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Kids can drive mini cars into surgery at this hospital, leaving their anxiety in the dust.

Kids can drive mini cars into surgery at this hospital, leaving their anxiety in the dust.

All good parents want their children to live happy and healthy lives. But for parents of sick kids, particularly those with chronic and congenital health conditions, that's a much more difficult goal to achieve.

Unsurprisingly, anxiety is ever-present in both these parents and kids' lives.

As a mother of two children with congenital health conditions, I know first-hand how scary it can be when you’re worried and trying to process the “what if” or expected eventuality of surgery.    


We also often worry about what it will mean when our children are old enough to process the risks of surgery. It’s difficult for any parent to see their child fearful or in a state of discomfort.

And surgery is much harder to explain to a child than small medical procedures like shots — the stakes are higher and the unknowns can make the process even more terrifying, especially for young kids.

In California, one hospital is doing what they can to make the idea of surgery less daunting by allowing kids to drive mini cars into the operating room.

At Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California, they know that fun can be a great distraction from anxiety.

The innovative solution to reducing kids' discomfort came from pre-op nurse Kimberly Martinez after she read about the long-term impact cars have on young kids. To put her plan into action, they let kids choose between a mini pink Volkswagen Beetle and a Black Mercedes.

So far, the results have been awesome (and adorable).  

“When the children find out they can go into the operating room riding in a cool little car, they light up, and in most cases, their fears melt away,” the hospital wrote in a statement to PEOPLE. “In addition, when parents see their children put at ease, it puts them at ease as well.”

Once the video started to go viral, folks in the social media world expressed their gratefulness for the opportunity to see something so positive vrooming down their timelines.

Doctors Medical Center is far from the only medical facility taking steps to reduce children's anxiety. A number of resources are dedicated to helping children headed to surgery, as well as their parents, however, sometimes adding a reading list to an already addled family isn't a practical solution.

Many of these parents are so busy and stressed they simply can't make the time to do socio-emotional research on reducing anxiety on top of learning about their children's health conditions.

Innovative programs like that at Doctors Medical Center take one more thing off parent's plates and make what can be a tense experience go more smoothly for everyone.

Other hospitals are catching on, too. It's why Sheffield Children’s Hospital offers it's kid patients their own sweet ride into surgery.

The more medical facilities that utilize creative solutions like this to easy young patients and their families' anxieties the better. Here's hoping we see many more fun, innovative ideas sprouting up in hospitals all over the country.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

Via Ridwell

Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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Education

Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

PA Struggles/Youtube

An estimated 50-70% of the population doesn't have an internal monologue.

The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

So what about the other 50-70%? What exactly goes on inside their heads from day to day?

In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

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Community

Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

grayscale photo of woman in bikini

Facebook has been a great place for people to bare all when it comes to their emotions. But when it comes to bearing all with regards to bodies, Facebook has always seemed as if they’d rather people bare none of it. Facebook has received criticism for over-sexualizing breasts, but a new recommendation from Meta’s advisory board says the nipples can come out for nonbinary users.

Recently, Facebook censored two posts from a transgender and non-binary couple that featured the couple appearing topless. Even though their nipples were covered, an AI system took the photos down for “violating the Sexual Solicitation Community Standard” after they were flagged by a human user. The couple appealed to Meta, and the photos were reinstated, but it was enough to catch the attention of Meta’s oversight board, which advises Meta on content moderation policies, and is made up of academics, politicians, and journalists.

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Pop Culture

Ariana Grande wows TikTok with a stunning, stripped down cover of 'Over The Rainbow'

Grande is even currently filming a live adaptation of the musical “Wicked."

This pink sweater is everything.

Ariana Grande might be best known as a pop queen, but her musical theatre talents run deep. She was a performer on Broadway at the age of nine, long before she began racking up Grammys. And even throughout her adult career, she’ll wave that theatre kid flag once in a while, as she did for NBC’s “Hairspray Live!”

Grande is even currently filming a live adaptation of the musical “Wicked,” playing the role of Galinda, aka Glinda the Good Witch. While the movie might not release until Christmas of 2024, the singer treated fans to an early taste of Oz with a gorgeous rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” originally sung by Judy Garland in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”

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