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Swimmers warned over 9ft blue shark

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Media captionFootage courtesy of Harry Hocking

Swimmers are being urged to stay out of the water after a blue shark was spotted in a Cornish harbour.

The 9ft (2.74m) creature was seen close to shore in St Ives on Monday.

It was captured on film by teenage friends Harry Hocking and Archie Pickin, both 16.

The Shark Trust confirmed it was a blue shark – Prionace glauca – which is a seasonal visitor to UK waters – and advised people not to swim in the harbour with the animal.

“To see a free-swimming blue shark close to shore like this is a real privilege,” the Shark Trust said.

Read more news from Devon and Cornwall

Spokeswoman Ali Hood said the sharks should be seen as wild animals and should be “treated with respect”.

However, she added: “If this shark remains present in St Ives harbour, due to the confined nature of the harbour, the trust strongly advises people not to get into the water with the shark.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The blue shark’s diet includes octopus, squid, mackerel, tunas, lobsters, crabs, small sharks and sometimes seabirds

Possible reasons for the shark coming so close to the shore include injury or illness, or perhaps disorientation after following prey inshore.

”Blue Sharks are predominantly an oceanic, open water species, and not commonly found close to shore,” said Ms Hood.

Image copyright Bite Adventures
Image caption The largest blue shark caught in the UK was landed off Cornwall last July and then released

“That said, it is certainly not unprecedented to see one in such shallow waters with similar instances recorded here in the UK and overseas from time to time.”

Blue shark attacks are rare and they are nomadic creatures, only appearing in British waters during the summer.

Research from the University of Southampton suggests that new kinds of shark could migrate to UK waters as the oceans warm.

Dr Ken Collins, from the university’s National Oceanography Centre, said 10 species of shark found in warmer parts of the world could inhabit UK waters by 2050 because of climate change.

Blue sharks:

  • They live in temperate, tropical and subtropical waters up to 1,150ft (350m) deep
  • They are nomadic and follow a clockwise migration pattern in the ocean from the Caribbean following the Gulf Stream
  • Their number of offspring ranges from about 25 to 50
  • Twelve unprovoked attacks and four boat attacks have been documented by the International Shark Attack File

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Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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Watch Cats Run 10 Seconds Before An Earthquake Hits

Can cats sense earthquakes before they strike? A video from a cat cafe in Japan shows some of the animals perking up and running across the room before a temblor last month. 

Some of the cats begin moving about 10 seconds before any visible shaking can be seen in the footage.  

The incident took place on June 18, when a 6.1 quake shook the Osaka region.

Five people were killed and hundreds injured. However, SoraNews 24 reports that none of the cats in the footage from CAT Cafe CATchy in nearby Wakayama Prefecture were harmed.

There have been reports over the years of some animals acting odd or fleeing earthquakes

While it’s never been proved that animals can sense quakes before they strike, one theory is that they might feel very minor “p wave” shaking that would be imperceptible to humans

In the video, a small crack can be heard just a few seconds into the clip that seems to get the cats’ attention and causes some to start running. Even the ones that don’t run perk up at the sound:

The full shaking begins about 10 seconds later.

Japan has an earthquake early warning system that pushes alerts and triggers alarms seconds before the shaking starts, so it’s also possible the cats heard something that wasn’t picked up by the camera’s microphone.

The cats in CAT Cafe CATchy and some of the nation’s other cat cafes are all rescues available for adoption, according to SoraNews 24.

(h/t Digg)

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Texas deputy finds ‘starving’ kittens in gym bag

A Texas deputy who responded to a “suspicious gym bag” found that it actually contained three malnourished kittens, The Houston Chronicle reported.

The Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 5 in Houston shared details about the early Tuesday morning incident in a Facebook post. 

The office said deputies were called “to investigate a suspicious gym bag left on a median. The caller told our dispatchers that the bag was ‘moving.’”

Deputy Debra Albert responded and discovered the animals.

Albert told Fox News she found the cats at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

“They were really skinny — as soon as I got ’em, I stopped at Walgreens,” she recalled, adding that the drugstore was “the only thing open.” 

