A 'welfare mother' schools Mitt Romney. Plus, the best of the web this week.

A moving response to Mitt Romney from a mother who worked her way out of welfare. The biggest problem with the conservative movement. A powerful love story, told without a single word. A contest to determine the best word ever. And more! Enjoy.





Politics and World Affairs

I Was A Welfare Mother / Larkin Warren / The New York Times

Warren's personal story is a powerful and beautiful response to Romney's 47% comments.




Until Republicans Fix This Problem, They Can't Fix Any Problems / Conor Friedersdorf / The Atlantic

Highlights several honest and intelligent intellectual leaders within the GOP — and the broken discourse that prevents the party from absorbing their critiques and insights.




What Mitt Romney Doesn't Get About Responsibility / Ezra Klein / Bloomberg

"The problem is that he doesn’t seem to realize how difficult it is to focus on college when you’re also working full time, how much planning it takes to reliably commute to work without a car ... The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it."




The Incredibly Dumb Political Spending of 2012 / Ben Smith and Ruby Cramer / BuzzFeed

The effect of Citizens United and free-flowing PAC money may be the most important question of the 2012 campaign. So far, at least, the answer appears to be: less than anticipated.




Arts and Culture

A Love Story In 22 Pictures / TxBlackLabel / BuzzFeed

A powerful, powerful photo essay. Worth your time.




Best Word Ever: The Elite Eight / Ted McCagg / Questionable Skills

A brilliant idea: using a tournament bracket to decide the best word ever. From the comments section: "Phlegm over akimbo, what an upset!" I agree, Jacky. I agree.




The Spark File / Steven Johnson / Medium

One of my favorite writers shares a simple yet ingenious technique for capturing the fragments of ideas you have every day and turning them into truly meaningful ideas.




Architects Are The Last People Who Should Shape Our Cities / Jonathan Meades / The Guardian

An entertaining and often perceptive screed: "Architecture, the most public of endeavours, is practiced by people who inhabit a smugly hermetic milieu which is cultish."




Business and Economics

What Business Is Wall Street In? / Mark Cuban / Blog Maverick

Cuban isn't the first to argue that high-frequency trading and short-term ownership are damaging to capitalism. But he does so engagingly and offers both interesting perspective and policy proposals.




Startup = Growth / Paul Graham

A lucid explanation of why not all new companies are startups, and some very interesting practical advice on how to effectively grow a startup in its early days.




If I Ruled The World / Michael Sandel / Prospect

"If I ruled the world, I would rewrite the economics textbooks. This may seem a small ambition, unworthy of my sovereign office. But it would actually be a big step toward a better civic life."




An Empire Built On Short-Armed Shirts / Mel and Patricia Ziegler / Bloomberg

Fun story of how Banana Republic was founded, told by the founders.




Science and Technology

How Much Tech Can One City Take? / David Talbot / San Francisco

Excellent piece on the unintended consequences of the tech industry's success in San Francisco, and on the uneasy relationship between new wealth and old ways of life.




50 Years Of The Jetsons: Why The Show Still Matters / Matt Novak / Smithsonian

Fascinating post on how the cartoon, launched in a time of "techno-utopianism and Cold War fears," "has had a profound impact on the way that Americans think and talk about the future."




Friends You Can Count On / Stephen Strogatz / The New York Times

Ever seem like your friends on Facebook have more friends than you do? They do. Here's the simple arithmetic that explains why. (via Sarah)




Inside Paul Allen's Quest To Reverse Engineer The Brain / Matthew Herper / Forbes

A "mouse laser," a $100 million map of how the human brain works, and other elements of Allen's quest to understand the brain and unlock new advances and cures.




Power, Pollution, And The Internet / James Glanz / The New York Times

An investigation finds that data centers are using billions of watts of electricity — and wasting up to 90 percent of it, leading to major environmental costs for an industry with a reputation for being environmentally friendly. (via Lauren)




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Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Cipolla's graph with the benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself and causes to others.

Have you ever known someone who was educated, well-spoken, and curious, but had a real knack for making terrible decisions and bringing others down with them? These people are perplexing because we're trained to see them as intelligent, but their lives are a total mess.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone who may not have a formal education or be the best with words, but they live wisely and their actions uplift themselves and others?

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-and-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a great framework for judging someone's real intelligence. Now, the term stupid isn't the most artful way of describing someone who lives unwisely, but in his essay Cipolla uses it in a lighthearted way.

Cipolla explains his theory of intelligence through five basic laws and a matrix that he belives applies to everyone.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."