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He Was Selling Pens on the Street to SurviveThen a Man Snapped a Photo of His Daughter…

Just one picture changed everything.

Abdul Halim al-Attar is a Syrian refugee who was selling pens in the streets of Beirut in order to make a living for hischildren

But once a photo of Abdul selling his pens while holding his daughter hit the Internet, it went big-time viral. The picture featured his daughter Reem sleeping on his shoulder as he triedto market his pens to passerbys in the scorching heat. It touched people’s hearts across the globe.

The heartbreaking picture of his little oneslumbering on her struggling father was almost too much for people to bear.

Now, thanks to an online crowdfunding campaign set up for him, Abdul has amassed a fund of $191,000. It was an online journalist and web developer in Norway named Gissur Simonarso who saw this man’s plight and decided he wanted to help.

He had no idea that his simple campaign would bring in nearly $200,000.

And Abdul iscertainly putting it to good use. The 33-year-old father has opened 3 businesses with the new financial blessing. He started with a bakery two months ago, and later he opened a kebab shop and a small restaurant.

He went from pen selleron the street to quite the business entrepreneur, and he now employs 16 other Syrian refugees. There are approximately 1.2 million refugees registered in Lebanon, and it’s been extremely difficult for them to find jobs, so his 16 employees feel very lucky.

“Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of people in Syria whom I helped,” he said. Hegave away about $25,000 to friends and family membersin Syria.

On top of the new business ventures, Abdul has been able to move his children into a two-bedroom apartment where his 4-year-old daughter Reem and his 9-year-old son Abdullelah can now enjoy a more comfortable life.

Reem gets to play with her new plastic kitchen set and swing, and Abdullelah is back in school after being out for 3 years.

And Abdul has a newfound respect in the community as well.“They just greet me better now when they see me. They respect me more,” he saidsmiling.

One act of kindness by one manignited a viral act of kindness from thousands of strangers pouring in their contributions.

What a wonderful reminder that no act for good is too small. After all, you never know when it could change someone’s entire life.

Read more: http://www.faithit.com/he-was-selling-pens-on-the-street-to-survive-then-a-man-snapped-a-photo-of-his-daughter-world-changers/

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Heartwarming Illustrations Show That Love Is In The Small Things

Philippa Rice is a multi-talented artist who creates simple but beautiful comics about the everyday joys of living with someone you love. The title of her comic book, Soppy, is unapologetically fitting!

Rice forgoes the usual stuff like hearts and roses, going instead for the everyday ways we share love with our significant others – be it our morning routines, a hug and a snuggle, or finishing the day in each others’ arms. If you love these pictures as much as we do, be sure to check out Puuung’s illustrations as well!

Sometimes, love can be found in the simplest things, like spending a blissful morning in the kitchen

If you like these heartwarming images, you can find her book on Amazon

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/everyday-love-comics-illustrations-philippa-rice-soppy/

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Quit Doing These 8 Things for Your Teen This Year if You Want to Raise an Adult

How do we raise competent adults if were always doing everything for our kids?

By Amy Carney

Dont judge me if you happen to see my kids eating packaged Ritz crackers for school lunch.

Dont judge me if theyre on the sidelines of PE because they forgot their uniform.

Dont judge meif they didntturn in theirhomework because itsstill sitting home on their desk.

What some may view as a lack of parenting, is what I deem parenting on purpose, as we work to build necessary life skills in our kids.

I stopped making daily breakfasts and packing school lunches long ago.

I dont feel obligated to deliverforgotten items left behind at home.

School projects and homework are not any part of my existence.

How do we raise competent adults if were always doing everything for our kids?

Walk away from doing these 8 things for your teen this school year

1. Waking them up in the morning

If you are still waking little Johnny up in the mornings, its time to let an alarm clock do its job. My foursome have been expected to get themselves up on early school mornings since they started middle school. There are days one will come racing out with only a few minutes to spare before they have to be out the door. The snooze button no longer feels luxurious when its causedyou to miss breakfast.

I heard a Mom actually voice out loud that her teen sons were just so cute still, that she loved going in and waking them up every morning. Please stop. I find my sons just as adorable as you do, but our goal is to raise well functioning adults here.

2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch

My morning alarm is the sound of the kids clanging cereal bowls. My job is to make sure there is food in the house so that they can eat breakfast and pack a lunch.

One friend asked, yeah but how do you know what theyre bringing for school lunch? I dont. I know what food I have in my pantry and its on them to pack up what they feel is a good lunch. It will only be a few short years and I will have no idea what they are eating for any of their meals away at college. Free yourself away from the PB and J station now.

3. Filling out their paperwork

I have a lot of kids, which equates to a lot of beginning of the school year paperwork. I used to dread this stack, until the kids became of age to fill all of it out themselves. Our teens are expected to fill out all of their own paperwork, to the best of their ability. They put the papers to be signed on a clipboard and leave it for me on the kitchen island. I sign them and put them back on their desks.

Hold your teens accountable. They will need to fill out job and college applications soon and they need to know how to do that without your intervention.

4. Deliveringtheir forgotten items

Monday morning we pulled out of the driveway and screeched around the corner of the house when daughter dear realized she forgot her phone. We have to go back, Mom! Another exclaimed that he forgot his freshly washed PE uniform folded in the laundry room. I braked in hesitation as I contemplated turning around. Nope. Off we go, as the vision surfaced of both of them playing around on their phones before it was time to leave.

Parents dontmiss opportunities to provide natural consequences for your teens. Forget something? Feel the pain of that. Kidsalso get to see, that you can make it through the day without a mistake consuming you.

We also have a rule that Mom and Dad are not to get pleading texts from school asking for forgotten items. It still happens, but we have the right to just shoot back thats a bummer.

5.Making their failure to plan your emergency

School projects do not get assigned the night before they are due. Therefore, I do not run out and pick up materials at the last minute to get a project finished. I do always keep poster boards and general materials on hand for the procrastinating child. But, other needed items, you may have to wait for. Do not race to Michaels for your kid who hasnt taken time to plan.

This is a good topic to talk about in weeklyfamily meetings. Does anyone have projects coming up that theyre going to need supplies for so that I can pick them upat my conveniencethis week?

6. Doing all of their laundry

What? YOU didnt get my shortswashed? This response always backfires on the kid who may lose their mind thinking that Im the only one who can do laundry around here. Every once in awhile a child needs a healthy reminder that I do not work for them. The minute they assume that this is my main role in life, is the minute that I gladly hand over the laundry task to them.

Most days I do the washing and the kids fold and put their clothes away, but they are capable of tackling the entire process whenneed be.

7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches

If our child has a problem with a teacher or coach, he is going to have to take it to the one in charge. There is no way that we, as parents, are going to question a coach or email a teacher about something that should be between the authority figure and our child.

Dont be thatover involved parent. Teach your child that if something is important enough to him, then he needs to learn how to handle the issue himself or at least ask you tohelp them.

8. Meddling in their academics

Put the pencil down parents. Most of the time, Ihonestly couldnt tell you what my kids are doing for school work. We talk about projects and papers over dinner, but weve always had the expectation for our kids to own their work and grades. At times, theyve earned Principals Lists, Honor Rolls and National Junior Honor Society honors on their own accord. At other times, theyve missed the mark.

These apps and websites, where parents can go in and see every detail of childrens school grades and homework, are not helping our overparenting epidemic.

Every blue moon I will ask the kids to pull up their student account and show me their grades, because I want them to know I do care.I did notice our daughter slacking off at the end of last year and my acknowledgement helped her catch up, but Im not taking it on as one of my regular responsibilities and you shouldnt be either.

What is your parenting goal?

Is it to raise competent and capable adults?

If so, then lets work on backing off in areas where ourteens can stand on their own two feet. I know theyre our babies and it feels good to hover over them once in awhile, but in all seriousness, its up to us to raise them to be capable people.

I want to feel confidentwhen I launch my kids into the real worldthat they are going to be just fine because I stepped back and let them navigate failure and real life stuff on their own.

So please dont judge me if my kids scramble around, shoving pre-packaged items into that brown paper lunch bag, before racing to catch the bus.

Its allon purpose my friends.

About the Author: A former sports journalist and editor, Amy Carney currently writes on her blog www.amycarney.com as well as for various online and print outlets about intentional parenting and family life. Amy and her husband, Keith, are busy raising teenage triplet sons, a subsequent teen daughter and a son they adopted from foster care.

Don’t Miss: 59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped OutAnd Theyre Trying to Tell Us Why

Read more: http://faithit.com/stop-doing-8-things-teen-school-year-amy-carney/

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Architect Turns Old Cement Factory Into His Home, And The Interior Will Take Your Breath Away

When Ricardo Bofill stumbled upon a dilapidated cement factory in 1973, he immediately saw a world of possibilities. La fábrica was born, and almost 45 years later, the structure has been completely transformed into a spectacular and unique home.

The factory, located just outside of Barcelona, was a WWI-era pollution machine that had closed down, and came with many repairs to be done when Ricardo Bofill and his team purchased it. After years of partial deconstruction, the determined architect proceeded to lace the exterior of the property with vegetation, and furnish the interior as a modern living and work space.

La fábrica is a work in progress to this day, to which Bofill likens his own life, as his visions for the future continue to change shape. The industrial chimneys that once filled the air with smoke now overflow with lush greenery, a fine example of the beautiful transformations that result from creative thinking.

In 1973, Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill purchased a WWI-era cement factory near Barcelona

He immediately saw potential in the building, and began renovating it into his home

After years of partial deconstruction, his team proceeded to furnish the interior as a modern living space

The exterior was laced with vegetation, and now overflows with lush greenery

The structure has been completely transformed into a spectacular and unique home

“The Cement Factory is a place of work par excellence” Bofill writes on his official website

Each room is designed with its own special purpose, and no 2 look quite alike

“I have the impression of living… in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life” Bofill writes

“Life goes on here in a continuous sequence, with very little difference between work and leisure”

A variety of indoor and outdoor relaxation spots can be found throughout the property

Work space is also a crucial component here, as Bofill’s team uses part of the residence as a studio

The exterior is mostly covered by grass, but also eucalyptus, palm, and olive trees

This gives the building a “mysterious aspect of romantic ruin that makes it unique and unrepeatable”

“The kitchen-dining room located in the ground floor is the meeting point for the family”

Despite its incredible transformation, the factory is still a work in progress to this day

Bufill likens the project’s constant evolution to his own lifestyle and creative visions

La fábrica will always have further work to be done, which is part of its symbolic charm

With enough creative thinking, any space can become something new and beautiful

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/cement-factory-renovation-la-fabrica-ricardo-bofill/

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This Is The Kind Of Guy You Should Wait For

Wait for the guy who reaches for your hand on the street and holds it proudly. Wait for the guy who grabs your sides after stepping off the curb too soon.

Wait for the guy who reaches for you through the heavy mountain of blankets in the middle of the night, pulling you close.

Wait for the guy who slips out of bed as quietly as possible in the morning to shower, letting you catch a few more minutes of sleep.

Wait for the guy who almost always places his hand on your thigh in the cab, on the train, on the couch, under the table at the restaurant. A simple gesture communicating everything.

Wait for the guy who makes the silence comfortable. Who builds your confidence. Wear the shoes. Who is passionate and takes his job seriously, yet still makes you a priority.

Wait for the guy who makes you laugh genuinely laugh. A laugh that lasts far after the moment has passed, when happiness cannot be contained.

Wait for the guy who introduces you to friends and family with no fear.

Wait for the guy who never stops trying pizzas with half pepperoni, home cooked meals eaten at the kitchen table, spur of the moment dinner plans, flowers just because flowers, wine pit stops on the walk home after dinner, framed pictures, handwritten notes.

Wait for the guy who will continually put in the effort with your friends and family, knowing just how important they are to you.

Wait for the guy who you know will always say, yes, with no hesitation. Who sits across from you at the table and laughs to himself, telling you just how beautiful you are and you believe him.

Wait for the guy who keeps his word-every single time.

Wait for the guy who never tires of forehead kisses. In the morning when your eyes are still closed. At night before he inevitably falls asleep and turns to his side.

Wait for the guy who shows up, no matter what. Who talks about your future without question.

Wait for the guy who makes you smile, because you knew through every bad date and lonely cab ride home, every ignored text message and every heartbreak, that patience and hope would lead you right to where you are right now.

Wait for it.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/emily-higgins/2017/01/this-is-the-kind-of-guy-you-should-wait-for/

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Russia’s International Army Games showcase military might

Moscow (CNN)In a muddy field in a suburb west of Moscow, military personnel take part in tank warfare, fire artillery and dogfight in state-of-the-art fighter jets.

But this is not a military drill or combat training operation — it’s a spectator sport.
The annual International Army Games involve 28 mostly non-NATO countries battling it out in dozens of competitions over two weeks to prove which nation has the most military might.
Russia always comes out on top.
The Russian team took first place in the medals table after Saturday’s final day, preserving a 100% record of victory since the games began in 2015. Kazakhstan and China took second and third place, with Iran and Venezuela also in the top 10.

Sending a message

As the US prepares to start its next round of joint military drills with South Korea, this showcase serves as a reminder of Russia’s own allies and highlights that western efforts to isolate Russia have largely failed.
It also sends a message to North Korea, with which Russia shares a 17-kilometer border in Russia’s far eastern corner, and bolsters patriotic pride at a time when relations between the US and Russia are at their most frosty since the Cold War.
“This is just the showcase of our strength. Don’t touch us and we won’t touch anyone,” one male spectator told CNN.
Greece, which took part in one of the 28 categories, is the only NATO country to represented. But Russia insists that other NATO countries are welcome.
“We have sent the invitations to 78 countries, including NATO countries,” Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov said, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.

Tank biathlon

The main event of the games is the tank biathlon — a relay race of speed and accuracy, where teams in color-coded tanks navigate a 5-kilometer course of obstacles and fire live artillery rounds at targets. Visiting countries had the choice to bring their own tanks — as China did — or use Russian T-72B3 tanks.
State broadcasters provide live coverage of the tank event across Russia. The finals were also attended by thousands of spectators, along with dignitaries including Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, who awarded the trophies in a prize-giving ceremony.
But the games don’t just test traditional military skills. There are also more esoteric awards for the best field kitchen, top tank mechanic, and even the most creative dance performance. In total, more than 2,500 medals are handed out.

New fighter jet

Alongside the competitive events, Russia makes the most of the captive audience to showcase its latest weaponry.
Russia’s Su-57 fighter jet — the fifth generation of the T-50 model — made its public debut in an aerobatic display above the crowds. Heralded as “the plane of the future” by an enthusiastic announcer, the Su-57 is due to be operational in 2018.
It was the main attraction at an air show involving more than 150 aircraft, held in Patriot Park in the Moscow suburbs. The event marked the 105th anniversary of the Russian Air Force.
And as well as raising patriotic fervor, the event is also a fun family day out.
Spectators arrive to a festival atmosphere, with bands playing traditional Russian music, gymnastic performances and stalls selling military memorabilia or wartime ration-style food.
There is also the chance to take a selfie with a Kalashnikov, try out a flight simulator — or have your body painted in patriotic colors.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/13/europe/russia-military-olympics/index.html

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8 Original Boy Scout Badges Modern Adults Couldn’t Earn

I was a Boy Scout, and though I could never muster the energy to get involved in my community enough to make Eagle rank, I definitely remember the Merit Badges. The best scouts had a sash full of ’em. The more you had, the more likely your Dad was the Scoutmaster. It was a cool idea, but some of them were too easy to get. For example, the one for Engineering asks you to list ten electrical appliances in your house. It’s not much of a challenge when one of the requirements is literally “write down the contents of your kitchen.”

In 1911, though, things were a little different. I accidentally stumbled upon the original Boy Scout handbook, and the requirements for some of the William Taft-era merit badges vary from mundane insanity to the regular kind of insanity. We’ve already discussed how badass the Scouts used to be, but after reading this list, I understand that you had to be a major badass to simply survive getting your merit badges. Badges like..

8

Agriculture – Grow A Fucking Acre Of Corn

A common staple among 1911 badges is bullshit requirements, asking you to “be able” to do something without actually proving you can do it. The first Merit Badge for Agriculture is a good example:

3. Be able to identify and describe common weeds of the community and tell how best to eliminate them.

4. Be able to identify the common insects and tell how best to handle them.

5. Have a practical knowledge of plowing, cultivating, drilling, hedging, and draining.

6. Have a working knowledge of farm machinery, haymaking, reaping, loading, and stacking.

It asks Scouts to know some basics about crop husbandry, and that’s about it. There’s not even any quantitative guides given. I’m sure I could name a handful of insects and weeds and the ways to handle them (mosquitoes, ants, daffodils; BURN THEM ALL!). I don’t know dick about haymaking and reaping, which, at first glance, sound less like farming terms and more like the Mass Effect: Andromeda quests that I always ignore.

Oops, I skipped steps 1 and 2. Let’s me just scroll up and see-

1. State different tests with grains.

2. Grow at least an acre of corn which produces 25 per cent. better than the general average.

Holy shit. The first Boy Scouts had to grow a fucking acre of corn to get this badge? I’m not even a hundred percent sure how much that is, but unless you already own a working farm, that’s like … impossible right? I just looked it up. An acre is 16 tennis courts. 16 tennis courts of corn. And if your Dad was a farmer, everyone would know you just cheated. I mean, how would you grow any cornfield bigger than a garden without that infrastructure already in place? “At least an acre.” That’s the bare minimum, boys. Sorry about any other activities that you wanted to take part in this year.

I didn’t even mention that apparently this child would have to produce a yield 25 percent better than the general average. So what if little Jimmy produces corn at 24 percent better than the general average? Guess what, you just wasted 60 to 100 days planting and harvesting 40 bushels of corn. Fuck you, Jimmy. No merit badge for you. Try again next crop.

7

Angling – Catch 10 Fish With Homemade Rods

Now, I have some country in me. I’ve been to Maine. I’ve fished before. But my fishing rods had cartoon sharks on them. I have no idea how to do any of this.

To obtain a merit badge for Angling a scout must

1. Catch and name ten different species of fish: salmon or trout to be taken with flies; bass, pickerel, or pike to be caught with rod or reel, muskallonge to be caught by trolling.

2. Make a bait rod of three joints, straight and sound, 14 oz. or less in weight, 10 feet or less in length, to stand a strain of 1-1/2 lbs. at the tip, 13 lbs. at the grip.

3. Make a jointed fly-rod 8-10 feet long, 4-8 ozs. in weight, capable of casting a fly sixty feet.

Look, at it’s most basic a fishing rod is just a spooled line attached to a stick, but it seems like you need some pretty specific materials to make rods to these specifications. At least when we had to build Pinewood Derby cars, the Boy Scouts conveniently had building kits (rectangular blocks of wood and some plastic wheels) ready-to-buy. Can’t give these kids a stack of prepared wood to work from, or, well, anything, for that matter?

Oh, and you need to go catch ten different fish, and only in certain ways. God help you if you catch a trout with a reel, or a muskallonge without posting Internet comments.

4. Name and describe twenty-five different species of fish found in North American waters and give a complete list of the fishes ascertained by himself to inhabit a given body of water.

Next time you are near a body of water, please peer down into the depths and give me a complete list of every fish hiding in there. Don’t cheat, or we’ll knock you back down to Cub level.

6

Archery – Recreate The “Blot Out The Sun” Scene From 300

Archery has always been a staple of Boy Scout camps and the most boring portions of the Olympics. Today, there is a surprising amount of technology involved, much more than there was in 1911. So it’s puzzling that one of the steps to get this badge back then (after making your own bow, of course!) was to practically recreate that scene from 300 where the Persians blot out the sun with their arrows.

To obtain a merit badge for Archery a scout must

1. Make a bow and arrow which will shoot a distance of one hundred feet with fair precision.

2. Make a total score of 350 with 60 shots in one or {25} two meets, using standard four-foot target at forty yards or three-foot target at thirty yards.

3. Make a total score of 300 with 72 arrows, using standard target at a distance of fifty yards.

4. Shoot so far and fast as to have six arrows in the air at once.

Here’s Lars Andersen, a master archer from Denmark claiming to break the world record for having the most arrows in the air at once before one comes down. He gets 11 up there before the first one hits the grass, in about seven seconds. That’s with a modern bow and arrow from what I assume is at least a mid-grade bow and arrow store. The Boy Scout Manual wants these kids to get to half of the world record from 100 years in the future with a goddamn homemade bow. The first time traveler will be a Boy Scout from the early 1900s, desperate to meet the ludicrous standards of a mad book that is trying to kill him.

5

Architecture – Design A House To The Standards Of A Contractor

Scouting requires a lot of hands-on training. You’ll learn how to tie knots, whittle sticks, and … design a two-story house, apparently.

To obtain a merit badge for Architecture a scout must

1. Present a satisfactory free-hand drawing.

2. Write an essay on the history of Architecture and describe the five orders.

3. Submit an original design for a two-story house and tell what material is necessary for its construction, giving detailed specifications.

1911 wasn’t exactly devoid of two-story houses, so good luck creating an original design that isn’t some kind of Frank Lloyd Wright monstrosity. What kinda house would an eleven-year-old boy build anyway? The staircases would be made out of roller coasters. It wouldn’t be “right.” But don’t forget to detail every single material that you plan on using, even if it’s fucking Gingerbread.

While you have all those building materials handy, you can probably grab Pioneering while you’re at it, which only requires you to construct a whatever-the-fuck three-person shack next to your two story house and then build a modern bridge between ’em.

4. Build a modern bridge or derrick.

5. Make a camp kitchen.

6. Build a shack of one kind or another suitable for three occupants.

Or a derrick if that’s too hard. Do you guys know what a derrick is? It’s this thing:

Egeswender/Wiki Commons

At this point, I’m pretty sure the Eiffel Tower was knocked out by a boy scout over the weekened, so he could get started on his “discover perpetual motion” badge.

4

Civics – Harder Than The U.S. Citizenship Test

When it comes to local politics, the most advanced information you have to know for your modern Citizenship badges is who your Congressmen are. And depending on how much Fox News your Dad watches, you probably already know their nicknames. Back in the day though? You better be able to rattle off every elected official that represents you and draw a map to all their offices, probably so you could find them and apologize for your sudden, rampant corn planting and for decimating the local fish population.

6. Know how the governor, lieutenant-governor, senators, representatives, or assemblymen of his state are elected, and their terms of office.

7. Know whether the judges of the principal courts in his state are appointed or elected, and the length of their terms.

8. Know how the principal officers in his town or city are elected and for what terms.

9. Know the duties of the various city departments, such as fire, police, board of health, etc.

10. Draw a map of the town or city in which he lives, giving location of the principal public buildings and points of special interest.

I could probably stumble through step 6 with some hints, but then you’ve lost me. If I’ve ever voted for a judge in my life, it was by accident. I’m pretty sure my town is run by a board of selectmen, but I have no idea what that even means and wouldn’t recognize them if I hit one with my car. Unless you are insanely politically active (you know the ones by their Facebook feeds) there is simply no way the average American adult would know this stuff. The only reason I know where the town hall is is because of my yearly dog license fee.

To obtain a merit badge for Civics a scout must

1. State the principal citizenship requirements of an elector in his state.

2. Know the principal features of the naturalization laws of the United States.

3. Know how President, Vice-President, senators, and congressmen of the United States are elected and their terms of office.

4. Know the number of judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, how appointed, and their term of office.

5. Know the various administrative departments of government, as represented in the President’s Cabinet.

Even the top-level info is pretty tricky. Who are the electors? Are they elected or chosen? (Am … am I an elector??). Don’t get me wrong, all of this stuff is actually really important to know, and the fact that little boys were expected to know this 100 years ago explains a lot about our current predicament. But it’s hard to condemn our citizens’ ignorance when I’m not convinced our own President knows the various administrative departments of government.

3

First Aid – Treat Actual Horrific Injuries

This can’t be too bad. You make a sling, and you go home, right …

2. Carry a person down a ladder.

Hold on. This doesn’t say “demonstrate” or “explain how to.” You actually have to do it. A preteen boy has to carry a person (things that typically weigh as much as an average person) down a freakin’ ladder? The Hell does that even have to do with First Aid? I feel like just this is enough to warrant its own “Break Your Own Spine” merit badge.

3. Bandage head and ankle.

4. Demonstrate treatment of wound of the neck with severe arterial hemorrhage.

5. Treat mangling injury of the leg without severe hemorrhage.

6. Demonstrate treatment for rupture of varicose veins of the leg with severe hemorrhage.

What the … are they are all like this? Unless they add “10. Call 911, before passing out at the sight of blood” right now, I am not going to be able to check off a single one of these.

2

Ornithology – Find Every Goddamn Bird In Your Neighborhood

It’s birdwatching. How fucking hard could that be?

To obtain a merit badge for Ornithology a scout must

1. Have a list of one hundred different kinds of birds personally observed on exploration in the field.

2. Have identified beyond question, by appearance or by note, forty-five different kinds of birds in one day.

Oh OK. You just have to sit around waiting for every species of bird in your neighborhood to come strolling on by like it’s Pokemon Snap. There aren’t 100 different birds at the zoo, let alone in my damn backyard. The badges for Forestry, Mining, and Stalking require an equally ridiculous observation of trees, minerals, and shrubs, respectively. You know, just in case the meandering obsession of Birdwatching wasn’t enough and you’re in the market for more bullshit counting.

And don’t even think about mis-characterizing a white-throated sparrow as a tufted titmouse. This shit needs to be beyond question, folks. Forty-five birds in one day. 100 percent accuracy. The rest of this list comes off like it’s a script that eventually reveals the Scoutmaster to be the bad guy .

3. Have made a good clear photograph of some wild bird, the bird image to be over one half inch in length on the negative.

“What?! You found 45 birds? FINE! Try taking a perfect picture of one!”

4. Have secured at least two tenants in bird boxes-

“Damn! Oh ya? Good luck capturing … TWO birds in boxes! AHAHA!”

4. Have secured at least two tenants in bird boxes erected by himself.

“-AND BUILD THE BOXES YOURSELF!”

5. Have daily notes on the nesting of a pair of wild birds from the time the first egg is laid until the young have left the nest.

“Nooo! Bet you can’t catch some bird parents in the act of giving birth and then stalk them every day until all the kids have moved out of the house!”

6. Have attracted at least three kinds of birds, exclusive of the English sparrow, to a “lunch counter” which he has supplied.

“That’s … that’s impossible … Here … take the damn badge. If … you convince three of them to have lunch with you. And NO SPARROWS OR IT’S BACK TO START!”

1

Pathfinding – Become a Walking GPS

A badge like Pathfinding is a great example of something that is both essential to what Scouting is all about and has unfortunately been made completely obsolete by today’s technology. It has since been merged into the more couch-friendly Exploration badge, but the original version asked Scouts to become a walking GPS.

To obtain a merit badge for Pathfinding a scout must

1. Know every lane, by-path, and short cut for a distance of at least two miles in every direction around the local scouts’ headquarters in the country.

2. Have a general knowledge of the district within a five mile radius of his local headquarters, so as to be able to guide people at any time, by day or night.

3. Know the general direction and population of the five principal neighboring towns and be able to give strangers correct directions how to reach them.

I’d be impressed if someone knew all of the shortcuts in Mario Kart. I’d be really impressed if someone knew the location of every Target within five miles. And I’d be fucking floored if I mused aloud in my driveway where the nearest damn Wendy’s was while fumbling with my phone, and a little boy in a uniform came out of the bushes, gave me the exact street directions complete with shortcuts, and walked away into the shadows.

In addition, this Merit Badge requires Scouts to somehow count the number of cattle and horses at all the nearby farms, know the history of every public building in his town, and then put all of the above on a map. So yeah, walking GPS, library, and local farm trespasser.

Well, there you have it. The eight hardest OG Merit Badges. I’d bet my WEBELOS neckerchief that no modern Boy Scout could get any of these. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try and finish up my Personal Health badge, the only way God intended:

4. Describe the effect of alcohol and tobacco on the growing boy.

Chris has a brand new party game that you can download for free right here. Look for it on Facebook, too!

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-badges-that-prove-original-boy-scouts-were-badasses/

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I Talked To 1,400 Strangers About Their Sex Lives And Heres What I Learned


Jeremy Wong

When it comes to matters of the heart, I believe there are no questions and answers, only questions and . So one year ago, I started Touchpoint, a town hall about sex and partnership, as a space for people of all gender identities, cultures, and sexual persuasions, to share their ideas and experiences in bed, in love, and in life.

On April 7, 2016, I hosted the first Touchpoint on the Lower East Side with ten friends. The question the group voted to discuss was,

I was wildly uncomfortable with this question. After all, I had no experience with BDSM. I barely knew what it meant. And I had never facilitated a conversation like that before.

Ultimately, we spent five hours talking. One woman shared a story about her boyfriend handcuffing her to a kitchen table and having the best sex of her life. My mind was blown. I was inspired and decided to host Touchpoint every month moving forward.

Over the past twelve months, Ive hosted Touchpoint more than 20 times, including special events in Mexico City, San Francisco, Miami (2x), and Montreal.

1400+ people have attended and 400+ questions have been submitted.

Ive learned a lot about whats working and whats not for people in bed, partnership, dating, marriage, and more.

Below are some of the things Ive discovered. So far.

I hope this is helpful while you are on your own journey.

Here. We. Go.

Love, Jmw.

1. Many of us are looking for permission to be ourselves.

More than 20% of the hundreds of questions submitted to Touchpoint so far, begin with the phrase

Examples of this are:

I was moved by the realization that nobody was asking for permission to do anything we may collectively consider to be wrong or amoral, i.e.

All of these questions were posed by adults just looking for permission to be themselves and explore perfectly healthy experiences and relationships.

It appears that in some sense, many of us are looking for validation that we arent weird or undeserving of love. Keeping this in mind as we navigate our lives and relationships is paramount to truly showing up for ourselves and others.

2. Slow the f*ck down.

We grow up learning that sex is basically a means to an end, a way to scratch an itch, the resolution of involuntary biological needs. So discovering Tantra through the Touchpoint community was life-changing for me.

Tantra redefined sex for me as a way to get as close as possible to another human being and myself.

Its not about where we go, but where we . How conscious can we get in this moment, in this position, in this inhale or exhale?

Someone recommended a book that started my journey called Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving. It covers the basics of the chakras, breath work, and intimate, new ways to explore yourself and your partner.

3. Your imagination is a sex toy.

I used to think that BDSM was a scenario in which I was naked and chained to a wall while a woman dressed in leather whipped me, called me names, and I was most definitely crying. Just weird, kinky, painful, aggressive sexual exploration. Not into it.

It turns out I was wrong. After listening to dozens of stories shared by mainstream people who explored BDSM with partners, a new definition emerged for me: BDSM is Fantasy.

BDSM can be something as simple as role playing or experimenting with restraints or blindfolds.

Turning sex into something playful and imaginative can bring two people closer together, cultivate trust, and whip your relationship into shape.

4. Words matter.

The word makes people feel badly. Especially women. Its harsh, judgmental, and actually, incredibly sexist. For instance, there is a Wikipedia page for Promiscuity and a separate one for Female promiscuity. Additionally, the etymology for promiscuity means choosing sexual partners. Selecting things indiscriminately and having a lot of them are not the same. For instance, Warren Buffet has many investments. I dont think he chooses them indiscriminately.

Just because someone has many sexual partners, does not mean they havent chosen those partners carefully and with intention.

One suggestion that got a lot of nods was replacing promiscuity with a new phrase: . Hundreds of Touchpoint attendees reported that exploring themselves through sex allowed them to figure out what they want, what types of people theyre attracted to, and how to communicate needs and boundaries in not just sex.

Sex can be incredibly empowering, and serve as a doorway to personal discovery.

Words like boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, and wife are loaded with gender-specific expectations that feel outdated and often unjust. Touchpoint attendees tend to use gender-neutral terms like , which can be defined uniquely by anyone. It shifts the definition of roles within a partnership from

This ones specifically for the bros. We need to stop referring to fully grown adult females as girls. Theyre women. We need to show them the respect they deserve.

5. Partnerships are constantly being redefined.

Defining the relationship (DTR) is generally a conversation centered around two questions:

Traditionally, the answers to these questions tend to point to things such as were boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife and were working towards a long-term commitment and possibly a family.

The problem with these questions and answers is that they dont clearly define how we plan to serve our partnership, and how we need it to serve us in return. This generates a lot of poor assumptions around commitment, communication, sex, and more.

Instead, the better questions when defining the relationship are and

These questions can and should be revisited regularly.

Answers to these questions may range from things like

Being truthful about these things seems to be integral when working towards cultivating .

We are constantly defining and redefining our partnerships. It seems best to do it consciously, honestly, and with the intention of getting closer.

6. Masturbation is more than touch and go.

I used to think that masturbation was squarely at the intersection of and . But as we touched the subject over and over again, I realized that masturbation is incredibly nuanced, and serves a variety of purposes for people in addition to having an orgasm.

People shared stories of masturbating to release stress, to tap into creative energy, or to distract themselves from physical pain. Some people masturbate in public because the possibility of getting caught turns them on. Some people fantasize about current lovers, while others exclusively fantasize about former flings. Some use toys, some use shower heads. One woman shared a story about masturbating to videos of masturbating.

In general, there is a lot of shame and denial around masturbation. But when we make it safe to talk about, the way humans explore themselves can be a fascinating window into their self-esteem, creativity, and needs.

7. Space and safety, FTW.

Whether we talked about BDSM, dating, kissing, fighting, polyamory, anything really it seemed that two things needed to be cultivated in order to create and maintain a healthy, thriving relationship: space and safety.

is the freedom to explore myself and the world around me without the fear of judgment or abandonment.

is the freedom to express what Im thinking and feeling without the fear of judgment or abandonment.

When either space or safety is compromised, relationships can feel suffocating and stressful and dont promote us being our best selves.

It feels like this stands true for all relationships including with family, friends, and colleagues.

8. We can all learn to be great lovers and partners.

There was a time, early on in our lives, when we didnt know how to put on our own socks. Someone had to teach us. It may have been frustrating at first, but eventually, we got the hang of it. This year, I learned that being good in bed, in partnership, and in life is similarly skill-based.

The idea that some of us are good in bed and some of us arent is false. The more accurate statement is and, but each of us has the capacity to grow.

There are practices, tools, and techniques that we can each acquire to become more empathetic, communicative, sensitive, and supportive to be better in bed, in love, and in life.

These things show up in the forms of stories, books, podcasts, ted talks, products, and of course, events. If we want to be amazing lovers and partners, we can be. Like anything else, it takes a bit of intentional .

9. When you pursue magic, you find it.

Last July, at the fourth Touchpoint ever, Nyla met Andrew.

This summer, Nyla and Andrew are getting married.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/jared-matthew-weiss/2017/08/i-talked-to-1400-strangers-about-their-sex-lives-and-heres-what-i-learned/

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Facebook’s original video is something publishers are actually excited for


Virtually Dating" is a five-episode series produced by Cond Nast Entertainment.
Image: conde nast entertainment

For all of Facebook’s big talk about video, it was still just part of the almighty News Feed.

Publishers hoping to capture a moment of a user’s attention looked for thumb-stopping moments, which gave rise to a new and not-terribly compelling format of video that remains endemic to Facebook.

Watch is something different. Facebook’s new original video program features TV-like shows made by media companies. Perhaps most importantly, the shows are showcased in a brand new section of the social network.

That’s enough to convince publishers, who have spent years contorting to fit into Facebook’s plans, that Watch could be big.

“We are really excited,” said Dawn Ostroff, president of Cond Nast Entertainment, which is producing a dating show with a virtual reality twist for Watch. “This is a new opportunity, a new type of content. [Facebook’s] trying to open up a whole new area for content makers.”

Oren Katzeff, Tastemade‘s head of programming, offered similar excitement. The food-focused media company has created six shows for Facebook Watch.

“Were able to be a part of appointment viewing, and thats huge,” Katzeff said

That enthusiasm is quite unlike how publishers have previously behaved when asked about their work with and on Facebook. Typically, there’s a roll of the eyes, a sigh, and a list of grievances.

“The problem with Facebook’s entire ‘news team’ is that they’re glorified client services people,” the head of digital operations at a major news outlet told Mashable at F8, the company’s annual developer conference in April.

Now, there’s a new sense of hope among the media industry. Facebook’s massive scale has always tempted publishers, but revenue has been elusive. Facebook’s new program, with its emphasis on quality content and less on thumb-bait, seems ready-made for high-end ads. These original shows, in concept, also compete with what’s available live on TV and bingeable on Netflix and Huluplatforms that most publishers haven’t cracked.

“I think it is where people will go to watch on-demand programming and live news, and I intend Cheddar to be the leading live news player on Watch,” Jon Steinberg, CEO of business news show Cheddar, wrote in a private Twitter message.

Facebook’s Watch platform

Image: facebook

Simultaneously, there’s little stress for publishers about potential revenuefor now. Facebook has guaranteed minimum earnings for each episode, according to an executive at a participating publisher who could not be named since financial discussions are private. Facebook not only pays a licensing fee to publishers but also will split revenue from mid-roll ads.

It’s not the first time Facebook has cut checks for publishers to support video efforts. Last year, Facebook paid publishers, including Mashable, to produce live videos, requiring a minimum number of minutes streamed per month. (Mashable is also a Watch partner.)

But Facebook’s live video effort was slow to start, and publishers didn’t reap in rewardsespecially when it came to the return of their investments, several participants told Mashable.

It wasn’t all their fault or Facebook’s. For one, Facebook users weren’t really used to going to the site or the app for live video. Since then, Facebook has released several products, including a redesigned version of the current video tab and a TV app, both of which better support the new ecosystem. Publishers’ series will be spotlighted on the Facebook’s new tab for shows, for example. The experience is slowly being rolled out to users over the next month.

Participating publishers are going all in.

Tastemade produced six shows over the last few months and is still wrapping up a couple. Three are food focused: Kitchen Little, Struggle Meals, and Food To Die For. Two are more home and lifestyle: Move-In Day and Safe Deposit. The sixth is a late-night comedy show with celebrity interviews, hosted by an animated taco, called Let’s Taco Bout It.

“Tomas grew up as a Taco, and he had adopted parents, and his life goal has been to discover who his true parents are. He tries to relate with his guests,” Katzeff said.

Tomas Taco

Image: tastemade

What’s exciting here is not just an animated taco, but the fact that these publishers are well positioned to scale these tacos… err video series.

Maybe an animated taco won’t appeal to all 2 billion of Facebook’s users, but it doesn’t necessarily need to. Unlike TV, these shows aren’t locked into specific networks with a specific time-slot. Rather, they can be directed to actual people, based on their interests (Facebook likes) and demographic information.

“With Facebook Watch, the era of audience parting has truly arrived,” wrote Nick Cicero of Delmondo, a Facebook media solutions partner for video analytics.

Unlike TV, Facebook has a built-in platform for conversation. Ostroff of Cond Nast Entertainment said she believed Facebook greenlighted Virtually Dating, a show where blind dates take place in a virtual reality world, for the Watch platform because of the potential for online conversation.

“If it works, it was something that could go viral or a show that everyone could weigh in on,” Ostroff said. “Were excited about learning, learning how the viewer and the consumer is going to use [Watch]. Whats going to succeed and whats not.”

No one is saying it’s been easy. Several publishers told Mashable they have been careful to make sure they are staying in budget. They also noted that it is still a testone that they will be closely monitoring. Now that the shows are near launch, publishers said they will need to focus on promotion.

Watch “is really great for those who were actually able to get into the program,” said Jarrett Moreno, cofounder of ATTN, which has created Health Hacks starring Jessica Alba and We Need to Talk with Nev Schulman and Laura Perlongo.”It’s a priority for Facebook. They’ve emphasized that.”

A priority, for now.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/12/facebook-watch-original-video-publishers-pitchfork/

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‘The Last Jedi’ will reveal the mystery of Rey’s parents. But will it matter?


Who would abandon this kid?
Image: lucasfilm

After the Force awoke in 2015, Star Wars fans found themselves debating one question above all others. Who were Rey’s parents, and why would they abandon her in a galactic hell-hole like Jakku?

Now for the first time Lucasfilm has signaled that we’ll get the answer in The Last Jedi this December but the director of the movie appears to be doing his best to tamp down expectations around the answer.

“It’s important insofar as it’s important to her,” director Rian Johnson tells EW.

Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, agreed that the answer wouldn’t matter all that much. “Its not like, oh, I know who my parents are so now everything falls into shape,” she told the magazine.

Johnson and Ridley both mentioned that Rey had been told not to go looking in the past for her answers; her destiny lies in the future, even though she’s just met Luke Skywalker, “hero of the past.”

Despite the prevalent theories that Rey is a Skywalker or a Solo or a Kenobi or even a Palpatine, there’s a very strong chance that a girl is no one.

As we said at the time, this may be the most satisfactory answer to the Rey riddle. The galaxy far, far away is a really big place; making her an orphan with a famous name isn’t just unrealistic, it’s elitist.

After all, Anakin Skywalker started out as a slave kid on a desert planet, even if he was the product of a mysterious virgin birth. Everything we saw of Jedi training in the prequel movies showed us kids plucked from all walks of life from across the galaxy.

It’s unfashionable to talk about midichlorians these days. But they still exist in the Star Wars universe as genetic markers of Force sensitivity and any Jedi will tell you they can crop up anywhere at any time, no matter what your last name is.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/11/rey-parents-last-jedi/

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Poe is basically the new Leia in ‘The Last Jedi’


Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Image: Lucasfilm

Carrie Fisher’s final Star Wars movie will see General Leia Organa passing on the torch to a new leader of the Resistance.

Between The Force Awakens and the bits we’ve already seen of The Last Jedi, you may have gathered that Leia and Poe Dameron (the Resistance pilot played by Oscar Isaac) are close.

But it turns out their bond runs deeper than we knew.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Isaac described Poe as a kind of “surrogate son” for Leia and someone she wants to groom for leadership.

“Poes arc is one of evolving from a heroic soldier to a seasoned leader, to see beyond the single-mindedness of winning the battle to the larger picture of the future of the galaxy,” said Isaac.

He describes Leia’s guidance as “tough love” meant to instill “wisdom and clarity” in the hotshot pilot.

I honestly don’t know which one to be more jealous of here.

Image: Lucasfilm

The characters’ deep bond appears to run parallel to the friendship that the actors formed off-screen.

Isaac shared this memory of his time on set with Fisher:

One of my favorite things that would happen from time to time on set would be when Carrie would sing old songs. Whenever that would happen I would offer her my hand and we would waltz around the set on a starship, in a Rebel base, on an alien planet, and she would sing and we would dance. So surreal and beautiful to think about now. For all of her delicious, wicked humor and fiery energy she also had such sweet grace. I miss her dearly.

So do we, Oscar. So do we.

We salute you, General.

Image: Lucasfilm

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/10/star-wars-the-last-jedi-poe-leia-carrie-fisher/

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You never have to worry about running out of groceries with the Hiku shopping button

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

You know that feeling when you make the perfect Sunday morning pancakes, go to the pantry for some syrup, and there’s nothing but an empty container? Never again.

This is Hiku. It’s a button that lives in your kitchen, whether stuck to the fridge or sitting on the counter, that can record your voice and scan product barcodes to preserve a kind of digital shopping list as you begin to run low on things. With the Hiku app, youre able to create a shared shopping list on your phone that will always be near you and up-to-date.

Image: hiku

Check out what josh128 had to say about it: I LOVE my Hiku!!! This is by far one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I keep it stuck to my fridge and anytime I start to run short on something I just give it a quick scan and it’s added to my list. This device has changed my life and made my shopping much easier.

Never worry about running out of things again. Hiku is here to make your shopping simple and stress-free. Get the shopping button here for $43.99.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/10/hiku-shopping-button/

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