As Storms Wash Over, What Dries From The Rain Reveals The Complexity Of The Human Spirit

As Storms Wash Over, What Dries From The Rain Reveals The Complexity Of The Human Spirit

Hurricane Harvey's devastation renews faith in humanity.
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From the wreckage of the cataclysmic storm Harvey, the strength of the human spirit persists with all its complexities. As the terror rages on against the state of Texas, stark images of survivors, dilapidation, and sheer paralysis as a result of such devastation has revealed within itself that which makes humanity so unique, paradoxical, and most importantly: resilient.

Consider these images and among them, you will recognize the vulnerability, the solidarity, and the humanity of those directly afflicted by Harvey and the rescue workers seeking those in need. I ask only that each reader take a pause between each photo to contemplate the gravity of Harvey’s destruction on the people’s of Texas and recognize the blessings that are present within your own lives that you may well cease to acknowledge.

(from Nigerian Oracle posted Aug. 28th, 2017. Depicted here are men aiding an elderly women.)


(from the Berry posted Aug. 29th, 2017. Depicted here is a man evacuating the grossly flooded highway, finding ground to walk on by way of the cement dividing block. Visibly cars are submerged in a deep pool of water.)


(from the Los Angeles Sentinel. In this photo, a young boy navigates his way through the high levels of water to check on a neighbor in the adjacent apartment building according to the Sentinel.)


(from Chron. Depicted here are two people swept in an embrace, comforting each other in the wake of hurricane Harvey’s devastation.)


(from Long Room, posted Aug. 31st, 2017. Along with other victims, A man carries a young boy on his back as they trudge the flooded streets of Houston)


(from NewsOne. Seen here, a man is carried with the help of two men to safety from the murky waters.)


(from Tulsa World, posted Aug. 29th, 2017. Young volunteer Elizabeth Hill plays cards with Skyler Smith who evacuated his home to be placed in a shelter.)


Of all the photographs depicted here, this final image offers a glimpse into the resilient spirit of humanity. Despite the tragedies that have swept across Texas, there still lies within each person a sense of hope. Hope for the future and a hope for continued progress toward coming together for a common goal.

As a nation, we often find ourselves at odds with our fellow man when politics, economy, and warfare take precedence over the fundamental aspects of life. Yet among strife, we must face moments like these through the example set by children. If the innocence of children can teach us anything, it is that we can always be a lending hand to each other despite differences.

To offer help, here are some relief organizations to send donations and aid.

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center Call 210-731-5590 or visit its website.

Carter BloodCare. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.

For animal care, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has provided an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and is accepting donations on its website. (Caron, NY TImes, 2017)

Cover Image Credit: Tulsa World

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Dear Mother Nature, We're Cold And Ready For Spring!

Where is spring and all the fun, warm weather activities it has to offer?

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It begins to set at the same time of year, around the end of February, the overall frustration with the post-January, pre-spring winter blues. Mornings are dark and cold, nighttime starts at 4 p.m., and the motivation to do anything is just nonexistent. Which brings up the question of where is spring and all the fun, warm weather activities it has to offer?

Come December, the holiday season brings out the love of winter the strongest, everyone is merry, spending time with loved ones, ice skating, drinking hot cocoa, cuddling up to watch movies, and just overall taking advantage of the cold weather. However, the weeks following New Years is when the mood starts to change and happiness begins to plummet people seem to fall into a post-holiday funk and the cold weather sure as hell doesn't help. It seems like the month of January is centuries long, I don't know if it's because it has 31 days or if the cold weather somehow stretches out the month, but making it through January is an accomplishment in itself. January is basically Winter in its own, so when it ends, people are more than ready to shake off the snow and get into some warmer days.

Then, February second rolls around and people are eagerly scoping the news to watch a groundhog predict our fate as they anxiously hope for him to not see his shadow and an early spring arrives at last. At least that is what happened this year. It seems that year after year the groundhog sees his shadow, gets scared, sprints back into his hole and we are left with six more weeks of winter, but this year told a different tale. The groundhog saw his shadow and ultimately it was predicted for an early spring. This prediction alone has sparked warm weather anticipation epically. People went straight to online shopping for bathing suits and shorts, rather than sweaters and boots.

Now, it may just be Virginia's wishy-washy weather but I somehow believe mother nature is playing tricks on us. One day will be 65, the next will snow, the next will rain and be 42, and the next will be 75. I even think the early spring prediction made Valentine's day for singles a little more bearable, because the 15th, the day after Valentine's day, was sunny and in the 60s. So mother nature, when is the inconsistency going to stop?

I think I speak for most when I say that we are ready for some spring weather. Ready for no jackets, shorts, getting in your car without having to clear it off first, longer days, flowers in bloom, and baby animals running around. Not to mention actually enjoying walking places in the warm spring breeze, rather than speed walking bundled up in 5 layers with a wind-chill that chaps up your face. It's something about warm weather that just makes people nicer, and overall puts us in better moods. Even on my most stressful day, if I walk outside and its anywhere above 60 and sunny, I automatically feel at ease.

I am not asking to fast forward to summer I am just ready for some mood enhancing, sunny, spring weather to make its way on over and terminate the winter blues.

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