TIME A Year In Space

Daughter Wrote Astronaut Dad a Sweet Note He Can Read From Space

All with the help of 11 Hyundais

Many parents travel for work, but a Texas 13-year-old named Stephanie has a father with a particularly challenging commute—he works in the International Space Station.

And so, to let her Dad—who ABC reports is probably Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts—know how much she misses him, Stephanie decided to write him a very, very large note that he could read from space.

“It might make him miss us even more, or miss Earth,” Stephanie said in Hyundai’s latest ad.

Since it would be nearly impossible for Stephanie to scrawl a note that’s big enough for her Dad to read, the car company deployed a fleet of 11 Hyundai Genesises to write a 5.5 square km note in Nevada’s Delamar Dry Lake. That’s one and a half times the size of New York’s Central Park.

Stephanie’s astronaut father got the message, according to Hyundai.

MONEY Weddings

10 Most Expensive Places to Get Married

wedding in NYC
Kristine Foley—Getty Images

Destination wedding in Utah, anyone?

As wedding season starts to ramp up, brides across the country are debating the practicality of ball gowns and the lasting implications of lilies versus roses. But even the most budget-concious bride is stuck with one wedding detail she has little control over—location. Only 24% of weddings are “destination” weddings, leaving bride and grooms at the mercy of their local economies.

TheKnot.com’s annual Real Weddings Survey—which surveyed 16,000 brides and grooms who got married in 2014— gives us an idea of wedding costs across the country. (One caveat: These are average, not median prices, and the website’s membership of dedicated brides almost certainly skews the data higher.)

Still, the regional comparisons are noteworthy. With a few outliers, the Northeast takes the wedding cake for the priciest place to get hitched, while couples in the South and Midwest have a little more wiggle room in their budgets. Venues are by far the biggest expense; in all but one of the top ten locales, the room costs more than $20,000. And brides in Idaho are the most budget-concious about dresses; Manhattan brides spend nearly three times as much on their gowns.

Top 10 Most Expensive Places to Get Married

  1. New York – Manhattan $76,328
    • Venue: $30,401
    • Photographer: $4,591
    • Floral & Decor: $4,682
    • Catering (cost per head): $181
    • Dress: $2,914
  2. New York – Long Island $55,327
    • Venue: $25,671
    • Photographer: $4,285
    • Floral & Decor: $3,384
    • Catering (cost per head): $116
    • Dress: $2,137
  3. New Jersey – North/Central $53,986
    • Venue: $25,501
    • Photographer: $3,693
    • Floral & Decor: $3,043
    • Catering (cost per head): $129
    • Dress: $1,881
  4. New York – Westchester/Hudson Valley $52,954
    • Venue: $24,287
    • Photographer: $3,870
    • Floral & Decor: $3,188
    • Catering (cost per head): $126
    • Dress: $1,995
  5. Chicago $50,934
    • Venue: $21,803
    • Photographer: $3,093
    • Floral & Decor: $3,014
    • Catering (cost per head): $109
    • Dress: $1,794
  6. New York – Outer Boroughs $49,781
    • Venue: $24,362
    • Photographer: $3,641
    • Floral & Decor: $2,900
    • Catering (cost per head): $121
    • Dress: $1,826
  7. Philadelphia $44,090
    • Venue: $20,351
    • Photographer: $3,306
    • Floral & Decor: $2,718
    • Catering (cost per head): $109
    • Dress: $1,668
  8. Rhode Island $41,914
    • Venue: $22,371
    • Photographer: $3,101
    • Floral & Decor: $2,486
    • Catering (cost per head): $97
    • Dress: $1,486
  9. San Francisco/Greater Bay Area $39,690
    • Venue: $18,381
    • Photographer: $3,105
    • Floral & Decor: $2,561
    • Catering (cost per head): $77
    • Dress: $1,595
  10. New Jersey – South $39,191
    • Venue: $21,417
    • Photographer: $2,927
    • Floral & Decor: $2,094
    • Catering (cost per head): $99
    • Dress: $1,428

