We finally know why artificial sweeteners can make you put on weight – ScienceAlert
21 Beautiful Quotes By Rabindranath Tagore That Will Change Your Perspective On Life
21 Beautiful Quotes By Rabindranath Tagore That Will Change Your Perspective On Life
I drew up this list for people who will be traveling to see the eclipse but won’t be part of an organized travel group. You might be planning to observe the eclipse alone, with friends or family, or at a public event. I wanted to provide a checklist of both common and unusual items that I’ll be bringing along and that I think you should bring to the eclipse as well. Such an inventory could get out of hand quickly, so I limited it to 25 entries. They’re not ordered in any special way except for items #1 and #2, which I consider the most important of all.
When someone says, “solar safety,” this is what I think of. So should you. And here’s something to note: If your bottle of sunscreen is more than two years old, replace it. That’s the standard shelf life for this product. If you see someone who has forgotten sunscreen, please be a peach and share. You also might want to bring an umbrella for some welcome shade.
August 21 will be warm everywhere in the United States and hot in many places. Even large events may run out of this vital fluid. Don’t leave home without it. If you’re driving, bring at least a case of bottled water with you. For just a couple of bucks, you’ll be guaranteed not to dehydrate.
3. Approved solar filter
Whether you use eclipse glasses, a homemade filter using solar Mylar, or a #14 welder’s glass, you will need this to view the partial phases. Also, if you plan to view the partial phases through any equipment (binoculars, telescope, etc.), you will need approved solar filters — not eclipse glasses — for each of them.
You’ll want to document the day and the activities surrounding the event. My advice remains firm, though: Do not photograph the eclipse! For those of you ignoring this sage wisdom, also pack a tripod.
5. Transistor radio
Some events (like the one in St. Joseph, Missouri) will be broadcasting as the eclipse happens. Others will be reporting eclipse-related news, including important items like traffic and weather. The nice thing about a radio is that the broadcast will come in no matter how many people are listening. That won’t be true if you’re relying on Wi-Fi or cell service. Make sure your radio’s batteries are fresh.
This is a great way to get close-up views of the corona during the total phase of the eclipse. And during the half-hour or so prior to totality, you can scan the sky away from the Sun to try to locate Venus (and Jupiter from locations east of Idaho).
7. An eclipse guide
Several are available as books or e-books. You might, for example, check the selections at Astronomy’s online store, http://www.myscienceshop.com.
8. Food or snacks
Certainly this isn’t as critical as water; I mean, you’re not going to starve. You probably will get hungry waiting for the eclipse to start, however. Don’t assume your location will have food. We expect millions of people to flock to events along the center line. It’s quite possible that even well-stocked stores and supply stands will sell out even before you arrive. Consider having some healthy snacks or premade sandwiches. Such items can help you avoid fast food and give you options in more culinary-challenged communities.
Be sure you have any prescriptions you need to take with you. And some pain medication also is a good idea. Sometimes too much Sun gives certain people headaches, and too much standing for older folks can be painful. Which leads to . . .
Bring at least one chair (fold-up varieties pack best) for each person in your party. Even if you attend an organized event, don’t assume anyone will provide seats. Do assume that if there are seats, they will already have been taken. You’re not going to want to stand for (a minimum of) three hours, and if you’re like me, you don’t do well lying on the ground. The best chairs you can bring let you sit upright or recline. Actually, if I weren’t hosting an event, I’d bring the nice air mattress we keep for those occasions when several guests visit.
11. Toilet paper
Let’s see, millions of people on the road, rest stops few and far between . . . you fill in the details.
12. Hand sanitizer
13. Extra eyeglasses
You won’t forget the ones on your face, but something may happen to that pair.
14. Kids’ stuff
I have no children, so I can’t specify items. I can, however, advise you to bring whatever you will need to keep your offspring happy, comfortable, and occupied. Be aware that, in many locations, cellphone and Wi-Fi access may be limited or nonexistent. Bring along something that doesn’t rely on wireless access to entertain your kids. You may discover, much to your chagrin, that your young children do not share your appreciation or awe for the eclipse. Obviously, you’re a terrible parent. But don’t worry; they’ll be seven years older when the 2024 eclipse rolls around.
