When his species was on the brink, one tortoise got busy.

This is Diego. A very happy 100-year-old tortoise.

Photo by Rodrigo Buenida/AFP/Getty Images.

He's originally from the San Diego Zoo (hence the name) and was brought to the Galapagos Islands in the 1977. He's been living there ever since.


What's he so happy about? Well, how do I put this...

Diego has — almost single-handedly — revived his nearly extinct species in the Galapagos Islands.

Yeah, the old shelled stud has been pretty busy.

"He's a very sexually active male reproducer," said Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park. "He's contributed enormously to repopulating the island."

Diego taking a well-earned lunch break. Rodrigo Buenida/AFP/Getty Images.

Until very recently, Diego's species was in dire straits. For hundreds of years they were hunted for food by pirates and merchants, and before Diego's arrival in the islands, there were only 14 left.

Diego got to work, and it's estimated that he's fathered about 1,700 children so far.

"We did a genetic study and we discovered that he was the father of nearly 40 percent of the offspring released into the wild on Espanola," said Tapia.

Currently, he lives on Isla Santa Cruz with six females. And he'll likely live there for some time as his species can live well past 100.

Along with Diego's natural ... talents ... the revival of the Galapagos tortoise is thanks to some incredible work by conservationists around the world.

Organizations like the Galapagos Conservancy and the Charles Darwin Foundation have been hard at work for decades surveying, studying, and working to rescue endangered species on the Galapagos Islands.

A zookeeper weighs a Galapagos tortoise in London. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

It's an appropriate place to do so, too. After all, the Galapagos Islands are where Charles Darwin first took note of the incredible diversity of Earth's creatures and how their appearances varied based on where they live. That observation would eventually lead to his Theory of Natural Selection — which is one of the founding principles for how we understand life and evolution today.

As far as Diego...

You can call him "sex mad" or a "ladies' man" or even "the most interesting giant tortoise in the world."

I'm going to call him the name he really deserves. Hero.

He's a hero who had the courage, the pluck, the outright valor to do what was right and save his species. Sure it was hard, but did Diego complain? No. Did he crawl back into his shell and cower from the challenge before him? No.

Diego, on the way to save his species. Rodrigo Buenida/AFP/Getty Images.

Diego kept his chin up and walked right into the danger. Slowly. Because he's a tortoise.

Frankly, we should all be a little more like Diego. I mean ... not exactly like Diego. Just, you know, in spirit. The whole "facing challenges" thing.  

Way to go, old fella.

True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

Keep Reading Show less