The 'Schoolhouse Rock' Parody That Is Equal Parts Painfully Accurate And Funny
I know it's never too early to learn about the government, but most middle school students are already too cynical for their own good.
You’re walking down the sidewalk, earbuds in, listening to your favorite hip-hop beats. As your head bobs to the sounds, the sun warms your back. It’s a perfect day.
When the chorus hits, the empty Sprite bottle in your hand becomes a drumstick, passing traffic becomes a sea of concertgoers, and the concrete beneath your feet is suddenly a stage. Spinning on your heels, you close out the song with your face to the sky and hands in the air.
Spotting a bright blue bin, you chuck in your imaginary drumstick. The sound that echoes back is satisfyingly cool, a deep, reverberating clunk so loud you can hear it over the music.
That is the sound of recycling.
Imagine how harmonious it would sound to mix the tones of millions of bottles going through the recycling process—the melody of all of us doing our part?
The Coca-Cola Company recognizes its responsibility to help address the world’s plastic packaging crisis. Several of the company’s most popular brands were historically made in green plastic bottles—however, when green plastic is recycled, it is usually turned into single-use items that do not get recycled again. To take one more step toward greater sustainability, Sprite, Fresca and Seagram’s are now being packaged in clear plastic bottles, increasing the likelihood of them being recycled over and over again—a process known as “closed loop recycling.”
Surprisingly enough, closed loop recycling and music have a lot in common. Music producers typically use a technique called sound sampling: the process of taking an old sound, chopping it up, and flipping it into a completely new beat. Just like the process of recycling, old can be new in sound sampling. An old sound is used in a new track, which is morphed again into a newer track, and so on. Beats being made today will be recycled by another creative in the future. Que Uptown Funk!
To celebrate the shift from green to clear, The Coca-Cola Company partnered with iconic, genre-defining/defying producers Mark Ronson and Madlib to create the world’s first album composed of the sounds of the plastic recycling process itself. The Recycled Records EP uses real ambient sounds sampled from various points in the closed-loop recycling chain at four different recycling facilities scattered across the United States. From the percussion of a forklift beeping, to the tonal beat of a conveyor belt, to the hi-hat of air blown into a plastic bottle, the EP brings to life the magic of multiple reuses.
“It sounds very crazy to say it, but anything can become a sample…any sound can be manipulated. The sound of opening a barrel of plastic has its own funk and flow to it,” said Ronson.
Not only did The Coca-Cola Company find a way to literally turn the sounds of recycling into music, thanks to the Recycled Records Beat Machine, you can be part of that process, too. Using the site, music enthusiasts are able to remix the very same recycled sound library used by Ronson and Madlib into innovative compositions of their own through an interactive, one-of-a-kind digitized version of an 808 beat machine. Generally, the biggest obstacle for many aspiring artists is accessing the proper musical technology, which is yet another reason why Recycled Records is so dang cool—this beat machine is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Innovation and creativity are the way of the future; tap into yours today by creating a Recycled Record of your very own. Maybe someday, other people will be dancing down the street listening to YOUR beats!
Best. Host. Ever.
Seeing the northern lights is a common bucket list adventure for many people. After all, it ticks a lot of boxes—being a dazzling light show, rich historical experience and scientific phenomenon all rolled into one. Plus there’s the uncertainty of it all, never quite knowing if you’ll witness a vivid streak of otherworldly colors dance across the sky…or simply see an oddly colored cloud. It’s nature’s slot machine, if you will.
Traveler and content creator Pency Lucero was willing to take that gamble. After thorough research, she stumbled upon an Airbnb in Rörbäck, Sweden with an actual picture of the northern lights shining above the cabin in the listing. With that kind of photo evidence, she felt good about her odds.
However, as soon as she landed, snow began falling so hard that the entire sky was “barely visible,” she told Upworthy. Martin, the Airbnb host, was nonetheless determined to do everything he could to ensure his guests got to see the spectacle, even offering to wake Lucero up in the middle of the night if he saw anything.
