Finding puppy love: A dating app called Dig helps dog lovers start human and canine relationships

August 13, 2020

Looking for love but haven’t truly connected with your soulmate? You might just be barking up the wrong tree, according to a report by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America.

If you are someone who loves dogs, then you know just how important it is to find a human companion who feels the same way. Which is exactly why sisters, Leigh and Casey Isaacson, created Dig, which they describe as “The Dog Person’s Dating App.”

The app first launched on Valentine’s Day 2018 and now has gone national with the intention of connecting dog people, regardless of whether they actually own a pooch, or are someone who just really “digs” canines.

The idea originated one night in New York City, when Casey Isaacson discovered that her otherwise acceptable date wouldn’t let her dog into his apartment. Standing unhappily on his stoop, as the relationship abruptly dissolved, she had an idea. Casey called the only person she knew who loved dogs as much as she did— her sister Leigh—and Dig was born.

“When you’re dating and you’re a dog owner, it doesn’t matter who reaches out first or how many friends you have in common. If you don’t get along with my dog, it’s never going to work,” Leigh said in an interview with Pet Friendly House. “If you don’t have a dog but you know you’ll want one in the future, you need to know you’re dating a dog person from the start.”

According to GMA, when users join Dig, they can indicate particular preferences— including whether they are already dog owners—or just love dogs. The app then presents users with unlimited matches every day where they can express whether they “dig,” “really dig,” or “pass” on those particular matches.

The goal of the app is to connect people who “live a dog-forward lifestyle” so Dig offers tips from veterinarians and dog trainers to help make that first date and dog meet-up go as smoothly and with as little stress as possible. Having a dog impacts every aspect of your life so it’s extremely important to find out early on not only if you’re compatible, but if your dogs are too. By offering dog-friendly date ideas, the Dig team is helping both couples looking to connect, as well as promoting dog-friendly businesses.

Lizz Evalen, a freelance writer from Chicago, told GMA that one of the great things about her Dig date was having her dog along as a buffer.“Lull in the conversation, make goofy noises at the pup,” said Evalen. “Think you have nothing to talk about? Ask anything related to the pup.”

In addition to helping people make a love connection, Dig is also using their platform to help shelter dogs find their “fur-ever” home. The team works closely with rescue organizations in various cities and at most events will have dogs available for adoption. In addition, their social media is another great way to check out those pups looking to make their own human connection.

With the recent health crisis, Dig events have been put on hold, but Leigh says the sisters have been using this time to focus on further building out the app. One new addition, which will be available over the next few weeks is the digital dog park, a space where users can interact and learn more about one another before matching with someone.

Research contact: @GMA

Scared of school: 4 out of 5 parents are considering homeschooling their kids this fall

August 4, 2020

A new survey has found that four out of five parents nationwide are thinking seriously about homeschooling their children during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The poll—commissioned by Crispy Green, a producer of freeze-dried fruit snacks; and conducted by OnePoll—spoke with 2,000 U.S mothers and fathers to see how families are adjusting to the “new normal” created by COVID-19.

Health is the biggest concern for most parents. The vast majority of respondents say the risk of infection is their biggest worry, according to a report by Study Finds. 

Among the parents thinking about a virtual education, 81% point to increasing health concerns. Eighty-two percent admit they’re more scared to send their kids into a school than ever before.

Parents also worry that, once children are back in class, hygiene issues will quickly put schools at risk. About 60% of respondents don’t believe their children will properly wash their hands in school. Nearly half the respondents say they’re trying to teach their kids about proper hygiene during the pandemic.

Researchers say a majority of parents are also taking this time in isolation to talk to their children more about safety and the importance of social distancing.

Another big takeaway from the poll is how costly COVID-19 will be for parents preparing children for school. Three in four respondents are expecting to spend an extra $147 per child to get them the proper supplies. Those same parents add that getting their kids ready for class will take much longer. They believe prepping to go to school during the pandemic will take an extra 40 minutes each morning.

Despite all the preparations families are making, 77% of moms and dads say they won’t be fully prepared for schools to reopen. Many parents have a long list of demands for education officials before they begin to feel comfortable with the idea of going back to school.

Over half, 55%, want increased COVID-19 testing and regular temperature checks on school premises, Study Finds notes. Nearly the same number of parents want smaller class sizes in the fall. Fifty percent want plenty of hand sanitizer available for children; while 40% of parents want schools to use more digital textbooks, too.

