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Joy

Chris Hemsworth's 'Limitless' series is a surprising celebration of female power

No fanfare or feminist pronouncements—just impressive woman after impressive woman being highlighted.

chris hemsworth, limitless

Chris Hemsworth highlighted women who mastered the challenges he undertook in "Limitless."


Judging by his physique, Chris Hemsworth already appears to be a person who pushes himself to the limit. The guy convincingly plays Thor, the Norse god of thunder, for the love.

But even Hemsworth, with his bulging biceps and sleek six-pack, is bound by the laws of human nature, which include pesky limitations like fear and aging. Now that he's in his 40s, the Australian actor, husband and father of three wants to maximize his time on Earth. So in a six-part series on Disney+, he pushed himself to the brink in six different challenges to "discover how to live better for longer."

The titles of each episode—"Stress Proof," "Shock," "Fasting," "Strength," "Memory" and "Acceptance"—offer a glimpse of what kinds of challenges he undertook in his quest for optimal existence.


The series trailer shows some of what Hemsworth endured in these challenges, from doing a polar swim in the Arctic to walking a plank on top of a high rise to climbing a rope to a cable car dangling over a deep ravine.

What the series descriptions and trailer don't show is how many of the real-life examples of people who have mastered what he's trying to do are women.

I watched the series expecting that it would be well done and interesting, as most National Geographic specials are, but I kind of figured it would be a big testosterone fest. And it easily could have been created that way.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the people Hemsworth met with to learn about how to prepare himself for each challenge were largely women who had already mastered what he was attempting. And the best part was, it was never pointed out directly. There was no big "female power" pronouncement, no indication that women were going to serve as his mentors for much of the series. But the featuring of women was noticeable and notable.

For instance, in the first episode, "Stress Proof," Hemsworth takes on the challenge of walking across a crane jutting out from the top of a high-rise building. Despite his daring feats on screen, Hemsworth has a fear of heights, so this challenge was particularly stressful.

To explore how to manage the stress of the crane walk, Hemsworth shared the impressive abilities of Faith Dickey, a mountain climber and highlining champion who walks across slacklines hung between cliffs. She shared how she learned to make stress her friend and channel it, as well as how she utilizes self-talk to make it across a narrow strip of fabric suspended hundreds of feet above the ground.

She even once did it in heels:

Following the Dickey example, Hemsworth met with a group of firefighters at a training facility in New South Wales to learn how to control his breath and heart rate under duress. He was teamed up with 16-year veteran firefighter Tara Lal to enter a burning building in full gear and attempt to "rescue" dummies from the inferno. Firefighting is a highly male-dominated career field, yet they chose a woman to be Hemsworth's mentor. Love it.

In addition to the specific skill mentors, the psychologist who helped Hemsworth through his preparation for the stress walk was also a woman, Dr. Modupe Akinola.

Each episode featured women who shared their wisdom and experience with Hemsworth, from all around the world. A Finnish woman who cuts holes in the ice and swims under it. A British American freediver who can hold her breath underwater for six minutes. The Indigenous women and girls who run through the rocky mountainsides of Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico. The 85-year-old weight-training African American woman who could inspire anyone to exercise. And the list goes on and on.

The diversity of people of all ages and ethnicities highlighted in the series, as well as the high proportion of awesome women, creates a far more well-rounded exploration of better and longer living than the "Chris Hemsworth does these six hard things, look at him go" entertainment one might expect based on the trailer. The understated representation is well done and very much appreciated.

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Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

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.

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Pop Culture

UPS driver shares his weekly paycheck, and now everyone wants to apply

People are shocked to find out how much delivery drivers make.

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

This both shocked the nearly 12 million viewers who saw the video…not to mention it stirred their jealousy a bit.

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Pop Culture

A-ha's stripped-down, slowed-down performance of 'Take On Me' is a must-see

The slower tempo and simple instrumentation creates a sadder, more haunting version of the 80s monster hit.

A-ha performing live for MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice

According to NPR—and the ABBA blaring from my young adult daughter's headphones—we're in the midst of an 80s music revival. As a Gen Xer who came of age in the 80s, I think most of that decade should stay locked in a time capsule, but there are a few songs that have managed to remain timeless despite the synthesizers and bad hair.

A-ha's "Take On Me" is one of them. Despite its consummately-80s sound, the song with the famous sketch animated video is still enjoyable (if not a little earwormy—good luck once it gets stuck in your head).

But a lesser-known 2017 arrangement of the song is actually, miraculusly, even better. A-ha performed "Take On Me" for an MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice album, and it's significantly different than the original. The Norwegian band filmed the performance live on the island of Giske, dropping the electric piano as well as the tempo for a stripped-down version that has become a fan favorite. As of this writing, the video has 97 million views on YouTube.

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@davidcsmalley/TikTok

But can she start it?

David C. Smalley, a comedian and podcaster, regularly gives us some generational humor by exposing his 19-year-old daughter Talissa to relics of the past. You know, things like CDs, phonebooks, remote controllers…feeling old yet?

Recently, Smalley challenged Talissa with navigating a standard U-Haul storage truck. She had to 1) unlock the door 2) roll down a window and 3) start the engine.

For those of us who grew up before the 90s, this might sound like the easiest challenge ever. But apparently, for Gen Z, it’s like being asked to maneuver a horse and buggy.
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Humor

Woman finds out her best friend has 'strange pets' in delightfully unhinged video

The pets kept getting weirder and weirder as the story goes on.

Woman's best friend reveals her secret strange pets

We tell our best friends everything, right? But even knowing your friend's deepest darkest secrets don't always prepare you for what they may reveal unprompted. For Mary Howe, she found out her best friend had a weird quirk that she just wasn't prepared to hear on their 4 AM trip to the airport. Howe's friend is a biologist, which may or may not be important information.

On the way to drop her friend off to catch her flight back out of town, the soon to be airborne bestie revealed she had to hurry home to her pet praying mantis. This information was a bit jarring for Howe but it was when she found out that the praying mantis was left out in the apartment, laid eggs on the ceiling that she started to question her friends sanity.

But the strange pet saga was just beginning in the most randomly unhinged story about pets on the internet.

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