His Death Wasn't Just A Tragedy, It Was A Product Of A Criminal Justice System
The chances are you never met Aaron Swartz, the man/social justice fighter/Internet genius, but he fought for you — yes, you, sitting there in front of your computer screen or phone — for a free and open Internet. Aaron fought tirelessly against dangerous Internet bills (including SOPA) that would have led to bigger threats, and he galvanized people power to make the our voices heard.You know how there are some people who want to change the world and those who actually do? Well, Aaron was someone who fell in the latter category, and one year ago, he sadly took his life. Today his fight is more important than ever, so listen to these smart people in the video explain how we need to keep moving forward with his work.
A local reporter at Hometown Life shared a unique and heartfelt story on March 16 about a mother struggling to find shoes that fit her 14-year-old son. The story resonated with parents everywhere; now, her son is getting the help he desperately needs. It's a wonderful example of people helping a family that thought they had nowhere to turn.
When Eric Kilburn Jr. was born, his mother, Rebecca’s OBGYN, told her that he had the “biggest feet I’ve ever seen in my life. Do not go out and buy baby shoes because they’re not gonna fit,’” Rebecca told Today.com. Fourteen years later, it’s almost impossible to find shoes that fit the 6’10” freshman—he needs a size 23.
The teen's height doesn't stem from a gland issue; he comes from a family of tall people. Both his parents are over 6 feet tall.
Eric plays football for Goodrich High School in Goodrich, Michigan, but doesn’t wear cleats, which led to a sprained ankle. He also suffers from ingrown toenails that are so severe he’s had two nails on his biggest toes permanently removed.
Last year, the family was lucky enough to stumble upon five pairs of size 21 shoes at a Nike outlet store. It was discovered they were made especially for Tacko Fall, the NBA player with some of the most enormous feet in the game. To put things in perspective, Shaquille O’Neal wears a size 22.
However, Eric soon grew out of those as well. The family was left with one more option: have orthopedic shoes made for Eric at the cost of $1,500 with no guarantee he won’t quickly grow out of those as well.
After his mother’s heartfelt plea to Hometown Life, the family got much-needed help from multiple companies, including Under Armour and PUMA, who are sending representatives to Michigan to measure his feet for custom shoes.
CAT has reached out to make him a custom pair of boots. Eric hasn't had any boots to wear for the past five Michigan winters.
Kara Pattison started a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the family to help them purchase custom shoes for “the rest of the time Eric has these feet.” It has raised nearly $20,000 for the family in just over a week.
“The success of this fundraiser is well beyond what was ever expected,” Pattison wrote on the site on March 18. “The Kilburns plan to open a bank account dedicated to Eric's future footwear and some specialized sports equipment. He can use this to get a helmet that fits for football along with pads. They will also look into a football and track jersey for him.”
The sense of relief felt by Rebecca, Eric and the rest of the Kilburn family must be incredible. It has to be frustrating to be unable to provide your child with something as basic as footwear.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Rebecca told Hometown Life. “I have been this puddle of emotions, all of them good…It’s the coolest thing to be able to say we did it! He has shoes! I am not usually a crier, but I have been in a constant state of happy tears…We are so grateful.”
"What Do You Know About The Female Body?" from Jimmy Kimmel
When Jimmy Kimmel takes to the street, you know you’re in for a good laugh at just how little we actually know about, well, seemingly anything. That goes for anatomy too. In this case, female anatomy.
In a segment called “What Do You Know About The Female Body?” men try—and hilariously fail—to answer even the most basic questions, like “does a female have one uterus, or two?” much to the amazement of some of their female partners.
Here are some of the very best bits of nonwisdom:
Woman have LOTS of fallopian tubes and ovaries, apparently.
When asked, “how many fallopian tubes does the average lady have?” one man prefaced with “I know I’m gonna be way off,” before answering “four.”
He was right about being way off, indeed. Women usually have one fallopian tube on either side of the uterus, making that two fallopian tubes.
