The End of Child Marriage is Gaining Traction

Marriage is thought to be a sacred union between two consenting adults. However, in most of the country, you don’t necessarily have to be an adult. New Jersey recently became the second state (after Delaware) to ban marriage for people under the age of eighteen.

Forty eight states still allow children to get married either on their own volition or with the approval of their parents and/or a judge. A hundred years ago someone may not have batted an eyelash at a sixteen year old’s tying the knot but times have changed along with general life expectancy.

The idea behind children getting married used to be attributed to the fact that most people dropped dead by fifty, so it didn’t make sense to wait until 35 to get married and have children. In today’s society, child marriage can mostly be attributed to religious and family preference.

In an article by CBS news, child marriage survivor and founder of Unchained At Last, Fraidy Reiss sheds light on the issue.

“There’s nothing easy about escaping a forced marriage,” Reiss said.

National forced marriage statistics are hard to come by. In a survey of marriage licenses compiled by Unchained At Last, at least 167,000 children under 18 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. (That number is likely on the conservative side, as Unchained At Last could obtain age data from only 38 U.S. states.)

The vast majority of those children were girls married off to adult men, Reiss said.

The argument against the forced marriage of minors is clear, it is a distinct violation of human rights. A person should not be forced to enter into a legal contract with another person they do not choose or before they are ready.

On the contrary, if a person under eighteen chooses to get married, should the law prevent them? That depends on how the law measures the aptitude of children to make decisions that affect their lives.

Laws already exist to regulate the  purchase of alcohol and tobacco, voting, serving in the military and gambling. Does marriage fall in the same category? Perhaps it should, since it is a legal contract.

Legislatures in other states seem to agree as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania are now considering passing bills to limit or end child marriage.

Daily Inspiration: Sometimes Creativity Finds You

Vincent Bal is a shadowologist and filmmaker from Belgium. His unique style of art is made by using the shadows of ordinary objects to complete a drawing.

Today’s video displays some of fun and quirky drawings in action. The inspiration for these projects came from a coffee cup. It serves as a reminder that the most unlikely thing can get creative juices flowing. See more of his doodles on his Instagram.

Daily Inspiration: Women in Finance

Lauren Simmons is surpassing expectations at just 23 years old. She is currently the only female floor broker at the New York Stock Exchange.

In today’s video she talks about her journey and the empowerment she feels by accomplishing this goal. She is an inspiration to girls looking to find their place in STEM fields.

Digital Marketing Has Changed the Way People Internalize Ads

Advertisements are everywhere—on tv, in movies and in print. Companies have found new ways to market their products using technology. Mostly to their benefit and not the consumers. Photoshop showed society that too much of a good thing definitely exists.

Perfection gleamed across pages and screens so much so, that magazines had to admit that their models were heavily airbrushed(edited). Although, some of these ads were frowned upon, the culture of perfection intensified.

Recently, a model named, Shudu, made waves across Instagram. People seemed to be enthralled with her beauty and amazed at her hyper realistic features. Why? Ironically enough, because she’s not real. She was created with a computer program, making her the first digital model that we can openly identify.

The fashion and beauty industry is known for breeding perfectionism within itself; the growth of advertising and social media has greatly increased its influence. Ads are a symbol of what society deems beautiful, worthy and acceptable.

Self-esteem is directly correlated to how one sees themselves in the world. When young people and adults are constantly viewing ads, it is common to project what is being marketed inward. Suddenly it isn’t just about the shade of lipstick or the shirt with the logo on the model.

The consumer sees the features of the model: glowing perfect skin, white porcelain teeth, those long flowing locks and  perfectly sculpted abs. Internalization is the unintended symptom for the consumer. Companies are counting on the individual viewing the ad wanting to emulate what they see.

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign in 2004 was aiming to counter act the photoshop dilemma in magazines. The sentiment was nice in that they focused on how real women look. They were striving to give a face to the regular mom, sister, and overworked teacher.

The ‘real beauty’ campaign still exists today for Dove and other companies, but it will forever remain the step-child of regular ads that find no fault in the perfectionists game. Artificial intelligence is sure to advance this culture and society will have to stay vigilant in reminding itself that not everything in magazines and sponsored pages is real—its just marketing.

Daily Inspiration: Judging Before Knowing is Always a Disservice

Skat Dagger  is undoubtedly a tattoo enthusiast. His body is covered in tattoos and can be seen as self expression.

In today’s video he describes that sometimes he can face discrimination due to the art that he displays on his face. He says that people believe that he suffers from mental illness because of his body art. He goes on to explain the meaning behind some his face tattoos and it is sure to tug at your heart strings.

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Daily Inspiration: Kids Feeding the Hungry

The issue of hunger across America and even the world is a monumental. One girl is doing her part to end it in her corner of South Carolina.

Katie’s Krops was inspired by a homework assignment. She was given seeds and asked to grow cabbage. To Katie’s surprise, it grew to be as large as 40 pounds. With that bounty she went on to feed over 200 people.

