Sneaky Manatees Surprise Paddleboarders

When a group of manatees sneaks up on a couple paddleboarding on the clear waters of Florida’s Weeki Wachee River, the paddlers can’t help but pause and take in the stunning sight.

Manatees, also known as sea cows, are herbivores that live in shallow coastal waters. About 5,000 of the marine animals live in Florida.

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10 Buddha Quotes To Live By

People of every faith could stand to learn a thing or two from Buddha. He has inspired generations of people with his ancient, intelligent sayings. They stand true to this day. Here are some of our favorites.

1. We much change the way we think in order to make things better.

“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”

2. We are what we think we are.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything.”

3. It’s harder to figure yourself out than to figure other people out.

“To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.”

4. Dream big and big things will happen.

“What we think, we become.”

5. If your work doesn’t move your spirit, it’s time to find different work.

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”

6. Don’t let your fears get in the way of your dreams.

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

7. You won’t get further in life without giving it your all.

“You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.”

8. Those who don’t fear themselves don’t fear anything else.

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

9. If your heart is full of hate, you’ll be consumed by hate.

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

10. Live each day to the fullest and you won’t be afraid of death.

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”

Robin Williams’ Daughter Posts Inspirational Message a Year After His Death

Zelda Williams, daughter who the late, great actor Robin Williams named after the Nintendo character, seems to be in a pretty good place just over a year after her father’s tragic suicide.

The 26-year-old, who you may remember was driven off of social media altogether by trolls who sent her fake autopsy photos of her dad, is back on Instagram where she posted an inspirational message and urged those dealing with depression – as her father was – to hold on to hope.

Moonrise on the lake I spent this night shivering and laughing under a clear, cold sky full of stars with people I love just to witness something beautiful. We mooned the moon and laughed ourselves hoarse, and I’m so incredibly grateful for every silly second. I came to a realization this year that I feel compelled to share here, for whomsoever may need it: Avoiding fear, sadness or anger is not the same thing as being happy. I live my sadness every day, but I don’t resent it anymore. Instead, I do it now so that the wonderful moments of joy I do find are not in order to forget, but to inhabit and enjoy for their own sake. It’s not easy. In fact, I’d say it takes much more effort to consciously do than it does to just stay sad, but with all my heart, I cannot tell you how worth it it is. And for those suffering from depression, I know how dark and endless that tunnel can feel, but if happiness seems impossible to find, please hold on to the possibility of hope, faint though it may be. Because I promise you, there’re enough nights under the same yellow moon for all of us to share, no matter how or when you find your way there.

Why Floridians Should Prepare for Tropical Storm Erika, But Not Panic

Tropical Storm Erika was a minimal storm as of Wednesday morning, with maximum sustained winds of just 45 miles per hour. It is cruising toward an encounter with parts of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. The question on every Floridian’s mind, though, is what the storm will do next.

Here’s the bottom line — we don’t know.

Based on the storm’s weak status, a hostile atmosphere that will prevent short-term strengthening of the storm, and computer models that are flipping back and forth like Senator Bernie Sanders’ hair in a strong breeze, forecasters won’t know what this storm is likely to do with confidence for at least another 24 hours — or maybe longer than that.

Some computer model projections are downright frightening, though. That much is true. But this doesn’t mean they’re correct. Take the HWRF model, for example (pronounced “H-Warf”).

This is a computer model that was recently upgraded. It has a high resolution that enables it to simulate the inner workings of an incipient storm more accurately than models that divide the world into larger grid boxes.

It is portraying T.S. Erika as a clear and present threat to parts of the U.S. by consistently showing that the storm — which is currently struggling in a hostile environment with wind shear and dry air trying to rip the storm apart — will intensify rapidly in about three days from now.

The computer model, along with a few others, shows the storm as a Category 2 or 3 hurricane located near Miami or West Palm Beach by Sunday or Monday.

But other computer models disagree strongly. These are also traditionally reliable models, such as the Global Forecast System model, or GFS, which show the storm getting sheered to smithereens before it reaches Florida, thereby posing little threat to the Sunshine State.

