Watch a Hatchling Marine Iguana Elude Racer Snakes on The Galápagos Islands

Nature can’t be scripted, but if this was a live-action or even animated film, I’d watch it. 

If you haven’t seen this footage from the BBC Earth – Planet Earth II, you’ve been under a rock and in this video, as you’ll come to see that’s not where you’d want to be.

Watch as a marine iguana on The Galápagos Islands encounters one racer snake after the next in its quest to stay alive. [Insert The BeeGees track here!]

It feels a lot like losing your way and ending up in a really bad neighbourhood, where you nervously utter the words, “I don’t want any trouble guys….”, after encountering some hoodlums.

Enjoy the unmistakable narration of English broadcaster and naturalist, David Attenborough. He is to nature documentaries what Morgan Freeman is to film.

 

 

Get Your Business to an Award-winning Standard with a Dose of Good Ideas

Sometimes, in order to be a success, businesses need to be dosed up. You need to give them an injection to make them better and get things up to speed. Consider all the things that can help make your company better, and focus on those. Here are a few ideas that will probably help you to get your company up to an award-winning standard.

Iron Out the Creases

A big challenge that a lot of startups face is how to iron out the creases. There are going to be a lot of things that might not be perfect with the company. If you’re just starting out, there are probably areas you need to work on. And it’s important to make sure you iron these creases out and get everything running smoothly. This is something you have got to focus on getting right because the creases can really damage your business image.

Start Using More Software

Any modern business could probably do with a large dose of technology to help it get better. And, one of the ways you can capitalise on this is to start making use of more software. Things like HR software and business management software allow you to do the best for your brand. You can really focus on improving the company, and taking it onto better things. It will improve your organisation and efficiency, and this can only be a good thing.

Make the Business Greener

You should always be looking for ways to break new ground and improve your business at the same time. Think about all the benefits of making your business greener. You present a positive image to the world that you care about the environment. And this helps to draw people to your company. And, at the same time, you can also improve the quality of the company and save money too. Do everything you can to make your business as green as possible. You will be glad you did in the end.

Be a Market Leader

The best way to get your business in an award-winning position is to become a market leader. You want to make sure you are at the front of the queue whenever there is change or a new idea. It’s really vital that you ensure your company is out in front as much as you can. This is the best way of ensuring that you get in there first before anyone else. And, you also need to make full use of PR and marketing too. In order to do this, you have to be proactive and keep your wits about you. It’s important to focus on the market and how it’s changing, as well as the social and economic factors at play. In business timing is everything, and you have got to plan your moment carefully.

When you are an entrepreneur, you don’t just want to achieve mid-table mediocrity for your company. You want to be at the summit. You want to be an award-winning, trend-setting business. And so you should! So, make sure you dose your business with exactly what it needs to get there.

 

Featured Image: Pixabay

Rounding Out 2015 with My Top 10 Blog Posts

This year has been an awesome year for my blog! I started off 2015 with the goal of attracting 12,000 viewers and with the year coming to a close, I’ve already met that target. That’s 8,930 more viewers than 2014!

I wanted to deliver more original content to my blog followers and I was happy to report that by using Q & A format, I was able to do that. My series “How You Living?” featuring friends of mine living in cities abroad was a tremendous success.

Additionally, interviewing entrepreneurs in the tech, film, and fashion industries  was also a hit and those interviews have led me to other interesting personalities (entrepreneurs) and businesses. Thank you to everyone who participated in each Q & A interview. I’ll be doing a lot more in 2016, so look out for those.

So in closing off this epic year of 2015, I’ll be revealing my “Top 10” (technically 11) most viewed blog posts!

No. 10: Introducing One of My Favourite Filmmakers Casey Neistat – A talented filmmaker, entrepreneur and YouTube vlogger working out of NYC.

No. 9: Joeysalads’ Child Abduction ‘Prank’ Will Remind Parents to Warn Their Kids About Strangers – A YouTube prankster who addresses a serious topic in this feature that went viral.

No. 8: Meet SiteManager, the New Web Design Platform That Promises To Make Building Professional Websites Painless – An interview with a Belgian CEO and founder of a web design startup.

