Blog Posts by Sarah B. Weir, Shine Senior Writer

  • Rooney Mara Cast as Tiger Lily: Another Case of Hollywood Whitewashing?

    Rooney Mara, Disney's new Tiger LilyWhen Variety broke the news yesterday that Rooney Mara had been cast in the role of Tiger Lily in an upcoming "Peter Pan" revamp titled "Pan," the backlash was swift and fierce. “Great to see Hollywood so thoughtfully responding to criticism that it woefully under- and misrepresents indigenous people!” snarled Jezebel. Referring to the controversial "Lone Ranger," Entertainment Weekly wrote that in the wake of Johnny Depp’s Tonto, “With Mara’s casting, it feels like a giant step backwards. Both could have been great opportunities to cast working Native American actors.”

    Twitter also lit up with angry and disappointed tweets like:

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  • This Tortoise is the Oldest Animal on the Planet. Respect

    JJonathan in front of Plantation House (by St. Helena Wirebird)ust what do you get a 182-year-old for his birthday? Well, if it's Jonathan the giant tortoise, thought to be the world's oldest living land animal, a bunch of bananas or a few carrots would be perfect. But not too many—overindulging on anything but grass gives him an upset stomach.

    More on Yahoo: Belgian Shepherd Dog Sniffs Out South Africa's Rare Tortoise

    Jonathan lives on St. Helena, a remote British-governed island in the South Atlantic where Napoleon was exiled in 1815 and died in 1821. No one knows precisely how he got there. His species, Dipsochelys hololissa, is native to the Seychelles, located in the Indian Ocean—thousands of miles away around the tip of Africa. Driven to near extinction by the mid-1800s, there are fewer than 15 Seychelles tortoises left, all in captivity. According to a recent profile of Jonathan by the BBC, tortoises were once stacked on trading ships as a convenient source of food. Somehow, he managed to escape becoming a sailor's dinner and ended up

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  • Delaware Grandfather's Wise, Hilarious Obituary Goes Viral

    Walter George Bruhl, Jr., who died on Sunday at the age of 80, sounds like the kind of guy I would have liked to have known. He adored his wife, Helene (married for 57 years!), and his kids and grandkids, not to mention a tumbler of Jack Daniel's.

    More on Yahoo: Viral Obit Leads to Packed Funeral for World War II Veteran

    Apparently, I'm not his only posthumous fan. On Monday, when his grandson Sam posted Bruhl's self-penned obituary — which the family discovered only after he'd passed away — it shot to the top of Reddit. Complete strangers offered condolences, touching memories of their own granddads, and promises to pay it forward to those in need (as Bruhl had requested in lieu of flowers). "Great obituaries are ones when after you read it, even if you didn't know the person, you felt a pang of loss and some disappointment of never having had the chance to meet that person," wrote one redditor to Sam Bruhl. "This was one of those obituaries."

    More on Yahoo: Georgia Man's Obituary:

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  • Photographer Uses Technical Wizardry to Help Rescued Animals Find Homes

    Self-taught Hungarian photographer Sarolta Bán is best known for her surreal landscapes, which have been displayed in galleries across Europe. She creates dreamlike scenes, often populated by magical beasts, with photo manipulation software, and tells Yahoo Shine that she sometimes layers as many as 100 individual images to create a final product. She says she doesn't title her images so people can use their own imaginations to find different meanings in each picture. Bán recently started using her skills to help real-life abandoned animals around the world find homes. She invited her more than 100,000 Facebook fans to submit photos of rescued pets, and she is transforming them into evocative, majestic portraits. Bán has received dozens of photos from Spain, Argentina, India, France, Hungary, and the United States in the two weeks since she posted the invitation and expects to get many more after she reaches out to shelters. "Abandoned dogs sadly have really few chances to appear on a

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  • Do Specialty Shampoos and Conditioners Really Make A Difference?

    Are hair care products really that different? (Getty Images)A walk down the aisle of any drugstore yields a head-spinning array of hair care choices. There are antifrizz solutions, promises of diamondlike shine, formulas for every type of hair from pizza-greasy to old hay, as well as a veritable Carnival cruise buffet table of fruit, vegetable, protein, and herbal additives. My mother's hair is coarse and curly, while I have fine and straight hair. If we switched our favorite shampoo and conditioner, would either or both of us end up looking like the bride of Frankenstein? 

    More on Yahoo: The (Hair) Color Purple: Stars Parade Their Lavender Locks

    It's easy to be skeptical about the claims made on product labels, but Zoe Draelos, a dermatologist, author, and expert on the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter cosmetics, tells Yahoo Shine, "There is a lot of sophisticated science that goes into research and development." She says major hair care companies have large climate-controlled rooms where they hang thousands of "tresses of cut human

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  • Daylight Saving Time Begins March 9 (Cue Music From 'Jaws')

    Time to spring ahead (photo: Getty)Last Saturday night, I scurried around the house turning all my clocks forward for the start of daylight saving time and warned my husband and kids that they would be losing an hour of sleep. We dutifully pulled our covers up under our chins by 10:30 p.m. —now 11:30! (or so we thought). The next morning, March 2, when I rousted everyone to get up for their Sunday activities and then discovered that the shift to daylight saving occurs, in fact, this coming weekend, on March 9, I was not a popular mom. "The good news is you are starting your morning bright and early," I said sheepishly. Groans all around.

