Blog Posts by Mia Fitzharris

  • Adorable Baby Bat Hospital Will Change the Way You Think About Bats

    Over the years, bats have gotten a pretty bad rep. Halloween doesn't really help the cause either. Bats don't conjure up cuddly images in your mind the way kittens and puppies always do — until now.
    Tolga Bat HospitalTolga Bat Hospital

    The Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton, Australia, is showing the tiny creatures in an adorable new light. The hospital rescues and releases hundreds of baby fruit bats each year, thanks in part to the volunteers who travel hundreds of miles to the nonprofit center. About 300 bat pups are orphaned in the area annually, usually when their mother becomes too sick to feed them or they fall ill to tick paralysis.

    The care for the winged babies is very similar to that of human babies. They drink milk from a bottle, love to be swaddled in a blanket, and are bathed in a sink. After a bath, baby bats also have their fur combed.
    Tolga Bat HospitalTolga Bat Hospital

    In addition to caring for babies, Tolga also rehabilitates injured adults. Some bats even come here to retire after a long career at a zoo. Here's a travel tip: If you find

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  • Sea Otter Pup Learns to Swim, Steals the Hearts of the Web

    A tiny new resident of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has been getting a lot of online attention recently. Her name is Pup 681 and he is an orphaned Southern sea otter.

    The aquarium posted a video to YouTube documenting the arrival of the little guy to their facility. Then, the team got to work on the first task toward Pup 681's rehabilitation, teaching her to swim.

    It might look like fun, but the folks at Shedd have a pretty hard task at hand with Pup 681. Tim Binder, who is the vice president of animal collections for the aquarium, said of the process, "It truly takes a village to rehabilitate a young sea otter. Our animal care team is teaching the pup how to be an otter."

    The 5-week-old pup was found abandoned and alone on Sept. 30 when a jogger heard her crying on Coastways Beach on the Central Coast of California. Pup 681 is still on a strict diet of bottled formula and sliced clams. (Delicious!) Eventually the adorable otter will be named and moved to the facility's Regenstein

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  • NYC Subway Performers Collaborate to Form First 'Wi-Fi Orchestra'

    If you have ever visited The Big Apple, you know that it's not unusual to see great underground performances in the city's subways stations. But director Chris Shimojima wanted to take the art of subway music to the next level. He arranged a live music experiment with 11 subway performers at nine subway stations. Russian composer Lev Zhurbin, who also goes by the name Ljova, wrote a piece called "Signal Strength" for the musicians to perform simultaneously thanks to the wonderful, free Wi-Fi at the selected stops. As seen in a YouTube video, the two-hour setup itself was impressive, as various musicians set up their instruments along with a computer and headphones provided by the director.   

    Then Ljova conducted the 11 different musicians remotely from New York City's Bryant Park using multiple laptops and Skype. It took eight takes to get it right thanks to a few technical hiccups with the Internet connections.
     
    Folks on YouTube are blown away by the underground symphony, and one

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  • Target Employee Becomes Overnight Internet Star Via Social Media

    A photo of a Target employee has gone viral, and the story behind it might have you scratching your head. On Sunday afternoon, a girl tweeted a photo of a Texas Target check-out employee named Alex. By Sunday night, the photo had been retweeted and marked as a "favorite" so many times that it reached more than 300,000 Twitter users. It is still unclear whether the girl actually took the photo or just shared it, but the damage was done and a new Internet star was born, bolstered with his very own hashtag, #AlexFromTarget. 


    People on the video-sharing app Vine posted their impressions of #AlexFromTarget; there are memes of him, and Tumblr pages have even been created.
     
    It took fewer than 12 hours for #AlexFromTarget to take over the Web this weekend, and in the past 24 hours, the hashtag has been used more than 900,000 times!
     
    Exactly who Alex from Target is was still a mystery until late Sunday night when he

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  • Is This Goat Talking?

    In August, Lyndsey Hyde of Tennessee posted a video to Vine featuring a goat that sounds like it is saying "What? What? What?" The 6-second clip went viral with more than 7 million views on the video-sharing app.
     
    Now Lindsey's stepfather, Dusty Belew, is giving the people what they want: more talking goat. Belew uploaded the full video of the inquisitive human-sounding goat to YouTube, and it is everything we wanted it to be.
     
    This video reminds us of Mishka the talking husky, who skyrocketed to Internet stardom when a video of her "talking" went viral. In the video it sounds like she is saying "I Love You" to her owners, who prompt the dialogue.
     
    OK, there's still one lingering question, though: What does the fox say?

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  • Entire Town in Connecticut Is Up for Sale

    Are you in the market for some new digs?

    Well, why buy just a house like every other person in the real estate market when you can own an entire town for about the cost of a New York City apartment?

    The village of Johnsonville, located in East Haddam, Connecticut, is up for sale. The 62-acre piece of land was established in the 1830s. The crazy thing is, it's been abandoned for 16 years! But that's about to change. The village sale is taking place on Auction.com. The starting bid was $800,000. At the time this article was written, the bid was $1.1 million.
    GothamistGothamist

    What? That sounds like a lot of money? Here is what you'd be getting: in addition to the Victorian and colonial-style homes, a restaurant, a general store, a one-room schoolhouse, and a chapel. And did we mention the village is set along picturesque Moodus River?

    In the 1960s, millionaire Ray Schmitt bought Johnsonvillle and tried turning it into a tourist attraction. That idea failed. After Schmitt's death in 1998, Johnsonville turned

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  • House in London Is Made of Wax, Will Eventually Melt Away

    You've heard of the British nursery rhyme "London Bridge Is Falling Down." Well, now there's a house in London that is melting down, literally.  
     
    A new art installation by Alex Chinneck is made entirely of paraffin wax bricks — 8,000 of them, to be exact — with the sole purpose of melting down into a beautiful display. The exhibit is titled "A Pound of Flesh for 50P" but is also known simply as the Melting House. It's part of Merge Festival, in which artists are encouraged to draw upon the culture of Bankside, London. The Melting House actually reflects a bit of history in the area where a candle factory stood a few centuries ago.
     
    Alex ChinneckAlex Chinneck

    The melting will occur over 30 days with the help of heating tools mostly used in roofing. Constructing the exhibit was no easy task — Chinneck enlisted the help of chemists, wax manufacturers and engineers over the course of 12 months to achieve visually convincing wax bricks. If you will be in jolly old England anytime soon, pop on over to see the exhibit,

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  • OK Go Is Back With Another Impressive Viral Music Video

    The indie rock band OK Go has a new and already crazy-viral music video for its song "I Won't Let You Down." The video was created in Chiba, Japan, outside of Tokyo. Released Monday on NBC's Today show, it features dancing Japanese schoolgirls with impressive umbrella skills and a ton of other feats, and it was shot in one continuous take. It got 2.6 million views in just one day!

    Since OK Go is always keeping up with the latest technology trend, frontman Damian Kulash enlisted Morihiro Harano to be the director; he brought in Japanese choreographer Airman and linked the group to Honda's ad agency. They used an octocopter drone controlled both by GPS and by hand to create the dramatic pull-out shots seen in the video.

    You may remember these guys from the famous treadmill video they made for their 2009 song "Here It Goes Again." OK Go also got a lot of attention for its 2012 Rube Goldberg-style machine video for "This Too Shall Pass," which raked in more than 45 million views.
     
    If you

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  • Texas Teen Dies Days After Special Early High School Graduation

    Back in January, 17-year-old high school senior Lynzee Ford of Kilgore, Texas, was diagnosed with a nontreatable form of leukemia. Her friends rallied around her, even fixing her mother's home to be wheelchair-friendly. Then, after months of battling the disease with multiple rounds of chemotherapy, doctors informed Lynzee that she had only a few months to live. When her friends heard that she might not make it to graduation, they put together her own special early graduation. So on Monday, with the entire student body in attendance, Lynzee got to wear her cap and gown and accept a high school diploma.  Principal Gregg Brown was the keynote speaker and said of the teen, "Lynzee is a very special young lady here at Kilgore High School and is loved by us all, and she wanted to graduate from here, and we wanted to make sure that happened."
     
    During the graduation speeches, Lynzee's teacher and assistant softball coach, Kathy Mehringer, shared a special memory of a talk they had following

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  • Aretha Franklin's Press Tour Goes Hilariously Bad

    Eyebrow raising, eye rolling, and awkward pauses are not things news anchors hope to get out of guests during interviews. Aretha Franklin doesn't do a whole lot of interviews on live television, and now we might know why. During a recent press tour via satellite for her new album, "Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics," the Queen of Soul spoke to dozens of television news anchors, and to put it simply, it went really — and we mean really — badly.  There were some audio delays and earpiece issues mixed with what Aretha calls a lack of sleep, telling a Fox 45 morning news anchor, "Listen I only had four hours sleep, OK? I'm a little slow."
     
    If you enjoy the video of Aretha's charming interviews, you can thank Brian McCoy, who took time away from reviewing gospel music online to compile the string of classic, sassy moments. McCoy really made it easy for Joel McHale and his team over at the "The Soup."
     
    During another interview on New York's PIX11, the studio crew decided to play

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