Then there’s the middle-of-the-road solution from the European model, which has a reputation for accuracy in many, though not all, situations like this (it was not the most accurate model forecasting Atlantic tropical cyclones last year, the GFS was). The European model is also projecting a more robust storm approaching the Southeast coast by early next week.

So, if you’re sitting in a Miami high-rise condo along the beach right now, or really anywhere from South Florida to North Carolina, it’s time to review your hurricane preparation plan and map out what you’ll do if this storm strengthens and heads your way. The forecast is too low confidence to narrow details down with much specificity, however.

But it never hurts to prepare.

As the National Hurricane Center put it in an understated forecast discussion on Wednesday morning, “The intensity forecast remains very uncertain.” A more accurate discussion might have said, “This storm is giving us serious heartburn.”

As for the storm track, the official Hurricane Center forecast shows the storm approaching Miami as a hurricane by 2 a.m. ET on Monday morning, but the “cone of uncertainty” is quite large that far out.

As Hurricane Center forecasters said Wednesday, “Given the uncertainty, this is a good time to remind users that average NHC track forecast errors over the past five years are 180 miles at day four and 240 miles at day five.”

It can be frustrating for coastal residents to deal with highly uncertain storms like this, but we all make decisions in the face of uncertainty every day. The prudent thing to do right now is to keep a wary eye on this storm, as it’s going to have a few surprises up its sleeve.

Florida is Opening its First Gun Range That Serves Alcohol

Florida is opening its first gun range attached to a restaurant with a liquor license in Daytona Beach. This actually isn’t an unprecedented concept for our great nation, as Oklahoma City somewhat famously opened a gun range with a liquor license in 2014. And hey! This is Florida we’re talking about. What could go wrong?

The Daytona Beach News Journal seeks to dispel concerns:

The new entrepreneurs, Ron Perkinson and Edward Staudt, of Port Orange, said they’ll turn the property at 2900 Bellevue Ave. into an upscale restaurant that serves alcoholic libations and an indoor gun range. Perkinson stressed that he’s opening a restaurant, not a bar. But he said he needs alcohol sales to make the restaurant profitable.

Perkinson said he’s studied combining restaurants and ranges for two years and will take his precautions further than those of other establishments across the nation. He said he’ll keep a watch list for customers who could be trouble and he’ll contact police when necessary.

A watch list of customers who may cause trouble! That sounds about as foolproof as oh, I dunno… America’s firearms regulations in the first place? Perkinson claims that the restaurant will also be required to scan the drivers licenses of anyone partaking in an alcoholic beverage. Sounds like a winning plan to me.

TAKE NOTICE POLK STALKERS: STUDY FINDS THAT ONLINE HARASSERS ARE LITERALLY LOSERS

When you are in a relationship with someone, undoubtedly, their past is sure to arise at some point. So when multiple notifications from different social networks started showing up on the computer which my girlfriend and I share, it was nothing at at first… a new message from Ryan McCoy of Tampa on Facebook. Quickly it escalated two, three then seven unanswered messages, followed by Direct Messages on Twitter, emails and even LinkedIn messages. So, it was time to ask… “Who the fuck is this guy and what the Hell is wrong with him?” I know if I send someone a message and don’t get a response, I leave that person alone. Maybe they’re busy or just do not wish to respond. The latter being the case in this scenario.

It’s a practice that is certainly foreign to me… and something I find not only desperate, but quite frankly pathetic. I have heard of this harassment before from female friends and colleagues so I decided to take a look deeper into the research which attempts to look into the minds of these “losers”.

Here’s a research finding that should surprise no one: The men most likely to harass women online … are the men most likely to have their own problems.

That bit of validation comes courtesy Michael Kasumovic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff, researchers at the University of New South Wales and Miami University, respectively. For their latest study, published in the journal PLOS One last week, the duo watched how men treated women during 163 plays of the video game Halo 3.

As they watched the games play out and tracked the comments that players made to each other, the researchers observed that — no matter their skill level, or how the game went — men tended to be pretty cordial to each other. Male players who were good at the game also tended to pay compliments to other male and female players.

