17 Things You Need To Know Today (December 16)

1. Cameron Diaz talks authenticity and happiness.

For the new film Human — which features interviews on what it's like to live when faced with different emotions — the actress opened up about what her definition of joy is: "Fulfillment comes within you by being authentic to yourself." (HuffPo)

2. Your dream of being an astronaut can finally come true.

NASA is now accepting online applications for astronauts. If you make it through the first round, expect a two-year evaluation period including physical tests, Russian language study, plus lessons in robotics and flight training. Piece of freeze-dried cake. (QZ)

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3. Stuff that's made in the USA might still be made by disenfranchised workers.

A new exposé is drawing attention to the loopholes certain L.A. garment factories are using to underpay workers, leaving working parents hovering on the poverty line and incapable of paying for child care. (Refinery29)

4. Kim Kardashian's post-birth plan involves eating placenta.

Kardashian wrote on her website that she's had her placenta freeze-dried and put into capsules, which she's been swallowing daily for a boost of energy and to keep postpartum depression at bay. (mbg)

5. We've got bad news for beach lovers.

A new study, the most comprehensive ever done on ocean pollution, just found that there's up to seven times more plastic in our oceans than originally thought. (EcoWatch)

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6. Climate change could disproportionately affect women.

Women in developing countries are especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming. Powerful female leaders flocked to Paris last week to make sure that both genders had a say in the climate negotiations. (Vogue)

7. Take a look at how your city would fare against melting ice caps.

A new series of maps shows what would happen to the U.S. landscape if the world's ice sheets melt. It isn't pretty. (CoExist)

8. Would you pay a clean air tax?

A restaurant in Zhangjiagang, China, has been tacking an "air cleaning fee" onto its customers' bills after installing an air-purifying system to combat the city's heavy smog. Needless to say, customers are not happy. After all, they have to breathe regardless. (Grub Street)

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9. Bacteria in your gut can influence weight loss.

In a new study, mice that were exposed to cold temperatures experienced changes in their gut microbes. As a result, they developed more "brown fat," which can help burn calories and lead to weight loss. (TIME)

10. Swearing like a sailor may actually be beneficial.

Remember when your mom used to tell you that you sounded less intelligent than you were when you cursed? She was wrong. (mbg)

11. Forget OK Cupid, this guy announced his single status on the news.

A short news clip about the warm weather in Chi-town featured a "shirtless stud," who let viewers know he was single and ready to mingle. (Today)

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12. A pack of 320 surfing Santas set a world record at Sydney's Bondi Beach.

It was the largest surf lesson ever, exceeding their goal of 250 surfers. (BBC)

13. CrossFit is now being used to help drug addicts recover.

At the Charlotte Rescue Mission, a 90-day treatment program will now include intense exercise, taught pro bono by fitness instructors. (FOX46)

14. Data points to meditation as a huge resource for executives.

Executives say meditation sharpens skills like attention, memory, and emotional intelligence, which clearly links their experience to the findings of academic research. (HBR)

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15. C-sections are better for babies when they start with labor.

A new study finds that babies who were born by C-section were healthier over the long-term if the mother labored a little before having an emergency C-section as opposed to a completely planned one. The researchers say it might mean that even small amounts of labor have benefits for the baby, including bacteria that might help with immune development. (NYT)

16. France votes to donate more food.

French parliament has unanimously passed a law that will require supermarkets to donate past-due foods to organizations that help the hungry, instead of throwing them out. Advocates for the law hope to get a similar motion passed throughout the EU and eventually the world — to both reduce food waste and help those in need. (The Guardian)

17. Vegan butchers are now a thing.

Yup, as eating plant-based becomes more mainstream, it's also infiltrating industries that were previously meat-only zones, like butchery. Vegan butchers selling things like marinated tofu and chickpea sausages are making their meatless approach fun and more accessible. (Eater)

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