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This reversible birth control for dudes is like a temporary snip-snip in your pants.

A new male contraceptive makes fertility as simple as flipping a switch.

This reversible birth control for dudes is like a temporary snip-snip in your pants.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that having sex and being a cyborg are both pretty awesome.

The only problem is that one of them involves the risk of creating, you know, a living human child that is dependent upon you for its continued existence.

And that's where the machines come in.


GIF from "Doctor Who."

These two amazing things have been brought together in a way that prevents those ... unintended consequences of sex.

Created by a German construction worker, the Bimek SLV is hailing itself as "The New Contraception for Men." All it takes is the literal flip of a switch, and you can be reproduction-free!

Well, that and a mildly invasive surgical procedure to implant said switch in your scrotum. But once that's done, you're good to go! (And go, and go, and...)

GIF from Bimek SLV/Vimeo.

It's basically a built-in vasectomy that you can *ahem* turn on.

The Bimek SLV is about the size of a gummy bear, which is exactly what you want to think about when you're talking about an implant in your scrotum. The valve attaches to the spermatic cords, which carry sperm from the testes to the seminal vesicle, where your little microscopic tadpoles mix with seminal fluid and prep for delivery. Like this:

GIF from Bimek SLV/Vimeo.

But when you flip the switch of the Bimek SLV, it stops the sperm from making it past the scrotum. This leaves you free to ejaculate to your heart's desire (or your partner's desire!), but without any sperm in your semen. Like this:

Sorry, little spermy dudes; you ain't goin' nowhere! Mwahahaha! GIF from Bimek SLV/Vimeo.

Just like a vasectomy, the Bimek SLV has a Pearl Index rating of 0.1, which means it's 99.9% effective. For added security, it also includes a safety button that you have to hold when turning it "off" — so you don't accidentally bump the button when you're bumpin' buttons. Once that's done, you should be firing a full load the next time you're ready to go. And then you can switch it back on whenever you want to go sterile again!

Technically, there is a brief waiting period after flipping the switch to allow the sperm to fully flush out of your system before you can be confidently sterile. Bimek recommends "up to three months or about 30 ejaculations." (And no, I don't understand that math either; if you ask me, it just sounds like a challenge.)

You mean I only gotta go 30 times? Challenge accepted. See you in a week. GIF from "The Empire Strikes Back."

And all it takes is a half-hour outpatient surgery!

So the question remains: Why aren't there more male contraceptives?

The implied sub-question being: Why is the onus always on the owner of the ovaries, even though the penis party is still half-responsible?

Statistics have shown that educating people about their sexy-time options is a lot more effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies than trying to outright dissuade them from making sweet, sweet whoopie. As it stands, Planned Parenthood lists 20 different kinds of contraceptives for women.

For guys? There are five, including abstinence and the good ol' fashioned pull-out method (which is ... generally not recommended).

GIF from "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Over the years, women have tried everything from potatoes to crocodile dung and honey in hopes of having some modicum of control over if and when they get pregnant. Meanwhile, us dudes are all like "ughhhh I don't wanna roll the little rubber ring on my junk, it totally wrecks the mood!"

Sorry, fellas. It's the least we can do.

If only Cyborg had a scrotal implant, maybe his, um, burst of energy wouldn't disappear. GIF from "Teen Titans."

But if a cybernetic scrotal implant is not on your to-do list, there are other birth control advancements just over the horizon.​

An Indonesian herb known as gandarusa produces an enzyme that bonds to the individual sperm and inhibits their ability to penetrate the egg. It was originally used to reduce stress with the side effect of temporary infertility ... until someone realized that might not be such a bad thing.

With a quick gel injection straight into the vas deferens, Vasalgel works similarly to the Bimek SLV by blocking the sperm from making its way into the semen. This is known as Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance, or RISUG, because all it takes is another injection to make it magically disappear (if you consider a needle to the groin "magical").

Then there's the "Clean Sheets Pill," so named because, well, it keeps the sheets clean by relaxing the ejaculatory muscles, thereby preventing the release of any semen. It's the same orgasmic pleasure but with none of the mess! And also diminished risk of STIs (which they should totally use as their catchphrase if they don't have one yet; if you're reading this, call me).

There's also one experimental method that involves injecting gold nanorods into your testicles to somethingsomethingscience and kill the sperm, if that's more your speed.

GIF from "Austin Powers 3: Goldmember."

The fact is, we can't stop people from having sex — nor should we want to. But we can help them find safer ways to do it.​

While most of these male birth control methods are still in the clinical trial stage, the future is still looking bright.

And it's about time. Imagine how much more progress we could have made by now if we men had spent less time trying to control women's access to birth control pills and focused our energies on our own parts instead. 

After all, we've never had a problem paying attention to our needs during intercourse. So why don't we extend that to what happens after?

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Like millions of others, I tuned in last night to watch Oprah Winfrey's interview with (former) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Although watching "The Crown" has admittedly piqued my curiosity about the Royal Family, I've never had any particular interest in following the drama in real life. As inconsequential as the un-royaling of Harry and Meghan is to me personally, it's a historically and socially significant development.

