The oil and gas industry helped develop a camera that can show you things they insist aren't there.

It's what you can't see that you should worry about.

The gas industry helped to develop a magic camera to find leaks in their pipelines.

It makes invisible Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) visible.

Some concerned citizens in Colorado got one of these cameras.


They pointed it at a fracking operation that was right near a high school.

This is what they saw:

That big black cloud is made of VOCs rising off the gas works and spreading out over a neighborhood.

Wait, what are VOCs?

It's a group of chemicals, including acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, and others. They're in everyday household products, in small amounts. They're what makes that "new car smell" and what makes you get high off glue.


He's well acquainted with VOCs.

What's wrong with VOCs?

A lot, it turns out. Exposure can cause nosebleeds, headaches, nausea, asthma attacks, and dizziness. Long-term exposure to some VOCs causes cancer in humans.


Gas operations all have relief valves so that gas can escape if the pressure gets too high. It keeps things from exploding. It's for safety. But what's coming out of those valves? Not just methane, but lots of nasty VOCs too.

Tens of millions of Americans live close to this kind of activity.

Anywhere that oil and gas extraction is happening near homes, kids are being exposed to VOCs. Researchers have found increased infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and infant deaths in areas with lots of fracking activity.

Seriously, why would anyone let this kind of thing happen in their community?

It's not as simple as you think.

Fracking is generating jobs. They're coming to areas where people have lived in poverty for generation after generation. Maybe the jobs won't last, and maybe they're not very safe, but they are jobs.

Ask me how I know. I grew up in an area like that. I know people who spent their lives barely making it — and whose parents and grandparents were strangers to luxury — and now they are pulling down six figures.

So when I hear, "If you're against it, you're against jobs. If you're for it, you're against children," I honestly understand what makes that a hard question.

But even hard questions have a right answer.

Is your community thinking about opening its doors to fracking? Check out this video for some images that might make that decision crystal clear.

Heroes

They say that kids say the darnedest things, and seriously, they do. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time with young children knows that sometimes the things they say can blow your mind.

Since teachers spend more time around little kids than anyone else, they are particularly privy to their profound and hilarious thoughts. That's why NYC kindergarten teacher Alyssa Cowit started collecting kid quotes from teachers around the country and sharing them on her Instagram account, Live from Snack Time, as well as her websiteand other social media channels.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Veve Bee

It's incredible how many myths about the female body persist, despite all of us living in the information age. Young and old, educated or not, we're all susceptible to misinformation — especially when the same false info gets shared widely without question or correction.

Exhibit A: The female hymen.

Rapper T.I. made headlines recently with his horrific description of accompanying his 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist to have her hymen checked. According to him and countless others like him, the hymen is a sign of virginity — a gateway of sorts that indicates whether or not a woman has had sex (or otherwise been vaginally penetrated). Popular belief has it that the hymen is a thin layer of tissue in the vagina that "breaks" the first time a woman has sex, so an "intact" hymen is proof of virginity.

The problem is that's a bunch of anatomically incorrect hogwash.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular