Her kids are throwing a fit about guns. A mom’s message for all adults is a must-read.

I remember when my oldest children were in elementary school and I was just learning about lockdown drills and the imaginary terror that small children act out three times a year.

The kind that turns into low-level subconscious terror. The terror that is differentiated by a code over the loud speaker — one that means “this is only a drill” and the other that means “get ready to maybe die.”

Everyone acts like active-shooter drills are part of a new normal. But teens’ passionate activism rising up from Florida and spreading with unstoppable force-out tells adults this: They are a big deal . And the kids are sick and tired of it.

Yesterday, my middle schooler asked me if I would come supporting him at his school when he and his classmates walked out. He was fretted the security guards wouldn’t let them out and worried if they get by, they wouldn’t be let back in. There were about five parents to the 500 kids at my middle schooler’s walkout. Most of us were there to proponent for the kids if they needed it, but it turned out they had support from their school.

The kids are no longer waiting for adults to wring our hands, to fight with each other for a week, to do a few forms of passive activism for a few days until we feel a little better.

Kids are weighing the results of their actions because the issue of school shootings affects them the most, and adults have failed them in creating change.

A newsperson hoisted his camera over his head to scan the crowd and the reporter approached me. “Are you a mother? ” she asked. “Would you like to be interviewed? ”

It struck me how odd it was that they were choosing to centre the votes of the handful adults when there were hundreds of screaming, chanting children around them. “I’d rather see you interview one of the students, ” I responded. “This effort was altogether student-organized and student-led. Theirs are the voices that need to be heard.”

During the 2016 election, my oldest, then 14 years old, campaigned for a local candidate. On election night, he and I attended the county Democratic watch party together. I was eager to celebrate his hard work.

When the election didn’t turn our route, we sat, mouths agape, before staggering off in defeat and embarrassment. It was bitter cold that night, the walking to the car too far. When the car wouldn’t start, I cursed, banged hard on the wheel, then slumped my head onto the frigid driver’s side window and wept.

“How could this happen? ” I screamed.

My kid, with eyes as deep as the ocean, looked at me and said, “I don’t know, Mom. It’s going to be OK.” He placed his hand on my limb, and I took a deep breath.

Parents are supposed to be able to endlessly muster optimism in every situation. It felt like a failing when I couldn’t. But my son, somehow , did not lose his fire of hope.

He’s one of the co-organizers for the upcoming national walkouts at his school. He plans to campaign in this upcoming election cycle.

American kids know about the issue of handgun violence and its effects better than most of their peers all over the world. I’m ashamed that they do. We all should be ashamed.

My kids, along with thousands and thousands of American teens, are fed up.

They’re not here for nonsensical debates about arming both teachers and militarizing their schools. They know this isn’t the Wild West, and they know more handguns followed by prayer-filled condolences are not the solution to America’s horrific school massacre problem.

Direct action is often met with criticism. People say that sit-ins, boycott, blocking traffic, and yes, even school walkouts aren’t effective, that the way to effect change is to hall lawmakers, to vote for the right nominees. But, mass interruptions have never been about changing a law in that moment. They are a tactic in meeting that end. They are a show of force-out. Mass interruptions make a scene; mass resistance forces a hand.

School walkouts are a tantrum that calls, “FIX THIS NOW! ”

I never would have never supposed I’d be rallying for my kids to throw a tantrum. But I am. I’m rallying for the entire country of teens to have fits because their channeled fury only might be the thing that solves this.

It dawned on me the other day when my children were talking about their walkout schemes that my oldest will be 18 when November 2020 rolls around.

So will a whole slew of teens who are taking to the streets today. Legislator better listen and respond like their jobs depend on it.

These children aren’t going anywhere.

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The first U.S.-hosted Olympics was a disaster, but it had many silver linings.

The year was 1904, and it was the United States’ first time hosting the Olympic Games.

This should have been an exciting moment, but America’s inaugural games in St. Louis were actually kind of a mess .

St. Louis wasn’t even supposed to be the host city of video games — Chicago was.

The Windy City had won the bid to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, but the games’ time frame overlapped with the Louisiana Purchase Convention( also known as the 1904 World’s Fair) in St. Louis, a more popular and established event. World’s Fair officers were unwilling to allow a “rival” event to take place in another city, forcing Olympic officials to move video games to St. Louis. The games were no longer a standalone event .

To make matters worse, by July — less than two months before video games began — no invitations to other countries had been extended. But even if the invitations had gone out on time, it was unlikely Europe would make a strong indicating due to political tensions back home and the considerable distance to travelling . The outcome was an Olympic delegation that, by default, skewed heavily American, with merely 42 of the 651 athletes coming from non-U.S. nations.

The games were also host to politicking, scandals, practical jokes, and bad luck — all of which attained for a colorful retrospective, but a lackluster event at the time.

However, amid the chaos and countless obstacles the athletes faced in St. Louis, the event served as a showcase for many Olympic records and firsts .

The fact that the games served as a de facto American platform didn’t curb the competitive fire of the athletes who did show up; many had trained their entire lives for the opportunity.

One such athlete was University of Michigan runner Archie Hahn .

Having won events at the 1903 Intercollegiate Championships, expectations were high for the multitalented way athlete. Hahn didn’t disappoint, winning gold in all three of his events: the 60 meters, the 100 meters, and the 200 meters. In the latter event, Hahn defined an Olympic record time of 21.6 seconds. His record stood for 28 years and endured better-attended games in the future.

Another was George Eyser, a gymnast with a wooden prosthetic leg who competed for the American team.

Concordia Turnverein Gymnastic Team, 1908. George Eyser is in the center. Photo by Louis Melsheimer/ Missouri Historical Society/ Wikimedia Commons.

A German immigrant, Eyser had lost his leg in a train accident as a child, but he stood out as the premiere talent in his local St. Louis gymnastics squad. And at the 1904 Games, he won six medals — five of them in a single day — securing his place in American Olympic history.

It would be over a century before the Olympics would watch another amputee compete in the games.

While this Olympiad was far away from flawless, it secured a place in athletic history not only with the individual athletic accomplishments it , but also the bevy of new athletics it hosted.

Prior to the St. Louis Olympics, boxing, freestyle wrestling, and the decathlon had never been medal events . A century afterward, it’s hard to imagine the Olympics without them.

Other introduced events, such as tug-of-war, don’t feel quite so essential because, well, they didn’t stick around too long. The six-member event debuted in 1904 with the U.S. winning all three medals, but it lasted only through the 1920 Game before its elimination. Nonetheless, many modern fans have been clamoring for its return to the Olympics.

These new events and the athletes they featured may have been foreign to many at the time, but they promptly won the hearts of fans the world over.

The inaugural U.S. Games ultimately served as a reminder — albeit a rocky one — that the spirits of Olympic competition and unity persevere even under the most bizarre circumstances. An Olympic athlete is trained to be tenacious in the face of adversity, and nowhere have we seen this better than the sparsely attended, poorly planned 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics.

These games may not hold a spot in the pantheon of legendary Olympiads, but they still highlight the accomplishments and spirit of the athletes who participated. The endure and unlikely legacies stemming from these games remind even the most fatigued fans that the Olympics exist as a platform for the athletes .

The chaotic affair also served as a pioneering event, paving the style for United States’ rich history in video games in both hosting and competing.

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Blue-sky thinking: how China’s crackdown on pollution is paying off

Clear skies above Beijing again but some anxiety the problem is just being pushed elsewhere

The photographs on display at Wu Di’s Beijing studio imagine China and Beijing at their dystopian worst.

Naked, expectant moms stare out from the walls, their bellies uncovered but their faces hidden behind green gas masks.

Worshippers prostrate themselves around the Ming dynasty Temple of Heaven, desperately petitioning the smog-choked skies for a breath of fresh air.

But while the interior of Wu’s atelier offers a desolate panorama of China’s pollution crisis, outside, a different, brighter side to the country is, for once, on indicate.

Beijing’s skies, so often noxious and smoggy, are a perfect and mystifying cerulean blue.

” It’s 26 today ,” said Wu, a visual artist and documentary photographer, checking his smartphone’s pollution app to confirm the uncommonly low levels of PM2. 5, an airborne particulate links between lung cancer, asthma and heart disease.

” In the past, we made fund first and could only talk about the environment subsequently. But it’s clear the government has changed its mind ,” he said.” We can see everything is starting to move in the right direction .”

During the creation of the nightmarish airpocalypses portrayed in Wu’s artwork, pollution levels might have been 20 or even 30 times higher.” Beijing was like a giant airport smoking room that day. It was an epic haze ,” he recalled, pointing to an image staged in October 2013 in which a girl appears to inhale oxygen through a tube connected to two heart-shaped balloons.

Times, though, appear to be changing.

Wu says he became an artist after he saw foreign athletes wearing facemasks at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo: Tom Phillips for the Guardian

Traditionally, wintertime is Beijing’s smoggiest season, as coal burning ramps up to keep millions of residents warm. But the skies over China’s capital have been almost inconceivably clear of late, thanks partly to a government crackdown on the use of the fossil fuel.

Beijing enjoyed a record 226 days of “good” air quality last year and suffered 23 heavily polluted days, compared with 58 in 2013, state media announced last month. The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, greeted the recovery with the incredulous headline:” How did Beijing become one of China’s top cities for air quality ?”

Hu Xijin, the editor of the party-controlled Global Times, tweeted alongside a photograph of Beijing’s azure-framed CCTV headquarters:” Isn’t it good to have a ruling party that can honour its promise ?”

Lauri Myllyvirta, a Greenpeace campaigner, said China’s leaders could rightly claim credit for attaining Beijing blue again, temporarily at least, even if favourable weather conditions had played a major role in the exceptionally good spell.

Since last year, thousands of environmental inspectors have fanned out across the industrial belt around the capital as part of an aggressive clampdown on coal employ. Heavily polluting vehicles, mills and construction sites have also been targeted.” There is clear evidence the measures ran ,” said Myllyvirta, who said overall PM2. 5 levels in Beijing had fallen by 40% from their peak in 2012 -2 013.

But he voiced a note of caution. Median PM2. 5 levels in Beijing remained 65% above the national standard and more than five times World Health Organization guidelines last year. A recent bout of severe smog highlighted the fight ahead.

There are also fears that the crackdown around Beijing is forcing polluting industries to migrate south to regions such as the Yangtze river delta around Shanghai, where smog levels are rising.” The’ war on pollution’ is far from over … few people harbour illusions ,” Myllyvirta said.” But there is also no reason for cynicism as there’s clear evidence the measures ran .”

Wu, 41, abandoned his job as an executive to become an environmentally engaged artist a decade ago, shocked into a career change by images of foreign athletes wearing facemasks at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Ten years on, and with the skies over his adoptive home starting to clear, he said he is glad his artwork and photographs, some of which have featured in Greenpeace anti-pollution campaigns, have played a role in increasing public awareness.

” I want to produce work that they are able pushing society and the administration has stimulate the positive developments ….[ and] the most effective way to push the administration has make changes is through public opinion ,” he said.” It demonstrates my work isn’t a waste of time … It shows the power of art .”

Wu worries, however, that change may have come too fast. He was among those left shivering when environmental inspectors began destroying coal-fired heaters late last year as part of a push to switch to natural gas or electric heating systems.” It’s only four degrees in here … I is also difficult to ran ,” he complained, touring his studio in a thick brown coat.

” I agree with the government that we need lucid waters and lush mountains but … the measures should be more gentle and more human. I can cope with the low temperature, but what about the elderly? What about children ?”

In one nearby region, primary school students reportedly suffered frostbite and were forced to study outdoors in the sunshine after their radiators stopped running.

Wu is also concerned about the environmental damage still being inflicted on less visible regions, where pollution crises have not received the same level of media attention as Beijing’s toxic skies. For one installation, he asked 12 volunteer “disciples” to recreate one of Leonardo da Vinci’s frescos, The Last Supper , in a derelict mill.” The message is that because of pollution, mankind’s last supper could come at any time because of pollution .”

Overall, however, Wu believes China is on the right way.” We should admit the government is trying to do the right thing and we need to recognise that it takes time … to deal with environmental issues ,” he said.

If China’s war on smog robbed him of his principal inspiration, he is unperturbed.” There’s no lack of problems to inspire artists in China ,” he joked.” Some western artists are jealous of that .”

Additional reporting by Wang Xueying

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19 amazing underwater photos that will make you re-think life on dry land.

Heads up, Ariel: There’s something positively mind-blowing going on under the sea.

These utterly gorgeous photos just made a big splash in the international Underwater Photographer of the Year competitor for 2018. The annual tournament showcases more than 100 of the world’s best photos captured in oceans, lakes, rivers, and even swimming pools. With wins in 11 categories, including portraits, wide-angle, and wrecks, the competitor brings out seasoned professionals and rising stars in this beautiful — albeit somewhat soggy — hobby.

Underwater photography greats Peter Rowlands, Martin Edge, and Alex Mustard judged more than 5,000 entries to crown the wins. Here are 19 of the best, including Tobias Friedrich’s “Cycle War, ” the image named photograph of the year .

1. Just when you thought you’d considered every fish in the sea…

Two opposing anthias in Tulamben, Bali.( c) Anders Nyberg/ UPY 2018.

2 . … something swimmings by and astonishes you.

A juvenile grouper hides inside a pink sponge in the Jardines de la Reina reef on the south coast of Cuba.( c) Nicholas More/ UPY 2018.

3. Like, genuinely astonishes you.

Get a room you two!

Actually, these tompot blennies aren’t kissing; they’re in a fierce battle in Swanage Pier, U.K.( c) Henley Spires/ UPY 2018.

4. It’s bold and colorful down there.

A male corkwing wrasse appears in Bovisand Harbor, Plymouth, U.K.( c) Kirsty Andrews/ UPY 2018.

5. Busy and beautiful too.( Even when it’s a bit intimidating .)

The underbelly of a docile sand tiger shark and a large school of “bait fish” in North Carolina.( c) Tanya Houppermans/ UPY 2018.

6. And on its best days, underwater life is a weird and wonderful combining of all of the above.

Haven’t we all been stuck inside a jellyfish at one point in our lives? Hang in there, buddy.

A juvenile trevally is wedged between the tentacles and buzzer of a jellyfish in Janao Bay, Philippines.( c) Scott Gutsy Tuason/ UPY 2018.

7. The photographers were able to capture some totally delightful surprises…

A crab feeds in the Vuoksi River, Finland.( c) Mika Saareila/ UPY 2018.

8 . … like this haunting dance of fierce predators…

Bull sharks swim in the deep blue ocean of Ponta Del Ouro, Mozambique.( c) Sylvie Ayer/ UPY 2018.

9 . … and these graceful, lithe swans that appear a little more like lovebirds.

Swans feed in the waters of Loch Lomand, Scotland.( c) Grant Thomas/ UPY 2018.

10. It doesn’t get much more impressive than this commanding humpback whale saying hello.

A humpback whale assumes the “spy hopping” posture in Vavau, Tonga.( c) Greg Lecoeur/ UPY 2018.

11. But then you see this micro seahorse captured with a macro lens and remember that sizing isn’t everything.

A Japanese pygmy seahorse blends in to its surrounds in Kashiwajima, Japan.( c) TianHong Wang/ UPY 2018.

12. There’s this sweet sea lion, who could teach a masterclass on the perfect selfie.

A sea lion poses for the camera in Julien Bay, Australia.( c) Greg Lecoeur/ UPY 2018.

13. And so could this Asiatic cormorant, who stimulated sure to show off its good side.

The elegant bird dives for fish in Osezaki, Japan.( c) Filippo Borghi/ UPY 2018.

14. And we can’t leave out this “otter-ly” adorable little swimmer.

An Asian small-clawed otter swimmings during a train session before it’s released back into the wild.( c) Robert Marc Lehmann/ UPY 2018.

15. Though sea creatures aren’t the only ones making a life down below.

The ex-USS Kittiwake sat upright in the waters of Grand Cayman for more than 250 years before surge from a hurricane knocked it over.( c) Susannah H. Snowden-Smith/ UPY 2018.

16. Human can’t assist but experience the thrills….

Musician and surfer Donavon Frankenreiter enjoys the waves in Tavarua, Fiji.( c) Rodney Bursiel/ UPY 2018.

17 . … and colds of life in the big blue sea.

This haunting image is “Cycle War, ” by Tobias Friedrich, winner of the Underwater Photograph of the Year.

“Cycle War.”( c) Tobias Friedrich/ UPY 2018.

The photograph captures motorcycles on a truck on the frequently photographed wreckage of the SS Thistlegorm off the coast of Egypt in the Red Sea. Of this winning entry, contest magistrate Peter Rowlands said, “It is of a subject which has been photographed literally thousands of times. The artistic skill is to visualize such an image and the photographic talent is to achieve it. Perfectly illuminated and composed, I predict that there will never be a better shot of this topic from now on.”

18. But it turns out humen have left a lot of vehicles down there.

This car went through the ice of Finland’s Saimaa lake, but no one was hurt.

Always recollect where you parked!( c) Pekka Tuuri/ UPY 2018.

19. But you can’t actually blame those people for getting a little too close to the breathtaking beauty of life underwater.

And more importantly, who would want to?

A healthy shark population swimmings at sunset in Moorea, French Polynesia.( c) Renee Capozzola/ UPY 2018.

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No 10 defends PM after Stormzy’s Grenfell freestyle at Brits

May didnt assure performance but said Grenfell tragedy should never be allowed to happen again

Downing Street has defended the cabinet of ministers after commentaries from Stormzy at the 2018 Brit awardings, where the south London MC attacked Theresa May for her response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

The prime minister’s spokesman said the government had committed millions of pounds to the community in the aftermath of the blaze at the west London tower block that killed at least 71 people in June last year.

Closing his Brits performance with a freestyle performance, Stormzy asked:” Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell ?” adding that the government” just forgot about Grenfell, you felons, and you got the cheek to call us savages. You should do some incarcerate period, you should pay some damages. We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this .”

The Downing Street spokesman said May had not watched the performance on Wednesday night and said he was not aware of any plans to reach out to Stormzy.

However, the spokesman said the prime minister would listen to anyone with very concerned about how the funds allocated to survivors and community services were being expended.

” The PM has been clear that what happened at Grenfell was an unimaginable tragedy, which should never be allowed to happen again ,” Downing Street said.” She is determined the public inquiry will discover not just what went wrong but why the voices of the people of Grenfell had been dismissed for so many years .”

No 10 said PS58. 29 m had been provided by the government so far in the consequences of the the flame, though the total sum was what had been committed, rather than what had been spent in so far.

” If there are any concerns being raised about that, we will of course look at those ,” the spokesman said.” Wherever there is more that can be done, we will look at that too .”

The sum included PS28m announced in the budget for mental health and emotional support, PS15m towards rehousing, PS6m to survivors through the discretionary fund, PS7. 7m for the Bellwin strategy for emergency services to compensate them for the additional costs as a result of the disaster, and PS2. 2m for local community projects.

No 10 acknowledged there is also concern about the initial response to the fire and said that was something the public inquiry, led by retired magistrate Sir Martin Moore-Bick, would examine.

” The “ministers ” told us that the initial response was too slow and that is something for the public investigation to look at ,” the spokesman said.” I’m not get into responding to individual comments- I’m pointing out the gravity with which the PM is taking this .”

Stormzy has long been a supporter of the survivors of the fire and featured on a charity single to raise money for the victims.

At Glastonbury festival, the MC said he believed the official response had been weak and those responsible for the conditions that led to the tragedy had been left unpunished.” We exhort the authorities to tell the fucking truth, first and foremost. We urge them to do something. We urge the fucking government to be held accountable for the fuckery, and we ain’t gonna stop until we get what we deserve ,” he said.

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A viral video about one gun owner’s response to Parkland comes with a powerful message.

Scott Pappalardo loves handguns and his right to own them so much that he has the Second Amendment tattooed on his body — but now he’s having a a change of heart.

In a video , now find more than 17 million times, New York-based Pappalardo discusses why he felt a moral responsibility to get rid of his AR-1 5, a gun he’s had for more than 30 years. He talks about how after the Sandy Hook massacre, he would have gladly traded in his weapon if it meant saving even one life and how the lack of action taken by both himself and the government built him feel as though like he needed to do something — now.

“I guess my terms[ after Sandy Hook] were just empty words in the spur of the moment and now here “weve been”, 17 more lives lost, ” he says, referencing the recent Florida school massacre.

He decided to not only get rid of his AR-1 5, but to ensure that it could never be used to take someone’s life.

“I’ve decided today, I’m going to make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life. The barrel of this handgun will never be pointed at someone. I entail, think about it. Is the human rights of own this weapon more important than someone’s life? ” he says before taking a power saw to the firearm, effectively destroying it.

Sure, he could have probably gotten $600 to $800, he estimates, for his firearm. It’s even likely the purchaser would have been a responsible gun owner, like he was. Still, there was the off opportunity that his weapon could find its route into the hands of a child or someone set on committing a crime, and he didn’t want to have that on his conscience.

Pappalardo captioned the video, “My drop in a very large pail #oneless. “