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bintlets potter park zoo, potter park zoo facebook, potter park zoo instagram

A dose of cuteness the world needs to see.

Michigan’s Potter Park Zoo was thrilled to announce the arrival of some new residents this year: bintlets.

Um, just what is a bintlet, you may ask? Binturongs (the adult version of a bintlet) are fascinating creatures hailing from the rainforests of Southeast Asia, where they love to hang out in the lush treetops. It’s one of the few animals with a prehensile tail, meaning it can hold and manipulate objects.

Binturong: The bearcat that is neither bear nor cat.www.youtube.com

Though they are often called bearcats due to their hodgepodge appearance, binturongs are neither bear nor cat. They belong to the Viverridae family, a very unique species group containing all seemingly cat-like critters, though none are actually felines. According to Brittanica, they have even been reported to be affectionate pets, much like the domestic house cat. But still—not cats. Very misleading.



Also: The binturong’s teeth technically classify it as a carnivore. However, it might as well be classified as a fig-atarian, the way it likes to swallow the small fruit whole. Yeah … they’re basically a walking contradiction on four legs.

Perhaps the coolest thing about binturongs: Getting up close and personal with one might have you thinking you waltzed into a movie theater. They mark their territory by secreting a substance that famously smells just like buttery popcorn. Nature’s creativity is endless.

Threatened mostly by deforestation and illegal wildlife trade, binturongs have been listed as “vulnerable” on IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. That makes the birth of Potter Park’s bintlets—the first bintlet birth at the zoo in more than two decades, WILX News reported—all the more special. Baby animal news is great. At-risk baby animal news is even better.

Potter Park posted to its Facebook page congratulating Thistle, the zoo’s female binturong, on her newborns. WILX added that where Thistle would remain with the bintlets for a few months time, the binturong father (named Barry … Barry the binturong, it’s just too perfect) will still be viewable at the zoo’s habitat.

Officials added that sadly, only two of three bintlets made it, due to sickness. Despite 24 hours of care from veterinary and animal care staff, the third bintlet passed away. Still, in the video we see two healthy, squeaking babes right next to their happy mama.

"Love how the mom looks right at the camera like she is saying aren’t my babies the cutest babies ever," one person commented.

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for—close up photos revealing all the bintlet cuteness.

binturongs, baby binturongs

100% adorable.

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OMG. A baby bintlet in a baby bathtub. To what do we owe this pleasure?

This one has its little eyes open.

potter park zoo,

Sooooo teeny!

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According to Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, bintlets are born with their eyes closed and will cling to their mothers until independent. Sometimes for even longer. Relatable.

Special thanks to Potter Park Zoo and Thistle for delivering some happy news to get us through the week. We got a sweet story and fun animal education—it doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’d like to check in on all the animal shenanigans happening at Potter Park, you can follow the zoo on Instagram here. With more than 350 residents of all sizes and species, there’s sure to be no shortage of wholesome critter content.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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