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The SiteManager team | Source: SiteManager

No. 7: Germany’s ‘EO Smart Connecting Car 2’ is the Future of Urban Driving – A close look at one of the smartest micro-smart cars to come out of Germany.

No. 6: 10 Questions with Fashion Designer Lubica Slovak – A quick Q &A with an incredibly talented Slovakian-Jamaican fashion designer.

Phresh Interviews Jamaica’s Film Commissioner Carole Beckford – Get an inside look into Jamaica’s film industry and hear about its first-ever film festival.

Carole and actors
Actor Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter (left), Film Commissioner Carole Beckford (center), and Film Director Robert Townsend (right) at Los Angeles launch for the inaugural Jamaica Film Festival in March 2015

No. 5: Fighting Poaching With Offbeat Solutions from Silicon Valley Startup Pembient – CEO and founder of a biotech startup talks about “fake” rhino horns and attempting to topple the black market.

No. 4: Here’s A Quick Way to Name a Graphic Design Business or Any Other – A walk-through on coming up with the perfect business name using several phresh tips.

No. 3: 3 Tips to Improve Your Performance as a Freelance Graphic Designer – Written especially for freelance graphic designers, learn from my experiences on becoming better at what you do.

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There’s no one template design for a time log, just create one that works for you

No. 2: Chinese Animated Short Hilariously Shows How Addicted We’ve Become to Our Smartphones – An accurate and funny depiction of our obsession with mobile devices created by animation student.

No. 1: Quiksilver Japan Designs a ‘True Wetsuit’ For Those Who Work Hard and Surf Harder – One of the biggest brands in surfwear creates an advert cleverly capturing the functionality of its latest wet-suit design coming out of Japan.

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Designers spent two months developing fabric samples

Thanks so much for following along each and every story I wrote about this year. I appreciated each and every share via social media. Have a Merry Christmas when it gets here. I’ll see you in the New Year!

Meet Kevin Richardson, the Lion Whisperer and Learn How He’s Saving African Lions

Meet the man known to South Africa and the rest of the world as “The Lion Whisperer”. He’s a self-taught animal behaviourist who seems to have broken every rule in the book when it comes down to working with animals. His methods are unorthodox, but the results he produces are nothing short of incredible. Learn how he’s trying to save some of Africa’s top predators and most magnificent creatures.

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Kevin Richardson, one man on a mission to raise the awareness around Lions. It still blows my mind how some people can connect with wildlife.

There are reports of lions surviving in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran until well into the 19th or 20th centuries. Africa alone, during this long ebb, remained the reliable heartland. New surveys and estimates suggest that the lion has disappeared from about 80 percent of its African range. No one seems to know how many lions remain in the wild. National Geographic even throws out a number at 35,000, but lions are hard to count.

Lion whisperer 04

The causes are multiple—including habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching of lion prey for bush meat, poachers’ snares that catch lions instead, displacement of lion prey by livestock, disease, spearing or poisoning of lions in retaliation for livestock losses and attacks upon humans, ritual killing of lions (notably within the Maasai tradition), and unsustainable trophy hunting for lions, chiefly by affluent Americans.

The Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary’s mission is to provide a self-sustaining African carnivore sanctuary for the purposes of wild species preservation through education, awareness and funding, especially pertaining to the rapid decline of large carnivores in Africa due to habitat loss, human-predator conflict, unscrupulous hunting, disease and their illegal trade.

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To raise awareness, Kevin has now set up his YouTube Channel ‘LionWhispererTV’. The channel is all about raising awareness about not only the declining numbers of lions, but also how this rapid decrease is happening. By watching these videos, you are directly contributing to their scheme of land acquisition.

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Kevin captures the majority of his footage on GoPro cameras, allowing the viewer to get as close as possible to the lions. By doing this, Kevin hopes to give people an insight into the lives of these beautiful creatures and to let them see just what they can do to help. You can nearly touch them.

Subscribe to their YouTube and Instagram channels and learn how you can help support their work.

Give Respect to All Beings: The Death of Cecil the Lion

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Some of us would rather dedicate our lives to being the voice of the voiceless; in this case a lion. I spend some of my days signing petitions, donating to organisations like The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Air Shepherd who are undertaking actions in geographical areas where I may never travel to.

I also spend time writing blogs, creating posters, and posting stories focused on animal rights issues to help raise awareness across social media. I’m sure my friends get tired of my posts some days. However, I find that it’s also important to use your “soapbox” wisely and spend less time criticising others for the attention they give to something they deem important to them. It take all kinds of people to make the world a better place.

Cecil and one of his lionesses
Cecil and one of his lionesses

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard the selfish and senseless killing of Zimbabwe’s (if not the world’s) most popular lion, Cecil at the hands of a dentist from Minnesota, U.S. of A. A dentist!! A man of science. An “educated” man. He paid the “grand” sum of $50,000 to kill an innocent animal who was one of the biggest attractions in wildlife reserves and worth millions to the local tourism industry. Ahh yes! A wildlife reserve was where Cecil and his pride spent their days hunting, raising their cubs, and fending off the challenge of other male lions who crossed his territory for a total of 13 years.

On July 1st, Cecil was slaughtered after being baited by Dentist Walter J. Palmer who claimed he had no idea the lion was collared and protected under law. A spotlight was turned on him and then Palmer fired a bow and arrow that initially injured the lion. After tracking Cecil for a total of 40 hours (almost two freakin’ days!), he was found and finally shot and killed with a rifle. Man is not and has never been “superior” to other animals, as that superiority is quickly diminished if we were weaponless and face-to-face with a lion. We were meant to be stewards of this planet.

Walter J Palmer is notorious for killing large and endangered animals and has been fined for poaching in the past
Walter J Palmer is notorious for killing large and endangered animals and has been fined for poaching in the past

Primatologist and quite possibly the world’s most famous Conservationist, Jane Goodall released a statement today on Cecil’s murder that read, “I was shocked and outraged to hear the story of Cecil, Zimbabwe’s much loved lion. Not only is it incomprehensible to me that anyone would want to kill an endangered animal (fewer than 20,000 wild lions in Africa today)…”. The entire world has come out in full support of Cecil and some, like Talk Show Host Jimmy Kimmel put into words what so many of us have been thinking. You can watch that video below.

“We were meant to be stewards of this planet.”

Cecil was being studied by the Oxford University who monitored his movements and activities with a GPS collar. Had he not been wearing that collar, no one would’ve found out who took his life and all in the name of what trophy hunters like to tag as “sport”. I watch sports all the time on TV, it never ends in a beheading and anyone getting skinned. To date, the authorities in Zimbabwe have only brought charges to two men involved in this incident, the safari operator and a local farmer. With the release of an arrow with the intent to kill, we were all denied the opportunity of being able to see this magnificent big cat in all his glory.

Cecil the lion in happier days
Cecil the lion in happier days

What some people fail to recognise is the grim reality that face endangered lions in Africa when it comes down to being driven to extinction be trophy and canned hunts, poaching, habitat fragmentation, and conflict with locals over livestock. As the estimates stand, there are 20,000 to 32,000 lions left throughout the continent. Cecil’s story will end with his cubs being killed or driven from the pride by the lion next in the hierarchy, Jericho. It’s the circle of life in the wild as Jericho will try to have the lionesses carry on his own bloodline. On the flip-side, with Cecil’s death and Jericho as the lone adult male lion in the pride, he could also be killed by another group of adult male lions who sense weakness. In that instance, both Cecil’s and Jericho’s cubs could be killed, further exacerbating the decline of these majestic big cats.

“Killing one dominant male lion is the equivalent of killing generations’ worth of lions. All three men deserve to go to prison for a very long time.”

To bring about real change in stopping trophy hunting will involve changing in laws, enforcement, mindsets, cultures and traditions, and creating real employment opportunities for poor families like those throughout African countries like Zimbabwe. Only when people have financial independence will they shift their thinking from surviving for the day to embracing long-term practices that promote sustainability. Governments will need to promote responsible tourism and prosecute those who continue to break their laws. It’s not too late to do all we can across social media and in our daily lives to help be leaders and revolutionaries. Every great movement started with ONE person who gave respect to ALL beings.

