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6 Teens Who Are Way Smarter Than You

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By Lauren Hansen

Did you pass Britain's bar exam at 18? Yeah, I didn't think so.

1. The youngest ever to pass Britain's bar exam

It's safe to say Gabrielle Turnquest (above) is one serious smartypants. The Florida native graduated from Liberty University in Virginia with a psychology degree at the age of 16. She then went on to study law in the U.K., where this year, at the age of 18, she became the youngest ever to pass Britain's bar exam. (The average age of test-takers is 27 years old.)

But Turnquest isn't stopping there. The motivated teen hopes to qualify as a lawyer back home in America as well as in the Bahamas, the country of her parents, and ultimately become a specialist in fashion law.

2. The pre-teen studying medicine

In 2003, Sho Yano became the youngest student to study medicine at the University of Chicago School of Medicine. Not even technically a teenager, the 12-year-old had already notched accomplishments above and beyond his mere dozen years. By age three he was playing Chopin on the piano and composing original work by four. By age eight he had scored a 1,500 out of a possible 1,600 points on his SATs, and started college the next year. He went on to graduate summa cum laude from Chicago's Loyola University in just three years before starting medical school.

And just last year, Sho completed his degrees at the ripe old age of 21, becoming the University of Chicago's youngest M.D. ever. "I guess it's a good feeling to be the youngest, but it doesn't feel like something particularly unusual to me," Sho told the Chicago Sun Times. "It's just what I've done."

3. The teen paving the way for safer nuclear energy

Nuclear power could arguably help free the U.S. from its dependence on fossil fuels, but there's once catch: It's environmentally risky, as anyone from Fukushima will tell you.

Enter Taylor Wilson. The 19-year-old has designed a smaller, modular fission reactor that is not only less expensive to run, but also safer to operate. Wilson's design is reportedly 15 percent more efficient than today's reactors, and would require refueling every 30 years instead of the current rate of every 18 months.

Wilson says his design would do no less than combat climate change, bring affordable power to the developing world, and power rockets to explore space. You know, no big deal. And if you're wondering what kind of cred this wunderkind has, Wilson was able to achieve nuclear fusion at the age of 14 — the youngest person ever to do so. "This could be the source of energy that provides carbon-free electricity," he has said.

4. America's youngest lawyer

Stephen Baccus wanted to be a lawyer so badly that he petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to waive a state law that says only contracts signed by those 18 years or older are valid. In 1986, Baccus, who graduated from college at age 14 with a degree in computer science, passed the Florida state bar on his 17th birthday. "I could have waited until I am 18, but I didn't want to,"he told the Miami News at the time.

With the court ruling in his favor, Baccus became the youngest lawyer in modern American history and went on to start his own firm. After seven years building his law career, Baccus changed gears. Eager for the humbling challenges of science, the one-time child genius earned a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Miami. "If money was my primary motivating factor I might have different career plans, but it's not," he told the Associated Press in 1999 after graduation. "I'm interested in doing something interesting to me."

5. The youngest to win the MacArthur "genius grant"

You can't apply for the MacArthur fellowship. You can't even be nominated for it. The five-year, no-strings-attached grant is gifted one day out of thin air. The so-called "genius grant" is typically awarded to between 20 and 40 Americans of any age, working in any field, who show "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits." And in 1984, David Stuart got the phone call that would make him the youngest fellow in the foundation's history. "I was dumbfounded," Stuart told the Harvard Crimson at the time. "The call came out of the blue."

The 18-year-old expert in Mayan archaeology had been studying ancient scripts since he was three years old. At the age of 14, Stuart published his first paper, "Some Thoughts on Certain Occurrences of the T565 Glyph Element at Palenque." He went on to publish two more papers before graduating high school and being accepted as a junior fellow in pre-Columbian studies at the Washington, D.C., research branch of Harvard University. Previously, the youngest MacArthur winner was a 22-year-old physicist.

6. The teen prodigy battling pancreatic cancer

One of the many unfortunate characteristics of pancreatic cancer is that it is usually caught too late to save the patient. After a family friend died of the disease, Jack Andraka decided to devote himself to making a better early-detection test. The solution came to him during his freshman biology class and the teen set to work. He read free online journals and anything that came up in Google searches to develop a plan and a budget. He sent proposals to about 200 laboratories requesting to use their facilities. He received only one acceptance letter from Dr. Anirban Maitra at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Andraka worked at the lab after school, on weekends, and over holidays to develop his test, which he submitted to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair ("the Olympics of science fairs," he said). The 15-year-old's final product proved to be 28 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive, and 100 times more sensitive than the current diagnostic tests. Andraka earned the fair's highest prize, including the $100,000 pot.

Sources: Associated Press (2)(3), BradAronson.com,Chicago Sun TimesHarvard CrimsonMiami NewsSmithsonianTech News Daily,The Telegraph


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10 Facts About Clifford the Big Red Dog
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PBS/Scholastic

Whether you know him from his books, TV series, movies, or video games, Clifford is undoubtedly the world's best known Big Red Dog. (And to think that Norman Bridwell, Clifford's creator, was told he would never succeed.) Here are 10 things you might not know about one of the most popular children's book characters of all time, who was born 55 years ago.

