News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think

“It’s not true that no one needs you anymore.”

These words came from an elderly woman sitting behind me on a late-night flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The plane was dark and quiet. A man I assumed to be her husband murmured almost inaudibly in response, something to the effect of “I wish I was dead.”

Again, the woman: “Oh, stop saying that.”

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I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but couldn’t help it. I listened with morbid fascination, forming an image of the man in my head as they talked. I imagined someone who had worked hard all his life in relative obscurity, someone with unfulfilled dreams—perhaps of the degree he never attained, the career he never pursued, the company he never started.

At the end of the flight, as the lights switched on, I finally got a look at the desolate man. I was shocked. I recognized him—he was, and still is, world-famous. Then in his mid‑80s, he was beloved as a hero for his courage, patriotism, and accomplishments many decades ago.

As he walked up the aisle of the plane behind me, other passengers greeted him with veneration. Standing at the door of the cockpit, the pilot stopped him and said, “Sir, I have admired you since I was a little boy.” The older man—apparently wishing for death just a few minutes earlier—beamed with pride at the recognition of his past glories.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Mindfulness Conspiracy

News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Mindfulness has gone mainstream, with celebrity endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Meditation coaches, monks and neuroscientists went to Davos to impart the finer points to CEOs attending the World Economic Forum. The founders of the mindfulness movement have grown evangelical. Prophesying that its hybrid of science and meditative discipline “has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance”, the inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, has bigger ambitions than conquering stress. Mindfulness, he proclaims, “may actually be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple of hundred years”.

So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: “The Mindful Revolution.” The accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardised course teaching MBSR: eating a raisin very slowly. “The ability to focus for a few minutes on a single raisin isn’t silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and succeeding in the 21st century,” the author explained.

But anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – it just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse. Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live. And yet mindfulness zealots believe that paying closer attention to the present moment without passing judgment has the revolutionary power to transform the whole world. It’s magical thinking on steroids.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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‘Socialism For The Rich’: The Evils of Bad Economics

In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive taxation is likely to fail because the global elite can easily hide their money in tax havens. Insofar as increased taxation does hit the rich, it will deter wealth creation, so we all end up poorer.

One strange thing about these arguments, whatever their merits, is how they stand in stark contrast to the economic orthodoxy that existed from roughly 1945 until 1980, which held that rising inequality was not inevitable, and that various government policies could reduce it. What’s more, these policies appear to have been successful. Inequality fell in most countries from the 1940s to the 1970s. The inequality we see today is largely due to changes since 1980.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

‘I Really Thought He Was Going to Kill Me and Bury My Body’

News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Sherrilyn Kenyon, one of the world’s most successful authors of paranormal romance novels, lives on a wooded cul-de-sac in Franklin, Tennessee, a wealthy suburb of Nashville. When she moved there in 2011, seven of her books sat on the New York Times best-seller list, and in a speech she gave at a conference that year, she thanked her husband for never losing faith in her — for remaining by her side as they teetered on the edge of homelessness. But in the years that followed, the romantic narrative she’d told about their life took a series of turns so dramatic and morbid they almost could have been lifted from one of her novels. Her career foundered, her health eroded, her marriage crumbled, and, according to a lawsuit she recently filed, the dream home where she and her husband had raised their three children turned into a crime scene. It was there, Kenyon alleges, that her ex and one of her former assistants hatched a “Shakespearean plot” to murder her by poison.

Kenyon filed the complaint in January, about nine months after her husband sued for divorce. In the sprawling 81-page document, she accuses him of tormenting her and undermining her success at every turn throughout their 28-year marriage, stealing from her, mismanaging her business affairs, and sabotaging her relationships with her fans and professional contacts. But Kenyon’s most shocking allegations concern her health. About five years ago, the lawsuit claims, her hair and teeth started falling out and she developed intense nausea, tremors, disorientation, bone loss, facial swelling, and a peculiar metallic taste in her mouth. Tests of her hair, blood, and nails appear to reveal that she’d had high levels of toxic heavy metals in her system, including lithium, barium, arsenic, and mercury. Her suit notes that her husband had taken out a hefty life-insurance policy on her and “stood to gain millions of dollars upon her demise.”

Kenyon’s fans were outraged. More than 7,000 signed a petition seeking justice for the woman they called their “Author Goddess.” The news spread quickly, capturing headlines in the Guardian and the Washington Post and earning her an interview with Dr. Oz, who reviewed her test results on TV and pronounced them “concerning.” Kenyon’s estranged husband, in his response, praised Kenyon as a “brilliant fiction writer” but added that she had “irreparably blurred the line between fiction and reality.” Through his lawyer, in a statement to the press, he said, “These astonishing and unsubstantiated allegations may stand as her best fantasy creation yet.”

Read the rest of this article at: Vulture

Where Does Your Plastic Go? Global Investigation Reveals America’s Dirty Secret

News 06.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

What happens to your plastic after you drop it in a recycling bin?

According to promotional materials from America’s plastics industry, it is whisked off to a factory where it is seamlessly transformed into something new.

This is not the experience of Nguyễn Thị Hồng Thắm, a 60-year-old Vietnamese mother of seven, living amid piles of grimy American plastic on the outskirts of Hanoi. Outside her home, the sun beats down on a Cheetos bag; aisle markers from a Walmart store; and a plastic bag from ShopRite, a chain of supermarkets in New Jersey, bearing a message urging people to recycle it.

Tham is paid the equivalent of $6.50 a day to strip off the non-recyclable elements and sort what remains: translucent plastic in one pile, opaque in another.

A Guardian investigation has found that hundreds of thousands of tons of US plastic are being shipped every year to poorly regulated developing countries around the globe for the dirty, labor-intensive process of recycling. The consequences for public health and the environment are grim.

A team of Guardian reporters in 11 countries has found:

Last year, the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic recycling were exported from the US to developing countries that mismanage more than 70% of their own plastic waste.

The newest hotspots for handling US plastic recycling are some of the world’s poorest countries, including Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia and Senegal, offering cheap labor and limited environmental regulation.

In some places, like Turkey, a surge in foreign waste shipments is disrupting efforts to handle locally generated plastics.

With these nations overwhelmed, thousands of tons of waste plastic are stranded at home in the US, as we reveal in our story later this week.

These failures in the recycling system are adding to a growing sense of crisis around plastic, a wonder material that has enabled everything from toothbrushes to space helmets but is now found in enormous quantities in the oceans and has even been detected in the human digestive system.

Reflecting grave concerns around plastic waste, last month, 187 countries signed a treaty giving nations the power to block the import of contaminated or hard-to-recycle plastic trash. A few countries did not sign. One was the US.

A new Guardian series, United States of Plastic, will scrutinize the plastic crisis engulfing America and the world, publishing several more stories this week and continuing for the rest of 2019.

“People don’t know what’s happening to their trash,” said Andrew Spicer, who teaches corporate social responsibility at the University of South Carolina and sits on his state’s recycling advisory board. “They think they’re saving the world. But the international recycling business sees it as a way of making money. There have been no global regulations – just a long, dirty market that allows some companies to take advantage of a world without rules.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.