39 of the best celebrity responses to Keaton Jones’ powerful video about bullying.

Last week, a Tennessee woman named Kimberly Jones posted a video of her son Keaton online. It went mega-viral.

The video, which has been viewed on Facebook more than 20 million times since posting, shows Keaton in tears over being bullied at school. There’s a sense of despair and helplessness in his voice that no child should have to feel, but too many have.

“Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?” a distraught Keaton asks his mom. “What’s the point of it? Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them?”

The video clearly resonated with people — some who have been bullied, some who have been the bully — and within hours, words of support began to roll in from around the world, including some notes from some high profile people.

Hollywood has Keaton’s back.

Avengers Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo came up big for the little guy.

As did Eleven from “Stranger Things,” offering her friendship.

The delightful Tom Cavanagh of “The Flash” voiced his support  for Jones and against bullies everywhere.

Same with Beth Behrs of “Two Broke Girls.”

He got some love from members of “The Walking Dead” cast.

Even Gaston and LeFou (a couple of fiction’s most famous bullies) weren’t having it.

Broadway star Ben Platt offered a few words of support.

And so did voice actors Susan Eisenberg and Kevin Conroy, who provided the voices for Wonder Woman and Batman, respectively, on the animated “Justice League” TV show.

“Coco” director Lee Unkrich and “Ghostbusters” mastermind Paul Feig stepped up.

Some of the biggest stars in professional sports showed up, as well.

LeBron James called bullies “straight up wack, corny, cowards, chumps.”

Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen both offered words of kindness and comfort.

Former Green Bay Packers cornerback Bernard Blake urged Jones to “never be ashamed of who you are.” Former NFL star Antonio Cromartie stepped in to say that bullies are often just insecure about themselves, asking him to be strong.

Former NFL wide receiver Donté Stallworth urged caution for people suggesting that the bullies be confronted with hostility, asking people who really want to make a difference to try to do it through lessons of love.

“Bullying is bullshit,” summed up World Cup champion Ali Krieger. “We need to start coming together, supporting each other and most importantly, standing up for beautiful kids in this world like Keaton.”

Similarly, the music world had words of encouragement and support for Jones.

Demi Lovato predicted that Jones would come out of this experience much stronger than he entered it. Enrique Iglesias called the video “heartbreaking.”

“This extremely raw and real moment has brought hope and truth to so many people,” wrote Kevin Jonas. Nickelback called Jones “a brave young man,” asking if there was anything the band could do for them.

Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg posted words of support on Instagram. “The fact that he still has the sympathy and compassion for other people when he’s going through it himself is a testament to who he is,” said Bieber.

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Anti-bullying activists, models, and YouTube sensations all got in on the act as well.

Monica Lewinsky offered a few kind words, saying that she’s sorry Jones is being treated this way, saying that other kids “would be lucky to be friends with [Jones].”

Model Mia Kang said Jones is her “absolute hero,” offering to fly out and visit him at school for lunch.

Logan Paul offered to chat with Jones on FaceTime and send some gear his way.

Politicians across the political spectrum offered words of kindness and courage.

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) thanked the young man for his courage, and Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts) asked others to look to Jones as a positive example.

Responding to an offer from UFC head Dana White to visit the organization’s headquarters, Donald Trump Jr. offered the Jones family a place to stay. Jane O’Meara Sanders of the Sanders Institute urged action over platitudes, calling on the country to “stand up to bullies — in our schools and communities, on social media and in politics and the White House.”

Media personalities joined the chorus with offers of support and workplace tours.

Jemele Hill and Sean Hannity offered Jones and his family tours of ESPN and Fox News, respectively. NBC’s Stephanie Ruhle pointed to Jones as a motivation for a more honest, brave, and kind world.

HLN’s S.E. Cupp shared a story about being bullied as a child, saying, “It’s got nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.” Sunny Hostin, from “The View,” ended with a reminder that “being different makes you special.”

It’s wonderful to see so many people, from so many backgrounds, come together in support of this one boy.

It’s worth remembering, however, that he’s not the only child in the world being bullied.

According to StopBullying.gov, 28% of U.S. students in grades 6 through12 have experienced bullying. 30% of students have admitted to being a bully to others. School bullying creates a hostile environment not conducive to learning and puts students’ physical, emotional, and mental health at risk.

If Keaton Jones’ story inspired you to take action, check out the StopBullying prevention toolkits for students, parents, teachers, and community members.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/39-of-the-best-celebrity-responses-to-keaton-jones-powerful-video-about-bullying

‘EVIL’: This may be the most MONSTROUS thing Planned Parenthood has EVER tweeted

Over the years, we’ve seen some pretty sick stuff get pushed by Planned Parenthood. This may be the sickest thing yet: The screenshot is there because Planned Parenthood deleted the original tweet. But the post they were promoting is still up.

Danielle Campoamor writes:

Miscarriage and abortion are sisters. Just like my body knew what to do when an abnormal embryo implanted itself in my uterus, my mind knew what to do when a healthy embryo found its way to the soft lining of my uterine wall back when I was 23 years old, in an unhealthy relationship, living paycheck-to-paycheck, unwilling and unable to be a mother. They haven’t always synced up, my body and my mind, but even separately they’ve known what to do at different times in my life. I do not regret my decision to have an abortion.

She goes on to cite late-term “Christian abortionist” Willie Parker:

When I held my son for the very first time, knowing he was a choice I had made, my belief that abortion had been the right decision years earlier only grew stronger. Here he was, a bi-product of my mind and my body finally being on the same page; the end result of me being financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally ready to become a mother. But we, as a culture, have difficulty acknowledging these complexities and accepting a woman’s inalienable right to make her own choices.

As Dr. Willie Parker, a Christian abortion provider put it in Life’s Work: A Moral Argument For Choice:

Disgusting.

Read more: https://twitchy.com/sarahd-313035/2017/12/08/evil-this-may-be-the-most-monstrous-thing-planned-parenthood-has-ever-tweeted/

This educator didn’t punish troublesome kids. She gave them a closet full of stuff.

This time last year, the top three most misbehaved boys at Equetta Jones’ elementary school were from the same family.

As assistant principal, it fell to Jones to figure out how to solve the problem. Other educators might prescribe detentions, suspensions, extra tutoring help, or even a doctor’s appointment to be evaluated for an attention-deficit issue. But Jones sensed that the problem ran deeper — and she had a solution.

“No child comes in every day and says ‘I want to be angry. I want to hit you. I want to curse you out. I don’t want to learn,’” she says. “So it is our responsibility to find out why they’re verbalizing those things.”

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

Often, the problem is the same: Many kids are not having their basic health, shelter, and nutritional needs met. “The middle class, we forget about the fact that when we wake up every morning, we wake up with shelter,” Jones says.

Not all of her students have that luxury.

That’s why Jones’ school worked with an organization called First Book to install a “Care Closet” — a supply of basic essentials for kids in need.

First Book, which supplies books and educational tools for kids in low-income communities, started offering living essentials when they heard from teachers that they’re just as important when it comes to helping kids do well in school.

With the Care Closet in place, Jones can give kids what they need and establish a sense of security so they can focus on school.

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

Her students are no longer worried about whether or not their basic needs are being met. “Their focus is now on coming in and being the best student they can be.”

The Care Closet project gives kids what they need to succeed. But they’re not handouts — they’re hand-ups.

Jones has a system in place to make sure the supplies make the greatest possible impact on the lives of the students.

Parents can come and ask for help, or if teachers notice that a child has an issue, they can discreetly let Jones know and she’ll take the child aside and get them what they need.

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

“I will give them the care package, let them go to the bathroom, clean themselves up, give them a fresh pair of clothes, fold up the dirty clothes, and then send them back home and call up the parents and let them know what I did,” she says. The whole process is discreet; Jones even bought department store-style shopping bags to keep their contents private.

Once the kids have what they need, that’s when the real work begins. When Jones calls children’s parents, there’s an understanding: Though the Care Closet doesn’t cost money, it doesn’t come for free.

“You need to give Ms. Jones back some time,” she says. Parents are asked to come into school and be engaged — either through volunteering or through coaching sessions that help the parents deal with some of the pressing problems in their families’ lives.

“We feel that the information we’re giving is going to not only help them as a parent but also help the child within the classroom.

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

Jones’ method has already created big changes for some of the families at her school.

The three boys who were at the top of the disciplinary chart last year? They’re thriving now — thanks to Jones’ care closet intervention.

She found out that the boys’ mother was in an unhealthy relationship that was having a toxic effect on the whole family. “But she was afraid to leave because then the children wouldn’t have anything,” she says.

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

So Jones brought her in for a conversation.

“I connected her with some outside resources, gave her a scripted plan of what we expected of her,” she says. “And then we said, ‘Mom, follow through with us and we’ll do everything we can to support you.’” That was in September.

“Now it’s November, and Mom just recently moved into her own place,” Jones says. “She meets with me regularly for coaching sessions, we helped her write a resume, and she now has a job at one of our elementary schools.”

Now that their basic needs are being met, the three boys can concentrate on being successful kids. “They’re starting to smile,” she says. “They’re proud of who they’re becoming.”

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

First Book continues to expand the Care Closet project across the country.

When kids have a caring presence like Jones and the resources they need, they have an opportunity to succeed.

“Unfortunately, if we don’t catch those signs in advance, we’re faced with some of the situations that some of my older students are faced with,” she says. When their basic needs aren’t met, kids become desperate.

“It’s never, ‘I plan to grow up and be this criminal,'” she says. “It’s ‘I was faced with a situation and I found out this was a way for me to get things I couldn’t get.'”

That’s why Jones is so adamant about making sure her students have a solid foundation to further their education.

“All of their needs are being met here,” she says. And now that they have established that stability, “They know that their job is to go and learn.”

For more, take a look at how First Book’s Care Closets are changing schools across the country:

Millions of children from low-income areas don’t have the tools needed to learn, placing them at a disadvantage that perpetuates poverty. First Book is a community that believes education is the way out of poverty for kids in need.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-educator-didnt-punish-troublesome-kids-she-gave-them-a-closet-full-of-stuff

30 Kickass Affirmations For Going No Contact With An Abusive Narcissist

God & Man

No Contact from a narcissistic or otherwise abusive, toxic ex-partner can be a rewarding and challenging time. Survivors of emotional and/or physical abuse are not only paving a new path to freedom and rebirth, they may also be struggling with the effects of cognitive dissonance, fear, obligation and guilt (FOG), as well as the traumatic effects of the abuse on their minds, bodies and spirits. They may also encounter stalking or harassment from their abusive partners in their attempts to detach from them, especially if they ‘dared’ to leave those partners first.

Due to biochemical and trauma bonding with their abusers, survivors may also struggle to not contact their ex-partner or check up on them due to being conditioned to rely upon their abuser’s approval and validation during the abuse cycle as a survival mechanism.

Considering the fact that detoxing from an abusive relationship is very much like recovering from an addiction, ‘rehab’ from this type of toxicity needs to be addressed in a way that is both compassionate and empowering.

These positive affirmations can help you reconnect back to your sense of reality when you may be plagued by emotional flashbacks, triggers or cravings to reconnect with an abusive partner. I’ve also included brief explanations of each affirmation, in case any of them need further clarification in order to better appreciate the underlying meaning for each.

For those who may have implemented Low Contact due to co-parenting with an abuser, you can feel free to customize these various phrases to best suit your situation. You may also want to brainstorm your own affirmations that are best tailored to your unique needs and desires.

1. Every act of silence is a protection against psychological violence.

Every time you choose not to check up on, respond or reach out to an abusive ex-partner, you demonstrate that you value yourself, you value your time, your new life and your right not to be subjected to abuse or mistreatment. You protect yourself from traumatizing information or emotional violence that could further retraumatize you and ensnare you back into an abuse cycle. A cycle that can only expose you to more pain, heartache and a pervasive sense of hopelessness. You have escaped from the abuse – don’t let yourself reenter the cycle right back into a seemingly inescapable situation again. It can get more and more difficult to leave each time you do.

2. I have a right to be free from abuse. Every human being has that right and I do, too.

We have to remember that we are just like any other human being – including those who have never been in an abusive relationship or those who have never tolerated any form of abuse if they encountered it. They had the right not to be abused and we do too. This is not to blame or shame anyone who has stayed in an abusive relationship; there are many reasons why abuse survivors stay well beyond the first incident of abuse, including the trauma repetition cycle that arises due to subconscious wounding from childhood. This is simply a reminder that there are many people who are in healthy relationships – and as a human being, you are of the same.

3. No one can take away the power I have within me.

It may come as a surprise to you, but narcissistic abusers don’t actually hold any authentic inner power – they take away power from others because they have none within themselves. They have no sense of core identity – they need us more than we need them (even if it feels otherwise). They leech off of our light – we are life source, their narcissistic supply and they are the energetic vampires who live off our resources, our talents, and our empathy and compassion.

4. My will is stronger than an abuser’s attempts to bully me.

If you’re suffering from PTSD or Complex PTSD and you’re hearing your abuser’s voice and/or are being met with hoovering attempts to shame you back into the abuse cycle, you’re not alone. Many survivors of abuse are left reeling from the bullying behavior of their ex-partner. They cannot understand why their abusive ex-partner refuses to leave them alone, stalks or harasses them, or even goes so far as to flaunt their new source of supply to them as a way to provoke them. Remember: the abuser’s tactics cannot work on you as effectively if you are willing to prioritize your freedom over their attempts to bully you. The bullying may hurt and you will have to address it as you process the trauma, but where there is a strong will, there is an even stronger survivor who can meet any challenge along the way.

5. I am stronger than empty threats.

Abusive ex-partners may smear you, slander you or even threaten to release personal information about you, especially if you ‘discard’ them first due to narcissistic rage and injury. They want to regain power and control to put you through an even worse discard and essentially ‘win’ the break-up or save face after the ending of the relationship. Much of these are empty threats. It’s true that more dangerous narcissists may follow through with their threats, but the point is that you can choose how you respond to their threats. You have choices and options to protect yourself and document those threats in case you need to ever take legal action. You can go to law enforcement if you have to (and feel safe doing so). You can also seek support from a lawyer and/or counselor who can offer you insights into your particular situation. What you have to do is give into the threats of emotional blackmail and go back into an abusive relationship only to be terrorized in an even worse fashion than before. Who wants to be in a relationship where you are coerced back in?

6. I will defend and protect myself, no matter what.

Whether that means getting a restraining order, changing your number or blocking them from all social media platforms, do whatever you need to do to protect yourself from the narcissist’s manipulation and abuse on your journey to No Contact (or Low Contact if co-parenting). You don’t deserve to be retraumatized, in any shape, way or form. Seek support from your local domestic violence shelter (yes, emotional abuse is still violence), find a trauma-informed therapist, research local support groups, Meetups or group therapy focused on trauma recovery and support. Find any and all support you can to help build and reinforce the fortress of protection around you. The more quality support you have, the more confident you’ll be in moving forward without your toxic ex-partner.

7. I never give up; I keep going.

No matter how difficult it becomes, you never give up. Even if you make a mistake, all is not lost. How do you beat an addiction? You don’t let imperfection impede you from progressing on your path. You keep going. If you fell off the wagon and broke No Contact (whether by checking up on the narcissist or responding to them), don’t judge yourself too harshly. Self-judgment leads to the same sense of unworthiness that leads you back into looking for validation from toxic people. Instead, get back on the wagon and commit yourself to the journey even more fully. Practice mindfulness and radical acceptance of any urges you might have without acting upon them and participating in more self-sabotage. Know that every setback is simply bringing up the core wounds you need to heal in order to move forward with even more strength and determination than before. Understand the triggers that led to your decision to break No Contact to mitigate them in the future and grieve for the illusion the narcissistic abuser presented to you (the ‘false mask’ they presented). Know that this person never truly existed and that the promise of a relationship that was fabricated in the idealization phase led you to an investment that ultimately led to more loss than gain.

8. My life is worth more than empty promises.

When a narcissistic abuser is hoovering you, they are re-idealizing you and making the same promises they made in the beginning of the relationship. They promised to change, to love and care for you, to always support you and be there for you. Yet they invalidated, belittled and degraded you instead. These empty promises are just another way to control and coerce you back into the abuse cycle. Don’t feed into the illusion of what the relationship could have been. Instead, acknowledge it for what it was: moments of terror merged with false promises that were never carried out. You deserve more than empty promises: you deserve the real thing. The true promise of a new and healthier life awaits you: make a promise to yourself that you will pursue that new reality instead.

9. This is life or death and I choose life. Every time.

Many abuse survivors have a high level of resilience as well as a pain threshold that could rival a sumo wrestler or someone walking on hot coals without so much as a grimace. Even if you feel like you can ‘deal with’ further abuse even after the break-up, consider that this is truly a life or death situation. If you are escaping from a physical abuser, this affirmation hits home. Yet even if you’re coming out of an emotionally abusive relationship, it also holds weight. I know many might not think of emotional violence as a life or death situation, but considering the suicides that occur from bullying and domestic violence and the fact that domestic violence survivors are actually at a higher risk of committing suicide, it is truer than we think. Each time we sacrifice our peace of mind for one more ‘hit’ of the abuse rather than detoxing from the relationship, we also belittle, demean and abuse ourselves.  These incidents build up collectively to reenact the same sense of hopelessness we had during the abusive relationship and can pose severe harm to our psyche over time due to the cumulative impact of traumatic and retraumatizing experiences. By breaking No Contact, we convince ourselves that we are unworthy of something more than being with a toxic person. In the case of life or death, be sure to choose your new life without your abuser…each and every time.

10. Loneliness is infinitely better than any form of abuse.

After an abusive relationship, we may begin to romanticize our ex-partner in times of loneliness. We might even wonder if it was ‘worth’ leaving the abuse since we now feel so alone. We may have mixed emotions about our abuser as the “good times” come flooding back in the absence of our abuser.

The ‘good memories’ we had with our abuser never justify the abuse or make up for them. Loneliness can be a sign that you are working through and processing the trauma. It’s a sign that you may need to be more present with yourself and surround yourself with better support networks. It’s also a sign that you are in dire need of learning to enjoy your own company. Acknowledge and validate the loneliness, but don’t resist it by pursuing more toxic people or going back to the same toxic relationship. Survivors often need a period of self-isolation to reflect and recover from the trauma before they date or pursue new friendships. Take this time to heal and don’t rush the process: it’s very much needed in order for you to be in an optimal state of mental health. The more healed you are, the better the quality of your future relationships will be, whether with new friends and/or partners.

11. I deserve so much more than to be an emotional punching bag.

When you’re in an abusive relationship, you are not in a healthy, reciprocal relationship. You are an emotional punching bag for an immature and unstable person. They get to take all of their flaws, their insecurities, their internal garbage and spew it onto you. Throughout the relationship, you were trained by your abuser to ‘take it’ as a natural part of being in a relationship with them. No more. You deserve more than to be someone’s emotional punching bag. You deserve a mutually respectful relationship where love and compassion are the default.

12. I can communicate my feelings to people who deserve to hear my voice.

We don’t have to use our voice with people who are committed to misunderstanding, invalidating and mistreating us. We can reserve our energy and time for people who are willing to see our beautiful qualities and celebrate them. We can use our voice for people who truly want to help us, who appreciate our help and reciprocate our efforts. Instead of wasting your precious voice on people who will always be intent on silencing you, why not use it to help those who really need it, to comfort someone who is just as empathic and compassionate as you are, to receive insights from a trusted professional or to share your story and change the world? I guarantee you that helping people who are to evolve (and this includes yourself!) is a much better use of your voice than trying to convince a person without empathy to treat you well. It’s more likely to be effective, too!

13. My mental health is my number one priority.

Make sure you’re engaging in extreme self-care during the No Contact journey. This means checking with yourself every moment of the day to ensure that you are thinking healthy thoughts, taking advantage of the diverse healing modalities available to you, and addressing any symptoms of trauma that may be interfering with your ability to function in day-to-day life. If your mental health is suffering, all other aspects of your life will also feel the impact. So take care of yourself – and don’t be afraid to seek professional support if you need it. No one should have to go through this turmoil alone.

14. Staying sane is more important than being validated by an abuser.

Often when we have been devalued by an abuser, we become controlled by the need to be validated by them as ‘worthy.’ This need becomes especially amplified when we see that the abuser seems to have moved on with a new victim. This is because the abuser was the source of our pervasive sense of unworthiness throughout the abuse cycle and we now feel as if we need confirmation that we were not the problem. Unfortunately, the reality is that narcissistic abuse will inevitably leave us without any closure from the toxic ex-partner. Narcissists are masters of impression management and they rarely expose what is actually happening behind closed doors – so all you are likely to see is them idealizing their victims for the public, just like they did with you. That’s why you must prioritize your own sanity by accepting that while you may never get closure or confirmation of your worth from the narcissist, you can find ways of cultivating your own belief in your self-worth. This means stepping away from the narcissist’s public façade and investing in living your own best life.

15, 16, and 17. I trust my own reality. I know and trust what I experienced and felt. I validate myself.

These are a set of affirmations that can help you to resist the gaslighting attempts of your ex-partner or their harem.

This affirmation is here to remind you that despite the amount of people your abuser may have fooled, no one has the right to take away the reality of the abuse that you endured. You know what you experienced – you know how valid it was and the impact that it left upon you. It doesn’t matter how charming the narcissistic abuser is or who chooses to believe them; let their harem members learn at their own pace who the narcissist is. You’re not here to convince anyone. You’re here to validate yourself and resist the gaslighting attempts to distort your reality and that of the abuse. Don’t feel obligated to protect your abuser, minimize, rationalize or deny the abuse you endured. Honor and acknowledge your authentic emotions as well as depth of trauma you experienced.

18. I am worthy, I am beautiful (or handsome), I am brave, I am strong, I am fearless.

These are another set of positive affirmations that can help remind you of how worthy and courageous you truly are, with or without a partner. It conditions you into believing good things about yourself, especially if you’re used to hearing harsh words from your abuser. I recommend recording these into a tape recorder or voice recording application on your phone and listening to them on a daily basis just to get yourself used to hearing them. Repetition is essential to deprogramming the harmful messages your abuser instilled in you and reprogramming your mind for future success.

19. Each second, each minute, each hour, each day, each month, each year, I am getting stronger.

While you may have moments of powerlessness and hopelessness from time to time, rest assured that as you move forward with No Contact, you will gain more and more strength and resilience than you ever knew was possible. As more time passes and as more trauma is processed and addressed, the more space you’ll carve out to become the person you were meant to be. You’ll eventually reach a point in your healing journey where the strong attachment to the abusive person has ‘dulled’ in its emotional potency.

20. Leaving (or being left) was the best thing that ever happened to me. I made that happen.

It was your agency and your powerful light that got you through the worst moments of your life so never underestimate your ability to survive after the abuse. There are so many victims still in abusive relationships – including the new source of supply. You’ve awakened and you’ve taken back control over your life. This is a blessing that should not be taken for granted. Instead of focusing on the ways you still feel trapped, validate your grief while allowing yourself to celebrate the ways you’ve been freed.

21. I am a motherf*cking badass. I can survive anything. And I will thrive.

For those who need that extra punch (and dose of profanity along with their reality check), this affirmation can charge you with the determination and badassery needed to rise above the pain and channel it into something greater. Remember: for every crucifixion, there is an even greater possibility for resurrection. Transform all the grief and outrage you feel into your greater good: use it to fuel you to reach greater heights, achieve your goals and kick some serious butt in all facets of your life.

22. Do no harm; take no shit.
We don’t have to be vindictive or retaliate against our ex-partners in order to take care of ourselves, set boundaries or to lead victorious lives. At the same time, we don’t have to internalize anyone else’s garbage. You can empower yourself by establishing what your boundaries are and following through with them – each and every time. Whether it be with your abusive ex-partner or a new acquaintance, the healing journey is all about learning how to implement healthier boundaries and becoming more assertive in our authentic truth.

23. My success is their karma. Karma can answer him or her – I am too busy.

Live your life and try to minimize your focus on what the narcissist is doing, who he or she is seeing or what they are getting away with. Let the narcissist learn at his or her own pace what life is all about; you don’t need to educate a grown ass human being on how to be a decent person. You don’t need to give karma a ‘push’ either – let it unravel and unfold organically, if at all.

24. I am the life source. I am the Light. Without me, there is nothing to feed on.

These are emotional vampires we’re dealing with; it’s up to you to make sure that they don’t leave nourished on your supply while you’re left malnourished, drained and underfed after an interaction with them. Without their sources of supply, narcissists live in the darkness of their own emotional void. Don’t let your mind, your body and your soul be part of their feeding queue. Remove yourself completely from the equation altogether. If they don’t get to feast upon your emotions, your commitment or your investment, you get to nourish yourself with a healthy mind and life.

25. They don’t miss me as a person – they miss controlling and mistreating me.

Narcissistic ex-partners only try to play the ‘let’s be friends’ card because they miss what you provide for them. They miss putting you down. They don’t miss you or any other victim as a person because they truly cannot even wrap their heads around people as individual human beings. To them, supply is supply and they rarely ‘know’ their sources of supply beyond a shallow impression of them as objects to control and misuse for their own gain. Remember that when a narcissistic abuser tries to hoover you, saying they miss you, what they’re saying is that they miss the power and control they felt when they were able to provoke your emotions.

26. They don’t love or care about me – they care about fulfilling their own needs.

Normal partners would leave their ex-partners alone and move forward especially after they realized that their ex-partners were not the one for them. Narcissists don’t care what is best for their ex-partners; they don’t care if they’re potentially retraumatizing them by reaching out to them or flaunting new supply. They want to fulfill their own needs and it doesn’t matter who they hurt in the process. Give yourself this reality check each and every time you find yourself romanticizing the abuser: they do not love or care about you, at all. If they did, they would have made the effort to treat you better. Love is expressed in actions, not empty words.

27. Each time I don’t respond or set a boundary, I remind myself of what I am worth.

You are truly worthy, warrior, and you don’t need anybody else to validate your worth to you. You are precious, valuable and enough. Know it and own it; don’t let anyone take away your divine self-worth from you. Each time that you permit yourself to stick to No Contact, you communicate to yourself that you are worthy of a better life. Continue to tell yourself that you are whole just as you are and so very deserving of the best life possible. Treat yourself as if you were already whole and one day you will realize you’ve internalized this belief. Feeling and knowing that you are enough goes beyond just an affirmation; it can lead to success beyond your wildest dreams. You just have to be willing to be receptive to this belief. Gently invite it into your life and find ways to cultivate it every day until it is so fully rooted in your psyche that it has no choice other than to blossom.

28. I care about and love myself.

Be gentle with yourself during this time. Treat yourself as you would a dear friend or a wounded baby bird. How would you take care of yourself? What would you tell someone you love who is hurting? How would you treat someone who you wanted the best for? Treat yourself that exact way – you deserve all the care, compassion and validation that you tried to give to the narcissist.

29. I am my own best friend. I am my own best advocate.

You can have a nourishing support network, but at the end of the day, you are the only one who can advocate for yourself and your healing. You are the only person who can act on your own behalf and make the right choices for your recovery process. Nobody can do it for you. So advocate for yourself, each and every day: turn off the phone, the computer and any form of communication with the narcissistic abuser and walk away from temptation. You are worth so much more than this toxic person could ever give you.

30. I love myself. Truly and always, I love myself. And for the first time in a long time, I am putting myself first.

The journey to healing is about you. Not your ex-partner, your friends, your family, or society. You may have placed your mental health and basic needs on the back burner for a long time when you were in this abusive relationship. Now it’s finally time to prioritize you, your needs, your dreams, your desires and what you personally want to manifest in your life. Take this valuable time to really get to know yourself and honor your goals. You deserve to make all your dreams come to life. It’s time for you to shine – and no one is ever going to get to dim your light ever again.

Want more writing like this? Read the book

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/05/30-kickass-affirmations-for-going-no-contact-with-an-abusive-narcissist/

Single Women Are Happier Than Society Thinks They Are According To Research

“When you spend some time single, you become confident that you can fulfill your own emotional needs and manage your emotions without the need for anyone to validate your self-worth. This is an exquisite life skill to have that will serve you well throughout your entire life, whether single or with a partner.” – Shahida Arabi, 5 Powerful Healing Benefits of Being Single After Abuse
Ayo Ogunseinde

While it’s wonderful to be in a happy and healthy relationship, the misconception that women who are single cannot thrive or be happy alone is one that needs to be dismantled, pronto. These stigmas only encourage women to get into toxic relationships without taking the time necessary to heal. They place undue pressure on young women to settle just in order to have a partner rather than waiting for one who truly fulfills their needs. They also deter women who are simply happier being single from accepting themselves fully without a sense of guilt or judgment.

Society depicts single women as people who are missing something from their lives. Rarely do single women get the luxury of being seen as freedom-loving, joyful, fulfilled and complex as single men are. Unlike single men who are praised for being lifelong bachelors, single women are usually asked, “Why are you still single?” and instead interrogated about their romantic prospects until the end of time. Their achievements, social networks, passions, hobbies and personalities usually take a backseat to conversations about their relationship status, which is lauded as the end-all, be-all of their lives.

Research, however, suggests that single women are no less fulfilled than those who are coupled. In fact, in some cases, they are happier. Here are the findings:

1. Turns out, single women are happier than they’re stereotyped due to the very nature of what relationships require of them.

Heterosexual single women were found by a new report to be happier than heterosexual single men and were less likely to venture out to find a relationship even while single (Mintel, 2017). The reasons? Despite progress towards equal rights, women still continue to do more emotional labor and domestic labor in relationships. They also tend to have more alternative social networks than men to look towards for support such as healthy friendships.

Being single is less likely to “harm” heterosexual single women in the sense that it might provide some freedom from the emotionally laborious task of being in a relationship – and no matter what, single women know how to utilize their support networks to fulfill their social needs.

2. Single people are more resilient and resourceful due to the fact that they to be.

This is especially true in terms of how they use their solitude. They are much more confident overall in doing solo activities – which allows them to develop a sense of independence that enriches all facets of their lives.

Since they don’t overly rely on anyone else to get any of their needs met, they have a heightened sense of self-determination and are more likely to experience a sense of continuous growth and self-development. Harvard-trained social psychologist Dr. Bella DePaulo (2013) writes:

“We hear all about how single people are supposedly at risk for becoming lonely, but little about the creative, intellectual, and emotional potential of solitude… We are told that single people do not have the  that married people find in their partners, but hear only crickets about the genuine attachment relationships that single people have with the most important people in their lives.

Missing from the stacks of journal articles is any sustained attention to the risks of intensive coupling—investing all of your emotional and relationship stock into just one person, “The One”—or to the resilience offered by the networks of friends and family that so many single people maintain.”

3. It can be just as healthy to be single – literally.

Single women can be just as psychologically and physically healthy, if not more, than their coupled counterparts. In fact, many of the studies on marriage praising its resulting life satisfaction are biased towards emphasizing those who stayed married, rather than those who later divorced or became widowed. People who stayed married actually only had a slight increase in happiness shortly after marriage due to a “honeymoon effect,” which after a few years reverted back to their original level of happiness before the marriage.

Meanwhile, those who got divorced reported increased life satisfaction after the initial despair (presumably due to their exit and healing from a toxic relationship), though they were not as happy as they were prior to getting married in the first place.

The myth of “marital superiority” is clearly one that looks better on paper than in real life. In general, those who were happiest they were married remained that way after marriage – which suggests that marriage itself was not the sole conduit for that joy.

“If you are not already a happy person, don’t count on marriage to transform you into one. If you are already happy, don’t expect marriage to make you even happier…finally, if you are single and happy, do not fret that you will descend into despair if you dare to stay single. That’s not likely either.” – Dr. Bella DePaulo,

In addition, the reported health benefits of marriage that have been lauded are not necessarily due to the marriage itself. DePaulo (2013) points out that marriage gives one access to more than a thousand federal benefits and this advantage leads to better health care. However, research indicates that single women can lead healthy, active lives as well. One Canadian study of more than 11,000 people revealed that lifelong single people had better overall health than married people, while an Australian study of more than 10,000 single women found that they had far less diagnoses of major illnesses, had lower BMIs and were less likely to smoke than married women.

So Now What?

It appears from these findings that it is the social stigma of being single, rather than single itself that is the problem. Since women are socialized to derive their self-worth from their relationship status, many single women can feel affected by societal pressures and judgment to evaluate and compare their lifestyles to their married friends, coming away feeling ‘less than’ even if they love their careers, are financially abundant, and have thriving social lives. This pressure can be so immense that otherwise happily single people may feel coerced into sustaining toxic partnerships that actually make them unhappier long-term, just to achieve a sense of “normalcy” in their societies.

This is especially true in cultures where young women are pressured to get married and marriage is considered an integral part of their social status. Even if they have nourishing, fulfilling lives, single women may feel that this pressure and judgment detracts from their overall sense of joy. They may feel excluded from events and holidays that extol coupledom, or feel shamed by their peers who perpetuate these pressures. However, as this stigma lessens, the possibility of leading a satisfying life regardless of one’s relationship status becomes that much more powerful and accessible. That’s why it’s so important to continue to dismantle the harmful stereotypes of what it means to be single and celebrate singlehood just as much as we celebrate marriage.

Regardless of whether or not someone plans to have a serious relationship in the future, the fact of the matter is, a period of singlehood can be a fruitful time for anyone no matter what their gender. Singlehood is a life-saver in that it grants individuals the creative space to develop their dreams, to explore the world and to build their identity without the interference of another person – something they may not be able to do without as much duress if they do choose to be in a relationship in the future. The ability to be successful, independent and joyful no matter what your relationship status is should be seen as a gift and an asset, not a curse.

Read more of Shahida Arabi’s articles here.

