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The Seneca White Deer are a rare herd of deer living within the confines of the former Seneca Army Depot in Seneca County, New York. When the 10,600-acre (43 km2) depot was created in 1941, a 24-mile (39 km) fence was erected around its perimeter, isolating a small herd of White-tailed deer, some of whom had white coats. These deer are not albino, but instead carry a recessive gene for all-white coats. With the protection of the fence, the wildlife inside the depot flourished. The white deer are an example of artificial selection. In the 1950s, the depot commander forbade GI’s from shooting any white deer. The deer population has since grown to about 700 head, approximately 300 of which are white, making it the largest herd of white deer in the world.
I’ve thought of this several times lately. How do my cyberspace friends know that I have passed on? This and more is discussed in the article below. Sobering but comforting. ~ZoomZoom
Monday, January 25, 2010
Heather Pierce lives in Glover Park, but much of her life floats in the cloud.
Her e-mail is stored in that vast digital space, bouncing between Yahoo server farms. Her bank statements reside there, too, along with her mortgage payments, credit card files, movie rental account, library book list, home videos and hundreds of photos — on Shutterfly, Facebook and her blog. She has only a few hard-copy photos of her 17-month-old daughter.
If Pierce’s house caught fire, what would she dash in to save? Not much, probably. “All of that important stuff is online now,” she said. “That’s where our lives are.”
Which is why Pierce, 38, recently paid $29.99 to sign up for a year’s access to yet another account in the cloud — one that stores all her passwords and log-in information and, when the worst happens, will be accessible to whomever she designates as digital executor. On its Web site, under serene pictures of clouds against a deep blue sky, the company calls its service “a digital safety deposit box.”
Pierce’s backup service, San Francisco-based Legacy Locker, is one of a dozen businesses that have sprung up to help denizens of the digital world grapple with the thorny issues raised after your physical being leaves behind only its virtual reality. Internet experts and estate planners say a cybercrisis is brewing because popular Internet services have policies that, barring an order from a court, forbid accessing or transferring accounts — including recovering money — unless someone has the password.
The legal fog affects not only personal lives — the photo site Flickr has 40 million members — but also millions of business accounts on such sites as eBay and PayPal and the virtual community of Second Life, which generated $55 million of real money for users last year. Despite our increasing reliance on cloud computing — storing all sorts of data online through Web applications — very few Internet users have begun to think about what happens to all that data should we get hit by a bus.
“We haven’t truly seen the breadth of this issue play out yet, but I’m telling you, this is a huge problem,” said Chicago lawyer Karin C. Prangley, who has spoken on the topic at conferences. “Ten or 15 years ago, someone could go into your house and find the paper trail if you die. Now the paper trail is online.”
Naturally, so are the proposed solutions. The dot-coms occupying the new digital beyond run the gamut from pure password-storage sites like Legacy Locker — a competitor in Switzerland promises a “Swiss bank” for assets — to such start-ups as Bcelebrated.com, which helps users create online memorials that go live after they die and e-mails to be sent from the grave. It is now possible to essentially hit “send,” from six feet under, on an e-mail confessing to chopping down the cherry tree.
But the e-mails also serve another purpose, particularly as relationships stretch as wide as the cloud that nurtures them. The traditional rites and legal procedures that follow death are geared to friends and family in the physical world, but businesses are cropping up to also serve the new universe of friends, those on chat boards or on Facebook. How will, say, 700 of your Twitter followers find out about your death if you can’t log in to tell them?
“Back in the day, we never moved far from home, and people could read about our deaths in the obit column,” said Debra Joy, founder of Bcelebrated.com. “But now we move around, we have friends around the world that we connect with on the Internet. We need to reach them somehow.”
Are you ‘still alive’?
The new sites, with such names as DataInherit, Entrustet, Parting Wishes, VitalLock, My Last Email and If I Die, deliver the bad news in novel ways. With Deathswitch.com, if users don’t respond to regular e-mails to confirm that they are still alive, the site gets increasingly worried about them, sending notes that nearly beg for a reply: “Please log on using the link below to demonstrate that you are still alive.” If users don’t respond within a set period of time, “postmortem” e-mails stored in their account are delivered.
The missives could be basic information, such as e-mail passwords sent to a girlfriend or banking data to relatives — or more emotionally explosive notes that tell a spouse or friend what couldn’t be said during life.
“It’s really important for someone to know all of this information we have out there,” said Gary Altman, a Rockville estate lawyer who asks his clients to arrange to give passwords to family members. “Everything is hidden in the clouds. If no one knows it’s there or where to get it, how are you going to find it?”
Pierce learned this lesson the hard way. Her sister-in-law died suddenly last year, and as the family was grieving, the woman’s husband realized that decisions needed to be made about her swimming-lesson business. But nobody knew her passwords to e-mail accounts or other sites. The relatives guessed. They guessed some more. Finally, after more than a week, they were able to get in.
“This awful tragedy was compounded by the fact that nobody knew her passwords,” Pierce said.
Service providers offer varying degrees of helpfulness in such situations.
Some, like Google, will unlock e-mail, video, photo and shopping accounts if family members have a death certificate and a previous e-mail sent to them by the departed. The process can take a while. Facebook will close accounts if hoops are jumped through; otherwise, the account goes into “memorial” mode, meaning it’s still out there but most features are disabled.
Other providers are more stringent. Second Life will not transfer an account unless there is a will, court order or other relevant legal documents. Yahoo, with 106 million e-mail users, is perhaps the toughest. In a statement, the company said, “Internet users who want to be sure their e-mail and other online accounts are accessible to their legal heirs may want to work with their attorneys to plan an offline process for such access as part of their estate planning process.”
Similar rules apply to the firm’s popular photo-sharing site, Flickr. Asked whether pictures would remain online unless the user leaves other instructions in a will or gives the password to someone else, a Yahoo spokeswoman said, “Yes, that is correct.”
For many, like Pierce, having loved ones locked out of her accounts is a scary prospect. A month ago, when a friend sent her a link to Legacy Locker, she signed up. The site asks for two verifiers who would be contacted to confirm a death. Pierce chose her husband and her best friend, who then received e-mails checking to see whether they were willing to “help oversee the distribution of Heather Pierce’s digital assets.”As those e-mails zoomed through the cloud, Pierce saw a colorful page where she could list her online accounts and name beneficiaries.