Some male players, however — the ones who were less-skilled at the game, and performing worse relative their peers — made frequent, nasty comments to the female gamers. In other words, sexist dudes are literally losers.

A chart from the Halo study that shows how nice male gamers were to other males (dotted line) and females (solid line) during gameplay. Men always treat each other about the same. But the better a player gets, the more likely he is to be nice to ladies. (Kasumovic et al)

In today’s online environment, alas, this is not an idle observation. According to a recent Pew report, 40 percent of Internet users have personally experienced harassment. While both genders are frequent victims of this abuse, women tend to get the worst of it: They are “particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking,” Pew said.

I asked Kasumovic, the lead author on the study, how applicable his findings were in other online or offline settings. In other words, how much of this derives from human nature, and how much of it relates to the unique demands of first-person shooters?

Kasumovic argues that video games actually make incredible proxies for studying real-life behavior — Halo 3, especially.

There are three things you should know about the game, for the purpose of understanding this study: (1) players are anonymous, and the possibility of “policing individual behavior is almost impossible”; (2) they only encounter each other a few times in passing — it’s very possible to hurl an expletive at another player, and never “see” him or her again; and (3) finally, and perhaps predictably, the sex-ratio of players is biased pretty heavily toward men. (A 2014 survey of gender ratios on Reddit found that r/halo was over 95 percent male.)

That should sound a whole lot like a lot of other, frequently sexist online spaces: Think Twitter. Or Reddit. Or 4chan.

In each of these environments, Kasumovic suggests, a recent influx of female participants has disrupted a pre-existing social hierarchy. That’s okay for the guys at the top — but for the guys at the bottom, who stand to lose more status, that’s very threatening. (It’s also in keeping with the evolutionary framework on anti-lady hostility, which suggests sexism is a kind of Neanderthal defense mechanism for low-status, non-dominant men trying to maintain a shaky grip on their particular cave’s supply of women.)

“As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status,” Kasumovic writes, “the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank.”

In other words, like your mother always said, bullies just feel bad about themselves.

This does not, alas, suggest any solutions for on- or offline sexism, or any hope that it will ever really end. (“There are so many more questions we’ve already begun to to ask and our results are looking really interesting,” Kasumovic said.)

Until then, ladies, Facebook and Pinterest are your friends! Those are, for better or worse, two of the online spaces where this type of sex-ratio imbalance isn’t much of a problem: Women on both sites solidly outnumber men.

Save Money on Back-to-School Snacks and Drinks at These Retailers

Much as we hate to admit it, it’s time to start thinking about back to school. I’m sure we’d love to not buy anything for the start of a new school year until the day before, but that’s never a good idea. Store shelves will be empty, and we’ll miss out on the savings we get from clipping coupons and matching them up with store specials. We’ve already bought much of the paper, pens, folders and other items on the long list of school supplies for both of my boys. Now, with this month’s printable grocery coupons, there’s an opportunity to save some money on the snacks we’ll be putting in their lunch boxes.

There are plenty of coupons for healthier snacks and even drinks like single-serve organic milk or juice pouches in this month’s offerings. In fact, most of the organic and natural coupons this month are for kid-friendly items to include in your healthy school lunches.

Target (must be used at Target stores)

  • Horizon Single-Serve Organic Milk 6 or 12 pack $1/1
  • Horizon Snacks, Buy One Get One Free
  • Food Should Taste Good Snacks $.75/1
  • Horizon Mac & Cheese $1.10/2
  • Larabar Bars $.75/3
  • Beech-Nut Organic Jars $1/3
  • Gerber Organic 2nd Food Pouches $1/5
  • Gerber Organic Pouches $1/4.

