They're Harassed And Criminalized. But Could They Be The Solution To A Big Sex Industry Problem?
Sex workers are often on the front lines for spotting sex trafficking, but they don't speak up. Here's why.
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.
"Oh, man. Dear Jesus, please help them."
Broadcasters who have to report on tragedies as they are happening have a tough job. On the one hand, they have to maintain their professionalism and inform the public of what's happening in a factual way. On the other hand, they're still human and sometimes humanity trumps the traditional perception of what's "professional."
Such was the case for WTVA meteorologist Matt Laubhan, who found himself live on the air staring at a radar scan of a deadly tornado as it moved towards the small town of Amory, Mississippi. He, more than anyone, understood the severity of the situation, and he did his best to convey that to his viewers.
"This is a strong, life-threatening tornado that's going to move either extremely close to Amory or in through the northern part of the city of Amory."
He added, "Y'all trust me too much," explaining that people sometimes take his predictions of where the tornado will go as hard fact, but the reality is that tornados can change directions at any time. "So Amory, we need to be in our tornado safe place," he said.
Just after he told people they needed to be in their shelters, a new scan came in that clearly affected him.
"North side of Amory, this is coming in," he said. And then the reality of how strong the tornado was clearly hit. "Oh, man," he said, leaning down on the table with his hand over his mouth. After a deep breath, he stood and said a brief prayer—"Dear Jesus, please help them. Amen."—before continuing to explain where the tornado looked like it was going to track.
Watch the emotional moment:
Laubham shared with CNN Business what moved him to pray on live TV.
"I can't say that I was intending on praying," he said. "It was kind of a situation where we knew that something extremely bad was happening, and we knew that it was possible, maybe even probable, that people were being hurt and about to die. I'm very rarely at a loss for words, and I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed, honestly. And it just kind of came out."
He added that many people who were watching live have told him his spontaneous prayer helped them to "realize the seriousness of the situation."
After one commenter on Twitter said that the meteorologist "should have been focused 100% on his weatherman job at that point," others chimed in to support Laubhan's display of compassion and humanity—including many who are not people of faith themselves.
"I'm not a believer. He's just having a human reaction," wrote one person. "There's nothing else he could've done in that moment. Let him cope how he can. From the short clip it seems he takes his job incredibly seriously. The two seconds it took to say that are inconsequential."
"It's his genuine human reaction to what he knows is going to be a horrible event," wrote another. "He's warned people, can physically do no more, so he draws on his faith. I don't pray, exactly, because I don't believe in Micromanager God, but I do think positivity helps even if only the doer."
"I’m not a believer but positive vibes are positive vibes," wrote another. "It was well meant. Give him a break, people."
"Not religious but I found this very touching and showing true concern for people," shared another.
Resident Leah Ann Hubbard told The Independent how helpful Laubhan's reporting was as she prepared for the tornado.
“Everybody watches him around here to find out if they need to shelter for a tornado,” she said, adding that his urgency made her think, "Hmmm, maybe we should take this seriously, maybe we should really get prepared." She pulled out her mattress and hid in the bathtub with her two dogs.
“The last thing I heard him say was, ‘Debris is 7,000 feet in the air,’ and then the lights go off, the phone service dies, and you’re in the dark with the dogs,” she said.
Hubbard's description of feeling helpless as the tornado raged over her town seems to reflect what Laubham experienced as he saw the tornado bearing down on the radar.
“You know that there is a monster swirling over your house and over your town, and there’s nothing you can do. And you’re just praying for yourself and for everybody else,” she told The Independent.
As one person wrote about the tornado and Laubhan's reaction, "There's tornadoes and then there's tornadoes. Some will take the roof off your house and some will take your town off the map. This was the latter. He knew in that moment that in a few minutes, that town would no longer exist."
The town of Amory was hit hard, but the next-day footage from Rolling Fork, a few hours away from Amory, is utterly apocalyptic. The rare, long-track tornado path stretched across western Mississippi through the night of March 24, 2023, killing 25 people and injuring dozens of others.
Seeing the aftermath from this storm system, it's clear why Matt Laubham took a moment to pray for those in the tornado's path. When a storm is that powerful, there's really nothing else anyone can do, and his moment of genuine care and concern for his fellow humans was deeply appreciated.
"I told him that we have the opportunity to make things right."
What do you do when you find out your kid bullied someone? For many parents, the first step is forcing an apology. While this response is of course warranted, is it really effective? Some might argue that there are more constructive ways of handling the situation that teach a kid not only what they did wrong, but how to make things right again.
Single dadPatrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.
