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He Saw Things No One Else Would For Another 50 Years. Who Would Believe Him?

Let’s hear it for thepower of creative tinkering, aka messing around with microscopes when you're supposed to be at work. Stick around until 4:25 when they start describing what we know now (and what we don't)!

He Saw Things No One Else Would For Another 50 Years. Who Would Believe Him?

OK, I admit it, I’m a bit like van Leeuwenhoek: While I’msupposed to be writing for Upworthy, I'm searching the Internet for the latest weird news about microbes. The worlds van Leeuwenhoek discovered were really just the tip of an iceberg, a scientific universe that has exploded in the last decade because of new ways of reading genetic information.

Suddenly, ideas about “individual” and “personal choice” shift when you realize that how you feel andthink (even what you want to eat) are tremendously influenced by the microbial fauna living on and in you(and they are probably talking about you constantly). There are about 100 times more microbial genes in our bodies than human genes. So yeah, we're like giant puppet-houses for microbes. So much for free will.


Also, our idea ofevolution as something that happens over generations now has to accommodatethis crazy phenomenon of “horizontal gene exchange,” which is just what it sounds like: single organisms within ageneration simply trading genes. No time-consuming reproduction needed! It’s like they can adapt evolutionarily on thespot to new situations (and of course this is why microbes are pretty good atevolving beyond the ability of our antibiotics to control them). Enough from me. Now maybe you can see why people like van Leeuwenhoek put aside work for a while to wonder about what we can't see.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


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The Delta Baby Cafe in Sunflower County, Mississippi is providing breastfeeding assistance where it's needed most.

Mississippi has the third lowest rate of breastfeeding in America. Only 70% of infants are ever-breastfed in the state, compared to 84% nationally.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life. However, in Mississippi, less than 40% are still breastfeeding at six months.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


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In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

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We've heard from U.S. intelligence officials for at least four years that other countries are engaging in disinformation campaigns designed to destabilize the U.S. and interfere with our elections. According to a recent New York Times article, there is ample evidence of Russia attempting to push American voters away from Joe Biden and toward Donald Trump via the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which has created a network of fake user accounts and a website that billed itself as a "global news organization."

The problem isn't just that such disinformation campaigns exist. It's that they get picked up and shared by real people who don't know they're spreading propaganda from Russian state actors. And it's not just pro-Trump content that comes from these accounts. Some fake accounts push far-left propaganda and disinformation in order to skew perceptions of Biden. Sometimes they even share uplifting content to draw people in, while peppering their feeds with fake news or political propaganda.

Most of us read comments and responses on social media, and many of us engage in discussions as well. But how do we know if what we're reading or who we're engaging with is legitimate? It's become vogue to call people who seem to be pushing a certain agenda a "bot," and sometimes that's accurate. What about the accounts that have a real person behind them—a real person who is being paid to publish and push misinformation, conspiracy theories, or far-left or far-right content?

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