15 Things You Need To Know Today (March 21)

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1. Elon Musk's mom is a 67-year-old nutritionist/model with a totally relatable wellness routine.

Maye Musk has a bachelor's degree in dietetics, has been modeling for five decades, and was even a plus-size model in her thirties. Her wellness tips focus on ways to avoid getting hungry, planning ahead, and keeping it simple. (The Cut)

2. El Niño has upended the lives of millions worldwide.

The World Health Organization estimated that worldwide, El Niño-related weather, the strongest in a generation, is putting 60 million people at increased risk of malnutrition, water- and mosquito-borne diseases, and other illnesses—particularly in rural villages in Africa and Asia and urban neighborhoods in South America. (NY Times)

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3. Is purple bread the hot new superfood?

Being high on the glycemic index scale, standard white bread causes a spike in blood sugar levels. Alternately, purple bread—which contains cancer-fighting antioxidants extracted from black rice—is digested 20 percent slower. (CNN)

4. Kristin Cavallari's kids have a super clean diet.

In her new book Balancing in Heels, Cavallari, 29, said she prefers to know every ingredient that goes into the foods she feeds her family—especially when it comes to formula. "I would rather feed my baby real, organic ingredients than a heavily processed store-bought formula that contains 'glucose syrup solids,' which is another name for corn syrup solids, maltrodextrin, carrageenan, and palm oil," she wrote. (People)

5. General Mills will label GMOs in its products.

The maker of Cheerios, Progresso soups, and Yoplait yogurt will start clearly marking the use of GMOs in its products on American supermarket shelves. (NY Times)

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6. The EU just stopped taxing women for having periods.

Europe: always a step ahead. After the government heard "people's anger over paying the tampon tax loud and clear," it reached an agreement to eliminate the tampon tax. Here in the US, only five states do not impose this tax. Recently, Chicago just decided to get rid of it, and Utah just decided to keep it. (BBC)

7. A zero-waste grocery store is coming to Brooklyn.

The Fillery, which is now raising funds on Kickstarter, will sell mostly dry goods like cereals and nuts from bulk bins. (Fast CoExist)

8. Should Facebook allow images of child birth?

On a private Facebook group for parents, a new mom posted a photo of herself catching her baby during a home birth—but the image was soon flagged and removed by the site for violating its standards of nudity, since the mother's breasts are visible. Many are now hoping Facebook will change its policy to allow women to post photos that celebrate child birth, even if there's nudity. (The Cut)

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9. More and more New Yorkers are gathering to stop, think, and breathe.

With increasing attention on the physical and emotional benefits of meditation, an increasing number of harried New Yorkers are turning to meditation studios like MNDFL and Unplug. Classes and events are also being held in public parks, art museums, hotels and branches of the New York Public Library. (NY Times)

10. Florida is the latest state attempting to pull funding from Planned Parenthood.

The state passed a bill in the legislature that would ban state agencies from working with any organization that provides abortions for anything beyond extreme circumstances (rape, incest, or risking the health of the mother). The bill's proponents are insisting that there are plenty of alternatives for reproductive and sexual healthcare—like dentists, optometrists, and elementary schools. (Yes, unfortunately, you read that right.) (The Guardian)

11. In a first, a woman will be nominated for a senior US combatant job.

President Barack Obama will nominate the first woman, General Lori Robinson, to head a US military combatant command. If confirmed by the Senate, she will head the Colorado-based US northern command, which was created in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to coordinate and improve homeland defense and to provide support for national disasters. She currently is head of the Pacific Air Force. (The Guardian)

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12. There is now a personality test for your cat.

Or should we say purr-sonality? We already knew that our favorite feline friends have distinct personalities, but now there’s a test from the University of South Australia to help us figure how to label them. Researchers identified five common personality traits: skittishness, outgoingness, dominance, spontaneity and friendliness. (Washington Post)

13. Mark Zuckerberg's ‘Smog Jog’ sparks debate about air pollution in China.

In keeping with his New Year's resolution to run a mile a day, the Facebook co-founder posted a photo of himself jogging in Beijing, but the background showed a hazy grey sky indicating hazardous pollution. The Facebook post led to a robust online debate questioning whether it was safe under such conditions, and noting that most Chinese citizens would have worn a mask. (NY Times)

14. February was the warmest month in recorded history.

Climate experts say that February topped the previous global monthly record—set in December. They also believe that this entire year is destined to be the hottest on record. "This is an absolute warning of the dangers that lie ahead," said Professor David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey. (The Guardian)

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15. Olivia Wilde appeared in a PSA for World Down Syndrome Day—which is today!

The video was created by Italian organization CoorDown in order to raise awareness for Down syndrome. Using the hashtag #HowDoYouSeeMe, the PSA aims to change how people with Down syndrome are viewed. But it was met with some criticism, because it only shows a person with Down syndrome at the very end of the video, and many people think it downplays how someone's disability is an important part of them. You can watch it below. (Refinery29)

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