How to Make a Learning Bucket List | Science of People

At present, I’m busy at work. It is going to be a series of short blogs for a while as I concentrate on work and slowly on a bigger post. But I am keeping on with my goal of blogging each week and improving as a writer. This article was in my email this week. Vanessa is correct, having goals and making myself accountable for them helps.

What are your goals? Do you have a list and a plan? Check out this article, maybe it will help you.

Do you have a learning bucket list? If not, today is the day to start one. I’ll teach you the steps you can do right now to create your very own.

Source: How to Make a Learning Bucket List | Science of People

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(57) Christopher Hitchens: Empowerment of Women – YouTube

This man was a wonderfully clear thinker and makes an important point about poverty. I’m not sure how this translates to New Zealand, we do so much more than ensuring access to health-care for women. Poverty is still a challenge here.

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Sexuality Leads to Boosts in Mood and Meaning in Life.

I am struggling to state my views on this paper. It’s clear that active sexuality helps adults feel happy, worthwhile and connected; however, this topic seems taboo in New Zealand. Although I see papers similar to this examined in overseas newspapers I have not seen sexuality research papers examined in our local New Zealand papers. Normally the lifestyle reporter covers topics such as this. Why not discuss this openly?

The paper I’m reviewing here is: Reflections on sexuality leads to boasts in mood and meaning in life with no evidence for the reverse direction: a daily diary investigation. The authors are Todd Kashdan, Falloon Goodman, Melissa Stiksma, Patrick McKnight. Published in Emotion June 2017 DOI: 10.1037/emo0000324.

My first surprise was this. Todd tells us that studies show that adults enjoy sex, claiming that something like 70% of adults enjoyed their sexuality at least once a week. That’s a leading point for him. “So why then do researchers of well-being not study sexuality, why the silence?” He goes onto tell us that, “Results suggest that sexually episodes with another person predict boosts in well-being the following day… contrary to popular assumption… gender had no impact on the benefits of sex“. This is particularly interesting given that popular myth gives that women don’t benefit from or enjoy sex; Seventy-six percent of the 186 college students who were participants in this study were young women who clearly enjoyed sex and received a boost from being sexually active. That result surprises me. After all don’t women have sex to please their man?

Todd suggests that one of our most basic needs is the need for closeness and belonging. Sex fulfills this need. His research concluded that “on days when people had sex a greater sense of meaning in life was experienced the following day”.

From an evolutionary point of view, it seems obvious that sex would be linked to well being and we already understand that sex leads to the pleasurable release of dopamine and other neural transmitters. But Kasdan adds, “Yet, empirical investigations are sparse and most theoretical models of well-being neglect sex entirely.” Isn’t this strange? One of the most fundamental human drives, sex, is little studied by the researchers of positive life and motivation. Justifying his study, Todd goes onto state that,
“Of the existing empirical literature, methodologies have been limited to cross-sectional designs with global self-reports that fail to address the temporal relationship between sex and well-being. To fill this gap the present study examined people’s sexual behavior and well-being each day for three consecutive weeks. Results suggest that sexually episodes with another person predict boosts in well-being the following day. The reverse direction was not supported as well-being, did not predict next-day activity”.
That is, the current study was to explore whether or not sex leads to feeling happy the next day. The result was, it did.

Todd goes on to put this result in context: we are happier in close relationships, sex is a part of this and healthy intimate relationships are important for wellbeing. I don’t find that surprising at all.

Having reached this conclusion there is a problem. This studies’ subjects were self-selected from a college community in the United States of America. The subjects were predominantly 18-year-old undergraduate women. Clearly to generalize to the full aged population, and to different cultures and demographics is not possible, and individuals may well respond differently. We need further research but the fundamental biology of our sex drive and need for social contact is universal.

He concludes with, “Despite sex being a frequent occurrence and source of wellbeing for a large proportion of the population, it is relatively absence in empirical investigation and theoretical frameworks of wellbeing. If science is to reflect reality, how can theories of wellbeing not include sexual behavior? Perhaps the topic of sex is viewed as taboo and thus avoided. Perhaps the measurement of sexual behavior seems complicated and invasive. Perhaps sex is considered irrelevant to well-being. Regardless of the reason for a dearth of research, the present study provides empirical support for a positive association between sex and well-being; specifically, sexual activity leads to next day gains in well-being. To understand the full scope of human flourishing research and well-being needs to incorporate more rigorous scientific inquiry of sexual behavior”.

