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Not everything is terrible: 7 great things that happened this week.

It's been 21 days.

Twenty. One. Days.

And it would take another 21 days to recap everything horrific, unacceptable, and plainly un-American that has happened since Inauguration Day.


So, instead, consider this a safe space. Give yourself permission to take a break from being angry, and check out these seven pretty awesome news stories you might have missed this week.

I'm betting you could use 'em.

1. "Hidden Figures" became the highest grossing Oscar-nominated film of the year.

The cast of "Hidden Figures." Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

If you thought only chiseled white guys could be Hollywood moneymakers, think again.

"Hidden Figures," the incredible true story of three black women who made landmark contributions to NASA in the 1960s, was released in mid-December. So far, it's grossed over $119 million at the box office, edging out its fellow Best Picture nominees, including "La La Land."

Money talks in Hollywood, and the more proof we get that diversity in film is both the right thing to do and can be good business, the better.

2. People tried to body shame Lady Gaga after her Super Bowl performance, but even more people shut them down.

While Lady Gaga was busy wowing millions of people with her high-wire act, powerhouse vocals, and precision dance moves, a few surly folks were a little overly concerned with how her bare midriff looked.

Obnoxious comments on social media were easy to find. But Gaga fans, and most good humans in general, weren't having it.

Gaga herself, of course, took the high road.

PSA: We can drown out the hate if we all speak up for what's right together.

3. "The Magic School Bus" is coming back.

Admit it, you always wished you could be in Ms. Frizzle's class as they shrunk down to explore the inner workings of the human body or blasted off on a deep space adventure.

Well, you still can't. But soon you can enjoy all new episodes of everyone's favorite after-school show!

And the absolute best part: The brilliant Kate McKinnon, of "Saturday Night Live" fame, will voice Ms. Frizzle in a Netflix reboot set to debut later this year.

Kate McKinnon. Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AT&T.

This is my kind of good news.

4. Facebook just announced big changes to its family leave policy.

Do you live to work, or do you work to live? If you're like most people, there is at least one thing more important than the ol' 9 to 5: family.

So kudos to the people at Facebook who just announced some great, progressive changes to their leave policies. According to COO Sheryl Sandberg, the new policy will give employees dedicated and paid time off for grieving and caring for sick family members on top of the company's already pretty good parental leave.

There have been many times when I've been grateful to work at companies that supported families. When my son was born...

Posted by Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's great to see forward-thinking, people-first policies coming from some of our country's most influential companies.

5. A guy created an Amazon Dash button so he could easily donate $5 to the ACLU every time Donald Trump made him mad.

Hey, you know Dash buttons, right? They're the supposed shopping device of the future, making getting laundry detergent delivered to your home as easy as hitting a button above the washing machine. Or you could put a button in the mug cabinet that orders coffee the instant you run out.

Well, designer and programmer Nathan Pryor decided to take this concept to the next level and create a button he could smash every time he read a baffling tweet from President Donald Trump. Each time, it would donate $5 to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Unfortunately, this isn't an "official" thing, so not everyone can get one, but it is a great reminder to try to channel your frustration into something productive.

You can donate to the ACLU online right here, in fact.

6. Oh! And speaking of Trump, even Kanye West is turning on him now.

Kanye West and Donald Trump, former pals. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

There are few things as disgusting as entertainment industry schmoozing that won't quit, and Trump has certainly rubbed elbows with a lot of famous people. Many of his old golf buddies and party pals still refuse to denounce him. (Looking at you, Tom Brady.)

But we can finally scratch Kanye West off that list.

Yep, even Yeezy has had enough of Trump's shit. According to TMZ, Kanye has deleted every mention of Trump from his Twitter timeline and no longer supports the current president.

I know, I know. It's Kanye and who cares, right? But while watching the country slowly become unrecognizable largely in part because none of Trump's friends and allies will stand up to him, it's hard not to be excited about any sign of pushback.

7. A review board told Comcast to stop saying it has the fastest internet: a big win for objective facts.

How is Verizon winning a case against Comcast good news? I'll tell you.

Comcast has been claiming for a while to have the fastest internet in America. Verizon had data that suggested that simply wasn't true. So the National Advertising Review Board ruled Comcast had to stop making the false claim.

Someone lied, and there were actually consequences! In 2017, how is this not good news?

Take that, "alternative facts."

Now, if only the media would start covering terror attacks.

There's bound to be great news next week, too. You just have to look a little harder for it these days. But I promise you, it's worth it!

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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Little boy and his mom get surprised with tickets to Eagles game.

In today's world, it's easy to get caught up in all the negative news we're exposed to, but in reality, most good deeds are done away from a camera—just one person helping another without desire for fanfare. And for mom Bryanne McBride and her young son, Mason, that's exactly what they were doing when they got the surprise of a lifetime.

Bryanne was approached by a man in a parking lot asking for a dollar to catch the bus. The entire time, the mom scrounged around in her purse looking for spare change and revealed she felt bad because she thought she had some. Bryanne's desire to help was a simple act of kindness to another human in need without the expectation of something in return.

During the time it took for the unsuspecting mother to dig for loose change, the "stranded" stranger, Zach, introduced himself and asked if the duo were from Philly. Once they said they were from the area, he then inquired if they were Eagles fans...the football team, not the birds. "You ever been to an Eagles game?" Zach asked.

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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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Family

Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

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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 baring 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 nonbinary 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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