I first heard Ray McGovern speak on a country road in the New England hills. This was courtesy of the admirably dedicated David Barsamian, who broadcast one of McGovern’s talks on Alternative Radio in late-2013. Reception up here being spotty, I pulled over and sat watching the autumn clouds drift by for the full hour McGovern stood at the podium of a Methodist church in Seattle. I was rapt.
What a lost pleasure it is in our indispensable nation to be in the presence of someone who thinks, acts and speaks out of conscience and conviction. Even better, these were precisely McGovern’s topics that day three years back: The necessity of careful thought, of honoring one’s inner voice, of acting out of an idea of what is right without regard to success or failure, the win-or-lose of life. One way or another, these themes run through everything he has to say, I have since discovered. At an inner-city church in Washington, McGovern teaches a course he calls “The Morality of Whistleblowing.”
An interesting look at Somalia’s recent past and current outlook.
I was a shivering in bed on my first night in Mogadishu. At 3:30 am, I killed the air conditioner. Moments later, the room felt stuffier than a London subway. I got up and paced around, wondering if it was safe to keep the balcony door open.
A few months back, al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda faction, had stormed Jazeera Palace Hotel, where I was currently staying, and sprayed a group of Chinese diplomats with lead. Now the building was secured by a street blockade, a double-gated check-in, blastproof walls, two dozen armed men and Abdullah, the small, wiry gentleman with an AK-47 outside my door.
I took a peek into the corridor and caught Abdullah dozing off. He was balancing on a tiny wooden stool, with the rifle propped between his legs.
I’m participating in a VA research study on pregnenolone and its helpfulness in treating Gulf War Illness.
As a result of normal aging, key hormone levels decline, resulting in a detrimental impact on memory and cognitive function. Scientists believe that the hormone pregnenolone has vast potential for maintaining healthy cognitive function and may be “the most potent memory enhancer yet reported.”
Pregnenolone is the first hormone in the pathway that generates a host of key neurohormones in the brain that are known to affect nerve cell growth and to modulate various moods. Pregnenolone therefore has a dominant effect in a wide range of nervous system functions. This is borne out in research that has demonstrated pregnenolone’s ability to reduce the risk of dementia and improve memory, while also alleviating anxiety and fighting depression. Increasing cognitive function is a key goal for any aging baby boomer.
As natural levels of pregnenolone fall, ensuring optimal levels may represent a crucial cornerstone to every adult’s cognitive wellness program.
This is an excellent peek into the life of a Blue Man.
Blue Man Group is a theatrical performance that defies easy categorization—part drumming, part acting, part Tobias Fünke—known for an audition process that competes with Manhattan preschools for difficulty of acceptance. But what’s it like to be behind all that blue paint? We spoke to a recently-retired Blue Man named Isaac Eddy. For over 12 years, Eddy lived and performed behind the thick blue veneer and anonymous black garb of the Blue Men. From Las Vegas to New York to London, Eddy portrayed one of the wordless azure elementals first developed by performance artists Chris Wink, Matt Goldman, and Phil Stanton in 1991.
Recently I got chatting with a nice lady in the queue at the supermarket.
(Because when the highlight of your Friday evening is browsing a frozen food aisle, you’ll talk to everyone.)
As I loaded a giant bag of nappies onto the checkout conveyor, Nice Lady smiled at me.
“Kids?” she asked with a grin.
“Yeah, a little boy.” I replied.
“So, who’s got him now?” she asked.
“Um, he’s at home with his Dad.”
Her grin widened.
“Ohhhh,” she said, giving me the look.
Sort of like dumping a lot of articles on one’s blog, eh?
Our brains are designed to focus on one thing at a time, and bombarding them with information only slows them down.
MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller notes that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”This constant task-switching encourages bad brain habits. When we complete a tiny task (sending an email, answering a text message, posting a tweet), we are hit with a dollop of dopamine, our reward hormone. Our brains love that dopamine, and so we’re encouraged to keep switching between small mini-tasks that give us instant gratification.
This creates a dangerous feedback loop that makes us feel like we’re accomplishing a ton, when we’re really not doing much at all (or at least nothing requiring much critical thinking). In fact, some even refer to email/Twitter/Facebook-checking as a neural addiction.
Some of my older friend scoffed at this column, but any mocking comes at one’s own peril, because this is how it will soon be.
The bar has been raised. If you as an employer want to attract the best and the brightest of the millennial generation, you will have to treat your employees a bit better than you once did.
Once upon a time, employment was for life. Joining a company meant you were looked after until retirement and even beyond. Then companies found that having massive layoffs and gutting these generous employee benefits appealed to Wall Street. Generations of workers became expendable to employers and learned wisely. The game had changed and job security was redefined as “how quickly one can get another job.”
Now the pendulum swings in favor of the worker, particularly the knowledege workers building our digital economy. This generation is building our new economy and the opportunities ahead of them and the awe-inspiring imagination they bring are like no other. This generation is responsible for the dizzying, accelerating pace of change in our world. They will hold you to your promises. They won’t play by the old rules. They demand a better way and they have the hustle and moxie to get it.
Laugh now if you choose, but soon you’ll be living in their world. Employers who understand this will help build this world.
Dear Previous Employer,
You may think that you have gotten the best of me, but you have not. I am a millennial. You may think that you have put me in a bad spot, but you have not. I am a millennial. You may think that you can threaten me, but I am not afraid. I am a millennial.
I didn’t write this letter on a program that I installed with a disc on my computer, I wrote it on the cloud. I didn’t grow up hungry during the Great Depression, I grew up safe and comfortable. I didn’t walk to school uphill both ways, I took a bus.