I fully agree.

Full-Text Paper (PDF): Sexuality Leads to Boosts in Mood and Meaning in Life With No Evidence for the Reverse Direction: A Daily Diary Investigation

Source: (PDF) Sexuality Leads to Boosts in Mood and…

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Some days I am in awe of creative adults. This is aSongScout responding to the Fibonacci sequence and Pie on the piano. I love it.

Thanks to my daughter for showing me this.

A science arts cross over; music and mathematics. -fib -pi

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Treaty of Waitangi

In my professional life, I teach. Recently we were required to attend a half-day Treaty of Waitangi training seminar. The Treaty of Waitangi is the agreement between Maori and the English Crown that established Government in New Zealand. Many of my colleagues come from outside New Zealand and do not understand why we are required to know this. NQQA is the New Zealand Qualifications Agency the government agency that ensures high quality in education providers.

The first reason why teachers here need to understand and to teach the Treaty of Waitangi is that as a New Zealand tertiary education provider NZQA requires us to teach the treaty; we are audited on this.

For our students and ourselves working and living in New Zealand understanding our history is a given. The Treaty and its legacy are central to our history. As I explain to my postgraduate students: if you work as a teacher in New Zealand, if you work in healthcare, in social work; in any government position, then Treaty knowledge is an absolute requirement. Treaty knowledge is also an absolute requirement when applying for jobs in corporate New Zealand.

In 1840 when the treaty was signed Maori were very much the dominant culture and force in New Zealand. Times were changing, hence the need for the Treaty, but Maori signed the Treaty expecting it would bind the British. Why would anyone expect Maori to sign an agreement where they agreed to loss of power and land? Clearly, Maori understood that they would maintain control over their treasures and destiny. That that agreement was broken is clear from the subsequent history.

That being the case, when the Crown and the European settlers became the more dominant force, as a consequence of: the influx of settlers, epidemic disease, and war; then systemic treaty breaking began. Maori never agreed to that. And they fought these breaches every step of the way.

Understand that the treaty was a document to ensure this takeover did not occur. The Crown broke their word. Ethically and practically redress must be made.

The Treaty of Waitangi Commission and the Government, both leading political parties and the majority of smaller political parties understand and support this conclusion. The Waitangi Commission investigates the specific claims and advises the Government. Successive Governments have then negotiated settlements. This process takes time as 150 years have passed and because each Iwi is a separate settlement. Settlements generally begin with an apology and continue on to make recompense in property and money. The amounts of both land and money that are offered are tiny compared to the losses that the Maori suffered. I think it helps to remember that the land returned is land that is owned by the government. Private land is not used, even though much of the best farmland in the North Island was confiscated by the government after the New Zealand wars. That is the land was taken from Maori.

I have heard people say come on, “It’s hundred fifty years ago shouldn’t Maori just get over it, get real”, or words to that effect. To Maori people that history is recent. One hundred fifty years is nothing to a people who all know their lineage to the original Waka that arrived here 900 years ago. There are cultures with different perceptions of time to European people. Maori are one of these. It strikes me too, that this argument favors the colonizers who broke their agreement with Maori, and that the 30 years we have been working through Treaty Settlements is a short time compared to the 150 years of injustice since the Treaty was signed.

For all these reasons, it just seems to me that respecting Maori and the Treaty is the right thing for us to do.

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The book that fights sexism with science | Science | The Guardian

This looks like an interesting book.

With Inferior, Angela Saini counters long-held beliefs that biology stands in the way of parity between the sexes. Now her message is set to reach thousands of schools

Source: The book that fights sexism with science | Science | The Guardian

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Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy, in this breathtaking space flight | Aeon Videos

This is a wonderful example of a science arts interdisciplinary piece. Please enjoy.

Vast lunar landscapes set to the aching, shimmering piano of Claude Debussy’s 1905 composition ‘Clair de Lune’ (French for ‘moonlight’) offer an enchanting melding of science and art through the interplay of light, texture and music. The video, which traces the flow of sunlight over the Moon’s surface, was created by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio using images captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. It was first shown at a celebration of NASA’s 60th anniversary along with a live performance of Debussy’s music.

Source: Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy, in this breathtaking space flight | Aeon Videos

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Jim Curtis Double DTM RIP.

