A New Baby Okapi Was Born at the Houston Zoo, and It Wants to Kill Us All With Cuteness

Categories: Whatever

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Photos courtesy of the Houston Zoo/Stephanie Adams


In case you needed an absolute overdose of sugary cuteness today, may we present to you this baby okapi, the Houston Zoo's newest resident.

This as-yet-unnamed baby boy was born at the Houston Zoo November 6, and weighed in at about 40 pounds. He's the first okapi, or "forest giraffe," to be successfully born at the Houston Zoo, according to zoo officials.

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Houston Texans: Your Definitive Week 12 Rooting Guide

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As a society, we've never been more advanced in the functionality we have at our fingertips. Unfortunately, that functionality (which is 98 percent a result of having an app for nearly EVERYTHING on our phones) has made us a little lazy.

As one example, Jimmy John's latest ad campaign touts how quickly they can deliver us a sandwich by pressing a button on our phones, for God's sakes! I do not want to leave this chair for my processed meats and gobs of mayonnaise...BRING IT TO ME!! Hell, even Starbuck's is catering to the craze, promising us that soon they will be able to deliver their overpriced swill right to your office (to those of you who think calling a small "Venti" somehow makes you sophisticated).

We've gone from a microwave society, where we wanted to be able to procure everything in life ourselves just way faster, to a "serve me" society, where we want everyone else to do the work for us and, oh by the way, "bring it to me"! This chair is too comfortable to leave!

Honestly, you people disgust me. (I was looking in the mirror when I typed that, to be clear.) And yet, I want to help you. That means YOU, Texan fans!

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Obama's Immigration Speech Was A Bittersweet Moment for "Dreamers"

Categories: Immigration

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Brian Stauffer
A tinge of disappointment hung in the air at the MECA cultural arts center before the live-stream of President Obama's immigration speech began Thursday night. A small group of undocumented students and families had gathered to hear the long-awaited announcement that Obama would halt the deportations of some immigrants. But as details of Obama's executive action started to trickle out before the address, many began to slowly realize they have family who won't be helped.

Jorge Olvera, a graduate student at the University of Houston, fled violence in Reynosa with his parents and crossed into Texas when he was just 7 years old. The nagging threat of deportation lingered until two years ago, when Obama launched a program halting deportations of immigrants brought to the country illegally when they were kids. "I'd hoped the president would announce something tonight that might help my parents, too," Olvera said. "It looks like that won't happen."


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The Flu Is on the Rise in Texas, Just in Time for the Holidays

Categories: Public Health

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CDC Weekly Influenza Map

Should you want to avoid some Thanksgiving awkwardness with the family, well, just go out into the general public and touch a bunch of stuff. Flu cases are up in Texas, a bit earlier than normal, according to the CDC, which means there's still hope for a valid excuse for skipping out on the turkey talk next week.

According to the most recent weekly survey data from the CDC, Texas is one of the states seeing a significant uptick in flu cases. About 8.8 percent of the folks heading to the doctor with flu-like symptoms are testing positive for the virus, which is quite a bit higher than other regions are reporting.

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Parker Anderson via Flickr
Normally, this is the portion of the Best Bets post where I complain (or, even on a rare occasion, brag) about how I did the week before.

But this week, no complaining and no bragging, and that's for two reasons.

First, I went 3-3 for a second week in a row, so I'm settling into that meaty part of the curve where there's nothing really compelling about how I'm picking games right now. I'm just kind of muddling along at .500 and hoping for the best. (Appropriate that I live in Houston, I suppose!)

Second, this gives me a chance to embed the video of Marcus Luttrell's pep talk to Alabama in this space. Luttrell, of course, is the Navy SEAL who was the subject of the movie Lone Survivor.

Guaranteed, you will feel like a total zero for ever complaining about anything after watching this video....

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A Houston Man Disappears in Gambia, and Officials Don't Seem to Care

Categories: Whatever

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Courtesy Juka Ceesay
Houstonian Alhagie Ceesay and his friend Ebou Jobe disappeared in Gambia in June 2013.
For much of the past year and a half, Juka Ceesay has wondered if her brother was alive or dead.