1. NORMAN BRIDWELL WAS TOLD HE WAS NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT.

Norman Bridwell was told over and over again that he was never going to make it as an illustrator; his pictures of dogs were too ordinary and boring. One critic finally offered the helpful suggestion that Bridwell create a little story to go with his drawings of a little girl riding a pony-like dog, and that was all it took. Scholastic Books agreed to publish Clifford the Big Red Dog less than a month later.

2. CLIFFORD IS NAMED AFTER AN IMAGINARY FRIEND.

Clifford was named after an imaginary friend Bridwell's wife had when she was a child. At first Bridwell suggested "Tiny" as the big, red dog's name, but his wife told him that was too boring.

3. THE DOG IS RED FOR A VERY PRACTICAL REASON.

When asked how he decided on Clifford's signature color, Bridwell admitted that "it was red because I happened to have red paint on the drawing table that night."

4. BRIDWELL'S DAUGHTER INSPIRED A CHARACTER.

Emily Elizabeth Howard, the little girl who takes a liking to the runt of the litter in the first book, is named after Bridwell's own daughter, Emily Elizabeth Bridwell.

5. CLIFFORD IS A BIT OF A MUTT.

Ever wonder exactly what type of dog Clifford is? Well, he's said to have the characteristics of a giant Vizsla now, but the very first prototype—back when he was just the size of a pony instead of a house—was of a rather large bloodhound. Bridwell has said he took his inspiration from the behavior of all types of dogs.

6. BRIDWELL WAS ADAMANT THAT CLIFFORD BEHAVE LIKE A NORMAL DOG.

Don't ever expect to see titles like Clifford Goes to Outer Space or Clifford and the Dinosaurs. Bridwell, who passed away in 2014, firmly believed that although Clifford is a bit oversized, he still mostly does things normal dogs do.

7. CLIFFORD EXISTS IN 13 LANGUAGES.

More than 75 Clifford books have been published since the original first hit bookstores in 1963 and there are more than 129 million copies in print in 13 different languages.

8. SOME FAMOUS NAMES HAVE LENT THEIR VOICES TO THE CLIFFORD CARTOON.

If you've ever watched the Clifford cartoon on PBS, you've likely recognized some of the voices. John Ritter was the voice of Clifford; Kel Mitchell of Kenan and Kel voiced Clifford's buddy T-Bone; Cree Summers lent her vocals to another pal named Cleo (you've also heard her as Penny in Inspector Gadget and Elmyra in Tiny Toon Adventures); and Emily Elizabeth is played by voice actress Grey DeLisle who is also the McNulty Brothers in Rugrats and Queen Amidala in the Star Wars interactive series.

9. THERE'S A PREQUEL BOOK SERIES.

In 1985, Bridwell started writing Clifford the Small Red Puppy, where you can catch a glimpse of Clifford before he was able to catch cars in his mouth. Clifford's Puppy Days shows us what life with Clifford and Emily Elizabeth was like back when he was still the runt, before the family had to move to Birdwell Island to accommodate Clifford's gigantism. It was also made into a PBS series in 2003 called Clifford's Puppy Days.

10. PEOPLE LOVE CLIFFORD BECAUSE HE'S ALWAYS FORGIVEN.

Following Bridwell's death in 2014, Scholastic chairman, CEO, and president Dick Robinson issued a statement describing why Bridwell and his famous pup were so beloved:

“Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most lovable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor. Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children—kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude—through the Clifford stories which have been loved for more than 50 years.

The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. What comforts the reader is that Clifford is always forgiven by Emily Elizabeth, who loves him unconditionally."

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Country Time Is Paying Off Fines on Kids' Lemonade Stands
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iStock

A summer staple has come under threat. “The Man” is cracking down on makeshift lemonade stands across the country and busting kids without business permits. Thankfully, one beverage maker is here to help.

As CNN reports, Country Time—known for its powdered lemonade mix—has started a legal fund to help pay off the fines and permit fees incurred by little lemonade hucksters. The company has vowed to cover fees of up to $300 for each business permit bought this year, as well as fines on lemonade stands that were shut down in 2017 and 2018.

The initiative, dubbed Legal-Ade, was reportedly inspired by an incident that occurred in Denver just last week in which two brothers who were selling lemonade for charity were forced to close down shop because they didn’t have a permit. In recent years, similar cases have been reported in Texas, Maryland, Iowa, Georgia, and more. Some fines have climbed as high as $500.

“When we saw these stories about lemonade stands being shut down for legal reasons, we thought it had to be an urban myth,” Adam Butler, an executive at Kraft Heinz, which owns Country Time, told CNN. “A very real response seemed the best way to shine a light on the issue."

The company posted a playful advertisement on YouTube showing a group of hard-nosed lawyers crossing their arms and cracking their knuckles behind a child’s lemonade stand. “Entrepreneurship? Good work habits? Good old-fashioned fun? Shut down because of old, arcane, but very real laws,” declares a voice in the video. “Tastes like justice,” one man in a suit says after downing his lemonade and crushing the plastic cup in one fist.

The company says it’s prepared to cover up to $60,000 in fees. To apply for some lemonade relief, head to Country Time’s website and upload a scanned copy of your child’s fine or permit receipt.

[h/t CNN]

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