In a stunning political upset, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just made all kinds of history.

On June 26, 2018, a 28-year-old Puerto Rican Bronx native made some remarkable women's history.

In a stunning upset, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the first woman of color to win in New York's 14th district.

Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images.


As the first woman of color to even run for the seat, Ocasio-Cortez unseated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, marking a new era for progressive politics and the far reach of women of color in American government.

In what some declared a losing battle, Ocasio-Cortez ran a campaign as far to the left as one can imagine in American politics. She boldly called for the abolition of ICE after a horrific immigration debacle at the Texas border and unflinchingly ran on a platform of economic, social, and racial justice for all without accepting any political action committee (PAC) money, a largely unheard of fundraising strategy in politics.

Ocasio-Cortez was warned not to run as many said she'd never have a career in politics again. She was told that going against someone who'd been a Democratic powerhouse for decades — and was expected to take Nancy Pelosi's place as Minority Leader of the House of Representatives — was a losing battle. Many news outlets and pundits refused to even say her name or report on her campaign.

And yet, she kept going. And it worked.

It's safe to say that Ocasio-Cortez, while always confident in the platforms she was running behind, was as surprised as the pollsters were. But, she sprang into action quickly after.

Using social media to attract a mass of supporters and canvassers, Ocasio-Cortez spoke in neighborhoods, rallied at various events for underrepresented communities, and ran with endorsements from groups that aren't necessarily the most well-funded or mainstream. She did it on purpose, representing a city that wanted change — and wanted it on its on terms.

"This race is about people versus money," Ocasio-Cortez says in her campaign video. "We've got people; they've got money. It's time that we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same."

Regardless of where you stand on the issues, Ocasio-Cortez's win is a beautiful display of the power of sticking to one's convictions in the face of adversity.

Having worked as a bartender to help with family bills just last year, Ocasio-Cortez has an up close and personal understanding of inequality, particularly for marginalized groups.

Oscasio-Cortez recently went to the Texas border to see what was happening with the current administration's disastrous immigration policy. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Her historic win is inspiration for women and people of color around the nation. Ocasio-Cortez reminds us all that democracy is fueled by those who believe in it. Ocasio-Cortez believed in her community, she believed in those who needed helped most, and she unapologetically carried those beliefs until the last ballot was cast.

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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