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5 things you didn't know about Groundhog Day

The desire to forecast the weather dates back thousands of years. Long before there were meteorologists with state-of-the-art technology for tracking atmospheric patterns, humans have relied on many things -- including furry little critters -- to help them determine changes in the weather and seasons.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, is Groundhog Day, and according to lore, the groundhog will emerge from his hole after a long winter’s nap. If it’s a sunny day, he’ll become frightened when he sees his shadow and skedaddle back into his burrow for six more weeks of winter. However, if it’s cloudy and he doesn’t see his shadow, it means spring is just around the corner.

Here are five things you may not know about Groundhog Day:

1. The holiday has its roots in the ancient Gaelic festival of Imbolc, held halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It was the day when a female weather deity called the Cailleach, which means hag, was close to running out of firewood. If she wanted a nice, long winter, she’d make it a bright, sunny day that was good for going outside and gathering lots of firewood. But if it were cloudy, it meant the Cailleach was snug in her bed and sleeping and didn’t need to gather any more firewood because spring was on its way. Over time, Imbolc became Christianized and became St. Brigid’s Day, which was followed by Candlemas on Feb. 2.

2. The first reference to Groundhog Day in America was in 1841 in a diary entry by James Morris, a storekeeper in Morgantown, Pennsylvania. He quoted old poems -- from England, Scotland and Germany -- that equate a sunny Candlemas with a long winter.

3. The modern Groundhog Day tradition, however, really got started in 1887. Clymer H. Freas, a savvy businessman and the editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper in Pennsylvania, promoted the town’s very own groundhog as the official Groundhog Day meteorologist, thus turning Groundhog Day into a newsworthy event.

4. Groundhogs hibernate over the winter, and the males actually do come out of their burrows in February, interested in lining up future mating partners. They check out the burrows of the lady groundhogs, then go back into their burrows and hibernate until around early March, when it’s time to mate.

5. Groundhogs aren’t the only creatures thought to predict winter. Back in the late 1940s, Charles Howard Curran, an entomologist and the curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, began studying woolly bear caterpillars, which are tiger moth in its larvae stage, in early autumn. The woolly bear’s front and end are black, and the midsection is brown. Curran believed the wider the brown band, the milder the winter would be. Present-day entomologists say there’s no science to back up Curran’s claim.

Chinese New Year boosts demand for renting fake girlfriends, boyfriends

Looking for a fake girlfriend or boyfriend? There's an app for that.

According to Reuters, singles in China are turning to Help Me Plz and other date-rental apps to hire phony significant others to please pushy parents.

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Business was booming over the weekend for Chinese New Year celebrations, Hire Me Plz founder Cao Tiantian told Reuters.

"Over 1,000 users on our platform have signed up as dates for hire for the New Year's break," said Tiantian, whose app has 700,000 users.

Dates cost anywhere from 1 yuan (15 cents) to 1,999 yuan ($290) per hour, Reuters reported.

Read more here.

Kraft Heinz pushes for national holiday after Super Bowl

Kraft Heinz Co. is making a push to make the day after America’s biggest sports spectacle a national holiday.

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According to Fox News, not only is the company giving their employees a day off on the Monday following the Super Bowl, but also it is petitioning for the entire country to give people the day off as well.

In an online petition, Heinz makes the case for “Smunday” by claiming that “statistics show over 16 million people call in sick or just don’t show up to work” on the day after the Super Bowl. The petition claims that if Heinz gets over 100,000 signatures, the idea will be sent to Congress. Over 30,000 people have already signed the week-old petition.

The New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 5 in this year’s Super Bowl. The Patriots reached the Super Bowl by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, who play their homes games at Heinz Field, in the AFC Championship game.

5 ways to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day

Rejoice, peanut butter lovers: Now you have the perfect excuse to enjoy your favorite treat.

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, Jan. 24 is National Peanut Butter Day.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate:

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1. Help us settle the great debate. Which is better – crunchy or creamy? "Women and children prefer creamy, while most men opt for chunky," the National Peanut Board says on its website. There's also a geographic divide: East Coast residents tend to like smooth peanut butter, while West Coasters like theirs crunchy, according to the site.

What do you think? Weigh in with our poll:

2. Grab some Girl Scout Cookies. Two of the organization's five best-sellers are full of peanut butter goodness: Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs and Do-si-dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies. The Girl Scouts also offer gluten-free cookies called Trios, made with peanut butter, oatmeal and chocolate chips. Click here to learn where you can buy the cookies.

Peanut Butter Patties aka Tagalongs are the best Girl Scout cookies and it's not even close. pic.twitter.com/Wehlujm1kb— Seth Ryan (@SethRyan4) March 31, 2015

3. Make a PBJ. According to the New York Daily News, a 2016 survey by Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter found that the average American will eat nearly 3,000 peanut butter-jelly sandwiches during his or her lifetime. Read more here.

How do you make your peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Our experts have LOTS of opinions. https://t.co/adn9hwIKdB pic.twitter.com/pXhqtFtzxq— Rachael Ray Show (@RachaelRayShow) November 8, 2016

4. Eat like the "King." If you're looking for something a little more adventurous than the run-of-the-mill PBJ, try one of Elvis Presley's supposed favorites. According to Elaine Dundy's book "Elvis and Gladys," Presley would eat "sandwich after sandwich of his favorite – peanut butter, sliced bananas and crisp bacon." Get the book here.  

What to make for lunch this week: The Elvis sandwich http://t.co/MaPADQsPrv pic.twitter.com/3TDDehdeNA— Globe Food & Wine (@GlobeFoodWine) January 6, 2015

5. Have a Southern treat – boiled peanuts. The National Peanut Board calls the snack "a delicacy in the peanut-growing areas of the South." Just boil them in "supersaturated salt water until they (have) a soft, bean-like texture." Check out a recipe from the Food Network's Alton Brown here. 

Hot dang. Momma boiled peanuts. pic.twitter.com/nw8B7qJACQ— Ike Morgan (@IkeMorgan) April 30, 2016

Politicians, celebs honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated each year on MLK Jr. Day and throughout February for Black History Month. 

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The Atlanta-born Baptist minister encouraged equality, desegregation and civil disobedience as a way to stand for change.

>> 5 things you didn't know about Martin Luther King Jr.

Each year, Americans remember him and honor him, and many celebreties and politicians took to social media on Monday to recognize King's contributions and his role in American history. 

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5 things you didn't know about Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his mark on the U.S. and the world when he pioneered for civil rights and equality decades ago.

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His story has been told and recreated in numerous forms: books, movies, articles and podcasts highlight facts about the activist's life until his death in 1968.

While most people know about the Baptist minister's work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, his push for nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience to create change and his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, some facets of King's life are discussed infrequently.

Here are five things you might not have known about Martin Luther King Jr.:

1. King was the middle child, and his birth is celebrated nationwide.

Born January 15, 1929, to Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King, Martin Luther King Jr. was the couple's second child and their first son. Martin Luther King Jr. had an older sister and a younger brother. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of two Americans whose birthday is celebrated as a national holiday; the other is George Washington.

2. Martin wasn't always his name.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael King Jr. His father, who was born Michael King, changed his name after the death of his father-in-law in 1931. After filling in the pastoral footsteps of his father-in-law, Michael King Sr. adopted the name Martin Luther King in honor of the German Protestant religious leader Martin Luther. Michael Jr. later took the name, too.

3. He skipped two grades and entered college at a young age. 

Martin Luther King Jr. skipped the ninth and the 11th grade and started his college career at Morehouse College in Atlanta at the age of 15 in 1944.

4. He survived an assassination attempt.

Izola Ware Curry, a mentally ill woman, stabbed King with a letter opener at a 1958 book signing. The seven-inch blade was lodged near his heart, and it took doctors hours of surgery to remove the blade.

"The X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery," King said in his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. "And once that's punctured, you’'e drowned in your own blood. That's the end of you."

5. He was arrested more than two dozen times. 

King was arrested 30 times

SEE IT: Prince William, Duchess Kate's holiday thank-you card makes rounds on social media

The holiday season has come and gone, but fans of the British royal family are getting another festive treat as Prince William and Duchess Kate's holiday thank-you card makes the rounds online.