NEW YORK MAN WITH AUTISM USES BOY SCOUT SKILLS TO SURVIVE 50 HOURS IN WOODS DURING HEAT WAVE

Albert purchased cat food, took the cats to a station and fed them.

Though they were thin, she said the kittens “appeared to be clean,” had on flea collars and were flea-free. 

The kittens were eventually given to animal control.

“[Albert] and Deputy Diego Loucel took care of them until they could be turned over to one of our Animal Crimes deputies who took the abandoned little ones to the proper animal control authorities to get them examined by a veterinarian,” the constable’s office said.

The Facebook post included several snaps — one of which showed a cat on a couch while next to a desk phone. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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Call for debate on banning sales of real fur

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption This model is wearing a fake fur jacket – now sales of real fur could be banned

A ban on sales of real fur should be considered, a committee of MPs has recommended.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee investigation into the issue came after some real fur was found wrongly labelled as fake.

They described the current labelling of fur products as “not fit for purpose”.

The government said Brexit would allow the UK to “go further” when it came to introducing further restrictions on the fur trade.

Fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000, but it is legal to sell some types of real fur that have been imported, if it is accurately labelled.

But the Efra committee said retailers and Trading Standards had been complacent about items being incorrectly labelled.

Their inquiry came after it emerged High Street and online retailers including TK Maxx, BooHoo, Amazon and Tesco had recently sold real fur as fake.

Other retailers found to have passed items off as faux fur included Not on the High Street, Groupon, Etsy, FatFace, Boots, Kurt Geiger and Romwe.

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Media captionThe difference between real and fake fur

The Efra committee started its investigation in February, when cases of mislabelling came to light via reports from media and campaign groups.

The MPs found that while many of the retailers concerned had no-fur policies, the so-called faux fur had actually come from animals including rabbit, fox and chinchilla.

It said Brexit could be an opportunity to tighten regulations around the sale of fur and called for a consultation on a bar on the sale of all real fur.

Current system ‘confusing’

“Many consumers have an ethical reason for not buying garments containing real fur,” the committee’s report said. “The last few years have shown that there is vulnerability in retailers’ supply chains and that real fur has been sold as fake fur.

“Our inquiry has highlighted that the current labelling system is confusing, not fit for purpose and with a high degree of non-compliance. It is also not being enforced.”

The committee recognised that fur is “a subject that raises strong feelings”, adding: “In looking at whether to ban the sale and import of fur post-Brexit, the government will have to balance the needs of animal welfare against consumer choice.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Emotions can run high on the subject of real fur

Committee chairman Neil Parish said: “Reports of real fur being sold as fake fur shows that retailers are flouting their responsibility to consumers.

“The mis-selling of real fur should not be discovered by campaign organisations and the media, but by Trading Standards officers and retailers.

“Retailers of all sizes are complacent about the issue of fake faux fur. It is illegal to give misleading information and Trading Standards have been poor at identifying and acting against those who are doing so.”

‘Step up our game’

He recommended that the government should make sure local authorities had the proper resources, and Trading Standards adequate training, to help bring an end to the issue.

“Brexit provides an opportunity to step up our game when it comes to labelling,” added Mr Parish, Conservative MP for Riverton and Honiton.

“The labelling of clothes must be consistent, transparent and customer-friendly, but current EU requirements are not good enough to allow consumers to understand the origin and contents of their clothing.”

The British Fur Trade Association said it welcomed the committee’s recommendations on addressing the problems of mis-selling fur and agreed the current European labelling was not fit for purpose.

Chief executive Mike Moser said it was vital that consumers were able to make informed decisions, whether they were buying natural or fake fur.

He wants to see a fur-specific label introduced on to the UK market which would give greater detail about the type of fur used.

However, he said he was disappointed that the committee was recommending a possible trade ban, despite acknowledging that the fur industry was a legitimate business and wearing fur was a matter of consumer choice.

A government statement said: “The government shares the British public’s high regard for animal welfare, and fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000.

