60 bucks for them through their Indiegogo campaign, instead of ten dollars at H&M for a pair you lose the same day.

Otto Camera Takes Only Gifs, really

Otto, the camera that takes only GIFS

What is it: This is a camera built with Raspberry Pi that can capture GIF’s – not pictures. Yes, you can GIF away with a snap and a crank and be ready for Meme heaven.

Why? You love Gifs. I love Gifs.The world loves Gifs. We crack up over Gifs all the timer- heck GIFs are continually one of the most popular and growing subreddits on Reddit, the internet purveyor of what’s cool for the modern disenfranchised moody hipster. Why should you have to painstakingly create a GIF in Photoshop or manually DIY it with one of the zillion free GIF makers out there? What a drag! Why not capture a GIF in one go with a camera that’s designed for your needs?

The Otto camera features a rotating crank that captures an insta-GIF, not an instaPic and shares it with your cellphone.. so you can share it with the world. Now that’s good symbiosis, right? The camera is adaptable as the creators have built in capabilities for add on accessories, including a an Arduino-powered flash bulb that can be triggered to capture GIFs when it detects certain actions, for example they say it can “trigger the camera [for actions] like a totally badass high-five.” I mean you could just use a GIF making app on your phone, but then you’d totally lose camera carrying “cool” credentials right? Read more…

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These Chicas Poderosas 2014 Projects Might Change The World

Posted by admin on May 7, 2014 in geekery, lists, technology

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“Fail Fast, Succeed Soon.” Sounds like a strange thing to say, but the more you think about the phrase, the more you realize that it’s a pretty productive mantra. Don’t get stuck working on an idea that doesn’t make sense if you can change it. This was the catchphrase of the Chicas Podersosas 2014 Miami event, a four day workshop that brought together smart men and women from across the globe.

They gathered to explore ways that technology can be used to create interactive storytelling – and to empower women. Led by visual storyteller Mariana Santos, a Knight International Journalism Fellow, stories were proposed, teams were chosen and goals were set.

Here’s a look at some of the projects that were created. None are “complete” – the goal was to demonstrate what you can build in a few days with mentorship and to develop the skills to then move these ideas forward. Where possible links to projects have been provided.

Here’s a look at some of the projects that were created. None are “complete” – the goal was to demonstrate what you can build in a few days with mentorship and to develop the skills to then move these ideas forward. Where possible links to projects have been provided.

Mapping Unmarked graves from the Drug War

“This is a story about drugs and where they end up,” said Andrés Lizcano Rodriguez, who proposed the idea.“Drug prices have gone up more than any other product in the last 20 years – apart from technology.”

This group used data to look at the deaths caused by the drug trade, the 20 million US consumers that have inadvertently caused the murder of 70,000 people in Mexico since 2006.. The group created a responsive website that mapped out this issue, including personal stories and statistics to back it up. Read more…

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A Look At Creative Cat Grooming a.k.a Feline Fantasy at Intergroom

Posted by admin on Apr 12, 2014 in opinion, Strange events, style

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I knew that when I moved to America I would be privy to all sorts of things that had previously existed in fiction . I’d heard of creative grooming for dogs, but creative cat styling, a.k.a feline fantasy competitions were a whole new arena.

It’s not easy turning a cat into a flowerbed. Or a devil. Or the pink panther. But for extreme cat groomers — a growing community of pet stylists who compete on a national circuit — the transformation of felines with clippers and dye is worth the long hours of painstaking effort.

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In the past twenty years, extreme pet styling has gained some acceptance in the dog grooming world, encompassing seven large scale competitions in the U.S. The cat world however, is new to this phenomenon and stylists are struggling for acceptance. Two organisations- the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers and the National Cat Groomers Institute of America- offer education and training in how to apply creative color. They try and counter PETA’s claims of cruelty with information, but can this battle be won?

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These images were taken at Intergroom 2013, an annual animal grooming exhibition in Meadowlands, New Jersey. The cat groomers follow strict rules to make sure that the cats are safe. These include using, “Non-toxic, cat safe color and glues,” and making sure the cats are already groomed before the show. This means that the cats come fully designed, and only touch ups are allowed, potentially so the cats don’t get uncomfotable by all the noise – and all the dogs around.

Christine de Felippo, producer of Intergroom said that these “feline fantasy” competitions have been happening since 2003. “It was our pleasure to introduce the very first Cat Grooming Competition at INTERGROOM 2003.  It was met with great interest, several brave groomers, an enthusiastic Sponsor in Kim Laube, and a perfect Judge in Shirlee Kalstone,” she wrote on Intergroom’s website. The competition went on gold for a few years but then started up again, and 2014 saw more entries than the year before.

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The designs were very striking and I was amazed by the creative vision of the artists.  This is definitely still a small field, a sub-subculture of a subculture, and though it is animal friendly inasmuch as the dyes are safe and the cats are cared for, it’s still hard to know whether the cats enjoy it.

