When Jane McGonigal fell ill, she created something to make herself better. It’s sort of miraculous that it worked. Also: science.

At 0:27, she tells us her goal is to increase all of our lifespans. Listen for the top five things people say on their deathbeds at 2:40, and when you get to 12:19, she’s gonna help you increase your chance of living longer just like she did.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/the-secret-weapon-a-woman-created-to-save-herself-from-the-brink-of-suicide-2

“I can’t get involved. I’ve got work to do. It’s not that I like the Empire. I hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Those were the words famously spoken by one Luke Skywalker on that fateful day, right before he returned home to his uncle’s farm and … well, you know the rest.

It’s also, according to The Washington Post, why less than half of American citizens exercise their right to vote despite the fact that no one seems particularly happy with the state of things.

GIF from “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”

Most people agree that there’s something wrong in Washington. But instead of trying to change it, we end up fighting with each other which is exactly what they want.

How much of your day-to-day discourse (read: Facebook memes) deals with minimum wage or welfare costs or health care or anything else relating to the struggles of the working class?

Regardless of your personal opinions on any of those issues, you have to wonder why we’re all so concerned with the people right around us and not the ones at the top of the chain who both caused those problems and have the power and money to fix them.

The greatest GIF ever from “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.”

It’s like we all forgot how Emperor Palpatine conquered the galaxy in the first place: by inventing a war in which he was pulling strings on both sides.

He created conflict where there was none, pitted the people against each other, and used the resulting chaos to feed his insatiable hunger for power.

Sound familiar?

GIF from “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.”

And that’s not the only way the world outside our windows is looking more like a galaxy far, far away.

Marginalized people continue to suffer while Hutt-like criminals are given free reign to regulate the economy as they see fit. It may have been Grand Moff Tarkin who said that, “Fear will keep the local systems in line,” but I can name more than a few politicians who have taken that lesson to heart. After all, we are fighting a never-ending war against an abstraction of “terror.”

We don’t need to lose any more Bothan lives to figure out the plans behind this evil battle station either.

GIF from “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”

When you don’t have a Death Star, dollars will do.

It’s not quite as glamorous as midi-chlorians a mystical energy field created and shared through all living things, but in the real world, money can do all the things that the Force can. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds us all together, whether we like it or not.

And money, like the Light Side of the Force, can be used to help the people. Or it can serve the selfish interests of the individual a path which leads only to corruption.

I’m not saying that the Koch Brothers are Sith lords or that ALEC is their red-armored Royal Guards. But it’s worth noting that are two of them, just like there are always two Sith lords, so take that as you will. GIF from “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.”

But there’s a new hope on the horizon one that could awaken the force of the people.

Created by Andrew Slack, a fellow at Civic Hall (and the same dude who worked with an amazing team to create The Harry Potter Alliance), the U.S. Rebel Alliance is a new organization uniting the people under their Jedi pledge to help free the Republic from the Empire of Palpatine Big Money.

The truth is that our political lives should be just as accessible as “Star Wars.” We CAN overthrow the Empire of Big Money. We CAN put the power back in the hands of the people. But it’s all too easy for us to get so bogged down by the weight of the Dark Side that we forget one of the greatest lessons that the saga tried to teach us:

GIF from “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.”

And if we just do nothing, then the Empire’s already won.

Right now, the Alliance is just building its numbers, with a live webcast 7-10 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. But as the 2016 election year gains momentum, I’m sure we’ll see some more action from these righteous Rebel troops.

In the meantime, you can check out and share the video below for more information, and join the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Darren Criss, and others by signing the American Jedi Pledge today.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/nerds-unite-the-american-jedi-movement-wants-to-take-the-country-back-from-the-dark-side?c=tpstream

A homophobic man was tackled to the ground in a Dallas area airport after attacking a man wearing a pink shirt. After someone filmed the incident, Twitter exploded when people noticed what looked like famous actor Paul Rudd in the background as one of the helpful onlookers.

But was it really him?

The man can first be heard saying to the offender: “What are you upset about?”
“Queers is what I’m upset about!” The homophobic man shouted back in a thick southern accent. “This f***** right here.”

Immediately after kicking and punching him, the crowd of on-lookers, including PAUL RUDD, jumped into action. Or did he…

The man was not, in fact, Paul Rudd. He was just one of the best celebrity look-alikes the world has ever seen.

You have to see this nutjob in action…and how this crowd restored my faith in the South.

Although Mr. Rudd confirmed that it was not him at the airport (he was thousands of miles away rooting for his Kansas City Royals to win the World Series), we thank him for being awesome. Because if there are more Paul Rudd look-alikes out there saving the world, that’s fine by us.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/paul-rudd/

Maybe you’ve seen those sections in fashion or pop culture magazines that call out fashion faux pas, sometimes slapping the words “FASHION VICTIM” on photos of celebs whose style of the day just didn’t make the “cool” cut. Now are they really victims of fashion? Or could it be that the definition of “victim” is completely lost on the people who wield the label?

That’s what this video tackles in less than one minute.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/if-youve-ever-thought-omg-what-is-that-person-wearing-take-a-minute-to-appreciate-this-video?c=tpstream

Whether or not you already know who Reza Aslan is, know this: This man is a voice of reason. From the moment he starts talking at 1:21, I’m absolutely smitten with his words. Skip to 4:49 to watch him answer the question we’re all waiting for him to answer.

But wait! He’s still got more to say. Starting at 8:22, Aslan has some parting words for the CNN hosts and drops the mic in a pretty epic way.

This segment gets an A+ from me. I hope you’ll think so, too.