15. Broad-brimmed hat
This will keep the Sun off your head and face, and also your neck if the hat’s brim is wide enough. You’ll probably sweat, but that’s a reasonable trade-off. Keep drinking water.
16. Power inverter
You can’t plug most laptops or video players directly into a car. A small DC-to-AC power inverter will let your passengers play games or movies for the whole length of the trip without having to worry about draining the batteries in their devices. Another similar device is a car-lighter-plug-to-USB socket. Such adapters can operate or charge items that don’t require much power, like cellphones.
Actually, bring a pillow for every reclining chair you take along. Your passengers also might like to use these in the car if the ride is long.
Remember, despite their name, sunglasses are not for viewing the Sun through. They are for providing eye comfort when you look at everything else.
If you meet me at the event I’m hosting in St. Joseph, Missouri, you can thank me with this. Seriously, some vendors at eclipse events may not take credit or debit cards, and, even for those who do, with the huge numbers of people in transit, paying with cash may save you some serious time.
20. Insect repellent
The farther along the shadow’s path toward the southeastern United States you set up, the more important this item will become.
I list this mainly for completeness. Does anyone ever forget to bring a phone anymore? Certainly nobody under 35. Now, permit me one further note about this item. It’s probable that at large events (especially in smaller towns), the number of people accessing their cellphones will overwhelm nearby cell towers. Be sure to tell anyone tracking your movements that you may be out of touch for a significant amount of time. If you need definite access to communication, consider renting a satellite phone for the weekend. I hope you don’t need it, but a small investment will yield peace of mind.
But reduce the hassle by bringing along only the minimum number of items to go with it. I won’t detail them here because everyone’s scope “kit” is different. Before you pack it, set up your scope either outside in the daytime or indoors, and verify that you have a complete system.
23. Astrophoto gear
If you’re going to photograph the eclipse, you’ll need more than a camera. Make sure you have whatever essentials you need. Keep these items together, preferably in the same bag or container as your camera. Check them twice, then have someone else check them while you watch.
24. Odd parts and tools
If you have a telescope, you’ll understand what I mean. As an example, some of the things my kit contains are extra knurled knobs, an Allen wrench set, half a dozen small ziplock plastic bags, at least two each of three types of small clamps, a micro-screwdriver set (also useful for fixing eyeglasses), lens-cleaning paper, at least a dozen each of two sizes of plastic zip ties, extra hardware for any tripod-mounted setups I may attempt, extra solar filters, and, you guessed it, duct tape.
25. Personal items
You won’t be hiking the Himalayas or venturing into the deep ocean aboard a submarine to experience this event. You’ll have room for a few extras, especially if you’re driving. If there’s something that’s especially meaningful to you and you want to bring it along, no harm done.
7-year-old Israeli boy finds 3,400-year-old figurine at Tel Rehov site
According to a new study, people with both high and low intelligence are prejudiced—the difference is just who they are prejudiced against.
Past researchers have found that people of lower cognitive ability are more likely to be prejudiced, but prejudice isn’t exclusive to dim bulbs. A new study finds that people at both high and low ends of the intelligence spectrum actually express equal levels of prejudice—the difference is just what they’re prejudiced against.
The researchers, social psychologists Mark Brandt and Jarret Crawford, analyzed 5,914 subjects in their experiment, “Answering Unresolved Questions About the Relationship Between Cognitive Ability and Prejudice.” Removing value judgments about whether a specific prejudice is justified or not, they measured the amount of prejudice present in groups of higher cognitive ability and lower cognitive ability. They gauged the cognitive ability of their subjects using a wordsum test, which is considered to be correlated to an individual’s intelligence quotient (IQ). Brandt and Crawford replicated previous findings that people of low cognitive ability tend to be prejudiced against non-conventional or liberal groups, as well as groups that have “low choice” in their status—groups defined by their race or gender or sexual orientation, for example. According to their research, this tendency inverted among people of high cognitive ability. In other words, the smarter subjects in their study were likely to be prejudiced against groups considered conventional or conservative—groups perceived to have “high choice” in their associations.”
