and you don't have to give up alcohol, it's a win-win
“I know you’re skeptical. But this is the real deal—a genuine cure for alcoholism, based on cutting-edge science and decades of research. It could save your life or the life of someone you love.”
—Stephen Cox, MD, President, National Anxiety Foundation
The Sinclair Method (TSM) uses the nervous system’s own mechanism, called “extinction”, for gradually removing the interest in alcohol and the behaviors involved in alcohol drinking. Therefore, the technical term for TSM is “pharmacological extinction.”
The key scientific discovery underlying the treatment was that, contrary to earlier beliefs, detoxification and alcohol deprivation do not stop alcohol craving but in fact increase subsequent alcohol drinking,. The old idea that alcoholism is caused by physiological dependence on alcohol, therefore, needed to be discarded, and a new understanding of alcoholism developed.
Subsequent research showed that alcohol drinking is a learned behavior . Some individuals, partly for genetic reasons, get so much reinforcement each time they drink, and have so many opportunities to drink and get reinforcement, that the behavior becomes too strong. They cannot always control their drinking; they cannot “just say ‘no’.” And society calls them alcoholics.
Laboratory studies indicated that in most cases, the reinforcement from alcohol involved the opioid system, i.e., the same system where morphine, heroin, and endorphin produce their effects.
The brain has two primary mechanisms for changing its own wiring on the basis of experience. First, there is learning for strengthening behaviors that provide reinforcement. Second, there is extinction for removing behaviors that no longer produce reinforcement. The best known example involves Pavlov’s dogs that learned to salivate to the sound of a bell when the bell was followed by food, but then had the learned behavior extinguished when the food reinforcement was no longer given after the bell was rung.
Certain medicines, such as naltrexone, naloxone and nalmefene, block the effects of endorphin and other opiates. I reasoned that if alcohol is drunk while one of these opioid antagonists is blocking endorphin reinforcement in the brain, the extinction mechanism would be activated, and it would then produce a small but permanent decrement in alcohol drinking and craving. The next day, the person would be slightly less interested in alcohol. Eventually control would be regained, and the person would no longer be an alcoholic; indeed, they no longer would be interested in alcohol.
The Sinclair Method was confirmed, first in a large body of laboratory studies, then in over 90 clinical trials around the world,,, and most recently in personal reports by people using it. It has been found to be successful in about 80% of alcoholics. This is very high for alcoholism treatment, but the treatment is not for everyone: some people apparently have a different form of alcoholism that does not involve the opioid system and cannot be treated effectively with opioid antagonists.
The Sinclair Method is simply taking an opioid antagonist before drinking. Naltrexone, naloxone, and nalmefene are not substitution drugs similar to methadone for heroin addiction or Nicorettes™ for nicotine addiction. The opioid antagonists are not addictive, and they do not directly reduce craving for alcohol. And unlike disulfiram, the opioid antagonists do not produce an unpleasant aversive effect. Indeed, the opioid antagonists do not do anything until after endorphin has been released. Then the mechanism of extinction is triggered, and the extinction mechanism in turn progressively but permanently removes the neural cause for excessive drinking.
One suspect is the widespread use of Roundup. Studies show that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is found in the bodies of 93% of all humans tested. It’s everywhere…in our food, in the air, in the water.
The amount of glyphosate found in a dog’s body is a full 5,000 percent more than that found in humans. Why are dogs exposed to so much more than humans?
Even if you don’t apply Roundup to your yard, the chances are good that your dog is exposed to it every time you take him for a walk. Public parks, schools, and fields are often treated liberally with herbicides, and dogs pick it up on their paws as they run through it.
The chemicals from the grass leach into your pet’s body, and are licked off as the dog cleans itself. Not only that, but many brands of dog food contain soy, corn, wheat, and other ingredients that have been grown with Roundup.
The Lance family employed a yard-care company that applied Roundup to their grass once a month. The yard was weed-free and looked terrific, but they have been left not only with the pain of losing their canine companions but also with the painful question… did glyphosate kill their dogs?
They have discontinued the use of Roundup on their property and, when they are ready for a new dog, they plan to do things differently. But it won’t bring back what they’ve lost, and they are understandably upset that they didn’t know the risks that glyphosate posed to their pets.
How can you protect your dog?
First of all, avoid treating your own grass with chemicals. Keeping your yard safe by using natural and organic weed and pest control not only protects your animals but your family as well!
Second, consider protecting your dog’s paws with breathable, anti-slip dog shoes when you’re walking in areas that use chemicals. Remove the shoes immediately when you get home to prevent your dog from licking them. Or, wash her paws carefully when you come home from a walk.
Finally, buy grain-free, organic dog food. It may cost more, but between a dog’s increased exposure to glyphosate in public places and the poor quality of many brands of dog food, it’s worth it to protect your fur baby’s health.
Trump issued an assassination order for Iran’s top general, escalating tensions and bringing us dangerously close to another endless war. And tensions continue to rise as over the last 24 hours Trump has used Twitter to issue dangerous and reckless threats to the Irarian people. Congress must use its power to stop Donald Trump’s reckless march to war with Iran.
Here is what we know so far about the situation, which is still unfolding:
Donald Trump brought us to the brink recklessly and unnecessarily. After successful diplomacy by the Obama administration and an intensive campaign from grassroots leaders, including MoveOn, to approve the Iran nuclear deal, the risk of war with Iran was at its lowest point in decades. Since taking office, Trump has surrounded himself with war-hawk advisers and changed course from pursuing peace to acts of war. His attacks, from the Muslim Ban to withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal to painful sanctions on Iranian citizens to the military assassination this week, make America less safe and could incite a war with devastating consequences for Iran, Iraq, the United States, and other countries across the globe.
War with Iran would be catastrophic, potentially worse than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Starting a war with Iran would likely destabilize an entire region, funnel U.S. resources into an unwinnable conflict, and unleash mass-scale human suffering on Iran’s 80+ million civilian population and beyond.
