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New Online Platform Aims To Link Black Women To Supportive Healthcare Systems 

Health In Her Hue is a New York City-based digital platform that has been operating since 2018 with the goal of empowering Black women with the community and resources they need to find a supportive and culturally sensitive care facility. 

Ashlee Wisdom and Eddwina Bright are the co-founders of the platform. Back in 2018 they secured a $1 million pre-seed funding which helped them immensely when it came to getting their business running. 

“Fundraising is never a walk in the park, especially as Black women. No matter how credentialed you are, it’s hard for everyone. But then you add on the layer of the fact that there aren’t many Black women who are building venture-backed companies or get funding. We’ve experienced some challenges throughout that journey,” says Wisdom.

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The pair are currently working on building their new web platform and membership experience to offer care, support, and resources tailored to each woman’s specific healthcare needs. 

“Ultimately, our vision for Health In Her Hue is to be the first touchpoint for women of color managing their healthcare.”

Eddwina Bright explained how the social relationship between herself and Wisdom led to their desire to make a change in the industry: 

“I think our first foray into working together was when Ashlee was doing a video series on maternal health and asked me to share my birthing story – at that point, we knew each other socially. My experience giving birth to my oldest was not great. I felt very much coaxed into a C-section; doctors were not answering my questions, not telling my husband anything. It was just not a great experience. And so from that, I was able to take a step back and find a provider that was more culturally aligned with me. So when it came time to have my second child, I felt seen, I felt heard, I felt taken seriously, and was able to really advocate for myself and have a much better birthing experience.”

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“So that’s the passion that I bring to the work that we do. I’d like us to help the women that we serve to advocate for themselves without having to go through really traumatic healthcare experiences. And the company happens to align with my professional experience in finance and non-profit entrepreneurship. So we definitely have a great balance of health and business expertise,” Bright explained.

 Wisdom explained how the “resounding thing we kept hearing was that it’s difficult to find a Black doctor, or a doctor of color, on existing platforms. So that was the impetus to build out a curated directory of Black physicians across the country. When we launched that directory in June 2020 – given the pandemic and the racial reckoning – people were ready. Thirty-four thousand people logged in within the first week or two.”

In the future, the pair hope to become the ultimate resource for BIPOC women so that they feel confident when it comes to their health. 

“I’d love for us to also become a resource for BIPOC women to better navigate not only their individual health, but the health of their families: their kids, their spouse, their parents. Because we know that community health is very important for the collective.”

The two are currently working on launching their online platform to get their message out there and to ideally help as many women as possible.

American Kennel Club Adds Two New Dog Breeds To Purebred Registry

On Jan. 1, the American Kennel Club (AKC) fully recognized two newest furry members to their prestigious purebred lineup – the Mudi and the Russian Toy. Both breeds are now eligible to compete in numerous U.S. dog shows, such as the National Dog Show and the Westminster Kennel Club show.

The Mudi — pronounced “moody” — comes from Hungarian roots. You might be learning about it for the first time, because there’s a good chance you haven’t spotted one in person. There are only an estimated 450 Mudik (the proper plural) in the U.S., and just 3,000-4,000 worldwide. The breed now belongs to the Herding Group.

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“If not mentally and physically challenged, the Mudi can be barky and demanding,” Mudi Club of America corresponding secretary Susanne Bergesen told AKC, emphasizing the breed is not one for first-time dog owners. “They are thinkers, love to learn, learn quickly, and do not need lots of repetitions to acquire most skills.”

When it comes to appearances, AKC said that black is the predominant color of the Mudi. It goes through numerous changes from puppy to adulthood, with its once floppy ears becoming pointed. The Mudi is a natural herder, guarder, and hunter –  only fitting given its invigorous personality, coupled with a hardworking, protective attitude.

Mudik compete in a variety of physical dog sports, including agility, obedience, dock diving, frisbee, and fly ball. If they sound like a breed you’d want, be warned – with its rarity comes an uptick in price. Costs for one can go up to $2,500.

The Russian Toy now becomes one of AKC’s smallest dog breeds — weighing up to only 6.5 pounds — and enters the Toy Group. Like the Mudi, the Russian Toy is uncommon – there are just an estimated 775 in the U.S., and generally range within the same price.

