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Your Official Groundhog Round Up

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Getty

In case you haven't already heard, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring! If you're not sold on Phil's accuracy rate, however, there are plenty of other groundhogs you can consult instead. Here they are, complete with what they declared today:

1. Buckeye Chuck

Tired of waiting on word from across state lines, Ohio managed to find their own forecasting groundhog back in the 1970s. Hailing from Marion, Ohio, Buckeye Chuck is said to be accurate about 75 percent of the time.  His 2016 verdict: Six more weeks of winter.

2. General Beauregard Lee

General Beau is likely the only groundhog with not one, but two honorary doctorates. His degree from the University of Georgia declares that he is a "Doctor of Weather Prognostication", while Georgia State bestowed a "Doctor of Southern Groundology" title upon him. As befitting of any grand Atlantean, General Beau has his very own version of Tara. His 2016 verdict: Early spring.

3. Balzac Billy

Despite the fact the Balzac Billy in Alberta, Canada, is just a dude in a groundhog costume crawling out of a mulch pile (or perhaps because of it), "The Prairie Prognosticator" boasts about an 80 percent accuracy rate. His 2016 verdict: Early spring.

4. Staten Island Chuck

This little guy, whose formal name is Charles G. Hogg, is notorious for nipping Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 2009 prediction ceremony at the Staten Island Zoo. His 2016 verdict: Early spring.

5. Wiarton Willie

Willie, an albino groundhog, has been predicting the weather since the 1950s—even though he was nothing but a fur hat back then. The story goes something like this: In 1957, a fellow named Mac McKenzie used Groundhog Day as an excuse to throw a boozy bash for his friends. Reporter Frank Teskey somehow got wind of the affair and misinterpreted that there was a big Groundhog Day festival in Wiarton, Ontario. When he arrived and discovered that the gathering was just a few guys drinking with no groundhog in sight, Teskey complained that he was going to be in trouble for having no story. In response, McKenzie grabbed a white fur hat from a female party-goer, half-buried it in the snow outside, and declared that Wiarton was home to a rare albino groundhog. The legend has grown, and now thousands of people show up yearly to celebrate Wiarton Willie, who has been upgraded from a fur hat to a real, live groundhog. His 2016 verdict: Six more weeks of winter.

6. Shubenacadie Sam

Thanks to Nova Scotia's time zone, Shubenacadie Sam at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park is the first to make a prediction for North America every year. His 2016 verdict: Early spring.

7. Queen Charlotte

Queen Charlotte the groundhog made her public debut in Charlotte, North Carolina, this year. Though she predicted six more weeks of winter last year, she did so in a private ceremony—at the time, the Queen was new to the limelight and wasn't ready to perform in front of a crowd of onlookers. Her 2016 verdict: Early spring.

8. Jimmy the Groundhog

It seems that Jimmy the Groundhog from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, wasn't too thrilled about coming out of hibernation last year. When Jimmy's handler held him up to Mayor Jon Freund's ear to "whisper" his weather findings, the groundhog gave the mayor a little nip on the ear. Jimmy didn't get the chance to get so up close and personal this year—he had to stay in his cage for the official announcement. His 2016 verdict: Early spring.

9. Chuckles

Chuckles the Groundhog makes her predictions live from the Lutz Children's Museum in Manchester, Connecticut. They're currently on Chuckles VIII, an orphaned groundhog who was sworn in to her position in 2013 using a copy of the Farmer's Almanac. Her 2016 verdict: Early spring.

10. Polk County Paula

Polk County Paula, a groundhog mascot from Des Moines, predicts the weather and distributes free bottles of Miller High Life. It probably helps the "more winter" predictions go down a little easier. Her 2016 verdict: Early spring.

Good news: Early spring has the majority. Happy Groundhog Day!

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Big Questions
What Happened to the Physical Copy of the 'I Have a Dream' Speech?
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AFP, Getty Images

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave a speech for the ages, delivering the oratorical masterpiece "I Have a Dream" to nearly 250,000 people.

When he was done, King stepped away from the podium, folded his speech, and found himself standing in front of George Raveling, a former Villanova basketball player who, along with his friend Warren Wilson, had been asked to provide extra security around Dr. King while he was speaking. "We were both tall, gangly guys," Raveling told TIME in 2003. "We didn't know what we were doing but we certainly made for a good appearance."

Moved by the speech, Raveling saw the folded papers in King’s hands and asked if he could have them. King gave the young volunteer the speech without hesitation, and that was that.

“At no time do I remember thinking, ‘Wow, we got this historic document,’” Raveling told Sports Illustrated in 2015. Not realizing he was holding what would become an important piece of history in his hands, Raveling went home and stuck the three sheets of paper into a Harry Truman biography for safekeeping. They sat there for nearly two decades while Raveling developed an impressive career coaching NCAA men’s basketball.

In 1984, he had recently taken over as the head coach at the University of Iowa and was chatting with Bob Denney of the Cedar Rapids Gazette when Denney brought up the March on Washington. That's when Raveling dropped the bomb: “You know, I’ve got a copy of that speech," he said, and dug it out of the Truman book. After writing an article about Raveling's connection, the reporter had the speech professionally framed for the coach.

Though he displayed the framed speech in his house for a few years, Raveling began to realize the value of the piece and moved it to a bank vault in Los Angeles. Though he has received offers for King’s speech—one collector wanted to purchase the speech for $3 million in 2014—Raveling has turned them all down. He has been in talks with various museums and universities and hopes to put the speech on display in the future, but for now, he cherishes having it in his possession.

“That to me is something I’ll always be able to look back and say I was there,” Raveling said in the original Cedar Rapids Gazette article. “And not only out there in that arena of people, but to be within touching distance of him. That’s like when you’re 80 or 90 years old you can look back and say ‘I was in touching distance of Abraham Lincoln when he made the Gettysburg Address.’"

“I have no idea why I even asked him for the speech,” Raveling, now CEO of Coaching for Success, has said. “But I’m sure glad that I did.”

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Live Smarter
3 Reasons Why Your New Year's Resolutions Fail—and How to Fix Them
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You don’t need a special day to come up with goals, but New Year’s Day is as good a time as any to build better habits. The problem is, by the time February rolls around, our best laid plans have often gone awry. Don’t let it happen this year: Heed these three simple tips for fail-proof resolutions.

PROBLEM 1: THEY’RE TOO OVERWHELMING

Let’s say your goal is to pay off $5000 worth of credit card debt this year. Since you're giving yourself a long timeframe (all year) to pay it down, you end up procrastinating or splurging, telling yourself you’ll make up for it later. But the longer you push it off, the bigger and more overwhelming your once-reasonable goal can feel.

Solution: Set Smaller Milestones

The big picture is important, but connecting your goal to the present makes it more digestible and easier to stick with. Instead of vowing to pay off $5000 by the end of next December, make it your resolution to put $96 toward your credit card debt every week, for example.

In a study from the University of Wollongong, researchers asked subjects to save using one of two methods: a linear model and a cyclical model. In the linear model, the researchers told subjects that saving for the future was important and asked them to set aside money accordingly. In contrast, they told the cyclical group:

This approach acknowledges that one’s life consists of many small and large cycles, that is, events that repeat themselves. We want you to think of the personal savings task as one part of such a cyclical life. Make your savings task a routinized one: just focus on saving the amount that you want to save now, not next month, not next year. Think about whether you saved enough money during your last paycheck cycle. If you saved as much as you wanted, continue with your persistence. If you did not save enough, make it up this time, with the current paycheck cycle.

When subjects used this cyclical model, focusing on the present, they saved more than subjects who focused on their long-term goal.

PROBLEM 2: THEY'RE TOO VAGUE

“Find a better job” is a worthy goal, but it's a bit amorphous. It's unclear what "better" means to you, and it’s difficult to plot the right course of action when you’re not sure what your desired outcome is. Many resolutions are vague in this way: get in shape, worry less, spend more time with loved ones.

Solution: Make Your Goal a SMART One

To make your goal actionable, it should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. When you set specific parameters and guidelines for your goal, it makes it easier to come up with an action plan. Under a bit more scrutiny, "spend more time with loved ones" might become "invite my best friends over for dinner every other Sunday night." This new goal is specific, measurable, time-bound—it ticks all the boxes and tells you exactly what you want and how to get there.

PROBLEM 3: YOU FELL FOR THE “FALSE FIRST STEP”

“A false first step is when we try to buy a better version of ourselves instead of doing the actual work to accomplish it,” Anthony Ongaro of Break the Twitch tells Mental Floss. “The general idea is that purchasing something like a heart rate monitor can feel a lot like we're taking a step towards our fitness goals,” Ongaro says. “The purchase itself can give us a dopamine release and a feeling of satisfaction, but it hasn't actually accomplished anything other than spending some money on a new gadget.”

Even worse, sometimes that dopamine is enough to lure you away from your goal altogether, Ongaro says. “That feeling of satisfaction that comes with the purchase often is good enough that we don't feel the need to actually go out for a run and use it.”

Solution: Start With What You Already Have

You can avoid this trap by forcing yourself to start your goal with the resources you already have on hand. “Whether the goal is to learn a new language or improve physical fitness, the best way to get started and avoid the false first step is to do the best you can with what you already have,” Ongaro says. “Start really small, even learning one new word per day for 30 days straight, or just taking a quick walk around the block every day.”

This isn’t to say you should never buy anything related to your goal, though. As Ongaro points out, you just want to make sure you’ve already developed the habit a bit first. “Establish a habit and regular practice that will be enhanced by a product you may buy,” he says. “It's likely that you won't even need that gadget or that fancy language learning software once you actually get started ... Basically, don't let buying something be the first step you take towards meaningful change in your life.”

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