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9 vintage photos of smoggy London to remind us to take care of our air.

Londoners deserve better.

If you happened to be near the U.K.'s Department for Transport in London on April 27, 2016, you may have spotted this alarming scene:


Fortunately, it was a staged event. These were protesters, and they were perfectly safe and sound, out of harm's way. However, the crisis they're bringing to light is, unfortunately, pretty disturbing all on its own.

London has an air pollution problem, and it's putting the lives of city residents at stake.

The "die-in" protest, organized by Stop Killing Cyclists, brought 250 supporters onto the streets to demand cleaner air. Their staged deaths were meant to symbolize all the people air pollution silently kills in Britain each year — upward of 50,000, according to a bipartisan report from Parliament released this week.



Of course, a clean-air future is possible in London — especially when you remember what London used to look like.

Here are nine photos from the past that show just how far London has come in reducing air pollution:

1. This was London six decades ago.

Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

2. Doesn't it look ... gray?

Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

3. Smog, which became a big problem there in the 1950s and '60s, can certainly take the romance out of a cute stroll with a special someone...

Photo by Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

4. ...or make a morning commute a whole lot worse than it needs to be.

Photo by Peter King/Fox Photos/Getty Images.

5. You could even say 1950s London resembles Beijing today.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

6. Air pollution is definitely not an issue new to London in the 21st century. The smog there used to be much, much worse.

Photo by Edward Miller/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

7. In 1952, London's Great Smog killed and sickened thousands of residents in a matter of days.

Photo by Terry Fincher/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

8. In response to crises like that one, the country realized dramatic change was necessary.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

9. Like many other Western nations at the time, the U.K. began breaking its addiction to dirty energy and prioritizing cleaner methods.

Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

Clean Air Acts were passed in 1956 and 1968, which banned emissions of black smoke and forced regulations onto urban factories. In the decades since, clean-air technologies and higher pollution standards have helped guarantee London's worst smog days are far behind it.

Now, more than a half-century later, London has done quite a bit to clean up its act.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

But as the recent protest illustrated, so much more needs to be done to keep London's air fresh and clean and make sure the city never returns to the smog-filled air of the '50s.

Because who would ever want to go back to this?

Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images.

Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

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Community

Man uses social media to teach others ASL so kids don't experience what he did as a child

Every child should be able to communicate in a way that works best for them.

Man teaches people ASL so no child experiences what he did

People start communicating from the moment they enter the world usually through cries, faces, grunts and squeals. Once infants move into the toddler phase the combine all of their previous communication skills with pointing and saying a few frequently used words like "milk," "mama," "dada" and "eat."

Children who are born without the ability to hear often still go through those same stages with the exception of their frequently used words being in sign language. But not all hearing parents know sign language, which can stunt the language skills of their non-hearing child. Ronnie McKenzie is an American Sign Language advocate that uses social media to teach others how to sign so deaf and nonverbal kids don't feel left out.

"But seriously i felt so isolated 50% of my life especially being outside of school i had NONE to sign ASL with. Imagine being restricted from your own language," McKenzie writes in his caption.

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Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

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Joy

Bus driver comes to the rescue for boy who didn't have an outfit for school's Pajamas Day

“It hurt me so bad…I wanted him to have a good day. No child should have to miss out on something as small as pajama day.”

Representative Image from Canva

One thoughtful act can completely turn someone's day around.

On the morning just before Valentine’s Day, school bus driver Larry Farrish Jr. noticed something amiss with Levi, one of his first grade passengers, on route to Engelhard Elementary, part of Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) in Louisville, Kentucky.

On any other day, the boy would greet Farrish with a smile and a wave. But today, nothing. Levi sat down by himself, eyes downcast, no shining grin to be seen. Farrish knew something was up, and decided to inquire.

With a “face full of tears,” as described on the JCPS website, Levi told Farrish that today was “Pajama Day” at school, but he didn’t have any pajamas to wear for the special occasion.
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via Imgur

Memories of testing like this gets people fired up.

It doesn't take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it's not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child's math test is the latest event to get people fired up.

The test in question asked kids to solve "5 x 3" using repeated addition. Under this method, the correct answer is "5 groups of 3," not "3 groups of 5." The question is typical of Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning.

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Joy

There are over 30 years between these amazing before-and-after photos.

"It's important for me for my photography to make people smile."

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Before and after photos separated by 30 years.


Chris Porsz was tired of studying sociology.

As a university student in the 1970s, he found the talk of economics and statistics completely mind-numbing. So instead, he says, he roamed the streets of his hometown of Peterborough, England, with a camera in hand, snapping pictures of the people he met and listening to their stories. To him, it was a far better way to understand the world.

He always looked for the most eccentric people he could find, anyone who stood out from the crowd. Sometimes he'd snap a single picture of that person and walk away. Other times he'd have lengthy conversations with these strangers.

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