In February 2018, Andy Watkins and Kimberly Redmon got the surprise of their lives. The engaged couple opened a joint bank account when they got engaged so that they could start saving money for their wedding. They checked the account one day and found that there were $10,000 extra dollars in the account and neither one of them knew where it came from. They knew that their friends and family members would never have put this kind of money in their account but they asked around anyway. Nobody knew anything about it. Andy says that when they discovered the money that he thought it might be some kind of scam. He was worried that the scammers had access to their account information and after putting the money into the account that they would clean it out completely. He says that he couldn’t just sit back and do nothing and he certainly couldn’t spend money that he knew didn’t belong to him. Andy and Kimberly got in the car and drove to the bank to get the answers that they needed.
The couple sat down with a bank manager and they found out where the money came from. A woman named Kimberly Redmon, the same name as Andy’s fiance, and deposited the money. It turns out that the teller who handled the transaction didn’t ask for the woman’s account information. She simply asked for the woman’s driver’s license. When the teller punched up the name, the account owned by Andy and Kimberly showed up and the teller just deposited the money into their account rather than the Kimberly Redmon that made the deposit.
Andy says that he was thrilled when he found out where the money came from. He stated that he no longer needed to worry that a scam artist had gotten hold of their bank account information. The Kimberly who made the deposit was contacted and informed of the error. The same day, the money was transferred to her account. The real Kimberly stated that she was thankful that Andy and his fiance were so honest. She says that most people wouldn’t have been.
The WRTV News in Indianapolis heard about Andy and Kimberly’s story and they contacted the bank to find out how something like this could happen. According to the bank, there are protocols in place to keep things like this from happening, however, there are some tellers who don’t have the proper training and they don’t ask for bank account numbers, just ID’s. According to the bank manager, all of the bank employees will be going through a training course that will require that they request account numbers as well as photo identification when a person deposits or withdraws money from their accounts. The bank says that they are taking all of the necessary steps so that something like this doesn’t happen again. Andy and Kimberly say that they are just happy that the mystery has been solved and the money has gone into the account of the rightful owner.
The Champion Taco-Eating Pit Bull
My neighbor Jose had just adopted a special pit bull from the local rescue shelter. It had been the faithful companion for five years of Jose’s elderly friend who had passed away a few months earlier. Because pit bulls have a bad rap, nobody wanted the dog, so the shelter planned to put it to sleep. When my neighbor learned that his friend’s faithful companion was about to be killed, he immediately adopted the dog. I don’t know about cats having nine lives, but that dog definitely got a second life.
That dog went everywhere with Jose. The dog’s name was Lucky, but Jose made a point of calling him something like “Lu-key.” Jose even got that large pooch service-dog certified, which meant he could take that dog into the supermarkets and even into the county fair.
Last July, I was assigned to judge the taco eating contest. A few months later the county fair started. Somehow Jose managed to get Lucky into the fair on my judgment day. According to him, the ticket office at first refused to let Lucky the service dog go in, because of all the other animals there. So Jose was sent to the exhibitor’s entrance, where the fair’s president was. After the president argued with Jose a bit, he was left at the gate with Lucky while the fair officials argued about what to do. During that time, exhibitors with other dogs, cats, pigs, and birds of all kinds, came into the fair through that same gate. Lucky looked at those other animals but did not budge from Jose’s side. Not a sound came from him, though other animals sometimes made a racket. The president noticed that and then decided to let Jose and Lucky conditionally come in; Lucky was in no way to disturb the other animals, children, or people.
A local guy named Walt came to the taco eating contest as a participant, not letting his wife know. We had TV-like tables set up with fifteen Mama Juanita’s Taqueria soft-shelled chicken tacos on each one, the best tacos for hundreds of miles. The contestant who at them the fastest won the contest. It happened that Jose and Lucky were the closest to Walt’s table.
