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The heart-wrenching reason grandparents should see themselves on-screen.

Ageism is alive and well in Hollywood. Is it harming seniors' health?

The heart-wrenching reason grandparents should see themselves on-screen.

Could casting decisions in Hollywood be shortening our lifespans?

It may seem like a provocative thought, but it's not as far-fetched as you think.

When you look at the 25 films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars over the past three years, less than 12% of the characters in them were 60 years or older — with very few being women or minorities — according to a new study from Stacy L. Smith, director of the Media, Diversity, and Social Change initiative at the University of Southern California Annenberg.


What’s more, few of those characters played roles pivotal to the plot, and many were misrepresented or created with ageist stereotypes in mind, Smith found.

This is a problem with ramifications felt far outside Hollywood.

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Past studies suggest stereotypes about aging can have devastating effects on older people.

Research out of Australia's Charles Sturt University in 2015 found negative stereotyping about growing older — that it will bring about loneliness and frailty, for example — influences how older people see themselves and their peers. This, in turn, can effect a variety of other important factors relating to how a senior's life unfolds: how fast they recover from illness, their overall mental health and well-being — even how long they live.

Image via iStock.

When Hollywood does nothing to counter these stereotypes — and, in many cases, exacerbates the problem — it can cause harm off-screen.

"If I don't see myself in the movies, what does that say about me?" Yogi Hernandez Suarez told NPR. She's a chief medical officer at health insurance provider Humana, which funded the USC study. "Am I not a valued person? Should I be preparing for a future, or will I just sort of disappear at a certain time?"

Image iStock.

Media representation isn't just a matter of political correctness — it's a matter of bettering lives.

Thanks to the hard work of activists and increasingly discontented moviegoers, the 2017 Academy Awards on Feb. 26, 2017, are more racially diverse than they've been in years. Films like "Moonlight" and "Hidden Figures" — and the artists who brought those projects to life — have snagged much-deserved nods, bringing stories centered around the experiences of people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community into the mainstream. To audiences around the globe, that's made a difference.

In the same vein, it's crucial the stories we see on big and small screens include complex older characters living rich lives and adding value to the narratives which they're part of — not used as tropes or glorified extras.

After all, our grandparents are watching. They deserve better.

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Losing a beloved pet is one of the most painful experiences a person can have. Suffering the loss of their companionship is only compounded by the feeling of helplessness and worry over whether their friend is safe and happy.

If the animal is found and taken to shelter, it's obviously a relief, but it can cost a lot of money in redemption fees to get the animal back.

Some shelter charges can run as much as $300 if the owner refuses to have the animal spayed or neutered or if the dog has been picked up by the shelter multiple times. While others charge as little as $15 if the animal is picked up promptly.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

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