Off Center Stories
Why Your Gut Is More Ethical Than Your Brain
If you've ever been part of a discussion on ethics, chances are you didn't spend much time talking about your feelings. It's believed that to live ethically, we must engage our reason, which reins in the whims and follies of emotion.
Ethics, then, is heavy on Spock and light on Sally Struthers. But what if
unethical behavior is actually spurred
, rather than prevented, by reason?
The Big Shift in Values
From the consumer to the community to the corporation, Americans and America’s institutions are scaling back expectations.
We're changing what we expect to receive from our work and our investments, and even what we can expect from our future. What to make of this time of chaos? In short:
Not-So-Subtle Clues: Why We Buy What We Buy
Why does a diploma from Harvard cost $100,000 more than a similar piece of paper from City College? Why do “sophisticated” consumers demand 16-gigabyte iPhones and “fair trade” coffee from Starbucks?
Because even the slickest minds on Madison Avenue are still in the prescientific dark ages. Harvard diplomas and iPhones send the
same kind of signal
as the ornate tail of a peacock. But those who know you best aren't fooled.
What Are Friends For? A Longer Life.
In the quest for better health, many people turn to doctors, self-help books or herbal supplements. But they overlook a powerful weapon that could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life:
Trick Question: Spend or Save?
Part of it is
fault, you know. You, the American consumer, spent too much money. You bought too much house, took on too much debt and generally lived beyond your means. Your free-spending ways helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Now you're going to have to do your part to end the crisis. How?
The New Austerity
Millions of Americans have trimmed expenses because they've had their jobs or hours cut, or fear they will. But a subset of savers are reducing costs not just with purpose, but with relish.
These are the gleefully frugal.
The Call to Conscious Evolution
Climate change, economic disparity, educational inequities, geopolitical tensions -- all can be viewed as symptoms of a world out of balance. What can tip the scales? Us.
The Call to Conscious Evolution was born at a gathering of global visionaries such as
. It's a movement that fully supports that the future is not what happens to us, but rather what WE create.
Sign the Petition to the Obama Administration
The Laughter Prescription
by SHiFT Contributing Editor Cheryl Laurent
Research confirms what grandmothers already know: Laughter really
the best medicine.
, a pioneer in humor research, has created The Laughter Remedy website.
Giggle your way to better physical and mental health, and reduced stress in your workplace.
Check It Out
Books From, And For, The People
The good news: Americans still want to read. The bad news: not what publishers are giving them. Yet some creative thinkers in publishing are letting consumers call the shots before ink hits paper.
It's another dose of evidence that hierarchies are flattening.
Few People Get Rich Quickly, But ...
Named one of the best and "most inspiring" money blogs by Money magazine,
Get Rich Slowly
is devoted to something quite timely: sensible personal finance.
No get-rich-quick schemes. No multi-level marketing fads or hot stock tips. No pitches for products or books. Instead, you'll find stories about debt elimination, saving money, and practical investing written by "an average guy who found himself in deep debt"
and decided to do something about it.
Reviews, Rants, and Good Reads
Built almost entirely on 5 million reviews by zealous volunteers,
has become a popular Web site for ranting, raving or just reading about local businesses in large American cities.
The five-year-old San Francisco company shows how the Internet can amplify the voices of individuals to provide useful information to the community.
Check it out for citizen reviews of Twin Cities restaurants, auto repair shops, and more.
The Rise of Citizen Journalism
Face it: you've always wanted to be a News Hound.
is a participatory news network which mobilizes an army of reporters to cover the events that define our world. In 12 short months, the company has become one of the fastest growing news organizations, with thousands of reporters in over 140 countries.
During Hurricane Katrina, NowPublic had more reporters at the scene than most news organizations have on their entire staff. In 2007, TIME magazine named NowPublic one of the 50 Coolest Websites and in 2009, the site was nominated for an Emmy for Advanced Technology.
Kids Shower Obama with Advice
Scratch beneath the surface of children's cheerful exteriors and you'll find what's really on their minds: poverty, homelessness, war, global warming. Also cats, dogs, hand sanitizer and cafeteria food. Oh, and Barack Obama.
How do we know? Because they've written to the 44th president of the United States and told him so.
USA Today has the story
Pay Less for Anything
Fork over full price? Never! One of America's top penny pinchers
shares his secrets
on how to bargain for big savings on everything from dental work to digital cameras.
If you've never negotiated a lower price, no need to feel shamed. But now might just be a good time to start.
Some Jocks Don't Know When to Quit (And Why Should They?)
Like most athletes,
considers the Ironman—a grueling 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race, and 26.2-mile run—the "granddaddy" of all triathlons.
The only difference is that
Futrell could be the granddaddy
of nearly all his fellow competitors. At 85, he considers himself the most competitive person his age in the country.
As for the rest of us: are we motivated yet?
Ron Burley Is on Your Side
Have you been scammed, ripped off, or otherwise duped by a company? AARP Columnist
wants to know about it. He operates a
terrific journal, blog, and forum
for a single purpose: help you get your money back. And, in many cases, he succeeds.
... Take the Challenge
New studies reinforce a simple wisdom: beyond a very basic level of material wealth, the only thing that increases individual happiness over time is helping other people.
In other words, helping helps everybody, helper and helped alike. The question is: what would help? And help most?
doesn't believe they have the answers, but they do believe the answers are out there. And they're willing to bet big on it.
Take the Challenge
Neuroscience Sheds New Light on Creativity
Close your eyes and visualize the sun setting over a beach. How detailed was your image? Now imagine you're standing on the surface of Pluto. What would a sunset look like from there? Notice how hard you had to work to imagine this scene.
said, "Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned." Often, the harder you try to think differently, the more rigid the categories become.
The Story of Stuff
From extraction through sale, use and disposal -- all the "stuff" in our lives affects communities at home and abroad. Yet most of it is hidden from view. The
Story of Stuff
is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.
also exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.
The Luckiest Girl
This year’s college graduates owe their success to many factors, from hectoring parents to cherished remedies for hangovers.
But one of the most remarkable of the new graduates, Beatrice Biira, credits something utterly improbable: a goat.
Saving the World in Study Hall
Teenagers are supposed to be sullen and self-absorbed, but Rachel Rosenfeld apparently never got the memo.
Rachel is a high school junior in Harrison, N.Y., who came down with a painful intestinal ailment that forced her to miss the entire 2006-7 school year. So she resolved that if she couldn’t go to school herself, she could at least help other kids who wanted to.
Rest of the Story
Unboxed: Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?
Habit is a grim master. But rather than dissing ourselves as locked in creatures of repetitive routines, we can consciously develop new habits. In fact, the more new things we try, the more we step outside our comfort zone, the more inherently creative we become — both in the workplace and in our personal lives.
"The first thing needed for innovation is a fascination with wonder," says Dawna Markova, author of 'The Open Mind' and an executive change consultant for Professional Thinking Partners.
Read more here
Unboxed: Developing Fluid Intelligence
Our deepest beliefs and conceptions about life and the world are conditioned by childhood experiences, education, mass media, and other influences. That's known as Static Intelligence. And it tends to resist, then try to dismiss or discredit, new data and paradigm shifts.
Fluid Intelligence, on the other hand, has little to do with IQ or "book" intelligence. It's the ability to step outside of beliefs to consider information which doesn't fit into our previously accepted view of reality.
Learn more here
Get Smarter: 12 Hacks to Amp Up Your Brainpower
Your IQ is basically hardwired. Deal with it. Still, there are lots of ways to get smarter — to max out your so-called functional intelligence. Think of it as a software upgrade.
Guide to Better Brainpower
shows you how to boost your memory, sharpen your concentration skills, and even pop the right combination of drugs and supplements (alternatively, the articles might only make you smile — which won't make you smarter. Just happier).
Copyright © 2006 SHiFT Online, All rights reserved.