These 9 things each take literally one second, but they'll make your life, and the world, better.

Today is going to be an unusually long day.

Photo via splitshire.com/Pexels.


At 11:59 p.m. GMT (7:59 p.m. Eastern time), earth's official timekeepers will add an extra second. It happens once every several years to correct a slight calendar abnormality.

Some worry that the time glitch could crash computers around the world. Just like Y2K ... didn't actually do.

And then the sky turns into owl eyes and the shadow people descend. Photo by Bonnybbx/Pixabay.

But that probably won't happen. The most likely result is that every single person on earth will have a little bit of extra time! Which is something we all need, however brief.

Since it only comes around once in a long while, this is a second you really don't want to waste. Here are some things you can use it for.

1. Take a one-second shower.

Image via Thinkstock.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average shower lasts eight minutes and uses 18 gallons of water. But a one-second shower uses roughly half a cup of water. It might not get you quite as clean, but water is precious. Over 750 million people worldwide don't have reliably clean water to drink at all.

If you don't lead by example, then who will?

2. Say the first part of the word "understandably."

Photo by Matt Lemmon/Flickr.

"Understandably" is a really fun word to say. It not only contains plenty of short vowel sounds but several plosives and alveolar nasals as well. Unfortunately, it takes more than a second to get the whole thing out. You can get about as far as "understandab" in one second. But it's still worth it.

3. Feel joy.

Image via Thinkstock.

Joy is one of the best things in the world to feel. And lucky for us, there are so many great things to feel joyful about this week — from the upcoming three-day-weekend to the Supreme Court making marriage equality the law of the land to the fact that bagels are available in basically every grocery store in the USA. So take a second to feel some good, ol' fashioned, unbridled joy.

4. Watch this animated GIF of Miley Cyrus speaking surprisingly eloquently on the restrictions of the gender binary.

You go, Miley!

GIF by ABC News.

5. Sneeze.

Photo by William Brawley/Flickr.

Even though sneezing means your respiratory system is irritated, it feels damn great. If you have to induce it, so what? You've earned a good sneeze.

6. Look at this picture of a giraffe.

Oh hey. Photo by Tony Hisgett/Flickr.

I hate to break it to you, but while you were out at lunch, giraffes started going extinct. So take a good look. A good long look.

Then go help save the giraffes.

7. Take one bite of pizza.

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr.

Pizza is the most delicious foodstuff on the planet. It's just bread, tomatoes, and cheese, and yet somehow, it's amazing. Plus, you can put nearly anything on top of it and it tastes just as good, if not better. You can't say that about any other dish (I'm looking in your direction, artichoke salad). So take a second and eat a single bite of pizza.

Oh, but not Papa John's. Seriously.

8. Do one second of volunteer work.

Photo by Jim Henderson/Wikimedia Commons.

Anything you want, really. There are lots of people who could use a hand. And you probably have a hand! Two of them, actually. And there are some great organizations that can connect your hands and those people. In your hometown, even! Even just for a second. Here's a great way to find them.

9. Just enjoy yourself.

Photo by Afrika Force/Flickr.

Let's face it. You've got 86,400 seconds every day to feel bad about everything that's stressful in your life and all the problems of the world. But this second is a bonus. So kick back, relax, and for just one second, do whatever you gotta do to make yourself feel great. 'Cause this is your time. It's extra.

Enjoy it.

Come to think of it, you can think about the giraffes tomorrow.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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