First Woman Passes Marine Corps Infantry Training

It’s been an empowering summer for women all over the world. A generous mom donating 5,000 pints of breastmilk and OB-Gyn delivering another woman’s baby before her own are proving than women are, in fact, super. At the cherry on top of a closing September is an anonymous lieutenant who became the first woman to pass the Marine Corps infantry training.

“Female troops are invaluable for searching houses and communicating with local women, gaining access to spaces and information that, because of local custom, male troops cannot get,”

The woman, set to lead a 40-strong platoon, passed a 13-week course along with 87 others. Of 1.4 million active troops in the United States, only 15% are female, making the feat doubly impressive.

The Corps says it educates would-be officers in “the leadership, infantry skills, and character required to serve as infantry platoon commanders”.

The everyday Wonder Woman will be stationed at Camp Pendleton, California for her first assignment. It looks like girl power is certainly on the rise!

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AI System Can Recreate Video Games It Observes

I wouldn’t be surprised if one day AI systems ruled the world. While there are skeptics, most people in the technological industry remain pretty optimistic. And with good reason. A system built by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology can recreate video games by observing them for only 2 minutes.

The team did this by training the AI on footage of two distinct types of players making their way through Level 1 of Super Mario Brothers. One that adopted an “explorer” style of play and the other a “speedrunner” style, where they headed straight for the goal.

The system managed to rebuild an accurate representation of the game with only minor deviations. It’s impressive and also far less creepy than an AI creating its own language.

“Our AI creates the predictive model without ever accessing the game’s code, and makes significantly more accurate future event predictions than those of convolutional neural networks,”

Okay, so its capabilities are still sort of spooky, but useful, nonetheless. The program, which is algorithm-based, could be vital in pattern recognition, among other things. In the end, the model is an effective training method that can also be easily controlled by users — phew!

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Deaf Pit Bull Is Washington’s Newest K-9 Unit

There isn’t a lot that dogs can’t do, besides — of course — talk (although we wish they could). They’re keeping greenhouses safe and even proving to paraplegics that anything is possible. But unwanted pit bull Ghost is turning even more tables, becoming Washington’s first deaf K-9 officer.

“Barb found Ghost to be a very stable dog,” [said Jeremy] Barclay [of Washington State Dept. of Corrections]… “He was very focused and determined to locate his ball when thrown or hidden. This makes for a more trainable dog for drug contraband detection. His high energy was also key.”

The adorable pup was found as a stray, jumping from Swamp Haven Rescue to Olympic Peninsula Humane Society. Ghost now bunks in with handler Joe Henderson, keeping bad guys at bay in the morning.

“I think it’s wonderful that he has his forever home while benefiting the public safety of our citizenry,” said Barclay.

Ghost is definitely the good boy America needed.

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Orcas Can Now Imitate Human Speech

Animals will never cease to amaze us. Whether they’re solving pollution or producing alcohol, our wonder hardly falters. As technology remains on the rise, animals are calling out for attention — literally. Killer whales are showing parrots the real deal, imitating their trainers’ speech.

“We found that the subject made recognizable copies of all familiar and novel conspecific and human sounds tested and did so relatively quickly (most during the first 10 trials and three in the first attempt),”

Star pupil Wikie is a marvel at the Marineland Aquarium in southern France. Whereas most mammals use the larynx to vocalize, whales and the like use a nasal passage. And yes, that makes it all the more impressive.

“Human sounds are easily recognizable by us and if they could produce a human sound that is not in their normal repertoire, that would mean that the only way they could learn it is by listening to it and reproducing it. And that’s what we did,” [said professor Josep] Call.

So far, Wikie has learned to greet guests with “hello” and “bye bye” as well as count (up to two, anyway). Now, excuse me while I binge reruns of Free Willy!

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Be A 5-Star Hostess At Your Local Animal Shelter

For stray pups and wandering felines, an animal shelter is a stepping stone towards a forever home. Or at least it should be. Some promising residents become therapy dogs, while others find families through dating apps (yes, you read that right). Others don’t seem to hit the jackpot. If you’re an animal lover but lack the extra space for a furry friend, volunteering at a shelter might be the perfect side hustle.

As with any non-profit, making a difference isn’t just a monthly stint. Charity groups, especially those that cater to animals, require time commitments. Before diving into the deep end, arrange your schedule. Anyway, most organizations will indicate a minimum amount of hours for students or working volunteers.

Be ready to train. Depending on what you sign up for, training programs may or may not be required. After all, you don’t want to be chasing after a Road Runner stray without the proper equipment. When it comes down to actual tasks, work with your skills and strengths. Do you have an eye for photography? Snapping headshots of handsome adoptables may be the job for you. Are you hands-on and nifty with a comb? Grooming might be your thing.

Animal shelters are all about their tenants and like any hotel, require a load of maintenance. Beyond the animals, you can participate in clerical or manual work. Accountants are totally underrated, despite a slew of paperwork and finances pulled from medical care, neuter-and-spay services, and food alone. Similarly, anyone familiar with carpentry could construct pens and crates.

Supporting your cause remotely is also highly doable (and effective), especially in this day and age. Spread the word by posting your experiences on social media, handing out fliers, and inviting experts to speak at special events. If you have a nickel to spare, gather supplies. While most needed items are often laying around your storage cupboard, others are a little more elusive. Pay a visit to your local Pet Smart. Use Facebook to your advantage to call for donations. Consult sites such as Amazon or eBay — with caution!

If you’re big on events, there’s no going wrong hosting a fundraiser. Whether it be a birthday bash, a school fair, or simple food drive, donate your earnings to your favorite shelter. Even better, allot time to highlight your cause through a speech, video, or game. Learning is always fun when it’s, you know, fun.

At the end of the day, if you’re itching for a companion but can’t yet set aside the funds to care for one permanently, foster them. Falling in love with your temporary house guest may leave you in a sticky situation. Still, the outcome (usually adoption) is often heartwarming one.

Puppies in pet stores may certainly be more attractive than grown ones behind cage doors. Nevertheless, any dog’s eagerness to love and accept you are often immeasurable, regardless of breed or age. They are, after all, everyone’s favorite friend.

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Former Marine Trains Shelter Dogs To Help Veterans

Beyond the fluff, dogs are more than just a humble companion. They act as guides for both humans and animals (including cheetahs!). However, most therapy animals are purchased from breeders, not shelters. This former marine is training abandoned dogs to help veterans suffering from PTSD, giving both a second chance at life.

In 2014, [Chris Baity] and his wife, Amanda, 35, launched Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, which provides free, trained rescue animals to be the equivalent of battle buddies for veterans suffering from physical or mental disabilities.

The dogs are trained to detect oncoming anxiety attacks and distract owners until they are calm. Because of its success, Baity’s organization has been recognized across the nation.

The volunteer-run nonprofit earned Baity the 2016 Red Bandanna Hero Award, which recognizes those whose efforts have made a difference and enhanced lives in an extraordinary way.

Remember, folks — not all heroes wear capes. Or pants.

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