The UK’s Driving the Future with a Poop-powered Bus

Get a load of this! UK has launched a bus ran entirely on bio-methane dubbed the “Bio-Bus”. If you haven’t figured it out as yet, this bus runs on poop or if you want to get more technical, sewage.

http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzExLzIxL2U1L2Jpb2J1cy5kNjkzZi5qcGcKcAl0aHVtYgk5NTB4NTM0IwplCWpwZw/9ccff761/b49/bio-bus.jpg

On a full tank of gas, the GENeco bus can travel an impressive 200 miles.

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Makes you rethink the concept of “clean” energy. Love the idea!

Germany’s ‘EO Smart Connecting Car 2’ Is the Future of Urban Driving

Let’s Put This Story into Reverse

EO1 unveiled in 2012 as the first prototype
EO1 unveiled in 2012 as the first prototype (Photo: PR Fotodesign)

There’s one known fact in the automotive world and that is “You can’t beat German engineering!” The EO Smart Connecting Car was first developed by engineers of the Robotics Innovation Center at DFKI Bremen and unveiled in the first quarter (Jan/Mar) of 2012. EO is Latin for – “I go”. Described as “A car that is extremely flexible, can change shapes, and adjusts to the current traffic conditions”, it was also seen as “the car that in the not too distant future will drive itself.” The then prototype was part of the “New Mobility in Rural Areas” project that focused on investigating the innovative technologies of electromobility’.

7 phresh facts from the 'Electromobility in Germany: Vision 2020 and Beyond'
7 phresh facts from the ‘Electromobility in Germany:
Vision 2020 and Beyond’

The “Not Too Distant Future” Has Arrived!

With just five years away from Germany’s 2020 through their “National Electromobility Development Plan” (Read more here…) it comes as no surprise that they’ve revealed the EO Smart Connecting Car 2 (EO2)! This version does everything they said they wanted to achieve for the future and is poised to become a revolutionary urban and lifestyle vehicle. Berlin is Europe’s third most popular city for tourist visits, just behind Paris and London (in that order).

Meet the EO Smart Connecting Car 2

Video: Dipl.-Inform Timo Birnschein, DFKI GmbH

Always being one who looked forward to prototyping, upgrades and movie sequels, the anticipation for any improvement and iteration of an idea or design is for something more exciting and dramatic than the last. The DFKI engineers did not disappoint and have unleashed a winner capable of steering the automotive world into the future. Here’s a snapshot of what the EO2 can do:

  • Double Ackermann axial actuation, drive by wire, and autonomy
  • Drive Mode: Turn on the spot – less stress, more safety, and easier access
  • Drive Mode: Drive sideways for easy parking without hasty maneuvers
  • Drive Mode: Folded for parking – still fully drivable with reduced speed
  • Turn within parking space to drive out forward – improves safety and usability

The EO2 is a dynamic micro-car capable of “growing” from approximately 1.6 (5’3”) to 2.1 metres (6’10”) in height and “shrinks” to roughly half a metre (1’8″) to a length of less than two metres (6’7″). Through its space saving design, the EO2 can facilitate a mechanical connection to other e-cars to form its “fittingly” dubbed “road train”. This definitely redefines some aspects of traditional carpooling, as well as what mass transit could look like within a decade.

A computer simulation of several EO1 prototypes in a so called “road train”
A computer animation of several EO1 prototypes in a so called “road train” (Video Still: DFKI GmbH and Source: Animation Labs)

You know those moments you get stuck crawling out of a narrow space in a parking garage? The EO2 solves this issue courtesy of spatially distributed drives. Then there are those drivers who spend 10 minutes or more of their mornings searching for available on-street parking. We also have those drivers who struggle with parallel parking; well fear not, the EO2 has specially designed axles allowing each of the four wheels to turn 90 degrees. It can basically mimic the movements of a crab. The EO2 comes in at a lightweight 750 kg skillfully maneuvering within a short distance, moving diagonally or raising each wheel separately.

