Category: Social Awareness

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Why the Idea That the World is in Terminal Decline is so Dangerous

From all sides, the message is coming in: the world as we know it is on the verge of something really bad. From the Right, we hear that ‘West’ and ‘Judeo-Christian Civilisation’ are in the pincers of foreign infidels and native, hooded extremists. Left-wing declinism buzzes about coups, surveillance regimes, and the inevitable – if elusive – collapse of capitalism.
In fact, the idea of decline is one thing the extremes of Left and Right agree upon. Declinisms share some traits; most of all: they ignore signs of improvement that point to less drastic ways out of trouble.
Post by Jeremy Adelman: the Henry Charles Lea professor of history and director of the Global History Lab at Princeton University. His latest books are Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O Hirschman (2013) and the co-authored Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (4th ed, 2014).
1,300 words
Edited by Sam Haselby
aeon
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Why Bystanders Rarely Speak Up When They Witness Sexual Harassment

The uproar over allegations that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually abused and harassed dozens of the women he worked with is inspiring countless women (and some men) to share their own personal sexual harassment and assault stories. My research on how people often fail to speak out when they witness these incidents might help explain why Weinstein could reportedly keep his despicable behavior an open secret for decades.
Post by George B. Cunningham, Professor of Sport Management, Faculty Affiliate of the Women's and Gender Studies Program, and Director, Laboratory for Diversity in Sport, Texas A&M University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Imagination is a Powerful Tool: Why is Philosophy Afraid of it?

Philosophers have a love-hate relationship with the imagination. René Descartes, for one, disparaged it as ‘more of a hindrance than a help’ in answering the most profound questions about the nature of existence.
Yet Descartes also relied heavily on imagination in scientific and mathematical essays such as The World (1633), in which he tried to conjure up the details of the basic building blocks for structures such as humans, animals and machines.
Amy Kind is professor of philosophy at Claremont McKenna College in California. She is the author of Persons and Personal Identity (2015).
Edited by Sally Davies
aeon
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives

Category: Social Awareness

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How We Learn to Read Another’s Mind by Looking Into Their Eyes

Eyes play a prominent role in our daily social encounters and are sometimes metaphorically referred to as windows to our souls. There now is compelling evidence to support the notion that much information about another person’s mind can be gleaned from his or her eyes.
Aeon
CC BY-ND 4.0

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Emoji, Texting and Social Media: How Do They Impact Language?

I’m here with Dame Wendy Hall, Kluge Chair in Technology and Society, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and early pioneer in web protocols; with Alexandre Loktionov, AHRC Fellow at the Kluge Center and an expert on hieroglyphic and cuneiform legal texts; and with Jessica Lingel, Kluge Fellow, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on social media.We ventured into talking about emoji and social media during a hallway conversation and thought it would be fun to pursue this further via blog.
Library of Congress Blogs

Category: Social Awareness

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What to do with Confederate Statues?

Could Russia teach us something about how to deal with difficult aspects of our national history?
As a student of southern politics who recently traveled to Moscow, I wondered if we can look to the Russians and how they have treated their Soviet past. The situations are not perfectly analogous. Many Russian people lived through the Soviet experience. Not so for the Confederacy. That said, in both cases, there is the question of whether – and how – to purge the past.
Post by James Glaser, Professor, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, Tufts University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Even the Ancient Greeks Thought Their Best Days Were History

Was there ever a Greek Golden Age? When, exactly, was Greece great? In fact, nostalgia for a lost greatness can be found in the so-called Golden Age itself. Even in the mid-fifth century BCE, Athenians were already looking back with longing.
Johanna Hanink is associate professor of classics at Brown University in Rhode Island. Her latest book is The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity (2017).
aeon.co
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Frankly, Do We Give a Damn…? Study Finds Links Between Swearing and Honesty

It’s long been associated with anger and coarseness but profanity can have another, more positive connotation. Psychologists have learned that people who frequently curse are being more honest. Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science a team of researchers from the Netherlands, the UK, the USA and Hong Kong report that people who use profanity are less likely to be associated with lying and deception.
University of Cambridge
CC BY 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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The Price of a Miracle: Should we Limit Spending on Lifesaving Drugs?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is a familiar quote from the opening of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” but the phrase is also applicable to the specialty drug market in the United States today.
Breakthrough drugs have come through a collective national choice to let drugmakers set prices and reap the profits with limited oversight – as opposed to many other countries with strict controls.
However, this choice has come at a steep price.
Post by C. Michael White, Professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Would You Rather Be Right or Be Happy?

Have you ever argued about how to load a dishwasher? Many times a day, we all face crossroads: we choose between being right or being happy.
Foundation for Economic Education
CC BY 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Elegy for the Gulf: Seven Years After Deepwater Horizon

When I was a little girl, I spent my summers in Gulf Shores, Alabama. My family has visited the white sugar sand of the Gulf Coast for generations.
That was before the Deepwater Horizon, before I walked along the oiled beaches of Fort Pickens, Florida, and before I could even begin to imagine the ecological and economic devastation of a massive oil spill.
Post by Holly Parker
Surfrider Foundation

Category: Social Awareness

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How the Market Crushed the Champagne Cartel

For hundreds of years, the bubbly white wine made in the Champagne region of France has held a monopoly. It is a monopoly on a word.
Talk about the exploitation of brand popularity. And as everyone knows, “real” Champagne is ghastly expensive, two and even three times as much as sparkling non-Champagne wine replacements. But you have to pay the price if you want the real thing, right?
That’s the premise. And it is completely wrong.
FEE: Foundation for Economic Education
CC BY 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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An Ode to Onion Rings

The diversity of onion rings illustrates the strength of a free market at satisfying the wishes of consumers, even for something as trivial as an onion ring.
Post by Tyler Groenendal
FEE: Foundation for Economic Education
CC BY 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Palmyra’s Ruins Can Rebuild Our Relationship With History

The ancient city of Palmyra lies in ruins, which is saying something, since it was already a ruin to begin with (not originally, of course, but you take my meaning). Echoes of the destruction have reverberated beyond Syria, prompting international calls for the ruins to be reconstructed. But isn’t the idea of replicating antiquities absurd?
Author Erich Hatala Matthes is assistant professor of philosophy at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. His research focuses on moral and political issues surrounding cultural heritage, art, and the environment.
aeon
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Connecting Health, Faith and Agriculture

How one community is using agriculture to support health
USDA

Category: Social Awareness

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What’s Lost When We Photograph Life Instead of Experiencing It?

Journalist Mary Pilon described how, when visiting a temple in Cambodia, a sea of tourists became so preoccupied with capturing the perfect, shareable picture that, ironically, “no one was really present.”
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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Without Uber or Lyft, Austin Experiences Skyrocketing DUI Rates

When Brian had the chance to drive for Uber his goal became to take as many drunks off the road as possible.
Foundation for Econominc Education
CC BY 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

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Why Do We Fall for Fake News?

Unless we understand the psychology of online news consumption, we won’t be able to find a cure for what The New York Times calls a “digital virus.”
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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Will China Lead on Climate Change?

Because of the congruence between reducing coal use and greenhouse gas emissions, China would be likely to make substantial efforts to shift to lower emissions technologies over the next decade whether they cared about global emissions or not.
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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Cuba’s Sustainable Agriculture At Risk in U.S. Thaw

If relations with U.S. agribusiness companies are not managed carefully, Cuba could revert to an industrial approach that relies on mechanization, transgenic crops and agrochemicals, rolling back the revolutionary gains that its campesinos have achieved.
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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US Muslim Population Becoming More Socially Liberal

What’s more remarkable about this fact: this transition occurred at the same time that Muslim immigration has ramped up; immigration is not detracting from those changes and may even be contributing to them.
Foundation for Economic Education
(CC BY 4.0)

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Are Pop Stars Destined To Die Young?

Does a quest for fame lead to an early demise?
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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Stand Down: Recording Homeless Veterans’ Stories

The services VTC provides to this vulnerable population are commendable and much needed, as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that more than 39,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.
Library of Congress

Category: Social Awareness

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Snowden: A Picture of the Cybersecurity State

Maybe you've heard - there's a movie about Edward Snowden.
The movie doesn’t take a nuanced view of why intelligence agencies do what they do.
Nor does it provide sufficient context about the NSA’s practices in relation to those of agencies in other countries.
Its portrayal of the technology involved (and of U.S. government efforts to apprehend and prosecute whistleblowers) is, however, mostly accurate.

The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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What Would Lincoln Say to Donald Trump?

As the Republican nominee, Donald Trump could learn a lot from his party’s first president, Abraham Lincoln.
Cover Image by Jonathan Ernst
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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Gay Pride Parades: Identity, Protest, and Tradition

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, homosexual behavior, cross-dressing, and other expressions of gender nonconformity were treated as crimes in most parts of the United States.
Library of Congress

Category: Social Awareness

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A Mother’s Intuition

Lee Hageman anticipated nothing out of the ordinary when she and her husband, Paul, traveled to Kenya with Orphan Outreach in 2013. And then something magical happened.
Orphan Outreach

Category: Social Awareness

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Aid to Dying: What Jainism Teaches Us

In one of India’s religious traditions, Jainism, those at the end of life can choose to embrace a final fast transition from one body to another. However, a recent court case has challenged the constitutionality of this practice.
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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Hope Shines Bright by Candlelight

The story of Candlelight's first university-bound student is cause for celebration.
Orphan Outreach

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Why Statistics Should Be A Mandatory Part of High School Education

One of the best tools that we have to separate the wheat from the chaff is statistics, a system used to gather, organize, and interpret data.
By helping students learn more about the trickery numbers can perform, they'll bee able to make more informed decisions across a wide range of subjects.
PLOS
(CC BY 4.0)

Category: Social Awareness

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The Novel and Play that Predicted Donald Trump’s Rise

Given this history, how might voters turn to performance to combat campaigns based on hate and discrimination? Where might they look for inspiration?

Category: Social Awareness

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Demagogues In History: Emotion Over Facts

America has a deep and abiding history of demagogues, including Louisiana’s Huey Long, Alabama’s George Wallace, and Washington D.C.’s Pat Buchanan.

Category: Social Awareness

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Health and Safety Problems From ‘White’ LED Streetlights

New LED-based streetlights are whiter than traditional ones and contain more blue light, which can disrupt people’s circadian rhythms.
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

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Since Ancient Greece, the Olympics and Bribery Have Gone Hand in Hand

According to the poet Pindar, the king of Pisa bribed Hermes' son Myrtilus to tamper with his opponent’s chariot wheels.

Category: Social Awareness

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Arrebato. Lo Que Es Mio.

The young women stand like an army, each declaring “I am taking back what was stolen…”

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Hope For Orphan Graduates in Russia

The statistics are frightening for orphans in Russia: at least 10% try to commit suicide within 5 years of leaving the program, and more than half will end up succumbing to drug abuse, alcoholism, prostitution, and organized crime.
Orphan Outreach focuses on these at-risk graduates, and helps them learn the life skills they will need to thrive as adults. The first step is prayer.

Category: Social Awareness

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The Syrian War In One Short, Easy Read

The Syrian “war” began in March 2011, during the Arab Spring. Here are the basics – decoded.

Category: Social Awareness

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Things to Consider When Consuming News

By and large the programming that makes it to our eyes and ears is produced to support an agenda, but, even amongst the corporate programs there are genuine voices of reason and truth. So, how do you tell the difference between a voice of truth and voice of deceit?

Category: Social Awareness

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The Zika Virus – What You Need To Know

The Zika virus is an arbovirus infection transmitted by several different species of Aedes mosquitoes. In adults, the most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.

Category: Social Awareness

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How Public Bathrooms Got Separated By Sex

For years, transgender rights activists have argued for their right to use the public restroom that aligns with their gender identity. In recent weeks, this campaign has come to a head.

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In Death Could Michael Jackson Set a Legal Precedent?

Can disgruntled Michael Jackson fans sue the pop star's doctor over the impact Jackson's death had on their lives? Let's find out.

Category: Social Awareness

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Less Hate, More Love: Taking Positive Action

Gun violence sucks. I'm scared and saddened, and I want to do something so I made these pins and I'm donating 50% of the proceeds to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

Category: Social Awareness

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7 Myths About Hoarding

If you’ve watched television in the last few years, you’ve likely come across a reality show about hoarding. Rather than truly educating the public on the condition, reality TV tends to dramatize the issue, spread misinformation, and increase stigma.

Category: Social Awareness

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Suburban Sprawl Is Not Pro-Family

The middle class may be getting squeezed out of our cities, but the author of a new book dangerously mistakes the symptom for the cure.

Category: Social Awareness

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Why Bullying Needs More Efforts To Stop It

The tragic consequences of bullying have become a regular part of the news cycle. In April, an eighth grade girl in Missouri and a sixth grade boy in Pennsylvania committed suicide. Bullying was an important factor, according to their families.

Category: Social Awareness

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Why Public Health Scholars Should Study Pornography

I am a public health researcher and teacher, and have conducted several studies on adolescent pornography use. Personally, I do think pornography is a public health issue; it has implications for sexual and reproductive health promotion, and violence prevention.

Category: Social Awareness

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School Choice Works, and Here's the Evidence

There are a great many reasons to support educational choice: maximizing freedom, respecting pluralism, reducing social conflict, empowering the poor, and so on. One reason is simply this: it works.

Category: Social Awareness

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Are Robots Taking Out Jobs?

Automation, driven by technological progress, has been increasing inexorably for the past several decades.

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How Cults Exploit Psychological Urges

The new Hulu TV series “The Path” – described by Time as the streaming service’s “best show yet” – centers on a cult-like faith, Meyerism, whose adherents seek fulfillment under the guidance of their leader, Cal.

Category: Social Awareness

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Does The First Amendment Protect People Who Film The Police?

The debate started after several citizens started capturing police misconduct with their smartphones and presented these videos as evidence in court trials.

Category: Social Awareness

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When They Don’t Know How to Dream

The day had already been a long one by the time we arrived at the public school in Cerro de Oro, a small Mayan village on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The bus we were on struggled around the sharp curves and treacherous gravel roads that bore the scars of torrential rains and mudslides from seasons past. We were weary, but hopeful of what was to come. This would be a first for an Orphan Outreach mission team - spending time with the middle school students to talk about their worth and their dreams.

Category: Social Awareness

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Britain’s Last Coal Pit Closes

Coal once fueled the British Empire, employed armies of men and shook the power of governments.
Earlier this month, workers at Britain’s last operating deep coal mine finished their final shift, emerging — soot-blackened and live on television news channels — to cheers, applause and tears.

Category: Social Awareness

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Bikini Babe: The World’s Most Wanted Terrorist

FOR years she plotted in plain sight in France, stripping down to a bikini for a candid beach photo, working in a grocery store and dining out with friends who had no clue about the murder in her heart.
On the morning of January 7, 2015, terrorists, armed with assault rifles and other weapons, forced their way into the officers of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and fired up to 50 shots, killing a total of 12 people, including a police officer gunned down as they tried to make their escape.

Category: Social Awareness

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Incandescents Now More Efficient than LEDs

Researchers at the MIT are publicizing that they have fixed the incandescent lightbulb with a brilliant improvement. They have wrapped the interior filament in a crystal glass that both bounces light and contains heat. It recycles energy in a way that addresses the main complaint against Edison’s bulb: It burns far too much energy for the light that it produces.

Category: Social Awareness

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A Better Way to Talk Politics

Prejudice, discrimination, racism, ageism, and sexism are all fueled by the use of labels. In the political arena, the words left, right, liberal, and conservative often function as polarizing and inflammatory labels. I believe the problems created by the use of such labels far outweigh any potential benefit.

Category: Social Awareness

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Can Apple Meet The FBI’s Demand Without Creating A ‘Backdoor’?

The San Bernardino terrorist suspect Syed Rizwan Farook used an iPhone 5c, which is now in the possession of the FBI. The iPhone is locked. The FBI wants Apple to help unlock it, presumably so they can glean additional evidence or information about other possible attacks. Apple has declined, and appears to ready to defy a court order. Its response is due February 26. So what’s the technology they’re fighting over?

Category: Social Awareness

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Hope in the Hills: Gan Sabra Community Program

An unfinished brick warehouse sits precariously above the colorful neighborhood streets carved into the mountainous jungle landscape of the Aizawl district of Mizoram, India. Inside, separated only by splintered wood and worn curtains, five families live and work. All are refugees who have escaped the human rights atrocities of Burma, and all now sit for hours each day at large looms, weaving traditional Mizo fabrics sold by vendors at market.

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A True House of Grace

"In my life, I have believed that I am doing what God has called me to do. I don’t have a lot to be proud about – education or wealth. But God has always been with me and given me favor."

Category: Social Awareness

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Gossip Is a Social Skill – Not a Character Flaw

Let’s face it: gossips get a bad rap.
Indeed, in its rawest form, gossip is a strategy used by individuals to further their own reputations and interests at the expense of others. Studies that I have conducted confirm that gossip can be used in cruel ways for selfish purposes.

Category: Social Awareness

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Scalia’s Death and the Environment

Scalia argued that the Clean Water Act should be narrowly construed to apply only to “relatively permanent bodies of water” rather than, as the lower courts had consistently ruled for over 30 years, to the entire tributary systems of the nation’s major waterways.

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Orphan Outreach: Joy’s Story

She greets visitors at the entrance of the House of Grace (Dar-Ul-Fazl), a beacon of light tucked into the steep Himalayan hillside high above the crowded streets of Manali, India. Joy is the director of the children's home that provides complete care for more than 70 orphans and a quality education for 100 village children.
Her name describes her countenance. Joy.

Category: Social Awareness

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What Trump And Sanders Said About Oil Prices 4 Years Ago

Remember when complaining about the price of gas was all the rage? The public discourse was awash in pseudo-psychology, hand-wringing about "peak oil," and an array of conspiracy theories to explain why oil cost so much. Economists were pretty sure that the price of oil was related to supply and demand, but what did they know? One cantankerous socialist knew the truth.

Category: Social Awareness

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Brazil Is the New Greece

At 70% of GDP, public debt is worryingly large for a middle-income country and rising fast.

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The Hidden Harms of the US Foster-Care System

Firestorms regarding child-protective systems have become sadly commonplace, occurring recently in Massachusetts, Colorado and Florida. Elected officials and the general public often don’t pay much attention to child protection systems until a child dies in a family known to the state agency charged with protecting children at risk.

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Four Key Takeaways From The Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa caucuses have a long history of upending the conventional wisdom and Monday night was no exception.

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Classical Cotton Breeding

Enhancing nature’s time-tested processes or Engineering… the difference between this phrase and word is a clear line in the sand that divides many millennia of human efforts to breed plants and animals, and the contemporary field of genetic modification.

Category: Sustainability

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The Internet Still Depends on Undersea Cables

Recently a New York Times article on Russian submarine activity near undersea communications cables dredged up Cold War politics and generated widespread recognition of the submerged systems we all depend upon.
Not many people realize that undersea cables transport nearly 100% of transoceanic data traffic. These lines are laid on the very bottom of the ocean floor. They’re about as thick as a garden hose and carry the world’s internet, phone calls and even TV transmissions between continents at the speed of light. A single cable can carry tens of terabits of information per second.

Category: Social Awareness

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Star Trek’s Pseudo-Economics

A fan convention dedicated to comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and television is not the place you’d expect to find a panel on economic theory. But economists and geeks joined forces at the recent New York Comic Con to discuss “Trekonomics,” the economics of Star Trek.

Category: Social Awareness

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Why More Grandparents Are Raising Grandchildren

An Average Day
Sunday, September 13 was Grandparents Day. Many grandparents will have received loving cards, calls and emails from their grandchildren. However, a significant number of grandparents – approximately 2.7 million, as reported by the US Census – will have done exactly what they do every day, which is make their grandchildren breakfast, organize their activities and help with homework in the evening.

Category: Social Awareness

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El Niño Spurs Epidemic In Eastern Africa

Recent climate predictions suggest East Africa may be in line for an epidemic of Rift Valley fever – an infectious disease which can hit people, their livestock and livelihoods, and national economies hard.

Category: Social Awareness

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Five Things Climate Scientists Disagree About

With the Paris climate conference taking place, we should be prepared for dissenters to pull out a few hoary old chestnuts to try to undermine the process. “Climate science isn’t settled” is a particular favourite, still repeated by various Republican presidential candidates as an excuse for inaction on global warming.

Category: Social Awareness

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Rude Behavior is as Contagious as Infectious Disease

Rude Behavior is as Contagious as an Infectious Disease
When you see someone smiling or you hear laughter, you often can’t help but smile or laugh yourself. Now scientists from the University of Florida have shown that the same applies to certain non-aggressive negative behaviors, especially rudeness.

Category: Social Awareness

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How Big Soda Uses Social Media To Dilute Critiques

Corporations use social media to advertise products, engage with consumers, respond to reputational issues, and to define and position their brands. But could social media also be an effective way for corporations to reach and influence both their critics and supporters in hopes of maintaining favorable regulatory environments?

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US and Europe: Different Laws on GMO

There is a myth that circulates on both sides of the Atlantic: Americans accepted genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food supply without question, while the more precautionary Europeans rejected them. But GMOs went through a period of significant controversy in the US during the early years starting in the 1980s.

Category: Social Awareness

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Public Beach Poached for Private Privilege?

The heart of California’s Coastal Act is its requirement that development not interfere with the public’s right to access the beach. Yet, this right is increasingly at risk as private landowners seek to shore up their own properties by building seawalls, revetments, and other structures on top of publicly owned beaches. The result is a loss of beach access statewide that will only get worse as sea levels are predicted to rise. A case in point is Broad Beach in Malibu.

Category: Social Awareness

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Biker Gangs

By the time the May 2002 melee was over, three bikers were dead and at least 70 members of two outlaw biker gangs had either been shot, stabbed or beaten during the orgy of violence at the annual River Run motorcycle rally in Laughlin, a Nevada casino resort about 90 miles south of Las Vegas.