SIDE NOTE: I’m starting to think I should have a ‘animal’ section of this website, as in the past few months it seems that a lot of these types of stories are coming up. What do you think?

All images: Copyright Zara Stone

 
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Bodyvertising strangeness includes Beardvertising, Thighvertising and Mohwaking

Posted by admin on Mar 7, 2014 in beauty, lists, news

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There is nothing today that we don’t commercialize in some way. We name children after cities and wine (seriously,  people use London and Champagne as names for girls), watch movies full of product placement and have our school classes sponsored by Sprint and Coca Cola. The body is the last bastion of all this consumerism overload, and for some time now advertisers have been coming up with creative ways to let us brand ourselves here. Forget the ordinariness of tattooing brand names on your forehead (creepy, but soo last year) and meet some of the strange but temporary ways to get messages out there.

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Beardvertising

What is it? Adverts placed in the beards of men, primarily hipsters that draw attention to the brand. These adverts can be clipped on.

Why? Well, when you have a beard everyone looks anyways, so why not commercialize on it? Now that’s “real Native Advertising.”

Who has bought into it? Brands like Dollar Shave Club.

How much can you make? They say they will pay $5 a day for you to wear a beard-board, but quite how they select you is unclear. It was popular last year, when the concept went viral, but though you can still submit an application online, it’s unclear if this is still running. The concept was created a by a marketing firm, but who says this couldn’t go bigger than that? Think Santa.. maybe.

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Thighvertising

What is it? Commercializing the fine art of the female thigh. Why wear tights when you waste space where you could place an advert? Everyone looks at ladies legs, so why not make money off all those street creepers? Thighvertising is the temporary placement of adverts on women’s upper thighs.

Why? Duh, thighs = money. This is offered by Japanese firm Absolute Territory/ Zetta IPR, and they take girls aged 18+ who can show they have more than 20 social media connections. The women who get approved need to wear the sticker on their thigh for around 8 hours. Read more…

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Lessons learned From Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean in: An illustrated guide

Posted by admin on Feb 21, 2014 in books, geekery, lists, opinion

Sheryl Sandberg Job Advice

I recently read Sheryls Sandberg’s Lean In and have a few thoughts I wanted to share about it. First, the book is not half as intimidating as it looks from the outside.  The intimidation wasn’t the title,  the cover photo or the feminist message you knew it contained, but the actual size. The hardback size. Bound, big and heavy. The publishers went for the “serious” cash rather than the mass return, and published a book that looked very big and weighty. It looked long. It felt like it would be worthy. It turned me off.

Fast forward a few months and I downloaded it on my Kindle. And I discovered the book is short. Really short. 24% in and I’m at chapter 5. There are eleven chapters. And it’s SO easy to read. It’s essentially a self help book which uses Sheryl Sandberg’s career as a framework. Sandberg is surprisingly honest and open about her personal failings and her family life. She shared anecdotes about crying at work. She revealed her mistakes. She talked about regrets, such as being insensitive to pregnant women (before she’d experienced it). I learned about how she grew up (who knew she was from Miami?), her parents, her sister. I was impressed with her before, but now I like her.

I feel that the publishers did a disservice by releasing a hardcover copy of the book as a lot of people who could have benefitted from this probably didn’t read it. But now that I have – and enjoyed it – I decided that I’m going to break it down for all the people who are to time poor or lazy.

A lot of the lessons in the book are about the way you look at things. It’s about the angle, not the events. Yes, she acknowledges gender discrimination, wage disparity and social issues. But she doesn’t try and make you change the world. She offers practical, useful advice on how to make the best of a flawed situation, and maybe make some bigger changes along the way. I’ve been quoting certain phrases to people, and that’s pretty rare for me, so the following nuggets are ones that stood out for me personally.

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This is a question that Sandberg suggest using when approaching a job role you want. It’s not about you- it’s about what you bring to the company. Read more…

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Eating Pizza and Pasta at The Biggest McDonald’s In The World

Posted by admin on Feb 16, 2014 in geekery, Strange events

Amurica. Home of the weird, the wild, the oversized. Nothing is more American than the golden arches of McDonald’s, a company that has been going since 1940 and was originally a BBQ restaurant. Today the golden arches stand for fast food, consumerist America and excess in so many ways. But let’s forget the gluttony and saturated fat for a moment and celebrate some pure American excess, with a trip to the world’s largest McDonalds’s…

Yes, the BIGGEST McDonald’s in the world. Seriously. Based in Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World, SeaWorld (or picketing SeaWorld), there is the biggest McDonald’s in the world. It has a bowling alley, a 500 gallon aquarium, arcade games, gift shop and chefs serving you tailor-made pizza and pasta dishes. Plus an ice cream bar. So, we tasted tested, of course. Read more…

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