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What if Schools Taught Kindness?

By Laura Pinger, Lisa Flook | February 1, 2016 | 7 CommentsLaura Pinger and Lisa Flook share their lessons from creating a “kindness curriculum” for young students

  

Walking to class one day, one of us (Laura) saw a young student crying and waiting for his mother to arrive—he had split his chin while playing. When Laura got to class, the other students were very upset and afraid for their friend, full of questions about what would happen to him. Laura decided to ask the class how they could help him.

“Caring practice!” exclaimed one of the children—and they all sat in a circle offering support and well wishes. The children immediately calmed and they continued with their lesson.

Young students make “peace wands” as part of the Center for Healthy Minds’ Kindness Curriculum.Image courtesy of the Center for Healthy Minds

This is what’s possible when kids learn to be kind at school.

Various mindfulness programs have been developed for adults, but we and our colleagues at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wanted to develop a curriculum for kids. Every school teaches math and reading, but what about mindfulness and kindness?

We ended up bringing a 12-week curriculum to six schools in the Midwest. Twice a week for 20 minutes, pre-kindergarten kids were introduced to stories and practices for paying attention, regulating their emotions, and cultivating kindness. It’s just the beginning, but the initial results of our research, coauthored with Professor Richard Davidson and graduate research assistant Simon Goldberg, suggest that this program can improve kids’ grades, cognitive abilities, and relationship skills.

::: click here for this piece continues free + in full @ Greater Good Science Center :::

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geatergood

What Leaders Must Do to Battle Bigotry Big Ideas, Empathy | January 18, 2016

Prejudice lies deep in the brain, but leaders can set the stage to help us overcome it.

 

Altruism is SexyMind & Body, Altruism | January 15, 2016In a new study, a kind heart trumps good looks—but the combination of both is the most desirable of all.

 

When Kindness Helps Teens (and When It Doesn’t)Family & Couples, Altruism | January 14, 2016According to a new study, we can predict whether teens will get into trouble by how nice they are to strangers.

 

<a href=“http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451677545?ie=UTF8&tag=gregooscicen-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1451677545”>Free Press, 2015, 307 pages</a>

Don’t Let Your Mind Be Your Worst EnemyMind & Body | January 13, 2016Two new books reveal the inner workings of human psychology–biases, rationalizations, and all.

 

FRONTIERS OF PSYCHOTHERAPIST DEVELOPMENT

Introduction:

We are in the business of growth and change. If we are to be helpful to those whom we serve, it’s our imperative to continuously development.

The Frontiers of Psychotherapist Development (FPD) blog is about pushing beyond the edge of your development.  When we grow, our clients benefit.

Practical ideas pulled together from the studies of expertise and expert performance in a variety of professional fields*, teaching & education, cognitive science, aesthetic arts, as well as from psychotherapy research, will be shared on regular basis.

Subscribe to FPD blog for regular updates. You might want to go to Start Here for a sample of the blogposts. Any comments about this is greatly appreciated.

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Cheers to your on-going development!

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The Tree:

The Coalition government’s war on renewables has slowed clean energy investment, undermining jobs, raising emissions, and making the task to clean up Australia’s energy sector far harder. New data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance has highlighted the damage a government determined to fight the future can do, with the Abbott-led Coalition government overseeing a two-year stall in investments in large scale renewables. While the situation has marginally improved under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, it remains party policy to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. This means confidence in the sector is likely to remain lacking, making the job of reaching the Renewable Energy Target harder, and hurting job development in a sector that the US, for example, has seen surge to employing 77 per cent more workers than coal mining.

Despite Coalition roadblocks, the renewable transition is still hastening in Australia as it is around the world. While large scale renewable investment has taken a hit, solar PV continues to boom in Australia, with bloomberg finding it attracted the fifth largest investment in small-scale PV in 2015 globall. $2.17 billion was spent on solar last year, putting Australia ahead of Germany, and behind the UK and Japan. Considering Australia is expected to become a world leader in the deployment of battery storage, it is hard to imagine anything but further booming growth for renewables ahead.

Cheap oil and gas are not stopping renewable development. While the Australian government has worked to slow renewable development and protect coal, wind and solar have ‘done the unthinkable’ and trumped fossil fuels to boom to record levels of investment in 2015. The reality is the renewable transition is inevitable, unstoppable, and as new Bloomberg data shows – happening faster than many (particularly those in the fossil industry) could have imagined. This transition will only hasten further as the Paris Effect sinks in.

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Challenges and problems can derail your creative process … or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.

