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21 Amazing Things To Be Thankful For This Year

Bad news has a tendency to swallow us whole, and 2015 has seen a lot of it. It’s enough to make anyone think that the world is headed toward collapse, but the truth is that a lot of good stuff has happened, too. As 2015 comes to a close, here are just some of the discoveries, innovations and leaps of cultural progress that happened this year, all of which will remind you that as dark as the world may seem, it’s also imbued with warmth, light and hope for the future:

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Photo Of The Day: Meet Your 2015 Presidentially Pardoned Turkey

Tom One Gets The Pardon

Tom One is chosen as the next turkey to be pardoned by the president at Foster Farms in Modesto, Calif. Image Source: The Modesto Bee

An outgoing personality, fluffed up good looks and knowing how to strut your stuff can get you a presidential pardon—take Tom One for example, a Foster Farms turkey chosen for the presidential turkey pardoning of 2015 in front of a group of 5th graders in Modesto, Calif. The annual presidential turkey pardoning is one of America’s most bizarre holiday traditions, right up there with Groundhog Day, but with more big business and less history. Despite the news media covering the event as if it’s as American as the constitution, turkey pardoning has a relatively short history.

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The Eight Biggest Planned Parenthood Myths (And The Facts Debunking Them)

Family planning organization Planned Parenthood has been the subject of multiple lies this year. Here are the facts to set you straight.

Planned Parenthood Myths Signs

Women at a 2011 Planned Parenthood rally in New York City. Image Source: Flickr/Charlotte Cooper

Heated social media campaigns erupted earlier this year after a video, allegedly showing a Planned Parenthood higher up addressing the sale of fetal organs and body parts, surfaced. Despite the organization’s letter to Congress outlining the substantial, deceptive editing of the video, anti-Planned Parenthood myths continued to circulate and intensify. Shortly after, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would effectively cease federal funding to Planned Parenthood for an entire fiscal year.

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We’re In A Global Helium Shortage — Why Are We Using It For Balloons?

Macys Helium

Snoopy and Woodstock from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Image Source: Macy’s

“When it’s gone, it is lost to us forever.”

That’s what University College London chemist Andrea Sella said regarding helium, the element that is used to bring the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons to life each year.

As many families gather by their TV screens — or, for some in New York City, Manhattan sidewalks — this Thursday morning, they will bear witness to one of the United States’ most revered holiday traditions. Knowingly or not, they will also bear witness to the reality that human desire often trumps the wisdom of restraint. When the balloons complete their November 27th route, over 300,000 cubic feet of helium — the spatial equivalent of two million gallons of water — will have been used, and will thus not be available for future use.

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