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Family

Don't be fooled: 5 ways to spot a misleading or careless graph.

Numbers don't lie, but graphs can.

You're reading an article, perusing an ad, or watching the news when you spot a kickass chart or infographic. Finally, a way to share information that's impermeable to opinions and falsehoods, right? Well, not exactly.

That's why, in the era of bogus news sites, information dissection is more important than ever.

Graphs and data visualizations are easier to make than ever before, so there's nothing stopping anyone from using accurate facts and figures in an irresponsible or dishonest way.

In her animated lesson for TED-Ed, Lea Gaslowitz breaks down how to catch a misleading graph before it catches you.

1. Scale: That Y-axis is really important.

This is a graph showing truck reliability. At first glance, it appears Chevy crushes the competition hands down.

[rebelmouse-image 19473956 dam="1" original_size="400x225" caption="GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube." expand=1]GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube.

However, this graph uses the same data, but with a scale from 0% to 100% instead of 95% to 100%.

[rebelmouse-image 19473958 dam="1" original_size="400x225" caption="Like Drake, this graph goes from 0 to 100, real quick. GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube." expand=1]Like Drake, this graph goes from 0 to 100, real quick. GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube.

"This is one of the most common ways graphs misrepresent data," Gaslowitz said. "It's especially misleading with bar graphs, since we assume the size of the bars is proportional to the values."

The X-axis is important too, and Gaslowitz cautions it can be manipulated just as easily.

2. Ask yourself: What does the visualization actually show, and does it make any sense?

The economic cost of mass incarceration is more than \$1 trillion dollars. This chart, explores how many prison cells it would take to store \$1 trillion in cash. Volume is not a very useful measure in this case, but it's presented in bold, block letters as if it's vital information. Don't be fooled by typography or because they showed their work.

Image via WTFviz/Tumblr.

3. Cherry-picking: Great for fruit pies, less so for graphs and charts.

When a group or individual uses a graph to make a point, they may pick and choose which information to include. It's called cherry-picking, and it can lead to wholly inaccurate charts.

The graph from the National Weather Service makes it look like 2015 had the second highest number of consecutive days without rain. It didn't. The second longest streak was 62 days in 1984. But this graph only shows the record year and the past five years for comparison. That's not to say it intended to deceive, but that's a consequence of limiting the data.

4. In life and in graphs, you can't ignore context.

Gaslowitz shared two graphs on ocean temperature. The first showed the changes in temperature over time, but that doesn't capture the full story because even a half-degree rise can have a major effect.

[rebelmouse-image 19473960 dam="1" original_size="400x225" caption="GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube." expand=1]GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube.

Showing the increase or decrease in ocean temperature by the amount of increase is a more appropriate context.

[rebelmouse-image 19473961 dam="1" original_size="400x225" caption="GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube." expand=1]GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube.

5. Go straight to the source, and look at it right in its source eyes.

Take a look at where you're getting the information from. Is it a trusted, reliable news source with fact-checkers and editorial standards? Is it an advertisement or paid study? The source matters. If you're unsure, try to find the data somewhere else to double check, especially before you share it.

[rebelmouse-image 19473962 dam="1" original_size="400x225" caption="GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube." expand=1]GIF via TED-Ed/YouTube.

Family

Heartbroken wife files for divorce after DNA test reveals 2-year-old son isn't hers

She first became suspicious when her son didn't have blue eyes.

A woman in distress contemplates her future.

It’s pretty common to hear a story about a man whose life is turned upside down after a DNA test proves that he’s not the father of a child he thought was his. However, hearing a mother dealing with the same scenario is rare. That’s why a recent post on Reddit has so many people talking.

A user named ThrowRA-3xbetrayal claims that a DNA test shows her husband is the father of the 2-year-old boy they’ve raised but she isn’t the biological mother.

The story began 6 years ago when the couple tried to conceive but had no luck. The woman then discovered she had a “medical condition” that meant she couldn’t bring a baby to term, which resulted in a partial hysterectomy. The woman, who refers to herself as the family’s “breadwinner” took on multiple jobs to pay a surrogate to have their child.

“I still had my ovaries so we started looking into cost of a surrogate. It is really expensive! My close friend since college who'd already had 2 kids of her own, offered to serve as the surrogate for us to cut down on costs. After two disappointing IVF sessions that did not result in pregnancy, she became pregnant on the 3rd try and carried a boy to term for us,” ThrowRA-3xbetrayal wrote.

The couple was over the moon after the birth of the boy and the surrogate became a bigger part of their lives.

A woman in distress being comforted.via Liza Summer

“My friend and my husband started talking more and I would sometimes come home from my weekend job to find her already hanging out at our house when my husband was there,” ThrowRA-3xbetrayal wrote. “I chalked it up as innocuous and it's good for her to know my husband better since she was in the process of hopefully carrying our child for us. I was grateful to have someone helping us have a child.”

But the mother became suspicious because the baby’s eyes were brown when she and her husband’s were blue.

The mother took the child to a doctor’s appointment and she received some devastating news. She discovered that her son’s blood type is B+ while his father’s is O+ and She is A+. The doctor said it was “biologically impossible” for her son to have that blood type given his parents’.

ThrowRA-3xbetrayal thought the fertility clinic made a horrible mistake. She took a DNA test and found that her husband was the boy’s father, but she was not the mother. “Then my husband confessed that he'd slept with my friend (our surrogate) on a few different occasions during our struggle to have her get pregnant with our embryos,” ThrowRA-3xbetrayal wrote. “This means what I thought was our son conceived by IVF and carried with a surrogate isn't my son at all and was, in fact, conceived the old-fashioned way, which I can't ever do.”

The woman says that the terrible news felt like a triple betrayal. The woman has decided to divorce her husband and wants to give up any parental rights to the child. Her husband, the surrogate and her family all believe that she’s wrong to give up rights to the child that she’s raised for 2 years.

She asked Reddit’s AITA forum to tell her if she was in the wrong and the community responded with overwhelmingly positive support, affirming her tough decision.

A happy toddler playing on the beach. via Taryn Elliott/Pexels

The most popular commenter said that she should sue the surrogate for taking her money without having her baby. “One of the things that gets me is that you were working extra jobs to pay for the surrogacy which I am assuming included her medical bills and financially supporting her. I would speak to a solicitor about suing her for your money back. She knew that if she was having sex then there was always a chance that the child was biologically hers,” they wrote.

Another affirmed the wife’s decision to leave her husband and to surrender any parental rights. “He cheated... it's not yours. I will absolutely tell you what I tell men posting this. It would be wonderful if you love the kid enough to stay, but if you're in shock and damaged too much to do so, you aren't the A**le for walking away,” they wrote.

Another pointed out that if a man were in this position, no one would judge him for giving up his parental rights. “If these roles were reversed and you were a man saying that his wife had cheated and had another man’s baby, people would have no problem telling him that he’s within his rights to leave and have nothing to do with the child if he doesn’t want to,” the commenter wrote.

If the story that ThrowRA-3xbetrayal wrote tells is true, it’s an incredible tragedy. She fought so hard to have a child only to realize she was living a lie two years later. So, let’s hope she found some solace in the hundreds of people who supported her decision to move on with her life while also sharing some great advice on going forward.

Education

Why every American should be poor at least once in their life

People who've always been financially comfortable really have no idea.

Being poor for a while is an eye-opening experience.

Let me start by saying that no one should have to live in poverty. I do, however, believe that every American should experience being poor at least once in their life.

I've never lived in true poverty, thankfully, but I've been poor. I've eaten government cheese. I've internalized the principals of "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" out of necessity. I know what it's like to pinch every penny and to not even think about buying anything "extra." I know the anxiety of paying for a car repair with a credit card that I can only afford minimum payments on, knowing the interest I can't afford will keep piling up.

I've also been fortunate to experience financial comfort. Not enormous wealth, but having enough to not be concerned about affording every little thing I buy. I know how it feels to go to the grocery store without a calculator. I've blown a tire and had the money to cover it. I've been annoyed instead of terrified when I have to replace an appliance. I've been able to take a vacation and splurge a little.

Being financially comfortable is better than being poor, of course. But I don't think people who've never known true financial struggle have any idea how much better it is. They may joke about being "poor" when they have to save their money for something, but they've never experienced not having any money to save.

Being poor teaches you so many things, far beyond just how to budget. You learn that it's hard as hell to climb your way out of financial trouble, how it can feel like you're stuck in a toilet bowl that's constantly swirling and pulling you back down. You learn how expensive it is to be poor—knowing you could save money in the long run shopping at Costco and buying in bulk or stocking up on things during big sales, but you have to have extra means in the moment to be able to do that.

You learn that a few hundred dollars is actually a huge amount of money. You learn that a lot of what people spend money on is totally wasteful. You learn which things are actually worth spending money on (brand names don't matter, shoe quality does). You learn to make excuses for not being able to go on fun outings with friends because you don't want to say, "Sorry, I can't afford that" and feel the awkwardness of it all.

What's surprising, though, is how much more you learn about being poor once you do have some financial ease. When you apply for a loan and get the best interest rates and the lowest fees because you have good credit and some money in the bank, you learn how much the system screws over poor people. When you are able to buy a car that doesn't constantly need repairs and furniture that doesn't fall apart after a year, it really sinks in how much more it costs to not have money. When you're able to pay less overall because you can afford the annual payment instead of the monthly payment for a service, you learn that having money saves money in ways you never imagined.

You learn gratitude for small things if you've been poor. The joy of treating yourself to a fancy coffee or some fresh flowers hits different when it's something you couldn't afford before.

You also learn that there are a lot of people who've never known financial hardship, and it blows your mind. As you spend more time in middle and upper middle class circles, you meet more and more people who aren't necessarily rich but who've never had to actually worry about money. It's not their fault, of course, but it's bizarre to witness these folks in the wild. Like, for some people, it's just normal to pay for a haircut and color at a salon every six weeks, as if it's no different than paying a phone bill. There are people who have never bought generic to save \$.50 and simply wouldn't dream of doing so. There are people who set their thermostats to whatever temperature is comfortable and then just go about their day not thinking about their utility bill. It's unnerving to see things you know as luxuries just treated as the norm, to see how much freedom there is in simply not being poor.

But really, the most important lesson you (hopefully) learn from being poor is empathy. You learn not to judge someone for their financial situation. You learn that most people don't choose to be poor, and that it takes not just time and effort, but also luck and very often help, to get to a place of financial okay-ness. You learn that assuming anything about a poor person is likely wrong and that someone's financial situation is almost never a reflection of their moral character. You learn to be humble and kind and not take anything you have for granted.

I'm not saying anyone should go out and become poor on purpose. But even putting yourself through a mental exercise of trying to get by in a low-wage job or figuring out how you would handle a major financial setback can go a long way toward increasing understanding and empathy. Being poor isn't a necessity, but it does provide a valuable first-hand perspective that can be hard to get otherwise.

Science

The longest — and probably largest — proof of our current climate catastrophe ever caught on camera.

It was the largest such event ever filmed.

All GIFs and images via Exposure Labs.

Photographer James Balog and his crew were hanging out near a glacier when their camera captured something extraordinary.

They were in Greenland, gathering footage from the time-lapse they'd positioned all around the Arctic Circle for the last several years.

They were also there to shoot scenes for a documentary. And while they were hoping to capture some cool moments on camera, no one expected a huge chunk of a glacier to snap clean off and slide into the ocean right in front of their eyes.

A glacier falls into the sea.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Massive swells created by large chunks of glacier falling away.

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It was the largest such event ever filmed.

For nearly an hour and 15 minutes, Balog and his crew stood by and watched as a piece of ice the size of lower Manhattan — but with ice-equivalent buildings that were two to three times taller than that — simply melted away.

A representation demonstrating the massive size of ice that broke off into the sea.

assets.rebelmouse.io

As far as anyone knows, this was an unprecedented geological catastrophe and they caught the entire thing on tape. It won't be the last time something like this happens either.

But once upon a time, Balog was openly skeptical about that "global warming" thing.

Balog had a reputation since the early 1980s as a conservationist and environmental photographer. And for nearly 20 years, he'd scoffed at the climate change heralds shouting, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

"I didn't think that humans were capable of changing the basic physics and chemistry of this entire, huge planet. It didn't seem probable, it didn't seem possible," he explained in the 2012 documentary film "Chasing Ice."

There was too much margin of error in the computer simulations, too many other pressing problems to address about our beautiful planet. As far as he was concerned, these melodramatic doomsayers were distracting from the real issues.

That was then.

The glacier ice continues to erode away.

assets.rebelmouse.io

In fact, it wasn't until 2005 that Balog became a believer.

He was sent on a photo expedition of the Arctic by National Geographic, and that first northern trip was more than enough to see the damage for himself.

"It was about actual tangible physical evidence that was preserved in the ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica," he said in a 2012 interview with ThinkProgress. "That was really the smoking gun showing how far outside normal, natural variation the world has become. And that's when I started to really get the message that this was something consequential and serious and needed to be dealt with."

Some of that evidence may have been the fact that more Arctic landmass has melted away in the last 20 years than the previous 10,000 years.

Internet

The unexpectedly wild history of the word "soccer" has Americans feeling justified and a bit peeved

“So once again, it’s the English’s fault.”

Unexpected history of the word soccer has people giggling

America and England have a long history, something about kings, tea and taxes kicked the whole thing off. Since the establishment of the United States there has been this sibling like rivalry between the two countries. People in England make fun of Americans' accents and Americans tease the British about their food. It's generally playful and everyone has a chuckle.

One of the main points of good natured ribbing is the different words used by the two groups of people for common items. In Britain women's underwear are knickers, potato chips are crisps, French fries are chips, and biscuits are cookies. These things can get a bit confusing if you're unaware of the different names of things, but one of the most diabolically accidental jokes is the word soccer.

Americans know that soccer is a game that involves a black and white round ball being kicked down the field. In England this sport is known as football, which is obviously not the same as American football but the reason "soccer" is used in the U.S. instead of football has people feeling gaslit by an entire country.

Americans didn't invent the term soccer. Nope. Not even a little bit. On "Red Handed the Podcast," the two co-hosts discuss the origins of the word soccer leaving one of them shocked after she declared that the proper term was football.

"Did you know soccer was coined by none other than the English," one of the women asks before getting into the etymology of the word. "So, let me take you back to the 1800s. Association Football, as it was called, was shortened to just ASSOC."

She goes on to explain that in the late 1800s there was a brief fad of adding "er" to the end of some words, basically causing a shortened word to be lengthened. The whole explanation is quite fascinating but people are a little annoyed but also satisfied given that the British often poke fun at Americans calling the sport soccer. Turns out they were the culprits all along like some sort of multigenerational practical joke that's just been discovered.

"Everyone also hates America for the Imperial system, but England invented that too," one person declares.

"Is there no end to the villainy of the Brits," someone laughs while questioning the entirety of Britain.

"You come over here and made us use imperial units then bailed. Now you did soccer," another commenter exclaims their feigned frustration.

Things take a bit of a sassy turn as the realization hits others. One person scolds, "gaslighting a whole country is such a British thing to do." While another one teases changing the name of soccer in America, "I just think we (we being Americans) should stop calling it soccer and call it Metric Football instead."

In the end someone called it out for what it seems to be, "it’s giving older sibling vibes lol."

Now that this information has been shared in short form on the internet, Americans are likely not going to let this one go but it's all in good fun.

Pop Culture

Singer performs original song Prince himself wrote for her and leaves "AGT" judges astounded

Liv Warfield gave "America's Got Talent" audiences a special gem by The Purple One.

Flickr/Wikipedia, America's Got Talent/Youtube

Prince would be so proud.

The Olympics might be over, but we are far from done at marveling at elite-level humans at the top of their game.

America’s Got Talent” returned from its two week hiatus with eleven incredible acts, but it was R&B singer Liv Warfield who stole the show with her rendition of “The Unexpected,” a song that just so happened to be written specifically for her by Prince. No big deal.

Warfield had already wowed audiences with her initial audition, which earned a Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell. But this next performance had Cowell saying “If this was the Olympics for singing, you would have won the gold medal.”

Judges Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel echoed similar praises. Vergara called Warfield’s set “perfection,” while Mandel, a self-proclaimed Prince fan, told Warfield that The Purple One “knew what he was doing when he gave you this gem. That was a million-dollar performance.”

And it’s not hard to see why Warfield got such high remarks. Beyond her unbelievable vocals was her undeniable star power…as well as her ability to transport us all back in time to the days of 70s rock n’ roll.

As one viewer put it, “If Prince and Janis Joplin had a baby = Liv Warfield!”

Just watch: