What’s in, what’s out: Humility, sleep & a miracle in the ashes of Tennessee

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Character

What’s in:

Childlike humility. In his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta chapel in Vatican City, Pope Francis warned against theatrical humility. “The humility of the childlike is that of somebody who walks in the presence of the Lord, does not speak badly about others, looks only at serving and feels that he or she is the smallest,” the Pope said.

 

What’s out:

Materialism. While we should practice childlike humility, we should strive to have concern for more than just material things. Advent, said the Pope during his Angelus address on Sunday, calls us “to sobriety, to not be dominated by the things of this world, to material reality, but rather to govern them.”

 

Food

What’s in:

Raw eggs and biscuits. It sounds like a strange combo, sure, but don’t knock it until you try it. The world’s oldest person, Emma Morano, swears by it—and she just turned 117. Born on November 29, 1899, Morano admits her daily diet consists of three eggs (two raw) and a couple of biscuits. Bon appétit!

 

What’s out:

World hunger. Well, that’s the goal. According to Rev. David Beckmann, president of the Bread for the World Institute, progress has already been made toward ending world hunger. As such, the institute believes it’s possible to banish it altogether by the year 2030.

 

Helping the homeless

What’s in:

Eco-villages. Exemplifying compassionate care for the less fortunate, Scotland is slated to begin construction on its first eco-village for the homeless in 2017. The village will consist of 10 tiny homes, and residents will also receive job training, counseling, therapy, budgeting advice, and education.

 

What’s out:

Tossing those old plastic trash bags. The next time you go shopping and wind up with a bunch of plastic bags, think twice about throwing them in the trash. In Tennessee, a group of Christian women who call themselves “The Bag Ladies” have taken up the call to arms to help the needy and the environment at the same time. How? They collect plastic bags and crochet them into sleeping mats for the homeless.

 

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Science

What’s in:

Platypus venom. Through what Professor Frank Grutzer calls a “coincidental” turn of events, scientists stumbled upon platypus venom as a potential treatment for diabetes. Although much testing is still needed, early indicators suggests the venom contains a hormone that could help regulate glucose levels in humans.

 

What’s out:

Superbugs—or so we hope. Scientists have discovered a possible solution for fighting savage superbugs, and it’s not an antibiotic. Instead, scientists have had success unleashing the predatory bacteria Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus on superbugs. So what happens? The predatory bacteria essentially eats the super bug (ew), thereby eliminating a potentially lethal infection.

 

Behind the wheel

What’s in:

“Scrooge the ticket.” A few weeks ago, word got out about the “positivity tickets” police were handing out in Nanaimo, Canada. Now, instead of traditional parking tickets, the town of Innisfil is handing out “Scrooge the tickets,” which allow recipients to donate items to the needy instead of forking over money for fines. God bless them, everyone.

 

For the @townofinnisfil It’s that time of year! The “Scrooge the Ticket” campaign is starting up again on November 20, 2016 and will run until December 9, 2016. For three weeks anyone who receives a parking fine in the Town of Innisfil has the option to make a donation instead of paying for their parking fine. Donations that will be accepted are children’s toys, giftcards or non-perishable food items. All donations go to the Innisfil Food Bank, an outreach program by the Innisfil Community Church. If you are paying in cash for your parking fine, please bring exact change. The donated items must be equal to or greater than the value of the parking fine. All donations are to be brought to Town Hall no later than Friday, December 9 by 4:30 pm. This is a great way to give back to the community heading into the holiday season! #townofinnisfil #givebacktothecommunity #holidayseason #scroogetheticket

A photo posted by Grajen Homes (@grajenhomes) on

What’s out:

Driving rights in Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal asserted that it was “high time” Saudi women were allowed to drive. He likened the issue to gender-based social norms from half a century ago, saying, “They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion.”

 

Apps

What’s in:

A confession-finding app. These days, there’s an app for everything—including confession. The next time you’re on the road and need to find confession at a moment’s notice, “The Catholic App” could offer sacrament-finding services in your area in the near future.

 

What’s out:

The old Facebook Messenger. Although the app’s primary functions haven’t changed, Facebook’s Messenger got a fun boost this week—you can now play classic games like “Pac-Man” and “Space Invaders” with your contacts. Newer titles like “Words with Friends” will be available too.

 

The future

What’s in:

Robo-farming. Or at least, that’s the chatter since the World Bank says we’ll need to produce 50 percent more food by 2050 to handle the growing population. The buzz surrounding driverless tractors is that they can be pre-programmed and can operate equally well at night. More work, more yield, less manpower … winning combination?

 

What’s out:

Human-animal chimeras. Catholic ethicists have all but shut down alleged attempts by the National Institutes of Health to create human-animal hybrids, or chimeras. While the NIH insists the federally-funded projects could have potentially life-saving medical benefits, ethicists maintain that such hybrids are rife with moral and legal dilemmas.

 

Entertainment

What’s in:

Sundance Head. If you’ve been watching this season of The Voice, you’ve likely been charmed by the soulful country sound of Blake team member Sundance Head. But if you’re haven’t been tuning in, just head over to iTunes—Head’s rendition of “Me and Jesus” just secured the No. 1 spot on iTunes.

 

What’s out:

Wi-fi restricted binge-watching. That is to say you no longer have to be connected to the internet to take in your favorite movies and shows on Netflix. The streaming giant’s highly anticipated offline option allows subscribers to access videos with no connection, a first in the company’s history.

 

Well-being

What’s in:

More sleep. Feeling sleepy? You aren’t alone. A new study shows that a lack of sleep among the U.S. working population isn’t just exhausting, it burns through money too. Lots, in fact—researchers say sleep-deprivation costs the economy up to $411 billion a year due to lower productivity levels.

 

What’s out:

Power poses. You know the deal with power poses, right? It’s the notion that if you assume a powerful stance, you will subsequently feel stronger. Well, I hate to break it to you, but researchers say there is no evidence to suggest these trendy poses do any good (and could actually be bad for your psyche).

 

Small miracles

What’s in:

Hope in the ashes. While helping to clean up debris following the devastating forest fires in Tennessee, Isaac McCord caught a glimpse of a piece of paper lying soggy and torn in two in a puddle. Realizing it was a page from the Bible, he gently scooped it up to show to a coworker. Although badly burned, one verse was clearly preserved: “O Lord, to thee will I cry: For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.”


What’s out:

Holding onto hate. In a true example of grace and mercy, a woman who was shot in the face by a then 13-year-old boy found the strength to forgive the man he has become today. In fact, Debbie Baigrie struck up a friendship with her former assailant, Ian Manuel, and began advocating for his release after 20 years. After it was granted, the two met in person once more—this time for a hug and some pizza.

 

Julie Sprankles
Julie Sprankles
Julie is an entertainment and lifestyle writer living in the coastal mecca of Charleston, SC. When she isn't wordsmithing, she can be found DIY-ing any inanimate object in her reach, watching campy SyFy creature features, and trying to convince the tiny humans residing in her home to clean their rooms.

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