Since then she has used gardening as a tool to feed America’s hungry. Currently Katie’s Krops has over 100 gardens and has fed thousands of people.

The Internet Isn’t Always a Data Dumpster

The internet has proved to be an invaluable resource. The world’s knowledge is available at lightening speeds, transmitting from our fingertips directly to our brains. While the internet has ushered in a new digital era, everything that has a connection isn’t gold. The method that we receive all of this data can actually make us dumber.

When scrolling down to the comment section of any article, at least one person makes a comment or asks a question that is actually answered in said article. Taking into account that many of these comments are just the product of trolls; many people don’t read fully or retain the information. Not surprisingly enough, this is because our brains are specifically outfitted to process information on the internet.

In an article by Fortune, the author explains how this method of distracted learning is not conducive to remembering information for long periods of time. The overwhelming amount of information that is available and the way that it is presented may essentially be useless for comprehension.

According to a study in the Journal of Digital Information, those who read documents with hypertext didn’t retain as much information as those who read text without links. Indeed, book reading is under stimulating. That is a good thing because your brain can transfer this information from your “working memory” to “long-term memory.” Neuroscientists have discovered that long-term memory isn’t just where you store random facts, but “schemas” that help you organize thoughts and concepts. But there is only so much you can transfer into your long-term memory at once, what scientists call the “cognitive load.”

If the bulk of the information you seek is gathered from internet sources, how much have you actually learned? Think about the last few books that you have read. The likelihood of being able to recall the plot, characters and your general emotional response to the story is highly likely. Upon using the internet, a person has read hundreds, if not thousands of articles. Can you recall specific information about any article that was read longer than 6 months ago?

This cannot be deduced for all those using the internet as a resource. Interest and general willingness to learn are also factors.  Research with intent provides endless insight into new ideas and concepts. It is also safe to assume that many click-bait articles or things read in passing have made its way to the data dumpster.  Reign in the internet searches and focus on content that is meaningful to you,  you will be smarter for it.

 

Daily Inspiration: Get Outside and Enjoy Nature

How many hours of your life do you spend indoors? For many people it is almost all of it.

Today’s video was created by The Velux Group, a company that manufactures skylights. In this video (which reads almost like a commercial) the narrator explains the transitions we have made from nature to an indoor environment.

The downsides of living a life within walls include sickness and depression. Centuries of technological advancement afford us the luxury of remaining indoors, but we should also remember that a world exists out there. Get outside.

Daily Inspiration: No More Excuses

Michael Jordan is an iconic basketball player who is always noted as being the best player of all time. His career in the NBA is a constant source of referral and his sneaker line is widely popular.

In today’s video, a commercial, he talks about how he became such a successful player. The message can also be applied to every day life and the struggles that one must face to get to where they ultimately want to be.

The Suicide Machine Aims to Make Death Peaceful

Death means different things to people across cultures and religions. The idea that everyone has a last day is non-disputable. Assisted Suicide gives death a permanent and scheduled date. Although questionable, physician assisted deaths are not new.

This type of death was highlighted in mainstream media through Dr. Kevorkian. He was a medical pathologist that helped terminally ill patients end their lives and was eventually prosecuted for it. In an interview with the New York Times he explained his position:

“My ultimate aim is to make euthanasia a positive experience,” he said. “I’m trying to knock the medical profession into accepting its responsibilities, and those responsibilities include assisting their patients with death.”

The argument for assisted suicide is centered around giving the terminally ill individuals who want to end their suffering a peaceful and dignified way to do it. Philip Nitschke, a pro- euthanasia activist has developed a 3-D printed device to do just that. The Sarcos is a pod where the patient can end their own lives with nitrogen. Nitschke is a staunch supporter of an individuals write to choose.

I believe it is a fundamental human right for every adult of sound mind, to be able to plan for the end of their life in a way that is reliable, peaceful & at a time of their choosing.

Several states such as: Vermont, California and Oregon  already permit assisted suicide for patients that have 6 months or less to live. This device may give individuals more autonomy over their own deaths. The legality and the logistics of how a product like this would actually be put into practice has yet to be determined.

The morality of self inflicted death is still up for debate; individuals such as Nitschke are using modern medicine to make the transition between life and death more dignified.

Daily Inspiration: City Gives Jobs To End Panhandling

Former Mayor of Albequerque, New Mexico, Richard Berry is the mastermind behind the program There’s A Better Way.  This program gives people who are in need a job for the day paying them a wage of $9.00 an hour for five and a half hours.

In addition to a paying wage, the participants are also given resources to receive services that can help them get back on their feet.  The mission of the program is to help give dignity to people through work and collectively end panhandling.

Daily Inspiration: The Advancement of Animation

Walt Disney was a very successful entrepreneur, animator and film producer. His name might ring a bell. His company has produced very popular animated films and Walt Disney theme parks.

Digital technology is the cornerstone of Disney’s success. The animated films produced by Walt Disney Studios are widely known throughout the world and have been reimagined several times as the technology becomes more advanced.

In this video Disney describes what the multiplane camera is and how it made animated films more realistic. The development of this idea helped make animation into what it is today.