Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is #11 on The 2014 GOOD City Index.

This year marked the first full year in office for Buenos Aires native Pope Francis. Born in the working-class neighborhood of Flores (hence his local nickname, “Pope of Flowers”), the new pope has provided a spiritual boost and raised the global stature of his home city. But despite this uplift, inflation has worsened in 2014 and the value of the black market U.S. dollar—sometimes called the “blue dollar”—has climbed to nearly double that of the official exchange rate. Earlier this year, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner also proposed moving the capital of Argentina away from Buenos Aires. While most say it was nothing more than a political maneuver, the plan drew on the long-held tension between European-style Buenos Aires and the rest of the country. Nevertheless, residents of Buenos Aires endure, protest, and innovate. An unassuming music teacher named Santiago Pusso has been leading the charge against the government’s plans to build new developments, like a proposed 18-story hotel next to the Santa Catalina church. And, in August, anti-debt protesters took to the city’s streets to challenge U.S.-based “vulture funds” amid Argentina’s economic woes. While the citizens of Buenos Aires are already known for their ability to sit back and enjoy life, 2014 showed that they are certainly not taking their capital’s future for granted.

Hub for progress

The weak peso, combined with a strong black market for dollars, has made Buenos Aires a Bitcoin hub. As of October, there were 108 locations in the city accepting the cryptocurrency. This year, headquarters for Bitcoin Argentina were established in Palermo, inside a multi-story center with event rooms and shared office space where economists can meet, work, and network.

Civic engagement

The Minimum Wage Council, the only one in Latin America to include union representatives, agreed to a 31-percent increase in the minimum wage this September, raising it to 4,400 pesos (around $520) a month. Mostly affecting registered workers in the formal economy, the step was in response to union strikes and marches against wages and inflation, which regularly interrupt traffic and end at the Plaza de Mayo, in front of La Casa Rosada.

Street life

The Buenos Aires street art scene is one of the most vibrant in the world. The trendy neighborhood of Palermo is where you’ll likely see the highest concentration of work. The nonprofit Graffitimundo joined Google’s Cultural Institute in June 2014, cataloguing pieces by local artists and documenting pieces before they are modified and destroyed. They also conduct tours and sell artists’ work in a way that credits, honors, and profits them.

Defining moment

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who have fought for the recovery of their disappeared children and grandchildren since the military junta dictatorship, represent that tenacious Argentine spirit. This year, Estela Carlotto, a founding member of that group, announced in a packed press conference that she has been reunited with her 36-year-old grandson Ignacio Hurban. His mother was murdered during the Dirty War following her 1977 kidnapping and detainment. The group, known as las Abuelas, has continued to seek their stolen family members. Hurban was the 114th grandchild discovered after his suspicions prompted him to get a DNA test.


Buenos Aires’ public-transportation system took a slight hit this year when riders experienced fare hikes, a running trend in recent years. Nevertheless, the city’s buses and subways are still the cheapest and most efficient way to get around. Each bus line has its own personality, some with hand-painted, filigreed designs, sparking vinyl upholstery, and colored lights. When the subway closes at night, many of the more than 150 bus routes run by distinct private companies, and heavily subsidized by the government, continue to run.

Green life

In 2014, the city saw the addition of a giant artificial wave pool and pedal-cart track to the city’s playas, or artificial beaches. Started in 2009 by Macri, the city’s mayor, the two main locations of Parque de los Niños and Parque Indoamericano serve those who stay in the city during the hottest months of the year. They are free and serve as an important space for city residents.


A nation of immigrants, the capital of Argentina feels distinctly European. Though it’s not uncommon to hear negative things about immigrants, things look set to improve. Earlier this year, the city celebrated 25 immigrant-centered events, up from just seven in 2011. An estimated 40,000 people showed up for Buenos Aires Celebrates Peru in July, which featured food, dancing, stage shows, and vendor booths.

\nWork/life balance

Read tourist guides about Buenos Aires and you'll likely think the city is partying all night every night. However, you cannot legally buy packaged liquor after 10 p.m., and the bars close at 2 a.m. Of course, after parties (called "afters") exist, but most people have to get up for work the next day. On weekends, it’s not uncommon to see parents and children sitting at sidewalk cafes well after midnight. Buenos Aires is a city of families, and the country's 19 federally mandated holidays each year add to the two weeks of mandatory vacation, leaving plenty of time to slip out of the city for a getaway to nearby Tigre or a barbecue with friends and relatives at a backyard asado.

Kate Sedgwick spent five years in Buenos Aires where the openness and supportiveness of the arts and expat scenes incited her passion for storytelling and standup comedy. Living in a city where everyone talks with their hands was transformative for her.

Creative Commons

National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

RELATED: A comedian shuts down a sexist heckler who, ironically, brought his daughters to the show

The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.


The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

Keep Reading Show less

There's been an uptick in fake emotional support animals (ESAs), which has led some airlines to crack down on which animals can and can't fly. Remember that emotional support peacock?

But some restrictions on ESAs don't fly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), leading them to crack down on the crack down.

Delta says that there has been an 84 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, thanks in part to the increase of ESAs on airplanes. Last year, Delta airlines banned pit bulls and pit bull-related dog breeds after two airline staff were bitten by the breed while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo.

"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

Keep Reading Show less
via Liam Beach / Facebook

Trying to get one dog to sit still and make eye contact with a camera for more than half a second is a low-key miracle. Lining up 16 dogs, on steps, and having them all stare at the camera simultaneously is the work of a God-like dog whisperer.

This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

"My friend Catherine challenged me to try to get all of my lot sat on the stairs for a photo. She said, 'I bet you can't pull it off,' so I thought 'challenge accepted,'" he said, accoriding to Paws Planet.

Keep Reading Show less
via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Americans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on one thing: our infrastructure needs a huge upgrade. While politicians drag their feet on high-speed rail projects, fixing bridges, and building new airports, one amazing project is picking up steam.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

The trail is being planned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is working with local governments to make the dream a reality.

Keep Reading Show less