“A balm for the soul”
Heroes

# Why Aren’t All Rivers Straight? The Answer Is Kind Of Mind-Blowing.

## 1. Rivers only *seem* tame and lazy.

Mountain streams are corralled by the steep-walled valleys they carve. Their courses are literally set in stone. Out on the open plains, those stoney walls give way to soft soil, allowing rivers to shift their banks and set their own ever-changing courses to the sea. Courses that almost never run straight, at least not for long, because all it takes to turn a straight stretch of river into a bendy one is a little disturbance and a lot of time.

## 2. What makes a river bend?

Say, for example, that a muskrat burrows herself a den in one bank of a stream. Her tunnels make for a cozy home, but they also weaken the bank, which eventually begins to crumble and slump into the stream.

As more of the stream's flow is diverted into the deepening hole on one bank and away from the other side of the channel, the flow there weakens and slows. And because slow-moving water can't carry the sand-sized particles that fast-moving water can, the dirt drops to the bottom and builds up to make the water there even shallower and slower. And then it keeps accumulating until it becomes new land on the inside bank.

Meanwhile, the fast-moving water near the outside bank sweeps out of the curve with enough momentum to carry it across the channel and slam it into the other side, where it starts to carve another curve and then another and then another and then another.

## 3. Rivers can do math. Sort of.

Measurements of meandering streams all over the world reveal a strikingly regular pattern. The length of one S-shaped meander tends to be about six times the width of the channel. So little, tiny meandering streams tend to look just like miniature versions of their bigger relatives.

## 4. But it doesn't mean they're very smart about it.

As long as nothing gets in the way of a river's meandering, its curves will continue to grow curvier and curvier until they loop around and bumble into themselves. When that happens, the river's channel follows a straighter path downhill leaving behind a crescent-shaped remnant called an oxbow lake.

Pets

## Man jumps out of his car with a puppy in the most adorable red-light moment ever recorded

### "I JUST WITNESSED THE PUREST THING EVER."

via Celina Romera / Flickr

When you see someone jump out of their car at a red light to talk with another motorist, usually it's bad news. Most of the time, it's the moment when road rage gets personal.

But 26-year-old Celina Romera caught video of probably one of the most adorable red-light interactions between motorists on December 15 in Tampa, Florida.

In the video, an unidentified man pops out of his car at a stoplight with a darling puppy in his hand. In the other car, a big German Shepherd pops his head out and the two dogs exchange kisses.

"I JUST WITNESSED THE PUREST THING EVER," Romera wrote on Facebook.

After the light changes, the man with the puppy gently walks back to the car. In the video Romera can be heard saying, "It's okay, man. Take your time."

One could imagine that the dogs were barking at each other before the video began.Then, the owner of the puppy thought it was okay for the two dogs to meet. The American Kennel Club says that barking between dogs is a pretty crude way to communicate.

However, it is part of a host of messages that dogs send to one another.

The job of a dog's owner is to determine if the dogs are ready to share a sniff or of one is fearful.

"The combination of barking, body language, and approach-avoidance behavior gives away the fearful dog's motivation, even to us relatively uneducated body-language readers," the Club says on its blog.

The original video Romera posted has been shared over 120,000 times.

The heartwarming video is a reminder that nothing can bring two strangers and millions of Facebook viewers together quite like dogs.

Internet

## Ever screw up royally at work? There’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling that comes when you realize you have to fess up to your manager. Next comes the uncertainty over whether you’ll keep your job or not.

A server at the Hawksmoor Manchester steakhouse and cocktail bar in England went through that same experience. She accidentally served a customer a £4500 (\$5750) bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001 instead of the £260 (\$33) Bordeaux they ordered.

The server’s manager brought it to the world’s attention on Twitter, and instead of chastising her, told her “One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway.”

The manager even went a step further and excused the mistake by saying the bottles “look pretty similar.”

Hawksmoor founder Will Beckett later clarified the story to BBC News saying that the server had been working with a manager from another location because it was a busy night. The manager accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle and the customer apparently didn’t notice the mistake.

Beckett said the server is “brilliant,” but he’s still going to “tease her for this when she stops being so mortified.”

The story inspired some people to share the times when they screwed up at work and were let off the hook.

Others congratulated management for not punishing the server.

While others thought that drinking a £4500 bottle of wine was amoral.

