African cocoa farmers taste chocolate for the first time. Now they understand white people…

July 29, 2014 | 16 comments

This video is almost as sweet as the food it’s about. It will make you feel spoiled by the simple luxuries we take for granted, but at the same time you’ll find it wonderfully uplifting (and funny).

Several farmers and laborers in Ivory Coast who grow and harvest the key ingredient in chocolate — cocoa beans — have never tasted the finished product. In fact, they’ve never even heard of it.

One farmer says…

To be honest I do not know what they make of my beans. I’ve heard they’re used as flavoring in cooking, but I’ve never seen it. I do not even know if it’s true.

When they get a chance to taste the fruit of their labors in this mini-documentary, they are more than a little surprised. The video as a whole is quite heartwarming, but what they have to say about white people and chocolate is downright hilarious…

Emotional anti-gambling PSA accidentally makes gambling look like the best thing ever

July 24, 2014 | No comments

See if you can find the fatal flaw in this ad…

Before the World Cup, Singapore created a heartfelt PSA against gambling featuring a child whose dad threw away the child’s savings betting on soccer. Or did he?

John Oliver takes a look at what the ad actually said…

Woman confronts catcalling men, secretly records and publicly shames them

July 24, 2014 | 8 comments

28-year-old Lindsey grew tired of catcalls from men on the street during her daily commute, so she decided to do something unusual about it. The Minneapolis attorney created Cards Against Harassment, a website dedicated to educating and exposing men who harass women.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 12.53.38 PM

When she hears a catcall, Lindsey now confronts the man and hands him one of these cards, which she makes available to other women who appreciate direct confrontation…

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Woman renews vows with mannequin husband after 14 years [Exclusive pics & interview]

July 23, 2014 | No comments

In February, we featured a series of photos by Suzanne Heintz with her mannequin “family,” (“Single Woman Spends 14 Years with Mannequin Family to Make a Point“). In the spirited comments section, the photos were called “creepy,” “brilliant,” and everything in between.

Since then, Suzanne and I have kept in contact, and a couple months ago I got the skinny on her planned “chapter two” of her project, officially called “The Playing House Project,” in which she and her stoic mannequin husband renew their wedding vows.

I took the opportunity to send Suzanne a few questions to get a deeper understanding of her project. She graciously took the time to thoughtfully answer them, and to give us an exclusive scoop on the renewal ceremony photos.

You’re the first to see these, so enjoy!

Artist buys imitation family to satirize conformity

Suzanne, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. I came across your work in mid-February this year and was delighted by it. Since then, on our site alone, it’s been shared 150,000 times on Facebook. And I know you’ve had a lot of press elsewhere too. But you’ve been committed to this project for a long time. How does it feel to see something into which you’ve invested so much time and energy garner the exposure it has recently?

It’s just like jumping into a hot spring. Shocking at first, and wonderful once you get used to it. I’ve said before that I’m pleased as punch to be born at the time I was. Not only because as a woman, I’ve got more choices in life than any generation before, but I’m also amazed at how much opportunity, and exposure, living in the information age provides.

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Homeless people each share one thing about themselves that will surprise you

July 22, 2014 | 31 comments

For a simple but profound project, Rethink Homelessness invited several of Orlando’s homeless residents to tell the rest of us one fact from their lives that, if we walked past them, we would never expect. As you can imagine, the results are poignantly humanizing…

Rethink Homelessness - 11

Rethink Homelessness - 16

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Man “accidentally” drops his wallet on the street to see if people steal it

July 21, 2014 | No comments

In Adelaide, Australia recently, Adrian Gruszka filled a cheap wallet with bits of useless paper and then pretended to accidentally drop it as he passed various people on the street.

Of the 12 people seen making the choice to keep or return the wallet in this video, guess how many stole it…

As a fun twist, Gruszka included Monopoly money in each wallet he used to make sure the folks who ripped him off knew they’d been tricked.

Teacher sends inspiring letter home with test scores…saying test scores don’t matter very much

July 17, 2014 | 1 comment

When Barrowford Primary School head teacher Rachel Tomlinson sent her students their key stage two test results last week, she included a letter with the test scores…

Test Results Letter

The UK teacher for the Nelson, Lanceshire, school found the letter on Minnesota teacher Kimberly Hurd Horst’s blog last year. Wanting to send a reminder that while test scores are important, they do not define each student, Tomlinson repurposed the letter and sent it to her pupils.

Here’s the full text of the letter…

Dear Charlie Owen,

Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.

However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you — the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.

They do not know that many of you speak two languages.

They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture.

They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day.

They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school.

They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.

They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.

So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.

(via Reddit, BBC)

John Oliver demonstrates America’s wealth gap with an actual lottery game

July 14, 2014 | 4 comments

In a recent segment, John Oliver discussed income inequality in America. He makes repeated salient observations throughout the 14-minute lesson/rant, and then culminates with an actual lottery — “America Ball” — which demonstrates our odds of getting rich.

Here’s the short version: We’re ludicrously optimistic. But you really should watch the long version. Skip to 12:00 to just see the lottery segment…

(NSFW language)

What happens when you offer drugs to the president of the United States

July 10, 2014 | No comments

This is funny or depressing depending on how you look at it. As Obama was shaking hands in Denver earlier this week, a local pothead asked him if he wanted “to hit this”…

The recent legalization of weed in Colorado allowed the president to laugh off the offer with the appropriately amused disregard that the question warranted.

Meanwhile, while the president is winsomely avoiding getting high and numerous people in Colorado aren’t, 750,000 people in this country are being arrested each year for marijuana-related offenses and 20,000 people are in prison only because of marijuana possession or distribution.