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upworthy
Science

Results are in: Electric cars are making big improvements to people's health

They’re great for people and the planet.

electric cars, ev, asthma
via Pixabay

An EV owner charges his car.

Most of the time, when people tout the positive environmental impact of electric vehicles, they talk about how EVs are an excellent way for people to reduce their carbon footprints. Electric cars are responsible for less greenhouse gas production than traditional combustion engines.

But a new study from the University of Southern California has found that EVs are also great for creating healthier communities in California. A team of researchers from the university recently released a report that found EVs reduce air pollution and asthma-related emergency room visits.

Currently, nearly 2.9 million adults in California suffer from asthma.


“When we think about the actions related to climate change, often it’s on a global level,” lead author Erika Garcia, Ph.D., MPH, said in a statement. “But the idea that changes being made at the local level can improve the health of your own community could be a powerful message to the public and to policy makers.”

To see if EV adoption lowered air pollution, they compared the number of vehicles registered in California zip codes between 2013 and 2019 with the frequency of asthma-related emergency room visits. Over this period, the number of EVs in the state increased from 1.4 to a still-modest 14.7 cars per 1,000. California was the perfect place to track pollution improvements related to EV purchases because studies show that the state is about five years ahead of the rest of the country regarding EV adoption.

In 2022, EVs were nearly 16% of new light-duty vehicles sold in California.

The study found that for every 20 cars per 1,000 residents in a given zip code, the number of asthma-related ER visits decreased by 3.2%. Therefore, by increasing the number of people who drive EVs, we can lower the number who suffer from asthma.

The study also makes the case that more EV vehicles are needed in low-income neighborhoods to improve public health. EVs are more prevalent in affluent areas, which already have lower rates of air pollution than in low-income areas. However, California is already working to reduce this gap by providing low- to moderate-income Californians rebates for purchasing electric vehicles.

los angeles smog, california ev, downtown los angeles

A smoggy day in Los Angeles, California.

via Pixabay

Starting on March 1, people with low-to-moderate incomes are eligible for rebates of $7,000 for a fuel-cell electric vehicle, $4,500 for a battery electric vehicle and $3,500 for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

The good news from the study gives people another compelling reason to switch to EVs. They’re great for the planet and good for public health, too. Further, EVs are a win for the health system because fewer visits to the ER lowers health costs for everyone.

“The impacts of climate change on health can be challenging to talk about because they can feel very scary,” Sandrah Eckel, Ph.D., an associate professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine, and the study’s lead author said in a statement. “We’re excited about shifting the conversation towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, and these results suggest that transitioning to [EVs] is a key piece of that.”

Education

Someone criticized a middle school teacher's behavior. Her comeback was an A+.

When a person commented, "your a teacher act like it," Amy Allen hilariously took the advice to heart.

A rude commenter got a lesson from Ms. Allen.

Being a teacher isn't easy. Teaching middle school students is especially not easy. Teaching middle school students who spent several of their formative years going through a global pandemic in the age of smartphones, social media and a youth mental health crisis is downright heroic.

If you haven't spent time in a middle school classroom, you may not fully grasp the intensity of it on every level, from the awkwardness to the body odor to the delightful hilarity that tweens bring to the table. When you connect with your students, it can be incredibly rewarding, and when you don't…well, we all read "Lord of the Flies," right?

Skilled teachers bring out the best in young people, and that can be done in many different ways. For Amy Allen, it's by making her middle school classroom a fun, welcoming place to learn and by bonding with her students.


"I love teaching middle schoolers because they are awkward, and I’m awkward, so we get along," Allen tells Upworthy.

She plays games with students, gets rambunctious with them and creates opportunities for them to expend some of that intense pre-and-early-teen energy in healthy ways. For instance, she shared a video of a game of "grudgeball," an active trivia game that makes reviewing for a quiz or test fun and competitive, and you can see how high-energy her classroom is:

@_queenoftheclassroom

If this looks like fun to you, pick up my grudgeball template (🔗 in bio) #qotc #grudgeball #10outof10recommend @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️

"I think for teachers, we always want to create moments for our students that are beyond the standard reading, writing, memorizing, quiz, 'traditional learning,'" Allen says. "Games are a great way to incorporate fun in the classroom."

Allen clearly enjoyed the game as much as her students—"I love the chaos!" she says— and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Fun keeps teachers sane, too. But one person took issue with her classroom behavior and commented, "your a teacher act like it." (Not my typo—that's exactly what the person wrote, only with no period.)

Allen addressed the comment in another video in the most perfect way possible—by acting exactly like a teacher.

Watch:

@_queenoftheclassroom

Replying to @كل الكلبات تريد مني Come see me if you have any further questions. #qotc #iteachmiddleschool #weDEFINITELYdonthavefuninhere @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ #Inverted

There are two solid ways to handle a rude comment without making things worse—you can ignore it or you can craft a response that makes the person look like a fool without being cruel or rude yourself. Allen's grammar lesson response was A+ work, right down to the "Come see me if you have any further questions" caption.

