How to get to a world without suicide


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Trying to reach a world with no suicides. A commendable effort.

A simple belief drives Mallen: that Edward should still be alive, that his death was preventable – at several stages during the rapid onset of his depression. Moreover, Mallen and a growing number of mental health experts believe that this applies to all deaths by suicide. They argue that with a well-funded, better-coordinated strategy that would reform attitudes and approaches in almost every function of society – from schools and hospitals to police stations and the family home – it might be possible to prevent every suicide, or at least to aspire to.

The complete article

Simon Usborne — Mosaic

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Accepting Collective Responsibility for the Future


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Do we take responsibility for our actions which affect the future generation? Current policies do not seem to reflect that we care.

Existing institutions do not seem well-designed to address paradigmatically global, intergenerational and ecological problems, such as climate change. 1 In particular, they tend to crowd out intergenerational concern, and thereby facilitate a “tyranny of the contemporary” in which successive generations exploit the future to their own advantage in morally indefensible ways (albeit perhaps unintentionally). Overcoming such a tyranny will require both accepting responsibility for the future and meeting the institutional gap.

The complete article

Stephen M. Gardiner — Journal of Practical Ethics

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Think before you donate to disasters


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A different perspective to donations that you make towards disaster relief.

Donating to large international NGOs usually means that a lot of foreign relief aid will be imported into the affected countries. Most disasters, even the large scale ones are rather isolated. Flood and earthquake areas rarely extend over 10 km, and there will be local businesses which are open for business post disasters, but they will be excluded from relief by the international NGOs. Businesses in the foreign countries will be the ones who benefit from the disaster.

In the long run, these aids do affect the local economies adversely and your well-meaning donations will cause harm to the financial ecosystem. What’s worse is that some international organisations are managed off site in another country and bureaucracy may cause massive waste and inefficiencies.

The complete article

Robin Low — The Middle Ground

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The Economics of Social Status


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Status is similar to an intangible asset which can be transacted. Valuable just like brands.

“Bidding for status” is another activity with economic characteristics. The nature of a bid is that it sets a particular ‘price’ that can be accepted or rejected. Robin Hanson suspects that speaking in public is a way of bidding for status. The very act of standing in front of a group and speaking authoritatively represents a claim to relatively high status. If you speak on behalf of the group — i.e., making statements that summarize the group’s position or commit the group to a course of action — then you’re claiming even higher status. These bids can either be accepted by the group (if they show approval or rapt attention, and let you continue to speak) or rejected (if they show disapproval, interrupt you, ignore you, or boo you off stage).

The complete article

Kevin Simler — Melting Asphalt

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Why Humans Are So Smart—And So Stressed Out


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The header says it all. The good and the bad of having a large brain.

Groups of 150 are about what we would expect when comparing the size of human brains to those of our relatives. Community size in primates is linked to the size of the neocortex region of the brain, where all social cognitive processing occurs. Other primates, with smaller brains, live in smaller groups. Species, such as the baboon-like mandrill of Central Africa, that do gather in larger numbers only contain females and children in their “horde,” so these are not true mixed-sex social groups. If one extrapolates the relation between brain and group size in other primates, then humans with their very large neocortex extend the graph to a community size of 150.

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Mark Maslin — Sapiens

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Trump Has Started a Brain Drain Back to India


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Is the reverse brain drain really happening?

Twelve years later, Sahay, now 50, is still a data architect, still working for the same firm, and still waiting for that green card. It’s not clear when he’ll clear the government backlog. He does know that his provisional status stalled his career – changing jobs would have required the company to file a new petition. “Personally, I have sacrificed my career to help my family to have a better life,” Sahay says. “That has taken its toll. Had I gotten a green card, I could have moved on, moved up, done a lot more things. This held me where I was 10 years ago.”

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Suzanne Sataline — The Washington Post

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The secret life of airports


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Uncovering the secret life of airports through movies. This needull is for frequent travelers who have are spending disproportionate time at airports.

So next time you find yourself trudging down a dank tunnel that seems to lead to nowhere, in the nether regions of an airport, suddenly alone and perhaps feeling a bit of existential dread, or maybe just exhaustion and boredom—remember that you are taking part in the secret life of airports. These non-simple spaces are indices for our broader culture, sites to interact with and interpret—sites that can make us feel exhilarated or stranded, by turns. This is what I call airportness, and it spreads out into all sorts of surprising things, and seeps into unexpected places. Airports can be used to propel entire stories, from Home Alone 2 to Make America Great Again. But with their narrative potential comes all the other parts of textuality, as well: the ambiguities, the uncertainties, and the tensions. The secret life of airports is brimming with these things, and there’s no escaping them. It’s one thing to imagine effortless transitions from one place to another; it’s quite another thing to fully inhabit these spaces, these awkward times on earth, and be conscious of them—aware that this is us, this is the pinnacle of mobility, human progress in the making, at least for now.

The complete article

Christopher Schaberg — 3:AM Magazine

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