“I got an email a few days ago from my 9-year-old son's teacher that he had done a ‘prank’ to a fellow classmate and it ended up embarrassing the classmate and hurt his feelings,” the video begins.
At this point, Forseth doesn’t split hairs. “I don't care who you are, that's bullying,” he said. “If you do something to somebody that you know has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt—you’re bullying.”
So, Forseth and Lincoln sat down for a long talk (a talk, not a lecture) about appropriate punishment and how it would have felt to be on the receiving end of such a prank.
From there, Forseth told his son that he would decide how to make things right, making it a masterclass in taking true accountability.
“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher,” he continued, adding, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can't take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”
@thehalfdeaddad Replying to @sunshinyday1227 And then it’s my kid 🤦♂️😡 #endbullyingnow#talktoyourkidsmore#dadlifebestlife#singledadsover40#teachyourchildren#ReadySetLift♬ Get You The Moon - Kina
So what did Lincoln do? He went back to his school and actually talked to the other boy he pranked. After learning that they shared a love of Pokémon, he then went home to retrieve two of his favorite Pokémon cards as a peace offering, complete with a freshly cleaned case.
Lincoln would end up sharing with his dad that the other boy was so moved by the gesture that he would end up hugging him.
“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let's try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn't teach them anything.”
In Forseth’s opinion, kids get far more insight by figuring out how to resolve a problem themselves. “That's what they're actually going to face in the real world once they move out of our nests.”
He certainly has a point. A slap on the wrist followed by being marched down somewhere to say, “I’m sorry,” only further humiliates kids most of the time. With this gentler approach, kids are taught the intrinsic value of making amends after wrongdoing, not to mention the power of their own autonomy. Imagine that—blips in judgment can end up being major character-building moments.
Kudos to this dad and his very smart parenting strategy.
Consider yourself Rick-Grohled.
Rick Astley has to be the luckiest '80s musician on the planet. The whole "Rickrolling" phenomenon has given his hit song "Never Gonna Give You Up" a reach far beyond its natural life span, and kept the guy a household name far longer than he probably would have been.
(For those who are unfamiliar, Rickrolling is when you make someone think they're being sent to a website, but the link goes to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video instead as a joke. It's a silly viral bait-and-switch gag that's been going since 2006.)
But what people may not realize, because his most famous song has become an internet joke, is that Rick Astley is actually a really freaking great musician. The man can saaaang and it seems he's only gotten better with age.
If you were to choose the most unlikely combo of musical mashups, it might just be Rick Astley and Foo Fighters. Right? Like who would put them together?
Oddly enough, they put themselves together in 2017, when Foo Fighters brought Astley on stage during a concert to sing "Never Gonna Give You Up." Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl even created his own Rickroll-inspired meme, the Dave G'Roll, with the band's song "Best of You." So there's a history there.
But nothing has been more surprising than hearing Rick Astley do an acoustic cover of Foo Fighters' "Everlong." It's so good. Like, so good.
Not to knock Rick Astley of the 1980s, but that strangely deep voice on a young man was sort of his signature thing. Ergo, you'd think it would be easy to recognize Astley's voice no matter what he was singing. But you'd be wrong. If you close your eyes and listen to this, you'd likely never guess it was Rick Astley.
Maybe it's because the song itself isn't something you expect from the "Never Gonna Give You Up" guy. Maybe it's because you had no idea that Rick Astley was still making music. Who knows. All I know is that my jaw dropped watching him knock out an awesome version of a grungey rock song with just his voice and acoustic guitar.
Seriously, that was amazing, right? Even hardcore Foo Fighters fans gave Astley props in the comments:
"As a huge Foo Fighters fan, all I can say is this cover didn't let me down."
"Tbh I could listen to a whole album of Rick Astley doing grunge covers."
"Are you kidding me?????? That voice from the 80's... And one of the greatest numbers of all times.... Didn't think you could pull that of.... But you did..... Respect to you Rick."
And, of course, some had to make jokes:
"I love this cover. It feels like the singer is never going to give you up or never gonna let you down. He doesn't run around and desert you. He will never make you cry and never say goodbye. He doesn't tell a lie and hurt you. I think that is special."
"This guy should stop making memes and stick to music! He’s got talent!"
"I’m glad he’s never given up. This did not let me down."
But this comment perhaps best summed up what most of us walked away thinking:
"God now I feel bad that we've ridden on Rick Rolling for so long that we missed the part where Rick Astley is actually a badass musician..."
This article first appeared on 4.4.22.
This viral tool could be a game-changer for some.
Reading is a fundamental tool of learning for most people, which is why it's one of the first things kids learn in school and why nations set literacy goals.