Only Congress can decide whether U.S. forces should be put into harm’s way. Congress has the power to authorize war, and a bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate recently voted to prevent Trump from starting another war. However, that language did not make it into the final bill.
So here’s our chance: We need Congress to declare Trump has no authorization to use military force in Iran and cut off any money he might try to use for more attacks.
Endless wars feed billions of dollars into military contractors and their wealthy owners and cost untold numbers of lives from all countries involved. MoveOn members have been leaders in the anti-war movement since our founding and played a crucial role in the opposition to the Iraq War. We must continue to work for peace as an essential part of how we create an America where everyone can thrive.
As we welcomed in a new year and new decade, none of us anticipated or wanted this incident to define how this new decade begins. Trump’s recklessness knows no bounds. Whether you are feeling hopeful or weary, ready to take to the streets or seeking reprieve from relentless organizing, or a valid combination of all of these, this call is for you. It is an opportunity to come together as a nation and as a community. We are in this together.
“We continue to urge visitors to observe the rules of the park and keep to the speed limit at all times. One animal killed is one too many,” said park officials.
A month ago, a tourist was killed and three others injured when a giraffe was hit by a vehicle carrying 13 passengers. It then fell onto a rented safari vehicle driven by the Swiss tourist, crushing the roof. The giraffe died on impact. The tourist was critically injured and later died in the hospital.
Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said at the time that authorities had changed a case of reckless and negligent driving against the driver of the minibus that hit the giraffe to one of culpable homicide after the death of the tourist, identified by police as Roland Koller.
In May, a bakkie and a car literally gate-crashed their way into the Kruger Park within the space of just two hours. The first crash at the Paul Kruger Gate happened at 9pm. The second happened at 11pm.
British supermarket chain has launched an investigation after a girl found a handwritten message inside a pack of Christmas cards allegedly written by prisoners in China undergoing forced labor.
According to The Sunday Times, the note was discovered by a 6-year-old girl from Tooting, Southwest London, after she bought the charity cards from a Tesco store.
The message, written inside a card featuring a kitten in a Santa hat, read: “We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization.”
The message also urged anyone who found the message to get in touch with Peter Humphrey, a former British journalist who spent two years at the same Chinese prison on what he described as “bogus charges that were never heard in court.”
The girl’s family then got in contact with Humphrey. He described in the article how former prisoners confirmed to him that inmates in the foreigner prisoner unit are being “forced into mundane manual assembly or packaging tasks”—including packing Christmas cards for Tesco.U.S. Blocks Import of Goods Thought to be Made by Forced Labor
The jail is also located around 62 miles from the Zheijiang Yunguang Printing factory where the cards are said to be made.
The supermarket said they would cut off any ties they had with the Chinese supplier if they were found to have used forced labor and have suspended operations.
Tesco added that the supplier was recently checked by independent auditors who found no evidence of human rights abuse.
A Tesco spokesman told Sky News: “We would never allow prison labor in our supply chain. [BS]
“We were shocked by these allegations and immediately halted production at the factory where these cards are produced and launched an investigation.
“We have a comprehensive auditing system in place and this supplier was independently audited as recently as last month and no evidence was found to suggest they had broken our rule banning the use of prison labor.
“If evidence is found we will permanently de-list the supplier.”
Tesco has been contacted for further comment.
Humphrey also said that he witnessed Chinese prisoners making tags and packaging for high-street clothing brands while he was serving his sentence.
In 2014, a woman in Belfast, Northern Ireland, found a similar note urging “SOS” written in Chinese inside a pair of trousers she had purchased from a clothing store Primark.
Karen Wisínska said she didn’t see the note allegedly written by prisoners subjected to slave labor for three years because she never wore the item of clothing as the zip was broke.
“I am only sorry that I did not discover the note when I first purchased the clothing, she told the BBC. “Then I could have brought this scandal to light much earlier.”
From Washington Post…
source Hannah Knowles
A British retailer with thousands of stores around the world said Sunday that it has suspended work with a Chinese factory as it investigates allegations of forced labor behind its Christmas cards — spurred by a plea for help that a 6-year-old girl reportedly found scrawled in her family’s purchase.
Supermarket chain Tesco said it has also stopped selling the cards after the Sunday Times described an all-caps note, attributed to Chinese prisoners, that urges its reader to contact a human rights group. The report follows years of other notes allegedly penned by abused workers that have raised concerns among unsuspecting shoppers and prompted inquiries.
Tesco said in a statement that it was stunned by the accusations of forced labor and would cut ties with the cards’ supplier, Zheijiang Yunguang Printing, if it was found to have violated Tesco’s rules against prison labor. The company said it has a “comprehensive auditing system,” adding that the cards’ supplier “was independently audited as recently as last month” and that no evidence of wrongdoing surfaced.AD
The supplier did not immediately respond to The Washington Post on Sunday, nor did the Chinese Embassy.
The upheaval started with a holiday purchase that supports Tesco’s charity, the London family said in an interview posted by the BBC. Florence Widdicombe was looking through the cards her mother picked up — she wanted to write to her friends at school — when she starting laughing, her father said.
“Mom, look — somebody’s already written in this card,” Ben Widdicombe recounted his daughter saying to his wife.
A closer look revealed a note claiming to be from foreign inmates in China’s Qingpu prison “forced to work against our will,” he said. The note reportedly asked the reader to contact a “Mr Peter Humphrey” — a British journalist and former private investigator who spent about two years in the prison and who would bring the allegations of mistreatment into the public eye this weekend with a Sunday Times article.AD
At first, Ben Widdicombe said, he suspected a prank.
“But on reflection, we realized it was actually potentially quite a serious thing,” he said.
He messaged Humphrey on LinkedIn on Monday, the journalist would recount later.
The Post could not independently confirm the Widdicombes’ account, but the report raises serious questions about the festive cards that Tesco says allow it to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to charitable causes in Britain.
