“A balm for the soul”
Science

# Fascinating video explains a truth bees intuitively know: 'hexagons are the bestagons'

Hexagons are the best of all polygons.

"What's your favorite shape?" is generally a question we ask 5-year-olds, not grown adults. But maybe if we put it into more advanced terms—"What's the best polygon?"—we'd be compelled to give it some genuine thought.

Since there's an entire field of math dedicated to triangles, that might seem like a logical answer. But, most human-made things around us are made up of rectangles, so maybe they're the best. Then again, there are much more interesting quadrilaterals than squares and rectangles (hey, rhombus!) in addition to pentagons, hexagons, heptagons (which I don't think I've ever even seen), octagons, nonagons—so many "gons" to choose from.

As it turns out, there is an answer to this question—at least according to popular YouTube creator CGP Grey.

The answer? Hexagons. Who knew, right?

If you have doubts that the six-sided shape deserves the title of "best," CGP Grey's video might change your mind.

In it, we see how bees use hexagons to make honeycomb. That's not by accident; it's because hexagons are actually the most efficient shape for tiling. It's the same reason bees' eyes are made up of tons of tiny hexagons—and why the back of our eyes are too.

Snowflakes have six sides, which alone is reason enough for the hexagon to be the bestagon, but the reason they're six-sided is super cool. Saturn has a mysterious, humongous hexagon of gases the size of six Earths, which is weird but also super cool.

But that's just the peripheral stuff. There's a fundamental atomic reason why hexagons are the bestagons—strength and stability which allows hexagons to create the strongest atomic material in the universe.

And, of course, Settlers of Catan.

If you have doubts, let CGP Grey convince you. By the end, you'll have to at least admit that hexagons are pretty darn cool, even if you're partial to some other polygon.

Family

## Millennial mom asks her own mom about raising a kid in the 80s and is mortified

### "What did you do without Google?!"

@thedailytay/TikTok

"My anxiety could not have handled the 80s."

Raising kids is tough no matter what generation you fall into, but it’s hard to deny that there was something much simpler about the childrearing days of yesteryear, before the internet offered a million and one ways that parents could be—and probably are—doing it all very, very wrong.

Taylor Wolfe, a millennial mom, exemplifies this as she asks her own mother a series of rapid-fire questions about raising her during the 80s and the stark contrast in attitudes becomes blatantly apparent.

### First off, Wolfe can’t comprehend how her mom survived without being able to Google everything. (Not even a parent, but I feel this.)

“Everything! For starters, poop!” Wolfe says. “Cause you have to know if the color is an okay color, if it's healthy!”

“I was a nursing mom, so if the poop came out green, it was because I ate broccoli,” her mom responds.

…Okay, fair point. But what about handy gadgets like baby monitors? How did Wolfe’s mom keep her kid alive without one?

“I was the monitor, going in and feeling you,” she says.

@thedailytay My anxiety would have hated the 80s. Or maybe loved it? IDK! #fyp #millennialsontiktok #parenttok #momsoftiktok #comedyvid ♬ original sound - TaylorWolfe

Could it really be that easy? It was for Wolfe’s mom, apparently. Rather than relying on technology, she simply felt her child and adjusted accordingly.

“If you were hot, you slept in a diaper. If you were cold, you had a blanket around you.” Done and done.

Wolfe then got into more existential questions, asking her mom if she ever felt the stress of “only having 18 summers” with her child, and how to make the most of it.

Without missing a beat, Wolfe's mother says, “It's summer, I still have you.”

### Going by Wolfe’s mom, the 80s seems like a time with much less pressure.

From feeding her kids McDonald’s fries guilt-free to being spared the judgment of internet trolls, she just sort of did the thing without worrying so much if she was doing it correctly.

That’s nearly impossible in today’s world, as many viewers commented.

“Google just gives us too much information and it scares us,” one person quipped.

Another seconded, “I swear social media has made me wayyyy more of an anxious mom."

Even a professional noted: “As someone who has worked in pediatrics since the 80s, the parents are way more anxious now.”

I don’t think anyone truly wants to go back in time, per se. But many of us are yearning to bring more of this bygone mindset into the modern day. And the big takeaway here: No matter how many improvements we make to life, if the cost is our mental state, then perhaps it’s time to swing the pendulum back a bit.

Community

## Hundreds of parks and playgrounds have added these colorful picture boards for autistic kids

### Communication boards for nonverbal autism are a huge game changer.

Smarty Symbols

Taking your kids to the playground is supposed to be fun.

You chase them around, hold them up on the monkey bars, follow them down the slide — it's a hoot!

(Or, if you're exhausted and overstimulated like so many parents, you take a little quiet time to scroll your phone on the bench while your child plays happily — there's zero shame in doing so.)

But for parents of children with autism or other special needs — especially when those kids are nonverbal — a trip to the park can be filled with stress and anxiety.

Being in an outside environment that you can't control and having few ways to clearly communicate with your child is stressful and even dangerous.

Now more and more communities are installing special picture boards that make playgrounds and other public spaces more accessible to nonverbal kids.

## Autism communication boards, more formally known as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) boards, are a game-changer.

These larges signs feature colorful pictures and icons that help children — and people of all ages — with verbal challenges communicate.

Smarty Symbols

Smarty Symbols

## There may be pictures for Friend or for Share, or for things kids might want like Food, Water, or to go to the Bathroom.

Kids are able to point at the little logos to communicate efficiently and clearly with their caretakers or even with other kids.

For children with budding language skills, the boards often include a full alphabet so kids can spell out words by pointing or touching.

What's amazing is that these boards not only make playgrounds and parks safer and more inclusive for autism families, they actually open up a gateway for nonverbal kids to play with other children.

Parents may be well-versed in some of the nonverbal communication methods their kids use, but other children at the park might not be. These boards make it easier for a child with autism to find a friend to go down the slide with them or go on the climbing wall together.

As an added bonus, public PECS boards invoke a lot of curiosity which helps kids and even adults learn more about folks who may have different ways of communicating.

And the boards aren't just for nonverbal children with autism! They're a great and fun tool for younger children who are just learning how to read and speak, empowering them to communicate and interact more fully with the world around them.

## At home, children with autism often have smaller versions of these boards — or they have special tablets loaded with tools to help them communicate.

But out in the chaos of the real-world and without these tools, communications breakdowns are a major risk.

With 1 in every 36 children having autism (a number that's been on the rise) according to the CDC, these boards are a crucial public health investment for towns across the country.

PECS boards in public spaces is an idea that's really catching on. There are dozens of news stories from the last year or two of counties or town in the U.S. and UK, in particular, installing these boards.

Union County in New Jersey added boards to several of its most popular parks.

Teddy Bear Park in Lake Placid got a custom board earlier this year.

And Oyster Bay in Long Island, NY added communication boards to nearly a dozen of its parks and beaches!

You can even find highly customized boards in places like school libraries, school nurse offices, or sports fields — all with special pictures and communications tools that are suited to that particular environment.

Smarty Symbols, one of the main manufacturers and advocates for the use of these boards, has shipped hundreds of boards since 2022.

## The prevalence of PECS or autism communication boards in public spaces is a truly amazing sign of progress

Our understanding of nonverbal autism and our willingness to make public space more inclusive has come a long way.

Therapy designed to encourage or even "force" nonverbal children with autism to speak is highly controversial, and there's a lot of debate over its ethics and effectiveness.

But what's clear is that tools like picture boards and communication boards do not delay or hinder anyone's ability to learn to read or speak.

They're an extra tool that keeps kids safe and happy — which is exactly what every kid should feel when they're at the playground with their family.

Culture

## Guy starts singing a Sam Cooke song at the barbershop and blows everyone away

### With 7 million views on TikTok alone, Shawn Louisiana's incredible viral video is a must-see.

Sometimes a person opens their mouth to sing, and magic happens. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what qualities make a voice transcend the average and transfix an audience, but we know it when we hear it.

Enter Shawn Louisiana.

A video of him singing in a barbershop has gone viral and it's definitely worth a watch. He wrote on YouTube, "The older guy didn't think I could pull off a Sam Cooke song," but when he started singing "A Change is Gonna Come," he definitely proved that he could. Really well. Like, whoa.

Watch:

The older guy didn't think I could pull off a Sam Cooke song #achangegonnacomewww.youtube.com

There's a reason that video has gotten nearly 7 million views on TikTok alone.

Louisiana frequently shares videos of himself just singing casually for the camera, and I don't understand why this man's talent is not more well known yet.

I mean, just listen to this "Stand By Me" cover. Like butter. Sing me to sleep, sir.

Stand By Me - Ben E. King cover #tiktokwww.youtube.com

His Instagram account says he's available to book for weddings. That's nice, but someone please get this man a record deal so we can listen to him croon all day.

For more from Shawn Louisiana, follow him on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Family

## Ring doorbell video captures the phenomenon of what it's like to be the default parent

### Millions of us know what it's like to be the "default parent."

File:Door knocking for Jody Wilson Raybould (48911105817).jpg ...

Kids, man. I'm not sure of the scientific way audacity is distributed, but kids have a lot of it and somehow make it cute. That audacity overload is especially interesting when you're the default parent—you know, the parent kids go to for literally everything as if there's not another fully capable adult in the house. Chances are if your children haven't sought you out while you were taking a shower so you could open up a pack of fruit snacks, then you're not the default parental unit.

One parent captured exactly what it's like to be the default parent and shared it to TikTok, where the video has over 4 million views. Toniann Marchese went on a quick grocery run and *gasp* did not inform her children. Don't you fret, they're modern kids who know how to use modern means to get much-needed answers when mom is nowhere to be found. They went outside and rang the doorbell.

Back when we were children, this would've done nothing but make the dogs bark, but for Marchese's kids, who are 3 and 6 years old, it's as good as a phone call.

You may be questioning why this mom left her two young children home alone. She didn't. Their father was home, likely wondering why the children were playing so quietly. But. He. Was. Right. There. And the kids still bypassed him to talk to their mom through the Ring doorbell camera. It was pressing business, after all.

"My tablet is dead," the 3-year-old said.

The kids ignored Marchese's questions about where their dad was and continued to complain about their tablets. The entire situation is enough to make any default parent chuckle and maybe sob a little.

Watch the urgent doorbell call below:

@tinyann22

Moms can never get a minute of peace lol #momsoftiktok #momlife #ring #camera #kidsoftiktok

And if you're skeptical that dad was within shouting distance, the mom of two uploaded a part two where dad comes into the frame.

@tinyann22

Replying to @iustmerlp part 2… daddy was found! Lol #kidsoftiktok #momsoftiktok #parentsoftiktok #fyp #ring #prioritiesfirst

Joy

## Photographer doesn't force young girls to smile in photos and the results are powerful

### “Allow girls to show up, take up space and not smile if they don’t want to.”

two girls in shirts posing for photo

The expectation to put on an air of happy, fun, pleasant nonconfrontation through baring teeth, otherwise known as smiling, is something many, if not most, women know very well. What’s more, this pressure is often introduced to women at a very early age.

And obviously, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with naturally being a happy, smiling person, issues arise when kids are taught that being themselves, just as they are, isn’t acceptable.

That’s why people are so impressed with North Carolina-based photographer Brooke Light’s (@bdlighted on TikTok) hands-off approach when it comes to taking pictures of young girls.

Her philosophy is simple, but oh so poignant: Allow girls to show up, take up space, and perhaps most importantly, not smile if they don’t want to.

Light posted a video showing some of her recent portraits, and truly, the work speaks for itself. Each of the girls’ distinct, unique personalities shine in these black-and-white images. Plus the lighting is moody and artsy and cool as hell. So much better than a forced, cheesy, smiling pic.

Take a look:

@bdlighted never underestimate the power of a photoshoot for your kids confidence #moodymini #kidsphotographer #childrensphotography #portraitphotographer #confidenceboost #kidsconfidence #familyphotoshootideas #familyphotoshoots #studiophotography #blackandwhitephoto #girlpower #girlempowerment #donttellmetosmile #momsofgirls #girlmom #greenscreen ♬ Little Girl Gone - CHINCHILLA

Comments began flooding in commending Light for how she authentically portrayed the girls as individuals, rather than producing cookie-cutter images of them.

“I love how they are not trying to be anything ‘extra’ just their own raw and savage selves,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I can feel their power through my phone.”

Light redirected the praise toward her clients, saying, “They are even more amazing in person! Like that vibe you feel is ALL THEM. I’m just there capturing it.”

For many women who had their own memories of being told to smile for photos, seeing the images had a profound effect.

“CHILLS! This healed something in me. Thank you.” one person commented.

“The Sears family photo trauma was REAL” wrote another.

And for the record, Light doesn’t make boys smile either. Here’s the proof in her follow-up video:

@bdlighted these mom's got me blushing in my DMs 🫣📸 I've never had my creativity or my photography validated so much in my life. thank you for the outpouring of love on these photos this week. it's meant more than you can ever know. #boymom #boymoms #moodymini #familyphotoshoots #familyphotoshootideas #portraitphotographer#studiophotography#kidsphotographer#kidsconfidence #childrensphotography #greenscreen ♬ Area Codes - Kali

In the post, Light shared how touched she was by the overwhelmingly positive response.

“I’ve never had my creativity or my photography validated so much in my life. Thank you for the outpouring of love on these photos this week. It’s meant more than you can ever know,” she wrote.

Imagine that…celebrating others for their authentic selves, then being celebrated yourself. Now that’s something worth smiling for.