Then one night, the knock came.
In a video Lucero posted to TikTok, which now has over 12 million views, we hear Martin ushering her out to take a peek. Then we see Lucero’s face light up just before seeing the sky do the same.
“I thought it was a prank,” the onscreen text reads in the clip. “And then I see it….”
@penslucero Replying to @PatriotFamilyHomes ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version - Andy Morris
“I was mostly in awe of what this Earth is capable of,” Lucero recalled. “I never expected it to be THAT beautiful for the naked eye.” This is a hopeful sentiment against the widely accepted notion that the northern lights are often better looking in photos than they are in real life.
As Lucero asserted in a follow-up video, “Our video doesn’t do it justice at all…I would argue it’s even better for the naked eye.”
Others were quick to back Lucero with anecdotes of their own experience.
“It’s definitely possible to see it like in the pics. I saw it this winter in Norway, there was bright green, purple and so much movement.”
“They’re so much better in person, the way they dance and move around is insane and beautiful.”
Of course, if you ask Martin, who everyone agreed was the best host ever, seeing guest reactions of pure wonder and joy is even “better than the lights themselves.” But still, he can’t deny that there’s a breathtaking magic to it all. He shared with Upworthy that “Sometimes it feels like it will pull you up in the sky like you are in the middle of it. I wish everyone would have the chance to witness it.”
A photo from Martin's Airbnb listing
When it comes to tips for actually seeing the northern lights, Martin admits it still mostly comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Luckily, his Airbnb listing can help with that.
Nature has a great way of reminding us that beyond the distractions and distresses of modern life, there is sublime beauty waiting for the chance to capture our hearts.
Even while struggling through her own grief, she was able to provide guidance to parents.
On March 27, the Covenant School, a private elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, experienced a school shooting where three 9-year-old children and three staff members lost their lives. The news of the event took over the airwaves as more details were released.
But for one reporter covering the shooting live, the event hit close to home in more than one way. Joylyn Bukovac, a local reporter for WSMV 4, was reporting live from the scene at the Covenant School when she revealed that she was a survivor of a school shooting herself. Bukovac explained that when she was in the eighth grade, someone opened fire at her school.
"About 380 school shootings have happened since Columbine, my middle school being one of them, this school being one of them," she said. "Some people have been reaching out to me saying, 'Enough's enough. When is all of this gun violence going to change?'"
Getting the phone call that there's an active shooter at your child's school is a parent's worst nightmare, and it seems that nightmare is becoming all too real for more parents. Sadly, gun violence has surpassed all other causes of death for children in America, even beating out car crashes.
With this reporter's personal account, it's clear that mass shootings have been a problem for a long time. In recalling her experience, Bukovac offered some advice to parents who were receiving the phone call that their child's school was the newest target.
"A lot of this is really bringing up a lot of tough memories for me that I'm going through," Bukovac revealed. "And my biggest advice for all the families here, if your student witnessed the unthinkable today, just be very gentle with them and let them talk when they're ready because the shock that they're going to be feeling coming home is going to be unfathomable."
Bukovac went on to describe her own experience of being in the hallway at her middle school when a gunman opened fire, which took her two years to feel comfortable enough to open up and talk with others about. She reminded parents that everyone copes with the trauma in their own way and not to try to force their children to discuss the events.
\u201cIn a remarkable live hit, this local reporter covering the horrific school shooting in Nashville shared her own experience of surviving a school shooting when she was in middle school. I didn't catch her name.\u201d— Reem Akkad (@Reem Akkad) 1679941457
During her time on the scene, Bukovac voiced the concerns she was hearing from parents about the number of school shootings and the desire for something to be done. Bukovac said she was able to put herself in the shoes of the students from her experience and the parents because she has a small child.
It's amazing that Bukovac was able to not only report on a school shooting but that she was cognizant enough to offer words of support and advice to parents. The reporter ended her segment by telling parents that she would be available through email if anyone needed a listening ear.