Top 10 Least Expensive Places to Get Married

  1. Utah – $15,257
    • Venue: $5,346
    • Photographer: $1,650
    • Floral & Decor: $1,044
    • Catering (cost per head): $33
    • Dress: $1,135
  2. Arkansas – $18,031
    • Venue: $6,101
    • Photographer: $1,882
    • Floral & Decor: $1,766
    • Catering (cost per head): $36
    • Dress: $1,213
  3. North Dakota/South Dakota – $18,314
    • Venue: $6,095
    • Photographer: $2,087
    • Floral & Decor: $1,533
    • Catering (cost per head): $29
    • Dress: $1,050
  4. Oklahoma – $18,629
    • Venue: $7,214
    • Photographer: $1,802
    • Floral & Decor: $1,924
    • Catering (cost per head): $41
    • Dress: $1,019
  5. Idaho – $19,040
    • Venue: $6,446
    • Photographer: $1,915
    • Floral & Decor: $1,800
    • Catering (cost per head): $34
    • Dress: $982
  6. Oregon – $19,205
    • Venue: $7,136
    • Photographer: $1,985
    • Floral & Decor: $1,262
    • Catering (cost per head): $45
    • Dress: $1,017
  7. Illinois – Central $20,210
    • Venue: $7,926
    • Photographer: $2,063
    • Floral & Decor: $1,500
    • Catering (cost per head): $35
    • Dress: $1,054
  8. Mississippi $20,601
    • Venue: $7,625
    • Photographer: $2,045
    • Floral & Decor: $2,667
    • Catering (cost per head): $35
    • Dress: $1,138
  9. West Texas – $20,905
    • Venue: $6,864
    • Photographer: $1,771
    • Floral & Decor: $1,770
    • Catering (cost per head): $37
    • Dress: $1,177
  10. West Virginia – $20,671
    • Venue: $8,856
    • Photographer: $2,108
    • Floral & Decor: $1,455
    • Catering (cost per head): $39
    • Dress: $1,043
TIME Family

This Is How You Can Put a Baby to Sleep in Less Than 60 Seconds

All you need is some tissue paper

If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, don’t give up just yet. Simply reach for the Kleenex.

In under a minute, YouTuber and Australian father Nathan Dailo sends his baby to sleep by gently tickling the infant’s face with tissue paper.

“The tissue trick isn’t actually anything special. Any light touching on the baby’s facial areas such as the head, forehead or the bridge of the nose also works,” Dailo tells TIME.

The video has garnered more than 4 million views and inspired innumerable other parents to deploy the technique. However, Dailo cautions that his technique isn’t the only one.

“Remember that each child is different, and what works for some parents may not work for others. And always use you’re instincts. You are the parent,” Dailo stresses.

TIME Internet

Kindergarteners Who Share iPads May Perform Better: Study

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Getty Images

Students perform better if they share an iPad with another student as opposed to having one all to themselves, according to a new study.

Though schools nationwide have ramped up their efforts to introduce technology in the classroom, there’s just a small body of evidence on the benefits for students. Now a new study suggests that iPads do have a role in academic performance, but the effect may be greater when students collaborate.

In the study, Northwestern University researcher and Ph.D. candidate Courtney Blackwell analyzed the iPad usage and academic performance of 352 kindergarten students in three elementary schools. In one of the schools, there were enough iPads for every student to use one. In another school, there were 23 iPads and the students shared them. In the third school, there were no iPads. Blackwell followed the students for one school year and tracked their performance on literacy tests.

Her findings, which Blackwell presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, show that students who shared iPads performed better than their peers who used an iPad on their own or did not use iPads at all in the classroom. Specifically, kids who shared iPads scored 28% better on their literacy tests at the end of the year, whereas kids who used their own devices improved by 24% and kids who did not have iPads in the classroom improved by 20%.

“While statistically significant, the percentage increase for the shared-iPad kids is not huge, but I do think it is a meaningful finding given there is no prior empirical research looking at how 1:1 tablets affect student learning compared to shared or no tablets,” said Blackwell in an email to TIME.

In her report, Blackwell concludes that schools may want to reconsider implementing tablet use for young kids, given how expensive the investment can be and the lack of evidence to support the need for individual tablets in kindergarten.

“I think it’s important to remember that iPads and technology in general are just one part of the curriculum, with many other factors playing a role in children’s achievement,” said Blackwell. “Technology has always been touted as a potential panacea for education, but historically it has never changed the U.S. education system on a large scale. That said, with so many schools integrating one-for-one tablets and other devices, we need to know how technology is affecting learning to understand the best way to make tablets and technology most effective for students and teachers.”

Read next: Teachers Actually Want Students to Use This App in Class

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Family

Why Have Kids?

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Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

In the midst of rapidly changing family structures, why does childlessness still carry a stigma for women?

It used to be that the Cleavers — dad working an office job, mom raising two boys full-time — were the model American family. But the past several decades have seen dramatic changes — recent studies find that only about half of American adults are married today, compared to around 70 percent in 1960. The share of interracial marriages has doubled since 1980. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia now recognize same-sex marriage. More men than ever are becoming single fathers. More mothers are becoming family breadwinners. More children are being born outside of marriage.

A Pew Research Center study from 2010 found that 20 percent of American women now end their childbearing years without having borne a child, compared to 10 percent in the 1970s. During that time, the public has become more accepting of these women, but 38 percent of Americans surveyed for that study felt this trend was bad for society. When it comes to some other changes to the American family — such as marrying someone of a different race or women working outside the home — the public has said in greater numbers that those trends were good for or at least didn’t harm society.

In advance of the Zócalo event, “Why Have Kids?”, we asked a panel of experts: If Americans have come to accept a range of non-traditional family structures, why does a woman’s choice not to have children still elicit skepticism and judgment?

 

Bella DePaulo — We want other people to share the worldviews we care about most

“As long as women bounce around kidding themselves that life is full when alone, they are putting their hedonistic, selfish desires ahead of what’s best for children and society.” That was one reader’s response to a 2002 cover story in Time about women who were choosing to stay single and not have kids. At the time, I was just starting to research my first book on single people and I was perplexed. The reader had no relationship to the women in the story — they were strangers. If these women didn’t have qualms about their life choices, why should this guy get so angry about them?

I hadn’t yet recognized the power of people’s views of the world. Worldviews help us make sense of the world. They can boost our self-esteem, enhance our good feelings, and keep our bad ones at bay. We want other people to share the worldviews we care about the most. When it comes to marriage and family, one of the strongest worldviews is that women are supposed to get married and have kids. And if they do, they will be happier and healthier than everyone else — and morally superior, too.

The “problem,” then, with women who do not follow the culturally valued life course of marrying and having children, is that they are threatening beliefs that people hold dear.

What’s more, it is even worse if they choose not to marry or have kids. For example, research has shown that single people who want to be single are judged more harshly than those who want to find a partner. They are seen as lonelier, colder, less sociable, and more miserable. Even more tellingly, other people express more anger toward them. That irate reader of the Time story was not only irked because he thought the women were stupid, but also because they were happy. How dare they claim that life without marriage or kids is a good and happy life — a life that someone would actually choose!

Bella DePaulo, who has a doctorate in psychology from Harvard University, is the author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After and the forthcoming How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century. Visit her website at www.BellaDePaulo.com.

 

Elaine Tyler May — Women have opted out of motherhood throughout history

Womanhood equals motherhood has long been accepted as the norm for women’s lives. But in fact, throughout history, women have often opted out of motherhood. In the 19th century, for example, the average number of births per woman declined by half—from eight in 1800 to four in 1900. Many women chose not to marry, and even some of those who married chose not to have children. The rate of childlessness was at an all-time high at the dawn of the 20th century, and then dropped to an all-time low after World War II in the midst of the Baby Boom.

Today, more and more women are choosing not to have children for a wide variety of reasons. Women without children are not scorned or pitied to the extent they once were, but a stigma still attaches to women who choose not to procreate. It is way past time for that stigma to lift. American women today lead rich and varied lives, with or without partners, with or without children. It is time to celebrate all the choices women have, and protect their ability to make the choice to have children—or not. Besides, there are many ways to have children in one’s life without giving birth to them or raising them. Just ask any devoted aunt, teacher, doctor, childcare worker, or anyone with children in their lives. As one teacher said proudly, “I’m not childless! I have 400 children!”

Elaine Tyler May is Regents professor of American studies and history at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of several books on women and the American family, including Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness.

 

Laura S. Scott — People are ignoring studies that point to happy, regret-free seniors who didn’t have children

Behind all the media attention around baby bumps, intentional single moms, egg freezing parties, and celebrity surrogacy is a belief that the only path to a purposeful and fulfilling life is parenthood, particularly motherhood. If you value the experience of motherhood over all other experiences, you will tend to judge someone who values a different experience.

There is also the persistent belief that, if you don’t have kids, you will regret it and die alone or in a home with 30 starving cats. Everyone chooses to ignore the multitude of studies that point to happy, socially connected, regret-free childfree seniors who are living their dreams and contributing in many creative ways. The lingering stigma is puzzling unless you factor in the judgment, unspoken regrets, and dare I say, envy, from parents who say, “I didn’t think I had the choice!”

We now have the means and opportunity to remain childfree, but we have to have the intent and will to resist the prenatal messaging, peer and family pressure, and be true to ourselves. We also have to have reliable birth control and doctors who believe us when we say, “I don’t want kids, ever! And I will not change my mind and sue you if you perform this tubal!”

We also need to be able to wrap our brains around this question: “If everyone is invited to decide for themselves if they want to be a parent, how does our thinking and our world have to change to allow for that?”

Laura S. Scott is an executive and reproductive decision-making coach, author of Two is Enough: A Couples Guide to Living Childless by Choice, and director of the Childless by Choice Project.

 

Bill McKibben — There’s also prejudice towards people who chose to have just one kid

There’s another choice that yields almost as much skepticism: the decision just to have one child. Surveys show that the biggest reason for having a second kid is so the first won’t be an only child. There may be plenty of good reasons for having a big family, but it turns out that isn’t one of them: all the data show that only kids grow up to be indistinguishable from their peers with siblings. Not spoiled, not crazy. Just fine.

In fact, it’s a perfect example of how easily we’re led astray by prejudice. The “study” that convinced everyone that only children were odd was conducted in the late 1800s, and the definition of “odd” included “very pretty,” “very ugly,” and “very strong.” (It also found that immigrant children were odd; go figure.) The subjects in the study included not just actual only children, but only children in works of fiction.

Happily science has marched on, and so should the rest of us. It’s time that we learned to accept that people, and families, come in many different shapes and sizes; that they face different circumstances and want different things. It’s time, that is, to stop with the judging.

Bill McKibben is a Vermont-based writer whose books include Maybe One: An Argument for Smaller Families.

 

Melanie Notkin — Choose happiness

We have “Mom-opia” in America—the myopic view of motherhood as womanhood.,. And yet, the latest U.S. Census Report on Fertility shows that 46 percent of women of childbearing years are childless.

This all-women-as-mother view generates “black and white” assumptions for why women make their choices, ignoring nuances and shades of gray. I worked closely with DeVries Global PR on a 2014 national demographic study entitled: “Shades of Otherhood,” inspired by my book: Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness, to better understand this cohort of modern women. Of the 19 million childless American women ages 20 to 44, over one-third (36 percent) are childless by choice. Some never felt motherhood was for them. Some don’t feel financially secure enough for parenthood. Some enjoy the freedom to live life to what they envision as its potential. And 18 percent of all childless women are on the fence, having not yet made a choice on motherhood either way.

And then nearly half (46 percent) are involuntarily childless, some by biology, and more often, among the cohort I explore more widely in Otherhood, by circumstance.

The women of the Otherhood are often single, often not by choice, and they choose to wait for love before motherhood.

Still, whatever the reason for childlessness, 80 percent of women in our study said they can live a happy life without children of their own. Moreover, even among those who are childfree by choice, 80 percent are “childfull” — they play an active role the lives of other people’s children.

Whatever the choices or circumstances of childlessness, the only way to live a meaningful and happy life is to live an authentic life—making the right choice for oneself, not by the measure of what society believes is the “right” choice. And the only one who can make that authentic choice is the women who chooses. She chooses happiness.

Melanie Notkin is the founder and author of Savvy Auntie and author of Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness. Connect with her at Otherhood.co and @SavvyAuntie.

This article was written for Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Family

Mother Reunited With Daughter 49 Years After Being Told She Died

Zella Jackson Price was told that her child died several hours after she gave birth

Several hours after Zella Jackson Price gave birth, the hospital told her her daughter had died. But 49 years later, her daughter is alive and well—and reunited with her mother.

Melanie Diane Gilmore was put up for adoption for unknown reasons shortly after she was born, but she recently decided to track down her mother, with a little help from her own children, a St. Louis Fox affiliate reports.

Price, now 76, is delighted to have her daughter back in her life—but intends to investigate how the St. Louis hospital wrongly told her of her daughter’s death five decades ago.

[Fox2Now]

TIME Family

The Biggest Reason to Be Thankful for Your Brothers and Sisters on Siblings Day

Siblings Cover
Cover Credit: PHOTO-ILLUSTRATION FOR TIME BY ARTHUR HOCHSTEIN. PHOTOGRAPH OF CHILDREN BY PENNY GENTIEU - BABYSTOCK.COM. NEST FROM GETTY IMAGES The July 10, 2006, cover of TIME

The research says they deserve a grateful hug

Our brothers and sisters are often the only people in our lives from beginning to end, and their influence is just as broad as that timeline.

