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CrystalEdg
72 days ago
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The Secret to Happiness, According to This Harvard Professor: A Reverse Bucket List

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Most of us have some sort of bucket list. Whether it's a literal scrap of paper or just a mental inventory, just about everyone has a checklist of experiences and accomplishments they hope to achieve before their time here on earth is up. 

That makes sense. When we think of how to improve our lives, our first impulse is generally to add things: I'd be happier if my career were going better. A trip to Hawaii would really improve things. Everything would be different if I could find a good relationship. There's only one problem with this approach--science suggests it tends to backfire

Having goals is a great way to accomplish the kinds of big ambitions that give life meaning. No one says waiting around on the couch for the universe to do what it will with you is the route to fulfillment. But a mountain of research shows that when you reach your goals, they're likely to only bring you momentary joy. After a brief high, dissatisfaction creeps in and we start to crave the next thing on the list

Psychologists call this the "hedonic treadmill." The rest of us just understand that however much you fantasize about that giant TV, fancy promotion, or glamorous vacation, as soon as you get it, you start eyeing an even bigger screen, the next rung up the ladder, or another exotic locale. 

How do you get off this treadmill and find lasting peace of mind? That's the subject of the latest Atlantic article from Harvard professor Arthur C. Brooks. The deep dive into what truly makes us happy draws not just on the latest research but also the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas, Buddha, and that modern sage Mick Jagger. It's well worth a read in full, but if you're looking for practical advice on how to break free of ever-expanding ambition,  Brooks offers a simple, practical suggestion: Swap your traditional bucket list for something he dubs a "reverse bucket list."

Others have used the term "reverse bucket list" before, but Brooks describes what exactly he means by the term. 

"Each year on my birthday, I list my wants and attachments--the stuff that fits under Thomas Aquinas's categories of money, power, pleasure, and honor. I try to be completely honest. I don't list stuff I would actually hate and never choose, like a sailboat or a vacation house. Rather, I go to my weaknesses, most of which--I'm embarrassed to admit--involve the admiration of others for my work," he writes. 

Next, Brooks sets down and imagines what his life would like in five years if we were truly happy and successful--if he were living up to his values and experiencing a sense of psychological peace. The final step is to compare the two lists side by side. Would those things he craves actually bring him closer to his vision of the good life

The point of this exercise isn't to extinguish your dreams. People often regret not traveling more or starting that business later in life. Finally running that marathon can be just as good for your self-confidence as it is for your heart. Well-considered goals are great. But you should know why you dream what you dream, and a reverse bucket list can help. 

If an item is on your bucket list because it lines up with your deepest desires and values, keep it. If it's there to impress the neighbors or feed an amorphous and unquenchable need for "success" or validation, onto the reverse bucket list it goes. 

When scientists ask people to solve problems of all kinds, their first impulse is to add elements. They think a new feature, additional rule, or extra ingredient will improve the final outcome. But recent research shows that subtraction is often the better route

The same, Brooks suggests, may be true of our lives. When we feel twinges of dissatisfaction or terror at the shortness of time, we automatically grasp for more: more money, more power, more accolades. But our twinges rarely, if ever, disappear. So instead of grasping for more, maybe take a few minutes and force yourself to consider if the solution is less. Crafting a "reverse bucket list" just might bring you closer to happiness than ticking off even your most impressive bucket list item.

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CrystalEdg
90 days ago
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This Is Why It's So Hard to Maintain Eye Contact While Having a Conversation

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Research suggests there's a good scientific reason why some of us struggle to look someone in the eye and hold a conversation with them.

It turns out we're not just awkward, our brains actually can't handle the tasks of thinking of the right words and focussing on a face at the same time.

The effect becomes more noticeable when someone is trying to come up with less familiar words, which is thought to use the same mental resources as sustaining eye contact.

Scientists from Kyoto University in Japan put this to the test in 2016 by having 26 volunteers play word association games while staring at computer-generated faces.

When making eye contact, the participants found it harder to come up with links between words.

"Although eye contact and verbal processing appear independent, people frequently avert their eyes from interlocutors during conversation," wrote the researchers.