However, despite all the uncertainty tied to the next school year, parents know their children are doing a better job of coping with all the changes than they are. Fully 71% admit they wouldn’t have handled a pandemic as well when they were children.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

Finding puppy love: A dating app called Dig helps dog lovers start human and canine relationships

August 3, 2020

Looking for love but haven’t truly connected with your soulmate? You might just be barking up the wrong tree, according to a report by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America.

If you are someone who loves dogs, then you know just how important it is to find a human companion who feels the same way. Which is exactly why sisters, Leigh and Casey Isaacson, created Dig, which they describe as “The Dog Person’s Dating App.”

The app first launched on Valentine’s Day 2018 and now has gone national with the intention of connecting dog people, regardless of whether they actually own a pooch, or are someone who just really “digs” canines.

The idea originated one night in New York City, when Casey Isaacson discovered that her otherwise acceptable date wouldn’t let her dog into his apartment. Standing unhappily on his stoop, as the relationship abruptly dissolved, she had an idea. Casey called the only person she knew who loved dogs as much as she did— her sister Leigh—and Dig was born.

“When you’re dating and you’re a dog owner, it doesn’t matter who reaches out first or how many friends you have in common. If you don’t get along with my dog, it’s never going to work,” Leigh said in an interview with Pet Friendly House. “If you don’t have a dog but you know you’ll want one in the future, you need to know you’re dating a dog person from the start.”

According to GMA, when users join Dig, they can indicate particular preferences— including whether they are already dog owners—or just loe dogs. The app then presents users with unlimited matches every day where they can express whether they “dig,” “really dig,” or “pass” on those particular matches.

The goal of the app is to connect people who “live a dog-forward lifestyle” so Dig offers tips from veterinarians and dog trainers to help make that first date and dog meet-up go as smoothly and with as little stress as possible. Having a dog impacts every aspect of your life so it’s extremely important to find out early on not only if you’re compatible, but if your dogs are too. By offering dog-friendly date ideas, the Dig team is helping both couples looking to connect, as well as promoting dog-friendly businesses.

Lizz Evalen, a freelance writer from Chicago, told GMA that one of the great things about her Dig date was having her dog along as a buffer.“Lull in the conversation, make goofy noises at the pup,” said Evalen. “Think you have nothing to talk about? Ask anything related to the pup.”

In addition to helping people make a love connection, Dig is also using their platform to help shelter dogs find their “fur-ever” home. The team works closely with rescue organizations in various cities and at most events will have dogs available for adoption. In addition, their social media is another great way to check out those pups looking to make their own human connection.

With the recent health crisis, Dig events have been put on hold, but Leigh says the sisters have been using this time to focus on further building out the app. One new addition, which will be available over the next few weeks is the digital dog park, a space where users can interact and learn more about one another before matching with someone.

Research contact: @GMA

Man is convinced he’s lived a past life after spotting doppelgänger in 1905 photograph

July 31, 2020

Have you ever felt an affinity for—or had phantom memories of—a long-ago era? Recently, one young man was left thoroughly spooked after spotting his doppelgänger in a photograph taken in 1905, Metro UK reports.

Michael Koropisz was left confused by a black-and-white image—which he initially assumed was some type of “selfie,” only to realise it was actually someone from the Victoria era.

The 24-year-old from Stockport, Manchester, England, said: ‘I was sent the photo on Instagram …, as someone thought it was me. [He had] seen it on a website for collars.

“I was gobsmacked when I realized it wasn’t me,” he added, noting, “We have the same hair, face shape, nose, and dress sense.”

Michael said that he couldn’t resist ‘reverse image searching’ the photo—and was shocked to discover that it was taken 115 years ago. In the snap, Michael’s doppelganger—a man in his early 20s—can be seen looking up at his new wife.

According to Metro UK, Michael has more in common with the man in the photograph, as well. He says he always been has fascinated with the Victorian era, noting, “I’ve always been obsessed with the 19th century era and have dedicated my wardrobe and lifestyle to it; and now maybe that’s because of my past life. A lot of people have called me a ‘time traveler’ online, but I don’t know what to think. It has to be one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen, It really does look just like me.”

Michael gets around town on a vintage bicycle, writes in quill, and refuses to watch TV – but he now believes these interests stem from his past life. He added: ‘I don’t know anything about the man in the photo taken in 1905 but by the looks of his fashion, he was either from the UK or USA.

