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Pop Culture

Rural residents share things that people who've always lived in cities won't understand

Humans share so much in common, but our daily lives can be drastically different.

horse behind a fence on a farm

Country life has its own unique quirks.

If you were to travel around the U.S., you'd see probably note some cultural differences between various regions, from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the South to the Midwest. But what really gives Americans different experiences and perspectives is rural life vs. city life.

Americans have a huge expanse of land we call home, some of which is made up of densely populated cities with intertwining highways and some of which is vast farmland dotted with small towns. Rural and city folks share the most important things in common, of course—the desire to live in peace, the ability to take care of our families, the need for a community we can count on, the appreciation of beauty and nature—but our daily lives can look totally different from one another in sometimes dramatic ways.


Someone on Reddit asked, "Rural folks, what are the things city folks won't understand?" and the answers are a fascinating peek into life in the country for people who have lived their whole lives in cities. Here are some of the most popular responses:

There may not be traffic, but there are tractors

"Legitimately being late for school or appointments due to being stuck behind a tractor."Bimblelina

"I would always leave my house super early when it was planting season and harvest season."Sadimal

"We drove our tractors to high school one day per year to celebrate the agriculture that was all around us, wild times."TwinTowwa69

"When I was dating my now wife, we were long distance. I grew up in the middle of nowhere Missouri and has several farms around where I lived. One time I was talking to my then girlfriend on the phone and told her 'Ah crap, I'm stuck behind a tractor. Gonna be a long drive.'

She was silent for a moment before saying '....a tractor? What?' Then it occurred to me that her having grown up in a suburb of Atlanta, had never experienced such a thing."paddjo95

Personal wars with the wildlife

"You or someone you know has a personal vendetta against a wild animal in the area."NFL_MVP_Kevin_White

"I've never seen my father be more creative than when he's plotting against a racoon that has wronged him." reinvent___

"Oh my gosh yes. My dad's at war with a woodpecker. He’s even printed out an info pamphlet on woodpeckers and wrote in big letters “know thy enemy”. The amount of whirligigs and nets around the house is insane."jbird8806

"My uncle was in a war of attrition against beavers for literal decades." KMM2404

"Two of my neighbors have a shoot on sight policy for groundhogs. The one who is the most mild mannered was riding down the road on his side by side, and I see him slam the breaks, do a turnabout in a driveway, then heard a gunshot, then he sped off. Saw the groundhog the next morning. The other one, every time I hear a gunshot I wonder 'snake or groundhog?'"TacticoolPeter

So many random cows

"I own a house that sits smack in the middle of three cattle farms. The other night, I took my dog out to pee well after dark. There was a weird noise, and a pair of glowing eyes at the end of my driveway. It was, of course, a cow. I called my neighbor to the North. He drove his UTV down, inspected the cow, didn't recognize it, and called my neighbor to the south. He sent his teenage son over in a car with no catalytic converter/muffler. He also didn't recognize the cow. Finally, my neighbor from the West was summoned on his ATV. It was his cow. The rest of us stood there drinking beer and watching the Western neighbor drive his cow home with an ATV. Good times."EarhornJones

"My neighbor keeps her horses on our farm because we have some pastures already fenced in and the horses keep the grass level. One of the horses, Rose, loves to get out of the pasture and mosey around the farm — more than once she’s walked up to the house and bumped her nose against the window where I’m working inside to say hello. So of course I have to pop outside and pet her and then walk her back. 🤷🏼♀️ She’s a darling.

Neighbor also has a cow named Star who likes to come up and visit her equine sisters. A bit later, when my neighbor realizes the cow’s missing, I’ll see her trudging up the lane with a lead and then the cow meekly following behind her." Elphaba78

"Our cows got out last year for two days and I swear every old man for five miles was stoked to watch for them and help put them back. Word spread like wildfire they were out. Old men were texting on a group text and mounting their atvs and calling my husband. “I seen them on Troy’s place!” It was super helpful and entertaining."farmchic5038

So many random vegetables

"Leaving your car windows closed at church in the summer so you don't come back out to a car full of zucchini"Armyjeepguy

"There’s no escaping the zucchini. It will be left on the hood, or the roof, or the gardener will straight up accost you after mass and shove a bag of it in to your arms, or trick your children into bringing bags of it out to the car."MrsMeredith

"I'm from western Iowa. Instead of zucchini, it's always sweet corn."ProfessorRoyHinkley

"This is exactly the example I use to explain to people the difference between the city and the country. If you live in the country the only reason you lock your doors to your car is the people don’t put vegetables in it. No one believes it’s not a joke."Overall_Midnight_



There's no such thing as a quick run to the grocery store

"You need to carefully plan out your shopping needs because that trip to Walmart or Home Depot might be a two hour round trip." lockednchaste

"Moving rural taught me how to cook. I had to build up a well stocked pantry and freezer because the grocery store was an hour away. I had to learn how to plan meals because you needed to know what to thaw out. I learned so many substitutions because sometimes you just didn't make it to town and the milk, eggs, butter or what have you ran out. All that also got me more comfortable just throwing skillet dinners together because sometimes there just isn't time for recipes, but I knew what worked well together.

