Being a hero in the aftermath of 9/11 is one thing, but being a hero during the Boston bombings too? Pedro Velazquez and his spouse Javier Pagan recount a truly incredible story that will make your eyes go all watery.
Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!
However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!
Eye strain from staring at devices is a widespread issue. Most people work, play, and maintain relationships through screens, which averages out to 6 hours and 35 minutes per day (and that’s in addition to work or school)! That translates to 46 hours and 5 minutes per week, or 2,402 hours and 55 minutes per year.2
With numbers like these, attention to eye health is more important now than ever; our dependence on technology certainly isn’t going anywhere. And just like innovation brought us technology, innovation also holds the key to combating the effects it has on our bodies. Here are some key suggestions from eye care professionals to help reduce common symptoms of digital eye strain. Spoiler alert: none of them involve wearing glasses!
Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
You can find some relief by taking a 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s easy to remember because we all want 20/20 vision, and it’s a good excuse to look out the window.
Adjust your workspace screen to be slightly below eye level and about an arm’s length away.
This simple tweak to your work area can really improve your posture, as well as the amount of strain on your eyes. A win-win!
Adjust the brightness of your device.
Brightness levels also play into how hard our eyes have to work. Our screen brightness should match our surroundings, especially during the evening hours.
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Additionally, Biofinity Energys® monthly replacement contact lenses are designed to help our eyes better adapt for a more comfortable wearing experience3. This part is tricky because contacts can be hard to adjust to, and trust me—no one wants what feels like gritty sandpaper in there. Comfort is key!
If you’re sick of wearing glasses all the time and feel ready to do something new, visit biofinityenergys.com to learn more and to get your free trial certificate.
Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.
Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.
In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.
Later, she looks through them and sees what is happening around her. Morris-Cafiero finds that people are often looking at her body, or commenting on it with their gaze or body language, at times even appearing to mock her.
"I then examine the images to see if any of the passersby had a critical or questioning element in their face or body language."
"I consider my photographs a social experiment and I reverse the gaze back on to the stranger and place the viewer in the position of being a witness to a moment in time. The project is a performative form of street photography," she writes.
Her work has been exhibited across the U.S. and abroad.
Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero filmed people's reactions to her
She also published her book, The Watchers, which shows her photo collection and includes comments made to her about her body from passerby.
You can see that even people in positions of authority, like this police officer, feel comfortable mocking her just for being out in public.
Though she's not looking at the people around her, Morris-Cafiero's photographs capture a split second in time that really crystalizes how people relate to one another on the street and the judgment she receives from strangers.
In galleries, with the words beside them, the photos are even more pointed. She also includes the positive words she receives from people who have experienced discrimination for their size or any other aspect to their body that is consistently bothered by the dominant culture.
Though we all theoretically know that people, women in particular, are discriminated against for their size, seeing it captured in photographs is gut-wrenching:
The project has gone viral as people identify with Morris-Cafiero's experience, which means a lot of people relate to being stared at and commented on by folks who should mind their own business. Does that include you? You can check out more of her incredible work here.
If the world of Dr. Seuss can teach us anything, it's that history is our best defense against modern tyranny.
This story originally appeared on 03.02.17
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, gifted the world with stories like "The Cat in the Hat," "The Lorax," "Green Eggs and Ham," and dozens of other childhood classics until his death in 1991.In recent years, however, it's some of his lesser known works from the 1940s that have gained attention.
As World War II was slowly moving toward a reality, Seuss began penning cartoons for PM, a liberal publication, frequently pushing back against the "America First" mentality of U.S. isolationists opposed to U.S. involvement in the war.
So when candidate Donald Trump adopted "Make America Great Again" as his campaign slogan, echoing cries of "America First" — the rallying call for an anti-Semitic and Nazi-appeasing segment of the wartime U.S. population — some of Seuss' cartoons began to find new relevance more than 70 years after first being published.
Like this one, which depicts a mother reading a book titled "Adolf the Wolf" to children while wearing an "America First" shirt, explaining that because the wolf's victims were foreign children, it didn't really matter that the wolf ate them — a clear parallel to the conflicting approaches to our modern refugee crisis.
A Dr. Seuss political cartoon sharing thoughts on isolationism.
