Weatherford Democrat

Online Only

August 31, 2013

National Zoo's panda cam proves too cute to resist

The addicts are seemingly everywhere. They sneak peeks in the mornings before work. They watch at the office, keeping the live footage open on their computer screens all day. They linger long enough that they get kicked off for reaching the 15-minute time limit, only to hit the refresh button and start all over again.

The object of their obsession: the Smithsonian National Zoo's panda cams, which offer mesmerizing glimpses of the zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang, nursing and nuzzling her squealing newborn cub.

"I am on the panda cam right now. I look at it between appointments. I watch it at night. I watch it when I get up in the morning. I watch it when I go to bed. I am completely entranced," said Marjorie Swett, 62, a Bethesda psychotherapist, who, if she wanted, could do a side gig as a panda-cam color commentator. "Right now, she's sleeping and cuddling. . . . Now she's rolling over. She just went from an upright position and went gracefully on the ground, still folding the baby into herself . . . and her legs are up the wall. She looks totally comfortable."

Since Mei Xiang gave birth on Aug. 23, legions of panda lovers have bombarded the zoo's website, clicking on one of two available panda cams to spy on the mother and cub as they bond inside what the animals believe is their private den.

From late July (when new high-definition cameras were installed) to Friday, the zoo has recorded more than 847,000 clicks on its panda-cam Web page, with about 529,000 of those coming since the day of the cub's birth, according to Mike Thorpe, the zoo's Web specialist. More than 52,000 hours of panda-cam viewing have occurred since July — and more than 30,000 since the cub's birth. (That doesn't even include the number of times people have clicked "play" on the panda cam on the zoo's mobile app, data that weren't available Friday.)

Text Only
Online Only
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 15, 2014

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 4.02.29 PM.png VIDEO: Nebraska prom mishap goes viral

    A group of 22 high school students from Pierce, Neb., all decked out in prom finery, took an unplanned dip in a four-foot-deep pond when the bridge they were posing on for pictures gave way. Photos from the incident have gone viral on social media.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing