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Wellness is not women’s friend. It’s a distraction from what really ails us

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-seers-1131296">Kate Seers</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-hogg-321332">Rachel Hogg</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a></em></p> <p>Wellness is mainly marketed to women. We’re encouraged to eat clean, take <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYqaatWPxvy/">personal responsibility</a> for our well-being, happiness and life. These are the hallmarks of a strong, independent woman in 2022.</p> <p>But on the eve of International Women’s Day, let’s look closer at this <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-neoliberalism-colonised-feminism-and-what-you-can-do-about-it-94856">neoliberal feminist</a> notion of wellness and personal responsibility – the idea women’s health and well-being depends on our individual choices.</p> <p>We argue wellness is not concerned with actual well-being, whatever wellness “guru” and businesswoman Gwyneth Paltrow <a href="https://goop.com/wellness/">suggests</a>, or influencers say on Instagram.</p> <p>Wellness is an industry. It’s also a seductive distraction from what’s really impacting women’s lives. It glosses over the structural issues undermining women’s well-being. These issues cannot be fixed by drinking a turmeric latte or #livingyourbestlife.</p> <h2>What is wellness?</h2> <p>Wellness <a href="https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/press-room/statistics-and-facts/">is an</a> unregulated US$4.4 trillion global industry due to reach almost $7 trillion by 2025. It promotes self-help, self-care, fitness, nutrition and spiritual practice. It <a href="https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/what-is-wellness/">encourages</a> good choices, intentions and actions.</p> <p>Wellness is alluring because it feels empowering. Women are left with a sense of control over their lives. It is particularly alluring in times of great uncertainty and limited personal control. These might be during a relationship break up, when facing financial instability, workplace discrimination or a global pandemic.</p> <p>But wellness is not all it seems.</p> <h2>Wellness blames women</h2> <p>Wellness implies women are flawed and need to be fixed. It demands women resolve their psychological distress, improve their lives and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1360780418769673?journalCode=sroa">bounce back from adversity</a>, regardless of personal circumstances.</p> <p>Self-responsibility, self-empowerment and self-optimisation underpin how women are expected to think and behave.</p> <p>As such, wellness <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CZs2iIxrSwb/">patronises women</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CT3bw_Yhsp6/">micro-manages their daily schedules</a> with journaling, skin care routines, 30-day challenges, meditations, burning candles, yoga and lemon water.</p> <p>Wellness encourages women to improve their appearance through diet and exercise, manage <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ7IO7qJHZ_/">their surroundings</a>, <a href="https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5489-female-leadership-advice.html">performance at work</a> and their capacity to <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/working-women-balance">juggle the elusive work-life balance</a> as well as <a href="https://medium.com/authority-magazine/having-a-positive-mental-attitude-and-thinking-process-is-a-successful-key-to-healthy-wellbeing-ae11e303969c">their emotional responses</a> <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-stress-and-worry-put-the-mental-load-on-mothers-will-2022-be-the-year-they-share-the-burden-172599">to these pressures</a>. They do this with support from costly life coaches, psychotherapists and self-help guides.</p> <p>Wellness demands women <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CaFc2o7OHSf/">focus on their body</a>, with one’s body a measure of their commitment to the task of wellness. Yet this ignores how much these choices and actions cost.</p> <p>Newsreader and journalist Tracey Spicer <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CaDh28nBp4k/">says</a> she has spent more than A$100,000 over the past 35 years for her hair to “look acceptable” at work.</p> <p>Wellness keeps women <a href="https://www.hercampus.com/school/bu/the-male-gazes-effect-from-beauty-ideals-to-mental-health/">focused on their appearance</a> and keeps them spending.</p> <p>It’s also <a href="https://medium.com/artfullyautistic/the-dark-reality-of-wellness-culture-and-ableism-307307fcdafb">ableist</a>, <a href="https://www.byrdie.com/wellness-industry-whitewashing-5074880">racist</a>, <a href="https://msmagazine.com/2020/07/16/tools-of-the-patriarchy-diet-culture-and-how-we-all-perpetuate-the-stigma/">sexist</a>, <a href="https://www.self.com/topic/anti-aging">ageist</a> and <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/422517/the-pursuit-of-wellness-wellness-is-for-the-wealthy">classist</a>. It’s aimed at an ideal of young women, thin, white, middle-class and able-bodied.</p> <h2>But we can’t live up to these ideals</h2> <p>Wellness assumes women have equal access to time, energy and money to meet these ideals. If you don’t, “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/may/08/the-self-help-cult-of-resilience-teaches-australians-nothing">you’re just not trying hard enough</a>”.</p> <p>Wellness also <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1360780418769673?journalCode=sroa">implores women</a> to be “adaptable and positive”.</p> <p>If an individual’s #positivevibes and wellness are seen as <a href="https://ideas.ted.com/why-we-should-say-no-to-positivity-and-yes-to-our-negative-emotions/">morally good</a>, then it becomes morally necessary for women to engage in behaviours framed as “investments” or “self-care”.</p> <p>For those who do not achieve self-optimisation (hint: most of us) this is a personal, shameful failing.</p> <h2>Wellness distracts us</h2> <p>When women believe they are to blame for their circumstances, it hides structural and cultural inequities. Rather than questioning the culture that marginalises women and produces feelings of doubt and inadequacy, wellness provides solutions in the form of superficial empowerment, confidence and resilience.</p> <p>Women don’t need wellness. They are unsafe.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ourwatch.org.au/quick-facts/">Women are</a> <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release">more likely</a> to be murdered by a current or former intimate partner, with reports of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-governments-can-do-about-the-increase-in-family-violence-due-to-coronavirus-135674">pandemic increasing</a> the risk and severity of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/dec/01/the-worst-year-domestic-violence-soars-in-australia-during-covid-19">domestic violence</a>.</p> <p>Women are more likely to be employed in unstable <a href="https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/april-2020/Pandemics-economic-blow-hits-women-hard">casualised labour, and experience economic hardship and poverty</a>. Women are also bearing the brunt <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/womens-work/">of the economic fallout from COVID</a>. Women are more likely to be juggling a career with <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n1972">unpaid domestic duties</a> and more likely <a href="https://www.mercyfoundation.com.au/our-focus/ending-homelessness/older-women-and-homelessness/">to be homeless</a> as they near retirement age.</p> <p>In their book <a href="https://www.dukeupress.edu/confidence-culture#:%7E:text=They%20argue%20that%20while%20confidence,responsible%20for%20their%20own%20conditions.">Confidence Culture</a> UK scholars Shani Orgad and Rosalind Gill argue hashtags such as #loveyourbody and #believeinyourself imply psychological blocks, rather than entrenched social injustices, are what hold women back.</p> <h2>What we should be doing instead</h2> <p>Wellness, with its self-help rhetoric, <a href="http://www.consultmcgregor.com/documents/research/neoliberalism_and_health_care.pdf">absolves the government</a> of responsibility to provide transformative and effectual action that ensures women are safe, delivered justice, and treated with respect and dignity.</p> <p>Structural inequity was not created by an individual, and it will not be solved by an individual.</p> <p>So this International Women’s Day, try to resist the neoliberal requirement to take personal responsibility for your wellness. Lobby governments to address structural inequities instead.</p> <p><a href="https://www.mindful.org/why-women-should-embrace-their-anger/">Follow your anger</a>, not your bliss, call out injustices when you can. And in the words of sexual assault survivor and advocate Grace Tame, “make some noise”.<!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-seers-1131296">Kate Seers</a>, PhD Candidate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-hogg-321332">Rachel Hogg</a>, Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/wellness-is-not-womens-friend-its-a-distraction-from-what-really-ails-us-177446">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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If you squat in a vacant property, does the law give you the house for free? Well, sort of

