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Pop Culture

What is in its 'golden age' but not enough people know about it?

There's so much good out there if you know where to look.

sun rising over earth, person knitting
Canva

From astronomy to knitting, some fields of human endeavor are having a heyday.

When you peruse the news headlines or dive into discussions on current events on social media, it's pretty easy to feel despondent. Doom and gloom sells, unfortunately, and our natural negativity bias that's meant to protect us can be overworked by a 24/7 bombardment of humanity's challenges.

There is an anecdote to all of that, though: Curating and cultivating the good. Sometimes it's just knowing where to look to find examples of problems being solved, discoveries being made, innovation taking huge leaps and other evidence that humans are moving our collective life forward in incredible ways.

Someone on Reddit asked, "What is currently in its 'Golden age,' but not enough people know about it?" and thousands of people responded. Reading through the answers is an enlightening and uplifting glimpse of things we might not personally be involved with but are happy to see having a heyday. Like, who wouldn't like to know that we're in a golden age of astronomy and paleontology. Space and dinosaurs? It's like realizing our 5-year-old selves' ideal future.


Here are some of the top things that are experiencing a "golden age":

Astronomy

The amount that scientists have learned about the final frontier in recent decades is mind-blowing.

"Astronomy is currently experiencing a golden age. It has changed radically in the last 30ish years. Think on this, if you are 30 + years old, you were born into a world that wasn't sure if planetary systems were rare or common. We now know that nearly all stars are likely to have planets. We know of 5000+ exoplanets. Mars was not considered a place we could find signs of life by most. The generation of spacecraft exploring Mars since the year 2000 changed that. Now some argue that discovering signs of past life on Mars is a matter of when, not if. We found multiple worlds in our solar system with liquid water oceans. This is just scratching the surface. New technologies like JWST promise to keep the momentum for the foreseeable future." – Slimjerry

"A hundred years ago, we were debating if the Milky Way was the entire universe. It’s crazy to think about how far astronomy and cosmology have come. And it’s not just huge existential topics either. Galaxy evolution has been completely reversed in the past 20 years. Elliptical aka 'early type' galaxies are the end result of mergers of spiral and irregular aka 'late types.'" – snoogans235

"42 year old, you're not even doing the scope justice. When I was a little kid, it's not that we didn't know if planetary systems were rare or common, it's that we didn't know if there were other planetary systems! It was just an assumption we extrapolated from the fact that THIS star had them, a statistical contrivance! It could have just as easily proven true that our sun was profoundly weird, the only one this happened with. Think about that next time you're watching some classic B sci fi flick about going to another planet; that was a MUCH bigger leap in logic when that film was made than it is now." –Of_Mice_And_Meese

Knitting and Crocheting

The fiber arts have been around a lonnnng time, but it's never been a better time to be a knitter.

"Knitting. First, we're in the golden age of yarns. There are hundreds of indie dyers putting amazing colors on a truly mind-boggling range of yarn bases (both fiber content and weight). Even "cheap" yarn is better quality, and comes in a wider range of colors and bases, than ever before. There's an abundance of wool yarn soft enough to wear next to your skin (although you can get scratchy yarn if that's your jam).

Then there are the patterns. Thousands of them, many of them free online. Think of what you want to make, and there's a pattern out there.

Tools, too. How do you like your needles - wood, bamboo, steel, aluminum, plastic, casein? Circular with 15 sizes of interchangeable tips, straight, long short? They're out there.

If you're a knitting nerd, it's a great time to be alive."

cwthree

"I believe it's both crochet and knitting!! i might be a lil biased as i crochet and not knit but all the points you made apply to crochet!"

QUEERVEE

Paleontology

DINOSAURRRRRS!!! Who knew?

"Paleontology! So much tech bringing new stuff to light."

foolishfoolsgold

"And archaeology. LiDAR's power to identify probably human-made structures under layers of jungle canopy is just incredible."

ModusPwnins

"And completely overhauling existing knowledge. DNA studies have changed to much in paleontology that there are joke papers published about it.

A lot of people's life work has been proven incorrect because of a few DNA studies despite those folks using the best methodologies available to them at the time."

guynamedjames

Cooking

So many recipes. So many documentaries. "The Great British Baking Show." All at our fingertips.

"Cooking! I'm 30 now and it's so easy to find amazing recipes, good cooking supplies, and with so much information I can save money on food in so many ways. Literally youtube is teaching me to make so many great things."

BootsRubberClumsy

"Yup, and this influx of easy information has created a nexus of global cuisines in almost all major cities. the blending of ingredients and techniques from Asia, Europe, latin America, etc is creating some really incredible stuff. I worked at a three Michelin when I was younger that had a classically trained French chef who focused on Japanese ingredients, it was really quite something."

ThewFflegyy

"Dietary options. No matter what issue you have, there's a pantry full of food that will meet that restriction AND taste good."

deathbrusher

Board Games

This one might be surprising, considering the internet and digital entertainment and screen usage. Perhaps board games are having a great run because of, not in spite of, those things?

"Board games have been having a great run for the past 10 years, tons of amazing games coming out every year."

jraff_dot_net

"The combination of the internet and the inability to copyright rules have opened a floodgate of innovation in board games." – SuperPants73

"Here are some great modern games that are considered gateway games. I would definitely call them favorites also. (Edited for formatting)

Ticket to Ride
Carcassonne
Pandemic
Dominion
Splendor
Azul

King of Tokyo"

HabeLinkin

Music Production Equipment

Excellent news for creatives with little $$$.

"Playing guitar and recording music. You can buy a quality guitar online for crazy cheap now and some pro recording software out there is free." – leatherwolf89

"Seriously! 'Starter' instruments these days are so far ahead of the starters of the 90's/00's- it's insane how much quality you can get these days for much, much less." – Fortune090

"Keyboards, both synthesizers and mechanical.

It's possible to get a synth that sounds identical to a $5000 Minimoog for $200 and a decent mechanical keyboard for less than that." – the_slanted_slope

"To add to that, DAWs (sound/song editing software, like photoshop for music) are amazing these days!

Some have plug-ins that can mimic orchestras so accurately that you can tell them which way a violin bow's stroke is moving and configure valve sounds into saxes. Some digital flautists come with breath sounds! Like it'll blow a long riff, then a sound like the musician is lightly inhaling.

Off key? Add a little auto-tune. Drummer's all 'not quite my temp' on you? Align it to a digital metronome. Now your drum tracks sound like they're made by an app? Add a little random error into the mix to "humanize" it.

That shit used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now $5k gets you a moderately professional studio rig. (But the price for top-end stuff will always be 'how much ya got?')" – hendergle

Home Television Sets

For real. We've all experienced the opposite of inflation with home TVs and it's been a glorious thing.

"Home TVs. The sort of hardware you can get for even $300 is absolutely absurd compared to what the 1980s through 2000s knew." – NotAnotherEmpire

"32-inch, 2006 from Best Buy for $1,700.

I can’t come to terms with the fact that only 18 years later I’m watching a TV twice as big that cost 40% less and carries a picture quality that’s so good it gives me chills sometimes." – frawgster

"Accurate. Just got a 55" Samsung LCD for $350. Hard to beat that value." – Pac_Eddy


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

National Autistic Society/Youtube

"Diverted" educational video shared through the Too Much Information Campaign.

Everyone who lives with autism experiences it somewhat differently. You'll often hear physicians and advocates refer to the spectrum that exists for those who are autistic, pointing to a wide range of symptoms and skills.

But one thing many autistic people experience is sensory processing issues.


For autistic people, processing the world around them when it comes to sight, smell, or touch can be challenging, as their senses are often over- or under-sensitive. Certain situations — like meandering through a congested mall or enduring the nonstop blasting of police sirens — can quickly become unbearable.

This reality is brought to life in a new video by the U.K.'s National Autistic Society (NAS).

The eye-opening PSA takes viewers into the mind of a autistic woman as she thinks about struggling to stay composed in a crowded, noisy train.

It's worth a watch:

The PSA hit especially close to home for 22-year-old actress and star of the video Saskia Lupin, who is autistic herself. "Overall I feel confused," she said, of abrupt changes to her routine. "Like I can't do anything and all sense of rationality is lost."

She's not alone.

According to a study cited in NAS' press release, 75% of autistic people say unexpected changes make them feel socially isolated. What's more, 67% reported seeing or hearing negative reactions from the public when they try to calm themselves down in such situations — from eyerolls and stares to unwelcome, hurtful comments.

The new PSA aims to improve that last figure in particular.

It's part of the organization's Too Much Information campaign — an initiative to build empathy and understanding in allistic (i.e., not autistic) people for those on the spectrum.

Autism Awareness Day, campaign, World Autism Awareness Week

Campaign by National Autistic Society created to share the autistic experience to the world.

Photo from Pixabay

"It isn't that the public sets out to be judgmental towards autistic people," Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said in a statement in 2016. It's just that, often, the public doesn't "see" the autism.

"They see a 'strange' man pacing back and forth in a shopping center," Lever explained, "or a 'naughty' girl having a tantrum on a bus, and don't know how to respond."

Well, now we do.

Instead of staring, rolling your eyes, or thinking judgmental thoughts about the young person's parents, remember: You have no idea what that stranger on the train is going through.

“We can't make the trains run on time," said Lever. But even the simplest, smallest things — like remembering not to stare and giving a person some space and compassion if they need it — can make a big difference.


This article originally appeared on 03.28.18

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.


How to clear a stuffy nose instantly.

With cold season upon us, there's no better time to learn a couple of awesome and easy tricks that will clear up the dreaded and annoying stuffy nose.

Prevention magazine created a short video showing two easy ways to get you breathing free again no matter how stuffed up you might be.


Both tricks take less than two minutes and are certainly worth trying out when it feels like that runny nose might never go away.


Watch the YouTube video below:

This article first appeared on 9.8.17.

Family

Heartwarming comics break down complex parenting issues with ease

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Writing comics helped a father struggling with anxiety and depression.

Christopher Grady, a father and teacher from Toronto, was struggling with anxiety and depression. That's when he started drawing.

He describes his early cartoons and illustrations as a journal where he'd chronicle everyday moments from his life as a husband, elementary school teacher, and father to two kids.

"I needed a positive place to focus all my thoughts and found that when I was making comics I felt a little bit better," he says.

He began putting a few of his comics online, not expecting much of a response. But he quickly learned that people were connecting with his work in a deep way.


The comics series called Lunarbaboon was born, and the response to the first few was so powerful that Grady was inspired do more with his comics than just document his own experience.

"I began getting messages from many people about how they connected to the comics and it gave them hope and strength as they went through their own dark times," he says.

"When they look back…they probably won't remember what was said…or where you were when you said it. They may not remember any details of your time together. But they will remember that you were there…and that's what matters most."

"Usually the circle of people we can support, help, influence is limited to our families, friends, coworkers, random stranger at the bus stop, but with my comic I suddenly found my circle of power was much much larger," Grady explains. "I guess I decided to use this power for good."

Grady continued to draw, making a point to infuse the panels with his own special brand of positivity.

"Kids are always watching adults and they look to the adults as role models," he says. "I try to show (my kids and students) that even with all my flaws and weaknesses I am still a good person and I can still make a positive change in the world."

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

Check out Grady's take on teaching his son about consent. (All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission.)

consent, relationship advice, father son advice, family

A comic about listening and respecting your partner.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Here's one about parents being supportive of a gay son or daughter.

sexual orientation, parenting gay children, positive messages, gender orientation

Parents being supportive of their gay son.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

On raising girls in a patriarchal world.

adulting, education, medical field, dreams

Comic encourages girls to chase all their dreams.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

And here's a sweet one about appreciating the heck out of his wife.

motherhood, moms, childbirth, family

Mom one ups dad easily.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Big topics. Important issues. Grady tackles them with humility and ease.

As Lunarbaboon has continued to grow, Grady says the messages of support he gets have become increasingly powerful.

He certainly doesn't claim to have all the answers to all the complexities of parenting, but he does say that "people like knowing they aren't alone in life's daily struggles. Most people who contact me just want to say thank you for putting something positive into the world."

Grady doesn't expect his Lunarbaboon comics to fix rape culture or end bigotry. He just hopes his message of love, inclusion, and positivity continues to spread.

inclusion, gender roles, social anxiety, happy

Teaching children to accept what might be different.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

"My hope is that for the short time people read it they smile and feel good," he says. "Then I hope they take that good feeling and smile into the world and make it slightly brighter."

You can check out even more of Grady's awesome work over on his website or in his newly published book.


This article was originally published on 11.30.17