Wednesday, July 26, 2017
As we approach the middle of the summer it is a time to re-charge our attitudes and relax. Be it a day at the beach or lake, an afternoon at a museum, some travel, a family reunion, or just sitting on a patio and catching up on your reading.
Summer is also a time when you can attend a camp: a sports camp, overnight camp, health camp, music camp, you get the point. This summer I have had the continued great pleasure to participate in two academic camps.
The University of La Verne has two wonderful summer programs, wonderful not because I participate, but wonderful because they help students learn: A business camp for high school students to study college level business, and an executive certificate program for international students to study American business.
Both these camps are popular and community based. The REACH Business camp provides local high school students (58) an exposure to business, business education and perhaps most important many of these first generation college students a first exposure to college life. They develop a business venture and develop a plan by studying accounting, finance, web site development, organization management and learn how to work as a team.
Every year I participate in this camp I am amazed at the desire to learn and the joy of beginning a higher education academic career for these students. You read these days about the high costs of college and the poor return on the investment. I disagree, when you see these students’ families and friends attend their graduation with their pride and expectations for the future, you cannot help to feel good about what college offers these students and their families.
The second camp is for students (220) from South America, China, New Zealand, and Europe who want to increase their knowledge about management, accounting, finance, marketing, public administration, and business strategies. What an enthusiastic group of adults. To view their wonder at visiting Southern California (America) for the first time is very special.
SCIENCE 101 - Eclipse fever builds: From coast to coast, towns anticipate celestial event of a lifetime ... Parades, parties and port-a-potties.
The moon's shadow will race across the United States [during the day] on Aug. 21, tracing a 2,800-mile arc from Oregon to South Carolina. It will take about 90 minutes for the eclipse to travel from coast to coast, plunging a roughly 70-mile-wide swath of land into a twilight-like darkness in the process.
Only in this so-called path of totality will the world grow dark enough to see the stars as the moon blots out the sun. The temperature will drop, crickets will begin to chirp and farm animals will lie down and go to sleep. If skies are clear, observers will be able to see the sun's halo-like corona, which is usually obscured by the brightness of the photosphere.
An estimated 12 million Americans are fortunate enough to live in the path of totality. But for the rest of us, viewing the first total solar eclipse to stretch across the continental U.S. since 1918 will take some strategizing.
Hopkinsville, Ky., is calling itself Eclipsville: "We put in a request with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to have 85 National Guard military police, simply to assist with the immense amount of traffic that we anticipate.
BOXERS OR BRIEFS? - Sperm count falling sharply in Western world: Sperm counts in men from America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years ... [Researchers] said the rate of decline is not slowing. Both findings ... pointed to a potential decline in male health and fertility. ... 'This study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world.'"
Researchers said falling sperm counts have ... been linked to various factors such as exposure to certain chemicals and pesticides, smoking, stress and obesity.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Canada is the most educated country in the world; 55% of adults have a college degree.
College Costs: Public vs. Private - Comparative costs on college campuses.
Large, public universities spend more efficiently than do small, private colleges, according to a new study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. At large, public institutions, the administrative staff spends a median of 17 cents for every dollar spent on the instructional staff. At small, private colleges, 64 cents are spent on the administrative staff for every dollar spent on the instructional staff. Here's the analysis.
Following a 400-percent rise over the past 30 years, college tuition is growing at its slowest rate in decades.
MORTGAGES COULD GET EASIER – Two major changes in the mortgage market go into effect this month, and both could help millions more borrowers qualify for a home loan. The changes will also add more risk to the mortgage market.
First, the nation’s three major credit rating agencies ... will drop tax liens and civil judgments from some consumers’ profiles if the information isn’t complete ... In addition to the FICO changes, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are allowing borrowers to have higher levels of debt and still qualify for a home loan.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Tim Gun (64) New York, NY; Corlan Ortmayer Harrison …she should be ULV’s Alumni Director; Arnold Schwarzenegger (70) Beverly Hills, CA.; Jordan Spieth (24) Austin, TX.; Sandro Suffredini …another famous nephew.
GOOD READ - "The Uninhabitable Earth," by David Wallace-Wells, is now the most-read article in the magazine's history, with 2.5 million readers so far: http://nym.ag/2tdMwYO..
SUMMER TRAVEL – I eat nothing on flights. At super high altitude, your digestive system shuts down completely. Someone said to me it's like being under anesthesia. So when you get off the plane, everything restarts and [your digestive system] has so much more work to do and so it makes you more tired.
Most people overeat because it's a diversion or a way to pass the time; but even the best plane food is over salted and preserved so it can be microwaved. So you have something to eat a couple hours before getting on the plane, but otherwise it's nothing but lots and lots of water.
Dear Rink Rats:
For the last five months I have been talking to a guy I met via a dating app. We live a few states apart and have yet to meet in person, but we communicate regularly.
With my tax refund this year, I’d like to do something for me. He suggested that I visit him. I don’t get any red flags from him, and I’m sure I’d be 100 percent safe while I’m there. However, I’m anxious about taking a trip by myself to visit a guy I’ve developed a massive crush on.
I have thought about offering to pay his way here instead, or simply not going at all. I asked my friends and family for their opinions. Some of them think I should go, while others say I should pay his way here. I need advice from an outsider’s perspective.
Confused and Crushing
Dear Confused and Crushing:
Are you nuts…what are you doing on a dating app! How about the local bar, church, or bingo hall to meet Mr. Right? Or how about investing your tax return in a Technology ETF?
But if you must, I vote for having your friend come and visit you the first time you meet. That way your family and friends can meet him, and if your massive crush doesn’t live up to your expectations, you won’t be alone in a strange city and at a disadvantage.
TOP NORTH AMERICAN SPORT FRANCHISES – According to Forbes Magazine the most valuable American franchises: Dallas Cowboys $4.2B, New York Yankees $3.7B, New England Patriots $3.4B, New York Knicks $3.3B, New York Giants $3.1B.
SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
MLB Game of the Week (July 29) – Colorado Rockies (58-44) vs. Washington Nationals (59-39). Two playoff bound teams clash in the nation’s capital, Rockies win 4 – 3.
Season to Date (45 - 23)
ON THIS DATE - July 24, 1701: Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac established a French settlement at le détroit ("the strait”). Happy 316th Birthday to the City of Detroit.
Next Blog: Jack Ass of the Month, words of the Month and what is on the iPad.
See you on July 31, Adios.
July 26, 2017
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Unemployment by Michael Ramirez
Monday, July 17, 2017
Fifty years ago this week this writer was growing up in Franklin, Michigan (northwest of Detroit). I was finishing up my Franklin Pony League baseball season with the Cardinals and my summer league hockey schedule at Gordie Howe Hockeyland in St. Clair Shores Michigan. The Detroit Tigers were battling with the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and the Chicago White Sox for the American League title (Red Sox won by a game over the Tigers and the Twinkies).
But what I remember the most about that summer of 1967 began on Sunday July 23. The resulting years after the events in our community of July 23 -27, 1967 influenced where many friends would choose to go to college and eventually where they would live to begin their careers. But more importantly the events influenced social, political, and economic development for the next fifty years in Southwestern Michigan.
In the early hours of Sunday (3:45 a.m.), July 23, 1967, Detroit police officers raided the unlicensed weekend drinking club in the office of the United Community League for Civic Action, above the Economy Printing Company, at 9125 12th Street (now called Rosa Parks Boulevard). They expected a few revelers inside, but instead found a party of 82 African Americans celebrating the return of two local GIs from the Vietnam War. The police decided to arrest everyone present. While they were arranging for transportation, a sizable crowd of onlookers gathered on the street. Later, in a memoir, Walter Scott III, a doorman whose father was running the raided blind pig, took responsibility for starting the riot by inciting the crowd and throwing a bottle at a police officer.
After the police left, the mob began looting an adjacent clothing store. Shortly thereafter, full-scale looting began throughout the neighborhood. State police, Wayne County sheriffs, and the Michigan National Guard were alerted, but because it was Sunday, it took hours for the Police Commissioner Ray Girardin to assemble sufficient manpower. Meanwhile, witnesses described seeing a "carnival atmosphere" on 12th Street. Police—inadequate in number and wrongly believing that the rioting would soon expire—just stood there and watched. Police did not make their first arrest until 7 a.m. To the east, on Chene Street, reports said the pillaging mob boasted a mixed composition. The pastor of Grace Episcopal Church along 12th Street reported that he saw a "gleefulness in throwing stuff and getting stuff out of buildings". The police conducted several sweeps along 12th Street, which proved ineffective because of the unexpectedly large numbers of people outside. The first major fire broke mid-afternoon in a grocery store at the corner of 12th Street and Atkinson. The mob prevented firefighters from extinguishing it and soon more smoke filled the skyline.
The local news media initially avoided reporting on the disturbance so as not to inspire copy-cat violence, but the rioting started to expand to other parts of the city, including looting of retail and grocery stores elsewhere. By Sunday afternoon, news had spread, and people attending events such as a Fox Theater Motown revue and Detroit Tigers baseball game were warned to avoid certain areas of the city. Motown's Martha Reeves was on stage at the Fox, singing "Jimmy Mack," and was assigned to ask people to leave quietly, as there was trouble outside. After the game, Tigers left fielder Willie Horton, a Detroit resident who had grown up not far from 12th Street, drove to the riot area and stood on a car in the middle of the crowd while still in his baseball uniform. Despite Horton's impassioned pleas, he could not calm the mob.
