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My Pet Hippo

I'm such a sucker for stories like this. Maybe it's because my grandpop was a Chief of forestry in India, and kept an abandoned bear cub in his house for a few months when my mom was a child; or perhaps it's because I read Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals a few too many times as a kid, but I love ridiculous stories of people keeping big game as pets. The Daily Telegraph has this lovely story of Jessica the hippopotamus, who lives with some rangers in South Africa. Apparently, she washed up very ill on some banks near their house (weighing a scant 35lbs at the time), and they've nursed her back to health. In fact, she looks very healthy in the pics below. In addition to drinking coffee every day, and loving to snuggle up with their dog, the hippo enjoys frolicking in mud and then joining the couple in bed (to date, she's apparently broken three bed frames!). In any case, you can read all about the her exploits here. Link via the always terrific TheCellar.

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Note: the hippopotamus should in no way be confused with the terrific hip-hoppopotamus, located here.

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Note 2: Oops! While doing a bit of editing, I accidentally posted this under Jason's name... I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a grandfather in India. That said, be sure to check out his great sports disease post below.  

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8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
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Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

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China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall
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The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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