Coupons.com

  • Horizon Snacks, Buy One Get One Free
  • Food Should Taste Good Chips $.75/1
  • Horizon Mac & Cheese $1/2
  • Horizon Single Serve Organic Milk 6 or 12 pack $1/1
  • Larabar Bars $.75/3
  • Gerber Organic Pouches $1/4
  • Plum Organics Kids Mashups Packs $1/2

Whole Foods (must be used at Whole Foods stores)

  • Barbara’s Better Granola $1.50/2
  • Organic Valley Stringles 6-pac $1/1
  • Way Better Snacks $1/1
  • 365 Dried Fruits $.50/1
  • Whole Foods Organic Juice Blend $1/1
  • Stonyfield Yo Kids $1/2
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers $1/1
  • Kashi Cereal $1/1
  • Honest Kids Juice $.50/1

Smart Source

  • GoGo SqueeZ $1/1
  • GoGo SqueeZ $1/2
  • Kikkoman Soy Sauce (organic option) $.55/1
  • Seeds of Change, Get 1 Free (after taking short survey, coupon will be sent)
  • Earth Balance Mayo or Spread $1/1
  • Florida Crystals Organic Sugar $.55/1
  • Wholesome Sweetener $1/1

The Best Invention to Ever Come Out of Florida is No Shocker

America was founded on the principle of fresh ideas, so it’s no surprise that many of the world’s most important innovations and inventions of the last few hundred years were born here. But what exactly does Florida have to offer in the annals of invention?

Air conditioning…

While the large-scale electrical air conditioning that enabled the great migration to the Sun Belt didn’t take off until the early 20th Century, it was the “cooling system” developed by Apalachicola scientist John Gorrie that paved the way. His unique and somewhat primitive system of blowing air against ice cold cloths was even used as a treatment for a dying President Garfield in 1881.

Former FSU Chief Osceola Killed In An Argument Over How Best To Spice Gumbo

Panama City Beach police have arrested 26-year-old Orlando Thompson, alleging that he stabbed a co-worker after an argument over how much spice to put in the gumbo at the seafood market where they both worked.

Police say that Thompson and Caleb Joshua “Josh” Halley worked together at Buddy’s Seafood Market on South State 79 in Panama City Beach. Thompson and Halley reportedly argued over how much spice to put into the restaurant’s gumbo on Tuesday. According to the Panama City News Heraldthe disagreement escalated. Thompson allegedly armed himself with a wooden board and Halley pulled a small knife:

The confrontation subsided and Thompson walked away. But video surveillance from the business showed Thompson returning…with a 15-inch blade and swinging and thrusting it a Halley, according to police.

Halley — who served as Florida State University mascot Chief Osceola from 2004-07 — was said to have suffered three lacerations to his torso. He was taken to a local hospital after waving down an ambulance, but died two days later.

12 Things About Being A Kid That We Need To Reclaim

For a lot of us, memories of our childhood bring up feelings of nostalgia. Maybe it was a time where we truly felt free and happy; maybe we’ve spent some of our very task-driven, results-focused adult life wishing we could get back to that place. Whether this is something you’ve dwelled on, given a passing thought to or haven’t considered much at all, I think there are quite a few lessons we can learn from the kid that still lives inside each of us.

1. Willingness to hope

When we were kids, we weren’t afraid to hope – and even more than that, we weren’t afraid to share what we hoped for. We’d proudly tell people that we wanted to have the dual career of being Santa Claus and an astronaut when we grew up. As we got older, we learned to be more selective about what we revealed that we hoped for, because we learned that there exists something called rejection (and that with rejection often comes judgment from others). As if it could lessen the blow of not being accepted into the college we were most excited about, not being chosen for a job that we really wanted or being turned down upon expressing our interest in dating someone, we started to believe that hiding what we hope for is the way to protect ourselves from feeling the effects of rejection. We started to believe that we should only share that we’d hoped for something once we know we’ve gotten or achieved it. I couldn’t disagree more. Hiding what we hope for is one of the fastest routes to creating shame, because it leads to self-blaming, feelings of powerlessness and a victim mentality when we don’t get what we want. Hiding what we hope for also dulls our lives down to a dead heartbeat, making us unable to feel true excitement and attaching a “so what?” mentality to perseverance and hard work. Because when you spend more time telling yourself that the things you care about don’t matter, you put up more and more of a shield to your ability to be happy. It’s a risk to share with others what we most hope for, because there is always a chance we’ll be rejected, but there’s also something very courageous, liberating and ultimately intensely gratifying about it, no matter the outcome.