References
DePaulo, B. (2013, May 08). Are Single People Mentally Stronger? Retrieved August 27, 2017.
DePaulo, B. M. (2007). . New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Girme, Y. U., Overall, N. C., Faingataa, S., & Sibley, C. G. (2015). Happily Single.  (2), 122-130. doi:10.1177/1948550615599828
Luhmann, M., Hofmann, W., Eid, M., & Lucas, R. (2011). Supplemental Material for Subjective Well-Being and Adaptation to Life Events: A Meta-Analysis. . doi:10.1037/a0025948.supp
Mintel (2017).  (Rep.). Retrieved here.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/12/single-women-are-happier-than-society-thinks-they-are-according-to-research/

The Speculum Finally Gets a Modern Redesign

It was afternoon in the San Francisco headquarters of Frog, the design firm best known for its hand in creating the iconic look of products like Apple's original Macintosh computers. Hailey Stewart, one of Frog's industrial designers, had scattered an array of prototypes on a table. On one end, you could see cylinders of foam that looked almost like skinny vibrators, with handles that stuck out at different angles and sketches of levers and screw mechanisms. And on the other, the common speculum—the device used in routine gynecological exams to inspect the cervix. Stewart picked one up and cranked it open. "You're literally in the stirrups with that sound"—the device made a loud, painful sounding click—"and it's like, excuse my language, but what the fuck?"

Most of the designers in the room had never seen a speculum before. Some (the men) had never considered the contents of a pelvic examination—stripping off your clothes, laying on an examination table, and strapping your feet into stirrups, while a doctor pries you open with a cold, metal gadget. But Stewart hadn't gathered her colleagues just to explain what happens to women at their annual exams. She had a greater goal in mind.

For the past several months, mostly during down time and on weekends, Stewart and interaction designer Sahana Kumar had been studying this device. They'd wrenched it open and closed, studied the curve of the bills, read endlessly about its history. And now, she told the rest of the designers at Frog, they had taken on what was turning into a particularly ambitious project: redesigning the speculum for the 21st century.

The current design of the speculum, fashioned by American physician James Marion Sims, dates back to the 1840s. The device had two pewter blades to separate the vaginal walls, and hinged open and closed with a screw mechanism. Sims, sometimes called the "father of modern gynecology," used the speculum to pioneer treatments for fistula and other complications from childbirth. But his experiments were often conducted on slave women, without the use of anesthesia. So to say that the speculum was not designed with patient comfort in mind would be an egregious understatement.

And yet, the speculum today looks almost identical to the one Sims used more than 150 years ago. The most noticeable difference between the original Sims device and the one you can find in gynecological offices today is that instead of pewter, modern specula are made of stainless steel or plastic.

That the speculum is old is not, on its face, a problem. It's that the design is neither optimal for patients nor physicians. Doctors have to stretch the speculum's bills wide in order to see as far back as the cervix, and even then, it's not always possible to get a good look inside. (Some specula come with built-in lights, but the problem has more to do with tissue falling in than the darkness of the vaginal canal.) All of that pressure causes discomfort; one review of the medical literature found that some women even avoid the gynecologist because of the dreaded device.

Mercy Asiedu

In 2014, the American College of Physicians went so far as to recommend against pelvic exams, citing the "harms, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, pain, and discomfort" associated with speculum examinations. Those side effects impact gynecologists, too. "The more comfortable a patient is, the faster they can do their job, the more patients they can see," says Stewart. "There's actual monetary value to [patient] comfort."

It’s not that nobody’s tried to change things. In 2005, a San Francisco-based company patented the design for an inflatable speculum called FemSpec. The device was made out of polyurethane, the same material used to make condoms; a physician could insert it like a tampon and inflate it like a tiny balloon. It debuted to some fanfare, but ultimately flopped. As an article in The Chicago Times pointed out, most women never even got to experience the new speculum "because it is so new on the market that most doctors aren't using it."

"With a speculum, you just shove it in and expand it as wide as you want to get the visualization you want. With this, you have to put it in and gently move it around, kind of like a joystick." — Biomedical engineer Mercy Asiedu

Other do-overs have focused on more modest improvements. A prototype called the Lotus, created by a student at the Pratt Institute, kept the bill shape but curved it slightly for a more ergonomic insertion. The design also included a rotating handle to open the speculum bills vertically, and a hidden lever mechanism to prevent pinching. It seemed promising, but after appearing in a student showcase last year, it never turned into anything real.

In Oregon, a group called Ceek Women's Health has begun clinical trials for a series of new devices—including a sleeve, a speculum with narrower bills, and a speculum that patients can self-insert. Their goal is to create a variety of specula to serve a variety of patients, rather than recreating another one-size-fits-all tool. "For women who have a lot of tissue, women who have had more than two vaginal births or a high BMI, for women with a history of trauma or rape, for post-menopausal women who have vaginal atrophy—there isn't any product to address their needs," says Fahti Khosrow, Ceek's co-founder and CEO. Give physicians a whole new toolkit, she says, and they can better serve their patients.

Perhaps the most promising new design comes from Duke University, where researchers are testing a device that could circumvent the speculum altogether. Mercy Asiedu, a doctoral candidate in biomedical engineering at Duke, designed a tampon-sized device with a 2 megapixel camera attached to the end. "The speculum was originally designed for a physician to view the cervix from outside the body," Asiedu says, "but with current technology, you can easily view the cervix from inside the body."

Asiedu tested her prototype in a pilot study with 15 volunteers this year, the results of which were published in the journal PLOS One in May. Every single patient said the smaller device provided a better experience than the speculum.

The Duke study looked at patient satisfaction, and Asiedu acknowledges that physicians may offer more criticism of the device. The design emphasized comfort, modesty, and patient empowerment, not necessarily ease of use for physicians. "With a speculum, you just shove it in and expand it as wide as you want to get the visualization you want," Asiedu says. "With this, you have to put it in and gently move it around, kind of like a joystick."

When Stewart and her team set off to redesign the speculum, they knew what they were up against. Plus, Stewart says, "I hadn't even seen a speculum."

So before they started researching or sketching ideas out, Stewart and Kumar listed the things that had bothered them in gynecological exams. There was the noise (like a can opener), the temperature (freezing cold), the feeling inside (as if someone was stretching your insides like a rubber band). When they acquired a set of specula, one plastic and one metal, they realized they needed to change the aesthetics too. These things looked like medieval torture devices.

First, Stewart explored how to silence that ratcheting sound. She and Fran Wang, a mechanical engineer at Frog, investigated new types of opening mechanisms. No concept was too bizarre. What if, like a pufferfish, they used saline to inflate the device from the inside? Or what if they used air, blowing it up like an air mattress? They looked for inspiration in nature (cobra hoods), in machining (milling chucks), and in everyday objects (bicycle pumps); they studied how a tripod clamps open and shut, how ski bindings clip in and out, searching for ideas that might replace the old-fashioned screw mechanism.

Frog

Next, they considered new materials. Instead of constructing the device out of plastic or metal, they decided to cover the whole thing in autoclavable silicone—a material that wouldn't feel cold, could be easily sterilized, and would make insertion more comfortable. "On the metal speculum, there are pokey bits," says Wang. "Those shouldn't go near your delicate body parts! Having all of that covered in silicon, it prevents tissue from getting damaged. And also when you look at it, it's nicer."

They experimented with using three prongs instead of two, opening the device into a triangle shape. They tried shrinking the device to the size of a tampon, or borrowing design language from the vibrator industry. They put the device's handle at different angles, ranging from 90 degrees to 120 degrees, to find most ergonomic position for physicians. And then they 3-D printed a few different prototypes and put them in the hands of OB/GYNs and medical providers.

"The one they were really excited about was the one that opened up using three bills, rather than just two," says Stewart. The triangle-shaped opening gave physicians the same field of view without having to open the bills as wide, making the process less "stretchy" for patients. OB/GYNs also liked the device's handle at 110 degrees, which enough extra space between the physician's hand and the patient's body to eliminate the "last scooch" down the examination table. The silicon covering was a big hit, too. A button unlocks or locks the speculum with one hand, freeing up the other hand; a push handle eliminates the need for screws. Even more comforting, the speculum was totally silent.

Conferring with OB/GYNs made one thing very clear, though: The project wouldn't succeed with redesigned hardware alone. Stewart wondered why she felt more comfortable getting a bikini wax than she did seeing the gynecologist once a year, and the answer boiled down to the environment. One felt cold, clinical, and scary; the other, relaxing and personal, even if it was more physically painful. If they wanted to redesign the speculum, they had to redesign the entire experience.

Half a year later, the project has turned into something of a coup d'état on the modern pelvic exam. There's the speculum itself, still in development with the insight from several OB/GYNs who have signed on to help. There's a list of guidelines for physicians, which include simple but meaningful tips like giving patients somewhere to hang their clothes and explaining the components of the exam. "It's never going to be perfect," says Kumar. "So how do we at least prepare people emotionally for how it's going to be, and make them feel like they got some value out of it at the end?"

