+
upworthy
Top Splash

10 things that made us smile this week

10 things that made us smile this week

Welcome to Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy and delight.

Um, how is it February already? Despite January feeling like it had 172 days, February feels like it arrived all of a sudden. Pandemic time is so trippy. (Is the pandemic still happening? The data certainly says so, but a whole lot of people have decided "no," which is probably why we've all become obsessed with a simple word game. Weeeee!)

It's also Friday, which means it's time for another roundup of delights from around ye ol' interwebs. Woohoo! Each week, we pull together a list of things that we all can enjoy no matter who we are, where we live, what we ate for breakfast or how we feel about people sharing their Wordle results. Just tiny packages of pure, happy things to boost our endorphins.

This week we have epic dance moves, hilarious kids, heartwarming reunions and awesome animals to lift our spirits. Isn't it funny how reliable arts and kids and animals are for bringing us joy?


So if you've got the winter doldrums, are stuck in COVID quarantine or could just use a little pick-me-up, we've got you covered. Buckle up and enjoy!

Watch this dance troupe get funky to James Brown on Lunar New Year.

@danceon

We’re feeling good and ready to have a funky time 🎶💃🕺 #Moga_almeri

We kicked off the week celebrating Lunar New Year with this awesome video. The formation, the outfits, the moves—it's all here. Year of the tiger, bring it on.

Speaking of dance moves, this little girl has 'em—and the spunk to match.

Oh my goodness, that face and those moves. This little girl at a Chinese dance competition seems to have the spirit of Latin dance flowing right through her veins. She's feeling it and it shows.

Speaking of feeling it in competition, this doggo was just supposed to come over and sit.

Puppers had one job, but decided that job needed some flair. Give this doggo all the prizes, please.

A dad filmed his daughter every week for two decades to create a 5-minute time lapse.

This sounds like such a simple idea on paper, but to actually carry it out is an incredible feat. It's also incredibly moving to watch for any parent. A wonderful gift from Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester to his daughter, Lotte. Read the full story here.

An 8-year-old snuck his handmade book onto the library shelf and now it has a huge waiting list.

Dillon Helbig wanted his book in the library, so he just made it happen.

KTVB/Upworthy

Dillon Helbig had wanted to have a book in the library since he was 5, so he left his homemade graphic novel on the shelf. The librarians found it and put it into circulation, and now it has a years-long waiting list. Such a great example of adults supporting kids in their creativity. Read the full story here.

Mom films daughter asking if she lived in colonial times, and every parent has been there.

Kids don't have a good grasp of time when they're young, which can make for some hilarious inquiries and assumptions. The innocence of this kid's questions is just classic.

Jimmy Kimmel made Quinta Brunson cry by surprising her with her beloved sixth-grade teacher.

The teachers who make an impact in our lives are never forgotten. This exchange between "Abbott Elementary" creator Quinta Brunson and the teacher she named the show after is just pure love. Read the full story here.

Speaking of love, these guys offered people $5 to call someone and tell them they love them.

@toachieveyou

Why do you guys think they turned down the money? | idea from @areyoukiddingtv ❤️ | @ledariusjoshua @brandnrode @kye_man

The challenge was sweet, but the responses afterward were even better. Read the full story here.

Watch Hector the hummingbird land on a man's finger to eat. 

Hector the hummingbird. That's just too much. There's something so magical about hummingbirds, and we don't often get to see them this close to a human. (Side note: Have you ever had a hummingbird fly right by your ear? It's so loud. That wing flapping is no joke.)

Penguin groups meet up and one of them gets confused. But don't worry—his friend's got his back. 

What a muppet, indeed. You can practically narrate this entire video in your head as you're watching it, can't you? "Um, Chuck? We're going this way, pal." So hilarious.

Hope you enjoyed this week's roundup of happy things! Come back next week to share more snippets of goodness and joy. :)

Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

True
The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)


There's this dude named Captain Ahab who really really hates the whale, and he goes absolutely bonkers in his quest to hunt and kill it, and then everything is awful and we all die unsatisfied with our shared sad existence and — oops, spoilers!


OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!

whales, Moby Dick, poaching endangered species

Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.

It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.

There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.

conservation, ocean water conservation

A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.

Photo by Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia.

In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"

And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.

International Whaling Commission, harpoons

Tail in the water.

Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube

And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.

What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)

Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.

Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?

whale blubber, blue whales, extinction

This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.

GIF via National Geographic.

This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.

Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).

Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?

population, Arctic, Great Australian Blight

Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.

We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.

In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.

This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.

And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?

social responsibility, nature, extinction

BOOP.

Image from Pixabay.

Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.

If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.

I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.


This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.

Rachel Boice runs two Airbnb properties in Georgia with her husband Parker—one being this fancy glass plane tiny house (seen below) that promises a perfect glamping experience.

@rachelrboice Welcome to The Tiny Glass House 🤎 #airbnbfinds #exploregeorgia #travelbucketlist #tinyhouse #glampingnotcamping #atlantageorgia #fyp ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Like most Airbnb hosts, the Boice’s listing showed a nightly rate and separate cleaning fee. According to her interview with Insider, the original prices broke down to $89 nightly, and $40 for the cleaning fee.

But after noticing the negative response the separate fee got from potential customers, Rachel told Insider that she began charging a nightly rate that included the cleaning fee, totaling to $129 a night.

It’s a marketing strategy that more and more hosts are attempting in order to generate more bookings (people do love feeling like they’re getting a great deal) but Boice argued that the trend will also become more mainstream since the current Airbnb model “doesn’t feel honest.”

"We stay in Airbnbs a lot. I pretty much always pay a cleaning fee," Boice told Insider. "You're like: 'Why am I paying all of this money? This should just be built in for the cost.'"

Since combining costs, Rachel began noticing another unexpected perk beyond customer satisfaction: guests actually left her property cleaner than before they were charged a cleaning fee. Her hypothesis was that they assumed she would be handling the cleaning herself.

"I guess they're thinking, 'I'm not paying someone to clean this, so I'll leave it clean,'" she said.

This discovery echoes a similar anecdote given by another Airbnb host, who told NerdWallet guests who knew they were paying a cleaning fee would “sometimes leave the place looking like it’s been lived in and uncleaned for months.” So, it appears to be that being more transparent and lumping all fees into one overall price makes for a happier (and more considerate) customer.

These days, it’s hard to not be embittered by deceptive junk fees, which can seem to appear anywhere without warning—surprise overdraft charges, surcharges on credit cards, the never convenience “convenience charge” when purchasing event tickets. Junk fees are so rampant that certain measures are being taken to try to eliminate them outright in favor of more honest business approaches.

Speaking of a more honest approach—as of December 2022, AirBnb began updating its app and website so that guests can see a full price breakdown that shows a nightly rate, a cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes before confirming their booking.

Guests can also activate a toggle function before searching for a destination, so that full prices will appear in search results—avoiding unwanted financial surprises.


This article originally appeared on 11.08.23

Joy

Pet cockatiel is obsessed with singing 'September' by Earth, Wind and Fire

Kiki remembers the 21st night of September ALL. THE. TIME. and it's actually quite impressive.

Representative hoto by Saqib Iqbal Digital on Unsplash

Apparently, "September" is all the rage with cockatiels.

“Do you remember…the 21st night of September?” has been one of the most iconic song openings of the past 45 years, as the R&B hit by Earth, Wind and Fire perpetually serves as a catchy favorite for dance clubs, movie scenes and TikTok clips alike.

However, "September" has also gained wild popularity among an unlikely group—pet cockatiels.


One cockatiel in particular has taken a shining to the song to the point of obsession, to the combined delight and chagrin of his owner. You see, Kiki doesn’t just like listening to the song, he sings and dances to it. Loudly. Over and over. At uncomfortable hours of the morning.

Kiki’s owner has shared multiple examples of her pet bird reveling in his favorite song, and it’s hilarious every time.

