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Millennials (and Xers) Taking the Tough Mudder Pledge | Saeculum Research Blog May 9, 2016

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http://blog.saeculumresearch.com/2012/11/millennials-and-xers-taking-the-tough-mudder-pledge/

Honey Boo Boo vs. Duck Dynasty November 4, 2013

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While Conservatives bemoan the crudeness of popular culture, there are 12 million viewers tuning in to watch the Season Premiere of the comparatively-positive  White Trash role model  “Duck Dynasty”.  The largest audience ever for a reality show on cable. They’re even releasing a Holiday record “Duck the Halls”. Now those rich rednecks know how to market themselves.
As reality’s first family, the Kardashians, have seen their ratings steadily decline over the past several years, shows like “Pawn Stars,” “American Restoration” and “Duck Dynasty” have risen to dominate basic cable.

Reality Cable StarsLast year, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” which features a cornucopia of social ills, was TLC’s highest-rated show, attracting more cable viewers than the Republican National Convention, which had the misfortune to share the time slot with the charmers from Georgia. The show’s matriarch, June Shannon, has four daughters by four men, one of whose names she can’t recall.

Students of Arnold Toynbee, the English historian, will recognize what is going on here. In a chapter of his “A Study of History” entitled “Schism in the Soul,” Toynbee argued that it is a sign that a society is disintegrating when it takes its cues for manners and customs from the underclass. He describes such societies as being “truant” to their own values.

Toynbee is the guide to what we see all around us today.

We modern philistines tell ourselves that rejecting the customs and conventions of a stuffy, old elite will release creativity and bring about a renaissance. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Toynbee, self-expression replaces creativity when disintegrating societies look downward.

Aspiration is replaced by complacency. Shame vanishes. Any criticism becomes “haters gonna hate,” or the White Trash motto: “It don’t make no difference.”

White Trash signifiers have changed of course — the foreclosed McMansion with the mosquito-infested swimming pool has replaced the rusting tractor permanently bivouacked on cement blocks in the front yard. But it’s the same general idea.

Obesity, the product of a lack of discipline, sloppy dressing, loud and intimate cellphone chats broadcast to a captive audience and foul language nonchalantly uttered in the ATM line are all forms of this “self-expression.”

Pre-White Trash, physical intimacy was reserved to private places. Now it’s reserved for the subway. You no longer have to live in a one-room shack to learn the facts of life early. Just walk down the toy aisle at Toys “R” Us for a sexpot Bratz Doll.

Children who see daytime television, broadcast in public areas, are inevitably treated to Jerry Springer reruns. How do you explain “Honey, I’m a Ho,” or “Transsexuals Attack” to a tot? Oh, wait, the tot explains it to you.

Tattoos are form of self-expression that have moved from gangs and prisons to the mainstream.

via When did white trash become normal? | New York Post.

If You Also Hate The Time Change… November 3, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, health, Lifestyle.
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AccordUS Time Zonesing to Time and Date, a Norwegian Newsletter dedicated to time zone information, America started using four time zones in 1883. Before that, each city had its own time standard based on its calculation of apparent solar time (when the sun is directly over-head at noon) using sundials. That led to more than 300 different American time zones. This made operations very difficult for the telegraph and burgeoning railroad industry. Railroads operated with 100 different time zones before America moved to four, which was consistent with Britain’s push for a global time standard.

Now the world has evolved further—we are even more integrated and mobile, suggesting we’d benefit from fewer, more stable time zones. Why stick with a system designed for commerce in 1883? In reality, America already functions on fewer than four time zones.

 Research based on time use surveys found American’s schedules are determined by television more than daylight.  That suggests in effect, Americans already live on two time zones.

via Daylight Saving Time Is Terrible: Here’s a Simple Plan to Fix It – Allison Schrager – The Atlantic.

Why Is Gay Porn So Popular in Pakistan? June 21, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, philosophy & politics, Religion.
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As of this writing, Pakistan is by volume the world leader for Google searches of the terms “shemale sex,” “teen anal sex,” and “man fucking man,” according to Google Trends. Pakistan also ranks second in the world (after similarly gay-intolerant Kenya) for volume of searches for the search term “gay sex pics.”

In its report, Pew noted that countries exhibiting the highest levels of gay tolerance are largely secular, whereas nations where religion is central to public lifesuch as Egypt, Nigeria, and Pakistantend to reject homosexuality. But in Pakistan, what’s even more peculiar is that the highest number of hits for some of these terms, including “shemale sex,” come not from Pakistan’s cosmopolitan centers, but from Peshawar, a bastion of conservative Islam, lately known in the West as a counterterrorism frontline.

Farahnaz Ispahbikini_burkhaani, an expert in Pakistani minorities at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a former member of Pakistan’s parliament, says that homosexuality is a taboo subject throughout the country. In major cities such as Lahore and Karachi, gays can develop a network of allies outside their tribe or family, but in conservative Peshawar, gay identity is more complicated. Part of the popularity of gay porn could stem from the fact that even highly observant Muslim males often have physical relationships with men without considering themselves gay, she says.

“The real love they can have that most of us find with a partner, they find with men,” Ispahani says. “They mostly see their wives as the mother of their children.”

Why Is Gay Porn So Popular in Pakistan? | Mother Jones.

Get Fat Back In Your Diet March 17, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Food, In The News, Lifestyle.
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Listening to the doctors on cable TV, you might think that it’s better to cook up a batch of meth than to cook with butter. But eating basic, earthy, fatty foods isn’t just a supreme experience of the senses—it can actually be good for you.

The foods that best hit that sweet spot and “overwhelm the brain” with pleasure are high-quality fatty foods. They discourage us from overeating. A modest serving of short ribs or Peking duck will be both deeply pleasurable and self-limiting. As the brain swoons into insensate delight, you won’t have to gorge a still-craving cortex with mediocre sensations. “Sensory-specific satiety” makes a slam-dunk case (it’s science!) for eating reasonable servings of superbly satisfying fatty foods.

via Let Them Eat Fat: In Praise of Fatty Foods – WSJ.com.

You Would Probably Blow An Inheritance March 17, 2013

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According to the Boston College Center for Retirement Research, two-thirds of baby boomers will inherit family money over their lifetime—most during their later middle-age years—to the collective tune of some $7.6 trillion. Add in the many postwar babies who receive a significant financial gift or two from Mom and Dad while the latter are still alive, and the asset shift jumps even more. Not bad, experts say, considering that Americans’ total household wealth at the end of 2012 was $64.8 trillion. “There’s a lot on the line,” says John Davis, faculty chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School.

mrmoneybagsBut if the past is any prelude, inheritors, especially those who are new to the family-windfall phenomenon, face an unpleasant reality: They’re likely to blow it. Although it’s not widely discussed, financial advisers say that new riches prove particularly hard to hold onto—and even harder to patiently nurture and grow. Indeed, research shows that family money rarely survives the transfer for long, with 70 percent evaporated by the end of the second generation. By the end of the third? Ninety percent. Hence the old saw, “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

The most obvious reason, of course, is that money gets spread thinly over fast-growing family trees. But wealth managers also say many people are simply inexperienced at handling large piles of dough in any disciplined way—think of the so-called sudden-wealth syndrome experienced by lottery winners and many professional athletes. Another common trend advisers see?

A belief among some inheritors that, hey, it’s permanent vacation time, and there’s no need to create any new income streams.

via Lost Inheritances – Studies Show Americans Blow Through Family Fortunes at a Remarkable Rate |.

Would you rather be Right or Happy? March 16, 2013

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When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again. We get addicted to being right.

lionHenpeckedI’ve coached dozens of incredibly successful leaders who suffer from this addiction. They are extremely good at fighting for their point of view (which is indeed often right) yet they are completely unaware of the dampening impact that behavior has on the people around them. If one person is getting high off his or her dominance, others are being drummed into submission, experiencing the fight, flight, freeze or appease response I described before, which diminishes their collaborative impulses.

Luckily, there’s another hormone that can feel just as good as adrenaline: oxytocin. It’s activated by human connection and it opens up the networks in our executive brain, or prefrontal cortex, further increasing our ability to trust and open ourselves to sharing. Your goal as a leader should be to spur the production of oxytocin in yourself and others, while avoiding (at least in the context of communication) those spikes of cortisol and adrenaline.

(more…)

Extreme Firewood Stacking December 29, 2012

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Firewood keeps you warm, when you’re cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking it, in addition to when you actually burn it. Now that the Winter weather is really here, it is time to reflect on how some other folks have gone beyond just stacking up wood to keep warm. .

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How To Properly Stack Firewood – Yellow Bullet Forums. Click for more examples of Extreme Firewood Stacking

More Deaths Caused by Obesity than Hunger December 29, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, health, In The News, Lifestyle.
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Obesity has become a bigger threat to global health than child hunger, according to a major study.

More than three million deaths in 2010 were attributable to excess body weight, three times the death toll due to malnutrition.

The largest investigation of disease ever undertaken, published yesterday, also found that high blood pressure, smoking and drinking alcohol have become the world’s biggest health risks.

So-called diseases of the western industrialised nations have become more prevalent as developing nations become more affluent. Fewer infants are dying of starvation in the poorest countries while a fast expanding middle-class in the emerging economies. ibeatanorexia

Obesity kills more than hunger in march of ‘progress’ | The Times.

Travel Trailers – Cutest to Most Outrageous. August 11, 2012

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From the cutest to a video of the most over-the-top Travel Trailer – Vin Diesel’s $1.2M behemoth.

 

 

Teenage plus: The new adolescence April 26, 2012

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Remarkable new research suggests that conventional assumptions about how we mature are wrong – and that young people do not become true adults until they are 24

via Teenage plus: The new adolescence – Life & Style – The Independent. (more…)

3 theories on how Siblings Share Genes, But Rarely Personalities November 26, 2010

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Siblings share both genes and environment. Why, then, are they often so different? For most of history, psychologists thought of the study of siblings as backwater: Parenting was important — siblings were not.

Then in the 1980s, a researcher named Robert Plomin published a surprising paper in which he reviewed the three main ways psychologists had studied siblings: physical characteristics, intelligence and personality. According to Plomin, in two of these areas, siblings were really quite similar.

Physically, siblings tended to differ somewhat, but they were a lot more similar on average when compared to children picked at random from the population. That’s also true of cognitive abilities.

“The surprise,” says Plomin, “is when you turn to personality.” Turns out that on tests that measure personality — stuff like how extroverted you are, how conscientious — siblings are practically like strangers.

Siblings Share Genes, But Rarely Personalities : NPR.

What Gin & Sitcoms Have In Common August 29, 2010

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I was recently reminded of some reading I did in college, way back in the last century, by a British historian arguing that the critical technology, for the early phase of the industrial revolution, was gin.

The transformation from rural to urban life was so sudden, and so wrenching, that the only thing society could do to manage was to drink itself into a stupor for a generation. The stories from that era are amazing– there were gin pushcarts working their way through the streets of London. Alcoholism was also rampant in the US, during our industrial Revolution, until Prohibition’s push-back. (more…)

Who Cheats, Depends On Who Is the Bread-Winner August 18, 2010

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Findings suggest that disparities in moneymaking play a significant role in infidelity, at least among the young couples they studied. “With women, they were less likely to engage in infidelity the less money they make relative to their husband,” said study author Christin Munsch. “But for men, the less money you make relative to your spouse, the more likely you are to engage in infidelity.”

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and research professor at Rutgers University, said it makes sense that men with more money would be more likely to fool around. “He probably travels a lot and drives nicer cars, and he’s probably in finer restaurants. He’s advertising the kind of resources that women are looking for from an evolutionary perspective,” she said. “Around the world, women go for men who are on the top of the pile.”

But there’s less reason, from an evolutionary perspective, for a man to stray if he makes less money than his female partner, she said. “You’d think a man would want to stick around those resources himself. That may have more of a purely psychological explanation.”

As for women, she said, wealth brings them a greater power to do what they want, whether it’s leave a bad relationship or have an affair.

via Infidelity Rises When She Makes More Than He Does.

Divorce Stats That Can Predict Your Marriage May 23, 2010

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How long will your marriage last? Depends on if you smoke, which church you go to, and which state you live in. Anneli Rufus on the shocking statistics.

via Divorce Stats That Can Predict Your Marriage’s Success – The Daily Beast.

We Have Traded Sound For Convenience May 11, 2010

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“People used to sit and listen to music,” Mr. Fremer said, but the increased portability has altered the way people experience recorded music. “It was an activity. It is no longer consumed as an event that you pay attention to.”

Instead, music is often carried from place to place, played in the background while the consumer does something else — exercising, commuting or cooking dinner.

