Summary of “and What to Do If Friends and Family Aren’t Onboard”

Officials around the world say that “Social distancing” is the key to slowing the spread of coronavirus.
What Are the Safest Ways to Socialize Right Now?Dr Thomas Chin-Chia Tsai: “Avoid situations where there are crowds. That doesn’t mean that people have to go into self-isolation, unless they have actual symptoms and need to self-quarantine. It’s OK to go for a walk outside. You can still get takeout from restaurants. If you’re asymptomatic, you can still maintain your family relationships as you otherwise would – just avoid larger groups. It’s still just about decreasing the frequency of interactions.”
Is It Safe to Have Friends Over?Dr Jessica Justman: “If gatherings are small, I am still going to say it’s generally OK, depending on who the individuals are. The CDC guidelines for people living in the New Rochelle containment area specifically talk about older individuals with chronic health conditions trying to limit themselves to social gatherings with fewer than 10 people. In Austria, [officials] said you shouldn’t be with more than five. I honestly think these are numbers that people are pulling out of the air, but people need guidelines.”
Tsai: “Assuming that everybody’s asymptomatic, then it’s probably safe. But within the confines of that social interaction, still practice social distancing. Be careful about surfaces that are being touched or shared. Making sure everybody washes his hands and cleans surfaces. Maybe don’t shake hands. It’s still important to maintain social relationships, but do it in a thoughtful way.”
If My Roommate or Partner Isn’t Practicing Social Distancing, How Can I Protect Myself?Tsai: “I would recommend that you would still follow the same social distancing principles. The ultimate goal is to break the chain of transmission. If you can maintain your own distance sort of respectfully, then you can still minimize not just the risk to yourself but also the risk from you potentially transmitting to other friends and families in your social circle. Each individual is an opportunity to break that transmission. So even though others around you may be in less than ideal social distancing scenarios, there’s an important individual obligation to do what you can within reasonable or social bounds.”
Caplan: “Do your best to socially distance. Maybe don’t sleep in the same bed? Minimize sexual contact. Don’t share toothbrushes. Try to use separate things. You don’t want to be hugging and kissing. You always want to use good hygiene in terms of sneezing and coughing and still doing the handwashing thing frequently. You want to clean surfaces frequently. You might not want to share the same forks and knives unless you’re really sure they’ve been washed thoroughly. That kind of thing. You can have a discussion about how you would divide up your living space – but if they won’t go along, get away.”
I think it’s much easier to take steps to protect yourself but that don’t require other people to change their behavior.
How Do You Recommend Talking About Social Distancing With a Partner or Roommate?Tsai: “Explain that the goal is to decrease the risk of infecting a lot of people at the same time.

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Summary of “When You Listen to Music, You’re Never Alone”

Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, Ph.D., a research neuroscientist at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, has explored how music “Creates the sense of social belonging,” as he writes in a 2015 paper, “Please Don’t Stop the Music.”
Peter Alhadeff, a professor of music business at the Berklee College of Music, suggests that our recent technologies-from Facebook to Spotify to Fitbit-shed light on a shift in our social lives.
“Music is typically something shared, something social; we may sing in the shower or on a solitary walk, but music is most of the time social, communicative, expressive, and oriented toward others,” Schulkin and Raglan write.
To begin with, private music started long before Sony or Apple; in fact, it dates back to the origins of recorded music.
In light of the history of listening, it’s possible to reevaluate the first impression that music listening has become, as Stanford music professor and composer Jonathan Berger puts it, “a more isolated or even isolating experience.
Says Berger, performances of Western music that we normally see as social can easily be reinterpreted as isolating-like classical music concerts.
” Music that’s experienced alone can still communicate with others.
“If you talk about social-media listening, or silent raves, where people are listening to the same music but they’ve got earbuds in-those kinds of activities are completely consistent with the history of music as a collective practice,” says Sterne.