The restaurant responded to the morally outraged by sharing the work it does for charity.

Culture

## Idioms from around the world that become hilarious when translated into English

### It can rain a lot more than just cats and dogs.

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Two donkeys are better than one—'repetition teaches the donkey.'

You probably know what it means to hit the hay, tie the knot or buy a lemon. Maybe you’ve already killed two birds with one stone today, so effortlessly that it was a piece of cake. But to a non-English speaker, using these phrases would probably make you sound crazy … or should I say gone crackers?

That’s the fun thing about idioms. They change depending on the time, place and culture creating them. In other words, they usually sound ridiculous to anyone except those who normally use them.

Looking at turns of phrase in different languages helps us see the world through different eyes. And man does it seem impressive at a party.

Just think, instead of saying “it’s raining cats and dogs,” next time you could incorporate a more Lithuanian take, and say “it’s raining axes.” How metal is that?

It can also be raining old women, barrels, buckets, pipe stems, frogs, female trolls, fire and brimstone … depending on where you’re from.

Some of these idioms from around the world make a lot of sense. Others get so lost in translation, you can’t help but get tickled pink.

### Swedish

”Nu ska du få dina fiskar värmda.”

Literal translation: Now your fishes will be warmed.

It's another way of saying someone’s in trouble, or their “goose is cooked.”

The Swedish language is definitely not lacking in the threats department. They also have a saying, “nu har du satt din sista potatis,” which translates to “now you have planted your last potato.”

Imagine hearing Batman say “You’ve planted your last potato, Joker.” Doesn't have quite the intended effect.

### Italian

“Avere gli occhi foderati di prosciutto.”

Literal translation: To have one’s eyes lined with ham.

Leave it to the Italians to have food-related phrases. You can use this when someone can’t see what’s right in front of them. It can also be used when someone is blinded by love. Sadly, there is no “ham-colored glasses” idiom.

### Icelandic

Að leggja höfuðið í bleyti.”

You say this when you “need to sleep on something,” or “put your thinking cap on.” This one is hilarious because I cannot fathom getting any mental clarity from holding my head in the water.

### Arabic

"At-Tikraar yu’allem al-Himaar.”

Literal translation: Repetition teaches the donkey.

Practice makes perfect, but it especially does for donkeys. Animal-themed wisdom at its finest.

### German

"Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof."

Literal translation: I only understand train station.

It's another way of saying “it’s all Greek to me.”

The history of this one is a bit mysterious. One theory is that it originated from WWI soldiers who had only one thing on their mind after getting discharged: returning home. Meaning, they could only comprehend the train station that would lead them there. Others say it refers to tourists new to Germany who have really only learned the German word for “train station.” Which would indicate that everything else is foreign to them.

And let’s not forget “nicht mein bier, nicht meine sorgen,” translating to “not my beer, not my worries.”

(Fun fact: The term “not my circus, not my monkeys” actually stems from a Polish proverb, not an English saying at all.)

### Norwegian

Å snakke rett fra leveren.”

Literal translation: To speak directly from the liver.

When you say something without sugar-coating it, you are speaking directly from the liver. This dates back to a time when the liver was thought to be the magical organ that produced courage. So speaking from the liver is just like speaking from the heart, only down and to the right a little.

### Chinese

“Mama huhu.”

Literal translation: Horse horse, tiger tiger.

You can use it to say something is just okay. Not good, not bad, just … meh.

As the story goes, a Chinese painter who, not very good at his craft, created a drawing of an animal that looked sort of like a tiger, and sort of like, you guessed it, a horse. That story actually has a tragic ending that serves as a cautionary tale against carelessness. But nowadays it takes on a lighter connotation.

And like “comme ci, comme ca” in French, “horse horse, tiger tiger” isn’t quite as commonly spoken as non-native speakers would assume.

Language continues to be an ever-evolving and always entertaining way to not only appreciate other cultures, but also note the similarities. Words might change slightly, but ultimately we're all expressing the same things.

Parenting

## When a Patagonia employee breastfed her baby in a meeting her male VP's response was a masterclass in workplace values

### Talk about a "family-friendly workplace."

Years after it happened, Patagonia's approach to the "family-friendly workplace" is a whole new level that still deserves our attention - and praise.

The outdoor clothing and gear company has made a name for itself by putting its money where its mouth is. From creating backpacks out of 100% recycled materials to donating their \$10 million tax cut to fight climate change to refusing to sell to clients who harm the environment, Patagonia leads by example.

That dedication to principle is clear in its policies for parents who work for them, as evidenced by a 2019 viral post from Holly Morisette, a recruiter at Patagonia.

"While nursing my baby during a morning meeting the other day after a recent return from maternity leave, our VP (Dean Carter) turned to me and said...'There is no way to measure the ROI on that. But I know it's huge.'

It got me thinking...with the immense gratitude that I have for on-site childcare at Patagonia comes a responsibility to share a 'call to action'. A PSA to tout the extraordinary benefits that come along with not asking employees to make the gut wrenching decision to either leave their jobs or leave their babies. TO HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR JOBS OR LEAVE THEIR BABIES. That perhaps just one person will brave the subject with their employer (big or small) in the hopes that it gets the wheels turning to think differently about how to truly support working families.

That with a bit of creativity, and a whole lot of guts, companies can create a workplace where mothers aren't hiding in broom closets pumping milk, but rather visiting their babies for large doses of love and serotonin before returning to their work and kicking ass.

It's no wonder that Patagonia has 100% retention of moms. Keeping them close to their babies keeps them engaged. And engaged mothers (and fathers!) get stuff done. Thank you, Patagonia, for leading the way. "

Holly Morissette on LinkedIn: "While nursing my baby during a morning meeting the other day after a recent return from maternity leave, our VP (Dean Carter) turned to me and said..."There is no way to measure the ROI on that. But I know it's huge." It got me thinking...with the immense gratitude that I have for on-site childcare at Patagonia comes a responsibility to share a “call to action". A PSA to tout the extraordinary benefits that come along with not asking employees to make the gut wrenching decision to either leave their jobs or leave their babies. TO HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR JOBS OR LEAVE THEIR BABIES. That perhaps just one person will brave the subject with their employer (big or small) in the hopes that it gets the wheels turning to think differently about how to truly support working families. That with a bit of creativity, and a whole lot of guts, companies can create a workplace where mothers aren't hiding in broom closets pumping milk, but rather visiting their babies for large doses of love and serotonin before returning to their work and kicking ass. It's no wonder that Patagonia has 100% retention of moms. Keeping them close to their babies keeps them engaged. And engaged mothers (and fathers!) get stuff done. Thank you, Patagonia, for leading the way. " www.linkedin.com

Just the first eight words of Morisette's post are extraordinary. "While nursing my baby during a morning meeting..."

As if that's totally normal. As if everyone understands that working moms can be much more engaged and efficient in their jobs if they can feed their baby while they go over sales figures. As if the long-held belief that life and work must be completely separate is a construct that deserves to be challenged.

And then the comment from her male colleague about the ROI (Return on Investment) of breastfeeding—witty, considering the time and place, and yet so supportive.

On-site childcare so that parents don't have to choose between leaving their jobs or leaving their babies. Letting life integrate with work so that working families don't have to constantly feel torn in two different directions. Flexibility in meetings and schedules. Allowing for the natural rhythms and needs of breastfeeders. Making childcare as easy and accessible as possible so that employees can be more effective in their jobs.

All of this seems so profoundly logical, it's a wonder that more companies have not figured this out sooner. Clearly, it works. I mean, who has ever heard of a 100% retention rate for mothers?

Patagonia's got it goin' on. Let's hope more companies take their lead.

Schools

## Elementary teacher explains why we can't keep using schools as band-aids for society's ills

### "We now need schools to reopen so that kids can eat, get healthcare, get clothes, shoes, and school supplies, be safe, be healthy, and be supervised. Oh, and so that they can get an education."

The challenges facing America's public school systems is sadly nothing new to any parent who has navigated the ups and downs of looking after their child's educations. There are wildly different solutions, and pain points, for people of all backgrounds and views. But one undeniable factor is how an increasing burden is placed on teachers and schools themselves. We all know America's schools need to do better for the future adults of our society but the only thing we seem to have silently agreed upon is to avoid addressing the problems at hand.

A 2020 Facebook post by an award-winning teacher from Iowa, Alison Hoeman, has beautifully explained how society has dumped most of its failings onto the shoulders of schools and teachers. These challenges became heightened during the peak of the Coronavirus lockdowns but remain just as strikingly relevant today.

