The School of Life Is Open and Tuition Free on YouTube

School of Life

If you need advice on anything, from relationships to wealth, the School of Life is always in session on YouTube. We’ve all descended into YouTube wormholes that inevitably had us watching dozens of videos as if we didn’t have any adult obligations to tackle. Often, those videos were inane entertainment or weird footage dressed up as clickbait, and rarely did we spiral into such binge-watch buffets that were mentally nourishing content. Until the School of Life came along. The YouTube channel, at 3.7 million subscribers and over 330 million total video views, uploads advice-laden videos, no longer than eight minutes, on topics that touch every part of our lives. It’s as if the video makers didn’t want to leave any aspect of the human experience out of their editorial calendar. One video from the School of Life will wax poetic on how our childhoods affect our adult lives, while another        …read more

The Honey Bee in Art & History

honey bee

Humans learned to work with honey bees in ancient times, and our destinies are intertwined. In the mid-1990s, a zoology professor at Oregon State University made an amazing discovery while visiting a mine in northern Myanmar. As if from a scene in Jurassic Park, he held a piece of amber up to the light and discovered, encased within the fossilized tree resin and semiprecious stone, a humble bee. Later estimated to be 100 million years old, the insect was a fraction of the size of today’s worker bees and was believed to be from an early branch of their evolutionary tree. It was also 40 million years older than any bee previously discovered. Considered one of the oldest forms of life, wild bees were identified early on by humans as a source for honey. In some cases, humans sought hallucinogenic honey specifically. A cave painting depicting a honey hunter at Bicrop        …read more

Inspiration or Ableism? How to Tell the Difference


Some thoughts on distinguishing true inspiration from exploitation. When I was in eighth grade I was recognized publicly at my middle school’s annual awards assembly. My parents came to the school gymnasium to see me receive accolades, and my friends cheered loudly as I walked up to the stage. But I didn’t feel proud of the award. In fact, it actually evoked a sense of shame in me, for one simple reason: I had no recollection of what I’d done to earn it, apart from being born with a degenerative eye disease that rendered me visually impaired. The Curtis White Award was given annually to a student who succeeded despite adversity. The previous year, I had cheered enthusiastically as an eighth grade boy, who was bald from chemotherapy, accepted the award. I don’t recall the exact wording my teacher used as he introduced me for the honor, but I do        …read more

27 Malala Yousafzai Quotes to Empower You to Raise Your Voice

Malala Yousafzai

On Malala Yousafzai’s 21st birthday, read the young activist’s most inspiring quotes. There aren’t too many recognition days dedicated to college students — but Malala Yousafzai is hardly your average young adult. The UN has designated July 12, which is Yousafzai’s birthday, Malala Day in honor of the young woman who has been a prominent activist for female education since her early teens. Yousafzai’s humanitarian work came at a near-fatal cost. At age 11, inspired by her father’s activism, she began writing about life in her native Swat Valley, Pakistan, under the new rule of the Taliban. Knowing she was endangering her young life, she began publicly advocating for girls’ education. The Taliban retaliated on October 9, 2012, targeting then-15-year-old Yousafzai on a bus that was taking her and two other girls to school exams. The assassination attempt left Yousafzai critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head. A Taliban        …read more

The Rise of Pot Churches in the United States

pot churches

With cannabis as sacrament, pot churches bring together people of all spiritual backgrounds and send good vibes into the world. The legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use has opened the door for participatory events. You can, for example, do yoga with it, dispensary-hop, or attend an infused dining experience. Perhaps the most surprising of developments, though, are cannabis churches, which consider the flowering plant their sacrament. These “pot churches” aren’t a passing fad for members. Founders and parishioners take cannabis as sacrament very seriously. And their intentions for their congregations and communities are admirable: they want to send positive vibes into the world. Cannabis as Sacrament Colorado has become synonymous with marijuana — it was one of the first states in the U.S. to legalize recreational use, after all. And it’s home to the International Church of Cannabis. The church’s congregation of Elevationists come from different cultural and        …read more

20 Weird Laws That Actually Exist, Apparently

weird laws

Every state has its fair share of weird laws. You could be breaking one of them right now. Most of us try to follow the law. If not for the sake of a good conscience, we at least want to avoid fines or a trip to jail. The laws on this list, though? Well, it’s possible you’ve done the deed. And unlike laws that we’re all familiar with, you’ve probably never even heard of most of these. Many are absurd, some might not even be true, and rest assured, in most cases, breaking these laws will certainly not lead to jail time. As it turns out, laws that have been on the books for centuries often get buried rather than getting a formal appeal. Getting even the silliest of laws off the books costs legislative money and time. Every state has at least a handful of laws that read as        …read more

Missing Children: Learn the Risks and How to Help Bring Kids Home

missing children

Learn the most common reasons children go missing and how to help bring them to safety. National Missing Children’s Day is May 25. Almost exactly four years ago, on a sunny June day in a beautiful Atlantic beach town, I thought my life was ending. My son, Raymond, who was just a few weeks from his third birthday, disappeared on a crowded boardwalk. We’d just gotten off the Jolly Trolley at the boardwalk — Raymond, his two older sisters, my husband and I. For less than a minute, my husband and I took our eyes off the kids while we discussed where we wanted to eat dinner. Less than a minute. How many times have you taken your eyes off your child in a public place for a few seconds? You dig through your purse at the grocery store. You text your spouse. You crane your neck, searching for the        …read more

5 Less Flashy Endangered Species That Need Our Help

endangered species

We’re rooting for pandas as they make their big comeback, but here are five lesser-known endangered species that need our support too. In sixth grade science class, I was assigned a report on an endangered species. The idea was simple: each student would research an animal and report on why it was endangered and why it was important to save them. In practice, students competed over a handful of very popular animals, scarcely even bothering to look at the rest of the list. I was on Team Giant Panda, and our teacher eventually relented and let a whopping three of us tackle the majestic black-and-white creature. The details I learned about giant pandas stunned me and stayed with me. The experience also left me with questions about how we interact with endangered animals: Are the animals who need the most help getting the most attention? An endangered species is a        …read more

It's Not Just Millennials: Why We Love (And Love to Hate) Pink

color connotations

It’s the color that divides us, but why? Growing up, I told anyone who would listen that my favorite color was green. It wasn’t untrue. I’ve always been obsessed with color, and the color green appealed to me on a fundamental level because there was so much of it outside. But claiming green was also about something else: the color connotations of pink were too much for me. As a little girl growing up in the ’90s, surrounded by Barbies and My Little Ponies, it was important to me to reject the color pink. By asserting that I didn’t care for pink, even at the age of seven, I tried to tell the world I was not that sort of girl. In a perfect example of internalized misogyny, I understand pink to be the color of “girly girls,” of Barbie Dream Houses, of blush and lipstick and weakness. I couldn’t        …read more

5 Obscure Religions Practiced Today

world religions

Beyond the world religions you’ve heard of, here are some lesser-known belief systems that might surprise you. While more than half of the human population follows one of three world religions — Christianity, Islam or Hinduism — there are thousands of religions in practice today. World religions like Buddhism, Judaism and Chinese folk religion are well-known and account for a significant portion of the population. But what about some of the lesser-known religions? What are they all about? Take a look at five obscure religions currently in practice. 1. Servants of the Light Founded in 1965 by W. E. Butler, a British occultist, Servants of the Light is part of a long line of organizations and groups that believe in the teachings of mystical Qabalah (very similar to Kabbalah, which Madonna has been known to practice). Basically, Servants of the Light espouses that humans can harness psychic powers and accurately        …read more