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“People only care about being rich now – this is the only way to achieve social prestige. Before, careers weren’t so important; people had more time for their friends. In the countryside life has changed completely. My granny lives in the southern mountains and in her village, when I was growing up, everyone had a cow and a pig and chickens. Now they are selling off their cows because the milk is worth nothing. There is no future in small farming and the young people are leaving for the towns. It’s sad when I go there because I’m watching a whole way of life disappear. I hope that Poland will bring in laws and regulations that make life easier for people, rather than more difficult, the way it is with the bureaucracy we have now. I hope I can get a job that pays well enough for me to own a flat and also travel around the world.” –“Meet the Children Who Came in from the Cold,” the Guardian
John Kenneth Galbraith: Edward Kennedy’s age and youthful inexperience were, at the beginning, sadly adverse circumstances. But not always. Arising early one morning in his first campaign to shake hands with the workers arriving at a Massachusetts factory, he was greeted by a man of mature years who came rolling down the line. He said, “Teddy, m’boy, I hear you’ve never done a day’s work in your life.” It was the candidate’s most vulnerable point; he braced himself to make a reply, but the old man didn’t wait for it: “Let me tell you somethin’, lad. You haven’t missed a thing.” –“The Many Sides of Ted Kennedy: Memories from those who loved and loathed the man,” Salon
One of the leading theories of why religion is so popular goes by the ominous name of ‘Terror Management Theory’. Put simply, this is the idea that people turn to religion to ease their fear of death. Gareth Morris and Tina McAdie, of Huddersfield University in the UK, set out to test this idea in a group of mostly young people (a mix of Christians, Muslims, and the non-religious) recruited within the University. The study was simple, but the results were very interesting. While Christians did indeed have a lower death anxiety than the non-religious, Muslims did not. In fact, their death anxiety was markedly higher than both the other groups. –“Is the Social Function of Religion Changing?” by Tom Rees, Epiphenoma
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”