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People who lost everything in a wildfire sent unforgettable notes to the couple who started it.

A page was set up for victims of the fire. It could have been ugly. It’s become something beautiful.

Wildfires continue to rage across Northern California, affecting families, businesses and the entire state.

To help families directly affected by the fires, a Facebook page was recently started where people affected by the Carr Fire could share their stories.


It would be entirely understandable if the page was full of angry letters, blaming the couple that has been cited as responsible for starting the blaze.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

According to local officials, the fire started after a horrible bit of bad luck: a trailer experienced a sudden flat tire - when the wheel’s metal collided with the pavement, it created sparks which then ignited a nearby bush. Devastation has ensued. City official’s are protecting the couple’s names as they are not at fault for the accident but could clearly become a target for retribution.

Instead, a community of people who have seen their lives turned upside down have largely responded with compassion, love and kindness.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

“It was an accident, nothing more. Please do not torment yourself.”

In interviews and on posts to the Carr Fire Stories Facebook page, the message has been clear: People are heartbroken. Lives have been lost. Countless damage has ensued and officials are overwhelmed trying to contain the blaze.

In a post on Care Fire Stories, the page’s administrators explained their mission:

We personally know someone who's mom is a neighbor to the man who's trailer accident led to #CarrFire. Many have been thinking and praying for this man. We learned that his wife is blaming herself for the #CarrFire, because she asked him to take the trailer in the first place. She has been crying day and night on her couch. Do you think we can show some grace and extend kindness (and even forgiveness) for the shame and despair that she is experiencing?

In the middle of all this tragedy, a beam of light is shining through. The responses from those with the most right to be angry say everything about the best in all of us:

Facebook

There is still so much work to be done to contain the fires and ultimately rebuild.

These families and communities will need all the help they can get to begin the long and challenging process of moving forward.

But they should also be applauded. In the face of tragedy they are using this moment to show the very best of us just when the world needs it most.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photos from Tay Nakamoto

Facebook is no longer just your mom’s favorite place to share embarassing photos.

The social media platform has grown in popularity for young users and creators who enjoy forming connections with like-minded individuals through groups and events.

Many of these users even take things offline, meeting up in person for activities like book clubs, brunch squads, and Facebook IRL events, like the recent one held in New York City, and sharing how they use Facebook for more than just social networking.

“Got to connect with so many people IRL at an incredible Facebook pop up event this past weekend!” creator @Sistersnacking said of the event. So many cool activities like airbrushing, poster making + vision boarding, a Marketplace photo studio, and more.”

Tay Nakamoto, a designer known for her whimsical, colorful creations, attended the event and brought her stunning designs to the public. On Facebook, she typically shares renter-friendly hacks, backyard DIY projects, and more with her audience of 556K. For the IRL event, she created many of the designs on display, including a photobooth area, using only finds from Facebook Marketplace.

“Decorating out of 100% Facebook Marketplace finds was a new challenge but I had so much fun and got it doneeee. This was all for the Facebook IRL event in NYC and I got to meet such amazing people!!” Nakamoto shared on her page.


Also at the event was Katie Burke, the creator of Facebook Group “Not Wasting My Twenties.” Like many other recent grads at the start of the pandemic, she found herself unemployed and feeling lost. So she started the group as a way to connect with her peers, provide support for one anopther, and document the small, everyday joys of life.

The group hosts career panels, created a sister group for book club, and has meetups in cities around the US.

Another young creator making the most of Facebook is Josh Rincon, whose mission is to teach financial literacy to help break generational poverty. He grew his audience from 0 to over 1 million followers in six months, proving a growing desire for educational content from a younger generation on the platform.

He’s passionate about making finance accessible and engaging for everyone, and uses social media to teach concepts that are entertaining yet educational.

No matter your interests, age, or location, Facebook can be a great place to find your people, share your ideas, and even make new friends IRL.

Science

Researchers dumped tons of coffee waste into a forest. This is what it looks like now.

30 dump truck loads and two years later, the forest looks totally different.

One of the biggest problems with coffee production is that it generates an incredible amount of waste. Once coffee beans are separated from cherries, about 45% of the entire biomass is discarded.

So for every pound of roasted coffee we enjoy, an equivalent amount of coffee pulp is discarded into massive landfills across the globe. That means that approximately 10 million tons of coffee pulp is discarded into the environment every year.



When disposed of improperly, the waste can cause serious damage soil and water sources.

However, a new study published in the British Ecological Society journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence has found that coffee pulp isn't just a nuisance to be discarded. It can have an incredibly positive impact on regrowing deforested areas of the planet.

via British Ecological Society

In 2018, researchers from ETH-Zurich and the University of Hawaii spread 30 dump trucks worth of coffee pulp over a roughly 100' x 130' area of degraded land in Costa Rica. The experiment took place on a former coffee farm that underwent rapid deforestation in the 1950s.

The coffee pulp was spread three-feet thick over the entire area.

Another plot of land near the coffee pulp dump was left alone to act as a control for the experiment.

"The results were dramatic." Dr. Rebecca Cole, lead author of the study, said. "The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp turned into a small forest in only two years while the control plot remained dominated by non-native pasture grasses."

In just two years, the area treated with coffee pulp had an 80% canopy cover, compared to just 20% of the control area. So, the coffee-pulp-treated area grew four times more rapidly. Like a jolt of caffeine, it reinvigorated biological activity in the area.

The canopy was also four times taller than that of the control.

Before and after images of the forest

The forest experienced a radical, positive change

via British Ecological Society

The coffee-treated area also eliminated an invasive species of grass that took over the land and prevented forest succession. Its elimination allowed for other native species to take over and recolonize the area.

"This case study suggests that agricultural by-products can be used to speed up forest recovery on degraded tropical lands. In situations where processing these by-products incurs a cost to agricultural industries, using them for restoration to meet global reforestation objectives can represent a 'win-win' scenario," Dr. Cole said.

If the results are repeatable it's a win-win for coffee drinkers and the environment.

Researchers believe that coffee treatments can be a cost-effective way to reforest degraded land. They may also work to reverse the effects of climate change by supporting the growth of forests across the globe.

The 2016 Paris Agreement made reforestation an important part of the fight against climate change. The agreement incentivizes developing countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest conservation and sustainable management, and enhance forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

"We hope our study is a jumping off point for other researchers and industries to take a look at how they might make their production more efficient by creating links to the global restoration movement," Dr. Cole said.


This article originally appeared on 03.29.21

America's Got Talent/Youtube

This kid's going places.

Watching musically gifted children never gets old. Whether you credit it to being born under a lucky star, or a simple case of good genetics, it does at least feel like something of a miracle.

That was certainly the feeling evoked when shy 9-year-old Journeyy Belton stepped onto the stage for “America's Got Talent” on July 23, 2024, and blew audiences away with his powerful original song “Paradise.”

Showing off not just an incredibly soulful voice that belied his age, Journeyy also shared his exceptional songwriting skills as he brought to life an imaginary dream world filled with “purple clouds” and “automatic lullabies.”

Listen below and tell me this kid doesn’t remind you of Sia:

9-Year-Old Journeyy Sings Original Song, "Paradise" | Auditions | AGT 2024www.youtube.com

The incredible performance wowed the judges, the live audience and online viewers alike, many of whom hailed the kid a young “musical genius.”

“I have never felt so unskilled,” one person joked. “This child has so much talent! I can’t wait to see them grow their music.”

Another praised, “His ability to hear and create melodies, the sophisticated lyric writing, the piano skills, and his incredible voice tell me he will 100% be a star selling out stadiums!”

A fun surprise—Simon Cowell revealed moments before Journeyy’s audition that he had heard him perform before on TikTok only a few days ago. His account is full of amazing covers, like Oceans by Hillsong United, which has racked up tons of views and glowing praise.

“Things are gonna happen for you. I can feel it,” Cowell told Journeyy. “You are somebody who has a God-given talent. And it’s rare.”

That certainly seems to be the case, no matter how the competition goes. Whatever happens, Journeyy, you’ve got loyal fans rooting for you!

Family

Naming twins is an art. Here are some twin names people say are the best they've ever heard.

With twins, all the regular pressures of having a baby are doubled, including choosing a name.

Are you in favor of rhyming twin names? Or is it too cutesy?

Having twins means double the fun, and double the pressure. It’s a fairly known rule to name twins in a way that honors their unique bond, but that can lead to overly cutesy pairings that feel more appropriate for nursery rhyme characters than actual people. Plus, it’s equally important for the names to acknowledge each twin’s individuality. Again, these are people—not a matching set of dolls. Finding the twin baby name balance is easier said than done, for sure.

Luckily, there are several ways to do this. Names can be linked by style, sound or meaning, according to the baby name website Nameberry. For example, two names that share a classic style would be Elizabeth and Edward, whereas Ione and Lionel share a similar rhythm. And Frederica and Milo seem to share nothing in common, but both mean “peaceful.”

Over on the /NameNerds subreddit, one person asked folks to share their favorite twin name pairings, and the answers did not disappoint.


One person wrote “Honestly, for me it’s hard to beat the Rugrats combo of Phillip and Lillian (Phil and Lil) 💕”

A few parents who gave their twin’s names that didn’t inherently rhyme until nicknames got involved:

"It's the perfect way! Christmas cards can be signed cutely with matching names, but when they act out you can still use their full name without getting tripped up.😂"

"The parents of a good friend of mine did this: her name is Allison and her sister is Callie. Their names don’t match on the surface, but they were Alli and Callie at home."

“Alice and Celia, because they’re anagrams! Sound super different but have a not-so-obvious implicit connection.”

This incited an avalanche of other anagram ideas: Aidan and Nadia, Lucas and Claus, Liam and Mila, Noel and Leon, Ira and Ria, Amy and May, Ira and Ari, Cole and Cleo…even Alice, Celia, and Lacie for triplets.

Others remembered name pairs that managed to sound lovely together without going into cutesy territory.

twin names, twins, babies, baby namesThese matching bunny ears though. Photo credit: Canva

“I know twin toddler boys named Charlie and Archie and they go so well together,” one person commented.

Another wrote, “Tamia and Aziza. I love how they follow the same sound pattern with the syllable endings (-uh, -ee, -uh) without being obnoxiously matchy matchy.”

Still another said, “Lucy and Logan, fraternal girl/boy twins. I think the names sound so nice together, and definitely have the same 'vibe' and even though they have the same first letter they aren't too matchy-matchy.”

Other honorable mentions included: Colton and Calista, Caitlin and Carson, Amaya and Ameera, Alora and Luella, River and Rosie, and Eleanor and Elias.

One person cast a vote for shared style names, saying, “If I had twins, I would honestly just pick two different names that I like separately. I tend to like classic names, so I’d probably pick Daniel and Benjamin for boys. For girls my two favorites right now are Valerie and Tessa. I think Val and Tess would be cute together!”

Overall though, it seems that most folks were fans of names that focused on shared meaning over shared sound. Even better if there’s a literary or movie reference thrown in there.

twin names, twins, babies, baby namesMany adult twins regret that their names are so closely linked together. Photo credit: Canva

“My mom works in insurance, so I asked her. She’s seen a lot of unique ones, but the only twins she remembers are Gwenivere [sic] and Lancelot... bonus points... little brother was Merlin,” one person recalled.

Another shared, “If I had twin girls, I would name them Ada and Hedy for Ada Lovelace and Hedy Lamarr, both very early computer/tech pioneers. Not that I’m that into tech, I just thought it was a brilliant combination.”

Other great ones: Susan and Sharon (think the original “Parent Trap”), Clementine and Cara (types of oranges), Esme and Etienne (French descent), Luna and Stella (moon and stars), Dawn and Eve, plus various plant pairings like Lily and Fern, Heather and Holly, and Juniper and Laurel.

Perhaps the cleverest name pairing goes to “Aubrey and Zoe,” since…wait for it… “they’re A to Z.”

It’s easy to see how naming twins really is a cool opportunity for parents to get creative and intentional with their baby naming. It might be a challenge, sure, but the potential reward is having the most iconic set of twins ever. Totally worth it!

Education

Real estate broker breaks down why middle class millennials and Gen Z can't afford housing

"It's fine...we just have to stop getting our fancy coffees and we can afford it."

Real estate broker explains why Millennials can't buy houses

There's a housing crisis in America. It's not that there aren't houses available. Thousands of houses and apartments sit empty across the country, but the price for housing has reached levels that seem unsustainable for the middle class and those classified as working poor. Some might argue that middle class is now the working poor, though their yearly salary says they should be able to fair just fine.

Unfortunately, what used to be considered a decent salary for a middle class family to live comfortably is now barely enough to scrape by given the cost of housing. But some people from the boomer generation still struggle to understand why millennials and Gen Z can't afford housing.

Freddie Smith, a real estate broker, took to social media to explain why younger generations are struggling to purchase a home when their parents didn't. The real estate finance lesson was prompted when a baby boomer pointed out, "Don't forget we had 13% interest rates in the 80s."


A 13% interest rate seems like insanity upon first glance, but after Smith breaks it down, it doesn't look so bad. "I wish we had 13% interest rates if we had your home prices," the broker says before breaking things down.

Smith quickly starts speaking in numbers, revealing that in 1980 even with their yearly salary being only $22K with the 13% interest rate, their monthly payment only equaled to 26% of their monthly income. If millennials had the same circumstances, their median yearly salary would be $80k, their median price of a home $170K, and with a 13% interest rate the monthly payment would be $1,790–only 26% of their monthly income.

But that's not the reality that Millennials and Gen Z live in. While the median salary is $80k, the median price of a home is $419K, and while the interest rate in 2024 is 7%, with the housing price so high it would make the monthly payment 42% of their monthly income.

Smith wraps up the video saying, "And here's the kicker. Someone making $80K in most cases can't even qualify for this."


@fmsmith319 1980 vs 2024 home prices and interest rates
♬ original sound - Freddie Smith


That certainly put things in perspective for people. The video was flooded with comments from exhausted and frustrated millennials.

