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Why it's absolutely fine that sea levels are rising and I'm totally not panicking at all.

Just look at some nice ocean pictures and remain calm like me.

Hi. So ... nothing to worry about here but ... scientists have discovered that sea levels are rising faster than they have in 2,800 years.

I know, I know. I know that sounds really bad, but it's fine. It's fine. Really. I'm not worried about it. It's just the fate of the planet and humankind, but I'm not — you know, it's just — just don't worry about it. It's fine.

First of all, I mean, come on, "faster than they have in 2,800 years" yeah, sure that sounds like an impressive observation, but psht — 2,800 years isn't even that long. It's only what ... ? 28 centuries? Come on! Just 28 centuries. That's ... like ... nothing.


Plus, OK, it's not like those scientists are even 100% positive about that number. In fact, according to The Washington Post, the scientists are only hypothesizing it to be true with, like, 95% certainty.

95%? That's nothing! Right? I only trust scientists who are 100% certain about their findings. Or else I'd be totally panicking over this news, you know, like totally panicking. Which I'm not. Like — I'm definitely not. Shut up, I'm not panicking at all, OK?

Like, if you had a 95% chance of winning the lottery, would you even play? I wouldn't. That's not even ... oh God ... no reason to panic...

OK. OK. Yes. Let's just ... look at this ocean picture. Just a nice ... calm ... serene ocean picture.

Photo by Manu Schwendener/Unsplash.

Just a nice ... rapidly rising, warming, globally threatening ocean... Oh — oh no — no, this isn't working.

OK. Let's just look at the facts. This new study, which was published Monday, says that sea level rise in the 20th century was "extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries."

Which, again, right, yeah. That's not horrifying or cause for any panic at all or anything — I'm not panicking, you're panicking.

I, for one, am definitelynot frozen with fear at the implications of a drowning planet that will no longer be able to sustain human life. Nope. Not me. Haha. Hahahahahahaha! Haha! Hah.

The study also shows that, from 1900 to 2000, sea levels rose about 1.4 millimeters per year, while the current rate of rise, according to data from NASA, is about 3.4 millimeters per year.

Which is fine. Totally fine! Just fine! You can swim, right?

Hey, it's a good thing nothing else is rapidly increasing — like my heart rate or my general sense of dread. Steady as a rock, totally not panicking right now. That's me.

Here, maybe another ocean photo will help:

Just take deep breaths and look out at the sunset over this gorgeous, (also criminally over-polluted by the way) ocean. Photo by Sam Wheeler/Unsplash.

But let's just say, you know, hypothetically, that these "scientists" with their "data" and "studies" and "advanced degrees" are right about this....

...what would actually happen?

If sea levels continue to rise, a lot of us would be in some very real danger.

But that's just — you know — hypothetically speaking, of course, because everything is fine. Everything is gonna be just ... fine.

In Bangladesh, for example, research shows that rising sea levels could displace 20 million people there in the coming decades.

But I mean, come on, 20 million people? Pfft — that's it? 20 million people is like — so, OK, it's not — nothing. But it's only like ... 1,098 Madison Square Gardens worth of people. Only ... OK, wow, yeah ... that's a lot of — is it hot in here or is it just me? I'm sweating a lot all of a sudden.

But, it's not like it's going to affect us,right? I mean, okay, except for the entire east coast of the United States. Where (again, totally not freaking out here, but) scientists have predicted that rising sea levels and changing ocean temperatures are likely to worsen winter storms and contribute to more extreme weather conditions.

That's fine! I live in New York and no one here ever complains about winter storms or extreme weather conditions or not being able to take the subway or order takeout. We love winter storms more than we love pizza!

Oh man — the denial factor is wearing off a little bit. Ooohhhh boy.

No one is bothered by this! This is a totally IDEAL SITUATION. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

No, seriously, is it like reallyhot in here?

There's also Florida. Just ... yeah. Florida. Large portions of which are projected to be — um, hah, yeah — underwater by 2025. But don't worry about that! That's nine whole years away! So much can happen in nine years. I mean you could make like 12 new "Fast and Furious" movies in that much time.

Oh man. My mouth is so dry. You ever get that feeling?

The point is this: Oh — who am I kidding? — EVERYONE PANIC.

GET TO HIGHER GROUND!

GET GRANDMA IN A RAFT!

THIS ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE, PEOPLE, WE ONLY HAVE 20 YEARS TO STOCK UP ON CANNED GOODS AND LEARN HOW TO GROW GILLS SO WE CAN BREATHE UNDERWATER.

OH MAN.

Oh ... God.

OK.

Deep breaths.

In and out.

Ocean. Just keep looking at the ocean. Photo by Oliver & Hen Pritchard-Barrett/Unsplash.

You know what? I — I actually feel a little better now.

Here's the thing, folks. This latest report is an almost comically horrifying indicator of the completely cataclysmic and looming problem of climate change. It is.

This data is yet another sign, in the already long list of signs, showing that the need for sweeping climate reform is immediate and urgent.

So, yes, there is totally something to be worried about here.

Especially when you consider that, as the conditions of climate change get worse, it will feed into what's known as a positive feedback loop: Ice melts, seas rise, and the whole system begins to spiral out of control faster and faster. So fast that we won't be able to stop it, and it'll just keep getting worse and worse, and I'll start to wonder if maybe growing gills isn't something I thought of in a moment of panic but an actual survival strategy I might need to invest in.

This is alarming stuff. If you aren't already freaked out about climate change, you probably should be.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which flooded in 2015 due to abnormally high tides and rising sea levels. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The good news is there's never been a better time to be involved. And our country is (just sort of) beginning to take some real action.

The White House's current climate change plan boasts some helpful goals, like increasing clean energy use 30% by 2030. It's not a lot, but it's something.

It's also an election year. 2016 could very well decide the future of the climate, given that the candidates' beliefs on climate change range from "It's the number one thing threatening our nation" to "It isn't real."

Now, more than ever, is the right time to learn what you can do to help. We're all in this together. Do what feels right to you. Recycle. Call your congressman. Vote.

If you don't want to do any of that, I would suggest moving to a landlocked state at some point in the next few years. I hear Nebraska is lovely.

A young mom with her kids in the ER.

Sage Pasch’s unique family situation has attracted a lot of attention recently. The 20-something mother of 2 shared a 6-second TikTok video on September 29 that has been viewed over 33 million times because it shows how hard it can be for young moms to be taken seriously.

In the video, the young-looking Pasch took her son Nick to the ER after he injured his leg at school. But when the family got to the hospital, the doctor couldn’t believe Pasch was his mother. “POV, we’re at the ER, and the doctor didn’t believe I was the parent,” she captioned the post.


Pasch and her fiancé , Luke Faircloth, adopted the teen in 2022 after his parents tragically died two years apart. “Nick was already spending so much time with us, so it made sense that we would continue raising him,” Pasch told Today.com.

The couple also has a 17-month-old daughter named Lilith.

@coffee4lifesage

He really thought i was lying😭

Pasch says that people are often taken aback by her family when they are out in public. "Everybody gets a little confused because my fiancé and I are definitely younger to have a teenager," she said. "It can be very frustrating."

It may be hard for the young parents to be taken seriously, but their story has made a lot of people in a similar situation feel seen. "Omg, I feel this. I took my son to the ER, and they asked for the guardian. Yes, hi, that's me," Brittany wrote in the comments. "Meee with my teenager at a parent-teacher conference. They think I’m her older sister and say we need to talk with your parents," KatMonroy added.


This article originally appeared on 10.24.23

Photo by Tod Perry

A recreation of the note left on Brooke Lacey's car.

If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255) or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line: 741741.


There’s an old Hebrew saying that if you “save one life, you save the world entire.” Who knows if Brooke Lacey, 22, had that lofty goal when she began a campaign in 2020 to help uplift people’s spirits during the first COVID-19 wave.

But her kind efforts may have done just that.

Lacey has struggled with mental health issues throughout her life and she knew that people like her were going to have a really hard time during COVID-19 lockdowns. A study from May 2021 found that the New Zealand population had “higher depression and anxiety compared with population norms.” The study also found that “younger people” and “those most at risk of COVID-19 reported poorer mental health.”



To help those who may be struggling, Lacey printed 600 stickers with an uplifting message and posted them around places where people may take their lives, including trains, bridges and large bodies of water in Wellington, New Zealand. She also made a bumper sticker with the same message for her car.

The stickers spoke directly to those who may be contemplating taking their own life. “Please don’t take your life today,” the stickers read. “The world is so much better with you in it. More than you realize, stay.”

Earlier this month, Lacey parked her car in her university’s lot and when she returned to her vehicle to leave, she noticed a note was affixed to the windshield. Thinking it was someone complaining about how she parked or a ticket, she prepared for the worst but wound up being blindsided by the positive message.

“I left my house with a plan and asked for a sign, any sign, I was doing the right thing when I saw your car in the parking lot. Thank you,” the note read. At first, Lacey wasn’t sure what the person was referring to, then she remembered her homemade bumper sticker.

“I had these made so long ago, put one on my car and forgot about them, until now,” she tweeted on her since deactivated account. “I am so glad whoever you are chose to stay today. You never know who needs this reminder.”

Now, it’s unclear exactly what the person’s “plan” was, but there's no doubt that Lacey’s bumper sticker inspired them to choose life. Let’s hope that the sticker also inspired them to seek professional help for whatever difficulties they are going through.

Whether it was intentional or not, Lacey’s sticker was effective because it followed one of the most important strategies that people use at suicide hotlines. According to Science.org, it’s of utmost importance that people contemplating suicide are handled with “respect and empathy.”

Lacey's story is a beautiful reminder of the power that one simple, thoughtful gesture can have on another person’s life. Every day, there are people all around us who are looking for a sign to give them a reason keep going. Whether it’s a hug, a smile or the right message in the right place at the right time, we should all be like Lacey and make sure everyone knows that the world is better with them in it. In fact, much more than they ever realize.


This article originally appeared on 02.24.22

Joy

Gen X has hit 'that stage' of life and is not handling it very well

We are NOT prepared for Salt-n-Pepa to replace Michael McDonald in the waiting room at the doctor's office, thankyouverymuch.

Gen X is eating dinner earlier and earlier. It's happening.

The thing about Gen X being in our 40s and 50s now is that we were never supposed to get "old." Like, we're the cool, aloof grunge generation of young tech geniuses. Most of the giants that everyone uses every day—Google, Amazon, YouTube—came from Gen X. Our generation is both "Friends" and "The Office." We are, like, relevant, dammit.

And also, our backs hurt, we need reading glasses, our kids are in college and how in the name of Jennifer Aniston's skincare regimen did we get here?

It's weird to reach the stage when there's no doubt that you aren't young anymore. Not that Gen X is old—50 is the new 30, you know—but we're definitely not young. And it seems like every day there's something new that comes along to shove that fact right in our faces. When did hair start growing out of that spot? Why do I suddenly hate driving at night? Why is this restaurant so loud? Does that skin on my arm look…crepey?


As they so often do, Penn and Kim Holderness from The Holderness Family have captured the Gen X existential crisis in a video that has us both nodding a long and laughing out loud. Salt-n-Pepa in the waiting room at the doctor's office? Uh, no. That's a line we are not ready to cross yet. Nirvana being played on the Classic Rock station? Nope, not prepared for that, either.

Watch:

Hoo boy, the denial is real, isn't it? We grew up on "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, for goodness sake, and it's starting to feel like we made a wrong choice a chapter or two back and suddenly landed our entire generation in a time warp. This isn't real, is it? Thirty years ago was the 1970s. That's just a Gen X fact. So what if we've lived long enough for our high school fashions to go out of style and then back into style and then back out of style again?

Seriously, though, we can either lament our age and stage in life or we can laugh about it, and people are grateful to the Holdernesses for assisting with the latter. Gen X fans are also thrilled to see their own experiences being validated, because at this point, we've all had that moment in the grocery store or the waiting room when one of our jams came on and we immediately went into a panic.

"They were playing The Cure in the grocery store and I almost started crying," wrote one commenter. "I mean, how 'alternative' can you be if you're being played in Krogers? You guys are great! Thanks for making us laugh."

"I couldn’t believe it when I heard Bohemian Rhapsody being played in Walmart," shared another. "That was edgy in my day."

"I know!!! Bon Jovi at the grocery store!!! That was my clue in!!" added another.

"Long live Gen Xers! We have to be strong!! We can get through this together!! #NKOTBmeetsAARP" wrote on commenter.You can find more from the Holderness Family on their Facebook page, their podcast and their website, theholdernessfamily.com.


This article originally appeared on 1.28.24

Pop Culture

Why Gotye gave up $10 million in ad revenue from his 'Somebody That I Used to Know' video

The humble singer-songwriter's story is a cautionary tale of viral fame.

Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" video has 2.2 billion views on YouTube.

For most musicians, creating a hit song and making it big on the international stage would be living the dream. For Gotye, it turned out to be a bit of a nightmare.

Gotye is the stage name of Wouter "Wally" De Backer, the singer-songwriter behind the 2011 smash hit song, "Somebody That I Used to Know." The music video for the song becoming one of YouTube's most-liked videos, and with 2.2 billion views, the video could have earned over $10 million in ad revenue.

