Thursday, August 3, 2017

WEIRD NEWS

Talking to Yourself - a Good Thing!

Talk to yourself do you? Not only are you NOT crazy - you might be downright smart. That's the takeaway from a new study in Scientific Reports from researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. They monitored the brain activity of 29 students who were asked to review neutral and disturbing images and talk about how they felt while referring to themselves in the first and third persons. Then they asked 50 participants to internally reflect on painful experiences in the same way. In both cases, "third person self-talk" allowed participants to better regulate their emotions to relieve stress. Lead researcher Jason Moser noted, "It kind of switches you to a different mode of experiencing negative emotions when you use your name rather than the word, 'I.'" Both experiments also showed referring to oneself in the third person required no more effort than referring to oneself in the first person and much less effort than other forms of emotion regulation, like positive thinking. With third person self-talk, "it's like you're viewing [a situation] from an outsider perspective" and gaining "a tiny bit of psychological distance," said Moser. An example, he says, would be to tell yourself, "Jason is really scared" and explain why during a stress-inducing situation. Moser even says psychologists should recommend it for those struggling with anxiety and stress. (Scientific Reports)

Life Can Be a Real Beach

It wasn't exactly fun-in-the-sun for beachgoers in Maryland who found themselves sunbathing next to a dead body! The body of a 30-year-old woman was found in a hole in the sand around 6:30am Monday, with beachgoers alerting municipal employees. The body was identified as Ashley O'Conner of Texas, who was vacationing with her parents in Ocean City. An Ocean City spokesperson says O'Connor was separated from her parents around 2:00am and somehow ended up in the hole on the beach. The spokesperson says the death appears accidental, but police are still trying to figure out what happened. One beachgoer said, "It was shocking just seeing all these people just kind of moving around and vacationing when there's someone that's deceased right behind us." (WBOC)

This Place is a Real Dump...Said Trump

President Trump is apparently not too pleased with his new digs. While most of us would consider living at the White House a dream, our 45th president reportedly remarked to members at his golf club in Bedminister, NJ, that he prefers spending time at his clubs because "that White House is a real dump." The quote appeared in a detailed Golf.com look at Trump which found that his handicap is probably a respectable 8 or 9 - though he routinely takes "floating mulligans." But it's his comments about the White House that is getting all the attention. Trump has had his quarters at the White House redecorated since moving in, but he has still spent an estimated 21 out of 26 weekends elsewhere. According to Golf.com, Trump was chatting with the members before a recent round of golf, explaining why he made so many visits to the NJ club, where he has a cottage adjacent to the pool. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but after the report of Trump's remarks surfaced, Chelsea Clinton stuck up for the place she called home for eight years, saying in a tweet: "Thank you to all the White House ushers, butlers, maids, chefs, florists, gardeners, plumbers, engineers & curators for all you do every day." (Washington Post)

Spanking Your Baby = Troubled Teen

University professor Gustavo Carlo says, "It is very important that parents refrain from physical punishment as it can have long-lasting impacts." His new study recently published in Developmental Psychology looked at the long-term ramifications of spanking and other forms of physical discipline. While previous studies have shown spanking can have negative effects on child development in the short term, Carlo's study found children who faced physical discipline in infancy could continue to see negative effects into their teen years. The study looked at data from 1,840 mothers and children. Information was collected on children at 15 months old, 25 months old, and in fifth grade. The study found that African-American children who were severely punished at 15 months were more likely to be delinquent and aggressive in fifth grade. They were also less likely to help others. However, the study didn't find the same link in European-American children. "Our findings show how parents treat their children at a young age, particularly African-American children, significantly impacts their behavior," Carlo says. (Newser)

White Rights?

According to internal documents, the Justice Department's civil rights division is being directed toward a new project - defending the rights of white college students. A division document seen by the New York Times seeks lawyers for "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions." Officials say the project will be run out of the front office of the division, where political appointees work, not the Educational Opportunities Section, where career Justice Department attorneys handle other cases on universities. The department declined to comment on the new project but Reagan-era civil rights division worker Roger Clegg tells the Times that he feels the move is "long overdue." "The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now, but frequently Asian-Americans are as well," he says. But Vanita Gupta, the division's head under Obama, calls the project "an affront to our values as a country and the very mission of the civil rights division." (New York Times)

Better to Be Safest Biker Rather Than Sexiest

In Russia, Olga Pronina was known as the sexiest motorcyclist in her native country - mostly from her many published pictures of her posing in bikinis with her bike. Unfortunately she wasn't the safest biker and thus was killed in a horrible crash while racing through the city of Vladivostok. She lost control of her BMW motorcycle and ploughed into a side railing. The 40-year-old mom-of-one, who was known as Monika to her legion of fans on Instagram, was thrown from the bike and died before the emergency services could reach her. The daring brunette who had over 150,000 followers on the social media site was described by friends as an adrenaline junkie who loved riding at high-speeds. In one of her last Instagram videos, the thrill-chasing biker - who also worked as a hairdresser - is seen straddling a motorcycle sideways and drinking from a straw while riding at high-speed. She warned her followers: "By the way, doing 250kmph and holding one hand is very uncomfortable. I do not recommend. But I got my adrenaline dose." According to local reports, Olga had clocked up dozens of speeding tickets. (New York Post)

What the What?

Just when you thought the anti-vax movement couldn't get any crazier, we take you to Brooklyn where veterinarians have reported that some pet owners are refusing to get their pets vaccinated because they're afraid the animals will get autism. Just for the record, there is no evidence whatsoever that autism even exists in non-humans. Dr. Amy Ford of the Veterinarian Wellness Center in the Boerum Hill neighborhood said, "This may be stemming from the anti-vaccine movement, which people are now applying to their pets." Dr. Ford said that more and more people hailing from hip areas of Brooklyn are refusing to vaccinate their pets for rabies, distemper and hepatitis - all of which are required by law in New York. (Brooklyn Paper)

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