“It really spooked me at first as I have never seen anyone look so similar to me, I feel like I’m looking at a recent image of myself when I look at the photo but of course it’s not. ‘I’m convinced I’ve had a past life now.”

Research contact: @MetroUK

‘The Great British Bake Off’ will be back for 2020—but some key ‘ingredients’ have changed

July 30, 2020

In a television landscape filled with cancellations and postponements, news that The Great British Bake Off—shown on PBS Food and  Netflix in America—is returning to our screens later this year is very welcome indeed.

And it’s not just those who have become avid bread bakers during the pandemic who will celebrate the return of the amateur contestants and their judges. In fact, according to the analytics group YouGov, The Great British Bake Off is the second-most-popular food and drink show of all time (after MasterChef)—as well as the most famous—to come out of the UK.

Along with a brand new host and location, the upcoming eleventh season will adhere to safety measures recommended for avoiding infection by COVID-19. So, although GBBO is coming back in 2020, viewers can expect a much different series this time around.

As Deadline reportsproduction on Bake Off’s latest run is now currently underway, after filming plans were derailed back in April following the nation-wide-and worldwide—pandemic lockdown.

The show’s entire cast and crew,—including brand  new host comedian and actor Matt Lucas, replacing Sandi Toksvig—each quarantined before filming started to allow filming to commence. Physical interactions on-set will also be limited with social distancing. The Paul Hollywood salutory handshake is a thing of the past, tooper a report by Eater London.

The show—which usually is filmed over a leisurely eleven weeks—is being filmed in just four, according to Deadline. New rules surrounding food safety and personal hygiene are also being observed. The crew cannot eat leftovers, for instance, and contestants cannot see their family while filming.

As Metro reports, the long-running baking competition also has moved from its usual home in Welford Park, Berkshire, and instead set up shop in a fresh, more COVID-secure filming spot. “It’s all happening in deep secret, somewhere in darkest deepest Britain in the shires,” teased Sky Studios Chief Commercial Officer Jane Millichip. However, Bake Off’s new home has since been revealed to be situated within the grounds of Down Hall Hotel in Essex.

Speaking to Metro, a representative for the show’s production company previously reassured fans that all efforts have been put into making sure the 2020 series goes ahead. “We’re working hard to deliver Bake Off to the audience this year, the priority is the safety of everyone involved in the production of the series,” the Love Productions rep explained.

The newest member of the cast, Lucas, is set to co-host alongside fellow Bake Off presenter Noel Fielding throughout the upcoming season, and discussing his delicious new TV gig, he told Britain’s  Channel 4 news: “I’m chuffed to bits to be joining the most delicious show on television. I can’t wait to break bread with Noel, Prue and Paul and meet the brilliant bakers.”

While the exact date of the new season premiere has not been announced, Sky Studios’ Millichip recently commented that “You will have your Victoria sponge this year.”

Research contact: @DEADLINE

The sandals that are making a splash in the fashion world this season are called ‘Fish Flops’

July 29, 2020

Like goldfish, themselves, this trend may not be long-lived—but this summer, Goldfish Flops (AKA Fish Flops) are becoming the “new wave” in fashion.

The Daily Beast reports that Goldfish Flops are one of several novelty shoes available on Coddies.com—a site with a tagline that says it all: “Unusual shoes for people with imagination.”

The fish flops come in several colors, including hot pink, green, blue, and silver. (For those among us who cherish a matching set, you can also buy an adorable two-pack of face masks with a scale pattern on them!)

And it’s not just fish that Coddies offers for your feet. Other popular products, according to the site, include Bread Loafersshoes in the shape of bananas, and slides designed to look like cut mangoes. Also: cabbage creepers!

And although virtually every garment has been subject to some novelty craze or another, shoes do seem to have become the nexus of a certain kind of deranged imagination. Looking back, the hottest craze among the elementary school set during the mid-’90s was Jellies—available in a rainbow of plasticized colors! Then in marched the light-up sneakers. Then Heelys skated onto the scene.

And as just about anyone who’s ever visited Etsy knows, you can get just about anything painted on a Vans slip-on.

As Daily Beast writer Laura Bradley notes, “At a time when I have to constantly cover my face, I view the tacky, dead-eyed fish on my feet as a statement piece. I want to let others know that I, too, am losing my mind with bored, impotent desperation.

