Imagine freeing yourself of all social inhibition. Feeling totally comfortable talking to just about anybody. Now couple that with an unabiding empathy for others, and that’s what it’s like to have Williams Syndrome. A rare genetic disorder afflicting one in around 7,500 kids, Williams Syndrome people are prone to being extra friendly, trusting and high on life. The downside? They lack a healthy fear of strangers, and are unable to discern a friendly face from a threatening one. ABC News reporter Chris Cuomo hung out with some of the kids and adults with the syndrome at a special summer camp and was moved by their eternal optimism and kindness. Check out the video of his trip above.
I can’t handle the cuteness: the eight-year-old daughter of a Reddit user penned this adorable answer to a writing prompt about why it’s cool to be a girl. She says:
We have veginas [vaginas]. We get jobs. We are creative. We have stuff that makes us preanet [pregnant]. We have milk in our bobes [boobs]. We are smart. We have power.
So totally true. (Of course, she has no idea how much this “we have stuff that makes pregnant” thing will suck in 20 years when she’s horny and there are no condoms left in the box. But in the meantime let’s not burst her bubble about womanhood being awesome.) What a smart little kid. [HyperVocal]
I’m proud to be an American, especially today, when I heard this utterly tone deaf 10-year-old in a zesty sequin American flag vest butcher the lyrics to “Proud To Be An American.” With patriotic hand gestures. He filmed his medley for a Dallas cable access channel in a tribute after 9/11. God bless you, Tyler Busby. See you on “American Idol.” [VideoGum]
This 4-year-old girl has one of the best Ghostbusters costumes we’ve ever seen (including a handmade proton pack), but it’s her fierce expression and confident stance that really makes it work. Watch out, evil spirits and sentient marshmallow men! [Imgur]
If you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about the tuna sandwich waiting for you in the office fridge, you might want to take a look at NeverSeconds, a food blog curated by nine-year-old Martha Payne. For the past month, Martha has borrowed her father’s camera and diligently documented the lunch offerings at her Scottish primary school, including important stats like health ratings and how many hairs she found in her food. She also often complained of not feeling full: “I’m a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I can’t do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could?” Her daily musings soon gained an international following (over 1.5 million pageviews so far), a Twitter shoutout from Jamie Oliver, and school lunch photo submissions from other kids all over the world. It also effected a major change in her school’s policy: yesterday, Martha announced that her cafeteria was now allowing unlimited side dishes. Martha, keep doing your thing, and if you ever visit the States, we’re totally taking you out to lunch. [NeverSeconds]
She may be a bit of a kid at heart, but Zooey Deschanel doesn’t want any of her own. ”[Having kids has] never been my focus,” she tells the current issue of Marie Claire. ”My sister was always very motherly, babysitting and stuff. I like kids, and I like being around kids–but it was never an ambition, something, like, I need … I like working. That’s what I like doing. I like to work.”
I have to say, I’ve been on the fence about Zooey for awhile, but this interview painted a pretty interesting picture of her. (She also spoke about getting spit on by a bully in middle school: “I really don’t know why she spit at me. I guess I wasn’t allowed to talk to her. I remember I couldn’t believe it.”) And she’s not alone in not wanting kids; plenty of successful Hollywood stars plan on staying rugrat-free. Here are 10 more!
Six-year-old girl Salecia Johnson landed herself in the slammer recently after throwing a temper tantrum. Georgia police arrived at Creekside Elementary School where the kindergartener was accused of tearing items off the walls, throwing furniture and knocking down a bookshelf that “injured” the principal. When officials attempted to calm her, she “resisted,” so cops handcuffed and hauled her little booty downtown. (The police chief told the WMAZ local news that anyone transported to the station must be placed in cuffs while riding inside a cop car.) Salecia, pictured above, was charged with damage to property and simple assault and was suspended for the remainder of the school year. Keep reading »
Heidi Hankins has always been a smartypants: by age two she could read and count to 40, by age three she could add and subtract, and now, at age 4, she has been inducted into Mensa with an IQ of 159. To put that number into perspective, the average adult has an IQ of 100; Stephen Hawking has an IQ of 160. Heidi’s parents, a public health lecturer and an artist from Winchester, England, suspected she was bright but were shocked when they heard the results. And according to her father, Heidi’s already mastered the art of sarcasm as well: “The other day I gave her mash and fishfingers for dinner — something quite boring — and her response was ‘that’s impressive,’ so she has a sense of humor, too.” Damn, between the 86-year-old gymnasts and the 4-year-old geniuses, I’m feeling like quite the underachiever these days. [BBC News]
It’s common knowledge that toys are marketed to boys and girls in hugely different–and often troubling–ways. Media literacy advocate and video artist Jonathan McIntosh has come up with a super effective way to illustrate those differences. It’s called the Gendered Advertising Remixer, and the concept is simple: on one side of the screen is a selection of ads targeting boys, on the other side are ads targeting girls. You drag one ad to the audio box, one to the video box, click “Mashup,” and you’ll watch a sweet, maternal ad for a baby doll accompanied by the explosions and violent rhetoric of a GI Joe commercial (or swap the audio and video for equally confusing results). Some of the remixes are funny, but all of them bring up major questions about our culture’s definitions of gender, how early they are instilled in us, and how harmful they can be. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Remix some ads for yourself! [Gendered Advertising Remixer]