Real-life superheroes rescued a whale after she stranded herself on a rocky shore.

It's almost like there's more to rescuing whales than “Free Willy" led us to believe.

In late July 2015, sailors spotted an orca stranded near Hartley Bay in British Columbia.

Thousands of whales and dolphins get stranded, entangled, or beach themselves each year. And while this story has a happy ending, many animals aren't so lucky.


"Recalculating..." The stranded orca on the rocks in Hartley Bay.

To learn more about how and why incidents like this happen and what animal lovers can do to help, I spoke with Steve Whitehouse of Queensland, Australia, who is the stranding rescue and technical adviser for Whale Rescue.

There are lots of reasons whales strand themselves. Sometimes, it's as simple as taking a wrong turn.

Whales strand for a host of reasons, including illness or navigational errors. They may misread the height of the rocks or the depth of the shore while swimming.

"This orca? [She] was probably just chasing fish. It's quite a common scenario," Whitehouse told me.

Windy weather, loud noises, and echolocation glitches can also result in strandings. Rescuers have to be careful though, because if a pod leader separates from the group, others will follow. This can sometimes lead to a mass stranding.

Whitehouse and his partner Brenda at the scene of a mass stranding at Farewell Spit, South Island New Zealand in February. 69 pilot whales came ashore. 67 were re-floated and saved. Photo by Steve Whitehouse for Whale-Rescue.org.

When whales are beached or stranded, trained professionals and volunteers help by keeping the animals cool and calm.

According to Whitehouse, every rescue is unique, but each one centers on getting the animal re-floated safely.

In the case of the stranded orca in Hartley Bay, whale researchers and volunteers covered the orca with wet blankets and kept her hydrated with buckets of chilly water. They stayed by her side, keeping her cool and calm, for eight hours!


Volunteers pour cold water on the orca to keep her calm and cool.

When the tide comes in, some whales are able to free themselves, while others need a little boost.

With help from the volunteers and a nudge from high tide, the orca in Hartley Bay was successfully able to wriggle free from the rocks. She gave a spray of appreciation and joined her pod in the distance.

GIFs from "The National."

But other stranding situations are a little more complicated. 32 years ago, Whitehouse designed an inflatable whale rescue pontoon. The unique vessel is a modular device consisting of a mat and two inflatable tubes.

"It's like a big set of water wings," he told me.

Whitehouse's device in use rescuing pilot whales in New Zealand. Photo by Steve Whitehouse for Whale-Rescue.org.

When used by rescue workers, the device simulates high tide, by gently lifting the whale up so it can be re-floated safely.

Whitehouse's invention is used in 14 countries and has saved thousands of animals. "Its become standard equipment now," he said.

Whitehouse's inflatable pontoon was used to rescue a stranded whale that made his way to the River Thames in London. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

If you see a stranded marine animal, the best thing you can do is call a professional or rescue group with your location.

Until an expert can assess the situation, it's safer for you and the animal if you stay at least 50 feet back and call in the location of the creature in distress.

If you must assist, foster a heartwarming relationship with the whale, teach him to perform tricks, and help him triumphantly return to the sea 72 minutes later. At least, that's what "Free Willy" taught me, and movies never lie.

GIF from "Free Willy."

Of course, I'm kidding. Many of these creatures are endangered or at risk, so every minute counts. If you see a stranded marine animal, just call your local stranding hotline as soon as possible.

See footage of the Hartley Bay orca's successful rescue in this short video from "The National":


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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

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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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