Take A Walk With These Eco-Friendly Shoes

I’ll admit–while I’m all for recycled fashion, I am useless with a needle and thread. That being said, I am always on the hunt for sustainable pieces I can add to my wardrobe. As a huge fan of Clarks footwear, I was quick to jump on pre-orders for their new Vivobarefoot Ultra Blooms, which are made from biomass algae.

The soft, super-light running shoes use the same design as Vivobarefoot’s regular Ultra line. They’re flexible enough to scrunch up into a ball, with a thin white sole that’s topped by a perforated upper. They’re built for use on dry land and in rivers and oceans, where the Swiss-cheese holes flush water out.

Algae, which, in excess, damages marine habitats and reduces drinkable water supply, is a practical and affordable material for production.

Clark says the foam in each pair of Ultra Blooms will recycle 57 gallons of filtered water back into natural habitats while saving 40 party balloons worth of carbon dioxide by removing the excess algae from the environment.

According to Clarks, with the amount of algae available worldwide, billions of pairs of shoes can be easily manufactured.

Would you run a marathon in these shoes?

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New App Helps Restaurants Donate Excess Food For Needy

Ever forgotten about a bag of leftovers and had to toss them in the trash? If you have, don’t fret–I’ve done it too. Restaurants are notorious for tossing out billions of pounds of what is considered ‘food waste’, which are usually still safe for consumption. This waste is disposed of in landfills and contributes to the worldwide issue of pollution. The geniuses behind start-up app MealTech have found a way not only to save food, but give back to the needy American community.

The platform acts as a dashboard to manage the flow of excess food in the communities around Feeding America’s 200 food banks… MealConnect allows business donors… to create a free account, where they can upload information about excess food they have to donate, and select a date and time they’d like it to be picked up.

MealConnect is efficient and accessible, especially to those who have no proper disposal procedures.

The whole point of MealConnect is that those smaller, easier-to-manage donations can bypass the food bank process entirely and just get straight to where they’ll do the most good.

The nonprofit currently saves around 2.8 billion pounds of food each year and has stated that its goal is to end food insecurity by 2025.

While the app is designed as a business-to-business platform, individuals can easily contribute by recycling at home.

 

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Say Goodbye To Instagram Bullies

In a recent post, I discussed the social media monster that is cyberbullying. While we take most issues regarding online harassment into our own hands, it seems that Internet giants such as Instagram want in on the war against trolls and spammers.

Instagram is using AI to try and understand the context around offensive speech and get rid of abuse even if it doesn’t trigger specific keywords. That should help mitigate the cat-and-mouse nature of fighting hateful comments, although it currently only works in English.

Instagram’s keyword filter feature has been a hit with users who prefer not to see certain types of content–but to know that these platforms continue to battle hate speech is reassuring.

The AI system, called DeepText, is able to identify offensive language. For example, it can understand that the word “white” may not be offensive as a color or title (White Sox, white snow), but that “white power” could be offensive in many uses.

Accurately discerning what is offensive remains to be somewhat sticky for AIs, but there is no doubting that technologies like these will see constant improvement.

Are you using this new feature?

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Pain-Free Flu Shots For People Who Hate Needles

We’ve all been there. Dreading our turn at the clinic for a vaccination. Sweating profusely at the sight of the needle, which looks much bigger than you expected. Struggling to keep still as nurses administer the shot. Well, fear no more because the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have found a way to administer injections without the sting.

Instead of the usual injection, the researchers came up with a sticker patch that you can apply on yourself.

The patch comes with a hundred tiny hair-like microneedles located on its adhesive side. Unlike regular injections that go all the way through the muscle, the microneedles puncture and dissolve into the upper layer of the skin, delivering the vaccine in about 20 minutes.

The best thing about the microneedle patch is that you can do it yourself, which means you can kiss long lines goodbye! Administration is also quick and hassle-free.

“With the microneedle patch, you could pick it up at the store and take it home, put it on your skin for a few minutes, peel it off and dispose of it safely, because the microneedles have dissolved away,”

The microneedle patch is compact, easy-to-store, and portable, making it easily accessible to those in commercial and remote areas.

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Cyberbullying Is So Out Of Fashion

Here are a list of things that are no longer relevant today: the Katy Perry-Taylor Swift feud; apple-bottom jeans and boots with the fur; the T-Mobile Sidekick; and privacy. Yes, privacy. If you haven’t noticed, “What you say can and will be used against you,” is no longer just a Miranda Right.

The 21st century has been a dangerous era for teenagers in particular. With a lack of privacy arrives the need to keep up appearances. Uploading a photo onto your Instagram account is never as simple as sharing a moment but sharing wealth and status. A critical tweet is not just about an opinion but being inarguably right. Networks comprise of the easily offended and those who are “just putting others in their place.” After all, next to Disneyland, social media is the happiest place on earth–for people who are winning at it.

As a person who is far from soft-spoken, my handles are laden with bare-faced selfies, erotic poetry, and new philosophies. I often receive a generous amount of likes and positive comments regarding my boldness and bravery, save for the occasional hater who thinks I am “too loud.” When sharks bite, do you bite back? A younger me would’ve certainly thought so. But if social media is a perpetual game of who can be meaner, who wins? Does it even really matter?

Believe it or not, not everyone is out to offend you. When someone has realized they have hurt you by means of understanding facial expressions and the tone of your voice, they will, more often than not, apologize. This doesn’t exist on FaceBook and Twitter, where movements are carefully calculated and empathy remains a thing of the past.

Cyber bullies, who are shielded by a trusty sheet of fiber optic glass, are plagued with mob mentality, as they are usually part of one. People thrive on validation, and those who join Internet mobs don’t always do so with bad intentions. After all, if the majority thinks it, it must be true. Sometimes, they are just ill-advised.

This isn’t to say there aren’t some truly nasty players out in the virtual field. Some studies claim that cyber bullying has exponentially more negative effects than face-to-face abuse–this is because people feel less obligation to help, especially when disparaging tweets are easily swept away by a sea of song lyrics, play-by-plays, and borderline-creepy statements about Harry Styles.

Instructing kids to stay off social media is no longer an effective method of protection. After all, having an iPhone is no longer an option but a necessity. So how do we avoid getting cyber bullied? The simple answer is we can’t. But it’s up to us to respond.

Bullies thrive on attention. Anger is the fuel to their vehicle. Kill them with kindness or leave them in the dust. Whatever the case, act dignified. Compassion is a bully’s very own Kryptonite.

Report them. Harassment is by no means free speech. Reach out. Hardly ever is there a case where you are the “only one.” Educate yourself and others. Draw the line somewhere. The mute button is just a click away. Attack no one, but defend yourself. Know that bullies are people too.

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Preteen Delivers Baby Brother

 

On my mother’s side I have twelve first cousins, so despite being an only child, I’ve seen my fair share of births. While I can stomach the sight of blood, I surely wouldn’t have the guts to deliver a baby, which is exactly what this 12-year-old did.

Just 18 months ago, Jacee Dellapena ,of Jackson, Miss., had asked her mom and stepfather, Dede and Zack Carraway, if she could be in the delivery room for the birth of their son Zadyn.

Jacee… simply wanted to be present at the birth because she thought “it would be a really great experience for me.”

Still, when she heard the doctor tell her to suit up, she says, her initial reaction was, “What? He is crazy! He is just playing with me!” But the “serious look on his face” told her that he was absolutely serious — and so, as a result, she was too.

The photos (which have been been shared more than 175,000 times) prove that birthings are emotional, slightly gross, exciting, and beautiful all at once. Not only did Jacee realize the true difficulties of birthing, she now also aspires to be a, ob-gyn.

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How To Be A Successful Volunteer

In a world plagued by terrorism, hate culture, and the devastation of natural resources, lending oneself for the betterment of society seems to be an inherent response–and a good one. Philanthropy is undoubtedly the most meaningful way to rebuild and improve communities and becoming a volunteer will more often than not be beneficial to both giver and receiver. However, it takes a lot to be a successful participant.

Understanding why you want to volunteer is crucial. Some are passionate for a particular cause; perhaps battling poverty, environmentalism, assisting the disabled, or nurturing the abused. Others are motivated by personal reasons; whether it is to be removed from daily life or align oneself to a certain principle. Whatever the case, choosing to volunteer should not be an obligation but rather, a selfless desire.

Choosing where to volunteer is key. Picking out an organization to collaborate with is similar to matchmaking. The process involves seeking a group that is perfectly suited to your skills and interests. Can’t get enough of all things cute and fluffy? Join an animal welfare group! Want to see the world in a new perspective? Try going environmental.

Once you have chosen an agency, know how you can personally contribute value and measure your strengths. Be vocal about what services you can provide. Your productivity will depend on where you can be most useful–whether in administrative work or something more hands-on.

There are certain qualities a volunteer must always uphold. One should be flexible, and we’re not talking about the splits. Allow yourself to be elastic in terms of time and responsibilities. In the world of volunteering, carefully crafted plans are often subject to unraveling. Situations that involve a lack of resources or manpower may demand extra work. Volunteers with a strong sense of adaptability and focus are an organization’s most valuable assets.

Characteristically, volunteers should also be creative and energetic. Imagination can easily fuel one’s vigor and enthusiasm. An organization will not always meet its quota of goods and materials–being innovative will allow a group to consider alternative plans. This will also require energy. Volunteers often have to work long hours on tedious tasks. Being active and spirited may also encourage others to uphold integrity. There is no room for the dull and tired!

Lastly, volunteers must be open-minded and committed. Working with people of varying backgrounds and, more importantly, with those who are marginalized, entails being unbiased and without judgment. If volunteers are frank and honest, they will ultimately be accepting others as part of their own lives. Volunteering is not just about breaking the status quo–it is about realizing our own realities and where we fit into society. The volunteering experience, of course, is more significant when one is fully dedicated to the cause at hand. Commitment also gives the volunteer a true sense of immersion. Don’t slack off!

There is no denying that volunteering isn’t glamorous. More often than not, exposure to the hardships of our community is difficult to comprehend, much less accept. But there is time to learn. If there is one thing that volunteering teaches us, it is that time is valuable and should not be wasted.

Much can be accomplished in our world today, given that we are willing to make the sacrifice.

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This Hoodie Will Outlive You!

New water-proof, fall-proof, and everything-proof phone cases have had me wondering whether we’ll soon come up with something along the lines of immortal. Though I certainly doubted so, I was quickly proven wrong. After barely five minutes on Google, I stumbled upon the 100 Year Hoodie, designed to last throughout generations.

The London entity, under the direction of twins Nick and Steve Tidball, is hawking the centennially dubbed item as “the most indestructible hoodie you’ve ever worn.”

“If there’s a tougher hoodie out there, our 100 Year Hoodie is ready to beat the crap out of it and steal its crown,”… the costly innovation… can survive at extreme temperatures ranging from 572 degrees Fahrenheit to -378 degrees Fahrenheit and whose reliance on sun-dyeing will even make it look different from one day to the next.

The germaphobe in me is screaming, but the Tidballs claim a hygienic retention for the hoodie, which incorporates materials that are components of, “aircraft carriers, body armor, and space suits.”

While the idea of passing something on through generations is an attractive gimmick, the fact that everyday items are now so durable brings hope to a society that predicts an annual apocalypse.

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Therapy Dogs Are Not Just For Humans – Cheetahs Need Them Too!

Dog is man’s best friend for many legitimate reasons. They are eyes for the blind and companions for the suffering. We have turned to dogs for comfort in the face of hard times and now, cheetahs at the Richmond Zoo need them too.

Kumbali is a cheetah cub at the Metro Richmond Zoo, and as a newborn, the cub was losing weight because its mother wasn’t producing enough milk to feed her litter. Once Kumbali was cared for and brought back to health, his family rejected him, but the anxious cat, very social by nature, still needed a friend. That’s where Kago, a companion dog, came in.

Dogs–and Labrador Retrievers in particular–are calming by nature, but also extremely confident. Kumbali takes behavioral cues from Kago, and while Kago is the dominant protector, Kumbali is not intimidated and will not cause his friend any harm.

This symbiotic relationship would never happen in the wild; however, we believe the positive outcomes outweigh any negative. As the two grow up together, they create a bond that becomes almost inseparable, sibling-like.

Kumbali and Kago’s story screams “Real Life Fox And The Hound” and I’m all for it!

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Trash Photography Project Sends An Important Message

I was in the fourth grade when my class was asked to participate in a recycled art project. Sifting through our bins that afternoon was easy. Majority of what we had tossed were things that were still fairly useful–bottles, various containers, and the like. I had built a house of mostly plastic. It was fitting, seeing as households are dumpsites in themselves. Just to show the public how much we waste in a few years time, French artist Antoine Repessé collected his recyclables for four years and produced stunning trash-inspired photographs.

Antoine Repessé stopped throwing away recyclable waste like plastic bottles, toilet paper tubes or newspapers back in 2011, storing it in his apartment, instead.

Over the four-year period of his project, Antoine collected 1,600 milk bottles, 4,800 toilet rolls, and 800 kg of newspapers, among other things, which he later used as props for a powerful photo series on modern consumerism, called #365 Unpacked.

Repessé’s reasons for embarking on such an ambitious project were hardly personal. He needed to educate viewers.

“I was interested into seeing how an object can lose its singularity when it becomes a part of something massive. We’re often told about the amount of waste we produce, but I think a picture can be more powerful and impactful than a ton of words,”

Many large companies have taken on the responsibility of minimizing waste through various methods. However, it’s households that have yet to participate.

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