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Ken Bone: Why is he an internet sensation?

Credit: Rick T. Wilking via APHe came to the debate undecided but he left decidedly the winner. Ken Bone has taken the Internet by storm. Not since we debated the color of a dress has the online community been so consumed with a topic (it was blue). This father of one that works at a power plant asked a question at Sunday's debate, but he left the debate causing Americans to question, "Who is Ken Bone?"

The thirty-four-year-old Bone is from a steel town right outside of St. Louis. He works at a power plant, hence the question about energy to both candidates. Wearing the now famous comfy, bright-red sweater over a white-collared shirt with his black-rimmed glasses perched above his full-bodied mustache, Bone asked: "What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?"

Very few remember the answer each candidate gave (or elusively maneuvered around), but we all are talking about Kenneth Bone two days later.

The Internet immediately exploded in excitement over Bone, though the debate had yet to finish. As the debate ended, former President Clinton reached out to Bone to talk with him briefly. This only served to place kindling on the bone fire. Then, in his final moments, Bone was caught taking pictures of the debate venue with a disposable camera, thus causing the Internet to erupt and it has not stopped since.

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The couple that watches together stays together

Credit: Charles Sykes via APHave you ever sat on the couch with your significant other after a hard day of work and felt guilty because you were watching TV instead of out eating at some new restaurant, hanging out with friends, or trying something you've never done before? While those are all good things, it turns out they aren't essential to a happy relationship (who knew?).

As Quartz's Cassie Werber describes, researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland found that watching TV series and movies, reading books, or engaging in other forms of seemingly mundane entertainment can have the same impact on the health of a relationship as spending time out with friends or having any number of other shared-world experiences. As the perpetually exhausted parent of a two-and-a-half-year-old with another on the way, I find this to be very good news.

The key, it seems, isn't so much what you're doing but that you're engaging in it with each other. Shared experiences, whatever they may be, help to draw us closer together and create new pathways for our lives to connect. Those connections are a fundamental aspect of a healthy relationship.

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Alicia Keys isn't defined by her flaws. Are you?

Credit: Charles Sykes via APFor the better part of fifteen years, Alicia Keys has been one of the world's most respected and sought-after musicians. She's performed with some of the industry's biggest names, and the way she's able to mesh her vocal talents with an ear for the music behind her is nothing short of amazing. Yet, despite her success and acclaim, Keys has grown increasingly frustrated in recent years with a sense of personal dishonesty, stemming from her attempts to balance the expectations of others with who she truly wanted to be.

As she recently wrote, "I was finally uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. Who was I anyway? Did I even know how to be brutally honest anymore? Who I wanted to be?"

As a way of publicly confronting those issues of self-doubt, Keys decided back in May to stop wearing makeup. While that may seem like a minor move to some of us, for a woman whose photo is taken everywhere she goes, putting every freckle and line on display for the world to see wasn't an easy decision.

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Why some teens say no to social media

Credit: PexelsIf you go by the popular stereotypes, a teen who doesn't use social media ranks somewhere between dragons and world peace among concepts that would be awesome if real, but are most likely nothing more than a fantasy. Generally speaking, that assessment isn't far off. The Pew Research Center reports that ninety-two percent of American teenagers go online daily and twenty-four percent claim to be on their devices "almost constantly." Seventy-one percent use Facebook, roughly fifty percent use Instagram, and forty-one percent are on Snapchat. Pew found that a normal teen has 145 Facebook friends and 150 Instagram followers.

However, as The Wall Street Journal's Christine Rosen writes, there are a surprising number of young people that have chosen to focus on the real world rather than the virtual, and they couldn't be happier with the choice. They still use technology and routinely text or call their friends, but it's often to choose a place to meet or to have a conversation that doesn't involve clicking a "Like" button.

Jacqueline Nesi, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who studies teens and social media, estimates that "between five percent and fifteen percent of teens abstain from social media use." While that number is low compared with those who choose to be on Facebook and its kin, I can honestly say that it's higher than I expected.

Many of the teens with whom Rosen spoke say that being heavily involved in social media just looks exhausting and is less fulfilling than getting together in person. When asked if they felt like they were missing out, most were quick to offer that they still find out about the important stuff, and the occasional joke that they may not understand isn't worth the price of keeping up with the virtual community.

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Ellen DeGeneres and the sport of judgment

Credit: Richard Shotwell via APUsain Bolt demonstrated his other-worldly speed once again in Rio, as he became the first person to win gold in the 100-meter dash three in three consecutive Olympics, sparking a slew of memes about his domination. While most of those jokes fell by the wayside rather quickly, the picture posted by Ellen DeGeneres quickly drew cries of racism and bigotry from the all-too-easily incensed masses. The comedian photoshopped a picture of herself riding Bolt with the caption, "This is how I'm running errands from now on," and apparently that crossed the line for many.

As Time's John McWhorter noted, however, it's difficult to believe that she wouldn't have created the exact same picture if the winning runner happened to be white rather than black. Is the most logical conclusion from that picture really that she believes, as McWhorter satirized, "that a black person's proper place is as some kind of pack animal?" Any reasonable person would admit that such a characterization is flawed, even if DeGeneres's post opened her up to such accusations.

Rather, McWhorter sees it as evidence of a culture in which there is "a certain joy in this ritual, stylized witch hunting" and where people's responses in these situations are more "a kind of ritual piety designed to demonstrate our goodness to the PC gods" than genuine disdain. It seems hard to look around us and not agree with that assessment. But why is that? Why is it that so many people take enjoyment from demonizing others for a careless word or shortsighted remark?

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