Also, canned and frozen foods. Fresh produce is only good for the first few days after grocery day." HplsslyDvtd2Sm1NtU

"I was on the phone with someone one day and realized I forgot milk at the store. They were utterly flabbergasted that i said it was going to have to wait until a few days later to go get because I was not going to do an hour minimum of driving total just to get one item." HobbyHoarder_

Pigs are much scarier than you'd think

"Full-grown pigs are massive, and terrifying. And they can and will eat someone if ever they get the opportunity."Heroic-Forger

"I'm reminded of my time at the University of Iowa. A fellow I knew, grad student age, but he wasn't actively attending, walked with a cane because of a gimpy leg. He'd broke it when he was a child, but he'd tell anyone who asked that he was mauled by a sow. He said the city people would just laugh it off as a joke. The country people would look at him in horror and say, 'And you're still alive?!?!'" – DrHugh

"Having to explain to my kid why everyone was so scared when Dorothy fell into the pig pen in Wizard of Oz was surreal. I can't even remember when a healthy fear of swine was instilled into me."tikierapokemon

"I've worked with wolves, literally had some of them lick my face. I was significantly more uncomfortable being in a pen with a large pig."Learningstuff247

Talking about the weather isn't just trivial small talk

"Weather changes your life. I've sat on the porch with my parents watching hail destroy our wheat crop days before it was due for harvest. There's nothing you can do. You just watch. I've also stood in a circle with my parents and older brother in the yard while we prayed for rain. For farmers, weather is destiny." Cranialscrewtop

"I took an English lit class in college and we read journal of a woman in the 1860s. Several people were really turned off by how much she wrote about the weather. As the only farm kid in the class I tried to explain to them how much of your life is dictated by the weather. Most of them just stared at me like I was nuts."msjammies73

"I'm not a farmer, I am from Nebraska. My relatives who live in a city in another state their whole lives don't understand why people here talk about the weather so much. It determines the local economy in a lot of ways."bubbajones5963

The sweet sound of snowy silence

"Standing on my back porch in winter and there is absolute dead silence." vankirk

"The absolute quiet during a heavy snow fall. I went out during one once to take pictures. Got some great shots but the experience of being the only one around is the closest I’ll get to being a pioneer and being the first to see something."naughtarneau

"I miss dead silence at night. I grew up with it in a small town, but since college I’ve lived in places with actual civilization. But whenever I’ve brought friends back to my town for a weekend, they’re freaked out by the nighttime silence." Petules

"Silent and DARK. I've lived in huge cities, suburbs, and back-end-of nowhere unincorporated areas. How dark it gets at night just amazed me in the rural areas."Nearby_Reality_5412

"It’s so beautiful. My favorite thing every year is to go for a jog during the first snowfall. No sound but your feet, your breath, and that soft sound of millions of snowflakes landing at once. It’s a bit of peace you just can’t get anywhere outside of a cave."xdrakennx


The Reddit thread has more responses, from not flushing the toilet during a power outage to why having multiple guns doesn't make you a gun nut, that are interesting reads about rural life. And of course, a reverse list could easily be made by city folks for people who have always lived in the country. The better we understand one another's basic daily experiences, the better we're able to see through one another's eyes and understand one another's perspectives.

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

via Eltpics / Twitter

Mapping out the structure of the inner ear.

There are no two human beings who are exactly alike. One of the funny quirks of evolution is that some of us can do things with our bodies we think are routine, but are impossible for others.

Some people can wiggle their ears, others can't. Some can wiggle their nose like Samantha from "Bewitched" while others just look really silly when making an attempt.

Not everyone can lick their elbow but most wouldn't attempt to do so in public.


A Twitter user named Massimo dropped some knowledge about a skill that not everyone has and even fewer discuss: ear rumbling.

Those of us who can do it know exactly what it is, while it's a mystery to those who cannot.

People who can ear rumble have the ability to control the tensor tympani, a muscle within the ear. Contracting the muscle creates a rushing, rumbling sound that, if flexed enough, can drown out a significant amount of noise.

This can be useful when someone is saying something that you don't want to hear but don't want to be rude and cover your ears. It can come in real handy if someone is about to spoil your favorite TV show or if you live with someone who can't stop nagging.

Some people cannot voluntarily create the rumbling sound but hear it when they let out a large yawn.

There's a Reddit sub-forum just for ear rumblers with over 60,000 people. Here's how some of them get rumblin'.