Category: Social Awareness

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How Ad Research Explains Donald Trumps Appeal

Politics and advertising are closely intertwined. Like a good advertisement, a good politician needs to present a compelling case for why the voter should check his or her box on the ballot over all the other options. Many good ads or politicians will make a direct appeal to viewers' emotions – and of all the candidates in recent memory, Donald Trump may be the best at doing this.

Category: Social Awareness

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All of Us are Equal

The young man sits in the prayer room as the afternoon sun casts its golden light on the lush mountains outside. His frail teenage body looks suddenly so small on the bench. “I want to tell my story,” he said.

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Sasha's Heart for His Own

Sasha Elichev understands orphans firsthand because he is one. Born in a small town on the outskirts of St. Petersburg’s, Sasha was the middle child—sandwiched by an older brother and a younger sister. “We lived in a communal flat, which basically was a small room for all five of us.

Category: Social Awareness

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They Call Her Tia Lilly

Everyone calls her “Tia Lilly,” from the neighbors at the grocery store to the toddlers who waddle past her on their way to play with teams visiting from the United States. The teenage girls who she cares for every day say they want to be like her when they grow up.

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Benefits and Risks of the 'Internet of Things'

Researchers from the University of Washington identify vulnerabilities in automobiles and medical devices and design tools to prevent data tracking.

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Who Says Libraries are Dying?

With the expansion of digital media, the rise of e-books and massive budget cuts, the end of libraries has been predicted many times over. And while it is true that library budgets have been slashed, causing cuts in operating hours and branch closures, libraries are not exactly dying. In fact, libraries are evolving.

Category: Social Awareness

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Girls Who Abuse Boys

Let’s face it: when we talk about abusive dating relationships or domestic violence in general, we usually think of a man abusing a woman, right? Women are always the “victims.” It’s time for us to change the way we think because in fact, while male-to-female abuse is leveling off nationwide (at a very high level, I’ll grant you), female-to-male abuse is skyrocketing.

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Who Exactly is Government Helping?

Almost everyone believes that government is an essential institution, necessary to protect us from those threats we cannot counter on our own. But even if we accept that justification, it rarely describes what American government actually does, whether at the local, state, or federal level. What exactly is the government protecting — and from whom?

Category: Social Awareness

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How Volkswagen Got Caught Cheating Emissions Tests by a Clean Air NGO

Volkswagen has set aside €6.5 billion to cover the costs of the growing scandal over cheating on emissions tests in the US. Putting a number on the cost further down the line will be far harder, however, as it is a crisis which calls into question the ethical credentials of the company and the industry, as well as posing tough questions about the regulators and authorities who were duped.

Category: Social Awareness

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Can You Help Change an Abuser?

Throughout my work with abuse survivors (remember: no VICTIMS), the main questions I’ve been asked have been: Can s/he change? Did I do something wrong? Is there a chance we can get back together? Am I that unimportant to him/her?

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

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The Cost Your Spirit Pays In A Destructive Relationship

“I can’t imagine what it feels like to be content and grateful. I have spent so many years in bad relationships, I wouldn’t know a healthy one if walked up and introduced itself to me. My spirit feels dead and my soul feels destroyed.”
Those devastating words were said to me by a patient of mine who had spent most of her life in a series of destructive relationships. The cumulative effect from her critical parents, unkind spouse, unappreciative children, demanding boss, back-stabbing coworkers, and gossipy friends had left her emotionally and spiritually depleted. In addition, she was deeply depressed, anxious, frequently ill, had low self-esteem, and felt hopeless and abandoned.

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

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Life’s Not Fair! Why Do We Assume it is?

Income inequality in America has been growing rapidly, and is expected to increase. While the widening wealth gap is a hot topic in the media and on the campaign trail, there’s quite a disconnect between the perceptions of economists and those of the general public.

Category: Social Awareness

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How US Gun Control Compares to the Rest of the World

The Charleston murders have renewed the sporadic debates over whether gun control might have prevented this latest of tragedies. So far, however, the US has not done “something about it.” The National Rifle Association (NRA), it seems, has so much power over politicians that even when 90% of Americans (including a majority of NRA members) wanted universal background checks to be adopted following the Newtown killings of 2012, no federal action ensued.

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

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The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

The continuum of exposure to domestic violence ranges from chronic arguing and yelling to controlling behaviors, threats, and intimidation, to physical threats, threats of suicide or murder, to threats involving weapons, to serious injuries and fatal assaults. While domestic violence takes many forms, there is always a destructive undercurrent of power and control, with offenders commonly and compulsively grasping for in a surrogate what is lacking within themselves: control.

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

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The Essence of Scholarship Is Truth

The following is a guest post by Lauren Sinclair, Program Assistant at The John W. Kluge Center. It is the seventh in a series on past recipients of the Library of Congress Kluge Prize.

Category: Social Awareness

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Migrant or Refugee? Why the Word Matters

Across Europe, a debate is raging about how to describe the thousands of people escaping war and turmoil in their own countries and making the journey to safer places. Are they refugees or migrants?

Category: Social Awareness

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How To Help A Friend In An Abusive Relationship

So many people ask me this question that I thought I’d devote a short article to it this month. I hope it will be helpful to you if you know someone who is stuck in a creepy relationship.
Helping a friend who is in an abusive relationship is a very frustrating experience. You see a creep for who s/he is but your friend is oblivious to everything you see or say. It’s as if she doesn’t have eyes, ears, or a brain! How do you get through to her (I will use “her” or “she” from now on, but feel free to substitute your male pal’s name, if it applies).

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

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Pledged To #MoveToEndDV

#MoveToEndDV
We challenge you to make an impact with your business, just like these businesses have pledged. Check out these companies that have taken the Pledge, and support their commitment to #MoveToEndDV.
Our goal is to inspire at least 100 businesses across the world to find ways to help victims of domestic violence. If you need help, ideas, connections or anything else, we have full-time staff ready to assist you. Join the movement!
This NoteStream is updated regularly, so be sure to check back for see new companies as they pledge!

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

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MeatheadMovers.com #MoveToEndDV Story

High school brothers Aaron and Evan Steed needed to find a way to make money while accommodating their school and athletic schedules. So in 1997, they established Meathead Movers as the student athlete moving service and quickly earned the reputation as the “go to movers” in the small town of San Luis Obispo. With that reputation also came the frantic phone calls. Victims looking to flee dangerous situations were desperate to get out, without financial means or logistical support and usually in a small window of time while the abuser was out.

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

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Outsourcing Clinical Trials to Developing Countries

As the death toll from the African Ebola crisis peaked, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan delivered a scathing attack on the “profit-driven” pharmaceutical industry and its unwillingness to develop a vaccine “for markets that cannot pay”. In reality, markets rather than moral concern drive research and development of drugs.

Category: Social Awareness

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Resilient Community

Our community reinforces the idea: You belong.
In a recent survey of iSanctuary Mumbai participants, 77% described the community environment as the element they value most about their experience working at iSanctuary. Over half described the Sanctuary as family. This data is exciting because it shows that our program is working.
Many human trafficking survivors have complex social histories that may include neglect and betrayal from those close to them beginning at a young age. Isolation from others is one of the primary means that traffickers use to coerce and dominate their victims. Any sense of belonging to a community that they previously had is stripped away.

Category: Social Awareness

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The Art Of Dreaming

For many young women in iSanctuary’s program, dreams feel unattainable. People who have experienced depression, trauma, or abuse, know that formulating a dream for the future can be nearly impossible. For this reason, the Mumbai Sanctuary is practicing the art of dreaming.
It's easy to think that dreaming is something that always comes naturally to humans, but there is a surprising extent to which dreaming is a learned experience. At times, the young women in the Mumbai Sanctuary are unable to see beyond their present situation, so dreaming becomes something we learn and practice together.

Category: Social Awareness

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Libraries on the Front Lines of Homelessness Crisis in the United States

On any given night in 2014, over half a million people in the United States found themselves without a home. While the majority of these people (69%) secured shelter for the night, many shelters do not provide daytime accommodations for their patrons. This leaves many in search of daytime activity and protection from the elements. Unfortunately, many homeless are also living with debilitating mental illnesses. The intimate relationship between homelessness and mental illness is well-established. Almost all psychiatric conditions are overrepresented in homeless populations.

Category: Social Awareness

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True Sioux Hope Foundation In The News

Mostly unknown or forgotten by mainstream society, the average United States resident knows little, if anything, about the true history and current state of the Native American Indians. Yet, hidden away in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, lies an entire Native American population living in conditions equivalent to those found among the poorest third world countries.

Category: Social Awareness

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Social Justice in Dr. Seuss’ Children’s Books

On February 18, Random House announced the discovery of What Pet Should I Get?, an unpublished – and heretofore unseen – picture book by Dr. Seuss. The announcement came 10 days after the same publisher revealed that it would publish Harper Lee’s “discovered” manuscript for Go Set a Watchman in the summer of 2015. In What Pet Should I Get? – released this week – the very same siblings who first appeared in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish now struggle with the question of what pet they should choose. While the siblings in What Pet Should I Get? may not be as familiar as Scout and Jem Finch, Dr. Seuss' new book is the latest addition to a body of work that remains just as committed to social justice as Harper Lee’s famous novels.

Category: Social Awareness

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Exploring How Black & White Artists Depict Race

In 2013, when Graham C Boettcher, chief curator at the Birmingham Museum of Art, first conceptualized a small exhibit examining the visual representation of race in American art, he couldn’t have anticipated the present political moment. From events in Ferguson and Baltimore to the senseless murder of nine innocent people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, America finds itself at another crossroads in race relations because of the harrowing effects of systemic racism. When I was asked to co-curate this exhibition last year, I emphasized that race – specifically, “blackness” – has been constructed and visually represented from the perspectives of both blacks and whites.

Category: Arts

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Soften the Environmental Impact of the Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) just announced that Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. There will no doubt be many surprises during the Games, but we already know there will be a substantial environmental toll to locating in Beijing. Where will the snow come from for a winter event in a city and region that has little snow? Events needing altitude, such as skiing and snowboarding, will be held between 55 and 100 miles away, with some of them being held on the edge of the Gobi Desert, where snowfall rarely exceeds 10 inches.

Category: Social Awareness

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President Obama Restricts Ivory Trade

In response to a growing poaching crisis that is rapidly pushing populations of African elephants, rhinos and other species to the brink of extinction, on July 25, 2015 President Obama announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing new regulations that would prohibit most interstate commerce in African elephant ivory and further restrict commercial exports. This action, combined with others FWS has already taken, will result in a near total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory. The proposed rule builds upon restrictions put in place last year following President Obama’s Executive Order on combating wildlife trafficking.

Category: Social Awareness

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Ultimate Answer Lies In That ‘Aha Moment’

The other day I had a full-blown aha moment – and this one answered one of the greatest mysteries that has followed me for the last 13 or 14 years.
I was raised to believe that things happen for a reason. My mom’s faith was everything to her, and she passed that strength on to her children – which means we may ask why things happen, but we don’t give up hope when we don’t get an answer. We just accept that things were meant to be.
When we got the diagnosis that Matthew would be born with Down syndrome, my husband and I both, naturally, asked why.

Category: Social Awareness

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Obamas Honorary Chairs of Special Olympics 2015 World Games

The Special Olympics honor a tradition that started more than fifty years ago with a little creativity, a lot of heart, and a big backyard at Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s house. Today, that simple day camp has grown into one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world for people with intellectual disabilities. Here at the White House, we’re already looking forward to the next games.

Category: Social Awareness

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Tech? No! Education Without the Gimmicks

One of the things most taken for granted nowadays in education is that technology will make for better classroom experiences and better learning. School boards are actively pursuing the adoption of more cutting-edge devices in the classrooms. Wider access to technology for students is a government priority in the U.S. There’s an expectation that technology will yield knowledge. There’s not a ton of evidence that this expectation is well founded.

Category: Social Awareness

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‘Just’ Joking? Sexist Talk in Science

Responding to the narrative about the Tim Hunt Situation. Science is dominated by a narrow slice of the world’s demographics. It’s tough for “outgroups” to gain and maintain a foothold and respect. Humor can be used to create a quick bridge between people. But it can also reinforce outgroups’ otherness and relatively marginal social status.

Category: Social Awareness

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Teen Suicide: Pine Ridge Reservation

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Tragically, this statistic has proven to be far worse on many Native American reservations throughout North America. Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the second largest reservation in the nation, is considered home to nearly 29,000 Lakota Sioux Tribe members.
In a recent Huffington Post article, it was found that nearly 1,000 suicide attempts were recorded on Pine Ridge Reservation between 2004 and 2013. Greg Yoder, reporter for MNN, stated that tribal officials confirmed nine teens were successful in committing suicide this past year, one being as young as 12 years old.
So what is causing this increase in teen suicide in Pine Ridge?

Category: Social Awareness

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Online Trolling and Its Impact on Women

For those of you who blog or follow online contributions within the feminist and social justice community, online trolling is not a new concept or an anomaly. Recently, there has been much discussion surrounding the impact of online trolling in the feminist and activist community and how to best respond. There has also been much debate about whether or not to even respond at all considering most of the time trolls egregiously comment on bloggers’ posts in hopes of getting an amplified and angered response from those they target.

Category: Social Awareness

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Patriot Act Meltdown: Politics and Rand Paul

On June 7 at midnight, three key provisions of the Patriot Act, including section 215 (the law the government uses to collect phone and other business records in bulk) expired. The man at the center of the political drama on Capitol Hill was Kentucky Republican Senator – and presidential candidate – Rand Paul. But just how instrumental was Paul in the demise of the Patriot Act? And what will be the impact of the expiry of the infamous section 215? As we wait to see what the Senate does next, we asked a panel of scholars to look at these questions and more.

Category: Social Awareness

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Miranda Rights and National Police Week

My dad had started his law enforcement career just a few years prior to the Supreme Court’s Miranda decision on June 13, 1966, so I asked him for his memories of it when I was studying the decision in school.
Betty mentioned that his stories would make a good blog post. And, as this is National Police Week, I am following up with her suggestion.

Category: Social Awareness

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10 Reasons To Eat Grass-Fed & Cage-Free Meat

Eating less meat is good for the environment. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on meat all together. There are still ways you can make a difference.
It takes nearly 650 gallons of water to raise, process, and transport meat for just one burger. Factory farms consume fossil fuels, emit more greenhouse gas emissions than cars, and cause 80% of the world’s annual deforestation.
Choosing to support local farms that raise animals in an ethical manner with consideration of the environment is one easy and very positive way to spend your food dollar.

Category: Sustainability

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Conscious Consumption: Vote with Your Dollar

The journey of our “stuff” begins long before it arrives in our homes. The final product is a result of many processes: harvesting, processing, dyeing, building, mixing, printing, shipping, etc. At every step of the way is the potential for environmental degradation, pollution, human rights issues, health risks and more.
As disheartening as this may seem, as major contributors to the problem, we are both responsible for and capable of generating a solution. Here are some easy ways to make a difference!

Category: Sustainability

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Facebook! Ditch Body-Shaming Emoticons!

Love it or hate it, when Facebook rolled out its new “Feelings” feature mid-2013, the nature of the status update shifted. If you were like me, you gave it some serious side-eye at first. Do we really need our social networks to express our emotions for us? Have we lost the ability to type “Feeling good today!” and have to rely on a drop-down menu instead? What’s next — if emotions are dead, will robots take over the world? Won’t somebody think of the children?
In addition to your standard primary emotions of “happy,” “sad,” or “hopeful,” we also get these options: “fat” and “ugly.”
Excuse me?

Category: Social Awareness

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Sustainable Food = An Abundant Future

Imagine a forest- a lush, thriving, living forest. It’s so alive and so productive you can almost feel it breathe. What creatures call it home, and what grows there? Now, imagine that this forest is filled with food. This food forest grows what you need.
This food forest is like any other forest— a rich, diverse, thriving ecosystem; a resilient habitat in which each species gives more than it takes. Yet there is a fundamental difference: a food forest sustains itself and provides for others.

Category: Sustainability

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Friday the 13th: Movies and the Law

We are at it yet again – another post on movies and the law. This time, in honor of a year with two Friday the 13ths, I looked for movies that inspire horror, fear and terror. But when I began to pull this list together, I realized that real terror can be found in stories where the victim is being mentally tormented – chainsaws are child’s play compared to the tricks our minds can play on us! The last pick however, is a more lighthearted take on horror.

Category: Social Awareness

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Lend A Hand During National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, and this week marks National Volunteer Week. I haven’t come across too many people who know this. Until about a year ago, neither did I. What is interesting to me is that those who always seem willing to roll up their sleeves and give their time, talent or treasure, without the expectation of receiving anything in exchange, do so all throughout the year. They seem to find joy and contentment in the simple act of helping others. Nonetheless, I think April is a great time to applaud their efforts and appeal to those who have yet to lend a hand.

Category: Social Awareness

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Terrorism in France: Legal FAQ

In the wake of the tragic attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket that occurred in Paris on January 7-9, we thought it would be useful to give a brief explanation of certain legal issues related to terrorism in France.
This NoteStream is by Nicolas Boring, the French law specialist at the Law Library of Congress. It is part of a series on In Custodia Legis! “FALQs” are “Frequently Asked Legal Questions."

Category: Social Awareness

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The Growing Opportunity Gap For American Kids

On rare occasions, a book frames an issue so powerfully that it sets the terms of all future debate. Robert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis may do just this for the growing gulf between America’s rich and poor. I was a member of Putnam’s research team for Our Kids during my studies at the Harvard Kennedy School, where Putnam is a professor of public policy – so I can offer some insights into the research, and explain why the team is optimistic about its impact.

Category: Social Awareness

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Standing Up 4 Public Schools: Montel Williams

I wanted to tackle the subject of education a bit, and to have had the opportunity to interview Montel Williams and Tom Gentzel, the Executive Director of The National School Board Association was the perfect way to bring you some useful information.

Category: Social Awareness

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Int'l Women's Day - Let's Drink What We Like!

March is Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is this Sunday, March 8. This is a day that was first established in 1911 by activist Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. The idea was to set aside a day in every country that allows women to unite in tabling issues and celebrating women’s achievements.
You would think that by 2015, the need for such a day would be redundant.
However, there are still many places in the world where women are not given equal opportunities as men, and their plight is still being met with ruthless opposition. A need for this day is as vital as it was back then.

Category: Social Awareness

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Pink your Drink!

Last year, Alcohol Professor’s Amanda Schuster wrote a piece on the lovely ladies of the industry at Tales of the Cocktail. It was here Amanda got to meet with Ylva Binder, owner of Rhuby Rhubarb Liqueur to discuss how women are propelling the drinks industry forward. The role of women in the industry and female entrepreneurship is something that Binder and the team at Rhuby/Pink Your Drink foundation actively promote whilst also raising money for charity.

Category: Social Awareness

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The Power of a Bedtime Story

But the act of reading to children isn’t as common as most readers would think. Ask any elementary school teacher, most children love story time, craving it, sitting with crossed legs, leaning forward, swaying tiny bodies to and fro to catch every last glimpse of the illustrated page before the teacher turns it to the next. Many of those children don’t have parents who read to them, who make sure each night ends with an imaginary world. And how can I criticize? I don’t have children, and they seem endlessly exhausting. These days, I barely have time to read my own bedtime story before my eyelids begin to droop.

Category: Social Awareness

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How the Grand Jury System Works

Now that the grand jury has decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old man, there remain many questions about this grand jury and generally about the use of grand juries in the United States.

Category: Social Awareness

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Repeal Day! (80 Years of 'Now What?')

This Thursday marks the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition, known as Repeal Day, with the ratification of the 21st Amendment. By the time it was enacted, organized crime was at an all time high and people were spending more on unregulated alcohol than they ever did on legal products, creating a $3 billion illegal industry, not to mention the necessity for alcoholic counseling (Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935.)
What remained of the legal alcohol landscape was only scorched terrain.

Category: Social Awareness

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Does Hanukkah Wannabe Christmas?

Christmas has Elf on the Shelf. Now Hanukkah has Mensch on a Bench — not to mention Maccabee on the Mantel. Christmas has gingerbread houses; Manischewitz sells Chanukah House kits, using cookie dough with blue-and-white icing. These are just a few of the Hanukkah-themed products inspired by Christmas traditions and toys. Pinterest and Etsy are loaded with blue-and-white Hanukkah crafts like wreaths and stockings. There are Hanukkah greeting cards, cookie cutters, and even tree ornaments shaped like the three symbols — Stars of David, menorahs and dreidels — that scream “Hanukkah!” amid a sea of holiday merchandise adorned with Christmas trees and Santas.

Category: Social Awareness

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Cardhu Distillery: Women Behind Whisky

The history of Cardhu is forever entangled with the stories of two of the sharpest, most inventive and strong-willed women in Scotland’s early whisky narrative: Helen and Elizabeth Cumming. The former laid the foundations for success while the latter built on those and took Cardhu to being one of the most important in the region.

Category: Cocktails

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A Toast to International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is not just one of those recent PR-contrived events used to market a product, like National Oreo Day (no offense to Oreos.) This is a real day with purpose and meaning, originally proposed in 1910 by German women’s rights activist Clara Zetkin, who envisioned a set day of the year simultaneously observed around the world to focus on women’s issues and accomplishments. And you'll find recipes for three cocktails to celebrate the day!

Category: Social Awareness

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Hero: Elizabeth Zarkos Saves Kids & Horses

Lake Forest resident and teacher Elizabeth Zarkos isn't one who craves the limelight. In fact, she spends most of her time serving special-curriculum teens and rescuing horses that would be forgotten.
As founder of Hanaeleh Horse Rescue, Zarkos trains and finds loving homes for abused or neglected horses. When she's not investing her own time and money into this worthwhile endeavor, she's pursuing another noble mission: finishing her doctorate in education at Chapman University. It's perhaps the one thing this selfless person is doing for herself.

Category: Social Awareness

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Folklore of Halloween

Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.
The festival observed at this time was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. Learn more about the evolution of this most entertaining holiday!

Category: Social Awareness

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