+

UPDATE 10/3/2016: On Oct. 2, 2016, the Colombian peace deal was narrowly struck down by voters, leaving Colombians in shock. Both sides have vowed not to go back to fighting, however, meaning an era of peace is still expected.

As of September 2016, there are no more wars in the Western Hemisphere.

Yep, that's what I said. Read it again if you need to. The entire Western Hemisphere — also known as 50% of the planet — does not have a single war zone.


That's the Western Hemisphere on the left. The whole left. Photo via CIA World Factbook/Wikimedia Commons.

So that's cool.

When the president of Colombia and rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri brokered a peace deal on Sept. 26, 2016, the only war happening west of the prime meridian came to an end.

For decades, Colombia has been engaged in a civil war. Not one war exactly — but a rotating series of insurgency groups and guerrilla movements that have taken arms against the Colombian government for over 50 years.

The last of those groups, called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, signed a peace deal with President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The agreement will need to be ratified by voters, but the vote is expected to pass easily.

Both men wore white and shook hands as the Colombian crowd chanted, "Long live Colombia! Long live peace!"

Photo by Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images.

A simple handshake ushered in a new wave of peace for Colombia, and an unprecedented era of peace for (one half of) the world.

No matter how cynical you are, half the planet being war-free is a pretty inspiring milestone — though, of course, there are some caveats.

For one, lack of officially declared wars doesn't mean complete peace. Colombia and Mexico still suffer from drug violence.  In fact, after a three-year decline, homicides tied to organized crime in Mexico have been sharply increasing.

There's ongoing political unrest in Venezuela that, just recently, sent 30,000 protestors marching into the streets.

Government protestors running from the Venezuelan National Guard in 2014. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Here in America, we've officially ended our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but still have a military presence in the Middle East. In fact it was just announced that more U.S. troops would be headed to Iraq in the continuing fight to stop ISIS. We've also faced too many mass shootings, police killings, and domestic acts of terror recently to even keep track of.

Photo by Laura Buckman/AFP/Getty Images.

The world is far from being free of problems and conflict, but things don't change overnight. It took decades for Colombia to find a peaceful solution to their conflict, and it was no small accomplishment when they did.

News like this is a reminder that the problems of the world can come to peaceful resolutions — that step by step, handshake by handshake ... we can make the world better and safer.

It's just in time too. Because you've probably been hearing a lot of this lately...

Whether the culprit is ISIS, guns, terror, hackers, nuclear China, or "the cyber," it sure can seem like the whole world is one small step away from becoming a dangerous back alley filled with machete-wielding murderers who want to steal our jobs.

In reality, things are looking up: global poverty is down, world hunger is down, and life expectancy is up.

Whatever metric you want to use, things are looking pretty good for humanity.

Achieving "world peace" has always seemed like a bumper sticker slogan or a pipe dream, but ... that's always been kind of the point.

Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images.

Maybe we'll achieve that seemingly impossible goal one day, maybe we won't. I don't know if, in our lifetimes, we'll wake up one morning and find out that every war in the world has ended.

All I know is we woke up one morning in September 2016, and we were already halfway there.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
Keep ReadingShow less