Heroes

This artist spent a month living on Mars time just to find out what it's like.

If humans are going to live on Mars, our concept of time will have to shift.

Inspired by NASA scientists working on the Curiosity mission, Sara Morawetz spent a month living on Mars time.

The Australian-born artist realized that if we lived on Mars, we'd have 40 minutes of extra time each day. But adjusting to that time change could present some major challenges.

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Her project took place in a Brooklyn gallery-turned-bedroom, which looks like the inside of an Ikea catalog. All photos by Sara Morawetz, used with permission.

"It struck me instantly that people aren't really aware of the reality of working towards living on another planet or operations on another planet," she said. "I had this moment where I realized I had never considered time outside of Earth. Mars' time system is slightly different so that lived experience is altered and shifted, and that's what I'm really fascinated by."

Morawetz's artistic project, called "How the Stars Stand," is all about time as an arbitrary construct.

"We could eventually have multiple times we are talking about when we talk about time," she said.

And while an extra 40 minutes a day might sound great, Morawetz said that extra time made it tough to communicate with "earthlings."

During her experiment, Morawetz lived by two clocks — an Earth clock and a Mars clock, which she had to manually adjust. By the middle of the 37-day experiment, she found time completely flipped; her Mars mornings occurred during Earth's nights.

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"Being on your own time is really hard," she said. "Being out of touch with everybody that you know, there was no spontaneity in my days."

At the end of the month, Mars and Earth time synced up again, and Morawetz gratefully "returned" to Earth.

What did she learn? For the most part, those who call Mars their future home will adjust to the time change better than she did.

First, they'll have a community of people to rely on who are all on the same time. And second, their schedules will align with the planet's actual solar cycle.

Communicating with people on Earth will be the real challenge, though.

How do we define time in relation to other systems? How do we share a reality when time and lived experience are so different?

For now those questions remain unanswered, but they are important nonetheless — especially if we want to travel to another planet or a galaxy far, far away.

"My job as an artist isn't to explain the science concretely," Morawetz said. "It's to open up that notion that we will have to negotiate [our rigid standards] later and contemplate what it means for time to have different values."

For all of time's wibbly-wobbly uncertainty, one thing is certain: Morawetz would definitely live on Mars time again.

"On Jupiter, a day is 10 hours long. Maybe I could do it; I don't know. Mercury has a year that's shorter than its day," she said. "There are some practical concerns about trying other planets and whether that would work as well. I think for now at least, Mars will be my friend and we'll continue on."

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Family

Two sisters ask their stepmom to adopt them with sweet memory book

"We were already calling her mom because it felt so natural."

Gabriella Ruvolo/TikTok

Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo asked their stepmom to adopt them in a touching video.

Sisters Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo know that they're extremely lucky. Their stepmom Becky Ruvolo has been there for them for most of their lives and it's clear that they're grateful to her for it. On May 9, Gabriella posted a video to TikTok to share the very special way the young women honored their stepmom for Mother's Day.

In the short clip, you can see Becky flanked by the two girls, flipping through a book. On the video are the words "After 12 years… we finally asked our step-mom to adopt us." As Becky goes through the pages, you can see her becoming increasingly more emotional before she gets to the last page. By then, all three of the women are crying.

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