“Still,” she says, “I can only hope that next time I see these neighbors, they’ll all be wearing Cabbage Creepers and Bread Loafers and Banana Splits. Because I have to say: $27.98 might sound steep for a pair of ugly, fish-shaped novelty shoes—but it’s already the most joy per dollar I’ve found in my life. And right now, that’s priceless.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Penguins at England’s Newquay Zoo perk up and play during pandemic with new bubble machine

July 28, 2020

Who can resist a shiny stream of bubbles—blowing willy-nilly in front of them? Certainly not the penguins at the Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, England, who were both fascinated and delighted when a patron recently donated a bubble machine for their amusement, the Good News Network reports.

The bubbles, which cause no harm to the animals, have in the past also proven popular among the zoo’s squirrel monkeys and Sulawesi crested macaques. But they were particularly appreciated by the penguins, who had been sorely lacking in entertainment since the pandemic began.

Penguin caretaker Dan Trevelyan told Good News Network that the bubbles help to keep the penguins’s predatory reflexes sharp.

“In the wild, these guys are marine predators who are very sensitive to objects and movement,” said Trevelyan. “The bubble machine is fantastic, as all the movement and new shapes and colors really stimulate these guys. They have a great time chasing them around. And all these donations are really appreciated.”

Animal enrichment programs are used to provide zoo animals with specialized stimulation designed to encourage their natural behaviors and prevent them from getting bored. Enrichment usually consists of branches and foliage, but can also come in the form of food hidden in hard-to-reach places for the animals to find.

These birds in particular are usually kept occupied by feeding shows and guests visiting the zoo, but due to the novel coronavirus, their daily routine was forced to change. Thankfully, Newquay Zoo fully re-opened to the general public on July 1.

Research contact: @goodnews_ntwrk

Film your day on July 25 for a chance to be co-director of a documentary premiering at Sundance

July 27, 2020

On Saturday, July 25, film your day and you may become part of an historic global documentary, produced by Ridley Scott, directed by Kevin Macdonald, and premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

In 2020, history is being made every day, the collaborators say on their Life In A Day website: Australian bush fires. Civil unrest in Hong Kong. A pandemic that is taking precious lives and has changed the way we live. Protests in every corner of America—and around the world—to assert that Black Lives Matter.

“But in the midst of these extraordinary events, life still continues,” they say, adding, “We share moments, music, and meals. We dance. We laugh. We cry. We love. We fear. We hope. What if we captured all of it in a single day?

Through August 2, filmmakers worldwide are invited to upload their July 25 footage of a day in their lives to the official site. Anyone can participate and submissions from all over the world will be woven together to create a feature film; which will be shown not only at Sundance, but will be posted on YouTube for posterity.

Show what life looks like to you: either your everyday routine, or something special that’s happening on that day. You can film the people in your life, or capture the day of someone you find interesting

You can film as much or as little as you like. The collaborators—who also will serve on the judging team, with input from researchers and editors—will select “the most compelling footage” to include —and will grant a co-director credit to the chosen few.

Your video(s) should be recorded between 12:01a.m. and 11:59p.m. in your local time zone on July 25, You are encouraged to film your world however you see it; however, no violent, graphic, unlawful, or dangerous content, will be selected. Please follow the Official Terms

The ambition of the team is to create a time capsule to show future generations what it was like to be alive on July 25, 2020.

Learn more about filming requirements and how to take part. Participants can submit footage in any language.

Research contact: @LifeInADay2020

The inflatable pool has become the official symbol of America’s lost summer

July 24, 2020

Many Americans would say that their favorite “watering hole” this summer is above-ground, in the backyard. While the heat ratchets up—and many community pools remain closed for the duration of the pandemic—the symbol for “better than nothing,” has become the inflatable pool

There are plastic pools for every size and breed—doggy pools, kiddy pools, and bigger ones that can fit a whole family—but many already are sold out nationwide, The Washington Post reports.

That was the situation that Aaron Kraus faced, the news outlet says, and his kids are now happily spending the summer splashing around in a pool made for dogs.

“We went on Amazon to look for kiddie pools, and they were sold out until, like, way into the fall,” Kraus, 37, of Rockville, Maryland said in an interview. “We told them it’s a doggie pool. They couldn’t care less.

“It’s very 2020,” he added, meaning the act of “putting together really ad hoc solutions to a dystopian nightmare.”

Some pool-seekers have plunged into something more like farce. Jess Flynn, of Boise, Idaho, told the Post that she bought what she thought was a five-foot doggy pool on eBay. When it arrived, Flynn said, “I just kind of screamed, kind of laughed”: The pool was just large enough to fit a very small hamster.

