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This high school grad's Obama joke revealed something powerful about unconscious bias.

A high school valedictorian played a joke on his classmates that revealed a larger truth about the implicit biases we can all experience.

Like most valedictorians, Ben Bowling said he wanted to share something inspiring with his classmates. So he offered up the following quote, which he attributed to Donald Trump: "Don't just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table."

The crowd of students, family, and friends reportedly erupted into applause.


Then Bowling revealed a twist about the quote: "Just kidding. That was Barack Obama."

It was a funny moment, but the audience response was telling.

Bowling says he was just making a harmless joke. However, the loud applause he initially received became much more muted when he correctly attributed it to Obama.

"I just thought it was a really good quote," he said. "Most people wouldn't like it if I used it, so I thought I'd use Donald Trump's name."

To some people that might seem like a stinging rebuke to political bias from conservatives. But the truth is, there are plenty of examples of people across the political spectrum making the same mistake.

These moments of bias are not limited to one group or one political party.

For instance, in May, several progressive political influencers on Twitter posted an image of a child being detained by border officials and placed the blame squarely on Trump. But the photo had been taken in 2014, when Obama was president.

Some people deleted the tweet while others doubled down saying they were still right even if they were technically wrong. Unfortunately, that enabled partisans on the other side, including Trump himself, to deflect from the real issue and instead turn it into a "gotcha" moment.

It was awkward, but the main takeaway of these kinds of situations is that things are often complex. And when we let our partisan instincts take over, we can lose sight of the actual issue.

Unconscious bias is a real thing, and it can affect all of us.

It affects how people view others in terms of race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, class, and more — even if we're not aware of it. Becoming more aware of our own biases can help us look at each other and the world in more honest and constructive ways.

Even if in this instance Bowling was making a lighthearted joke, he ended up revealing a larger truth about how people filter reality through their own embedded biases.

It might be uncomfortable to realize how we can selectively see the truth of the world around us, but getting to know — and hopefully work past — our own prejudices is an educational opportunity worth getting schooled on.

Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.

Rachel Boice runs two Airbnb properties in Georgia with her husband Parker—one being this fancy glass plane tiny house (seen below) that promises a perfect glamping experience.

@rachelrboice Welcome to The Tiny Glass House 🤎 #airbnbfinds #exploregeorgia #travelbucketlist #tinyhouse #glampingnotcamping #atlantageorgia #fyp ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Like most Airbnb hosts, the Boice’s listing showed a nightly rate and separate cleaning fee. According to her interview with Insider, the original prices broke down to $89 nightly, and $40 for the cleaning fee.

But after noticing the negative response the separate fee got from potential customers, Rachel told Insider that she began charging a nightly rate that included the cleaning fee, totaling to $129 a night.

It’s a marketing strategy that more and more hosts are attempting in order to generate more bookings (people do love feeling like they’re getting a great deal) but Boice argued that the trend will also become more mainstream since the current Airbnb model “doesn’t feel honest.”

"We stay in Airbnbs a lot. I pretty much always pay a cleaning fee," Boice told Insider. "You're like: 'Why am I paying all of this money? This should just be built in for the cost.'"

Since combining costs, Rachel began noticing another unexpected perk beyond customer satisfaction: guests actually left her property cleaner than before they were charged a cleaning fee. Her hypothesis was that they assumed she would be handling the cleaning herself.

"I guess they're thinking, 'I'm not paying someone to clean this, so I'll leave it clean,'" she said.

This discovery echoes a similar anecdote given by another Airbnb host, who told NerdWallet guests who knew they were paying a cleaning fee would “sometimes leave the place looking like it’s been lived in and uncleaned for months.” So, it appears to be that being more transparent and lumping all fees into one overall price makes for a happier (and more considerate) customer.

These days, it’s hard to not be embittered by deceptive junk fees, which can seem to appear anywhere without warning—surprise overdraft charges, surcharges on credit cards, the never convenience “convenience charge” when purchasing event tickets. Junk fees are so rampant that certain measures are being taken to try to eliminate them outright in favor of more honest business approaches.

Speaking of a more honest approach—as of December 2022, AirBnb began updating its app and website so that guests can see a full price breakdown that shows a nightly rate, a cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes before confirming their booking.

Guests can also activate a toggle function before searching for a destination, so that full prices will appear in search results—avoiding unwanted financial surprises.


This article originally appeared on 11.08.23

Photo by Andrew Gaines on Unsplash

Rapping rapid-fire rhymes sounds like gibberish to people who don't speak English.

Listening to someone speak a language you don't know can be a trippy experience. You can glean a bit from someone's tone of voice and maybe pick out a few words here and there, but otherwise the sounds that are coming out of their mouth are meaningless. And yet, most of us are able to figure out what language someone is speaking if we're even just a little bit familiar with it. We know what Spanish and French and Chinese sound like, and could easily differentiate between people speaking those languages even we barely even know any words in those languages.

But what about someone rapid-fire rhyming? If you've ever wondered what English rapping sounds like to non-English speakers, have we got a treat for you.

Italian singer Adriano Celentano proved with his 1972 pop song, "Prisencolinensinainciusol," that you don't have to sing in English to sound like you are. And now, YouTube creator and comedic musician Daniel Thrasher has done the same thing, only with rap music.


The song is called "IGOWALLAH (ft. Hoodie Guy)" and according to people in the comments who have experienced learning English, it's spot on—right down to being able to pick out a few actual words here and there.