The songs themselves are usually saved on the digital devices in a compressed format, often as an AAC or MP3 file. That compression shrinks the size of the file, eliminating some of the sounds and range contained on a CD while allowing more songs to be saved on the device and reducing download times.

via A Musical Revolution, With a Cost in Fidelity – NYTimes.com.

Middle-Aged Myths May 1, 2010

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A lot of the myths we think of in terms of middle age, myths that I grew up with, turn out to be based on almost nothing. Things like the midlife crisis or the empty nest syndrome. We’re brought up to think we’ll enter middle age and it will be kind of gloomy. But as scientists look at real people, they find out the contrary. We used to think we lost 30 percent of our brain cells as we age. But that’s not true. We keep them.

One study of men found that well-being peaked at age 65. Over and over they find that middle age, instead of being a time of depression and decline, is actually a time of being more optimistic overall. (more…)

Video: 1Room, 24 Uses May 1, 2010

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Protect Yourself On Facebook -5 Easy Steps October 10, 2009

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Unbeknownst to most mainstream Facebook users, the social network actually offers a slew of privacy controls and security features which can help you batten down the hatches, so to speak. If used properly, you’ll never have to worry about whether you should friend the boss and your mom. You can friend anyone you want while comfortable in the knowledge that not everyone gets to see everything you post.

The problem in implementing these privacy options is that they’re just too confusing for most non-tech savvy people to handle. And often, folks don’t want to bother to take the time to learn. To simplify the process, we’re offering five easy steps you can take today to help make your Facebook experience safer, more secure, and more private.

via 5 Easy Steps to Stay Safe (and Private!) on Facebook – NYTimes.com. (more…)

A Boomer’s Whining September 19, 2009

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1. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.
2. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.
3. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

(more…)

French Excel at Eating, Sleeping May 4, 2009

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Norwegians spend the most time at leisure, just over a quarter of their day, while at the low end, Mexicans spend just 16 percent of their time having fun.

The French still win in the sleeping and eating categories, spending on average nearly 9 hours a day in bed. For the French, leisure continues in the waking hours, with more than 2 hours a day spent eating and drinking — nearly twice as much time at the table as Americans, Canadians or Mexicans.

Americans also like their sleep, spending some 8.5 hours a day doing just that.

via Survey: French Excel at Eating, Sleeping – TIME. (more…)

Drug Decriminalization? Portugal’s Success Story April 26, 2009

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At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing Portugal’s drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy. The argument was that the fear of prison drives addicts underground and that incarceration is more expensive than treatment — so why not give drug addicts health services instead? Under Portugal’s new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.

The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

via The Portuguese Experiment: Did Legalizing Drugs Work? – TIME.

Post-Madoff Palm Beach Blues April 13, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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The last time he was here, he fell for a $2,000 pair of worsted spun cashmere pants, which the up-scale Worth Avenue boutique Trillion didn’t have in his size, and had to be ordered from Italy.After the slacks arrived, but before Mr. Madoff could come by for a fitting, he was arrested.

“I remember I heard about the arrest and I went directly to the store to charge those pants on his credit card,” recalls Mr. Neff, a fit, gray-haired man in perpetual motion. “But the card had already been canceled.”

So, what happened to the pants?

“They’re in the racks, over there,” Mr. Neff says, nodding toward the trouser section.

via Recession Pain, Even in Palm Beach – NYTimes.com.

Delaying Gratification – the New Frugality April 8, 2009

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cat_police_dogsThe brain has a limited capacity for self-regulation, so exerting willpower in one area often leads to backsliding in others. The good news, however, is that practice increases willpower capacity, so that in the long run, buying less now may improve our ability to achieve future goals — like losing those 10 pounds we gained when we weren’t out shopping.

No one knows why willpower can grow with practice but it must reflect some biological change in the brain. Perhaps neurons in the frontal cortex, which is responsible for planning behavior, or in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with cognitive control, use blood sugar more efficiently after repeated challenges. Or maybe one of the chemical messengers that neurons use to communicate with one another is produced in larger quantities after it has been used up repeatedly, thereby improving the brain’s willpower capacity.

Whatever the explanation, consistently doing any activity that requires self-control seems to increase willpower — and the ability to resist impulses and delay gratification is highly associated with success in life. Thanks to frugal Maria for this article

via Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind – New York Times.

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