+
upworthy
Science

Convertible sleeping bags turn into insulated tents for people experiencing homelessness

Innovation at its best.

satellite shelter, homelessness, homeless shelter, tech, sleeping bags

A demonstration of the Satellite Shelter.

When blizzards line up to rip through the Northeast, schools close, flights are canceled, and people even board up their houses. Though missions and homeless shelters do what they can to provide safety to those who have no homes to go to, thousands of people still have to weather the cold outside.

At Carnegie Mellon University's 2015 Impact-a-Thon, students were challenged to provide a temporary low-cost shelter for homeless people during the winter.

One team of students came up with the "Satellite Shelter," an insulated sleeping bag that converts into a tented structure. The students used mylar, a reflective material frequently used in greenhouses and space blankets, and wool blankets to ensure the shelter would keep anyone in it safe from the cold.

"We wanted to make sure it was super-portable and durable so that it's easy to carry," said student Linh Thi Do, who worked on the project. "We have wheels on it so it's easy to move from place to place."

Solutions like this one are handy in an emergency. Perhaps, however, other cities should take note of the city of New Orleans' success in providing long-term housing solutions for its homeless veterans. The only perfect solution to homelessness is giving people permanent homes to go to at night.


This article originally appeared on 01.26.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Screenshot WBRZ2|YouTube

Boy mistakes multimillionaire for homeless man forming friendship


Kids can be amazingly empathetic people, many of them doing what they can to help others in need unprompted. Homelessness has been an increasing issue across America and some kids have taken small steps to try to help when they can. Kids are seen doing things like volunteering at a soup kitchen with their family, handing out personal hygiene kits and even making sandwiches in their own kitchen to give out.

One kid has been noticing a growing homeless population and wanting to lend a helping hand, but every time he encountered someone without a home, he had no money. But Kelvin Ellis didn't stop the desire of wanting to help so the next time he came across a man that appeared homeless, he was excited that this time he had a dollar in his pocket.

Kelvin, who is 9-years-old spotted a houseless person standing in the corner of a restaurant and knew it was his chance. The boy approached the man who was standing with his eyes closed and held out the only money he had–a dollar bill. But to Kelvin's surprise, the man refused the kind gesture and instead bought him breakfast because it turned out the man wasn't homeless at all.


Matthew Busbice, the man standing in the corner, was simply doing his morning devotional prayer after having to leave his apartment in a rush when the building's fire alarm went off. The man stepped across the street to the coffee shop after it was confirmed to be a false alarm at his building. That's where Kelvin spotted him and attempted to give charity to Busbice, a multimillionaire.

Busbice launched and owns several brands and outdoor companies with his family. The multimillionaire also starred in two popular reality television shows with his family, Country Bucks on A&E and Wildgame Nation on Outdoor Channel. His money and niche fame didn't stop him from chatting with Kelvin over breakfast while the little boy's dad was at the eye doctor.

"You gave the only money in your pocket to me and thinking I was a homeless man, and that speaks volumes of your character and what this generation that's coming up. If their more like Kelvin and they're going to give, they're going to be filled with joy, they're going to be happy. They're going to change the community then change the parish and change the state, and they can change the world," Busbice tells WBRZ 2.

Kelvin didn't expect to make a friend that day, but he did. You can see how Busbice repaid the little boy's kind gesture below.

Palestinian and Israeli whose family members were killed sit face-to-face to talk peace

One man lost his parents. The other lost his brother. Their dialogue is moving people to tears.

Photos by cottonbro studio/Pexels (left), and by Ahmed Abu Hameeda on Unsplash (right)

Hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians

Conflict between Israel and Palestine has been ongoing for many decades, with scholars around the world spending years analyzing and explaining why and how. But regardless of how we got here, the violence we saw perpetrated on Israelis on October 7th and the violence we've seen perpetrated on Palestinians in the months since has been a drastic escalation with unspeakably tragic results.

People of goodwill everywhere search for hope in times such as these, for evidence that humanity hasn't been completely destroyed by vengeance and violence, that real peace is in fact possible. And there is no better pair to offer glimmers of such hope than Palestinian peacemaker Aziz Abu Sarah and Israeli peacemaker Maoz Inon, who sat down face-to-face on a TED stage in April of 2024 to share their personal stories and talk about what peace requires.

Unlike those of us watching war unfold from half a world away through the lens of media spin and social media algorithms, these men have lived this conflict up close. Sarah's brother was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces when he was just 19 years old. Inon's parents were killed by Hamas on the October 7th, 2023 attack. They both have every reason to be angry—and they are—but the way they purposefully process their anger into peacebuilding is an example to us all.


Inon begins their conversation by sharing how his parents and childhood friends were killed on October 7th, then shares how grateful he was that Sarah was one of the first people to reach out to him even though they'd only met once before. Sarah shares how his brother was killed by the IDF and how all of his friends have lost family members to Israel's bombardment of Gaza, yet praises how he Inon has processed his loss.

"When I sent you that message to offer my condolences after your parents were killed, I was surprised by your answer," Sarah told Inon. "Not just to me, but your public answer. Because you said you're not only crying for your parents, you're also crying for the people in Gaza who are losing their lives, and that you do not want what happened to you to be justifying anyone taking revenge. You do not want to justify war."

"And it's so hard to do that," he added. "So much easier to want revenge, to be angry. But you are a brave man."

Sarah said it took him "much more time" to reach such a place after his brother was killed. "I was angry, I was bitter, and I wanted vengeance. I was 10 years old and I thought there is no other choice. And only eight years later, when I went to study Hebrew with Jewish immigrants to Israel, that's only when I realized that we can be allies."

Both men have been peace activists for years. What's particularly beautiful about their conversation is that they are talking directly to each other, not to the audience, offering an example of what sitting down with the "other side" can look like when you share the goal of peace. They tell their personal stories and explain what has driven them to seek reconciliation over revenge. They listen to and learn from one another. They acknowledge the difficulty but are unwavering in their dedication to build peace.

The division stemming from the historical reality and current politics of Israel and Palestine may feel intractable, but if these men who have lost so much can find common ground and a shared vision, then hope remains. Their dialogue is moving people to tears and is well worth a watch:

Steve Martin's 2000 novella, "Shopgirl."

Over the past few years, book bans have been happening in public libraries and schools across America. In the 2022-2023 school year alone, over 3,300 books were banned in 182 school districts in 37 states.

Most books that have been banned deal with LGBTQ and racial themes. According to a report from PEN America, Florida has been the most aggressive state regarding book bans, accounting for about 40% of those taken off the shelves.

On November 5, Collier County, Florida, announced that it was banning 300 books from its school libraries out of an effort to comply with state law HB 1069, which says books that depict or describe “sexual content” can be challenged for removal.


Among the books banned by the school district was “Shopgirl,” a novella by author Steve Martin published in 2000. Martin is also the star of the hit Hulu show, “Only Murders in the Building,” featuring Martin Short and Selena Gomez.

Upon hearing about his book being banned, Martin responded with his iconic wit on Instagram, saying, “So proud to have my book Shopgirl banned in Collier County, Florida! Now, people who want to read it will have to buy a copy!"

“Shopgirl” is a story about a young woman who works in a luxury department store and has an affair with a wealthy older man. It was made into a movie in 2005 starring Claire Danes and Martin. It’s believed the book was banned for its mild sexual content. On Amazon, the book is recommended for readers ages 13 and up.


This article originally appeared on 11.11.23

Steve Burns tells the story of his date with a model.

When Steve Burns hosted “Blue’s Clues,” where he solved household mysteries with an animated puppy on Nick Jr. from 1996 to 2002, he was one of the world's most recognizable faces on children’s TV. That level of notoriety comes with some perks and in 2000, a Playboy model sent him a glossy photo with a note asking him to invite her to dinner.

After some prodding from the animation staff, Burns took the model up on the offer. The date would become an experience he would never forget. It was filled with an incredible amount of awkwardness, crazy twists and balloon animals.

Burns shared the story in September 2010 at New York’s Players Club as part of a monologue titled “Fameishness” as part of “The Moth” storytelling forum.


The date started on the wrong foot when the model demanded to be picked up by a limo and Burns said he’d stop by her house in his Volkswagon. Things went downhill from there. Her first words to Burms were: "I thought you'd be taller."

Then, Burns saw a kid’s “Blues Clues” themed birthday party on their way to dinner and things really took a twist.

The Moth Presents Steve Burns: Fameishness

Since leaving "Blue’s Clues" in 2002, Burns has worked as a musician, writing and performing the theme song for "Young Sheldon." He has also done extensive voice work for big brands, including Snickers, Snapple, Lowes and McDonald's. Recently, he returned to the Blue’s Clues team, directing several episodes of “Blue's Clues & You!” and starring in the film “Blue's Big City Adventure.”

Representative photos by Katya Wolf and Liam Moore via Canva

Women petition Google to change results for 'womanly' synonyms

Many times biases are an unconscious thing which can be partially formed due to media and algorithm exposure. Since people are the ones in charge of creating media and algorithm codes, their own biases creep in unintentionally. Carmen Mejia recently posted a video exposing a pretty blatant bias on Google.

The content creator shared a skit to Instagram where she switches between playing the role of the mom, son and daughter. In the beginning of the skit, the boy goes to his mom and asks what it means to be "manly." Mejia asks Google and is immediately met with an encouraging list of synonyms to describe what it means to be manly.

Words like brave, strong, and adventurous came up right away, but the same wasn't true when she asked Google to describe "womanly." This time the search engine returned a list of words that described physical attributes like, curvaceous, voluptuous, busty and thick. It was painfully obvious that gender based bias had made its way into the search engine's algorithm and women in the comments were having none of that.


People began leaving comments on Mejia's video revealing that after her video they went to Google to report the list. When reporting content to the search engine, they give you an option to include a feedback note, which is where the frustrated women vented their concerns.

"I reported the words and sent a comment, i know it's not much but if we all do this, maybe it'll change," one person writes.

"I just googled it. There is not one physical characteristic described under the 'manly' synonyms, while there is not one NON-physical characteristic under the 'womanly' synonyms. This is really sad," another wrote.

Mejia tells Upworthy how the idea came about, "I actually saw a screenshot of the two lists floating around the internet and figured more people need to see it. I created this video to spread awareness around the topic and to hopefully inspire change. As well as build a sense of community amongst women who face the same challenges everyday, it’s not a favorable situation…but it’s always nice to know that you’re not alone."

Inspiring change is not only what it did, the video actually created change thanks to all the reporting women did. It was something that was completely unexpected by Mejia.

In the comments of her post, Mejia updated her followers just days later revealing that Google took it all down. According to another commenters, the synonyms for manly still shows up but the ones for womanly are completely gone. This change is only effective on Google, Oxford and other thesaurus cites probably have a much longer process to review and remove problematic content. No worries though, the ladies in the comments are still tagging and writing the dictionary and thesaurus powers that be to get an updated list not focused on women's bodies.

Meijia explains, "Although my intention was to inspire change, i did not expect it to receive the amount of petitioning it did. So many women were tagging Google and Oxford and mentioning how they left feedback straight away.It was such a powerful thing to see."