It’s National Dog Day!

Three pugs look happy to be dressed in silly, silly costumes.

Image: Newspix via Getty Images | NBC New York

Happy dog day, everyone! Today is a day for celebrating your pooch’s life and for giving them an extra treat (they hope). National Dog Day falls on this day every year, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate with and for your furry friends.

NDD was founded in 2004 by animal advocate Colleen Paige, and the day gains more traction every year. International Business Times estimates that between 37 and 47 percent of American households have at least one dog, roughly 80 million dogs. NDD is intended to help promote adoption of dogs in shelters; the website, which acknowledges people’s right to own or purchase any breed of dog they like, encourages people to choose adoption first to help rescue the animals that need it.

This year, The Washington Post joined in on the fun with a list of presidents and their dogs. A video shows the Obama family’s dogs, Sunny and Bo; Ronald Reagan’s 1964 Tribute to the Dog; and George H.W. Bush showing off a litter of their dog’s tiny new puppies.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate National Dog Day, consider adopting one—it’s more fun to celebrate with an actual dog! Give your bud plenty of love, snacks, a new toy, or even a fancy dinner. Just remember to make sure what you give your dog is healthy, not harmful.

But if you can’t have or don’t want a pet, there are other ways you can contribute. Donate to an animal charity of your choice like the Assistance Dog Institute which helps service members returning from assignment by pairing them with dogs, or the ASPCA. Give food, beds, blankets, toys, or help pay for veterinary or adoptive care.

Cruise through the Twitter hashtag “#NationalDogDay” for more posts and pictures of our fuzzy buddies, or upload some of your own.

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Tiny Trackers May Help Prevent Honey Bee Extinction

An illustration of a bee on a honey comb.

Image: Shutterstock

An international group of scientists and bee experts have attached tiny sensors to the backs of 10,000 healthy honey bees to help us understand why bees are dying in such huge numbers—and to find out how we can help prevent further loss.

The small sensors transmit information about the comings and goings of the bees to readers strategically placed in hives. The project’s researchers compare the sensor to “an adult carrying a backpack, weighing about a third of what a honey bee can carry,” according to the BBC. The difference is that these little bee backpacks will remain with the insects for the rest of their lives.

The sensors will record any deviations from the otherwise generally predictable activities of the bees to help identify what’s stressing the bees out and how they react to that stress. And if you’re a bee, there’s a lot to be stressed about: increasing loss of habitat, disease, pesticides, air pollution, problems with water, and weather changes. U.S. beekeepers lost 42.1% of their colonies between April 2014 and April 2015, says CNN. Over the last seventy years or so, bee populations have declined by the actual millions.

Without bees, many of the things we enjoy in life would no longer be available, and lovely flowers are the least of the problem. Lots of produce, including staples like apples and avocados, would be gone, as well as many other things; honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in produce, sustaining over 7 billion people. Without the produce bees provide, a world with that many people just may not be sustainable.

With the help of these tiny trackers, we may be a few steps closer to limiting declines in bee population and preventing their extinction. The world will be in a serious pickle—another item we won’t have in our grocery stores—if bees disappear.

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Morgan Freeman’s Granddaughter Stabbed to Death

Morgan Freeman and his granddaughter, E'Dena Hines.

Image: E’Dena Hines and Morgan Freeman | NY Daily News

Actor Morgan Freeman’s granddaughter was found stabbed to death on Sunday on a Manhattan street. Police responded to a 911 call at about 3 A.M. this week and found 33-year-old E’Dena Hines lying on the street with multiple stab wounds to the chest. She was pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital. Law enforcement says that Hines was found lying on the street with wounds to her torso near her New York City home.

A 30-year-old man was taken into police custody at the scene near West 162nd Street as he was seen kneeling over Hines’ body. Freeman issued a statement saying that “the world will never know her artistry and talent, and how much she had to offer.” Hines had studied acting and was involved with teaching urban youth. She is the granddaughter of Freeman’s first wife.

