This week's Upworthiest stories: The only way to win a discussion and 18 more.

How to have better conversations. A clever project that makes art out of food. A look at what Ayn Rand would think of Paul Ryan. Reflections from a writer taking a year-long break from the Internet. And more. Enjoy!


Arts and Culture

How We Talk To One Another / Nick Pyati / Gotta Have A Code

"The only way to 'win' a discussion is to come away with the soundest position possible, regardless of whether it is what you believed when you came in." How often do you discuss, versus just debate?




The Best Exam Question Ever / Chris Blattman

A short and sweet blog post on a short and sweet exam question.




Urban Meyer Will Be Home For Dinner / Wright Thompson / ESPN

A spectacular piece on the price of perfectionism, the quest for balance, and the promises a star football coach made to his family on the way to redemption.





Big Appetites / Christopher Boffoli

An immensely enjoyable and witty art project; the bar code lineup, cinnamon lumberjacks, and unionized mustard spreader are my favorites.




PSY's Gangnam Style Is The Best Invisible Horse-Riding Rap Video You'll See All Week / Melissa Locker / Time

This tongue-in-cheek Korean music video has gone global, thanks to its infectious beats, over-the-top fashion, and wry sense of humor. (via Bo)




Politics and World Affairs

Atlas Spurned / Jennifer Burns / The New York Times

What Ayn Rand would think of Paul Ryan and other politicians who claim her as their intellectual inspiration.




Philanthropist Wants To Be Rid Of His Last $1.5 Billion / Jim Dwyer / The New York Times

Inspiring story of a self-made billionaire who gave anonymously for decades, still flies coach, and intends for his foundation to spend all its money and close its doors by 2020.




Big Med / Atul Gawande / The New Yorker

The always-worth-reading surgeon and writer asks what hospitals can learn from restaurant chains like the Cheesecake Factory.




Have Obama And Romney Forgotten Afghanistan? / Dexter Filkins / The New Yorker

"After eleven years, more than four-hundred billion dollars spent and two thousand Americans dead," we've built a deeply corrupt and weak Afghan government. What happens when we leave?




What Would It Take To Start A Gun Control Debate In The US? / Ethan Zuckerman / My Heart's In Accra

Important piece on "agenda setting" — how what is debated and acted on in politics is actually decided.




Business and Economics

Alan Greenspan On His Fed Legacy And The Economy / Devin Leonard and Peter Coy / BusinessWeek

A surprisingly candid Greenspan on how Ayn Rand changed his life, how he met his wife Andrea Mitchell, and why his speeches were so filled with jargon and "Fed speak."





World's Largest Economies / Andrew Bergmann / CNN Money

Animated chart shows the rise of various economies from 2000 to 2017 (projected); it's interesting to watch China go from 1/10 to 2/3 of the US in that time.




Working 9 To 12 / Richard Posner / The New York Times

John Maynard Keynes predicted we'd become so productive that we'd only need to work 15 hours a week. This book review looks at our lack of leisure and asks if that's a bad thing.




Dear Facebook Employees: Here's The Truth About Your Stock Price / Henry Blodget / Business Insider

Long, clear, and well-argued case for why Facebook's stock is still overvalued and likely won't hit bottom for a while.




Science and Technology

Are We All Braggarts Now? / Elizabeth Bernstein / The Wall Street Journal

One side effect of Facebook, Twitter, and the like: "We've become so accustomed to boasting that we don't even realize what we're doing."




The Desert That Creates The Rainforest / Maggie Koerth-Baker / Boing Boing

How a small patch of African desert makes the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest possible. (via Albert)




Thomas Kuhn: The Man Who Changed The Way The World Looked At Science / John Naughton / The Guardian

An appreciation of "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," a landmark book that undermined conventional notions of intellectual progress and introduced the phrase "paradigm shift."




Offline: How's It Going? / Paul Miller / The Verge

A technology writer who is getting paid to not use the Internet for a year weighs in on how his life is different, what he's learning, and what he misses.




Curiosity Rover: Martian Solar Day 2 / 360 Pano

Amazing: a 360-degree panoramic view from the Mars rover.




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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.