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Shark Week host Forrest Galante is helping change hearts and minds about nature's most feared predator

Forrest Galante will never forget the first time he ever saw a shark in person. "I was 7 or 8 years old and was snorkeling with my grandfather," the outdoor adventure TV personality told Upworthy. "We were in Mozambique where I grew up and I was holding my grandfather's hand underwater as he guided me. It was a small reef shark. What seemed like this huge animal appeared out of nowhere, racing through the darkness and suddenly I was looking into its beautiful eyes. I was in awe but I also think I grabbed my granddad's hand just a little bit tighter."

25 years later, Galante, is a world-renowned conversation activist who hosts the Extinct or Alive program on Animal Planet. He has interacted with some of the planet's most intriguing and intimidating creatures but it's hard to think of a living creature that has more powerfully captured our collective imagination than sharks.

This year, Galante is hosting his schedule special as part of the legendary Shark Week series. In tonight's episode, Galante travels to the northeast coast of South Africa, the "Land of the Lost Sharks," where he looks to find the Pondicherry, a species of shark believed to have gone extinct decades ago.





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On exploring the remove Maldives beach, where it's believed most wildlife there has never interacted with humans:

"It's phenomenal. It's like getting into a time capsule. Must as I love Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, the sharks there see divers 10 times a day. Here, you're seeing what the ocean was like hundreds of years ago. Before there was plastic floating on it. You really experience this feeling that anything can happen."

On being part of the Shark Week legacy:

"It's fantastic. The series is literally the same age as I am, 32. I have grown up with Shark Week. It's something I've tuned in for literally my entire life. It's kind of the Super Bowl of wildlife shows on television. Although I'd argue it's much bigger than the Super Bowl because we're talking about creatures who are literally older than trees themselves and are now being pushed to the brink of extinction."

With most people stuck at home and looking for content that transports their imaginations out of the living room, what's different about Shark Week this year?

"This style of entertainment is arguably more important than ever. It allows people who are stuck on their couch to participate in and promote conservation. It's also harder than ever. I was supposed to be in 14 counties this year and instead, I've been to 2. I think a common misconception is that the coronavirus has been entirely beneficial for wildlife. In reality, it's a double-edged sword. In some cases, wildlife is thriving. On the flip side, with governments being shut down and nobody able to enforce anti-poaching, we're seeing a massive uptick. In Peru, you can go to a wet market to buy a yellow-footed tortoise to "cure" coronavirus. So, I think part of what's important about Shark Week this year, beyond entertainment, is reminding people of how precious this environment is."



What's different to you about sharks vs. other wildlife you've interacted with?

"Life is incredible. Whether it's a snail under a rock or a tiger shark swimming at you. We're bipedal creatures meant to be on land. You have a lot of control there, you're in a comfort zone. When you're in the water, you're living in an alien world. You're in their habitat. It's a three-dimensional space where we don't belong. Sharks always bring a thrill to working with them. They're an apex predator, they've been around a long time. At the same time, they're disappearing. They've been targeted at an incredibly alarming rate."

Everyone talks about the negative impact "Jaws" had on people's attitudes toward sharks. With things like Shark Week, have you seen any positive changes in people's perception of sharks?

"20 years ago, the perception was if you got in the water with a shark the thought was you're going to die. Now, there's a cool factor. On places like Instagram, there are bragging rights to working with the animals, going in the water with them. The common understanding has completely shifted. All these people having beautiful, stunning interactions with these creatures. Fear will only lead to destruction. Sharks aren't meant to be feared, they're just to be respected."

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

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Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

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1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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