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'Recycle artist' to build 10 giant trolls across the US this summer in global art project

Danish rapper-turned-artist Thomas Dambo spent the last nine years building 100 enormously endearing trolls around the world, each with its own unique name, story and Earth-loving message.

Giant wooden troll sitting on the ground building rock towers
Courtesy of Thomas Dambo

The original Isak Heartstone troll sculpture in Breckenridge, Colorado

When we think of a "troll" in the internet age, we usually picture some sad sap wasting his one wild and precious life making inflammatory statements and luring people into inane arguments online.

But out in the physical world, some very different kinds of trolls are luring people away from their computers and out into nature. These benevolent trolls tower over humans with their enormous size and have an important message to share.

Also, they look really freaking cool.


Danish "recycle artist" Thomas Dambo has spent the past nine years building dozens of giant trolls all around the world. Each one is made entirely of recycled materials, and each is unique, with its own delightful name and origin story. Hector the Protector, who lives on the water's edge in Puerto Rico, came first in 2014. When Hector was first built, he was holding a rock to throw at anyone who threatened to hurt the island. After being damaged in Hurricane Maria, Hector "learned from his violent ways" and was rebuilt holding a lantern instead of a rock to guide sailors coming in during a storm.

Now there are at least 100 different trolls residing on nearly every continent.

Dambo has even created an entire elaborate folklore involving these trolls. For instance, legend has it that a global gathering of trolls that happens every 211 years, and in the last gathering, the trolls became angry with the humans who have stopped listening to nature and have been harming the Earth. They ultimately decided the best course of action was to eat the humans to save the planet.

But a group of six young trolls believed the humans were just young and ignorant, and because they "only live around eighty circles of light," they can't grasp the big picture. These young trolls decided to form a gang to save the humans and help them learn instead of destroying them.

Perusing Thomas Dambo's website makes it clear that these trolls are not just cool art sculptures, but living parts of an ongoing story that involves all of us, both in a literary sense and a literal one. The lore puts a fun and fantastical spin on the very real issue of humans being out of touch and so often in conflict with nature.

Take a look and listen to this brief tale about seven trolls and the magical tower they built to help the humans see more clearly.

And this magical world just keeps expanding. In the summer of 2023, he's bringing his troll installations to the U.S. with his "Way of the Bird King" tour. Dambo and a group of 22 builders will be traveling from coast to coast creating 10 new trolls out of more than 1,000 discarded wooden pallets.

“It's always been a dream for me to go on this coast-to-coast road trip, especially when I was a rapper touring around Denmark in a big bus," says Dambo. "So in some way, this feels like my big American breakthrough. My hope is that these sculptures not only showcase the beauty of repurposed materials, but also inspire people to reconnect with nature, spark their imagination, and foster a greater sense of environmental responsibility."

Artist Thomas Dambo of Denmark

Courtesy of Thomas Dambo

The first four trolls to be created on the tour will be:

6/28 Hainesport, New Jersey — a female troll named Big Rusty

7/5 South Londonderry, Vermont — a male troll named Lost Finn

7/21 Germfask, Michigan — a male troll named Benny Beardfisher

8/4 Cripple Creek, Colorado — a female troll named Rita Rockplanter

After that, Dambo and his team will head to the Pacific Northwest, where six more trolls will make their homes. Exact dates are still to be announced, but these trolls will be built in that region: Ole Ole, Pia Peacekeeper, Iduns Flute, Jacob Two Trees, Oscar the Bird King and FiFi Feet Splinter.

If they are anything like the trolls that currently live in Denmark, China, France, South Korea, Australia, Chile, Ireland and other places (including a handful of locations in the U.S.—you can find them all on the Troll Map here), they will surely draw people's attention. (But hopefully not too much attention. Poor Isak Heartstone, a troll in Breckenridge, Colorado, that was built as part of an arts festival, had to be destroyed and rebuilt in another location because too many tourists wanted a troll selfie with him, which caused complaints from locals.)

Thomas Dambo troll sculpture

Isak Heartstone 1.0, a troll in Breckenridge, Colorado, that had to be rebuilt in a different area due to too many tourists.

Thomas Dambo

Check out a few other trolls from Dambo's ongoing "Trail of a Thousand Trolls" project.

Troll sculpture in Denmark

Troll Ben Chiller in Denmark

Courtesy of Thomas Dambo

Troll sculpture with leg extending over a river

Troll MamaMimi in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Courtesy of Thomas Dambo

Some of Dambo's trolls interact with the human world:

Troll pulling a boat on land

Troll Kaptajn Nalle in Copenhagen, Denmark

Courtesy of Thomas Dambo

It takes a team of people to bring the trolls to life.

Artists building a troll

Troll ManeMor being built in Denmark in 2023

Courtesy of Thomas Dambo

What a wonderful, whimsical way to bring attention to how humans and nature interact.

You can find more about Thomas Dambo and his magical world of Earth-loving trolls on his website, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

True

Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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Joy

NICU nurse adopts 14-year-old patient who delivered triplets alone

“I knew it would be impossible to find a foster home that would take all four of them. No one was going to take a teen mom and her preemie triplets.”

NICU nurse adopts teen with three babies.

Having your first baby is a scary experience. Everything is new—you've quite literally never done this before—not to mention an entire human is going to be removed from your body one way or another. Childbirth, no matter how your baby leaves your body, is not for the weak. But imagine giving birth alone to not just one baby, but three, all at the same time. Then imagine doing that feat at the age of 14.

Shariya Small experienced that scenario in a hospital in Indiana, and her nurse Katrina Mullen took note. Small's babies were premature, born at just 26 weeks, when the average gestation for triplets is 33 weeks, according to ReproductiveFacts.org. Due to their early birth, the babies, Serenitee, Samari and Sarayah, had to stay in the NICU at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis for more than five months, according to Today.com.

During their time in the NICU, Mullen noticed the young mom visited her babies alone, not appearing to have much of a support system. “She’d be there alone for days at a time sitting at her babies’ bedside,” Mullen told Today.com.

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Teacher runs toward what she thought was a fight in her classroom.

It's been said countless times, but teachers really are the best and bravest of us all. Anyone who has spent time surrounded by kids, trying to help them learn while managing the countless crises that can occur when hundreds of immature humans are put together in one place, knows that teaching encompasses so much more than just academic instruction. Teachers serve as mentors, counselors, nurses, mediators and sometimes even security guards.

That's why a middle school teacher who thought there was a fight happening in her classroom ran full speed toward it—in a dress and heels, no less.

A TikTok video shared by @lilythern shows a teacher sprinting down a school hallway with an overlay of text that reads, "This middle school teacher thought she was running to break up a fight." As she runs into the classroom, she sees a couple of dozen students gathered in a tight circle and shouting. The teacher immediately starts pushing her way through the outside of the circle, yelling, "Hey! Break it up! Break it up!"

But there is no breaking up to be had. In fact, what she finds is the exact opposite.

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Kampus Production/Canva

How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

Joy

Cat decided a delivery driver was her new dad by clinging to his leg and refusing to let go

This is the Cat Distribution System at work, and it shall not be questioned.

A cat picks her new owner in the most unmistakable way.

If you've never heard of the Cat Distribution System, then you probably don't own a cat, or you do, but you acquired your cat in a normal, non-weird way. You know, like at an animal shelter or from some nice lady on social media who had a box of kittens. Some people do get cats that way, and it's one thousand percent a valid way to attain cat parent status.

But some lucky folks get cats through the Cat Distribution System (or CDS for short). Is this system real? The only people who know this are cats. They're also the ones that run the system, so the rules and the way in which you attain your purr machine may be a bit wonky. You may wake up with an unknown cat in your bed even though all of your windows are closed, or you just may be like this delivery driver.

The driver was out picking up orders when a cat came out of the CDS and jumped on the man's leg as he attempted to get back to his car. Thanks to his dash cam, you get to see CDS at work, and so did his mom. The video currently has over 2.8 million views on TikTok.

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Photo by Adam Gonzales on Unsplash

A seafaring lifestyle from the comfort of home.

Imagine spending every day exploring wondrous locations, eating expertly crafted meals, enjoying year-round indulgence … could there be anything better?

