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The Weird Week in Review

Restaurant Serves Breast Milk Ice Cream

A ice cream parlor in London, England has a new flavor on the menu. “Baby Gaga” is made from 75% human breast milk and 25% cow milk (plus vanilla and other flavoring). The Icecreamists will begin selling the ice cream Friday. The breast milk comes from 15 women who are receiving the equivalent of $1.61 an ounce for their milk, making lactation quite lucrative for the mothers. The ice cream will sell for $22 a serving.

Dog Rescued by Dolphins

A doberman pincher named Turbo went missing from his home in Marco Island, Florida last weekend. He was gone for 15 hours before being pulled out of a canal by a neighbor Monday morning. Owner Cindy Burnett said the splashing of dolphins alerted the neighbor to the dog in distress.

“The lady here who had gotten him out of the canal said, ‘No, the dolphins were with him,’” Burnett explained.

Dolphins got a neighbor’s attention – alerting them to a stranded pooch in shallow water.

“If he had to tread water all night long, I know he wouldn’t have been able to,” Burnett said.

Beer to be Classified as Alcohol in Russia

For the first time in history, beer, currently classified as food, is set to be reclassified as an alcoholic drink in Russia. The move is a part of the Kremlin’s war on alcoholism, as beer consumption has tripled over the last 15 years in the country. The new classification means that officials can limit when beer is sold and regulate the size of the containers. Many Russians consider beer to be a soft drink.

Museum Finds Vandalism Funny

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts rented a billboard sign for their exhibition “Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting.” It featured a portion of the nude painting Venus Rising from the Sea. It didn’t stay nude. Someone painted a red bra on the artwork and the letters “Brrr”. The museum’s head of public relations, Anne-Marie Wagener, found the paint job funny, especially with the hint that Venus was cold in the Minnesota weather. Without that, Wagener said, it would look like censorship. The museum will leave the billboard as it is for now.

Nun Tossed Out Over Facebook

Sister Maria Jesus Galan was asked to leave the Santo Domingo el Real convent in Toledo, Spain, where she had lived for 35 years -over her Facebook activities. The Dominican convent, which normally discourages nuns from dealing with the outside world, first allowed a computer in ten years ago, and Sister Maria put it to work. She digitized the convent’s archives and even won awards for her computer work. But fellow nuns complained that Sister Maria’s Facebook habit interfered with cloistered life and “made life impossible.” At the time, Sister Maria had 600 Facebook friends. She was asked to leave, and now lives with her mother in Toledo. Her Facebook profile shows 1900 friends now, and her fan page has over 11,000 supporters.

America’s Most-injured Soldier Going Back to War

Captain D.J. Skelton was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Fallujah in 2004. The explosive tore through his face. Six years and 60 surgical operations later, Skelton is left with a missing eye, no palate, and limited use of his left arm and ankle. The captain used his years of recovery to graduate from West Point, learn Chinese, and prepare to return to active duty.

Retired Army officer Lieutenant General John Nagl, a friend of Capt Skelton, said what he had accomplished should have been ‘physically incapable for him’.

‘Certain things are tough for him to do. The rifle is tough. He’s good with a pistol. In some cases, it’s good to have a company commander behind a rifle, but he makes up for it in other ways.

‘I have no doubt that he will succeed’.

Skelton is scheduled to take command of the 192 men from his previous unit in southern Afghanistan.

Cat Purrs at 90 Decibels

The loudest purr in the world? Let’s hope so! Smokey the cat, of Pitsford, Northampton, England, purrs so loudly that her owners Ruth and Mark Adams can’t hear themselves think. They have trouble watching the TV or holding phone conversations when Smokey is in the room. The cat’s purr averages around 80 decibels and at least once measured 90 decibels. That’s as loud as a lawnmower or a plane landing!

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DreamWorks
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15 Must-Watch Facts About The Ring
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DreamWorks

An urban legend about a videotape that kills its viewers seven days after they see it turns out to be true. To her increasing horror, reporter Rachel Keller (then-newcomer Naomi Watts) discovers this after her niece is one of four teenage victims, and is in a race against the clock to uncover the mystery behind the girl in the video before her and her son’s time is up.

Released 15 years ago, on October 18, 2002, The Ring began a trend of both remaking Japanese horror films in a big way, and giving you nightmares about creepy creatures crawling out of your television. Here are some facts about the film that you can feel free to pass along to anybody, guilt-free.

1. DREAMWORKS BOUGHT THE AMERICAN RIGHTS TO RINGU FOR $1 MILLION.

There were conflicting stories over how executive producer Roy Lee came to see the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, Hideo Nakata's adaptation of the 1991 novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki. Lee said two different friends gave him a copy of Ringu in January 2001, which he loved and immediately gave to DreamWorks executive Mark Sourian, who agreed to purchase the rights. But Lee’s close friend Mike Macari worked at Fine Line Features, which had an American remake of Ringu in development before January 2001. Macari said he showed Lee Ringu much earlier. Macari and Lee were both listed as executive producers for The Ring.

2. THE DIRECTOR FIRST SAW RINGU ON A POOR QUALITY VHS TAPE, WHICH ADDED TO ITS CREEPINESS.

Gore Verbinski had previously directed MouseHunt. He said the first time he "watched the original Ringu was on a VHS tape that was probably seven generations down. It was really poor quality, but actually that added to the mystique, especially when I realized that this was a movie about a videotape." Naomi Watts struggled to find a VHS copy of Ringu while shooting in the south of Wales. When she finally got a hold of one she watched it on a very small TV alone in her hotel room. "I remember being pretty freaked out," Watts said. "I just saw it the once, and that was enough to get me excited about doing it."

3. THE RING AND RINGU ARE ABOUT 50 PERCENT DIFFERENT.

Naomi Watts in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

Verbinski estimated that, for the American version, they "changed up to 50 percent of it. The basic premise is intact, the story is intact, the ghost story, the story of Samara, the child." Storylines involving the characters having ESP, a volcano, “dream logic,” and references to “brine and goblins” were taken out.

4. IT RAINED ALMOST EVERY DAY WHEN THEY FILMED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

The weather added to the “atmosphere of dread,” according to the film's production notes. Verbinski said the setting allowed them to create an “overcast mood” of dampness and isolation.

5. THE PRODUCTION DESIGNER WAS INFLUENCED BY ANDREW WYETH.

Artist Andrew Wyeth tended to use muted, somber earth tones in his work. "In Wyeth's work, the trees are always dormant, and the colors are muted earth tones," explained production designer Tom Duffield. "It's greys, it's browns, it's somber colors; it's ripped fabrics in the windows. His work has a haunting flavor that I felt would add to the mystique of this movie, so I latched on to it."

6. THERE WERE RINGS EVERYWHERE.

The carpeting and wallpaper patterns, the circular kitchen knobs, the doctor’s sweater design, Rachel’s apartment number, and more were purposely designed with the film's title in mind.

7. WATTS AND MARTIN HENDERSON HAD A FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL RIVALRY.

Martin Henderson and Naomi Watts star in 'The Ring' (1992)
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

The New Zealand-born Henderson played Noah, Rachel’s ex-husband. Since Watts is from Australia, Henderson said that, "Between takes, we'd joke around with each other's accents and play into the whole New Zealand-Australia rivalry."

8. THE TWO WEREN’T SURE IF THE MOVIE WAS GOING TO BE SCARY ENOUGH.

After shooting some of the scenes, and not having the benefit of seeing what they'd look like once any special effects were added, Henderson and Watts worried that the final result would not be scary enough. "There were moments when Naomi and I would look at each other and say, 'This is embarrassing, people are going to laugh,'" Henderson told the BBC." You just hope that somebody makes it scary or you're going to look like an idiot!"

9. CHRIS COOPER WAS CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

Cooper played a child murderer in two scenes which were initially meant to bookend the film. He unconvincingly claimed to Rachel that he found God in the beginning, and in the end she gave him the cursed tape. Audiences at test screenings were distracted that an actor they recognized disappears for most of the film, so he was cut out entirely.

10. THEY TRIED TO GET RID OF ALL OF THE SHADOWS.

Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli used the lack of sunlight in Washington to remove the characters’ shadows. The two wanted to keep the characters feeling as if “they’re floating a little bit, in space.”

11. THE TREE WAS NICKNAMED "LUCILLE."

The red Japanese maple tree in the cursed video was named after the famous redheaded actress Lucille Ball. The tree was fake, built out of steel tubing and plaster. The Washington wind blew it over three different times. The night they put up the tree in Los Angeles, the wind blew at 60 miles per hour and knocked Lucille over yet again. "It was very strange," said Duffield.

12. MOESKO ISLAND IS A FUNCTIONING LIGHTHOUSE.

Moesko Island Lighthouse is Yaquina Head Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Yaquina River, a mile west of Agate Beach, Oregon. The website Rachel checks, MoeskoIslandLighthouse.com, used to actually exist as a one-page website, which gave general information on the fictional place. You can read it here.

13. A WEBSITE WAS CREATED BY DREAMWORKS TO PROMOTE THE MOVIE AND ADD TO ITS MYTHOLOGY.

Before and during the theatrical release, if you logged into AnOpenLetter.com, you could read a message in white lettering against a black background warning about what happens if you watch the cursed video (you can read it here). By November 24, 2002, it was a standard official website made for the movie, set up by DreamWorks.

14. VERBINSKI DIDN’T HAVE FUN DIRECTING THE MOVIE.

“It’s no fun making a horror film," admitted Verbinski. "You get into some darker areas of the brain and after a while everything becomes a bit depressing.”

15. DAVEIGH CHASE SCARED HERSELF.

Daveigh Chase in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

When Daveigh Chase, who played Samara, saw The Ring in theaters, she had to cover her eyes out of fear—of herself. Some people she met after the movie came out were also afraid of her.

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Land Cover CCI, ESA
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Afternoon Map
European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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