"Oh and the wives got to stay home and care for the kids now we pay another $1600 a month for daycare for us both to work," one person laments.

"Imagine if we had 140K homes with 13% rates. The gaslighting from them is WILD. I’d take 14% rates if the average home was only 140K," another says.

"It’s fine.. we just have to stop getting our fancy coffees and we can afford it," someone writes.

"We’re facing a 5K payment with 10% down on the average home. Same house cost 3K a month in rent. So we’re renting indefinitely at the moment," a commenter shares.

But this isn't just an issue in America. There were people outside of the U.S. sharing their astronomical cost of an average family home.

"Same here in Oslo, Norway. By dad bought his house for $22,500 in 1972. He’s selling it now for $1.75 million. And of course he says just this. 'You just have to spend less and work more.' Lol," someone shares.

"It’s worse in Australia. Average salary $80k average house price $1m," another writes.

While Smith doesn't offer a solution, his breakdown may help older generations understand why their children and grandchildren aren't buying homes. One can only hope housing prices go down or wages significantly increase so the middle class can afford a little more than their basic needs on top of being able to buy a home.

Joy

More than optimism: How to cultivate the world-changing power of hope

Optimism is a mindset. Hope is an action-oriented skill—and one that can be honed.

Hope is a skill.

Hope can be hard to find in tough times, and even when we catch a glimmer of hope, it can be hard to hold onto. And yet, the ability to remain hopeful in the face of hardship and adversity is an example of the human spirit we've seen displayed time and time again.

But what exactly is hope? How does hope differ from optimism, and how can we cultivate more of it in our lives?

Cynics may see hope as naive at best and as blind idealism at worst, but according to Thema Bryant, PhD, former president of the American Psychological Association, hope is really about staying open to the possibilities.

“Hope isn’t a denial of what is, but a belief that the current situation is not all that can be,” Bryant said, according to the APA. You can recognize something’s wrong, but also that it’s not the end of the story.”


People often think of hope and optimism as the same thing, but there are some key differences between them in the social psychology world. Optimism is a state of mind that sees the future through a positive lens and expects that it will be better than the present. Hope, on the other hand, is action-oriented. It involves having a goal for that positive future and making a concrete plan to move toward it.

“We often use the word ‘hope’ in place of wishing, like you hope it rains today or you hope someone’s well,” said Chan Hellman, PhD, a professor of psychology and founding director of University of Oklahoma's Hope Research Center. “But wishing is passive toward a goal, and hope is about taking action toward it.”

That sense of personal agency is the key difference between someone who is optimistic and someone who is hopeful, as the authors of the study, "Great expectations: A meta-analytic examination of optimism and hope," Gene M. Alarcon, Nathan A. Bowling and Steven Khazon wrote:

"Simply put, the optimistic person believes that somehow—either through luck, the actions of others, or one’s own actions—that his or her future will be successful and fulfilling. The hopeful person, on the other hand, believes specifically in his or her own capability for securing a successful and fulfilling future."

Both hope and optimism require a belief in a better future, but hope puts some of the power to make it happen into our own hands. And while hope and optimism are closely linked, they don't necessarily have to go together. As Arthur Brooks has pointed out, a person can be a hopeless optimist, believing in a better future but feeling helpless to do anything to create it, and a person can also be a hopeful pessimist who takes actions to improve things but still sees the future negatively.

Ideally, one would strive toward being an hopeful optimist. Why? Well, for one, both hope and optimism are good for our health, according to studies done on them. And secondly, hope is what motivates us to act. Without hope, we have a whole lot of people wishing for change but not actually doing anything about it.

But how do you become more hopeful if it doesn't come naturally? How do you hone hope?

An article on Psyche by Emily Esfahani Smith shared study findings on how to cultivate hope, which includes:

- Changing the story you tell yourself about adversity, remembering that hard times are temporary

- Focusing on the things you have control over, like your routines, habits and the way you treat other people

- Reframing obstacles as challenges to overcome rather than immovable limitations

- Looking to your past successes instead of your past failures

- Asking yourself what you hope for and then continuing to answer until you find an attainable goal

- Envisioning that goal and mapping out a plan to move towards it

Being hopeful about your own future may feel like a different beast than having hope in humanity's future, but we all have a role to play in creating a better world and hope is the driver strives to make it happen. As Augustine of Hippo allegedly said, "Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are." If we find ourselves angry at the way things are, we need to find the courage to act. The question of what actions to take may remain, but we need the belief and conviction to act that hope provides in order to figure it out.

Most importantly to remember is that hope is a choice. It may not come naturally or easily to everyone, but hope is something we can choose to nurture in ourselves as well as encourage in others.