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Last week, a few lucky social media users revealed that they had received an adorable photo of the royal family as a thank-you for Christmas greetings. The charming photo features an awestruck Prince George and Princess Charlotte in their parents’ arms. It was taken in September during the family’s outing in Canada, at a children’s party held at Government House in Victoria, British Columbia.Take a peek below:

The Cambridges have mailed their thank-you card for the #Christmas greetings they received from fans! https://t.co/xUMbGRxRHa #KateMiddleton pic.twitter.com/jbdGef0uPY— HRH Kate Middleton (@HRHKateBlog) January 5, 2017

A lovely royal surprise arrived today! This photo taken by Arthur Edwards in Victoria, BC was used as The #Cambridges' Christmas / thank you card. Absolutely adore George & Charlotte! #royalmail #postcard #PrinceWilliam #DukeofCambridge #DuchessofCambridge #Kate #PrinceGeorge #PrincessCharlotte #KensingtonPalace #igerslondon #twitter A photo posted by V (@ladyandtherose) on Jan 5, 2017 at 3:11pm PST <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

Christmas wish: 21-year-old woman asks stepmom to adopt her

They have been family nearly as long as anyone can remember.

But Marissa Thaman wanted to make her stepmom her legal mom. After 17 years, Marissa surprised her stepmom Heather Thamann with adoption papers that were presented on Christmas morning, WKRC reported.

Marissa's biological mom died when Marissa was only 3 months old. When she was 4, her dad Brian met Heather and eventually got married.

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While they have been a family for nearly two decades, Marissa wanted to make Heather her mom in the eyes of the courts.

That's where the Christmas present came in. Watch the video below:

Posted by Marissa Thamann on Monday, December 26, 2016

"She's always been my mom, it's just paper but it's important to have her on my birth certificate," Marissa told WKRC.

Posted by Marissa Thamann on Monday, December 26, 2016

And while Heather could have done the paperwork, she said, "It was really nice getting it from her instead of doing it myself because it's like she really wants it so I'm happy for that."

Marissa had signed the papers that just needed Heather's signature that are being sent from the lawyers, WKRC reported.

This year's National Returns Day will be the biggest yet, UPS says

Sending back that cheesy holiday tie or questionable "As Seen on TV" gadget you got for Christmas? You're in good company.

According to UPS, Thursday is National Returns Day, "when the most UPS returns packages are sent back to retailers," the shipping company said in a news release.

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This year's "holiday" is expected to be the biggest yet. UPS predicts that shoppers will send back 1.3 million packages Thursday and 5.8 million the first week of January, up from 1 million and 5 million last year, respectively.

The U.S. Postal Service and FedEx "will also be shipping back their share of unwanted merchandise," Forbes reports.

Read more here or here.

Mariah Carey on New Year's Eve fiasco: Dick Clark would have been 'mortified'

Other than tweeting hours after her embarrassing New Year’s Eve performance, Mariah Carey has stayed silent about the incident, letting her team do the talking for her. They accused Dick Clark Productions of sabotaging her on purpose – a claim the production company has called "absurd."

>> Watch the clip here

WATCH: Mariah Carey's New Year's Eve mishap; what really happened during performance? https://t.co/tEnHkiVXyy pic.twitter.com/iv4mw01njt— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 2, 2017

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Carey is now speaking out in her first interview since the debacle. Talking with Entertainment Weekly, she reflected on what went wrong.

>> Mariah Carey's team says New Year's Eve performance was sabotaged

“All I can say is Dick Clark was an incredible person, and I was lucky enough to work with him when I first started in the music business,” she said. “I’m of the opinion that Dick Clark would not have let an artist go through that, and he would have been as mortified as I was in real time.”

>> Mariah Carey takes to Twitter after botched New Year's Eve performance

As embarrassed as she was, Carey said the disastrous performance won’t stop her from signing onto live TV events in the future and that her fans have been very supportive over the past few days.

>> Mariah Carey's New Year's Eve performance panned on social media

“It’s not going to stop me from doing a live event in the future. But it will make me less trusting of using anyone outside of my own team,” she said. “My true fans have been so supportive, and I am so appreciative of them and everybody in the media that came out to support me after the fact, because it really was an incredible holiday season that turned into a horrible New Year’s Eve.”

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