Economist, journalist and broadcaster
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Current issue: January 2016

France, assault on liberties, FN rise; EU Schengen under threat; special report, Latin America’s right turn; Tunisia five years on; US primaries socialism gets a voice; Korean reunification, a waiting game; Africa, presidents for life, Benin’s black market; US tough-on-crime sheriffs; Cross and Crescent…

::: click here or cover to access…English language :::

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With over a billion users, Facebook is changing the social life of our species. Cultural commentators ponder the effects. Is it bringing us together or tearing us apart? Psychologists have responded too – Google Scholar lists more than 27,000 references with Facebook in the title. Common topics for study are links between Facebook use and personality, and whether the network alleviates or fosters loneliness. The torrent of new data is overwhelming and much of it appears contradictory. Here is the psychology of Facebook, digested:

Is Facebook making us lonely and sad?
This is the crunch question that has probably attracted the most newspaper column inches (and books). A 2012 study took an experimental approach. One group were asked to post more updates than usual for one week – this led them to feel less lonely and more connected to their friends. Similarly, a survey of over a thousand FB users found links between use of the network and greater feelings of belonging and confidence in keeping up with friends, especially for people with low self-esteem. Another study from 2010 found that shy students who use FB feel closer to their friends (on FB) and have a greater sense of social support. A similar story is told by a 2013 paper that said feelings of FB connectedness were associated with “with lower depression and anxiety and greater satisfaction with life” and that Facebook “may act as a separate social medium ….  with a range of positive psychological outcomes.” This recent report also suggested the site can help revive old relationships.

Yet there’s also evidence for the negative influence of FB. A 2013 study texted people through the day, to see how they felt before and after using FB…

::: click here for this extensive piece in full + open access @ BPS Research Digest :::

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…I have no idea how Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G character sneaked through my gate to ask Noam outrageous things like, “How many words does you know?” and “What is some of them?” I do remember that Noam came to me afterward looking dazed. “No more men in gold suits,” he said, sighing…

::: click on through for piece in full @ The Chronicle of Higher Education :::

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excerpt…

PAUL BLOOM

DEC 17, 2015    SCIENCE

Can psychological research change your life? Most of the time, no—findings by psychologists don’t usually bear on everyday concerns. My colleagues at Yale, for instance, study topics such as the neuroscience of memory, how babies reason about social groups, and decision-making in psychopaths. Such studies are intended to explore how the mind works, and while their findings might ultimately make the world a better place—at least this is what we say in our grant proposals—that’s not their immediate focus…

::: click on through to the Atlantic for piece in full + open source :::

Paul Bloom is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. He is the author of a forthcoming book about empathy.

The Powers of Ten films are two short American documentary films written and directed by Charles and Ray Eames. Both works depict the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed.

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Andrea Germanos, staff writer
One presidential hopeful’s assessment is that the child care system in the U.S. is disastrous. And based on the findings of a new survey, many working parents in the U.S. have reason to agree. The Pew Research Center…
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The risk of Syria becoming a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia became real last week when Turkey and Syrian jihadists used U.S.-supplied weaponry to shoot down a Russian warplane and rescue helicopter, killing two Russians…

Belatedly, at a sidebar meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Paris climate summit on Monday, President Barack Obama reportedly expressed regret for last week’s killing of a Russian pilot who was shot down by a Turkish air-to-air missile fired by a U.S.-supplied F-16 and the subsequent death of a Russian marine on a search-and-rescue mission, apparently killed by a U.S.-made TOW missile.

But Obama administration officials continued to take the side of Turkey, a NATO “ally” which claims implausibly that it was simply defending its air space and that the Russian pilot of the SU-24 warplane had ignored repeated warnings. According to accounts based on Turkish data, the SU-24 may have strayed over a slice of Turkish territory for 17 seconds. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Facts Back Russia on Turkish Attack.”]

Immediately after the incident on Nov. 24, Obama offered a knee-jerk justification of Turkey’s provocative action which appears to have been a deliberate attack on a Russian warplane to deter continued bombing of Syrian jihadists, including the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist, has supported various jihadists as his tip of the spear in his goal to overthrow the secular regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad…

::: click here or above for piece in full + open source @ Common Dreams :::

ray_mcgovernRay McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. During his career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and briefed the President’s Daily Brief and chaired National Intelligence Estimates. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Marina Abramović’s art pushes the boundary between audience and artist in pursuit of heightened consciousness and personal change. In her groundbreaking 2010 work, “The Artist Is Present,” she simply sat in a chair facing her audience, for eight hours a day … with powerfully moving results. Her boldest work may still be yet to come — it’s taking the form of a sprawling art institute devoted to experimentation and simple acts done with mindful attention. “Nothing happens if you always do things the same way,” she says. “My method is to do things I’m afraid of, the things I don’t know, to go to territory that nobody’s ever been.

