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August 12, 2014

When we meet Jim, a 32-year-old obese man, in 2030, life is not going so well. In fact, we might be witnessing the beginning of Jim's end by cardiac arrest. As doctors rush to help his crushing heart, we backtrack through Jim's abbreviated lifespan to see how he got here.

What unfolds is first-person view of a sedentary, junk-food fueled life where bad habits are learned and encouraged by a well meaning family.

The video comes from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's "Strong4Life" campaign, which encourages viewers to "rewind the future." It may not actually be too late for Jim, the PSA claims, and it's not too late for anyone else struggling to stay healthy, too.

Now, before you scratch the itch of cynicism, I encourage you to read the Reddit thread that plays out under the original posting. Strangers share stories, successes, failures, and the guilt and shame they feel in their plights. Such honesty is rewarded with sometimes aggressive words of support. One commentator threatens to check in on another's progress in a month. It is genuinely inspiring. Here are just a few examples:

I'm 5'9, 32 years old and almost 300 pounds. I played all those gaming systems and pretty much grew up like that. Even with the fucking treadmill.
I think for the first time, a psa got to me. See you soon progress pics (wish me luck reedit)
Edit: wow guys. Your going to make shed some tears with the support you are all giving me. I am not very articulate, but it's time like this I wish was so that I can properly deliver how much this support means to me. [Reddit user drewgarr]

**

Thanks for sharing, and for articulating it so clearly. I have lost weight over the last few months (30 lbs!), and just feel... so much better, more energetic, less achy, etc. Many habits I've gotten comfortable with needed to be broken, or still need breaking.
EDIT: Since this is a visible comment, THANK YOU to whoever gave me gold for posting the link!
EDIT2: I have read so many comments from people saying that this PSA inspired them to make changes to better their health, and that has overwhelmed me. Just know that if you're one of those people who's been inspired, yes, you can fucking do it. Also, /r/loseit and /r/progresspics genuinely motivated me, and maybe it will help you, too. [Reddit user StreetMailbox]

**

Wow. As an overweight mother this hit hard. I am doing everything in my power to make sure my daughter doesn't end up like me and so far it's working because she is a beautifully healthy little girl who would much rather take a slice of melon over chocolate I just need to sort myself out for her sake as well as my own. I can and will do it. I will not die through obesity. [Reddit user leedsfreak]

Obesity statistics are terrifying. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents on the past 30 years. If it takes a PSA or a public forum like Reddit to get the conversation and motivation going, more power to both.

Check out Strong4Life's website for more information about to make healthy habits. Lauren Hansen

4:34 p.m. ET

Saturday Night Live is ramping up the drama for this weekend, when it returns for its 42nd season.

In a sketch about Monday's presidential debate, show star (and newly minted Emmy winner) Kate McKinnon will be reprising her usual role as Hillary Clinton, but she will be joined by a special guest star in the role of Donald Trump: Alec Baldwin. Baldwin, of course, has an infamous reputation of his own for his short temper and unfriendly encounters with the media — much like the man he'll be portraying:

Earlier this election season, Trump was portrayed by the show's announcer Darrell Hammond, who had also played Trump among many other celebrity impersonations during his original run from 1995 to 2009 as one of SNL's featured actors.

The real question, though: What can SNL's writers, McKinnon, and Baldwin do to improve on any of the real zaniness from the debate itself? Find out Saturday, when the premiere episode for SNL's 42nd season, hosted by actress Margot Robbie, airs at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Eric Kleefeld

4:22 p.m. ET
Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

While joblessness among recent college graduates is finally on the decline, the problem of "underemployment" seems to be on the rise: Think the young, overeducated barista working at your local coffee shop. Underemployment — that is, a college grad working in a job that doesn't require a college degree — is higher today than it has been at any other point in the 21st century, The Atlantic reports, and the number of "non-college" jobs opening up for newly minted adults is rising at a faster rate than jobs that require higher education.

A large gap has opened between those with humanities degrees and those with STEM training. Underemployment afflicts more than 50 percent of college graduates with majors in history, communications, political science, and philosophy, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Graduates with degrees in math, science, and engineering typically have much better job prospects and starting salaries.

