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Pomplamoose: Donate Books to Kids, Get a Christmas Album

YouTube phenoms Pomplamoose have released a Christmas album -- but it's not for sale. The only way to get the album is to donate a book to the Richmond Book Drive. The deal is this: you buy a book for kids in Richmond, California public schools, and Pomplamoose gives you their Christmas album. (To be clear, it's a 5-song EP, but still.) They explain the details in the video below, after performing one of the songs.

If you're participating, may I recommend buying Looking For Alaska or Paper Towns by John Green, former mental_floss blogger? Both are on the list of books requested by the Richmond public schools. But the best part is, the book choice is very broad -- there are many, many pages of books on the list -- another favorite of mine is I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. (I recommend switching to the "compact" view on Amazon to see more books on one page.) Here are some more details on the program, from the Pomplamoose's mouth:

A little bit about the schools receiving books: -Lovonya DeJean Middle School -- averaged 26% proficient or advanced on English language arts state tests in 2009-2010 school year (State avg. for grades served = 55%) -Leadership Public Schools - Richmond - averaged 26% proficient or advanced on English language arts state tests in 2009-2010 school year (State avg. for grades served = 47%) -Kennedy High School -- averaged 21% proficient or advanced on English language arts state tests in 2009-2010 school year (State avg. for grades served = 47%) -Richmond High - averaged 20% proficient or advanced on English language arts state tests in 2009-2010 school year (State avg. for grades served = 47%)

There are Richmond Book Drive Ambassadors at each of the school sites who will work diligently to ensure that the books are cared for and used as effectively as possible to inculcate a love of reading among Richmond's terrific young people.

This isn't the first time Pomplamoose have organized a holiday giving drive. Last year, fans gave 138 goats, 166 ducks, and 107 chickens, plus various supplies to World Vision in order to get a single MP3. This year, on offer are 5 MP3s. Worth a book? I think so.

(Note: you can also donate used books, but you don't get a free album for that.)

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Animals
Australian Charity Releases Album of Cat-Themed Ballads to Promote Feline Welfare
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An Australian animal charity is helping save the nation’s kitties one torch song at a time, releasing a feline-focused musical album that educates pet owners about how to properly care for their cats.

Around 35,000 cats end up in pounds, shelters, and rescue programs every year in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Microchipping and fixing cats, along with keeping closer tabs on them, could help reduce this number. To get this message out, the RSPCA’s New South Wales chapter created Cat Ballads: Music To Improve The Lives Of Cats.

The five-track recording is campy and fur-filled, with titles like "Desex Me Before I Do Something Crazy" and "Meow Meow." But songs like “I Need You” might tug the heartstrings of ailurophiles with lyrics like “I guess that’s goodbye then/but you’ve done this before/the window's wide open/and so’s the back door/you might think I’m independent/but you’d be wrong.” There's also a special version of the song that's specifically designed for cats’ ears, featuring purring, bird tweets, and other feline-friendly noises.

Together, the tunes remind us how vulnerable our kitties really are, and provide a timely reminder for cat owners to be responsible parents to their furry friends.

“The Cat Ballads campaign coincides with kitten season, which is when our shelters receive a significantly higher number of unwanted kittens as the seasons change,” Dr. Jade Norris, a veterinary scientist with the RSPCA, tells Mental Floss. “Desexing cats is a critical strategy to reduce unwanted kittens.”

Listen to a song from Cat Ballads below, and visit the project’s website for the full rundown.

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technology
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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