Tag Archives: The Conversation

An actual engineer explains why the wall is ‘a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.’

Immigration arguments aside, what about the physical logistics of building Trump’s wall along the border?

Many pundits, politicians, and ordinary people have offered their opinions on whether or not Trump’s proposed border wall should be built. Most of the time, these discussions revolve around the philosophical and economic issues it raises, but what of the actual, physical building of the wall itself?

Enter Amy Patrick, real-life wall expert. In a now viral Facebook post, Patrick explained to those of us who don’t design walls for a living why the planning and building of this wall is much more complicated and potentially much, much more expensive than most of us would ever guess.

Patrick first offered a list of her credentials:

“I’m a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program in the nation,” she wrote, “and over a decade of experience on high-performance projects, and particularly of cleaning up design disasters where the factors weren’t properly accounted for, and I’m an adjunct professor of structural analysis and design at UH-Downtown. I have previously been deposed as an expert witness in matters regarding proper construction of walls and the various factors associated therein, and my testimony has passed Daubert. Am I a wall expert? I am. I am literally a court-accepted expert on walls.”

Well then. Here we go.

Wall expert Amy Patrick explains why the wall is “a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.”

“Structurally and civil engineering-wise, the border wall is not a feasible project,” Patrick began. “Trump did not hire engineers to design the thing. He solicited bids from contractors, not engineers. This means it’s not been designed by professionals. It’s a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.”

Howdy.

To recap: I’m a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program…

Posted by Amy Patrick on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What disasters, you may ask? Patrick explained:

“Off the top of my head…

1) It will mess with our ability to drain land in flash flooding. Anything impeding the ability of water to get where it needs to go (doesn’t matter if there are holes in the wall or whatever) is going to dramatically increase the risk of flooding.

2) Messes with all kind of stuff ecologically. For all other projects, we have to do an Environmental Site Assessment, which is arduous. They’re either planning to circumvent all this, or they haven’t accounted for it yet, because that’s part of the design process, and this thing hasn’t been designed.

3) The prototypes they came up with are nearly impossible to build or don’t actually do the job. This article explains more:

https://www.google.com/…/mobile.engineering.…/amp/17599.html

Then she explained why the would be a logistical nightmare—and a lot more expensive than initial estimates.

“The estimates provided for the cost are arrived at unreasonably,” Patrick wrote. “You can look for yourself at the two-year-old estimate that you see everyone citing.

http://fronterasdesk.org/…/Bernstein-%20The%20Trump%20Wall.…

It does not account for rework, complexities beyond the prototype design, factors to prevent flood and environmental hazard creation, engineering redesign… It’s going to be higher than $50bn. The contractors will hit the government with near CONSTANT change orders. ‘Cost overrun’ will be the name of the game. It will not be completed in Trump’s lifetime.”

Well, that’s some smelling salts right there. I know I hadn’t taken any of those factors into consideration, and I’m not even a supporter of the wall.

“I’m a structural forensicist, which means I’m called in when things go wrong,” Patrick continued. “This is a project that WILL go wrong. When projects go wrong, the original estimates are just *obliterated*. And when that happens, good luck getting it fixed, because there aren’t that many forensicists out there to right the ship, particularly not that are willing to work on a border wall project—a large quotient of us are immigrants, and besides, we can’t afford to bid on jobs that are this political. We’re small firms, and we’re already busy, and we don’t gamble our reputations on political footballs. So you’d end up with a revolving door of contractors making a giant, uncoordinated muddle of things, and it’d generally be a mess. Good money after bad. The GAO agrees with me.”

(The GAO is the Governmental Accountability Office. Here’s an article from The Hill detailing their report that the Trump administration has not taken all of the economic factors into account.)

Finally, she shared why the wall, even if built successfully, wouldn’t be effective.

“I could, right now,” Patrick wrote, “purchase a 32 foot extension ladder and weld a cheap custom saddle for the top of the proposed wall so that I can get over it. I don’t know who they talked to about the wall design and its efficacy, but it sure as heck wasn’t anybody with any engineering imagination.”

Ouch.

“Another thing: we are not far from the day where inexpensive drones will be able to pick up and carry someone,” she continued. “This will happen in the next ten years, and it’s folly to think that the coyotes who ferry people over the border won’t purchase or create them. They’re low enough, quiet enough, and small enough to quickly zip people over any wall we could build undetected with our current monitoring setup.”

Seriously, though. Our technology is advancing so quickly, and in order to mitigate all of the possible breaches of the wall, we’d have to have border patrol agents set up along the entire border. And if we’re going to do that, let’s do that instead of the wall and save ourselves billions of extra dollars.

“Let’s have border security, by all means, but let’s be smart about it,” Patrick concluded. “This is not smart. It’s not effective. It’s NOT cheap. The returns will be diminishing as technology advances, too. This is a ridiculous idea that will never be successfully executed and, as such, would be a monumental waste of money. 🤷🏻‍♀️”

Thanks for providing even more reasons the government shutdown over funding the wall is ridiculous, Ms. Patrick.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/an-actual-engineer-explains-why-the-wall-is-a-disaster-of-numerous-types-waiting-to-happen

I used a high-school debate on abortion to talk about political intolerance. Guess how people reacted?

Photo by Paul Faith/Getty Images​.

The other week, I wrote an article about debating “pro-life” in high school. I was then—and continue to be—passionately pro-choice. But my political stance isn’t the point—the piece was about the effect of the class’s conduct.

I expressed an unpopular point of view and was yelled at, mocked, and—for a time—ostracized.

The experience of being ganged up on by 25 of my peers so rattled and disoriented me, I soon found myself arguing my “side” with genuine feeling. It was a strange experience—especially because I wasn’t pro-life—to find myself tendentiously defending a cause I deplored—due to being attacked by others.

As soon as the article was posted, the comments section exploded.

Pro-choicers defended their right to be angry and treat others with the disrespect they “deserve.”

Pro-lifers defended their right to be angry and treat others with the disrespect they “deserve.”

At times, the comments veered into personal attacks: this writer is “pathetic,” “whiny,” “delusional,” “an idiot.”

And still, despite an eruption of online acrimony that perfectly mirrored my experience in high school, people insisted my memory was either faulty, or I was outright making it up. Fortunately, the irony wasn’t lost on everybody. A few commenters defended my piece better than I did:

“This post isn’t about the topic of abortion nor debates,” reads one. “It’s a discussion about how we treat each other as humans and our lack of control of our emotions leading to incivility.”

“Human beings are all individuals,” reads another. “But that individuality is bounded within a shared human experience. Unfortunately, that means that all of us are susceptible to these horrid little psychological tics. And we’re living in a hyper-charged time. I hate to say it, but they’re only human, reacting to information as opposed to processing it.”

I chose to write about this memory because I thought it illustrated, in microcosm, the tenor of debate in this country. I wish we lived in a world in which abortion rights weren’t up to debate—in which a woman’s bodily autonomy is a given. But we don’t.

And now we have an accused abuser on the Supreme Court. He is deeply conservative, and—judging by his anti-Democrat, conspiracy-driven rhetoric—possibly vindictive. Roe v. Wade is more vulnerable than ever—that’s just the reality. And yelling and sneering at pro-lifers is not only not helping—it’s working against us.

We need to figure out how to calm down and strategize.

Photo by Wojtek Radwanski//Getty Images.

I am by no means saying we shouldn’t feel outraged—we should. The injustices in our country are beyond the pale. But this isn’t about how we feel—it’s about how communicate.

Over the past 20 years, we have all learned to speak fluent internet. This morning, The New York Times reported: “Social media is emboldening people to cross the line and push the envelope on what they are willing to say to provoke and to incite…. The problem is clearly expanding.”

Angry outbursts and name-calling is so normalized, it’s become our national parlance—something even our leaders engage in to appeal to (or alienate) the masses, advance politically, and deepen the divide.

Should we continue to drain our energy spewing vitriol online? Or should we rant instead to our friends, our family members, and therapists—people who love us, hear us, and are invested in our well-being—so we can metabolize our rage and move on to enacting real change?

Venting spleen on the internet may seem innocuous and “therapeutic,” but it is not. It is dangerous. Trolling is not akin road rage, where we yell things in the privacy of our cars we’d never say to someone’s face. The internet appears to offer the same privacy and anonymity as our cars—but it’s an illusion. Those other drivers—they can hear us. We are stoking real emotions with real—at time, deadly—consequences.

In addition to the illusion of privacy, the internet creates an illusion of control—we all think we’re the ones driving. But, in reality, we are all in this car together—a brakeless clown car stuffed with millions of rage-demented clowns with Trump at the wheel. And while we all call each other idiots and pelt each other with “angry face” emojis, he’s heading straight for a cliff.

Something has to change. The most moving—and effective—moments in history involved peaceful non-reaction to outrageous insult. If we are serious about our rights, then action—not reaction—may be the way forward.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/i-used-a-high-school-debate-on-abortion-to-talk-about-political-intolerance-guess-how-people-reacted

Turns out, size 14 is no longer the average size for an American woman.

American women have long been told the average size is a 14. Hopefully, all that will change because a new study published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education reveals that the average size of American women is now 16 to 18.

The study sampled the waist sizes of more than 5,500 women and found that over the past 21 years, the average woman gained 2.6 inches around the waist, from 34.9 inches to 37.5 inches.

Researchers hope that upon learning about the new measurements, “women may be relieved in knowing the average clothing size worn is larger than [they] thought,” and the public can reevaluate just what “average” really means.

The new information may also change the way retailers design and sell clothing.

“We hope that this information can get out and be used by industry and consumers alike. Just knowing where the average is can help a lot of women with their self image,” Susan Dunn, one of the study’s lead experts, told TODAY.

“And we hope that the apparel industry can see the numbers and know that these women aren’t going away, they aren’t going to disappear, and they deserve to have clothing,” she said.