“Trade in fur from domestic cats, dogs or commercial seal hunts are also banned, but while the UK is a member of the EU it is not possible to introduce additional restrictions on the fur trade.

“Brexit gives us the opportunity to go further. Meanwhile, we will closely consider the committee’s report and respond in due course.”

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Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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Lisa Page and Taylor Swift were both no-shows at US Capitol

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page and Taylor Swift had something in common Wednesday.

Neither visited the U.S. Capitol.

But that’s not to say that denizens of Capitol Hill weren’t expecting both Page and Swift to surface in the marbled halls of Congress.

After all, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Page for a closed-door deposition Wednesday. Page is the former FBI lawyer who worked on the Russia investigation under Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But it was discovered Page exchanged scores of anti-Trump texts with FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok.

Page defied the subpoena and didn’t show Wednesday. Page’s attorney says the committee needs to explain the scope of its questioning. Lawmakers deposed Strzok for nine hours behind closed doors two weeks ago. Strzok is slated to testify at a public hearing Thursday.

Swift was in town for a pair of concerts this week. She played one show Tuesday night at FedEx Field in suburban Washington. Another performance came Wednesday night just blocks from the Capitol at Nats Park. Rumor and speculation are a way of life in Congress. It’s not clear exactly what spark lit the fuse Wednesday. But word speed across Capitol Hill that Swift was due at the Russell Senate Office Building for a meeting…..

No. That’s not it. She was in the Rayburn Room just off the House floor.

Wait a minute. Wasn’t that her entourage spotted by the Hall of Columns near the House carriage entrance?

Or, maybe, just maybe, Swift was spotted in the Capitol Rotunda……

Was she on a Congressional tour? Was a lucky intern showing her around? A senator? A With whom was she meeting? Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)? Is this like when Bono and the Edge come to Congress as they do periodically?

This is kind of how things just roll on Capitol Hill. People may expect Lisa Page.

But then Taylor Swift comes to Congress instead.

Congressional interns sporting seasonal, green Congressional ID badges and Senate pages adorned in crisp, dark blue uniforms rushed to the the Russell Building Wednesday afternoon. They prowled the Russell corridors in packs, searching for Swift.

Don Stewart, Communications Director for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted a picture of a woman with golden tresses strutting through the Rotunda. Reporters and photographers flitted about, stalking the elusive Swift as though on a big game hunt.

The late-Rep. Al Swift, D-Wash., served eight terms in Congress, retiring in 1995. Yet the Washington Democrat never commanded as much attention in politics as the slippery Taylor Swift managed in a single afternoon.

For a while, people thought Swift was somewhere in the Capitol complex, but traversed the building with the stealth of Macavity in Cats. After all, this is the artist who sings “I make the moves up as I go” in “Shake it Off.” In “Blank Space,” Swift sings “Baby, I know places we won’t be found” and “they are the hunters, we are the foxes.” If Swift did materialize, stars truck aides and interns seeking autographs and pictures would declare “Nice to meet you. Where you been?”

Fox checked with multiple, high-level Congressional sources in both the House and Senate who handle protocol and security. Fox was told there was “no official” expectation for Swift to appear. But one source reminded Fox that there are public tours, open to anyone. Any human being can walk up to the Capitol Visitor’s Center, obtain a free ticket and go on a tour without anyone knowing who you are. Moreover, the House and Senate Office Buildings are open to the public. In other words, Swift could just show up on her own without navigating the official Congressional channels.

“Maybe she doesn’t want people to know (she’s coming),” noted one well-placed source.

Swifties gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate this next nugget. But here goes:

She may be Taylor Swift. But compared to Capitol Hill visits by foreign leaders, cabinet secretaries in the line of presidential succession and other dignitaries, Swift qualifies as a low-priority protectee.

By the end of the day, as far as anyone could tell, Taylor Swift never darkened the doors of Congress.

