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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Smiles joy happy

Smiling is good for us all.

Did you know that one smile can stimulate your brain as much as 2,000 chocolate bars?

In a 2005 study, British researchers used an electromagnetic brain scan machine to measure mood boosts from various stimuli. Not only did seeing a child's smile provide the same stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars, but it was also equivalent to receiving 16,000 British pounds (more than $25,000 in U.S. dollars at the time of the study).

Another study from Wayne State University, as reported by TIME, discovered that professional baseball players who were smiling widely in their photos lived an average of 79.9 years, while those who were not smiling only lived 72.9 years—a full seven-year difference.


In his 2011 TED Talk, "The Hidden Powers of Smiling," Ron Gutman shared what he'd gleaned from his review of research on smiling, including the above studies and more. He found that smiling is an incredibly powerful human behavior that can make a profound difference in our lives.

So these weekly smile-worthy roundups aren't just for fluff. Smiling is good for us, and if enough of us get enough of those feel-good endorphins, maybe—just maybe—we'll make a noticeable, positive mark on the world around us.

Enjoy, friends!

Michael Myers' dance moves turn Halloween horror into happiness and hilarity.

I'm not even a fan of horror flicks, but I couldn't love this more.

Pianist transforms standard iPhone alarm into a gorgeous piano ballad.

Musicians really deserve all the kudos. Imagine how sad and boring our world would be without them.

Roger Federer made a promise to a young fan in 2017 and just fulfilled it in the best way.

Zizou was only 6 years old when he asked Federer to keep playing long enough for him to compete with him. Now he's the top under-12 player in the U.S. and Federer gave him the surprise of a lifetime. So dang sweet. Read the full story here.

As a child, she gave her teacher one of her favorite toys. Three decades later, she got it back with the sweetest note.

For her twins! Absolutely amazing that she kept it for so long. We don't deserve teachers.

Woman surprised her husband with a custom love song and his reaction is everything.

Why did I not issue a tissue warning?!? Dang it. His face when he realizes it is so sweet, but his losing it when she sings about his kids and his mom? Oof. Just beautiful.

Dwarf mongoose plays dead when it encounters a hornbill and it's an incredible acting job.

I've watched this a dozen times and it only gets funnier each time.

Lebanese dance troupe wows yet again with stunning performance on 'America's Got Talent.'

Everything about this is mesmerizing. The costumes, the choreography, the coordination—all of it. Read more about this amazing dance troupe here.

Baby giggling over sweet potatoes and sounding like a kazoo is peak joy.

Fantastically fierce, furry feline fearlessly fights floating phantoms—and it's fabulously fun.

That is one adorably badass kitten.

Dance into the weekend with this surprisingly awesome Scottish-Indian musical mashup.

Whoever came up with putting these musical traditions together was a genius. Such a fun collaboration that works so well.

That's it for this week! Did you smile? Was it better than 2,000 chocolate bars? (I dunno, you guys. I love chocolate a whole lot. I don't think one smile is worth 2,000 chocolate bars. But maybe all the smiles from this list gets us pretty close.)

Be sure to come back next week for another roundup of joy, and subscribe to The Upworthiest newsletter to bring more smiles right to your inbox.

True

Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

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Education

3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

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This company lets children transform ordinary backpacks into creative masterpieces

Dommei’s innovative designs are empowering children to unleash their artistic potential.

Imagine a world where a simple backpack becomes a canvas for imagination and a tool for learning. That's the world Dommei has created.

Born out of a desire to blend creativity with everyday utility, Dommei is not just another company; it's a hub of innovation. In a time when screens often dominate our children's attention, Dommei brings back the joy of tangible, hands-on creativity.

@dommei_inc Play in different! Dommei DIY Backpack combine the functionality of display board, toys, and tools.
♬ 原聲 - Dommei Inc

Each backpack from Dommei is more than a bag; it's a gateway to worlds of space, oceans, dinosaurs, and more. It's where art meets education, and ordinary backpacks transform into extraordinary masterpieces, empowering children to unleash their artistic potential and explore new horizons.

1. The Concept Behind Dommei

During the 2020 pandemic, when the world seemed to pause, Dommei hit the play button on creativity and innovation. The company's journey began with a question: How can we turn everyday objects into something extraordinary? Inspired by the grandeur and innovation symbolized by the Crystal Palace of the first World Expo, Dommei decided to reinvent something as simple as a backpack into a canvas of imagination and learning.

At its core, Dommei stands on three pillars: create, have fun, and share. It's not just about making a product; it's about creating an experience that blends joy with education. The brand encourages children and adults alike to explore their creativity, turning personal expression into an interactive adventure. By marrying practicality with play, Dommei backpacks are more than just storage; they're tools for storytelling, learning, and sharing experiences. Each backpack is a celebration of personal expression, underlining the brand's commitment to making education not only accessible but also enjoyable.

