NPR picked up on this Village Voice weblog post by Shefali Kulkarni and I heard her interviewed today. She describes how, five months or so ago, she started to order her coffees at Starbucks under the name ‘Sheila’ instead of being burdened to spell her unfamiliar foreign name for the baristas. She is apologetic about racial profiling, but she began to notice that those on the coffee lines with foreign names often did the same thing. Now coffee snob that I am, I would never be caught in a Starbucks, but this reminds me of somethng I do which in effect turns this situation on its head.
Being a fiend for Asian food, with which my neighborhood is quite well-endowed, I noticed about thirty years ago that when I ordered takeout the Asian restauranteurs often had difficulty understanding my name ‘Eliot’ and I began ordering my food under the name ‘Wes’. Unambiguous, didn’t require spelling, etc. Within a few months, however, my favorite Szechuan restaurant started identifying me whenever I came in for a table or a pickup as ‘Mr. West,’ and ‘Hello, Mr. West’ it has remained.
This was before I used credit cards. When that changed, I recall worrying about the confusion it might cause at the restaurant if ‘Mr. West’ paid for his food with a card belonging to ‘Eliot Gelwan’, but they never batted an eyelid. After I had children, once they became old enough to notice, my son and daughter on the other hand have been shaking their heads in consternation whenever my restaurant greets me. I think I’ll have to point them to the ‘coffee names’ post to vindicate msyelf…
But what about the ones you’ve never even heard of? That’s the crux of a new report from the American Cancer Society (ACS), which rounds up 20 “suspected carcinogens” the organization would like to see studied more extensively.” (AOL News via Lloyd)
- Best Antioxidant Foods for Cancer Prevention (lifescript.com)
- Flat-screen TV chemical on Cancer Society’s list of potential carcinogens (nationalpost.com)
Mitchell, who is African-American, and who has long been a strong voice tackling parenting challenges she sees as particular to her community, blamed what she called “ghetto parenting” for condemning children to failure.
In a column titled “Ghetto Parenting Dooms Kids: Deck Stacked Against Those Who Were Raised in the Streets,” she defines her new term like this…” [more] (New York Times )
A rock ’n’ roll septuagenarian was someone the gerontologist Robert Butler could have only dreamed of in 1968, when he coined the term “ageism” to describe the way society discriminates against the old. Dr. Butler, a psychiatrist, died, at age 83, a few days before Ringo’s big bash. No one, his colleagues said, had done more to improve the image of aging in America. His work established that the old did not inevitably become senile, and that they could be productive, intellectually engaged, and active — sexually and otherwise. His life provided a good example: He worked until three days before his death from acute leukemia.
But as much as Dr. Butler would have cheered an aging Beatle onstage, his colleagues said he would have also cautioned against embracing the opposite stereotype — the idea that “aging successfully,” in his phrase, means that you have to be banging on drums in front of thousands — or still be acting like you did at 22 or 42. That stereotype is almost as enduring as ageism itself.” (NYTimes.com)
It goes something like this: your hair frizzles in the heat and humidity, because there are more ways for your hair to be curled than to be straight, and nature likes options. So it takes a force to pull hair straight and eliminate nature’s options. Forget curved space or the spooky attraction at a distance described by Isaac Newton’s equations well enough to let us navigate the rings of Saturn, the force we call gravity is simply a byproduct of nature’s propensity to maximize disorder.
Some of the best physicists in the world say they don’t understand Dr. Verlinde’s paper, and many are outright skeptical. But some of those very same physicists say he has provided a fresh perspective on some of the deepest questions in science, namely why space, time and gravity exist at all — even if he has not yet answered them.” (New York Times).
It goes against the grain not just because it seems like such a grim and pessimistic judgment, but because it violates a prevailing social belief that people have a nearly limitless potential for change and self-improvement. After all, we are the culture of Baby Einstein, the video product that promised — and spectacularly failed — to make geniuses of all our infants.” (New York Times)
But new research is revealing the trait can bring both profits and perils.
Though perfection is an impossible goal, striving for it can be a boon for one’s health, causing one to stick to exercise programs to a tee, say, or follow a strict regimen for treating chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes. But the same lofty goals can mean added mental pressure when mistakes are made and the resistance to asking for help from others in fear of revealing one’s true, imperfect self.
In fact studies show the personality trait of perfectionism is linked to poor physical health and an increased risk of death.” (LiveScience).
‘ “From its inception in 1964… cryonics has been known to frequently produce intense hostility from spouses who are not cryonicists.” The opposition of romantic partners… is something that “everyone” involved in cryonics knows about but… find difficult to understand. To someone who believes that low-temperature preservation offers a legitimate chance at extending life, obstructionism can seem as willfully cruel as withholding medical treatment. Even if you don’t want to join your husband in storage, ask believers, what is to be lost by respecting a man’s wishes with regard to the treatment of his own remains? Would-be cryonicists forced to give it all up… “face certain death.” ‘ (New York Times )
Jim Fallon studied the brains of psychopaths for twenty years. Then his mother mentioned that he was related to Lizzie Borden, so he decided to study himself. “You see that? I’m 100 percent. I have the pattern, the risky pattern,” he says, then pauses. “In a sense, I’m a born killer.” (NPR).
As someone who could never be described as cool, calm and collected, I appreciated this New York Times piece: “Lose it. Just once. See what happens.”
“Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” For schizophrenia? Perhaps. New research suggests that aspirin may be of benefit in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia. (Psych Central News).