Well, no sooner had I blown the start whistle than Walt’s wife screamed out his name, “Walter Higgins! Get over here!” At that shout, he jumped up and bumped over his table filled with tacos, in front of Lucky. Walt then bolted away from that area as fast as a rooster with its tail feathers aflame. Well, Lucky apparently felt lucky, so he jumped the few feet needed to get at all those tacos on the ground in front of him and started gobbling them down. It wasn’t long before all the contest spectators were watching Lucky, some aiming their Instagram-linked iPhone cameras at him. It was only later we discovered that CNN also had a cameraman at that event. Not only did Lucky eat all the tacos, but he was also the first to finish them as well!
Since the top two human taco eating contest champions were state-level champs, it didn’t take the local folk much time to declare, over the protest of those two guys, Lucky the 2015 taco eating contest winner. CNN national news and its website showed scenes of Lucky gobbling up the last of the tacos. The fair’s Facebook page ended up with the greatest number of views in local history. The social media sensation Lucky would become the “picture boy” for the next state fair.
Bizarre Starfish Found in Palm Beach
A person visiting Palm Beach, Florida witnessed a huge starfish gliding across the sand after low tide. While dislodging itself out of the sand, the creature slowly crawled across the sand, almost looking like it was floating on the surface. The video’s unloader says that he was amazed to watch the bizarre-looking creature embarked on his journey.
The National Geographic notes that starfish are invertebrate and that they are part of the family that consists of sand dollars and sea urchins. The majority of starfish live in tidal pools and coral reefs.
Most starfish have spiny skin and consist of five arms. However, some species can grow to have as many as 50 arms. The one in the video that is going viral has nine arms. Underneath the arms, you can see small little suckers that are used to allow the animal to slowly creep along the ocean floor — in this case along the sand. On the ends of its arms are eye-spots that are light-sensitive and are used for hunting food. They attack prey by attaching themselves and spreading its stomach out through its mouth, essentially vomiting onto its prey, with enzymes breaking down the prey so that the starfish can digest it. While we usually have a pleasant mental image of a beautiful starfish, what’s underneath it is surprisingly terrifying
About The Starfish Species
While it is difficult to determine the type of species in the viral video, it is most likely a Luidia senegalensis. These starfish are known for their unique nine arm formation. Once fully grown, they’ll have a diameter of about 16 inches, with some specimen growing even larger. They could be found in depths of up to 130 feet around the coast of Florida.
Why Are Starfish Found At The Beach?
Most starfish are found in deep waters or in small pools along the beach called tidal pools. During low tide, the ocean pulls back from the beach, revealing small sea animals.
Sometimes starfish are found in beaches because of age or because they are dying. Thankfully the starfish in the viral video looks very robust and healthy, slowly dislodging itself from the sand and crawling to a safe spot in the water or a nearby tidal pool.
What To Do If You Find A Starfish
Joey did the right thing — he kept his distance, and did not disturb the starfish or its environment. Never harvest live starfish for several reasons — unless you can explicitly identify the starfish, you might be handling one that is venomous to human beings. While starfish do not attack humans, they can intentionally or accidentally inflict painful stings with a release of venom when they are handled.
Unfortunately, there’s also the chance of fatally damaging the starfish. Starfish not only sensitive, but they can only breathe while in the water. Some might instantly die when lifted out of the water or touched by a human.
The Day I Met a Baby Gray Whale
In addition to being one of the most curious and intelligent creatures in Earth’s oceans, due to their great size and the fact that they travel vast distances, gray whales are also host to a wealth of scientific data about the health of our oceans. Gray whales have a long history of unique interactions with humans. Most of the time they appear indifferent to us. Sometimes they behave in a friendly way. But during a few points in history, in a small number of locations, legends of gray whales flipping small boats and dragging men beneath the waves have cropped up.
But gray whales can even be dangerous when they do not mean to be. Weighing in at nearly 40 tons, with massive flippers and a huge, powerful tail, gray whales have downed many small boats either accidentally or otherwise. But these fascinating creatures still have a powerful draw for us. They are mysterious, massive, and have eyes which reflect a strangely familiar intelligence.
