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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.

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


Health

Over or under? Surprisingly, there actually is a 'correct' way to hang a toilet paper roll.

Let's settle this silly-but-surprisingly-heated debate once and for all.

Elya/Wikimedia Commons

Should you hang the toilet paper roll over or under?



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Humans have debated things large and small over the millennia, from the democracy to breastfeeding in public to how often people ought to wash their sheets.

But perhaps the most silly-yet-surprisingly-heated household debate is the one in which we argue over which way to hang the toilet paper roll.

The "over or under" question has plagued marriages and casual acquaintances alike for over 100 years, with both sides convinced they have the soundest reasoning for putting their toilet paper loose end out or loose end under. Some people feel so strongly about right vs. wrong TP hanging that they will even flip the roll over when they go to the bathroom in the homes of strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely an inconsequential preference. There is actually a "correct" way to hang toilet paper, according to health experts as well as the man who invented the toilet paper roll in the first place.

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The Hamilton Spectator

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Sybil Marie Hicks, from Baysville, Ontario, died on February 2, at the age of 81, but it'll be a long time before her name is forgotten. Her children have turned her into a posthumous celebrity after writing a hilarious first-person obituary for her that was published in The Hamilton Spectator on February 5, 2019.

According to her daughter, it was fitting tribute.

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Brielle Asero lost her job after 2 months.

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Some who saw the video thought that Asero came off as entitled and exemplified the younger generation’s lack of work ethic. In contrast, others sympathized with the young woman who is just beginning to understand how hard it is to find work-life balance in modern-day America.

“I’m so upset,” she says in the video. "I get on the train at 7:30 a.m., and I don't get home until 6:15 p.m. [at the] earliest. I don't have time to do anything!" Asero said in a video.

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I told a kid a riddle my dad told me when I was 7. His answer proves how far we've come.

This classic riddle takes on new meaning as our world changes for the better.




When I was 7, my dad told me a riddle.

"A man and his son are driving in their car when they are hit by a tractor-trailer.

Photo via iStock.

(We were driving at the time, so of course this was the riddle he decided to tell.)

The father dies instantly.

The son is badly injured. Paramedics rush him to the hospital.

Photo via iStock.

As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look the boy and says:

'I can't operate on him. He's my son.'

How is that possible?!"

Without missing a beat, I answered:

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