Bill Nye's new show is opinionated, unapologetic, and exactly what we need.

Bill Nye’s new Netflix show promises to save the world. It’s kind of great.

Image from "Bill Nye Saves the World"/Netflix.

The show, with the delightfully boastful name "Bill Nye Saves the World," isn’t a continuation of his popular 1990s kid’s show. The new show is aimed at now-grown millennials and mixes the original show’s enthusiasm, humor, and wonky green-fluid-in-a-beaker experiments with "Daily Show"-style field pieces and "Penn and Teller: Bullshit!"-style takedowns of, well, bullshit.


I’ve had the time to sit down and watch a few of the episodes and — as a science guy myself — I have to say, I’m liking it. When correspondent Karlie Kloss visits Venice to see the gigantic pontoon system designed to keep the city above water, I was legitimately fascinated. When Nye demonstrated how carbon dioxide changes the pH of water by blowing down in a straw into a flask, it was like being 8 years old again.

The show is funny, interesting, and educational. It’s also bluntly — and unapologetically — opinionated.

Moderated talks are a recurring segment of the show. Image from "Bill Nye Saves the World"/Netflix.

When it comes to hot-button issues, such as climate change or alternative medicine, Nye is not shy about calling out politicians and conspiracy theorists. He's obviously fed up, and the anger in his voice is real. It's incredibly cathartic — if you agree with him.

As much as I enjoyed the show, I did find myself wondering if Nye’s brashness, as entertaining as it is, might actually end up driving away the viewers Nye seems to most want to convince.

Take the field pieces, for example. They're incredibly fun to watch, but there are a few moments — such as the one in which Joanna Hausmann visits a "sound therapist" who yells at her kidneys — where the show feels like it's veering away from reporting and more into outright mockery of its subjects. "How did you keep a straight face?" Nye asks Hausmann afterward.

But maybe an outspoken, opinionated science guy is OK. In fact, Nye might just be exactly the voice we need right now.

Image from "Bill Nye Saves the World"/Netflix.

For a long time, scientists and science communicators strove to be apolitical, either from a healthy sense of self-doubt or from fear of being accused of bias. As the belief in science has become more and more of a contentious issue, there has been an understandable push toward keeping science un-opinionated.

But maybe this feeling is part of the problem. By staying out of the public discourse, science has let media personalities and politicians pick up the narrative and run with it. Pseudoscience and myths have grown like weeds in an unattended lawn.

Scientists who act more like Nye — embracing their voices and not being afraid to outright disagree with people who disregard facts and data — might just be part of the solution. Admitting that they have opinions (backed by data) can help scientists look more like the actual thinking, breathing humans they are. Science backs me up on this, too: A recent study suggested that scientists don’t lose credibility when they take stands on issues.

No matter how scientifically inclined you are, Nye's show is nothing if not entertaining and informative.

While I still feel like there are parts that could benefit from a lighter touch or a bit more nuance, the show is still on the whole surprising, informative, and quite funny. It's a worthy successor to the original series and definitely worth checking out.

All 13 episodes of the first season of "Bill Nye Saves the World" are available on Netflix as of April 2017. You can watch the trailer below.

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture