THE MORNING CHECK-IN: They say -- those who keep a finger on the internet and our general, everyday doings -- that web users are very often creatures of habit, when it comes to where we go online and what we want to see. That's no surprise to you, most likely; you probably like to check your email first (or last) or check out your various social media corners right away (or not for a few days). But what we don't always take into consideration, when thinking about the habits of people online, is how often we must, must, see some sort of cute animal video or photos of a puppy in a flower pot or zoo beasties waddling about a web cam. Surely there are whole studies devoted to how sweet sights such as these figure into our online day? And if we need to see them first thing in the morning, just to jumpstart things in a happy way? If you're a jumpstarter in this sense, best open your bookmarks and add a fresh new live cam: The San Diego Zoo's Penguin Cam debuted on Monday, June 1. And with it? A way to see and coo over Dan and McKinney, two young African year-and-a-half-old penguins who just happen to be siblings. Make that brothers, specifically: They're males.
A JOURNEY: Dan and McKinney once called a zoo in Idaho Falls home, so the California lifestyle is a new one for both feathery superstars. They're also "ambassadors for their species," says the zoo, and they'll be making "occasional educational appearances to bring awareness about their species, which faces many threats in the wild." Researchers say that in the short span of 2001 to 2009 there's been about a 60% decrease in the African penguin population. You can find Dan and McKinney, who are named after donors Dan and Vi McKinney, in the Children's Zoo while Penguin Beach, their new home in the Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks, is constructed. Clearly they'll make fine ambassadors; they're well-traveled and engaging, as internet cam fans will soon find out, during their morning rounds 'round the web. Shouldn't a nature- or animal-focused web cam work its way into every internet user's morning? Lends the day a tone of humor, delight, and awe.