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August 1, 2014

Mashable Minute host Elliott Morgan steps in to guest host our sister site Mental Floss' video this week, which details strange occupations.

Unsurprisingly, ice cream taste testers made the list — but did you know each taste tester might sample a pint of ice cream in an average day? That sounds a lot better than being a dog food tester, which is apparently also a human job — dog food testers monitor the food for "quality control."

Other odd jobs include Hazmat divers, who swim through sewage, and "professional RC vehicle racers," who test the remote-controlled cars. The oddest odd job, though, might be that of "deer urine farmers," who "collect and sell undiluted whitetail pee." Apparently, deer pee is useful in hunting, and each deer can earn a farmer more than $90,000 a year.

Watch the full video below. --Meghan DeMaria

This is terrible
11:15 p.m. ET
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More than 5 million hens at an Iowa commercial laying facility will be euthanized, following the discovery of bird flu on the premises, officials said.

In a statement, the Iowa Department of Agriculture said that the facility has been quarantined, and the birds will be "humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease." Since December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says almost 8 million cases of bird flu have been found in 13 states, with more than 7 million having been confirmed this month. This is the second outbreak in Iowa, CNN reports; the first happened at a turkey facility in Buena Vista County. Catherine Garcia

farewell neon cheese
10:26 p.m. ET
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese's electric orange hue will soon be a thing of the past: Starting next January, the company will no longer sell its original version with artificial preservatives and colors, instead using paprika, annatto, and turmeric to give the dish its tint.

The change comes as consumers continue to shy away from processed foods, and while Kraft was willing to adapt, they had to make sure the taste wasn't altered. "We weren't ready to change the product until we were confident that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese tastes like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese," the company said. Kraft already has one product on the market, Kraft Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes, without artificial flavors, preservatives, or synthetic colors, and plans to roll out additional preservative-free macaroni and cheese varieties later in 2016. Catherine Garcia

that's one solution
9:44 p.m. ET
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William Shatner has come up with what he says is a surefire way to save California from its drought: Build a pipeline from rain-drenched Seattle to the Golden State.

"I want $30 billion...to build a pipeline like the Alaska pipeline," he told Yahoo. "How bad would it be to get a large, 4-foot pipeline, keep it aboveground — because if it leaks, you're irrigating." The actor plans to launch a Kickstarter in an attempt to raise the billions of dollars necessary to make the pipeline a reality, and believes he's doing a public service by at least bringing awareness to the drought. "If I don't make $30 billion, I'll give it to a politician who says, 'I'll build it,'" he said.

This isn't the first time a pipeline has been proposed to help California with water. Several decades ago, state water officials discussed securing water from the Pacific Northwest, but that plan never came to fruition. In 1977 and 1990, Los Angeles Supervisor Kenneth Hahn discussed digging aqueducts to carry water from the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest and the Snake River in Idaho, but those states weren't interested — in a 1990 letter to Hahn, Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt wrote, "I have the distinct impression that you are trying to steal my water." Catherine Garcia

Foreign affairs
8:21 p.m. ET
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The Chinese government is investing in a program called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a $46 billion project that will do everything from upgrade railways to build power plants in Pakistan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Pakistan for his first state visit, and during a ceremony in Islamabad on Monday, Xi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif performed a remote groundbreaking via video on five projects, including a $1.4 billion dam near Islamabad. "Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy," Sharif said. "Today, we have planned for the future."

Chinese companies will tackle the work, The Wall Street Journal reports, and it will be financed through Chinese investment or loans. The proposed corridor will link the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang with the Pakistani port of Gwadar through a system of roads, and will create important power-generation plants to combat Pakistan's frequent electricity shortages. Most of the $28 billion in advance projects are expected to be finished by 2018, with the rest by 2030. Catherine Garcia

crisis in yemen
7:31 p.m. ET
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Pentagon officials on Monday said that the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has been moved off the coast of Yemen in the event that it needs to intercept shipments of Iranian arms to Houthi rebels in the chaos-filled country.

The carrier had been in the Persian Gulf, a spokesman said, and two Defense officials told USA Today that the Roosevelt also was tracking a convoy of Iranian ships on their way to the Gulf of Aden. Now that the Roosevelt is in place, there are nine warships in Yemen, a Navy official said, with the Roosevelt "significantly" adding to the amount of firepower. Catherine Garcia

Iran
6:48 p.m. ET

Iran is charging The Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian, with espionage, "collaborating with hostile governments," and "propaganda against the establishment," his lawyer said.

Rezaian was arrested nine months ago, and his attorney, Leila Ahsan, said this is the first time the exact charges against him have been provided. The indictment says that Rezaian gathered information "about internal and foreign policy" and then gave it to "individuals with hostile intent." The Post's executive editor, Martin Baron, calls the charges "scurrilous" and called for Rezaian to be exonerated.

Ahsan met with Rezaian for 90 minutes on Monday, and it was the first time he had been able to consult with a lawyer since his arrest in July. The Revolutionary Court has not made the charges public, and Ahsan said in a statement that "all of the items and accusations are the ones that I mentioned and I cannot divulge details because the trial has not yet begun." She added that the case file has no evidence to justify the charges, and they stem from his work. "Jason is a journalist, and it is in the nature of his profession to gain access to information and publish them," she said. "My client, however, has never had any direct or indirect access to classified information to share with anyone." Catherine Garcia

whale watchers
5:18 p.m. ET
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On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed lifting protections on most humpback whales, as the species' population has rebounded after 45 years of restoration efforts. Following the ban of commercial whaling in the '60s, the mammals were listed as endangered in 1970. Now, the NOAA wants to reclassify the whales into 14 different species and remove 10 from the endangered list.

Though some experts think the move might be premature because the species will become vulnerable as oceans respond to climate change, they agree that the population growth demonstrates the efficiency of the Endangered Species Act.

If the proposal passes, it will be the first time in over two decades that the agency delisted a species due to recovery. Stephanie Talmadge

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