Guess how much produce is thrown out because it's not pretty enough for us as consumers? A lot.

The old saying goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover." So why do we do it when it comes to food?

Have you ever noticed how nearly all the fruits and veggies you see in most grocery stores look kinda ... perfect? It turns out that not all produce grows into perfect, uniformly shaped foodstuffs. In fact, a good chunk of produce might be considered downright ugly.

But you know what's truly ugly? The huge amount of food that gets thrown out simply because grocery stores don't think it looks good enough for us to buy.


It doesn't seem fair. It's basically like the "pretty" fruit telling the uglies:

"Grocery-approved" said to the others. GIF from "Mean Girls."

And that's just mean.

Jordan Figueiredo wants us to give all food a chance with his @UglyFruitandVeg campaign.

He thinks the skin-deep standards that decide which fruits and vegetables make the cut at grocery stores just don't make sense. And he's right. Think about it: 30% to 40% of food is wasted (depending on whether you look at post-farmed or pre-farmed). One tomato packing house can fill dump trucks with 22,000 pounds of rejected tomatoes every 40 minutes. And a citrus-packer estimates that as much as 50% of the produce they handle is unmarketable but totally edible.

Estimates show that 1 in 7 Americans do not have reliable access to nutritious, affordable food. Meanwhile, we're throwing out sexy radishes?

Figueiredo thinks we can do better.

He wants us to stop using arbitrary standards to dictate what looks good enough to eat. That's why he's using Instagram and Twitter accounts to share submissions of rejected fruits and vegetables, amusingly referred to as "uglies." I'm sure it's meant as a term of endearment.

OOH LA LA DAIKON! #LegsForDays #WorkItVeg! Pic from http://t.co/KEOZP24uJl
A photo posted by The @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign (@uglyfruitandveg) on


I'M WEIRD. BUT IT'S OKAY by @jenyeepastry on Twitter #UglyIsWeird #LoveUglyFood #GloveBerry cc @fwscout
A photo posted by The @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign (@uglyfruitandveg) on
THE POTATOES ARE FULL OF LOVE @williamsonsfarm #AllWeNeedIsSpud
A photo posted by The @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign (@uglyfruitandveg) on






Let's be real. When it comes to nutrition, looks don't really matter — it's what's on the inside that counts. (Ya know, like with people?)

This concept is far from new. In 2013, a supermarket's Inglorious fruits and vegetables campaign in France proved so successful that the availability of uglies for purchase quickly shot up throughout Europe.

Agree that we shouldn't waste perfectly good food just because it doesn't look "pretty" enough? You can take action.

Figueiredo teamed up with culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks to ask Walmart and Whole Foods to start selling these one-of-a-kind fruits and vegetables. Check out their petition and sign if you feel so inclined.

Reducing food losses by just 15% would provide enough food to feed an additional 25 million Americans every year. Now that's something beautiful.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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