Interactive transcriptInteractive transcript

Performance artist…
In her performances she’s been cut, burned, and nearly shot — but Marina Abramović’s boldest work yet is a gargantuan institute dedicated to transformation through art.

Indigenous Peoples' Pavillion

The Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion at the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris is located within the civil society ‘Climate Generations Space’, directly adjacent to the COP 21 “Blue Zone” negotiation space.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion is organized and programmed by the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) with support from the Governments of Norway and France, in addition to UNDP.

Indigenous Peoples around the wOrld…

There are over 370 million indigenous people around the world. They have their own distinct languages, cultures, and social and political institutions apart from mainstream society. Though divided amongst all continents, at least 5000 different peoples, and approximately 4000 languages, they are coming together with a common voice to address historic inequities which have resulted in these groups being some of the most marginalized and victimized communities.

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source: IIPFCC ::: click logo, or here, to access :::

human cost warming

As climate talks in Paris approach, stakes are high for frontline communities with the most to lose. Yesterday, UNICEF reported that children will suffer the harshest impacts from rising temperatures. Their findings revealed that “over half a billion children live in extremely high flood occurrence zones; nearly 160 million live in high or extremely high drought severity zones.”

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It is not a radical political vision. It’s an unflinching commitment to democracy.
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A stint in the slammer convinced the conservative author that liberals are crooks.
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It’s unconscionable that refugees fleeing the horrors of war and poverty are being met with calls for their removal by the counties they are seeking safety in.
Some of Zizek’s ideas about Syrian refugees skirt dangerously closely to the Right’s.
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Activists said the reading materials were untested, insensitive and clueless.
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WORKING IN THESE TIMES

Security Guards from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport Join One-Day Nationwide Airport Worker Strike

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worldpeace

There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Carl Sagan

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We must show Islamophobes that there is no clash of civilizations; just a clash of moral values between decent human beings and mass-murdering lunatics.

Excerpt…

It can be hard not to fall for simplistic narratives fed to us by mainstream media during such times. After all, it seems more convenient to believe that the Paris attacks demonstrate that there is a war between the West and Islam as it provides a relatively straightforward answer to a largely complex problem. However, such rhetoric, whether we realise or not, only strengthens the narrative of IS.

“Attacks like the ones tonight in Paris are committed to purposely trigger an Islamophobic backlash,” writes Nader Atassi, an anti-IS blogger. “That backlash is not an unintended consequence of such attacks; it is part of their logic. Isis wants an Islamophobic backlash because it lends credence to their narrative that there is a war between the West and Islam. By strengthening and emboldening the xenophobic right-wing in Europe, they strengthen their own worldview as well. And the most tragic irony is that the backlash may target refugees who themselves had been fleeing Isis’ reign of terror.”

::: just click New Statesman logo above for this and other pieces, free + in full :::

excerpt of piece by Laila Lalami @ The Nation…

What happened in Paris on November 13 has happened before, in a   shopping district of Beirut on November 12, in the skies over Egypt on October 31, at a cultural center in Turkey on July 20, a beach resort in Tunisia on June 26—and nearly every day in Syria for the last four   years.

The scenario is by now familiar to all of us. News of the killings will appear on television and radio. There will be cries of horror and sorrow, a few hashtags on Twitter, perhaps even a change of avatars on Facebook. Our leaders will make staunch promises to bring the terrorists to justice, while also claiming greater power of surveillance over their citizens. And then life will resume exactly as before.

Except for the victims’ families. For them, time will split into a Before and After. We owe these families, of every race, creed, and nationality, more than sorrow, more than anger. We owe them justice.

We must call to account ISIS, a nihilistic cult of death that sees the world in black and white, with no shades of gray in between.We must call to account Bashar al-Assad, whose response to peaceful protesters in the spring of 2011 was to send water cannons and military tanks to meet them.

We must call to account the governments of the United States, France, Britain, Russia, Iran, and many others, who lent support and succor to tyrant after tyrant in the Middle East and North Africa, and whose interventions appear to create 10 terrorists for every one they kill.

We must call to account George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, whose disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent disbanding of the Iraqi army destabilized the entire region.

Wahhabi ideas have spread throughout the region not because they have any merit—but because they are well funded. We must call to account the Saudi kings—Salman, Abdullah, and Fahd—whose funding of Wahhabi doctrine gave rise to the scourge of Islamic extremism…’

::: click on through here for piece in full + free @ The Nation :::

Facebook sets up safety check for Paris friends

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…excerpt from The Tree:

In the first concrete legal action against ExxonMobil’s web of climate lies, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced he will investigate whether the oil giant knowingly misled the public and investors about the dangers of climate change. Last month from InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times revealed that Exxon’s own scientists warned the company’s top leadership that burning fossil fuels causes climate change with potentially “catastrophic” impacts as far back as 1977. Yet despite this warning the company spent decades funneling millions of dollars into groups that dispute or cast doubt on the connection between fossil fuels and climate change. With the dirty tactics of fossil fuel companies well and truly in the open, the ExxonMobil investigation should be a warning shot for other companies that they will no longer be allowed to peddle misinformation and must once and for all wake up to the dampening demand for fossil fuels…

More recent coverage of Exxon Mobil climate change revelations…

Projected impact of the former on Paris Climate Talks?

The New Matilda:

‘Malcolm Turnbull’s Dirty Money Means Oz Won’t Be Taken Seriously At Paris Climate Talks, says 350.org’

Climate advocacy group 350.org has demanded Malcolm Turnbull divest from ExxonMobil, which is under investigation for a climate change cover-up…

::: click here for piece in full @ The New Matilda :::

 

inthesetimes

 

 

Newsletter 8 November 2015
TOP STORIES THIS WEEK
A 6-month In These Times investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated research.
BY VALERIE BROWN AND ELIZABETH GROSSMAN
Sawant beat the establishment at its own game. Now comes the hard part.
BY ARUN GUPTA
Wealthy parents pour more resources into their children’s futures, but middle- and lower-income families are being squeezed, resulting in an education gap.
BY SUSAN J. DOUGLAS
Why do many hazardous chemicals go unregulated in the United States? An In These Times investigation reveals the answer.
The White House has finally released the text of the trade deal, and the reviews are scorching.
BY DEIRDRE FULTON
Using the phrase “no fault of their own” in discussing undocumented young people does not encourage us to look at the roots of the poverty and violence their families experience.
BY DAVID BACON
The 82-year old Nation of Islam leader filled the National Mall in October. Why didn’t the media take much notice?
BY SALIM MUWAKKIL
The psychology behind the ‘Notorious RBG’ phenomenon.
BY SADY DOYLE
CPCs have repeatedly provided misleading or, in some cases completely false, information for pregnant women.
BY RACHEL M. COHEN
WORKING IN THESE TIMES
Labor For Bernie Sanders Activists Say They Are Undeterred By Union Endorsements of Hillary Clinton

Despite a number of high-profile endorsements for Clinton, Sanders supporters still say he is the best choice for promoting workers’ rights.
BY MARIO VASQUEZ
RURAL AMERICA
Is it possible to create a more equitable society without all-out social warfare being the catalyst?
BY JOHN COLLINS


lrb

PATRICK COCKBURN

Russia in Syria

The military balance of power in Syria and Iraq is changing. The Russian air strikes that have been taking place since the end of September are strengthening and raising the morale of the Syrian army, which earlier in the year looked fought out and was on the retreat. With the support of Russian airpower, the army is now on the offensive in and around Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, and is seeking to regain lost territory in Idlib province. Syrian commanders on the ground are reportedly relaying the co-ordinates of between 400 and 800 targets to the Russian air force every day.

::: click here for piece in full + free @ LRB :::

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November 2015

Russia’s Syrian game; Middle East’s new players; Dilma Rousseff’s troubles; China special it’s the economy stupid; brave new countryside; climate special report Paris talks must not fail; ‘reality rift’ between facts and words; disputed future of northern territories; gas fields in the eastern Med; bye bye bayou; Google under EU scrutiny; before big datasupplement solidarity for kids… and more…
::: click cover to access :::

Can we, as adults, grow new neurons? Neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret says that we can, and she offers research and practical advice on how we can help our brains better perform neurogenesis—improving mood, increasing memory formation and preventing the decline associated with aging along the way.

Neural stem cell researcher Sandrine Thuret studies the way adult brains create new nerve cells in the hippocampus — a brain area involved in memory and mood. Full bio

“It’s like having a global 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year search warrant running on whole  societies, including Australia.”

Senator Scott Ludlam

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Australia accessed private internet data gathered by the NSA even more than Britain, according to a previously unreported document released by Edward…
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