Freeman’s publicist said Sunday that Hines was technically the actor’s step-granddaughter but that he always referred to her as his granddaughter. Police initially said that she was his goddaughter. Police said that the murderer was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and is being treated as an emotionally disturbed person; no charges have been filed at this time.

“Get out, devils! I cast you out, devils, in the name of Jesus Christ! I cast you out!” the 30-year-old man repeatedly said, according to George Hudacko, 65, who saw the attack and called 911. The man who killed her was believed to be her current boyfriend and the motive was unclear.

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Greece vs. Ukraine: It Matters Who Lends You Money

Coins and papers reflect debt and financial distress.

Image: Shutterstock

With economies struggling all over the world, and in Europe in particular, it’s no surprise that many countries in financial distress are looking for guidance. As countries like Greece and Ukraine struggle to overcome their massive debt, both countries have reached out to what might seem like a strange choice for a governmental financial advisor: the private company Lazard.

It’s actually not the stretch it might seem to be at first. Lazard has a history of working with governments: in 2012 a Lazard team led by Matthieu Pigasse helped push through one of the largest debt restructurings of all time for Greece. Lazard has also advised Egypt, Mauritania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And just last year, Lazard helped Ethiopia debut a $1 billion sovereign-bond issue.

“In uncertain or uneven environments, our business model does well, because people are looking for independent advice,” said Matthieu Bucaille, Lazard’s chief financial officer.

“There is a perceived absence of conflicts of interest,” added Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes, a debt-restructuring expert at the law firm White & Case, in explanation for why partnering with companies like Lazard is appealing to many governments struggling with debt.

But the type of financial issue does make a difference in terms of what a company like Lazard can accomplish to help a government in debt. Greece, for example, is mired in political issues, with protests focusing on actions in World War II and Greek resistance to Germans. Ukraine, on the other hand, is involved in negotiations with private bondholders such as Franklin Templeton Investments, which gives them more leeway to work toward an amicable solution.

And for Ukraine, at least, the initial results are in. After months of stalemate, a group of Ukraine’s creditors has agreed to make a small reduction, or haircut, in the $19 billion the country still owes. Franklin Templeton, which holds about $8.9 billion of the bonds, sent a new proposal to the Ukraine government including the haircut—smaller than the 40% Ukraine wanted, but still potentially helpful. This progress comes after Ukraine paid a $120 million coupon on its bonds in July.

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An App That Could Change the Modeling Industry

A model poses in front of a photographer.

Image: Shutterstock

There’s a new app on the horizon that has the potential to eliminate the need for agencies (and their fees) in the modeling industry. “Swipecast” functions a bit like Uber: users—photographers, casting directors, stylists, or models—can simply swipe on their phone screens to connect with each other directly. There is easy access to statistics, rate of pay, and prior work. It’s a pretty neat idea that will allow for new talent to engage in the industry and change it in their own ways.

Peter Fitzpatrick, creator of the Swipecast app and president of the Silent Models NY agency, aimed to make the modeling industry and all its moving parts more accessible to people who were interested in working in it. The app will allow new photographers and models to bulk up their portfolios, get paid more quickly, and avoid the fees charged by modeling agencies. Models can leave reviews about the people they work with.

Fitzpatrick says that there is a rigorous process to being admitted into the app—it is not open to just anyone, and people who abuse the service or act inappropriately will be booted from it to avoid some of the less-than-flattering experiences that are a possibility in working with new names over established professionals.

People in the modeling industry already use picture-heavy apps like Instagram to promote and find business, so there’s a good chance that something like Swipecast will be a success. But while modeling agencies might worry about losing business, Fitzpatrick, as an owner of one such agency, understands that some already-signed models need to run jobs by their agents. To deal with this, Swipecast allows an agent’s email to be linked to a model’s profile so they can screen acceptable jobs.

Swipecast has some real potential to make the modeling industry, of interest to so many different people with so many different specialties, a lot different. Only time will tell if the app will be a true triumph, but it’s looking good.

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