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Believe there's nothing left in nature that can surprise you? Guess again.

These 23 animals will make you think again.

1. The Klipspringer could probably jump over your house.

Have a silver dollar nearby? Hold it in your hand. Now picture a 40-pound, 3-foot-tall deer balanced delicately on it. Congratulations, you've caught a klipspringer!


A klipspringer jumping about 20% as high as it could if it really wanted to.

Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the klipspringer is a tiny ungulate with a big vertical jump. Its little legs — tipped by tiny round hooves each the size of a dime — are incredibly strong and can propel the klipspringer up to 50 feet in the air. It's the highest jumper relative to body size in the animal kingdom.

Another fun fact? Thanks to the succulent plants they eat, klipspringers never need to drink water.

2. Hummingbirds have adorable tiny bodies and disturbingly big appetites.

If you think flight makes your heart beat faster, you have nothing on the hummingbird. To stay aloft, this tiny avian wonder flaps its wings up to 3,000 times a minute — with up to 1,260 heartbeats in the same time.

Can't talk. Busy. Photo by Andrew E. Russell/Flickr.

Hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism of any warm-blooded animal and need to eat 3,500 calories a day (for a human, that would be about 510 cheeseburgers a day). When resting at night, they go into a state of semi-hibernation, slowing their metabolism to 1/15th of its normal rate.

3. The hippopotamus is fast. And will bring the pain.

A full-grown hippo is the third largest land mammal in Africa, behind elephants and rhinoceroses.

OH HAI LETS HANG OUT I HAVE NO BOUNDARIES!

Their name in greek means "river horse," and if you've ever seen them swim, you can understand why.

They're also just as fast on land — running up to 11 mph over short distances — as this unlucky gentleman found out.

Because of their aggression and size, hippos are considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. But maybe they have a right to be — the International Union for the Conservation of Nature rates hippopotamuses as "vulnerable" to habitat loss and at risk of poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth.

4. The mantis shrimp can boil water. Seriously.

First things first: This shrimp is not for scampi.

Beautiful. Deadly. Delicious? Photo by David Amsler/Flickr.

Unlike a lot of other shrimp, the mantis doesn't scavenge. It prefers to hunt its prey; attacking snails, mollusks, and rock oysters with quick hits from its club and spear-like appendages. Just how quick? This quick:

Dibs!

Or, as The Oatmeal put it in an ode to the Mantis shrimp: "If human beings could accelerate their arms at 1/10th that speed, we'd be able to throw a baseball into orbit."

A mantis shrimp strike can reach speeds of 75 feet per second, so fast that they cause the water around them to boil, creating a powerful shock wave of bubbles that blasts their prey immediately after a hit. Even if the first hit somehow misses the prey, that shock wave is often enough to incapacitate or kill it.

Not surprisingly, the mantis shrimp isn't super popular among aquarium keepers due to their tendency to destroy decorative corals, eat every other living creature, and sometimes (apparently) break the glass of the tank.

5. The albatross thinks 12-hour flights are for wimps.

With a wingspan stretching more than 12 feet, the great albatross is the largest living flying bird. Their huge wings make them expert gliders. By riding updrafts and downdrafts as they fly, albatrosses can cover up to 1,000 miles in a single day — all without flapping once.

When you call something an albatross, technically it's a compliment. Photo by Protographer23/Flickr.

Albatross pairs fall in love over several years and — after several complicated mating dances — will bond for life. The female lays a single egg every year.

Perhaps the most badass albatross is a female Laysan albatross named Wisdom. Born in or around 1951, she is the oldest known wild bird in the world. Researchers first banded her in 1956 and estimate that she's flown 3 million miles since then — the equivalent of circling the globe 120 times.

There are 22 subspecies of albatross in the world, all of which are endangered or vulnerable.

6. Bonobos take "make love, not war" to a new level.

Photo by Jeroen Kransen/Flickr.

The bonobo is neither violent nor vicious, which may have you wondering how it made it on this list of badass animals in the first place. But the bonobo wouldn't be thinking about that — it'd be too busy getting busy.

The bonobo is the second-most-sexual living animal, after humans. Researcher Franz de Wall dubbed them the "make love, not war" species, after noting that they resolve almost all of their conflicts through sexual activity.

Bonobo society is a gynecocracy, with groups of females responsible for maintaining the peace. The only pairings of bonobos who do not have sex are mothers and sons. Aside from that, bonobos are sex-positive, promiscuous, and appear to form no lasting monogamous bonds. They are also highly tactile animals, kissing and holding hands, with both males and females engaging in same-sex interactions.

Between 29,500 and 50,000 bonobos remain in the wild, only in the basin of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are endangered, with commercial poachers posing their greatest threat.

7. The Hercules beetle could kick your butt at Crossfit.

The Hercules beetle is the rare insect that even an entomophobic can appreciate. The third-largest insect in the world, it regularly grows to six and a half inches in length, though its prominent horn-like pincers can sometimes account for more than half that length.


Photo by Udo Schmidt/Flickr.

Unlike many other insects, Hercules beetles remain in their larval stage for a year or more, growing more than four and a half inches long and weighing 3.5 ounces. Researchers previously thought a Hercules beetle could carry up to 850 times its weight on its shell but have since adjusted that figure down to 150 times. Which is still pretty awesome.

By comparison: The strongest human, Paul Anderson, once lifted 6,270 pounds, or 17x his weight.

Hercules beetles are generally very peaceful herbivores and only fight other Hercules beetles during mating season.

8. The Pacific salmon has a built-in GPS.

Whoever coined the phrase "you can never go home again" clearly never met a Pacific salmon. Every year, millions of Pacific salmon leave the ocean and migrate up rivers and streams to spawn and die.

During their journey, Pacific salmon swim against powerful currents, hurl themselves up and over river rapids, evade wolves, birds, and even hungry grizzly bears before reaching the same spawning grounds where they were born a few years before. And they do it all based on their memory of what that stream smelled like when they swam in it as tiny fry.

Pacific salmon are a keystone species that feed otters, seals, eagles, wolves and bears. Researchers estimate that bears leave about half of the salmon they eat on the forest floor, where the carcass deposits life-giving nitrogen to help trees and plants grow.

Salmon are at great risk of habitat encroachment by industrial development, pollution, and overfishing. And yet there's still hope. A local citizens group in Burnaby, Canada, spent the past few years remediating Still Creek — a salmon-bearing stream in an industrial area that had not seen salmon for 80 years. And in 2013, the salmon returned for the first time.

9. The cold never bothers the wood frog. He just freezes solid in it.

In many ways, the wood frog is just your average amphibian. He's relatively small, likes to eat bugs, and has an excellent long jump. But there's one thing that makes him extremely unique, and it's how he handles cold weather.

He freezes solid.

No, really. Solid.

Please don't use me in your cocktails. I'm a wood frog, not an ice cube. Photo by Dave Huth/Flickr.

There are two reasons wood frogs can freeze and thaw and still live. First, they stuff their cells full of glucose and urea so that only a few ice crystals can form inside. Then they burrow under leaves and wait for the cold. When a wood frog touches an ice crystal, its skin freezes first, then its blood. As long as no more than 65% of the water in its body freezes during the winter, a wood frog will wake up in the spring ready to go.

10. The octopus can escape from things we haven't even thought up yet.

There are a number of reasons the octopus might land on a list of badass animals. It has jet propulsion, amazing camouflage, ink-jet self defense, and powerful sucker-studded limbs. But above all, the octopus is exceptionally intelligent — perhaps the most of all the known invertebrates.

Photo by NOAA Ocean Explorer/Flickr.

In research environments, octopuses can navigate mazes and solve puzzles with relative ease. They are famed for figuring out complicated locks and escaping enclosures. Like, for example, a jar:


Is your brain telling you to panic right now? Mine too.

In the wild they've been known to sneak aboard fishing boats and eat crabs in the hold. Oh, and they can use tools! Like this octopus toddling off with a pair coconut shells to construct a shelter.