But De Backer has refused to place ads on it, saying, "I'm not interested in selling my music. That's the reason I don't put ads on my YouTube channel, which seems strange to people in today's climate, but that is a decision you can make. I'm like that with all my music."

It was the fame that came with the virality of the song that was the bigger issue for the artist, however. It's a simple enough thing to turn down money, but there's not much you can do to stop a viral wave.


The song took six months to write and produce, and when the video leaked a week before its official release, it quickly caught fire. At first, De Backer was just excited that his song was being played on the radio. Then the virality online took hold and that was also exciting for a while.

From the start, De Backer was grateful for the song's success, but he also managed to stayed simple and humble. He didn't buy anything large or luxurious with the money he made from song sales, being content to drive his old van. And when he was asked what was the best thing that happened in the previous year, he responded, "It probably wouldn't be anything to do with a marker of success of my song or my album. More something like a really great swim I took at Summer's Beach near where I live."

Soon the covers and parodies of the "Somebody That I Used to Know" grew more widespread and the quality of them began to wane, De Backer began to feel "burnt out" on it all. He had no control over people connecting name with whatever they were hearing done to his song, which was frustrating. He started to feel the pressures that come with fame, to have a certain personality or to follow up his huge hit with another huge hit. And he missed feeling like he had a personal connection with his audience, which becomes difficult at a certain scale.

He even began to feel self-conscious about the popularity of the song due to its theme—two people who had broken up and couldn't work out their differences. The fact that so many people were celebrating it so fiercely was uncomfortable for him; he didn't want to be responsible for spreading more angst or bitterness in the world. And then came the "overplayed" and "annoying" era of oversaturation. He even apologized to people for having to hear the song so often because radios wouldn't stop playing it.

Ultimately, he ceased putting out music as a solo artist and focused on making music with his long-time band, The Basics. There is a possibility for another solo Gotye project sometime in the next decade, but he's probably hoping he doesn't end up with a big hit next time around.

Watch SunnyV2 tell the story of Gotye's "one hit wonder" experience and how it impacted his musical career:

It's a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they want to be famous or wishes they'd have a song go viral. Parts of that experience can be great, but fame isn't always everything it's cracked up to be.

via Pexels

A woman sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat

Everyone wants to know how long they will live and there are many indicators that can show whether someone is thriving or on the decline. But people have yet to develop a magic formula to determine exactly how long someone should expect to live.

However, a doctor recently featured on the "Today" show says a straightforward test can reveal the likelihood that someone aged 51 to 80 will die in the near future.

NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar was on the "Today" show on March 8 and demonstrated how to perform the simple “sit to stand test” (aka sit-rising test or SRT) that can help determine the longevity of someone between 51 to 80.


The test is pretty simple. Go from standing to sitting cross-legged, and then go back to standing without using any parts of your body besides your legs and core to help you get up and down. The test measures multiple longevity factors, including heart health, balance, agility, core and leg strength and flexibility.

You begin the test with a score of 10 and subtract points on your way up and down for doing the following:

Hand used for support: -1 point

Knee used for support: -1 point

Forearm used for support: -1 point

One hand on knee or thigh: -1 point

Side of leg used for support: -1 point

A 2012 study published by the European Society of Cardiology found a correlation between the SRT score and how long people live. The study was conducted on 2002 people, 68% of whom were men, who performed the SRT test and were followed by researchers in the coming years. The study found that “Musculoskeletal fitness, as assessed by SRT, was a significant predictor of mortality in 51–80-year-old subjects.”

Those who scored in the lowest range, 0 to 3, had up to a 6 times greater chance of dying than those in the highest scores (8 to 10). About 40% of those in the 0 to 3 range died within 11 years of the study.

Azar distilled the study on "Today," saying: "The study found that the lower the score, you were seven times more likely to die in the next six years.”

"Eight points or higher is what you want," Azar said. "As we get older, we spend time talking cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness, but balance, flexibility and agility are also really important," she stressed.

One should note that the people who scored lowest on the test were the oldest, giving them an elevated risk of death.

Dr. Greg Hartley, Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist and associate professor at the University of Miami, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that we should take the study with a grain of salt. “Frailty, strength, muscle mass, physical performance—those things are all correlated to mortality, but I would caution everybody that correlation doesn’t mean causation,” he said.

And of course, the test doesn't take into account injuries or disabilities that may make doing the test impossible. But one of the study's authors says that the study is a call to take our mobility seriously.

“The more active we are the better we can accommodate stressors, the more likely we are to handle something bad that happens down the road,” Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo, told USA Today.


This article originally appeared on 3.10.23