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathy-sherry-466">Cathy Sherry</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>Nothing excites law students like the idea of a free house. Or alternatively, enrages them. It depends on their politics. As a result, academics condemned to teaching property law find it hard to resist the “<a href="https://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MelbULawRw/2011/28.html">doctrine of adverse possession</a>”. The fact that a person can change the locks on someone else’s house, wait 12 years, and claim it as their own, makes students light up in a way that the Strata Schemes Management Act never will.</p> <p>The idea of “squatters’ rights” has received a lot of media attention recently amid the grim reality of the Australian housing market. It fuels commentators such as Jordan van den Berg, who <a href="https://www.instagram.com/purplepingers/">critiques bad landlords</a> on social media. Casting back to his days as a law student, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/article/jordan-was-fed-up-with-australias-empty-houses-his-proposal-has-led-to-death-threats/stx6rv6fl">he’s promoting</a> the doctrine of adverse possession as a way of making use of vacant properties.</p> <p>As interesting as the doctrine is, it has little relevance in modern Australia. While it is necessary to limit the time someone has to bring legal proceedings to recover land – typically 12 or 15 years, depending on which state you’re in – most people don’t need that long to notice someone else is living in their house. If a family member is occupying a home that someone else has inherited or a tenant refuses to vacate at the end of a lease, owners tend to bring actions to recover their land pronto.</p> <p>So where did this doctrine come from, and what has it meant in practice?</p> <h2>Free house fetching millions</h2> <p>In unusual circumstances, people can lose track of their own land.</p> <p>Just before the second world war, Henry Downie moved out of his house in the Sydney suburb of Ashbury. Downie died a decade later, but his will was never administered. At the time of his death, a Mrs Grimes rented the house and did so for a further 50 years. Downie’s next of kin did not realise they had inherited the house or that they were Grimes’s landlord.</p> <p>Grimes died in 1998 and Bill Gertos, a property developer, saw the house was vacant. He changed the locks, did some repairs, then leased the house and paid the rates for the next 17 years. He then made an application under <a href="https://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/rpa1900178/s45d.html">NSW property laws</a> to become the registered proprietor. At this point, Downie’s next of kin became aware they may have been entitled to the property and disputed Gertos’s claim.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2018/1629.html">court held</a> Gertos had been “in possession” of the property since the late 1990s. The next of kin had a legal right to eject him, but they had failed to do so within the statutory time limit of 12 years. Gertos had the best claim to the house. He <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/6-malleny-street-ashbury-nsw-2193-2015821514">promptly sold it</a> for A$1.4 million.</p> <p>Outrageous as this may seem, the law encourages caring for land. If you fail to take responsibility for your land, and someone else does, you can lose it.</p> <h2>An old English tradition</h2> <p>Gertos’s jackpot was unusual, and adverse possession has always been more relevant in a country like England.</p> <p>First, for much of English history, many people did not have documentary title (deeds) to their land. People were illiterate, parchment was expensive, and documents could disappear in a puff of smoke in a house fire. The law often had to rely on people’s physical possession of land as proof of ownership.</p> <p>Second, as a result of feudalism, vast swathes of England were owned by the aristocracy. They and their 20th-century successors in title, often local councils, had a habit of forgetting they owned five suburbs in London.</p> <p>In the post second world war housing crisis, thousands of families, and later young people and students, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b017cfv4">squatted in vacant houses</a> owned by public and private landlords who lacked the means or motivation to maintain them.</p> <h2>A sign of the times</h2> <p>In contrast, in Australia, for most of our settler history, governments of all political persuasions actively prevented the emergence of a landed class.</p> <p>But now, courtesy of tax policies that <a href="https://www.quarterlyessay.com.au/essay/2023/11/the-great-divide">encourage investment</a> in residential real estate, we have a landlord class of Baby Boomer and Gen X investors. That has caused housing market stress as younger people cannot make the natural transition from being renters to homeowners. They are outbid by older, wealthier buyers whose tax benefits from negative gearing increase with every dollar they borrow to buy an investment property.</p> <p>Money flowing into the market then means that landlords’ greatest benefit is capital gain rather than income, and thanks to John Howard, investors pay <a href="https://theconversation.com/stranger-than-fiction-who-labors-capital-gains-tax-changes-will-really-hurt-109657">no tax</a> on half of that gain.</p> <p>Finally, an almost exclusive reliance by government on the <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/post/for-more-affordable-housing-we-need-more-public-housing/">private sector</a> to provide new homes – which it will only do if it is making a profit – has left many people in deep housing stress.</p> <p>While squatters in Australia are likely to find themselves swiftly subject to court orders for ejection, van den Berg’s rallying cry indicates just how inequitable the housing market has become. Baby Boomers and Gen X should be on notice – young people want their housing back. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/227556/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathy-sherry-466"><em>Cathy Sherry</em></a><em>, Professor in Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-you-squat-in-a-vacant-property-does-the-law-give-you-the-house-for-free-well-sort-of-227556">original article</a>.</em></p>

Legal

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Sarah Ferguson sends her well wishes to Kate Middleton

<p>Sarah Ferguson has shared a hopeful message for Kate Middleton in the wake of her cancer diagnosis.</p> <p>The Duchess of York, who has battled both breast and skin cancer in the last year, said she was impressed and proud of the Princess of Wales for coming forward with the news of her diagnosis, while also sending her well wishes as her health journey continues.</p> <p>In a statement to her Instagram page, Fergie wrote, "All my thoughts and prayers are with the Princess of Wales as she starts her treatment. I know she will be surrounded by the love of her family and everyone is praying for the best outcome."</p> <p>She continued, "As someone who has faced their own battle with cancer in recent months, I am full of admiration for the way she has spoken publicly about her diagnosis and know it will do a tremendous amount of good to raise awareness."</p> <p>"I hope she will now be given the time, space and privacy to heal."</p> <p>The Duchess is no stranger to difficult diagnoses, as she shared the news of her skin cancer diagnosis in January - just months after undergoing surgery for breast cancer. </p> <p>On Saturday, Kate Middleton confirmed she had been <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/kate-middleton-reveals-cancer-diagnosis-in-heartfelt-message" target="_blank" rel="noopener">diagnosed with cancer</a> in a personal video message released by Kensington Palace, following weeks of speculation and controversy surrounding the true state of her health.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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“I’m being racist to eggs”: Wellness influencer slammed for innocent comment

<p>An Australian influencer has been forced to address a "racist" comment she made about her son's lunch. </p> <p>Health and fitness influencer Sarah Stevenson, who is known by her millions of followers as Sarah's Day, was filming herself as she made lunch for her son.</p> <p>The 31-year-old stopped herself as she made her child a curried egg sandwich, saying he be dubbed “the smelly boy in the playground” if he took the meal to school.</p> <p>“Do you want to be ‘smelly curried egg boy’?” she asked him.</p> <p>While the seemingly innocent comment went unnoticed by many of her followers, one person sent her a message demanding an apology for her "borderline racist" comment. </p> <p>The entrepreneur and mum-of-two replied to the private message in a video response to her followers explaining that she meant the “egg smell” and didn't mean anything racist. </p> <p>“Didn’t everyone go to school with someone who brought eggs in their lunch and you’re like, ‘ew, you smell like rotten eggs’... not ‘you smell like curry!’,” she said in the video on her Instagram Stories.</p> <p>She said sarcastically, “I’m being racist to eggs.”</p> <p>Stevenson then doubled down on the follower’s outrage, following that with a cooking tutorial for “racist eggs”.</p> <p>The late night social media saga was re-shared by a popular account, where it was dubbed “egg gate” and plenty more people weighed in on the drama. </p> <p>“She should have apologised and taken it down instead she’s made it worse,” one commenter wrote.</p> <p>The general consensus from the public was that the original racism accusation “was a definite reach”, but she went too far with her explanation. </p> <p>“Honestly don’t think there was any malice in the original comment — she definitely scrambled (ha!), way too far in explaining herself afterwards though,” someone wrote.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Food & Wine

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The move to a cashless society isn’t just a possibility, it’s well underway

