Get Rewarded for Supporting Civil Disobedience

If your idea to change the world is creative enough then you could get $250,000 from LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman. Technically, it’ll be from MIT Media Lab with money from Hoffman. The Lab and Hoffman teamed up to ensure that creative civil resistance in the USA doesn’t die under the Trump presidency. With the increased pressure on American institutions to buckle under corporate influence right from the top (think Rex Tillerson) the need for people standing up is needed now more than ever before. This prize for civil disobedience is designed to get people engaged and thinking in new ways to stand up for human and legal rights.

“We wanted to see if we could identify very creative and principled disobedience,” says Ito. “I talked to a lot of students, and some of them had started saying, this nonviolence stuff doesn’t work anymore, or those days of Gandhi are over. And some people threatened to engage in disobedience that I felt was sort of reckless.”

The aim of the award is to help someone make further progress. “My hope is that we support a person in the middle of their career and help provide coaching, support, and visibility to help him or her be more effective,” says Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. “We hope we’re not just rewarding what they’ve already achieved.”

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Local Greenbelts can Reduce Depression and Obesity

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Living near green space will make your life better. New studies coming out of Europe point out that proximity to nature has an impact on levels of depression, as in there is less depression. If you have the option to keep local forests (or any green space) then you should keep it! Not only are nature areas good for the mind, they’re also good for the body. The same research has pointed out that obesity rates are lower in places where nature is accessible.

The benefits aren’t just for individuals because fitter, happier people is better for society at large.

Overall, nature is an under-recognised healer, the paper says, offering multiple health benefits from allergy reductions to increases in self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

A study team of 11 researchers at the Institute for European environmental policy (IEEP) spent a year reviewing more than 200 academic studies for the report, which is the most wide-ranging probe yet into the dynamics of health, nature and wellbeing.

The report makes use of several studies that depict access to nature as being inextricably linked to wealth inequality, because deprived communities typically have fewer natural environments within easy reach.

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Thanks to Delaney!

2017 is the Year to Quit Your Job

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Until we get something like universal basic income everybody will need to work. But why should you work in a job you don’t want?

James Altucher argues that this year, more than any previous year, is the right time to quit your job. Why? Because the robots will make us all unemployed and that starting your company has never been easier. If you are thinking of quitting your job or are looking for a new adventure maybe now is the time.

H) YOU DON’T NEED THE JOB TO BE HAPPY
Depression is highest in fully employed, first world countries. The two highest countries for depression? France and the United States.
We simply were not made to work 60 hours a week. Archaeologists figure that our paleo ancestors “worked” maybe 12 hours a week.
And then they would play, in order to keep up the skills needed to hunt and forage, etc.

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Thanks to the Flea!

Move to the City for a Slow Life

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It’s often thought that cities are buys bustling places where nobody slows down. Sure, the streets are busier and there is more activity, but the city is a slow place for living. Arizona State University researchers looked into the lifestyles of urban dwellers and discovered that they are slower than people who live elsewhere. The slowness is all about when people hit particular moments of life and how they think about the future.

“Our findings are contrary to the notion that crowded places are chaotic and socially problematic,” said Oliver Sng, who led the research while a doctoral student at ASU and who now is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. “People who live in dense places seem to plan for the future more, prefer long-term romantic relationships, get married later in life, have fewer children and invest a lot in each child. They generally adopt an approach to life that values quality over quantity.”

Sng, with ASU Foundation Professor Steven Neuberg and ASU psychology professors Douglas Kenrick and Michael Varnum, used data from nations around the world and the 50 U.S. states to show that population density naturally correlates with these slow life strategies. Then, in a series of experiments (e.g., in which people read about increasing crowdedness or heard sounds of a crowded environment), they found that perceptions of crowdedness cause people to delay gratification and prefer slower, more long-term mating and parenting behaviors.

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Don’t Feed the Trolls, Quiz Them

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Online commentators that only have the goal of bothering other people may soon find that their goal is harder to achieve. The Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK, has implemented a simple solution: ask commenters if they read the article. NRK has put a short (and easy) quiz on some articles that is about the content of the article itself; if you answer correctly you can comment. If you get the answer wrong you will find you can’t contribute to the comment section.

Forcing users to take a little extra time to think about the comment they’re about to post also helps them think about tone, NRKbeta editor Marius Arnesen said. “If you spend 15 seconds on it, those are maybe 15 seconds that take the edge off the rant mode when people are commenting,” Arnesen said.

NRKbeta is one of the few sections within NRK that actually has a comment section, and the blog’s dedicated readership has built a community in the comments and typically has pretty positive conversations, Grut and Arnesen said.

However, when NRKbeta stories — such as the story on digital surveillance — are placed on the main NRK homepage, they attract readers who aren’t regulars, which can bring down the level of conversation.

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