Alhagie Mamut Ceesay, a 39-year-old father of two, and his friend went to their native Gambia in May 2013 to look into investing in a cashew exporting business. A month later, both men had disappeared, and his family fears they were captured by government officials at the behest of the west African country's dictator, Yahya Jammeh, who has a rather lax approach to basic human rights.

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UPDATED It's Perfect Football Weather This Weekend

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Just because ESPN's College Gameday isn't coming to Houston doesn't mean they're not playing football this weekend.

Update 11/21 at 11 a.m.: UH announced this morning they've moved kickoff to 11 a.m. due to weather.

The weather's supposed to be wet and stormy this weekend. Just the perfect November weather for college football teams to slip and slide in the mud while dodging puddles on the field and scrambling to retain traction. Just the right conditions for fans to travel to Rice Stadium and TDECU Stadium to watch the Rice Owls and Houston Cougars host important games. Rice kicks things off tonight, hosting UTEP at 7 (on FS1) while Tulsa comes to TDECU for a 2 11 a.m. kickoff (ESPN3) tomorrow.

It's the final home game of the season for both, and they're both hoping to put aside embarrassing losses in their last games. The Owls' (6-4) hopes of again being CUSA champs were pretty much destroyed last week after the team's 41-14 loss to nationally ranked Marshall. The Cougars (5-4), meanwhile, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, giving up a 17-14 halftime lead in a 31-24 loss to 3-6 Tulane. And while Rice can claim to be bowl eligible, the Cougars still find themselves one win short of that magical six-win bowl qualification number.

The weather might play to the Cougars' advantage as UH has seemingly abandoned its trademarked high-flying Air Raid offense for something bordering on a power run game but more often resembling a reaction-inspired mess willing to take anything a defense will allow it to take. Head coach Tony Levine has stated on occasion that the team's offensive game plan is to see what the defense does, then react, rather than to go out and dictate the play. That often leaves the scrambling offense looking for any opening to exploit, and it's not always effective.


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Local Youth Minister Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Member of Church Youth Group

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A former local youth minister has been arrested in New York City, accused of sexually assaulting a young girl at the local church where he once worked.

Police in New York arrested 33-year-old Jude Ramdial on charges of sexual assault of a child last week after the local victim reported the alleged assault to authorities in Harris County. Authorities say Ramdial was the pastor of a New York church at the time of his arrest.

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Whitmire and Khator Make Up, Announce Wedding Campus Housing Scholarship

Categories: Education

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Baby, let's play house.
When we last left University of Houston President Renu Khator and state Senator John Whitmire, the latter was chewing the former out over the University's plan to make it mandatory for most freshmen to live on campus.

Whitmire gave Khator such a brutal text-lashing (he called it "one of the dumbest ideas I have heard") that Khator declared the plan DOA and then probably stared forlornly out the window at the rain all night while "With or Without You" played on some distant laptop. But, lo, the clouds have cleared: the University has just announced a $4,000 "Cougar Experience Scholarship" to promote on-campus living, and Whitmire has made the first donation.

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The Galveston Plague of 1920

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Courtesy of the Blocker History of Medicine Collections, Moody Medical Library
Galveston officials fought the 1920 plague by declaring war on rats and poisoning thousands of them.

While Ebola is the most recent incredibly unexpected disease to show up in Texas, it isn't anywhere near the most deadly. Long before anyone even knew Ebola existed, the city of Galveston grappled with an outbreak of bubonic plague.

When the first few patients started getting sick in June 1920, bubonic plague was such a foreign possibility that most doctors in the town didn't even consider it, according to reports from the time. It was only after the first patient, a 17-year-old boy, died that tests confirmed he'd had plague.

The disease sprang up in four different Gulf ports at almost the same time, including Galveston, according to a report published in 1921 by Dr. Mark Boyd and Dr. T.W. Kemmerer, the doctors who ran Galveston's plague laboratories. The timing indicated that there was a common source for the disease, but they were never able to figure out what the source was.


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