Humphrey said he believes the note was written by ex-cellmates whom he met after his corporate fraud investigations drew the ire of the Chinese government, landing him and his wife in prison on “bogus charges that were never heard in court.” He said he reached out to other former inmates, who confirmed that people in his old unit have been forced to do assembly and packaging.AD
Foreign prisoners in Qingpu have been working on Tesco Christmas cards and gift tags for at least two years, Humphrey says he was told.
“I’m pretty sure this was written as a collective message,” Humphrey told the BBC of the note that Ben Widdicombe passed on to him. “Obviously one single hand produced this capital letters’ handwriting and I think I know who it was, but I will never disclose that name.”
Notes alleging worker abuse in China have shocked consumers before. In 2013, the New York Times reported, a former prisoner whose story led to a documentary claimed responsibility for a letter found by an Oregon mother in Halloween decorations from Kmart. The Beijing man said he’d stuffed 20 letters into items bound for the West over his years in a labor camp.
“Sir: If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization,” the Halloween decorations note is said to have read. “Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.”AD
The next year, a woman in Northern Ireland found an alarming note in a pair of pants that was attributed to prisoners, the BBC wrote.
“We work 15 hours per day and the food we eat wouldn’t even be given to dogs or pigs,” the note claimed, according to news reports.
A more recent story, from 2017, involved another Christmas card: A woman in Britain told Reuters that she found a scrawled note inside a card from the supermarket Sainsbury’s that was signed in Mandarin, “Third Product Shop, Guangzhou Prison, Number 6 District.”
Humphrey told the BBC that conditions in Qingpu were poor while he was imprisoned but that work was optional, a way to earn money for soap or toothpaste or biscuits. That seems to have changed, he said, pointing to censorship as a possible reason that those still jailed have not contacted him directly.
“So they resorted,” he wrote, “to the Qingpu equivalent of a message in a bottle.”
It wasn’t supposed to end like this: After twelve years at Google, I was unceremoniously escorted off the premises.
My last day came in May 2019, six months after the Google Walkout, during which 20,000 Googlers left their desks in a mass protest unprecedented in the tech industry. I helped to organize it after corporate documents obtained by the New York Timesshowed that Google paid executive Andy Rubin nearly $90 million in severance after he was accused of sexual misconduct. Little did we know it would be like waving a lit match in front of a powder keg: when people poured out of Google offices in 50 cities around the world a week after the severance news broke, it was clear this wasn’t just about Andy Rubin anymore. Something seismic was rumbling beneath the surface of the world’s storied “best place to work.” During my last six months at Google, I would become intimately familiar with just how closed off the company’s famously “open” corporate culture had become—and how far the management would go to prevent its staff from holding the company accountable.
I’d been warned about becoming a visible organizer within one of the world’s biggest corporations. Mass protests threaten the status quo, and “the master’s tools will never be used to dismantle the master’s house,” as one of the more seasoned organizers had told me, quoting Audre Lorde. Even as the Walkout was planned in a flurry of Gchats and Google Docs, organizers were bracing themselves for the fallout, too.
Stapleton, left, at one of the Walkout events.
I wasn’t convinced. The Walkout glittered with the kind of optimism and promise that had drawn me to the company and kept me there. Sure, I was outraged by the Rubin severance, but I got involved in the Walkout because I cared about Google and what I believed it stood for. This was, after all, the company whose corporate code of conduct famously states “don’t be evil,” and asks employees to speak up if they think something isn’t right.
Initially, executives loudly embraced the Walkout: Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, sent a note to the whole company expressing his support in Googlers’ participating. The company’s CFO, Ruth Porat, said at a conference the following week that she’d walked out herself. The action was, she said, “Googlers doing what Googlers do best.” But the corporate kumbaya was short-lived. Activism within Google and the broader tech industry didn’t start with the Walkout, but it helped the movement take off: in the wake of the protest, workers were organizing for stronger rights and protections for Google’s contractor class; they joined with Amazon employees to demand more action on climate change; they were asking for more accountability and transparency from leadership to prevent another Andy Rubin-esque “hero’s farewell.”
Management’s tone cooled. New policies were rolled out that flew in the face of Google’s open culture. Within a few months of the Walkout, there were new “community guidelines” meant to limit people discussing politics on internal groups, and accessing “need to know” documents—like those that, in 2018, revealed Google was bidding on a military contract and developing a censored search engine for China—was made a fireable offense. (The Chinese search engine project, codenamed Project Dragonfly, has since been terminated.) And it was starting to look like management’s outward support for the Walkout hadn’t been all that genuine after all: press reported that in November, days after the Walkout, they had quietly petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to limit legal protections for activist workers.
In the meantime, Google found other ways to crack down. “What the hell is going on over there?” an old coworker texted as headlines like “Google Walkout Organizer Accuses Company of Retaliation” rippled through the Internet. “I guess I struck the Empire, and the Empire is striking back…hard,” I replied. Eight weeks after the Walkout, I was demoted by my manager, setting into motion a bewildering, isolating, eye-opening couple of months. It was so swift and brazen I was sure I had to be missing something. But every week got weirder and worse, until the message from the top was finally clear—my time was up.
My corporate self-image had yet to catch up with the past six months in which I’d become, I supposed, a labor organizer. I’m a good Googler, a team player, I thought. Someone the old guard knows and trusts. Two years earlier, the day before I left for my first maternity leave, I received a glowing performance review from the head of my department. “When you come back, Claire, you can really do anything here,” she said, in that kind of arm-around-the-shoulder way important people use to make younger people feel good, but also indebted. “You’re coming into your power as a leader.” I guess that turned out to be true—though surely not in the way she intended.
Google was my first real job, and over the course of my twelve years there, I occasionally wondered if I’d ever leave. I was about to turn 22 when I reported for orientation at Google’s Mountain View headquarters in the summer of 2007—a hot blur of grass and sun, as it figures in my memory, nostalgic as a Polaroid—one of 30 new recruits to the Communications department. As the years ticked by the others left one by one, like a row of ducklings: off to Harvard Business School or the Obama campaign or down the road to Facebook, Twitter, Square, Instagram. By 2012, there were just four of the original cohort still at the company. By 2014, just two.
Mostly, I relished thinking of myself as a “Google lifer” and the schtick that went along with it. I joyfully skimmed its surface, availing myself of the workplace perks, the stuff the press breathlessly covered in Google’s early days: the scooters, the nap rooms, the gym subsidies, the summer CSA. I offered new coworkers my curated guide to Google like it was a city you were visiting for a weekend: where to eat, get coffee, take in the view, get kombucha on tap.
I didn’t just buy into the lore of Google—I helped write it. My first job was in Internal Communications, and there, ghost-writing executive emails extolling Google’s culture and values and editing the Internal News blog, I felt called to a higher purpose: Google teemed with specialness and it was my solemn duty to reflect that specialness back to those responsible for it—Googlers.
I didn’t just buy into the lore of Google—I helped write it.
For my first five years, I also produced TGIF, the weekly all-hands meeting hosted by Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In my memory, those years are like a flipbook of what I saw from the side of the stage: mop-haired executives in athletic shorts and rubber shoes, skittish product managers who whipped too quickly through their slide decks and the endless parade of propeller hats they made new hires (“Nooglers,” naturally) wear to their first TGIF. Google was getting bigger, more complicated, which was manifest in the rousing internal debates that played out at TGIF about Google’s mission, its values, the big decisions. I remember the shock over Google spending $1.6 billion on a video site that mostly hosted cat videos and adolescent pranks; the moral stand the company took around pulling out of China; the primal fury when the beloved bookmarking tool Google Reader was killed. Every Friday I boarded the 5:40 shuttle bus back to San Francisco red-cheeked and a little buzzed off of free beer—sated.
At my last TGIF in 2012, a group of engineers presented me with a plaque in which they’d etched “The Bard of Google” in the campus woodshop to commemorate the whimsical weekly TGIF reminder emails I sent around the company. “Can we give Claire Stapleton a round of applause for her incredible email-writing?” says Larry in a video clip from that day I still have saved in my Google Drive. He invites me onstage, and the camera pans to me in the wings, a bashful young thing, covering my face, shocked by the impromptu spotlight. “I guess she’s a little bit shy. She prefers to express herself through computer means,” he says through his signature goofy grin. Half a decade later, I’d still occasionally get stopped in the lunch line by a hirsute stranger. “Wait, you’re Claire Stapleton? Like, the real Claire Stapleton?”
How far the bard had fallen.
A few days before the Walkout, genuinely curious about the chord that’d been struck (literally overnight, hundreds of people had joined the Google group I’d set up to coordinate planning), I sent out an email with a dumb-simple prompt: Why are you walking out? 350 responses came back. The Walkout’s spark might have been Andy Rubin, and indeed there were plenty of other tales of harassment and coercion at Google. But it was broader, deeper than that; this was a monument to disillusionment, capturing all sorts of anecdotes and reflections on a culture of discrimination, gaslighting, retaliation, ethical breaches, punitive managers, bad HR. If I could boil all these responses down to a single question, it might be: when did you first notice the gap between what you believed Google to be—progressive, equitable, fair, good—and what you actually see and experience every day?
I rolled back my own tape and saw lots of ways I could answer that question. There was the year I spent in Google’s “magic factory,” Creative Lab, a place where the ideals encoded in Google’s image were in stark contrast with the realities of a grueling work environment populated by temps, Google’s “shadow workforce.” Later, I spent five years in the Marketing department promoting the narrative that YouTube is a net-positive for society, while every day witnessing how ill-equipped the company’s leadership was to govern a social media platform as it became a breeding ground for extremism, disinformation, harassment, and child abuse.
But nothing so shifted my perspective about Google, its power—and the way that manifests in the workplace—as what happened after the Walkout.
“The emails and articles mentioned that we had attempted to demote Claire after the walkout, and I want to be clear that never happened,” Danielle Tiedt, YouTube’s CMO, wrote in an email to my entire department. Lorraine Twohill, Google’s CMO, sent a similar email to everyone in marketing at Google–thousands of my colleagues. “Over the last several weeks, I have spent a lot of time talking to everyone involved, trying to understand and empathize with the situation,” she said. (I never had a conversation with either woman about my claims.) The talking point that rang out around Google like town church bells was, we investigated and found no evidence of retaliation.
Then what did happen? After five years as an unequivocally “strong performer” on YouTube’s marketing team, my manager, Marion, informed me in a conversation in January that my role would be “restructured,” and I’d lose half my reports and responsibilities.
Google’s line would later be that this was a draft “reorg,” that I was being consulted on team changes “as managers sometimes are.” But when I followed up with Marion, arguing my case to keep my job as it was, she said it was impossible—this had to happen for the “needs of the business.” I escalated to HR and my VP, and they offered a soft menu of suggestions that couldn’t do much to fix things: take some days off, focus on clarifying role expectations with Marion, be “radically candid” with her about my feelings so we can “rebuild trust,” or start to look for a new role. Meanwhile, my relationship with Marion strained beyond recognition: I stopped getting looped into things and my work was routed to others—so effectively, I’d already been demoted.
I wasn’t the only one: Meredith Whittaker, one of the Walkout’s other lead organizers, had been informed around the same time that her role would be “changed dramatically” and in order to stay at the company, she’d need to “abandon her work on AI ethics.” And another organizer, Ramona (which is not her real name) had been in the process of transferring to my org, YouTube Marketing, but after the Walkout, it got delayed for months until the opportunity disappeared altogether. She was finally told that the head of my department wasn’t comfortable having someone who “fostered division between employees and leadership” on her team. RELATED STORY‘Black Women Talk Tech’ on Mentorship
I kept sounding the alarm, and eventually my case got picked up by a senior HR director, who listened carefully to my story. For the first time, I actually felt like someone was listening to me. The next day, she came back with what she said was the perfect solution: I should take medical leave. I pointed out that, well, I’m not actually sick or under a doctor’s care, she told me it wasn’t a big deal, “we put people on it all the time.”
I went home that night dumbfounded that the only solution I’d been presented with was to declare myself unwell and unable to work. “Am I crazy?” I wondered. Why could no one in HR or management acknowledge that something seriously wrong happened here? In April, when I shared the story with my fellow employees, I heard accounts from women across the company that echoed my own: when they’d raised an allegation about a manager or coworker, they’d been encouraged to take medical leave.
“Why don’t you just quit?” my husband asked in one of our many anguished conversations about how untethered and toxic my work situation had become.
“Google is more than just a job,” I said, “it’s my home.”
“You mean your other home?” he said.
My goodbye party was planned by my fellow organizers and the growing mass of activists that had been meeting to talk about ethics, equity, and collective action on a weekly basis since the Walkout six months before. This community was new, and the connections were just coagulating. But it was already clear that this group had sharp observations and ideas about all the things I’d been quietly troubled by in past years: the rise of harassment and reactionaries on the Internet and how little Google was doing about it, the mounting mistrust of our HR systems, the general sense that the company had started to put shareholder value above pretty much anything else. Though we’d been branded as agitators—an “entitled vocal minority,” as the head of HR had elegantly put it in a company meeting—these people reminded me of the idealism and purpose of the old days.
Last days at Google were loose: leave your computer and badge on your desk, or turn it into a receptionist, if you happen to think of it. But as I glanced around the crowd at my goodbye party, as people scribbled messages about the movement on Post-Its and tacked them to the walls of Google New York’s biggest common space, I immediately spotted Phillip, who was there to confiscate my Google-issued devices. This wasn’t standard protocol.
He hung at the periphery of the gathering, hawk-eyed, looking the part of a Google-branded henchman in his hiking boots and nylon shorts, his small, taut frame punctuated by a showstopping topknot. He had emailed me earlier that day (“could you let me know where and when to meet you?”), but I hadn’t gotten around to replying. I wondered how he figured out where I’d be.
I stood up and heaved myself over a picnic table to hug her. She was impossibly young, with a splash of freckles and long, messy brown hair and, well, reminded me a bit of myself a Google lifetime ago.
It felt surreal, lingering in this liminal space. I’d spent my career reflecting Google back to itself. But the mirror I held contained something that Google—or at least the management—no longer wanted to see.
Phillip waited until the party was waning to introduce himself, slicing into the conversation I was having with the last stragglers.
“I’m here to, uh, collect your things,” Phillip said haltingly, projecting his voice from a comfortable distance a few feet away.
I was desperate, not ready.
But there wasn’t much else to do. I exhaled a year’s worth of breath and trudged over to Phillip, limply offering him my laptop and a stack of Android phones that’d been gathering dust in my office desk drawer—I’d never owned a smartphone that wasn’t Google-issued (begrudgingly, the following week I’d purchase my first iPhone). I pulled my badge off my belt loop, taking one final, wan look at my security photo. “Goodbye, old friend,” I said, placing it gently in his palm.
Phillip didn’t crack a smile. He neatly packed my things into his Google-branded bike bag.
“Are you ready?”
“I guess,” pouting my lips. I’d regressed to a sullen teen.
We set off for the door in lockstep. We had a couple of dozen steps to traverse together. The yellow brick road, but backwards: This way out of Oz.
We’ve glimpsed the power of tech workers pushing their employers towards a more equitable future. And we can’t stop now.
“This is super weird,” I said, the words tumbling out. “I used to be a huge cheerleader for this place.” I suppressed my impulse to tell him about the Bard of Google plaque. “And now, I’m, like, Company Enemy #1. But I’m not–I’m not that, Phillip.”
I looked over at him, eager for some reaction–something to resurrect this moment. The last chance to end my Google career on a different note.
He said nothing.
We reached the door.
“Well, um. Goodbye, then,” I said, for lack of any other ideas.
He nodded. “Have a great weekend.”
If recent headlines are any indication, there’s no more ambiguity about whether the management embraces efforts like the Walkout: Google recently hired IRI Consultants, an anti-union consulting firm, then fired four employees who’d worked on a petition against Google doing business with CBP and ICE. Fittingly, in October, Sundar Pichai announced the end of TGIF as I knew it. Instead of the classic open forum, they’d be moving instead to a monthly product and business update with restrictions on what can be discussed—no “off-topic” questions from employees allowed. It’s dizzying to keep up with this new era of Google: on the same day that the four fired organizers announced they’re filing labor charges against the company, Larry and Sergey said they’d be stepping back from day-to-day roles at the company. Just this week, an engineer named Kathryn Spiers says she was fired for trying to notify co-workers of their right to organize.
Despite the personal cost that I and a growing group of organizers have paid, that workers continue to loudly call for change and a recalibration of Google’s moral compass makes me tremendously hopeful. To root for these workers is to root for the old Google: the company that earned its employees’ and users’ trust. Whose mission and ideals meant something. Whose “don’t be evil” motto was referenced earnestly, not to point out the irony of Google having done some new evil thing.
We’ve glimpsed the power of tech workers pushing their employers towards a more equitable future. And we can’t stop now.CLAIRE STAPLETON
Claire Stapleton is a writer and former YouTube employee who helped organize the Google Walkout for Real Change.
Alacrity is the art of creating micro-experiences that have an
emotionally uplifting impact on others. But I’m getting ahead of
A quick Google search for “secret to happiness” brings up over 7,500,000results.
That’s a lot of people writing about and searching for something that, according to a groundbreaking Harvard study, has already been found.
That’s right: Thanks to Harvard’s Grant and Glueck studies — which tracked 724 participants from varying walks of life over the course of 75 years — we’ve already uncovered the key to long-term happiness and fulfillment.
The answer? Our relationships.
