Our Top 9 Most Portlandia Headlines of 2014

A round-up of the 2014 headlines we swear we didn’t write with the People’s Republic of Portlandia in mind.

Portlandia, which holds a funhouse mirror up to a certain set of (ahem) earnestly progressive urbanites, begins its fifth season on IFC starting January 8. From farm-to-table extremists to fixed gear cyclists and the dour owners of a proudly unprofitable feminist bookstore, we here at GOOD are well aware that when we laugh at these characters, we’re also laughing at ourselves. We’ve rounded up a few of last year's headlines from GOOD which, when taken on their own, might seem to have been written with the citizens of the People’s Republic of Portlandia in mind.

1. How I Tried to Turn Prison Into a Colorful Experience

Okay, we get it—a few neon paintstrokes might not seem like much when you’re serving a life sentence. But at a humane prison in Germany, this vibrant alternative to the typically ominous visitor’s tunnel encourages outsiders to visit their incarcerated loved ones a lot more often, contributing to lower recidivism rates down the road.

2. These Name Tags Will Make You Reconsider Gender Pronouns

A casual party full of strangers isn’t anyone’s favorite time to bring up fraught issues like gender politics. But that’s what makes these nostalgic stickers so ingenious. Make it easy for potential new friends to say hello by letting them know up front how you prefer to be addressed—and boost awareness of the wealth of pronoun options beyond he and she without having to say a word.

3. How a Trek in Nepal Inspired My Juice Business (Recipe Included)

Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Tourists spend a little time in a foreign country and by the end of the trip, their whole worldview has changed. This time, Canadian globe-trotters turned a newfound fondness for Himalayan berry juice sold streetside into Vancouver’s first cold-pressed juice truck. When a traveler’s new obsession leads to more delicious (and healthy) food options for pedestrians, we say more power to ‘em.

4. Rent a Dog to Stave Off Holiday Loneliness

Sure, bringing a dog home for a few hours won’t change the fact that you’re single on Valentine’s Day. But even a day of companionship has been shown to reduce stress and improve activity levels for humans and canines alike. That’s why many animal shelters have started to offer special programs for short-term dog fostering—and if your foster period happens to fall on your birthday, no one other than Fido has to know.

5. Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved

We’re pretty sure you’re aware that many of our most beloved founding fathers also owned slaves. But you’ve had a lot of years to cultivate that skepticism. In this ongoing project from its comparative and regional studies department, American University highlights the inadequacies of widely used history textbooks (like mentioning a president’s pets and childhood escapades, but never his plantation)—encouraging even the youngest among us to think more critically.

6. Where Have All the Parisian Farmers Gone?

Despite all appearances to the contrary, Paris has seen its fair share of farmers—and you’re most likely to encounter them at one of the city’s famous open-air markets. This guidebook to independent farmers’ markets in the City of Lights makes it easy to track down fresh, local produce direct from those who grew it, even in one of the world’s most bustling urban environments.

7. Free Wheel: An Oral History of Bicycle Design

What you’ve heard is true: By and large, even the most innovative bicycles have two wheels. Though this mode of transportation’s general criteria for construction has remained largely unchanged for more than a century, high-tech features like parachutes for military use or ice-friendly wheels inspired by skate blades have pushed the boundaries of what a bike can do.

8. These Jeans Are Made of Recycled Plastic Bottles

No, this company isn’t asking you to don a Pepsi bottle in lieu of pants. Instead, they aim to make casual fashion more sustainable by constructing denim out of an innovative blend of cotton and recycled plastic bottles.

9. How I’m Using Rock Climbing to Save Youth From Gangs

Troubled youth are likely to benefit from any activity that fosters discipline, focus, trust, and camaraderie. But this non-profit organization goes above and beyond, offering safe outdoor spaces that are open late, when most violence tends to occur. And by its very nature, rock climbing presents a variety of challenges and opportunities that help improve self-esteem, reduce stress, and nurture close relationships.

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

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Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

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Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

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via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

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