The narrowing of the conservative mind. Plus, the best of the web this week.

How the Republican Party forgot its roots. The dark side of Thomas Jefferson. A Chinese innovator who builds skyscrapers like Legos. Why you should get ready for driverless cars. And more! Enjoy.


Politics and World Affairs

The Conservative Mind / David Brooks / The New York Times

Good piece on how the Republican Party has allowed economic conservatism to overpower traditional conservatism, and in doing so, "has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition."




Imagination Interface / Scott Adams / The Scott Adams Blog

A very interesting take on how "economies are driven by imagination" and how great leaders are skilled at inspiring/manipulating expectations for the future.




The Lie Factory / Jill Lepore / The New Yorker

The amazing story of the world's first political consulting firm, which invented and perfected in the 1930s many of the dirty tricks and deceptions that continue to win elections today. (via Stephen)




My Name Is Joe Biden And I'll Be Your Server / Bill Barol / The New Yorker

Very funny: "If [my mom] was here you know what she'd say? ... She'd say, 'Joey, I hope your friends saved some room for dessert, because the Molten Chocolate Explosion Cake with Burnt-Caramel Gelato is outta this world, Joey. It is literally out of this world.'"




Arts and Culture

Who Wants To Eat Jellyfish Omelets? Dolphin Meatballs? Mouse-On-Toast? These Guys / Aaron Birk and Robert Krulwich / NPR

A look at two of history's most adventurous eaters, and the extraordinary lengths they went to in the name of culinary experimentation.




The Dark Side Of Thomas Jefferson / Henry Wiencek / Smithsonian

Excellent piece on how a simple financial calculation helped persuade the man who gave us the phrase "all men are created equal" to reverse his antislavery position.




The Surprisingly Colorful Spaces Where The World's Biggest Decisions Get Made / T.A. Frail / Smithsonian

A slideshow featuring the interiors of several interesting organizations, from the French Communist Party (which, let's be honest, is probably not making the world's biggest decisions) to the New School to the United Nations.




Know Your States / Jim's Pages

Test your knowledge of American geography in this fun and deceptively simple game.




Business and Economics

Meet The Man Who Built A 30-Story Building In 15 Days / Lauren Hilgers / Wired


Engaging profile of Zhang Yue, the ambitious businessman who has developed a way to build skyscrapers quickly and cheaply ... and now plans "to erect the world's tallest building in just seven months."




How Do They Make Their Money? / Seer Interactive

Clear visualization of the business models of dozens of different tech firms.




How Families Spend In Brazil, Russia, China, Egpyt, India, Turkey, Indonesia, And Saudi Arabia / Derek Thompson / Quartz

Charts show stark differences in how family budgets differ in a wide range of countries around the world.




A Trans-Atlantic Trip Turns Kafkaesque / Gary Shteyngart / The New York Times

"You, American Airlines, should no longer be flying across the Atlantic."




Science and Technology

Who's Behind The Wheel? Nobody. / Dan Neil / The Wall Street Journal

The Journal's automotive critic on why driverless cars are inevitable, and why that's a good thing. The opening paragraphs are very well done.




Glass Works: How Corning Created The Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Material Of The Future / Bryan Gardiner / Wired

Fascinating story of how Corning invented Gorilla Glass — featuring a cameo from Steve Jobs — and on how it approaches innovation more broadly.




Seven Ways Mobile Phones Have Changed Lives In Africa / Tolu Ogunlesi / CNN

Useful perspective on how quickly things are changing and improving. (via Lauren)




Explore The Ocean With Google Maps / YouTube

Apparently, organizing the world's information includes underwater information.




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Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."