So when Cheryl and David Kipling set out in hopes of meetings these creatures face to face, it was no small task overcoming their trepidation. Cheryl and David are biologists and run a lab where they study the remains of whales that have been killed prematurely by the actions of humans.
Cheryl explained, “I’ve autopsied the brains of half a dozen gray whales and the one thing that stands out is the size and sophistication of their limbic brain.”
We asked for more clarification on why having a big limbic brain is such a big deal.
She replied, “The limbic brain, in mammals, is the part of the brain that renders emotions. It’s sandwiched between the fore-brain- which is big in humans, and the hindbrain- which controls all of our cravings and reflex instincts. The limbic brain motivates us with feelings. When you look at a puppy and say ‘ahh’ at his big brown eyes, or when you miss a loved one and want to see them, that’s the limbic brain. Judging by the size of their’s, these animals are deeply emotional. They are primarily emotional, in fact- whereas people might be said to be primarily intellect oriented. That’s why it’s such a crime to keep orcas in captivity, separate them from their pods- their families. They suffer intensely.”
Equipped with this new and strange knowledge, going out with Dave and Cheryl to meet the whales felt all the more momentous. Getting out on the water to the right spot where the whale sightings were happening took most of the day. But the weather was beautiful, the water was calm, and we would have been happy even if no whales had shown up. But they did.
The couple spotted a mother and calf breaching the surface some distance off. They were headed in our direction. For several minutes, wonder, anticipation, and- we’ll admit, a little bit of dread were palpable. All I could think about is what I would do if one of these animals accidentally flipped our boat.
But eventually, the mother and calf reached us. They were careening off to the south. But then the baby spotted us and approached our boat. It came right up to the boat and held its long snout out of the water right next to the boat. It just sort of “stood” there. Cheryl and David reached out and stroked the animal’s nose while the mother looked on.
The baby whale turned and looked us over with its oddly small eye, calmly, almost serenely as Cheryl and David stroked her. Then the whales passed as quietly as they came. I’ll never forget the lucidity and the depth of feeling in the eye of that baby whale.
World’s Smallest McDonald’s Restaurant Draws Attention to Important Issue
McDonald’s is one of the world’s leading fast food restaurant chains, with Statista noting that they had as many as 37,855 restaurants open across the globe as of the end of last year. Given the sheer number of McDonald’s restaurants currently operation, one would think that the opening of another one would barely register on an international level, but that was not the case.
That’s due in large part to this particular restaurant being dedicated to serving customers of a different species.
The Remarkable McHive
In partnership with the advertising agency NORD DDB, McDonald’s created a miniature replica of one of their restaurants. The small restaurant, known as the McHive, features many of the same elements that people will see if they visit one of the McDonald’s branches in their area.
There are drive-thru windows present on the McHive, large windows, and outdoor seating for guests who may prefer to dine in an open-air environment. One can even see some posters advertising the restaurant chain’s offerings plastered on the walls of the “World’s Smallest McDonald’s.”
Of course, it cannot be called a McDonald’s restaurant without those iconic golden arches serving as its crowning glory.
This restaurant isn’t designed for people to dine in though. Instead, the McHive, as its name already hints at, is meant to house bees.
The Meaning behind the McHive
The McHive is actually a nod to a movement initiated by branches of the fast food chain in Sweden. Some of the McDonald’s restaurants in the aforementioned country have started to house beehives on their rooftops.
Also of note, the McHive features beehives on top of its roof and inside of it as well.
Via AdWeek, McDonald’s Sweden marketing director Christoffer Rönnblad said that the restaurant chain is happy to spread the message of sustainability. McDonald’s has gotten behind the practice of hosting beehives on the rooftops of their restaurants.
Set designer Nicklas Nilsson was responsible for the creation of the McHive. Since the release of the video showing off the McHive, the gorgeous structure has been auctioned off and the proceeds from it have gone to Ronald McDonald House charities.
