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Casey Affleck dropping out of the Oscars should motivate us all.

A lot has changed in just a year.

Last year Brie Larson presented Casey Affleck with the Oscar for Best Actor, and it was ... uncomfortable.

Just a year earlier, Larson had won the Oscar for her powerhouse performance in "Room," playing a woman who was held kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and forced to live in captivity with her young son. Hers was a moving performance that reflected a lot of Larson's own advocacy work for victims of sexual harassment and violence. But then she was asked to present one of acting's top honors to Affleck, who had been sued on multiple occasions for sexual harassment years earlier.

The audience erupted in applause as Affleck's name was announced and he took the stage — with one very notable exception: Larson. After offering Affleck a polite hug, she stood off to the side, motionless. In a pre-#MeToo, pre-Time's Up environment, her reluctance to follow the unspoken rules of being a presenter was a statement in itself.


[rebelmouse-image 19532043 dam="1" original_size="450x280" caption="Larson stands still as Affleck takes the stage in 2017. GIF from Oscars/YouTube." expand=1]Larson stands still as Affleck takes the stage in 2017. GIF from Oscars/YouTube.

"I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself,” she told Vanity Fair when asked about whether she was trying to make a statement by not clapping. "I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic."

Since then, a lot has changed in Hollywood — and Affleck will be absent from the Oscar stage this year as a result.

It's Academy Award tradition that the previous year's Best Actor winner presents this year's Best Actress award (and the past Best Actress presents Best Actor). But Affleck, who was scheduled to present, will not be in attendance when Hollywood gathers for the show on March 4.

Deadline reported that "Affleck did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category and that is why he made the proactive move," calling it "a no-win situation."

Affleck accepts Best Actor during the 2017 Oscars. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images.

Thanks to the activism of the past year, actors like Affleck are finally being held accountable for their actions.

It's proof that, when journalists, witnesses, and survivors speak out, they have the power to change the world for the better.

Without Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey's bombshell New York Times exposé detailing megaproducer Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual assault and harassment, and without some of the brave actresses willing to go on record for it, it's hard to imagine that the #MeToo movement would have taken off the way it has.

In a world without the #MeToo movement (which was founded years ago by Tarana Burke, but given fresh life post-Weinstein), it's easy to picture Affleck on stage this year, again receiving cheers from a complicit audience. It's easy to imagine his past sexual harassment suits being brushed off as ancient history, or for audiences to be urged to separate the artist from the art; it's easy to picture a culture that has continued to laud the likes of Roman Polanski or Woody Allen treating Affleck the same way.

[rebelmouse-image 19346263 dam="1" original_size="750x555" caption="Tarana Burke poses with Affleck's "Manchester By the Sea" co-star, actress Michelle Williams at this year's Golden Globes. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images." expand=1]Tarana Burke poses with Affleck's "Manchester By the Sea" co-star, actress Michelle Williams at this year's Golden Globes. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

But activists, journalists, and regular, everyday people helped change that. Continued pressure and momentum can help reshape culture in powerful ways. The fact that Casey Affleck will not be on stage is a reminder that we can make the world a better place if we use our voices to advocate for a more just society.

In a world where cynicism and despair often win out, stories like these might just lend a little hope.

#MeToo demonstrators. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

Tony Trapani discovers a letter his wife hid from him since 1959.

Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.

After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.

The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.

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Photo by Bambi Corro on Unsplash

Can flying to college twice a week really be cheaper than renting?

Some students choose to live at home while they go to college to save money on living expenses, but that's generally only an option for families who live in college towns or cities with large universities where a student can easily commute.

For University of British Columbia student Tim Chen, that "easy commute" is more than 400 miles each way.

Twice a week, Chen hops on a flight from his home city of Calgary, flies a little more than an hour to Vancouver to attend his classes, then flies back home the same night. And though it's hard to believe, this routine actually saves him approximately $1,000 a month.

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Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

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Internet

Man goes out of his way to leave tip for a server after realizing he grabbed the wrong receipt

Instead of just brushing it off and moving on, the man wrote out a note explaining what happened with a sincere apology along with a $20 cash tip and delivered it to the restaurant.

Man goes out of his way to leave forgotten tip for server

Being in the service industry can be hard. People have to spend long hours on their feet, deal with repetitive movements that can create pain and sometimes interact with not so nice customers. When you rely on tips for survival on top of everything else, it can feel like a bit of a gut punch when someone decides not to leave you one despite how good your service was.

One customer must've realized the disappointment that can occur after not receiving a tip when serving tables because he went out of his way to give one. In a post shared on Reddit, a customer revealed in a letter that he realized he took the wrong receipt after leaving. Instead of taking the blank one, he took the merchant's copy which holds the tip amount and his signature.

The error was discovered when he was checking his bank account and saw the amount taken off of his card was not the amount he expected. That's when he decided to check the receipt from that day and saw the error.

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Science

Scientists have finally figured out how whales are able to 'sing' underwater

The physical mechanism they use has been a mystery until now.

Baleen whales include blue, humpback, gray, fin, sei, minke whales and more.

We've long known that baleen whales sing underwater and that males sing in tropical waters to attract females for mating. What we haven't known is how they're able to do it.

When humans make sound underwater, we expel air over through our vocal chords and the air we release rises to the surface as bubbles. But baleen whales don't have vocal chords, and they don't create bubbles when they vocalize. Toothed whales, such as sperm whales, beaked whales, dolphins and porpoises, have an organ in their nasal passages that allows them to vocalize, but baleen whales such as humpback, gray and blue whales don't.

Whales are notoriously difficult to study because of their size and the environment they require, which is why the mechanism behind whale song has remained a mystery for so long. It's not like scientists can just pluck a whale out of the ocean and stick it in an x-ray machine while it's singing to see what's happening inside its body to create the sound. Scientists had theories, but no one really knew how baleen whales sing.

Now, thanks to researchers at the University of Denmark, that mystery has been solved.

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You can learn a lot by alayzing faces.

There are countless situations in life where we have to figure out how someone really feels, but they have a good poker face that keeps their feelings well-hidden. According to body language expert Terry Vaughan even the most deceptive people in the world have a tell: the left and right sides of their face don’t usually match.

So, which side do we believe? Vaughan says the left.

“The reason this is a powerful hack is because the left side of the face is more likely to reveal the ‘true emotion’ or the ‘dominant’ emotion if there’s a mix,” Vaughan says. The reason? “The right hemisphere of our brain does more heavy lifting in dealing with processing emotions. The left hemisphere…is a little more analytical or ‘strategic.’”

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