Author Archives: adguru101

About adguru101

Formerly a creative director and writer in NY and NJ ad agencies, I'm now a freelance writer living in Austin, TX. With this blog, I hope to reach "mid-century moderns" -- women born in the '50's -- with content and observations about the issues we deal with every day.

Good News Monday: Cyber-crazy?

Is Cyber Monday a “thing” outside of the US? My inbox is being bombarded with hundreds of panicky Buy Now! Last Chance! Special Pricing! emails today. My fingers are sore from deleting them all. And I haven’t even bought anything!

I hope all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday. We were lucky enough to have two of our “girls” visit — one who had Covid and a subsequent positive antibody test, and another who never leaves her apartment and whose fiancé recently tested negative for Covid. Fingers crossed that nobody gets sick.

Having consumed enough food to feel positively whale-ish, the following article seemed appropriately Good Newsy for this week.

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Send In the Cavalry!

Exciting news these days, as several COVID vaccines show promising results, and it looks as though antibodies in those who’ve survived the disease can last months or even years.

While we wait, it’s also good to know that both mouthwash and baby shampoo have been shown to provide additional protection. (No, we aren’t supposed to gargle with baby shampoo or put mouthwash in our hair. It’s quite straightforward.)

What I really want to see, though, are some additional, mandatory vaccines:

  • Protection against false claims of fake news, fake election results, and generally fake anything you happen to disagree with
  • A vaccine against racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial
  • 100% protection against ignoring the reality of climate change
  • 99.9% protection against stupidity — 100% being simply unrealistic
  • A vaccine against meanspiritedness, unneighborly behavior and selfishness

And, finally, a shot that will permanently erase 2020.

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Good News Monday: It’s Not You, It’s Your Brain

Unhealthy, processed food, snacks
(© beats_ – stock.adobe.com)

[Reprinted from studyfinds.org]

Our brains may be wired to seek out junk food, scientists say

by Chris Melore

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WAGENINGEN, Netherlands — If you’ve ever snuck into your kitchen for a midnight snack, you probably know exactly where all the sweet and tasty treats are hidden with your eyes closed. Researchers in the Netherlands say this isn’t just about good memory, the human brain may actually be wired to hunt down high-calorie food. Their study finds humans are significantly better at remembering where junk foods are kept than they are with healthier options.

A team from Wageningen University & Research believes the human brain has evolved to focus on memorizing where high-calorie foods are located. Study authors theorize this allowed our hunter-gatherer ancestors to survive in tough environments with few food options.

The study tested 512 participants who were put through a sort of food-memory maze. Researchers had the group follow a fixed route through a room where eight foods or food-scented pads were strategically placed.

As each participant walked through the maze, they either tasted the food or smelled the pads. These tasty options ranged from apples and cucumbers to potato chips and chocolate brownies. The group was also asked to rate how much they like each food they encountered. Researchers then gave the volunteers a surprise quiz on where these snacks were located.

Junk food more appealing to our mind, too

The results reveal the group was 27 percent more accurate at picking the right locations of high-calorie foods than low-calorie options. Participants were even better with food scents, spotting high-calorie pads with 28 percent more accuracy than low-calorie ones.

Researchers report that the results weren’t affected by whether the high-calorie snack was sweet or savory. It also didn’t seem to matter if the participants liked the foods or not. Overall, people were 2.5 times (or 243 percent) better at memorizing where actual food was compared to food-scented pads.

Is there a downside to this skill?

While this ability likely served humans well in the distant past, the study suggests it could lead to problems today. Researchers hint that the memory bias towards high-calorie foods can create dieting issues for many people.

They add that brains which can resist the urge to hunt down sweeter snacks will likely avoid these dieting problems. Researchers are now looking at how the high-calorie memory bias affects present day eating habits.

The study appears in Scientific Reports.

Random Good Things About Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th! I’m reblogging a post from a couple of years ago.

olderfatterhappierdotcom

It’s safer

According to the Dutch Center for Insurance Statistics, Friday the 13th is actually statistically safer than other Fridays — there are fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft on these days. Is that only true in the Netherlands, though?

The first dinosaur eggs were found

Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the first dinosaur eggs at a dig in Mongolia, on July 13, 1923, a huge breakthrough in paleontology and a generally cool thing.

Gender discrimination became illegal in government

Although Title VII prevented private employers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin and sex, it wasn’t until Executive Order 11375 that gender discrimination became illegal for the federal government and federal contractors. President Johnson signed the order — officially titled Amending Executive Order No. 11246, Relating to Equal Employment Opportunity — on October 13, 1967.

