Scotland First in World to Provide Free Sanitary Products

Monthly periods can be expensive and stigmatizing for women and girls, particularly when they cannot afford to buy the proper sanitary supplies. The ongoing costs associated with periods can be too much for many who are young or in a vulnerable position; leading to what’s been called period poverty. Scotland has passed a bill this week to help end period poverty by providing free santiatatry products in public buildings. Hopefully other nations will follow Scotland’s lead.

In Scotland, there will be a legal right of free access to tampons in public buildings, and it will be mandatory for education institutions to provide them.

The provision of free products is expected to cost about £8.7million a year.

Schools, colleges and universities will be legally bound to provide adequate amounts of tampons and sanitary pads, as well as public buildings such as libraries, courts and hospitals.

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A Mediator Explains How to Have Difficult Conversations

Adar Cohen knows how to have difficult conversations and he wants you to be able to exercise the same skill when you need it. By mediating for corporations, politicians, and families Adar has figured out the commonalities between all these different levels of disagreements. They all share the same characteristics when viewed by somebody in the situation itself: it’s hard to confront the other and it’s easy to ‘blow up’ when those involved actually have a confrontation.

It’s common for people to avoid conflict, but avoiding it tends to create more of it. Approaching an awkward, upsetting or long-avoided conversation isn’t easy, but it can be done effectively. Whether it’s a relationship within your family, at work or in your community, you can have a difficult conversation successfully without the help of a third party.

There are three potential outcomes of a difficult conversation: a full-blown solution (tempting, but unrealistic), a plan (a map for finding a solution) or an understanding (which establishes a new awareness of how the other has experienced the conflict, and lays a reliable foundation upon which a plan and solution can be sought). In attempting a difficult conversation without a mediator, I recommend first seeking an understanding.

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Independent Bookstores Succeeding Despite Pandemic and Amazon

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This century bookstores have been struggling to survive due to the rise of Amazon and changing entertainment consumption patterns. When the pandemic started many bookstore owners thought it would be the event that ends the local bookstore. It turns out, the pandemic has actually helped independent bookstores.

Bookstores have started subscription services for readers, home deliveries and got their online stores working better. Some stores have even seen an increase in sales despite everything that’s going on.

As readers hunker down to try and ride out the pandemic, what Saul and other owners have observed is an increased appetite for understanding.

At children’s bookstore Mabel’s Fables in Toronto, when the pandemic kept some customers from visiting, general manager Lizzie McKenzie started juggling a slew of weekly virtual book clubs.

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What Fiction We Read Matters Politically

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The fictional worlds we engage with can change how we think about politics and how we justify our political beliefs. According to a study published in the Cambridge University Press people who read dystopian fiction are more likely to support extreme political reactions to things. The point? Read something that is good for you, go read some classic literature and try to avoid overly-dystopian worlds (or at least read them knowing the impact they may have on you).

Given that the fictional narratives found in novels, movies, and television shows enjoy wide public consumption, memorably convey information, minimize counter-arguing, and often emphasize politically-relevant themes, we argue that greater scholarly attention must be paid to theorizing and measuring how fiction affects political attitudes. We argue for a genre-based approach for studying fiction effects, and apply it to the popular dystopian genre. Results across three experiments are striking: we find consistent evidence that dystopian narratives enhance the willingness to justify radical—especially violent—forms of political action. Yet we find no evidence for the conventional wisdom that they reduce political trust and efficacy, illustrating that fiction’s effects may not be what they seem and underscoring the need for political scientists to take fiction seriously.

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Learn Faster by Knowing Less

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People learn when they can experiment with whatever they are working with, be it something physical like carpentry or something mental like philosophy. Teachers can even encourage faster learning by letting students essentially play with what they have and stepping back. Providing too much instruction means students don’t need to create a process for themselves so they learn to cope, instead they learn to follow the instructions. A recent study showed demonstrated that how make choices as learners impacts how quickly we learn.

This observation means the brain is primed to learn with a bias that is pegged to our freely chosen actions. Choice tips the balance of learning: for the same action and outcome, the brain learns differently and more quickly from free choices than forced ones. This skew may seem like a cognitive flaw, but in computer models, Palminteri’s team found that choice-confirmation bias offered an advantage: it produced stabler learning over a wide range of simulated conditions than unbiased learning did. So even if this tendency occasionally results in bad decisions or beliefs, in the long run, choice-confirmation bias may sensitize the brain to learn from the outcomes of chosen actions—which likely represent what is most important to a given person.

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