The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a violent public disorder that turned into a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in the history of the United States, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot.
To help end the disturbance, Governor George W. Romney ordered the Michigan Army National Guard into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. The result was 43 dead, 1,189 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed.
A decline that had already begun would accelerate; Detroit was the nation's fourth biggest city in 1960, but would rank 21st by 2016. The middle class fled, and a proud city fell into poverty, crime and hopelessness.
There are signs of rebirth in Detroit. Capital investment is booming in the downtown Woodward Avenue corridor in the City of Detroit. But the men and women who lived through the riots are getting older, and most doubt they will live to see Detroit reclaim its former glory, when its very name was synonymous with American know-how and industry.
The picture below was taken on June 23, 1967 of 12th Street looking east; the second picture below was taken on July 11, 2017 of the same corner today looking east.
GOOD READS – “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story” by David Maraniss, and “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff: Both excellent accounts of these last fifty years in the City of Detroit.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Republicans are becoming increasingly cranky about the value of the nation's higher education sector, according to a new poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center. For the first time since the question was asked in 2010, a majority of Republicans polled (58 percent) said that colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country. That's up from 45 percent a year ago. Two years ago, 54 percent of Republicans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going compared to 36 percent today. The pollsters found that the downward trend in the view of higher education is reflected by all ages, incomes and ideologies within the GOP.
Overall, however, a majority of the public (55 percent), still says that colleges and universities have a positive effect - a view relatively unchanged from a year ago. That includes the 72 percent of Democrats who say higher education institutions have a positive effect.
SYLLABUS – More and more this summer faculty are receiving numerous emails from publishers and student management firms on the benefits of their services. The full court press is on to provide services for helping in the classroom.
BOONDOGGLE - Google operates a little-known program that harnesses the brain power of university researchers to sway opinion and public policy. Over the past decade, the search-and-advertising giant has helped finance hundreds of research papers to defend against regulatory challenges to its market dominance, paying $5,000 to $400,000 for the work, according to our findings. Paying for favorable academic research isn’t new among food, drug and oil companies. But Google’s program highlights a behind-the-scenes push in Silicon Valley to sway decision makers in Washington. Critics worry such funding, which professors don’t always reveal, could undermine academic credibility. In some years, a former Google employee and a former Google lobbyist said, the company compiled wish lists of academic papers, then searched for willing authors. Conclusions of some Google-backed research: The company hasn’t unfairly quashed competitors, and its consumer-data collection is a fair exchange for its free services.
STARTUPS - For the first time on record, U.S. companies are dying at a faster rate than they're being born, the slow rate of business starts means the U.S. economy is powered by a narrowing segment of companies, people and geographies — making the overall economy less resilient than it was after previous recessions.
When fewer new companies are being born, it's less likely that the companies and jobs that are disappearing will be replaced by better ones. And without competitive pressures from upstarts, big companies are able to grow bigger faster, increasing industry consolidation.
A NAME TO REMEMBER - SAM ALTMAN'S BIG IDEA -- One unexpected result of the election of Donald Trump has been that some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley have been inspired to innovate, and to disrupt, in a whole a new universe: politics.
-- That's what's pushing blogger, coder and wealthy Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman, 32, president of Y Combinator -- the legendary tech incubator which has birthed an estimated 50 firms now valued between $100 million and $1 billion, in addition to giants Airbnb and Dropbox.
“We have massive wealth inequality, little economic growth, a system that works for people born lucky, and a cost of living that is spiraling out of control. Most young people think their lives will be worse than their parents' lives, which should set off alarm bells for us."
-- His movement, outlined in a LA Times piece by Seema Mehta, seeks to address issues including affordable housing, health care, clean energy, jobs and automation, and and the importance of "world class education,'' among other things.
-- Why it matters: Altman and Y Combinator founder Paul Graham are widely viewed as among the Valley's most brilliant innovators, up in the tech pantheon with Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Altman was the first major tech exec after the election to seek answers about the political shift. As he's written about in his blog, Altman has travelled to Trump country and around California to talk directly to Americans about their concerns.
-- Bottom line: He already has an audience of sharp, tech-savvy folks, business people and Millennials - and he's got plenty of money. If Altman is as successful in identifying new ideas, innovations - and people in politics - in the uncanny way he's managed in tech, this one could be very interesting to watch. And disruptive. Stay tuned.
