You are browsing the archive for 2015 January 03.

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Breaking Up is Hard To Do, But Procrastinating Doesn't Make It Easier

January 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Zach Stafford, The Guardian

Why do we often delay the inevitable until after some proverbial deadline?

In many parts of the world, January is cold – and it’s not just the weather. The start of a new year seems to encourage people to find themselves anew … and single.

Facebook data suggests that a spike in break-ups starts two weeks prior to Christmas. In January, divorce filings go up 10%, and divorce inquiries spike 25%. People seem to make it to the end of the holiday season and then decide Hey, this isn’t working – or, perhaps worse, that it hasn’t been working for long enough to finally do something about it.

But why does this happen? Why do we consistently wait until arguably the worst time of year to decide to break-up? Perhaps we are all a bunch of procrastinators who wait until some proverbial deadline – the end of the year – to finally make a change.

For decades, Dr Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and the author of Still Procrastinating: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done, has been studying people’s procrastination habits. He says that procrastination is more prevalent in people than substance abuse or depression.

“Everybody procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator,” he told me recently.

Over the years, Ferrari has found that everyone engages in some level of procrastination – and a shocking 20 to 25% of Americans are deemed “chronic procrastinators” who put off everything. He believes that procrastination is so rampant is not because procrastinators are lazy – he actually believes they’re quite clever and smart because they are able to invent new reasons to not do something so often – but rather because they have a fear of failure.

Procrastination, he told me, communicates to those around us that we could accomplish whatever task at-hand (like end a relationship … or make one work), but we have other reasons for not doing so beyond a lack of ability. To show that we lack the ability to do something difficult would have a negative impact …read more


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5 Demented Right-Wing Moments This Week: Michele Bachmann's Hilarious Delusion

January 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

And how speaking to hate groups is 'Jesus-like.'

1. President Michele Bachmann delivers on one of her campaign promises.

Drivers enjoying the cheapest gasoline in years may not know this, but they have retired Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to thank for the low prices at the pump. During her awe-inspiring run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, Bachmann promised voters that if elected, she would bring them $2-a-gallon gasoline, and dang if she did not deliver on that campaign pledge this week.

The, how shall we say, not entirely reality-based, Bible-thumping former presidential candidate touted her accomplishment on Twitter this week, just to remind everyone.

You might wonder, did the fact that this miracle occurred under Democratic President Barack Obama cause any cognitive dissonance for Bachmann? No, it did not. Because for that, you would have to have cognition to begin with.

2. Tea partier Steve King makes bizarre comparison of Louisiana lawmaker to Jesus.

What would Jesus do, is a perennial question of the Christian faithful. Tea partying, rabid anti-immigrant congressman Steve King came up with a rather bizarre anwer to that question this week. King's Jesus would give speeches to white supremacist groups, apparently. King was speaking about the controversy surrounding his Republican colleague Rep. Steve Scalise after reports emerged that he spoke at a conference with close links to former Ku Klux Klan leader and white pride-espousing politician, David Duke.

In an interview, King told the Washington Post that he and other conservative lawmakers plan to stand by Scalise, who is now the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives. They are apparently not bothered by the revelation that Scalise gave a speech at a white nationalists conference when he was a state lawmaker in 2002. Scalise has claimed he did not really know who he was speaking to, which is odd.

Odder still is that King then suggested that consorting with white nationalists is similar to something Jesus might have done.

“Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners,” King explained. “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, it’s the sick. Given …read more


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My Obsession With a Cold Case

January 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons, Salon

Susie's murder was never solved, but a chance encounter in a graveyard led to my own personal version of “Serial.”

Last year on Good Friday, I was visiting my grandparents’ grave. It was very quiet. It was always quiet, which I appreciated. Lilies were everywhere, along with stuffed bunny rabbits at the children’s graves. In the distance an owl was hooting. I sat in silence for a while, then began to walk on the grass barefoot when a man approached me. He looked a little younger than me, with black curly hair.

“Do you have a pen?” he asked.

I was a little startled. First because he disrupted my quiet, second because the request was so odd. “No, sorry,” I said.

“Would the office have a pen?”

“I think so,” I said.

Why you would need a pen here? I wanted to ask. Instead, he headed toward the office, and being nosy, I wandered to look at the grave he was visiting.

She was a young girl, aged 14. From the picture on her gravestone, I could see that she had long blond hair, blue eyes. She was a stunner. When I saw the man coming back, I walked away. I didn’t want to intrude. But I was haunted by our strange intersection. What was the story there? Was he a family member? An old boyfriend?

On the Day of the Dead, I visited my grandparents’ grave again. This time, I looked closer at the grave where the man had been standing, and I took note of the girl’s name: Suzanne Arlene Bombardier. Born on March 14, 1966. Died on June 22, 1980. She died exactly a month before my grandmother died. Etched on her grave were the words: you’re in my heart. I googled her name on my cell.  As I read her story, my eyes filled with tears.


Suzanne Bombardier was baby-sitting her nieces while her sister Stephanie was at work.  It was the first day of summer in 1980. They lived in Antioch, California. These days, it’s known as the city where Phillip Garrido held Jaycee Dugard hostage for 18 years.

When …read more


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Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye Praise Pope Francis For Smacking Down U.S. Evangelicals

January 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

On 'StarTalk' the scientists cheer the Pope for saying 'God is Not a Magician.'

At the end of a multi-guest episode of StarTalk, host Neil deGrasse Tyson is joined by Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” and I F*cking Love Science blogger Elise Andrew in a free-wheeling discussion that ranges from the loss of Pluto as a planet to evangelicals attempting to re-jigger the scientific method in an effort to bolster creationism.

And then talk turned to the Pope’s recent pronouncements on science.

Addressing Nye, Tyson asks, “Bill, I want to distinguish between someone who says God created humans because the Bible says, and God created humans because we found scientific evidence to support it, right? One of them is sort of religious thought, and the other one is putting a science patina on it. So someone who says ‘I believe science and there is science in the Bible,’ so you must have confronted that.”

Referring to his debate with Kentucky creationist Ken Ham, Nye replied, “I don’t know if you got this far into this thing in Kentucky, but the guys has ‘observational science’ and ‘historical science.’ In other words, if you weren’t there, it doesn’t count.”

Elise Andrew jumped in to say, “The whole idea is to scrap the idea of forensic science and trials, unless you were there and unless you saw it. And it’s ironic because if you know anything about forensic science and the criminal justice system, you know that eyewitness testimony is the least reliable.”

Talk then turned to comments recently made by Pope Francis on science and evolution, in which he said that “God is not a magician.”

“Do we write you a check, Catholic Church?” Nye laughingly remarks. “Thank you. You’ve now joined the last two centuries. Welcome aboard.”

Andrew then gave credit to the  church for having accepted the Big Bang theory previously.

Addressing Andrew, Nye asked, “So did you hear about this debate in Kentucky about evolution?’

After admitting that she had, Nye asked her, “So why did the Pope go out of his way to mention this now?”

“I don’t know, I find it really bizarre, ” …read more


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Better than New Sanctions: Could Obama's Cuba Strategy Work on North Korea?

January 3, 2015 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

President Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba was a wise and courageous exercise of leadership. His action marked the first stage toward ending a policy that had been a spectacular failure for more than half a century. That move, along with the ongoing dialogue with Iran, also reflects a refreshing willingness to engage adversaries instead of trying to isolate them. The isolation strategy has rarely worked; Washington’s frustrating experience regarding Communist China in the 1950s and 1960s, Vietnam from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s and Iran until the past year or so underscore the futile, counterproductive nature of such a surly strategy.

But instead of pursuing a policy of engagement, Obama is moving in the opposite direction regarding North Korea. Primarily in response to the Sony cyberhacking incident, the president has now imposed an array of new sanctions against Pyongyang. That step intensifies the long-standing U.S. policy of attempting to isolate North Korea’s obnoxious and volatile communist regime. But that approach has worked no better than the now abandoned approach regarding Havana and Tehran. Instead of persisting with a coercive strategy based on ever-tightening sanctions, the administration should consider applying the new “Cuba model” of U.S. diplomacy to North Korea.

Admittedly, North Korea is a tougher case than either Cuba or Iran, Given North Korea’s dangerously disruptive behavior in recent years, including two armed attacks on South Korean targets, the Obama administration needs to adopt a two-track approach, rather than just duplicate the conciliatory model being used with respect to Cuba and Iran.

We need a radically different policy toward North Korea, since the current one is simultaneously provocative and ineffectual.”

Despite the murky Sony episode, Kim Jong-un’s government has shown signs of more cooperative behavior in recent months, including Kim’s statement this week that Pyongyang is willing to conduct the highest level talks with South Korea on a range of issues, including the potential political reunification of the Korean Peninsula. We should not invest too much hope in North Korea’s latest charm offensive, however, since such periods have frequently alternated with episodes of dangerous bellicosity. It is far too soon to assume that Pyongyang has truly abandoned its policy of periodic belligerence.

Nevertheless, Washington should explore ways to reduce tensions with North Korea and develop something at least resembling a normal relationship with that country. The existing strategy has failed to produce …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A Video Game Controller That Goes In Your Vagina? How The SKEA Can Make You Better at Sex

January 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Carrie Weisman, AlterNet

Learn the secrets of the Smart Kegel Exercise Aid.

Hey ladies, ever tried to stop peeing, midstream? I”m not asking solely for the purpose of being crude; I ask because by doing so, you’re actually employing your very important pelvic floor muscles. Maybe the term sounds a little foreign to some women, but most have likely heard about Kegel exercises. While these little bathroom tricks can help you perform them, there’s an alternative out there, and it sounds a whole lot more fun. Namely because video games are involved.

If it hasn’t been made clear, Kegel exercises help strengthen pelvic floor muscles in women. While these muscles serve a variety of functions there are two big ones to address. The first being that they can help with urinary incontinence, something many women struggle with after giving birth. The second, and perhaps more exciting bit, revolves around making you better at sex.

That’s where physicist Tom Chen steps in. With the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Chen created a way for women to strengthen these muscles, and one that doesn’t interrupt your bathroom time. The method? Video games. The tool? A specially crafted controller… one that isn’t operated by using your hands.

Chen’s brainchild is called the SKEA, or, Smart Kegel Exercise Aid. And it’s meant to be used in conjunction with the mobile phone game “Alice In Continent,” also designed by Chen. Women insert the SKEA into their vaginas and help their characters run, jump and duck by using their pelvic floor muscles.

Chen wrote on the Kickstarter page, “Strong pelvic floor muscles can enhance arousal and improve sensation, orgasm quality, and general sexual experience. Men also prefer his female partner{s} to have stronger pelvic muscles, due to the stronger contact forces and grip during intercourse.”

Chen originally set his Kickstarter goal at $38,000. At the time of posting, the campaign has brought in over $52,000 from almost 500 backers. So, yeah, it’s safe to say people are enthusiastic about Chen’s idea.

As explained on the site, the SKEA “tickles” the user every time it is squeezed by delivering a soothing …read more