Another guy guessed that a woman has not one, not two, but six ovaries. Which, in case you didn’t know, is three times more than the correct answer (two ovaries, one on either side of the uterus). Where would a woman keep four extra ovaries? Her purse?
A mammogram examines the stomach.
The interviewer also asked: “What part of the body does the mammogram examine?"
"The lower half…" replied one man. Yikes.
And when asked to demonstrate where exactly the “lower half” is, he gestured toward the uppermost part of his belly, seemingly avoiding the actual area a mammogram covers entirely.
PMS is all in the mind, but only annually.
The next question up was “What does PMS stand for?"
And it definitely happens more than “once a year.”
An IUD is a “mammogram device.”
Oh, and a NuvaRing is a “pap schmear,” and a speculum is the actual “IUD.” Holy moly, if you thought IUDs were uncomfortable before…
Things really took a turn once the graphics came out.
And men were asked to point to where the cervix is. Plenty of things were pointed at—like the uterus. But sadly, no cervix findings.
Changing gears, the interview instructed the men to “point at something you know.”
To which one man replied (inaccurately) “uh…that’s a baby?”
Unless the woman is giving birth to a colon, that was incorrect.
Later in the video, a man is asked “where does the baby go?”
“In there,” the man answers after pointing to the ovaries. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t go there. A fetus grows in the uterus, which this man thought was the cervix.)
His wife, a gynecologist no less, chuckled “I’m mortified…I’m apparently not a very good educator at home for my husband.”
Though this is just for pure fun, it is food for thought.
A woman’s autonomy over her own body has been the subject of much controversial discussion lately. And I can’t help but wonder how certain politicians/leaders would fare if given the same questions. Perhaps it is unwise to try to govern that which is not fully understood, just saying.
Miss Smith shares the "secret code" teachers use in emails to parents.
There are many things that teachers think but cannot say aloud. Teachers have to have a certain sense of decorum and often have strict rules about the things they can or can’t say about children, especially to their parents.
Plus, it’s a teacher’s job to educate, not judge. So, they find ways to kindly say what’s on their minds without having to resort to name-calling or talking disparagingly of a student.
Jess Smith, 33, is a former teacher who goes by the moniker Miss Smith as a stand-up comedian and on her podcast, Hot Mess Teacher Express. She decided to have a little fun with euphemisms, or the “secret code” she had to use when speaking to parents about their children.
The video has gone viral on TikTok, receiving over 70,000 views, after being shared by the Bored Teachers page.
Have you used our secret Teacher Code when talking with parents?? 🤫 #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife #secret #teacher #parents
"We have a code when we email parents," Smith said in her video. "When we use phrases like, ‘Your child is very social,’ that means they won’t stop talking," she explained. “'Their excitement in the classroom is contagious,' translates to 'They will not calm down,'" Smith said, adding that a "natural born leader" is a polite way of saying "super bossy."
The post struck a chord with parents and teachers who shared secret codes they’ve heard or used.
“My son’s pre-k teacher told me he was the most scientific kid she’s ever had, she prob meant he asks a million questions allll day long," Tina Marie wrote. “In kindergarten, I got ‘is overly helpful’ when my parents asked the teacher said I was finishing my test and giving answers out so we could play,” Tallulah the great added.
“When I first started teaching, I was told to tell parents their child is ‘spirited’ if they never stop talking and can’t sit still," Allie commented.
“‘Your son is going to make a great lawyer,’ which is code for: your kid won’t stop arguing with me," C added.
However, the post wasn’t a hit with everyone. Some believe teachers should speak to parents in a straightforward manner and avoid using euphemisms.
“As a parent. I would rather a teacher just tell me, instead of using codes. We know our kids. We live with them and you have them for 8 hours," happily_married wrote in the comments.
“It’s time to start saying it like it is. Why are we so afraid of laying the truth on the line?" QYMSC added.
In an interview with the "Today" show, Smith assured everyone that when she was a teacher, she had no problem being straightforward when necessary. “If a serious conversation needed to happen, I didn’t sugarcoat it,” Smith said. But the code was a way for her to share difficult information politely, in a non-confrontational way.
“Connecting with the parents was always important to me, and I never wanted them to feel like, ’This is your problem to take care of.’ No, this is something we can work on together. I’m here to help your kid,” Smith said. “I found that parents just responded better to the code.”
The world would be a much better place if humans weren’t so … human. We all fall short of perfection. Common sense is, sadly, not too common. And there’s one guy out there who always manages to screw things up when things start getting good.
Call it Murphy’s law. Call it the great “reason we can’t have nice things.” Call it entropy. It feels like a whole lot of pain could be avoided if we all had just a little bit more sense.
But what if there was one rule that we all agreed to follow to make everyone’s life better? What would this magical rule be?
A Reddit user who goes by the name P4insplatter came to this realization and asked the AskReddit subforum, “What simple rule would fix the world if everyone actually followed it?” They received dozens of simple rules that if everyone got behind would make the world drastically better.
It’s no shock that most of them felt like a variation of the Golden Rule. It’s funny that a lot of folks believe the world would seriously improve if we could just abide by a simple saying that we all learned in kindergarten.
Also known as the “ethics of reciprocity,” the Golden Rule is so innate to humans that versions of it have been found in religions and cultures throughout the world.
Here are 17 of the best responses to P4insplatter’s simple, but world-altering question.
1. Let go
“Let go or be dragged” an old zen proverb I heard at a meditation class. Really changed the way I let myself worry about things." — civagigi
2. Simple, but true
"Don't be a dick." — WuTangLAN93
3. The Golden Rule
"Treat others how you want to be treated." — AlbanyGuy1973
4. It starts with you
"I read somewhere that if you want to change the world, you have to change the community, to change the community change your relationships, and to change your relationships change yourself." — cagibaxii
5. Simple Earth math
"Don't use more resources than what the Earth is capable of renewing." — DaethSpiral321
6. Bill and Ted's rule
"Be excellent to each other." — pnotar
7. The law of Lebowski
“Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling." — Bonhomme7h
"Use your turn signal(s) properly." — futilelord
9. The principle of non-agression
"Simple, the non-aggression principle. You don't do, initiate or threat any harm unto others, unless acting in true self defense." — ufrag
10. It works for everything
"Leave it better than you found it." — Narcoid
11. Generosity and humility
"Be generous and humble. Being generous and kind encourages us to perceive others in a more positive light and fosters a sense of community. Humility teaches you to improve and make a positive impact on the world." — SuvenPan
"If you are not educated on the subject, sit down and stfu. Let the experts with years of education and experience talk." — Ch3m1cal420
13. Fairness first
"Everyone gets a chance at one [thing] before anyone gets seconds." — ehsteve23
14. Permanent daylight
"Obviously making daylight savings permanent." — ObviousINstruction18
15. Two ears, one mouth
"Listen more, talk less." — TryToHelpPeople
16. Turn off the lights
"All empty buildings should not have any lights/ac/heating on at night or after business hours depending on the nature of the work. their ac/heating and lights if necessary should only be turned on before the start of the day. This will not only help with energy costs but also with light pollution." — hadrainsgate
17. Don't tread on anyone
"You cannot do ANYTHING without consent." — DeepCompote
Dad on TikTok shared how he addressed his son's bullying.
What do you do when you find out your kid bullied someone? For many parents, the first step is forcing an apology. While this response is of course warranted, is it really effective? Some might argue that there are more constructive ways of handling the situation that teach a kid not only what they did wrong, but how to make things right again.
Single dadPatrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.
The thought process behind his decision, which he explained in a now-viral TikTok video, is both simple and somewhat racial compared to how many parents have been encouraged to handle similar situations.
“I got an email a few days ago from my 9-year-old son's teacher that he had done a ‘prank’ to a fellow classmate and it ended up embarrassing the classmate and hurt his feelings,” the video begins.
At this point, Forseth doesn’t split hairs. “I don't care who you are, that's bullying,” he said. “If you do something to somebody that you know has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt—you’re bullying.”
So, Forseth and Lincoln sat down for a long talk (a talk, not a lecture) about appropriate punishment and how it would have felt to be on the receiving end of such a prank.
From there, Forseth told his son that he would decide how to make things right, making it a masterclass in taking true accountability.
“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher,” he continued, adding, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can't take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”
So what did Lincoln do? He went back to his school and actually talked to the other boy he pranked. After learning that they shared a love of Pokémon, he then went home to retrieve two of his favorite Pokémon cards as a peace offering, complete with a freshly cleaned case.
Lincoln would end up sharing with his dad that the other boy was so moved by the gesture that he would end up hugging him.
“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let's try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn't teach them anything.”
In Forseth’s opinion, kids get far more insight by figuring out how to resolve a problem themselves. “That's what they're actually going to face in the real world once they move out of our nests.”
He certainly has a point. A slap on the wrist followed by being marched down somewhere to say, “I’m sorry,” only further humiliates kids most of the time. With this gentler approach, kids are taught the intrinsic value of making amends after wrongdoing, not to mention the power of their own autonomy. Imagine that—blips in judgment can end up being major character-building moments.
Kudos to this dad and his very smart parenting strategy.
Florida principal fired after showing statue of "David."
If you ask most teachers why they went into education, they'll share that it had nothing to do with the money and everything to do with their passion for teaching. Even with rapid changes in curriculum and policies, teachers who remain in the classroom are lovers of education and are doing their best to help kids learn.
Hope Carrasquilla, the former principal of Florida's Tallahassee Classical School, was one of those teachers who simply enjoyed teaching. As the principal, Carrasquilla was required to teach two classes. During her sixth grade lesson about Renaissance art, which is also a requirement of the school, Carrasquilla showed a picture of Michelangelo's "David" statue.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, three parents complained about their children being shown the picture. Two of those parents were mostly upset that there wasn't sufficient notice given before the photo of the sculpture was shown. The third parent reportedly complained that the statue of the Biblical figure was pornographic.
Michelangelo's sculpture wasn't the only source of the complaint. It was essentially the entire lesson, which also included "The Creation of Adam," another Michelangelo piece, and Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." These are classic works of art that are easily recognizable by just about any layman, even if they can't name the artist.
Carrasquilla admitted that there was a bit of a kerfuffle with notifying parents of the lesson, which is a new policy implemented just two months ago. The policy requires that parents receive written notification two weeks prior to teaching potentially controversial content, according to The Independent.
Shortly after her lesson, Carrasquilla was called into an emergency school board meeting where she was forced to choose between resignation or being fired. She chose to resign, leaving the school less than a year after starting her tenure there.
While three parents were upset over the lesson, others were blindsided by the termination of the school principal. Carrie Boyd, who has a third and a seventh-grader at the school, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the principal's abrupt resignation was shocking to her and other parents. Boyd also voiced concerns over the "non-secular" direction the school appeared to be taking.
Tallahassee Classical School is a private charter school that has only been open for three years and is affiliated with Hillsdale College, a private conservative college located in Michigan, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Barney Bishop, the school board chair, told HuffPost, "Parental rights trump everything else."
But it seems Carrasquilla is gaining support across the internet. Comments range from frustration to people comparing it to a "Simpson's" episode about censorship that remarkably also depicted the statue of "David."
"Heavens to Betsy, a body part depicted in one of the most famous pieces of art in all of history! What next?!?," David Weiss wrote.
The greatest confusion seemed to stem from classical artwork being considered controversial enough to require parental notification when the school markets itself as a "classical school" and Renaissance art is a requirement. Renaissance art isn't exactly known for its elaborate depiction of clothing; it's quite the opposite.
Surely, the ousted principal will find other employment, but for now, she and the rest of the internet are left feeling a bit flabbergasted by the seemingly drastic response to classical works of art.