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Are We Headed into a Global Water Crisis? What’s Going on, and What Can Ordinary People Do About It?

Water is something many take for granted, but the United Nations reports that more than 3.5 billion people – roughly half of the planet – are currently vulnerable to water scarcity. Worse, it projects that this number will rise to more than 5 billion people by 2050. This is due to multiple factors, such as pollution and infrastructural problems as well as overconsumption. 

The Fresh Water Problem

Obviously, water is an absolutely essential component of human health. Without access to potable water, a human can only survive for around three days at best. But fresh drinking water is only the start of the problems when it comes to meeting our ongoing water challenges.

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As the global children’s charity World Vision puts it, “access to clean water changes everything; it’s a stepping-stone to development.” Where clean water is plentiful, communities don’t need to compete for rights to limited water resources. Crops and livestock get enough water to flourish. Personal hygiene and household sanitation improves. These advantages, in turn, lead to a healthier population of adults who can serve as productive workers as well as children who can readily attend school.

The Causes of the Water Crisis

There are many different contributing factors to the water crisis, many of which can be addressed through better regulations and changing procedures.

Scientists, who have studied the issue most carefully, have directly tied the effects of global warming and climate change to the water crisis. In addition to engendering extended periods of drought and other long-term harmful environmental conditions, climate change is increasing both the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and other violent weather events that can destroy water supply infrastructure.

Other factors contributing to the mounting water crisis include armed conflict, forced migration, corporate greed, political disenfranchisement, and the poor handling of wastewater and water waste. The problem is also precipitated by a lack of reliable water data and a lack of cooperation among natural resource experts across national lines.

How You Can Help

Any serious attempt to address the water crisis must include sweeping changes to public policy and business regulation. However, this doesn’t mean that the average person is powerless to help.

It all begins with simple awareness. People who understand the true severity of the water problem may be motivated to prioritize healthy water stewardship in their daily lives. Something as simple as taking a shorter shower can make a real difference if it becomes a permanent habit.

Other ways to practice healthy water stewardship include installing low-flow toilets, reusing graywater, and collecting rainwater for watering gardens and lawns. Of course, it is also important to ensure that you aren’t losing water to leaking pipes or other plumbing inefficiencies. People who live by the ocean can even look into desalinizing technology that can transform seawater into freshwater.

Moreover, humbly and quietly changing your own actions will contribute, however subtly, to a gradual change of awareness in your country, making it more likely for much needed regulation changes and global action to occur.

You can also consider donating to a water charity, such as WaterAid. WaterAid is a charity that has been helping address water issues for over three decades, and their website is a wealth of information on the subject, too. 

5 Fundamentals Of Data Visualization

Big data and analytics are here. In fact, they govern the world, and ignoring that is no longer an option.

In order to keep up with the huge piles of data that you can find in every industry and profession, we all need powerful and reliable tools. More often than not, those tools are found in the realm of data visualization.

If you are going to work closely with data visualization resources, then you will want to remember the fundamentals. They can help you avoid many common mistakes and extract as much value as possible from your efforts.

Data Cognition and Perception

The fundamental purpose of data visualization is to make it easy to understand abstract data at a glance. There are countless tools available, all built on the principles of cognition and perception. Can people understand the representation, and is it leading to meaningful conclusions?

To master cognition and perception, any visualization can be analyzed by asking a few key questions:

  • Is a clear relationship on display?
  • Is the data representation accurate?
  • Can you easily compare quantities?
  • Is it obvious how the information can and should be used?

If your visualization scores an easy “yes” to each of these questions, then it is successful in terms of cognition and perception.

Design Evaluation

The next fundamental utilizes an evaluation to ensure that the visualization is accomplishing its goals while remaining an accurate and reliable display of information. With so many visual representations available, it’s difficult to distill evaluations into a single checklist, but a general set of criteria can help you build a more specific evaluation for your project: 

  • Scale: Inconsistent scaling on a graph can distort the data representation.
  • Accuracy: Always triple-check that the data is accurate in the final visual.
  • Convention: Follow visual conventions to avoid confusion.
  • Cherry picking: Never exclude data to alter the conclusions.
  • Bias: Look for signs of bias, whether intentional or not.

Depending on the visual representations, you may also need to evaluate how easy it is to read the presented information and whether or not the visualization is leading to reasonable conclusions (as the saying goes, correlation does not equal causation).

User-Centered Design

The third fundamental that we are exploring is one of the most popular philosophical orientations for data visualization.

The concept is simple. How does the end user interact with the information represented?

As an example, a visualization of user statistics for a smartphone app might be used to help developers make decisions about the next set of updates. If you’re preparing this visualization, then it’s important to remember that the developers are not the ones who ultimately use this information. The data is informing development for the sake of the end user, and data representations should remember that.

Explanation vs Exploration

When dealing with data, there are two different things that happen. During analysis, you explore data to see what it can tell you. When you present the data, you explain the findings to others.

Visualization is involved in both of these aspects. When exploring data, you can use whatever representation tools make sense to you until you find something worth sharing. For explanation, visualizations have less freedom, as they need to present clear information to your audience.

It’s easy to get stuck on explanation and forget about exploration. Manage your time and explore the data as deeply as you can before honing in on the best solutions for explanation.

Communication

The fundamentals so far provide ways to approach visualization and enhance its value. The final pillar looks at data visualization from the other direction. There are two purposes to data visualization: making sense of the data and communicating.

When focusing on communication you need only remember two things. Make clear points, and aim for your audience. With a large data set, it’s easy to draw many conclusions, but when you present information (especially to non-experts), it’s essential that you distill everything into simple and clear points.

Catering to your audience is also vital. When one nuclear physicist presents findings to a room full of other nuclear physicists, the visualizations will look very different than if they are presenting that information to a board of investors (who presumably pay for the research). Always rethink the visualization from the perspective of your audience. It’s a simple but essential step in the process.

5 Hobby Microscopes for Beginners

Whether you need a microscope for a class or simply to use for fun, you’ll need to make sure you invest in a model that will suit your needs. Microscopes for beginners can be plastic toys or they can be fully functional tools. Learning more about microscopes can help you choose the right model for your needs and make the most of your investment.

What Type of Microscope is Best for a Beginner?

There are two different types of microscopes to choose from; stereo and compound. The main difference between the two is the amount of magnification offered and the types of things the microscope can examine. Choose a microscope based on the things your child most wants to explore.

Stereo Microscopes: This type of microscope offers lower magnification, usually from 10-40x; it can be used to examine samples of all types. Pretty much anything that is interesting and will fit on the platform can be used. If your child wants to examine coins, feathers, rocks, toys and other items that are not prepared slides, a stereo microscope like the one below is a good choice.  Astereo microscope shows off items at up to 30 times their actual size, making it easy for curious kids to examine and learn.

Compound Microscopes: A compound microscope works with much smaller samples and slides and is what most of us think of when we hear the word “microscope”. Choosing a compound microscope is essential if your child or teen wants to look at slides or very tiny items. Compound microscopes like the one below offer greater magnification and work with pre-made slides or slides you prepare yourself. Most compound microscopes offer magnification up to 1000x, and are ideal for a student taking a class in biology.

Digital Microscopes: Aside from determining the type of microscope you need, you should also consider how the microscope will be used. Do you want to be able to see the results on a screen or save them to a tablet or device? Then a digital microscope like the one below may be best for you.

Stereo vs. Compound Microscopes for Beginners

As long as you get a quality microscope, both types are ideal for kids. The main difference is the amount of magnification and the types of items you can view. Choose the type of microscope based on what your child needs for school or the objects they most want to learn about.

Microscopes for Beginners – Choose a Quality Microscope for Best Results

Some kids microscopes are designed to be toys or novelty items; when you select on to use for science class or exploration, choose one that is designed with that purpose in mind. Toy microscopes may have a similar look but won’t be as user friendly or yield the best results. A few things to keep in mind when you choose a microscope for a beginner:

  • Avoid flimsy, lightweight plastic models; the scope should feel heavy for its size.
  • Any microscope branded with a character or theme is likely a toy and not going to yield good results. 
  • Adjustable dials and settings make it easy to get a good view of a variety of items.
  • A microscope for adults may be a better choice and value than one labeled “for kids”.
  • Look for magnification up to 1000x – any higher and you may not get the clarity you need to fully explore an item or slide.

Choosing a Microscope for a Beginner

Think about what you want to use the microscope for and what level of magnification you need before you go shopping.  Comparing both the actual microscope and any extras and additions it comes with can help you get the best possible value from your purchase. Thinking about both your current needs and how you may use the piece in the future will also help you choose the right microscope for you and your family. 

5 No-Make-Up Techniques to Have a More Attractive Face

Makeup is fantastic at helping women look their best. It can thicken thin eyebrows, cover up blemishes, brighten under eye circles, and enliven sallow cheeks. It’s one of the best tools women have for looking more attractive.

The problem with makeup is that it’s often used as a “Band-aid”. In other words, it covers up problems instead of fixing them. This means that when the makeup comes off, you may end up looking like a completely different person — and that’s not ideal.

For a myriad of reasons, it can be beneficial and advantageous to feel and look your best without having to rely on the crutch of makeup. 

Below, we’ve outlined 5 of our favorite tips for looking more attractive without the use of makeup. Here we go!

5 Tips for a More Attractive Face Without Makeup

1. Solidify a quality skincare routine.

You should have a morning skincare routine and a nighttime skincare routine. Make sure you have a cleanser and a moisturizer for both. These are the bare minimum requirements, but if you’d like, you can also add in a toner, an exfoliator, an emulsifying balm, or other products to combat things like wrinkles and acne.

2. Do some deep work

It’s a fact that more attractive faces tend to be smiling faces – if you’re happy, relaxed, and confident, your face will probably be at its most attractive. So remember to do something for yourself every so often – get a massage, play a sport that you like, make time for friends and be kind to yourself. If you feel like it’s gotten a little difficult to pick yourself up, consider speaking to your doctor or a professional therapist.

3. Perfect your eyebrows.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the eyebrows are the curtains — and anyone who’s owned a bedroom knows that curtains can make or break the design of a room.

Many women struggle with unshapely, thin, over-plucked (or overgrown) eyebrows. Fix your eyebrows once and for all by having them sculpted by a professional eyebrow artist. Dyeing or tinting, laminating, waxing, plucking, threading, and tattooing are all options depending on what eyebrow issues you struggle with.

4. Improve the way you eat.

What you eat affects the way you look. If you don’t consume a healthy diet, you may have skin issues because of it.

To improve your overall nutrition, try to cut out as many processed foods and sugars as possible. Move toward more whole foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, seafood, and healthy fats and oils. 

Finally, drink more water. Yes, you can actually hydrate your skin from the inside out!

5. Protect your skin from the sun.

Lastly, don’t let your skin succumb to sun damage, including lines, wrinkles, sunspots, and discoloration. Every day, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, use sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend at least an SPF 50 protectant. Additionally, whenever possible, cover your face with a hat and sit in the shade. You’ll enjoy beautiful skin for years to come this way.

While makeup certainly has its place in a woman’s beauty arsenal, it goes without saying that every girl wants to feel attractive without having to cover up blemishes, dark under eye circles, patchy skin, and other skin issues. Use the tips above to help you achieve skin you can feel confident about — even without makeup.

5 Survival Tips For Medical Students

Becoming a physician can be one of the most rewarding careers, but it comes at a significant cost. Medical school is demanding, and that stress can overwhelm you. Consider five survival tips for today’s medical student. 

1. Find a Study Partner and/or Group

Having a study partner gives you someone to bounce ideas from and helps you be more productive as you study. A partner keeps you accountable for your work ethic and you do the same. 

You could also consider a study group. Study groups allow you to discuss difficult subjects with others to get a better understanding of them

2. Find a Mentor or Two

Mentors offer advice and support to help you advance in your career. They will also know all the tricks to get you through some of the most grueling four years of your life. Find one or two, and let them guide your path. 

That might mean looking beyond the boundaries of the school. Successful medical students are proactive in their search for extra experience and information outside of what is included in the medical school curriculum. Some examples are participating in a research project or volunteering in the community. The right mentors will assist you in making professional contacts that will lead to residencies, fellowships, and other possibilities.

3. Set Boundaries

In case you hadn’t heard, medical school can be both challenging and chaotic – and it’s going to be tempting to improvise, skip sleep, and maybe even skip meals. The solution is to set boundaries ahead of time, before you encounter the stressful scenario, helping you stay on point with your study while also avoiding depleting your mental resources over time. One of the most critical boundaries to establish a sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will improve your performance. 

Create a few routines that involve others, such as calling your parents at set times, and make sure friends understand you are not available to go out and do things every single night. That will help prevent distractions. At the same time, part of healthy boundary setting is to know when to break them – sometimes staying up a little later during your final week of the semester is ok. Staying up til 2am right in the first week on the other hand, may indicate that you could improve your judgement a little! 

4. Set Goals For Yourself

It is critical to set daily goals that are both practical and attainable. Remember to take it slowly. You’re in it for the long haul, so focus on daily tasks rather than trying to do everything at the last minute.

Make one of your goals to explore all your options. Consider doing one or more away rotations (typically in your fourth year) to broaden your experience. Finally, join specialty interest groups and career-advising opportunities given by your medical school when your schedule allows.

5. Get Your Study System Locked Down Fast

There will be a lot of information, and it’s all essential. This makes having an excellent study regimen crucial if you want to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the quantity of content you need to learn.

Determine whatever approaches and frameworks are most effective for you, and integrate them into your daily schedule. Do you learn better in groups, for example? If so, look for study partners early. Create a standardized approach that can be implemented consistently regardless of what you are studying based on what works for you. This is especially important during clinical rotations, when blocks of study material, specialist journal reviews, and board review questions will be visited regularly.

Medical school is a challenge but one worth taking, so go into it knowing that you can survive with careful planning. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking into Backpacking

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you looking for a new great adventure? Or, are you looking for a way to convince yourself to spend more time in nature? Backpacking might be just what the doctor ordered.

Backpacking is a super fun sport that allows you to really escape and enjoy nature at a different level. It can be a fantastic mix of relaxing, invigorating, and adventurous. But before you strap on a pack and hit the wilderness, there are some things you’ll want to know — especially if you’ve never gone backpacking before.

1. Start Short and Comfortable 

Backpacking is an extremely rewarding outdoor experience, but there is a level of risk involved that needs to be taken seriously. 

You are about to carry everything you need to basically survive in nature for a few days on your back, and you’re walking away from society. You’re also walking away from your car, from restaurants, from emergency services, from reliable cell phone service, and from the protective structure that is a house. 

For beginners, we recommend choosing a destination that is close to your home and that is short — just an overnight trip or two to get started. You’ll learn a lot about your comfort level, your gear, and your level of preparation during these few days. 

2. Do Your Research and Invest in Your Gear

There are a ton of backpackers in the world, and there are thousands upon thousands of how-to guides, blogs, gear reviews, and entire stores like REI that have experts available to help beginners. Don’t be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS!

Backpacking involves hiking for miles upon miles each day in all sorts of weather and across different types of terrain, so you want clothing and gear that’s appropriate for your hiking trip.

Two essential gear investments are going to be the backpack you want to carry and your shoes. 

You’re also going to want to think about the level of shape you’re in and how much weight makes sense. When you’re carrying food, water, overnight gear, etc. that adds up quickly and you’re going to feel those pounds as you’re hiking. 

A general rule of thumb for beginner backpackers is that a loaded backpack should not be more than 20% of your body weight.  

3. Plan Your Trip and Create Checklists

If you’re a beginner, one of the most important aspects of backpacking is actually making a plan. Making a plan though is not just figuring out where you want to go, where you’re going to park, how long you’re going to be gone, and how far you’re going to hike.