2. Sense of awe

When we were kids, we were impressed pretty damn easily. If you’ve ever seen a bunch of five-year-olds at a magic show, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There will be no fewer than two kids trying to sneak through the guy’s travel bag of tricks; revealing a rabbit in a box that was empty five seconds ago will all but produce mass hysteria; and in general, not one ass will stay planted on the floor for the entire show. As we got older, we became that adult standing in the background with arms crossed, maybe smirking, generally unmoved by what we’re seeing because we know all the secrets of the universe by this point, or at the very least the secret behind that card trick. I don’t know when it is exactly that we lose that sense of wonder, when we start to feel like we’ve seen and heard and experienced it all, but I think that might be one of the more damaging beliefs in the entire world. We need awe, badly: it makes us more generous, kind, cooperative and altruistic. It makes us feel like we’re part of a more collective whole; it makes us less entitled and less self-focused. Whether it’s going for a hike, sitting on a beach, listening to live music or something else entirely personal to you, do whatever it is that you need to do to experience awe and wonder every day, to tap back into that kid inside of you.

3. Openness to love

Last year, I was visiting an old babysitter, who now has two young kids of her own. Though I hadn’t seen them in nearly a year and almost didn’t even expect her daughter to remember me, when I walked in, she immediately ran over and flung her arms around my neck without any inhibitions. I almost tripped backwards – there was some pretty serious momentum to that hug, but that wasn’t why. Over time, I’ve become more and more closed, less and less of that child who runs over excitedly and hugs people, who shows love openly. That scared me; when is it that we learn to be so cautious about loving others? Why was it so shocking and difficult for me to receive that hug? At what point do we become so guarded, so protective, of who and what we trust? If we could tap back into the part of ourselves that gives and receives love without fear or caution, I wonder in what other ways we might become more open and freed.

4. Allowing ourselves to be comforted

This is fairly similar to openness to love, but different – and important – enough that I think it deserves to be its own category. When we were kids and we fell and scraped our leg, dropped our blankie into a dirty pond or were just plain exhausted, we allowed ourselves to be comforted by others. As we got older, we learned the art of pretending to be fine, of pretending to not care when something hurts us. We learned to internalize and bury our pain rather than talk about it and seek comfort from those who love us in an eternal effort to never be seen as “weak.” There’s a lot to be said about our ability to comfort ourselves – it’s part of growing up and fostering our independence – but there’s also something very important and very undervalued in our society about asking for help when you need it and letting others in when you’re hurting. It’s interesting just how willing we often are to talk about the times that we comfort others, but just how unwilling we are to admit that we’d like to feel comforted sometimes too. Next time you find yourself feeling hurt or upset, it’d be if anything an interesting experiment to see what it might be like to allow yourself to be comforted like you did as a kid, rather than trying to go at it all

5. A bedtime

Sort of kidding but mostly not. There’s something to be said about having some structure and stability to our lives. Also something to be said about getting eight hours of sleep.

6. Exploring our creativity

As kids, we didn’t look at the Crayola 64 pack (complete with sharpener, yes) and say, “Oh, no, thanks anyway, but I’m not creative.” We sat down and colored. As adults, however, we learned to divide ourselves and others into two camps of people: those who “are creative” and those who “are not creative.” I think this is possibly the biggest load of horseshit out there. Merriam Webster defines creativity simply as “the ability to create.” Just by being human, you possess the ability to create. And part of why creativity is such an important aspect of our lives as humans is that it’s the ultimate expression of our originality. It’s freeing, it’s fun and it gets us closer and closer to our true self, rejecting the believed need for constant comparison between ourselves and others. Through whatever form of “creating” most speaks to you, by tapping back into that creativity that you so enthusiastically explored as a kid – and by simply being you, with all of your nuances and abilities and imperfections – you’ll be bringing something to the world that no one else can offer. That’s powerful.

