+
upworthy
Education

Alabama community rallies around author after school district cancels Black History Month event

“How many teachers want those students to be able to have that opportunity to see themselves reflected in the people that we bring in?”

Alabama; Black History Month; Derrick Barnes; banned books; cancelled authors

Alabama community rallies behind author after school district cancels his Black History Month event.

There's something special about having a book read to you by the actual author. It means a lot to adults, so one can only imagine how children feel when they find out that the person preparing to read them a story is the person who wrote it. It's a small piece of childhood magic that never really goes away.

That's exactly the treat that several classrooms were primed to get when award-winning children's book author Derrick Barnes was scheduled to read to students at three schools in the Hoover City Schools public school district near Birmingham, Alabama. It's an event that was inquired about back in April 2022, nearly a full year in advance to ensure the author would be available for February. But just days before the start of Black History Month, the superintendent of Hoover City Schools abruptly canceled the scheduled readings.

The cancellation came as a surprise to Barnes, his team, as well as the parents and teachers within Hoover City Schools. The superintendent of the school district, Dee Fowler, cited one parent's concerns about the visits and the author's "controversial ideas." Fowler also stated there were contract issues, according to CNN.


No matter the reason, Barnes would not be reading at the schools, which not only affects the children but also leaves the author out thousands of dollars. But the Alabama community decided they were not going to allow this situation to stand and chose to do something about it any way they could. Hundreds of frustrated parents have worked together to raise a portion of the $9,900 Barnes lost by the event being canceled on such short notice, and they didn't stop there.

People in the town are stocking his book in the Free Little Libraries, which are small bookcases placed throughout towns and free for the public to use. Two teachers, Kent Haines and Reed Lochlamy, wrote a letter to the school district and 140 teachers from Hoover City Schools signed on as of February 3. According to WBRC, the teachers are asking for more transparency about the situation and how to avoid it in the future.

The award-winning author writes children's books that feature Black children doing normal daily activities and encourages positive self-image. These are books that Black children can see representation in and other children can see something other than Black people experiencing trauma or some other situation that needs to be overcome. Most of his writings center joy, and it would've been a joy for kids to see that reflected.

“I really try to focus on writing books where Black children are doing ‘slice of life’ things,” Barnes explained to CBS 42 News. “When I first got into the industry, all the books that were written by Black authors that got awards were always about civil rights or slavery. No bedtime stories. No stories about going to school."

“How many teachers want those students to be able to have that opportunity to see themselves reflected in the people that we bring in?” Haines asked WBRC before continuing, “More broadly, I am hoping that this leads our district to more fully enact its stated values regarding the diverse community that we live and teach in.”

The cancellation of authors speaking at elementary schools seems to be the latest trend seemingly stemming from the small faction of outspoken organizations that want to ban books in schools. Reasons for banning particular books span from "inappropriate" to Critical Race Theory, which is a graduate-level course taught to law students.

Throughout the process, it has not been clear what the exact offending material was that was posted to Barnes' social media page that started the cancellation. But the support shown is reason enough for the school district to reconsider hastily deciding things based on one person's dissent.

When asked about the support received by the teachers, Barnes told WBRC, “I look forward to finally coming down there hopefully this upcoming school year and I just want to tell all of them thank you, love them very much and keep up the fight.”

Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.


The actual event occurred in a nano second, but the camera has the ability to slow it down to twenty seconds.

time, science, frames per second, bounced light

The amazing camera.

Photo from YouTube video.

For some perspective, according to New York Times writer, John Markoff, "If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years."


In the video below, you'll see experimental footage of light photons traveling 600-million-miles-per-hour through water.

It's impossible to directly record light so the camera takes millions of scans to recreate each image. The process has been called femto-photography and according to Andrea Velten, a researcher involved with the project, "There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

(H/T Curiosity)


This article originally appeared on 09.08.17

CBS Mornings|YouTube

Video shows group of strangers trying to free man from burning car

Getting into a car crash is not something people hope they experience in their lifetimes, and if it does happen you hope it's just a minor fender bender. Unfortunately not all car accidents are minor. One man found himself in a pretty major accident on a Minnesota highway becoming trapped in his car.

According to eye witnesses, the man struck a light pole on the highway, landing with the driver's side of the car pinned against the guardrail. The car quickly becomes engulfed in flames as other drivers rush to the man's side in an attempt to free him from the fiery vehicle. Kadir Tolla caught the whole thing on his dash-cam accidentally when he jumped out of his running car to help.

Multiple people fought flames trying desperately to pull the car door open to let the driver out, but the guardrail thwarts their efforts repeatedly. At some point, Tolla runs to grab a large piece of hard plastic he found on the road and attempts to break the window. Nothing seems to be going in favor of the civilian rescuers.


"He was saying, 'pull me out, pull me out, pull me out,'" Tolla tells Fox News. "We could crack the door a little bit, you know, give him a little air. It [the flames] was actually smacking us in our face but we was just jumping back."

Eventually a "highway helper" arrived and breaks the glass on the driver's side window, which allows the other drivers to pull the man through the window, carrying him to safety. They got him out just in the knick of time because before they could get the unidentified man away from the car, the flames began to dance right where the driver was sitting seconds before.

The entire video is heart stopping, and shows the power of everyday people working together to save a stranger. Watch the heroic rescue below.

Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.

While appearing on HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast, Patric Richardson, aka The Laundry Evangelist, said he swears by the “express” cycle, as “it’s long enough to get your clothes clean but it’s short enough not to cause any damage.”

Richardson’s reasoning is founded in research done while writing his book, “Laundry Love,” which showed that even the dirtiest items would be cleaned in the “express” cycle, aka the “quick wash” or “30 minute setting.”


Furthermore the laundry expert, who’s also the host of HGTV’s “Laundry Guy,” warned that longer wash settings only cause more wear and tear, plus use up more water and power, making express wash a much more sustainable choice.

Really, the multiple settings washing machines have more to do with people being creatures of habit, and less to do with efficiency, Richardson explained.

“All of those cycles [on the washing machine] exist because they used to exist,” he told co-hosts Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson. “We didn’t have the technology in the fabric, in the machine, in the detergent [that we do now], and we needed those cycles. In the ’70s, you needed the ‘bulky bedding’ cycle and the ‘sanitary’ cycle ... it was a legit thing. You don’t need them anymore, but too many people want to buy a machine and they’re like, ‘My mom’s machine has “whitest whites.”’ If I could build a washing machine, it would just have one button — you’d just push it, and it’d be warm water and ‘express’ cycle and that’s it.”
washing machine

When was the last time you washed you washing machine? "Never" is a valid answer.

Canva

According to Good Housekeeping, there are some things to keep in mind if you plan to go strictly express from now on.

For one thing, the outlet recommends only filling the machine halfway and using a half dose of liquid, not powder detergent, since express cycles use less water. Second, using the setting regularly can develop a “musty” smell, due to the constant low-temperature water causing a buildup of mold or bacteria. To prevent this, running an empty wash on a hot setting, sans the detergent, is recommended every few weeks, along with regularly scrubbing the detergent drawer and door seal.

Still, even with those additional caveats, it might be worth it just to knock out multiple washes in one day. Cause let’s be honest—a day of laundry and television binging sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

To catch even more of Richardson’s tips, find the full podcast episode here.


This article originally appeared on 2.4.24

Joy

Officer holds back tears hearing his K-9 partner's retirement announcement over the radio

Indy has been Sergeant Sullivan's partner in crime-fighting for the past 9 years.

@bgsully/TikTok (used with permission)

Indy has served his community faithfully.

It's remarkable that canines have co-evolved with humans to the point where dogs not only serve as our beloved pets but also, sometimes, as our professional companions.

Dogs can be trained to guard, protect and sniff out everything from drugs to bombs to specific suspects. Many police departments have a K-9 unit for this purpose, using specially trained dogs—most often shepherds and retrievers, but other breeds as well—to aid in police work.

One of those dogs, a German shepherd named Indy, has spent the past nine years working alongside his handler, Sergeant Barry Sullivan, in Trophy Club, Texas. Indy retired on March 26, 2024, and a video of Sullivan's reaction to his official end of service announcement has brought millions to tears.


It's natural—necessary, even—for a handler to bond with a K-9 partner, and Sullivan and Indy have made a strong team.

"He has been the most amazing partner and I was blessed to have him with me," Sullivan tells Upworthy. "Always had my back and there was always a strong sense of comfort knowing he was there."

Hearing Indy's long list of accomplishments during his K-9 tenure is impressive. Not only has he assisted in drug busts and apprehensions, but he's also served as an ambassador to the community. It's clear from the dispatcher's voice and Sullivan holding back tears that Indy is a beloved member of his local community, both within law enforcement and without.