Planning also includes the following aspects:

  • Weather predictions
  • Water access throughout the hike (and the gear you need to ensure clean drinking water)
  • Meal planning (this is not just how many calories you’re going to consume during your backpacking trip, but ensuring you have the cooking gear, including a heat source)
  • Touching base with a service like the National Park, for example, to see if your hike needs a permit for being in the backcountry (for example, parks like Yellowstone have limited backcountry permits for safety reasons and tracking, so you just cannot show up)
  • Purchase a physical trail map if needed because things like cell phone batteries are not always reliable 

This is just a set to get you started thinking through things. 

4. Find Someone to Go With You and Always, Always Let Someone Know Where You’re Going and When You’ll Be Back 

We’re not trying to intimidate anyone, but backpacking is one of those things that you should communicate to your friends or loved ones. Shoot them a text or an email or even leave a physical note explaining what you’re doing, where you’re going, what your timeline is, and text them when you get to the trailhead and when you’re back to your car. Simple as that. 

The Insider’s Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Know the Real Egypt

Egypt today is unique and endlessly fascinating, and you’ll want to spend some time getting to know the 21st-Century personality of this ancient land. Yes, the pyramids and Sphinx are larger than life and certainly worth a visit. So, too, is the Temple of Karnak, near the site of ancient Thebes. But, forgive us — that’s ancient history.

Here’s how to achieve some balance — and breathe in the true spirit of this modern nation that once represented the center of civilization. Egypt’s modern face is at least as interesting as its past. 

Take a ‘Revolution’ Tour in Cairo

Imagine the passionate clashes between millions of protestors and Egyptian security forces during the 2011 protests that resulted in the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak. Start your walking tour at Tarik Square. Imagine it being filled with thousands of “non-violent” protestors before the scene turned ugly. Dramatic street art on nearby buildings tells the story. The “25 January Revolution” that started here lasted only two weeks and three days, and spread quickly throughout the country before nearly 850 people were killed and 6,000 injured. It’s a sobering experience.

Visit a Koshari Restaurant

These eateries serve only Koshari, a traditional mix of brown lentils with rice and macaroni, topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions. It may be an “acquired taste treat,” but once you’ve had it, you’ll want to have more. That’s almost a guarantee! Also, don’t hesitate to try Egyptian “street food” whenever you can — and sample traditional desserts like Umm Ali, basbousa, or baklava. 

Enjoy a Traditional Cairo Coffee Shop

Strong, sweet and foamy, Egyptian coffee is an experience you won’t want to miss. Even if coffee is not your drink, this thick blend of fine sugar and fragrant coffee beans is a palate-pleaser. Sip it and just watch the throngs of people from a sidewalk table. If you need an energy boost after a day of sightseeing, it’s traditionally served with a side of sugar cubes.

Catch the Sunset at Siwa Oasis

It can be a long drive through the desert, but once you reach Siwa Oasis, it’s a bit like entering heaven. With groves of palm and olive trees, mineral springs, and salt lakes, this is a place to refresh both mind and body. Plan your visit during fall or winter months — summer heat can be brutal. But it is said that Alexander the Great visited here and Cleopatra herself swam in the pool that bears her name. Book a guided safari, but return to your lodgings in time to watch the sunset over the western desert. It’s magical.

Go to the Beach

Sharm El Sheikh is where you’ll find young, modern Egyptians, along with coral reefs, kite surfing, sky-diving, and any number of other active sports adventures. You can also easily book a Sinai safari or a visit to the magnificent St. Catherine’s Monastery from this resort on the Gulf of Aqaba. 

When you visit Egypt, make an effort to talk to the people wherever you go. You’ll find them friendly and willing to tell you about their country’s historic past as well as its future. 

The Insider’s Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Know the Real Greece

Most visitors arrive in Greece via Athens, and Athens has plenty to offer travelers, from the stunning Acropolis to its lively taverns. It is, after all, known as the birthplace of democracy, and one of the oldest cities on earth. You’ll find great street food and a modern high-speed Metro, with a line that runs directly from the airport to downtown. But it’s a big city with four million people! So, get out of town, and get to know the rest of Greece!