2. The Space Domepak Kit

Blast off into a universe of learning and creativity with the Space Domepak Kit! This isn't just a backpack; it's a launchpad for young astronauts' imaginations. Loaded with a space-themed display board, stellar toys, and tools for connecting, the Space Domepak turns the mystery of the cosmos into an interactive adventure. It’s perfect for those little dreamers who gaze up at the stars and wonder.

By bringing the wonders of the universe to their fingertips, this kit encourages curiosity, learning, and creativity, making the vastness of space feel a little closer and a lot more personal. It’s not just carrying a backpack but a galaxy of possibilities.

3. The Ocean Domepak Kit

Dive into the deep blue with the Ocean Domepak Kit, where every zip opens up a world of underwater exploration. This kit is more than a backpack; it's an oceanic expedition for young explorers! It is packed with marine-themed toys, a vibrant display board, and tools inviting interaction

It's a treasure trove for budding marine biologists. Kids discover and learn about mysterious marine species, fostering a love for our oceans and their creatures. It's a hands-on experience that brings the ocean's wonders to the surface, igniting a wave of curiosity and care for the aquatic world.

4. The Dinosaur Domepak Kit

Step back in time with the Dinosaur Domepak Kit, a prehistoric playground for the little paleontologist in your life. This isn't just any backpack; it's a time machine to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Loaded with dinosaur-themed toys, a prehistoric display board, and tools for hands-on learning, it brings the ancient world of dinosaurs into the present.

This kit makes learning about these magnificent creatures fun and accessible, sparking a fascination with natural history. It's more than a journey into the past; it’s an exploration of a world that once was, igniting a lifelong passion for discovery and science.

5. The Combo Domepak Kit

Meet the chameleon of backpacks: the Combo Domepak Kit. This ingenious creation adapts to whatever your child’s heart desires, be it the cosmos, the deep sea, or the age of dinosaurs.

Each kit comes with a variety of themes, making it a jack-of-all-trades in the world of creative learning. It's not just versatile; it's a playground for the imagination. Whether your little one is an aspiring astronaut today or a marine biologist tomorrow, this backpack evolves with their changing passions. It's a celebration of their growing interests, offering a canvas that's as dynamic and creative as their young minds.

6. The Plus Domepak Kit

For the little artist with a big imagination, the Plus Domepak Kit is a masterpiece waiting to happen. This isn’t just a backpack; it's an artist's studio on the go. With its comprehensive set, including a DIY painting kit, it turns every outing into an opportunity for artistic expression.

The Plus Domepak isn't just about carrying supplies; it's about carrying ideas and dreams. Whether it's painting a prehistoric landscape or a starry galaxy, this kit combines art, education, and endless fun. It’s perfect for nurturing creativity, blending the joy of making art with the thrill of learning something new every day.

Learn More

Dommei's backpacks are more than just bags; they're windows to worlds of creativity and learning. Each one is a unique adventure, inviting kids to explore, create, and grow.

So, why settle for ordinary when your child can carry a masterpiece? Click here to dive into Dommei's world and see where creativity takes you.

Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.

As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

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Family

People kept telling me to watch 'Bluey.' I still was not prepared.

Some adults say it's healing their inner child, but there's something in the popular Australian kids' show for everyone.

"Bluey" is popular with all ages, despite being aimed at kids.

I have a confession to make. I'm 48 years old, my youngest child is in high school and I can't stop watching "Bluey."

For the uninitiated, "Bluey" is a kids' cartoon from Australia aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds. It's been nearly a decade since my household has seen that demographic, so when people kept telling me I should watch "Bluey," my reaction was basically, "Yeah, I've already done my kiddie show time, thankyouverymuch."

Then my almost-15-year-old started watching it just to see what the fuss was about. And as I started tuning in, I saw why people love it so much. I figured it was going to be a wholesome show with some good lessons for kids, and it is.

But it's also laugh-out-loud hilarious.

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Family

'She just needed somebody to help her'—principal adopts student after she's suspended

An unlikely family will celebrate their ninth Christmas together this year.

Canva

Girl sitting in detention

Get ready folks, this story is a bit of a tearjerker.

Back in 2015, Jason Smith, a school principal, met a sixth-grade girl sitting outside his office, waiting to be reprimanded for throwing yogurt at a classmate during lunch.

That girl, Raven Whitaker, would later become his daughter.

Smith recalled with Good Morning America that the 11-year-old looked like a “sweet,” “innocent” child as she admitted to him what she had done.

Trying to reason with her, Smith asked, "Well, if you were out at a restaurant, would you do that there?'"

And that was when Raven told him that she had never really been to a restaurant. As she explained to WTHR, she had spent most of her life in the foster care system, suffering under terrible conditions, and was currently living in a group home.
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Joy

Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.

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