“People dislike people who are different from them,” Brandt and Crawford said in an interview with Broadly. “Derogating people with different worldviews can help people maintain the validity of their own world view.” In other words, if you see the world one way, you may rely on that perspective, so you might reinforce the idea that you’re right by believing other worldviews are wrong.
There was another polarized finding in their study. Brandt and Crawford found that people of low cognitive ability are prejudiced against groups that people didn’t choose to be part of, such as ethnic or LGBT groups. This is poignant in 2016, a time when conservative communities across the country are unifying around intolerance of transgender people, Muslim Americans continue to face grotesque prejudice, and police brutality is high.
Brandt and Crawford cited prior research that has shown less cognitively capable people often “essentialize,” or see different groups as being distinct from each other, with “clear boundaries.”
“Having clear boundaries helps people feel like the opposing group is distinct and far away. That is, they won’t be so much of a threat,” they said. The researchers pointed to a recent study looking at this boundary phenomenon with respect to Donald Trump’s stupid plan to build a big wall along the southern border of the United States—it would create a literal boundary where before only a mental one existed.
The conservatives who support this plan are expressing prejudice towards “low-choice” groups—in this case, Mexicans, who were born Mexican and did not choose to be that. “On the flipside, people high in cognitive ability express more prejudice against high-choice groups,” such as conservatives, the researchers said. “They may be especially angered by groups that they think should be able to change their minds.”
Autistic women can go for years without diagnosis, and struggle at work as a result. One company is determined to do something about it.
Rachael Lucas’s “long history of walking out of very good jobs” began in her 20s after she quit her postgraduate degree at the University of Ulster. Working in different fields as a horse trainer, a childcare specialist, teacher trainer, and an advertising salesperson respectively, she would quickly become overwhelmed by the social elements of her job.
“I was good at the job,” she says, “but after six months walked out because I just couldn’t cope with it.” She eventually turned to temping: “I became very good at going into a situation and doing three or four months of very intense work and then being able to take a breather.”
After two decades in work, Lucas was diagnosed with autism at the age of 44. She now recognizes that her previous inability to keep a job was down to autism burnout, a colloquial term that describes what happens when people on the autism spectrum become overwhelmed and exhausted by stress. Choosing to work so infrequently was, she says, “my own way of managing the autism.”
Auticon, a German-founded social enterprise, is looking to change this by going on a recruitment drive for autistic women. The modus operandi of this IT consultancy start-up, which now has offices across Germany as well as in Paris and London, is to directly recruit autistic tech workers and then place them within other companies while supporting them at work.
The company has over 100 employees, and according to Viola Sommer, director and head of operations at Auticon in the UK, four-fifths of them are autistic. With investment from Richard Branson and UK charity the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the five-year-old company is already turning profit as it tries to help more autistic people get the most out of their skills. That goes for women, too.
Autism affects about one per cent of the world’s population, and that figure includes women. But women with autism have historically been under-diagnosed. Currently, various studies put the sex ratio of men to women diagnosed with autism between 3–2:1. A lack of diagnosis can have a profound effect on autistic women’s mental health and stack the odds against them when it comes to employment; while those with diagnoses have better access to the support services that exist, there’s little out there for the undiagnosed to gain and maintain long-term employment.
“A lot of autistic women tell me they’re trying to get a diagnosis, but the GP or psychiatrist says they can’t be autistic because they are female,” explains Sommer. “If GPs and psychiatrists are thinking that, it could also happen in the workplace.”
“All the diagnostic criteria for high functioning autism is based on men,” Sommer says. “How are you going to fit a woman into that criteria? There’s a shocking amount of people out there who are struggling and they can’t get a diagnosis and can’t get support.”