    More on Yahoo: 20 Solutions for Insomnia You May Not Have Tried

    Who out there likes daylight saving time? Anyone? Bueller? Well, for starters, not the citizens of of Arizona or Hawaii, who never adopted the practice. Nor the citizens of the Twitterverse, who have been griping about it since at least last weekend, when I checked out the hashtag, #AbolishDayLightSavings (#DownWithDST is

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  • What the New HIV Breakthroughs Mean for the Future of the Disease

    Photo: Getty ImagesThere was exciting news this week in the battle against HIV/AIDS, much of it coming out of the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), which took place in Boston. But perhaps the biggest story was that, for the second time in history, a baby born with HIV has been declared free of the virus after early, aggressive treatment.

    While “baby cured of HIV” is, for sure, a thrilling headline, scientists are more cautiously hopeful than some media outlets would suggest. “That case is definitely intriguing,” Reilly O’Neal, editor of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s blog BETA, who attended the conference, tells Yahoo Shine. “The baby was tested with incredibly sensitive tests. The case supports the idea that very early treatment has the potential to dramatically reduce HIV reservoirs [the genetic code of the virus that 'hides' in the body], which are a major obstacle in curing HIV.”

    More on Yahoo: Doctors Hope for Cure in a 2nd Baby Born with HIV

    The now-famous

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  • Whose Puppy is This? Dog Caught in Ugly Adoption Battle

    Daniel Torres with Raffiki (courtesy: Where's Raffiki/Facebook) The reputation of a well-respected Southern California animal shelter is on the line after it was accused of selling a stolen puppy.

    On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times posted a column about the dog, which has ignited intense debate on social media. It tells the story of Rosa Torres; her 4-year-old son, Daniel; and their 8-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback named Raffiki, who went missing from their backyard on February 13. Torres says she has no idea how the dog escaped her fenced enclosure. The puppy was not wearing tags, nor was she micro-chipped or spayed.

    Torres, who Yahoo Shine was unable to reach for comment, put up fliers, contacted the East Valley Shelter, the nearest public shelter to her home in Panarama City, and posted on Craigslist and Facebook. A week later, she learned the dog was listed online for adoption at Karma Rescue, a non-profit, no-kill shelter. Turns out the dog had been picked up by a stranger and driven to a public shelter about 10 miles away where Karma found her

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  • Why Ballerina Misty Copeland Is Our Hero (and Should Be Yours)

    Biography is not destiny. Misty Copeland's inspiring new memoir, "Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina," chronicles her improbable path to becoming one of the world's elite dancers and the first African American in 20 years to be a soloist with the world renowned American Ballet Theater, and only the second in its history. Now 31, she describes in the book everything she overcame to get here: how when she was 2, her mother, Sylvia DelaCerna, left her father, hustling her and her two older brothers and sister onto a Greyhound bus. She writes, "Our family began a pattern that would define my siblings' and my childhood: packing, scrambling, leaving — often barely surviving." Her mother had a series of boyfriends and husbands — some drank or were abusive — and two more babies soon arrived, adding to the financial struggles.

    More on Yahoo: Misty Copeland: "Ballet Was the Light That Saved Me"

    Misty Copeland's Life in Motion (Courtesy Simon and Schuster)The family eventually settled in San Pedro, California, and Copeland became a driven, anxious

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  • EGOT Winner Robert Lopez and His Fabulous Family: Please Adopt Us

    photo: Jason Merritt/Getty ImagesThe elusive EGOT — it's the grand slam of showbiz, and composer Robert Lopez hit the ball out of the park with his Oscar win for "Let it Go" from the movie "Frozen" when he became the youngest member of the very exclusive club. EGOT stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony—the biggest awards in the entertainment industry. "Frozen" also happened to nab a golden statuette for Best Animated Feature.

    More on Yahoo: A Brooklyn Inspiration for "Frozen"

    The stupendously talented Lopez, who just turned 39 a week ago, co-wrote the song with his wife, lyricist Kristen Anderson-Lopez. In their charming and well-rehearsed  tag-team acceptance speech (guess they weren't all that surprised, given the phenomenal success of "Let It Go"), the couple ended by saying thanks to, "our girls, Katie and Annie" and added: This song is inspired by our love for you and the hope that you never let fear or shame keep you for celebrating the unique people that you are." Pass the tissues, please.

    More on Yahoo: "12

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