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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy

kid smiling
Photo by Terricks Noah on Unsplash

Bringing the joy, one '10 things' list at a time

Hey all! Welcome to our weekly roundup of joyful finds! Hope these nuggets of delight bring a smile or 10 to your face.

If you'd like to have these posts delivered to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

Enjoy!


1. Some solid words of wisdom for the college-aged crowd

As someone who's been called "Gordo" for 25 years, can confirm. You have to be careful.

2. Sibling trio from South Africa sings an incredible rendition of 'Stand By Me'

@bikosmanna

🫶🏾🫶🏾 Stand by me Song by Ben E. King Covered by BikosManna #TauLion🦁 #BikoStar #MannaHero #TauLion🦁 #BikosManna #BKMN

That angelic voice. Those harmonies. The dancing body percussionist. Utter perfection. Read more about this dynamic trio here.

3. Dog grampa goes all out babysitting his daughter's pooch

Swipe through these texts. Could Gramps be more adorable?

4. Timothy Fletcher brings the house down with his jaw-dropping drum performance on AGT

The drumming is great, but the showmanship is next level. Read the full story here.

5. Woman sings in historic Iranian mosque, despite women being forbiddden to sing in public

Her voice is beautiful, but it's her courage and confidence—and that single finger stopping the man in his tracks—that make this video so incredible to watch.

6. Three cheers for all the Ronnies of the world

That's a young man who knew exactly what to do to put a mom's heart at ease in this situation. Way to go, Ronnie.

7. Girl calls her stepfather 'Dad' for the first time and it's just so beautiful

Here's to the dads who step in and step up to fatherhood. Read the full story here.

8. It's excitement over the little things like Egg Day that make a marriage

So dang sweet.

9. Sean Astin says just the right thing to a fan with depression (f-bomb warning)

@easttnelvira

I met one of my childhood heroes Sean Astin today and he offered me some words of wisdom and encouragement over the battles of depression that I needed to hear. I am so glad this was captured on video to remember this moment, cherish, and reflect on anytime I am feeling down. I hope anyone else who struggles with depression takes his words and kindness to heart too. 🖤 #seanastin #samwisegamgee #lordoftheringstiktok #lotr #lotrtok #lordoftherings #fanboyexpoknoxville #fyp #trending

A little empathy and understanding can go a long way. Read the full story here.

10. Watch a whole stadium sing their hearts out to 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at a Harry Styles concert in Poland

The music of Queen and the legacy of Freddie Mercury will live on forever, and listening to thousands of human voices lifted together in song will never get old. Read the full story here.

Have a fabulous weekend and come back next week for more smiles!

Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.



The site was left untouched and largely unexamined for over a decade. A sign was placed to ensure future researchers could locate and study it.

16 years later, Janzen dispatched graduate student Timothy Treuer to look for the site where the food waste was dumped.

Treuer initially set out to locate the large placard that marked the plot — and failed.

The first deposit of orange peels in 1996.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"It's a huge sign, bright yellow lettering. We should have been able to see it," Treuer says. After wandering around for half an hour with no luck, he consulted Janzen, who gave him more detailed instructions on how to find the plot.

When he returned a week later and confirmed he was in the right place, Treuer was floored. Compared to the adjacent barren former pastureland, the site of the food waste deposit was "like night and day."

The site of the orange peel deposit (L) and adjacent pastureland (R).

Photo by Leland Werden.

"It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems," he explains.

The area was so thick with vegetation he still could not find the sign.

Treuer and a team of researchers from Princeton University studied the site over the course of the following three years.

The results, published in the journal "Restoration Ecology," highlight just how completely the discarded fruit parts assisted the area's turnaround.

The ecologists measured various qualities of the site against an area of former pastureland immediately across the access road used to dump the orange peels two decades prior. Compared to the adjacent plot, which was dominated by a single species of tree, the site of the orange peel deposit featured two dozen species of vegetation, most thriving.

Lab technician Erik Schilling explores the newly overgrown orange peel plot.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

In addition to greater biodiversity, richer soil, and a better-developed canopy, researchers discovered a tayra (a dog-sized weasel) and a giant fig tree three feet in diameter, on the plot.

"You could have had 20 people climbing in that tree at once and it would have supported the weight no problem," says Jon Choi, co-author of the paper, who conducted much of the soil analysis. "That thing was massive."

