Instead of getting you worked up, the video game 'Viridi' just wants you to relax.

When you think about video games, a few images often come to mind.

There's the exciting, beat-the-clock, don't slip on a banana peel (!) kind of game.


GIF from "Mario Kart."

And the "oh boy, this is violent and intense and I can't look away (!)" kind of game.

GIF from "Call of Duty Black Ops III" via Dromaeosaur.

The image of a plant does not usually make the cut.

A beautiful, calming succulent. GIF via Ice Water Games.

And that's why the video game "Viridi" might have serious gamers scratching their heads. But it'll have others in their happy place.

It's not because of the game's violent nature or real-life graphics. It's not because of its can't-look-away intensity either. It doesn't have any of that to offer.

It's because it's the most chilled-out and peaceful game I've ever seen. And that's exactly what it's designed to be. It's kind of like the Tamagotchi of 2015.

"Viridi" uses plants to make you feel less stressed and more relaxed.

It's like your average video game ... on opposite day. The entire premise is for you to tend a pot of succulents that grow in real time.

"Viridi is a safe haven, a place you can return to for a moment of peace and quiet whenever you need it," said its developer, Ice Water Games.

FastCo Design explains:

You pick a pot, and a plant, spraying it with water and tending it over the course of a week, until it grows to fruition.

It's a gentle and beautiful game meant to be there when you need to take a break in your day. You can leave it open in the background of your computer all day and enjoy its calming, ambient soundtrack while you do your thing.

And since it's modeled after real succulents, it's all about being patient. You wouldn't want to overwater!

GIF via Ice Water Games.

Getting up and moving around mixed with a game like "Viridi" might just be the calming distraction you need in your day.

The stress of meeting goals, earning money, and completing obligations can really take its toll on the mind and body. To get everything done, it's easy to convince ourselves that we don't really need to take breaks in our day — but we most definitely should.

Social scientists have even concluded that working for 52 consecutive minutes followed by a 17-minute break can boost productivity. Seriously! Take breaks.

We are ridiculously stressed-out humans. These little virtual plants help us slow down and breathe. And as we tend to our needs, we'll keep growing.

So whether you play a video game to grow succulents or grow succulents in real life (or both!), any reminder to relax and take a deep breath once in awhile is a benefit to your life.

Watch the teaser video and find out how to download "Viridi" here.



Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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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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