The process is no more difficult than signing up for an e-mail account but has an extra dose of security, said the company’s founder, 36-year-old San Francisco entrepreneur Jeremy Toeman. The site is so encrypted, he said, that even he can’t see user information. “I’m the opposite of Google,” he said. “I know absolutely nothing about my customers.”
He does know that more than 10,000 people have signed up. He expects many more.
“We’re in an era now where people are really going to have to pay attention to what their online assets are,” Toeman said. “Five years ago, that terminology — digital assets — didn’t even make sense. Now it does.”
Saturday, January 23rd 2010, 4:00 AM
An unauthorized biography of talk show titaness Oprah Winfrey is set to be released on April 13 by Crown Publishing, according to EW.com. It’s penned by bestselling author Kitty Kelley, who has previously written about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Nancy Reagan and the British Royal Family.
“Oprah has spent years eliciting intimate confessionals from her subjects, but she herself has a carefully guarded persona,” Crown spokesman David Drake said, according to EW.com. “This is the first complete portrait of her — it will reveal Oprah as she has never been seen before.”
More than 500,000 copies of the 544-page book have been ordered for the first printing, and Kelley interviewed 850 sources while researching Oprah Winfrey’s life for three years.
The book, “Oprah: A Biography,” will “cover all aspects of her life” and “be evenhanded,” Drake says.
“Kelley understands Oprah’s cultural importance and that is something she covers at length,” he adds.
Drake said Kelley and the publishing company are not too worried about Winfrey coming down on them. “I spoke to the people at [Oprah’s production company] Harpo [Thursday] morning, and they were gracious to me,” he says. “[Oprah] even said, a few years ago, something along the lines of, ‘I’m not encouraging it, I’m not discouraging it; this is America.'”
But Winfrey isn’t coming forward to talk about the book, according to CNN. “Oprah hasn’t participated in or read Kitty Kelley’s book, so she is unable to comment,” a spokeswoman told the cable news network.
The simple and inexpensive eye test could be part of routine examinations by high street opticians in as little as three years, allowing those in middle age to be screened.
Dementia experts said it had the power to revolutionise the treatment of Alzheimer’s by making it possible for drugs to be given in the earliest stages.
Simple: The middle-aged could visit their local optician and have the special eye test as part of a routine examination
The technique, being pioneered at University College London, could also speed up the development of medication capable of stopping the disease in its tracks, preventing people from ever showing symptoms.
Rebecca Wood, of the Alzheimer’s Trust, said: ‘These findings have the potential to transform the way we diagnose Alzheimer’s, greatly enhancing efforts to develop new treatments.’
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia blight the lives of 700,000 Britons and their families, and the number of cases is expected to double within a generation.
There is no cure and existing drugs do not work for everyone.
Current diagnosis is based on memory tests, and expensive brain scans are also sometimes used.
However decisive proof of the disease usually comes from examination of the patient’s brain after death.
Diagnosis: Eye drops would be used in the test to highlight diseased cells at the back of the eye
The eye test would provide a quick, easy, cheap and highly-accurate diagnosis.
It exploits the fact that the light-sensitive cells in the retina at the back of the eye are a direct extension of the brain.
Using eye drops which highlight diseased cells, the UCL researchers showed for the first time in a living eye that the amount of damage to cells in the retina directly corresponds with brain cell death.
They have also pinpointed the pattern of retinal cell death characteristic of Alzheimer’s. So far their diagnosis has been right every time.
With research showing that cells start to die ten to 20 years before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s become evident, it could allow people to be screened in middle age for signs of the disease.
However, some may not want to know their fate so far in advance. There is also the fear that insurance companies could increase premiums for those who test positive while still young.
The experiments, reported in the journal Cell Death & Disease, have been on animals but the team are poised to start the first human trials.
Researcher Professor Francesca Cordeiro said: ‘The equipment used for this research is essentially the same as is used in clinics and hospitals worldwide.
‘It is also inexpensive and non-invasive, which makes us fairly confident that we can progress quickly to its use in patients.
‘It is entirely possible that in the future a visit to a high street optician to check on your eyesight will also be a check on the state of your brain.’
The technique could also improve the diagnosis of other conditions, including glaucoma and Parkinson’s disease.
In the short term, an early diagnosis would give patients and their families much more time to prepare for the future.
In the longer term, it would allow new drugs that stop the disease in their tracks to reach their full potential.
Professor Cordeiro said: ‘If you give the treatment early enough, you can stop the disease progressing, full stop.’
Dr Susanne Sorensen, of the Alzheimer’s Society, cautioned that the test was still experimental but added: ‘This research is very exciting. If we can delay the onset of dementia by five years, we can halve the number of people who will die from the disease.’
Thanks to advances in healthcare and genetic research, 60 may be the new middle age for women. We all need to adapt
By Linda Duberley
Somewhere among us is a 60-year-old woman who has just started drawing her pension. She has also applied for her bus pass, and in all likelihood renewed several subscriptions to fashion magazines. She has at least two children and several grandchildren. And here’s the good news: she’s only halfway through her life, and she could be you.
News that scientists have discovered a gene that is known to treble your odds of living to 100 and may help you to ward off Alzheimer’s merely adds weight to a wealth of research that states that women especially have a high chance of living until they are well over 100 years old.
It is estimated that one in six women in the UK is now a pensioner. According to Nigel Barlow, head of research at the life assurance company Just Retirement, soon that number will increase to one in four and by the end of the decade one in three.
“If we think that the UK high street is likely to be swamped with women pushing their trolleys home for an early tea, we need to think again,” he says. “These women bear no relation to our preconceived idea of female pensioners. They are exceptional super-grandmothers. There are instances of women applying for motorcycle licences and participating in charity parachute jumps in their eighties.”
What we have not taken on board, Barlow continues, is that such women will become the norm. “We need to review what we regard as middle age,” he says. “The idea that 60 signals the start of a less active, less vibrant and less productive life is now nonsense.”