Here’s Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development:
“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
In other words: The quality of our life — emotionally, physically, and mentally — is directly proportional to the quality of our relationships.
But there’s a catch. If there’s one thing most of us have learned, it’s this: Just knowing a lot of people isn’t enough.
True fulfillment in relationships is about genuine connection, and one of the most efficient ways to form that connection is by practicing what we at Mindmaven call Positive Alacrity; a skill we define as creating micro-experiences that cause an emotional uplifting in others.
The Uncomfortable Truth About Relationships
Did we really need a 75-year study to tell us relationships are important?
not; I bet many of you already knew that. So why do we so often
struggle to treat many of the most important relationships in our lives
with the reverence and priority we know they deserve?
For example, do any of these situations sound familiar?
When under stress, you may have a tendency to be ruder to your spouse than you’d ever dream of being to a complete stranger.
When building a business, you’re willing to work 60-hour weeks but somehow never “have time” to check in with lifelong friends.
Speaking of business: You may fail to consistently and proactively invest in deepening the professional relationships that might provide the breakthrough opportunities you need.
So why do we do this? Because …
Although many things in life are deadline and urgency driven, relationships almost never are.
As a result, they’re often one of the first parts of our lives that we neglect until we “find the time.”
The good news is, building those deep, meaningful relationships isn’t as daunting or time-consuming as it may sound. In fact, by focusing on one habit, anyone can build more fulfilling relationships every day.
The Secret Factor Controlling the Quality of Your Relationships
But what determines the level of fulfillment we find in our relationships?It isn’t simply “knowing” the other person.
What makes you feel happy or fulfilled isn’t the relationship itself, but the interactions that make that relationship up.
what it comes down to: The only path to achieving the goal of a
fulfilling life is to have fulfilling relationships, and those
relationships can only be created by consistently connecting through
Let me illustrate with a few examples.
#1: “I just want you to know how much I appreciate you.”
wife Sarah welled up with tears as she read the unexpected thank you
note her husband had written her before he left on a 6:00am flight for a
John — the CEO of an aggressively growing
startup — thanked his wife for all the support and grace she’d given
him over the last three years as he worked long hours to reach his — and
his company’s — fullest potential.
The short note left Sarah feeling appreciated, loved, and truly known by her husband.
#2: “Thank you for sacrificing your time for our vision.”
a recent intern-turned-engineer at a public company, felt pleasantly
surprised and greatly affirmed after Erin, the CEO, walked over to her
cubicle specifically to say thank you.
Without prompting, Hannah
had recently pulled an all-nighter in order to ensure a backend patch
was completed on time to restore server stability. And even though
Erin’s visit was shorter than 30 seconds, the fact that the interaction
was focused solely on thanking Hannah left her feeling appreciated for
stepping up and excited to work for the company.
#3: “So you never have to lose something again.”
Cole — a
die-hard Atlanta Falcons fan — laughed in amusement as he wrote back
“Thanks, but I hate you lol ;)” to Rob, a friend who had sent him a Tile following the Falcon’s 2017 Super Bowl loss so he’d, “never have to lose something important again.”
The practical joke made Cole smile and deepened the sense of connection and friendly rivalry the two of them shared.
The Science-Backed Power of Positivity
Here’s the key takeaways from those examples: Each time, someone performed a small, lightweight gesture. For example:
John’s handwritten note to his wife,
Erin’s 30-second interaction, or
Rob’s quick email and gift.
And despite the ease of each interaction, they all delivered an uplifting sense of connection to the other person.
But perhaps the best proof of the power of interactions comes from Dr. Martin Seligman’s famous Gratitude Visits.
For those unfamiliar, Dr. Seligman — founder of the positive psychology
movement — introduced the concept of Gratitude Visits in a University of Pennsylvania study.
how it worked: Participants were asked to write a 300+ word letter of
gratitude to someone in their life, and to then visit the recipient and
read the letter aloud to them.
Simple though that may be, the
effects were profound: Although Gratitude Visits were one of many
positivity practices recorded in the study, they were the only practice that had participants reporting increased happiness and decreased depression for a full month after completing the action.
while I fully support the practice of Gratitude Visits, they come with a
challenge: Most of us don’t have time to sit down and write a 300-word
letter every time we feel positive or grateful.
So I figured if
Gratitude Visits are truly one of the most fulfilling things we can do,
there must be a way we can simplify it into a habit that can be
Building Happy, Fulfilling Relationships with Ease
The solution? Positive Alacrity.
At the end of the day, this concept’s all about consistently delivering small,simple experiences that leave people feeling genuinely uplifted. So how do we do this? It all comes down to a single habit:
When you think something positive and you genuinely believe it, voice it.
simple as that habit may be, we believe the impact of Positive Alacrity
is as profound as Gratitude Visits, with one distinct advantage: That
same simplicity allows you to practice it anytime, anywhere, with practically anyone.
Because most of us already think positive thoughts on a daily basis.
For example, I wouldn’t be surprised if you often thought things like …
“That’s a really insightful way to look at the situation,”
“I really appreciate the way she listens to me,” or
“Wow, he handled that ordeal really well.”
a moment and test it for yourself: When was the last time you thought
something positive? I’d venture to bet it was within the last 24 hours.
problem is, we often let these thoughts come and go without ever
practicing Positive Alacrity. But when we forgo voicing these thoughts
to others, we cheat ourselves out of a valuable opportunity to enrich
our relationships in three key ways:
When you voice positive thoughts, you make the recipient feel emotionally uplifted.
This feeling elevates their appreciation of you and the relationship you share.
you were the source of that interaction, their emotional response
creates an incredibly fulfilling sense of happiness and satisfaction in
That last part’s key: By uplifting others, we inadvertently uplift ourselves. Why? Because …
The effects of Positive Alacrity go both ways.
For instance, remember the example above with Hannah the CEO and Erin the engineer?
a seasoned leader, Erin closely observed Hannah as she thanked her for
working so diligently on that patch; so she noticed as Hannah’s
expression slowly shifted from shocked confusion to recognition and,
finally, to realization.
