Sunday, 17 December 2017

There Are Some People You Just Can’t Help

a post by Anya Light for the Tiny Buddha blog

Friends painting by Jerry Weiss

“Be there. Be open. Be honest. Be kind. Be willing to listen, understand, accept, support, and forgive. This is what it means to love.” ~Lori Deschene

A few months ago, I was totally freaked out.

I was having a cup of tea with a soul-sister friend, and we were in deep conversation. I was crying.

I was explaining, between hiccupping sobs, about how there was someone in my life who was suffering deeply.

Sitting at the café that day, I said to her, “There is this person in my life that I love so deeply, but he is suffering.”

I told her about all the ways I was connected to this very special person, and told her about how I was committed to helping him.

My friend was empathetically listening, and my story went on and on.

“He’s so depressed. When I’m around him, I just suddenly feel so sad. I feel his pain. It’s so deep. I have tried to share my wisdom with him, to help him evolve out of his depressed rut, but he won’t listen. I know he can make a change, but he just won’t listen to me. It’s like his ears are closed to me. What do I do? How can I help him?”

It was then that my dear friend replied in a way that I will never forget.

She placed her hand on my shoulder, and looked deeply into my eyes.

We sat in silence together for a moment.

Finally, she spoke, with such a gentle tone in her voice. “Anya, your lesson is to learn in this situation is simple, yet difficult. Your lesson is that you cannot help this person. Sometimes, there are people that you just can’t help.”

Continue reading including the comments if you have time as they illustrate and enhance what Anya is saying.

It’s time to stop trusting Google search already

a post by Adi Robertson for The Verge: via Library Link

Last weekend, in the hours after a deadly Texas church shooting, Google search promoted false reports about the suspect, suggesting that he was a radical communist affiliated with the antifa movement. The claims popped up in Google’s “Popular on Twitter” module, which made them prominently visible – although not the top results – in a search for the alleged killer’s name. Of course, the was just the latest instance of a long-standing problem: it was the latest of multiple similar missteps. As usual, Google promised to improve its search results, while the offending tweets disappeared. But telling Google to retrain its algorithms, as appropriate as that demand is, doesn’t solve the bigger issue: the search engine’s monopoly on truth.

Surveys suggest that, at least in theory, very few people unconditionally believe news from social media. But faith in search engines – a field long dominated by Google – appears consistently high. A 2017 Edelman survey found that 64 percent of respondents trusted search engines for news and information, a slight increase from the 61 percent who did in 2012, and notably more than the 57 percent who trusted traditional media. (Another 2012 survey, from Pew Research Center, found that 66 percent of people believed search engines were “fair and unbiased,” almost the same proportion that did in 2005.) Researcher Danah Boyd has suggested that media literacy training conflated doing independent research with using search engines. Instead of learning to evaluate sources, “[students] heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.”

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How to kill a dinosaur in 10 minutes

a post by Paul Braterman for the 3 Quarks Daily blog

Ten minutes difference, and Earth would still be Planet of the Dinosaurs

We have suspected for some decades that the dinosaurs became extinct as the result of a massive meteorite, an asteroid, hitting the Earth. We have known where the impact site was since 1990, if not before. But it is only last year that we successfully drilled into the impact site, and only now, for the first time, do we really understand why the impact was so fatal. And if the meteorite had arrived ten minutes earlier, or ten minutes later, it would still no doubt have inflicted devastation, but the dinosaurs would still be here and you wouldn't.

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I was sorting this item to include in one of my “10 for today” posts. Half an hour or so later I realised that this was not just interesting but very interesting and deserved a post in its own right. There&rsquos a bit of chemistry involved in the explanation but it is really not hard to understand.
Actually I think many of the items in the composite probably do but it take a lot longer to create one post than to shove it in with nine others!!

10 for today starts with a library and ends with John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce

The first traveling library
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza

Said to be the first example of a portable, miniaturized selection of books, this 17th-century traveling library toured England and was reportedly commissioned by William Hakewill, MP., who liked it so much he made several more.
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The story of WWII is usually told by men – what about the women on the front line?
via the New Statesman by Lucy Hughes-Halletta
All three of these books raise questions about the still problematic idealisation of women in combat.
There are two ways of telling about war, writes Svetlana Alexievich. There is what she calls the man’s way: “How certain people heroically killed other people and won. Or lost. What equipment there was and which generals.” Then there is the woman’s way. Knowing that during the Second World War about a million women served in the Soviet army, or fought with the partisans, Alexievich set out, in 1978, to ask them about their experiences.
She conducted more than 500 interviews. Some women turned her away. More often they welcomed her. “Come… Finally somebody wants to hear us,” they said. But they had trouble finding the words. Sometimes they could hardly speak for weeping. Sometimes they were silenced by their menfolk: husbands coached them in details about troop movements and chains of command, as though a man might be shamed by a wife who wanted to talk instead about how dead soldiers, their heads shaved, reminded her of a field of potatoes; about how she dreaded being torn to pieces by a shell and lying exposed, indecent and ugly, in death.
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Illuminated manuscripts for polyglots
via ResearchBuzz Firehose: British Library blog
I can't reproduce the images from the blog, sorry. H.
Here at the British Library we have just completed our latest digitisation project, with over 100 manuscripts added to our website between January 2016 and July this year. The project, funded by a private donor, has focused on collection items in French and other European vernacular languages that are notable either for their illuminations or for texts of particular interest.
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Online access is better than no access but please, if you are in London near St Pancras, do go to the British Library and see some of the manuscripts for yourself in the main exhibition gallery.

Good news: You have a contract to publish your book. Bad news: The deadline was 30 years ago
via Arts & Letters Daily: Chris Quintana in The Chronicle of Higher Education

A scholarly monograph that’s been in the works for three decades? Trust us, old university press hands say: We’ve seen worse.
David W. Congdon was recently reviewing the contracts he had inherited as a new acquisitions editor at the University Press of Kansas when he came upon a project due in 1987.
Mr. Congdon offered the author a chance to void the contract and to absolve himself of responsibility for the dangling project. But the writer declined, saying he would finish the manuscript instead. Both parties did acknowledge that the book on political science might need some updating.
“There’s only so much energy an editor can put into trying to track down a project and reach conclusions,” Mr. Congdon said. “There was kind of a mutual sense, ‘If you’re ready to get back into this project and keep working on it, you’re welcome to do so.’ It’s a valuable project, and it’ll be worthwhile. I am hopeful that it will come to fruition.”
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Try to guess the artists represented on these cards
via Boing Boing by Adam Gelbart

Guess the Artist (available for pre-order) is an art history quiz game that comes in a sleek, colorful package. Each of the 60 cards gives three clues from which the players must guess an artist (who is named on the back, like a flashcard). The clues/illustrations, which are done by Craig & Karl, range from things the artist might have worn to methods and iconography that they used.
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Long Road From Jarrow: a revolutionary tale of long-distance protest
via the New Statesman by Dan Jackson
Stuart Maconie tells the story of the men who marched from Tyneside to London.
There were several long-distance protest marches to London between the wars. Some involved many thousands of marchers and some were met with violence, but the only one that is widely remembered today is the “Jarrow Crusade” of October 1936. From 1851 to the early 1930s, the Tyneside town of Jarrow had launched a thousand ships, from tankers and colliers to cruisers and battleships – but as a result of postwar government cost-cutting and a global economic downturn, the area’s main employer, the Palmers shipyard, was forced to close in 1933, putting thousands out of work.
In 1936, as unemployment dragged on and government support failed to materialise, Jarrow’s local council arranged for 200 out-of-work local men to march to parliament – accompanied by their MP, “Red Ellen” Wilkinson – to “obtain the sympathy of the general public” and petition Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative government to provide work for the town.
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Picking a fight in an empty room
via OUP Blog by James Moran