His view is shared by the author and futurist Patrick Dixon, who goes even farther. “Our knowledge about healthcare is doubling every year. In the five years between 2045 and 2050, there are likely to be more advances than we have seen in the past 25 years. It would be unthinkable that by the time a potential 120-year-old woman has lived another 30 years beyond her current age of 65, she won’t see extra life expectancy of at least five years.”
Advertisers, retailers and crucially the Government cannot afford to ignore this group, says Barlow: “After all, as someone said recently, they have the money. Correction, they have all the money.”
In an age when the film industry, television, the corporate world and even politicians are busy trying to pretend that the 50-year-old woman does not exist, plenty of women are happily going about their business, at 60, caring for their grandchildren and fitting in a Pilates session before buying a frock with their daughter at Comptoir des Cotonniers. Why not? They have may another five decades.
Ironically, the fashion industry — known for its love of youth — illustrates this trend best. Carine Roitfeld, 55, the legendary editor of French Vogue, is a muse for most of the UK’s high street brands. As is the American Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, 60, and her invaluable lieutenant, Grace Coddington, 67, who graced our screens last year in The September Issue, at the height of their powers.
Joan Burstein, the owner of Brown’s boutique, whose buying sense is unrivalled, is 85. And her niece Laurel Herman, 63, is one of our leading image consultants. “You cannot ignore the buying power or indeed the determination of so-called older women,” says Laurel. “We don’t want to go quietly into the night. If I feel like wearing Dolce & Gabbana to a cocktail party, then I will. So would my mother, and she is 87.”
But does everything look as good in the garden of longevity as it seems? It certainly looks a lot better than it did 30 years ago, when the worst figures for depression and related mental illnesses were for women entering their middle years.
Experts say that women will only make the most of this extra lease of life if they stay healthy enough to earn money for longer and they manage their savings with close attention. In part, this is because they can expect to be living on their own in their later years.
Many potentially fatal illnesses that largely affect women, such as breast cancer, can now be detected early by effective screening. According to Professor Thomas Kirkwood, director of the Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle University, the overall reason why we are living longer is that the improved conditions of life mean that we reach old age with fewer accumulated faults in our cells.
“That women live longer than men appears to be deeply rooted in biology,” he says. “There is some evidence that female cells are better protected against this accumulation of faults than men. There are evolutionary reasons why this should be so, because the maintenance of the female body plays such a central role in our reproductive process.”
It is also thought that the male hormone testosterone gives rise to a raft of killer conditions — principally heart disease. According to medical experts, once men have suffered heart disease they are more predisposed to vascular dementia and a range of other diseases. The hormone that, in a different age, would have given men the instinct and drive to succeed may now be the one that will drive them to death.
“Women are naturally sociable,” adds Barlow. “They feel a sense of connection and it leaves them feeling happy and positive. This is undoubtedly a factor in their health and wellbeing as they get older. They are better able to manage the transition into the final stages of their lives. Men develop a social life too, but it is often through their work. Once their work stops, they stop too.”
Professor George Magnus, a senior economic adviser at UBS, believes that “the figure of 120 years is in the right kind of ball park. But although this sounds very positive, it raises all sorts of questions about what quality of life these women will have.
“We have to get more women to stay at work or go back to work after having families. There are two groups of people who are underemployed. They are women and the over-55s. Women over 55 are doubly disadvantaged. As they get older they are subject to living on their own. Women need to know that they can look after themselves. People have to keep learning new skills. Learning does not stop at 21.”
There is a warning, however, for the daughters of women living to a ripe old age. Although we have done a great deal to delay the appearance of ageing and to improve screening and preventive medicines, we have made few advances in extending fertility. Doctors have extended women’s lives, but not the lives of the eggs from which they are born.
In utero baby girls have close on one million eggs. By the time that baby has been born, they are numbered in the hundreds of thousands. By the time that baby girl is 15, there may be less than half left and by the time she is a grown woman of 30 there will be 100,000 left. As she hits her early forties, less than a third of the way through her life at current estimates, there may be less than 10,000. And at 50, it is game over.
“I would be the last person to want to scare women who want to have babies later in life,” says Dr Melanie Davies of the Institute for Women’s Health. “But every obstetric complication rises with age and there is no NHS funding for IVF over 35. Nor have we extended the age of the menopause, which in the UK is around 51. It is still lower in smokers, starting in the late forties.”
In the 1950s women had their children at the age of 20 or 21. This has been extended to 29 — we are nearly a decade older than our mothers were when we start families. To make the most of our increased life span, Dixon suggests that women should aim to conceive at a much earlier age and start their careers later on.
“Women are best equipped to have children at a younger age when they have the more energy to raise children and fewer health problems,” she comments. “We all want to see greater life expectancy, but the issue facing women now is that they look and feel younger than some parts of their bodies. They are out of step with their biological clocks. In the US there are 75,000 people aged over 100. That number will double to 150,000 in the next five to six years. The same will happen here.
“We want super-survivors, but we have to think about the next generation too.With life expectancy and energy levels increasing at a far faster rate than fertility, we will have to find a way of managing that gap.”
Jerry Lee Lewis. One of the best. I love rock and roll.
I looked at this several times and it seems to me that the dog is running towards where the people are running FROM. In other words, into the building rather than out of it. ~ZZ
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:04 PM on 13th January 2010
Animal instinct, pet owners swear by it. From cats sensing impending health problems like seizures, to dogs barking madly when unfamiliar footsteps appear on the garden path.
Even as far back as 373BC, it is recorded that animals, including rats, snakes and weasels, deserted the Greek city of Helice in droves just days before a quake devastated the place.
Those without that ‘special bond’, though, remain skeptical. But doubters, prepare to be converted.
Sixth sense: The dog relaxes on the floor (above) before dashing for the exit (below) seconds before a quake hits the office
CCTV footage has emerged of a news station office in North Carolina seconds before an eathquake struck on January 9.
It shows a dog idly passing the time on the floor before, apparently without any duress, springing up and making a swift exit.
Seconds later seats swing out of position, draws slip open and fixtures and fittings begin to wobble. Then, the shuddering really starts.
While our K9 friend has escaped prior to the quake, people dash for the exits when the room begins to shake forcibly.
The only question is, why didn’t man’s best friend warm his unaware human collegues?
Wed, Jan 13, 2010 12:24 AM PST
Several days ago I had a dream that almost, for a very little while, opened a crack into my skepticism and made me consider the possibility of life after the last time we close our mortal eyes.
After my husband died, I never had that feeling that he was here with me. Whenever people say that a departed loved one visited them at the foot of their bed I always consider that to be a function of their hopes and desires and a lack of skepticism. I have heard my departed husband’s voice in my head almost every day, but I always consider that simply me thinking about him and imagining him to be telling me things. I like proof. Not theoretical proof, because theories can be manipulated to yield a desired outcome, but real proof in the physical world.
That’s why the dream I had the other day was so very unusual.
[Continued, I hope. I guess I need to think this through a bit more,]
Published on January 10, 2010 / Ambigamy
“Every life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first — the story of our quest for sexual love — is well known and well charted. Its vagaries form the staple of music and literature; it is socially accepted and celebrated. The second — the story of our quest for love from the world — is a more secret and shameful tale. If mentioned, it tends to be in caustic, mocking terms, as something of interest chiefly to envious or deficient souls, or else the drive for status is interpreted in an economic sense alone. And yet this second love story is no less intense than the first, it is no less complicated, important, or universal, and its setbacks are no less painful. There is heartbreak here, too.” ~By Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D.
Alain de Botton “Status Anxiety.”
To be loved by the world–what could that mean? I think it’s a sense of inner and outer harmony, relief from dissonance within yourself and dissonance between yourself and the outside world. It’s a sense that you can both be yourself and be successful by the world’s standards. Being loved by the world doesn’t have to mean being adored by the world, but still somehow affirmed, or as the biologist Stuart Kauffman put it, a feeling that you are “at home in the universe.”
This affirmation is not just the thought or realization, “Hey, I’m at home.” It’s a feeling. I’d go so far as to say it’s the feeling of being well adapted–surmisal of the fittest–a sense, even a false one, that you fit your circumstances. In that respect it’s a direct extension of what organisms have been evolving toward for over 3.5 billion years.
Still, surmisal of the fittest is not just about biological fitness despite what evolutionary psychologists tend to imply. No, it’s surmisal of the fittest by whatever standards of fitness have emotional resonance for us these days, not all of which are directly or indirectly in the service of biological reproductive success. Think of how much human behavior is driven by a desire to feel like you’re a good person on the side of righteousness, a person with integrity fighting for greater integrity in the world around. That feeling may have nothing to do with having children who survive and reproduce. It can be uncorrelated to the biological urge and can even work at cross-purposes to it, for example in a suicide bomber who dies childless feeling that he has acted with supreme integrity in perfect service of what is truest in the universe.
Feeling fitted has both the inner and outer quality–integrated within and integrated with your outside circumstances. The inner feeling is relief from dissonance or doubt, a sense that who you are–your preferences, intentions, and values hold together with simple clarity. This internal consistency is what in the world of the intellect is called coherence. But with feelings it’s not necessarily a drive to have a coherent intellect. The coherence that makes us feel loved by the world is just the gut’s satisfied feeling of relief when ambivalence, confusion and inner conflict has lifted. Indeed, emotional coherence might be achieved at the expense of intellectual coherence. For example George Bush who many of us found intellectually incoherent felt that he was a man of exceptional integrity. And indeed for most of us, most of the time the feeling of being right takes priority over actually being right. Emotional coherence often trumps intellectual coherence.
The feeling of freedom from conflict with your outer circumstances is like what in the world of the intellect we call correspondence. Correspondence is having your theories match sense data and experiential evidence. If I said “eggs don’t break when you drop them from second story windows,” you would say that lacks correspondence to the audiovisual sense data that comes the splatting crunching sight and sound of eggs dropped from windows. Again though, here I’m talking not about theories that correspond to fact but rather about a gut feeling that your way of being fits or corresponds with the world. In other words, you feel cool, successful or “in.” And again you can get that feeling sometimes at the expense of intellectual correspondence. For example you can ignore inconvenient facts and give yourself the impression that you fit the world well.
Giving ourselves the impression of fit reminds me of what pilots call “flying by instrument” Pilots can fly even in conditions of very poor visibility by tracking the cockpit’s inner indicators. In a way, we all do that. Like pilots we want our internal systems to be working well together, and we want our overall system to fit the outside world. But the main way we know whether they are is by monitoring the feeling that they fit, our cockpit instruments that measure gut comfort level. I want my ideas to be coherent but the main way I tell whether they are is by the feeling that they are coherent. I want to make my ideas to correspond to reality but the main way I tell if they do is by the feeling that they do. The trouble is that there are many ways to get the feeling other than by achieving true coherence and correspondence. Pilots make sure their instruments are well calibrated, but we don’t necessary do the equivalent. We may even like flying with poorly calibrated instruments so we can get the feeling that we’re on course even if we’re not.
The big news in decision theory these days is that emotions play an enormous role in our decision making. Early in the last century, decision theory started out as mathematical or engineering research into how people ought to reason their way to optimal decisions. In the late 50s the field shifted toward a focus on how people really do make decisions. In the subsequent decades the theme became “bounded rationality,” the idea that, in practice we stop short of reasoning everything out. Instead we make fast and frugal decisions. In the last few decades, the focus has shifted to the way emotions guide whatever rationality doesn’t cover, and ultimately to the way emotions control the lion’s share of our choices. It is argued that we don’t weigh costs and benefits so much as we go with what feels right. Studies described in The Political Brain, my current favorite book on the role of emotions in decisions making, suggest that liking or disliking a candidate predicts as much as 85% of how one votes, whereas opinions about the candidate’s policy positions counts for only about three percent. Far more than we tend to think, preferences drive reason, not the other way around. Rationalization is the norm, not rationality. That’s why candidates who campaign on policy positions just about always lose to candidates who give voters the affirming feeling of inner and outer harmony.
In decision theory we’re only just beginning to see what the emotional drivers are, and a big one beyond the biological and economic is what I’m describing here as the feeling of being loved by the world, that feeling of internal and external integrity or fittedness. I think a central focus this decade will be what could be called affirmationomics, a topic with many parallels to what we see in straight economics. For example there are questions of supply and demand of affirmation, of affirmation inflation, and ways in which one kind of affirmation can substitute or complement another kind of affirmation–topics I’ll take up in other articles.
Since the focus these days is on how emotions shape decisions, why not call it emotionomics? Emotions, like dollars are just the currency by which value is measured. It’s not emotionomics any more than economics is “moneynomics.” The greater question is for what the emotions flow?
And the distinction between emotions and rationality isn’t quite right either. Antonio Damasio’s now classic book “Descarte’s error” turned researcher’s attention to how rationality doesn’t even work without the flowing currency of emotion. And besides preferring one emotion to another is also a kind of rationality, at least in that rational means ratio-like, the comparison of one state to another. It is not irrational to go with one or another gut emotional preference. It is rational in the sense of comparing or making a ratio between two gut emotional preferences and deciding that one is a stronger preference.
Affirmationomics is a solid and lovely way to bridge the gap between soft-hearted sensitivity and hard-headed systems thinking. Some people don’t trust the gap to be bridge-able and some people seem to be not particularly interested in one or the other side of that bridge. But if the bridge interests you, start maybe not with the systems-thinking but with your own experience of wanting to be loved by the world as I’ve described it here, the quest for that feeling that made blissed out jazz musicians say “copascetic!” which at least according to some sources is derived from the Yiddish “kol be seder,” or “everything in order”–me and it, me and me–everything in sweet harmony.
By Lynn Sweet
First Lady Michelle Obama boarded Air Force One with her husband Wednesday night and flew to Oslo, Norway for her fifth overseas trip this year. She was in the audience when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, an improbable award at this early stage of his presidency, but in line with the unlikely journey the couple has undertaken. It was three years ago this December that then-Sen. Barack Obama firmed up his self-described “audacious” bid to make history.
While President Obama has no choice but to take on a heaping agenda — two lengthy and difficult wars, the Great Recession, a historic legislative battle of attrition over health care, and the U.S. response to global warming — Mrs. Obama’s plate could be as full or light as she chose. So far, Mrs. Obama has charted a careful and calibrated course.
That’s as good as it gets for an American first lady and Mrs. Obama is winding up a successful first year.
Popular With the People
As she enters the stretch run of her first year in the White House, Mrs. Obama’s popularity ratings are higher in public opinion surveys than the president’s. In a Fox News poll conducted Nov. 17-18, some 63 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Mrs. Obama. That’s down from her high of 73 percent in another Fox News poll taken April 22-23, but it’s still more than 10 points higher than her husband’s rating. Moreover, it shows how that careful calibration is succeeding: a Fox News poll taken in June of 2008 — in the midst of a bruising political campaign — showed Mrs. Obama with only a 44 percent positive rating.
Mrs. Obama only got out of her lane once, and she crashed. That’s when she took on the job of selling Chicago’s bid for the 2016 summer Olympics to the International Olympics Committee, recruiting her pal Oprah Winfrey to join her in Copenhagen. That occasioned the only press conference of her tenure as first lady, held at the White House prior to her departure with a small group of reporters writing about the Olympics. The president found time to join her in Denmark to help pitch Chicago to the IOC. There, she made a personal, emotional plea for the Summer Games, recounting her girlhood on the South Side of Chicago, not far from some of the proposed Olympic venues. But the Chicagoans were unceremoniously rejected by the IOC. In hindsight, the White House, including the first lady’s staff, were the victims of some very poor intelligence. In truth, Chicago’s bid never stood a chance. It was an embarrassing lesson, and one Mrs. Obama seems unwilling to risk happening again.
In No Rush
While the West Wing got off to a fast start after the inauguration, Mrs. Obama was in no hurry. She wanted to settle daughters Malia and Sasha in their new school, the private and exclusive Sidwell Friends. Her mother, Marian Robinson, moved into the White House to help out. It was billed as temporary at first, but she settled in with the rest of the family and is now a fixture; the day before Thanksgiving, Mrs. Robinson was at a Washington food pantry with the rest of the family handing out groceries.
In these past months, we’ve gotten to know Mrs. Obama a little bit better. She can be fun — a heck of a hula-hooper, we learned at a White House health fair. She dressed up as a cat lady during Halloween. She took her girls to France and England for a grand summer vacation. She learned, as we did, through a newspaper account about some of her roots. In a much-read interview, the first couple opened up, albeit a bit-guardedly, about some strains in their marriage. Some things have been beyond Mrs. Obama’s control, including a racist picture of her on a Google page (since removed) and unauthorized dolls in her likeness.
One controversy I unwittingly caused. In July on Politics Daily I put together a list of Mrs. Obama’s East Wing staffers and their salaries, triggering a debate in the blogosphere about the size of her staff.
Mrs. Obama’s East Wing oversees social events; the first state dinner last month was crashed by a publicity-hungry couple, throwing a cloud over her friend, Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. I think that will pass.
Those barbarians need a taste of their own medicine. I have a labrador retriever, and just looking at her brings out all of my protective instincts and I want to smash the faces of those inhumane torturers. And they laugh while they’re doing it. I saw a short clip while a pet s how many years ago. The man skewered a dog and laughed while the dog shrieked in pain. ~Pesky Emotional Republican
By: Devvy / News With Views / December 14, 2005
The men grabbed each cage off this huge truck and threw them to the ground – as high up as 30′. The cries of these adorable dogs and cats as they hit the ground sent me into shock. Several dogs and cats crammed into each cage, many already bloodied and many whose bones would break upon impact. I can still hear their screams.
As I watched the video progress, I realized that I was crying. The screams of live dogs and cats as they were skinned alive, their big eyes begging for mercy and receiving none, ripped my heart out and brought incredible rage from deep down inside. The next shots of cat pelts laid on the floor with all the dead bodies still twitching in piles cast aside like garbage, would have driven someone with a weak stomach right to the bathroom. It hardened my resolve against trading with barbarians. I can still hear their screams.
More pictures of dogs being chained – the worker jerking and tightening the chain while the eyes of incredible pain stared at the camera – prepared them for skinning, alive. I don’t know what sound you call dogs and cats as they are being choked and then a knife taken to them right then and there and skinned. To me, it was screams so horrific, I can still hear them two days after I watched the video.
