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People born before 1990 are sharing their now-useless but 100 percent nostalgic skills

For instance, recording songs on tape from the radio while yelling at the DJ to shut up during the intro.

red wired telephone, map partially folded, crayons

From holding the phone on your shoulder to folding a map to knowing what "cornflower" and "goldenrod" are, here are pre-Y2K skills at their finest.

Hey there, millennials! Welcome to the "Holy crapoly, I have real-life memories from 20 years ago!" club. It's a strangely disorienting milestone to reach when you find yourself starting sentences with "When I was young…" or "Back in my day…" isn't it?

Your Gen X elders have been here for a while, but even we have moments of incredulously calculating how the heck we've arrived at this place. Time is a tricky little jokester, isn't he?

To highlight how much has changed for middle-aged folks since we were young, a user on Reddit asked people born before 1990 what useless skills they possess that nobody has a need for anymore. It's both a hilarious trip down memory lane and a time capsule of life pre-Y2K. (Do kids these days even know what Y2K was? Gracious.)

If you're down for some good-old-days nostalgia, check out people's responses:


Making brown paper bag book covers

"I can cover a textbook with a brown paper bag." — sourwaterbug

Oh goodness yes. And there was always that one girl in class who had the art of the brown paper bag book cover perfected. (They're probably Pinterest influencers now.)

Folding a map—and knowing where to find a map

"I can re-fold a map correctly."JungleZac

"Man remember actually using maps…I had an atlas with the road system in my car to navigate other states during road trips. Crazy." – jagua_haku

How did we ever figure out how to get anywhere before GPS and Google Maps? (Two-inch thick road atlases in our car and stopping at gas stations to buy local maps while traveling, that's how. Positively primitive.)

Memorizing phone numbers and answering the house phone

For real, though, kids these days don't even know.

"Remembering phone numbers." — greatmilliondog

"Not only that, having to speak to your friend's parents for a few minutes when you call their house." Logical_Area_5552

"How to take a message when the person they want to talk to isn't there." — Amoori_A_Splooge

How about dialing on a rotary phone, using a pay phone and making (or taking) a collect call?

The skillful phone shoulder hold

"Using your shoulder to hold a telephone up to your ear while doing multiple other things at once. Now, the phones are so damned small I drop them." – Regular_Sample_5197

"100 ft phone cords 🤣" – mrch1ck3nn

"I got in sooooo much trouble for stretching the phone cord into the bathroom for some privacy. Accidentally clotheslined Grandma 😬 She laughed about it but Mom was pissed!" – AffectionateBite3827

Knowing the exact name of every Crayola color because we only had so many

"I know what the color “goldenrod” is." — ImAmazedBaybee

"That and burnt sienna were the crayolas of choice." — Signiference

"Cornflower would like a word." — cps12345

The art of the mixed tape—especially from the radio

I don't think kids these days fully grasp how revolutionary Spotify and the like are for those of us who spent hours in front of the radio with our cassette tape recorder queued up at just the right spot waiting for the song we wanted to record to come one. And they will never, ever know the frustration of the DJ yapping right up until the lyrics start.

"Record to tape from the radio. Trying to make sure to not get the DJ/presenter talking sh-t or an ad" – Gankstajam

"'Shut up, shut up, shut up!!! I'm trying to record my song!!!'" – tearsonurcheek

"Haha yeah and trying to tell others so they don't make random noise or knock on the door.

How about making cassette-based mix tapes, trying to figure out to the second, how many and which types of songs in which order, that would still fit perfectly on the length of tape per side.

People who make digital recordings do not have to worry about 'running out of tape.'

Having the first side be tempting enough that they'd flip the other side to continue listening. That's before continual playback machines existed. Had to flip the cassette." – CrunchyTeaTime

And there were many more, from rewinding a cassette tape with a pencil to writing in cursive to tearing the sides off of printer paper without tearing the paper itself. (Oh and of course the ability to count out change and understand what you're supposed to do if something costs $9.91 and someone hands you $10.01.)

Gotta love it when the things that used to be totally normal now sound like historic artifacts found in a museum. Kind of makes you wonder what normal things from today we'll be laughing about in another 20 or 30 years.


This article originally appeared on 6.22.23

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Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

Suzy Hazelwood/Canva

Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

“Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,” lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. “However, we found there’s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.”

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

This is not a before picture.

When Molly Galbraith posted on Facebook a photo of herself on a beach in a bikini, her caption wasn't your usual "look at me" selfie.

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We are NOT prepared for Salt-n-Pepa to replace Michael McDonald in the waiting room at the doctor's office, thankyouverymuch.

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It's weird to reach the stage when there's no doubt that you aren't young anymore. Not that Gen X is old—50 is the new 30, you know—but we're definitely not young. And it seems like every day there's something new that comes along to shove that fact right in our faces. When did hair start growing out of that spot? Why do I suddenly hate driving at night? Why is this restaurant so loud? Does that skin on my arm look…crepey?

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Step 1: Ditch the myth that all teens are sullen, angry creatures.

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My beautiful teens.


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My initial response is that I have absolutely no clue. My kids are who they are IN SPITE of having me as a mother. (The young moms don't find that answer too helpful.)

Really, the first thing that I will tell you is to disbelieve the myth that teenagers are sullen, angry creatures who slam doors and hate their parents. Some do that, but the overwhelming majority do not. Every one of my kids' friends are just as happy and fun as my kids are, so I know it's not just us.

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Lee Loechler's incredible "Sleeping Beauty" proposal.

There are creative, romantic proposals, and then there's this one.

Lee Loechler recently proposed to his girlfriend, Sthuthi David, by taking her to a packed theater to see her favorite Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty. Little did she know that Loechler had spent six months altering the animation of the film's most iconic scene, changing the characters to look like the couple themselves and altering the storyline to set up his Big Question. And that's only the beginning.

Watching David's face during the scene change is sheer delight, as her confused look proves that she has no clue what is about to happen.

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