"I just squeeze the muscle in my ears I guess," — melvinthefish

"When I flex and hold whatever I'm manipulating to do that, I get my rumble," — ttywzl

"I get a mild rumble just doing the usual flex, but i can make it a bit louder by bringing my top lip up to my nose," — Willmono7

"The best way I can describe it is I 'squint my ears,'" —SteeleIT

The muscle exists to mask-low frequency sounds so we can focus on those at a higher frequency. It also works to mute sounds we create ourselves such as eating potato chips or coughing. It's a way that helps us from becoming annoyed with our own bodies.

Unfortunately, the muscle has a rather slow reaction time so it cannot prevent us from hearing loud sudden noises like a gunshot or a book slamming on the ground.

Massimo's tweet caused quite a stir on the platform.

Although scientists have known about ear rumbling since at least the 1800s, there doesn't appear to have been too much research on the topic. We know that some can rumble and others cannot, but it's unclear how it breaks down percentage-wise or if it's more prevalent in certain groups.

The good news is that the word is starting to get out and people who've been rumbling all their lives suddenly don't feel so alone.


This article originally appeared on 03.05.20

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!

Health

8 nontraditional empathy cards that are unlike any you've ever seen. They're perfect!

Because sincerity and real talk are important during times of medical crisis.

True compassion.

When someone you know gets seriously ill, it's not always easy to come up with the right words to say or to find the right card to give.

Emily McDowell — a former ad agency creative director and the woman behind the Los Angeles-based greeting card and textile company Emily McDowell Studio — knew all too well what it was like to be on the receiving end of uncomfortable sentiments.

At the age of 24, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma. She went into remission after nine months of chemo and has remained cancer-free since, but she received her fair share of misplaced, but well-meaning, wishes before that.

On her webpage introducing the awesome cards you're about to see, she shared,

"The most difficult part of my illness wasn't losing my hair, or being erroneously called 'sir' by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo. It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn't know what to say or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it."

Her experience inspired Empathy Cards — not quite "get well soon" and not quite "sympathy," they were created so "the recipients of these cards [can] feel seen, understood, and loved."

Scroll down to read these sincere, from-the-heart, and incredibly realistic sentiments.


Emily McDowell Studio

Pretty great, right? If you know someone who's in the less-than-ideal position of dealing with a serious illness, you can purchase any of these eight cards to share with them.

Visit Emily McDowell Studio's shop to select the card(s) you need. They're $5.00 each.

(We're not being paid to share these, nor were we asked to do so. We came across the cards and I loved them, so I reached out to Emily McDowell Studio and asked if I could share them with you. Unfortunately, a lot of us know someone who could use a card like one of these.)


This article originally appeared on 05.06.15







mage from Everyday Feminism, used with permission by creator Alli Kirkham.

There are many different scenarios where consent is necessary.



In 2013, Zerlina Maxwell ignited a firestorm of controversy when she strongly recommended we stop telling women how to not get raped.

Here are her words, from the transcript of her appearance on Sean Hannity's show:

"I don't think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there with prevention."

So essentially — instead of teaching women how to avoid rape, let's raise boys specifically not to rape.


There was a lot of ire raised from that idea. Maxwell was on the receiving end of a deluge of online harassment and scary threats because of her ideas, which is sadly common for outspoken women on the Internet.

People assumed it meant she was labeling all boys as potential rapists or that every man has a rape-monster he carries inside him unless we quell it from the beginning.

But the truth is most of the rapes women experience are perpetrated by people they know and trust. So fully educating boys during their formative years about what constitutes consent and why it's important to practice explicitly asking for consent could potentially eradicate a large swath of acquaintance rape. It's not a condemnation on their character or gender, but an extra set of tools to help young men approach sex without damaging themselves or anyone else.

news, campaigns, young men, cultural norms

Zerlina Maxwell is interviewed on "Hannity."

Image from “Hannity."

But what does teaching boys about consent really look like in action?

Well, there's the viral letter I wrote to my teen titled "Son, It's Okay If You Don't Get Laid Tonight" explaining his responsibility in the matter. I wanted to show by example that Maxwell's words weren't about shaming or blaming boys who'd done nothing wrong yet, but about giving them a road map to navigate their sexual encounters ahead.

There are also rape prevention campaigns on many college campuses, aiming to reach young men right at the heart of where acquaintance rape is so prevalent. Many men are welcoming these efforts.

And then there are creative endeavors to find the right metaphors and combination of words to get people to shake off their acceptance of cultural norms and see rape culture clearly.


This is brilliant:

consent, rape prevention, community, consent culture

A comic about different types of consent.

Image from Everyday Feminism, used with permission by creator Alli Kirkham.

There you have it. Seven comparisons that anyone can use to show how simple and logical the idea of consent really is. Consent culture is on its way because more and more people are sharing these ideas and getting people to think critically. How can we not share an idea whose time has come?

This article originally appeared on 06.27.15