An artist built seesaws into the US-Mexico border and invited kids to play on them

James Baldwin said, "The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers."

What an apt description of a new art installation at the southern border.

A set of bright pink teeter-totters extend into both the U.S. and Mexico through the barrier between the two countries. Children and adults on both sides of the border can play together, seesawing up and down, their view of one another partially obscured by the vertical steel slats that separate them.



RELATED: Over two dozen scientists have proposed a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that we should start building right now

Ronald Rael, professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, associate professor of design at San José State University, came up with the conceptual drawings for the "Teetertotter Wall" in 2009. With the help of others, the two professors created the scene this week near El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and shared images and video of it on Instagram.

"The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S.-Mexico relations," Real wrote on Instagram, "and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side."

Raell said the event was "filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness."

The images are beautiful and uplifting, yet heartbreaking and tragic at the same time.

The current administration's answers to immigration questions are to build a bigger wall, to severely limit people's claim to asylum, to stoke the fires of fear and prejudice about immigrants from certain ethnicities, and to deter migration with inhumane detention practices.

RELATED: An actual engineer explains why the wall is 'a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen'

This art installation brings to the surface the deep questions those answers hide.

What is the difference between the children on this side of the wall and the children on the other side?

Does the geography of our birth really determine whether or not we deserve safety and freedom?

How do children playing together—as they do universally—become adults who make desperate journeys, adults who create unjust policies, adults who forget their humanity and steal people's babies from their arms?

Will history view this wall as it does most other walls built throughout history—as relics of a less evolved past when humans insisted on dividing themselves into artificial groups and factions?

Turning the much-debated border wall into a playground, even temporarily, reminds us of the axiom that children are children are children. It reminds us that no matter how complex we think immigration issues are, we cannot ignore the simple truth that we are all human beings.


NASA

When we look at our planet from space, we see no borders. That doesn't mean that borders don't or should never exist in any way, but it does mean that those separations are completely man-made and malleable. Here on the ground, it's easy to forget that. It's easy to start thinking of "us" and "them" as if those lines on a map are of greater importance than our shared humanity.

Watching innocent children play is a good reminder that nothing trumps the fact that we are all human beings, all deserving of the same basic human rights, regardless of what side of a border we come from.

Culture
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

It seems like a simple system to teach kids what's good for them and what's not, but it regulates kids' diets in an unhealthy way. Gaining weight is a normal, healthy part of child development. Putting on a few pounds means your body is doing what it's supposed to do. While the app classifies foods with too much fat or calories as "red," children need to consume some of these foods to develop their brain.

WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

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Well Being
via Ostdrossel / Instagram

Lisa is a lifelong bird enthusiast who goes by the name Ostdrossel on social media. A few years ago, the Germany native moved to Michigan and was fascinated by the new birds she encountered.

Upon arriving in the winter, she fell in love with the goldfinches, cardinals, and Blue Jays. Then in the spring, she was taken by the hummingbirds.

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Nature
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

RELATED: This service dog and veteran are raising awareness for PTSD in inspiring ways

"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity