Thursday, May 28, 2009

To Hug or Not to Hug?

"A greeting is so common, some students complain of peer pressure to hug, and some schools have banned hugging." Read the NY Times article here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Structural Racism

Here's a mind-blowing thought from a 2002 Nonprofit Quarterly:

"...Criminal justice is yet another area where our society has a familiarity with the profundity of racial disparities. As one example, The Sentencing Project reported in the 1990s that while 14 percent of all drug users were African American, African Americans made up 35 percent of all arrestees for drugs, 55 percent of those convicted for drug offenses, and 74 percent of individuals who were sentenced for drug offenses."

The uncommon argument: marry young

The average age of an American man at his first marriage is 28. This is the highest in history -- and 5 full years higher than when the statistics started in 1970s. The age gap between couples is drastically shrinking. Women are marrying older, too. Washington Post author, Mark Regnerus, crafts an uncommon argument in a recent article: marry young:

...In my research on young adults' romantic relationships, many women report feeling peer pressure to avoid giving serious thought to marriage until they're at least in their late 20s. If you're seeking a mate in college, you're considered a pariah, someone after her "MRS degree." Actively considering marriage when you're 20 or 21 seems so sappy, so unsexy, so anachronistic. Those who do fear to admit it -- it's that scandalous.

How did we get here? The fault lies less with indecisive young people than it does with us, their parents. Our own ideas about marriage changed as we climbed toward career success. Many of us got our MBAs, JDs, MDs and PhDs. Now we advise our children to complete their education before even contemplating marriage, to launch their careers and become financially independent. We caution that depending on another person is weak and fragile. We don't want them to rush into a relationship. We won't help you with college tuition anymore, we threaten. Don't repeat our mistakes, we warn...

...Of course, there's at least one good statistical reason to urge people to wait on the wedding. Getting married at a young age remains the No. 1 predictor of divorce. So why on earth would I want to promote such a disastrous idea? For three good reasons: First, what is considered "early marriage" by social scientists is commonly misunderstood by the public.

The best evaluations of early marriage -- conducted by researchers at the University of Texas and Penn State University -- note that the age-divorce link is most prominent among teenagers (those who marry before age 20). Marriages that begin at age 20, 21 or 22 are not nearly so likely to end in divorce as many presume...

An interesting study:
...Michigan State ecologists estimate that the extra households created by divorce cost the nation 73 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 600 billion gallons of water in a year. That's a mighty big carbon footprint created in the name of solitude...
Read the Washington Post article here.

No surprises here: work-life balance is especially difficult in finance and consulting

But perhaps surprisingly medicine is a good path for working families:
"According to the most recent National Survey, for instance, 21 percent of doctors in their late 30s and early 40s work less than 35 hours a week. The share was roughly 14 percent for M.B.A. graduates, as it was for lawyers and people with Ph.D.’s."
There are many more interesting stats regarding this subject here.

Spy Fired Shot That Changed West Germany

Germans have just uncovered a shocking development:
The killing in 1967 of an unarmed demonstrator by a police officer in West Berlin set off a left-wing protest movement and put conservative West Germany on course to evolve into the progressive country it has become today.

Now a discovery in the archives of the East German secret police, known as the Stasi, has upended Germany’s perception of its postwar history. The killer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, though working for the West Berlin police, was at the time also acting as a Stasi spy for East Germany.

It is as if the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard had been committed by an undercover K.G.B. officer, though the reverberations in Germany seemed to have run deeper...
Read the NY Times article here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Texting May Be Taking a Toll"

"Nearly 80 messages a day, on average, take their toll in a range of ways." Read the article here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"The word we don’t mention"

"Lurking behind the Gothic pillars of Duke University lies a shadowy voice whispering the f-word we don’t mention: failure, says the Rev." This sermon was preached at the Duke University baccalaureate on May 8, 2009. Read the inspiring sermon here.

"Steps to Prevent Identity Theft, and What to Do if It Happens"

The NY Times wrote up an article identity theft, how to get your credit report, and a basic guide to financial security. Check out the article here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Message in What We Buy, but Nobody’s Listening"

Researches are uncovering the hidden messages in the things we buy. What type of message are you sending when you own an iPhone? A Prius? Read the article here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Backlash: Women Bullying Women at Work"

Here's an interesting aspect of the corporate world:
...It’s probably no surprise that most of these bullies are men, as a survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute, an advocacy group, makes clear. But a good 40 percent of bullies are women. And at least the male bullies take an egalitarian approach, mowing down men and women pretty much in equal measure. The women appear to prefer their own kind, choosing other women as targets more than 70 percent of the time...
Read the full article here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

God Talk

Stanley Fish from the NY Times has written a piece on the increase of "God Talk" in our culture. Check it out here (it is a bit more dense than normal articles).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Genius: The Modern View

What differentiates a genius? Innate ability or focused hard work? David Brooks explores this question in a NY Times Op-Ed piece here.

Flashback to 2007

"Kurdish guerrillas, some of whom are women, have been waging an insurgency in the mountains straddling the Iran-Iraq border." Here's the rest of the article.

Married and Single Parents Spending More Time With Children, Study Finds

The above graph is one of the most interesting visual representations about the changes in American family life over the past 40 years (paid work, housework, family time). Read the full article here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Flying Solo

"More women are deciding that marriage is not inevitable, that they can lead a fulfilling life as a single. It's an empowering choice, but for many not an easy one." Read the Time article here.

88-year-old great-grandmother loves triathalons

Some inspiration for the day. Read Mary Stroebe's story here.

Opinion: Careers and Marriage

Two-career relationships -- can they work?

Point (Michael Noer) -- "Don't marry career women: Guys, a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career."

Counterpoint (Elizabeth Corcoran) -- "Don't marry a lazy man: Studies aside, modern marriage is a two-way street. Men should own up to their responsibilities, too."

Read the argument here.

Bed sharing 'drains men's brains'

Sharing a bed with someone could temporarily reduce your brain power - at least if you are a man - Austrian scientists suggest. Read the BBC article here.

Survey: 24% between 18-50 tattooed.

Check out more details from USAToday here.

"Family gets a lesson in admissions"

The college decision season has always been tough. Here's a USA Today story from a few years ago when it was just as hard:
From his first step on the Princeton campus, Jonathan Cross just knew it was the school for him.

"I loved it and thought it was the perfect place," says Jonathan, 18, who was smitten by the environment, the endless opportunities and the Ivy League allure.

A year and a half, 12 applications, one deferral and two rejections later, Jonathan is starting college — happily and gratefully, with a full-tuition scholarship — at Duke.

Getting deferred and then rejected by Princeton was a big blow, but the college admission process packed many lessons for Jonathan, a member of USA TODAY's 2006 All-USA High School Academic Team. Aside from learning to pick himself up from disappointment, he also had to let go of nine of the 10 places he did get into. "I put a lot of stress on myself," he says. "I learned to fail; I learned to fall and get up and end up at a place I'm thrilled to be attending."

Jonathan and his parents, Jim and Karen Cross of Springfield, Va., look back at the process with the clarity afforded by 20/20 hindsight. As the high school class of 2007 starts sweating over SAT and ACT scores and early-decision deadlines, the Crosses agreed to share some of their hard-won insights with USA TODAY readers...

Read the rest of the story here.

Canadian troops battle 10-ff Afghan marijuana plants

Here's an old article from MSNBC -- pretty bizarre and funny:
Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy — almost impenetrable forests of 10-foot-tall marijuana plants....

..."We tried burning them with white phosphorus — it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel — it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

One soldier told him later: "Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana.'"...

Read the article here.


Here's a stunning quote from a Forbes article: "Moreover, while women around the world are running countries, the United States is falling behind globally. America ranks only 68th among nations in the percentage of women in national legislative bodies." (!) Step up America. Read the entire here.

"Condoms 'too big' for Indian men"

A survey of more than 1000 men in India concludes that condoms made according to international sizes are too big for most Indian men. And this was published in BBC News.

"Gift of wreaths touches nation"

A selfless read:
The rows of gravestones stretched out before him like time itself. But when John Lechler saw the date on one particular tombstone, he knew where to lay his wreath. And for a moment, Army Air Corps 2nd Lt. Gordon H. Sterling Jr., who died on Dec. 7, 1941, lived again.

balsam fir wreath was from Maine — made by hand, decorated by hand, wrapped, boxed and loaded on a truck by hand, then driven 750 miles to Arlington National Cemetery.

This is the miracle of Arlington. "When you first look at that sea of stones, you don't get the impression of individuality," says Tom Sherlock, the cemetery historian. "But if you stop for just a moment and look at the name on the stone, in that moment they're thought of again, and they live again."Lechler was one of about 600 volunteers at the cemetery Thursday for what has become a new holiday tradition: placing Christmas wreaths — supplied by a Maine businessman who never got over his first sight of the cemetery — on more than 5,000 veterans' graves.

"It's great that we came together to show our gratitude, considering how tough it is for everybody with this war going on," says Lechler, 42, an Ashburn, Va., resident who runs a sports training business and who never served in the military.Every December for the past 15 years, Morrill Worcester, owner of one of the world's largest holiday wreath companies, has taken time in the midst of his busiest season to haul a truckload of wreaths to Arlington from his small Downeast Maine town of Harrington...

Read the rest of the article here.

"Mr. Noodle"

A quick history of Ramen noodle guy - but seriously, I know all college students want to know the history behind our favorite snack. Here's the Times article.

"Happiness 101"

"Can classes in positive psychology teach students not just to feel good but also to do good?" Check out the answer here.

"The Incredibles"

"COLLEGE MATH? No problem. Suzanne Buckwalter, center, leads two Phillips Academy students, Peter Dignard and Sarah Dewey, through a calculus equation."

The NY Times covered some of America's most academically challenging high schools:
QUIZ yourself: One American history course gets at pre-Civil War tensions through primary source readings, including William Lloyd Garrison’s editorial from The Liberator in 1831 and Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech. A second American history course leans on primary sources, too. Students parse each Supreme Court justice’s opinion in the 1857 Dred Scott decision as well as texts of the first and second Lincoln-Douglas debates. Students must also demonstrate knowledge of historic maps.

So which is college and which is high school? Which is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and which Dalton, the private K-12 school on Manhattan’s East Side? If you can’t tell, you can see why students who graduate from high-powered high schools experience academic déjà vu even at elite colleges and universities. (The first course is M.I.T.’s, the second Dalton’s.)...

...It doesn’t take a genius — or a precocious high school student — to understand that ramped-up achievement is tightly connected to ramped-up competition for slots at prestigious colleges. At top high schools, tension about college admissions permeates the atmosphere, and students push themselves to the limit. But with so much college coursework before college, educators say, the academic progression is out of whack.

“We are pushing kids to do so many things to get in, so what do you do when you get in?” asks Terrel Rhodes, vice president for quality, curriculum and assessment for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, in Washington, D.C. “If high schools are teaching more and more of what we have been doing the first year in college, what is it college needs to do?” ...
Read more about the changing secondary school landscape here.

"Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying"

Courtesy of the NY Times:
Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?

3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?

9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?

10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?

11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?

12) What does my family do that annoys you?...
Read the entire set of questions here.

Does height equal power? Some CEOs say yes

Read the USA Today article here.

He’s Happier, She’s Less So

A few research papers reveal evidence that there is a growing happiness gap between men and women:
Last year, a team of researchers added a novel twist to something known as a time-use survey. Instead of simply asking people what they had done over the course of their day, as pollsters have been doing since the 1960s, the researchers also asked how people felt during each activity. Were they happy? Interested? Tired? Stressed?

Not surprisingly, men and women often gave similar answers about what they liked to do (hanging out with friends) and didn’t like (paying bills). But there were also a number of activities that produced very different reactions from the two sexes — and one of them really stands out: Men apparently enjoy being with their parents, while women find time with their mom and dad to be slightly less pleasant than doing laundry.

Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist working with four psychologists on the time-use research team, figures that there is a simple explanation for the difference...

Read the rest of the article here.

"Doctor to pay for unwanted baby"

A doctor in Germany who carried out a failed contraceptive operation has been ordered by the German court to pay financial support for the child! Read the article here. Imagine if this happened in the US?

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .