We live in a pretty strange world, full of so many unbelievable things that, if we showed them all to you at once, you’d go insane. Your mind would boggle at levels that are simply too much for the human body to take.
So, to preserve your health and sanity, we’re doling them out a little at time.
We all know Americans like to think they’re number one at just about everything, but the truth is…that’s just not the truth. In fact, perhaps it’s their low education levels that makes them believe such a thing in the first place!
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, American students rank 28th in math and science scores (for those not good at math, it means there are 27 better countries). The educated people at Home Snacks made a map of the United States comparing each state with a foreign country that is said to have similar education levels, using the United Nations Development Program index. Understanding this map will take knowledge of both United States and world geography, which means you’ll most likely get it if you live in the Northeast.
Here it is zoomed in, if that helps you focus.
The Northeast and Midwest tend to be on a similar track as European countries.
While the Southeast is largely comparable to Central America and Africa.
The Northwest appears to be the most diverse.
Although the Southwest is pretty diverse in its own right.
I guess like everything else in America, there are advantages and disadvantages to living in every nook and cranny of the country – but I’m not placing any bets on people deciding to forgo their home state for better education grounds anytime soon.
Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure has been a big talking point among politicians over the past several years, but it doesn’t seem like any real action is ever taken.
And the news isn’t getting any better. A new report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association revealed that more than 47,000 bridges in the U.S. are in bad condition and need urgent repairs. The organization estimates that it would take 80 years to repair all the bridges in the U.S. that are deficient.
The term “structurally deficient” doesn’t necessarily mean that a bridge is in danger of collapsing, but it does mean that a bridge needs repairs and renovations. Clearly that’s not a good thing.
Alison Black, the chief economist for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, said, “In addition to those bridges that are structurally deficient, about 4 out of 10 bridges across the country need some sort of major rehabilitation work. So unfortunately, it’s not just these 47,000 structures that need to be fixed.”
The report says that the deficient bridges in the U.S. are crossed 178 million times each day. Many notable bridges are on the “structurally deficient” list, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Arlington Memorial Bridge that connects Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, and the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge that stretches across the San Francisco Bay.
To add insult to injury, 2018 saw the slowest rate of repairs in five years. According to Black, “There’s not a lot of new money. It really is just keeping pace with project costs and inflation. I think if we saw a significant increase in the federal funding side of this that would really go a long way to help states that are trying to provide some of these repairs and fix these bridges.”
Let’s all hope that our local, state, and national politicians can work together to repair our infrastructure and ensure the safety of the millions of Americans who drive across these bridges each and every day.
Consumers have had the option of getting their groceries in resuable grocery bags for some time now, but sadly, plastic bags still reign supreme. A lot of folks are just forgetful, and buy the reusable bags but keep forgetting to bring them along when they go out.
Residents of New York state may not be able to use that excuse for long, however: New York State is officially banning plastic bags, and some counties will impose a fee on paper bags too.
New York is the second U.S. state to ban plastic bags after California.
Governor Andrew Cuomo first proposed the plan last year, and it goes into effect in March 2020. Goodbye, single-use plastic bags! Mostly, anyway. Some types of plastic bags – like newspaper bags or trash bags – will be exempted from the ban.
Instead, customers will have to use either paper bags or reusable bags. Individual counties can opt into a 5-cent fee on paper bags, though it’s not a mandatory part of the new law. The idea, it seems, is to encourage people to use reusable bags as much as possible, rather than paper or plastic.
Environmentally speaking, this new law definitely marks progress. Plastic bags are basically the bane of the planet’s existence. They’re hugely wasteful, non-biodegradable, harmful to wildlife, environmentally costly to produce…the list goes on and on.
“These bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. He said the new plan will be a way to “protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”
Good on ya, mates! Australia just took a stand against domestic violence in a major way. Pay attention, world!
The country made headlines in the past when it denied visas to singer Chris Brown and boxer Floyd Mayweather due to their domestic violence convictions, and now the nation has decided to ban all visitors to Australia who have a conviction for domestic violence against women or children.
The law became official on February 28, 2019, and applies to anyone from any country who is seeking a travel visa to Australia. Also, if a person is currently visiting or working in Australia on a visa and they have a record of domestic violence, they will be kicked out of the country.
Australia’s Immigration Minster, David Coleman, said, “If you’ve been convicted of a violent crime against women or children, you are not welcome in this country.”
Coleman and other Australian politicians believe that this is a step to lower Australia’s domestic violence. “By cancelling the visas of criminals we have made Australia a safer place,” Coleman said in the public statement. “These crimes inflict long lasting trauma on the victims and their friends and family, and foreign criminals who commit them are not welcome in our country.”
This term is a throwback to the days of slavery and refers to “the fact that black slaves sang and shouted gleefully during corn-shucking season, and this behavior, along with lying and teasing, became a part of the protective and evasive behavior normally adopted towards white people in ‘ traditional’ race relations.”
Obviously, using that term to describe President Obama was not a smart move.
2. Long Time No See
How has the phrase “long time no see” not been called Native American verbal redface?
This term was first used to make fun of Native Americans, mocking a traditional greeting.
3. The Peanut Gallery
Did you know the phrase 'peanut gallery' has racist origins?
It was the cheapest and worst part of the theater, and the only option for Black attendees. No one wanted to sit in the peanut gallery and today, no one wants to hear from the peanut gallery. #RewriteBHM#BHMpic.twitter.com/vwHHHWLeVP
MINORITIES MUST STAND UP TO ABUSE: Kneeling to protest at games is tasteful yet effective. But white owners and racists think blacks are too uppity. "Uppity Word used by racist old white Southerners to refer to any black person who looks them in the eye." –URBAN DICTIONARY pic.twitter.com/CrRQJqTyTl
From the Encyclopedia Britannica: “Grandfather clause, statutory or constitutional device enacted by seven Southern states between 1895 and 1910 to deny suffrage to African Americans. It provided that those who had enjoyed the right to vote prior to 1866 or 1867, or their lineal descendants, would be exempt from educational, property, or tax requirements for voting. Because the former slaves had not been granted the franchise until the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, those clauses worked effectively to exclude black people from the vote but assured the franchise to many impoverished and illiterate whites.”
“Gypsy” is a slur referring to the Roma people, who have been outcasts throughout much of history. The word “Gypsy” and the term “gyp” or “to get gypped” means to get conned or ripped off because of the stereotype of Roma as thieves.
9. Welfare Queen
The GOP argument on Obamacare has more than a whiff of Reagan-era racial "welfare queen" politics —> http://t.co/2ZQ0Baj9pQ
“Instagram influencers” are a big business these days. I frankly don’t really understand it – you try to be all glamorous online, and then if you’re good at it, glamorous brands will just start giving you money and free stuff? Okay…
Byron Denton of London, England, decided to conduct an interesting experiment: he posed as a wealthy Instagram influencer, but that is not his reality at all. The whole thing was cooked up by the 19-year-old so he could see how this strange subculture actually works.
Social media is one hell of a drug, don’t you think?
Denton used some tricky photo editing to totally fake out the masses. Here’s a perfect example.
Here are some of the comments that rolled in: “Rich and pretty.” “OMG it suits you so much, you’re such a king.” “I feel my bank account emptying as I look at this.” “Everything about this photo is so aesthetically pleasing wow but yeah cool bags.”
Denton said, “I did this to try and compare whether wearing designer items would actually encourage people to like your photos or not, so if we go back to a photo I posted on 1 December, wearing a semi-cute outfit, kinda basic but still kinda cute, this actually ended up getting 2,234 likes, 44 comments, and 113 profile visits,” but then compare that to his new “designer” lifestyle?
He continued, “Me wearing a designer top or designer shoes, the likes I got on those photos even though it’s still an outfit of a day though, just of me wearing a certain outfit, just doesn’t contain any designer, to then be pulling 12,000 likes, so that’s like 10,000 more people clicking the like button of me wearing designer, just because I’m wearing designer.”
How about this glamorous party pic with beautiful people?
Denton said, “[The experiment has] made me question everyone’s moves on social media. Do a lot of the high-profile bloggers these days actually make their way to the top by being honest or do they fake some of it?”
He conducted the experiment for a week and then revealed on YouTube how the whole operation worked.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Or maybe any of it…
File this under “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”
You’d think that when visiting a place that will be indelibly associated with the absolute depth of human suffering and cruelty, people would take it seriously. And yet, I guess we can’t be too surprised by how insensitive people are.
The Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland is a site where over 1 million people were murdered during the Holocaust. I had the opportunity to visit it as a young lad with my parents, and the feeling you get there is indescribably sad. Indeed, the very air around the place is still thick with the misery of all those lost souls, to the point that even decades after my visit I still start to choke every time I think of it.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that visitors have been posting inappropriate photos from Auschwitz to social media, the memorial site had to put a tweet out admonishing that kind of ridiculous behavior.
When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory. There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths. pic.twitter.com/TxJk9FgxWl
The infamous train tracks of Auschwitz carried untold numbers of people to their deaths, and to see people acting this way has upset many. People on Twitter were taken aback by the trend and weighed in with their own opinions.
This is a very necessary post, our picture-taking habits are completely out of control. I may be visting in the summer, I will make sure I am aware of your photography policy. Thank you for all the essential work you continue to do. Without our historical memory we are nothing.
I don’t understand why people use Auschwitz as a photo op or how they take cheerful selfies in front of a site that saw the murder of thousands of innocent people. I just can’t wrap my head around that one.
We visited on Monday, but couldn’t believe how many individuals took it as an attraction rather than a memorial. This is a site of mass extermination of many people. It’s a completely harrowing experience. pic.twitter.com/8QSFIuT1Vg
Smiling is human. There are also human stories from #Auschwitz that can make people smile. You do not have to be solemn and stern all the time. Yet, there are some things which are simply disrespectful.
There’s something about high-profile mob hits that’s almost thrilling to the general public. On March 13, 2019, Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, the 53-year-old leader of the Gambino crime family was shot and killed in Staten Island, New York, in front of his home.
It was a stark reminder that although the heydays of mob hits may be behind us, these kinds of “hits” can (and do) still happen.
Galante was known to have a psychopathic personality and led the Bonnano crime organization, one of the Five Families. The heads of New York’s other families were not happy with the way Galante conducted business and they finally decided he had to go.
On July 12, 1979, Galante was gunned down as he ate lunch on the patio of an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. A photo of the gruesome crime scene showed Galante dead on the ground with his ever-present cigar dangling from his mouth.
Siegel learned his trade on the mean streets of New York but later headed West to handle mob business in Las Vegas and California. Siegel was one of the original financiers of the casinos in Las Vegas.
Siegel promised his mob boss associates that their investments in Las Vegas would pay off, but the opening of the Flamingo Hotel was a flop and the writing was on the wall for Bugsy.
On June 20, 1947, Siegel was shot and killed through a window of his girlfriend’s house in Beverly Hills, California as he sat on her couch. The identity of the shooter or shooters has never been confirmed.
The world can be so cruel to anyone who seems a little different, and the internet has only made it easier for hateful cowards to hide behind their keyboards as they spew their vitriol everywhere.
That’s what was happening when a young Sikh girl named Balpreet found a snapshot of herself online along with some negative comments about her appearance – particularly her facial hair.
However, her response, thoughtful and affecting, is what ended up garnering attention. Her self-confidence, self-awareness, and grace in the face of ruthless bullying is a thing of beauty. It is something we could all aspire to reach.