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11 Fun Facts About Internet Superstar Marnie the Dog

Who has millions of fans, her own app, and just became an author? Marnie the Dog, of course. In what may be our first-ever interview with a dog, the canine celeb and her owner talked about her transition from stray to superstar.* 

1. MARNIE WASN’T ALWAYS MARNIE.

Shirley Braha first found the future dog star in a Connecticut animal shelter. The then-10-year-old shih tzu was in bad shape, with a clouded gray eye, matted fur, and rotting teeth. The adoption paperwork listed the dog’s name as “Stinky,” for the substantial odor emanating from her infected mouth. But Braha saw through Stinky’s stench to the wonderful dog inside. She took Stinky home, got her cleaned up, and brought her to the vet for antibiotics and oral surgery. Stinky’s stink disappeared, as did the cloudiness in her eye, and the elderly little dog developed a spring in her step. As Stinky vanished, Marnie emerged.

2. SHE’S PERFECTLY HEALTHY.

People often worry that Marnie’s trademark head tilt and lolling tongue are symptoms of a stroke, but they’re just part of the awesome Marnie package, says Braha. On top of her other initial issues, Marnie had a condition called vestibular syndrome that left her with a permanently cocked head. And the tongue? It’s just really long, Braha says. For a 13-year-old lady, Marnie’s doing just fine.

3. MARNIE IS A FULL-TIME JOB.

Braha became unemployed not long after she brought Marnie home. That was OK with her, she tells us: more time to spend with Marnie, who hates being left alone. “When bae leaves me alone for 5 minutes it is the worst thing in the history of the world,” Marnie explains. 

Braha brought the charismatic little dog everywhere she went, and soon New York was buzzing about Marnie the Dog. Marnie’s Instagram account started accumulating followers, and Buzzfeed ran a story titled “You Need Marnie the Dog in Your Life Right Now.” Her following grew, and grew, and grew. Before long, Braha was printing Marnie calendars and signing endorsement deals.

4. SHE’S THE MOST FAMOUS RESCUE DOG ON INSTAGRAM.

Her head tilt, floppy tongue, huge eyes, and silly captions have earned her nearly 2 million followers on Instagram. At last count, a six-second video of Marnie waddling through a drugstore has been viewed more than 66 million times. The host of the Reply All podcast compared Marnie to Bill Murray. “There’s a class of celebrity who transcends celebrity and becomes an icon,” he said in an episode about Internet-famous dogs. Marnie says she's come to terms with her new status: “If people want 2 sit around watching videos of me, I’m fine with that.” 

5. EVERYBODY WANTS TO MEET HER.

Marnie’s indescribable magnetism dazzles even the glitterati. A picture with Marnie has become a badge of hipness for celebrities like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Miley Cyrus. Marnie and James Franco had a legendary selfie-off. Jonah Hill is a fan, as are Betty White, Laverne Cox, and even Larry King

6. SHE’S AN AUTHOR.

The hotly anticipated Marnie the Dog: I’m a Book hits shelves today. The book features classic Marnie photos and captions, along with some never-before-seen images. Advance praise for the book is glowing: “Wow I’m a book haha lol,” reads Marnie’s blurb on the back. 

7. SHE LOVES MEETING HER FANS.

Marnie is a social butterfly. She attends hotel openings and private parties for her fans, and, if you move quickly, you can even win a date with her at a charity auction. But she and Braha are also happy to meet people on the street, too. “u gotta go out and socialize,” notes Marnie. 

8. SHE ALSO LOVES THE FEELING OF CARPET UNDER HER PAWS.

When asked about how she spends her precious downtime, Marnie tells us that she loves smelling grass, partying, sleeping, and prancing around on rugs. “Personally my favorite day would involve an extremely long carpeted hallway 4 speed-walking,” she says. 

9. SHE’S AN APP.

Are your pictures suffering for a lack of Marnie? There’s an app for that. For $0.99, the Marnie Pro App will insert Marnie’s magical mug into any digital photo.

10. SHE’S A GOURMET.

Marnie’s got a sophisticated palate, and has been hand-served by renowned chef Jean-Georges. She also likes eating off the floor. Favorite foods include broccoli, watermelon, pizza, and bagels. Candy, however, is beneath her. “I smelled gummy bears once,” she says. “It's not a food.”

11. SHE’S JUST ONE OF MILLIONS OF ADOPTABLE OLDER DOGS.

Puppies get all the love, but older dogs make wonderful pets. They’re calmer and often house-trained, Braha says. “You could save a dog who is lonely and terrified in a shelter, possibly facing death, and give it a wonderful second life,” she says. Over the past three years, Marnie has become the light of Braha’s days, and the feeling is mutual. “Older dogs from shelters are so grateful when they get rescued,” Braha says. “They love you like crazy for it.”

 

 *Yes, we are aware that dogs can’t talk. But this is Marnie. Suspend your disbelief.

All photos are courtesy of @marniethedog.

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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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