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Democracy

People are sharing the things America does best. Here are 17 things they're totally right about.

National Parks? Yep.

america, america does best, reddit
via Pexels

Someone throwing up a heart around Old Glory.

If you watch the news all day, you’ll probably think that America is a politically divided, dangerous, bigoted, contentious, depressing place that’s slowly losing its grip on being a world power. That’s because there are very few media outlets that can stay in business reporting good news. (Unless they’re Upworthy, of course.)

Humans have a negativity bias, so they are much more interested in hearing about the world’s problems than what’s going well. That makes it easy for them to develop a warped view of their country and the world that is much more negative than it should be.

Thousands of people on Reddit came together to make people feel a lot better about being an American recently after a user named KyleB2131 asked, “What does America do better than most other countries?” The post received thousands of responses from Americans and people abroad about the things that truly make the country great.


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A lot of the responses are about how America excels in innovation and has wonderful topography highlighted by a fantastic system of national parks. Americans are also incredibly creative and make the best entertainment in the world.

“This may be one of my favorite Reddit threads of all time,” a Reddit user named BigPlainV wrote. “Being tuned in to American mass media makes me feel like I live in the most fucked up armpit of the world. This thread has single handedly made me proud to be an American again.”

“The American mass media, I believe, is our biggest downfall,” circ2day added. “Because bad news makes more money than good news, that's all we get. Everything is aggressively sensationalized for the sake of getting views. This makes America look incredibly bad to outsiders.”

Here are 17 of the best responses to the question, “What does America do better than most other countries?”

1. 

"Turning corn into things that are not corn." — rlemon

2. 

"I was going to say cornbread but everyone said rest stops. Have y’all ever had cornbread?" — Admirable-Ad-2554

3. 

"I love the Interstate Rest Areas on road trips. I'm a Canadian from the west coast, and was always VERY impressed with the 24/7 rest areas. Clean washrooms, nice grassy areas for dogs, picnic tables, and a lot of times people selling crafts, or offering free coffee!

"I've only driven through the western states, (WA,OR,CA,NV,UT,AZ) but yeah, those rest areas were always reliable. Always well-marked signs when the next one was coming up. Just made everything about traveling easier! Thanks, neighbors!" — Ubba-Ga

4. 

"Jazz." — PuzzleheadReveal58

5. 

"National Parks." — Big-Win6220

SmellLikeSheepSpirit added:

"Absolutely. People complain about crowds at the national parks, but this is somewhat by design. As you mention the American national parks are very accessible, they have handicapped trails. They have large educational visitor stations. They have viewpoints on the roads. They're meant to "market" the outdoors to the masses. They're a "park" much like an urban park is. Most have truly amazing drives that give a great sampling of what they offer.

"They also have amazing landscapes that see much less usage only a few miles out. People miss the point that they work for both the layperson/day visitor AND the person who will spend 5 days in a roadless wilderness. And of course there are wilderness designations for that reason."

6. 

"Make sure there's ice in your beverage." -- HegemoniHarbinger

DJ33 added:

"I asked where the ice machine was in a hotel in Dublin and the woman at the desk thought I was damaged in the head. She'd clearly never, ever had anyone ask that before."

7. 

"Buffets. No buffet I’ve had can beat the one’s I had in the states." — sueRiot

8. 

"Music — The United States is the birthplace of Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Hip Hop, Punk, Bluegrass, Country-Western, Rap, and a half a dozen different forms of regional folk music. Nearly every culture in the world imitates our musical forms." — Mike the Bard

9. 

"While we have a LONG way to go, the USA is comparatively better than a lot of places regarding supporting people with disabilities." — Kittenesque02

10. 

"The ability of the American farmer to produce food. It is really staggering the amount of food that is grown here." — fat-dum-stoopid

11. 

"Women's sports are really well supported here - so are female athletes. Despite many things Americans might say about it - if you go to other countries female athletics is really almost non-existent." — Juls7243

12. 

"America wins EVERY Super Bowl!" — Leyline

13. 

"Air conditioners everywhere and free public restrooms. You have to pay to use the restrooms in Europe." — SnooDoughnuts231

14. 

"Business. Hands down. It’s their biggest advantage in my opinion. Deals with Americans just get done easier. Compared to other countries American businesses are more open-minded to new things, don’t try to fuck you over, want a win for both sides, want simpler agreements, negotiate fairly, hold up their end of the bargain, etc.

"If you have even done business internationally you really see what a strong advantage it is. Other countries everyone is fucking everyone over, or are close-minded, slow as snails, and obsessed with bureaucracy. Commerce just flows better there." — Stopinstinker

15. 


"Think big and be bold. I am originally from Europe where people often just think small." — throwaway32132190432

16.

"Serious answer? Logistics. We're quite a large country and we've gotten very good at moving things around." — weirdoldhobo1978

17. 

"Chatting, I’m from an Asian country where most people will avoid talking to stranger. But you can literally talk to anyone you met in the street in the US and most of them are willing to talk." — _formosa_

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Pop Culture

What is 'Generation Jones'? The unique qualities of the not-quite-Gen-X-baby-boomers.

This "microgeneration" had a different upbringing than their fellow boomers.

Generation Jones includes Michelle Obama, George Clooney, Kamala Harris, Keanu Reeves and more.

We hear a lot about the major generation categories—boomers, Gen X, millennials, Gen Z and the up-and-coming Gen Alpha. But there are folks who don't quite fit into those boxes. These in-betweeners, sometimes called "cuspers," are members of microgenerations that straddle two of the biggies.

"Xennial" is the nickname for those who fall on the cusp of Gen X and millennial, but there's also a lesser-known microgeneration that straddles Gen X and baby boomers. The folks born from 1954 to 1965 are known as Generation Jones, and they've been thrust into the spotlight as people try to figure out what generation to consider 59-year-old Vice President Kamala Harris.

Like President Obama before her, Harris is a Gen Jonesernot exactly a classic baby boomer but not quite Gen X. Born in October 1964, Harris falls just a few months shy of official Gen X territory. But what exactly differentiates Gen Jones from the boomers and Gen Xers that flank it?


"Generation Jones" was coined by writer, television producer and social commentator Jonathan Pontell to describe the decade of Americans who grew up in the '60s and '70s. As Pontell wrote of Gen Jonesers in Politico:

"We fill the space between Woodstock and Lollapalooza, between the Paris student riots and the anti-globalisation protests, and between Dylan going electric and Nirvana going unplugged. Jonesers have a unique identity separate from Boomers and GenXers. An avalanche of attitudinal and behavioural data corroborates this distinction."

Pontell describes Jonesers as "practical idealists" who were "forged in the fires of social upheaval while too young to play a part." They are the younger siblings of the boomer civil rights and anti-war activists who grew up witnessing and being moved by the passion of those movements but being met with a fatigued culture by the time they themselves came of age. Sometimes, they're described as the cool older siblings of Gen X. Unlike their older boomer counterparts, most Jonesers were not raised by WWII veteran fathers and were too young to be drafted into Vietnam, leaving them in between on military experience.

Gen Jones gets its name from the competitive "keeping up with the Joneses" spirit that spawned during their populous birth years, but also from the term "jonesin'," meaning an intense craving, that they coined—a drug reference but also a reflection of the yearning to make a difference that their "unrequited idealism" left them with. According to Pontell, their competitiveness and identity as a "generation aching to act" may make Jonesers particularly effective leaders:

"What makes us Jonesers also makes us uniquely positioned to bring about a new era in international affairs. Our practical idealism was created by witnessing the often unrealistic idealism of the 1960s. And we weren’t engaged in that era’s ideological battles; we were children playing with toys while boomers argued over issues. Our non-ideological pragmatism allows us to resolve intra-boomer skirmishes and to bridge that volatile Boomer-GenXer divide. We can lead."

Time will tell whether the United States will end up with another Generation Jones leader, but with President Biden withdrawing his candidacy, it has now become a distinct possibility.

Of note in discussions over Kamala Harris's generational status is the fact that generations aren't just calculated by birth year but by a person's cultural reality. Some have made the argument that Harris is culturally more Gen X than boomer, though there doesn't seem to be any record of her claiming any particular generation as her own. However, a swath of Gen Z has staked their own claim on her as "brat"—a term singer Charli XCX thrust into the political arena with a post on X that read "kamala IS brat." That may be nonsensical to most older folks, but for Gen Z, it's a glowing endorsement from one of the top Gen Z musicians of the moment.

Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.


As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.


The map may not subvert one's intuitive assumptions, but it nonetheless quantities and presents the cost of living by geography in a brilliantly simple way. For instance, if you're looking for a beach lifestyle but don't want to pay California prices, try Florida, which is about as close to "average" — in terms of purchasing power, anyway — as any state in the Union. If you happen to find yourself in a "Brewster's Millions"-type situation, head to Hawaii, D.C., or New York. You'll burn through your money in no time.

income, money, economics, national average

The Relative Value of $100 in a state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

If you're quite fond of your cash and would prefer to keep it, get to Mississippi, which boasts a 16.1% premium on your cash from the national average.

The Tax Foundation notes that if you're using this map for a practical purpose, bear in mind that incomes also tend to rise in similar fashion, so one could safely assume that wages in these states are roughly inverse to the purchasing power $100 represents.


This article originally appeared on 08.17.17

Representative photos by Canva and Evelyn Giggles|Flickr

Mom hilariously demands to know secret to clean kids' rooms.

Kids' bedrooms can be a source of contention in some households. Some kids are just naturally more tidy than others while some are more like little tornados leaving debris wherever they go refusing to clean it up. Parents can be on different wavelengths when it comes to how clean a child's room should be.

You've got the parents who are huge proponents of simply closing the door. If you can't see the mess, then the mess doesn't exist. You've got some parents that do a weekly or monthly clean themselves in an attempt to save their sanity. Then you've got the ones that have daily room cleans as part of their child's routine, but not everyone can or wants to be at that level.

Ariel B. recently posted a video asking parents to explain how they get their children to clean their rooms as she pans to her daughters' rooms that are in complete disarray.


The exhausted mom starts off by explaining that motherhood is ghetto. In fact she surmises that the "hood" people are talking about when they say the hood is ghetto is indeed motherhood before asking how other parents are doing it.

"My daughters' rooms are so nasty, everything you are ever looking for in your house is in them rooms," Ariel says.

This frustration started when her kids couldn't find their field trip shirts for summer camp, which prompted her to go in their rooms to investigate. She then shows everyone the room where the shirt was lost, exclaiming, "You couldn't find Jesus in this room. You couldn't find common sense, humility, any decent soul in this room."


The room was strewn with clothes, toys and other things. Commenters not only pointed out the mannequin head looking distressed under the bed but related hard to what the mom was saying and supported her rant.

"The mannequin head laying under table looking stressed. Her face looks like it’s saying 'help me,'" one person laughs.

"I'm closing the door. I have an almost 3 & 6 year old and I'm 37 weeks today…I close the door. It’s no way y'all messed the room up like this and expect me to clean it. So, when they get back from Florida, they can clean it themselves," another says.

"You're cracking me up! I can definitely relate to finding wrappers. I said 23 times don't eat in your room. I'm not cleaning it," another writes.

"That last part gets me crackin up every time I watch this. I watch this on the daily to remind myself it’s not just my kid," one mom admits.

But if you watch closely as Ariel pans the messy bedrooms you'll notice there's something important missing from the bed frames...a mattress. One person inquired about the important missing item and the response is not only comical but makes so much sense.

"I flipped the mattress looking for the orange shirt after I stepped on a Barbie jeep and almost broke my neck," Ariel explains before following up in another comment saying the mattress is in the hallway—it likely made it much easier to clean under the bed. And while the mom did receive some advice in the comments, it's unclear if she will heed any.

Bill Gates in conversation with The Times of India

Bill Gates sure is strict on how his children use the very technology he helped bring to the masses.

In a recent interview with the Mirror, the tech mogul said his children were not allowed to own their own cellphone until the age of 14. "We often set a time after which there is no screen time, and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour," he said. Gates added that the children are not allowed to have cellphones at the table, but are allowed to use them for homework or studying.


The Gates children, now 20, 17 and 14, are all above the minimum age requirement to own a phone, but they are still banned from having any Apple products in the house—thanks to Gates' longtime rivalry with Apple founder Steve Jobs.

smartphones, families, responsible parenting, social media

Bill Gates tasting recycled water.

Image from media.giphy.com.

While the parenting choice may seem harsh, the Gates may be onto something with delaying childhood smartphone ownership. According to the 2016 "Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today's Digital Natives"report, the average age that a child gets their first smartphone is now 10.3 years.

"I think that age is going to trend even younger, because parents are getting tired of handing their smartphones to their kids," Stacy DeBroff, chief executive of Influence Central, told The New York Times.

James P. Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that reviews content and products for families, additionally told the Times that he too has one strict rule for his children when it comes to cellphones: They get one when they start high school and only when they've proven they have restraint. "No two kids are the same, and there's no magic number," he said. "A kid's age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level."

PBS Parents also provided a list of questions parents should answer before giving their child their first phone. Check out the entire list below:

  • How independent are your kids?
  • Do your children "need" to be in touch for safety reasons—or social ones?
  • How responsible are they?
  • Can they get behind the concept of limits for minutes talked and apps downloaded?
  • Can they be trusted not to text during class, disturb others with their conversations, and to use the text, photo, and video functions responsibly (and not to embarrass or harass others)?
  • Do they really need a smartphone that is also their music device, a portable movie and game player, and portal to the internet?
  • Do they need something that gives their location information to their friends—and maybe some strangers, too—as some of the new apps allow?
  • And do you want to add all the expenses of new data plans? (Try keeping your temper when they announce that their new smartphone got dropped in the toilet...)


This article originally appeared on 05.01.17