Austin Scott is playing the title role in the production of “Hamilton” at the Kennedy Center this summer. By contrast, Scott waltzed through the Rotunda with his family Monday with zero fanfare compared to the pandemonium surrounding Swift’s apparition. Note this is the actor Austin Scott, not Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA). The thespian Scott hails from the district of Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and posed with the statue of Alexander Hamilton in the Rotunda. Few noticed.

In Fearless, Taylor Swift sings, “I don’t know how it gets better than this.”

Well, just wait until next week.

Word came Wednesday of a Senate meeting, which, without question, bears the best title of a Congressional this year. The notice is as follows:

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following full committee hearing:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

10:00 a.m.

Full Committee

Hearing Entitled: “Sharks!”

SR-253

“Sharks and the scientists who study them have led us innovations in improvements in aerodynamics, renewable energy, electrical sensors, and health and medical research. Innovative shark research can benefit marine ecosystems and continue to raise public awareness about these important species,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D.That said, we don’t see many in South Dakota.”

As rare as a Taylor Swift sighting at the Capitol.

Committee aides even suggested they’d move the shark hearing to a larger space at the Capitol if they determined they needed “a bigger boat.”

By late Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., had an ultimatum for Lisa Page (remember her?): Either swing by on Thursday or Friday, or face a contempt of Congress citation.

It’s unclear if Page will indeed comply with the subpoena and appear. And until Page does come to Capitol Hill, she and Taylor Swift will have at least one thing in common.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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Woman Tries To Rescue Baby Raccoon, Ends Up Causing Major Emergency

Experts are always warning us: please do not try to rescue baby animals. Despite this, some people still end up learning the hard way that it’s not a good idea.

One such person was a woman from Weld County, Colorado, who recently found and adopted a baby raccoon. Thinking it had been abandoned by its mother, she brought it home with her and contacted a local animal shelter for rehabilitation, according to local news outlet the Greeley Tribune. But not before she invited a full 20 other people to coo over the critter – and unwittingly caused the biggest rabies exposure case ever for her county.

Luckily, the animal shelter – who couldn’t take the raccoon, presumably because, well, it’s a wild raccoon – alerted the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment, who tested the animal for rabies. Because it tested positive, all 20 visitors, plus the raccoon-rescuer herself, must now receive treatment for the life-threatening viral disease.

“This looks like a year for high rabies exposure in animals,” said Mark E. Wallace, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department in a statement about the incident. “It is very important that people not touch or go near wild animals.”

This is not the first incident the county’s Health Department has had to wade in on: this year has already seen cases of rabies in bats, cats and 10 skunks in the area. “As cute and fuzzy as some wild animals seem, they may carry diseases without appearing sick. These diseases can be life-threatening to humans as well as to their pets,” a press release from June warns.

Rabies can be treated by a post-exposure vaccine if caught before symptoms appear, so it’s important to seek medical advice if you think you may have been exposed. So far, all 21 people exposed to the baby raccoon are reported by the Greeley Tribune to be “doing OK”. The same can probably not be said for the raccoon.

“By touching, feeding, or rescuing a wild animal, you may do more harm than good,” explains Wallace. Even in the case of supposedly “abandoned” babies, mothers will usually return – even hours later – to their offspring if left alone by humans. When humans interfere in an attempt to “save” an animal, it often ends up being euthanized.

Tragic examples of misguided wildlife rescue include when this father and son tried to save a baby bison in Yellowstone National Park but separating it from its herd meant they later rejected it and it had to be put down, as well as the woman who took home a harbor seal pup she thought had been abandoned and when it became lethargic and unresponsive it had to be euthanized.

Once again: please do not try to rescue baby animals.

[H/T Live Science]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com

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35 Confusing Things About The English Language

Learning another language is no easy feat. You can memorize all the rules and still find yourself messing something up.

The English language is no exception. With roots in many other world languages, English includes a number of spelling, grammar and pronunciation rules that seem to contradict one another ― in addition to the many norms and standards that often stump ESL learners.

We asked HuffPost Facebook followers who are not native English speakers to share what aspects of the English language they find confusing or ridiculous. Some native English speakers also jumped in to share their observations as well. While many apply to other languages, others are unique to English.  

