Science

# Scientists find that coin tosses aren't 50/50. Here's how you can get an advantage

### The age-old method isn't as fair and practical as we originally thought.

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Coin tosses aren't 50/50 like we've been led to believe

Settling things by coin toss has been around for centuries. The ancient Romans called it “‘Heads or Ships.” Britains of the Middle Ages knew it as “Cross or Pile.” Throughout history, this game of chance was believed to be a fair, unbiased way to settle a dispute, choose which team goes first in a sports game and make decisions.

And the thought behind this makes sense. After all, there are only two sides to a coin, making the odds for each outcome an even 50/50. It doesn’t get more even than that.

However, a team of scientists, led by former magician and American mathematician Persi Diaconis, have discovered that this age-old method isn’t as evenly split as we believed. And there's even a way to slightly cheat the odds to your advantage.

Diaconis made a name for himself by studying (and debunking) randomness, one of his more famous feats being determining how many times a deck of cards must be shuffled in order to truly mix up the deck. Even as a teenager, he exposed how casino scammers would shave their dice to improve their chances against customers.

When it comes to coin games, Diaconis has long argued that while it’s “pretty close to fair,” it’s definitely not 50/50. Especially when a little wobble is introduced into the toss, which increases the chance that the coin will land on the same side it started.

A group of scientists set out to test Diaconis' findings and their study, currently in preprint, revealed that coins did indeed land on the same side they were tossed from around 51 percent of the time.

“According to the [Diaconis] model, precession causes the coin to spend more time in the air with the initial side facing up,” they wrote. “Consequently, the coin has a higher chance of landing on the same side as it started (i.e., ‘same-side bias’).”

The study recorded 350,757 coin flips, carried out by 48 people using 46 different currencies. In the end, there turned out to be a 50.8 percent chance of the coin showing up the same side it was tossed from.

They also found that some tossers showed a strong same-side bias while others had none at all, indicating that coin tosses may come down to the tosser, ever so slightly.

While this might not seem like a huge margin, the advantage becomes clear when you put into a betting scenario. "If you bet a dollar on the outcome of a coin toss (i.e., paying 1 dollar to enter, and winning either 0 or 2 dollars depending on the outcome) and repeat the bet 1,000 times, knowing the starting position of the coin toss would earn you 19 dollars on average,” the team explained.

"This is more than the casino advantage for 6 deck blackjack against an optimal-strategy player, where the casino would make 5 dollars on a comparable bet, but less than the casino advantage for single-zero roulette, where the casino would make 27 dollars on average."

via GIPHY

You could also use physics to your advantage, not just probability. Diaconis also proved that the head side of a coin is a tiny bit heavier than its tails counterpart, causing it to land on tails more often. Especially when it comes to Lincoln Memorial pennies.

So next time you are fighting with a loved one over whose turn it is to do the dishes, you can still settle it with a coin toss. Just conceal the starting position first. Or take a peak a use this hard earned knowledge. No judgement.

popular

## 10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

### Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

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The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

Not quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

## Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

### 273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

## Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

### 345 calories | 20 minutes

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

Plant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

## Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

### 568 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

Sometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

## Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

### 513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

## Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

### 509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

These mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

## Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

### 187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

Move over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

## English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

### 327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

This pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

## Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

### 313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

Did we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

## Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

### 283 calories | 10 minutes

2 slices prosciutto

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

Vegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

## Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

### 444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

Health

## After she asked for a mental health day, a screenshot of her boss' response went viral

### This is what leadership should look like. 💯

Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

## Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.

Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

## She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

## Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

## Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

## Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

## Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."

Family

## Alabama woman who married her stepbrother and has 2 kids shares their crazy love story

### “It happens more than people would think! Glad I’m not alone!”

Lindsay and Caleb have an interesting history together.

In a story that would make a fantastic, albeit long, country song, Lindsay Brown and her husband Cade of Alabama have found love even though they are stepsiblings who were once banned from seeing each other by their parents.

Lindsay shared the dramatic saga on TikTok, where she has nearly 3,000 followers.

It all began in 2007 when Linday was 14 and Cade was 16, and the couple would secretly meet at her house. However, on the fourth night they were together, Lindsay’s mother walked in on them and Cade had to run out of the house in his birthday suit.

