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Thanks to Yao Ming, killing sharks for their fins is down 50%. And he's just getting started.

After a successful campaign to raise awareness about the dangerous of shark fin soup, Yao Ming is now working to fight poaching.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for retirement. I have delicious dreams to do nothing in my fancy beachside home as I grow old, soak up some sun, and read and write at my leisure. And I was totally OK with my goals of supreme lazydom ... until I saw what Yao Ming's been doing since retiring from the NBA.

Yao Ming is not on a beach drinking things with tiny umbrellas in them. Yao Ming is saving the sharks.


It's a tough goal, but Yao is up to the task. Photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images.

In his home country of China, shark fin soup had become so popular that the country became the largest market for shark fin. While there isn't much meat in the fin itself, the dish was considered something of a status symbol. As more people were able to afford to order shark fin soup, our sharky friends paid the price — with their lives.

A shocking 1 in 4 shark species is now endangered.

The number of sharks in our seas has been steadily decreasing for decades. About 100 million sharks a year are killed — 73% of those are targeted for their fins, which are usually cut off before the shark is left to die.

That's why Yao teamed up with the conservation nonprofit WildAid to spread the word that shark fin soup is bad news bears. Since launching with the slogan "When the buying stops, the killing can too," a huge shift has occurred. The campaign has been credited with cutting the number of sharks killed for their fins by 50 percent.

So, yeah ... Yao Ming's retirement work definitely puts my plan to shame.

Thanks to Yao's campaign with WildAid, support for a shark fin soup ban has skyrocketed in China.

Until recently, many Chinese didn't even know that shark fin soup came from sharks. (The Mandarin translation is "fish wing soup.") Now, surveys show that a whopping 91% support a nationwide ban of shark fin consumption. While the ban hasn't happened yet, the Chinese government has banned shark fin soup at its state dinners.

Now that's some news to dance about!

"Don't eat us, please!" GIF via Discovery.

Thanks to the shark fin campaign's success, Ming is looking to bring his awareness-raising powers to more members of the animal kingdom.

Ming recently visited Kenyato raise awareness about the dangers of poaching elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns. His journey is documented on the Emmy-nominated "Saving Africa's Giants with Yao Ming" by Animal Planet.

I think the baby elephant is on to something ... let's take Ming's lead. Image via Animal Planet's "Saving Africa's Giants."

The shark fin soup campaign's success proves that knowledge really is power.

Yao has been able to use his celebrity to make serious progress on an issue that came down to people just not being properly informed. I can't wait to see how his new efforts to save elephants and rhinos turn out.

Huge thanks to Yao Ming for his dedication to protecting our animal friends.

And setting a really high bar for post-career accomplishments during my retirement years.

Cheers! GIF via "Downton Abbey."

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

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That debate would be whether it’s better to shower in the morning, or at night.

You would think the “right answer” would be largely up to personal preference, much like which way to face while showering and whether or not to snack in the shower…two previous hot button issues online.

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Motivation expert explains how two simple words can free you from taking things personally

You don't need to take responsibility for everything and everyone.

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Towards the end of The Beatles’ illustrious but brief career, Paul McCartney wrote “Let it Be,” a song about finding peace by letting events take their natural course. It was a sentiment that seemed to mirror the feeling of resignation the band had with its imminent demise.

The bittersweet song has had an appeal that has lasted generations and that may be because it reflects an essential psychological concept: the locus of control.

“It’s about understanding where our influence ends and accepting that some things are beyond our control,” Jennifer Chappell Marsh, a marriage and family therapist, told The Huffington Post. “We can’t control others, so instead, we should focus on our own actions and responses.”

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Brianna Frye has had enough of what it takes to be a woman in today's society and the comedian, who is also a working mom, took to Instagram to ask for a do over in her next life. The exasperated mom has some suggestions for the big guy upstairs that seem quite reasonable as she pleads her case.

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Parenting

People share nine seemingly 'overrated' baby items that new parents should absolutely get

No, you don't need the most expensive stuff but parents are swearing by things on this list.

Amazon

People share nine seemingly 'overrated' baby items you need

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.


From the moment you find out you're expecting a baby it seems like every store you've ever shopped at also received the positive pregnancy results. Suddenly you're getting emails and ads for every baby item imaginable. Your head is spinning with choices and no real idea on what you actually need, especially if this is your first baby.

It doesn't take long to figure out that baby items are expensive and there are a lot of them, but which items can be left on the shelf and which ones should make its way to the registry? A group of parents answered the question, which overrated baby item they'd absolutely recommend spending the money on and some things may be a surprise.

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A still from Focus Features' "Won't you Be My Neighbor?" documentary trailer (Left). Dad smiling and holding child (right)

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In a clip posted to TikTok, Fogel explained how he had recently stumbled upon a study about the effect that “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” had on kids.”

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