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Education

Forgot how to talk to people? This 1950 short film on having better conversations might help.

It's so cheesy, but also surprisingly helpful.

socializing, conversations, pandemic

Film reel from 1950 contains cheesy but relevant tips for brushing up our pandemic-bruised social skills.

The pandemic hasn't ended, but a combo of a push toward "normalcy" and a window of low case counts has made it so that most of us are venturing out more. Some of us are finding that our social skills have gone a bit wonky. Throughout the pandemic, there have been articles telling us that this was happening, with headlines like "It's not just you. We're all socially awkward now" and "A crash course in polishing your pandemic-damaged social skills." I had a friend the other day mention how he'd met someone new and felt like he'd forgotten how to have a conversation.

In addition to the pandemic, the social and political discourse of the past several years feels like it has become more and more contentious. It's hard to have a discussion in which disagreements don't devolve into ugliness, so we might avoid any conversation that goes beyond the weather altogether.

However, research also shows that people really want to have richer conversations with one another. So we're in this weird spot of wanting to talk to people but feeling a bit lost as to how to do it.


Never fear. The 1950s film reel is here to help us out.

Those of us who grew up in the predigital era remember our teachers trotting out film projectors and showing us crackly films from the '50s with the iconic announcer-y voices and "Aw, gee whiz" teens acting out cheesy scenes. (Some of us hear the clickety-clicking of the projector and immediately want to fall asleep, as our minds revert back to the unbearable boredom—and yet much-needed reprieve from normal class—that such films meant for us.) This film reel will send Gen-X-and-older folks straight back to our childhoods.

But there's actually some good stuff in here. "Ways to Better Conversation" was part of a series of instructional educational videos put out by Coronet in the '40s,' 50s, '60s and '70s. It compares a good conversation to a volleyball game, and examines the roles of courtesy, contributing, following the subject and listening carefully in having a pleasant, productive conversation.

Oddly enough, it's these basics that are often missing from modern conversation, which becomes fairly apparent when we witness the "bad conversation" example in the film. Despite its oh-so-very-1950 vibe, the fundamental lesson really does apply to today.

And if you don't find the tips useful, it's still a delight to see the '50s equivalent of a YouTube how-to video. This is how we used to roll, kids. Watch and learn.

(And yes, the flub with the skipped words at the beginning is actually quite true to the reality of watching these films in class. Something was always breaking with those things. Good times.)

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

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Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash/ @camerconstewart_uk/Instagram

"Sometimes it pays to learn a language!"

It feels safe to assume that if money were no object, people would always choose to travel business class over economy. After all, who doesn’t want a fast check-in, fancy food and drink choices and more of that sweet, spacious legroom?

However, at anywhere between four to ten times the price of a regular economy ticket, this style of traveling remains a fantasy for many who simply can’t afford it.

Luckily, thanks to one man’s clever travel hack, that fantasy might be more achievable than we realize.

Cameron Stewart, a British photojournalist and camera operator, recently shared how he was able to score business class tickets at a fraction of the price, simply by switching the website language from English to Spanish.
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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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