1. “My mom and I used to always laugh so hard when we heard people say ‘I feel like toast’ or ‘I feel like fish’ instead of ‘I feel like having [fish or toast].’ It must be so strange to feel like you’re a pice of toast!” ―Karleen Haché

2. “Sean Bean does not rhyme.” ―Costanza Baldi

3. “The lunacy behind blaming yourself for an injury or illness! ‘I broke my arm in the car accident’ vs. ‘my arm got broken in a car accident’ so much blame on a person for illness and injury. So strange.” ―Caitie Lou Pfeifer

4. “Idioms are one of my favorite things. I remember learning ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’ at uni, and the whole class cracked up. Mind you, in French we say ‘It’s raining ropes.’” ―Catherine MacAdam

5. “When a question is asked in the negative ― for example, ‘Are you sure you don’t want any cake?’ Should I say ‘yes’ as in I’m sure or ‘no’ as in I don’t want any cake?” ―Steph Aay 

6. “That darn ‘i before e, except after c’ lie.” ―Anamary Marquez-Grossman

7. “Different pronunciations for ‘table’ and ‘comfortable.’” ―Ángeles Gelesmora

8. “Telling the time! Let’s just say it’s 12:30 p.m.. British people would say, ‘half twelve.’ In my native Estonian, it’s ‘half one.’” ―Mari Eesmaa

9. “‘A,’ ‘an’ and ‘the’ do not exist in Russian. So even though I have now spent 15 years living in English-speaking countries I still get it wrong sometimes.” ―Svetlana Sargant

10. “As a dance teacher I kept telling my students to move their ‘feets’ with the ‘s’ at the end. It’s confusing why some plural don’t need the ‘s’ like fish or feet.” ―Krisztina Hera

11. “All the different pronunciations for the same vowel combination.” ―Alina Brito Lee

12. ″‘Cough’ and ‘though’ don’t rhyme, but ‘sue’ and ‘through’ do.” ―Anamary Marquez-Grossman

13. “I always wondered why you have to pronounce ‘tough’ and ‘dough’ absolutely different when there is only one letter different.” ―Manuela Friedl

14. ″‘Tough,’ ‘through,’ ‘thorough,’ ‘thought,’ ‘though,’ ‘trough’ … need I explain? ―Myriam Tagej

15. “When you say ‘uncle,’ it is not clear if you are talking about the brother of your mom or the brother of your dad, or the husband of your aunt. Same goes for ‘aunt.’ In my maternal language we have different adjectives for all those family members.” ―Tutku Rüya Özmen

16. “That you don’t have any pronoun that is gender neutral. In the Scandinavian languages we can use ‘hen’ which is a combination of ‘hun’ (‘her’) and ‘han’ (‘he’).” ―Marie Ø. Nielsen

17. “My husband always says we have 75 words that all mean the same thing, but depending what you want to say, it can sound rude even though you are technically correct.” ―Becky Garcia

18. “Just explain how the words ‘read’ and ‘red’ sound alike.” ―Anamary Marquez-Grossman

19. “We have silent letters, like in ‘plumber.’ Wtf is that about?!” ―Maria Harvey

20. “‘In’ and ‘on’ is super hard for my Latino students. In the bus is same as on the bus, but on the car isn’t in the car.” ―Amanda Abair

21. “I find really confusing that there is difference between saying ‘I love you’ and ‘I am in love with you.’ In my country it has the same meaning when being in romantic relationship.” ―Mia Žureková

22. “The fact that one word can have different meanings, or it can be a noun or a verb.” ―Angela Ortiz Guerrero

23. “As someone who natively speaks English and has interacted with foreigners for the better part of this year, some of the things I say … took some explaining. On an airplane once I said ‘No, it’s OK’ and the stewardess was very confused because I said ‘no’ and ‘OK’ in the same sentence.” ―Emily Wascura

24. “Two words I’m thinking about: ‘Worcester’ and ‘paradigm’ … wister and paradime.” ―Lucy La Hurreau

