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Heroes

Why NASA is celebrating this photo of a seemingly ordinary zinnia.

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren accomplished something that had never been done before in 55 years of space travel.

The vacuum of space.

Photo by ogunhe/Deviant Art.


A cold, forbidding place where nothing grows.

Photo by Lunar and Planetary Institute/Flickr.

Too many of our best fictional characters have died there.

GIF from "Gravity"/Warner Bros.

GIF from "Star Wars"/20th Century Fox.

GIF from "Armageddon"/Buena Vista Pictures.

But space may have just taken an important first step to rehabilitate its reputation as a stone-cold extinguisher of being.

In a long-overdue public relations move, the infinite void decided to take a break from asphyxiating George Clooney to not only just create, but straight-up foster some life for once.

Specifically, this really awesome-looking zinnia, a type of sunflower.

Photo by Scott Kelly/NASA.

The zinnia was grown by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. It is the first flower ever successfully grown in 55 years of manned space travel.

According to a NASA press release, astronaut Kjell Lindgren initiated the zinnia-growing project back in November.

The crew of the International Space Station has been stepping up its botany game since May of 2014 when the Veggie plant growth facility was installed. The largely automated setup includes clay pods to anchor the plants and facilitate water distribution in the limited gravity environment and artificial light to simulate conditions on Earth. The team started and were eventually successful growing lettuce before turning their attention to the more difficult zinnias.

When Kelly noticed a month into the project that the flowers, "weren't looking too good," he radioed ground control for help.

Together, they decided that, rather than depend on the automated system, Kelly would simply take care of the flowers himself, as if he were gardening in his backyard. A team of veggie specialists (NASA, apparently, has a team of veggie specialists) sent Kelly a one-page guide to tell him what problems to look for and how to adjust his watering schedule to correct them, which he used to nurse the plants back to health.

Scott Kelly, artist's rendering. GIF from "The Martian"/20th Century Fox.

It may seem like a small thing, but successfully growing a flower in space actually helps pave the way for bigger, better space travel in the future.

"The challenging process of growing the zinnias provided an exceptional opportunity for scientists back on Earth to better understand how plants grow in microgravity, and for astronauts to practice doing what they’ll be tasked with on a deep space mission: autonomous gardening," NASA wrote in a blog post about Kelly and Lindgren's botanical breakthrough.

In other words, thanks to the tireless efforts of our astronauts, we are one step closer to the ultimate goal of any forward-looking, post-industrial society: landing Matt Damon on Mars.

GIF from "The Martian"/20th Century Fox.

Let's go for it, world.

Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Cat hilariously rats out owner in front of the landlord.

Maybe it's a right of passage into adulthood or maybe some landlords discriminate against pets because they can't tell people kids are forbidden in their residence. Either way, just about everyone has lived in a rental home that didn't allow pets. Most people just abide by the rules and vow to get a pet when they find a new home.

Some people, on the other hand, get creative. I once came across a post on social media where someone claimed their pit bull puppy was actually a silver Labrador. But one woman on TikTok was harboring a secret cat in her rental that had a no pets policy, and either her cat was unaware or he was aware and was simply being a jerk.

My money is on the latter since cats are known to be jerks for no reason. I mean, have you ever left something on the counter for a few minutes? They make it their mission to knock it on the floor. So I fully believe this fluffy little meow box wanted to make his presence known in an effort to rat out his owner.

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Photo by Pixabay/Pexels

Train tracks leading into Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

Kanye West (who has legally changed his name to Ye) has been making headlines—again—not only for his bizarre public behavior, but for blatantly antisemitic remarks he made in recent interviews.

There's no question that Ye's comments praising Hitler and Nazis and denying that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust are hurtful and dangerous. There's no question that bad actors are using Ye's antisemitic comments to push their white nationalist agenda. The question is whether Ye fans would allow their admiration of his musical talents—or whatever else they like about him—to overshadow the fact that he is now regularly spewing pro-Nazi rhetoric to millions of people.

In at least one corner of the internet, fans are responding in what may be the most effective and meaningful way possible—by countering Ye's commentary with a deluge of Holocaust education and remembrance.

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Joy

Delivery driver's reaction to snacks left for him shows how a little kindness goes a long way

'Seeing a grown man get so excited about Capri Sun is extra wholesome.'

"Dee" the delivery guy stoked to get some Doritos.

Sometimes the smallest gesture can change someone’s day for the better, especially when that act of kindness lets them know their work is appreciated. Over the last few years, delivery drivers have done a fantastic job keeping people healthy during the pandemic, so Toni Hillison Barnett told News 11 that she and her husband started a tradition of leaving snacks for their drivers on the front porch.

The Barnetts, who live in Louisville, Kentucky, can see the drivers' reactions by recording them on their doorbell cameras. “I live for reactions like this to our snack cart! Thx to all of the delivery drivers out there! We appreciate you!” Toni wrote on an Instagram post.

Recently, one of the Barnetts’ delivery guys, a joyous fellow that we believe is known as Dee, went viral on TikTok because of his positive reaction to receiving some snacks during his deliveries. The snacks are tasty, no doubt. But it’s also wonderful to feel appreciated. After Toni posted the video, it received more than 100,000 views.

“Oh my God, you guys are the best, I gotta take a snapshot of this,” Dee can be heard saying in the video. “Oh, Capri Suns are my favorite, Yes!”

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Pop Culture

'Princess Bride' star Mandy Patinkin shared a moving detail about the film with a grieving woman

Two souls connecting over the loss of their fathers. (Phew, grab a tissue for this one, folks.)

via Mandy Patinkin / TikTok

This story originally appeared on 08.25.21


There was an emotional exchange on TikTok between two people who lost their fathers to cancer. One was actor Mandy Patinkin, the other was TikTok user Amanda Webb.

Patinkin currently stars on "The Good Fight" but one of his most famous roles is Inigo Montoya in the 1987 classic "The Princess Bride." In the film, Montoya is a swordsman who is obsessed with confronting a six-fingered man who killed his father.

Webb recently lost her father Dan to mantle cell lymphoma. She had heard a rumor that Patinkin used his father's death from cancer as motivation in a pivotal scene where he confronts the six-fingered Count Rugen (Christopher Guest) in a duel.

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