7. Honesty

We didn’t learn to lie until we learned shame and consequences, because before then, we didn’t know that we’d ever need to lie. Over time, we became hardened and guarded, learning how, when and why to be dishonest. Maybe we viewed it as protecting others or protecting ourselves; maybe it was how we learned to get ourselves out of sticky situations. But a careful consideration of our tendencies when it comes to dishonesty might be the thing that helps us get back to that more pure, optimistic and liberated state that we associate with kids. What in our lives now makes us feel like we need to lie? Who do we tend to lie to? Others? Ourselves? Do our lies tend to help or do they tend to hurt? What might happen if we became more forthright with truths?

8. Playtime

Playtime is hugely important to our happiness and yet it’s often the first thing to go for many adults. We’re so busy trudging through to-do lists in our jobs and at home that to make time for play is basically unfathomable; after all, playing doesn’t produce anything of value and we’re living in a “time is money” world. But when we don’t set aside time to do things that are nothing but fun for us like we once did as kids – when we lose our willingness to be silly – we’re missing out on a major part of our lives. (Not to mention we’re sacrificing the kind of energy and joy and excitement that we can bring to the tasks we have on those to-do lists, so if you were feeling skeptical about getting away from that pile of work you have for an hour, now you know why you downright need to go run around on an adventure.)

9. Curiosity

Before we learned that knowledge was something that would be tested, we wanted to know things purely out of curiosity. We weren’t learning for the sake of a GPA or to drop facts in some insecure attempt to impress others. We just wanted to know things – a lot of things. And maybe over time we retained that curiosity, that desire to know. Or maybe we lost some of that as we became more and more wrapped up by all the things that we were told we had to know. What would get you excited to know again? What would make you approach your world with a more child-like curiosity?

10. The occasional act of rebellion

A little (legal) rebellion can be good for us. As kids we knew this. My friends and I ran away from home; we ate tubs of icing in a closet; we used all the lemonade mix in the kitchen for lemonade stands, broke tables by dragging them out to the sidewalk and generally ended up drinking all of it ourselves and being wired till midnight – so on and so forth. Half of the time our parents were probably ready to put us on the curb with a “FREE” sign strapped around our necks, but at least we were pushing boundaries. A little rebellion is fun, it’s exhilarating and it definitely teaches us a few things, at the very least about who we are and what we’re willing to try. It makes us a little bit braver, a little more courageous. As we get older and filter into adult life though, with its obligations and expectations of us, we start to rebel less and less and conform more and more. Part of that’s probably because the part of our brain that houses our rationality complex is finally fully developed by 25 (which is to say that it’s probably a good thing), but maybe another part of it is just that we start to forget what it was like to live a little on the edge, to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. I’m not sure what the adult equivalent of running away from home would be (please don’t not show up at work after reading this), but I think you should go do that. A little bit of it. Occasionally.

11. Living in the now

When we were little, we ran around without much worry as to the future or anxiety over the past, living fully and in the now, and maybe that’s because at that point we hadn’t yet developed an ego. I think the ego is that fear-driven place inside us that tells us that we’re not good enough, that taking a risk might not pay off, that cautions us from getting hurt and tells us to avoid, to back away. So we spend years learning to be afraid, and then, maybe sometime in our early adult life, we realize that it’s job to unlearn that a little if we ever want to be happy, if we ever want to again be able to live fully in the now. Maybe it’s in living in the now that we allow ourselves to wake up every day and discover what life at our most alive really means.

12. Authenticity

As kids, we may not have been fully developed, rational, introspective human beings, but we were very much our authentic selves. After all, we hadn’t yet learned what was “cool” and “uncool.” We hadn’t yet learned that there’s such thing as social hierarchy. We hadn’t yet learned that you might have to actually work to simply belong, that belonging amongst other people just like you could possibly be an active pursuit. We hadn’t yet learned to be worried about how we’ll be perceived, that we might need to control and measure our actions against the behaviors of others to make sure that we’re safe and in line with those around us. As we get older – as we become all of these things – we tend to get further and further from who we really are. What might we be like if we tapped back into that place inside of us that lives more by what we love than what we’ve learned we should love? What might we feel towards ourselves and towards others? How might that kid inside each of us come through?