We Evolved to Walk and it’s Great for our Health

                        Walking is great! Most of us have heard that we should get 10,000 steps a day to maintain our health, but walking is more than just taking steps. Shane O’Mara in his book In Praise of Walking explores what walking is all about (hint: it’s everything that makes us human). It matters where we walk too, so be sure to get out into some nature for a meaningful walk instead of sticking to concrete.

                        O’Mara, a professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College in Dublin, writes in straightforward prose, methodically presenting research and studies in support of his thesis that walking has not only been crucial to human evolution but is essential to our health. Studies show that regular walking mobilizes changes in the structure of our brain that can increase volume in the areas associated with learning and memory. He dedicates a chapter to the science behind human navigation and describes how the selective memories of our wanderings are central components of our experiences and ability to make “maps of the world we have experienced.”

                        O’Mara argues that walking influences many aspects of cognition — how we think, reason, remember, read, and write. In particular, there is a vital relationship between movement of the body and the flow of thinking. “Since antiquity it has been recognized that a good walk is an excellent way to think problems through,” he writes.

                        Read more.

                        This Cambodian Circus Helps Kids out of Poverty

                        Running away to join the circus is dream many kids have. In Cambodia joining the circus can be the best thing a kid can do, and they don’t need to run away to join the fun. Phare Ponleu Selpak is the circus program, after similar in style to Cirque du Soleil, for youth and functions in two Cambodian cities, Battambang and Siem Reap. What makes this Cambodian approach unique is the attachment to education beyond the circus. Youth who participate in the program get a full education alongside their circus training.

                        I’ve been to their performance at their school in Battambang, and trust me, it’s really really impressive!

                        “Cambodian youth are transforming their lives through art, breaking the cycle of poverty,” says Khuon Chanreaksmey. “They are discovering their own talents and realising that with hard work and opportunity anything in life is possible. The salaries they earn performing in the circus help support themselves and their families. Today’s artists are paving the way for the younger generations.”

                        Phare has fired imaginations around the world on its overseas tours. “Phare is amazing – its performers are so talented, especially since most of them are kids coming from the street, and obviously there’s a lot of hard work and creativity behind the scenes,” says Ravindra Ngo, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Cambodian Society, a non-profit organisation that promotes the country’s art and culture.

                        Read more.

                        Protests Work: Minneapolis Police Defunding Begins and More

                        Democracy happens in the streets.

                        Every single person who has supported the Black Lives Matter movement, or has shown support for social justice in a direct way, has helped make change happen in America. The conversation about racist police and blatant police brutality is getting more attention now than ever before; subsequently the idea of defunding the police has reached more people.

                        This week Minneapolis has started the process of defunding their police. It’ll years, but it’s started. Other successes from the past couple of weeks can be found in corporate America with IBM no longer offering general purpose facial recognition or analysis software to track people (they realized it entrenches bias and racism).

                        The current pressure on government and racists is working in the USA keep it up!

                        Go out there and protest, support the protesters, and have conversations with your friends! Just remember to be safe, wear a mask, and stay physically part to not spread COVID.

                        “We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” tweeted Council Member Jeremiah Ellison on June 4, pledging to “dramatically rethink” the city’s approach to emergency response. In a TIME op-ed published the next day, Council Member Steve Fletcher cited the MPD’s lengthy track record of misconduct and “decades-long history of violence and discrimination”—all of which are subjects of an ongoing Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation—as compelling justifications for the department’s disbandment. “We can resolve confusion over a $20 grocery transaction without drawing a weapon or pulling out handcuffs,” Fletcher wrote.

                        Read more.

                        Unsure of what defunding is about? Read on:

                        Is dismantling different from defunding?

                        Dismantling implies abolition of the current structure. Defunding refers to shaving the budget.

                        Behind both is the idea of shifting resources from a paramilitary police force to education and social services with the aim of reducing socioeconomic disparities.

                        What would replace the police?

                        The idea generally would be to have a social services-based approach, possibly using the fire department to handle drug overdose calls, health care and social services professionals to tend to mental health matters instead of militaristic, uniformed officers with guns.

                        But even the council members who want to dismantle the police aren’t yet articulating detailed agreement on a new approach.

                        Read more.

                        New Zealand is COVID-19 Free

                        After a very well managed shutdown of the country, New Zealand is free of COVID-19 and people are able to live as they did before. The country had a strict, vast, and quick reaction to COVID-19 showing up in the nation and it’s paid off. Starting today New Zealanders are able to go gyms, work, parks, or wherever thanks to the efforts in following the government’s public safety rules. It’s great to see another nation get through the pandemic.

                        Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for her government’s approach to the virus, with a strict and cautious approach that appears to have paid off. On 25 March she locked down the country for four weeks – requiring that most New Zealanders remained at home most of the time – before gradually easing restrictions.

                        “Our collective results I think speak for ourselves,” Ardern said. “This was what the sacrifice of our team of five million was for – to keep one another safe and to keep one another well.” She has regularly referred to New Zealanders as a “team of five million” in an effort to unite people and encourage them to follow her government’s rules to curb the virus’ spread

                        Read more.

                        Feeling Lonely? Head to the Virus Cafe

                        Feeling lonely and not getting out due to the pandemic? Head over to the virtual virus cafe where you can connect with other nice people on the internet and chat for a little bit. The creator clearly wants people to connect in an impromptu but meaningful way while we are all physically distant from one another. Here’s what the creator says about their creation:

                        Hey folks! I built Virus Cafe to help you make a friend in 2 minutes! My goal is to help people stuck indoors because of COVID-19 (or police curfews) to make meaningful connections with strangers.

                        Here’s how it works:

                        1. You are matched with a random partner for a video chat

                        2. You’re given a deep question to discuss. You have 2 minutes!

                        3. The only rule is: no small talk!

                        Small talk is the worst and I’m on a mission to eradicate it. I’ve expertly crafted over 200 questions designed to stimulate good conversation and skip past the boring introductions.

                        Here are a few samples:

                        – When in your life have you been the happiest?

                        – What would you be willing to die for?

                        – What is the biggest lie you’ve told without getting caught?

                        – What is a belief you had as a child that you no longer have?

                        – What human emotion do you fear the most?

                        – If a family member murdered someone, would you report them to the police?

                        – What absolutely excites you right now?

                        I hope you use Virus Cafe to meet a new friend and make a deep connection today.

                        Check it out.
                        Read more at Hacker News.

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