“ ‘This is so 2020,’ is what I thought as soon as I saw it,” she said. “Like, the promise of something fun. And then the reality of what this year has brought.”

Flynn said she might use it as a water bowl for her and her neighbor’s pets.

The same thing happened to Bill Ribas of Pittsford, New York —same product, same disappointment. Ribas says he was offered a full refund if he would pay to ship the pool back to China. Instead, he has reclaimed it as a foot bath.

Some of those who succeed in acquiring a dog- or even human-sized pool are finding that these inflatable substitutes can become a reminder of how much you miss the real thing.

Carla Green, 28, of Los Angeles, told the Post that it came down to “the balance between how good of a time I had and how much of a pain it is to inflate it,” adding,” And draining it is no simple task, either. When you fill a pool with that much water, it’s really heavy. You can’t just, like, dump it out.” She realized that the hard way when she temporarily flooded her backyard.

Robert Burke, 39, bought a large inflatable pool last summer for his backyard north of Pittsburgh, but his children barely used it because the water was too cold and the bottom got slimy. This summer, as the pandemic stripped away many other entertainment options, Burke saw an opportunity to really do it right.

Thus began a series of Amazon purchases, all side-eyed by his wife: hoses, a pump, a pool skimmer, a chlorine float, various chemicals and test strips, a WiFi-controlled timer for the filter, a weatherproof cabinet to house the pump, an underwater vacuum, valves, clamps and a custom pool cover. His $60 kiddie pool quickly turned into a $560 pool.

If kiddie pools are symbols of compromise, Burke’s project was a symbol of defiant resolve, reports the news outlet. “I’ll always think of it as, like, this manic dumping ground for all the things I wished I was doing,” he said. “And really what we’re talking about is a bunch of water that two kids pee in.” (As for his children: “When they’re in it, they love it,” Burke said, but given that they have the attention spans of a 2- and 4-year-old, they will often climb out and make a beeline for the swings instead.)

“To work all day and just get out of the stale air conditioning and into this nice body of water with my little cocktail and just sit there for 45 minutes and relax,” said Heather Hart, 43, of Minneapolis. “It was lovely. Totally worth $124.” (Even though her dogs are scared of it, and it’s killing some of her grass.)

Makisha Thompson, 46, of Stockbridge, Georgia, was brainstorming with six friends about safe, socially distanced ways to see each other. They realized they could each get their own inflatable pool for $22. “We literally went from Aldi to Aldi,” she said, referring to the supermarket chain, “looking for these pools until we had enough.”

It took hours to fill them all up. The women then separated the pools with tiki torches and arranged them in a circle around a giant watermelon-shaped sprinkler Thompson found at Walmart. Then they settled in for a sunny afternoon drinking boozy punch.

Happiness reigned supreme. “We call ourselves the little backyard beauties,” Thompson said.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Test your board game skills at the virtual Mind Sports Olympiad

July 23, 2020

Are you a master at Scrabble? A wizard at chess? A sought-out partner at bridge? Or a genius at Settlers of Catan? Then this just might be the perfect time to sign up for the annual Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO), a tabletop gaming and skills tournament going virtual amid the pandemic, reports The Boston Globe.

The event 15th annual event runs through the month of August, and registration is free to global audiences this year.

“Now is an amazing time to go global,” said event organizer Etan Ilfeld. “People everywhere are sharpening their skills and can put them to the test here.”

Gamers can sign up for classic events, like Bridge, Countdown, Draughts, and Checkers, or multi-player games including Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Quatro, 7 Wonders, and Kingdomino. The tournament also hosts exam-style activities — a speed reading and creative-thinking test, an intelligence challenge, a mental calculations quiz, and Sudoku.

Started in 1997, the MSO usually accommodates around 1,800 gamers every year for a week in London. Ilfeld hopes the upcoming remote alternative will attract at least double, or even triple, the number of participants, he told The Boston Globe.

“We designed it so it’s time-zone-friendly for the States,” he said. “It’ll be quite an event for sure, so we wanted it to be accessible to as many people as possible.”

A handful of games, like Rummikub , could not be translated online but have been replaced by new additions. TBA prizes will be awarded to winners.

The event starts Aug. 1 and each tournament competition is pre-scheduled and described on www.msoworld.com. Registration is required.

Among the sponsors and partners of the competition are Mensa, the World BackGammon Federation, the World Puzzle Federation, Europe Masters, and London On Board.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe