Category Archives: Social Trends

Turin mayor wants entire Italian city to go vegetarian

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Turin

Italian city wants to turn vegetarian: The mayor of Turin, the northern Italian city of 870,000 that hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006, has made a controversial new pitch: local citizens should give up their bollito and carne cruda in favor of a vegan or vegetarian diet. Chiara Appendino, who was sworn in as mayor last month, unveiled her plan for the city yesterday, and one major platform was promoting a plant-based diet for Turin’s residents.

“The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding our environment, the health of our citizens and the welfare of our animals,” Appendino wrote in the proposal. She detailed a plan for the next five years—the length of a mayoral term—to work toward this veggie-friendly utopia. “Leading medical, nutritional, and political experts will help promote a culture of respect in our schools, teaching children how to eat well while protecting the earth and animal rights,” the plan continued.

While the mayor’s plan could be seen as grandstanding, it appears that Italy’s food culture is shifting. Younger Italians are more open to trying new foods, and immigrants have brought different cuisines with them from around the world. (Roughly 30 vegetarian or vegan restaurants have opened in Turin, Italy’s fourth-biggest city by population, within the past few years.) Appendino herself belongs to the relatively young Five Star movement, which was founded by the Italian comedian-turned-political activist Beppe Grillo, an outspoken vegetarian who is one of the major names leading the conversation about food culture in the country. Italian parliament member Luigi Di Maio, who also belongs to the Five Star party, even had a vegan cake at his birthday this year.

Yet food as social activism isn’t new in this part of Italy: the “slow food” movement, which encourages people to use locally-grown food over chain restaurants and fast food, began in the nearby town of Bra. Still, despite some shifts in the area’s food scene, many people are opposed to Appendino’s plan. Turin resident Elena Coda complained to The Local that losing meat from the area’s cuisine was a metaphor for losing local Piedemontese culture. “Great foods like wild boar ragu and Chianina steak are already disappearing from the menu once famed for its meats, wines, and cheeses,” she said. The good news? Wine is (almost always) vegan.  – Condé  Nast Traveler, by Lilat Marcus

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Walking meetings increase physical activity and improve bodily health

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Walking

Walking for Health: Is it time to rethink traditional work meetings? Replacing a seated work meeting with a walking meeting can increase workers’ physical activity and lead to positive health effects, according to researchers from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. As part of a study, the researchers recruited 17 workers who led weekly meetings. The workers agreed to wear an accelerometer to track their physical activity at work during a three-week period. They also adhered to guidelines for conducting meetings and note-taking while walking. The protocol included following a set route and walking for at least 30 minutes per meeting.

Results showed that, by the third week, participants had increased their moderate-vigorous physical activity to 117 minutes – up from 107 the first week and 114 the second week. Walking meetings and other interventions to increase physical activity are necessary to “counter the negative health effects of sedentary behavior,” Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, the study’s principal investigator and assistant professor of public health sciences, said in a press release.

Brisk walking for as little as 15 minutes per day can increase a person’s life expectancy by up to three years, researchers said. “Walking is known to have tremendous health benefits,” Hannah Kling, lead study author and project director, said in the release. “Having sedentary, white-collar workers consider walking meetings feasible suggests that this intervention has the potential to positively influence the health of many individuals.” The study was published June 23 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.  –Safety & Health

Gifted Children: personality traits to describe precocious children

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Dakota Fanning

“There’s been two people I’ve met that’s amazed me. One was Angelina Jolie, and the other was Dakota Fanning. I’m convinced this child has the soul of a 40 year old person.” -Denzel Washington, discussing his film Man on Fire  

 

Precocious Children“Getting into everything,” “stubborn” and, sometimes, “a pain in the neck” are just a few of the ways precocious children are described. Many personality traits associated with precocious children stem from their advanced language and reasoning abilities. Unfortunately, this makes it that much harder to trick your toddler into believing that his fish “went swimming” down the toilet or that the hair dryer only works when it’s held by an adult. Understanding these personality traits can make it easier to handle those “memorable” situations.

Empathy

When she was 2 years old, your precocious little one sobbed seeing a bird eating a live worm, and by 5 she’s contemplating a vegan lifestyle. A lot of precocious children decide to become vegetarians. Early on in life, they may develop a heightened awareness of the treatment of animals and may decide they want to become vegans or vegetarians. Precocious kids often have a highly developed sense of morality and emotional understanding, notes Linda Silverman, Ph.D., in “Early Signs of Giftedness.” Such children are often described as sensitive and caring by their classmates and peers, even during situations that would leave her peers unfazed.

Persistence

Precocious children are often dogged in their pursuit of solving a challenge; like that cell phone back you thought was so securely in place. Their ability to think of alternative solutions combined with the desire to learn means precocious children may spend long periods trying to solve a challenging puzzle or building a difficult block tower. This trait may be misinterpreted as being stubborn, given that a precocious child may become so relentless in his pursuits that he resents interruption for other necessary activities.

Creativity

The creativity of a precocious child doesn’t necessarily end with the recent “mural” she drew on the dining room wall. A precocious child often finds several different ways to reach the same end-point, whether it’s solving a shape puzzle or figuring out how to lasso the cookie tin with a dress sash. Her work habits may appear unconventional or non-conforming, which can make her seem uncooperative or uncontrollable since she’s always figuring out new ways to accomplish a task or access prohibited items.

Curiosity

Curiosity can equate to asking “why” every five minutes or wanting to talk about connections he’s making. For example, a precocious toddler listening to a story about a magic scarf might ask lots of questions about how the magic scarf was made, where it came from and the material, rather than simply accepting that the scarf was magical. One-sentence answers rarely satisfy a precocious child’s curiosity, and it can feel overwhelming to keep up with the barrage of questions. As noted in “Education of Gifted and Talented Children,” by Gary Davis et al., it’s important to stimulate his curiosity by searching for the answer together.  –Our Everyday Life

Fringe Science talks with Alvin Conway about his new book Sapientia

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FS: I must say I enjoyed reading your new book, Sapientia: The 40 Principles of Wisdom. I was actually pleasantly surprised how much I actually learned from the book. A lot of the wisdom you shared in Sapientia will stay with me as life-long lessons. What inspired you to write this book?

AC: I wanted to explore human potential. Not in a humanistic sense or in a scientific way or even as something remotely esoteric, but I wanted to challenge the traditional notions about the nature of reality and the self-imposed psychological restrictions we place on our minds from societal conditioning, which actually inhibits us from accomplishing truly great things.

FS: Sapientia shares tenets of wisdom that have some familiar roots in both Eastern and Western cultures. Do you think this book will be a bridge for cultures or even different religions that may find their followers gravitating towards its common themes and philosophical axioms?

AC: Well, truth is universal – like music. Anyone can comprehend music, but the understanding sometimes breaks down between cultures when we add elements of language to music to create songs. That’s why classical music is so beautiful and sacrosanct because it’s unadulterated by being wordless. Maybe another way of looking at it is, music is the soundtrack of life and we are the story or the words to the song. We don’t always have to talk to communicate – sometimes we can just “be.” I hope this book with be an intellectual and philosophical bridge across the oceans and something that resonates beyond the periphery of cultures.

FS: Your book challenges us in the most basic primal way to be more introspective, to reach for something higher, and to evolve into something more meaningful. Was this your intent?

AC: There is no evolution by revolution – going around in circles. The only evolution by revolution I know is by moving forward and tearing down the old order – a sort of demolition by innovation, so to speak. That’s how we make permanent changes in our lives. It’s like checkers. The objective of the game is to move across the board and become twice the person you were before you started by a series of well-coordinated moves. The goal and hope is to reach your crowning achievement on the far end of the game board. What everyone should want for themselves is progressive change; not retrospective wandering. The day we stop growing is the day we die.

FS: You also take exception with the traditional ways that we achieve greatness and think of success in society. Why is that?

AC: Because someone winning should not always be about someone else losing. It takes a thousand hairs to make one paint brush. In nature, success is inclusive not a competitive struggle for existence. There are symbiotic relationships which build networks of cooperation for the whole, not pyramids of competition that benefit only the privileged few at the top. Bees work together as a collective for a holistic purpose. Life is not about stealing opportunities. It should be about creating them. We can’t be truly successful until we’ve shared ourselves, our time, and resources. Love always goes searching for equilibrium. Selfishness, on the other hand, is always looking for leverage so it can be advantaged over someone else.

FS: You talk about personal growth a lot. Is that a part of the whole enlightenment process in your opinion?

AC: It’s certainly a part of it. Every journey doesn’t start the same, from the same starting point, and it won’t end at the same destination. Life will continue to challenge us from the cradle to the grave. When we were babies, there was always something we wanted that was just out of the reach of our cribs. Sometimes, it was for our own good and sometimes it was just because we were no good at reaching it. However, that’s what living is all about – meeting up at random connection points and sharing life experiences: its ups, downs, and all arounds. He came. She overcame. He saw. She conquered. He stepped in. She stepped up. She thought she was above it. He rose above it. She gave up. He never gave in. She pushed back. He pushed on. We go, so we can grow. We outgrow, so we can grow up. Life is a never-ending story because it’s one perpetual learning process. That’s what Sapientia is all about. Life begins now.

Fringe Science’s Mark Chaffin interviewing Sapientia author Alvin Conway

Where to buy the book: Lulu       Alvin Conway on TwitterFacebook

© 2016 Copyright Fringe Science

Sapientia – Life begins now…

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Journey Lifetime

Sapientia is a holistic and revolutionary new look at life: philosophy, spirituality, diet, and health through the lens of 40 life affirming principles of wisdom. Discover the book

 

Sapientia: The 40 Principles of Wisdom by Alvin Conway

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Eden

Sapientia is a Latin word meaning “wisdom.” Life has meaning. Life has a purpose. The author offers 40 insightful adages of wisdom to help guide you through the sometimes “uncanny and uncertain” corridors of life. This is a wonderful book that touches on everything from spirituality to philosophy without ever forgetting that it is the reader who is ultimately in control of his or her own life. It contains koans of wisdom that the intellectual and philosophically-curious will luxuriously gravitate to. It counsels on the best foods to eat for health and long life. It offers motivational advice on how to obtain and successfully reach your goals. It has a chart for age, weight, and nearly every hormonal peak your body will experience, as it ages. It may be the ultimate life textbook. The book retrospectively and analytically examines the psychological works of Freud, Jung, and Abraham Maslow.  It explores the wants, needs, and desires that drives us all in life – the very things that make us human and want to excel. This is one of the best motivational books I have ever read. It’s a book of wisdom that will seamlessly guide you along through life, as you age and mature under the lens of different life-altering experiences. Mr. Conway does a wonderful job of bringing all these existential elements together in one book that’s both enchanting to read and wonderfully illustrated to the point. –Evelyn Casey – NY First Look