Great info, even better delivery.
Amazon delivery drivers don’t have the easiest job in the world. Sitting through traffic, working in extreme temperatures, hauling boxes … not exactly a fun time. So when a driver goes out of their way to be extra considerate—people notice.
One delivery driver has gone viral for the way she delivered a little bit of safety education, along with some lighthearted advice. The TikTok video of the encounter, which now has more than 4 million views, was shared by Jessica Huseman, who had only recently moved into her new house.
The clip shows the doorbell cam recording of the driver approaching the house. As the delivery driver makes it to the front door, she sings, ”Hello … I hope your Monday’s going well. You have no markers on your house that says what number you are.”
From there, the driver’s song quickly changes tune, going from funny jest to helpful PSA.
“And that is hard to find your house my dude, and it’s unsafe, honestly,” the driver continues, adding, “what if you needed medical assistance and the paramedics didn’t know your town well? Come on.”
@_jesshopehuse We just moved in and this happened today…she’s not wrong though. Guess I need to get some house numbers. #amazondelivery♬ original sound - Jessica Huseman
“Have a great day!” she says happily before walking off.Huseman added the caption: “We just moved in and this happened today... she’s not wrong though. Guess I need to get some house numbers.”
The driver’s observation was clearly on point. Several medical pros commented to back her up.
“As someone who works in EMS I can verify house numbers are necessary! BUT ALSO MAKE SURE THEY ARE EASILY VISIBLE FROM THE STREET AT NIGHT,” wrote one person.
Another replied, ”yes! Medic here, we’ve had to call dispatch and ask for them to get [the] caller back on the phone and get [the] description of [the] house because there [are] no numbers.”
Besides her information being vital, people were mostly in love with the driver’s friendly attitude. Here are just a few of the compliments:
“Honestly, give them a raise. That’s awesome vibes right there.”
“She’s a whole friken mood, I love her she gives me pink vibes.”
“I need to meet this Amazon driver!!!! I love her!!”
The delivery driver (named Kelsey) eventually saw her viral video and decided to do a follow-up, where she added other unsafe things she’s seen on the job—primarily unclear entrances and exits—along with an additional sweet message:
@queenofconsent#stitch with @_jesshopehuse ♬ original sound - The Queen K
“Crisis management and prevention education is essential and literally a part of my soul. So anytime I do go out and deliver packages … if I see something, I say something. Cause that’s how bystander intervention works. But keeping in mind that it’s more than that. It is about reminding each other that we are enough, and being there for one another.”
Whether it’s packages or something to smile about, Kelsey is a master of delivery.
This article first appeared on 6.15.22.
Though it looks medieval, it was built in the 19th century by an eccentric "fairy tale king" who spent much of his life constructing his own elaborate fantasy world.
Even if you haven't heard of Neuschwanstein Castle, there's a good chance you've at least seen pictures of it. Set atop a tree-covered rock ledge in the Bavarian Alps, the picturesque castle looks like it was conjured straight out of a fairy tale. In fact, it served as inspiration for Disney Imagineers as they designed "Sleeping Beauty's Castle" in Disneyland, and it's regularly named the top castle to visit in Germany.
There are estimated to be around 25,000 castles in Germany, but Neuschwanstein is unique among them. Most notably, it's not a real castle and never was. While it bears the look and feel of a well-preserved medieval castle, it was actually built in the 19th century, and rather than serving as a fortress, it served as the fantasy castle of an eccentric king obsessed with Richard Wagner's operas and medieval mythology.
Ludwig II came to the Bavarian throne in 1864 at age 18 with no experience in government or politics. Two years later, Prussia conquered Austria and Bavaria, and Ludwig's powerful status as king was greatly diminished. Not that he was particularly interested in governance anyway; he was more drawn to the romantic idea of having his own kingdom.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, "The king worshiped the theatre and the opera, and henceforth concerned himself almost exclusively with his artistic endeavors, developing an extravagant mania for building in the Bavarian mountains that he loved." He essentially spent much of his reign constructing an elaborate fantasy world in which he could be the king he imagined himself to be.
Hence the idea for Neuschwanstein Castle, which Ludwig wished to be built "in the authentic style of the old German knights' castles." The foundation for the structure was laid in 1869, but it took until 1892 for the 65,000 sq. ft. "castle" to be completed. Ludwig himself would only ever see it as an incomplete building site, as he drowned himself in a lake in 1886, a few days after being declared insane. (Though his death was officially ruled suicide by drowning, some sources point to some mystery surrounding his death, as the psychiatrist who diagnosed him also drowned at the same time.)
The tragedy of Ludwig's final years stands in sharp contrast to the extravagant beauty of the castle he created, which The Cultural Tutor referred to as "the world's biggest work of fan fiction."
\u201cNeuschwanstein Castle in Germany is one of the world's most famous and beautiful castles.\n\nBut it isn't a real castle: it has central heating, hot water, flushing toilets, telephones, and elevators.\n\nBecause Neuschwanstein is actually the world's biggest work of fan fiction...\u201d— The Cultural Tutor (@The Cultural Tutor) 1679202293
The Throne Room serves as a symbol of how Ludwig saw kingship. The grand hall was built in the style of a Byzantine church, pointing to how Ludwig saw kings as being intermediaries between God and the world.
The throne room in Neuschwanstein Castle.
Where fan fiction comes in is in how much of the castle is an artistic shrine to Wagner's operas. In many rooms, the walls are covered in paintings depicting the German legends as told in Wagner's works, such as his 1845 "Tannhäuser" opera and his 1859 "Tristan and Isolde."
The Tannhauser story depicted in paintings
Bedroom depicting the Tristan story
In Neuschwanstein's early stages, Ludwig wrote to Wagner describing his vision for the castle, telling the composer he looked forward to moving in and having Wagner come visit:
"There will be several cosy, habitable guest rooms with a splendid view of the noble Säuling, the mountains of Tyrol and far across the plain; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world."
Ultimately, Ludwig and Wagner's friendship would be complicated by money, differing artistic visions and Ludwig's clear romantic feelings for Wagner, but if it weren't for Ludwig's support, Wagner would likely never have risen to the fame he ultimately enjoyed.
The "mad king" may have had some issues ranging from quirky to concerning, but he can fairly be credited with the making of Richard Wagner, as well as creating an architectural masterpiece that millions of people from around the globe travel to enjoy.
Check out the gorgeous Neuschwanstein Castle from all angles here:
Arthur and Bernardo finally get to see each other face to face.
The things human beings have figured out how to do boggles the mind sometimes, especially in the realm of medicine.
It wasn't terribly long ago that people with a severe injury had to liquor up, bite a stick, have a body part sewn up or sawed off and hope for the best. (Sorry for the visual, but it's true.) The discoveries of antibiotics and anesthesia alone have completely revolutionized human existence, but we've gone well beyond that with what our best surgeons can accomplish.
Surgeries can range from fairly simple to incredibly complex, but few surgeries are more complicated than separating conjoined twins with combined major organs. That's why the recent surgical separation of conjoined twin boys with fused brains in Brazil is so incredible.
The twins, Bernardo and Arthur Lima, are almost 4 years old and have never seen one another's face. They've spent their lives conjoined at the top of their heads, facing opposite directions. Born as craniopagus twins (joined at the cranium), their brains were also fused together, making their separation extremely complex. According to the BBC, they've been cared for at the Instituto Estadual do Cérebro Paulo Niemeyer (Paulo Niemeyer State Brain Institute) in Rio de Janeiro for the past two and a half years.
Surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani is the founder of medical charity Gemini Untwined, which funded the surgery. He helped lead the team of nearly 100 medical workers who worked for months to prepare for the boys' separation, which was one of the most complicated of its kind.