“That the clothing should fit well, both in style and measurements, and be available elsewhere than back corners or solely online is still a controversial topic,” she added. “Why?

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/size-14-is-no-longer-the-average-size-for-an-american-woman

Military life has its ups and downs. Here’s how families cope with it.

When Meredith Lozar’s daughter was just 3 and a half years old, her husband, Nick, came home from a tour of combat in Afghanistan.

He had been gone for nine months. During that time, Meredith did everything she could to keep their daughter connected to him — showing her photo albums and even giving her an old shirt of Nick’s to sleep with at night.

But when Nick finally came home, instead of the joyful reunion one might expect, Meredith watched her husband freeze with fear.

“He stood at the threshold of her room afraid to go inside … he wasn’t sure she would even remember him.”

While Nick was afraid he had been forgotten, those fears would quickly turn to joy.

“[Our daughter] recognized him immediately,” Meredith remembers. “While she did not go to him, she did kiss him on the cheek and say, ‘Hi Daddy.'”

And that meant the world to him; it was a major step forward as their family reunited, got used to being together again, and recovered from the stress of deployment.

Of course, this wasn’t Nick’s first homecoming nor would it be his last. Over his 17-year career as a Marine, his family lived through eight deployments and five combat tours. And with each reunion, there came new complex emotions, anxieties, fears, pain, and, of course, joy at finally being back together. But that’s the reality, Lozar says, of being a military family.

With the Fourth of July approaching, there’s never been a better time to learn more about military families and their experiences. That’s why we’ve created this list of 17 things military families want you to know about them.

1. Reunions aren’t always picture perfect.

Many of us have an image in our mind of how it plays out. A playful Labrador retriever tackles a man in military uniform, hardly able to contain excitement after months apart. Or a daughter is in tears as her mother, fresh off the plane in her combat boots, rushes to embrace her. After all, most of us have clicked on those emotional homecoming videos as they float across our newsfeeds.

But not every reunion goes down like that.

“I can tell you that it’s not that easy,” says Savannah Hewett, whose husband works as a security officer in the military.

Once, for example, she and her husband had been apart for 465 days. She had planned to surprise him at the airport only to find out that his deployment had suddenly been delayed by a week. Then, when that next week came, she had to wait over seven hours in the airport before she could finally embrace him.

2. Many families find ways to help their kids stay connected even while military members are away.

While separation can be difficult, there are creative ways that families stay connected to deployed loved ones. Some military members record a favorite bedtime story for their kids before deployment or create special photo albums. Even an old blanket or shirt can help a child feel comforted while mom or dad is away.

3. Finally coming back home can be an adjustment.

When military members come back home, it can take time for a family to reintegrate after having spent so much time apart.

Hewett describes that separation as living “two separate lives” — hers back at home while she parents and tries to maintain some sense of normalcy and his defending their country overseas. For kids, especially some who might not totally understand why a parent left or were too young to remember, seeing those lives come back together can be challenging.

Thankfully, those transitional times are made easier by organizations like Blue Star Families, which focuses on providing support to military families, including free events for them. Even a day at a planetarium can make all the difference for a family that is newly reunited.

That’s why Macy’s is making it easy for all of us to support charities like Blue Star Families. As part of their July 4 Give Back campaign, if you donate $3 at checkout in stores or online, you’ll receive 25% off your purchase and a portion of your donation goes to helping Blue Star Families with their mission.

4. Of course, being reunited isn’t the end of the story.

As long as they are enlisted, military members are still at work — and work can mean multiple deployments. Since 2001, more than 900,000 children have experienced the deployment of one or both parents multiple times.

“They’re still deploying to every clime and place, as is their job. And the unknowns and uncertainty that come along with that still exist,” Lozar says. “We don’t know, sometimes, when our service member will be home, and we don’t always know what they’re supporting. And that’s all part of it.”

5. Deployment isn’t like any normal long distance relationship, either.

It can be easy to try and put yourself in a military spouse’s shoes by remembering a time when you and your partner were long distance. It’s just not the same thing, though. Spouses not only have to grapple with distance, they also have to cope with the anxiety of not knowing if their spouse will return safely and how an injury or loss could change their family’s future.

6. Spouses trying to overcome that distance have to find ways to cope, which can mean getting a little creative.

It’s not uncommon to go months without hearing from a service member, particularly if they’re in active combat or special forces. Even a phone call or a letter home isn’t guaranteed to come with any regularity, which means that every time there’s breaking news about an attack, many families are left feeling helpless, not knowing if their military members are safe and dreading the worst.

That said, as technology has evolved, many military spouses have found new ways to stay connected. For military members with access to WiFi, virtual dates have become much more common thanks to platforms like Skype. So while the distance can be difficult, when spouses finally reconnect, seeing their loved one’s face is priceless.

7. All this time alone though means that some military families can start to feel isolated.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by Blue Star Families, more than half of military families feel they do not belong in their civilian communities.