Image dated Oct. 1, 1941, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library
"And the Wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones ... but those were Foreign Children and it really didn't matter."
Cartoon about WWII and Hitler dragging Russia into the war.
Image dated June 25, 1941, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"A. Hitler taxidermist"
Dr. Seuss uses clams in talking about Hitler in a political cartoon from 1941.
Image dated July 17, 1941, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"We Clams Can't Be Too Careful."
A political satire created by Dr. Seuss on the impending World War II.
Image dated May 27, 1941, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"The old Family bath tub is plenty safe for me!"
To be sure, the comics were far from perfect and reflected some ugly stereotypes of their own. For instance, many of his cartoons amplified some pretty awful impressions of Japanese citizens and Japanese-Americans. And while it's easy to chalk that up as being simply an element of the time, that type of anti-Japanese sentiment helped fuel the racism and paranoia that eventually led to Japanese internment.
A Dr. Seuss cartoon depicts Hitler singing.
Image dated July 20, 1942, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"Only God can make a tree to furnish sport for you and me!"
An elephant tries to stop a tank in a political cartoon.
Image dated Oct. 24, 1941, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"Stop all U.S. progress."
Political cartoon uses 'Pledge of Allegiance' to make a point.
Image dated July 30, 1942, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"The Guy Who Makes a Mock of Democracy."
Political cartoon suggests the war is coming to America.
Image dated Sept. 9, 1941, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"Relax, Sam, I assure you the express turns off right here!"
Political cartoon suggests burying your head in the sand.
Image dated April 29, 1941, via Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons/Special Collection and Archives, UC San Diego Library.
"We Always Were Suckers for Ridiculous Hats."
See more of Seuss' wartime comics at the University of California San Diego Library's website.
Melissa Highsmith never even knew her real family was searching for her.
In 1971, Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. Her disappearance has been one of the oldest missing person cases in America. Now, she gets to celebrate a long-awaited reunion with her family in what she calls a “Christmas miracle.”
As ABC affiliate WFAA reported, Melissa’s mother, Alta (who now goes by Alta Apantenco) had put out an ad for a babysitter to watch over her then 21-month-old while she was at work. A white gloved, well-dressed woman going by the name of Ruth Johnson responded to the call, but she was no babysitter. After Johnson picked up baby Melissa from Apantenco’s roommate, the two were never seen again.
As any parents would do in this situation, the Highsmiths worked tirelessly to find their little girl, involving the Fort Worth police and even the FBI. Sadly, it was all to no avail. The only glimmer of hope remaining was that there was no evidence of harm, so maybe, just maybe, their Melissa was being well taken care of. And for 51 years, the family held onto that possibility.
Meanwhile, Melissa—who never remembered being kidnapped—led a hard life with the woman who claimed to be her mother. "I didn't feel loved as a child. It was abusive, and I ran away at 15 years old. I went to the streets. I did what I had to do to get by... I worked the streets," she shared in a one-on-one interview with WFAA.
Then in September, everything would change. After receiving a failed tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Melissa had been sighted, her father Jeffrie Highsmith (now divorced from Apantenco) decided to try his luck with DNA testing. DNA testing service 23andMe came back with a match linking him to Highworth. Their son Jeff (Melissa’s brother) then found her on Facebook and reached out.
Even though Melissa was skeptical, she was shown a baby picture by the Higworths which she admitted looked like her “twin.” According to Good Morning America, Melissa had a special birthmark and celebrated a birthday very close to the child taken all those years ago.
Any remaining shadows of doubt immediately disappeared when Melissa confronted the woman she thought was her mother. "The person that raised me, I asked her is there anything you need to tell me and it was confirmed that she knew that I was baby Melissa so that just made it real," she told FOX 25.
Mother & daughter reunited after 51 YEARS!— Malini Basu (@MaliniBasu_) November 28, 2022
Melissa was kidnapped when she was 21months old from their Ft Worth apt.
They both gave up on hope. Melissa: “I ran away at 15, & worked the streets.”
Family says 23andMe, DNA Genetic Testing matched them, living 20min away.@wfaapic.twitter.com/Vsz9437pRf
In perhaps the strangest twist of fate, Melissa and her family had been so close, yet so far this entire time—living less than 20 minutes apart.