Recent evidence suggests that secondary tropical forests — those that grow after the original inhabitants are torn down — are essential to helping slow climate change.

In a 2016 study published in Nature, researchers found that such forests absorb and store atmospheric carbon at roughly 11 times the rate of old-growth forests.

Treuer believes better management of discarded produce — like orange peels — could be key to helping these forests regrow.

In many parts of the world, rates of deforestation are increasing dramatically, sapping local soil of much-needed nutrients and, with them, the ability of ecosystems to restore themselves.

Meanwhile, much of the world is awash in nutrient-rich food waste. In the United States, up to half of all produce in the United States is discarded. Most currently ends up in landfills.

The site after a deposit of orange peels in 1998.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"We don't want companies to go out there will-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it's scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential," Treuer says.

The next step, he believes, is to examine whether other ecosystems — dry forests, cloud forests, tropical savannas — react the same way to similar deposits.

Two years after his initial survey, Treuer returned to once again try to locate the sign marking the site.

Since his first scouting mission in 2013, Treuer had visited the plot more than 15 times. Choi had visited more than 50. Neither had spotted the original sign.

In 2015, when Treuer, with the help of the paper's senior author, David Wilcove, and Princeton Professor Rob Pringle, finally found it under a thicket of vines, the scope of the area's transformation became truly clear.

The sign after clearing away the vines.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

"It's a big honking sign," Choi emphasizes.

19 years of waiting with crossed fingers had buried it, thanks to two scientists, a flash of inspiration, and the rind of an unassuming fruit.


This article originally appeared on 08.23.17

Family

Mom films her 10-month-old helping with chores to show parents that babies 'are capable'

"It’s so important for their development and they enjoy it!”

Representative image from Canva

Having kids help in chores can really help them out later in life, according to experts.

It’s part of a parent’s job to help kids enjoy being kids while they can. At the same time, it’s extremely beneficial to teach them certain “adult” tasks while they’re still young. This can help them see everything from cleaning to budgeting as a fun, life-affirming activity, rather than a mandatory chore. Which research shows can, in turn, set them up for way more happiness and success once they do reach adulthood.

And that’s why mom and child development expert Sophie Zee is hosting a video of her ten-month-old helping with household chores like laundry and loading the dishwasher. It’s her way of reminding other parents just how capable their young children are.

In the video’s text overlay on her Zee wrote: “POV: you're 10-months-old but your mom is trained in child development, so you already know about basic chores and associate them with playtime and fun, and you enjoy helping out and doing them.”

As we see her toddler’s little hands splashing water in a strainer and pressing buttons on the washing machine, it’s clear that he is just a supervised participant of each chore, getting a visceral experience of it all. At one point he even gets a little creative with a certain task—using a fork to open the dishwasher’s soap dispenser. Problem-solving skills: unlocked!

“Let your baby & kids watch/help with your daily chores. Even if it takes a bit longer or is a bit messier. It’s so important for their development and they enjoy it!” Zee's video caption read.

@schoolpsych.mom Let your baby & kids watch/help with your daily chores. Even if it takes a bit longer or is a bit messier. It’s so important for their development and they enjoy it! #momsoftiktok #parentingtips #babylife #newmomtips #toddlermom ♬ Feel Good - Tundra Beats

Down in the comments, several other parents noted having the same positive experience with their old young kids.

One mom wrote, “My 9 month old loves watching/helping me clean especially when I load/unload the dishwasher! I love making the daily tasks around the house more fun for the two of us.”

Another wrote, “I did this with my 6 adult kiddies. They were helping from the time they were just a few weeks old.”

Others simply gave kudos to Zee for setting her child up for success.

“ECD teacher here too. Best to train them from young 🥰 love it,” one view wrote.

In an interview with Newsweek, Zee explained that she filmed her son doing chores to highlight "their intrinsic motivation to engage and feel part of the family unit,” which may go otherwise underutilized.

"Parents may not realize that children learn extensively by observing and imitating adults. They naturally want to mimic our actions, presenting a perfect opportunity to expose them to life's responsibilities, including self-care and household tasks," she said.

"Sometimes my 10-month-old son engages in various daily tasks and chores around our home. I made that video to demonstrate how even young children, like babies, are capable of participating in everyday activities.”

Still, she noted that forcing kids to participate is “counterproductive,” and suggested that parents instead gently invite them to “join in, observe, and gradually participate.” She also reiterated that while having them join in might make things a little messier at first, the long term effects are well worth it.

