JoyBinge Podcast Ep. 5: Peace, Space, and...Beer?
Hi and welcome to JoyBinge, a podcast where we re-learn that good things are happening in the world and celebrate those good things because we are tired of only hearing about the bad crap. My name is Kimmy Mauldin and I am not a journalist or a professional of any sort in the news industry. I’m just a Texas girl in need of some happy news and want to share what I find. Let’s binge on some joy!
The past couple of weeks have been tumultuous all over the world, especially here in the U.S. However, despite all the things going on within the United States political system, some great things have happened in the world. And many of those wonderful things are being recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Let’s talk about two recipients of the prestigious award. The article we are reading from today was published by NPR on Oct 5th, written by Emily Sullivan.
Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in fighting sexual violence in their communities. Dr. Mukwege is a gynecologist who founded the Panzi Hospital in Eastern Congo and treats survivors of sexual assault and trauma. Nadia Murad is a Yazidi survivor of rape and captivity by ISIS who has worked hard to speak out for other Yazidi survivors.
Berit Reiss-Andersen is the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Sullivan states that, “This year, the committee wanted to send [in the words of Reiss-Andersen], ‘a message of awareness that women who constitute half the population in most communities actually are used as a weapon of war.” The award this year had the second-highest number of contenders ever nominated: 331 candidates. The Norwegian Nobel Committee are the only ones who award the peace prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel prize in medicine, physics, and chemistry earlier last week. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences will be awarded on Monday, Oct 8th, which was yesterday from the posting of this podcast. Since I recorded this episode before Monday, I’m not able to report who won the award.
Let’s learn a bit about the winners of this year’s peace prize.
Dr. Denis Mukwege is also called “Dr. Miracle” because of all the dedication and hard work he pours into his hospital and advocacy endeavors. The Panzi hospital he founded in 1999 has grown into an international foundation focused on assisting rape victims in a program that rests on 5 pillars: physical care, psychosocial support, community reintegration, legal assistance, and education and advocacy. Through this extensive program, women are able to gain back their confidence, dignity, and love of growing as people.
While Dr. Mukwege has done incredible work and received lots of national and international attention, and awards, he has also had to endure danger because of his undertakings. In September of 2012, a gunman entered his home trying to kill him and his family. Thank goodness his guard was there to protect them. Dr. Mukwege and his family had to flee Congo due to the attack. Not long after he left, women in Eastern Congo sold their harvests to buy him a ticket home, because they knew how much they needed him.
Jackson Sinnenberg wrote a wonderful article outlining Dr. Mukwege’s work. There he names a documentary about Dr. Mukwege called The Man Who Mends Women: The Wrath of Hippocrates. If you want to watch it, Amazon has the movie available to stream and you can order the DVD. The movie’s website also lists where else you can access it if Amazon is not an option.
Sinnenberg wraps up his article in a beautiful way that I want to share with you here: “He is fighting against rebel militias, his own government, against some of the worst imaginable physical and mental trauma imaginable, against images that would destroy most of us. But when I ask a member of Mukwege's staff how they keep fighting, the answer is: ‘Because we have to.’”
The Nobel Peace Prize this year, as you know, honored two individuals in their hard work against sexual violence: one who helps survivors, the other a survivor herself. Nadia Murad was honored for her brave advocacy to stand up with her fellow survivors. The love Murad has for her Yazidi community is displayed in every interview she gives, in every speech she delivers. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said, “She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected.” She will not remain silent, nor should she.
In August 2014, Murad suffered a tragedy that has shattered people time and time again. ISIS captured her and forced her into sexual slavery for three months until she bravely escaped when an opportunity presented itself: a door was left unlocked by a captor. Currently she serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations to advocate for survivors of human trafficking.
Sadly for these members of northern Iraq, rape comes with a loss of honor and discrimination. Many families are supporting their women but publicly in the communities, the issue is not discussed. Murad is working hard to change this culture of shame and silence. Since 2014, Murad has been speaking with media outlets the world over to give voice to the survivors and victims of what has been happening to the Yazidi community. According to another article written by Sasha Ingber for NPR, “Still, in the aftermath of the atrocities forced on captives, a cultural shift may be occurring, she says. ‘As a result of ISIS, you have essentially this forced generational change where there is going to be an increased empowerment of women. They've had to be very self-reliant.’”