But as The Atlantic points out, college graduates still reap benefits overall, no matter what major is written on their diploma. The college-educated are still more likely than those without a degree to have higher wages, get married, and have kids that also go off to college. Kelly Gonsalves

4:05 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Senate on Wednesday averted a government shutdown with the passage of a spending bill that will keep the government funded through Dec. 9. The bill, which pledges $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus and $500 million in flood relief to Louisiana, passed in a 72-26 vote. It will next move to the House, where it's expected to be approved, and will then hit President Obama's desk.

Senate Democrats initially blocked the measure Tuesday because it did not include aid for the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan; however, the bill moved forward Wednesday after Republicans agreed Tuesday night to consider Flint aid in a future measure, to come after the presidential election.

Many government agencies were set to run out of funding Friday, as the fiscal year ends at midnight Oct. 1. With the stop-gap bill, such a shutdown is avoided. Becca Stanek

3:49 p.m. ET

It has not escaped the notice of female Democratic senators that Donald Trump is rather out-of-bounds when it comes to his treatment of women. Just this week, it was revealed Trump humiliated former Miss Universe Alicia Machado by inviting reporters to film her working out after she gained some weight following her beauty pageant win. Trump has also repeatedly questioned Hillary Clinton's health and "stamina," demanding she release detailed health records.

In response, Sen. Claire McCaskill fired back a taste of Trump's own medicine:

For what it's worth, Trump is in "astonishingly excellent" health, according to his doctor. Jeva Lange

3:37 p.m. ET
Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the House seconded the Senate's vote to override President Obama's veto of a controversial bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government for its alleged role in the terrorist attacks. Just hours after the Senate agreed 97 to 1 to override the veto, the House also rejected Obama's move, 348 to 77. Congress' decision marked the first veto override of Obama's presidency; the president has vetoed 12 bills, including the 9/11 bill, during his tenure.

Obama vetoed the legislation Friday on the grounds it would disrupt U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and end the immunity from American lawsuits granted to other countries by a 1976 law. Proponents of the bill argue it allows victims' families to achieve a sense of justice.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied it was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Becca Stanek

3:19 p.m. ET

Hell hath no fury like a cheated music store owner — and it looks like this could be just the start of a whole new round of small business owners saying they got ripped off by Donald Trump.

In a guest column in The Washington Post published Wednesday, retired store owner J. Michael Diehl of Freehold Music Center tells the story of how his small New Jersey store got swindled by Trump way back in 1989, on a $100,000 order for pianos at the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.

"I asked my lawyer if I should ask for payment upfront, and he laughed," Diehl wrote. "'It's Donald Trump!' he told me. 'He’s got lots of money.'"

Bad move, it turned out:

When I requested payment, the Trump corporation hemmed and hawed. Its executives avoided my calls and crafted excuses. After a couple of months, I got a letter telling me that the casino was short on funds. They would pay 70 percent of what they owed me. There was no negotiating. I didn’t know what to do — I couldn’t afford to sue the Trump corporation, and I needed money to pay my piano suppliers. So I took the $70,000. [J. Michael Diehl, via The Washington Post]

The loss of $30,000 in revenue seriously damaged Diehl, he wrote, in terms of both his personal salary and the capital to further grow his business: "Because of Trump, my store stagnated for a couple of years. It made me feel really bad, like I’d been taken advantage of. I was embarrassed."

"It's a callous way to do business," Diehl concluded of Trump's wheeling and dealing ways. Read his whole account at The Washington Post. Eric Kleefeld

2:30 p.m. ET

Donald Trump rather famously complained that climate change is just an elaborate Chinese hoax, and has used New York's frigid winter storms to mock global warming. But according to a new study in Atmospheres, New York's brutal winters are actually evidence of the growing impact climate change is having on the United States — and it is a trend that is going to continue throughout the century.

Researchers have observed what they call a "North American winter temperature dipole," meaning East Coast winters have brought snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures, while the West Coast has roughed mild, dry winters that bring on droughts due to the lack of snow. "We're in this new world that's much, much warmer with much less sea ice and that's changing the way the atmosphere behaves," said climate scientist Jennifer Francis. "It's an interesting time to be studying this, but the bad news is, we're watching this planet fall apart."

The occurrence of warm West/cold East winters began as early as 1980, but "has become more frequent ... a trend that reflects the influence of global warming on the atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere," Inside Climate News writes. The pattern will continue for the rest of the century but eventually "level off as the East becomes too warm for extreme weather conditions." Hooray? Jeva Lange

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