25. ″‘Daughter’ and ‘laughter.’” ―Fiona Jayne MacMillan

26. ″‘Good’ and ‘food.’” ―Mindy Wallace

27. “The way the Brits pronounce Warwick, Leicester and some other cities.” ―Ana-Raluca Cătinean

28. “My Irish stepfather used to say ‘draw the blinds’ for shutting the curtains.” ―Jay Flamey Iones

29. “The way you have to order adjectives was the hardest for me to learn when I was a kid: opinion-size-shape-color-origin-material-purpose noun.” ―Estefania Cortez Macias 

30. “The fact that ‘love’ is the only word to use for the different kinds of love! Like in Spanish, there is a word for the love of a close family member, a lover, a different word for a friend, or for loving a type of food or thing! A different word for different types of love.” ―Alex MorGa

31. “The same letter or combination can be pronounced in different ways (‘cat,’ ‘cake,’ ‘car’…) Makes it awfully confusing in the beginning.” ―Elina Singh

32. “Two words for movement ― ‘come’ and ‘go’ ― could be just one word.” ―Kristina Smirnoff

33. “I’m always afraid to mess up with phrases that involve common words like ‘make out,’ ‘blow out,’ ‘pull out,’ etc.” ―Ana Ibarra

34. “Syntax. The words have to be in the same order. There’s not much wiggle room. So then, how do you know which part of the sentence is the most important one?” ―Elina Singh

35. “The difference between ‘th-’ vs. ‘d’ and ‘b’ vs. ‘v’ sounds. As a Spanish speaker, I don’t have those different sounds.” ― Estefania Cortez Macias

Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Sick Of Swiping On Selfies? This New Dating App Could Change The Game

Allison Leonard found love in a hope-filled place: Last April, the 26-year-old from Chicago submitted a listing to @_personals_, an Instagram account for lesbian, queer, transgender, and non-binary people looking for love (or any other person-to-person connection). 

Leonard led with a clutch Rihanna reference, then crafted a succinct, punchy ad that detailed her interests and what she was looking for. At most, she figured she’d get some fun dates out of the listing, or make some cool new friends. 

“I’m a very extroverted person and acquire a lot of my energy from being around and meeting new people,” Leonard told HuffPost. “I was just looking for responses from folx who were social, charismatic, and goofy, while also being social-justice-oriented, driven, responsible, and passionate.” 

Instead, love fell into her lap. Or more specifically, slid into her DMs.

“I was not anticipating the beginning of a serious relationship with anyone by any means, but then Ryan Bortz, a pharmacist, messaged me,” Leonard said. “Ryan pleasantly surprised me and surpassed any and all of my expectations.” 

personals/Instagram
Leonard’s ad.

The pair talked pretty consistently for about a month and met in June. For their first meeting, Leonard made the seven-hour drive from her home in Chicago to Bortz, 29, in Minneapolis. The pair celebrated Pride that weekend together. Two weeks later, Bortz made the reverse trek to Chicago to see if the budding relationship had legs. It did. Now, the couple is exclusive. 

Courtesy of Allison Leonard
Leonard and Bortz at Pride in Minneapolis.

Leonard and Bortz’s love story is exactly what Personals creator Kelly Rakowski likes to hear. The Brooklyn-based photo director is currently raising money to turn the popular Instagram page into a full-fledged dating and queer community app.

Rakowski believes there’s something magical about winning someone over via the written word. Personal ads can be a lot more genuine than the selfies, tossed off “about me” sections and job titles peddled on other apps ― especially when they’re crafted with care. 

“Throwing up a quick selfie or some photos to a dating app, it’s very reflexive and noncommittal,” she told HuffPost. “Reading how people describe themselves and learning about what they are looking for from the beginning helps to make the dating experience more honest and true.” 

Currently, the Personals Instagram page has almost 40,000 followers. Rakowski gets so many submissions a month, she’s had to limit the open call for ads to a 48-hour window. In that time frame, she’s received close to 500 submissions from places as far as South Korea, Indonesia and Brazil.  

