Canada just passed the “Free Willy” bill, making it illegal to keep dolphins and whales in captivity.

A historic win.

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In a historic win for cetaceans and animal-rights activists, Canada is banning the practice of keeping whales, dolphins, and porpoises in captivity.

Remember the scene in Free Willy when the Orca who had been living in an amusement park finally leapt into the wide open ocean and the whole audience cheered? Well, that iconic scene is taking on new significance in Canada this week, as the nation's House of Commons just passed a bill making it illegal to keep dolphins, whales, and porpoises in captivity for breeding or entertainment purposes.

Bill S-203, or The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act (known colloquially as the "Free Willy Act") means anyone found capturing the animals, holding them captive, or procuring their embryos or sperm, can be fined up to $200,000.


"The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians," Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Humane Society International/Canada, said in a statement. "Whales and dolphins don't belong in tanks, and the inherent suffering these highly social and intelligent animals endure in intensive confinement can no longer be tolerated. We congratulate the sponsors of this bill and the Canadian government for showing strong leadership in responding to public will and sound science on this critical issue."



The bill makes exceptions for animals that are being rescued and rehabilitated, and for limited scientific research.

Not everyone who holds cetaceans captive are exploiting them for money or entertainment. There are legitimate research and rehabilitation reasons to temporarily keep an animal in captivity.

"A person may move a live cetacean from its immediate vicinity when the cetacean is injured or in distress and is in need of assistance," the bill states. Researchers must obtain a license from the government in order to hold a cetacean for research purposes.

The bill allows the two facilities in Canada that currently house cetaceans—Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls—to keep the animals they have as long as they do not breed them. The Vancouver Aquarium has a dolphin named Helen, and Marineland houses an Orca named Kiska and around 50 beluga whales.

According to Mongabay News, the bill was supported by animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society International/Canada, Animal Justice, Humane Canada, the Jane Goodall Institute, and Ontario Captive Animal Watch. It was also supported by cetacean experts like Lori Marino and Naomi Rose of the Whale Sanctuary Project, and Phil Demers, the former head trainer at Marineland.

It was a hard-won victory, taking four years for the bill to pass through the Canadian legislature.

The bill was first introduced to the Senate in 2015. It will now return to the Senate for "royal assent," or final approval before it officially becomes law.

Renowned marine scientist Hal Whitehead said, "The living conditions for captive marine mammals cannot compare to their natural ocean environments in size, nor in quality. We thank the federal government and all those involved in the passage of Bill S-203, so that our laws can finally align with the Canadian peoples' values and end this cruel practice."

"This is a major victory for cetaceans," Lori Marino of the Whale Sanctuary Project said in a statement. "They are among the most cognitively complex of all animals. Confining them to life in a concrete tank is truly unbearable for them."

Wilfred Moore, the senator who sponsored the bill, said, "We have a moral obligation to phase out the capture and retention of animals for profit and entertainment. Canadians are calling upon us to do better — and we have listened."

Thank you, Canada, for passing this bill protecting these magnificent creatures!

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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

"Can I buy you a drink?" is a loaded question.

It could be an innocent request from someone who's interested in having a cordial conversation. Other time, saying "yes" means you may have to fend off someone who feels entitled to spend the rest of the night with you.

In the worst-case scenario, someone is trying to take advantage of you or has a roofie in their pocket.

Feminist blogger Jennifer Dziura found a fool-proof way to stay safe while understanding someone's intentions: ask for a non-alcoholic beverage or food. If they're sincerely interested in spending some time getting to know you, they won't mind buying something booze-free.

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But if it's their intention to lower your defenses, they'll throw a mild tantrum after you refuse the booze. Her thoughts on the "Can I buy you a drink?" conundrum made their way to Tumblr.

via AshleysCo / Tumblr


via AshleysCo / Tumblr

The posts caught the attention of a bartender who knows there are lot of men out there whose sole intention is to get somone drunk to take advantage.

"Most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality," the bartender wrote. "They're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down."

So they shared a few tips on how to be safe and social when someone asks to buy you a drink.

From the other side of the bar, I see this crap all the time. Seriously. I work at a high-density bar, and let me tell you, I have anywhere from 10-20 guys every night come up and tell me to, "serve her a stronger drink, I'm trying to get lucky tonight, know what I mean?" usually accompanied with a wink and a gesture at a girl who, in my experience, is going to go from mildly buzzed to definitively hammered if I keep serving her. Now, I like to think I'm a responsible bartender, so I usually tell guys like that to piss off, and, if I can, try to tell the girl's more sober friends that they need to keep an eye on her.
But everyone- just so you know, most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality, they're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down.

Tips for getting drinks-

1. ALWAYS GO TO THE BAR TO GET YOUR OWN DRINK, DO NOT LET STRANGERS CARRY YOUR DRINKS. This is an opportune time for dropping something into your cocktail, and you're none the wiser.

2.IF YOU ORDER SOMETHING NON-ALCOHOLIC, I promise you, the bartender doesn't give two shits that you're not drinking cocktails with your friends, and often, totally understands that you don't want to let your guard down around strangers. Usually, you can just tell the bartender that you'd like something light, and that's a big clue to us that you're uncomfortable with whomever you're standing next to. Again, we see this all the time.

3. If you're in a position to where you feel uncomfortable not ordering alcohol:
Here's a list of light liquors, and mixers that won't get you drunk, and will still look like an actual cocktail:

X-rated + sprite = easy to drink, sweet, and 12% alcoholic content. Not strong at all, usually runs $6-$8, depending on your state.
Amaretto + sour= sweet, not strong, 26%.
Peach Schnapps+ ginger ale= tastes like mellow butterscotch, 24%.
Melon liquor (Midori, in most bars) + soda water = not overly sweet, 21%
Coffee liquor (Kahlua) +soda = not super sweet, 20%.
Hope this helps someone out!

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If you do accept a drink from someone at a bar and you want to talk, there's no need to feel obligated to spend the rest of the night with them.

Jaqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says to be polite you only have to "Engage in some friendly chit-chat, but you are not obligated to do more than that."

If someone asks to buy you a drink and you don't want it, Whitmore has a great tip. "Say thank you, but you are trying to cut back, have to drive or you don't accept drinks from strangers," Whitmore says.

What if they've already sent the drink over? "Give the drink to the bartender and tell him or her to enjoy it," Whitmore says.

Have fun. Stay safe, and make sure to bring a great wing-man or wing-woman with you.

Well Being
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Jasmine has been used as a natural treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress for thousands of years. Oil from the plant has also been used to treat insomnia and PMS, and is considered a natural aphrodisiac. It turns out, our ancestor's instincts to slather on the oil when they wanted a little R&R were correct.

A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and according to Professor Hanns Hatt of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, revealed that jasmine can calm you down when you're feeling anxious.The results can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."

"Instead of a sleeping pill or a mood enhancer, a nose full of jasmine from Gardenia jasminoides could also help, according to researchers in Germany. They have discovered that the two fragrances Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and the chemical variation (PI24513) have the same molecular mechanism of action and are as strong as the commonly prescribed barbiturates or propofol," says the study.

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is a name you should remember. If you don't follow politics closely, remember his name because he's the first Republican in Congress to openly join the call for a renewed federal ban on assault weapons.

If you're a Democrat or a diehard progressive partisan, remember his name because it's proof that as a nation we can put principles before party and walk across the political aisle to get things done.

If you're a Republican, remember his name as evidence that real leadership in politics sometimes means risking your reputation to do what is right even when most of your colleagues disagree or lack the political courage to go first.

But let's allow Rep. King to explain himself in his own words:

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