"He grabbed his keys, his phone, he did not grab his clothes,” Lindsay said in a TikTok post. “He ran through the yard, up the street to his truck naked. Then he drove home and snuck in his house naked and his parents never knew any of that happened."

After the incident, Lindsay’s mom reached out to Cade’s parents, who agreed the two shouldn’t see each other. The teens didn’t have a big problem with the ban, mainly because Cade had a girlfriend at the time.

@girl_meets_bro

Timing is everything! #lovestory #foryoupage #marriage #hubby #real #truestory

Six years later, Lindsay was driving to a baseball game in Atlanta with her boyfriend and received a direct message on Facebook from Cade. The two began talking, and a week or two later, she went to see him and left her boyfriend.

This development didn’t go over well with Lindsay’s mom because Cade had a “troubled” life after high school, and she didn’t want her involved in the chaos. But that didn’t stop the two from spending time together. Eventually, Lindsay’s mom drove up to Cade’s father’s house, where the two stayed, to talk some sense into her.

The mother and Cade’s dad, Rusty, were both single and began talking “for a long time.”

Soon enough, Cade got into trouble and was incarcerated for a year. Wanting to start a new life, Lindsay joined the Air Force in Texas, but that didn't keep them apart for long. Lindsay began visiting Cade in prison and the two rekindled their love. At the same time, their parents started dating, and things were getting “hot and heavy” between them.

@girl_meets_bro

Replying to @toddbrayfield415 #marriage #trending #viral #foryoupage #momsoftiktok #couplegoals #girlsbelike

When Cade got out in 2014, the couple moved in together, and after a few weeks, they "went up the road to the courthouse" and got married. Cade says it was out of "boredom." A little more than a year later, their parents also married, making Cade and Linday stepsiblings.

For the most part, things have gone well for the couple and their parents. "Our family has just blended real well, we're all happy,” Lindsay said. “They never would have got married if it wasn't for us."

After sharing their story, Lindsay learned that this type of family arrangement is more common than most people think. “It happened to my brother and his wife! They got married, and then our dad married her mom like 5 years later. best sister in law/step sister ever,” Spirit Hager wrote. “I know someone who married a guy she was with for years then years later his dad and her mom married, so same situation,” Skiddermama_748h added.

@girl_meets_bro

Grand Finale! #momsoftiktok #couplegoals #storytime

Education

## Kids in 1966 shared their predictions for the year 2000 and it's fascinating to see now

### In many ways, the future turned out much brighter than these youngsters expected it to.

Thankfully, this girl's prediction was way off.

The idea of predicting the future has been the subject of countless books, movies and televisions shows (and is basically the basis of all gambling). Outside of a few uncanny instances, no one can tell exactly what the future holds, especially for the world at large. But people sure love to predict it anyway.

The BBC shared a video compilation of kids in 1966 sharing what they imagine the year 2000 would be like, and their predictions are fascinating. After five or six kids share, it becomes clear what some of the most pressing concerns of the 1960s were. Some kids thought we'd have bombed ourselves into oblivion. Others believed we'd be so overpopulated we would be packed like sardines and wouldn't be able to build houses anymore.

Not all of the predictions were so dark. Some kids had some hilarious predictions about cabbage pills and robots. Others thought we'd have better cures for diseases and less segregation among the races, which we have.

Watch what these young folks envisioned nearly 40 years into their future—now more than 20 years into our past:

Thankfully, the year 2000 wasn't as dire as many of these kids imagined it would be. In fact, hearing these predictions might even make us feel pretty good about how humanity has fared in the past 60 years.

How about the kid predicting the future of automation? Or the kid who said people would be regarded more as statistics than people? Or the one who predicted animals being kept in buildings instead of grazing so they could produce more?

And hey, props to the kids who didn't predict an overpopulated nuclear hellscape. It can be hard to see negative news and not think the world is on a downward spiral. But if nothing else, seeing that these kids' doom and gloom predictions didn't come true is pretty heartening and a good sign that our own future may not be as dark as it sometimes appears.

Pop Culture

## Traffic reporter has epic response to body shamer—all on live TV

### “We’re not supposed to respond to trolls — so I had no plans to address it, but then the words just came out of my mouth."

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New Anchor Leslie Horton was told she looked pregnant by a regular viewer.

Canadian news anchor Leslie Horton, 59, was moments away from doing her routine traffic report when she got an unnecessary, unsavory email from a viewer.

In true online troll fashion, the male viewer wrote, “Congratulations on your pregnancy. If you’re going to wear old bus driver pants, you can expect emails like this.”

Horton could have kept quiet, but instead she used her live segment to make a pretty epic response that went viral online.

After reciting the email to viewers, Horton said, “thanks for that. Um, no, I’m not pregnant. I actually lost my uterus to cancer last year. And this is what women of my age look like."

"So if it is offensive to you, that is unfortunate," she concluded. "Think about the emails you send."

Watch the clip below:

Horton revealed to TODAY.com that this wasn’t the first time the man had reached out simply to “humiliate and hurt” her. It was also “very likely” that, as a regular viewer, he was aware that she had endometrial cancer, as Horton has previously disclosed the diagnosis to her audience.

“Maybe I was responding to the pregnancy, no uterus, cancer thing,” Horton shared. “Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m tired female broadcasters — and women in general — are being treated this way. And I would say it hit a nerve because I’ve received thousands of messages from people — men and women — saying, ‘Good for you. This is not right and it needs to stop.’”

Either way—this time, Horton couldn’t help but react.

“We’re not supposed to respond to trolls — so I had no plans to address it, but then the words just came out of my mouth. I had this visceral reaction,” she told TODAY.com.

It was probably for the best that Horton chose to honor her instincts, because it incited a wave of support she might have missed out on had she just bottled it up inside.

"Bravo. You handled this perfectly," one person wrote on X.

Another added "Thank you for your classy response. I am sorry you had to respond to the silly individual. My support and respect.”

Ultimately, Horton hopes that her viral moment sends a message of empowerment to others. As she told Good Morning America, “you don't need to accept people lashing out and saying mean things on purpose, to bring you down, because no one has the power to bring you down, except yourself."

Great points. Meanness might seem inescapable at times (especially online), but there is always power in standing up for ourselves.

Joy

## The beautiful thing that happens in Amsterdam if you die and have no one to attend your funeral

### The Lonely Funeral project was started by poet Frank Starik, who wrote, "Everyone—and this is the point—every person deserves respect."

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Every life deserves to at least be acknowledged.

Funerals can be many things—a sombre mourning, a celebration of life, a time for family to honor a loved one—but one thing they should never be is unattended.

But the reality is that some people simply don’t have people. Maybe they’re estranged from their family and have outlived all their friends. Maybe they fell into a life of drug addiction and lost all of their close connections. Maybe no next of kin can be found or they just happen to die in a life stage when they have no one around to attend their funeral. Whatever the reason, some people's send-offs from earthly existence are purely legal affairs with no personal touches whatsoever.

Two decades ago, some poets in the Netherlands decided that was an unacceptable ending for a human life. In 2001, a poet named Bart Droog began attending the funerals of people who had no one to attend them and honoring the dead with a poem based on whatever was known about their life. A year later, Dutch poet and artist Frank Starik took the idea even further, launching The Lonely Funeral project to ensure that someone who cares consciously acknowledges the life of a person who has died.

The idea was to create a network of poets who would find out whatever they could about the person, write a custom poem about their life and read it at their funeral. As of 2018, over 300 "lonely funerals" had been attended by poets in Amsterdam and Antwerp (where Flemish poet Maarten Inghels launched a Lonely Funeral project seven years after Starik's).

The Lonely Funeral project has continued to expand to other countries as well. Scottish poet Andy Jackson has begun writing poems for "lonely funerals" and attending them in his hometown of Dundee and he hopes to expand the project to the rest of Scotland.

"I feel everybody deserves something humane at the end of life" he told the BBC. "Nobody should be completely unmourned. If we want to live in humane country these are little things we can do for people. It becomes the job of the community."

A natural question is how the poets know what to write if the person was all alone.