"This suggests that there is interference between these processes."

The volunteers were tested while looking at both animations of faces making eye contact and animations of faces looking away. They were also asked to think of links between easily associated words and words where there are a lot of competing associations.

For example, thinking of a verb for 'knife' is relatively easy, because you can't do much more than cut or stab with one. Coming up with an associated verb for 'folder' is harder, considering you could open, close, or fill them.

The volunteers took longer to think of words when they were making eye contact, but only when difficult word associations were involved. The researchers suspect the hesitation indicates the brain is handling too much information at once.

So while making eye contact and holding a conversation is certainly possible, this is evidence that they can both draw on the same pool of cognitive resources, and sometimes that pool starts to run a little dry.

The sample size used was pretty small, but it's an interesting hypothesis. And it's also not the only study to suggest the brain gets slightly freaked out by eye contact.

In 2015, Italian psychologist Giovanni Caputo demonstrated that staring into someone else's eyes for just 10 minutes induced an altered state of consciousness. Participants saw hallucinations of monsters, their relatives, and even their own faces.

It seems that a process called neural adaptation is the cause, where our brains gradually alter their response to a stimulus that doesn't change – so when you put your hand on a table, you immediately feel it, but that feeling lessens as you keep your hand there.

The volunteers making eye contact and associating words may also be experiencing some kind of neural adaptation, but for now the Kyoto University researchers are calling for further study into the links between verbal and non-verbal communication.

And in the meantime, if someone looks away while they're talking to you, they might not be being rude – they could just have an overloaded cognitive system.

The findings were published in the journal Cognition.

A version of this article was first published in November 2016.

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CrystalEdg
101 days ago
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Sex Crimes | Fox News

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CrystalEdg
131 days ago
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Ghislaine Maxwell Trial: A breakdown of the case | Fox News

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The prosecution has made its case against Ghislaine Maxwell. Starting Thursday, her defense team takes its turn. 

Maxwell, a socialite, has denied allegations from multiple women that she helped the millionaire Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls. Her lawyers say she's being wrongly targeted by prosecutors on a vendetta to hold someone accountable after Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial on related sex-abuse charges. 

With just days left in Maxwell’s trial, it’s time to take stock of developments. 

WRONGFULLY CONVICTED AMANDA KNOX SAYS GHISLAINE MAXWELL TRIAL GIVES ‘FLASHBACKS’ TO HER OWN 

In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell confers with her defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca before testimony begins in her sex-abuse trial in New York on Dec. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

WHO ARE MAXWELL'S ACCUSERS? 

The prosecution, mounted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, hinges on the accusations of four women who say they were teenagers when Maxwell and Epstein sexually exploited them in the 1990s and early 2000s. Three testified under the pseudonyms Jane, Kate and Carolyn. One, Annie Farmer, decided to tell her story publicly. 

WHAT WAS MAXWELL UP TO BEFORE HER ARREST? 

Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 – almost a year after Epstein killed himself in jail while awaiting trial. After Epstein's death, she withdrew from public activities like running an oceans charity. Her whereabouts became a subject of public speculation. Was that her eating a burger and reading a book on CIA operatives in Southern California? Was she living in Britain or Paris or maybe even Massachusetts? Prosecutors say she went into hiding in New Hampshire – where she was eventually arrested – in a million-dollar home where she kept her cellphone wrapped in foil. 

SO HAS MAXWELL BEEN IN JAIL THIS WHOLE TIME? 

Yes, despite multiple requests for bail, Maxwell has spent well over a year lodged in federal lockup in Brooklyn. Maxwell has triple citizenship with the U.S., U.K. and France, which does not extradite its citizens. Her attorneys and family have lambasted jail conditions, which they say are punitive and inhospitable to Maxwell’s ability to mount a proper defense. 

IS THE MAXWELL TRIAL AIRING ON TELEVISION? 

No. It's in federal court, which doesn't allow cameras. That's why all the images from the courtroom are sketched. 

WHEN DID TESTIMONY BEGIN? 

Nov. 29. 

HOW LONG IS MAXWELL'S TRIAL SUPPOSED TO LAST? 