Certain countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the European Union, have banned surgical research on octopuses and cephalopods without anesthetic, citing the animals' superior intellect.

11. The atlas moth isn't a pair of snakes, it just really really looks like it.

With a wingspan stretching nearly 10 inches, the atlas moth is one of the three largest insects in the world. It takes its name from three possible origins:

  • Atlas, the Greek titan who holds the world across his back.
  • The map-like patterns across its wings.
  • Or the Cantonese name "snakes head moth," which pays tribute to the details on its wingtips that make the moth look like it is two snakes intertwined in a tree. It's more than just a pretty pose; this also helps the atlas moth escape birds, who will see the wing tips and think a snake is about to eat them!

Gigantic nightmare moth with snakes for wings? Sign me up. Photo by Alias 0591/Flickr.

A lot of websites report that Taiwanese women use atlas moth cocoons as purses, but we couldn't find any photographic proof. Have you seen one? Let us know!

12. The giant squid is the size of a bus and lives in your nightmares.

Found in the deep sea worldwide, this massive cephalopod can grow to lengths up to 43 feet for females and 33 feet for males.

Nope. NOPE. NOOOOPE.

Like their genetic neighbor the Humboldt squid, giant squid are predatory, feasting on deep sea fish and other squids. To capture its prey, the giant squid reaches out with two of its six suction-studded tentacles. Each sucker is surrounded with sharp bone-like serrations, allowing it to grab hold and dig into the flesh of its target.

Once they grab hold, the giant squid uses its tentacles to pull the prey into its sharp beak, where more tiny serrations on its tongue shred anything left to bits.

Giant squid are so large that their only known predators are sperm or pilot whales. They're also totally terrifying to see underwater, particularly when they come at your camera.

13. The immortal jellyfish thinks your "YOLO" tattoo is adorable.

Some animals can regrow limbs. Others heal extremely quickly. But only one animal can never die.

I don't think you are ready for this jelly. Photo by Alexander Vasenin/Wikimedia Commons.

The immortal jellyfish is the only known creature to revert back to a youthful state after reaching full sexual maturity. Starting life as a tiny blob, the creature grows into a polyp colony, then into the full life cycle of a jellyfish, then back into a polyp colony. It does this over and over and over again, making it (as one researcher says) "biologically immortal."

The immortal aspects of this jellyfish were only discovered in the mid-1990s, so there's a lot still to be learned from it. But if researchers ever figure out how to make humans live forever, we might owe some of that to this little guy. Give him a high-tentacle next time you hang out.

14. The Tasmanian devil can bite through a bowling ball.

Pound for pound, the Tasmanian devil is one of the meanest, toughest mammals on the planet. It lives only on the island of Tasmania, south of Australia, which is probably for the best because this fella is lethal.

The cartoons about me were not a lie. Photo by S J Bennett/Flickr.

Honestly, it is. The Tasmanian devil likes to hunt at night and is capable of climbing trees, swimming across rivers, and running 17 miles per hour for 60 minutes straight. Once it has its prey within reach — watch out. The devil has a bite strength of more than 1,200 pounds per square inch — the same as a grizzly bear.

Devils have a voracious appetite, eating everything from roadkill to wombats to small kangaroos to swimming rats to discarded shoes.

Unfortunately, Tasmanian devils are now classified as endangered after a rare facial cancer wiped out tens of thousands of devils in the past several years.

15. The superb bird of paradise can beat you in a dance-off.

If the aptly named superb bird of paradise could sing, he'd be the avian equivalent of Justin Timberlake. After all, he's already got the best dance moves around.

This badass tropical bird lives only in the rainforests of New Guinea. In the species, males greatly outnumber females, to the point where a female superb bird of paradise will reject between 15 to 20 male suitors before selecting a worthy mate. So, what's a male bird got to do to stand out?

THIS:


Hola, mi mujer. ¿Vamos a hacer el baile del amor?

During mating season, male superb birds of paradise will select a dance floor (sometimes even cleaning it with leaves before a female arrives), then call out for a potential partner.

When she arrives, he'll dance up on her, plumage on fleek, until she either gives in to the moment or flies away.

16. Hey "Hunger Games" fans, the lyrebird is an IRL mockingjay.

The lyrebird has an incredible gift for imitating the sounds it hears in the forest, both from animals and humans. Check out this incredible video where David Attenborough watches a lyrebird imitate a kookaburra, two different types of camera shutters, a car alarm, and a chainsaw. You might not believe your ears.

Photo by Sean Kelleher/Flickr.

Amazing, right? But there's more.Here's another lyrebird who has learned to imitate the sounds of children's video games, among other sounds.

The odds are ever in your favor if you want to see and hear a lyrebird in the wild: They're found throughout Australia and Tasmania.

17. The clownfish takes its birth gender as a light suggestion.

For most of us, our knowledge of the clownfish is pretty much limited to what we picked up from watching "Finding Nemo." But the reality of these little tropical anemone-dwellers is quite different than what Pixar showed us and significantly more awesome.

Not funny clownfish is not funny. Photo by Per Edin/Flickr.

For one thing, clownfish are what you might call in fancy science terms, "sequential hermaphrodites." They'll develop first as females and then into males. A female clownfish is the head of a colony, which will usually have a few juvenile males in it along with one adult male breeding partner. Should the female disappear or leave the colony (say for barracuda-related reasons), the male breeding partner would reverse gender and become a female. The next eldest juvenile male would grow up quickly and take his place.

Gender fluidity and immunity to sea anemone venom? That's a pretty badass little fish (even if he can't really tell a joke).

18. The Galapagos tortoise will outlive your great-great grandchildren.

There are very few animals who've remained relatively unchanged for millennia. The Galapagos tortoise is one of them. These giant, lumbering ancient beasts can live well over 100 years and up to 225 years in captivity.

Early biologists discovered 15 subspecies of Galapagos tortoise, of which 10 remain. The differences between the species — particularly those between tortoises living in highlands versus lowland regions — were part of what sparked Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

I woke up like this. Photo by putneymark/Flickr.

One very famous tortoise, Lonesome George, lived in the Galapagos for more than 150 years before he passed away in 2012. George was famous for many reasons, the greatest being his reluctance to take a mate. His death marked the extinction of his subspecies (abingdonii).

While there are an estimated 19,000 tortoises worldwide, the species is still considered vulnerable.

19. The tarsier is a bug-eyed, branch-hopping bringer of death.

Believe it or not, this odd little creature is a primate —and the only exclusively carnivorous one in the entire order.

Come at me, bro. Photo by Bernard DuPont/Flickr.

Found only in Southeast Asia, tarsiers are known for their nocturnal habits, their long legs, and their gigantic eyes. Those eyes are almost the same size as the tarsier's brain, giving them incredible night vision for hunting their favorite prey: insects (though they'll also eat birds, snakes, lizards, and bats). Those giant eyes don't move in their sockets, though, so to see anything that isn't directly in front of it, the tarsier must swivel its head about 180 degrees.

Once it sees potential prey, the tarsier can jump 40x their body length from branch to branch to catch it. This is for the best since the combination of its long skinny back legs and smaller front legs means it cannot walk on land or dance a jig.

20. The leafy sea dragon's fashionable camouflage could make the cover of undersea Vogue.

With their beautiful feathery plumage, it's easy to mistake a leafy sea dragon for a piece of Australian kelp or seaweed.

I can't kelp that I look this good. Photo by VirtualWolf/Flickr.

These expertly camouflaged sea dragons are genetic cousins of sea horses. And like seahorses, the males raise the babies. After fertilization, male leafy sea dragons incubate eggs for four to six weeks, carrying them on a sponge-like "brood patch" on the underside of their tail.

In the 1980s, taking home sea dragons as pets became popular with divers. By 1990, population levels were so low that the Australian government instated full protection for the species. Numbers have recovered, but leafy sea dragons are still listed as near threatened.