In fact, the person apparently went back and deleted their comment after the comeback video went viral, which makes it all the more hilarious. The video currently has more than 4 million views on TikTok and over 18 million views on YouTube.

"What’s funny is I left my correction on the board accidentally, and the next day, students asked me what that was all about," Allen says. "When I explained it, they thought it was cool because 'why would anyone go after Ms. Allen'? At that point, the video had maybe 10,000 views. I never imagined the video would go viral."

Two days later, as the video was creeping toward a million views, she upped the stakes. "Some of my students are my ultimate hype people, and they were tracking it harder than I was," she says. "I made a 'deal' with my fifth period if it reached 1 million during their class, they could sit wherever they wanted the entire week. During lunch, I checked, and it reached 1 million. So when they came back from recess, I announced it, and it was like I was a rockstar. They screamed and cheered for me. It was an incredible moment for me."

The irony, of course, is that Allen was acting like a teacher in her grudgeball video—an engaged teacher with engaged students who are actively participating in the learning process. Just because it doesn't look like serious study doesn't mean it's not learning, and for some kids, this kind of activity might be far more effective at helping them remember things they've learned (in this case, vocabulary words) than less energetic ways of reviewing.

Allen has her thumb on the pulse of her students and goes out of her way to meet them where they are. Last year, for instance, she created a "mental health day" for her students. "I could tell they were getting burnt out from all the state tests, regular homework, and personal life extracurricular activities that many of my students participate in," she says. "We went to my school library for 'fireside reading,' solved a murder mystery, built blanket forts, watched the World Cup, colored, and completed sudokus. Is it part of the curriculum? No. Is it worth spending one class period doing something mentally rewarding for students? Absolutely."

Teaching middle school requires a lot of different skills, but perhaps the most important one is to connect with students, partly because it's far easier to teach someone actually wants to be in your classroom and partly because effective teaching is about so much more than just academics. A teacher might be the most caring, stable, trustworthy adult in some students' lives. What looks like silly fun and games in a classroom can actually help students feel safe and welcomed and valued, knowing that a teacher cares enough to try to make learning as enjoyable as possible. Plus, shared laughter in a classroom helps build a community of engaged learners, which is exactly what a classroom should be.

Keep up the awesome work, Ms. Allen, both in the classroom and in the comment section.

You can follow Amy Allen on TikTok and YouTube.

Health

Doctor shares why you should never flush the toilet with the lid open

This will change your flushing habits immediately.

A woman flushes the toilet.

Dr. Karan Rajan, a super popular TikTok user who creates videos about health and medical mysteries, posted a video about the dangers of flushing the toilet with the lid open and it will definitely change how many people use the restroom.

It will also make those who’ve always flushed with the lid open recoil in fear and shiver with regret. According to the doctor, every time you flush the toilet, an invisible raging sewage volcano flies out of the bowl, contaminating everything in the bathroom.

“Your puny human eyes can’t see this, but there's a tidal wave of microscopic particles that fill the air after a flush," Dr. Rajan says before sharing a video that appears to have been filmed with an infrared camera. The video shows that when a toilet is flushed, particles from the bowl are projected into the air at 2 meters (6.5 feet) per second.


"The same droplets can reach 15 meters (49 feet) above the toilet bowl within 8 seconds. Toilet soup goes everywhere,” Dr. Rajan says in the video.

(Note: The audio appears to have been disabled on the video.)

@dr.karanr

Shut the lid

Dr. Rajan ends the video by sharing some basic hygiene tips: "Close the lid, wash your hands, stop touching your eyes so much and maybe move your toothbrush.”

While the video may upset those who have flushed with the lid open for years, one commenter made a horrifying observation. "So flushing whilst still sitting down is a bad idea then," Kevin Wilson wrote in the comments. "This is the first thing that I thought when I watched this," Mr Unknown added.

A tourist visiting Italy. (Representative image)

Americans pride themselves on living in the “best country in the world.” However, the American way of life isn’t for everyone and some prefer the more laid-back approach to life that people enjoy in Europe.

Four years ago, a writer named Roze left her tiny apartment in Los Angeles, booked a one-way flight to Turn, Italy and never looked back. Now, she documents her new life in Europe on TikTok to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Recently, she posted a video in which she counts down 5 things that she’ll never do now that she lives in Italy. These are examples of the relief some Americans feel when they move to Europe and settle into their new, stress-free lifestyle.


1. Rush

"One of the first things that attracted me to Italian culture is the fact that people don't seem to be in a rush. There are no drive-thrus. People don't walk and eat. If you need a coffee, you sit down and drink a cup of coffee. There's always time for that."

2. Own a car

"I don't plan on ever living in a place where you need a car to get around. I don’t like the expense of a car and it’s just bad for the environment.”

3. Live for work

“I’ll never obsess about work as much as I used to do in the U.S. Now, I'm not saying that people don't work here. People work very hard, but there's not as many people who make working hard their whole personality."

@rozeinitaly

A few ways my perspective has changed since moving abroad, maybe some other American immigrants can relate? #fivethingschallenge #5thingsiwouldneverdo #5thingschallenge #americanimmigrant #movingabroadtips #expatsinitaly #italylifestyle #lifeinitaly🇮🇹

4. Trust the internet for business hours

"If you look it up on Google Maps, it says that it's open from 10 am to, I think, 7 or 7:30 pm. Does that mean I can go there at like 2:30 3 o'clock? No. What is not listed on there is that they are closed from 1 to 4 for lunch."

5. Worry about medical bills

“I just don’t plan on living anywhere where there is not some kind of universal healthcare.”

via Eltpics / Twitter

Mapping out the structure of the inner ear.

There are no two human beings who are exactly alike. One of the funny quirks of evolution is that some of us can do things with our bodies we think are routine, but are impossible for others.

Some people can wiggle their ears, others can't. Some can wiggle their nose like Samantha from "Bewitched" while others just look really silly when making an attempt.

Not everyone can lick their elbow but most wouldn't attempt to do so in public.


A Twitter user named Massimo dropped some knowledge about a skill that not everyone has and even fewer discuss: ear rumbling.

Those of us who can do it know exactly what it is, while it's a mystery to those who cannot.

People who can ear rumble have the ability to control the tensor tympani, a muscle within the ear. Contracting the muscle creates a rushing, rumbling sound that, if flexed enough, can drown out a significant amount of noise.

This can be useful when someone is saying something that you don't want to hear but don't want to be rude and cover your ears. It can come in real handy if someone is about to spoil your favorite TV show or if you live with someone who can't stop nagging.

Some people cannot voluntarily create the rumbling sound but hear it when they let out a large yawn.

There's a Reddit sub-forum just for ear rumblers with over 60,000 people. Here's how some of them get rumblin'.

"I just squeeze the muscle in my ears I guess," — melvinthefish

"When I flex and hold whatever I'm manipulating to do that, I get my rumble," — ttywzl

"I get a mild rumble just doing the usual flex, but i can make it a bit louder by bringing my top lip up to my nose," — Willmono7

"The best way I can describe it is I 'squint my ears,'" —SteeleIT

The muscle exists to mask-low frequency sounds so we can focus on those at a higher frequency. It also works to mute sounds we create ourselves such as eating potato chips or coughing. It's a way that helps us from becoming annoyed with our own bodies.

Unfortunately, the muscle has a rather slow reaction time so it cannot prevent us from hearing loud sudden noises like a gunshot or a book slamming on the ground.

Massimo's tweet caused quite a stir on the platform.

Although scientists have known about ear rumbling since at least the 1800s, there doesn't appear to have been too much research on the topic. We know that some can rumble and others cannot, but it's unclear how it breaks down percentage-wise or if it's more prevalent in certain groups.

The good news is that the word is starting to get out and people who've been rumbling all their lives suddenly don't feel so alone.


This article originally appeared on 03.05.20


Dads are ridiculous. But perhaps, in the world today, there is no dad quite so ridiculous as Rob Lopez:


Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.


On a morning not too long ago, Lopez apparently had the following thought: "I'm going to dress up as Darth Vader and wake up my 2-year-old."

Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.



Clearly, the correct follow-up thought is, "No. That's silly. Why would I ever wake up a 2-year-old. Like, on purpose."

But not for Rob Lopez. Oh, no.

After suiting up...

GIFs via Rob Lopez/YouTube, unless otherwise noted.

...and receiving the mission critical sign-off from his wife.

He grabbed his lightsaber and gave it a go. The results ... pretty much speak for themselves (fast-forward to 1:05 for the main event).

There are a couple of things about Lopez's son's reaction that we should talk about.

(First, this child is objectively the hardest core human on the face of planet Earth right now.)

He grabs the lightsaber he keeps next to his bed (just in case) and it's game on, Dark Lord of the Sith. Game. On.

Think about how you would feel, as an adult person, in complete control of your faculties, with a firm grasp on the difference between fiction and reality, being aggressively prodded awake by a six-foot-tall man in a full-body Darth Vader mech-suit complete with voice modulator and terrifyingly heavy breathing.

Think about how loud you would scream and the volume of pee you would pee into your pants.

Meanwhile, this toddler — who is probably no more than three feet tall, groggy and vulnerable, with no cognitive ability to discern this is not the real Darth Vader — didn't even think twice about taking him on.

GIF from "Return of the Jedi."

Perhaps the most impressive part? At a mere 2 years of age, he's already learned, perhaps, the single greatest lesson of "Star Wars."

You don't defeat the dark side with mad lightsaber skills (although they are fun to show off).

You defeat it with compassion.

...which, in this kid's case, involves casually grabbing a book and asking Darth Vader to read him a story.

Empathy for Siths — with an assist from curiosity and literacy: That's a lesson we could all use.


This article originally appeared on 05.06.16