The Russian Toy can trace its heritage back to the English Toy Terrier. The breed has two varieties — a long-haired and short-haired — and comes in a variety of colors such as black, brown, red, sable, and even blue. Typically, you can find the Russian Toy competing in events like nose work, agility, and obedience.

While many small breeds have long held a tendency of less-than-stellar personalities — Chihuahuas and Terriers in particular — Russian Toy owners would disagree. “They’re extremely affectionate. They’re funny, [and] they have quite the attitude,” Russian Toy Club of America member Nona Dietrich told the Associated Press.

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AKC holds the claim of being the oldest U.S. purebred registry. With the two added dogs, the Club now has recognized 199 breeds. There are a number of hoops (literally) a breed must go through to be added to the registry.

The breed must have a “demonstrated following and interest,” with at least 100 household members in the form of a National Kennel Club. The breed needs to possess a minimum U.S. population of 300-400, while also being geographically diverse by being located in 20 or more states.

The Mudi and Russian Toy moved up from the “Miscellaneous Class,” which breeds compete in for around one to three years after passing the AKC’s criteria. Following further requirements of both the breed and clubs, full recognition is awarded.

While AKC stands by its mission and integrity, the Club has been criticized in the past, namely from registering the litters of extremely questionable puppy breeders and mills that put animal welfare in jeopardy.

Outdoor Music Festival

Coldplay Announces They Will Stop Recording Music In 2025

Chris Martin, the lead singer of famous band Coldplay, announced in an interview with BBC Radio this week that the band will stop recording music as a group in 2025. 

Coldplay recently released their ninth studio album, Music of the Spheres, two months ago. The album went straight to number one earlier this year upon its release. Although Martin announced there may not be anymore music coming from the band, they still intend on touring and sharing their work with the world. 

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“Our last proper record will come out in 2025, and after that I think we will only tour, and maybe we’ll do some collaborative things but the Coldplay catalogue, as it were, finishes then.”

Jo Whiley, who interviewed Martin when he made the announcement, discussed how while the lead singer is “disarmingly honest,” she never is “sure if he’s joking or being deadly serious.” 

Martin, however, has previously told other media outlets that the band intends to stop recording music as well. Back in October he discussed with NME Magazine how the band was planning on releasing three more albums to bring their total up to 12, however, this is the first time he put an actual date on the end point of Coldplay’s journey.

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“Well, we knew the day would come sometime. I guess I was just in denial and hoping it would be longer. It’s the first time they’ve put a date on it … Here’s to the last 3 albums!” fan Thomas Rowson tweeted in response to the news. 

Back in October Coldplay announced a world tour that would benefit a range of initiatives as a means of mitigating the environmental impact touring can have. The band promised to cut their personal CO2 emissions by 50% when compared to their major 2016-17 tour. 

The band intends on using almost entirely renewable energy to power the stage show for their upcoming tour, which is currently set to begin in August of next year. The tour will also include a “kinetic floor” to harness the energy of fans. 

The stage will also be made up of renewable materials including solar panels, and all battery and main power will be drawn from renewable sources.

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Dictionary.com Names ‘Allyship’ As Word Of The Year In 2021

Dictionary.com has named “allyship” as the 2021 word of the year. The website defines allyship, a noun, as “the status or role of a person who advocates and actively works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view and under its leadership.”

Additionally, a second definition states allyship as being “the relationship or status of persons, groups, or nations associating and cooperating with one another for a common cause or purpose.”

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Allyship was only added to the online dictionary last month. Dictionary.com’s John Kelly, associate director of content and education, explained to the Associated Press that while allyship may be a “surprising choice to some,” the term has taken on a new new and specific meanings in the past years, and continues to evolve.

The site noted that allyship first surfaced back in the mid-1800s, with “ally” being first recorded around 1250-1300. The usage of allyship has gone up tremendously in the past decade – the frequency of the word has jumped to an average of 700%, while the word ally landing with the top 850 words searched.

Allyship has become frequently used in today’s society, as many companies and individuals have taken up the defined role as they try to advocate for groups that have long been marginalized, such as minority groups or the LGBTQ communities – a prime reason why the word was chosen, Kelly explained.

Topics searched alongside allyship included “workplace,” “diversity,” “equality,” “inclusion,” and “critical race theory (CRT).” CRT and DEI also made their debut on the site this year as well.