21. Meerkats use teamwork — and venom immunity — to defend their manor.

How you like me now, Kalahari scorpion? Photo by Trisha Shears/Flickr.

We know what you're thinking: How can anything that cute possibly be badass?

But the meerkat is pretty incredible. They're devoted team players, living and working together with family and friends.

They're extremely vocal and use clicks and purrs to communicate while hunting. They have six distinct calls to warn each other about possible dangers. They live in the Kalahari desert, one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. And unlike humans, they're immune to the venom of Kalahari scorpions. So jealous.

22. The platypus is an adorable venomous abomination.

With a duck bill, webbed feet, furry body, and beaver tail, the platypus looks like the Mr. Potato Head of mammals. Seriously, look at this little weirdo:

Don't let its seemingly contradictory appearance fool you, though. The platypus is venomous!

Twins attempting to not stab you with venom. Photo by Torsten Blackwood AFP/Getty Images.

When threatened, a male platypus secretes venom from a gland connected to spurs on its back feet. This venom isn't strong enough to kill a human, but it can cause excruciating pain and severe swelling to those unfortunate enough to be caught behind an angry platypus during mating season.

23. The narwhal is the unicorn of the sea.

The narwhal only has two teeth, but what it lacks in tooth quantity, it makes up for in quality.

As it matures, a male narwhal's canine tooth will grow through its upper lip into a giant spiral ivory tusk 9 or 10 feet long. The tusk is incredibly sensitive with up to 10 million nerve endings inside. Its true purpose is not certain — initially researchers believed the tusk was a weapon, others thought it had navigational functions, and others believe it is used for mating rituals or battles with other potential suitors.

A group of narwhals reminisce about that one time they tricked Ahab's Moby-Dick crew into thinking unicorns were real. Photo by Glenn Williams/Wikimedia Commons.

The narwhal is mentioned throughout classical literature — including Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" and Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick."

The two greatest risks to narwhal populations are pretty depressing: suffocation under shifting sea ice or starvation. About 80,000 narwhals live in the wild, and the species is considered near threatened.

These animals are undeniably awesome.

But there's one opposite-of-badass quality a lot of them have in common. Seven of them are considered endangered, vulnerable, or threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. If you're interested in learning more about helping at-risk animals, visit their website.

Oh, and if you could share this, that'd be awesome.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Ms. Natalie Ringold's lesson in kindness has gone viral.

No matter our age, we all want kindness and respect from our peers. No one enjoys being judged or criticized, and negative comments about our appearance sting even if we don't want them to.

Unfortunately, that doesn't always stop people from pointing out things they think we should change about ourselves. Issues like hair shaming and body shaming are all too common, despite greater awareness of the hurt they cause.

Elementary school teacher Natalie Ringold shared a lesson about this phenomenon, and though it's geared toward kids, it's one a lot of grown-ups could take to heart as well.


Holding a tube of toothpaste, Ms. Ringold explained when it's appropriate to say something about someone's appearance and when it's not.

"If somebody can't change something about themselves in 30 seconds or less," she said, "then you shouldn't be mentioning it to them."

She gave examples of things that do take 30 seconds or less, such as if someone's shoe is untied or they have something stuck to their shirt or their fly is unzipped. For those things, it's okay to tell the person (politely, and in private if it's something that might embarrass them to point out in front of other people) so they can fix it.

But if it's something that would take more than 30 seconds to change or isn't even possible to change, like their hairsytle or hair color or body shape, then that's not something you should comment on.

"Your words have power," Ms. Ringold said. Squeezing toothpaste out of the tube, she explained that when you say something about someone that they can't change in 30 seconds or less, it can be hurtful, and just like toothpaste once it's out of the tube, you can't fully take it back once it's out there.

"You try to apologize, you try to take the words back…and you try to undo what you said, undo what you did. But it's something they couldn't change about themselves, and so it get very messy. You can't totally take those words back. You can't totally fix it."