There's also a mock-up of an app, which would let patients fill out forms, ask questions, or follow a guided meditation before the exam. Kumar invented a gear kit—a stress ball, socks to cover your feet in the stirrups—to improve patient comfort, alongside the new speculum. The team also added Rachel Hobart, a visual designer at Frog, to help brand the experience. The result is called Yona.

For now, the Yona project is still an early-stage design concept. Stewart and Wang are still hashing out new speculum prototypes, while Kumar and Hobart refine the app and experience. They're working with their board of physicians to fine-tune the idea, to negotiate what's feasible and what isn't. And collectively, they're searching for partners who may have similar goals, like the tech-savvy healthcare service One Medical, who can bring Yona from concept into reality.

The trickiest part, it seems, is developing something that physicians will actually adopt. It's not lost on the Frog designers that other prototypes have failed after physicians bristled at the idea of investing in something new, either financially (the cost of purchasing a new device) or mentally (the time it takes to learn how to use a new device). Gynecologists have been using the speculum for over a century, and so far, it's worked. Why change now? "You could create the most beautiful, most unique, most user-friendly device, but if a doctor doesn't want to learn how to use it, your patient's never going to see it," Stewart says.

But Wang says that's mostly a matter of getting the product out there, showing physicians how great it can be for them and for their patients. She knows the traditional speculum works fine for most gynecologists. "It passes, but it's not great," says Wang. "But we're working on making it better. When you give [physicians] the option to choose a better one or a worse one, then they're going to choose the better one. But they might not know that until they get that option."

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/the-speculum-finally-gets-a-modern-redesign/

Want to Learn How to Mine in Space? Theres a School for You

Hunter Williams used to be an English teacher. Then, three years into that job, he started reading the book The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The 1966 novel by Robert Heinlein takes place in the 2070s, on the moon, which, in this future, hosts a subterranean penal colony. Like all good sci-fi, the plot hinges on a rebellion and a computer that gains self-awareness. But more important to Williams were two basic fictional facts: First, people lived on the moon. Second, they mined the moon. “I thought, ‘This is it. This is what we really could be doing,” he says.

Today, that vision is closer than ever. And Williams is taking steps to make it reality. This year, he enrolled in a class called Space Resources Fundamentals, the pilot course for the first-ever academic program specializing in space mining. It's a good time for such an education, given that companies like Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources are planning prospecting missions, NASA's OSIRIS-REx is on its way to get a sample of an asteroid and bring it back to Earth, and there's international and commercial talk of long-term living in space.

Williams had grown up with the space-farers on Star Trek, but he found Heinlein’s vision more credible: a colony that dug into and used the resources of their celestial body. That's the central tenet of the as-yet-unrealized space mining industry: You can't take everything with you, and, even if you can, it's a whole lot cheaper not to—to mine water to make fuel, for instance, rather than launching it on overburdened rockets. “I saw a future that wasn't a hundred or a thousand years away but could be happening now,” says Williams.

So in 2012, he adjusted trajectory and went to school for aerospace engineering. Then he worked at Cape Canaveral in Florida, doing ground support for Lockheed Martin. His building, on that cosmic coast, was right next to one of SpaceX's spots. “Every day when I came to work, I would see testaments to new technology,” he says. “It was inspiring.”

A few years later, he still hadn't let go of the idea that humans could work with what they found in space. Like in his book. So he started talking to Christopher Dreyer, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines’ Center for Space Resources, a research and technology development center that's existed within the school for more than a decade.

It was good timing. Because this summer, Mines announced its intention to found the world’s first graduate program in Space Resources—the science, technology, policy, and politics of prospecting, mining, and using those resources. The multidisciplinary program would offer Post-Baccalaureate certificates and Masters of Science degrees. Although it's still pending approval for a 2018 start date, the school is running its pilot course, taught by Dreyer, this semester.

Williams has committed fully: He left his Canaveral job this summer and moved to Colorado to do research for Dreyer, and hopefully start the grad program in 2018.

Williams wasn't the only one interested in the future of space mining. People from all over, non-traditional students, wanted to take Space Resources Fundamentals. And so Dreyer and Center for Space Resources director Angel Abbud-Madrid decided to run it remotely, ending up with about 15 enrollees who log in every Tuesday and Thursday night for the whole semester. Dreyer has a special setup in his office for his virtual lectures: a laptop stand, a wall of books behind him, a studio-type light that shines evenly.

In the minutes before Thanskgiving-week class started, students' heads popped up on Dreyer's screen as they logged in. Some are full-time students at Mines; some work in industry; some work for the government. There was the employee from the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, an office tasked, in part, with making sure the US is obeying international treaties as they explore beyond the planet. Then there’s Justin Cyrus, the CEO of a startup called Lunar Outpost. Cyrus isn’t mining any moons yet, but Lunar Outpost has partnered with Denver’s Department of Environmental Health to deploy real-time air-quality sensors, of the kind it hopes to develop for moony use.

Cyrus was a Mines graduate, with a master’s in electrical and electronics engineering; he sought out Dreyer and Abbud-Madrid when he needed advice for his nascent company. When the professors announced the space resources program, Cyrus decided to get in on this pilot class. He, and the other attendees, seem to see the class not just as an educational opportunity but also as a networking one: Their classmates, they say, are the future leaders of this industry.

Cyrus, the FAA employee, and Williams all smiled from their screens in front of benign backgrounds. About a dozen other students—all men—joined in by the time class started. The day's lesson, about resources on the moon, came courtesy of scientist Paul Spudis, who live-broadcasted from a few states away. Spudis, a guest lecturer, showed charts and maps and data about resources the moon might harbor, and where, and their worth. He's bullish on the prospects of prospecting. Toward the end of his talk, he said, "I think we'll have commercial landings on the moon in the next year or so." Indeed, the company Moon Express is planning to land there in 2018, in a bid to win the Google Lunar X Prize.

Back during Halloween week, the class covered the Outer Space Treaty, a creation of the United Nations that governs outer-space actions and (in some people's interpretations) makes the legality of space mining dubious. The lecture was full of policy detail, but the students drove the ensuing Q&A toward the sociological. Space mining would disproportionately help already-wealthy countries, some thought, despite talk in the broader community about how space mining lowers the barrier to space entry.

In this realism, and this thoughtfulness, Dreyer's class is refreshing. The PR talk of big would-be space mining companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries can be slick, uncomplicated, and (sometimes) unrealistic. It often skips over the many steps between here and self-sustaining space societies—not to mention the companies' own long-term viability.

But in Space Resource Fundamentals, the students seem grounded. Student Nicholas Proctor, one of few with a non-engineering background, appreciates the pragmatism. Proctor studied accounting as an undergrad and enrolled at Mines in mineral economics. After he received a NASA grant to study space-based solar power and its applications to the mining industry, Abbud-Madrid sent him an email telling him about the class. The professor thought it would be a good fit—and Proctor obviously agreed.

After Thanksgiving-week class was over, students logged off, waving one-handed goodbyes. Williams had been watching from the lab downstairs, in a high-tech warehouse-garage combo. There, he and other students work among experiments about how dust moves in space, and what asteroids are actually like. Of course, they're also interested in how to get stuff—resources—out of them. An old metal chamber dominates the room, looking like an unpeopled iron lung. "The big Apollo-era chamber is currently for asteroid mining," Williams explained, "breaking apart rocks with sunlight and extracting the water and even precious metals."

While Williams closed up class shop downstairs, Dreyer and Abbud-Madrid hung out in Dreyer's office for a few minutes. Dreyer, leaning back in his well-lit chair, talked bemusedly about some of the communications they receive. “We get interest from people to find out what they can mine and bring back to Earth and become a trillionaire,” he said.

That’s not really what the Space Resources program is about, in part because it’s not clear that’s possible—it’s expensive to bring the precious (to bring anything) back to Earth. The class focus—and, not coincidentally, the near-term harvest—is the H2O, which will stay in space, for space-use. “No matter how complex our society becomes, it always comes back to water,” said Abbud-Madrid. He laughed. “We’re going to the moon,” he continued. “For water.”

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/want-to-learn-how-to-mine-in-space-theres-a-school-for-you/

5 Foods You Never Should Have Cut Out Of Your Diet

Some food myths were made up decades ago, and yet we still can’t seem to shake them. Like, sometimes we’ll take any tips we can get, but we don’t stop to realize this advice was literally created during the same time that women were advised not to exercise because it would make them less feminine. It’s 2017, and we’re *starting* to know better. I mean, if we can order bottles of tequila on an app and convince our boyfriends to go to a Rihanna-themed spin class on a Saturday, we can do anything. It’s time to stop giving up healthy foods just because someone once told us they’re unhealthy. Here are six we can start with:

1. Regular Potatoes

So many “healthy people” will devour sweet potatoes by the bowl, but would never touch a regular potato. These people are straight-up misinformed. Honestly, sweet potatoes have a little more fiber than regular potatoes and they’re a little lower in calories, but the difference isn’t that dramatic, so you can stop crying when your By Chloe waiter brings you regular fries when you ordered sweet potato. Regular potatoes have a terrible rep, and while they are a starchy carb, they’re really not that bad for you. They have more vitamin C than sweet potatoes do, and also have more protein and less sodium. Game changer.

2. Gluten

The gluten-free diet is such a lost cause, and honestly we need to backtrack a bit. Once upon a time, people had (and still have) legit Celiac disease, a medical intolerance to gluten. These people were told by their doctors to cut out gluten, and suddenly they looked and felt 10 times better. Ever since then, half of society thinks they need to follow the same advice when they don’t even have a gluten intolerance. Obviously eating enough bread and crackers everyday will make you fat, but you’re not gonna get fat just by having gluten in your diet. Let’s put it this way. If you can’t explain what gluten is, you shouldn’t be gluten-free.

3. Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are one of those things that people shunned in the 70’s and the myth never really recovered, even though our science has majorly advanced. While the egg white is the part of the egg with no fat and a few grams of protein, the yolk carries a ton of important vitamins, like vitamin B12, D, A, B-6, zinc, and iron. It has a few grams of fat, but it’s healthy fat that will just help keep you more full after your meal. Also, for anyone who told you yolks are high in cholesterol, it’s actually not the same cholesterol that’s bad for your body. Basically, we gotta let go of the yolk myth. I mean, the people who decided the yolks are bad for you are the same people who smoked cigs while pregnant. Let that sink in for a sec.

4. Feta Cheese

A lot of people think getting cheese added to your salad is unhealthy, but those are also the people who enjoy the taste of kale and think Balsamic vinegar is a suitable dressing. Feta cheese isn’t bad for you. First of all, it’s lower in calories than most other cheeses, but it’s also packed with vitamins that are so good for you, like Vitamin D, B12, calcium, and iron. Cheeses like mozzarella and cheddar don’t have half as many health benefits as feta. It’s pretty high in sodium so I wouldn’t go ham, but adding some here and there is actually fine for you.

5. Packaged Bars

Protein bars and energy bars get a bad rap for being glorified candy bars, but honestly it depends what brand you’re buying. So many of these bars are filled with shit that you wouldn’t feed to your friend’s dog, but some of them are actually pretty good when it comes to their ingredients. Products like RX Bars, Square Bars, Lara Bars, and Go Macro bars all have super clean ingredients and minimal added sugars. Any nutritionist will tell you that whole foods and fresh produce are better than processed bars, but if you’re starving at 4pm and just need a bar so you don’t keel over, they’re really not bad for you. It just depends if you’re picking up the bar with four ingredients or the one that sounds like a warning label on a pharmaceutical prescription. 

6. Frappuccinos

I’m obviously kidding. These are fucking terrible for you. Order a cold brew like everyone else. 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/5-foods-you-never-should-have-cut-out-of-your-diet

Researchers Publish Bombshell Report That Suggests Sugar Industry Conspiracy

In 1964, a group of researchers published Dietary Fats and Intestinal Thiamine Synthesis in Rats in the journal Nutrition Reviews. It tackled the classic sugar versus fat conundrum that has puzzled dieters for decades: Whats worse for health, sugar or fat?

The researchers divided rats into two groups. One group had diets that were 75 percent fat but no sugar, a sort of rodent Whole Foods regimen. It contrasted with the other group of rats, who had a lower fat countjust 15 percentbut 60 percent sucrose as well. The conclusion the team came to? Rats fed sucrose metabolized it as a carbohydrate and developed thiamine deficiency, often leading to heart failure; more complex carbohydrates helped create a gut bacteria that synthesized thiamine.

That paper got the Sugar Research Foundation interested in understanding the role of the white stuff in our microbiome. The foundationa precursor to todays Sugar Associationasked a group, referred to as Project 259 and led by Dr. W. F. R. Pover at the University of Birmingham, to study the effect of sugar in the gut between 1967 and 1971. It found that rats and guinea pigs given diets higher in sugar led to higher levels of triglycerides than those fed a standard pellet diet of cereal, soybean, and whitefish meals. That led to higher levels of beta-glucoronidase in urine, a now-proven result of bladder cancer. An internal document later described the Project 259 research as one of the first demonstrations of a biological difference between sucrose and starch fed rats. In short: A sugar-heavy diet was connected to heart disease.

But those results never saw the light of day by the now-defunct Sugar Research Foundation, according to a damning new paper published in PLOS Biology from Cristin E. Kearns, Dorie Apollonio, and Stanton A. Glantz. Its the latest in a series of papers Kearns and Glantz have teamed up on investigating the sugar industrys clamping down on research in postwar America, suggesting sugar was guilt-free and a healthier substitute to fat.

Judging by the media and public interest, it basically shows that the sugar industry pretty much behaved the same way the tobacco companies did, Glantz, a professor of medicine and tobacco control expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Daily Beast. Glantzs previous work explored the tobacco lobbying industry, with a 2013 paper in Tobacco Control tracing the rise of the Tea Party to tobaccos efforts to align themselves with libertarians through third party groups staunchly opposing taxation and regulation.

While a similar connection between sugar and the government hasnt been found yet, Glantz and Kearns have uncovered evidence over the past few years that shows the sugar industry was heavily involved in muffling research that indicated its product was dangerous to health. Scientific journals followed suit, with even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine publishing a report that suggested that any linkage between sucrose and coronary heart disease was false, and that sucrose was in fact better than starch. (Pover died a few years ago, according to Kearns.)

Pover and Project 259s original research disappeared for decades, until Glantz and Kearns unearthed it. They suspect that the study was not quite ready for publication and that Pover asked for more funds to ensure accuracy. Theyd been funding it for two years and about $200,000 in todays money, Kearns said. He needed 18 more weeks, but they probably said no.

Even the incomplete results are interesting, Glantz pointed out. The sugar industry proved there were no differences to how sugar calories were metabolized compared to starch calories.

Which is, of course, totally untrueand the latest in a slow but steady unraveling of the industry that pushes soda, high fructose corn syrup, and more in the American diet.

And this isnt even the first time the sugar industry has misrepresented scientific results that would indicate sugar is not as sweet as it might appear. Glantz and Kearns published another industry-rocking report last year in JAMA Internal Medicine that showed the Sugar Research Foundation systematically discounted studies that tied sugar to ill health effects such as cancer, obesity, and heart disease by secretly funding groups in the 1960s and 1970s casting fat as the culprit behind these chronic diseases. The soda industrys denial of sodas connection with obesity and other nutritional studies backed by food giants that suggest candy does not affect a childs weight all fall in the same category.

These guys are not nice, Glantz said. They were distorting the whole process. People would look at you and say you need psychological treatment for daring to suggest that sugar was not as healthy as it was made out to be.

That made Glantzs and Kearns work especially difficult as they waded through old documents that often showcased conflicting results and confusion about the exact effects of sugar on a diet. Kearns is a professor of dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and started researching the sugar industry after attending a dental conference about a decade ago. In a session about diabetes and periodontal diseasetwo conditions that are affected by sugar intakeshe noticed that no one was talking about reducing sugar to control them.

The diet advice was to reduce fat and reduce calories, and all the brochures said that, too, Kearns told The Daily Beast. But its not what the research and guidelines say. Im a dentist, and I know: The role of sugar in tooth decay is significant, and its the number one chronic disease in children.

So Kearns teamed up with Glantz, who had made a name for himself uncovering the tobacco industrys stealthy PR campaign during the 1960s and 1970s to distance itself from lung cancer, funding research that downplayed its health effects, and allowed for advertising that glamorized smoking. The two found internal documents that suggested natural alternatives to sugar, such as the sugar beet industry in Colorado in the 1970s, went out of business. Kearns found that odd, along with the demonization of high fructose corn syrup (a corn product) by the sugar industry, and started delving more into the industry.

Glantz, for his part, said there are immediate parallels between the sugar and tobacco industry. The two even shared lobbyists, with several going from tobacco to sugar, explaining the similar PR campaign and philosophy of both. They wanted to stay on top of the science and be ahead of the science, Glantz said. They worked to manipulate the process and prevent a scientific consensus from emerging.

The fact that the sugar industry funded an alternate study to quash scientific results it had itself found to continue an image of being a sensible item to have in a diet is something that heavily contributed to the very modern American obesity, heart disease, and cancer epidemics, but have also repeatedly been shown to be used in marketing campaigns for impoverishedand often, heavily Hispanic and African-Americancommunities. It was what convinced Coca-Cola to use sucrose [instead of high fructose corn syrup], Kearns pointed out. Glantz added that sugar is seen as pure and unadulterated, something that is innocent and not considered a serious vice or health detraction on the levels of smoking: You add sucrose to your coffee. You bake with it. You have snack and beverages in it. Its even in your hamburgers and pizza.

The sugar industry, for their part, released a statement, saying: The article we are discussing is not actually a study, but a perspective: a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry. (The report was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute of Health Policy Studies, the UCSF School of Dentistry, and the Nutrition Science Initiative.)

The ubiquity of sugar in our diet, whether we realize it or not, has huge implications not only for our health but also for medical expenses in this country. Glantz and Kearns hope that this most recent paper will pressure the Food and Drug Administration to recommend diets contain less than 10 percent of sugars daily (as of 2011, average sugar consumption hovered in the 15 percent range) and for stricter oversight on nutrition research.

A lot of people, they ask, Why are you looking at this ancient history? Who cares? Glantz said of his work investigating the tobacco and sugar industries and how they funded research. I always say, Trust me, people will care.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/researchers-publish-bombshell-report-that-suggests-sugar-industry-conspiracy

10 Gifts To Buy Yourself This Christmas, Because You Know You’ve Had Your Eye On A Few Things

10 Gifts To Buy Yourself For Christmas, Because You Know You’ve Had Your Eye On A Few Things

Just because people say it’s better to give than to receive, doesn’t mean you have to play martyr and deny the fact that when you wake up on Christmas morning to presents under the tree, you’re pretty damn excited to rip off the wrapping and see how your loved ones chose to spoil you this year. You work hard, and probably don’t play as hard as you deserve, so it’s not a crime to scope out gifts to buy yourself for Christmas. Trust me, friends, you’ve earned it.

And don’t you dare think, even for the tiniest of milliseconds, that splurging on yourself is in any way . Think of it this way, OK? Gift exchanges are wonderful, and I’m sure you’re very appreciative of any present a friend or loved one goes out of the way to give you. But, unless you make a detailed wishlist or Pinterest board and send them out for reference every year, I’m willing to bet you don’t receive everything you want.

If you a) have the funds and b) are constantly adding and deleting a specific item from your digital shopping cart, allow yourself the luxury this holiday season and treat yourself. Here are a few special gifts to buy yourself for Christmas this year, because you deserve a little TLC and spoiling, too.

1Eye Masks

Honest Hazel

Eye Gels – “TRY ME” – 3 pack, $12, Honest Hazel

I will not hesitate to admit that I am a sucker for cosmetic trends on Instagram. Lime Crime, Dose of Colors — you name it, I’ve tried it.

Lately, however, viral makeup products have been pushed aside, allowing real skincare goodies shine though. I’m all about self-care these days, so once I spotted Honest Hazel’s eye gels all over the health and wellness social accounts I follow, I knew they’d be at the top of my wishlist.

2Artisan Teas

David’s Tea

24 Days of Tea, $45, David’s Tea

To say that I’m a tea addict would be the understatement of the year. I come from an Irish household where tea time was served the time, and on average, I’d probably sip down about three cups a day.

Over the years, I’ve expanded my palette well beyond traditional black brews, and I personally find joy in sampling new flavors, which is why this advent calendar of loose leaves from David’s Tea has me working my way up on my husband’s “Nice List.” In each miniature compartment, you’ll find a tiny tin of single-serving delicacies like cream of earl grey, silk dragon jasmine, and white cranberry bark. Now sounds like a delicious way to kick off the new year, no?

3A Cropped Hoodie

Gymshark

Women’s Cropped Hoodie in Pale Turquoise, $38, Gymshark

I’ve been a fan of Gymshark’s since the very beginning of my fitness journey. If you’re a fan of Lululemon, I’d definitely go out on a limb to say this brand is the slightly more affordable version.

Gymshark leggings are bae, and their sports bras fit nice and snug, but I’ve been eyeing this turquoise hoodie from the second I got wind of its release. Obviously, cropped anything is associated with warmer weather, but when you’re killing it at the gym, this is definitely a staple piece for any high-intensity wardrobe.

4The Perfect Makeup Kit

tarte

Limited-Edition Magic Star Collector’s Set, $49, Tarte Cosmetics

Purchasing high-quality makeup adds up fast. For an all-encompassing set, you’re generally spending over $50, but thankfully, Tarte’s giving the gift of affordable cosmetics to its loyal customers this holiday season.

This limited-edition set is comprised of all the essentials you’ll need to perfect a full face. With 25 exclusive matte and metallic eyeshadows, the brand’s signature clay blushes, highlighter, bronzer, and every tool necessary to master a wicked cat eye and bold lip, this is the dream set every beauty buff deserves to treat herself to this year.

5Succulents

4″ Live Assorted Succulents Set of 4, $49, Urban Outfitters

Not all of us were born with a green thumb, OK? I know myself, and even though I love the look of plants, I definitely am not one for maintaining them.

This succulent set from UO is perfect for anyone who adores the homey aesthetic plants add to their space, but is admittedly sort of forgetful when it comes to trimming thorns and daily watering. TLC requirements are minimal with these lovely blooms; just make sure they’re strategically located where they can soak in the sunshine, and water once in awhile for nourishment.

6Earthy Apothecary

Hello Crisp

The Earthy One Gift Box, $48, Hello Crisp

I recently came across Hello Crisp and instantly fell in love with the brand’s cozy, minimalist aesthetic. They offer a range of themed gift boxes catering to unique personalities, and this earthy blend stood out to me as the perfect wintertime treat.

Each product is hand-selected and made by artisans that are environmentally friendly and produce high-quality goods. The Earthy One is comprised of a black pepper birch wood cedar candle, a body lotion that harmonizes notes of vanilla and greenery, as well as a warm apple-scented soap bar enhanced with amber and wild lavender.

7A Graphic Sweatshirt

Wholesome Culture

I Know Guac Is Extra, But So Am I – Unisex Crewneck Sweatshirt, $35, Wholesome Culture

Guac may be extra, but it’s worth it — and so are you.

I love graphic tees and sweatshirts emblazoned with phrases that are not only catchy, but speak to my soul. Avocado speaks to my soul my stomach, so Wholesome Culture’s crewneck truly says it all. Plus, their sizes seem to run a little roomy, which is optimal for post-holiday dinner lounging.

8The Gift Of A New Hobby

We Are Knitters

Avanto Beanie – Knitting Kit, $49, We Are Knitters

I realize that knitting is often associated with a vision of a grandmother in a rocking chair with balls of unraveling yarn at her feet, but We Are Knitters is making this craft cool again, and I personally want in on the fun.

The site is divided into levels of expertise, so if you’re a beginner, there are tons of kits to get you started. The Avanto Beanie kit is technically a two-for-one special if you think about it. Not only will you be honing a new skill, you’ll also have a chic piece of headgear to sport all winter long.

9Book Club Membership

3-Month Membership, $44.99, Book of the Month Club

If you prefer books over people, there’s a club for that. Share your joy of enticing plots and genius character development by gifting yourself a three-month membership to Book of the Month Club.

The process is simple: Choose one or multiple of five titles showcased each month, and have them shipped to your door (sometimes the brand sneaks a surprise inside your bundle), and enjoy!

If you’re looking for a book club that’s a little more engaging, Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss launched their own exclusive association where readers can purchase Belletrist’s monthly pick and discuss via social media.

10A Fancy Planner

Erin Condren

Erin Condren 2018 Hardbound LifePlanner, $30, Amazon

I wouldn’t exactly call myself cheap, but I’m definitely not the type of girl to pay a visit to the mall on a weekly basis and waste money on material things I don’t need (except books — you can never have too many books).

When it comes to planners, though, I’ve been known to splurge. Some people look at $30 for a planner and think it’s outrageous. I, on the other hand, am drawn to pricey notebooks and will gladly drop a few bills on a hardbound planner clad with pages dedicated to setting goals and organizing schedules.

Erin Condren’s life planner comes in three designs: watercolor splash quote, painted petals, and floating florals. It’s also huge, with 164 pages to doodle, take notes, and plan your entire 2018. Is it worth the big bucks? For you, I definitely think so.

Read more: https://elitedaily.com/p/10-gifts-to-buy-yourself-for-christmas-because-you-know-youve-had-your-eye-on-a-few-things-5488998