Murad shared some great news in August: she is engaged! Abid Shamdeen, her fiancé, grew up on a different side of Mount Sinjar from Murad and served as a interpreter for the U.S. Army and is now a human rights activist. Ingber reports, “Murad says their engagement shows Yazidi survivors that ‘it's possible to live their lives again and to not believe the propaganda of ISIS — that they will not be accepted back into the community.’
“She adds, ‘The hope of ISIS was to break the Yazidi community. But for survivors especially, going back to their lives and getting married and making a life and working, it's basically making sure ISIS did not succeed.’”
People are working hard all over the world to assist people who survive such horror. I am thankful for those who dedicate their time and skills to such powerful work. May Dr. Mukwege and Nadia Murad continue their important work and see positive results for years to come!
Now, Dr. Mukwege and Nadia Murad aren’t the only ones winning awards these days. Ana Carrasco won the World Supersport 300 title at Magny-Cours in France, becoming the first female rider to win a motorbike world championship. While she started the race in 25th place, she was able to speed ahead to 13th place, winning by a single point! The Guardian brings us this article posted on September 30th.
The 21 year old from Spain has deep roots in racing: her father worked as a mechanic for professional riders, she started racing at the tender age of 3, and began her career on the Moto3 circuit in 2013. She was even the first woman to win the FIM Supersport 300 world Championship in Portugal last year!
When winning in France, she dedicated her championship title to Luis Salom who passed away after crashing during practice for the Catalunya Grand Prix in June of 2016. After thanking her family and team, Carrasco said, “I wanted to dedicate this title to Luis Salom, we were good friends and the day we lost him I promised myself to dedicate my first title to him.” What a sweet way to commemorate a friend and celebrate a wonderful victory. Congratulations, Ana, may this be the beginning of a long and fruitful career!
We have a story that takes place a bit far from home for all of us - 8,000 light-years to be exact. Mom, this story is for you! Alex Teachey and David M. Kipping published a study on October 3rd saying they believe to have discovered an “exomoon,” a moon that orbits an exoplanet outside of our solar system. Lee Billings wrote the article we are referring to today for Scientific American on October 3rd.
Teachey and Kipping work as astronomers for Columbia University in New York and have been working on the information they have discovered for about a year. While astronomers have discovered over 3,500 exoplanets, this is the first report of an exomoon. And it’s a large exomoon! The signal the astronomers discovered points to the exomoon as being about the size of Neptune and orbits an exoplanet named Kepler-1625b that is the size of Jupiter with three times the mass, both of which orbit a star called Kepler-1625. Looks like we don’t have the biggest house on the block in terms of solar systems.
Billings says, “If confirmed, this discovery would challenge scientists’ current understanding of planet and moon formation while bearing potentially profound implications for the prevalence of life throughout the cosmos, revealing once again that when it comes to alien worlds, the universe is often stranger than anyone can suppose.”
The reason scientists’ current understanding of moon formation would be challenged by this discovery is because of the size of the exomoon and the size and gassiness of the exoplanet. Currently, scientists believe that moons are formed either by a large impact throwing debris into a planet’s gravitational pull, or similarly by first being a couple of asteroids or comets sailing close by a planet and getting sucked into orbit, or finally through the formation of a planet, dust and rings of gas can come together to form a moon. This exomoon however is too large to have just sailed by and been sucked in by the giant exoplanet, and the exoplanet itself is too big and gassy to have thrown out any debris from an impact to form a moon. To put it shortly, the exomoon doesn’t fit any current theories of moon formation.
René Heller is a theorist at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany and was quoted as saying, “If valid, this would probably open up a new formation scenario for moons. Actually, the very existence of the proposed moon would call for a need to rethink our concepts of what a ‘moon’ actually is in the first place.” Billings reports, “For perspective, consider that our solar system’s largest moon, Jupiter’s Ganymede, is less than half as massive as our sun’s smallest planet, Mercury. Kepler 1625 b’s moon, by contrast, would be about 10 times as massive as all the terrestrial planets and the hundreds of moons in our solar system combined. This suggests, Heller says, 'that this moon would have formed in a completely different way than any moon in our solar system.'"
Even though this is an exciting discovery, Teachey and Kipping are both saying we need to wait before celebrating anything. Because this is the first possible discovery of an exomoon, the study will be put under heavy scrutiny, Kipping says. The article goes on to discuss other claims of exomoon discoveries over the years and goes quite in depth into the this current discovery’s details. I personally hope that this truly is an exomoon and that the astronomers can celebrate their hard work over this past year! It’s always exciting when new things are discovered these days when so much seems to be old news, especially in space. Good luck to Teachey and Kipping!
Coming back to Earth, I saw a headline that made me laugh out loud. So of course I knew y’all needed to hear this. The article was posted on CBS Minnesota’s website on October 4th.
The tiny town of Gilbert, MN with the population size of about 1,799, has most interesting problem to contend with. Imagine having tons of neighbors wandering around drunk and confused. How annoying would that be? But what if those neighbors were birds? Then you must live in Gilbert.
That’s right, Gilbert, MN, has endured an onslaught of drunk birds “flying into windows, cars and acting confused.” According to a public notice on the Gilbert Police Department’s Facebook page, “The reason behind this occurrence is certain berries we have in our area have fermented earlier than usual due to an early frost, which in turn has expedited the fermenting process. Many birds have not migrated south, so it appears to be more prevalent than in past years. It appears that some birds are getting a little more ‘tipsy’ than normal. Generally, younger birds' livers cannot handle the toxins as efficiently as more mature birds.”
The Police Department goes on to request citizens not call them when they see the birds. However, they did list out instances in which to call them, here are a few as examples:
“Woodstock pushing Snoopy off the doghouse for no apparent reason.”
“The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic on Main Street.”
“Bigbird operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner.”
Angry Birds laughing and giggling uncontrollably and appearing to be happy.”
To see the full list, check out their Facebook post. Glad to see they can have such a good sense of humor about this weird situation! While I feel bad for the little guys and hope that they come to no harm, it’s hard not to laugh a bit about how bizarre it must be to see drunk birds flying around.
Speaking of drunken creatures, TIME magazine posted an excerpt from TIME Beer: The Story of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink, an issue completely dedicated to Beer. You can buy the copy on Amazon or any retailer that sells the magazine. Courtney Mifsud wrote the article and posted it on TIME’s website October 1st.
Having a favorite neighborhood bar or pub has been a long-standing tradition among humans - even our ancient ancestors. Gathering together for an alcoholic beverage can be traced back 10,000 years ago to the Göbekli Tepe site in southeastern Turkey. Evidence at the site shows that the people would brew beer at ancient feasting grounds there. Fast forward to 1810 when the tradition of Oktoberfest was born. The first Oktoberfest was created to celebrate the marriage of Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The fest became an annual tradition and the rest is history.
According to TIME’s excerpt, Munich’s Oktoberfest has 6 million participants who attend the two week festival and drink 7 million liters of locally brewed beer. This year, one liter stein of beer will cost €10.54 or $12. While the festival brings in a lot of revenue for Munich, places all over the world host their own Oktoberfests. Here in Texas, Fredericksburg just wrapped up it’s 38th year of celebrating as a town and is a popular place to go every October for Texans. But what I found most interesting in this article was the not just the celebration of beer, but the celebration of the local bar as a place for community.
Mifsud, our article’s author, quoted Mike Hickey a community development consultant who wrote an article called “In Praise of (Loud, Stinky) Bars” as saying, “It’s a place where you are neither family nor co-worker, and yet where the values, interests, gossip, complaints and inspirations of these two other spheres intersect. It’s a place at least one step removed from the structures of work and home, more random, and yet familiar enough to breed a sense of identity and connection. It’s a place of both possibility and comfort, where the unexpected and the mundane transcend and mingle. And nine times out of 10, it’s a bar.”
The article goes on to talk about beer and society here in the U.S. and how advertising companies successfully tied sports and beer tightly together through branding campaigns. If you are interested in learning more about beer’s role in humanity’s history and the way people have grown the industry and use of beer as a community connector throughout time, give this article a read. While many people don’t drink for a variety of reasons, beer and alcohol have played their parts well throughout time. I personally enjoy the occasional beer and like to think of the great John Steinbeck when I take the first sip. As Steinbeck says, “There is nothing in the world like the first taste of beer.”
Last week, we discussed this new project Texas Monthly and Frost Bank have embarked together to do called the Texas Optimism Project. For the next several weeks, I will be covering the people interviewed for our slice of Texas section. On their website, they post interviews with people using optimism to push their lives forward, particularly in their careers. I am so excited about this series!
The first interview is with Mikaila Ulmer. She is a young woman with big ideas...and by young, I mean she isn’t even driving yet. Ulmer is 13 years old. Her mindset is incredible, not just for someone so young. We have a lot we can learn from her. Like how to turn a couple of bee stings into a sweet thriving business!
Mikaila Ulmer started Me & The Bees after getting stung twice and getting a recipe passed down to her from her Great Granny Helen for Flaxseed Lemonade. The fact that she had the thought to put the two ideas together is stunning. She even goes a step further and donates a portion of their profit to organizations who focus on saving honeybees. If I had gotten stung twice, especially at the age of 4 like she did, I’m pretty sure I would just develop a fear of bees. Instead, she turned it into a business opportunity that help the little creatures.
The interview discusses how she got started but mostly concentrates how she manages her work and personal life, dealing with travel, exciting moments, and disappointments. Ramona Flume, our optimism correspondent interviewer for this segment, asked Ulmer, “As a young African-American female business owner, do you feel like your business experience has been influenced by your individual age, race or gender?” The response Ulmer gave floored me. I really wish I could have had such a positive mindset at 13 instead of my hormonal soaked brains full of the dramas. Ulmer responded, “My general rule is , there is no rule for being an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, what sex or race you are, or how much experience you have. Business ideas come from the strangest places. People think to be an entrepreneur, you have to be this, this, and this. But that’s not true. The best entrepreneurs come from diversity. That’s really what I tell anyone who tells me they have a great idea for a company, but then has doubts or asks, ‘Should I keep going?’ I always tell people to try and use the things that set them back - put those things at the top of their to-do list.” I mean, what? Was she born with this wisdom already implanted? I am completely in love with how this woman operates, she is truly an inspiration.
Even more exciting, Ulmer is planning on writing a book! She wants to help other young people learn what it takes to start a business and tell her own experience of Me & The Bees. The interview is pretty short but very powerful. Shows how you can’t let expectations define your experience in life and to pursue the things you are passionate about - even if the experience is painful like a bee sting, you can still make something sweet out of it!
This week for Being Involved, I was trying to think of free and easy ways to be involved in your community. As I was thinking about that, I got messages from several friends I hadn’t talked to in far too long and realized, they are my community. Why am I not staying as involved as I used to? What changes have happened that made me so busy that I couldn’t make time once a month to see a good friend? Then it struck me: this is how we can be involved in our communities, by just doing what most people do, having fun with friends.
Go out to coffee or shopping or invite a friend over you know that really needs to talk or someone you need to catch up with. I realized that the last couple of episodes I’ve been suggesting giving up your time or money on projects that you aren’t personally invested in (or might be!). Sometimes we need a reminder to reconnect with those in our lives. I tend to be really social for a couple of weeks then not leave the house for a couple of weeks. I’m trying to be better about not piling on activities in short amounts of time and then enter a desert of social interactions. I’m also trying to be better about reconnecting with old friends and keeping those friendships alive. Honestly, maintaining relationships can stress me out pretty easily so I figure that if I try to see a friend once every two weeks, I can make that happen. It doesn’t have to be the same friend or it can be. Whatever works for you.
