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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Two Stranded Sailors and Their Dogs Were Rescued After Five Months in Shark-Filled Waters

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

What was supposed to be a boat trip to Tahiti for sailors Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava turned into an ordeal of nearly five months spent adrift in the Pacific. But the two survived to tell the tale. They were finally rescued by the United States Navy on Wednesday, October 25, along with their two dogs, Gizmodo reports.

Appel and Fuiava—who are both from Hawaii—left Honolulu for Tahiti on May 3, a journey of more than 2700 miles as the crow flies. Shortly after launch, rough weather caused their engine to fail, but the two women decided to continue the trip by sailing. At some point, the vessel lost a mast, and the two couldn't call for help, as their phone had fallen overboard. After around two months at sea, the sailors began sending out futile distress calls while subsisting on a year's supply of dry food stored on their boat.

Sharks attacked the weakened vessel at night. It was "very depressing, and it was very hopeless," Appel told media outlets after her rescue, according to Gizmodo.

Luckily, a Taiwanese fishing vessel eventually spotted their boat as it drifted about 900 miles southeast of Japan, and its sailors contacted the U.S. Coast Guard in Guam. Navy ship USS Ashland arrived the next morning, and crew brought Appel, Fuiava, and their furry friends on board.

Tasha Fuiaba, an American mariner who had been sailing for five months on a damaged sailboat, climbs the accommodation ladder to board the USS Ashland.
Tasha Fuiaba, an American mariner who had been sailing for five months on a damaged sailboat, climbs the accommodation ladder to board the USS Ashland.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Sailors help Zeus, one of two dogs who were aided by the ship USS Ashland.
Sailors help Zeus, one of two dogs who were aided by the ship USS Ashland.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Command Master Chief Gary Wise welcomes aboard Jennifer Appel.
Command Master Chief Gary Wise welcomes aboard Jennifer Appel.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Appel and Fuiava received food and medical care, and will remain on board until the Ashland's next port of call.

"They saved our lives," Appel said in a statement. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the navy] on the horizon was pure relief."

Watch a video of their rescue below:

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Mohd Rasfan, AFP/Getty Images
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This Just In
Australian University Evacuated After Rotten Durian Smell Mistaken for Gas Leak
Mohd Rasfan, AFP/Getty Images
Mohd Rasfan, AFP/Getty Images

If you’ve ever been within sniffing distance of a durian, you would know it: The odor of the Southeast Asian fruit has been compared to decaying flesh, old garbage, and rotten eggs. The scent is so pungent that it prompted the recent evacuation of a university library in Melbourne, Australia, the Australian Associated Press reports.

Firefighters were called to investigate the scene on Saturday, April 28 after a strong smell was reported in the university library of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Police initially suspected it was a gas leak coming from the potentially harmful chemicals stored at the site. It was only after about 600 students and faculty members were evacuated that firefighters wearing gas masks discovered the true source of the stench: a durian that had been left to rot in a cupboard.

Putrid gases from the fruit had made their way into the air conditioning system, where they circulated thoughout the building and got the attention of the inhabitants. Though durian isn’t toxic, the fruit’s rancid remains are being dealt with by the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria.

Evacuating an entire building over some old produce may seem like an overreaction, but the room-clearing power of durian is taken seriously in other parts of the world. The fruit is banned in some hotels in Southeast Asia, and the Singapore subway famously posts signs warning passengers not to carry it onto trains.

[h/t Australian Associated Press]

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technology
There's an Easy Way to Rid Your Mailbox of Catalogs and Other Junk
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iStock

You've signed up for paperless billing. You've opted in on e-statements for your credit cards. But your mailbox is still filled to the brim with envelopes full of useless credit card offers, catalogs, coupons, and charity solicitations. Thankfully, there is a way to take back your mailbox from unwanted junk mail—if you know where to go. According to The New York Times, there is a relatively painless way to reduce the amount of unwanted paper piling up in your mailbox.

DMAChoice.org is a website run by the DMA, or the Data & Marketing Association, a New York-based lobbying organization for data-based marketing and advertising that represents around 3600 companies that send direct mail to consumers, i.e., the sources of your junk mail. In order to try to keep consumers happy (and thus, more amenable to marketing), the website lets consumers opt out of certain categories of unsolicited mailings.

For a $2 registration fee, you can remove your name from mailing lists for catalogs, magazine offers, and other direct mail advertising. Your can opt out of offers from specific companies, like say, the magazine Birds and Blooms or the AARP, or you can opt out of all companies in a category. If you don't want to get any mail from DMA-affiliated businesses, you have to separately opt out of all three categories: magazine offers, all catalogs, and all "other" mail offers.

Compared to ripping up AARP offers every single day, the effort is worth it. For less than the price of a few stamps and a few minutes of your time, you can vastly cut down on your junk mail. While the opt-out only applies for companies that find their direct-mail potential customers through DMA lists, you'll still be eliminating a huge swath of your unwanted mail.

As for those annoying "prequalified" credit card offers, you'll have to go to a different website, but this one, at least, is free. OptOutPrescreen.com, run by the four major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Innovis, Experian, and TransUnion—lets you opt out of all of credit card offers originating from the customer lists provided by those four reporting agencies. You can either file a request to opt out on the website to free yourself of credit card mailings for five years, or mail in an opt-out form to stop receiving them permanently. The site does ask you for your Social Security number, but it's legit, we promise. It has the FTC's stamp of approval.

[h/t The New York Times]

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