1. 6 portraits of American mass consumption. (x)


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  2. 10 Poverty Myths, Busted

    1. Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child’s first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child’s father for that entire time.*

    2. Absent dads are the problem. Sixty percent of low-income dads see at least one of their children daily. Another 16 percent see their children weekly.*

    3. Black dads are the problem. Among men who don’t live with their children, black fathers are more likely than white or Hispanic dads to have a daily presence in their kids’ lives.

    4. Poor people are lazy. In 2004, there was at least one adult with a job in 60 percent of families on food stamps that had both kids and a nondisabled, working-age adult.

    5. If you’re not officially poor, you’re doing okay. The federal poverty line for a family of two parents and two children in 2012 was $23,283. Basic needs cost at least twice that in 615 of America’s cities and regions.

    6. Go to college, get out of poverty. In 2012, about 1.1 million people who made less than $25,000 a year, worked full time, and were heads of household had a bachelor’s degree.**

    7. We’re winning the war on poverty. The number of households with children living on less than $2 a day per person has grown 160 percent since 1996, to 1.65 million families in 2011.

    8. The days of old ladies eating cat food are over. The share of elderly single women living in extreme poverty jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012.

    9. The homeless are drunk street people. One in 45 kids in the United States experiences homelessness each year. In New York City alone, 22,000 children are homeless.

    10. Handouts are bankrupting us. In 2012, total welfare funding was 0.47 percent of the federal budget.



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  3. Pointlessly gendered products. (x)


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  4. "When I’m really into a novel, I’m seeing the world differently during that time— not just for the hour or so in the day when I get to read. I’m actually walking around in a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism."
    — Colin Firth (via duttonbooks)

    (via danishshieldmaiden)

  5. insteadofwatchingtv:

    How to Impress in Meetings


  6. Failure To Launch: How New Mexico Is Paying For Richard Branson’s Space Tourism Fantasy

    One of the poorest states in the nation has invested nearly a quarter of a billion dollars and 10 years in creating a hub for Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic. Some see it as the crown jewel of a new space age while others call it a carnival for the 1 percent — but with persistent delays and mounting financial strain, Spaceport America is just trying to avoid becoming New Mexico’s costliest, most futuristic ghost town.

    It was December 2005, and Rick Homans ran the New Mexico Department of Economic Development for Gov. Bill Richardson. Homans sat shotgun in the LongRanger and behind him were three Brits: two top dogs in a company called Virgin Galactic and the godfather of all things Virgin, billionaire Richard Branson. He had recently licensed technology that in 2004 won the $10 million Ansari X Prize by taking the first privately built manned ship to an altitude above 62 miles, the internationally recognized boundary of space. Branson was confident that by 2007 they’d be making that trip on a daily basis.

    As the chopper flew deeper into the desert, the men shouted louder into their bulky headsets. Homans knew he might not get another chance to spitball with these men he considered some of the top branding minds in the world, and so he had them brainstorming, a round robin of hollering over the propeller noise, to figure out a name for the place they were headed. And Richard Branson was the one who finally said it.

    The name was one that encapsulated all the ambition of the project, one that suggested a collective ownership — the hope that access to space would soon be available to anyone who wanted it. It was one that outshined the rather mundane Southwest Regional Spaceport, by which the project had been known for the decade before Virgin Galactic flew into New Mexico. It planted a symbolic flag, a gesture fashioned in roughly the same spirit as Armstrong and Aldrin driving the Stars and Stripes into the surface of the moon 36 years earlier. Here at the beginning there was more than a little bit of the old space race bleeding into the new one, even though the New Space Race was not about a cold war, but a commercial one.

    And so they called it Spaceport America.

    Read the rest here.


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  7. Socially awkward vs. creepers: Why socially awkward isn’t an excuse

    Being socially awkward is often held up as a defense against being labeled “creepy”; it’s another variation of “it’s only creepy if you’re ugly”, but with the vague hints of ableism or social justice for flavor. Almost everyone has been creeped out by someone out only to be told “Aw, he means well. He just doesn’t know any better,” or “Hey, he’s a nice guy! He does so much for us! He’s just a little awkward, you know?” There’s tremendous social pressure to look the other way, to “give him a second chance”.

    Let’s run down just what makes someone creepy again:

    • Behaving in a manner that makes someone feel uncomfortable, unsafe or threatened.
    • Behaving in a manner that pushes against an individual’s boundaries – especially repeatedly.

    That second one is incredibly important and forms a critical distinction: creepers and predators will frequently push against people’s boundaries in order to see what they can get away with. When they get caught, they’ll often claim to be “socially awkward” as a way of deflecting responsibility for their actions and – more importantly – putting pressure on their target to let them violate their boundaries with impunity. Many creepers will turn their actions around on their victim and make it seem as if they’re the one being unreasonable. “Hey, I was just paying you a compliment!” “I just wanted to talk to you!” “It was just a joke, geez, get a sense of humor.” “Man, don’t be so sensitive.”

    Someone who is socially awkward, on the other hand, is someone who has issues with basic social skills. They may have acute anxiety or nervousness in social settings. 

    Read the rest here.

  8. fastcompany:

    For one month, I became the “micro-entrepreneur” touted by companies like TaskRabbit, Postmates, and Airbnb. Instead of the labor revolution I had been promised, all I found was hard work, low pay, and a system that puts workers at a disadvantage. Read more>

  9. Prison inmates write letters to their younger selves.

    The messages in the letters are reflective, sad, matter-of-fact, angry, and instructive. Here are excerpts from a few of them…

    Hello. This is the older, future you. I want to reach out to you & hopefully help save you from becoming me – a veteran of the prison system for over 20 years.

    *                *               *

    I think we really need to have this heart-to-heart conversation for your sake to prevent you from ending up with a 29 year prison sentence as projected. The penitentiary is a place you grew up fearing, similarly to the graveyard, because it was always referenced for the sole purpose to scare you. Well you believe me don’t you? It is not where you want to be! Ever! Why? It is emasculating, full of suffering, restrictive, populated with the worst people, there’s no females, you have no true friends, your family can only visit or write you, the food is subpar, and you will diminish as a person unconsciously if you don’t guard your mind, heart, and psyche.

    *                *               *

    It took you coming to prison and having time to reflect on your past to make you realize just how good you had it as an only child living in the country on a 150-acre farm.

    *                *               *

    The only good thing that has ever happened was the day my daughters were born.

    *                *               *

    I stand in front of my mirror and drift off to the days when we played Little League baseball. We had so much fun, or when we cuddled our kids.

    *                *               *

    Look what you’ve done to us, our sons, our career, and future – destroyed!



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  10. Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems… palsy is just one.

    Amazing and hilarious TED talk about living with palsy, Hollywood’s underrepresentation of people of color and people with disabilities, and an illustrious career.

  11. Kurt Vonnegut mapped out the 8 types of stories.


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  12. Peru makes book writing into a spectator sport and invites aspiring writers into combat

    On a chilly Monday night in Lima, a bar called La Noche is packed. Usually people come to see live bands. But tonight they’re here for Lucha Libro.

    It’s a twist on Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of pro wrestling, where competitors put on masks and pseudonyms to duke it out in a ring.

    Peru’s Lucha Libro is kind of like that, without the violence. It’s literary “wrestling.” New writers don masks, and head onto a stage where they’re given three random words, a laptop hooked up to a gigantic screen, and five minutes to write a short story.

    At the end of a match, the losing writer has to take off his or her mask. The winner goes on to the next round, a week later. And the grand prize? It’s a book contract.

    It’s not easy to jumpstart a writing career, anywhere. But in Peru - where books are expensive, and published in very small numbers - it’s especially tough.

    Tonight, an announcer in a striped referee shirt takes the stage to welcome the crowd, mostly in their 20s and 30s wearing a lot of big glasses and skinny jeans.

    The first contestant is a guy who goes by the name “Chicken Wilson.” He’s tall and goofy, but when he sees the three words projected on the screen behind him, he gets serious. He’s got monkey, plane ticket, and dictionary to work with.

    The announcer counts to three, and the clock starts. No one’s talking, but just a paragraph in, Chicken Wilson freezes. The seconds are ticking by, so the crowd starts cheering him on. He rallies, dashing off a short story about monkeys living in the city, and an American girl on vacation in Peru.

    This event is more than just a bunch of young writers fooling around in wrestling masks, according to Dante Trujillo, who runs the Solar editorial house, which will publish the winning writer. Trujillo says that even though Peru’s economy is doing well right now, Peru is still feeling the impact of some hard decades. There was the military government in the 70s, the civil war in the 80s, and then, the collapse of the economy.

    “So the prospects for young authors just beginning their careers, the best advice you can give them is to get out of Peru,” Trujillo says.

    Backstage at Lucha Libro, Chicken Wilson explains that his pseudonym is a family nickname. But other contestants say there’s more to their stage names. One young woman with a pale blond braid falling out the back of her black wrestler’s mask calls herself L.

    “When I write,” she says, “I often write lyrical pieces, poems, and I usually sign them with that one letter. ‘L’ also stands for ‘loser,’ and to me, this concept of ‘the underdog,’ of a person that nobody thinks can win, I’m really into that.”

    Actually, it’s Chicken Wilson who ends up losing his match, while L advances. Whoever wins the final round in a few weeks will have six months to finish their book. It’ll be released at the Lima Book Fair, where the writer will take off the mask and reveal his or her real identity, for the first time.

    The chance to win that coveted publishing contract is important, says writer Christopher Vasquez, one of the founders of Lucha Libro, but there’s more to the contest than that.

    “It’s also about changing the idea that literature is boring. This turns it into an event. Because it’s not just about the opportunity for a young person to become a writer,” he says. “It’s also about having a place for young people to hang out - and to read.”


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  13. National flags made with foods that are popular in that country. (x)


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  14. Top Pornhub searches by state - and average duration of the site visit.

    Find your state here.

  15. THE GAP by Ira Glass

    (Source: vimeo.com)