Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The post-meltdown world of Wall Street

Many of the top Wall Street bankers who were largely responsible for the disaster — and whose companies either collapsed or accepted billions in government bailouts — are also unemployed. But since they walked away from the disaster with millions, they’re juggling their ample free time between mansions and golf, skiing and tennis.

Meantime, the major banks that survived the crisis, largely because they were saved with taxpayer money after being deemed “too big to fail,” are now bigger and more powerful than ever.

The Center for Public Integrity looked at what happened to five former Wall Street kingpins to see what they are up to these days. None are in jail, nor are any criminal charges expected to be filed.

Read more here

Catching up on sleep debt?

Let's do some sleep math. You lost two hours of sleep every night last week because of a big project due on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, you slept in, getting four extra hours. Come Monday morning, you were feeling so bright-eyed, you only had one cup of coffee, instead of your usual two. But don't be duped by your apparent vim and vigor: You're still carrying around a heavy load of sleepiness, or what experts call "sleep debt"—in this case something like six hours, almost a full nights' sleep.

Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. It's a deficit that grows every time we skim some extra minutes off our nightly slumber. "People accumulate sleep debt surreptitiously," says psychiatrist William C. Dement, founder of the Stanford University Sleep Clinic. Studies show that such short-term sleep deprivation leads to a foggy brain, worsened vision, impaired driving, and trouble remembering. Long-term effects include obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease.

Read more here


A baby elephant calf named Zhuang-zhuang wept uncontrollably for five hours after he had to be separated from his mother at the Shendiaoshan wildlife reserve in Rong-cheng, China.

After his mother was seen trying to kick and crush the poor calf, Zhuang-zhuang was isolated and treated for his injuries. Zoo keepers hoped that the attack was an accident, and released him to be with his mother, only to be attacked again. He had to be separated again in order to save his life, and has since been adopted by one of the zoo keepers.

The mother’s reaction to her calf is probably an effect of life in captivity, as animals’ protective instincts can be altered when they live outside of their traditional social structures.

Via Bored Panda 


A guide to procrastinators

Via Bored Panda

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Girl

Before it became a 30-year international legal saga, the Roman Polanski case was a story about a powerful man and a powerless young girl.

In her new memoir, The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski, Samantha Geimer, the 50-year-old woman whom Polanski had sex with in 1977, when she was only13, tells that story, offering an intimate look at one of the biggest scandals in Hollywood history. Polanski, now 80 and living in exile in Europe, recently granted a rare interview about the case with Vanity Fair’s James Fox, in which he discussed his “persecution” by the legal system and the nature of his exile, a term he rejects, saying, “I was moving freely for 32 years.”

Though Geimer is as eager as Polanski is to move on, her memoir gives the event an immediacy that the case’s many complications had long ago obscured, as she tries to rescue herself from merely being “the girl.”

Read more here.

Drawing Mental Illness

Bobby Baker draws and talks mental illness.

You Do Not Matter That Much

We've learned lots, in recent years, about the phenomenon of "choking" in sports: when players, consumed with the belief that something really matters, try to seize control of a process best left unconscious, thereby screwing everything up. But a similar problem bedevils personal life, the workplace and politics.

The message that something really matters, intended to promote a sense of urgency and thus action, has the reverse effect: big decisions get delayed, more meetings are held, commissions of inquiry are launched. Even the aforementioned ebook, sadly, turns out to be full of advice about being "epic". ("Stop waiting for permission to be epic…

Your life is a one-way train, and any second you waste is a second lost for ever.") But that kind of talk raises the stakes. Often, it's much more helpful to lower them.

Read more here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Chocolate Is Good For You

Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, announced that the EU Commission approved its health claim submission on cocoa flavanols (Regulation No 851/2013),

The company received the right to use the health claim that “cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow” – the first in the cocoa and chocolate industry. Barry Callebaut was able to provide evidence that the daily intake of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols (provided by 2.5 g ACTICOA® cocoa powder or 10 g ACTICOA® dark chocolate) supports a healthy blood circulation by helping to maintain the elasticity of the blood vessels.

Barry Callebaut now has the proprietary right to use the cocoa flavanols claim within EU countries. The claim can be used for cocoa beverages (with cocoa powder) or for dark chocolate providing at least a daily intake of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols. Barry Callebaut will be able to use the claim for its ACTICOA® cocoa and chocolate products which retain most of the cocoa flavanols naturally present in the cocoa bean.

Read more here.

Knitting versus video games?

Ageing is a daunting process, not least because some of the first things to fail are also the most useful, such as memory, attention and motor skills. The idea that some form of regular mental activity—doing a crossword, for example—can postpone mental decline is not new. Now researchers have found another: playing a certain type of video game could help the elderly stay sharper for longer.

Find out more here.