The result of a woman with autism being told that they are neurotypical (a term used to denote those who are not on the autism spectrum) is troubling, because, as Sommer says, “Women tend to be better at what’s called ‘masking,’ acting like a non-autistic person.” And years spent meticulously observing then mimicking behaviours in order to fit in with neurotypical coworkers can have devastating psychological effects.
It’s exhausting for people [when] a huge chunk of your cognitive capacity is put towards acting ‘normal.’
“It’s exhausting for people [when] a huge chunk of your cognitive capacity is put towards acting ‘normal,'” Sommer explains. “But if everyone knows you’re autistic, you don’t have to worry about it, you can be yourself and focus on the actual work.”
Emily Swiatek, 30, spent ten years working with autistic people before she realized she was one. Before that, she did her best to pass as a neurotypical person: “Women who mask often appear to be coping very well for a very long time. That’s because they’ll be putting all their energy and effort into succeeding at work. But what won’t be seen is the mental health difficulties that it can lead to; an autistic woman can reach a crisis point and it’s a shock to her employers, because it’s out of the pattern of her having been quite successful and high achieving.”
Swiatek’s mental health suffered as a result of constantly masking in the face of overwhelming social stimuli. Like Lucas, she had to take intermittent stints of “three to four months off work.” Swiatek explains that masking perhaps comes easily to women because “there are gendered expectations placed on women from a young age, based on ideas around: be nice, be sociable, make people feel comfortable, make people feel at ease.”
While these expectations offer women some tips on how to conform, they can also stop them from getting the most out of their passions, commonly known as “special interests” to those on the autism spectrum. “Autistic people can have extreme hobbies and interests that they enjoy spending their time doing and are very good at doing,” Sommer explains. “Parents and educators should facilitate and promote that and funnel it towards a productive career path. But sadly, perhaps if it’s not agreeing with the gender role of the person, parents tend to shut it down.”
The Rain Man myth that all autistic people have exceptional abilities is further damaging when held up against statistics showing how infrequently autistic people’s skills are utilized. In the UK, only 16 percent of those with autism are in full-time employment. “The quality of applications from women is extremely high, and they have amazing technical skills, but perhaps little social skills,” says Sommer. “They fail at the interview process because it’s all about selling yourself, but there’s a huge potential of actual talent that companies are missing out on.”
Swiatek found that being a PA in marketing didn’t match with her interests, which include Arsenal Football Club players and their pet dogs. Neither did the office chatter expected of women: “Some of the conversations around TV and fashion and what other people are doing and wearing can be quite difficult to navigate. If you struggle to understand the conversational rules and boundaries, you won’t engage in those conversations.”
The isolation this causes might seem like a minor challenge, but it melds into a larger problem of how to deal with offices’ expectations of female workers. Some autistic women with a special interest in fashion or beauty may easily navigate office dress codes, but for others, “wearing something like tights or a tight blouse or high heels is going to be more challenging,” says Swiatek.
This can be down to a simple inability to pick up on the unwritten rules maintaining what is work-appropriate, or a more complex difficulty to cope with the sensory stimuli of tight-fitting clothing. “Lots of autistic women would not be able to keep up with extreme beauty standards because of sensory issues, such as extreme sensitivities to tactile stimuli,” Sommer explains. “Some people only feel comfortable wearing loose clothing, which is a challenge if you work in a corporate environment.”
It’s just one of the many complexities that women with autism must deal with in the workplace. For now, Auticon is focusing on getting more autistic people into jobs, but the eventual hope is that such an initiative will not need to exist at all. “There’s a lack of willingness to accept different minds and cognitive styles and our entire society is kind of built for extrovert people,” Sommers says. “Most of the autistic women I’ve met have incredible coping structures that they come up with them themselves, but we should work towards the point where that’s not necessary.”
Meaghan Good says she finds it tough to do a “normal job,” but her unique skills make her perfectly suited to run The Charley Project, one of the largest and most detailed online databases of missing persons in the US.
There are about 100,000 active missing persons cases in the U.S. at any given time. With the exception of high-profile Natalee Holloway-esque cases— luridly tragic instances of kidnapping that capture national interest—most people who go missing do so without much more than a blurb in a local newspaper. Meaghan Good’s personal mission is to remind us that these people existed. She’s the founder and sole writer and researcher of The Charley Project, which has nearly 10,000 files and bills itself as “one of the largest and most detailed online databases of American missing persons cold cases.”
There is something specifically haunting about missing persons cases—a forced unfinishedness that cuts to the core of some of our worst fears. Good has spent her entire adult life so far working to bring closure to at least some of these stories. She first became interested in these cases at around age 12, when she stumbled across the site for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children while using school computers.
The amount of time Good has spent working on the database is now longer than the lifespan of most people’s office jobs. Good founded The Charley Project—named after Charley Ross, the victim of one of the first highly-publicized kidnappings in the US—in 2004 when she was just 19 years old, and has worked on it almost every day since. Now 31, she continues to work on the database described as a “publicity vehicle” for the missing, which continues to attract interest—especially from people fascinated by true crime (Good says 1,000 more people per day have started visiting the site over the past year).
“I got sucked into the stories and pictures and posters, and I was kind of obsessed after that,” Good says. “I was wondering about their lives and what had happened to them. I have high-functioning autism, although I didn’t know that at the time, and one of the features of autism is that you have a couple of really, really obsessive interests in some narrow, really defined topics. Autism is a pain in the neck, and I wish I didn’t have it, but I wouldn’t be able to run The Charley Project without it.”
Good also has bipolar disorder, which in combination with autism, makes it difficult for her to work a normal job. While she mentions on multiple occasions that she wishes she weren’t dealing with these mental health issues, she notes that they make her uniquely suited to bring commitment and empathy to the stories of missing people—and often serve as a connecting link to their cases. “There are so many people on my site who’ve got mental illnesses, and the kids on my site, the ones who disappear and they’re living in unfortunate situations, a lot of times mental illness in the family is to blame,” she says. Good tries to paint as full a picture as possible, writing journalistically with words that evoke a scene; details are included in such a way that lets visitors read between the lines. The resulting reports are often more detailed than those of government agencies.
One example is her report on Robin Lynn Vansickel, a 29-year-old woman who went missing in Anchorage, Alaska in 1988. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System’s sparse description lists her as “a dancer in Anchorage, Alaska. [Vansickel] was last seen sometime in 1988 (the date of her disappearance) is an approximation) and has never been heard from again.” Good’s report, in comparison, includes the name of the strip club Vansickel was said to have worked at, as well as the fact that she was caught up in a drug bust shortly before her disappearance.
When you search the news for “The Charley Project,” you find local articles from places like WYFF Greenville and PennLive.com, where Good’s reports are cited to describe reopened cold cases. The database has even helped identify a couple of bodies who were previously John Does, like in the case of a man who disappeared in Texas in 2004. The man wasn’t taking his prescribed medication and abandoned his car on the interstate with the engine running and all the doors open. Two days later, he turned up two states away in Arizona, and died when he was run over by a truck. Because he had no ID, he was listed as a John Doe for the next 10 years.
“Somebody who was looking at the John Does in Arizona and missing persons on the Charley Project—an Irish woman, actually—she realized that this John Doe who disappeared in Arizona just two days after the guy in Texas was wearing the same crucifix necklace as the guy in Texas,” Good says. “So his family finally got him back, and it wasn’t a happy ending, but it was happier than it could have been. At least they learned he wasn’t murdered and didn’t suffer horribly. It was an ending, and any ending is better than nothing at all.”
Good gives no indications of tiring from the work she does with The Charley Project, and fears that even if she wanted to stop, few people would be able to devote the attention required to stay on top of the hundreds of new cases in her backlog. The site accepts donations, but Good isn’t paid to do the work that she does. “It doesn’t pay or really support itself. It’s what I do to justify my existence,” she said, explaining that by providing a way for her to use her talents to help people, the database gives her a sense of purpose.
“When you really think about it, imagine how unlikely it is that you exist on this planet,” she said. “I think you owe the world when you’re born to try to make the world a slightly better place than it was before you were born.”