How much does Steve Jobs really know about Snow Leopards?

Yesterday, Steve Jobs announced that the new Apple operating system is going to be called "Snow Leopard." As a Mac loyalist, I was struck by the name's vulnerabilities. There's no doubt that snow leopards are gorgeous creatures, but the cats carry a lot of baggage. If the Mac brand had asked veteran political strategist and spin-master Karl Rove to vet the creature a little more, I'm sure these are a few of the facts he would have pointed out:

1) Snow Leopards aren't leopards.
If the new operating system was supposed to be the evolution of Mac's Leopard, then they got this wrong. In truth, snow leopards are much more closely related to cheetahs. The weak snow leopard/leopard connection could cause problems if brought up in Microsoft attack ads.

2) They can't roar.
While snow leopards are deadly creatures that can jump 50 feet in one pounce (seriously, 50 feet!), their inability to speak up shows why they never would have landed the opening frame gig in MGM movies. Like their relatives the cheetah, their communication is limited to snarling sounds.

3) They're the symbol of the Girl Scout Association of Kyrgyzstan.
The Girl Scouts aren't the only group snow leopards are affiliated with. The creatures have a long history of posing for flags and patches. They've also been used on emblems for the Tatars, the Kazakhs, and they even appeared on an old seal given to Soviet mountaineers who had climbed the USSR's highest peaks. The association with cookies and little girls, however, is arguably the strongest (and possibly the coolest).

4) They hide behind their tails.
When snow leopards curl up and take shelter, they often use their bushy tails to protect their faces and most vulnerable areas from the cold.

That said, I'm sure Mr. Jobs' people know exactly what they're doing, and that Apple's new OS will do fine. In fact, the creatures are pretty darn cute, and just typing the words snow leopard over and over leaves me hankering for an upgrade.

Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London

Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at


More from mental floss studios