Links to Think

Links to Think: 14.01.20

January 20, 2014


Why Some Might Be Afraid to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. DayThis is a post I wrote in 2012, but perhaps it is relevant for this week.

Common Reasons Why We Might Be Afraid

1. Perhaps we’re really afraid to celebrate MLK’s dream, because in order to do so we have to admit we were historically wrong and we don’t hold higher human status or “white privilege” over other ethnic groups, races, or skin colors.

“‘African Americans were the people enslaved. So whites had to make them intellectually inferior to justify enslaving them.’ Because there was slavery, blacks were stigmatized as a race and black skin became a badge of slavery. Because there was slavery, whites made African Americans a pariah people whose avoidance—except on unequal terms—conferred status upon whites. Thus because there was slavery, there was segregation. Ultimately, racism is a vestige of “slavery unwilling to die,” as Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas famously put it in 1968.” (Sundown Towns, page 32)

Top 10 Ways to Trick Your Brain Into Doing What You Want – Kind of a cool list that we could all use from time to time.

“Ever feel like your brain is out to get you? Like it’s convincing you to do things that aren’t actually in your best interest? Our brain is a funny thing, and sometimes the only way to fight it is to trick it right back. Here are 10 ways you can overcome your brain’s tricks and get it to do what you want.”

“8. Make Your Day Last Longer Instead of Wondering Where It Went

No matter how productive you are in a day, it always seems like there aren’t enough hours before bedtime. Part of this is due to the way our brains perceive time. Luckily, you can turn this around. The more information your brain has to process, the more time it feels has passed. So, to make the day feel longer, present your brain with new information regularly: keep learning, meet new people, visit new places, or learn a new skill. You’d be surprised what kind of difference it makes.”

Five Reasons Why You Should Probably Stop Using Antibacterial Soap – I’ve posted about antibacterial gel use before (thanks to a biology professor passing along his own pet peeve! :)), but in light of the recent FDA statement, this is a helpful list of reasons why you should reconsider use of antibacterial soaps, lotions, sprays, etc…

“A few weeks ago, the FDA announced a bold new position on antibacterial soap: Manufacturers have to show that it’s both safe and more effective than simply washing with conventional soap and water, or they have to take it off the shelves in the next few years.

About 75 percent of liquid antibacterial soaps and 30 percent of bars use a chemical called triclosan as an active ingredient. The drug, which was originally used strictly in hospital settings, was adopted by manufacturers of soaps and other home products during the 1990s, eventually ballooning into an industry that’s worth an estimated $1 billion. Apart from soap, we’ve begun putting the chemical in wipes, hand gelscutting boardsmattress pads and all sorts of home items as we try our best to eradicate any trace of bacteria from our environment.

But triclosan’s use in home over-the-counter products was never fully evaluated by the FDA—incredibly, the agency was ordered to produce a set of guidelines for the use of triclosan in home products way back in 1972, but only published its final draft on December 16 of last year. Their report, the product of decades of research, notes that the costs of antibacterial soaps likely outweigh the benefits, and forces manufacturers to prove otherwise.

Bottom line: Manufacturers have until 2016 to do so, or pull their products from the shelves. But we’re here to tell you that you probably shouldn’t wait that long to stop using antibacterial soaps. Here’s our rundown of five reasons why that’s the case:

1. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective than conventional soap and waterAs mentioned in the announcement, 42 years of FDA research—along with countless independent studies—have produced no evidence that triclosan provides any health benefits as compared to old-fashioned soap.”

To add a sixth reason: people assume that they are “safe” if they’ve used antibacterial gel/soap, and don’t wash their hands correctly. As a result, it’s likely that microbes that aren’t killed by antibacs (e.g., some viruses) will be spread. Read the other four reasons here.

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