Girl Scouts will now earn badges in cybersecurity and it's totally awesome.

What's next for the Girl Scouts? Oh, you know, defeating hackers. No biggie.

Five fearless girls in New York City this March. Photo from Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The 105-year-old, 1.8 million-scout-strong organization announced that, in addition to badges for public speaking, first aid, mechanics (and, yes, selling cookies), young scouts can now expect to earn laurels for cybersecurity as well.


The announcement is part of a team-up between the Girl Scouts and cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks. Led by an expert panel, the groups will be rolling out the first in a series of 18 different badges in September 2018.

"It is our hope that our collaboration will serve to cultivate our troops’ budding interest in cybersecurity," said Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo in a press release.

The Girl Scouts say the exact curriculum's still being decided, but the topics would build on each other and could touch on areas such as protecting privacy, combating cyberbullying, and more high-level skills like data manipulation.

Today's girls are growing up in a world where cyber smarts are just as important as street smarts.

Smartphones, smart watches, smart televisions — heck, we even have smart clothes!

"Activate jet pack... ACTIVATE JET PACK! God, these things." Photo from Michele Tantussi/Getty Images.

Combine that with social media and it's astounding how much information each of us is uploading every single day. Knowing how to keep your information safe is becoming a necessary life skill.

This is also about showing the girls how to take cybersecurity by the horns and make it work for them.

Women are seriously underrepresented in many STEM industries, including cybersecurity. One report found they made up just 11% of cybersecurity jobs. But we're going to need them. Forbes wrote that in 2016 there were over 200,000 unfilled cybersecurity roles in the United States, and there seems to be no end to the recent data leaks and security concerns.

One possible reason for this gender gap, and the gender gap in many STEM fields, might be the "broken pipeline" problem — a lack of mentors and female role models, combined with gender stereotypes, could discourage even very young girls from exploring STEM subjects.

"A woman's interest in STEM-related fields happens when she is a young girl, playing with games and toys, developing her creativity, and using her imagination," said Acevedo in an email.

By connecting with young girls and showing them that, yes, you can do this, the Girl Scouts might be able to help patch the pipeline.

Girl Scouts have already run accessible summer camps, created vaccination kits, and written legislation to stop child marriage (which, by God, if that scout didn't get a badge for that, she should have). It's cool to see them out to fix the internet as well.

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"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

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Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the announcement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

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