+
Heroes

A new documentary will show what it's like to have your life turned upside down by fracking.

I can't even imagine.

Imagine you're home.

You may not be there right now — maybe you're out running errands, or at a friend's house, or on vacation (lucky you), or wherever. But just imagine that you're at home, wherever home may be.


Maybe you live in a quaint farmhouse. How cute! Image via Thinkstock.


Maybe you live in Brooklyn. Image via Thinkstock.

625 feet away from your home (and your family) is a fracking well.

That's 0.12 mile, or less than two football fields. And that's measuring from the center of the pad — the actual well itself, not counting the width of the pad. Within a minute (yeah, a minute!), you could walk right up to the well pad's edge (although the security guards wouldn't let you, even if it's on your property).

Imagine a fracking well just 1.74 football fields from your house. Image via Thinkstock.

And by the way, a few hundred feet in the other direction is another fracking well.

What even is a fracking well? Why do you care?

You care because the well has totally changed your life. It's loud, it's lit up sobrightly at night, there are dozens of huge trucks coming and going on your little road every day.

And worst of all, ever since they started fracking near your home, your well water has smelled horrible and has been giving you headaches. You're worried about what your water's been contaminated with and what it might do to your health — or worse, your kids.

Maybe you've never had this experience — but way too many others have.

Chances are, this scenario (thankfully) won't sound too familiar to you. But it's frighteningly familiar for many people in rural areas — and it's becoming more common, too. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shale gas production in the U.S. has increased drastically even just from 2010. An estimated 12 billion cubic feet of dry shale gas were produced each day in the U.S. in 2010. In 2015, that number had increased to nearly 40 billion.

That's where the documentary film "In the Hills and Hollows" comes in. This film, created by Keely Kernan, will document the effects of the natural gas boom on the lives of residents and communities in West Virginia.

It includes interviews with folks who have had to endure the exact scenario I described:

Clips from "In the Hills and Hollows."

Along with a look at some of the other stories from people on the ground:

Kernan is raising money to help fund completion of the film. Check out her fundraising video here:

What's so important about this documentary?

I had a chance to ask the filmmaker just that. Here's what she said:

"We live in a world where we are often disconnected from fundamental aspects of our lives, such as the sources of our water and energy. 'In the Hills and Hollows' explores the lives of residents who live at ground zero of today's energy.

"We ... are often disconnected from ... the sources of our water and energy. 'In the Hills and Hollows' explores the lives of residents who live at ground zero of today's energy."

Ultimately, I hope that the film inspires an important conversation about what is at risk and what type of future we want — not only as citizens of West Virginia but of the country, and of the world. I also hope that the film helps people feel connected to the stories being shared and that it helps give residents a voice."

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

This company makes it easier than ever to enjoy guilt-free fairly traded coffee

Thanks to Lifeboost, good coffee can be good for everyone.

Unsplash

Lifeboost coffee

Americans love coffee. Like, we really, seriously, truly love it. According to one recent survey, 75 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee at least occasionally, while 53 percent—about 110 million people—drink it every single day. For some, coffee is an essential part of their morning ritual. For others, it’s something they enjoy when they hit the proverbial wall in the late afternoon. But either way, millions of people use coffee to boost energy, focus, and productivity.


Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

13-year-old ventriloquist sings incredible, sassy version of 'You Don't Own Me' on 'AGT'

Ana-Maria Mărgean only started her hobby in 2020 and is already wowing audiences on "America's Got Talent."

America's Got Talent/Youtube

Ana-Maria Mărgean singing "You Don't Own Me" on "America's Got Talent"

It’s not every day a ventriloquist act is so jaw-dropping that it has to be seen to be believed. But when it does happen, it’s usually on “America’s Got Talent.”

Ana-Maria Mărgean was only 11 years old when she first took to the stage on “Romania’s Got Talent” to show off her ventriloquism skills, an act inspired by videos of fellow ventriloquist and “America’s Got Talent” Season 2 champion Terry Fator.

Using puppets built for her by her parents, the young performer tirelessly spent her quarantine time in 2020 learning how to bring them to life, which led to her receiving a Golden Buzzer and eventually winning the entire series in Romania.

Mărgean is now 13 and a competitor on this season of “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars,” hoping to be crowned the winner and perform her own show in Vegas, just like her hero Fator.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Linda Ronstadt's 1970's ballad is a chart-topping hit once again thanks to 'The Last of Us'

The iconic 70s song "Long, Long Time" was an integral part of an unforgettable episode that fans are calling a masterpiece.

Linda Ronstadt (left), Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett (right)

HBO’s emotional third episode of the zombie series “The Last Of Us” became an instant favorite among fans, thanks in no small part to Linda Ronstadt’s late 1970s ballad, “Long, Long Time.”

Using the song as the episode’s title, “Long, Long Time,” moves away from the show’s main plot to instead focus on a heartbreakingly beautiful love story between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), from its endearing start all the way to its bittersweet end.

The song makes its first appearance during the initial stages of Bill and Frank’s romance as they play the tune on the piano, just before they share their first kiss.

We see their entire lives together play out—one of closeness, devotion, and savoring homegrown strawberries—until they meet their end. The song then plays on the radio, bringing the bottle episode to a poignant close.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

34-year-old man is learning to read on TikTok in series of motivational videos

His reading skills have improved so much that he plans to read 100 books this year.

@oliverspeaks1/TikTok

Oliver James is the biggest star on BookTok.

With over 125,000 followers, 34-year-old Oliver James is a star in the BookTok community. And it all started with a very simple goal: Learn to read.

For most kids, school is a place where they can develop a relationship with learning in a safe environment. For James, school was the opposite. Growing up with learning and behavior disabilities subjected him to abusive teaching practices in special education, which, of course, did nothing to help.

"The special education system at the time was more focused on behavioral than educating," he told Good Morning America. "So they spent a lotta time restraining us, a lotta time disciplining us, a lotta times putting us in positions to kinda shape us to just not act out in class."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

Keep ReadingShow less