Watch:

@kiki.tiel

Send help plz wheres the off button on parrot #fyp #foryou #bird #cockatiel #parrotsoftiktok #birdsoftiktok

"Kiki…it's 7 o'clock in the morning…" Yeah, Kiki does not care. Kiki is feelin' the groove.

This isn't just a one-off and it's also not just a random song. Here we can see that Kiki recognizes it and sings it when his owner plays it. (Just after pooing on her leg—the reality of having a bird, in case these videos make you want one).

@kiki.tiel

Babywipes handy at all hours 🫡 #bird #cockatiel #fyp #foryou #september #parrot

But Kiki doesn't even need anyone else around in order to sing his favorite song. Here he is singing and dancing all by himself when his owner left the room and left her camera running to see what he would do.

@kiki.tiel

Partying without me :( #cockatielsoftiktok #birds #fyp #for you

As cute and hilarious as this is, it surely gets old after a while, right? It's one thing to watch in a video—it's got to be entirely another to hear it all the time at home.

It's also not just a Kiki quirk. Apparently, "September" is a "thing" among cockatiels. Other cockatiels have been known to love it and sing it, though not quite as well as Kiki does.

Someone on Reddit asked why so many cockatiels love the song—one person even said it was basically the cockatiel national anthem at this point. No one knows exactly why, but this explanation by Reddit user nattiecakes is as good an explanation as any:

"Yeah, cockatiels genuinely like the song in a way they don’t universally take to many other songs. My cockatiel is 17 and early in life basically seemed to max out his harddrive space learning a little bit of La Cucaracha, The Flintstones theme, the phrase 'pretty bird,' and this horrible alarm clock sound that is similar to the hungry baby cockatiel sound. We thought we could not get him to learn anything else because they do have some limits.

Then 'September' came. Every cockatiel loved it. We decided to see if our cockatiel loved it.

I sh*t y’all not, within a DAY he whistled the first three notes, which is really all that matters. He hasn’t been able to learn more, but he loves it.

Now our African grey whistles it to him constantly. He used to reliably whistle La Cucaracha to our cockatiel when our cockatiel would get angry and upset, and our cockatiel would start singing instead and forget he’d been upset. But almost immediately our grey switched to using 'September' 90% of the time. Like, it’s so plain even to our grey that 'September' is the song to unlock a cockatiel’s better nature. I think the grey likes it a lot too, but he has many other songs he likes better.

As for why cockatiels like this song so much… all I can guess is it really resonates with their cheery vibe. I think the inside of a cockatiel’s mind is usually like a disco."

Rock on, Kiki. Just maybe not so early in the morning.

File:Door knocking for Jody Wilson Raybould (48911105817).jpg ...

Kids, man. I'm not sure of the scientific way audacity is distributed, but kids have a lot of it and somehow make it cute. That audacity overload is especially interesting when you're the default parent—you know, the parent kids go to for literally everything as if there's not another fully capable adult in the house. Chances are if your children haven't sought you out while you were taking a shower so you could open up a pack of fruit snacks, then you're not the default parental unit.

One parent captured exactly what it's like to be the default parent and shared it to TikTok, where the video has over 4 million views. Toniann Marchese went on a quick grocery run and *gasp* did not inform her children. Don't you fret, they're modern kids who know how to use modern means to get much-needed answers when mom is nowhere to be found. They went outside and rang the doorbell.

Back when we were children, this would've done nothing but make the dogs bark, but for Marchese's kids, who are 3 and 6 years old, it's as good as a phone call.


You may be questioning why this mom left her two young children home alone. She didn't. Their father was home, likely wondering why the children were playing so quietly. But. He. Was. Right. There. And the kids still bypassed him to talk to their mom through the Ring doorbell camera. It was pressing business, after all.

"My tablet is dead," the 3-year-old said.

The kids ignored Marchese's questions about where their dad was and continued to complain about their tablets. The entire situation is enough to make any default parent chuckle and maybe sob a little.

