In a holiday season where we can't gather the way we normally would, pretty much any family-oriented Christmas commercial is bound to evoke some emotion. But a German ad company has succeeded in taking it to another level.

People are calling it the "world's best Christmas ad" and it has gone incredibly viral with more than 13 million views on YouTube alone—a bit of a surprise for a company few people outside of Northern Europe have ever heard of. But when you start with a mystery and lead viewers to a sweet conclusion that would make even the Grinchiest of hearts grow a few sizes, it's hard not to gain a wide audience.


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For many soldiers, the horrors of war do not go away when they come back home. Not even sleep can provide a safe haven from the unspeakable images that stain their thoughts. The Department of Veteran Affairs claims that 52% to 96% of those suffering from PTSD have nightmares, often several times a week, adding to the already daunting task of re-acclimating to civilian life.

In 2007, Patrick Skluzacek returned home after serving as a convoy commander for the United States Army in Fallujah. And the war came with him. As reported by NPR, when Patrick slept, his extremely realistic nightmares put him right back in Iraq. He tried to escape the night terrors with pills and vodka. As a result, his life started to spiral out of control. An emotional Patrick Skluzacek recalls to NPR, "[I] pretty much lost everything. My house, everything, my job, everything went." As Tyler witnessed the man who was once outgoing and fun, struggling to fend off horrific visions every time he closed his eyes, he knew he had to do something. Tyler wanted his father back.

While in his senior year at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, in 2015, Tyler headed to Washington, D.C. after hearing about a hackathon geared toward developing mobile apps to help with PTSD. Tyler's idea was to take the concept of service dogs waking someone up when they sense the unrest of a nightmare coming on and applying it to technology. He put together a team to help program an app for a Smartwatch that vibrates when it senses extreme motion or an elevated heartbeat. The challenge was to find the sweet spot of "just enough stimulus to pull them out of the deep REM cycle and allow the sleep to continue unaffected," Tyler recalls to NPR. Tyler returned from D.C. with the app ready to go. Patrick was not only the inspiration for Tyler's invention, he was also the test subject.


https://night-ware.com/

As with most trial runs, there are tweaks that need to be made. For example, knowing when the watch is reading a heart rate as opposed to an air hammer, as was the case when Patrick was in the other room doing some home improvement. Patrick remembers, "You thought I was having a heart attack because I had the watch on, and you thought my heart rate was 6,000 beats per minute," as the two of them chuckle. With Patrick wearing the watch around the clock, Tyler was able to perfect the app. "I was terrified. Watching someone's data 24/7, I feel like is a lot like having a baby. I don't have a baby. But you're suddenly very concerned at all hours."

As of last month, the app was approved by the FDA. A company called NightWare bought the rights to the app that works with Apple Watch.

Thanks to Tyler and Patrick Skluzacek, there is hope for those suffering from nightmares due to PTSD. Air hammers withstanding.

In an time when social media often feels like a cesspool of hot political takes, rampant misinformation, and insufferable narcissism, a glowing example of goodness truly stands out.

Enter Nick Cho, aka "Your Korean dad," whose wholesome TikTok videos are captivating people and capturing hearts, right when we need good things the most. Cho, whose day job is CEO and co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee, has been using his TikTok account to be a doting, supportive Korean dad to anyone who could use one. At first, it's like "Okay, maybe that's kind of cute," but the more you watch, the more endearing it becomes.

People have compared Cho to Mr. Rogers, which is just about the highest praise anyone can receive on this earth, but it's not hard to see after watching a handful of his videos. What could seem super schticky feels surprisingly sincere, as Cho offers fatherly advice and encouragement in ways that people might not even realize they need.

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Perhaps the worst part about 2020 isn't that it's thrown so much at us. It's that we've taken all the shit we've had to wade through and started flinging it at each other. The election. Racial justice. COVID. Literally small pieces of fabric for your face. And it's tearing us apart. A University of Nebraska-Lincoln survey of 800 Americans found that one in five had a friendship that was "damaged" because of a political argument.

The unfortunate thing about it all is that we have more in common than we think we do. We just suck at discussing it. According to More in Common, a group that works to address underlying drivers of polarization, Americans believe that more than half the country holds extreme views, but it's actually closer to 30%. The problem is that we've been misunderstanding each other, not that our views are wildly dissimilar.

While some people advocate just not talking to their peers with different views, the solution isn't to cut someone out of your life, or a refusal to engage with the someone of the opposite party. The solution is more conversation. But legit conversation, not the kind of "conversation" where two people just point out all the different ways the other person is wrong.

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