But even those of us who are able to read fluently might sometimes struggle with the act of reading itself. Perhaps we don't read as quickly as we wish we could or maybe our minds wander as our eyes move across the words. Sometimes we get to the end of a paragraph and realize we didn't retain anything we just read.
People with focus or attention issues can struggle with reading, despite having no actual reading disabilities. It can be extremely frustrating to want to read something and have no issues with understanding the material, yet be unable to keep your mind engaged with the text long enough to get "into" what you're reading.
But what if there were a font that could help you stay focused? That could help you not only read faster but better retain what you've just read?
That's what the creators of Bionic Reading claim is possible with their font tool."Bionic Reading revises texts so that the most concise parts of words are highlighted," the Swiss company's website reads. "This guides the eye over the text and the brain remembers previously learned words more quickly."
Give it a try:
The gist is that our eyes don't need to focus on the entire word because our brains can fill in the rest for us. By bolding the first part of the word, we're more quickly able to move from word to word.
"Bionic Reading aims to play a supporting role in the absorption of volume text," states the website. "We see technological progress as an opportunity for all those who want to increase the pleasure of reading in a noisy and hectic world in a focused way and without distraction."
While there are no studies cited on this method of reading, there are plenty of anecdotes about it being helpful. The example shared by @WhattheADHD on Twitter got people's attention and many people responded with enthusiasm at how much easier the bionic reading text was for them to read.
"This is amazing! I have ADHD and I didn’t even realize that I was having trouble fixating when I read," wrote one person. "My eye latches right on to the bold face. Can’t wait to try reading a book again. It’s been all audiobooks for a while."
"It's incredible how reading this feels like finally unlocking 100% of your brain," wrote another.
However, not everyone was impressed or thrilled with the sample. Some people said that they had a harder time reading the bionic text or that it distracted or slowed them down. Both positive and negative responses came from a diverse pool of people. Some who described themselves as neurodivergent said that they loved it and some said it was harder. The same went for people who said they were neurotypical, so it's hard to say who this tool may specifically help the most. Everyone's brains work differently, and different people will find different things helpful.
Bionic reading might be a game-changer for some, but it's not the only tool of its kind. There are speed-reading programs that train you to stop reading each word and allow your brain to read visually instead of auditorily. There are also various methods of making reading easier by adjusting how your eyes move across the text.
For instance, check out this "space reading" technique:
Bionic Reading has a free text converter on its website that you can use to try out its font changes. A YouTube clip from the company also shows possibilities for how the font can be adjusted to individual preferences, making more or less of the initial letters bolded.
And again, if this doesn't work for you, then it's probably not made for you. For people who struggle with reading, something like Bionic Reading could make a huge difference.
Three cheers for technology being used to help people overcome difficulties and make learning easier and more efficient.
This article originally appeared on 5.30.22.
They become an abused child's "biker family," and they let the child—and everyone else—know that NO ONE messes with their family.
When you are a child who has been abused by people who are supposed to protect you, how do you feel safe?
That question is the heart of Bikers Against Child Abuse International (B.A.C.A.), an organization dedicated to creating "a safer environment for abused children." With specific training and extensive security checks, the frequently big and burly members of B.A.C.A. serve as protectors of chid abuse survivors, giving vulnerable children people to call on when they feel scared, and even showing up in court when a child asks them to.
In short, they become an abused child's "biker family," and they let the child—and everyone else—know that no one messes with their family.
As the B.A.C.A. mission statement says:
"We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle."
B.A.C.A. members do whatever they can to make abused kids feel safe, which is huge for children who have been hurt, especially by the adults who are supposed to love and protect them.
First, they set up an initial ride to welcome a child into the biker family. Kids are offered a vest and a patch, which they have the option of accepting or not—there's never pressure put on a child. They take a photograph with the child, which the child keeps to remind them that they have family to call on whenever they feel afraid. They serve as escorts when kids feel frightened to go somewhere. They show up at court hearings to help kids feel less intimidated. They come to kids' houses when called to help support the family or serve as a deterrent for further abuse.
Though B.A.C.A. absolutely does not physically confront perpetrators, simply their presence provides the message that a child has a band of protectors behind them. Watch these bikers in action:
And check out the B.A.C.A creed to see how dedicated these folks are to this work:
"I am a Member of Bikers Against Child Abuse. The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past has prepared me, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by the faith in my works, and lean on the strength of my brothers and sisters. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with power.
My fate is set, my gait is fast, my goal is the ultimate safety of children. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are tried and true, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children. I must go until I drop, ride until I give out, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, for He will see my B.A.C.A. backpatch and know that I am one of His. I am a Member of Bikers Against Child Abuse, and this is my creed."
This article originally appeared on 03.05.20