Watch:

He even listed all of the lyrics in the caption of the YouTube video. It's even a real song on Spotify—and the lyrics are listed there, too.

Imagine having to learn lyrics like this:

Menku. Slemper with flango bajeegin. When you firspepple on a reemstrap, dredju mether wanna gubby?

Many of the more than 34,000 comments on the video confirmed that he nailed it.

"The 'okays' being understandable is incredibly real considering okay is a pretty much universal word. Just goes to show the attention to detail."

"As a non native English speaker this speaks to my childhood. Never thought I'd hear this language ever again but here we are."

"I showed this to my non English speaking aunt and she said, "you know I don't speak English, why are you asking me what they are saying?"

"Being able to say not actual words, but actually able to make it sound like it isn’t just slurred together, takes actual skill."

"It’s actually impressive how well this man can speak gibberish."

"As a non-English speaker, I can confirm that this is exactly what rap sounds like."

"The fact that he randomly sings in Spanish just once makes it so much more accurate."

Other people really liked the song itself.

"This song is proof that even when the lyrics are Gibberish, a catchy beat makes all the difference."

"I’m not sure why but every few days I come back to this video for no apparent reason it’s weirdly a good song."

"This is how you know someone puts effort into their videos, they literally rehearsed this, actually memorised the lyrics, dude did everything that it takes to make a real song and he proudly did so. 100/10 music artist dude here."

"Why does this hit SO HARD."

If this is your first introduction to Daniel Thrasher, you've got a whole world of incredibly impressive musical comedy to discover. You can find him on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.


Representative photos by Elena Safonova and Mikhail Nilov|Canva

Man makes hilariously realistic song about medical insurance

Navigating the American healthcare system can give you a rage induced headache. Between the monthly premiums, copays, coinsurances and deductibles, it's enough to make you feel like you're going to lose it. But then there's finding a doctor that's in network that can convince the insurance company that you actually need the procedure they want to do.

Tarek Ziad, frustrated with the process of trying to schedule with an ophthalmologist took to Instagram with an original song that he sang a cappella. The song has people howling with laughter while simultaneously commiserating with the struggle of navigating referrals for specialty visits.

According to the lyrics of the song, the man was told he needed to see an ophthalmologist so he called his insurance company to see who was in his network. Ziad sings that calling his insurance company was no help because he was then told that he needed to contact his medical group. But what's a medical group? It's like peeling back an onion.


Ziad sings, "so you go online and you look at all the ophthalmologists and you call them one by one and you go through 29 ophthalmologists and every single one either doesn't answer your call or they don't actually take your medical group. They say 'we've never heard of that medical group.'"

Commenters related to his struggle trying to get into the right kind of doctor, or any doctor at all working within the American health insurance system.

"The realest thing I've seen in a phat minute," one person says.

"God the database being out of date and/or simply inaccurate is so infuriating. 'oh, no, I don't take that insurance.' or 'I used to but I stopped years ago idk why they still loist[sic] me,'" another writes.

"You’re going places. Not the ophthalmologist, but places," someone jokes.

"Step aside star spangled banner, there’s a new national anthem," a commenter jokes.

All joking aside, there were doctors in the comments expressing their frustration and sorrow around insurance companies. One commenter says it was cheaper and faster for her to fly back to Morocco to see an ophthalmologist for eye surgery than having it done the the United States. Yikes. Hopefully, Ziad can get in to see the right doctor soon. Maybe his next viral hit will be about billing.

Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.

While appearing on HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast, Patric Richardson, aka The Laundry Evangelist, said he swears by the “express” cycle, as “it’s long enough to get your clothes clean but it’s short enough not to cause any damage.”

Richardson’s reasoning is founded in research done while writing his book, “Laundry Love,” which showed that even the dirtiest items would be cleaned in the “express” cycle, aka the “quick wash” or “30 minute setting.”


Furthermore the laundry expert, who’s also the host of HGTV’s “Laundry Guy,” warned that longer wash settings only cause more wear and tear, plus use up more water and power, making express wash a much more sustainable choice.

Really, the multiple settings washing machines have more to do with people being creatures of habit, and less to do with efficiency, Richardson explained.

“All of those cycles [on the washing machine] exist because they used to exist,” he told co-hosts Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson. “We didn’t have the technology in the fabric, in the machine, in the detergent [that we do now], and we needed those cycles. In the ’70s, you needed the ‘bulky bedding’ cycle and the ‘sanitary’ cycle ... it was a legit thing. You don’t need them anymore, but too many people want to buy a machine and they’re like, ‘My mom’s machine has “whitest whites.”’ If I could build a washing machine, it would just have one button — you’d just push it, and it’d be warm water and ‘express’ cycle and that’s it.”
washing machine

When was the last time you washed you washing machine? "Never" is a valid answer.

Canva

According to Good Housekeeping, there are some things to keep in mind if you plan to go strictly express from now on.

For one thing, the outlet recommends only filling the machine halfway and using a half dose of liquid, not powder detergent, since express cycles use less water. Second, using the setting regularly can develop a “musty” smell, due to the constant low-temperature water causing a buildup of mold or bacteria. To prevent this, running an empty wash on a hot setting, sans the detergent, is recommended every few weeks, along with regularly scrubbing the detergent drawer and door seal.

Still, even with those additional caveats, it might be worth it just to knock out multiple washes in one day. Cause let’s be honest—a day of laundry and television binging sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

To catch even more of Richardson’s tips, find the full podcast episode here.


This article originally appeared on 2.4.24