Taking a lifelong cruise might sound like something out of a dream, and an unrealistic one at that. But leaving the land behind and adopting a seafaring lifestyle is now more attainable than ever.

By 2024, cruise line Storylines will launch a 741-foot ship dubbed the MV Narrative, a huge vessel containing 547 fully furnished rooms available for purchase or lease.

The cruise will definitely be the stuff of luxury, with its high-end spas, movie theater, yoga sun deck, state-of-the-art fitness center, art studio … it even has a bowling alley, for crying out loud. But being a “residential community at sea,” there will also be things like a library, post office, school and bank.
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Education

Incredible audio shows what WWI sounded like when the guns and bombs just suddenly stopped

It's both beautiful and haunting to hear the ceasefire silence at the agreed-upon 11th hour.

Much of World War I was fought in trenches.

On November 11, 1918, U.S.soldier Robert Casey wrote from the American front in Western Europe:

And this is the end of it. In three hours the war will be over. It seems incredible even as I write it. I suppose I ought to be thrilled and cheering. Instead I am merely apathetic and incredulous … There is some cheering across the river—occasional bursts of it as the news is carried to the advanced lines. For the most part, though, we are in silence … With all is a feeling that it can’t be true. For months we have slept under the guns … We cannot comprehend the stillness.

It was the 11th day of the 11th month, and the war was scheduled to end with a ceasefire at the 11th hour—11:00 a.m. exactly. It had been four years of bloody, brutal fighting in what would later be called World War I. (Ironically, the war that was dubbed "the war to end all wars.")

The sense of relief at the ceasefire had to have been palpable, and thanks to modern technology, we can get an idea of what it sounded like to have the constant gunfire, artillery shells, fighter planes and bombs just…stop.

The following audio is not a recording, since magnetic tape recording technology didn't exist in WWI. It's a sound recreation based on visual "sound ranging" recordings the military used to determine where enemy fire was coming from. Special units placed microphones in the ground and used photographic film to visually record the noise intensity of gunfire, similarly to how seismometer measures an earthquake.

The lines you see in the film below are vibrations from noises at the River Moselle on the American Front, which were interpreted by sound company Coda to Coda using meticulous research on the kinds of weaponry that would have been used and how far away they were, even taking into account the geography of the area.

The result is the sounds soldiers would have heard during the last minute of World War I. Listen:

The little bird chirp at the end really punctuates it, doesn't it? Beautiful, yet haunting.

The fact that there was an exact minute when opposing forces agreed to lay down their arms and then did so is a bit surreal. If you know you're going to stop shooting, why wait for a few hours and keep shooting one another? Why not just say, "Stop, we're done now"? Communication took time and the various forces needed to be informed of the ceasefire agreement, so it makes some sense, but still. The armistice agreement was signed six hours before the ceasefire. In those six hours—when peace had already been agreed upon—3,000 soldiers were killed. Talk about senseless deaths.

Of all the things humans have devised and systematized, war is probably the weirdest. Leaders get into disputes over political or geographic particulars, and then one says, "I'm going to send my people to kill your people." Another responds, "If your people kill my people, then my people will kill your people." Then the worst of human atrocities are perpetrated by people who would normally never dream of doing such things to one another until, at some point, they've all have had enough of the senseless destruction, the leaders come to some kind of agreement and say, "OK, our people will no longer kill each other. Good talk."

Of course, it's all a bit more complicated than that, but at the same time, it's not. War as a concept is simply stupid and stupidly simple. Humanity in general does seem to have grasped the stupidity of it, as we've been making global progress toward a more peaceful world for many decades. But as conflicts ignite and violence explode in certain regions, we feel the tenuousness of that progress, which makes peacemaking skills all the more valuable.

Twenty million people were killed in WWI, more than half of them civilians. Many of them died from famine and disease brought on by the conditions of war. This audio is a reminder that these things don't just happen—they are choices that human beings make. Destruction and diplomacy are both choices. Retaliation and restoration are choices. War and peace are choices.

We've tried choosing war followed by peace, many times over. Maybe we should try choosing peace without having to go through the stupid, senseless killing part first.