I met Jim when I emailed Massey University Toastmasters. My line manager had asked me to set up a speaking club at IPU New Zealand. As an experienced Toastmaster, I thought that there would be someone in Palmerston North in a position to help me form a club and hence I emailed Massey University Toastmasters Club. That was when I met a larger than life character by the name of Jim Curtis.

The first thing that struck me about Jim Curtis was his enthusiasm. He was a big man with a big smile and an enormous appetite for Toastmasters. Not just that, once he became involved with setting up the club his determination and abilities were amazing.

My first point about leaders is they are positive and enthusiastic. One of the things that most impressed me about Jim was this, although he clearly had had tough times in his life he was an optimistic positive person. Jim was, after all, very overweight; he had been assaulted and brain injured as a result. Despite all this, his focus was on how he and I could help other people, particularly through Toastmasters. He had other passions, he was a keen member of the New Zealand Labour Party and he was absolutely passionate about trains, while with me he was all about Toastmasters. His love of these things came through whenever we talked. Leaders are enthusiastic. Enthusiasm makes it so much easier to get things done and I have to say enthusiastic people are just fun to be around.

Without Jim, we probably wouldn’t have succeeded in creating a Toastmasters group. He was the one who took my hand, the idea of a club and turned it into what Management Leaders call a BHAG. Maybe you’ve had a BHAG without even knowing it. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal, for us, it was starting IPU Toastmasters. That’s my second point about leaders. Leaders are generally goal-directed. With Jim’s organization and helpful guidance, we organized a Demonstration Meeting. Everyone we knew was asked to come along and we continued with the club building. I think right from the beginning, in March, he planned to charter late that year. He was right. We successfully charted in early December.

One thing that I found challenging about Jims leadership style was how he would play the rules. When we set up the club Jim knew exactly the number of joint members we could have, and exactly the number of transferring members we could have so and he made sure to maximize that. Priyanka attended Massey Toastmasters occasionally, attended club leadership training and learnt about Toastmasters. Despite all this, she did not actually join Toastmasters until we could sign her up to the club as a new member. Jim knew the rules; two joint members, Jim and Colin; two transferring members, Declan and I, these were all we were allowed. Then we had Priyanka, trained and competent as a fifth member right from the beginning. Thus we had a quarter of the required twenty when we began. Jim knew exactly what the rules were and worked them to our benefit.

Last year, our club reached eighteen members just before the end of the Toastmaster’s year. The rules of the Distinguished club program are clear, to receive your award a club must have twenty members. We reached 18 at that point. So Jim organized a Toastmasters friend to join, giving us nineteen. And he asked Connor if he, that is Jim, could pay Connor’s membership, giving us the required twenty members. Connor agreed but it was cheeky as Connor was in Vietnam at the time. Is that turning to the dark side? I don’t know…

Here is a danger for leaders, playing the rules is not always a good thing. What Jim did was a minor transgression but don’t take this lightly. Too many leaders break ethical and actual laws and end up as crooks leading broken organizations. We all know the Eron story. Stretching rules is a tricky leadership skill.

Jim’s enthusiasm, his goal setting and his stretching the rules made me think. Am I a little negative; am I lazy, with disorganized goals; do I give up too easily? These are questions Jim, by his example, forced me to ask myself, maybe they are questions for you.

Jim passed away in December 2017. I miss him but I’m pleased I learned from him. Jim Curtis double DTM and effective Leader.

Jim (on left) receiving his Charter Member certificate for IPU New Zealand toastmasters

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Aussie doctor’s pro-vaccination sign goes viral – NZ Herald

Please share this.

Source: Aussie doctor’s pro-vaccination sign goes viral – NZ Herald

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Raising the barre: how science is saving ballet dancers | Stage | The Guardian

I’m fascinated by the links between science and the arts. Not two separate cultures but one, feeding and encouraging each other. This article looks at the links between health science and ballet. Obvious on hind site but it makes sense. Giving ballet dancers access to the resources of a top professional football team: sports scientists, physiotherapists, dietitians, psychologists… That lifts standards and the art moves forward. Science makes this possible.

Could new science and high-tech training protect dancers from the injuries that end so many of their careers far too early? Mark Bailey investigates

Source: Raising the barre: how science is saving ballet dancers | Stage | The Guardian

ballet 5

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