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aeroplume, balloons, helium

The Aéroplume lets people experience helium-filled flight.

Long before Pixar's "UP," adults and children alike imagined what it would feel like to be carried away by a bunch of helium balloons. How many balloons would it take to actually lift a person off the ground?

Scientists have made those calculations, of course, but now the average person can personally experience what it's like to fly by helium. All it takes is 60 euros, a reasonable tolerance of heights and a trip to Écausseville, France.

The small town in the Normandy region of northwestern France is home to the Aéroplume, a helium-filled blimp that allows adults and children over 7 years of age to live the dream of helium balloon flight.


The Aéroplume holds just one person, who gets attached to the balloon with a harness. It also includes wings you can flap to move around using just the strength of your arms.

Unfortunately, you can't fly away into the clouds like the house in "UP," as the Aéroplume is housed indoors in an old military hangar that was used to hold a blimp. Within that space, flyers can flap their wings and move around at 5 to 8 km/h (around 3 to 8 mph), experiencing flight in a way that few humans ever have.

YouTube star Tom Scott shared his experience trying out the Aéroplume and his childlike joy is delightful to watch.

More than 10,000 flights and zero accidents? Impressive.

The 60 euro cost gets you 30 minutes in the hangar, with 20 minutes of actual flight time and 10 minutes for lift and steering instruction and for getting in and out of the harness.

If you find yourself in France, consider adding the Aéroplume to your itinerary and make all your childhood flying dreams come true.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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This article originally appeared on 01.22.19


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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