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Of course, Dictionary.com isn’t the end all be all when it comes to the “word of the year.” Every dictionary has their own selection. Merriam-Webster chose “vaccine” as their word of the year, for obvious reasons. “This was a word that was extremely high in our data every single day in 2021,” Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski told AP.

“It really represents two different stories. One is the science story, which is this remarkable speed with which the vaccines were developed. But there’s also the debates regarding policy, politics and political affiliation. It’s one word that carries these two huge stories.”

Searches for “vaccine” on Merriam-Webster increased by 601%, with this year seeing an 1,048% increase. Updated boosters, constant talk of vaccine mandates, and the role they play in today’s travel helped to keep the searches high.

Oxford Dictionary went in a similar direction, choosing “vax” as their word of the year – although the word can be defined in numerous ways, such as the treatment of a person, a vaccine, and one opposed to vaccination or vaccines. Use of the word “vax” increased by 57,000 in 2021.

Other words Merriam-Webster saw an increase in were “insurrection” — obviously due to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — “infrastructure,” “nomad,” and “perseverance,” the “most sophisticated” Mars rover that landed back in February.

Meanwhile, Collins Dictionary awarded “NFT”, or “non-fungible token,” as their word of the year. NFTs have become extremely popular in the cryptocurrency world, and are essentially digital assets — some worth in the millions — which can come in forms like pieces of art, trading cards, or even real estate.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Returns To Pre-Pandemic Size

Last year, the classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was heavily impacted by COVID-19. Luckily, that won’t be the case again. The parade, which debuted in 1924 and is now in its 95th year, will feature more than 800 clowns, 28 floats, 15 balloons, 10 marching bands, nine performance groups, the Rockettes, and Santa Claus in what can be seen as a return to pre-coronavirus times.

Speaking to The Daily News, parade production manager Kathleen Wright expressed how different the parade will be from 2020’s – but also said they wasted no expense coming up with emergency plans in case of any COVID-related changes.

“So much is different this year. But we were also coming up with a slew of contingency plans. We wanted to be sure that we were going to know how we would pivot if we had to pivot.”

2020’s parade saw major overhauls. In addition to the 2 1/2 mile stretch being limited to one block of 34th Street, no high school bands joined in on the tradition (they’ll be returning this year), no attendees were permitted on the streets, and overall aspects were cut back in order to align with pandemic procedures at the time. It ended up being a rainy day, a fitting condition given the dreariness surrounding the country at the time.

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There are a number of new balloons this year. Everyone’s favorite alien baby, Grogu (also frequently known as “Baby Yoda”) from the hit Star Wars-spinoff, “The Mandalorian,” will be front and center at 41-feet tall – just a tad bit taller than he is on the show.

Other new additions and balloon designs include Pikachu and Eevee from Pokemon, Ronald McDonald, Toni the Bandleader Bear, Ada Twist, Scientist, and Tiptoe, who’s “the star of Macy’s campaign,” according to the retail company.

Viewers will also see classic returning floats like Astronaut Snoopy, Spongebob Squarepants, the Pillsbury Doughboy, “The Boss Baby,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” Papa Smurf from “The Smurfs,” and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Musical acts will include the casts of “Six,” “Waitress,” “Wicked,” “Chicago,” and “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” as well as “Girls5eva.”Among the celebrities set to appear are Carrie Underwood, Jimmy Fallon, Darren Criss, Foreigner, Rob Thomas, Andy Grammer, Mickey Guyton, Kelly Rowland, and “The Muppets,” as well as the former and current hosts of “Blue’s Clues.”

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As the Associated Press noted, thousands of police will be assigned to the parade route, while the New York Police Department stated it will block off vehicle access points to the route with trucks and concrete barriers.

The parade will start at 9:00 am on Central Park West at 77th Street, and will then turn left at Columbus Circle. It will then march down 6th Avenue before ending at the typical spot in front of the Macy’s flagship store at 34th Street and Broadway.

According to the National Weather Service, the weather on Thursday morning is looking clear, and temperatures will range anywhere from 39 to 44 degrees.

