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For Lent, the Pope is asking Catholics to stop being mean to each other on social media

Being nice to each other on social media doesn't just feel novel, it might literally be holy. During his Ash Wednesday remarks, Pope Francis suggested that his devout followers take a break from trolling people on social media:

"We live in an atmosphere polluted by too much verbal violence, too many offensive and harmful words, which are amplified by the internet," he said. "Today, people insult each other as if they were saying 'Good day.'"



Photo by Nacho Arteaga on


Here at Upworthy, finding ways to unite and build each other up instead of tearing each other down is at the very core of our mission. Social media has created an incredibly powerful tool for self-policing that would otherwise allow so many injustices to slip through the cracks. Massive cultural milestones like the #MeToo movement literally wouldn't have happened without social media helping to power the voices of women speaking out and providing them with a forum to safely do so.

But we've also seen how the same social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook can be used to tear down the innocent or even "cancel" someone who has made mistakes but expressed a willingness to learn, apologize, and do better. Striking the right balance between righteous anger and self-righteous behavior could literally decide the next four years of our government heading into the 2020 Election season.

And we're delighted that Pope Francis seems to really get it.

Of course, Pope Francis also suggested Catholics consider giving up their TVs and phones for Lent, saying: "Lent is the right time to make room for the Word of God. It is the time to turn off the television and open the Bible. It is the time to disconnect from your cell phone and connect to the Gospel."

We're not experts on the holy word, but that might just be a bridge too far!

The best part is you don't have to be religious at all to practice a little civil discourse. Sometimes, the most powerful decision is to say nothing at all rather than add to a toxic discourse. According to Reuters, the Pope's words were "partially improvised" but they feel scripted in the best sense of the word; a guidebook for what to say, what not to say and how to navigate between the two in moments of doubt or confusion.

Speaking of Lent, Pope Francis described this moment as "a time to give up useless words, gossip, rumors, tittle-tattle and speak to God on a first-name basis."

The Pope hasn't mentioned his call for a more civil social media on social media itself. But his Ash Wednesday tweets were filled with a typically civic-minded approach to his faith that has won Francis accolades from people across faiths and those who practice no faith at all.

And for those who don't have a religious affiliation, instead of speaking to God on a first-name basis, perhaps we can start with speaking to our digital neighbors in the way in which we'd like to be spoken to.

It's OK to have disagreements. In fact, civil debates are part of the cornerstone of any healthy democracy. But dialing back the invective — going high when they go low might just be the missing part of the whole conversation.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

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Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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