"Your words have power and your words matter," she said. "If you walk out of this room spreading kindness to the people around you, spreading love to the people around you, that is what truly makes a difference."

Ms. Ringold shared that she does this lesson with her students on the last day of school because she wants them to remember this concept for the rest of their lives. People in the comments were so appreciative of the message for all ages.

"I think many adults need to hear this message!"

"Exactly my thoughts. A lot of adults need to hear this too."

"BLESS YOU!!! As a person who was relentlessly racially harassed as a child, I wish this was taught."

"If they are old enough to be mean on purpose they are old enough to be kind on purpose."

"This should be required viewing for anyone who wants to join social media."

"This made me cry. Can I start my college courses with this?"

"I saw you post this and had this conversation with my 4th graders!! It helped so much!!"

Here's to teachers teaching lessons beyond academics, helping kids learn that their humanity matters just as much as their grades.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Lexis Redd D'Ville is bringing drag queens mainstream in the Deep South

Drag queens and mimosas? Now, that's Southern comfort.

Curtesy of Jacalyn Wetzel

Lexis Redd D'Ville bringing drag queens to the Deep South

Given some of the laws being passed in the southern half of the country, it's easy to assume events like drag brunch would be met with disapproval. But Autherius Lawson has been bringing drag to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for years, even in the midst of other southern cities attempting to outright ban drag performances.

Lawson performs as Lexis Redd D'Ville and has a thriving company, Lexis & Friends Entertainment. The queens are always booked and busy in a region of the country people wouldn't expect, that is, unless you're local. Lawson has been selling out his signature Drag Brunch since 2019 at White Pillars, an upscale restaurant in Biloxi, Mississippi.

When D'Ville saunters to the middle of the dinning room there is no shortage of excited cheers. But the thing that likely keeps patrons coming back outside of the fabulous song choices and amazing costumes–is the laughter. If you have nothing else while at one of D'Ville's events, you'll have a good time.


Since his first drag brunch across the street from the Biloxi beach, Lawson has expanded his operations to New Orleans, Louisiana, also hosting events in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which is about an hour north of where he got his start. More drag queens have been added to his roster of entertainers, seemingly leaving Lawson with little time to sleep. The entrepreneur not only hosts drag brunches in two different states, but he also puts on traditional drag events at bars and other entertainment venues.

On top of hosting his own events, Lawson is the show director for Sipps Bar in Gulfport, Mississippi and the New Orleans House of Blues.

Lawson tells the Associated Press, "I will say that I have prided myself on taking the chances and kicking open the doors people would not have expected."

But the Mississippi Gulf Coast is not only a tourist area but home to Keesler Air Force Base and a Naval Construction Battalion Center, creating a unique eclectic culture of its own. White Pillars is able to rake in profits from the partnership they have with Lawson, and Ms. D'Ville gets to show the Bible belt what drag is really about.

“The clientele seemed to really enjoy it, something they’re not used to, which was also one of my goals: to put drag in front of people who have never seen it before, because I have a firm belief that ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds hate, which leads to a society we can’t live in,” Lawson explains to the AP.

The brunches bring in crowds ranging from bridal parties to elderly couples, all well prepared with a stack of one dollar bills to tip the queens. D'Ville's "friends" come from all over the Deep South, from Shreveport, Louisiana to Mobile, Alabama.

They pride themselves on making sure everybody has a good time, mixing up their themes, music and costumes. Some of the costume changes happen before your eyes leaving customers wondering if the drag queens might be a little magic. There's no telling what kind of crowd the queens might encounter: a granny with better knees than a 25 year old dancing with her bottomless mimosa above her head or a group of guy friends laughing after being personally serenaded.

As Lawson's drag queen empire expands taking him to new cities, he still makes time to sell out shows at the White Pillars every third Sunday.

TikTokker Mackenzie Waddell shares a heartfelt story about her daughter.

A mother on TikTok shared a heartfelt moment when her 9-year-old daughter opened up about her self-image concerns, wondering about her appearance as she grows up. The story was a wonderful example of a mother delicately dealing with an issue that far too many young women face. It was also a difficult moment because the conversation brought up the mother's body issues as well.

The conversation happened while the two were clothes shopping at Target. “My 9-year-old’s saying she's fat, and this is because she has to wear adult sizes versus kids 'cause she's really tall, just like me,” Mackenzie Waddell told her 222,000 followers.


“She kept calling herself ‘fat’ and that she had too big of a butt and that the other kids her age don't have to wear adult clothes,” Waddell continued. “I reminded her that I, too, had to wear adult clothes when I was her age 'cause I was really tall just like she is.”

@missmommymack

Im so devastated that she feels that way about herself. 💔

The discussion led to a question that was hard for the mother to hear.

“... she asked me if she was gonna look like me when she grew up. And I asked her, ‘Do you mean big like me? When you grow up?’ And she said, ‘Yes. I'm not trying to be mean mom, but I want to look like Aunt Sarah, not you,’” she recalled.

Her daughter’s remarks hit her right in the heart, but she responded with perfect composure. "I kept a brave face and said, 'As long as you are happy and healthy, and you love yourself, that's all that matters. No matter what size you are,” Waddell said.

The mother was sure not to take it personally, but it still cut close to the bone. “And was I hurt? Yeah, I was. But she didn't mean to hurt me. It just really sucked. Yeah,” she concluded.

The post went viral, receiving over 1.7 million views and over 2,000 comments. The most popular commenter thought that Waddell should tell her daughter to avoid commenting on people’s weight.

"You should tell her she hurt your feelings. She needs to know. You did a great job supporting her in how she feels. She has to learn that skill also," Char8201 wrote.

However, many women responded with nothing but love for how Waddell handled such a challenging situation. "You responded beautifully, momma. She’s still learning and these are the moments where we provide that guidance, even when it hurts," Mavv13 wrote. "Oh mama. Thank god she feels comfortable to talk to you openly," tirrelltribe added.

After the tremendous response to her video, Waddell responded with another post, educating people about how one’s weight doesn’t necessarily mean they eat unhealthy. “A lot of people like to assume that plus-size people don’t know how to eat healthy or are unhealthy. When, in fact, we’re not,” Waddle said.

She added that her daughter lives a healthy lifestyle but avoids having conversations about weight with her because “That’s what traumatized me.”

@missmommymack

Replying to @user3838812846970 she will always be perfect, no matter what.

This article originally appeared on 9.28.23

Democracy

Attorney argues why Louisiana law requiring the 10 Commandments in classrooms is un-American

He says that it's unconstitutional is only the beginning of the problem.

The U.S. Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion.

On June 19, 2024, Louisiana governor Jeff Landry signed a new law requiring that the Ten Commandments be displayed, in “large, easily readable font,” in every public school classroom from kindergarten to state-funded universities. The move prompted an outcry from Americans citing the first amendment clause that the government "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Defenders of the law contend that the Ten Commandments are not solely religious in nature, and the language of the law refers to them as "foundational documents of our state and national government.” But the ACLU and other civil rights organizations immediately announced that they would fight the law in the courts. A similar law in Kentucky was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980.

Author and attorney Andrew Seidel took to X to argue why the law is not only unconstitutional, but un-American.


Seidel begins by sharing that the first commandment in the specified text that the law requires be posted in classrooms states, "I AM the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

"The point of this bill is to give the false impression that America is a Christian nation," Seidel wrote in his thread. "That's Christian Nationalism."

Seidel says that the first commandment directly conflicts with the founding principles of the United States.

"No law—and this would be a law—can tell an American to worship a god, let alone which god. Americans are free to be godless (as a growing number are), or, if they wish, to worship every god from every holy book."

He pointed to the law's sponsor, Rep. Dodie Horton, stating in her explanation of why she proposed the bill: “I'm not concerned with an atheist. I'm not concerned with a Muslim. I’m concerned with our children looking and seeing what God’s law is."

In addition to the establishment of religion as a constitutional problem, Seidel shared that the Louisiana law uses an edited version of the Ten Commandments in the text that the state specifies.

Seidel explained that there are various translations and interpretations of the Ten Commandments, and that such differences have been the basis of different schisms within Christianity itself, not to mention "as James Madison put it, the 'torrents of blood' that have been spilled, trying to impose a state-sanctioned version of religious truth."

"That's what Louisiana is doing here," Seidel wrote. "Imposing it's version of religious truth on kids in public schools. It's gross."

Seidel then explained the issue with Louisiana's editing of the King James Version of the Ten Commandments, paring it down and removing certain phrases.

"If the state can rewrite one religion’s holy book, it can rewrite yours. Louisiana does not have this power. Nor does it have the power to impose that religious edict on a captive audience of your children."

"This is the worst kind of big government conservatives claim to oppose," Seidel added. "More to the point, this is one reason we have the separation of church and state, and it’s precisely how that separation protects everyone and helps ensure the foundational value of religious freedom. It not only prevents the state from weighing in on religious disagreements, scriptural discrepancies, and theological debates, but also refuses to empower the state to force its preferred scripture or religious doctrine onto we the people."

Imagine if a state legislature with Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist-majority decided that an excerpt from one of those faith's holy books prohibiting the worship of any other deities was required to be posted in every public school classroom. The same people who are pushing for and praising this law probably wouldn't stand for it.

Opponents of the Louisiana law argue the idea that the U.S. was founded on the principles found in the Ten Commandments is negated as soon as you put the first commandment up against the first amendment. The U.S. was largely founded on the principle of religious freedom. The first amendment prohibits the government from telling the people what to believe or whom or how to worship. The first commandment specifically states whom the people must worship, and the second, third and fourth commandment specify how they should worship and there therefore incompatible as government-sanctioned messages.

Virtually no one is arguing that all of the Ten Commandments are bad. Not killing, lying or stealing are standard moral codes for the vast majority of humanity, regardless of religious background. But the others are very much asserting Judeo-Christian religious beliefs, and Seidel says for the government to require that assertion in classrooms is blatantly unconstitutional and un-American as well.

You can find Andrew Seidel's books, "The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American" and "American Crusade: How the Supreme Court Is Weaponizing Religious Freedom" on Amazon.

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Sunscreen is one of our most crucial lines of defense against harmful UV rays.

Summer is officially upon us. Which means that, even though sunscreen is recommended every season of the year, nearly everyone is being more mindful about slathering some on before heading outdoors—be it for vanity’s sake, or for cancer prevention. Honestly whatever motive ingrains the habit.


But according to dermatologist Dr. Michael Park, there’s one key spot that most people tend to leave out of their sunscreen regimen, which could leave them susceptible.

“I don’t know if you guessed it, but it’s the ears,” Dr. Park says in a video posted to TikTok.

Park, who worked in a melanoma specialty clinic for over a year, recalls seeing multiple patients with melanoma, a common type of skin cancer, right behind the ear where the sun “beat down on their skin.”

Park also notes the seriousness of melanoma.

@michael.park.md #skincare ♬ original sound - Michael Park, MD

“I don’t know where people got the idea of ‘oh it’s just skin cancer, it's not that big of a deal.’ Y’all, let me make something really clear: melanoma, if not caught early, will kill you. Aggressive squamous cell carcinoma on the head and neck will also kill you,” he says.

Even basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of cancer which in most cases is not fatal, will have to be cut out…along with the skin surrounding it.

Park quips that while no one would probably want large chunks cut out of them, “certain areas that would be way worse than others, and one of those places… is the ears.” Which is why he’s sending out a friendly PSA about the importance of sunscreen in every nook and cranny that might get some sun.

“Unless you want to be a Vincent Van Gogh looking a**, make sure you put sunscreen on your ears,” his video concludes.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. So it’s important not to forget to defend any and all vulnerable areas with every UV blocking products available—from sunscreen every couple of hours to protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, etc.

For more skin care tips from Dr. Park, find him on TikTok.