This is an everyday operation by “businessmen” who drive their trucks on the street like a produce truck would in the U.S. It’s estimated these barbarians skin millions of dogs and cats every year – while they are alive. As I watched these “workers” go about their barbaric practice, I wondered how Americans could continue supporting them with their consumer dollar? This is Communist China in all its brutality. The skinning of live dogs and cats is done for money. These barbarians sell the pelts and toss the “meat.” These pelts are illegally being intertwined with fake fur for many retail items being sold in the U.S., i.e. doll clothes and into fabric for human garments, i.e. parka hoods and sweaters. That’s right: That Christmas gift sitting under the tree – if it came from Communist China – most likely is made from the fur of a dog or cat skinned alive. The EU refuses to ban this barbaric practice; it is condemned and illegal in the U.S.
A couple of months ago I sent my family and friends a photo of what appeared to be a golden retriever with a huge fish hook through it’s upper snout. This beautiful dog had been rescued and was at the vet so they could operate on this living creature to remove this grotesque hook. You see, the French government refuses to stop their fishing industry as they kidnap dogs off the streets, shove these huge hooks into their upper snout and throw them off the back of their fishing boats – alive – to troll as shark bait. You can view the photo here. Vacation in gay Paree? I’d rather stay home and clean house. Buy a bottle of wine or bottled water from France? I’d rather drink from the garden hose.
I do not belong to PETA or any animal rights groups; as a matter of fact, I belong to no group, organization or political party. I donate regularly to United Animal Nations because I believe they are one of the very best national organizations. I also donate $15.00 each month to the county animal care services here in Sacramento for the SPCA and our animal facilities. It’s never enough. The people of this country are so busy getting their nails polished, getting their bodies buffed, sitting in front of the stupid tube watching crap, addicted to sports, meth, cocaine, porn and other useless past times, they’re too lazy and selfish to get their pets spayed or neutered. The result is the euthanization of roughly nine million cats and dogs every year. Congratulations, America, for a job well done.
Let’s not forget the animal cruelty in this country which I have seen for myself. Helpless living creatures who ask for nothing more than a little love, food and water. Instead, when I lived in Colorado, it was the norm for people to leave their dogs in the back yard while they went snow skiing for the weekend. Animal control would then come pick up the frozen dog from a back yard while the family was out just having fun. Let’s not forget those who kick and beat their dogs while pumped full of booze and drugs and those sickos who burn them alive for kicks. Congratulations, America, for a job well done.
As I said, I do not belong to nor have I ever donated to PETA. Like so many single issue organizations, they become fanatics out of frustration or they’re so brainwashed, they cross the line into illegal activities like the eco terrorists who burn down sub divisions of new homes. PETA’s silliness over eating beef reaches the point of hysteria and it’s a battle they can’t win. My husband eats only free range beef and pork; I consume only free range chicken, turkey, fish, organic milk and eggs. If you really want to see what you and your family are eating, I respectfully direct you to this site. I fully support our family farms and ranchers, but there does need to be some changes made and themeatrix web site will help people understand why I say this.
However, mixed in sometimes, we do find good work and PETA has helped get this atrocity out to the world that is going on everyday in Communist China on film. You can view it here, but let me warn you, it will break your heart. I am one of those who refuse to buy Made in China with the exception of this keyboard, monitor and hard drive. Otherwise, there is nothing made from slave labor in my home, not my TV and I don’t even own a toaster. It’s not just this barbaric practice, but my first awareness of Communist China’s brutal practices was back in 1993 when I actually took the time to research NAFTA and commie China. What I found sickened me. Before 1993, we the people could buy virtually everything we ever needed made by Americans, so buying foreign was a pretty much a non issue for me. Then came NAFTA and the total destruction of our three most important job sectors: ag, industrial and manufacturing because Americans wanted cheap. Well, Americans got “cheap” and have been the driving economic force behind America’s decline. Since then, Americans like me keep our money, buy Made in America (see here for sources of more than 20,000 products and services) or go without. It’s a matter of principle and loyalty to my country, not communist China, communist Hong Kong, communist Viet Nam, India or Macao. I have no problem with fair trade, but free trade has and will further destroy this republic.
People think that communism is just some word. They are wrong. It is a brutal form of totalitarian government. Remember Tienemen Square? The butchers in Beijing murdered their own citizens for daring to speak out against tyranny. These monsters who run communist China continue to enforce their one-child-per-family policy of forced abortions, infanticide and perilously imbalanced boy-girl ratios. During testimony last year before the House International Relations Committee, testimony centered around the case of Mao Hengfeng. In 1998, Mao was fired from her job at a Shanghai soap factory for becoming pregnant with a second child. This poor mother carried her pregnancy to term despite severe pressure from the government to have an abortion. After she became pregnant again, she sued the soap factory for firing her, and the presiding judge told her he would rule in her favor if she aborted her third pregnancy. Mao then aborted her seven-month-gestation pregnancy, but the court ruled against her, saying that because she violated China’s family planning policy, the factory had a right to dismiss her. This broken woman was then sentenced to 18 months in a prison labor camp for refusing to give up her protests of the government’s family planning policy.
Under communism, the people are indoctrinated into this Godless ideology. They believe it, they live it. They are also slaves and the American people are funding such barbarity:
“But Harry Wu saw the Clinton/Beijing relationship from a deeply human perspective: the blue uniforms and shaved heads in Chinese prison camps. For years, he had been one of the estimated 50 million blue uniformed “troublemakers” who had worked in the camps under totally inhumane conditions. Some of them literally worked themselves to death.” Nothing has changed as Bush gleefully embraces such evil. Can anyone hear their cries of misery while they open that Made in China silk blouse or DVD player under the Christmas tree? Are gadgets like I-pods so important that Americans will ignore the human misery that created them?
Do Americans really understand how a communist system really works? Most don’t and quite frankly, they don’t care. Wearing Nike is more important than facing the truth. Those stock dividends in companies that have sold out this great nation and dumped on the workers who made them so prosperous is more important. Who owns all this stock? Americans. Americans funding such barbaric customs and enriching a murdering government. I wouldn’t own stock in any company that trades with commie China for all the tea in China. Those dividend checks from Boeing, Dell and all the rest are dripping with the blood of human slaves and such barbaric practices like skinning dogs and cats alive.
For a list of companies who have sold out this country, click here and see the box ‘Exporting America.’ I will not buy anything from any company that has sold out the American people and/or has plants in commie China. God forgive me that I had to buy this new computer system two years ago so I can get the truth to my fellow Americans. I would gladly have paid an extra $100, $150 or $200 more for my system made by my fellow Americans, but nothing was available. Pat Buchanan called free trade ‘economic treason.’ It is that and more when you see what your consumer dollar is going to fund.
Click here, Part II – The communist Chinese glorify the attacks on America September 11th.
© 2005 Devvy Kidd – All Rights Reserved
E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale
Devvy Kidd authored the booklets, Why A Bankrupt America and Blind Loyalty, which sold close to 2,000,000 copies. Devvy appears on radio shows all over the country, ran for Congress and is a highly sought after public speaker. Your complimentary copy of the 32-page report may be obtained from El Dorado Gold. Devvy is a contributing writer for www.NewsWithViews.com.
Devvy’s website: www.devvy.com
E-mail is: email@example.com
Greg sends along this DIY FYI:
“Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down.
First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.
Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn’t realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn’t take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.”
Some women just don’t have the gene for being a sugar mama. Count me among those women. I don’t even like the sound of the word ”cougar“ when applied to a woman.
November 28, 2009, Relationships / Psychology Today
Sugar mama/Boy toy? Probably not according to new cougar survey
Many over-40 women don’t mind being called “cougars” but they are redefining cougar dating. The old stereotype of a sugar mama looking for a fling with a boy toy seems to be dying. This is the Demi-Ashton world, after all: over-40 women often exercise, use botox, take consummate care of themselves and create a youthfulness and vitality that belies their physical age. And many of these women are recognizing new relationship possibilities for themselves. A recent survey of 100 self-proclaimed cougars sheds light: more than 90% of these modern cougars say they want a long-term relationship with a younger man.
Even if they earn more money than the guy, they expect him to pay his way-to cover dinner or at least split the check. The new cougars want to date younger guys who are romantic, chivalrous and, best of all, relatively free of the emotional baggage from the past. 52% of the cougars in the study were in their 40s and their ideal guy is aged 24-27. 45% were ‘lifestyle cougars’ who have dated more than five younger men. About a third of them say they will never go back to dating men their own age. And only 5% of women polled plan to ever return to seeing men their own age. A number of over-40 women are happily redefining the rules and roles of cougar dating.
For more on the cougar survey, go to http://www.cougared.com/report
You’ll wait a long time to hear me disagree with this one. ~ZZ
By Sharalyn Hartwell, Relationship expert
It’s OK, you can admit it. We know you don’t always pay attention to everything your girlfriend says (she talks a lot), but there’s one topic you can’t help but notice. She seems to talk a lot — in those nauseating gushing tones no less — about this Edward Cullen guy.
Who is he? You know he’s some dude from that Twilight movie nonsense, but why is your girlfriend acting like a groupie? With the release of the second movie right around the corner (and the consequent two-hour torture you know you’ll be forced to endure right there with it), it’s high time you clued in why women love this dude and why you might want to be a bit more like Edward.
who is edward anyway?
In short, Edward is every woman’s fantasy. He’s handsome, he has a rock-hard body, he’s wealthy, he’s smart, he’s articulate, and he’s kind. He’s perfect — except for one teeny problem. He’s a vampire and desperately desires the blood of his human girlfriend, Bella.
Of course you’re thinking, “So what? I don’t get it. Why do women love him so much?” Everything just described isn’t too far off from the latest Hollywood A-lister and seems more like something your 13-year-old niece would be obsessed over, not a grown intelligent woman. Well, you’re right. The superficial things listed above aren’t really it. The real reasons women love Edward go much deeper, and are things you can do even better than him.
Edward chooses Bella
In the story, the characters are in high school. Edward could have easily had his choice of any of the girls in school, even the ones deemed absolutely perfect by anyone’s standards. Bella is a typical girl and only sees her shortcomings (sound familiar?). She doesn’t think she is in his league, yet for some reason, one she can’t quite figure out, Edward chooses to be with her.
Be even better than Edward: Make sure she knows you chose her. This is not to say you want to flaunt your desirability in her face (chances are she, like Bella, is well aware), but rather ensure she knows you chose her. No girl wants to think you settled with her or that you’re only with her because there’s no one better right now. She wants to feel special, so let her know that even if you were given any option in the world you’d still choose her.
If you want to be more like Edward you’ll want to follow our advice…
Edward sacrifices his own comfort to be with Bella
Vampires drink human blood, Bella is awfully tempting, but he denies his thirst to be with her.
Be even better than Edward: Do a little sacrificing of your own. Women think it’s romantic when you willingly (key word is “willingly”) give up something for her. It can be something as simple as skipping your typical game night ritual with your buddies to run errands with her, or something more significant such as going to visit her family over the holidays.
Edward has impeccable manners
Edward is always polite and shows proper respect to everyone — his family, his teachers, even his enemies, and especially the important people in Bella’s life.
Be even better than Edward: Be a little old-fashioned yourself. Always do the basic chivalrous things your dad taught you: open her doors, help her with her jacket, pull out her chair, walk closest to the street, etc. And don’t do this only for her, but for all women. Show respect not just to your girl, but to the important people in your life and hers.
Edward is a total contradiction
He is a vampire. He should be sadistic and feast on humans. Instead, he is incredibly kind and subsists on the blood of animals to remain humane. Bottom line: he just isn’t what he appears.
Be even better than Edward: Be unpredictable and surprise her. If you’re a manly man who’s into the stereotypical guy things, surprise her by developing a domestic hobby such as cooking, or suggesting (and actually enjoying) the occasional chick flick. If you’re a really athletic guy, be a contradiction by suggesting the two of you take dance classes. If you’re not a man of many words, surprise her by expressing yourself through a heartfelt, handwritten letter. Get it? The point is to illustrate you aren’t all that you seem either.
Meet the Real Belle de Jour
Araminta Wordsworth, National Post; With Files From News Services Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
For years she titillated Britons with her witty and erotic despatches from the front lines of the sex trade — but the upmarket call girl, known only by the classy pseudonym of Belle de Jour, was also a canny businesswoman, parlaying her blog into a book deal and a hit TV series starring U.K. actress Billie Piper.