"They would have a passport, some details from the police or from social services, a photograph or some information about their life maybe," Jackson explained to the BBC. "Something that would give away something of who they were that a poet then could use to form the basis of a piece of work that would actually celebrate the real person—not somebody you couldn't identify."

Starik and Inghels have even published a book, The Lonely Funeral: Poets at the Gravesides of the Forgotten, which includes poems for 31 forgotten lives and descriptions of their funerals—a small piece of dignity offered to perfect strangers.

There's perhaps nothing more beautiful than the impulse to recognize someone simply for the sake of their humanity. It's a reminder that we are all connected in some way, even if it's just by the reality of life and death.

As Starik wrote in his preface to The Lonely Funeral: "We do not know to whom we say goodbye, so we feel no pain. But everyone—and this is the point—every person deserves respect."

Leave it to the poets to remind us of the inherent worth of every human being and to honor it with such a simple, selfless service.

Health

## Childhood stress shows up everywhere in adult life—even the inside of your mouth

### According to a study from Iowa State University…our spit says it all.

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how many wonders can this mouth cavern hold?

We know your relationship with your parents can affect a lot about who you are as you grow up. But is it possible that the good and bad of that relationship could actually show up in your saliva?

That's the bizarre-but-important question a team of researchers recently asked, the results of which were published in Developmental Science.

Led by Elizabeth Shirtcliff, an associate professor from Iowa State University who studies early childhood adversity, the study gathered 300 8th-grade kids and used a simple survey to determine some basic facts about their parents. The kids were asked things like whether they were close with their parents and how often positive reinforcement was used in their household.

The team was looking for signs of what they called "positive parenting, attachment, and bonding."

Six years later, the kids — now adults — were brought back in for a strange follow-up. The researchers collected a dozen different samples of their saliva.

It sounds a little gross, but they were looking for something important: the presence of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is crucial to our overall well-being. Lower levels of cortisol are correlated with fatigue, mood swings, and muscle loss, for example. Higher levels of cortisol correlate with healthy blood pressure levels and better immune system function (though extremely high levels are a health risk).

For this study, cortisol was particularly important because it plays a big role in how we process and react to stress. When we're faced with extreme stress or danger, cortisol floods our bodies, resulting in the "fight or flight," response.

The study's authors observed that people who are generally more stressed over longer periods of time, however, often show lower cortisol levels — almost like they get accustomed to all that stress over time and have a lesser reaction to it. While this might sound like a good thing, as far as your health goes, it's definitely not.

The results of the study were clear: The more signs the kids showed of a positive bond with their parents when they were young, the better their cortisol functioned in adulthood.

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That's a good thing, the researchers suggest, because it helps keep kids alert and sensitive to all of the stimuli and information swirling around them from day to day, rather than having a blunted response to stressors and life in general.

So having great parents who use positive parenting methods is a good thing. Yay!

But the study had an important twist when it came to looking at racial demographics.

When race differences were accounted for — about half the kids were black and half were white — the cortisol correlation didn't hold up.

On average, the study found, white and black parents were equally likely to have a positive bond with their kids. But parenting styles aren't the only thing that can affect stress levels and kids' response to it.

Photo by ia huh on Unsplash

Many of the white students in the study may have benefited from "low stress, resource-rich contexts which unfortunately may be less common for black youth," the researchers explained.

It's also worth noting that many groups — including black people of people Jewish descent — carry biological markers of trauma from previous generations (i.e., slavery, the Holocaust), which can also affect cortisol response.

In other words, growing up with various socioeconomic and other hardships does indeed have a lifelong impact, and now we've got the beakers full of saliva (so to speak) to prove it.

This is important work. It proves that, in many cases, being a great parent can actually physically manifest itself in kids growing up to be well-adjusted and adaptable.

Being a loving parent can actually have a biological impact on your kids years and years later. That's amazing!

Perhaps most importantly, however, it shows a glaring need for kids — particularly those belonging to marginalized or disadvantaged groups — to get better support in the form of solid education, safe communities to grow up in, and more opportunities to learn and grow.

Having great parents isn't always enough to overcome a world that seems to be stacked against you, but it certainly helps.