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13 Vintage Photos of Big Cats for International Cat Day

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Happy International Cat Day! Get your feline fix with these vintage photos of big cats in action.

1. BIG CAT STARE DOWN

June 1928: In the same cage, a lion and a tiger are outstaring each other.

2. JUST A DOG AND HIS BOXER PALS

1950: A lion shares a cage with some boxers.

3. LION VS. LEOPARD

A woman circus performer, dressed in a leopard skin gladiator costume, places her head in a lion's mouth. (Date unknown.)

4. A VERY TIRED LEOPARD CUB

1935: A Leopard cub in a cage at the zoo.

5. PUMA BINGE-WATCH

1955: Kiba, a South American puma sleeping in the front room of her master's home, while the family watches television.

6. LOUNGING LION

1930: A lion lies on a couch while his trainer kneels beside him.

7. GIVE A CAT A BONE

June 1956: A three-month-old tiger cub abandoned by her mother at birth tackles a bone at the London Zoo.

8. A LITTLE R&R

1939: Habiba, a 10-year-old lion at Chessington Zoo in Surrey, relaxes while keeper Hans Brick manipulates its hind legs.

9. GAME ON

February 1937: The game hunter, Mr Gandar-Dower, and one of the cheetahs which he brought back to Hackbridge Kennels, Surrey, from Kenya.

10. BATH TIME

1940: Melvin Koaants cleaning the African Lion at Los Angeles Zoo.

11. BE TRUE TO YOUR TEETH

December 1936: George 'Tornado' Smith cleaning the teeth of his pet lioness, Briton, at the Kursaal amusement park in Southend, Essex. Smith is a stunt motorcycle rider on the wall of death sideshow at the park and Briton features in his act, riding in a sidecar.

12. WINSTON CHURCHILL'S MEETING WITH A LION CUB

July 1943: British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill with his wife Clementine holding a lion cub during a trip to London Zoo.

13. TIGER WEIGH-IN

July 1960: Frank Meakins weighs Doreen and Julie, twin tiger cubs, born at the Whipsnade Zoo, in May.

All photos and captions courtesy of Getty Images.

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technology
This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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