During his press conference following the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama denounced the perpetrators as “evil” and “cowardly,” contrasting their behavior with the heroic first responders who rushed to aid the injured: “What the world saw yesterday in the immediate aftermath of the explosions were stories of heroism and kindness and generosity and love.” He praised the “good people of Boston” as well as the virtues of the American spirit: “If you want to know who we are, who America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”
The unity we presently feel doesn’t represent a kind of self-deception. Splitting under these horrific conditions allows us to weather the immediate trauma.
Obama’s words echo those of George W. Bush speaking on September 11, 2001: “Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.” In the face of a grave external threat, our leaders rush to offer us the same assurance: we may have been confronted by “the worst of human nature,” but Americans embody its finest virtues.
We are the heroes, they are the cowards.
We are motivated by love, kindness and generosity; they feel nothing but hatred.
We are good, they personify evil.
Leaders in other countries no doubt rely on similar language to comfort their people when facing an existential threat. It encourages unity on the home front and inspires patriotic feeling. It identifies the domestic goodness worth defending and mobilizes aggression against the enemy. While personal or political squabbling might dominate during times of peace, we put our differences aside when we face an external enemy. Praising the citizenry of Boston yesterday on MSNBC, Governor Deval Patrick said that “there’s something about America that causes us to come together” at times like this. True, but citizens in many other nations “come together” in the same way when facing a crisis.
Read the entire article on The Atlantic
You’ve written your will. You’ve talked to your family about end-of-life care. But have you toldGoogle what you want to happen to your Gmail or YouTube accounts?
That’s the stated purpose behind a tool the search giant announced Thursday: Inactive Account Manager. (In a blog post, the company admitted it was “not a great name.”) It covers all Google accounts, including Blogger, Drive, Google+ and Picasa.
Inactive Account Manager lets you set a “timeout period” of three, six, nine or 12 months. After that, Google will either delete your data or pass it on to a trusted friend or family member.
In case you just happen to be on extended (rather than permanent) vacation, the Account Manager will send a text to your cellphone and an email to a designated non-Google account before taking action.
“This new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife in a way that protects your privacy and security,” writes Google product manager Andreas Tuerk.
Of course, it’s hardly the first tool that lets you plan your digital afterlife; we’ve covered a number of services that deal in this morbid and necessary subject. But it does give Google a jump on Facebook, which has an afterlife policy (profiles are turned into “memorial” pages; family members can petition to take them down) but no tool to let users decide ahead of time.
Is Google going about it the right way? What other options should this kind of tool include? Let us know in the comments.
We are in the midst of a “narcissism epidemic,” concluded psychologists Jean M. Twnege and W. Keith Campbell in their 2009 book. One study they describe showed that among a group of 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as quickly as obesity from the 1980s to the present. Fortunately for narcissists, the continued explosion of social networking has provided them with productivity tools to continually expand their reach — the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, and occasionally Google Plus.
”Those who had high scores on grandiose exhibitionism tended to amass more friends on Facebook.”
Evidence for the rise in narcissism continues to come up in research and news. A study by psychologist Dr. Nathan DeWall and his team found “a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music” since the 1980s. Shawn Bergman, an assistant professor of organizational psychology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina notes that “narcissism levels among millennials are higher than previous generations.”
Researchers at Western Illinois University measured two socially disruptive aspects of narcissistic personalities — grandiose exhibitionism and entitlement/exploitativeness. Those who had high scores on grandiose exhibitionism tended to amass more friends on Facebook. Buffardi and Campbell found a high correlation between Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) scores and Facebook activity. Researchers were able to identify those with high NPI scores by studying their Facebook pages.
Elias Aboujaoude, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford, notes that our ability tailor the Internet experience to our every need is making us more narcissistic. He observes, “This shift from e- to i- in prefixing Internet URLs and naming electronic gadgets and apps parallels the rise of the self-absorbed online Narcissus.” He goes on to state that, “As we get accustomed to having even our most minor needs … accommodated to this degree, we are growing more needy and more entitled. In other words, more narcissistic.”
Optimism can be healthy. But assuming the worst is over also means you won’t be prepared.
In 2006, a tornado struck the town of Parkersburg, Iowa. The devastation wreaked by the category F2 twister was sizable: The 150 mph winds left a path of destruction four and a half miles long and a third of a mile across. Businesses in the small city suffered $10 million in damages; private residences and the state college, tens of millions. The residents of Parkersburg were resilient: they rebuilt and moved on. In the process, however, they lost the ability to accurately assess their risk of experiencing another disaster. They were optimistic to a fault.
A few weeks back, Emily Esfahani Smith made a convincing case for the health benefits of optimism. More specifically, she reviewed recent research on resilience — the ability to overcome trauma or tragedy. According to Smith, having a positive outlook is the most powerful predictor of resilience; optimism, thus, actively creates positive outcomes. She explains:
When your mind starts soaring, you notice more and more positive things. This unleashes an upward spiral of positive emotions that opens people up to new ways of thinking and seeing the world — to new ways forward. This is yet another reason why positive people are resilient. They see opportunities that negative people don’t. Negativity, for adaptive reasons, puts you in defense mode, narrows your field of vision, and shuts you off to new possibilities since they’re seen as risks.
I’m an optimist and would never argue against the importance of being able to move on and thrive after negative life events. But for the sake of balance it’s worth taking one thing into consideration: While these open-minded individuals are looking ever-forward toward the horizon, that might mean failing to see — and thus failing to prepare for — the possibility of stumbling blocks still to come.
Read the entire article on the Atlantic
Kerry Drake’s mother was dying. She’d suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for decades and the drugs used to treat her condition had decimated her immune system. One morning his brother called him to say her time had come.
Drake caught the next flight from San Francisco, where he works for the federal government, to Lubbock, Texas, via Houston.
“I knew this itinerary was a risk because the stopover in Houston was only about 40 minutes, and my connecting flight was the last flight to Lubbock that day,” he says. “But I needed to get there as soon as possible, so I took the risk.”
As it turns out, United flight 667 was delayed leaving San Francisco. Drake was visibly distraught. You can’t prepare for a moment like this, but now came the very real possibility that he wouldn’t have the chance to see his mother before she passed away.
A flight attendant, Sofia Lares, tried to comfort him. “She said she would do everything she could and brought extra napkins for my tears,” Kerry says.
Another flight attendant, Lan Chung, asked Kerry for his flight number and relayed it to the captain.
Flight 667 made up some time enroute to Houston, but not enough. By the time Drake’s plane landed, his connecting flight had left the gate. At least that’s what he thought.
“As I was running up to the gate, the gate agent saw me coming and shouted, ‘Mr. Drake? We’ve been expecting you’,” he said. “That’s when I knew they had conspired to help me. She waved me onto the plane without looking at my boarding pass.”
United had held the aircraft for him. Not only did he make it to Lubbock as scheduled, but so did his luggage.
“Had I missed my flight to Lubbock, I would not have been able to tell my mom goodbye,” Drake said. “When she died, I realized I was wiping away my tears with the extra United napkins that Sofia had given me the day before.”
Drake says he’s grateful to the flight crew that made his farewell possible, including the attendants on his San Francisco flight and Denver-based captain Edward Goldstein and Dirk Chilian, the flight’s first officer. He also thanks Houston customer service rep Marie Robertson and all the Houston baggage handlers who got his luggage to his final destination.
Where the evidence exists to support it, design has the potential to increase safety, promote healing, and even end up saving money.
No matter how close a health care center comes to resembling a spa, or how well a hospital room imitates a hotel suite, its primary job is to heal, not pamper. With the scarcity of health care dollars already preventing people from receiving access to basic care, it’s easy to look on hospitals’ pouring of money into design as unconscionable excess.
But while indulgence surely occurs for indulgence’s sake, numerous studies have established that the environment — its colors, sounds, and other design characteristics aside from its cleanliness — may have a direct influence on health and healing. Elements like artificial light and unwanted sounds have been linked to physical effects similar to those caused by stress, such as raised blood pressure, along with symptoms of depression. Natural light has been shown to have mood-elevating and pain-easing qualities; the presence of trees and nature appear to impact human health in subtle but measurable ways as well. Easing anxiety and creating a positive atmosphere for healing, it is argued, can lead to tangible outcomes.
“A revolution in the science of design is already under way,” according an article in last week’s New York Times’ Sunday Review. This is certainly the case in health care: the emerging field of “evidence-based design” aims to introduce elements of construction and atmosphere proven to promote healing.
The tactic is purely logical from a basic science perspective. Rugs, for instance, may be a bad choice for a space simply because carpeting houses more bacteria than bare floors.
Check out the entire article here on The Atlantic
I know the title makes many of you laugh but were asking for real this time. We don’t full know how Legacy operates when it comes to their payment structure, what is free, what is paid for or what it only online temporary. In the past when we have talked about Legacy and sent them questions for comment we have never received a reply. So we didn’t even bother on this story.
We received the following comment on Sunday morning. Please read the comment and let us know your thoughts. Is this really happening and if so what has your or your client family’s experience been? If this is true then Legacy.com could be raking in millions by screwing over grieving families.
Read the entire article here on Connecting Directors