PC SALES - Higher memory and display prices put further pressure on the already slumping computer market, with PC sales down yet again last quarter, according to preliminary numbers. Shipments were down 4.3% from a year ago and represented the lowest quarterly total since 2007, according to the market researcher Gartner.
It's worth noting that Gartner's numbers don't include Chromebook sales, which have been growing, or iPad sales, which haven't.
As for Chromebooks, Gartner says shipments last year grew 38% in 2016, while the overall PC market declined 6%.
HP and Dell on the rise: While most of the market was down, HP posted its fifth straight quarter of year-on-year growth and passed up Lenovo to reclaim the top spot among PC makers globally. Dell also posted a slim year-on-year rise for its fifth straight quarterly gain. Apple's Mac sales were roughly flat.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Will Ferrell (50) Malibu, CA.; Harrison Ford (75) Aspen, CO; Patrick Pugliese …happy 18th birthday, this writer is getting old; . Kat Weaver …famous Biologist and fan of Ted Nugent.
SUMMER TRAVEL – Tipping: A tip (or gratuity) is defined as a sum of money tendered to certain service workers for a service performed. A tip is seldom required and its amount is usually at the discretion of the patron being served.
It may not be required, but tipping is certainly expected. I recently got a haircut and added a tip to the price. I like my hairstylist and gave her a generous tip for her good service, but also to ensure she doesn’t massacre my hair on my next visit. I have some friends that consider tipping offensive.
People tip, even for bad service, because they don’t want to be thought of as cheap or ignorant.
The Emily Post Institute provides this guide to customary gratuities for various services:
Barber, hairstylist, or pet groomer – 15 to 20% of the bill.
Waiter/ess – 15% of the bill for adequate service, 20% for very good service and no less than 10% for poor service.
Bartender – 15 to 20% of the tab, minimum $1 per alcoholic drink
Pizza delivery person – 15 to 20%, minimum of $2 per pizza
Taxi driver – 15%
Hotel housekeeper – $2 to $5 per night
Furniture delivery person – $3 to $5 per piece
Movers – $10 to $20 each
Tip Jar – Zip, unless you want to
It’s not always clear, but if in doubt, the general rule of thumb looks to be about 15%.
Unless you have an EdD or PhD then all bets are off.
HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA - Every time you hear the Trump administration or Congress fight about rising Affordable Care Act premiums, or what will happen to people with pre-existing conditions, just remember — we're talking about issues that affect 7 percent of the population. That's how many people are in the individual health insurance market, or the "non-group" market.
Here's what the rest of the population looks like — including the much larger employer health insurance marketplace, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Why it matters: This shows how much time we're spending on a relatively small portion of the market. The ACA was supposed to fix the problems of the individual market, which really was dysfunctional for anyone with the slightest health problems. In doing so, it created other problems, including the rising premiums. But when you hear about those sky-high rate hikes because of "Obamacare," chances are, they're not your sky-high rate hikes — unless you happen to be in that market.
Yes, but: The spending limits that have been proposed for Medicaid really do matter, and they affect a larger group — 20 percent of the population. So every minute Washington spends on the smaller group is time that could have been spent talking about Medicaid changes that will affect more people.
TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE - Russia is the story of this Trump Presidency. Think about the past month alone: multiple investigations of collusion in full swing ... Trump at odds with virtually every federally elected Republican over Russia sanctions ... Trump-Putin meeting overshadows G-20 ... and now our Syria strategy hinges on Russia cooperation. It's like a Trump-Putin ticket is running the world!
THEY SAID IT - JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, during an earnings call:
"It's almost embarrassing being an American citizen ... and listening to the stupid sh*t we have to deal with in this country... Since the Great Recession, which is now 8 years old, we've been growing [at] 1.5 to 2 percent in spite of the political gridlock... [The] American business sector is powerful and strong. My sense is there would be much stronger growth if there were more intelligent decisions and less gridlock."
HISTORY 101 ONE HUNDRED YEARS - 1917: The Year of the Century: The greatest single event of the 20th century was arguably the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 1910-11, opening the way to China's modernization. But 1917 was the pivotal year, bringing the Russian Revolution, America's entry into World War I, and the Balfour Declaration reshaping the Middle East. Hard to say now which was more consequential: The communist experiment, the assertion of America as world power, or the entailing of the West in the founding of modern Israel.
EMMYS 2017 - The Full List of Nominations: The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning... See the list of major categories link and for all nominees, including below-the-line categories, click here.
Five newbies -- "This Is Us," "Westworld," "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Crown" and "Stranger Things" -- will compete with "Better Call Saul" and "House of Cards" in the drama category.
"Atlanta," "Black-ish," "Master of None," "Modern Family," "Silicon Valley," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Veep" are vying for best comedy.
Two shows with very different political themes scored multiple nominations. HBO's satirical comedy "Veep" earned 17 nominations, and Hulu’s new dystopian drama "The Handmaid's Tale” earned 11.
"Saturday Night Live" and the HBO drama "Westworld" both earned 22 nominations. "SNL" is now the most Emmy nominated series of all time with 231 over the history of the show.
SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
MLB Game of the Week (July 22) – St. Louis Cardinals (44-47) at Chicago Cubs (46-45), one of these two teams will make the playoffs, the other will not. Time to sort this out: Cubs 6 Cardinals 3.
Season to Date (44 - 23)
ON THIS DATE – The hottest temperature ever documented on this planet, 134 °F (57 °C), was recorded on this day 104 years ago in Death Valley, Calif.
ON THIS DATE PART DEUX - The U.S. pulled the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills out of circulation on this day 48 years ago.
MARKET WEEK - The Great Unwind: Federal Reserve officials in June readied plans to start slowly shrinking the central bank’s large portfolio of bonds and other assets in the next few months, and signals since have increasingly pointed to a September launch. Battling data, though, has complicated the Fed’s internal debate. Inflation has weakened, justifying some officials’ call for a slower pace of interest-rate increases. But despite the increases so far, financial conditions have eased—new stock-market highs, declining long-term yields and a weaker dollar—strengthening the resolve of those who want to stay on the current path of another quarter-point increase this year and four more next year. Meanwhile, soaring assets and low unemployment mean it’s time to start worrying about a recession.
DRIVING THE WEEK – Senate Banking Committee will hold a nomination hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday for multiple HUD nominees and Chris Campbell, Trump's pick for assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions ... Sen. Tom Cotton speaks at 9 a.m. Wednesday at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on arbitration ... Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika will speak at noon the same day on the future of the OCC's fintech charter at an event hosted by the Exchequer Club ... Senate Banking holds a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday on GSE reform featuring small lenders.
This week has been dubbed "Made in America Week" by the Trump administration, including a display of products from all 50 states at the White House today. On Wednesday, Trump will issue a proclamation on the importance of making products in America.
Next Blog: Summer Camp and Dear Rink Rats.
See you on July 24, Adios.
July 17, 2017
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Summer Travel by Mark Anderson
Monday, July 10, 2017
Rink Rats issue number 350, cool!
· Canada Dry unveiled its new “Relax Harder” campaign — encouraging consumers to relax as hard as they work and play in their daily lives, with the help of the soothing and refreshing qualities of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. The new “Work Hard. Play Hard. Relax Harder.” tagline is intended to reflect Canada Dry’s position as a trusted brand with consistent taste and soothing and refreshing qualities, allowing consumers to move past their busy work and social schedules to achieve the ultimate relaxation.
· Relax Harder! The Secret of Tai Chi Power: We often hear skeptics say, “I can see how tai chi can be useful for relaxing the body and calming the mind. But I don’t see how something so relaxing can be useful as a martial art.
The response from experienced martial artists is, “How can it NOT be useful as a martial art, if it cultivates a relaxed body and a calm mind.”
In fact, if you are not learning to relax the body and calm the mind, then you are not learning a martial art.
· Tommy Bahama the upscale clothing retailer encourages you to relax harder with their t-shirt campaign.
Corporate America is urging us to get on the bandwagon to relax harder if you are working harder. Many of our Rink Rats readers are constantly under stress from the pressures of everyday life. How should you handle the stress of stress?
Stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that it defies definition. And if you can’t define stress, how can you possibly measure it? The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Selye had noted in numerous experiments that laboratory animals subjected to acute but different noxious physical and emotional stimuli (blaring light, deafening noise, extremes of heat or cold, perpetual frustration) all exhibited the same pathologic changes of stomach ulcerations, shrinkage of lymphoid tissue and enlargement of the adrenals. He later demonstrated that persistent stress could cause these animals to develop various diseases similar to those seen in humans, such as heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis. At the time, it was believed that most diseases were caused by specific but different pathogens. Tuberculosis was due to the tubercle bacillus, anthrax by the anthrax bacillus, syphilis by a spirochete, etc. What Selye proposed was just the opposite, namely that many different insults could cause the same disease, not only in animals, but in humans as well.
Selye’s theories attracted considerable attention and stress soon became a popular buzzword that completely ignored Selye’s original definition. Some people used stress to refer to an overbearing or bad boss or some other unpleasant situation they were subjected to. For many, stress was their reaction to this in the form of chest pain, heartburn, headache or palpitations. Others used stress to refer to what they perceived as the end result of these repeated responses, such as an ulcer or heart attack. Many scientists complained about this confusion and one physician concluded in a 1951 issue of the British Medical Journal that, “Stress in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself, and the result of itself.”
Unfortunately, Selye was not aware that stress had been used for centuries in physics to explain elasticity, the property of a material that allows it to resume its original size and shape after having been compressed or stretched by an external force. As expressed in Hooke’s Law of 1658, the magnitude of an external force, or stress, produces a proportional amount of deformation, or strain, in a malleable metal. This created even more confusion when his research had to be translated into foreign languages. There was no suitable word or phrase that could convey what he meant, since he was really describing strain. In 1946, when he was asked to give an address at the prestigious Collège de France, the academicians responsible for maintaining the purity of the French language struggled with this problem for several days, and subsequently decided that a new word would have to be created. Apparently, the male chauvinists prevailed, and le stress was born, quickly followed by el stress, il stress, lo stress, der stress in other European languages, and similar neologisms in Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. Stress is one of the very few words you will see preserved in English in these and other languages that do not use the Roman alphabet.
Because it was apparent that most people viewed stress as some unpleasant threat, Selye subsequently had to create a new word, stressor, to distinguish stimulus from response. Stress was generally considered as being synonymous with distress and dictionaries defined it as “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension” or “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” Thus, stress was put in a negative light and its positive effects ignored. However, stress can be helpful and good when it motivates people to accomplish more.
As illustrated above, increased stress results in increased productivity – up to a point, after which things go rapidly downhill. However, that point or peak differs for each of us, so you need to be sensitive to the early warning symptoms and signs that suggest a stress overload is starting to push you over the hump. Such signals also differ for each of us and can be so subtle that they are often ignored until it is too late. Not infrequently, others are aware that you may be headed for trouble before you are.
Any definition of stress should therefore also include good stress, or what Selye called eustress. For example, winning a race or election can be just as stressful as losing, or more so. A passionate kiss and contemplating what might follow is stressful, but hardly the same as having a root canal procedure.
Selye struggled unsuccessfully all his life to find a satisfactory definition of stress. In attempting to extrapolate his animal studies to humans so that people would understand what he meant, he redefined stress as “The rate of wear and tear on the body”. This is actually a pretty good description of biological aging so it is not surprising that increased stress can accelerate many aspects of the aging process. In his later years, when asked to define stress, he told reporters, “Everyone knows what stress is, but nobody really knows.”
As noted, stress is difficult to define because it is so different for each of us. A good example is afforded by observing passengers on a steep roller coaster ride. Some are hunched down in the back seats, eyes shut, jaws clenched and white knuckled with an iron grip on the retaining bar. They can’t wait for the ride in the torture chamber to end so they can get back on solid ground and scamper away. But up front are the wide-eyed thrill seekers, yelling and relishing each steep plunge who race to get on the very next ride. And in between you may find a few with an air of nonchalance that borders on boredom. So, was the roller coaster ride stressful?
The roller coaster analogy is useful in explaining why the same stressor can differ so much for each of us. What distinguished the passengers in the back from those up front was the sense of control they had over the event. While neither group had any more or less control their perceptions and expectations were quite different. Many times we create our own stress because of faulty perceptions you can learn to correct. You can teach people to move from the back of the roller coaster to the front, and, as Eleanor Roosevelt noted, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. While everyone can’t agree on a definition of stress, all of our experimental and clinical research confirms that the sense of having little or no control is always distressful – and that’s what stress is all about.
Go ahead and have that early evening glass of wine, an early morning jacuzzi, scream “I’m mad as hell, and I cannot take it any more”, eat a pizza, sit in a dark closet, watch “The Real Housewives of Orange County”, or better yet just understand your stress and then relaxing harder is a breeze.
RINK RATS QUIZ – the first to get this month’s quiz correct will receive a Rink Rats T-Shirt, please send entries to email@example.com
Canada is considering stress tests for a surprising new group. Who are they?
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - The Education Department may soon stop publishing a weekly list of colleges and universities under investigation for allegedly mishandling sexual violence claims - a list that started with 55 schools when it was first published in 2014 and has since ballooned to nearly 240 as of this week. Candice Jackson, the acting head of the department's Office for Civil Rights, called it a "list of shame" this week at the National Association of College and University Attorneys conference in Chicago where she said it's high on the list of things the Trump administration may soon do away with.
Colleges would be thrilled with the decision to stop publishing the list. Higher education leaders have been unhappy with it since the Obama administration first started publishing it three years ago. "Given that colleges and universities are placed on the list merely because they are under Title IX investigation, the list unfairly casts institutions in a negative light, not to mention the fact that investigations are taking so long," Daniel Kaufman, an attorney who represents colleges and universities and a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, told Morning Education. "Ending the publication of the list is a positive development for colleges and universities."
Three schools were added to the list - which the department did publish - just this week. They are: The New York College of Health Professions, State University of New York at Buffalo and Saint Norbert College in Wisconsin. The list now includes 339 investigations at 239 colleges and universities. Some of the investigations date back as far as 2011 (at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst). Some of the schools on the list are targets of multiple investigations. Cornell University, for instance, has six open investigations.
SIGN OF THE TIMES - In the new media world, five companies are crushing everyone else. This year, two-thirds of all global ad dollars will go to the Big Five: Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba, according to the latest PriceWaterhouseCooper's Entertainment and Media Global Outlook.
Roughly 50% percent of ad dollars flow to to Google and Facebook, America's "Duopoly." Together they are expected to take 83% of every new ad dollar, according to calculations from Digital Content Next, the premium publishers association.
Three companies in China — Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent — control over 60% of the Chinese ad market and now account for 15% of all global advertising.
Google's ad revenue has almost caught up to all print ad revenue globally and Facebook's ad revenue is quickly approaching all radio ad revenue globally.
The 12 companies behind the Big Five — Yahoo!, Microsoft, Linkedin, IAC, Verizon, Amazon, Pandora, Twitter, Yelp, Snapchat, Sina and Sohu — bring in roughly half of what Google brings in annually in ad revenue.
WEIRD APPS – “Screamers”: Screamers are apps that place voice level controls on games in which the speed of a player's run is controlled via the volume of the player's voice. In May, there were 94 screamers in Apple's App Store. Apptopia's Adam Blacker calls it the first "weird fad" of 2017.
“Fidget Spinners”: The virtual versions of these mind-thumbing gadgets are exploding on Apple and Google, with 118 different ones in app stores now.
“Chat fiction” apps: These apps are hot among teens for telling fictional stories through text messages. On any given day, Hooked and Yarn, two of the most popular chat fiction apps, both rank ahead of Amazon's Kindle and Amazon's Audible in the store books category in the Apple app store.
RANSOMWARE - Get used to the kind of ransomeware attack that crippled critical infrastructure and shut down major corporations last Tuesday. It was an escalation of the kind of cyberattack that's becoming a regular occurrence worldwide with a reach that's threatening key elements of national security.
Following a similar attack in May, the fresh cyber-assault paralyzed some hospitals, government offices and major multinational corporations in a dramatic demonstration of how easily malicious programs can bring daily life to a halt. Ukraine and Russia appeared hardest hit by the new strain of ransomware - malicious software that locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release. In the United States, the malware affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and Mondelez International, the owner of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco. Its pace appeared to slow as the day wore on, in part because the malware appeared to require direct contact between computer networks, a factor that may have limited its spread in regions with fewer connections to Ukraine.
These kinds of attacks are affecting more people as the physical and digital worlds converge, and the attacks spill out of the cyber realm and into the real world of hospitals, power grids, and multinational corporations.
Consumer anxiety about security is at an all-time high, according to the recent Unisys Security Index. EY's Global Capital Confidence Barometer shows cybersecurity concerns are delaying business deals.
Eastern European systems are more likely to be running unpatched and could be more vulnerable to this type of attack. He says the "bulk of the U.S. capability in cyber security is in its offensive operations. We are in a very vulnerable place when it comes to defenses.
Can you say Blackboard.
POLITICS 101 - Kamala Harris goes to Washington: Prior to arriving in Washington earlier this year, Senator Kamala Harris was known, mostly just among her fellow Californians, as the two-term district attorney in San Francisco and two-term state attorney general, heralded for her stylish wardrobe and reliably progressive-if low-key-policy positions. Harris has now represented the Golden State for only a few months, but the glamorous 52-year-old is already among the top tier of potential Democratic nominees for the 2020 presidential race ... Given her scant national experience and rookie status in the Senate, does the ambitious Harris have a chance?
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Susan Ford Bales (60) Alexandria, VA.; President George W. Bush (71) Campbell, TX.; Yousef Daneshbod …famous father, husband, and teacher; Tom Hanks (61) Calabasas, CA.; Kevin O’Leary (63) Manhattan, NY.; Anna Quindlen (65) Cambridge, MA.; Donald Rumsfeld (85) Bethesda, MD.; Jimmy Smits (62) Las Vegas, NV.; Ringo Starr (77) London, England.
80th BIRTHDAY - For the world's oldest emergency telephone number, the British 999 first introduced in London and a forerunner of today’s 911 in the United States.
TWO HOURS TWENTY-SIX SECONDS - The story last week on how Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, at Italy's Monza Formula One racetrack Italy, tried to break the two-hour barrier for running a marathon:
Nike, which had spent millions of dollars applying the most advanced technology and sports science to get a marathon runner across the finish line in under two hours. Kipchoge was nervous because he simply didn't know how his body would react to the stress of running so fast for so long. The fastest anyone, ever, had run a marathon was 2:02:57.
Kipchoge wanted to run nearly three minutes faster, a 2.4 percent improvement, which might sound small but represents a giant leap in human performance. And when the body fails in the marathon, it can fail dramatically and painfully. Millions of people across the world were tuning in to watch livestreams of the event. His final time: 02:00:26.
SUMMER TRAVEL - Paris has 37 bridges across the Seine, of which 5 are pedestrian only and 2 are rail bridges. Three link Île Saint-Louis to the rest of Paris, 8 do the same for Île de la Cité and one links the 2 islands to each other. A list follows, from upstream to downstream :
Pont Alexandre III
Pont amont (carrying the Boulevard Périphérique, situated at the river's entry to the city)
Pont de Tolbiac
Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir (pedestrian), inaugurated 13 July 2006
Pont de Bercy (made up of a railway bridge carrying the Line 6 of the Paris Métro and another stage for road traffic) ;
Pont Charles-de-Gaulle (1996)
Viaduc d'Austerlitz (railway bridge used for Line 5 of the métro), directly followed on the Rive Droite by the viaduc du quai de la Rapée,
Pont de Sully (crosses the eastern corner of Île Saint-Louis)
Pont de la Tournelle (between the Rive Gauche and the Île Saint-Louis)
Pont Marie (between Île Saint-Louis and the rive droite)
Pont Louis-Philippe (between Île Saint-Louis and the rive droite)
Pont Saint-Louis (pedestrian zone, between Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis)
Pont de l'Archevêché (between the rive gauche and Île de la Cité)
Pont au Double (between the rive gauche and Île de la Cité)
Pont d'Arcole (between Île de la Cité and the rive droite)
Petit Pont (between the rive gauche and Île de la Cité)
Pont Notre-Dame (between the Île de la Cité and the rive droite)
Pont Saint-Michel (between the Rive Gauche and the Île de la Cité)
Pont au Change (between the Île de la Cité and the Rive Droite)
Pont Neuf (crossing the west corner of the Île de la Cité, Paris's oldest bridge, built between 1578 and 1607)
Passerelle des Arts (pedestrian)
Pont du Carrousel
Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor (1999) (pedestrian, formerly the Passerelle de Solférino, renamed in 2006)
Pont de la Concorde
Pont Alexandre III
Pont des Invalides
Pont de l'Alma
Passerelle Debilly (pedestrian)
Pont de Bir-Hakeim (crossing the Île aux Cygnes, comprising one stage with a railway bridge carrying Line 6 of the Paris Métro and another for road traffic)
Pont Rouelle (rail viaduct for line C of the RER crossing the Île aux Cygnes)
Pont de Grenelle (crossing the Île aux Cygnes)
Pont du Garigliano
Pont aval (used by the boulevard périphérique, at the river's exit from the city)
SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
MLB Game of the Week (July 11) – 88th Major League Baseball All-Start game, Miami, Florida. National League has the stars this year, they win 7 - 4.
Season to Date (44 - 22)
ON THIS DATE – This week marks 71 years since the bikini went on sale, after debuting at a Paris fashion show.
MARKET WEEK - Fed Chair Janet Yellen appears on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and Thursday. The central bank is widely expected to begin to chip away at reducing its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in September. A third interest rate hike this year is seen as possible in December.
DRIVING THE WEEK – President Trump to France: Trump heads to France at the end of the week for meetings with President Emmanuel Macron, who is going out of his way to build a rapport with Trump. They'll celebrate Bastille Day together on Friday.
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: Trump's Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt travels to Israel tonight to meet with U.S. ambassador David Friedman and others. "This trip is an interim visit as talks continue about potential next steps," in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a White House official said.
Congress returns with three weeks to go before the August recess. Not much to do between now and October except deal with the intractable health care issue, raise the debt limit and pass a 2018 budget to avoid a government shut down and set the stage for tax reform. And all of it with the Russia story getting red hot yet again. ... Yellen testifies before House Financial Services on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. and Senate Banking on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ... House Financial Services subcommittees hold hearings Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on reg relief for community banks, Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on the fiduciary rule and Friday at 9:15 a.m. on bond market structure ... House Ways & Means subcommittee has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. Thursday on tax reform.
Next Blog: Tipping and Dear Rink Rats.
See you on July 17, Adios.
July 10, 2017
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Frank and Ernest