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People show you who they really are over time. You just have to pay attention.

You attract people who bring you joy, right? Friendships shouldn’t hurt, right?

And when they do, you move on from them. You don’t stay in relationships or friendships that don’t make you feel good.

The fundamental life directives/principles can always be summed up succinctly:

       Treat others the way you want to be treated.

       Don’t yuck someone’s yum.

And now this gem from Michelle Obama, speaking to a group of kiddies:

       Don’t stay in relationships or friendships that don’t make you feel good.

Photo source: NY Mag’s Michelle Obama Look Book

As imaging studies by the U.C.L.A. neuroscientist Naomi Eisenberger show, the same areas of the brain that register physical pain are active when someone feels socially rejected. That’s why being spurned by a lover hurts all over the body, but in no place you can point to.

But a loving touch is enough to change everything…If you’re in a healthy relationship, holding your partner’s hand is enough to subdue your blood pressure, ease your response to stress, improve your health and soften physical pain. We alter one another’s physiology and neural functions.

Diane Ackerman, on love’s impact on the brain.

Reminded me of one of my favorite podcasts of all time, Radiolab’s “This is Your Brain on Love.”

How to Be Creative

From Hugh MacLeod’s book, Ignore Everybody.

1. Ignore every­body.

The more ori­gi­nal your idea is, the less good advice other peo­ple will be able to give you. When I first star­ted with the biz card for­mat, peo­ple thought I was nuts. Why wasn’t I trying to do something more easy for mar­kets to digest i.e. cutey-pie gree­ting cards or wha­te­ver?

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world.

 The two are not the same thing.
3. Put the hours in.
Doing anything worthwhile takes fore­ver. 90% of what sepa­ra­tes suc­cess­ful peo­ple and fai­led peo­ple is time, effort and sta­mina.

4. If your biz plan depends on you sud­denly being “dis­co­ve­red” by some big shot, your plan will pro­bably fail.

Nobody sud­denly dis­co­vers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.

5. You are res­pon­si­ble for your own expe­rience.

 Nobody can tell you if what you’re doing is good, mea­ning­ful or worthwhile. The more com­pe­lling the path, the more lonely it is.

6. Ever­yone is born crea­tive; ever­yone is given a box of cra­yons in kin­der­gar­ten.

Then when you hit puberty they take the cra­yons away and replace them with books on alge­bra etc. Being sud­denly hit years later with the crea­tive bug is just a wee voice telling you, “I’d like my cra­yons back, please.“

7. Keep your day job.

I’m not just saying that for the usual rea­son i.e. because I think your idea will fail. I’m saying it because to sud­denly quit one’s job in a big ol’ crea­tive drama-queen moment is always, always, always in direct con­flict with what I call The Sex & Cash Theory.

and much more useful advice here.

Like myself, today’s twentysomethings were raised to find our dreams and follow them. But it’s a different world. And as the jobless generation grows up, we realize the grand betrayal of the false idols of passion. This philosophy no longer works for us, or at most, feels incomplete.

We don’t find happiness by looking within. We go outside and immerse in the world.

Happiness comes from the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what the world needs. We’ve been told time and again to keep finding the first. Our schools helped developed the second. It’s time we put more thought on the third.

OLIVER SEGOVIA, on how to find happiness


After two decades of research, a group of Canadian scientists has won approval to start testing an experimental HIV vaccine on humans.


Beginning in January, the vaccine will be given to 40 healthy people with HIV to test its safety.

Should the SAV001 be proven safe, the vaccine will enter the second phase of clinical trials, in which it will be tested on 600 HIV-negative volunteers at high risk for HIV infection. Researchers will measure the volunteers’ immune response to the vaccine.

The third and final phase would enroll 6,000 HIV-negative volunteers at high risk for the disease. The participants, half of whom would be vaccinated and half un-vaccinated, would be tracked for three years to see how many in each group became infected with HIV.

After the third incident I worried when police cars drove by; I was afraid I would be stopped and searched or that something worse would happen. I dress better if I go downtown. I don’t hang out with friends outside my neighborhood in Harlem as much as I used to. Essentially, I incorporated into my daily life the sense that I might find myself up against a wall or on the ground with an officer’s gun at my head. For a black man in his 20s like me, it’s just a fact of life in New York.

An opinion piece by Nicholas K. Peart, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, about his repeated experiences with racial profiling.

Image source: New York Times

What to say to young people nowadays who may be going through a difficult time? Try and climb every mountain, there is often a beautiful view at the top. You will train your muscles which will help you climb more difficult mountains in the future. Some climb them slower than others, if you can, help people to get to the top and do not give up if they slide back; encourage them and give them stepping stones.
Ann Bless, from the Life Reports, a collection of letters sent to David Brooks from readers over 70 years of age.

Beware rumination…They could finely calibrate each passing emotion. But these people often did not lead the happiest or most fulfilling lives. It’s not only that they were driven to introspection by bad events. Through self-obsession, they seemed to reinforce the very emotions, thoughts and habits they were trying to escape.

Many of the most impressive people, on the other hand, were strategic self-deceivers. When something bad was done to them, they forgot it, forgave it or were grateful for it. When it comes to self-narratives, honesty may not be the best policy.

David Brooks, distilling life lessons from the Life Reports sent to him by people over 70.

The Most Popular Google Searches of 2011: Facebook Facebook

LIFE just came out with the list of the most popular Google searches of 2011.

Some curious findings:

  • "Facebook" was No. 9 in Google news searches, but "Facebook Facebook" was No. 5. I have no idea what that means.
  • "Google" was the No. 2 most googled item for news (sidenote: I just saw a TV commercial for Google +. Kinda weird to be advertising the internet on TV)
  • Tweens are hardcore internet searchers. Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber all made the top 10 celebrity searches. And I’m only assuming it’s tweens doing the searching because the alternative scenario (people over 18 are behind these stats) is kinda creepy.


Where in the World? Part 2: A Google Earth Puzzle

Looking at the world through via Google Earth offers striking images of the diversity of our planet and the impact that humans have had on it. Today’s entry is a puzzle — part 2 in a series, this time offering multiple choices. We’re challenging you to figure out where in the world each of the images below is taken. North is not always up in these pictures, and, apart from a bit of contrast, they are unaltered images provided by Google and its mapping partners. So I invite you to have a look at the images below, make your guesses, and see your score at the end. Good luck!

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