Heroes

Dad took blood samples at his kid's birthday party. And that's not the worst part.

There's tons of misinformation about vaccines, aka the reason we no longer live in a world where half of our babies won't live to see age 12. Let's review.

Dad took blood samples at his kid's birthday party. And that's not the worst part.

Vaccines used to be pretty uncontroversial.

People saw the devastation of diseases like polio, smallpox, and tetanus. To the earliest people to get vaccinated, vaccines were miraculous. Child mortality dropped. General health improved. As more and more people got vaccinated, some diseases disappeared from the developed world.

So what happened?

Why did people begin to fear medicines that they once regarded as saviors? The truth is, there's lots of misinformation out there and lots of conflicts of interest on all sides. It's hard to know what the facts are.


Maki Naro put together this comic to address people's ongoing concerns. One of the most shocking panels describes how Dr. Andrew Wakefield (even if you haven't heard of him, you've probably heard of his work — he wrote an article, later retracted, that tied the MMR vaccine to autism and started that whole panic) paid for blood samples at his kid's birthday party. And it just gets shadier from there.

It's important that everyone who can get their vaccines does.

So help out our collective immunity by passing this to a friend, OK?

Fact Check Time!

Here's that original Lancet study (with a big ol' "RETRACTED" stamp). And here's the second Lancet study.

How prevalent are severely adverse vaccine reactions? While most of them are, in fact, about 1 in a million, the CDC notes that the actual rates vary from 1 in 100 (adenovirus) to 1 in 20k or 100k (rotavirus) to 1 in 55k or 250k (yellow fever). However, those vaccines aren't part of the generally recommended vaccine schedule.

That formaldehyde part sounds crazy, right? Does my body actually make that stuff? Turns out, yes. From FDA: "The body continuously processes formaldehyde, both from what it makes on its own and from what it has been exposed to in the environment. ... Studies have shown that for a newborn of average weight of 6 - 8 pounds, the amount of formaldehyde in their body is 50-70 times higher than the upper amount that they could receive from a single dose of a vaccine or from vaccines administered over time."

The panel about mercury has raised a number of questions. Didn't your chemistry teacher tell you that it's an element, so there's just the one kind? In this context, we're talking about two different molecules that contain mercury, and mercury's traits change when it's in a molecular compound. The FDA has a more in-depth explanation of the research on these compounds.

Want more? Check out this other post on vaccines. And for even more, check out yet another post on vaccines and autism. And this one.

via The Today Show

Michael and Jack McConnell will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 3rd and it won't only be a big moment for them, it'll be a landmark for the entire gay rights movement.

The couple was legally married 32 years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 and 43 before it became federally legal in 2015.

How did they do it? They outsmarted a system that wasn't prepared to address same-sex marriage.

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via The Today Show

Michael and Jack McConnell will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 3rd and it won't only be a big moment for them, it'll be a landmark for the entire gay rights movement.

The couple was legally married 32 years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 and 43 before it became federally legal in 2015.

How did they do it? They outsmarted a system that wasn't prepared to address same-sex marriage.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If you've ever donated to a cause but worried that your contribution wasn't really enough to drive real change, you're not alone. As one person, it can be tough to feel like you're making a real difference, especially if you don't have a lot to donate or if times are tough (aka there's a worldwide pandemic going on.)

That's why, for years, the idea of philanthropy felt a little bit like a rich person's thing: if you had millions, you could donate and make change. The rest of us were just tossing pennies into a cup without really doing much.

But that's a problem: the priorities of a wealthy few don't represent the priorities of many, which means that good causes are often left underfunded, leading to a lack of meaningful action.

The thing is: it doesn't have to be like this. We can all make a difference, especially if we pool our money together.

Enter: Giving Circles. These are when groups of people with shared values come together to drive change. They do it by pooling their time and money together, then deciding as a circle where it should go. That way, they can cause a real targeted change in one place quickly in a very people-powered way by giving what they can, whether that's volunteer hours, money, or a mix of both. Best of all, Giving Circles are a social experience — you get to work together as a community to make sure you do the most good you can.

In other words, giving circles are a way to democratize philanthropy, making it more accessible regardless of your age, income, gender, or race.

That's why this year, The Elevate Prize, a nonprofit founded in 2019, is launching a new pop-up "Giving Circle" program so that problem solvers, budding philanthropists, and anyone that wants to do good can come together and drive real impact at a large scale. And you can do it all in just 90 minutes.

All you have to do is join one of the Elevate Giving Circles online. Learn about organizations doing good for the world, then pool your money together, and as a group, direct it where you think that donation could make the most difference.

But that's not all: every single donation made is matched by the Elevate Prize Foundation — basically guaranteeing that you double your impact for good. The theme for the first cycle is education, and Elevate Giving will match up to $75,000 in total donations for each cycle.

Ready to get involved? Elevate Giving experiences start June 26th, so sign up now for your spot to make a difference. There's no minimum fee to join either — so get involved no matter what you have to give. Now that's philanthropy for all.