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Carrie Fisher Was More Than Your Favorite Princess

The actress and author spoke loudly and often for those suffering from mental illness

Carrie Fisher, beloved actress, author, and mother, died on Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. She was 60 years old.


Family spokesman Simon Halls released a statement on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, stating:

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning. She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Though most famous for her work as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher’s other works also won her praise throughout the years, including her semiautobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge, which was later made into a film, and The Princess Diarist, her own retelling of her experiences on the set of Star Wars: A New Hope, which was named People magazine’s Best Book of Fall 2016.

Fisher’s accomplishments, however, extend far beyond her time in the Hollywood limelight. As she revealed in Postcards from the Edge, Fisher suffered from addiction and mental illness.

In a 2000 interview with Diane Sawyer Fisher shared,

“I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital. I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple—just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive.”

Fisher further explained in an interview with People that she wasn’t sleeping, was “writing on everything. I was writing in books; I would have written on walls. I literally would bend over and be writing on the ground and (my assistant) would try to talk to me, and I would be unable to respond.”

It was her candor about her own mental health that connected so well with fans and followers around the globe. Following the news of her tragic passing, social media lit up with fans expressing their gratitude for her words helping them through difficult times.

Fisher used her position and her voice to speak for others, and it was this deed that also won her a Lifetime Achievement in Cultural Humanism from the Harvard Humanist Hub. Of Fisher the group said:

“Ms. Fisher's work humanizes a popular culture obsessed with celebrity, and helps readers laugh at the absurdity of contemporary society and relationships. Her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness, and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy.”

Health
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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