Watch the emotional announcement on Sullivan's TikTok page:

@bgsully

After 9 amazing years with this handsome fella, he gets to enjoy retirement at home with me and my family! Thank you all for your love and support! #k9 #k9unit #policek9 #policek9unit #k9handler #policek9handler #k9softiktok #gsdoftiktok #k9retirement #k9retiredlife

Indy has become part of Sullivan's family and will continue to live with them in his retirement. But going to work every day just won't be the same for Sullivan.

"Indy has been my steadfast partner, a member of my family, and the heart of many of our community initiatives," Sullivan shared before the retirement. "Every day with him has been an adventure, from his very first patrol to his spirited kitchen escapades."

However, Sullivan knows it's time for Indy to enjoy his leisure time after a long-for-a-dog career helping humans.

"I'm not just losing a colleague; I'm gaining more time with a friend whose bravery and companionship have been constant," said Sullivan. "Indy is more than ready for his retirement, and I am honored to ensure that his golden years are as rewarding as his service years have been for us all."

People were moved by Sullivan's tender reaction and impressed to hear Indy's stellar record of service, which includes the apprehension of numerous suspects and the seizure of over 4 tons of narcotics.

"This pup did more in his life than most people," wrote one commenter, to which Sullivan replied, "You're not wrong."

"May he get to nap on the softest couch, eating the best treats and lots of belly rubs in his retirement!" wrote another.

"I couldn't be that dispatcher I'm over here bawling my eyes out," wrote another.

"This is crazy.....why am I crying at this? the dog didn't die its just retiring from a long dedicated service, so what is it that's breaking me so hard!?" shared another.

"I'm crying here in the UK," shared another. "Thank you K9 Indy for your service. Hope you enjoy a rest now."

We all love a good doggo, and Indy is clearly one of the good ones. You can follow Indy's story on Sergeant Sullivan's TikTok page.

An office worker in front of a computer.

A TikTok creator known as Hub posted a video that inspired an interesting discussion about living the 9-to-5 life. The video, set to some hypnotic, soothing music shows Hub, a confessed “normal guy doing normal things,” going through a typical workday.

The video shows his routine, which he seems to go through every day. The twist is that he enjoys it and finds it comfortable.

In the video, the 29-year-old from Dallas, Texas, who works for a Fortune 500 company, seems to really take pleasure in eating his morning donut and having lunch at Chiili's, which isn’t exactly foodie fare. He also unwinds after a day at the office by taking his dog Benny to the park to get some exercise.


Celebrating the typical 9-to-5 work day on TikTok seems to go against the platform's basic nature. Social media is usually where people brag about how exciting their lives are. It’s not the type of place where people share their genuine love for lunch at Chili’s.

The video struck some as depressing, and many saw Hub as little more than a cog in a corporate system. Is a life that’s so regimented with virtually no spontaneity really worth living?

"Naa this dePRESSED me," Maeve Nash wrote in the comments. “As someone who left corporate 13 years ago, this video validates that decision. I remember the sad leftover pizza lunches,” Hiram added.

"The life I want doesn’t include working till I’m 80 to enjoy the last 5 years," Brigman Bell wrote.

However, many people found the video affirming because it showed a man who has found peace and comfort in adhering to his routine, which he genuinely enjoys. Some folks out there who detest their 9-to-5 routine may learn to appreciate it after seeing that others have found ways to make it enjoyable.

“Man, your TikTok’s slow me down and are such a great reminder to appreciate the small things,” Hayden Tindal wrote in the comments. "I seriously rate this content. It’s a good reminder to appreciate the little things in life!" Will Charter added.

"I think what he meant was just to find what works for you and stick to it. Life doesn't have to be an endless cycle of looking for something," Sushibae wrote.

The video is a great Rorschach test for people to project their own meaning onto. It either shows a man living a quiet life of desperation who is missing out on one of its greatest joys, variety, or it can be an example of a man who has found what works for him and has created a stress-free existence that he enjoys.

When asked whether he’d ever want to leave his 9-to-5 job in exchange for making a living as an influencer, Hub wasn’t interested. “I love my 9-5 as it provides health insurance, steady income, 401k, structure, career growth opportunities, etc. I enjoy the people I work with and genuinely like the work that I do,” he said in a follow-up video.