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Summary of “How social distancing for coronavirus could cause a loneliness epidemic”

Make no mistake: The rapid implementation of social distancing is necessary to flatten the coronavirus curve and prevent the current pandemic from worsening.
Just as the coronavirus fallout threatens to cause an economic recession, it’s also going to cause what we might call a “Social recession”: a collapse in social contact that is particularly hard on the populations most vulnerable to isolation and loneliness – older adults and people with disabilities or preexisting health conditions.
A tension in the coronavirus response is that it’s so difficult to get people to accept social distancing that few want to muddle the message with worries about social isolation.
“But we’ve also entered a new period of social pain. There’s going to be a level of social suffering related to isolation and the cost of social distancing that very few people are discussing yet.”
Humans are social animals, and coronavirus threatens those connections Human beings evolved to feel safest in groups, and as a result, we experience isolation as a physical state of emergency.
Fighting the social recession There is no stopping the social recession.
“Obviously, we want people to follow the public health recommendations about social distancing and quarantining,” Boyd says, “But at the same time, we want to try and enable people to remain as connected as possible. We need to be thinking about what individuals can do, but also what we as neighbors and a society can do, to not make it worse than it might otherwise feel for people.”
Just as countless businesses have moved to remote work and teleconferencing to balance social distancing and the need for continued collaboration, every expert I spoke to emphasized the promise of virtual options to ease isolation.

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Summary of “Night Owls Have Bigger Social Networks Than Early Risers”

So it’s easy to imagine that night owls are more likely to interact with each other than with larks and vice versa.
That’s changed thanks to the work of Talayeh Aledavood at Aalto University in Finland and a few pals, who have studied the social network and sleeping patterns of over 1,000 individuals for a period of a year.
The team then categorized people as “Larks” if they had more early morning activity than expected-that is, activity between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. They defined “Owls” as people who had more-than-expected activity between midnight and 2 a.m. The team categorized the rest-more than half of all the participants-as intermediates.
Finally, the team analyzed the social networks associated with owls and larks to see how they differ.
“Evening-active owls have larger personal networks than morning-active larks, albeit with less frequent contacts to each network member,” say Aledavood and co.
The researchers also suggest that larks spend more of their time alone and interact with fewer people because social events are much rarer in the early mornings.
That’s interesting work with implications beyond social networks.
Other research has shown how other behaviors seem to be linked across social networks.

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Summary of “Ancient animistic beliefs live on in our intimacy with tech”

We are returning to the oldest form of human cognition – the most ancient pre-scientific way of seeing the world: animism.
The word ‘animism’ was first employed by the English anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor to describe the early ‘primitive’ stage of human religion – a stage that was eventually supplanted by what was later called Axial Age monotheism, which in turn would be supplanted, Tylor hoped, by what we’d call Deism.
Anthropologists today debate the usefulness of the term animism since folk religions are so diverse, but two essential features mark all animism: one, belief that there are ‘agents’ or even persons in natural objects and artifacts; and two, belief that nature has purposes woven throughout it.
Animism commits to the view that there are many kinds of persons in the world, only some of whom are humans.
Sigmund Freud typified the usual condescension about animism when he wrote in Totem and Taboo that ‘spirits and demons were nothing but the projection of primitive man’s emotional impulses’.
Animism is not so much a set of beliefs as a form of cognition.
If animist thinking is childish and uneducated, then why are indigenous peoples so much better at surviving and thriving in local natural ecologies? Some kinds of animism are adaptive and aid our survival, because they focus our attention on ecological connections, but they also train our social intelligence to predict and respond to other agents.
Our new animism – animism 2.0 – might be quite helpful in keeping the social emotions and skills healthy enough for real human bonding, perspective-taking and empathy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Spending Time Alone Makes You Better To Be Around”

Forcing yourself to go out and be social when you really feel like staying home and falling into a Netflix-hole, is not the right thing to do, and yet so many of us feel pressure to reject our hibernating tendencies and interact with the rest of the world.
I didn’t want my friends to be disappointed in me or feel like me not wanting to hang out with them was the same as me needing to be alone.
I reached out to Dr. Jennifer McCarroll, PhD to better understand the social implications that come with being an introvert and for some advice for how to be my best social self.
McCarroll told me, “Introverts, unlike extroverts, get their energy from being alone, so alone time is crucial.”
According to McCarroll, psychologically speaking, I’m actually better to be around when I’ve made time to be alone.
No matter how much we need it, we somehow always find a way to make ourselves feel guilty or like it’s wrong to do what we want when it comes to social or romantic engagements.
McCarroll continued, “The introvert/extrovert profiles are complicated by the fact that most people are not 100 percent introvert or extrovert, they lie somewhere on a spectrum, so at times an extrovert may feel grounded by alone time to process something, and most introverts are susceptible to loneliness and need the right kind of social connection to feel satisfied and balanced.”
So next time you feel like you’re doing your friends a favor by going out when you really feel like staying in, tell them you need a night off.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amy Orben: ‘To talk about smartphones affecting the brain is a slippery slope'”

There’s still so little high-quality data about what we as a society and our children are actually doing with technology, across the wide range of technologies we use on a daily basis.
In the absence of that data, is it significant that many leading Silicon Valley figures make a point of restricting their own children’s social media and smartphone use? I think the coverage about certain Silicon Valley bosses and their children can be quite misleading because they are a very privileged and elite subsection of society.
We regularly over-generalise social media and technology’s effects, and that’s because those technologies are new.
You’ve criticised the Royal College of Psychiatrists international congress in London last year for fostering the idea that social media was “Depleting our neurotransmitter deposits”, without any evidence to support the claim.
To talk about smartphones affecting the brain is a really slippery slope because there haven’t been a lot of brain-specific studies done.
There is a widespread belief that smartphones cause a dopamine kick and dopamine kicks lead to addiction.
So even if smartphones do that, it’s circular reasoning.
How much do you use your smartphone? And does it ever give you cause for concern? I’ve used smartphones and social media since I was a teenager.

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Summary of “Is Singapore’s ‘perfect’ economy coming apart?”

SINGAPORE – From around 10 p.m. until the early hours of the morning, Aziz drives a private hire car through the streetlit hinterlands of Singapore.
Nearly three-quarters of people laid off in Singapore last quarter were what the country classifies as professionals, managers, executives and technicians, or PMETs.
Together, these have massed into an unprecedented challenge for the People’s Action Party, which has held power in Singapore for more than half a century by delivering growth and prosperity.
Starting in 1966, the Singapore government bought land from private owners – who were legally obliged to sell – to build massive public housing developments.
Today, the state owns 90% of Singapore island, and 80% of Singaporeans live in “HDBs,” Housing & Development Board apartments, which they own on long leases from the government.
“On the surface of it, looks astonishingly miraculous,” says Yeoh Lam Keong, the former chief economist of Singapore’s state fund GIC. “Everybody thinks it’s a perfect economy. On the surface, it looks as though people must be looked after. But that’s on the surface.”
Tan Cheng Bock, a 26-year veteran of the PAP and former member of its executive committee, has formed a new party, the Progress Singapore Party, to contest the election.
In one case, which is currently going through an appeal in the courts, the Singapore Democratic Party was accused of misrepresenting statistics on PMET unemployment.

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Summary of “3 Practically Painless Ways to Expand Your Network”

The danger of this behavior is they’re at risk of leaving the university with close ties to just a few people who are similar to them, squandering their chances to build a diverse network.
My students are open-minded people, and they’ve come to business school in part to develop great networks.
According to research conducted by sociologist Mark Granovetter, people appear to find their jobs more frequently through their weak ties, or acquaintances, than through their strong ties, which are their partner or close friends.
Your weak ties, which include people you just met once in passing, are your ticket to a whole new social world.
People often tell me they’re hoping to find a new job or project by networking.
You’ve worked out an efficient way of living your life, but you end up seeing the same people because they’re also following their own routines.
Besides talking to people you’d typically avoid, are there any places or activities where you can get injections of diversity or unpredictable people? For example, some students of mine play pickup basketball games, which attract different people every week.
How can we overcome this? Go down your lists of Facebook friends and LinkedIn friends, and most likely you’ll see people who are in your network but who may not automatically come to your mind when you’re feeling threatened or down.

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Summary of “Why People Check Their Tech at the Wrong Times”

Everyone is enjoying the food and conversation when someone decides to take out his phone – not for an urgent call, but to check email, Instagram, and Facebook.
Sherry Turkle, an author and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, diagnosed the situation succinctly: these days, “We expect more from technology and less from each other.”
The byproduct of making technology better is that sometimes it’s so good people can’t seem to put it down.
The behavior is toxic in many ways: it sends a message to everyone in the room that gadget time is more important than their time; it distracts people who assume the boss is sending work their way; and, perhaps worst of all, it prevents the person using the device from participating in the discussion, which means the meeting wasn’t worth having in the first place.
For a while, “Phone stacking” – in which people tossed their phones in the center of the table, and the person who first reached for his phone during the meal had to pay for everyone – was sort of a thing, but it never took off, because the whole exercise felt punitive and patronizing.
Most people already understand that using their gadgets in an intimate social setting is rude.
The goal is to snap the offender out of the phone zone, and to give him two options: either excuse himself to attend to whatever crisis is happening, or put away the tech.
The idea is not to disavow technology completely, but to encourage people to appreciate its power, and to be aware when its power over them is becoming a problem.

The orginal article.