Are you doubtful of what Reza Aslan had to say? Well, guess what: Our fact-checkers concluded his points were diamond-hard.
  • According to a recent UNICEF report, Eritrea *does* practice female genital mutilation at rates of 89%, while Ethiopia has FGM at rates of 74%. Both of them are, in fact, Christian countries. Welp, I guess that means “Islam causes FGM” just went out the window as an argument.
  • FGM does happen in Muslim-majority countries, but as Aslan mentions, FGM seems to be more of a Central African problem, not a Muslim problem. In their report, UNICEF indicates they decided to focus on Africa because the practice is concentrated there. Recently, articles like this one indicated a militant group in Muslim-majority Iraq had ordered FGM for all women and girls there. But HOLD UP! People met this reporting with doubts, and Middle East experts pointed out that it doesn’t fit with cultural traditions of the region.
  • Plus, this June 2014 Guardian article indicates the Muslim Council of Britain has declared FGM un-Islamic because Islamic teachings say believers should not harm themselves or others. And, well, FGM obviously falls under “don’t harm others.” So do we need any more proof that there’s no particular link between FGM and Islam?
  • Yes, there *have* been a ton of female heads of state in Muslim-majority countries. United States, you need to catch up, big time.
  • Aslan mentions Iran and Saudi Arabia are not free and open societies for women while arguing that’s not the case in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Turkey. We’re not *entirely* sure what he means by “equal,” but Aslan’s justification makes sense. Those countries are more fair to women, even if not ideally equal. And, hey, let’s remember that a ton of countries we think are “equal” (like the U.S.) still have a lot of problems with sexism and gender equality.
  • Human Rights Watch indicates that Saudi Arabia beheaded 19 people from Aug. 4 to 21, 2014. Washington Post more recently said 8 “in last month.” So it probably depends on timing, but Aslan seems to be on top of this.
  • Scarily enough, there *are* Buddhist monks in Myanmar slaughtering women and children. More on that from New York Times, BBC, and Al-Jazeera.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/cnn-asks-an-expert-a-dumb-question-his-answer-kills-it

Most dogs love to catch Frisbees, some dogs enjoy chasing after cats, and then there are those dogs who just want to spend every moment in bed, taking glorious naps. But there is one dog near San Diego who’d rather catch waves and capture hearts.

Ricochet was born to become a service dog for those with disabilities. But she was a little mischievous and enjoyed chasing after birds a bit too much — not the best trait in a service dog who needs to provide constant attention to her companion. At first her owner was a bit disappointed, but she quickly realized that Ricochet had a very unique talent. A talent so special that it would end up helping hundreds of people with disabilities learn to surf!

What a special dog Ricochet is, and she’s just as valuable on land! She’s raised more than $200,000 for different charities through both her Facebook page and events. Not to mention the countless people around the world she’s inspired with her story.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/ricochet-the-dog/

When brothers Dan and Bret Friend traveled to Payette National Forest in Idaho for a family reunion, they were excited to visit a secret cave they thought nobody else knew about.

But when they arrived, something didn’t feel right. As they approached the entrance of the cave, they heard whimpering sounds and quickly realized that there was a dog trapped at the bottom. They knew they had to do something to help, so the heroes gathered their family members together and sprung into action.

I’m so glad they showed up when they did.

Tinker the hound was being trained to hunt bears when she fell into the hole, making it impossible for her trainer to find her. The poor thing had been trapped down there for two weeks and was starving, only surviving by licking up the condensation that formed on the cave’s walls.

This is amazing.

After being reunited with her grateful owner, Tinker got a nice steak dinner and enjoyed every single bite. I bet you never thought you’d be thankful for a family reunion, huh?

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/dog-cave-rescue/

A devastating thing has happened in Nigeria: More than 270 girls were abducted from their school in Northern Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It was only after everyday people led a huge campaign to draw attention to the missing girls that the media and world leaders sat up and started listening.

Listen to Nigerian movie star Stella Damasus explain the issue — and hear her challenge the Nigerian government and world leaders to #BringBackOurGirls.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/when-270-schoolgirls-are-abducted-by-terrorists-and-it-doesnt-make-global-news-somethings-wrong

One of my best friends once paid me quite a compliment. She said, and I quote, “Isn’t Joe the most good-looking black man you’ve ever seen in your life?” Which, I mean, is a real nice compliment, isn’t it? (Like, she’s aware Denzel Washington exists, right?) If I were white, would she have said I’m the “best-looking white man”? Or just the “best-looking man”?

Read more: http://upworthy.com/hey-black-people-have-you-caught-yourself-saying-any-of-this-terrible-stuff-to-white-people

Hold up, guys: You’re telling me these hardworking people are fighting for $15 an hour and the right to form a union, and there is the threat they may be FIRED for it? Yeah, because it totally makes sense to take away their most basic workers rights. Excuse me while I join these kick-ass people in fighting this fight.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/id-like-a-bag-of-fries-a-coke-and-this-massive-injustice-sorted-out-by-the-time-i-pick-it-up

I’m so tired of political ads. Except for this one. THE Steve Martin decided he wanted to help a friend win an election. So he put his face in front of his phone cam and talked about something else entirely.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/are-you-tired-of-political-ads-what-if-they-include-steve-martin-and-say-nothing

I love it when a spoof highlights something a few of us think about, but never express out loud. And if you’ve ever seen ‘Game Of Thrones’ — you know what? If you’ve ever seen a mainstream TV show or movie with nudity, you’ll know why this was made.

**Contains Strong Language**

Read more: http://upworthy.com/think-seeing-a-little-male-nudity-on-tv-is-too-explicit-then-its-time-to-hear-the-hard-truth