Watch the urgent doorbell call below:

@tinyann22

Moms can never get a minute of peace lol #momsoftiktok #momlife #ring #camera #kidsoftiktok

And if you're skeptical that dad was within shouting distance, the mom of two uploaded a part two where dad comes into the frame.

@tinyann22

Replying to @iustmerlp part 2… daddy was found! Lol #kidsoftiktok #momsoftiktok #parentsoftiktok #fyp #ring #prioritiesfirst

This article originally appeared on 3.22.23

A collage of family photos.

Shannyn Weiler, a Utah-based interior designer, has caused a debate on TikTok after she urged people to use caution when displaying family photos in the home. The discussion started a debate over whether a home should be decorated for visitors or the family itself and if having a “shrine” dedicated to family members is tasteful.

The video began with a stitch from a designer passionately saying that one should “never’ display “personal photos” in the living room.

“So family photos can become a problem when they become what I refer to as the shrine,” Weiler begins the video. She shared an example from her life, to make the case why family photos should be hung judiciously.

“I got married when I was 21,” she shares. “We were both in school, absolutely broke, we had $50 to buy a couch, so imagine what type of couch that was. We went to go decorate our first apartment and lo and behold, there’s no money for decoration. So we do what most newlyweds do, we use our wedding photos, because we’re so cute and we’re so in love and we just love our wedding day. Everywhere in our apartment was wedding photos… it felt like what I call ‘the shrine.’”


“It’s very real. This also happens if you have one baby, and you might have baby photos taken and it’s the shrine to the one kid,” she continues. “This also happens if you have one grandkid.”

@shannynweiler

Interior design art tips Art decor interior design Interior design 2024 art prints Interior design art trends 2024 interior design trends #hometips #homedecor #wallart #decortips #walldecor #interiordesign

Weiler believes that people should hang artwork or photography about more than one subject.

“They can’t just be on every wall with one subject,” she says. “We need to mix it up. There needs to be a mirror in the space. We need some Etsy art prints or something like that. We just need to mix it together to get rid of that shrine feel.”

The post bothered many who love having pictures of their family around the house. The vast majority of commenters were people who love having family photos strewn about their homes

"The house is for us not company," Sarah Murdock, the most popular commenter, wrote. "I’d rather have pics of my kids and our life up than prints of random flowers and art," Ty Harman added.

"I grew up in an interior design magazine and HATED that my mom never displayed any photos of my family. Felt like she cared more about material things," Alexandra DiGiovanni wrote.

Others noted that people decorate their homes for themselves, not for guests.

"OR we do what we want with the homes WE live in, not guests," Ergot wrote. "I like myself, I don't have a problem seeing myself everywhere. After all, I paid the bills," Gege Chic added.

Some people agreed with the interior decorator and said that having too many family photos in a house looks tacky.

"YES. Photographs of ourselves in my own house feel so weird to me. Narcissistic kind of Jamiecakes wrote. "I don't have a single photo of a person in my house. I think they look tacky," C wrote. "One friend's house comes to mind for me, it was tacky (for me) to see nothing but wedding pics. Like, do you have other interests? Just my opinion but also, they’re divorced now. Mixing in art helps," _sigred added.

Even though the post received a pretty sizable backlash, Weiler’s opinion is widely accepted in design circles. “To us, having too many portraits of yourself on display in your home is kind of like having a tattoo of yourself on your own body. It can come off as vain and tacky,” Sarah Han writes at Apartment Therapy.

After her thoughts on family photos went viral, Weiler posted a follow-up video where she shared an example of a student changing their mind about home decor.

“Sometimes in design, we hear the design ideas and go, 'Mmm nope, that's not for me.' Sometimes, we try those ideas and we still say, 'Nope, that's not for me.' But occasionally we try things and we go, 'Okay, I do kind of like that,’” Weiler concluded her video.

@shannynweiler

reply to @Shannyn #homedecor #interiordesign #hometips #interiordesigntrends2024 #wall art

This article originally appeared on 2.9.24