The funding is going well so far. Earlier this week, Rakowski met her Kickstarter goal of $40,000 with the help of boosters like Roxane Gay and articles in Wired and Vice, and she’s now hoping to raise an additional $10,000. The goal is to launch a beta version of the app this fall. 

A post shared by PERSONALS (@_personals_) on

Rakowski originally created Personals after looking through the digital archives of the lesbian erotica magazine On Our Backs. Poring through the pages, the photo director was drawn to the “sexy, very direct” looking-for-love ads in the back of each issue.

“They were bold. The women were writing exactly what they wanted in limited amount of words,” she said. “Because this was a lesbian erotic mag, many were sex-focused and explicit, which is so empowering. They were also hilarious, citing hobbies like, ‘stained glass, cars, cats.’” 

The lovingly raunchy tone of those ads lives on in Personals. Case in point? The punny, wide-ranging self-descriptions you’ll come across on the page — Gaysian Taurus Daddy, Faggy Bottom, Latinex Switch Bitch, QTIBPOC.

A post shared by PERSONALS (@_personals_) on

There’s already been at least one Personals marriage, between a pair from Los Angeles and Sweden. And at a Personals crowdfunding launch party in June, a woman visiting from Scotland introduced herself to Rakowski and said that she’d met her partner on Personals and that they’re now “low-key engaged.” 

Rakowski loves hearing of the romances, but she’s just as proud of the platonic bonds that begin on Personals. 

“My friend Alex builds her dyke soccer team with help from Personals and a lot of people have met friends or people to collaborate with artistically,” she said. 

The want of creative partners ― or maybe just a good story ― is what compelled 24-year-old playwright A.A. Brenner to submit an ad a few months ago. Among the 25 direct messages and 31 comments she received, Brenner found her girlfriend, Ali. 

“I submitted my Personal on a whim. I wrote what I felt was the truest, and also most intriguing, encapsulation of myself,” she said.

“I figured it would probably just lead to a few interesting dates which I’d then be able to use as material for my writing,” Brenner said. “As soon as I met Ali, though, I knew that posting was quite possibly the best decision I’d ever made in my entire life.” 

AA Brenner/Personals
A.A. Brenner’s ad and a recent photo of her with girlfriend Ali.

Rakowski and her team have already conceptualized and designed the app. The next step is to work with developers to actually build it.

As Rakowski envisions it, users will log into the app through Instagram. They will then be able to sort through Personal listings by location, or scroll through a “missed connection” section.

“If you saw someone at the farmers market, locked eyes but were too shy to talk, you can write a missed connection for that person,” Rakowski said. “I think this will be a big hit, especially for all the timid lesbians out there.” 

Rakowski is still ironing out a payment model, but the app will likely use a “freemium” model, where users can access the platform for free, but pay for a richer experience.

Kelly Rakowski/Personals
A mockup of the app.

Eventually, she thinks she’ll expand to include cis gay men, but right now, the community is staying exactly the same. 

“LBTQIA (not the G) don’t have many options in the dating app world,” she said. “Many of the apps just add queers onto their platform, but they are not thinking about us in the beginning.”

If the app makes the process of finding love online a lot less superficial while creating a space for queer people, Rakowski will consider it a win. 

“With a personal ad, there’s this deliberate act of writing down your desires and putting out who you are, what you’re looking for,” she said. “The personals are bite-sized, so they’re so easy and fun to read. It’s just enough to get a taste of someone’s personality — and see if you want more.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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‘Cats Wanting Fruit Loops’ Is Our New Favorite Meme

An image of a very fat cat begging for Fruit Loops has been making the rounds on Twitter, where it’s getting meme’d to oblivion. It seems the only thing people like more than an adorably rotund cat is one that is yearning for fruity breakfast cereal. The memes often play on the ‘Brother, May I Have Some Oats?’ meme, which led to the incorporation of Hulk Hogan (y’all know his favorite word is ‘brother’). We don’t know how far this meme will go, but we’re definitely here for it.