That discovery is not without its bittersweetness, but so far the family is focusing on making up for lost time and celebrating their reunion.
"I’m just elated, I can't describe my feelings. I'm so happy to see my daughter that I didn't think I would ever see again," Apantenco told WFAA. "I feel like I am dreaming and I keep having to pinch myself to make sure I'm awake," Melissa added.
On their shared Facebook Group page the family wrote, “the joy is palpable amongst all family members” adding that finding Melissa “was purely because of DNA, not because of any police / FBI involvement, podcast involvement, or even our family’s own private investigations or speculations.” They are not alone. Previously a man kidnapped in 1964 found his real family using different ancestry services. There are still miles to go in terms of diversifying DNA databases, but DNA testing has taken on an increasingly significant role in finding missing persons over the years, and continues to be a game changer.
As for the newly reunited Highsmith family, the plan is to simply take things day by day. According to WFAA, Melissa has officially adopted her birth name (she had previously gone by “Melanie”), and is even planning on remarrying her current husband so that her father can walk down the aisle. These are sure to be hard won memories the entire family will cherish forever.
If someone trusts you with news that they're trans, there are a few key do's and don'ts you should follow.
This article originally appeared on 03.09.16. It has been lightly edited.
Coming out means telling others of your status as an LGBTQ person. As society is becoming more accepting of people's sexual orientation and gender identity, coming out is getting easier all the time. Even so, for many, it's still a carefully calculated process that involves planning who, how, and when to tell people in their lives.
It's so great that Lilly came to that realization about herself and started living more authentically. In 2012, her sister Lana also came out as trans. What's not cool about this is the fact that Lilly was forced to out herself, in a letter she chose to share with The Windy City Times, after a reporter from The Daily Mail threatened to do it without her permission.
Lilly Wachowski came out as transgender in 2016.
If someone trusts you with news that they're trans, there are a few key do's and don'ts you should follow — and telling a journalist definitely falls under "don't."
Below are five tips I give people who are thoughtful enough to ask.
If you're asking this question (or taking the time to look up an article on the subject), you're already on the right path. It's important to make sure your friend knows you're in their corner, as they're probably afraid of how others in their lives will react. A simple "If you need anything, I'm here for you" can go a long way.
Ask questions like "What are your pronouns?" and "How would you like me to refer to you in private and when we're around people who may not know you're transitioning?"
If somebody is just starting to come out to others, odds are that there are still some people who don't know and might still use old names and pronouns. Asking how you should react in those situations will help you avoid outing your friend to others who don't yet know.
There are so many great resources on how to understand trans issues. While your friend may be happy to answer those initial personal questions about things like names and pronouns, they might become overwhelmed if you start treating them as a walking encyclopedia of all things trans.
I recommend PFLAG's amazing resource "Our Trans Loved Ones: Questions and Answers for Parents, Families, and Friends of People who are Transgender and Gender Expansive." The 102-page guide is a comprehensive piece of "Trans 101" literature that's bound to answer some of your questions (complete with some more thorough do's and don'ts).
The only people you should be discussing your friend's gender with are people they've given you explicit permission to do so with. Going behind their back and outing them to someone they may not yet be ready to tell is not only a huge betrayal of their trust, but it could even put them in physical danger.
On top of that, when someone is hearing this news from a secondhand source (that is, you), some of the important details may get lost in translation, which get further garbled if this person tells someone else — it eventually turns into a game of telephone, and no one wants that.
A vigil for slain transgender woman Islan Nettles at Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem in 2013. Nettles was severely beaten after being approached on the street by a group of men and later died of her injuries.
It's OK to feel confused, and it's OK to not immediately "get it." Those feelings are completely valid, but demanding to know why your friend didn't tell you sooner (they were probably wrestling with this themselves for quite some time) or saying you feel betrayed will only hurt them during an extremely vulnerable time in their life.
Nothing you did "made" your friend trans, and it's probably less that they were hiding something from you and more that they were hiding this reality from themselves.
Maybe years from now the aspect that makes this seem like such juicy gossip will fade and trans people won't have to worry about being forcibly outed. Maybe years from now trans people won't need to fear that coming out will be met with job loss, homelessness, or physical harm. Until then, it's important that those of us who care for our trans friends and family members do what we can do show we're there for them.