Plaque in Saint Patrick’s Park, Dublin. Emkaer, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
This year marks the 137th anniversary of the birth of Seán O’Casey, one of the best-known of all Irish playwrights. His works first enthralled audiences at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre during the 1920s, and in the years since then his dramas have been repeatedly revisited by actors and directors. In particular, O’Casey’s Dublin dramas have repeatedly appeared onstage in some high-profile stagings during the past twelve months.
O’Casey set his best-known play The Plough and the Stars (1926) during the 1916 Easter Rising, and he takes a subversive and irreverent look at all sides in the conflict. This year, Dublin held a series of high-profile commemorative events over the Easter period to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the rebellion, and in the midst of all, O’Casey’s play appeared at the Abbey, which is the National Theatre of Ireland. Simultaneously, at the other end of O’Connell Street, Dublin’s well-known Gate Theatre staged an Easter version of O’Casey’s early work Juno and the Paycock (1924), a drama which is set during the 1922 Civil War. Then, hot on the heels of these shows, the Dublin Theatre Festival featured a four-and-a-half hour play, It’s Not Over, which took its cue from O’Casey’s 1916 script. And during the summer and autumn of 2016, the National Theatre of the UK staged another version of The Plough and the Stars, for which I wrote some programme notes and hosted a day of lectures, where attendees had the chance of hearing from the wonderful O’Casey director Wayne Jordan, the leading theatre-scholar Nicholas Grene, and the acclaimed novelist Mary Morrissy.
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A Possible Keats
via Arts & Letters Daily: Fleur Jaeggy in The New York Review of Books
In 1803, the guillotine was a common children’s toy. Children also had toy cannons that fired real gunpowder, and puzzles depicting the great battles of England. They went around chanting, “Victory or death!” Do childhood games influence character? We have to assume that they do, but let’s set aside such heartbreaking speculations for a moment. War – it’s not even a proper game – leaves influenza in its wake, and cadavers. Do childhood games typically leave cadavers behind in the nursery? Massacres in those little fairy-dust minds? Hoist the banners of victory across the table from the marzipan mountain to the pudding! It’s perhaps a dreadful thought, but we’ve seen clear evidence that both children and adults have a taste for imitation. Certainly, such questions should be explored, and yet let us allow that there is a purely metaphysical difference between a toy guillotine and war. Children are metaphysical creatures, a gift they lose too early, sometimes at the very moment they learn to talk.
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Lucian: The Syrian Satirist Who Invented Science Fiction
via Interesting Literature
In this week’s Dispatches from the Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle looks at the work of the master of the comic dialogue, Lucian of Samosata
It all started with a Syrian writer about whom he know virtually nothing. He was born in around AD 120 and died in 180, or thereabouts. His hometown was Samosata, on the bank of the Euphrates in what is now Turkey but was at the time part of the Roman province of Syria. He is known as ‘Lucian of Samosata’ – or, more frequently, Lucian – and he has a claim to being the inventor of two literary genres, though his claim to one is somewhat more robust than the other.
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The story of John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz

In 1967, John Lennon tooled around London in a Rolls-Royce Phantom V personalized with a psychedelic paint job. After years traveling around to various US museums, the car recently returned to London for a new Rolls Royce exhibit at Bonhams.
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Saturday, 16 December 2017

The Critical Role Nutrition Plays in Mental Health

a post by Darren DeYoung for the World of Psychology blog

food preferences

One of the most unrecognized factors in the development of mental health is the role of nutrition. The link between diet and mental health is growing as the field of Nutritional Psychiatry/Psychology expands. This field is becoming more impactful as epidemics continue to make headlines surrounding the health of our country and world. We know nutrition has substantial physical impacts, but it is the mental impacts of nutrition that are gaining traction with additional research and heightening awareness around this topic.

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The cash comeback: Evidence and possible explanations

a column for VOX: CEPR’s Policy Portal by Clemens Jobst and Helmut Stix

Many societies in the developed world have been shifting away from cash towards electronic alternatives. Despite this, there has been a remarkable increase in currency holdings over the past decade. This column looks at the evolution of cash holdings over time to shed light on this apparent contradiction. While circulating currency over GDP has been declining since WWII, there have been sizable increases in recent decades which are only partially explained by low interest rates.

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Undergraduates’ Attitudes toward Dating Violence: Its Relationship with Sexism and Narcissism

an article by Ahmet Erdem and Rukiye Sahin (Gaziosmanpasa University, Tokat, Turkey) published in International Journal of Higher Education Volume 6 Number 6 (2017)


In this research, whether the undergraduates’ attitude levels towards the dating violence differed in terms of gender, dating relationship status, being exposed to the dating violence and resorting to the dating violence was investigated. The sample of the study was composed of 1,171 undergraduates.

In the research, “The Attitudes toward Dating Violence Scales, Ambivalent Sexism Scale, Ambivalence toward Men Scale, Narcissistic Personality Inventory, and Personal Information Form” were used as the data collection tools.

In conclusion, significant differences were determined in the university students’ attitudes towards the dating violence according to the different demographic variables (gender, dating relationship status, being exposed to the dating violence and resorting to the dating violence).

Moreover, university students’ attitudes towards dating violence were determined to positively and significantly correlate with their ambivalence sexism levels. Ambivalence toward men was determined to positively and significantly correlate with their attitudes towards dating violence.

In addition, university students’ narcissistic personality traits were found to positively and significantly correlate with their attitudes towards dating violence.

Full text (PDF 15pp)