The Artificial Womb

>>The Artificial Womb<<

Slightly long, but well worth the read. This article came to me from a more condensed article I read in this month’s issue of Cosmopolitan magazine ( just so I can give credit where it’s due). But seriously the concept of an artificial womb, aka the power to have babies without the woman’s body would change the world as we know it. From feminism to equal pay to dad’s bonding with a growing fetus this idea impacts EVERYTHING.

-Monisha

Why You’re More Likely to Remember a Facebook Status than a Face

>>Why You’re More Likely to Remember a Facebook Status than a Face<<

Social media has forever changed communication and relationship and there’s no going back from that, but this article puts a new spin on things. Maybe the reason why social media is so popular isn’t only because it has revolutionized the way we carry out our social interactions on a daily basis. Maybe one of the reasons why it’s caught on like wildfire is because it mimics our day to day interactions in an approachable and easy manner.

-Monisha

The Appetite Workout

>>The Appetite Workout<<

So i’ve always wondered how I tend to eat less and healthier when I work out more and this pretty much hashes it out. I always thought it was just that one good habit leads to another but turns out my hormones have been doing some strategic planning of their own. Go figure.

-Monisha

Generation Y Needs to Grow Up

It’s official: it’s not just me; it’s my whole generation!  According to literature, Generation Y/Millennials (born between 1982-2000s) is defined by our collective narcissism, need for meaning, tech-savvy and confusing dating rituals (or lack thereof).  It turns out that these characteristics are borne of the phenomenon that we just think we’re better!  But instead of feeling pretty good about it, our awesomeness is dragging us down.  Our smart and savvy generation is marked by an intense fear of commitment – resulting in a confusing and mostly virtual dating landscape – as well as an unwillingness to settle on a career.

So what’s to blame?  While Baby Boomers and Generation X did what they had to do to scrape together a living, we grew up coddled and bolstered up by our doting parents.  We drank copiously from the confidence Kool-Aid that told us that we need to realize our potential!  We need to do something we believe in!  We’re trying to live up to our own impossibly high expectations but, in doing so, are prolonging that painful period of adolescence.  And then we’re posting all that shit up on Facebook to feel less alone.  The repercussions:

>> Millennials Are More ‘Generation Me’ Than ‘Generation We’ <<

>> Hannah Seligson: Understanding the Misunderstood Generation Y << 

And, to make it worse, digital media is killing romance.  I even have friends who have been in serious, long-term relationships who have never been on a “real date” before!

>> The End of Courtship? <<

>> Has Facebook Ruined Love? <<

What we can all take away from this is that Generation Y just can’t manage to grow up.

So let’s try to be the adults it’s biologically possible to become…

>> Note to Generation Y Workers: Performance on the Job Matters << 

…and get our shit together!  A friend recently recommended the book to help me through this time in my life: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay.  Apparently it’s a more extensive view on the extended adolescence we seem to be experiencing and how to get past it.

We would need a book like this.

– Sandra

Exercise (For) Your Brain!

Breaking news: exercise is good for your brain!  In a study published last April, researchers at Dartmouth tested how a month of exercise can affect a person’s memory.  Not so surprisingly, they found that those that exercised for at least 30 minutes daily showed much improved memory functions than those that had remained sedentary.

>> How Exercise Can Jog the Memory <<

Conversely, fatty foods were shown – in a separate study – to seriously detriment the brain’s cognitive functions over time.  In a lab study in rats, they found that a high-fat diet actually lead to an accelerated decline into dementia!  But they also found that exercise effectively counteracted these declines in cognitive function.  So if you think you’re eating too many cheeseburgers, hit the gym, and you should be good!

>> Can Exercise Protect the Brain From Fatty Foods? <<

But both studies found that the positive effects of exercise on the brain (increased neuron production, improved memory, etc) could only be sustained with continued exercise.  In as little as 3 weeks of inactivity, the brain can become indistinguishable from those that had never engaged in exercise to begin with.

>> Do the Brain Benefits of Exercise Last? <<

This is unrelated but still very interesting:  Babies start to recognize language from inside the womb!!

>> Babies Seem To Pick Up Language In Utero <<

– Sandra

Egotism on the Rise

For those in college or recently out, this should not come as such a surprise: Today’s college students think they’re very special.  In a poll that has been administered to American college freshman since 1966, students are asked to rate their academic ability, drive to succeed, mathematical ability and self confidence as compared to their peers.  This year’s freshmen apparently have reported the most egotistical self-evaluations in 46 years.  This is also in spite of the fact that they are reporting less hours spent studying and reduced demonstrated competence in reading/writing as evidenced by test scores.

>> College Students Think They Are More Special Than Ever <<

– Sandra

On Scientology

I knew next to nothing on Scientology, aside from the fact that it is widely regarded as a cult of celebrity crazies.  I came across an article in the New York Times about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, who is about to release an expose novel about Scientology.

>> A Careful Writer Stalks the Truth About Scientology <<

I then read this New Yorker profile about a Scientology defector written by the writer referenced above.  It’s pretty long, so I recommend utilizing the 1-page option, as it might get tedious clicking through 26 separate pages.  But for those who have very little understanding of the religion, it’s a worthwhile read and engaging throughout.

>> Paul Haggis vs. The Church of Scientology <<

Quick overview: Paul Haggis, Hollywood screenwriter and 34-year Scientologist, defected from the church due to blatant duplicity among the church spokespeople, as well as the church’s stance on homosexuality.  This account basically details the arc of his involvement in the church, as well as his admission that the church teachings seemed – for the most part – ineffective and/or fraudulent.  He stresses how the church specifically sought out members in Hollywood so as to gain celebrity acclaim.  This is probably one of the most bizarre religions I have ever read about.  Check it out.

– Sandra

TodayIFoundOut.com

For those who hoard fun facts – like me – this is a great site:

>> todayifoundout.com <<

Today I learned the difference between “blond” and “blonde” and the fact that Marilyn Monroe was actually pretty thin.  At 5’5 and around 120 lb, she was more a size 4 or 6 but with an extreme hourglass figure (a waist comparable to a size 0 or less).  She wasn’t a size 14, as is widely thought.

May this be a curious year for all!  Happy 2013!

– Sandra

2012: Death, Destruction, Economic Ruin and Sandy

So 2012 is officially over, and I think it’s safe to say that we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  Because that shit was actually very scary.  The latter days of 2012 witnessed the wrath of both nature and fellow man.   I mean, really, there was a hurricane and a massacre.  Here are some of my thoughts on an assortment of end-of-year/world topics:

Sandy Hook

Instead of hypothesizing on the motive behind this tragedy, let’s remember the teachers who threw themselves in the line of fire to protect their students.  Because before they were one in an appalling casualty count, they were people who had siblings and children and dinner plans that night.  I challenge anyone to read the following article with a dry eye:

 >> Newtown Boy’s Favorite Teacher Died Cradling Him in Her Arms <<

So now what?

>> Obama’s Speech at Sandy Hook Interfaith Prayer Vigil <<

‘Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.’ – President Obama

>> The Speculation About Adam Lanza Must Stop <<

It’s gun control (or lack thereof):

>> Obama Takes A First Step on Gun Control After Sandy Hook <<

And mental illness awareness:

>> I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother << 

The Fiscal Cliff

We put aside our differences in the government and narrowly avoided the fiscal cliff, but we’re still going to experience a 2% increase in payroll tax.  Apparently, the 4.2% tax rate for 2011 was a temporary measure that expired on Monday.  Great.  Read more on this here:

>> Why Your Paycheck Is Getting Smaller <<

Also, the wealthiest Americans (individuals making 400k/year, couples making 450k/year) are facing tax increases to balance the budget.  This is a modification on Obama’s earlier campaign promise to increase taxes for America’s top 2% (which would include individuals making 200k/year and couples making 250k/year).

>> House Staves Off Fiscal Cliff << 

And it’s not over.  Congress still needs to resolve the debt ceiling issue as well as the government spending cuts:

>> 3 More Fiscal Cliffs Loom <<

The Mayan Apocalypse

But the good news is, we’ve still got time, since the world didn’t end.

Near Earth Objects

And it’s unlikely that an asteroid will collide with the Earth.

>> Rogue Asteroid Caught on  Film <<

Time Magazine’s Best Music Videos

We still have digital media to take our mind off of the ever-impending doom facing society.

>> 9 Best Music Videos of 2012 <<

And just because these are really cool:

Miss Universe 2012 Pageant National Costumes

>> 2012 Miss Universe National Costume Show <<

– Sandra

Geisha Coffee

>>Geisha Coffee<<

I don’t know if I’m disturbed, surprised or intrigued by this. As much as I consider myself as ardent coffee drinker and understand the psychology behind selling luxury goods( I mean Starbucks has always targeted that sort of audience anyways), I can’t help but cringe at the mention of a geisha with coffee. Take it from someone who has actually read Memoirs of a Geisha( yes I know that’s fiction but still {side note that is a good book by the way, it really opens your eyes to a new world}), selling a cup of coffee and marketing it like a geisha does not really seem to go hand in hand. But then again what do I know, I often willingly fork over more than $4 for a latte at Starbucks.

-Monisha