"This approach is more beneficial than expecting children to play independently or watch television while parents rush through tasks. Ultimately, embracing this inclusive approach benefits the entire family, offering immediate rewards and long-term positive habits for children's development."

For more helpful child development content, including tips on how to get young ones to participate in chores, follow Zee on TikTok.

Michael B. Jordan speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International, for "Black Panther", at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.

As long as humans have endeavored to do anything great, there have been those who have tried to take them down. These are the opposite of the creators in life: the bullies, haters and naysayers who only want to bring people down to their level.

But when you have a dream and desire, its easy to tune out the voices of negativity. "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better,” Theodore Roosevelt once said. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."

Some folks use the naysayers as fuel to push them to work even harder. Basketball legend Michael Jordan was infamous for letting his thirst for revenge drive him to even greater heights on the court.


Another Michael Jordan, "Black Panther" star, Michael B. Jordan, came face to face with someone who doubted that he could reach his dreams, and he wasn’t shy about letting her know that he remembered. What's Upworthy about the encounter is that he did so with class and confidence.

In 2023, Jordan was on the red carpet for the premiere of "Creed III," a film he starred in and directed. He was interviewed by “The Morning Hustle” radio show host Lore’l, who had recently admitted on the “Undressing Room” podcast that she used to make fun of him in school.

“You know what’s so crazy? I went to school with Michael B. Jordan at a point in life,” Lore’l said. “And to be honest with you, we teased him all the damn time because his name was Michael Jordan. Let’s start there, and he was no Michael Jordan.”

“He also would come to school with a headshot,” she added. “We lived in Newark. That’s the hood. We would make fun of him like, ‘What you gonna do with your stupid headshot?’ And now look at him!”

In addition, her co-host, Eva Marcille, referred to Jordan as “corny.”

Jordan had no problem discussing their past on the red carpet. “We go way back, all the way back to Chad Science [Academy] in Newark,” Lore’l told the actor. Oh yeah, I was the corny kid, right?” Jordan responded with a smirk.

“No, you did not hear me say that! I said we used to make fun of the name,” Lore’l said.

“I heard it,” Jordan said. “I heard it. It’s all good. What’s up?” he responded. “But yeah, [you are] obviously killing things out here…you’re not corny anymore,” Lore’l clarified.

After the exchange went viral, Lore’l admitted that she teased Jordan in school, but they were only classmates for one year.

“So the narrative that I bullied him all throughout high school—this was 7th grade. We were like 12 years old, and everyone made fun of each other,” Lore’l said. “That was school, you know. That was one year. And, again, I’ve never bullied him. That just sounds so outrageous to me.”

Jordan later shared some advice on how to deal with bullies.

"Just stay focused, just stay locked in,” he told a reporter from Complex. “You know, just follow your heart, try to block out the noise and distractions as much as possible and run your race. Don't compare yourself to anybody else. Just keep going."

Canva

Important summer tips.

In 2008, a young boy named Johnny Jackson went swimming and accidentally swallowed some water.

He had a short coughing fit, toweled off, and then went home. No big deal.

Or so his parents thought.


A few hours later, after going down for a nap, Johnny passed away.

In 2014, a toddler named Ronin came frighteningly close to the same fate. He slipped briefly into a pool before being pulled to safety by his mother. Ronin was shaken up but seemed fine.

Later that night, he lay stretched out in an ambulance as it screamed toward the hospital, where he arrived just in time.

Stories like these have resulted in an outburst of news coverage around what's being referred to as "dry drowning." But that's a bit of a misnomer.

Since we're entering the season of pool parties and beach trips, here are a few things you really need to know about what actually happened to Ronin and Johnny.

First, there is a difference between dry drowning and delayed drowning.

With dry drowning, water never enters the victim's lungs. Rather, it causes the vocal chords to spasm and shuts off airways without actually filling the lungs with water. Otherwise, it looks a lot like normal drowning because it occurs in real time and causes asphyxiation.

Delayed drowning, sometimes called secondary drowning, is a bit different. In cases like Ronin and Johnny's, water gets into the lungs in small amounts — not enough to disable breathing right away. Instead, it sits there and inhibits the lungs' ability to oxygenate blood. From there, the victim starts to have more and more trouble breathing over the course of several hours.

Second, drowning doesn't look the way it does in the movies.

Whether you're dealing with normal, dry, or delayed drowning, don't expect a dramatic scene full of thrashing, coughing, and yelling.

According to Dr. Anna Mendenhall of the Children's Physicians Medical Group, 9 out of 10 children who drown do so even though they were being supervised by a parent because it's so easy to miss the signs.

Here's what you need to look for, even hours after you've left the pool or beach:

  • Difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain, or throwing up. Look for rapid and shallow breaths, nostril flaring, or a pronounced gap in the ribs when breathing. These are all signs a child is working too hard to get oxygen.
  • Extreme tiredness. Big-time fatigue can be a sign that the brain isn't getting enough oxygen.
  • Any odd change in behavior. Kids in the beginning stages of delayed drowning may be really cranky, argumentative, or combative.
  • Odd physical changes. Look out for blue lips or pale skin.

Most likely these symptoms will go away over time. But if they don't or they get worse, you might want to call your pediatrician on the way to the emergency room.

And the best way to watch for drowning in the moment? Get in the pool with your kids and stay within an arm's reach. It's the only way to make sure you don't miss anything.

Third, don't panic. Delayed and dry drownings combined make up only 1% to 2% of all drowning incidents.

There's no getting around it. This is really scary stuff, especially to a parent.

I have a 2-month-old daughter, and my first reaction to all of this is to literally never let her near a swimming pool. Ever.

But as scary as they are, these unusual cases are just that — unusual.

It's a really good idea teach your kids about basic water safety and get them comfortable in the pool with swim lessons at an early age (experts say 4 or 5 is a good age to start). But I'll say it again:

The single best thing you can do to protect a child from drowning — wet, dry, or otherwise — is to get in the pool with them.

As long as you're prepared, pools can be great for fun things like throwing your children! Photo from Thinkstock.

At least until they're old enough to be embarrassed by your presence.


This article originally appeared on 07.02.15

via Imgur

"Why does it sound like you're leaving?"

In every relationship we'll ever have, there's going to be a final conversation. Before the digital age, these interactions were usually face-to-face or over the telephone and could only be recorded in our memories. But now, just about every relationship leaves a paper trail of text messages, social media interactions, and voice messages. Sometimes the final communication is a heated breakup, and other times, it's a casual interaction shortly before a person's death.

Now, there's a blog that collects these haunting final messages. The Last Message Received contains submissions of the last messages people received from ex-friends or ex-significant others as well as from deceased friends and relatives. Here are some of the blog's most haunting posts.

"My good friend's dad died around Thanksgiving. Two weeks later he drank himself to death."


"This is the last text I got from my mom before she died of Stage IV brain cancer at the age of 53. It left her completely paralyzed on the left side of her body, hence the typos in the texts. What she was saying was, 'You're missing music therapy.' Almost as good as Good Friday church giggles.' A few years prior to this, we went to the Good Friday service at our church. The choir was absolutely horrendous and couldn't sing whatsoever. She and I sat there, in the most serious, somber church service of all, laughing hysterically, unable to stop for the life of us. She sent me this text while she was in hospice and I was at school."

"This happened a few months back. He was my best friend and my boyfriend of 7 years. He stuck with me when I fell pregnant at 16 after I was raped. He became an actual dad to my son. He was my everything. A few months before this message, things started to change, we drifted apart and he was telling my 5 year old son to lie to me about his whereabouts. One night he beat me, I ended up in hospital for a few days. He begged for forgiveness, I stayed. It happened again a few days later, he was at work when I text him. I took my son and left. This is the last text I received from him. I heard last week that he's just been sent to prison for crimes involving violence and drugs. I hope he gets the help he needs."

"My dad died 6 weeks later flying the plane in this picture."

"The last text he sent me. The next day I got a call from his daughter that he was still very much with his wife and I wasn't the only one he was cheating on her with."

"She had sent me a message earlier asking me not to contact her anymore. I woke up to one last message. We'd dated for 3.5 years and when I came out as trans, the relationship fell apart. I still think about and miss her every day."


"I sent this to my grandpa on thanksgiving. Two days later he unexpectedly had a heart attack and passed. He was my favorite person in the world and nothing has been the same since. I refuse to delete this message."

"I would have fallen in love with her if distance and timing hadn't gotten in the way. I'm ignoring her because I need to let her move on."

This article originally appeared on 05.25.19