Now we need a law prohibiting stupidity in government.

Water was…

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Good News Monday (early edition): A Sigh of Relief

Despite the looming threats of new COVID devastation, many are feeling optimistic after Biden’s decisive presidential win. For any readers who are disappointed, I hope this will usher in a new era of civility and a return to classic American values of inclusion. Unless your ancestry is Indigenous, we all came to this melting pot from somewhere and we all deserve to live in a country that welcomes us.

Here’s a great piece — brought to my attention by the Enlightened Mind blog — that shows worldwide jubilation about the end of 45’s reign of terror. I have no doubt he’ll continue to tweet his nastygrams, but hopefully to a smaller audience and without daily media coverage of his sociopathy. Cheers!

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World now looks at how Biden will reshape U.S. policies after turbulent Trump era

Shibani Mahtani, Miriam Berger  1 day ago


Elections expert Q&A: No evidence of fraud and fail-safes everywhere in US.

The world looked ahead Saturday to new American leadership, with U.S. allies and rivals alike starting to predict what the change in the White House would mean for their relations with the United States and for American engagement more generally.a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Activists join a pro-migrant demonstration on the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Crossing Port in Tijuana, Mexico, after Joe Biden was declared winner of the U.S. presidential election. (Guillermo Arias / AFP/Getty Images)Activists join a pro-migrant demonstration on the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Crossing Port in Tijuana, Mexico, after Joe Biden was declared winner of the U.S. presidential election. (Guillermo Arias / AFP/Getty Images)

Here are the latest developments:

  • Congratulatory messages poured in from around the world to Biden and vice president-elect Kamala D. Harris.
  • Spontaneous celebrations broke out on streets in London, Berlin and other cities.
  • President Trump has continued to make unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud, retweeting misleading claims about the integrity of the vote count.
  • Trump’s far-right allies, notably Brexit party leader Nigel Farage, encouraged him to keep up the fight and railed against mail-in ballots.

It did not take long after Joe Biden’s victory was projected for world leaders to unleash the normal flood of congratulatory messages. But for those abroad who have felt uneasy with President Trump and his norm-breaking style, it was a much-awaited moment of optimism and even jubilation.PlayCurrent Time 0:14/Duration 1:15Loaded: 43.14%Unmute0FullscreenDeath toll from storm Eta soarsClick to expand

Death toll from storm Eta soars
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Biden defeats Trump| The 2020 Fix
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Crowds celebrate Biden-Harris win near White House

Shouts of “Biden!” and cheers broke out in Berlin, London, Toronto and other cities when the excruciating wait for an announcement came to an end. On Twitter, echoing Paris’ mayor, people tweeted out, “Welcome Back, America.”

Many hope that Trump’s unilateralism and America-first populism will give way to an era of renewed U.S. global leadership and an embrace of multilateralism to tackle common challenges.

“It’s good that there are finally clear numbers. We look forward to working with the next U.S. administration,” tweeted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “We want to invest in cooperation for a transatlantic new beginning, a new deal.

Reinhard Bütikofer, a German member of European Parliament, quipped, “I heard a Pan-European sigh of relief, when Biden’s victory was called.”Marianne Hoenow from Connecticut celebrates the victory of president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala D. Harris in front of the Brandenbug Gate next to the United States Embassy in Berlin on Nov. 7, 2020. (Markus Schreiber/AP)Marianne Hoenow from Connecticut celebrates the victory of president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala D. Harris in front of the Brandenbug Gate next to the United States Embassy in Berlin on Nov. 7, 2020. (Markus Schreiber/AP)The U.S. election gripped the world, making way for plenty of memes

Though Trump had yet to acknowledge his defeat, some of the foreign leaders closest to him did not delay in sending their congratulations to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted his congratulations., saying, “The U.S. is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.”

Poland’s right-wing President Andrzej Duda, who has been politically aligned with Trump, cautiously tweeted to congratulate Biden “for a successful presidential campaign.” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, whom Trump once called his “favorite dictator,” sent his best wishes to Biden, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the president-elect. He also noted that Harris’s Indian heritage is “a source of immense pride.”Villagers in Painganadu, India, prepare placards featuring Sen. Kamala D. Harris on Nov. 6, 2020, a day before Joe Biden and Kamala D. Harris were declared winners as president-elect and vice president-elect. (Aijaz Rahi/AP)Villagers in Painganadu, India, prepare placards featuring Sen. Kamala D. Harris on Nov. 6, 2020, a day before Joe Biden and Kamala D. Harris were declared winners as president-elect and vice president-elect. (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

Harris’s family hometown in southern India — the birthplace of her maternal grandfather — had already been holding celebrations in her honor ahead of the traditional Diwali festival. Meanwhile, Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, also saluted her family ties to Jamaica, the birthplace of her father, as well as her “monumental accomplishment for women.”

In Biden’s ancestral hometown in Ireland, a crowd gathered to pop champagne. “I want to congratulate the new President Elect of the USA @JoeBiden Joe Biden has been a true friend of this nation throughout his life and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead,” wrote Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin in a nod to Biden’s Irish heritage.

Perhaps the first foreign leader to congratulate Biden was Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, who said in a tweet — even before the election was formally called — that they must work together to confront a warming planet and rebuild the global economy.

Hours later, congratulations from world leaders and others — who were watching the vote count unfold over days — were finally uncorked as soon as U.S. news organizations declared Biden the winner. Leaders with diverse views and priorities — from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — were quick to share their enthusiasm about working with Biden.Residents in Ballina, Ireland, climb a scaffold as they hang out American flags and bunting for president-elect Joe Biden on Nov. 07, 2020 in the ancestral home of the Biden family. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)Residents in Ballina, Ireland, climb a scaffold as they hang out American flags and bunting for president-elect Joe Biden on Nov. 07, 2020 in the ancestral home of the Biden family. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari urged Biden to “deploy his vast experience in tackling the negative consequences of nationalist politics on world affairs — which have created divisions and uncertainties — and to introduce greater engagement with Africa on the basis of reciprocal respect and shared interests.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari urged Biden to “deploy his vast experience in tackling the negative consequences of nationalist politics on world affairs — which have created divisions and uncertainties — and to introduce greater engagement with Africa on the basis of reciprocal respect and shared interests.”

Some U.S. rivals, however, reacted differently. The People’s Daily China, an official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, chose instead to taunt Trump by retweeting his boast that he’d won the election and commenting “HaHa” with a laughing emoji.

Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei did not directly mention Biden or Trump in a tweet denouncing the election as a sign of the “definite political, civil, & moral decline of the US regime.” But Iranian Vice President Eshaq was more optimistic, saying, “I hope we will see a change in the destructive policies of the United States, a return to the rule of law and international obligations and respect for nations.”a person riding on the back of a motorcycle: A man reads a copy of Iranian daily newspaper Sobhe Nou with a cartoon depicting U.S. president Donald J Trump and a headline reading 'Go to hell gambler', in front of a newsstand in Tehran, November 07, 2020. According to local media reports, many Iranians are rooting for Democratic candidate Joe Biden. (Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)Man reads a copy of Iranian daily newspaper Sobhe Nou with a cartoon depicting U.S. president Donald J Trump and a headline reading ‘Go to hell gambler’, in front of a newsstand in Tehran, November 07, 2020. According to local media reports, many Iranians are rooting for Democratic candidate Joe Biden. (Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) In Europe, few sad to see Trump go

Politics and pandemic

The pandemic has added urgency to Biden’s pledge to reverse Trump’s approach, which has left the United States estranged from the World Health Organization and facing the highest numbers of deaths and new cases at home.

After Trump withdrew from the WHO, Biden promised to rejoin it on his first day in office. Biden is a “globalist at heart,” wrote Natasha Kassam, a research fellow at Sydney’s Lowy Institute political think tank, in the Guardian.

Other Trump policies are also in doubt. The Times of India, which anticipated Biden’s win with the headline “Bye Don, It’s Biden Finally,” said that H1-B work visas — allowing nonimmigrants to work in the United States — are unlikely to return in their previous numbers, even if the Biden administration has a more favorable immigration policy. But it noted that the Democrats could be stronger about challenging human rights violations in India.

In China, relations with the United States have fallen to their lowest point in 40 years amid bitter disputes over trade, technology, human rights and the novel coronavirus. But hopes have been stirred that a Biden win might act as a circuit-breaker and offer possible cooperation in certain areas.

Still, an op-ed in the nationalistic Global Times tabloid noted deep partisan divisions in the United States that it said would not be easily eased.

With Trump determined to contest the election results in court, some foreign commentators expressed their fears.

“The squatter” was the title of the Saturday cover of Der Spiegel, a leading German news magazine. A defiant, fatigue-clad Trump is depicted holding a rifle, barricaded in the Oval Office with a bullet-holed picture of a smiling Biden in the backdrop.Trump’s claims of stolen election have some recent precedents — in Gambia and Guyana

In Britain, the Guardian declared Trump in a “fight against reality,” but noted in an editorial that Biden would have his work cut out to “rebuild the U.S. government’s credibility after Trumpism hollowed out its institutions.”