That was the conclusion reached by TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger in a 2006 cover story about the effects of sibling-hood. And, as many U.S. states mark Siblings Day on April 10, there’s no better time to look at that research as another reason to be thankful for those closest of relatives. Even the ever-present sibling rivalry can pay off in the long run, it turns out, as they help kids grow up with problem-solving know-how.

Read TIME’s new special report on siblings: How Parents Can Help Their Kids Get Along

And, as Kluger reported, it’s not really surprising that those childhood companions end up affecting our adulthood:

From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings may be the only people we’ll ever know who truly qualify as partners for life. “Siblings,” says family sociologist Katherine Conger of the University of California, Davis, “are with us for the whole journey.”

Within the scientific community, siblings have not been wholly ignored, but research has been limited mostly to discussions of birth order. Older sibs were said to be strivers; younger ones rebels; middle kids the lost souls. The stereotypes were broad, if not entirely untrue, and there the discussion mostly ended.

But all that’s changing. At research centers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and elsewhere, investigators are launching a wealth of new studies into the sibling dynamic, looking at ways brothers and sisters steer one another into–or away from–risky behavior; how they form a protective buffer against family upheaval; how they educate one another about the opposite sex; how all siblings compete for family recognition and come to terms–or blows–over such impossibly charged issues as parental favoritism.

Still, folks without siblings shouldn’t despair: All that research into siblings came along with research into only-children. The stereotype of the spoiled only child, scientists found, was mostly just a myth.

Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault: The New Science of Siblings

Read next: Facebook Reveals How Common It Is For Siblings to Have The Same First Initial

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Family

Runner Wins 3 Marathons in 8 Days to Help Pay Son’s Medical Bills

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"He gives me the energy shot to pick me up and carry me through to the finish"

Bryan Morseman, a runner from Western New York, runs marathons for two reasons. A lifelong runner, he enjoys the sport, but he also uses the prize money to help pay his infant son’s medical bills. Last month he ran three marathons in eight days—two of them back back-to-back—and won them all.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has Morseman’s full story. His son, Leeim, has spina bifida, a congenital spine defect that poses a variety of health problems and can leave a child unable to walk if left untreated. He has physical therapy three times a week but still might not be able to walk.

“Every time I’m in a race I think of him and how my pain is nothing compared to what he has gone through,” Morseman, told the Democrat & Chronicle. “He gives me the energy shot to pick me up and carry me through to the finish.”

On March 14, Morseman went to Alabama and won the Montgomery Marathon. The next day, on the way back to New York, he stopped in Cary, N.C., and won the Tobacco Road Marathon. On March 22 he went to Virginia Beach and won the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon. He took home a total of $5,750 in prize money.

Morseman works full-time as a precious metals clerk but runs marathons on the weekends. He doesn’t train with a coach but still hopes to qualify for the Olympic trials. Family comes first, though, he said.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Internet

Watch This Teen’s Plea to Help His Mom Pay for His 53rd Surgery

He has a rare genetic disease that causes facial deformities

Doctors thought Austin Niehus, who was born with Goldenhar syndrome, a rare genetic disease that causes facial deformities, wouldn’t live to see his first birthday.

Fourteen years and 52 surgeries later, he’s still around, and he’s put together a five-minute video sharing his story to raise money to help his mother pay for his next procedure.

Niehus, who lives in Aurora, Colorado, was born deaf and missing an ear (“God made [me] very unique and special,” he says) so he uses note cards he holds up to the camera to communicate.

“I have to have another surgery in June :-(” he says in one. “They will be repairing my [palate].”

He then points to his mouth.

He wanted to raise $4,000 because “insurance doesn’t cover everything” (it won’t cover the plate to close his palate), so his friend suggested he make a video using note cards, he writes.

“I was nervous to do this well … because I was bullied so bad and made fun of a lot!” he admits in the video.

“So to make this video I guess I am being brave!” he writes.

The response has been overwhelming, but, according to a post on his Facebook page, he and his mom haven’t been able to get the messages to thank everyone themselves.

“This is Austin’s Papa,” the post said. “Austin’s mom wanted me to tell you thank you so very much for all your support, kind words and prayers.

“She still has no internet and has to leave the house to find free wifi to view and reply back to your posts, and her data plan on her phone is way over the limit right now,” he wrote Thursday.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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