A video game wants to change how we look at an international tragedy.

It's a powerful look at humanity.

Europe is in the midst of a dire migrant crisis. This year, Germany alone expects 800,000 people to claim asylum.

Many of the would-be immigrants are fleeing war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Others are simply trying to escape parts of Africa and the Middle East that have been hit with famine and crushing poverty.

The journey can be perilous. An estimated 2,500 have drowned this year crossing the Mediterranean Sea, one of the riskiest routes to Europe. Asylum seekers often report violence and abuse during their journeys.


Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

A video game seeks to change how we think about the crisis and humanize how we view migrants.

While the EU governments continue to debate what to do about the crisis, London-based game developer Francois Alliot (he also goes by the name "Nerial") and his collaborator Arnaud De Bock took on a project to help humanize an often faceless collection of stats and numbers. Together, they created "Passengers," a game that puts the player in the position of a smuggler trying to assist refugees and asylum-seekers making their way to Europe.

The game is a bit like a modern take on "The Oregon Trail."

GIFs from "Passengers."

"Passengers" highlights some of the tough decisions facing both smugglers and migrants.

The game starts with two decisions: Where are you going? and Who are you taking?

Not every person hoping to make the dangerous trip will be able to. You're put in the position of deciding who you'll take with you, and who gets left behind. Do you take the scholar? Do you bring the accountant? Do you bring the former criminal?

In my first time through the game, I took as many people along for the ride as I could. Even then, remembering that these people all represent real stories playing out in the real world, I was left feeling that it's unfair that others would be left behind.

In the end of that first play-through, everyone lost. Including the "lucky" passengers selected.

After a number of passengers died along the way, my poor boat capsized after being hit by a storm. There were no winners. Whether lost at sea or left on shore, the characters were gone.


In Europe, the political gridlock around immigration can be just as bad as in the United States.

The U.S. has its own challenging political situation when it comes to immigration. We have over 11 million undocumented immigrants hanging in a perpetual state of limbo, and despite the fact that presidential candidates seem to talk a lot about it, Congress hasn't delivered a comprehensive solution in decades.

The issue is different in the European Union, which has 28 member countries (and no shortage of diverging opinions). But similar to the U.S., migrants in Europe are also struggling for their rights.

People protesting the British government for its crackdown on smugglers. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

If we value human life, a safe haven must be available to all. These preventable deaths at sea are unacceptable.

Perhaps Nerial's game will spark more public interest in addressing the problem at hand. After all, if the immigration system wasn't so broken, people wouldn't need to take such dangerous routes to their destination.

Perhaps it simply serves as a reminder to be grateful for what we have. In either case, it's amazing how such a simple game can have such a profound effect on the player's own sense of morality and self-worth.

There is a human cost to any government's inaction on immigration. Thanks to one game, that became a bit more clear.

Interested in playing? Learn more about "Passengers" here.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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