EO2 with wheels that turn 90 degrees for easier parking into a tight spot
EO2 with wheels that turn 90 degrees for easier parking into a tight spot (Photo: Timo Birnschein, DFKI GmbH)

Presently, it has a top speed of about 65 km/h (or 40mph). Currently the EO2 can travel 50 to 70 kilometers (30 to 44 miles) on a single four-hour full charge of the 54V – LiFePo4 battery. The micro car prototype comes able to connect to charging stations, but is still some distance away from becoming road-legal. But with so many of the world’s major cities growing at a rapid rate and as economies continue to boom, more and more cars will be bought by consumers. The EO2 presents a timely solution for greener and cleaner urban transport. It’ll be interesting to see how soon this vehicle makes its way to market. If I had to guess, I’d say within another five years. I’ll be watching with enthusiasm.

Meet the Man Who Is Making a Difference by Walking for Elephants

Today in my Do Good 365 series, we meet Jim Justus Nyamu, a conservationist and elephant research scientist who started a campaign dubbed Ivory Belongs to Elephants”.

His campaign has seen him walk 2,500 miles across Kenya and 560 miles in the U.S. with the goal of raising awareness and increasing people’s involvement to save wildlife (particularly the endangered). Last month he completed a 283-mile walk in Kenya.

Jim Nyamu (left) is joined on one of his walks by a local supporters
Jim Nyamu (left) is joined on one of his walks by a local supporters

Learn more about Jim and his campaign via a Q&A on National Geographic.

Help Air Shepherd Drones Stop Elephant and Rhino Poaching

40,000 elephants and over 1,200 rhinos killed by poachers in a single year,” throughout Africa for their tusks and horns respectively.

Map showing number of elephants poached illegally between 2010 and 2012
Map showing number of elephants poached illegally between 2010 and 2012

Illegal poaching equates to $70 billion dollars a year. This is the single most reason it’s a growing problem driven by the greed, arrogance and ignorance in parts of Asia and Africa.

The "bloody" business of the illegal ivory trade from Africa to Asia
The “bloody” business of the illegal ivory trade from Africa to Asia

In a fight to eliminate poaching, Air Shepherd drones are trying to raise $500,000 via Indiegogo. [The campaign recently ended, but you can still donate via their initiative]

Air Shepherd team in the field helping to stop elephant and rhino poaching successfully in Africa by using drones
Air Shepherd team in the field helping to stop elephant and rhino poaching successfully in Africa by using drones

It’s a valiant effort that needs your monetary support to get them to their goal. Have a look for yourself and make a donation if you can.

To make a donation, just click https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/air-shepherd-drones-stop-elephant-rhino-poaching

Donate directly to their drone initiative here, http://airshepherd.org/

Meet and Help Free Mali, the World’s Loneliest and Saddest Elephant

Since 1977 or for the last 37 years, Mali, a female elephant, has been kept by herself in a concrete enclosure at a Manila Zoo with no dirt and grass under her feet or trees to scratch against and leaves to eat. Her only interaction comes from the visitors who sometimes throw her peanuts.

Elephants by nature are intelligent and complex animals with their own intricate societies that involve a largely matriarchal system. Elephants care, love, play, protect, and mourn each other throughout the course of their lifetime. They spend a great amount of time walking upwards of 30 miles a day over vast amounts of lands in search of food and water.

Imagine the life then that Mali has “lived” after being stolen away as a young elephant from her mother in Pakistan and transferred to the Philippines. It’s nothing short of traumatic. In her current environment, she displays signs of depression and sadness. From a physical standpoint, scientists and biologists have stated she will die under these conditions. Her feet in the nearly four decades have paid the price against the concrete surface and in a video, you can see what is termed “favouring” taking place. This occurs when an elephant routinely lifts one foot off the ground and rests its weight on the other three.

Visitors look at the then 35-year-old Mali at the Manila Zoo in June 2012
Visitors look at the then 35-year-old Mali at the Manila Zoo in June 2012

Enough is enough; animals in captivity still have their instincts and desires for life in the wild. There is an elephant sanctuary ready to take Mali into its family of 12 other rehabilitated elephants called BLES, short for Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary located in Thailand. However, the Filipino officials have to date consistently refused to release her. We therefore need to put pressure on them.

If you are willing to make a difference and do good, take five to 10 seconds of your time and sign this petition via http://www.freemali.com/. I know it takes that miniscule amount of time, because I signed the aforementioned and shared the link via Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you’re in the Philippines you can even help in the protests and boycott the zoo.

Tell your family and friends and let’s get Mali to freedom.