It was originally projected to last six weeks, but prosecutors rested much earlier than expected. The defense has yet to present its case, but the whole thing could be over before Christmas. 

WILL MAXWELL TESTIFY? 

It's unclear whether Maxwell will take the stand in her own defense, but it's rare for a defendant to do so. 

WHAT EXACTLY WAS MAXWELL'S RELATIONSHIP WITH EPSTEIN? 

They were romantically involved, but at some point – the timeline is unclear – she says she transitioned to being more of an employee, running his households. Prosecutors have accused of her as functioning as Epstein's madam, procuring underage girls to satisfy him sexually. 

WHERE DID EPSTEIN HAVE HOMES? 

All over the place: Palm Beach, Florida; New Mexico; Manhattan; the U.S. Virgin Islands; Paris. 

WHAT DID EPSTEIN DO FOR A LIVING? 

He left his teaching career at a tony Manhattan prep school to work at Bear Stearns, an investment bank, and then started his own money-management business. He would not disclose his assets and income even after his July 2019 arrest, but he seems to have built a fortune managing investments for others. 

HOW IS PRINCE ANDREW INVOLVED IN ALL OF THIS? 

He's not. Not exactly, at least. A woman is suing the British royal, saying he sexually abused her when she was 17. She says Maxwell facilitated her meetings with Andrew, who has denied the account. But the woman's accusations have been left out of this trial. That lawsuit won't go to trial until at least late 2022. Andrew's name has come up in this trial, though: a pilot of Epstein's private jet, dubbed the "Lolita Express" by the news media, testified he had flown Andrew and an accuser confirmed she told the FBI she had flown with the prince, as well. 

WHO IS MAXWELL'S HUSBAND? 

Also unclear! She was living with him when she was arrested in New Hampshire, but court documents have not made his name public. He did support her bail attempts, but has not been spotted at the trial. 

Isabel and Kevin Maxwell leave the courthouse during a lunch break in the trial of their sister, Ghislaine Maxwell, in New York on Dec. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

DOES MAXWELL HAVE ANY NOTABLE SUPPORTERS? 

Her family – scions of the late publishing magnate, Robert Maxwell – is sticking by her. Two of her siblings, Kevin and Isabel, have attended each day of proceedings. The Maxwells strongly assert the U.S. justice system is making a patsy of their youngest sister. Ghislaine is notably the baby of the family and said to have been the favorite of her father, who died falling off a yacht named for her. 

WHO IS THE JUDGE FOR MAXWELL'S TRIAL? 

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, who was recently nominated by President Joe Biden to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. That promotion is not expected to interfere with proceedings in the Maxwell case. 

HOW HAS MAXWELL BEEN SPENDING HER TIME IN JAIL? 

According to a website set up by her family, Maxwell has been working through a pile of books. Her reading list runs the gamut of criminal-justice related books like the award-winning "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson to "Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department Justice" by Sidney Powell, a conspiracy theorist and former lawyer for President Donald Trump. She's also been making her way through Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" fantasy series and popular book club fiction pick "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," by Gail Honeyman. 

IF CONVICTED, HOW MUCH TIME IN PRISON WOULD SHE BE LOOKING AT? 

Potentially many years. 

LET'S REWIND: WHAT EXACTLY IS MAXWELL CHARGED WITH? 

This ongoing trial revolves around six charges: 

1. conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts 

2. enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts 

3. conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity 

4. transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity 

5. sex trafficking conspiracy 

6. sex trafficking of a minor 

In this courtroom sketch, a witness using the pseudonym "Carolyn" breaks down on the witness stand while testifying about her experiences with Jeffery Epstein, during Ghislaine Maxwell's sex-abuse trial, in New York on Dec. 7, 2021.  (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

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A superseding indictment in March also charged Maxwell with two counts of perjury, but the judge granted the defense's request to spin those off into a separate trial. 

SO THERE'S MORE TO COME? 

Yes. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, there's more to come. 

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CrystalEdg
140 days ago
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Men can detect when women are ovulating

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CrystalEdg
156 days ago
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