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  • Take a hike, farmers. The cows, it turns out, are perfectly capable of deciding when they need to be milked.

    A new trend in farm-based robotics has dramatically changed the way cows are cared for and milked at farms in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York, according to a report from the New York Times.

    Robotic milking systems, like the one in the Times story, have been popular in Europe for years, but are only just gaining traction in the U.S.

    The benefits are many. The robots work around the clock, improving efficiency. Because the cows are able to be milked more often, they're in less pain. And the farmers get to sleep just a tiny bit more or concentrate on the millions of other things that have to be done.

    To a city slicker unfamiliar with this sort of thing, the machine looks a bit like a car wash, or something from "The Jetsons." The cow steps in. A laser scans a bar code on the cow. The cow gets milked. And voilà — next customer, step right up.

    The Times article profiles the

    Read More »from Cow-milking robots make farmers, animals happier
  • The breakout stars of the 2014 Sochi Games didn't compete in a single event. (They won just by showing up, daaaahling.) Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski were raved about for their commentating performances during Sochi's ice skating events, and they're using that as a springboard to bigger, better, non-Olympic endeavors.

    First up: the Kentucky Derby, where they'll be commenting on fashion for NBC. Yes, the Kentucky Derby, like the Olympics, is a cultural event first, a sporting event second, which makes Johnny + Tara ideal for red carpet commentary on the outlandish hats and outfits of the Derby.

    “We’ve always loved loud fashion and sort of bonded over it,” Lipinski told EW. “The whole Olympics experience was a bit of a surprise. We came in and were focused on doing a good job as rookies. But we’re young and we like to have fun. The fashion was specifically for us every day and it was like,’Oh, people are watching. This is fun.’”

    Both Weir and Lipinski have extensive experience in the

    Read More »from Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski will cover fashion at Kentucky Derby for NBC
  • The sun rises over Emmarencia Dam in central Johannesburg, South Africa, April 22, 2014. As Earth Day is marked across the globe local residents enjoy the natural surroundings is the middle of one of the continents biggest cities. As winter approaches the leaves on the trees are turning and showing their autumn colors. (EPA/KIM LUDBROOK)

    Earth Day turns 44 on Tuesday, and it's more popular than ever. One might suspect the holiday was created by eco-warriors in tie-dyed shirts and leather-fringe vests. Not so. Read on for a collection of facts you (probably) didn't know about Earth Day.

    1. Earth Day was started by politicians

    The holiday and celebration of all things Mother Earth was founded by a Wisconsin politician named Gaylord Nelson. Over the course of his political career, Nelson served as governor of Wisconsin and a three-term Democratic senator. Nelson passed away in 2005, but he left behind a legacy of sensible environmentalism and bipartisanship.

    It was a visit to California during which he witnessed an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara that inspired him to do something about the growing problem of air and water pollution. Nelson did his best to make the movement a nonpartisan one by asking Rep. Pete McCloskey, R-Calif., to serve as his co-chair, according to EarthDay.org.

    2. One in four deaths

    Read More »from Five things you (probably) don't know about Earth Day
  • Hosting the Olympics is an honor. It's also a lot of work: Host cities build stadiums, construct hotels and, in some cases, even blow up highways to get ready to handle the massive influx of athletes and spectators.

    Case in point: Rio.

    Explosives are detonated to demolish part of the Perimetral overpass, as part of Rio's Porto Maravilha (Marvelous Port) urbanisation project, in Rio de Janeiro April 20, 2014. The project is for the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT SOCIETY OLYMPICS BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY POLITICS)

    Photographs captured demolition of part of the Perimetral overpass on April 20. The destruction of the stretch of road is just one part of the city's plans to redevelop in preparation for the 2016 Olympics.

    People gather to observe the Perimetral overpass, after its partial demolition as part of Rio's Porto Maravilha (Marvelous Port) urbanisation project, in Rio de Janeiro April 20, 2014. The project is for the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: POLITICS SPORT SOCIETY OLYMPICS BUSINESS)

    Nobody can say Rio isn't taking its job seriously.  The demolition drew plenty of onlookers who marveled at the overpass's collapse.

    People gather to observe the Perimetral overpass, after its partial demolition as part of Rio's Porto Maravilha (Marvelous Port) urbanisation project, in Rio de Janeiro April 20, 2014. The project is for the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes)

    This is the most recent part of the highway to be destroyed. Another was demolished on Nov. 24, 2013; that included "29 spans and 232 beams that together weigh 5,104 tons," according to odebrecht.com, website of the Brazilian construction and engineering multinational corporation.

    The Rio Olympics aren't scheduled to open until Aug. 5, 2016. However, prep work isn't something to be left until the last minute.

    Anybody

    Read More »from Rio overpass demolished as part of Olympic redevelopment
  • Hempstead, N.Y. – He could have been Dico, and the world may never have known the talent of the greatest soccer star and perhaps the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Now looking back on his storied career, Pele can muse and wonder about what his life would have been like if he was never discovered as a teenager and became the most famous athlete in the world.