Seeing Hannah’s cheeks flush, smile
spread, and eyes gleam made Erin realize she’d just delivered something
truly meaningful, and Hannah’s reaction created a tremendous sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in Erin as the one who delivered that interaction.
If you’ve ever been in a similar situation to Erin’s, you probably understand exactly how she’s feeling, and know just how uplifting those feelings can be.
When you practice Positive Alacrity, you’re not only uplifting others. Above all, you’re uplifting yourself.
Positive Alacrity in Action: Mastering the Habit of Intentional Positivity
The action itself is simple: Think something positive? Voice it.
But until we turn that conscious action into an unconscious habit,
we won’t be able to fully leverage it to impact our relationships and
enrich our lives. And that all starts with a shift in awareness.
default, positive thoughts often slip through the cracks before they
ever reach conscious acknowledgement, let alone vocal affirmation. So
how do you become more aware? By becoming intentional.
Once you’ve become aware of a positive thought, consciously label it “Positive,” then ask yourself: Do I genuinely believe this?
If you believe it, voice it. Positivity works so long as it’s perceived as genuine, and as long as you truly believe what you’re saying you can usually count on a positive outcome.
Habitualizing and Compounding the Secret to Happiness
in mind: As with any new habit, practicing Positive Alacrity is
probably going to feel a little clumsy or unnatural at first. But as
long as you genuinely believe what you say, it doesn’t matter how
awkward it comes out because it’s real.
important thing is that you’re voicing it. And if you’re able to push
through that initial awkwardness, I can practically guarantee the
process will become second nature in no time.
So how do you start? Thankfully, the practice is as simple as the theory. Try following this three-step process to utilize Positive Alacrity today.
Think of something positive that happened within the last 24 hours,
then ask yourself: “Who was the cause of (or involved in) this
experience that I could thank or compliment?”
Specificity: Ask yourself: “What specifically did I like or appreciate about this experience/situation?”
Now, voice it. Pay this person a face-to-face visit. If that doesn’t
work, call them. If you can’t call them, then text or email them;
immediately, before you finish reading this.
Keep in mind: The steps above are an example of how to leverage Positive Alacrity retroactively, but it’s even easier to perform as you move forward in your day-to-day life.
only thing you have to do is increase your ability to recognize these
thoughts as they occur, then voice them as you become aware of them
(rather than once a year when the holidays roll around).
John, Erin, and Rob are prime examples of these principles in action:
While getting ready to leave on his business trip, John
looked over at his sleeping wife and realized just how appreciative he
was for her continued understanding about his hectic travel schedule. So
instead of just grabbing his jacket and heading out the door, John went
over to the study, picked up some stationery, and wrote Sarah a short
note expressing those feelings.
After learning of Hannah’s all-nighter, all Erin
had to do was have a 30-second conversation genuinely thanking her. The
only risk she took? Potentially being a few seconds late to her next
And as the Falcon’s loss made Rob
realize how long it’d been since he and Cole talked, the only actions he
had to take were writing his friend a tongue-in-cheek note and asking
his assistant to mail it off along with a package of Tiles.
John, Erin, and Rob all spent less than a minute acting on their positive thoughts, but the uplifting emotions from those simple interactions have the potential to last for months.
what about Sarah, Hannah, and Cole, the recipients of those
interactions? They’re probably going to walk through the rest of the day
feeling uplifted and empowered. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if,
later that same day, they provided a similar experience for someone
That’s the Pay-it-Forward principle in practice:
A single positive interaction can have a multiplicative effect, building and spreading further than you’d ever imagine.
Ultimately, those simple interactions are the heart of Positive Alacrity and the foundation for meaningful relationships. And, as that 75-year Harvard study taught us, those very same relationships are the secret to lifelong happiness and fulfillment.
Study suggests that human population is only 0.01% of all the life forms on Earth. This shows how existence of humans is just a miniscule part if we compare it with the existence of our planet or of the presence of life on earth. But if we go through the events particularly in last 10,000 years (of recorded history of mankind), it becomes clear that the presence of humans on earth brought several changes in both the biological and non-biological components. Most of the striking changes have appeared in last 50 years or so. According to reports, humans have destroyed about 83% of wild mammals and half the species of plants till date. On the whole, humans have consumed 30% of the known resources resulting into scarcer ecosystem services for future generations. If these trends continue, the Earth will soon be experiencing mass extinctions and we will be left with an even more degraded planet.
Humans in last 50 years, because of ever-increasing population associated with pollution and destruction of natural ecosystems have completely changed the face of the Earth. The exponential increase in human population in last few decades brought about many drastic changes on Earth making it look much degraded and bruised. One such phenomenon is Earth’s present carbon dioxide (a potent green house gas) level in the atmosphere which has exceeded 411 parts per million (ppm), much higher as compared to about 323 ppm about 50 years ago, resulting in major environmental issues such as global warming and climate change. According to the Fifth Assessment Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, anthropogenic activities have been described as the main cause of increased green house gases level, of which 2/3rd come from burning of fossil fuels and 1/3rd is from land use changes. The increased clearing of forests and vegetated lands, due to overgrazing and industrial transformation, in the 1970s showed disturbed albedo and evapotranspiration leading to warming of earth, change in carbon cycle and global catastrophic events of biodiversity extinction. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analyzed that the average global temperature of earth has increased by about 0.8 °C since 1880 and two-thirds of this warming has been reported since 1975. The nexus of responses and catastrophic events also point towards the accelerated rate of melting of glaciers with the loss of 226 gigatons/year of ice between 1971 and 2009. The highest impacted glacier loss was reported from Greenland Ice Sheet (about sixfold higher) and Antarctic ice (almost quadrupled) in merely 20 years. Correspondingly, the sea level rise has almost doubled in last 20 years, with increment being 3.1 mm/year since 1993. Chemical and pesticide pollution is another menace to the ecosystems. According to reports, more than 1,40,000 chemicals including pesticides, plastics, etc. have been synthesized till date since 1950 and each year 10 millions tons of toxic compounds are being dumped into the environment leading to land degradation, soil salinization and contamination of water resources. This has resulted in the problem of safe drinking water around the globe. As per reports of CNN, about 500 million tons of heavy metals, toxic sludge and hazardous solvents were estimated to be released in global water supply in 2007 making it unsafe to consume. Plastic pollution is also a big nuisance caused by humans on Earth. The stats show that annual production of plastics during 1970s was about 50 million metric tons and it has increased to over 348 million metric tons at present. In terms of biodiversity losses, WWF’s Living Planet Report highlights that humans have eradicated 60% of the Earth’s wildlife in less than 50 years. About 20% of Amazon forests are lost in the last half century. A recent study revealed that of total global tree cover loss between 2001 and 2015, 27% depreciation came from commodity driven deforestation i.e. conversion of forests permanently in order to expand commodities such as meat, minerals, oils and gas. Other drivers are forestry i.e. loss within the managed forests or tree plantations (26%), shifting agricultural practices (24%), wildfires (23%), and urbanization (0.6%). Half of the shallow-water corals have also been leached out by anthropogenic activities polluting the oceans and seas in last 30 years. The recent analysis shows that the population of freshwater animals has plummeted by 75% since 1970s. Reports say that the damage done is so rapid that even if we end it now, it will take centuries to replenish the natural world.
The global human footprints over the past 50 years are so dominating that even the view of the planet from space shows the modification of various critical ecosystems and the demography. The complementing series of aerial pictures taken through satellites show that many hotspot ecosystems and areas have been tremendously degraded. Focusing on what all we have lost over the past half century, the red list is so long that it cannot be confined in few pages. The Great Barrier Reef visible even from space has shown 50% loss due to severe bleaching by increased temperature of the oceans in just 30 years and is predicted that up to 90% may die within next century. Shrinking of the Dead Sea has shown an alarming rate of around four feet a year and the sea has already lost one-third of its surface area. The increasing temperature has caused high rate of snow melting in the European mountain range The Alps, and the most unsettling event reported in 2017 was that the winter season was 38 days shorter in comparison to that in 1960. The human oriented massive irrigation project over past 50 years has shrunk the fourth largest lake Aral Sea, to only 10% and it will soon be a thing of the past. NASA’s monitoring of Arctic Sea ice since 1978 have detected a steep decline in overall ice content. The polar ice thawing stories over the past half centuries have been highly alarming and Antarctic alone has lost 40 billion tons of ice each year from 1979 to 1989 and this trend rose to 252 billion tons per year in 2009 and today Antarctic has already lost 6 times the ice it had 40 years ago. The ‘Third Pole’ i.e. The Himalayan- Hindu Kush mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau in Central Asia is also impacted by the negative trends of global warming and in the past 50 years this remote region has lost 509 glaciers resulting in the local temperature rise by 1.5 °C. Recently in 2018, a huge chunk of ice in Helheim Glacier in Greenland, about the size of Manhattan, with 10 billion tons of ice, split out and tumbled into sea; this loss was indicated as the most disturbing irreversible loss. The record breaking heat waves in Australia and Europe are already the hard and fast evidences to how much humans have changed the face of Earth. Australia witnessed the hottest summer in the recorded history in the year 2018–2019. The high melting of glaciers and warming of the poles led to the extreme freezing of Chicago, which became colder than Mount Everest, Siberia and the poles. The summers in Iran shockingly changed the size and color of Lake Urmia from green to brown due to blooming of algae and bacteria. Similarly, there are numerous reports which show the decline of fertile lands, increased soil salinity, loss of forests and so on, clearly visible by the satellite images.
A team of researchers’ from several countries including Sweden, Australia, Denmark, USA, England, Canada, Germany and Holland declared climate change and biodiversity loss as the “core boundaries” which if breached can transform Earth to inhabitable state. Stephen Hawking in his recently published book “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” stated that the biggest threat to mankind on Earth is the human induced climate change. Although the technology has advanced at an unprecedented rate and this has improved the living standards a lot but the cost of this development in terms of damage to the planet as a whole is also extraordinary. We share the planet with millions of other species but have almost single handedly exploited it to the extent that every specie is affected one way or the other. The industrial, agricultural and the infrastructural revolution have resulted in over exploitation of resources and pollution of every nook and corner of the planet. The technologies which were developed to adorn and ease our routines has brought antonymic effect threatening the survival and has made it very clear that no human science can replace “nature’s perfect systems” which have been carving the environment and ecosystems of earth to balance it in the zone of habitability.
Fifty years is just a very miniscule fraction of the time if compared with existence of life on Earth, but the changes brought in by the anthropogenic activities in this period are very distinct and serious, endangering the sustainability of life on the planet. Year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the celebrations of Earth Day, and it is high time that the unsustainable activities and technologies be replaced with viable measures. This could be achieved by employing green and biological methods, technologies and inputs such as the use of biofertilizers and biopesticides as substitutes to their chemical counterparts, biofuels in place of petroleum products, bioremediation instead of traditional remediation methods, bioplastics and biofilters to minimize pollution, biotechnological advances for food and energy security, study of metagenome for better knowledge of diversity and working of micro-ecosytems at the molecular and biochemical levels. The international policies are also backing up the idea of these holistic approaches for example United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals” have set targets for sustainable development and environment to be achieved by 2030. Last 50 years have changed the demography of the planet Earth in a negative way resulting in its deterioration. Goals for next 50 years should be to carry out the green upliftment of the Earth so as to bring it back to normalcy and natural form as it was about a century ago. The aim of the journal “Environmental Sustainability” is exactly to promote the greener technologies and biotechnological interventions so as to heal the planet Earth back to normalcy and sustain it for the survival and flourishing of all the life forms.
But proponents of meat and dairy are noticing the impact our film is having, and they are fighting back!
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