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/angel-zhong-1204643">Angel Zhong</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>When was the last time you used cash? For many Australians using cash or even swiping a card has become a rare event.</p> <p>The move towards a cashless society started 50 years ago with the introduction of the Bankcard and was driven by technological advancements. But it really took off with the COVID pandemic when consumers and retailers were reluctant to handle potentially infected notes and coins.</p> <p>The federal government last week underscored its recognition of this trend by <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/modernising-payments-regulation">unveiling reforms</a> to regulate digital payment providers.</p> <p>Treasurer Jim Chalmers said: "As payments increasingly become digital, our payments system needs to remain fit for purpose so that it delivers for consumers and small businesses. We want to make sure the shift to digital payments occurs in a way that promotes greater competition, innovation and productivity across our entire economy."</p> <p>From big cities to remote rural corners the shift towards digital payments is evident. This raises the question, is a cashless society inevitable?</p> <h2>The phenomenal growth of the digital payments</h2> <p>The convenience of digital transactions has become irresistible for consumers and businesses and has led to the sector eclipsing traditional payment methods.</p> <p>The relentless march of technology has produced myriad innovative platforms from mobile wallets to buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) schemes, each vying for a piece of this burgeoning market.</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.ausbanking.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Bank-On-It-%E2%80%93-Customer-Trends-2023-1.pdf">report</a> by the Australian Banking Association paints a vivid picture of the digital payment industry’s explosive expansion.</p> <p>The use of digital wallet payments on smartphones and watches has soared from $746 million in 2018 to over $93 billion in 2022. Cash only accounts for 13% of consumer payments in Australia as of the end of 2022, a stark contrast to 70% in 2007.</p> <p>Digital wallets are popular with most age groups. Young Australians aged between 18 and 29 are leading the pack, with two thirds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">using digital wallets</a> to pay for goods and services.</p> <p>About <a href="https://www.ausbanking.org.au/almost-40-leave-wallets-at-home/">40% of Australians</a> are comfortable leaving home without their actual wallets or even credit or debit cards, as long as they have their mobile devices with digital wallets.</p> <p>The astonishing speed at which Australians have embraced digital payments places the country among the top users of cashless payments globally, surpassing the United States and European countries.</p> <p>Digital wallets are not the only players in this space. The use of BNPL products is also growing rapidly in Australia, which was where many of the large-scale products in this category started.</p> <p>The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) reports the total value of all BNPL transactions increased by <a href="https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-672-buy-now-pay-later-an-industry-update/">79% in the 2018–19 financial year</a>. This continues into 2022 with an annual growth beyond 30% according to the <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/annual-reports/psb/2022/the-evolving-retail-payments-landscape.html">Reserve Bank of Australia</a> (RBA).</p> <p>PayID and PayPal payments are also claiming their shares in this space.</p> <h2>Are government regulations necessary?</h2> <p>The government’s planned regulation of the system, contained in amendments to the Reforms to the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998, is a big step towards establishing a secure and trustworthy cashless society in Australia.</p> <p>It will subject BNPL and digital wallet service providers like Apple Pay and Google Pay to the same oversight by the RBA as traditional credit and debit cards.</p> <p>The regulations will require providers meet clear standards for security measures, data protection and dispute resolution to give Australians confidence their funds and personal information are safeguarded.</p> <p>With increasing concern over cyber attacks, the regulations will help reduce the risk of fraudulent activities and money laundering and help identify suspicious transactions, maintaining the integrity of the financial system.</p> <p>Also, regulation will promote fair competition and market stability by levelling the playing field and by preventing monopolies.</p> <p>While banks support the forthcoming regulation, new market players are less positive. For example, Apple Pay says it is merely <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/new-rba-powers-to-regulate-apple-google-payments-20231010-p5eb6d">providing technical architecture</a> rather than payment services.</p> <p>The current regulatory debate is not new. When credit cards made their debut in Australia in the early 1970s, there were hardly any safeguards for consumers. This led to card users being hit with high interest rates on money owed, sneaky fees and aggressive marketing tactics.</p> <p>Consequently, regulations were introduced to hold card providers to a standard of responsible behaviour. Today, they must openly disclose interest rates, fees and charges, and follow stringent guidelines in advertising their products and services.</p> <p>Regulating digital wallet providers strikes a crucial balance between innovation and accountability, ensuring life-changing technology continues to serve the public interest.</p> <p>The shift towards a cashless society in Australia isn’t just a possibility, it’s already well underway.</p> <p>The blend of technological advancements, changing consumer preferences and regulatory adaptations has set the stage for this transformation. The new regulations will help Australians navigate this transition more confidently.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215446/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/angel-zhong-1204643"><em>Angel Zhong</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-move-to-a-cashless-society-isnt-just-a-possibility-its-well-underway-215446">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Long-married couples said not to know each other as well as newlyweds

<p>You would think decades of marriage together would give older couples plenty of time to get to know each other but an interesting new study suggests otherwise, finding that couples who have been together for decades are worse at predicting what their partner likes than newlyweds.</p> <p>The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, tested young couples, aged from 19 to 32, who had been together for an average of two years and older couples, aged from 62 to 78, who had been together for at least 40 years. Each of the 116 participants was presented with a series of descriptions (of foods, movies, house designs and so on) and asked to rate his or her preference and predict how their partner would rate the item. They were also asked to estimate how many of their predictions were correct.</p> <p>And well, overall, we’re not great at knowing what our significant other likes, even though we think we are. Young couples got 42 per cent of their predictions right and older couples only predicted 36 per cent of their partners’ preferences, when both couple groups overconfidently estimated they would get 62 per cent of answers right.</p> <p>“This is surprising because, compared to younger couples, older couples had much more time and opportunities to learn about each other's preferences over the course of their relationship,” the team of psychologist wrote.</p> <p>They suggested that younger couples may be more motivated to understand their partners during the early stages of a relationship.</p> <p>“Another reason could be that older couples pay less attention to each other, because they view their relationship as already firmly committed or because they think they already know their partner well,” said one of the researchers, Dr Benjamin Scheibehenne of the University of Basel.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

Relationships

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“I may as well give you the inside story”: Dr Charlie Teo unleashes on tribunal

<p dir="ltr">Dr Charlie Teo has revealed his true thoughts on a five-day disciplinary hearing by the Health Care Complaints Commission. </p> <p dir="ltr">The commission launched their inquiry into two cases where Teo performed brain surgery on two patients who ultimately passed away, in the wake of accusations of negligence. And while Teo denied any negligence on his part, he did admit that he was responsible, telling the hearing that he believed he had been “too aggressive”. </p> <p dir="ltr">It was during a speech to guests at his annual Rebel Ball - the “Charlie Teo Foundation’s premier event supporting the visionaries and revolutionaries tackling brain cancer head-on” - that he unleashed, slamming the Health Care Complaints Commission and the hearing. </p> <p dir="ltr">At the Crown Sydney, Teo took to the stage to a roar of applause from his supporters, and began by telling them “you here tonight have stuck with me and I can't thank you enough for your loyalty.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Everyone's been asking me about the tribunal. I may as well give you the inside story. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The tribunal was absolute f***ing bulls**t.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It isn’t the first time that Teo had spoken out against the strikes against himself and his career, with the neurosurgeon having <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/the-agenda-is-to-destroy-charlie-teo-final-hit-ahead-of-hearing">previously confessed to Mark Bouris</a> that “it’s got nothing to do with fairness, what’s right or wrong. It’s all got to do with people’s agendas. And the agenda is to destroy Charlie Teo.” </p> <p dir="ltr">And outside of his March hearing, Teo insisted that restrictions from prior hearings had potentially cost lives, with the neurosurgeon noting that he hadn’t been able to save lives that he knew he could have. </p> <p dir="ltr">The end goal of Teo’s Rebel Ball was just that: helping people, and ultimately saving lives.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a post to the Charlie Teo Foundation’s Facebook page, it was declared that the event had “transformed the future”, having raised over $1 million “for game-changing brain cancer research”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Among the guests and contributors were the likes of former Australian cricketers Steve Waugh and Gavin Robertson, former Olympic volleyballer Kerri Potthurst, “the last man to represent NSW at both cricket and rugby league” Graeme Hughes, and Labor’s Graham Richardson. </p> <p dir="ltr">Brain tumour survivor Beatrice McBride was also in attendance, and even performed with her father, Slide McBride, with a song she’d written for Teo. The musical entertainment continued from there, with Mondo Rock’s Paul Christie joining The Hidley Street Country Club Band on stage.</p> <p dir="ltr">Supporters were quick to flock to Teo’s side after the event, sharing their congratulations for a successful fundraising effort, and their delight at seeing so many prepared to stand by him. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Amazing result,” one wrote, “well done to everyone giving Charlie the support.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was a great night had by all. Thanks to all the big supporters for their massive contributions. Just proves Charlie can still pull a crowd of true believers. There was no room for the haters,” another declared. </p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, another summed it up - and echoed the majority - when they shared that they were “so happy folk supported Charlie.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

News

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Which medicines don’t go well with flying?

<p>Every day, <a href="http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2012-12-06-01.aspx">more than 10 million people</a> take a flight somewhere in the world. While flying is relatively safe, the unique environmental conditions can put passengers at risk if they’re taking certain medications.</p> <p>These include any hormone-based drugs, like the contraceptive pill and some fertility medicines, and drugs used to prevent heart attack and stroke. Antihistamines should also not be used to help passengers sleep during a flight.</p> <h2>What makes flying different from other forms of travel?</h2> <p>While flying is <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-most-likely-to-kill-you-measuring-how-deadly-our-daily-activities-are-72505">one of the safest forms of travel</a>, there are specific risks that come with air travel, regardless of the length of the flight. </p> <p>Passenger planes are typically pressurised to the same atmospheric conditions that are found at 10,000 feet altitude. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6823572">At that level</a>, <a href="https://www.higherpeak.com/altitudechart.html">the effective oxygen level is only 14.3%</a>, which is much lower than the 20.9% found at ground level.</p> <p>An additional risk is reduced blood flow from a lack of movement and sitting in cramped conditions, unless of course you’re fortunate enough to be in business or first class. And finally, dehydration is also a common side effect of flying due to the lack of humidity in the air.</p> <p>When these conditions are combined, it results in an increased risk of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/deep-vein-thrombosis">deep vein thrombosis</a>, which is also known as DVT. This is a type of blood clot that occurs in the veins deep in the body and occurs most often in the legs. The development of a blood clot can result in blocked blood flow to the lungs, heart, or brain, which in turn can cause a heart attack or stroke.</p> <h2>Contraceptive pill and other hormone-based medicines</h2> <p>Given the inherent risk of a blood clot when flying, a passenger should use with caution any medication that can further increase the risk of a clot.</p> <p>Some brands of contraceptive for women (tablet or implant formulation) are <a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/new-bloodclot-alerts-added-to-diane35-eds-product-information/news-story/eaa0b596541a760e9c6cf89b37900c42">known to increase the chances of a blood clot</a>, although the overall increase in risk is small. While it’s thought the major risk comes from the hormone <a href="http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/estrogen">estrogen</a>, <a href="http://www.cochrane.org/CD010813/FERTILREG_contraceptive-pills-and-venous-thrombosis">a review of all the medical evidence in 2014</a> showed there’s a risk of blood clot from all contraceptive medicines.</p> <p>Likewise, <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-and-menopause">hormone replacement therapy</a>, particularly those that include estrogen, or some fertility medicines, such as <a href="https://www.babycenter.com/0_fertility-drug-gonadotropins_6188.bc">gonadotrophins</a>, can increase the risk of a blood clot.</p> <p>If you take one of these medicines, it does not mean you cannot fly, nor that you should necessarily stop taking the drug. Many millions of women fly while taking these medicines and suffer no ill effects.</p> <p>But the risk is also increased if you have an underlying health condition that includes type II diabetes, heart disease, and prior heart attacks or strokes. As such, passengers who also take medications to help prevent heart attacks and strokes should consult their doctor or pharmacist before flying.</p> <p>If you’re at increased risk of a blood clot, then an anti-platelet medication may be suitable for you. These medicines act by stopping the blood cells from sticking together and include prescription medicines such as <a href="http://www.melbournehaematology.com.au/fact-sheets/warfarin.html">warfarin</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/clopidogrel">clopidogrel</a>, and over-the-counter medicines such as <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/medicines/brand/amt,34661000168102/aspirin-low-dose-pharmacy-action">low dose aspirin</a>.</p> <h2>Antihistamines</h2> <p>Many passengers can have trouble sleeping when flying, especially on long-haul flights. Parents flying with young children can also be concerned about them not sleeping or being unsettled and annoying other passengers.</p> <p>In these instances, many will turn to <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/antihistamines">sedating antihistamines</a>, like <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/medicines/brand/amt,22661000168108/phenergan">promethazine</a> to try to induce sleep. But this is a bad option.</p> <p>The Australian Medical Association specifically recommends <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-medical-association-warns-against-sedating-children-on-long-journeys-20150405-1mesd0.html">parents do not do this</a>, as sometimes it can have the reverse effect and make children less sleepy and more active. These types of <a href="http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/PUArticles/Mar2013ChildrenAndSedatingAntihistamines.htm">antihistamines are also known to depress breathing</a>, and in the low oxygen environment of the aircraft this can be especially dangerous.</p> <p>If you feel you or another family member will need sedation when flying, don’t use an antihistamine. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for a more suitable medication. Examples include prescription sleeping tablets, such as <a href="https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/melatonin-and-sleep">melatonin</a>, or natural remedies, such as <a href="https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-870-valerian.aspx?activeingredientid=870">valerian</a>.</p> <h2>What to do before and during your flight</h2> <p>Before you fly, if you’re taking any form of medication, it’s recommended you meet with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the suitability of your medicines. They may advise you there’s little risk for you, or if there is a risk, they may recommend a different medicine for the trip or recommend a new medicine to reduce the risk of blood clots.</p> <p>During your flight, don’t take antihistamines, and reduce your chance of a blood clot by drinking lots of water, stretching in your seat, and moving about the cabin as much as is appropriate.</p> <p>Finally, the effects of alcohol can be increased when flying – so drink in moderation, and try to avoid tea, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks as these can have dehydrating effects and make it harder to sleep.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/which-medicines-dont-go-well-with-flying-90222" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Travel Tips

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"The opposite of wellness": Gwyneth Paltrow slammed over "toxic" daily routine

<p>Gwyneth Paltrow has been slammed online for sharing her "detox" wellness routine, making people question her definition of "wellness". </p> <p>The Goop founder appeared on the The Art of Being Well podcast with Dr. Will Cole, where she shared her insanely strict daily regime. </p> <p>The 50-year-old touched on a series of topics, including keyboard warriors and "conscious uncoupling", but it was her comments about her routine and diet that caused the biggest upset.</p> <p>A 40 second clip of the hour long interview has gone viral on TikTok, as Paltrow answered Dr. Cole's question: "What does your wellness routine look like right now?"</p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 610px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7210104654460521774&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40dearmedia%2Fvideo%2F7210104654460521774&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast5-p-0068-tx%2F17cff0a159f0493eaee1639d24531142%3Fx-expires%3D1678921200%26x-signature%3D2lWmwOFgi5LyMZXZha769GLwnG4%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>The actress says, "I eat dinner early in the evening. I do a nice intermittent fast."</p> <p>"I usually eat something about 12 and in the morning I have things that won't spike my blood sugar so I have coffee."</p> <p>"But I really like soup for lunch. I have bone broth for lunch a lot of the days. Try to do one hour of movement, so I'll either take a walk or I'll do Pilates or I'll do my Tracy Anderson."</p> <p>"And then I dry brush and I get in the sauna. So I do my infrared sauna for 30 minutes and then for dinner I try to eat according to paleo - so lots of vegetables."</p> <p>She concluded, "It's really important for me to support my detox."</p> <p>The strict regime welcomed a flood of criticism online, as many questioned Paltrow's definition of the word "wellness". </p> <p>One shocked user wrote, "Is starving wellness?" while another added, "I feel light headed just listening to this."</p> <p>A third person simply said, "I relate to nothing in this video", while another outraged viewer wrote, "Is this wellness? Or is this punishment?"</p> <p>However, the criticism did not stop there as professional dietitians also weighed in with their own thoughts.</p> <p>Expert Lauren Cadillac created a duet with the clip on the video sharing platform to share her reaction to Gwyneth's revelations.</p> <p>In it, the nutritionist repeatedly rolls her eyes, shakes her head, and gasps before claiming "bone broth is not a meal."</p> <p>She concludes, "This is not enough food. Support you detox from WHAT?! You're not eating anything."</p> <p>Another nutritionist weighed in on her routine, simply stating, "This is not wellness. This is not health. This is clinically concerning and toxic behaviour, and it's horrific that it's packaged as new age wellness."</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok / Instagram</em></p>

Body

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"So like your mum": Chloe Lattanzi visits patients at ONJ Wellness Centre

<p>Olivia Newton-John was known for many things: mostly for being a giant of the Australian entertainment industry. </p> <p>But according to her daughter Chloe, her most important legacy was the work she did at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre. </p> <p>Since her mother died in August 2022 after a 30-year journey with cancer, Chloe is determined to continue her extraordinary work, and joined <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/the-olivia-newton-john-cancer-wellness-and-research-centre-with-family-and-staff/340a9404-e7ef-46f4-8e49-3d0f2e0fd654" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>'s Ally Langdon to visit patients in the centre to hear their stories. </p> <p>Chloe Lattanzi dropped into the centre with her cousin Tottie Goldsmith, where she was greeted by patients who were over the moon to meet her.</p> <p>"Oh my god, you are so like your mum," one patient told Lattanzi as she squeezed her tight in a warm hug. </p> <p>"You're just beautiful like her … she's an Aussie treasure."</p> <p>"She's done so much and I'm so grateful for what she's done here because they (staff) are just amazing."</p> <p>Lattanzi said she first visited the ONJ Wellness Centre with her mum in 2019 and now she's "very passionate" about continuing her legacy.</p> <p>"I am very much looking forward to meeting the people who are here and connecting with them," Lattanzi said.</p> <p>"I hope to bring some kind of comfort and joy … because I know what they're going through."</p> <p>Patients in the centre were quick to praise the work Olivia Newton-John had done in creating the centre, sharing how much of a difference such an environment had while undergoing treatment. </p> <p>"Everything's serene and calm because it's a traumatic time and to have that sort of thing is really marvellous," another patient said.</p> <p>"It's a home away from home," Sergio, who is also a patient at the centre, added. </p> <p>Chloe said that it was an honour to be invited into the centre and felt her mother with her "in spirit". </p> <p>"I feel like she's inside of me and this is my purpose," Lattanzi said.  </p> <p>Director of Austin Health Foundation Debbie Shiell was also at the centre when Lattanzi paid the patients a visit and said "Chloe gave them the gift that Olivia gave them".</p> <p>"Olivia gave them a break from here and love and healing energy and that was really special to witness and I have no doubt that those people you saw today will be beaming tomorrow," Shiell told Lattanzi.</p> <p>"This (wellness centre) is her vision, her legacy."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Caring

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The wellbeing ‘pandemic’ – how the global drive for wellness might be making us sick

<p>Are we in the midst of a wellbeing pandemic? The question may seem curious, even contradictory. But look around, the concept is everywhere and spreading: in the media, in government institutions and transnational organisations, in schools, in workplaces and in the marketplace. </p> <p>To be clear, it’s not just wellbeing’s infectiousness in public discourse that makes it pandemic-like. It’s also the genuine malaise that can be caused by the term’s misuse and exploitation.</p> <p>Do you sense, for example, that your wellbeing is increasingly being scrutinised by peers, managers and insurance companies? Are you noticing an increasing number of advertisements offering products and services that promise enhanced wellbeing through consumption? If so, you’re not alone. </p> <p>But we also need to ask whether this obsession with wellbeing is having the opposite to the desired effect. To understand why, it’s important to look at the origins, politics and complexities of wellbeing, including its strategic deployment in the process of what we call “<a href="https://otagouni-my.sharepoint.com/personal/jacst99p_registry_otago_ac_nz/Documents/Documents/SJ-Wellness/SJ-Conversation-Wellbeing/Jackson-Sam-Dawson-Porter-Frontiers-Sociology-Wellbeing-2022.pdf">wellbeing washing</a>”.</p> <h2>The halo effect</h2> <p>While concerns about wellbeing can be traced to antiquity, the term has emerged as a central feature of contemporary social life. One explanation is that it is often conflated with concepts as diverse as happiness, quality of life, life satisfaction, human flourishing, mindfulness and “wellness”. </p> <p>Wellbeing is flexible, in the sense that it can be easily inserted into a diverse range of contexts. But it’s also surrounded by a kind of halo, automatically bestowed with a positive meaning, similar to concepts such as motherhood, democracy, freedom and liberty. </p> <p>To contest the value and importance of such things is to risk being labelled a troublemaker, a non-believer, unpatriotic or worse.</p> <p>These days, there are two main concepts of wellbeing. The first – subjective wellbeing – emphasises a <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoc.2022.950557/full#B21">holistic measure</a> of an individual’s mental, physical and spiritual health. This perspective is perhaps best reflected in the World Health Organization’s <a href="https://www.corc.uk.net/outcome-experience-measures/the-world-health-organisation-five-well-being-index-who-5/">WHO-5 Index</a>, designed in 1998 to measure people’s subjective wellbeing according to five states: cheerfulness, calmness, vigour, restfulness and fulfilment.</p> <p>Translated into more than 30 languages, the overall influence of the WHO-5 Index should not be underestimated; both governments and corporations have embraced it and implemented policy based on it. </p> <p>But the validity of the index, and others like it, has been questioned. They’re prone to oversimplification and a tendency to marginalise alternative perspectives, including Indigenous approaches to physical and mental health.</p> <h2>Individual responsibility</h2> <p>The second perspective – objective wellbeing – was a response to rising social inequality. It focuses on offering an <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoc.2022.950557/full#B60">alternative to GDP</a> as a measure of overall national prosperity. </p> <p>One example of this is New Zealand’s <a href="https://www.treasury.govt.nz/information-and-services/nz-economy/higher-living-standards/our-living-standards-framework">Living Standards Framework</a>, which is guided by four operating principles: distribution, resilience, productivity and sustainability. These new and purportedly more progressive measures of national economic and social outcomes signal societal change, optimism and hope.</p> <p>The trouble with such initiatives, however, is that they remain rooted within a particular neoliberal paradigm in which individual behaviour is the linchpin for change, rather than the wider political and economic structures around us.</p> <p>Arguably, this translates into more monitoring and “disciplining” of personal actions and activities. Intentionally or not, many organisations interpret and use wellbeing principles and policies to reinforce existing structures and hierarchies. </p> <p>Consider how the wellbeing agenda is playing out in your organisation or workplace, for example. Chances are you have seen the growth of new departments, work units or committees, policies and programs, wellness workshops – all supposedly linked to health and wellbeing. </p> <p>You may even have noticed the creation of new roles: wellbeing coaches, teams or “champions”. If not, then “lurk with intent” and be on the lookout for the emergence of yoga and meditation offerings, nature walks and a range of other “funtivities” to support your wellbeing. </p> <h2>Wellbeing washing</h2> <p>The danger is that such initiatives now constitute another semi-obligatory work task, to the extent that non-participation could lead to stigmatisation. This only adds to stress and, indeed, unwellness. </p> <p>Deployed poorly or cynically, such schemes represent aspects of “wellbeing washing”. It’s a strategic attempt to use language, imagery, policies and practices as part of an organisation’s “culture” to connote something positive and virtuous. </p> <p>In reality, it could also be designed to enhance productivity and reduce costs, minimise and manage reputational risk, and promote <a href="https://otagouni-my.sharepoint.com/personal/jacst99p_registry_otago_ac_nz/Documents/Documents/SJ-Wellness/SJ-Conversation-Wellbeing/Jackson-Sam-Dawson-Porter-Frontiers-Sociology-Wellbeing-2022.pdf">conformity, control and surveillance</a>. </p> <p>Ultimately, we argue that wellbeing now constitutes a “field of power”; not a neutral territory, but a place where parties advance their own interests, often at the expense of others. As such, it’s essential that scholars, policymakers and citizens explore, as one author <a href="https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/Measuring_Wellbeing/lWBXjk1nocIC?hl=en&amp;gbpv=1&amp;dq=%E2%80%9Cwhat+and+whose+values+are+represented,+which+accounts+dominate,+what+is+their+impact+and+on+whom%E2%80%9D&amp;pg=PA4&amp;printsec=frontcover">put it</a>, “what and whose values are represented, which accounts dominate, what is their impact and on whom”. </p> <p>Because if wellbeing is becoming a pandemic, we may well need the “vaccine” of critical reflection.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-wellbeing-pandemic-how-the-global-drive-for-wellness-might-be-making-us-sick-198662" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Caring

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Puttin’ on the Ritz and improving well-being with older adults through virtual music theatre

<p>Digital programming and virtual interactions, initially considered to be stop-gap measures during the first few waves of the pandemic, may now be an important part of supporting many people’s health and well-being — including the well-being of older adults.</p> <p>During the COVID-19 pandemic, group musical activities moved online, prompting a wave of <a href="https://ericwhitacre.com/the-virtual-choir">virtual choir</a> experiments and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rzZ2F18MwI">virtual orchestra</a> offerings.</p> <p>These and other online communities weren’t limited to students. A <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2021001/article/00027-eng.htm">Statistics Canada survey</a> found that more than half of Canadians between the ages of 64 and 74 increased their participation in online activities during the pandemic by connecting with family and friends through video conferencing, or accessing entertainment online.</p> <p>Virtual opportunities in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252956">performing arts are ripe with potential</a> for older adults to foster skills and creativity, and to improve well-being.</p> <h2>Social connection</h2> <figure><figcaption> </figcaption>Going digital serves many purposes, the most important of which may be social connection.  Since <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/23748834.2020.1788770">connecting with others</a> remains important for older adults, this can be achieved through, or in addition to, virtual leisure or entertainment opportunities.</figure> <p>Our research has revealed that <a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-20563976/documents/598184972c66407e9334c5df1b37bb91/Renihan%2C%20Brook%2C%20Draisey-Collishaw.pdf">virtual music theatre — music theatre online — allows for a more accessible and a less exclusive way to engage with this art form</a> with many benefits for participants.</p> <h2>Online performing arts</h2> <p>The performing arts allow performers and audiences to feel, be creative in community, express themselves and communicate or play through song, movement or storytelling.</p> <p>Benefits associated with participation in the arts include <a href="https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/329834">improved mood and well-being</a> and sense of <a href="https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/turn-to-the-arts-to-boost-self-esteem">belonging</a>.</p> <p>Research has also documented associations between seniors’ participation in the arts and improved <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000499402">mobility</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2018.02.012">vocal health</a>.</p> <p>Before the pandemic erupted, we had started leading a program, <a href="http://www.riseshinesing.ca/">Rise, Shine, Sing!</a>, that created opportunities for local citizens typically excluded from the creation of music theatre due to age, ability and access. The program was mostly attended by older adults, some with Parkinson’s Disease or other chronic conditions.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/59MTQnoi2hU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">A trailer for the ‘Rise, Shine, Sing!’ program.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>We held three weekly face-to-face sessions from the end of February 2020, until mid-March, and then moved the program online (via Zoom) for 12 sessions from April until June 2020. The program continues to be offered, with many participants indicating a preference to continue virtually.</p> <p>Somewhat to our surprise, when the program moved online, the fact that participants could only hear the facilitator and themselves singing was not a deterrent to participating. Participants enjoyed singing, dancing and creating characters using costumes and props based on cues and feedback from facilitators.</p> <h2>Paradigm shift for music theatre</h2> <p>Virtual music theatre presents a serious paradigm shift for the genre. Most of the time when people think of music theatre, they think of live bodies moving in perfect synchrony <a href="https://www.americantheatre.org/2022/02/04/what-can-be-said-with-and-about-broadway-dance/">to choreographed movement</a>, and voices singing in perfect harmony while performers are physically present together.</p> <p>Researchers have examined how group singing and movement fosters togetherness, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-00549-0">community</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096">social bonding</a>.</p> <p>Music theatre has made strides to become more inclusive over the course of the 21st century. <a href="https://www.deafwest.org/">Los-Angeles based Deaf West Theatre</a>, for example, creates works of music theatre that can be experienced and performed by members of the Deaf and hearing communities.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k08lV8GO43w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">ASL version of ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno,’ from Disney’s ‘Encanto’ with Deaf West.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>A multitude of new works, stagings and casting practices are highlighting and supporting the experiences of marginalized groups, by <a href="https://www.blackoperaalliance.org/">diversifying</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9020069">queering</a> the field, for example.</p> <p>Such works offer resistance and new stories to an industry that has traditionally been ableist, white and ageist.</p> <p>But despite a healthy <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/beyond-broadway-9780190639525?cc=ca&amp;lang=en&amp;">community music theatre scene</a> in North America, most opportunities still leave out many people due to issues related to social anxiety, experience, mobility, family life and/or finances.</p> <h2>Music theatre meets universal design</h2> <p>We drew on the intersection of <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/629960/pdf">music theatre performance</a> and <a href="https://www.cast.org/impact/universal-design-for-learning-udl">universal design for learning</a> to develop a model where success could look different from person to person.</p> <p>In terms of the movement, participants could synchronize with the facilitator and/or other members of the group. They were equally welcome and encouraged to customize or adapt their movements to suit their own needs and interests.</p> <p>We embraced dancing from both a seated and standing position, to explore different levels and to accommodate different mobility capabilities. Participants controlled how much they shared by deciding how visible they wanted to be on camera.</p> <h2>Classics and newer numbers</h2> <p>We drew on musical classics or standards from <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Singin-in-the-Rain-film-1952"><em>Singin’ in the Rain</em></a>, the <em>Sound of Music</em>, <a href="https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stage/2022/08/23/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat-coming-to-toronto-as-a-test-run-for-possible-broadway-revival.html"><em>Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat</em></a> — as well as newer numbers from <em>Wicked</em> and other popular songs.</p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>We also <a href="http://www.riseshinesing.ca/glow.html">co-created our own songs</a> by combining our shared memories or inspirations through image, lyrics and movements to explore themes of joy and resilience in difficult times.</p> <p>While the program was led virtually, before sessions, leaders dropped off or mailed prop boxes to all participants. These were filled with costumes including small scarves and ribbons that could be used for choreography.</p> <h2>Promise of virtual musical theatre</h2> <p>Virtual music theatre has shown incredible promise, even in the short time we have been exploring it. Digital connections reframe being together at the same time and in the same space. This adds new unexpected dimensions to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06530.x">making music in a group</a>.</p> <p>First, goals and expectations of uniformity are replaced with goals of individual empowerment and creative exploration.</p> <p>Second, participants remain committed to the community and group endeavour, but are also free to tailor and adapt the ways they engage with the material and with one another. If group members invite friends or family in other cities to participate virtually, as some in our group did, the virtual community also expands in meaningful ways.</p> <p>Finally, participants can also adjust their personal comfort by sharing as much or little of themselves with the group without feeling like they are letting the group down.</p> <h2>Our hybrid future</h2> <p>The pandemic catalyzed the need for virtual interaction. While we know that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqab041">Zoom fatigue</a> is pervasive, virtual opportunities for music theatre participation and creation offer a new paradigm of artistic experience.</p> <p>These opportunities also offer striking promise for bringing performers some of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00778">same benefits</a> as in-person music theatre experiences.</p> <p>In some cases, they also facilitate new access to music in community, and allow participants to engage with the art form and one another in ways that support personal agency and independence, while also maintaining social connection and interactivity. <a href="https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/6358131/George+Gershwin/I+Got+Rhythm">Who could ask for anything more</a>?<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/188690/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/julia-brook-1064153">Julia Brook</a>, Director and Associate Professor, DAN School of Drama and Music, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/colleen-renihan-1044307">Colleen Renihan</a>, Associate Professor and Queen's National Scholar in Music Theatre and Opera, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/puttin-on-the-ritz-and-improving-well-being-with-older-adults-through-virtual-music-theatre-188690">original article</a>.</p>

Music

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4 signs your cat might, well, not like you very much

<p>Dogs are man’s best friend and cats are man’s masters. Dogs love you unconditionally and cats love you because you provide them food. The eternal dogs versus cats war might just come to an end with research showing that despite loving cats, they don’t actually think much of their owners. Just don’t tell a cat-lover that!</p> <p><strong>Cats don’t love owners the same way dogs do</strong></p> <p>This is likely due to the difference in the animals’ evolution to domesticated pets. While dogs were domesticated an estimated 32,000 years ago, cats have been living with humans for only 9,000 years – and at first, they were mainly lurking around humans for scraps of food, not for human contact. Furthermore, while humans chose dogs to be their companion, selectively breeding positive traits, as well as teaching them to help us (for example, herding animals, protecting humans), cats chose people. It is thought that cats stuck around humans firstly because their food source, vermin, were around populations and then they realised they could live a well-fed life if they stuck by humans.</p> <p><strong>Cats might not care whether you stay or go</strong></p> <p>Professor Daniel Mills of Lincoln University staged an animal version of the “Strange Situation” experiment, a famous psychological experiment that proved children have special bonds with parents and caregivers. In the experiment, strangers and caretakers enter a room randomly that the subject is in, and the subject's reaction to the entrances and exits are monitored. Mills conducted his experiment on dogs and cats. He found that dogs overwhelmingly reacted to their owner’s presence with enthusiasm and joy, whereas cats generally were uninterested whether their owners depart and return.</p> <p><strong>Cats know when you’re calling them; they just choose not to respond</strong></p> <p>Researchers played a recording of three different people (two strangers, plus the owner) calling cats’ names. Regardless of order, cats always reacted to hearing their owner’s voice (independent observers who did not know which voices were strangers noted slight ear and head movement), but none actually responded such as moving to look at the voice, meowing or approaching their speaker. </p> <p><strong>Cats are master manipulators</strong></p> <p>While the purr of a cat is believed to be the sign of contentment it is not always the case. Researchers at the University of Sussex recorded the purring sounds made by cats in two types of situations: when they wanted food, and when they didn't. It turned out that food-related purrs were very different and comparable to a baby’s cry. While most purrs are low-toned noises, researchers concluded the high-toned food related purrs, which seemed more urgent and less pleasant to humans, were a deliberate way to trigger humans’ parenting instincts and get them fed faster.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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The magnificent Lake Eyre Basin is threatened by 831 oil and gas wells

<p>The heart-shaped Lake Eyre Basin covers about one-sixth of Australia. It contains one of the few remaining pristine river systems in the world.</p> <p>But new research shows oil and gas activity is extending its tentacles into these fragile environments. Its wells, pads, roads and dams threaten to change water flows and pollute this magnificent ecosystem.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.publish.csiro.au/MF/MF22063" target="_blank" rel="noopener">study</a>, by myself and colleague Amy Walburn, investigated current and future oil and gas production and exploration on the floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin. We found 831 oil and gas wells across the basin – and this number is set to grow. What’s more, state and Commonwealth legislation has largely failed to control this development.</p> <p>State and national governments are promoting massive gas development to kickstart Australia’s economy. But as we show, this risks significant damage to the Lake Eyre Basin and its rivers.</p> <h2>A precious natural wonder</h2> <p>The Lake Eyre Basin is probably the last major free-flowing river system on Earth – meaning no major dams or irrigation diversions stem the rivers’ flow.</p> <p>This country has been looked after for tens of thousands of year by First Nations people, including the Arrernte, Dieri, Mithaka and Wangkangurru. This care continues today.</p> <p>The biggest rivers feeding the basin – the Diamantina, Georgina and Cooper – originate in western Queensland and flow to South Australia where they pour into Kathi Thanda-Lake Eyre.</p> <p>As they wind south, the rivers dissect deserts and inundate floodplains, lakes and wetlands – including 33 wetlands of national importance.</p> <p>This natural phenomenon has happened for millennia. It supports incredible natural booms of plants, fish and birds, as well as tourism and livestock grazing. But our new research shows oil and gas development threatens this precious natural wonder.</p> <h2>Massive industrial creep</h2> <p>Our <a href="http://www.publish.csiro.au/MF/MF22063" target="_blank" rel="noopener">analysis</a> used satellite imagery to map the locations of oil and gas development in the Lake Eyre Basin since the first oil wells were established in late 1950s.</p> <p>We found 831 oil and gas production and exploration wells exist on the floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin – almost 99% of them on the Cooper Creek floodplains. The wells go under the river and its floodplains into the geological Cooper Basin, considered to have the most important onshore petroleum and natural gas deposits in Australia.</p> <p>Our research also shows how quickly oil and gas mining in the Lake Eyre Basin is set to grow. We identified licensing approvals or applications covering 4.5 million hectares of floodplains in the Lake Eyre Basin, across South Australia and Queensland.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/assessments/geological-and-bioregional-assessment-program/cooper-basin/cooper-gba-region-stage-two-report" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CSIRO</a> recently examined likely scenarios of 1,000 to 1,500 additional unconventional gas wells in the Cooper Basin in the next 50 years. It predicted these wells would built be on “pads” – areas occupied by mining equipment or facilities – about 4 kilometres apart. They would typically access gas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.</p> <p>Fracking is the process of extracting so-called “unconventional gas”. It involves using water and chemicals to fracture deep rocks to extract the gas. This polluted water, known to be <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46582" target="_blank" rel="noopener">toxic to fish</a>, is brought back to the surface and stored in dams.</p> <p>Two locations we focused on were in South Australia at the protected, <a href="https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/water/wetlands/coongie-lakes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ramsar-listed Coongie Lakes site</a>, which was recognised as internationally significant in 1987. The other site was in Queensland’s channel country, also on the Cooper floodplain.</p> <p>In total across the Coongie Lakes sites, we found a three-fold increase in wells: from 95 in 1987 to 296 last year. We also identified 869 kilometres of roads and 316 hectares of storage pits, such as those that hold water.</p> <p>Some of these dams could potentially hold polluted fracking water and become submerged by flooding, particularly at Coongie Lakes.</p> <h2>A disaster waiting to happen?</h2> <p>Examples from around the world already show oil and gas exploration and development can reduce water quality by interrupting sediments and leading to elevated <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/12/4/941" target="_blank" rel="noopener">chemical</a> <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1213871110" target="_blank" rel="noopener">concentrations</a>. Production waste can also degrade floodplain <a href="https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1515/3/032037" target="_blank" rel="noopener">vegetation</a>.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/assessments/geological-and-bioregional-assessment-program/cooper-basin/cooper-gba-region-stage-two-report" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CSIRO says</a> risks associated with oil and gas development in the Cooper Basin include:</p> <ul> <li>dust and emissions from machinery that may cause habitat loss, including changes to air quality, noise and light pollution</li> <li>disposal and storage of site materials that may contaminate soil, surface water and/or groundwater through accidental spills, leaks and leaching</li> <li>unplanned fracking and drilling into underground faults, unintended geological layers or abandoned wells</li> <li>gas and fluids contaminating soil, surface water, groundwater and air</li> <li>changes to groundwater pressures could potentially reactivate underground faults and induce earthquakes.</li> </ul> <p>Fracking for unconventional gas also requires drawing <a href="https://www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/assessments/geological-and-bioregional-assessment-program/cooper-basin/cooper-gba-region-stage-two-report" target="_blank" rel="noopener">large amounts of water</a> from rivers and groundwater.</p> <h2>The laws have failed</h2> <p>Our findings raise significant questions for Australian governments and the community.</p> <p>Are we prepared to accept industrialisation of the Lake Eyre Basin, and the associated risk of pollution and other environmental damage? Have the companies involved earned a social licence for these activities? Where do the profits end up, and who will bear the social, environmental and financial costs of such intense development?</p> <p>Clearly, state and federal environmental protections have failed to stop unfettered development of the basin.</p> <p>These policies include the Lake Eyre Basin <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/water/policy/national/lake-eyre-basin/agreement" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Agreement</a>, signed by the states, the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory, which has been in place since 2000.</p> <p>Australia’s federal environment law – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – is supposed to protect nationally important areas such as Ramsar wetlands. Yet our research identified that just eight developments in the basin were referred to the Commonwealth government for approval and with only one deemed significant enough for assessment. This legislation does not deal adequately with the cumulative impacts of development.</p> <p>And finally, gas extraction and production is <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-in-5-fossil-fuel-projects-overshoot-their-original-estimations-for-emissions-why-are-there-such-significant-errors-177714" target="_blank" rel="noopener">associated with</a> substantial “fugitive” emissions - greenhouse gases which escape into the atmosphere. This undermines Australia’s emissions reduction efforts under the Paris Agreement.</p> <p>The governments of South Australia and Queensland should restrict mining development in the Lake Eyre Basin. And stronger federal oversight of this nationally significant natural treasure is urgently needed.</p> <p>In response to this article, Chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production &amp; Exploration Association, Samantha McCulloch, said in a statement:</p> <blockquote> <p>The oil and gas industry takes its responsibilities to the environment and to local communities seriously and it is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in Australia. The industry has been operating in Queensland for more than a decade and the gas produced in Queensland plays an important role in Australia’s energy security.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-magnificent-lake-eyre-basin-is-threatened-by-831-oil-and-gas-wells-and-more-are-planned-is-that-what-australians-really-want-191078" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Trevor Noah brought a new perspective to TV satire - as well as a whole new audience

