Assuming you don’t spy on your friends via telescope from treetops, you never see them at home alone in their pyjamas, eating pickled onion Monster Munch while watching The X Factor and feeling sorry for themselves. You’re never there when they wake in the dark at 3am, wondering where their lives are headed. Or, likewise, consider those happy throngs you glimpse through the windows of the bar you pass each day on your way home from work: doesn’t it seem like they’re always meeting friends at the bar?
In fact, it’s a mathematical oddity that your friends do have slightly more friends than you do, on average. (Essentially, this is because people with large circles of friends are more likely to have you as a member of theirs.) But the main culprit, this new study confirms, is an observability bias. The more instances of something we encounter, the more significant we naturally assume it to be – and though we encounter our own solitude frequently, we never encounter other people’s. The distorted judgments we reach as a consequence have real emotional effects, the researchers found, leaving people with lower wellbeing and less of a sense of belonging. So, yes, the fact that we only ever experience loneliness when it’s happening to us is blindingly obvious, I suppose. But blindingly obvious in an almost literal sense: it’s so self-evident, we barely ever see it.
September 8, 2019 / Robert / Comments Off on ‘She Said’ recounts how two NY Times reporters broke the Harvey Weinstein story
» “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement,”
by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
“She Said” isn’t retailing extra helpings of warmed-over salacity. The authors’ new information is less about the man and more about his surround-sound “complicity machine” of board members and lawyers, human resource officers and P.R. flaks, tabloid publishers and entertainment reporters who kept him rampaging with impunity years after his behavior had become an open secret. Kantor and Twohey instinctively understand the dangers of the Harvey-as-Monster story line — and the importance of refocusing our attention on structures of power. When they at last confront Weinstein, in a Times conference room and later on speakerphone, he’s the mouse that roared, the Great and Powerful Oz turned puny humbug, swerving from incoherent rants to self-pitying whimpers (“I’m already dead”) to sycophantic claims of just being one of them. (“If I wasn’t making movies, I would’ve been a journalist.”) He’s loathsome and self-serving, but his psychology is not the story they want to tell. The drama they chronicle instead is more complex and subtle, a narrative in which they are ultimately not mere observers but, essential to its moral message, protagonists themselves.
As the war in Yemen enters its fifth year and millions rely on aid to survive, public hospitals are struggling to treat even those who need intensive care. Doctors say there are not enough beds and not enough medicine. Many medical professionals are working unpaid because the government has stopped paying salaries for a number of public-sector jobs, such as for teachers and doctors. According to the UN, an estimated 80% of the population, 24 million people, require some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, including 14.3 million who are in acute need.
For reasons of safety and basic urban functionality, it’s time to start banning private automobiles from America’s urban cores.
The basic problem with cars in a dense urban setting like New York is that they go too fast and take up too much space. Dense cities are enormously more energy efficient than sprawling suburbs or exurbs because apartment buildings and row houses are far more efficient to heat and cool than single-family homes (due to shared walls), larger enterprises can take advantage of efficiencies of scale, and because lots of people packed into a small area enables highly-efficient mass transit. New Yorkers emit only about 2.3 tons of carbon dioxide per person, as compared to 45 tons from residents of Flagstaff, Arizona.
A car-centered transportation system is simply at odds with the logic of a dense city. For commuters, cars take up a huge volume of space being parked at home and at work. On the road, a lane of highway traffic can transport about 3,000 people per hour under perfect conditions, while a subway can easily manage 10 times that — and many do even better. And while subways can be delayed, conditions are rarely ideal on the highway — on the contrary, every day at rush hour most are jammed to a crawl with too many cars, or slowed by some gruesome accident.
» This is an interesting idea but I doubt it will gain much traction in America, for several reasons. While gas and diesel vehicles are bring banned in several European cities, in the land of the free, the open road automobile culture among Joe Public is very robust.
Lets not forget that this is the land where, despite overwhelming public support, legislatures don’t have enough backbone to put in place effective gun control measures, even after hundreds of mass killings and thousands of gun violent deaths every year.
September 6, 2019 / Robert / Comments Off on The lifespan gap between rich and poor people in the USA can be as great as 30 years. Even across less than 10 miles. Stress is the major contributing factor.