While McDonald’s efforts to promote sustainable and to help the bee population are laudable, they will need more help to succeed.
The Concerning Status of the Bee Population
According to a recent report from ABC News, the bee population is continuing to decrease at an alarming rate. Research notes that 37.7 percent of the managed bee population declined from Oct. 1, 2018 to April 1 of this year.
That’s a noticeable decline in the managed bee population and it represents the largest winter losses since surveys were first conducted back in 2006. Accounting for a larger of window of time that goes from April 1, 2018 to April 1, 2019, the reported losses in the managed bee population totaled 40.7 percent.
Scott McArt, the assistant professor of pollinator health at Cornell University, described the aforementioned losses in the managed bee population as “unsustainably high.” McArt also mentioned that the losses can be explained in part by the presence of the varroa mite parasite that has been known to carry and spread diseases inside beehives.
According to EarthDay.org, other factors contributing to the decline of the bee population include climate change, habitat fragmentation, and the use of certain pesticides.
The decline of the population is not something to be taken lightly. Bees play an important role in the world’s ecosystem as they are excellent pollinators. Plants pollinated by bees are said to make up 35 percent of the world’s food production.
Furthermore, the loss of bees could indirectly affect other animals that sustain themselves on the products that come about as a result of pollination.
Should the bee population continue to drop at an unsustainable rate, the effects on food production for all creatures that inhabit the Earth could be quite severe.
Your Older Brother Meets You Everday After School …In a Different Costume.
Siblings have been well known for doing weird things to each other. It’s the kind of experience that can shape memories and their opinions of each other for a lifetime and be brought up well into their senior years with either laughter, anger or both. So, it’s no surprise that Noah Tingle, as an older brother, would likely leave an impression on his younger sibling. However, it’s the way that Noah went about this time-honored behavior between brothers that stands out as so different.
The fact is, Noah is a persistent fellow. And he wanted to make an impression on his younger brother, Max, that would last a lifetime. This intentional act took planning, and a lot of different resources. Because, as Noah figured out, it takes a lot of creativity to stay with the program that he came up with.
The first day Noah’s plan went into effect, his younger brother had no idea what was in store for him. It was a normal day of going to school, getting on the bus, sitting all day in class, yearning for those midday breaks, and then the bus ride home. Except that’s where things went different. When Max got off the schoolbus at his stop only to find his older brother standing at the stop waiting for him, in a full costume, his senses went into def-con 5 mode. The 12-year-old didn’t know whether to laugh or get back on the bus. Worse, the costumed goof came running at him with arms wide open for a big hug. Scary!
This wonderful, crazy, insane, scary, funny experience continued every school day. And while Noah’s younger brother got used to the idea of his older sibling waiting for him, each day was a new costume. From the obvious and easy ones like Santa Claus, a football player and a dinosaur to the more complicated ones like Star Wars’ Chewbacca, Noah was diligently at the bus stop to make his brother’s day.
Not only did Noah completely make his brother embarrassed by the whole affair, he also made Max the talk of his own school. The younger brother wasn’t the only kid on the bus every afternoon, after all. So Along with Max, every other kid on the bus got to see the costumes as well, something the younger brother wasn’t going to live down anytime soon. And, over time, Max started looking forward to the surprise each day and what new costume Noah could come up with a day’s time.
Their mom got in on the act and began posting photos of the outfits on social media. No surprise, it gained a quick audience and big following, making Max’s “ordeal” now a bit of a national even and story of life on the Internet. Folks even got in on the act helping Noah out by sending him costumes they came up with or procured, so the older brother would haven’t to be entirely on his own keeping the gig going. There have been some real knock-outs as a result, enough to be contenders for a future Burning Man trip probably.
Once Noah goes away to college the costume parade will end, but Max’s memory of the entire affair won’t. It’s the kind of thing siblings talk about for decades to come. And that’s what Noah wanted for his brother to remember him by.
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