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Heard of the Greater Internet $^@%#!* Theory? Here's a perfect example.

Not many people will admit to being racist ... if their name is attached to it.

Heard of the Greater Internet $^@%#!* Theory? Here's a perfect example.

How would you feel if you read "Bash that bitch's head in," and knew that the head they were talking about bashing was yours? Melissa Melendez says it was "disheartening." That's an understatement.

In meatspace, aka IRL, aka the physical world, it's pretty uncommon for people to just stand up and publicly state, "I want to bash that bitch's head in." You walk around in life, feeling like you don't really know that many blatantly racist people ... but in an anonymous forum, you might see something like:



There's a name for this. Sociologists call it the Online Disinhibition Effect. Penny Arcade more colorfully (and accurately) coined the phrase "The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory." It's an observable phenomenon.

Basic principle: When we know no one can see us, our worst selves come out.

The whole story is ... I mean, you've got to hear it to believe it. But here's the gist:

Melissa Melendez went to Colgate on scholarship. She'd never been in such a homogeneous place before. She grew up in the Bronx, where she hung out with Dominicans, Puerto Ricans (like her family), West Indians, all kinds of people. She was a bit of a novelty to her classmates, too.

They asked her all kinds of questions:

"Do you know JLo?" "How many baby daddies does your mom have?" And my favorite:

She wasn't the only one.

Other minority students experienced constant reminders that they didn't belong. They staged a sit-in to draw attention to the racism on their campus. They spent a whole day telling their personal stories.

And at first, they thought they'd won.

The administration agreed to make some changes, including a focus on diversity in hiring and recruitment.

Online, though, things looked different.

Students at Colgate, as at many colleges, use Yik Yak to post anonymously about what's going on. They started posting a response to the protest that was, well, crazy.

They had no idea who posted the hateful comments and threats.

The students who organized the sit-in started going places only in groups because they were concerned for their safety.

Melissa's friend Charity, who was also involved with the sit-in, said that she wondered all day long about every person she met. "I think, 'Who posted that terrible thing on Yik Yak? Are they in my classes? Are they my friends? Do I hang out with them at parties? Is that the person who said, “Black girls are hot, just not at Colgate"?'"

Imagine how that would affect your everyday interactions.

What if you thought maybe your lab partner was the person who responded to the sit-in by posting:

Geoff Holm, a biology professor, asked the faculty to join him in a “Yik Yak Take Back."

He asked them to post whatever they felt like on the site — congratulations for a student who got into a great med school, taunting about upcoming tough exams, dad jokes. The one rule: They had to sign their names.

In the words of "Reply All" host Alex Goldman:

The crazy thing is, it kind of worked.

It disrupted this pile of negativity. It made the student protesters feel safer and less alone. Just having someone speak up made a huge difference.

Check out the full episode here:


Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Woman screams at a TikTokker she accused of stealing a car.

Guilherme Peruca turned on his camera's phone and started recording after an elderly woman began screaming at him through his passenger side window in a Lowe's parking lot. The woman was accusing him of stealing her friend's car, but she was mistaken.

"I need help!" the woman yells outside of his passenger side window. "Someone's trying to steal my best friend's car."

When Peruca told the woman the car was his she yelled back, "Get outta here" as she tried to pry open the door.

"He's stealing this car, it's not his!" the woman continued. "I don't care what he says!"

Eventually, a Lowe's employee intervened to sort out the situation. Peruca showed her his driver's license and car registration to prove the vehicle was his and then the employee calmly guided the woman away.

Peruca didn't need to show her his paperwork but he did so anyway just to deescalate the situation.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."