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8 inspiring quotes from Malala's new film prove she's a total badass.

Malala Yousafzai is an ordinary girl with extraordinary bravery.

If you didn't know any better, you might mistake Malala Yousafzai for a normal teenager.

She can't keep the grin off her face when Googling photos of Roger Federer — giggling when saying she likes his haircut — and she has strong opinions about both pizza and Bella from "Twilight." She patiently teaches her digitally-challenged dad how to use "the Twitter," but gets under his skin when she's late for breakfast, too.

"Come, Malala, come!" he yells from the kitchen. "What's the problem?"


Malala faces (and beats) her younger brother Khushal in an arm wrestling match. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

In fact, if you aren't aware of Malala's backstory before watching the new documentary, "He Named Me Malala," which is all about her amazing life, I'd guess you'd even mistake her for an everyday 18-year-old — not a human rights leader championing her cause on the world stage.

Malala's story is incredible.

In case you don't know much about the girl who stood up against the Taliban (and won), here's a quick explainer.

Malala was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban in 2012 while riding a bus to school in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Why? Because she was a girl who was outspoken about why she, and girls like her, deserved access to education. It's really that simple.

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

Remarkably, she survived the attack. And now, she's become an even bigger nightmare for the religious extremists, having created the Malala Fund — an organization that advocates for girls' education around the world — and continuing to draw global attention to her cause. (Reminder: She's 18.)

While the film explores several aspects of her life, I thought the most compelling takeaway was how Malala could be both so seemingly ordinary, yet say and do such extraordinary things.

Here are eight quotes from the movie "He Named Me Malala" that prove just how much of an iconic, heroic badass she is.

Photo by Caroline Furneaux, courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

1. The Taliban can try, but they won't silence her.


"I have the right to sing. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up. I will get my education — if it is at home, in school, or any place. They cannot stop me." — Malala


If actual bullets couldn't stop her, can you expect scare tactics to? Despite the Taliban's threats to kill Malala one day (her family moved to the U.K. to help protect her in the shooting's aftermath), one consistent theme throughout the film is Malala's fearlessness in promoting children's access to education. The Taliban can say and do whatever they want — they won't silence her.

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

2. She's on the Yousafzaifamily tree. And that's a big deal.

"No woman was mentioned. Only men were there. I took the pen, [drew] a line, and [wrote] 'Malala.'" — Ziauddin Yousafzai, on including Malala's name on the family tree

Malala's father, Ziauddin, was an educator and vocal advocate for women's rights in his native country long before Malala was shot in 2012. In the film, he explains how he wrote Malala's name on the family tree, which dates back about 300 years. No other woman's name was included before that — a symbolic reflection of how women are valued in many regions of the world.

Malala and her father, Ziauddin. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

3. She refuses to let anger get the best of her.

"All this time, you've never felt angry?"

"No. Not even as small as an atom. Or maybe a nucleus of an atom. Or maybe a proton. Or maybe a quark." — Malala

If you're a member of the Taliban, your ego must be hurting by this point. Because Malala not only doesn't fear you, she doesn't care enough to be angry with you either.

When asked by an interviewer in the film if she's ever been upset with the Taliban for their attempt to killer her, she responded "no" without hesitation and explained that her Muslim faith has taught her "humanity, equality, [and] forgivingness."

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

4. She challenges gender expectations.

"Sometimes [my mother, Toorpekai] says, 'Don't shake hands with men. Look down, look down, don't look at men — it's a shame.' And I say, 'If a man can look at me, why can't I look at them?'" — Malala

It becomes evident in the film that Malala's mother, Toorpekai Yousafzai, has more traditional Islamic values when it comes to gender than her daughter does. But it hasn't stopped Malala from questioning why one gender should be treated as if they're less than the other.

Although it's easy to praise Malala's progressiveness and frown upon Toorpekai's old school ways, it's also worth noting that Toorpekai has been loving and supportive of her daughter's mission to promote girls' education. She even made the commitment to learn how to read and write herself as an adult.

Malala's mother, Toorpekai Yousafzai (right), next to Malala's two brothers, Atal Yousafzai (center), and Khushal Yousafzai (left). Photo by Heiko Junge/AFP/Getty Images.

5. She hangs around with A-listers ... but still has to study.

"Some people think, 'Malala is lucky — she's now with Hillary Clinton, she's with Bono, she's with rock stars.' But on the other side, I get homework as well." — Malala

The fact Malala has remained committed to her own schoolwork (did you see her GCSE test scores?!) even while palling around with world leaders proves she clearly walks the walk when it comes to learning.

Photo by Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images.

6. She refuses to give up — especially when times get tough.

"It is so hard to get things done in this world. You try and too often it doesn't work. But you have to continue. And you never give up." — Malala

One of Malala's more sobering remarks came amid the film's coverage of Boko Haram's kidnapping of Nigerian school girls and the children refugee crisis in Syria — two world events Malala helped shine a light on.

“I'm still 17 — I'm still a teenager," Malala says in the face of such despair. "What should I do? How can I help?"

But, despite the overwhelmingly tragic circumstances, she's committed to fighting for justice. The cameras follow her to West Africa, where she meets with the Nigerian president to pressure him into prioritizing the kidnapped girls' protection, and she travels to the Syrian-Jordan border, where she aids refugees to safety.

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

7. She has great admiration for her father.

"One thing that I notice in my father — even if he stammers for one minute, he will try to say that word. He never stops. If you have a stammer, you can just stop it, and you can say another word instead. But my father never does that." — Malala

The special bond between Malala and her father is clear throughout the entire film. When questioned about his stammer — which hasn't prevented him from giving speeches publicly — Malala explains how his refusal to let his speech affect his activism has been a source of inspiration to her.

Photo by Caroline Furneaux, courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, used with permission.

8. Not everyone loves her name. But she does.

"When I was little, many people would say, 'Change Malala's name. It's a bad name. It means sad.' But my father would always say, 'No, it has another meaning — bravery.'" — Malala

Malala is named after Malalai of Maiwand — a 19th century Anglo-Afghan war hero who inspired Afghan troops during a battle against the British. To some, the name conjures negative connotations. But Ziauddin Yousafzai always had a different take on the name, and it couldn't be a more accurate description of his heroic daughter.

Photo by Ragnar Singsaas/Getty Images.

Are you inspired by Malala? Here's how you can support her work.

Stand #WithMalala by spreading her message on social media using the hashtag, and learn more about how you can promote education in Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and beyond on the The Malala Fund's website.

"He Named Me Malala" is now playing in theaters nationwide. Check out the film's trailer below.

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

National Autistic Society/Youtube

"Diverted" educational video shared through the Too Much Information Campaign.

Everyone who lives with autism experiences it somewhat differently. You'll often hear physicians and advocates refer to the spectrum that exists for those who are autistic, pointing to a wide range of symptoms and skills.

But one thing many autistic people experience is sensory processing issues.


For autistic people, processing the world around them when it comes to sight, smell, or touch can be challenging, as their senses are often over- or under-sensitive. Certain situations — like meandering through a congested mall or enduring the nonstop blasting of police sirens — can quickly become unbearable.

This reality is brought to life in a new video by the U.K.'s National Autistic Society (NAS).

The eye-opening PSA takes viewers into the mind of a autistic woman as she thinks about struggling to stay composed in a crowded, noisy train.

It's worth a watch:

The PSA hit especially close to home for 22-year-old actress and star of the video Saskia Lupin, who is autistic herself. "Overall I feel confused," she said, of abrupt changes to her routine. "Like I can't do anything and all sense of rationality is lost."

She's not alone.

According to a study cited in NAS' press release, 75% of autistic people say unexpected changes make them feel socially isolated. What's more, 67% reported seeing or hearing negative reactions from the public when they try to calm themselves down in such situations — from eyerolls and stares to unwelcome, hurtful comments.

The new PSA aims to improve that last figure in particular.

It's part of the organization's Too Much Information campaign — an initiative to build empathy and understanding in allistic (i.e., not autistic) people for those on the spectrum.

Autism Awareness Day, campaign, World Autism Awareness Week

Campaign by National Autistic Society created to share the autistic experience to the world.

Photo from Pixabay

"It isn't that the public sets out to be judgmental towards autistic people," Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said in a statement in 2016. It's just that, often, the public doesn't "see" the autism.

"They see a 'strange' man pacing back and forth in a shopping center," Lever explained, "or a 'naughty' girl having a tantrum on a bus, and don't know how to respond."

Well, now we do.

Instead of staring, rolling your eyes, or thinking judgmental thoughts about the young person's parents, remember: You have no idea what that stranger on the train is going through.

“We can't make the trains run on time," said Lever. But even the simplest, smallest things — like remembering not to stare and giving a person some space and compassion if they need it — can make a big difference.


This article originally appeared on 03.28.18

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

How to clear a stuffy nose instantly.

With cold season upon us, there's no better time to learn a couple of awesome and easy tricks that will clear up the dreaded and annoying stuffy nose.

Prevention magazine created a short video showing two easy ways to get you breathing free again no matter how stuffed up you might be.


Both tricks take less than two minutes and are certainly worth trying out when it feels like that runny nose might never go away.


Watch the YouTube video below:

This article first appeared on 9.8.17.

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.