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News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of It Is Nonsense.

In Silicon Valley, techies are swooning over tarot-card readers. In New York, you can hook up to a “detox” IV at a lounge. In the Midwest, the Neurocore Brain Performance Center markets brain training for everything from ADHD, anxiety, and depression to migraines, stress, autism-spectrum disorder, athletic performance, memory, and cognition. And online, companies like Goop promote “8 Crystals For Better Energy” and a detox-delivery meal kit, complete with “nutritional supplements, probiotics, detox and beauty tinctures, and beauty and detox teas.” Across the country, everyone is looking for a cure for what ails them, which has led to a booming billion-dollar industry—what I’ve come to call the Wellness Industrial Complex.

The problem is that so much of what’s sold in the name of modern-day wellness has little to no evidence of working. Which doesn’t mean that wellness isn’t a real thing. According to decades of research, wellness is a lifestyle or state of being that goes beyond merely the absence of disease and into the realm of maximizing human potential. Once someone’s basic needs are met (e.g., food and shelter), scientists say that wellness emerges from nourishing six dimensions of your health: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, spiritual, and environmental. According to research published in 1997 in The American Journal of Health Promotion, these dimensions are closely intertwined. Evidence suggests that they work together to create a sum that is greater than its parts.

Read the rest of this article at: Outside

The Secret Order of Swiss Medical Saviors

News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Georges Delaloye was hiking up Mont de l’Arpille in Martigny, Switzerland, when he received a gift from heaven.

“I settled at the foot of a tree and began to write,” Delaloye recalls of this most memorable moment in June of 2005. “Once this writing was completed, when I read it again, I discovered, a little stunned, that I had received the Secret.”

Delaloye is a Reciter of the Secret. In the French-speaking part of Switzerland, many people call on these Faiseurs de Secret when they have an injury, sickness or other health concern. In an extremely old practice — dating back to the Middle Ages — people visit the Reciters (or more often these days, call or even text) to ask for a prayer that will relieve them of their ailment.

While Delaloye is Catholic, the practice of the Secret itself is not attributed to a specific religion. The gift of becoming a Reciter of the Secret is passed down through families, Delaloye explains, with a departed family member choosing a living one to pass the gift to. He comes from a long line of Reciters and believes he received the gift that day in 2005 when it was transmitted to him from the beyond by his deceased brother, Paul-Marc, who died in 1979.

There are over a hundred Reciters of the Secret, tracked in a document that Delaloye curates, listing their name, canton (Switzerland’s equivalent of a U.S. state), phone number and specialties. Reciters of the Secret treat different conditions, from mouth ulcers to hemorrhages to stress. Many have one or two conditions that they treat, but some have five or more. Delaloye himself treats a long list of conditions, including pain, cysts, and side effects from chemotherapy.

The Secret is not one prayer but an array of blessings for different conditions, and sometimes more than one prayer for a single condition. For example, Delaloye says he received three different formules de prière (prayer formulas) to treat burns. When he wanted to see which one would work best, he burned his own hand with a baking tray. “I recited the first formula against burns, it did not work,” Delaloye said. “So, I passed to the next one that is much shorter, and it worked.”

Read the rest of this article at: Narratively

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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On a Saturday around noon, the full spectrum of brunch is on display at Kopitiam, a Malaysian café in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood. A group of friends sits gossiping and sharing half the dishes on the menu; a baby tries tiny bites of Milo-topped French toast; a couple bends over the menu, negotiating what to order. Servers buzz around the restaurant, dropping off dishes and recommending orders. The door to the kitchen has a small window, like a porthole, and through it you can catch a glimpse of harried cooks.

Behind the counter, an employee explains the difference between black and white coffee to a customer who’s on the fence. She knows her stuff when it comes to the nuances of Malaysian coffee processes. She’s friendly and eloquent, and seems to really care about recommending the right kind of coffee. This is the kind of thoughtful, adept service you might expect from waitstaff at a four-star restaurant. But at Kopitiam, it’s coming from a teenager who’s never had a job before.

Read the rest of this article at: The Ringer

News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Population Bust

News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For most of human history, the world’s population grew so slowly that for most people alive, it would have felt static. Between the year 1 and 1700, the human population went from about 200 million to about 600 million; by 1800, it had barely hit one billion. Then, the population exploded, first in the United Kingdom and the United States, next in much of the rest of Europe, and eventually in Asia. By the late 1920s, it had hit two billion. It reached three billion around 1960 and then four billion around 1975. It has nearly doubled since then. There are now some 7.6 billion people living on the planet.

Just as much of the world has come to see rapid population growth as normal and expected, the trends are shifting again, this time into reverse. Most parts of the world are witnessing sharp and sudden contractions in either birthrates or absolute population. The only thing preventing the population in many countries from shrinking more quickly is that death rates are also falling, because people everywhere are living longer. These oscillations are not easy for any society to manage. “Rapid population acceleration and deceleration send shockwaves around the world wherever they occur and have shaped history in ways that are rarely appreciated,” the demographer Paul Morland writes in The Human Tide, his new history of demographics. Morland does not quite believe that “demography is destiny,” as the old adage mistakenly attributed to the French philosopher Auguste Comte would have it. Nor do Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson, the authors of Empty Planet, a new book on the rapidly shifting demographics of the twenty-first century. But demographics are clearly part of destiny. If their role first in the rise of the West and now in the rise of the rest has been underappreciated, the potential consequences of plateauing and then shrinking populations in the decades ahead are almost wholly ignored.

The mismatch between expectations of a rapidly growing global population (and all the attendant effects on climate, capitalism, and geopolitics) and the reality of both slowing growth rates and absolute contraction is so great that it will pose a considerable threat in the decades ahead. Governments worldwide have evolved to meet the challenge of managing more people, not fewer and not older. Capitalism as a system is particularly vulnerable to a world of less population expansion; a significant portion of the economic growth that has driven capitalism over the past several centuries may have been simply a derivative of more people and younger people consuming more stuff. If the world ahead has fewer people, will there be any real economic growth? We are not only unprepared to answer that question; we are not even starting to ask it.

Read the rest of this article at: Foreign Affairs

The 1619 Project

News 08.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. In the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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