"Society: In the richest country in the world, between 11 and 13 million children live in food insecure homes.

Schools: We can help..... Kids can eat breakfast and lunch at school, and in many places, teachers will spend their own money on snacks. For the most needy, we will send food home for dinner and weekends.

Society: Over 4 million children in the US do not have health insurance or adequate healthcare.

Schools: We can help..... we will bring doctors to do free physicals, eye exams, and dental treatments right at school. In many places, school nurses will spend their own money on sanitary supplies for girls.

Society: Over 17% of US children live without basic necessities.

Schools: We can help.... we will install washers and dryers in schools. We will hand out clothes, school supplies, shoes, and winter coats for free. Many of these items are purchased by school nurses and teachers.

man in black shirt sitting beside woman in white shirt Photo by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash

Society: There are 5.5 million reports annually of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect of minors.

Schools: We can help.... schools will be safe places and teachers will be safe people. We will have some counselors, but not enough.... some therapists, but not enough, right in the schools. Teachers with minimal training in trauma will come to school early and stay late to mentor these children. Teachers will spend more time with their students than with their own children. Teachers will cry and sometimes crumble at the thought of not being able to do more for the innocent children in their care.

Society: Almost 25% of US children have parents that work past school hours.

Schools: We can help.... we will install before and after school programs in thousands of schools where kids can get another meal, get help with their homework, and participate in organized activities.

Society: Almost 14 million children in the US are obese.

Schools: we can help... Physical Education classes will be mandatory and we will incorporate lessons about healthy food choices.

Society: The US averages one school shooting every 77 days.

woman standing in front of children Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

School: We can help... we will do lock down drills and train our students to hide and be quiet. And if need be, teachers will literally die for their students.

Society: We are in the midst of a global pandemic which our government has failed to control. Almost 130,000 Americans are dead and the numbers are rising, not declining, in many places. Because we have chosen to ignore, for decades, the racism, inequality, and discrimination that is at the root of all the aforementioned problems, we now need schools to reopen so that kids can eat, get healthcare, get clothes, shoes, and school supplies, be safe, be healthy, and be supervised. Oh, and so that they can get an education. It appears that COVID doesn't affect children, so let's go back to school.

Teachers: We can help.... of course we will help, that's what we do. We miss our students and want to be back at school with them.... but what about the 25-30% of us that are over the age of 50? What about those of us who are immunocompromised or live with someone who is? What about those of us who are pregnant... we still have very limited data on what COVID does to unborn children. Will you have PPE for us? Will you have hand sanitizer for us? What if we get sick, and don't have enough sick days to cover the time that we are out? What if a family member gets sick and we need to care for them?

Society: Wow, why are you suddenly being a bunch of crybabies? Before you were always willing to sacrifice your time, your money, your mental health.... and now when we need you, you aren't willing to sacrifice your health and possibly your life? But 75% of you are women.... and that's what we, as a society, expect women to do... sacrifice yourself for others.

girl sitting on chair Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

* For decades, schools and teachers have been the band-aid on society's failings, because we care about children.... because we know that in society's failings, it is almost always the children that suffer the most. Schools and teachers are not responsible for, or capable of, the repair of our broken America. Make no mistake that going back to school has very little to do with education and much more to do with the other social services that schools provide... we need children's to return to school so that they are fed, cared for, and supervised... so that their parents can go back to work and participate in the economy. While it literally breaks the heart of every teacher in America to think of all of the children that they know who are not eating enough, not being well cared for, and not safe in their home, teachers will not be the lambs sent to slaughter because no one else cared enough to actually address the racism, discrimination, and inequality that is at the root of our problems, while schools and teachers were picking up all the slack and holding it all together with a band-aid that is growing very thin."

Since everything is already turned upside down anyway, perhaps now would be a good opportunity for us to reexamine how we as a society—one with a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people"—handles issues like hunger, poverty, child abuse, health and healthcare, working parents balancing childcare, etc. The fact that we've tacitly decided to address these problems through underfunded school systems with overworked teachers and school personnel is rather ridiculous. It's not fair to teachers, parents, or kids to expect schools to fix everything. It's high time to tackle our ills head on, with resources and experience and expertise that makes sense, and stop treating gaping holes with bandaids that weren't designed for such a purpose in the first place.