Jeelani told the BBC that it was the first time surgeons in separate countries practiced by operating in the same "virtual reality room" together, wearing VR headsets.
"It's just wonderful," he said. "It's really great to see the anatomy and do the surgery before you actually put the children at any risk. You can’t imagine how reassuring this is for the surgeons. To do it in virtual reality was just really man-on-Mars stuff."
Watch Jeelani explain how they prepared for the procedure:
Prior attempts to separate the twins had been unsuccessful, making the surgery even more challenging due to scar tissue. However, after multiple surgeries that took more than 33 hours collectively, the boys were successfully separated in June.
“It was without a doubt the most complex surgery of my career,” said neurosurgeon Gabriel Mufarrej of the Paulo Niemeyer State Brain Institute, according to EuroNews. “At the beginning, nobody thought they would survive. It is already historic that both of them could be saved."
Jeelani told the BBC that the boys' heart rates and blood pressure were "through the roof" for four days after the surgery—until they were reunited and touched hands.
According to Reuters, Bernardo and Arthur are the oldest twins with fused brains to be successfully separated. They will spend the next six months in rehabilitation.
Congratulations to the Lima family and to the global team that combined dedication, perseverance and the miracle of modern technology to create a brighter future for these young boys.
This article originally appeared on 08.04.22
"They effortlessly communicate complex concepts in a simple way."
One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.
This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.
The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.
“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”
Reddit user Gisgiii posed a question to the AskReddit subforum “What is a subtle sign that someone is really intelligent?” and the answers painted a clear picture of how smart people behave. They tend to be great communicators who understand their audience and are more concerned with getting things right than being right.
Here are 18 of the best answers.
"They draw wisdom from multiple sources. Wait but that might be more wise than intelligent... But I guess those two tend to be seen together a lot," — Puzzlehead-Engineer
"They can switch up the way they talk to match the person they're talking to without sounding condescending. They listen to how others learn and explain it in that person's language of understanding," — Wynonna99
"I used to work with a doctor - Tom Howard - and the day I realized he was a genius was the time he guessed every single condition a patient of mine had based on minute pieces of information about him," — Yodei_Mon
"They are curious about everything. To be intelligent you need to be knowledgeable and you can't be knowledgeable if you are never curious," — soup54461
"When they explain something they make you feel intelligent," — gwoshmi
"They spend time thinking before asking a question," — ParkMan73
"They effortlessly communicate complex concepts in a simple way," — joculator
"They know when their knowledge ends and say something to the extent of 'i don't know and anything else i say on this topic is ignorant speculation,'" — blutoboy
"They can ask really good questions."
"Edit: to anyone not understanding what mean, I’m talking about people who ask “really good questions”, not just any questions, really good ones. I don’t know how one would achieve this skill(I know I haven’t)," — milkmanbran
"They aren’t afraid to say they don’t know the answer to a question," — xchernx
"They admit to changing their mind about something," — FarAwayAdventure
"They apply knowledge from one realm into a new and relevant situation," — soubestitch
"They can genuinely consider an idea which opposes their worldview without necessarily accepting it," — paidshill29
"People who use analogies to explain concepts to others. It’s a form of code-switching and integrating concepts on the fly and is a clear indicator someone is both socially and conceptually intelligent," — SwimmerAutomatic2488
"I think intelligent people are more willing to calmly debate/discuss, rather than argue. Like, you explain to them why you disagree, and they listen to you and ask further questions about your viewpoint before offering a different perspective; as opposed to an unintelligent person, who would just resort to insults when other people disagree with them," — AngelicCinnamonBun
"Admitting when they're wrong and being willing to learn from mistakes," — siyl1979
"Humor. I think that truly funny people are often very smart and cognizant of the different ways an idea can be humorous on several levels. They also know their audience. I think the difference between say a Jeff Foxworthy and a Dave Chappelle and a Bo Burnham is their audience and their interests," — biscuitboi967
"They say they love learning and they learn something new every day. Then they listen more than talk," — throwingplaydough