    Pele, originally named Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is now 73 years old and continues to be among the most famous names and faces in the world. And while the three-time World Cup winner looks back fondly on his career, he also can now look back and wonder what could have been had he not been the renowned soccer star. Life, to say the least, would have been very different.

    Discovered in his teenage years, Pele played the entirety of his career with famed Brazilian club Santos before he finished with three years spent as a member of the New York Cosmos. But when asked if he hadn't developed into a professional athlete what his

    Read More »from Pele says he wanted to be a pilot, would've gone by a different nickname if he wasn't a sporting icon
  • 601 Lexington Avenue (Wikimedia Commons)

    Walk around Manhattan and you'll see dozens, if not hundreds, of feats of engineering sure to leave even the most cynical urbanite gobsmacked.

    One of the most amazing buildings in the Big Apple is located at 601 Lexington Avenue. The structure's spectacular design is outdone only by the story of how a student discovered it wasn't as safe as the experts believed.

    The story has been known for years, but a recent post in DamnedInteresting.com inspired a new surge of interest.

    The 59-story tower, at one time the world's seventh tallest building, was built on humongous stilts in order to accommodate a nearby church. To work around the church, the architect and engineer placed the stilts in the center of the building's sides, not at the corners.

    It was a bold move and made possible via a chevron structure, a series of eight rows of giant steel V's that acted as the building's skeleton and overall decreased the weight of the building. To compensate for the building's lightweight stance, 

    Read More »from The phone call that may have saved a building from falling onto New York City
  • Luis Suarez scored his 30th league goal of 2013/14 during Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich on Sunday, making him one of only six Premier League players to reach that tally in a single season.

    But Suarez's goal wasn't the most impressive part of his performance at Carrow Road. The Uruguayan went in for a challenge with Leroy Fer and picked up a very serious injury on his right leg — we know this because he was rolling around on the floor in agony straight afterwards.

    Then, demonstrating miraculous powers of recuperation, Suarez rose once again when Liverpool regained possession. There's an Easter metaphor in there somewhere, but one can only marvel at the Liverpool striker's ability to heal so quickly. In fact, the only real logical explanation is that he is made from the same stuff as the T-1000 in Terminator 2.

    In an entirely unrelated matter, Brendan Rodgers told us this week that he wants Liverpool to win the league in the "most sporting and classy way possible." Good to see

    Read More »from Liverpool's Luis Suarez demonstrates incredible recovery powers
  • In the build-up to Vancouver Whitecaps' 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy on Saturday, TWC reporter Kelli Tennant was smacked in the back of the head by a rogue football in the middle of a live broadcast. 

    Instead of taking a break to process the pain or turning around to make sense of the blow she just received, Tennant simply smiled and carried on with her sentence like nothing had happened. What a pro.

    The incident is reminiscent of Sky Germany reporter Jessica Kastrop, who has been struck under similar circumstances on two separate occasions (here and here).

    Tennant was able to see the funny side of the incident and later revealed that the Whitecaps quickly came over to offer apology hugs. She also brought attention to a sign that seemed to have been made just for her...

    - - - - - - -

    Ryan Bailey is a writer for Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

    Read More »from MLS reporter Kelli Tennant takes ball to the back of the head, carries on like a trooper
  • Mayor Jim Ardis (Peoria City website)A police warrant shows that Peoria (Ill.) Mayor Jim Ardis asked authorities to investigate the home of a man who created a parody Twitter account in the mayor’s name.

    However, the Journal Star says that Twitter had already suspended the @Peoriamayor parody account before the raid took place and that the only thing police found on site was some marijuana.

    The alleged creator of the Twitter account, Jacob Elliott, 36, was charged with one count of marijuana possession but was not charged with any crimes related to the parody account.

    The official request for a search warrant filed with the Peoria police reads in part:

    “In addition to the creation of the @peoriamayor twitter account, Mayor Ardis discovered that the individual had created ‘tweets’ impersonating Mayor Ardis. These ‘tweets’ implied Mayor Ardis utilizes illegal drugs, associates with prostitutes, and utilized offensive inappropriate language.”

    In their investigation of Elliot’s home, police seized his laptop, iPhone, computer

    Read More »from Illinois mayor sends cops after man who created parody Twitter account
  • Johnny Di Francesco's award-winning margherita pizza (ABC News)

    Pizza may have been invented in Italy but the country’s annual competition for the world’s best slice went to an Australian chef.

    The Campionato Mondiale Della Pizza, aka Pizza World Championship, singled out chef Johnny Di Francesco for his margherita pizza. Di Francesco, owner of the 400 Gradi restaurant in Melbourne said he now plans to open a second restaurant location after his victory.

    And while his restaurant has seen a spike in business in the days following his victory, Di Francesco says he won’t raise the current prices on his signature pizza ($19.30).

    However, he also won’t be heading back to Italy next year to defend his title.

    “I’m not allowed to compete in Australia anymore, and once you win at Parma it’s not encouraged to compete again,” Di Francesco, 36, told Hospitality Magazine after his win. “They like to have winners on the panel so I think I might pursue that.”

    His victory wasn’t just over Italians. CNN reported that Di Francesco topped more than 600 chefs

    Read More »from Italy awards world’s best pizza maker title to Australian chef

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