A movie went behind the scenes, and now SeaWorld is just trying to stay afloat.

People love orcas, but things have changed since they learned the real cost of seeing them perform.

Orcas are amazing creatures.

They're also called “killer whales," even though they're actually members of the dolphin family. Orcas are smart, endearing, and social. They live in communities called “pods" when they're in the wild.


Unfortunately for them, orcas can also be awesome performers in captivity.

Marine parks around the world draw big crowds to orca shows, and big bucks.

One of the most well-known marine parks is SeaWorld.

SeaWorld has been around since 1959 when it was a small bird sanctuary and garden associated with Anheuser-Busch. It's long presented itself as a place for educational entertainment that teaches kids and their families about marine animals.

In July 2013, though, a movie — “Blackfish" — exposed what life is like for whales at SeaWorld when the crowds leave. It shocked a lot of people and triggered a series of events that look an awful lot like a downward spiral for SeaWorld.

Here's why what happens to SeaWorld is really important.

Every entertainment venue in the States and around the world that relies on captive wild animals has to be watching what happens to SeaWorld with concern. The lesson those venues may be learning is that properly respecting animal rights and more seriously considering their quality of life is the only way to stay in business now that audiences have shown how much they care.

Here's some of what's happened to SeaWorld, starting with the release of “Blackfish."

July 2013: "Blackfish" is released.

"Blackfish" is the story of one orca, Tilikum — a performer who wound up killing several people.

In telling Tilikum's story, the film reveals what it's like to be an orca in captivity. The film suggests a link between these conditions and Tilikum's violence.

November 2013: Students upload a message to SeaWorld on YouTube.

February 2014: SeaWorld is cited by the USDA for Animal Welfare Act violations.

"We stored these whales at night in what we call a module, which was 20 feet across and probably 30 feet deep."
— former SeaWorld trainer

According to SeaWorld's own information, their average orca is over 21 feet long. Um, 20 feet across?

March 2014: A legislator proposes banning orca captivity.

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom introduced the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which would make it illegal to “hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes." The penalty for violating the law would be up to a $100,000 fine and/or six months' jail time.

May 2014: SeaWorld's attendance drops by 13%

In January, February, and March 2014, attendance was down by 450,000 visitors compared to the year before.

July 2014: Southwest Airlines ends its relationship with SeaWorld.

For 26 years, SeaWorld had partnered with Southwest Airlines, with planes painted to look like SeaWorld orca Shamu. No more.

August 2014: SeaWorld Entertainment's stock plunges 33%.

November 2014: Protesters grab attention at the televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

December 2014: SeaWorld CEO leaves the company.

CEO Jim Atchison steps down from SeaWorld — with a $2.5 million severance package, mind you — and a board member resigns as well.

February 2015: SeaWorld loses 1 million visitors.

Compared to February 2014, SeaWorld's attendance is down by a million visitors.

You can check out the entire timeline video from The Dodo of SeaWorld's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year and a half.

Hopefully, everyone gets the message.

SeaWorld's learning the hard way that earth's creatures are not just there for our amusement, and other companies like them have to be reading the writing on the wall for this kind of entertainment. It's time to come up with less invasive, more respectful ways of getting to know these animals.

There are still orcas at SeaWorld.

We're fascinated by these creatures, and if we didn't understand what they'd been going through before, now we do. It's never been our intent to see animals like orcas suffer, and hopefully, that suffering's going to come to an end soon.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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