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Reading This List Put Me In The Best Mood I've Been In In 2 Days

It's Thanksgiving! Yeah, I know this holiday has some sketchy origins. That's for another post (and trust me, I'm with you). But since we're here, let's take a look at eight things that happened in 2014 to be grateful for.

8. The data's in, and it turns out the stuff that's being done to help alleviate global poverty and health problems IS WORKING! So let's double down!


7. We are closer and closer to the world being polio-free. In 2014, it was eradicated in India, and now there are only three countries left to quell it in.

6. Time magazine "let" us keep the word "feminism" (where's the sarcasm font when you need it?). And 11-year-old girls everywhere are sitting in little feminist incubators listening to Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, who both fully embraced the best F-word ever this year. Because let's be real: Feminism helps EVERYONE break free of the harmful rules of the patriarchy.

5. This was the year that science made a comeback in America in a big way. Neil DeGrasse Tyson unified everyone who wants to make decisions for our future and sustainability based on empirical evidence.

4. Speaking of sustainability, the United States and China reached a pretty important pact on how to not do ourselves in, Earthlings.

3. Some big retailers are getting the hint and hearing that shoppers aren't interested in making employees work on Thanksgiving. We give thanks to those like Costco and Nordstrom that refuse to be part of the problem. We give thanks for the workers who get to be home with their families and friends, and wish for everyone to be able to.

2. 15% of people who didn't qualify for state-sponsored health insurance now do, thanks to the 2014 rules for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. And all health insurance plans this year were required to step it up to provide a better standard of coverage. That's better health coverage and less uncertainty for everyone!

1. More dominoes keep falling in the victory for gay rights. State by state, same-sex marriage is becoming the law of the land. And if XKCD's predictions are right, we may achieve it in all 50 states lickety-split (though yesterday wouldn't be soon enough!).

I love thinking of all the things I'm happy about, don't you?

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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