In Japan, a burger outlet near a U.S. naval base followed a long tradition of naming a burger after every sitting American president by adding the Biden Burger to its menu, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The Biden Burger pays homage to his Scranton, Pa., roots. It comes with Philadelphia-style cheese and potato chips to represent Pennsylvania, a major chip producer. The Trump Burger has a dash of jalapeño, “supposedly reflecting Trump’s sharp tongue,” NHK wrote.

Mahtani reported from Hong Kong and Berger from Washington. David Crawshaw in Hong Kong; Steve Hendrix in Jerusalem; Michael Birnbaum in Latvia, Riga; Kareem Fahim in Istanbul; Danielle Paquette in Dakar; William Booth and Karla Adam in London; Niha Masih in New Delhi; James McAuley in Paris; Susannah George in Kabul; Chico Harlan in Rome; Isabelle Khurshudyan in Moscow; Amanda Coletta in Toronto; Lesley Wroughton in Cape Town, South Africa, and Kate Chappell in Kingston, Jamaica, contributed to this report.

San Diego Zoo scientists revive cells from 40-year deep freeze to clone endangered house

“Horse”, not “house”! Which is a shame since I’d love to clone our Austin house and transport it to Oregon.

TheEnlightenedMind622

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Good News Monday: A Pandemic Love Story

Reprinted from the New York Times:

“For a 67 year old widower, the pandemic might seem the most unlikely time possible to fall in love. Yet by stepping outside the box where most seniors feel comfortable, online dating created unexpected opportunity. Discovering another widower on the same page regarding Covid led us to being tested. We shared negative results, building the kind of trust absent from typical fledging relationships. The spark revealed in our first face-to-face meeting kindled quickly into something much stronger. In weeks, relative social isolation led to bonds typically requiring months in a busier pre-Covid world. We look at each other and shake our heads, smiling. A new hashtag sums it up: #mypandemicmiracle.”— Mark Alberhasky, Atlanta
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A Scary Story with a Happy Ending

Happy Halloween! My quest to vote almost had a ghoulish outcome, but I’m happy to report that Treat has triumphed over Trick this week.

(I dare you to stop me from voting, you creeps!)

I’ve voted in every presidential election since I was 18 and I wasn’t about to miss this crucial one. But it wasn’t easy, thanks to some post office shenanigans I can’t believe were “coincidental”. Here’s what happened:

Back in May, when we had no clue what the pandammit might look like in 6 months, my husband and I applied to vote by mail. We expected to be out of state but it wasn’t 100% definite, so we put down our regular address, knowing that our mail would be forwarded weekly.

Hah. Wouldn’t you know, our expensive premium mail forwarding service worked perfectly throughout July, August and September. But ballots were sent out on Sept. 24 and guess what, the weekly mail which should have arrived by October 3 never showed up. MIA with no explanation.

When I checked online, my account showed a “change in processing” that I’d never initiated. WTF?!? Several calls to the postal service and all I could find out was that I wasn’t the only one suddenly not getting their mail.

Week Two. Mail is collected, arrives on time … no ballots.

Week Three. Mail is sent, arrives Oct. 17… still no ballots.

Week Four (last chance hurrah). Same story. ARRGGHHH.

On to Plan B. I e-mail and then call the voter organization back in our home state, which says I need to write a letter canceling the original ballots, download new applications, and send all this to them by both regular and e-mail before the deadline (in 4 days) so they can send new ballots to us in Oregon ASAP. Done.

But the saga isn’t over yet. GUESS what shows up last Friday (only a month late)…. the MISSING BOX, which has clearly been bouncing around the country: bruised, battered, and containing a bunch of bills (which luckily I’ve paid online) and two bedraggled ballots!

Now a frantic call to the voter folks to ask if we can void the cancellations and use these. They say, “Well, we probably shouldn’t, but ok”, and suggest we send them in by UPS instead of the post office– they warn me that the post office is “unreliable” — gee, ‘ya think? — so we quickly fill in our ballots, race to UPS and pay for rush delivery, and hold our breaths.

Yesterday, the NEW ballots arrive. Luckily, a quick phone call assures me that the voter group indeed received and processed our original ones and I can throw these away. Whew.

BUT I keep wondering how many other people have simply given up.

If you’re in the US, stamp out the bad guys and vote in person this Tuesday! Consider it Victory.Over.True.Evil!!!

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