The story touches so many hot buttons at once—power, wealth, tradition, sexism, racism, colonialism, family drama, freedom, security, and the media. But as I sat and watched the first hour of just Oprah and Meghan Markle talking, I was struck by the simple significance of what I was seeing.

Here were two Black women, one who had battled sexism and racism in her industry and broke countless barriers to create her own empire, and one who has battled racism and sexism to protect her babies, whose royal lineage can be traced back through 1,200 years of rule over the British Empire. And the conversation these women were having had the power to take down—or at least do real damage to—one of the longest-standing monarchies in the world.

Whoa.

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Tory Burch

Courtesy of Tory Burch

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This March marks one year since the start of the pandemic… and it's been an incredibly difficult year: Over 500,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. But the pandemic's economic downturn has been disproportionately affecting women because they are more likely to work in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality or entertainment, and many of them have been forced to leave their jobs due to the lack of childcare.

But throughout all that hardship, women have, over and over again, found ways to help one another and solve problems.

"Around the world, women have stepped up and found ways to help where it is needed most," says Tory Burch, an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2004.

Burch knows a thing or two about empowering women: After seeing the many obstacles that women in business face — even before the pandemic — she created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

And now, for International Women's Day, her company is launching a global campaign with Upworthy to celebrate the women around the world who give back and create real change in their communities.

"I hope the creativity and resilience of these women, and the amazing ways they have found to have real impact, will inspire and energize others as much as they have me," Burch says.

This year's Empowered Women certainly are inspiring:

Shalini SamtaniCourtesy of Shalini Samtani

Take, for example, Shalini Samtani. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, which caused her to quickly realize that there wasn't a single company in the toy industry servicing the physical or emotional needs of the 3 million hospitalized children across America every year. She was determined to change that — so she created The Spread the Joy Foundation to deliver free play kits to pediatric patients all around the country.

Varsha YajmanCourtesy of Varsha Yajman

Varsha Yajman is another one of this year's nominees. She is just 18 years old, and yet she has been diligently fighting to build awareness and action for climate justice for the last seven years by leading school strikes, working as a paralegal with Equity Generations Lawyers, and speaking to CEOs from Siemen's and several big Australian banks at AGMs.

Caitlin MurphyCourtesy of Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way during the pandemic by pivoting her business — Global Gateway Logistics — to secure and transport over 2 million masks to hospitals and senior care facilities across the country. She also created the Gateway for Good program, which purchased and donated 10,000 KN95 masks for local small businesses, charities, cancer patients and their families, immunocompromised, and churches in the area.

Simone GordonCourtesy of Simone Gordon

Simone Gordon, a domestic violence survivor and single mom, wanted to pay it forward after she received help getting essentials and tuition assistance — so she created the Instagram account @TheBlackFairyGodMotherOfficial and nonprofit to provide direct assistance to families in need. During the pandemic alone, they have raised over $50,000 for families and they have provided emergency assistance — in the form of groceries — for numerous women and families of color.

Victoria SanusiCourtesy of Victoria Sanusi

Victoria Sanusi started Black Gals Livin' with her friend Jas and the podcast has been an incredibly powerful way of destigmatizing mental health for numerous listeners. The podcast quickly surpassed a million listens, was featured on Michaela Coel's "I May Destroy You," won podcast of the year at the Brown Sugar Awards, and was named one of Elle Magazine's best podcasts of 2020.

And Upworthy and the Tory Burch are just getting started. They are still searching the globe for more extraordinary women who are making an impact in their communities.

Do you know one? If you do, nominate her now. If she's selected, she could receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of her choice through the Tory Burch Foundation. Submissions are being accepted on a rolling basis — and one Empowered woman will be selected each month starting in April.

Nominate her now at www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen.

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When 59 children died on Christmas Eve 1913, the world cried with the town of Calumet, Michigan.

Woody Guthrie sang about this little-known piece of history.

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AFL Labor Mini Series

A one-man drill operation

In July 1913, over 7,000 miners struck the C&H Copper Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan. It was largely the usual issues of people who worked for a big company during a time when capitalists ran roughshod over their workers — a time when monopolies were a way of life. Strikers' demands included pay raises, an end to child labor, and safer conditions including an end to one-man drill operations, as well as support beams in the mines (which mine owners didn't want because support beams were costly but miners killed in cave-ins “do not cost us anything.")

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Few child actors ever get to star in an award-winning film, much less win a prestigious award for their performance. That fact appeared to hit home for 8-year-old Alan Kim, as he broke down in tears accepting his Critics' Choice Award for Best Young Actor/Actress, making for one of the sweetest moments in awards show history.

Kim showed up to the awards (virtually, of course) decked out in a tuxedo, and his parents had even laid out a red carpet in their entryway to give him a taste of the real awards show experience. When his name was announced as the Critics' Choice winner for his role in the film "Minari," his reaction was priceless.

Grinning from ear to ear, Kim started off his acceptance speech by thanking "the critics who voted" and his family. But as soon as he started naming his family members, he burst into tears. "Oh my goodness, I'm crying," he said. Through sobs, he kept going with his list, naming members of the cast, the production company, and the crew that worked on the film.

"I hope I will be in other movies," he added. Then, the cutest—he pinched his own cheeks and asked, "Is this a dream? I hope it's not a dream."

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