Major Hollywood Union Votes To Ratify Contracts For Better Streaming Payments

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), a major Hollywood union, have ratified their new film and TV contracts this week after six months of contentious negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). LA locals rejected the deal in a popular vote. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb in a statement today. 

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“The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

AMPTP released a statement as well, stating: “We congratulate IATSE President, Matt Loeb, the IATSE Bargaining Committee and Board for their leadership in achieving ratification of the new contracts. Throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improve quality of life for those they represent. These agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

The union uses an electoral college system for ratification votes such as this one. During this particular vote, 359 (56%) voted in favor compared to 282 (44%) who voted against it out of 641 total delegate votes; the votes were taken from 36 local unions nationwide that were eligible.

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The Basic Agreement was rejected in the popular vote with 49.6% voting yes to 50.4% voting no. Overall 50.3% voted yes to 49.7% voting no for both contracts. In the end, “72% of the 63,209 eligible members cast digital ballots this weekend,” according to IATSE.

According to media reports, “there were actually two separate contracts that were ratified: the Basic Agreement, which covers 13 Hollywood locals, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers 23 locals outside of Los Angeles.”

“For the LA centric Basic Agreement, the vote was 256 voting for the deal that IATSE made with the AMPTP last month, yes to 188 no. In regards to the non-LA based Area Standards Agreement the yes vote was 103 to 94 no votes for the more recent deal,” according to Deadline. 

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks. We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements,” Loeb stated. 

National Toy Hall Of Fame Inducts American Girl Doll, Risk, And Sand

The National Toy Hall of Fame has three new members… and one of them is a bit more decisive than the others. The American Girl Doll, the classic board game Risk, and sand were all part of the 2021 class inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong National Museum of Play.

It was a fierce competition for the coveted spots. Among the other nominees this year included The Settlers of Catan, Battleship, Cabbage Patch Kids, Mahjong, billiards, Masters of the Universe, the piñata, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, and the toy fire engine.

American Girl Dolls have become a childhood staple in American society. Created by Pleasant Rowland in 1986, these dolls were designed to come from all skin colors, cultural backgrounds, and time periods, along with unique and fascinating backstories.

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The success of the American Girl brand has led to numerous spin-off products, such as magazines, games, and movies, as well as retail stores centered around the dolls. Not only are girls able to stylize their dolls with all sorts of hair styles, outfits, and accessories, but they also learn more about history.

Risk has been transforming tiny innocent children into war-mongering generals since 1957. The game focuses on “diplomacy, conflict, and conquest,” as the players battle each other for control of territories — 42 to be exact — across the globe.

The title comes from the intense, constant decision-making and strategy involved. According to the Museum, part of Risk’s appeal is that more than two players can join in, unlike other war games such as Battleship.

The Museum called sand the “most universal and oldest toy in the world,” noting that children recognize it as a play vehicle and that wet sand is great for shaping, molding, and sculpting. People started playing with sand as early as the 1800s, and its spawned additional toys such as sand castle molds.

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Sand certainly takes the cake for being the “oldest” toy in the Hall of Fame – after all, it does come in at the ripe age of about 4.5 billion years. It’s also provided children (and even adults!) with hours of entertainment at the beach and playground.

While some might argue that sand doesn’t necessarily fit in with the typical “toy,” this kind of inductee isn’t exactly out of the ordinary for the Hall of Fame – cardboard boxes were inducted in 2005, and sticks were inducted in 2008. For children, the kind of material doesn’t matter as long as the source can provide a creative and exciting play experience.

The Toy Hall of Fame has inducted many beloved play pals over the years since it was established in 1998. Among its notable inductees include Mr. Potato Head, Legos, the Nintendo Game Boy, Star Wars action figures, the Teddy Bear, and Crayola Crayons.

If there’s a certain toy from your childhood that you think deserves the honor of being memorialized for all time, the Toy Hall of Fame accepts nominations on their website. The criteria needed for a toy to be inducted includes longevity (has become a staple instead of a trend), icon status (it’s widely recognized and remembered), discovery (the toy encourages discovery and creativity), and innovation (the toy changed the “play” landscape).

Auction

Banksy’s Self-Shredded ‘Love In The Bin’ Artwork Sells For $25.4 Million

A self-shredded work of art by British street artist Banksy, titled “Love in the Bin,” sold for 18.5 million pounds ($25.4 million) in a Sotheby’s auction on Thursday. It was a surprising number, as presale estimates had the painting fetching up to 4 to 6 million pounds (around $5 million to $8 million).

The piece was originally sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s back in 2018, and was then known as “Girl with Balloon.” As the anonymous female European buyer won the bid, a hidden shredder in the frame of the painting cut up half of the canvas.

It was certainly a stunning move that, when watched on video, becomes amusing when factoring in the reactions of unsuspecting attendees and workers. Thankfully, the buyer of “Love in the Bin” was happy to be a part of such a notable event.

“When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked,” the buyer said, speaking to Sotheby’s, “but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”

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“Girl with Balloon,” created by Banksy in 2006, featured a black spray-painted young girl reaching up for a the lone color of the piece, a red, heart-shaped balloon against the white canvas. After the shredding, only does the balloon and the smallest bit of the girl’s head remain in the frame.

Sotheby’s noted that Banksy using an “artist’s frame,” which is a heavy, Victorian-era frame, is typically how he “pokes fun at the establishment.” Sotheby’s also explained that this kind of ruse has become a norm for the artist. Previously, Banksy hung his own works of art in famous museums such as the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Banksy is just as unique as the stunt he pulled. Street Art Bio gives a fascinating look into the creator’s career, while also praising just how much of an impact Banksy has left in the art world due to his “no boundaries” approach.

“Banksy’s political statements and disruptive vision have impacted cities across the globe at vital moments in modern history, provoking alternative viewpoints and encouraging revolution in the art world.”

At just 18 years old, Banksy realized his desired form of art while hiding from the police after vandalizing public spaces: stenciling. Banksy would go on to create various artworks that deal with numerous themes, from designing hotel rooms guest could sleep in to oil paintings that form a cruise ship when combined, a shot at effects of mass tourism.

One of Banksy’s defining traits is his satirical takes. One such painting, “Devolved Parliament,”  depicted the U.K.’s House of Commons being overrun with apes. It ended up selling for 9.9 million pounds, or $13.54 million, the highest amount of money any one of his works had fetched up until now.

Banksy’s love of poking fun at society through primates is also shown in “Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge,” which shows three monkeys holding up dripping pages that have the aforementioned title written on them.

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It’s not hard to see why people greatly enjoy the “variety and bravery” of Banksy’s pieces, and how he is able to leave such a remarkable impression on his audiences – so much so that Street Art Bio says the inspiration he gives to artists of all forms and experiences is known as the “Banksy effect.”

Banksy is an extremely private man – not even his full name is known, and he doesn’t give interviews. Street Art Bio says that some sources claim his name is Robin Gunninham.  However, perhaps this mystery is best left unsolved. After all, it only contributes more to the zaniness and intrigue that surrounds him.

Abdulrazak Gurnah Awarded 2021 Nobel Prize In Literature

Abdulrazak Gurnah, a Zanzibar-born novelist, has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for his ground-breaking pieces of work.

The Swedish Academy, which presents the literature prize, explained that Gurnah was given the award due to his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

When Gurnah first heard of his selection, he though it was “a prank” and kept wondering who would win. The Associated Press captured some of Gurnah’s thoughts on receiving the highest honor a writer can achieve.

“It’s still sinking in that the Academy has chosen to highlight these themes which are present throughout my work, it’s important to address and speak about them.”

Born in 1948, Gurnah came to Britain— where he is currently active— as a refugee in 1968 after facing persecution in Zanzibar. The British Council details many of his works, which include Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrim’s Way (1988), and Dottie (1990). These novels “document immigrant experience in contemporary Britain from different perspectives.”

Gurnah’s Paradise, published in 1995, is what the Nobel Prize website refers to as Gurnah’s “breakthrough as a writer” while comparing the piece to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Paradise deals heavily with the theme of European colonialism as a young boy, who was sold by his father, is forced to adjust to World War I East Africa and the clashing cultures that are present. Paradise was nominated for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Prize.

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Recent pieces of Gurnah’s include The Last Gift (2011), Gravel Heart (2017), and Afterlives (2020). Gurnah is also known for his short stories and companion pieces, such as The Cambridge Companion. Gurnah becomes the first black writer to win the literature award since Toni Morrison in 1993.