Relationships are hard work because people are messy and tend to have difficulties arise. But that’s the beauty of life! Supporting each other when times get rough. And as we get older, it gets harder to make new friends. We can talk about finding ways to make new friends in a later episode but for now, let’s concentrate on those who are in our personal communities and either recommitting to ourselves that we will be more consistently involved or will find new and fun things to do with the people we see often. These people are the ones we have chosen to be our community, either in person or online, so we need to tend to that. Let me know how you organize your social life with your work life and what things you’ve found that do work. Or don’t work! I want to hear from you!
To piggyback off of Being Involved by strengthening your relationships, I realized we might want to freshen up on some truths about keeping relationships healthy. Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. writes some great points but I want to highlight a few for you today. While the article itself is from 2011, the truths remain the same in essence. And keep in mind that the article is talking about romantic relationships, but we can still apply these truths in other relationship areas of our lives. Let’s take a look:
Successful relationships take work.
Relationships are a two-way street but we need to keep in mind that they take time and effort. It’s too easy to think that your relationship will last forever with a friend you can easily pick back up with after a year or more, but if you want to be more than surface friends, you will need to make time for each other.
You can only change yourself, not your partner. [Or friend.]
Don’t be friends with someone you want to change. You can’t fix people, and that’s a good thing! We need to work on ourselves and support others, not fix them. Trying to do so will only hurt you both so it’s not even worth trying. This is one thing I have to constantly remind myself.
All arguments stem from our own fear or pain.
Getting in fights with friends can be easy to do sometimes. When this happens, try to take a time-out in the conversation to collect your thoughts and figure out what is really making you upset, rather than getting caught up in the angry moment.
Understand that men and women are very different.
This article is showing its age. PEOPLE are very different from each other. We all have our own ways of thinking and processing so be sure to give each other space and time when needed and take the time to learn how to communicate with each other. Every relationship looks different so be sure to take the time if you want a truly healthy relationship. No one ever said relationships were easy, but they are worth the effort.
Be responsible for your own happiness.
As Goldsmith says, “No other person can make you happy. It's something you have to do on your own.” Friends can support but it’s unfair to expect anyone: friend, family member, or romantic partner, to make you happy. And vice versa: you can’t make other people happy. This may sound like a downer but really this can provide some much needed relief. Your responsibility for happiness starts and ends with you. That’s it.
Give what you want to get.
This sounds to me a lot like the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. If you want someone to be nicer to you, try being nicer to them. If you want to be treated with more respect, pay more respect to others. This is a practice that sounds really easy but can definitely be difficult. With more practice though, it can become easier.
For our 5th episode, I wanted to tell you about Kevin MacLeod, the man behind the music you hear each episode. Finding royalty free music is difficult and is a contentious topic. Musicians have a tough time earning money from their hard work and the roadblocks keep forming. But in an effort to assist beginner or low-budget filmmakers and other artists, such as myself, with their projects, MacLeod created a website featuring all of his music - for free. All you have to do is credit him with the music which is why you hear me do so at the end of each episode. This is an incredible service he provides and I cannot be more thankful and honored to use his work.
Check out his website, incompetech.com, and see what music you enjoy. Also check out this trailer on YouTube for a documentary in the making about MacLeod and where you might have heard his work before. It’s really interesting and eye opening. I’m sure you’ve heard his music in a myriad of places! He accepts donations on his website as well so if you are looking to assist a musician, he is a good one to support.
A quick update from last week’s episode, I told you about Jameela Jamil, the actress who started the Instagram account, @i_weigh, which promotes understanding your value outside of the scale. NPR’s Ari Shapiro from All Things Considered interviewed her and you can listen to the show or read the interview. Jamil goes into more detail about her own struggles with self worth, particularly when it comes to her body image, and how she got to be on NBC’s The Good Place. She seems like such a sweet, genuine, and funny person, it’s really worth the couple of minutes to check out!
Thanks for listening to some of the joy found in the world this past week. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to me! I’ve got an email, firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me @joybingepodcast. TELL ME THE GOOD STUFF!
The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by the great Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!