Visit a Quiet Island

The number of inhabited Greek islands is disputed — it’s somewhere between 119 and 227, but only 54 have more than 1,000 residents. To find the “real” Greece, limit your time on Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini, and head instead to a smaller, lesser-known island. Tinos is the third largest of 24 islands that comprise the Cyclades Group. It boasts more than a dozen picturesque mountain villages, along with beautiful beaches, hiking trails, scores of churches, shrines, and monasteries, a tradition of marble crafting, and distinctive dovecotes or pigeon houses. Other unique small islands are Iraklia, Schinoussa, and Andros.

Take a Sail

Greece is an island nation, and there’s no place better to experience it than from the sea. Embrace the symbolism of blue and white, the colors of its flag, as you take a day sail in a blue-hulled boat and watch billowing white sails and the clouds in a blue sky. Book your excursion from any seaside village, or charter a boat to visit the Cyclades Islands, where the law, since 1967, has mandated that whitewashed buildings be trimmed only in blue!=

Eat, Eat, Eat — and Drink

There’s more to Greek food than souvlaki, baklava, and gyros — much more. It’s simple and healthy, prepared with olive oil and loaded with fresh vegetables. Desserts tend to be sweet, honeyed, and delicious! Ouzo, flavored with anise and typically served with water and mezedes (appetizers or finger foods) is the “national drink” of Greece, but you’ll find distinctive wines and strong black coffee everywhere! Be sure to stroll an open market and sample street food!

Enroll in a Cooking Class

Take some of Greece home with you, in the form of new recipes and the confidence to prepare taste-tempting meals for friends and family. There’s a wealth of opportunity, from gourmet instruction and a rooftop dinner with a view of the Acropolis in Athens to a small-group class taught by a Greek “grandma” in a family kitchen on one of the Greek islands. It will be a lasting, usable memory with meaning. 

Celebrate!

Celebrations are part of everyday life in Greece. There are so many celebrations — religious and otherwise throughout the year — that you’re not likely to miss the fun. Party like a Greek during the celebration of Epiphany on January 6, at Carnival in February or March, Independence Day on March 25, Easter, World Heritage Day on April 18, the various panigiria — holy days that celebrate various patron saints, OXI Day on October 28, or during Christmas season. A bonus is free admission to museums and historical sites on many of the holidays.

5 Celebrities Who Were Homeschooled

Homeschooling is becoming more popular every year. Some families embrace homeschooling to keep their kids away from mainstream culture. Others gravitate toward this option because they want to explore different modes of learning. There are as many reasons for homeschooling as there are homeschooling families. 

But can homeschooling lead to fame and success? For these five celebrities, it certainly might have. Here are five music, sports, and movie stars who were homeschooled. 

1. Christina Aguilera

As a child, Aguilera went to a traditional school. Then, she was schooled by a tutor on the set of the Mickey Mouse Club. But she returned to public school after she left the series. The experience wasn’t positive — Christina endured a lot of teasing from her classmates.

She begged her parents to be homeschooled, and they reluctantly agreed for her teenage years. Shortly after graduating from her homeschool classes, she launched her award-winning music career. Nobody can tease this star now.

2. Ryan Gosling

As a young kid, Ryan struggled a lot with traditional education. Due to severe dyslexia, he couldn’t read at the age of 10, and his ADHD made it hard to sit still and pay attention. His mom decided to homeschool him, and two years later, he got a job as an actor on the Mickey Mouse Club.

His career has been going hard since then, and he’s one of the few child stars who were able to be successful as an adult. Ryan claims that his homeschooling years gave him a sense of autonomy that he has never really lost. 

3. Blake Griffin

This star basketball player was the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft. He played with the LA Clippers for nine seasons and went to the Detroit Pistons in 2018. Then, in 2021, he joined the Brooklyn Nets.

Blake was homeschooled in elementary and middle school. He started school in high school so that he could join the basketball team. The rest is history. 