All the while, her true identity remained unknown. Not even her literary agent or her publishers knew.
Now the elusive and seductive Belle has been unmasked as Dr. Brooke Magnanti, 34, a research scientist in a hospital in Bristol, western England, where she specializes in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology.
The American-born woman went public over the weekend out of fear a jealous former boyfriend was about to leak the secret. Her bombshell has provoked soul-searching and outrage among many who thought they knew her.
They include the British Army officer who was her boyfriend for seven years. Known as “The Boy” in diary entries about their sex life, he is now having to tell his family and friends the woman he hoped to marry was an escort girl who charged £300 an hour.
“I can’t believe she has done this,” the man, identified only as Owen, told The Daily Telegraph.
“Brooke has outed me to my family and friends without giving me any warning.
“She never asked if she could write about our life together and I feel humiliated.”
Dr. Magnanti, who went to Britain to study for a doctorate at Sheffield University, has said she turned to prostitution after moving to London to finish her studies and finding she did not have enough money to pay the rent.
The woman, who was brought up a Roman Catholic and convent-educated, signed up with an agency and began being paid to have sex.
Explaining her decision to go public, she said she found “keeping up a double life … just too difficult to do long-term.”
“I suppose I always thought that the part of my life I wrote about would fade away, that I could stick it in a box and move on. Totally separate it from the ‘real me,’ ” she wrote.
She said it had taken her years to realize that while her life had moved on, Belle would “always be a part of me.”
“Belle and the person who wrote her had been apart too long. I had to bring them back together.
“So a perfect storm of feelings
and circumstances drew me out of hiding. And do you know what? It feels so much better on this side. Not to have to tell lies, hide things from the people I care about.
“It became important to acknowledge that aspect of my life and my personality to the world at large.
“I am a woman. I lived in London. I was a call girl.
“The people, the places, the actions and feelings are as true now as they were then, and I stand behind every word with pride.”
Nonetheless, her estranged father Paul Magnanti, 61, is appalled.
“This is a complete shock to me. I had no idea, I found out through the press today,” Mr. Magnanti said from Holiday, Fla., where he runs a gardening business.
“It’s broken my heart. No parent wants to hear that. I was very proud when she got her PhD. She is a very intelligent girl and I wish she had become well-known under different circumstances.
Similarly, the all-women team at Dr. Magnanti’s employer, the British Initiative for Child Health,
have rallied round since being told the news about a month ago.
“She’s a researcher. She’s just a member of staff here and what happened in the past doesn’t really bear relevance to what she’s doing now,” said a spokesman.
Rowan Pelling, editor of the erotic magazine Erotic Review, helped Dr. Magnanti get published and said people should not be surprised at a research scientist being a call girl.
“For the past couple of days, interviewers have been asking me breathily what I thought of Belle when I met her, as if my eyes must have been out on stalks at the idea of a PhD student turning tricks,” Ms. Pelling wrote in The Daily Telegraph.
“But the truth is I wasn’t startled at all. Throughout my eight years running the Erotic Review, I met people leading all kinds of extraordinary double lives, most of them outwardly respectable pillars of their middle-class communities.”
Some in the media have been less supportive of Dr. Magnanti’s description of call-girl life.
“Hers was an extraordinary experience of prostitution; she was lucky, because prostitution ordinarily is, simply put, a condition that kills women,” wrote Tanya Gold in Britain’s Guardian.
“I am glad you were not battered, Belle, but prostitution is a poisoned solution; a solution to nothing.”
Bel Mooney, in the Daily Mail, said the worst aspect of the “whole sorry story” is that such an intelligent woman, with all the privileges of a good background and education, should make “such a low-down choice.”
The use of the moniker Belle de Jour might have given a clue that Dr. Magnanti was above the usual run of sex-trade workers.
It refers to the classic Luis Bunuel movie in which Catherine Deneuve (clothed enviably by Yves St. Laurent) plays a bored housewife who turns to sadomasochistic sessions in a brothel to liven up her afternoons.
But in fact Belle’s antecedents are closer to the courtesans of Georgian and Regency England, women such as Dorothea Jordan or Harriette Wilson, whose racy memoirs were a best-seller — among her lovers were the Prince of Wales, later George IV, and four prime ministers, including the Duke of Wellington.
Many of us aren’t what we seem. A guide to frequently misunderstood types.
The Shy Extrovert
When someone’s shy, we often assume they’re introverted. Shyness often does go along with introversion–but not always. Some people who get anxious among strangers actually love being around others–whereas true introverts find people exhausting. Like other shy people, shy introverts are routinely
misunderstood as cold, aloof, or stuck-up. They’re particularly likely to be judged negatively if they’re also attra
ctive, says Bernie Carducci, a psychologist at Indiana University.
The Fix: Directly challenge the mistakes you know people make, saying, “If I seem unfriendly, it’s not because I don’t like you, it’s because I’m shy,” or, “I had a great time hanging out with you.” If that’s too much for you, say it via email.
The Bubbly Introvert
When people come across as vivacious, exuberant, and cheerful, we assume they’re extroverts. But some lively people are actually gasping for time to themselves. Having good social skills isn’t the same thing as wanting to be around people all the time. “These things go together a lot,” says Sanjay Srivastava, a psychologist at the University of Oregon. “But they’re not perfect correlations.”
The Fix: Like other introverts, bubbly introverts have to be vigilant about guarding their alone time. Try saying, “I’d love to, but I need some downtime. How’s Tuesday?”
The Accidental Flirt
Some people are so naturally flirtatious that they send the wrong signals, inadvertently communicating “I want to sleep with you” when what they really mean is “I’m friendly.”
The Fix: Dial back the touching and eye gaze. If you think your conversation partner is getting the wrong idea, slip in a reference to a significant other.
The Effeminate Heterosexual
Just because a man is skinny, dresses neatly, and has a fey voice doesn’t mean he’s gay. Many feminine men are completely straight, and some of the most masculine-seeming men are gay.
The Fix: If you’re interested in a woman, put out signs of attraction that are hard to mistake–more aggressive body language such as straight-on stance, a mischievous grin, and occasional touching. Say something like, “That reminds me of something funny my ex-girlfriend once said.” She’ll get it.