David Byrne Launches Good News Site

David Byrne, artist extraordinaire, revealed his newest project to the world and I love it! Reasons to be Cheerful is a reaction to the bizarreness of 2017 and the craziness that 2018 has already witnessed. In an attempt to highlight the positivity in these turbulent times Reasons to be Cheerful sets out to remind people that there is always good in the world.

In his announcement post he writes “If it Works Copy it” and I agree!

What is Reasons To Be Cheerful?

I imagine, like a lot of you who look back over the past year, it seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, “Oh no!” Often I’m depressed for half the day. It doesn’t matter how you voted on Brexit, the French elections or the U.S. election—many of us of all persuasions and party affiliations feel remarkably similar.

As a kind of remedy and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news that reminded me, “Hey, there’s actually some positive stuff going on!” Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exits. Hope is often local. Change begins in communities.

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Thanks to Trevor!

Working Less for a Better World

happy workers in a factory

Do you feel like you’re working too much? You are. Decades ago economists and influential thinkers projected that leisure would be the biggest problem during the 21st century for the workforce. Sadly they were wrong because they didn’t predict that the 1980s we’ve seen policies that favour profit abound all else. This meant that the push for more leisure floundered.

Not forever though. As work issues increasingly invade our leisure time people are starting to push back. This is good to see! With more jobs being automated the justification for overworking people seems less valid.

Less all work a little less, here are some reasons why.

Accidents? Overtime is deadly. Long workdays lead to more errors: Tired surgeons are more prone to slip-ups, and soldiers who get too little shuteye are more prone to miss targets. From Chernobyl to the Space Shuttle Challenger, overworked managers often prove to have played a fatal role in disasters. It’s no coincidence that the financial sector, which triggered the biggest disaster of the last decade, is absolutely drowning in overtime.

Climate change? A worldwide shift to a shorter workweek could cut

the CO2 emitted this century by half. Countries with a shorter workweek have a smaller ecological footprint. Consuming less starts with working less – or, better yet – with consuming our prosperity in the form of leisure.

Unemployment? Obviously, you can’t simply chop a job up into smaller pieces. The labor market isn’t a game of musical chairs in which anyone can fit into any seat and all we need to do is dole out places. Nevertheless, researchers at the International Labour Organization

have concluded that work sharing – in which two part-time employees share a workload traditionally assigned to one full-time worker – went a long way toward resolving the last crisis. Particularly in times of recession with spiking unemployment and production exceeding demand, sharing jobs can help to soften the blow.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Canada to Monitor Behaviour of Corporations Aboard

maps

Canada announced yesterday that, like other nations, the country will be monitoring how Canadian corporations behave beyond its borders. Over the years there have been too many accounts of corporations based in Canada getting into conflicts and abusing communities of people internationally. Obviously this sort of behaviour is bad for people and tarnishes any positive thoughts people have about Canada. It’s up to the new role of the ombudsperson to check to see that Canadian corporations don’t break any human rights or the like outside the nation’s borders.

The role of the Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise will be to work towards resolving conflicts between local communities and Canadian companies operating abroad.

The position will focus on several sectors including mining, oil and gas and the garment sector.

It will also have the power to independently investigate and make recommendations in cases involving human rights complaints.

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How to Have Better Conversations

conversation
Talking with others about certain issues can be challenging for you or the other person. You may leave such conversations feeling awkward or worse, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Social interaction and language researcher Elizabeth Stokoe, along with colleagues, looked into what we should say and how when talking with others. They have some tips to ensure that your conversations don’t go off the rails.

Do use: some (instead of any)
“Anything else I can do for you?” Sounds like a perfectly reasonable question, doesn’t it? But John Heritage and Jeffrey Robinson, conversation analysts at the University of California, Los Angeles, looked at how doctors use the words “any” and “some” in their final interactions with patients. They found that “Is there something else I can do for you today?” elicited a better response than “Is there anything else?”

“Any” tends to meet with negative responses. Think about meetings you’ve been in – what’s the usual response to “Any questions?” A barrage of engaging ideas or awkward silence? It’s too open-ended; too many possibilities abound. Of course, if you don’t want people to ask you anything, then stick to “Any questions?”

What to say Try not to use “any” if you genuinely want feedback or to open up debate. “What do you think about X?” might be a more specific way of encouraging someone to talk.

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Don’t Believe the Myths of Minimum Wage

Interview

2018 marked a minimum wage increase in Ontario which follows a trend throughout North America of raising the level minimum companies can pay workers. Large, heartless, corporations like Tim Hortons have released statements that they think paying people more is bad – they are wrong. It’s clearer than ever before: minimum wage increase have historically been good for the economy and people.

We have been raising the minimum wage for 78 years, and as a new study clearly reveals, 78 years of minimum-wage hikes have produced zero evidence of the “job-killing” consequences these headline writers want us to fear.

In a first-of-its-kind report, researchers at the National Employment Law Project pore over employment data from every federal increase since the minimum wage was first established, making “simple before-and-after comparisons of job-growth trends 12 months after each minimum-wage increase.”

What did the researchers find? The paper’s title says it all: “Raise Wages, Kill Jobs? Seven Decades of Historical Data Find No Correlation Between Minimum Wage Increases and Employment Levels.”

The results were clear. Of the nearly two dozen federal minimum-wage hikes since 1938, total year-over-year employment actually increased 68% of the time.

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