“The price of war runs so much deeper than what I think most civilians realize,” Hewett explains. While trying to lead their own lives and fit into their new communities, they also have to deal with having a loved one at war while parenting alone — and it can take a toll.

That’s why Lozar works as Blue Star Families’ connected communities manager, helping military families better integrate into their communities.

8. This isolation isn’t helped by the fact that they have to move a lot.

According to the Blue Star Families annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 72% of military families live in their communities for two years or less before moving, which means they don’t get enough time to really form any deep connections with their communities.

It also means that the average military kid will have attended anywhere between six to nine schools by the time they’re a senior in high school. If you’ve ever been the new kid on the block or in class — not knowing where to sit at lunch or how to make new friends — imagine the emotional roller coaster that comes with being that kid every two years.

However, according to Hewett, many military families can be fortunate enough to move together, so families that developed close ties on one base may wind up making the same move to another.

9. But that’s just one of many sacrifices military kids make.

All the bedtime stories, birthdays, holidays, graduations, and sports games missed can take their toll. And the very real confusion, fear, and even anger over a parent’s absence, however noble that absence might be, means that these kids can struggle with their mental health a lot more than their civilian peers.

That said, with the right support, military kids can thrive. As with any mental health challenge, early intervention is key to ensuring youth have the resources they need to succeed.

10. Spouses make their own sacrifices too, including professional ones.

The military wife staring wistfully out of a window waiting for her husband to return is a stereotype. Being a military spouse simply isn’t a full-time job.

In fact, a second source of income is very important to many military families, who may find that a military income isn’t sufficient to support them. Not to mention, spouses often have career aspirations of their own, and those aspirations can sustain them while their partners are away.

11. Unfortunately military spouses can have a tough time getting hired.

The military spouse unemployment rate is estimated to be at least four times higher than the civilian rate. Because they often move frequently, their resumes can look a little different, with positions held for short periods of time or gaps when jobs were difficult to secure. That leads to many spouses remaining unemployed, underemployed, or taking on volunteer roles instead.

“[Employers] know they’re going to move in a couple years or a couple months,” says Hewett, who knows this issue all too well, having struggled herself to find meaningful work. That’s why she decided, after being unable to secure flexible work that fit into her family’s unpredictable schedule, to volunteer as the president of New Mexico’s Blue Star Families chapter to support families like hers.

Photo by rawpixel/Unsplash.

Luckily, though, this is starting to change. Many companies are starting to make it a priority to hire military members and their spouses.

12. However, securing reliable childcare can be a challenge.

Spouses also struggle to land work because securing childcare can be difficult. “It’s very challenging for us because our service member doesn’t have [predictable] hours,” Hewett explains.

It’s difficult to know when you’ll need a sitter if your spouse is called to the base at the last minute, deploys with little time to prepare, or picks up an extra shift unexpectedly. “Often times, as the spouse, we are [both parents], at unexpected times and for long periods of times,” Hewett says.

And even when you finally figure out a good system, you’ll likely be moving again and have to start over. That’s why assistance programs and day cares that offer subsidized care for military families are so crucial.

13. Housing can be tricky, but it’s not all bad.

Obviously if you’re moving frequently, you can’t really buy a house and expect to live there forever. And with some military bases being very isolated, many families are faced with a difficult decision. They could live on base and take whatever the military is willing to provide, choose a location that isn’t near much of anything, or live entirely separate lives from their spouses until they can reunite again.

However, there are great aspects to living on base. Depending on where you’re stationed, some bases have campgrounds, community events, dancing, youth centers, arts and crafts centers, libraries, and bowling alleys. What’s more, many military families develop close bonds to other families in the area, creating an important sense of camaraderie.

14. There are a lot of misconceptions about their families — and the stereotypes hurt.

Infographic via Upworthy.

15. And that’s why, even with support from other military families, veterans need their civilian communities more than ever.

Studies are showing that many veterans struggle with loneliness, with vets reporting that their spouses are often their sole confidants.

With social and community support, as well as a little education, the mental health of military families could improve significantly. “Even one connection is all it takes to help a military family feel less isolated,” Lozar says.

16. Thankfully, that connection is something any one of us could offer.

Lozar says that being neighborly can make all the difference. “Military families want to be more involved in their neighborhoods,” Lozar explains.

“Be a good neighbor and go over and say hello,” she continues. “Help that person feel more welcome.”

Beyond a simple hello, support could look like volunteering with organizations like Blue Star Families, offering free child care to a local military family that’s struggling, helping those families connect with sports teams or clubs for their kids, and encouraging schools to reach out to new military families to get them more involved.

17. Even with these sacrifices, it doesn’t mean that military families regret their decision.

“There’s a lot of hardship, but there’s also a lot of good things, too. We have the opportunity to travel. We meet people all over the world,” Hewett says. “And somehow [the military becomes] your family.”

For families like Hewett’s, there is pride in knowing that they’ve contributed to something bigger than themselves.

“I don’t think anybody would regret being a military family,” she continues. “[We have] a higher purpose. There is something far greater than us that’s going on that we’re a part of.”

Salute those who serve by donating at Macy’s to organizations that support veteran and military families from June 28 to July 8.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/military-life-has-its-ups-and-downs-here-s-how-families-cope-with-it

Barbie’s awesome new career is a welcomed sign of the times.

Barbie’s had a multitude of jobs in her lifetime. Her latest career is inspiring kids to dream of a future in STEM.

She’s been an architect and a teacher. She’s been a firefighter, a lifeguard, and a presidential candidate. She’s even been a Canadian Mountie.

But there’s one thing that Barbie hasn’t been — a robotics engineer. Mattel’s newest doll is changing all that.

Barbie’s latest iteration has an important goal: Get young girls to grow an interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

While the doll has some cool accessories right in the box — goggles, a laptop, a cute little robot toy — its most meaningful feature is a suite of coding lessons targeted toward teaching kids how to use logic and critical thinking to solve problems.

Mattel has also partnered with Black Girls Code, an organization that’s focused on exposing girls and young women of color to the “digital space” in order to transform them into the leaders of tomorrow. The toy manufacturer will be providing the org with a grant of support and enough dolls to give away at robotics expos hosted by Black Girls Code around the country.

Photo via Mattel.

Inspiring young women to explore careers in STEM is more important than ever.

Although more and more girls are becoming interested in working in the tech sector, women and other marginalized groups are still greatly underrepresented in the field.

According to recent stats, women make up 47% of the workforce in the U.S. but only hold 24% of jobs in STEM. And though women make up almost half of all college graduates, only 25% hold degrees in STEM fields, a problem that’s less about “career choice” and much more about the fact that young women haven’t been traditionally as encouraged to pursue degrees in tech as young men.

As two girls point out in a new ad campaign for Barbie: “If girls can’t see women doing these jobs, how will we know we can?”

The doll will be available in four different ethnicities — so “as many girls as possible see themselves,” according to Lisa McKnight, Barbie’s general manager and senior vice president — and her fashion choices will authentically mirror what an actual engineer would wear while on the job . That means jeans and sneakers as opposed to slinky evening gowns and high heels.

Kids are already loving the new doll.

Speaking to CBS, 15-year-old Kimora Oliver, who’s been working with Black Girls Code, gushed over the fact that the new doll looks like her and shares her interests.

“I remember when I was younger and I used to have Barbies and they used to have a purses and dogs. I would be like, ‘I want to be just like that! I want to get this purse and everything,'” Oliver said. “I think other girls will see this and be like, ‘I want to get in tech too!'”

Let’s hope that excitement for STEM spreads through young girls worldwide!

We were not compensated to write this article — we’d tell you if we were! — we just really loved this doll and what it stands for.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/barbie-s-awesome-new-career-is-a-welcomed-sign-of-the-times

Dazzling fireworks can have big drawbacks. But technology can help.

Some of us can’t wait for the summer sun to go down so we can set off fireworks.

But for others, the loud sounds and bright lights can be a problem.

If you’ve ever been to a fireworks show, you know that they can be spectacular. They can also be really overwhelming, especially for those who live with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Vince Bryant, a veteran living in Texas, told ABC News that the sounds of the fireworks are so much for him that he puts on headphones and locks himself in a closet when they start.

“It sends me right back to Iraq. Automatically it puts me in a situation like we fighting,” Bryant said.

And those with PTSD aren’t the only ones affected by bright, noisy light shows.

Cats and dogs are often terrified by what’s going on. And fireworks are not particularly great for some environments — especially those susceptible to wildfires. Even when fire isn’t an issue, environmental concerns remain. Fireworks contribute to pollution, and in some cases, the smog they create can last several days.

Once a spent firework has reached the ground, it can hurt in other ways. The residue that fireworks leave behind often ends up in lakes or rivers, and that can lead to health problems in humans.

Fortunately, technology has come a long way, and fireworks are only one way to celebrate summer holidays.

For one, fireworks distributors often sell silent fireworks. And communities are starting to celebrate with large-scale productions that aim to include everyone while keeping tensions, and pollutants, low.

At Travis Air Base in Northern California, traditional fireworks were replaced with 500 perfectly synchronized drones.

The drones fly in colorful formations without booms or whistles, allowing everyone to enjoy the beautiful light show without having to worry that a giant bomb is going off somewhere.

Other areas like Aspen, Colorado, where wildlife could be hurt by the fallout from fireworks, have ordered drone shows as an environmentally friendly display.

Here’s what some of the drone shows look like:

Bottom line: A more inclusive fourth is awesome for everyone.

There’s nothing exactly like the thrill of setting off a firework in the middle of the street and running as fast and far as you can before it goes off in a shower of sparks and shrieking whistles. But that’s just not  fun — or even doable — for everyone.

More options means more ways for friends, families, and loved ones to enjoy holiday light shows together. And after unlimited hot dogs and an entire day off, that’s the best thing of all.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/dazzling-fireworks-can-have-big-drawbacks-but-technology-can-help

The story of her helping a man on a flight went viral. She hopes it inspires others.

It was by total coincidence that Clara Daly and Tim Cook ended up on the same flight.

Tim Cook is blind and deaf. After visiting his sister in Boston, he was returning home alone to Portland. Clara Daly and her mom were on the same flight after their original trip back to Los Angeles had been canceled.

While the airline staff reportedly did their best, they were unable to communicate with Cook, and they reached out to other passengers for help, asking if anyone onboard knew American Sign Language (ASL). Daly had recently been studying ASL, and she gladly stepped in.

Image courtesy Clara Daly.

It was unclear whether Cook had made accessibility requests with the airline or not, but regardless, flying while disabled presents a number of challenges — and the burden is often left on the person with the disability. The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 attempted to address many accessibility issues, but there continue to be stories where airlines fail in their duty.

Daly, however, immediately put her ASL skills to work communicating with Cook about his needs on the flight.

Pressing her hand against Cook’s, she was able to sign out words one letter at a time. Their communication began with him simply asking for a glass of water. But she returned several times throughout the flight and spent the last 30 minutes keeping him company before they landed. In a follow-up with Cook, the airline said he made it safely back home after meeting a service provider in Portland.

And in a video posted by Portland’s KGW8, Cook said of his experience with Daly, “I was very moved and happy for you to come talk with me. … Talking with you was the best part of my trip.”

“I think ASL is a beautiful language that is not only for deaf people but is a language everyone should get to know,” Daly says. “We are all part of the same world and it is our duty to make it a place we all want to live in.”

Her act of kindness went viral and she’s using it as a teaching moment.

A fellow passenger on their flight took a picture of Daly signing to Cook and posted it to her Facebook page. It went viral, with more than 1 million people reacting and more than 650,000 people sharing the story.

I saw this gentleman, Tim, in Boston’s Logan airport with the sister he’d been visiting. It appeared he was both deaf…

Posted by Lynette Scribner on Tuesday, June 19, 2018

About the viral nature of her story, Daly says, “All I can hope people can get from this is an inspiration do some good themselves.”

These small acts of kindness can have a profound impact — we all need to remember that.

There are things each of us can do every day to help others, whether it’s offering a service or supporting your favorite disability advocacy group — particularly when gaps in accessibility persist. A seemingly small act might be a great and welcome relief to someone else. That’s something people forget too often.

“I think people need to help people as much as we can,” Daly said.

Daly may be just 15, but hers is the kind of wisdom the world needs right now. And if the response to her act is any indication, it’s one people are really grateful to see.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/the-story-of-her-helping-a-man-on-a-flight-went-viral-she-hopes-it-inspires-others

The inspiring reason this chemist is teaching girls about the science behind makeup.

For most of her life, Balanda Atis has had trouble finding a foundation that matches her skin tone. And she’s far from the only woman of color to have this problem.

Growing up in a Haitian community in East Orange, New Jersey, she often heard women in her community voice their frustrations over it. There simply weren’t enough specific foundation colors out there for non-white women, so they’d end up using shades that didn’t really suit their skin tone.

Even after Atis started working in makeup development at L’Oréal over 18 years ago, this skin tone issue remained prevalent. It actually wasn’t until 2011 that their foundation line got the diversity makeover it needed. And that’s largely thanks to her.

Atis working in the lab. All photos via Upworthy.

Back in 2006, Atis began the challenging task of fixing the diversity gap in the brand’s foundation line.

Their research and development team had just shared a slew of new foundations that were meant to do just that, but when Atis tried them, she told her department head that she still couldn’t find her skin tone match. So he turned to her and said, “fix it.”

With that, Atis began traveling all over the country collecting data on the wide spectrum of skin tones out there.

Atis and two colleagues ending up doing a lot of their reconnaissance work during their time off on nights and weekends — mostly because it had become a labor of love. As a result, it took several years to collect all the information they needed to start creating more shades. However, in retrospect, the effort was more than worth it.

She wasn’t just working to correct an issue at L’Oréal — deepening and expanding foundation shade range has been an industry-wide challenge for decades.

“What drove us on those 12-hour days was knowing that we were solving a problem for women,” Atis says.

Atis and a colleague testing foundation pigments.

For example, they learned that adding ultramarine blue, a less widely used color, to certain shades created deep, pure foundation colors that maintained their vibrancy. Previously, darker foundation colors tended to look flat and dull on skin.

When Atis presented their revolutionary findings, L’Oréal put her on the task of developing multi-cultural beauty products full-time as part of a new lab dedicated exclusively to this work. That lead to the creation of more than 30 new foundation shades, which were implemented across L’Oréal in 2011. Needless to say, her involvement was a total game changer.

Several of L’Oréal’s brands have since utilized her research including Maybelline, Dermablend, L’Oréal Paris and Lancome.

Moreover, with more women of color becoming the faces of beauty brands, the industry is making it clear that representation matters to them. And thanks to chemistry pioneers like Atis, their image can be accurately enhanced.

That said, Atis and her team are always working to expand the L’Oréal library of shades for women of color. But Atis also has another important focus.  

Today, as head of the Multicultural Beauty Lab at L’Oréal, Atis is showing girls how they too can make a huge difference in the world using science.

Together with her chemistry team, Atis explains to these avid students how they mix and create new foundations, taking into consideration factors like texture and the way light affects different pigments. The hope is that they’re inspiring these chemistry enthusiasts to pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math fields).

The benefits of this learning program are two-fold for L’Oréal — they’re infusing the STEM world with much-needed diversity and possibly increasing the pool of beauty chemists who see what’s lacking in the makeup department.

Atis teaches young women about the chemistry behind making foundations.

“I think it’s really important for young girls to learn about STEM, and the opportunities are so big,” explains Shauna-Kaye Scotland, senior chemist at L’Oréal. “They need to know that they exist.”

The experience seems to do just as much good for the scientists themselves.

“I realized the little bit I was able to share really has a huge impact on them and their future,” Atis says.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/the-inspiring-reason-this-chemist-is-teaching-girls-about-the-science-behind-makeup

This womans a bad mom. And shes damn proud of it.

Sia Cooper is a mother of two, a certified personal trainer, and an Instagram dynamo with over 921,000 followers.

WHY DO YOU WORKOUT ON VACATION?? 🤔 I’m sure some of you might wonder. To me, it’s just another day to improve myself mentally and physically while indulging. Yes, you can do both! 🙃 I also like keeping up my routine so that when I go back home to my ordinary life, it won’t be as hard to get back into the groove. Also my muscles won’t hate me for taking that time off. 🤦🏽‍♀️ I don’t think working out on vacay is obsessive nor is it to punish myself for anything that I ate! I workout because it’s a celebration for what my body can do and I want to treat it well. 💜 Trust me… I’m eating all the pancakes while I’m here! I’m just also balancing it out with keeping fit, too! ✌🏽

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She’s also discovered an excellent way to get rich.

“If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been called a ‘bad mom,’ Cooper wrote in a recent Instagram post that’s since gone viral, “I would be soooo rich!”

OK, so maybe Cooper won’t be heading to the bank to cash in on this any time soon, but anyone who’s ever been shamed for not being a “good enough” parent will immediately know what this mom’s talking about.

The reasons Cooper’s been criticized? It’s not neglect or abuse — she’s not handing her kids a box of matches and telling them to knock themselves out — but rather, a host of regular everyday things that other people see as “wrong” due to their own subjective values.  

And according to the list of complaints Cooper’s collected, it seems like no one’s holding back from offering their opinions on her parenting.

Here are just some of the things Cooper’s been called out for: working out while having kids, having tattoos and piercings, letting her kids use technology, drinking wine “every now and then,” letting her kids enjoy a Happy Meal on occasion, not covering up, having a hobby, and — bafflingly — using canned goods and plastic crockpot liners.

She’s also gotten flak for exercising at Target.

The only thing she hasn’t gotten criticized for? Breathing. …At least not yet.

We are back at @Target and getting our fit on! 🎯 I even got a few employees to join in with me. 👯 Obviously, Target isn’t where I go to workout-it’s the idea behind it. However, many have taken these videos way too literally and have missed my main point. As a busy mom of two, I don’t always have time to make it to a gym and I don’t expect you to, either. Get it where you can; when you can. As a certified personal trainer, I preach this to my clients daily. It’s the little steps that you take that create the biggest results. Those calf raises that you do while reaching from the top shelf. Those squats you do while waiting for dinner to cook. Those lunges you do at the gas station. Those jumping jacks you do during commercial break. It ALL counts! Think outside the box and get creative. Don’t be afraid to do you. Don’t care what others think! 🤷🏽‍♀️The haters talk because they have nothing else to do. Special thanks to Target employee @veratellez for joining in the fun!💜

A post shared by SIA COOPER (@diaryofafitmommyofficial) on

It’s like parents can’t do anything right.

“It seems almost impossible to be a textbook or politically correct good mom these days because everywhere you turn another mom is judging your parenting choices,” Cooper wrote in her post.

She’s not alone in her exasperation. According to a 2017 survey, 61% of moms said they’d been criticized about their parenting choices.

And with all those (perhaps well-meaning) critical opinions on top of raising two kids? Well, it’s enough to drive someone to distraction — or at least the occasional glass of wine that Cooper mentions having.

Shaming someone’s parenting choices is just wrong.

As any amount of how-to books will tell you, parenting is hard work. And moms especially can be under a lot of pressure to be perfect. But that doesn’t mean they have to give in to all the finger-wagging that comes their way.