According to the AP, Anders Ollson, a professor and chairman of the Nobel committee for literature, called Gurnah one of the world’s “most prominent post-colonial writers.” Ollson also praised Gurnah for his detailed and accurate portrayals of Africa as it underwent numerous cultural and repressive shifts due to colonialism.

Gurnah’s selection could help many to discover his writing on issues that still plague refugees and countries around the globe. According to a poll on the Noble Prize’s website, 95% of voters have not read any of Gurnah’s work.

Additionally, the AP notes that Zanzibar does not have Gurnah’s pieces as required reading in schools, nor are they easy to find in general, despite the region’s immense impact on the novelist. However, he is becoming more relevant among Zanzibar’s young population thanks to his achievements.

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Meanwhile, the Swedish Academy is likely relieved the literature prize no longer has clouds above it. The Academy has faced widespread controversies in recent years, with the prize being suspended back in 2017 among sexual abuse and corruption scandals.

Talking to The New Republic, Ollson explains that the Academy used the controversies to “renovate its organization.” Ollson added that modernizing the said organization was also an action that the Academy took, eliminating some aspects such as hierarchy.

The Nobel Prize for Literature award comes in the form of a gold medal, along with prize money in the sum of 10 million Swedish Krona (over $1 million in U.S. dollars).

Among the many other winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, which have been awarded since 1901, are Bob Dylan, Winston Churchhill, Wislawa Szymborska, and Ernest Hemingway. Last year’s winner was American poet Louise Glück.

Along with literature, the Nobel Prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, and peace have also been unveiled. The awards will be presented to their respective winners during the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, in December.

Facebook Postpones “Instagram For Kids”

Following sharp backlash from parents, users, and lawmakers, Facebook has announced that it is pausing their latest venture: “Instagram Kids,” a spin-off of the photo-sharing app that would target tweens between the ages of 10-12.

In a statement published on their blog, Facebook explained that while the need to continue building their project remains, they will be working with those who were most vocal about Facebook’s planned platform:

“While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause this project. This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today.”

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The app had been in development since March and was set to be led by the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri and Facebook vice president Pavni Diwanji. Diwanji had previously been influential in Google’s launch of Youtube Kids back in 2015.

However, the titan of industry, which acquired Instagram in 2012, did not back down from the vast amount of criticism and admit failure. Instead, they defended their attempts at targeting a group that some might argue are the most vulnerable to the dangers and pressures of the online world:

“Critics of “Instagram Kids” will see this as an acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea. That’s not the case. The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today.”

While the app may not be going forward at the moment, there is plenty of merit to creating a safe social platform space for younger audiences who, one way or another, will inevitably make their way online.

When you hear the words “middle school” and “social media,” cyberbullying is probably the first thought to your mind. Thanks to Instagram’s popularity among teens and it’s plethora of features, which include direct and group messaging, stories, tagging, posting, and multiple account creations, it has become a breeding ground for aggressive virtual assaults.

According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of teenagers have experienced at least one method of harassment online across all platforms of social media. These can include name-calling, negative rumors, and receiving unrequested explicit images.

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Ditch the Label, a U.K. based anti-bullying charity, conducted a survey in 2017 that showed that out of the 78% of young users on Instagram, 42% experienced some form of cyberbullying. That was the highest bullying rate of all young users on any platform, beating out Facebook by 6%:

The Pew Research Center also found that 66% of teens felt social media platforms were not doing a good enough job of addressing online harassment. Facebook has stated their plans to continue enhancing safety on Instagram, implementing changes such as AI detection technology, restrictions, hidden words and the ability to make accounts private.

Facebook has also started using cross-checking technology in order to confirm user ages. Up until a couple years ago, Instagram had only required a new user to input their birth date in order to confirm they were 13 or older- something that was unbelievably easy for young tweens to lie about.

Despite Facebook’s continued safety measures, a recent Wall Street Journal report has revealed that the company is aware of the potential dangers their apps hold to their younger target audience, specifically to teen girls. However, the company has downplayed these concerns publicly.

This new information has led politicians to cast doubt on Facebook and Instagram’s ability to correctly adapt a system that prioritizes the safety of young users while also maintaining their key aspects that allow cyberbullying to consist.