4. Venus and Serena Williams

As chronicled in a recent biopic about their lives, the Williams sisters started focusing on tennis at very young ages. Their parents were the driving force in their success, and to give their daughters as much time as possible to practice, the Williams homeschooled the girls from a very young age. As they got older, their flexible homeschooling schedule allowed them to compete in matches around the world. 

5. Billie Eilish

As an 18-year-old, Billie Eilish took home five Grammys, and her career has been on fire since then. Eilish never went to a traditional school. Both she and her older brother were homeschooled. Eilish has Tourettes and an auditory processing disorder, so her parents knew that a traditional classroom probably wouldn’t work for her. Her parents also wanted to give Billie and her brother time to explore their passions, and based on the siblings’ musical success, the strategy worked splendidly. 

5 TV Law Shows From Most To Least Realistic

Lawyers may be among the world’s most-hated professionals, but they sure make for good television. 

Whether you watch for the suspenseful courtroom scenes or tune in for a glimpse into the dramatic lives of high-powered lawyers, you’ve got your pick of programs to choose from. 

But while TV law shows may be entertaining, they’re not necessarily accurate. In fact, some people might argue that the less realistic a show is, the more fun it is to watch. 

Which begs the question: Which TV law shows reflect the truth, and which might be found guilty of misrepresentation in a court of law?

Read on for a roundup of 5 of our favorite TV shows ranked from most to least realistic.

1. Better Call Saul

If you’re not familiar with the legal profession, you may be surprised to find this Breaking Bad spinoff at the top of the list. However, insiders insist that its depiction of the legal industry is on the money thanks to storylines that are mostly accurate and believable.

Law firm partner Jordan Rothman says of Better Call Saul, “It’s hard to relate all of the instances in which the show accurately depicts the practice of law. ”

2. Law & Order

It’s not surprising that this iconic television drama has a place toward the top of this list. The original Law & Order, aired for a decade, followed by several spinoffs with varying degrees of longevity and popularity.  

Set in New York City, Law & Order portrays the law from two different perspectives: the NYPD’s investigation of a crime, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s prosecution of the case. 

In addition to its unique viewpoint, Law & Order is also well-known for something else: it’s “ripped from the headlines” plot lines inspired by real-world cases. 

3. The Practice

While its predecessor, Ally McBeal, may have been known for its unbelievable antics (dancing baby hallucinations, anyone?), The Practice is one of the more realistic television portrayals of law life. 

Following the interactions and experiences of lawyers at a Boston law firm primarily handling criminal defense cases, The Practice doesn’t just address cases from a legal standpoint that pays meticulous attention to procedure and conduct, but also from an ethical one as the lawyers often end up wrangling with their own consciences. 

Furthermore, while many legal dramas take place at large prestigious firms, The Practice presents a realistic view of a smaller, struggling firm.

4. Suits

This USA Network show begins with the unlikely premise of a college dropout genius scamming his way to a position at an elite NYC law firm. From there, it doesn’t get much more realistic.  

According to law firm Orsus Gate, Suits “presents numerous fictions about what lawyers do and how they work,” including that attorneys randomly drop into the offices of opposing counsel, the use of a few “magic words” that lead to dramatic results, and the fast-moving judicial process.

Additionally, while Suits frequently depicts attorneys pouring over case law in the firm library, the majority of legal research takes place online. 

While these falsehoods may be entertaining, they can also lead to warped perceptions and unreasonable expectations about legal procedures, according to Orsus Gate.  

5. Ally McBeal

And that brings us to the aforementioned Ally McBeal. 

While this show was a huge hit—and made Calista Flockhart a household name—when it debuted in the late 1990s, its success had nothing to do with its realistic portrayal of the law. From the super-short hemlines to week after week of outlandish cases, Ally McBeal was sensationalism at its best. 

Oddball characters like John Cage and his “wattle fetish,” fantasy sequences, insane plot lines in which lawyers go undercover, and romantic entanglements rivaling a game of musical chairs are just a few of the reasons Ally McBeal has the distinction of being the #1 least realistic law show on this list.