That’s why Cooper’s no longer fighting the “bad mom” label. In fact, she’s actually damn proud of the kind of mom she is.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been called a “bad mom,” I would be soooo rich! It seems almost impossible to be a textbook or politically correct good mom these days because everywhere you turn another mom is judging your parenting choices. Am I right? I’ve been called a bad mom for: Workout out during pregnancy. Working out while having kids… period. For caring about my looks and health. Working out in Target. Using canned goods and plastic crockpot liners. Having tattoos and piercings. Enjoying wine every now and then. For letting my kids use technology. For letting my kids have sugar and happy meals occasionally. For not “covering up” around my kids. For running a full time business from home. For co-sleeping with my kids. For collecting sports cars and motorcycles aka having a hobby. For taking time for myself. For having abs. I’ve learned that the true “bad moms” out there are the ones who constantly tear other moms down by judging them. Those moms are the ones who are truly insecure and have strong feelings of inadequacy because why else would they do that? Misery loves company. There’s no one right way to parent or to be a mom. We all are running in the same race and doing the best that we can. Motherhood is not a one size fits all-what works for one family may not work for the next. So who are we to judge another mom’s choices or reasoning? Being a mom is hard enough and if all the following make me a “bad mom” then I’ll gladly wear it proudly! Here’s to all the bad moms out there. Follow @badmomconfessions to submit a confession or read other anonymous mothers’ spills! @todayshow @goodmorningamerica @theviewabc @thetalkcbs @theellenshow

A post shared by SIA COOPER (@diaryofafitmommyofficial) on

“I’ve learned that the true ‘bad moms’ out there are the ones who constantly tear other moms down by judging them,” Cooper wrote. “Those moms are the ones who are truly insecure and have strong feelings of inadequacy because why else would they do that? Misery loves company.”

“There’s no one right way to parent or to be a mom,” she continued. “We all are running in the same race and doing the best that we can. Motherhood is not a one size fits all — what works for one family may not work for the next. So who are we to judge another mom’s choices or reasoning?”

Cooper’s post is an important call for compassion.

Sure, nobody should ignore clear signs of child abuse or neglect, but it’s important to remember that buying into societal notions of what a “good mom” should be is damaging.

And it perpetuates the myth that a mother must be perfect — No wine! No swearing, ever! — to be considered adequate. And that kind of pressure can just lead to more problems.

As Cooper makes clear, “mom guilt” is real. But it doesn’t mean parents have to buy into it.

Think before you comment on someone’s parenting. And if you’ve been criticized? Just breathe, keep going, and continue living your life.

It’s working for Cooper. Why shouldn’t it work for you?

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-woman-s-a-bad-mom-and-she-s-damn-proud-of-it

If your daughter loved Shuri in ‘Black Panther,’ she’ll love these badass STEM programs.

I swear they didn’t get it from me, but my daughters are mega math-haters.

Recently, my 13-year-old expressed her displeasure with her algebra homework, finally exclaiming, “Ugh, I hate math!”

Thankfully, her 17-year-old sister — who has declared her hatred for math many times herself — came to the rescue.

“Ella, you know what helps me lately when I get annoyed with my math homework?” she said. “I just picture Shuri in ‘Black Panther.’ She does math all day long, and she’s awesome.”

Squeee! God bless you, Marvel.

My girls have always been more interested in writing poetry than working out math problems, so I love that they find teen tech whiz Shuri inspiring. But there are a lot of girls out there who are math-, science-, and engineering-minded who have an uphill road ahead of them.

Actress Letitia Wright plays Shuri in “Black Panther.” Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images.

Despite years of pushing for gender parity in the workplace, women are still greatly underrepresented in STEM careers.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Commerce evaluated the status of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers and found that even though women represented 48% of the overall workforce, they only represented 24% of STEM careers.

In 2017, they did the same evaluation. That time, they found that even though women represented 47% of the workforce, they only represented — wait for it — 24% of STEM careers.

In other words, the needle has barely moved for women in STEM in recent years.

But that doesn’t mean things aren’t changing for the next generation. As we’re seeing with gun control, children and teens can be the ones to make big waves and change the tide on issues that affect them.

Of course, kids need tools and opportunity to make those waves. Thankfully, there are ways to help the future Shuris of the world get the hands-on STEM experience they need to make dreams a reality. Check out these five cool STEM initiatives by and for girls:

1. Project Upgrade YouTube series

Project Upgrade is a new digital build series — where digital technologies are used to create something — starring popular teen YouTubers the Merrell twins. The series was created to inspire more young women across America to pursue a career in STEM.

On the show, the twins team up with teen female coders, builders, and engineers as well as successful female mentors from across STEM career fields (including NASA, Disney Imagineering, and Google). Together, they design, build, and test a new consumer product in front of a live audience of girls. The series started March 10, 2018, and you can check out a preview on Veronica and Vanessa’s YouTube channel:

These are just some of the many great programs out there helping girls build on their math and science knowledge. Girls and young women need opportunities and encouragement to become the STEM giants we know they can be.

Who knows, maybe these kinds of initiatives combined with greater representation can help girls like my daughters decide that they don’t hate math after all.

Can you imagine anything more badass than a world filled with Shuris? I can’t.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/if-your-daughter-loved-shuri-in-black-panther-she-ll-love-these-badass-stem-programs