<p>After seven years of hosting <a href="https://www.cc.com/shows/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Daily Show on Comedy Central</a>, a hit comedy show produced in the US but with global reach, South African born comedian Trevor Noah has announced <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/29/entertainment/trevor-noah-daily-show/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">plans to leave</a> and focus on his stand-up comedy. During his tenure as host of the political satire series, which he took over from the revered <a href="https://www.forbes.com/profile/jon-stewart/?sh=35f2ad793fbc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jon Stewart</a>, Noah has offered important takes on issues in the US – and the world.</p> <p>Considering that the late-night television satire scene in the US remains <a href="https://theconversation.com/trevor-noah-is-leaving-the-daily-show-how-did-he-fare-191699" target="_blank" rel="noopener">populated by white men</a>, Noah has offered unique “black” African insights into issues that affect black Americans. He has also been lucid in talking about issues that have an effect on Africa and Africans. Noah’s knowledge of Africa and African politics has helped him demonstrate that there are few differences between America, lauded as one of the greatest democracies in the world, and global south countries that Trump once called “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcMFmoTCdcU" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shithole</a>” states.</p> <p>Noah’s approach attracted more African Americans than was the case during Stewart’s tenure. A 2017 study <a href="https://decider.com/2017/10/16/trevor-noah-tds-nielsen-ratings-analysis/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">by Nielsen Media Research</a> showed that during Stewart’s final season, 84.5% of the viewers were white. Noah lost 40% of the white viewers and gained 16% more black viewers than his predecessor.</p> <p>He spoke with great clarity on issues such as the <a href="https://theconversation.com/black-lives-matter-protests-are-shaping-how-people-understand-racial-inequality-178254" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Black Lives Matter</a> protests against racism, discrimination and racial inequity experienced by black people, the turbulent Trump presidency, the rise in white supremacy and the global COVID pandemic. By commenting on these different issues, he was able to bring home the inequalities that continue to be seen and experienced in the US.</p> <p>Noah has defied the odds, offered a youthful, “black” perspective and drawn in a new audience. He will be a hard act to follow - which is what people said of his predecessor.</p> <h2>Noah’s particular past</h2> <p>Growing up and coming of age in South Africa has undoubtedly shaped Noah’s worldview. In his book <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29780253-born-a-crime" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Born a Crime</a> (2016), and in his numerous stand-up comedy shows, he set out what it meant growing up in apartheid South Africa, with its white-minority rule and policies of racial segregation. Because his father was white and his mother black, he could not have a normal childhood in which he could grow up in the same home as both his parents. It was legally impossible. the <a href="https://omalley.nelsonmandela.org/omalley/index.php/site/q/03lv01538/04lv01828/05lv01829/06lv01884.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Immorality Act</a> prohibited sex between people of different races.</p> <p>Noah drew on his experiences in South Africa in his role as chief anchor of The Daily Show. In particular he was able to show the striking parallels between present day America and apartheid-era South Africa. He explains this reality in one of the <a href="https://www.ccn.com/trevor-noah-frightening-us-south-africa/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">episodes</a> of the show at the height of the global coronavirus pandemic:</p> <blockquote> <p>Living in this period in America, as much as I hate to say it, a lot of the things that I’m seeing are similar to what we experienced in South Africa. Mass unemployment, a government that doesn’t seem to have the best interests of the people at heart. People who are getting angrier and angrier.</p> </blockquote> <p>He explained in another <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FPrJxTvgdQ" target="_blank" rel="noopener">episode</a> of the show during the run-up to the 2016 US elections that</p> <blockquote> <p>as an African, there’s just something familiar about Trump that makes me feel at home.</p> </blockquote> <p>He went on to talk about striking resemblances between former US president Donald Trump and several former African presidents such as Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Idi Amin of Uganda and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.</p> <h2>Comedy and political satire</h2> <p>I argue in a <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-81969-9_3" target="_blank" rel="noopener">book chapter</a> on political satire that the comic offers important ways of criticising those in power. During his tenure at The Daily Show, Noah has used comedy and satire to discuss diverse pressing contemporary issues, in the US and globally. As he has <a href="https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2020-08-27/daily-show-trevor-noah-emmys-2020" target="_blank" rel="noopener">explained</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>I believe in the importance of jokes. I will never lose that. I always tell people, ‘Jokes are what made me’. That’s how I see the world.</p> </blockquote> <p>Before joining The Daily Show, Noah was an established stand-up comedian. In South Africa, he was known for satirising Jacob Zuma during his presidency for corruption and his role in state capture.</p> <p>Comedy has allowed him to deal with difficult subjects in a lighthearted way. He has <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/29/entertainment/trevor-noah-daily-show/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">stated</a> that:</p> <blockquote> <p>I’ve loved trying to find a way to make people laugh, even when the stories are particularly s—, even on the worst days.</p> </blockquote> <p>Noah has infused the comic into his anchoring of The Daily Show and managed to tackle controversial topics in a cheerful yet hard-hitting way.</p> <h2>Poking holes in American exceptionalism</h2> <p>Being a foreigner in the US, Noah has the necessary distance to offer sobering analyses of current affairs in that country. Through his examination of the Trump presidency and the Black Lives Matter movement, he has shown that the idea of America being “exceptional” is an illusion.</p> <p>At the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US, he took to The Daily Show to give a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb4Bg8mu2aM" target="_blank" rel="noopener">grim yet poignant monologue</a> about race in the US. Noah traced the chain of events that went beyond the killing of George Floyd, a black man who was suffocated to death on the side of a road by a group of white policemen, to show the precarity of black lives in contemporary America.</p> <p>The monologue is sharp, knowledgeable and nuanced in its explanation of what was happening in the US. He grounded it on historical events to show that nothing was new. The US was not exceptional. The US democracy was as imperfect as that of the many countries that it had preached to for many years.</p> <p>It has taken a late-night host from outside the US to point to the failings of the US and its democracy.</p> <h2>Late night TV without Noah</h2> <p>The late-night circuit will be different without Noah, the only black and African host of a late-night show in the US. Because of his intimate knowledge of global popular culture, he has had a youthful viewership.</p> <p>His peers do not have the same perspective or viewership. If Noah replacing Stewart was seen as a daunting exercise, filling the shoes of Noah might prove to be even more challenging.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/trevor-noah-brought-a-new-perspective-to-tv-satire-as-well-as-a-whole-new-audience-191800" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

TV

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Male artists dominate galleries. Our research explored if it’s because ‘women don’t paint very well’ – or just discrimination

<p>In the art world, there is a gaping gender imbalance when it comes to male and female artists.</p> <p>In the National Gallery of Australia, <a href="https://nga.gov.au/knowmyname/about/">only 25%</a> of the Australian art collection is work by women. </p> <p>This is far better than the international standard where <a href="https://nmwa.org/support/advocacy/get-facts/">roughly 90%</a> of all artworks exhibited in major collections are by men. The <a href="https://www.artsy.net/artwork/georgia-okeeffe-jimson-weed-slash-white-flower-no-1">most expensive</a> painting by a female artist – Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 – does not even rank among the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings#List_of_highest_prices_paid">100 most expensive paintings</a> ever sold. </p> <p>Why is women’s art valued so much less than art by men?</p> <p>Some economists <a href="https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2005/02/why_do_women_su.html">have suggested</a> the greater burden of child rearing and other domestic duties means women have had fewer opportunities to succeed in the art world.</p> <p>Others have blamed the “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/culture/art-and-design/report-names-laggers-as-women-artists-win-parity-20191029-p534vy.html">quality</a>” of women’s art. In 2013, German painter <a href="https://observer.com/2013/01/georg-baselitz-says-women-dont-paint-very-well/">Georg Baselitz said</a> “Women don’t paint very well. It’s a fact. The market doesn’t lie.”</p> <p>We wanted to know: is work by women generally valued differently to work by men because it is of a lower artistic quality, or is it just discrimination?</p> <h2>Which painting do you like better?</h2> <p>In <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268122002669?dgcid=author">our new research</a> we showed average Americans pairs of paintings, painted between 1625 and 1979, side by side. Each of the pairs are similar in style, motif and period, but one work was by a male artist and the other by a female artist.</p> <p>Participants were in two groups. One group saw the artists’ names and the other didn’t. We wanted to see whether more people among those who saw artist names preferred the male painting.</p> <p>If seeing the names – and thereby inferring artist gender – causes more people to prefer male paintings, then there is gender discrimination.</p> <p>Before we tell you the results, think about what you would have expected. And <a href="https://rmit.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e4JBs0wxKeftYF0">take a look</a> at our actual painting pairs and see if you can guess which is the male one (hint: you can’t).</p> <p>We were pleasantly surprised to find our participants did not give a hoot about artist gender. In both groups, 54% preferred the painting from a woman.</p> <p>We repeated this experiment, this time rewarding participants if they could accurately guess the preferences of others – the people in the first experiment. </p> <p>Again, 54% of the people in each group picked the female paintings.</p> <h2>Which painting do you think is worth more?</h2> <p>Next we wanted to find out if people picked male paintings for reasons other than personal taste. Art isn’t just bought and sold on aesthetic value: it is a speculative market, where art is treated as an investment.</p> <p>We conducted two more experiments. In one, participants were rewarded if they picked the more expensive painting. In the other, they were rewarded to pick the one painted by the more famous artist.</p> <p>Gender discrimination emerged in both these experiments. When asked to predict the value of and creator fame of paintings, people suddenly swung towards picking male artists. Preference for female paintings fell by 10% and 9% in these two new experiments.</p> <p>Gender discrimination in art comes not from personal aesthetic preference – Baselitz’ argument that women “don’t paint very well” – but people thinking paintings are more valuable and famous when painted by male artists.</p> <h2>A question of fame</h2> <p>In our fifth experiment, we again rewarded participants who could correctly guess which painting would be preferred by others. This time everyone saw the names of the artists. But only one group was told which of the two artists was objectively more famous – the male artist in 90% of cases.</p> <p>The group with that information was 14% more likely to pick male paintings. People used fame information to predict the painting others liked better.</p> <p>If women artists were discriminated against just because of their gender we would have seen a higher premium put on the male artists even in questions of aesthetics.</p> <p>Here, discrimination only occured when our participants were asked to assign a monetary value to the art works, or when they were given information about the level of fame of the painter. </p> <p>This means our art appreciators discriminated not on gender, but on something closely associated with gender: fame.</p> <p>And because male artists have, historically, been given <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1574067606010234">more opportunities</a> to become artists – and therefore become famous – artwork by men is perceived as having a higher value.</p> <p>Policy is slowly starting to recognise and target institutional factors that perpetuate male dominance because of historical notions of fame, like the National Gallery of Australia’s <a href="https://knowmyname.nga.gov.au/">Know my Name</a> initiative. </p> <p>Discrimination in the arts exists, but it often comes from people’s beliefs about what others care to discriminate about. The task ahead is to change perceptions of people and institutions who do not discriminate – but merely conform to others’ discrimination.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/male-artists-dominate-galleries-our-research-explored-if-its-because-women-dont-paint-very-well-or-just-discrimination-189221" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

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Walk well. Age well.

<p>Despite the fact that everyone knows that exercise is beneficial, hard scientific evidence of its benefits for the more mature have been surprisingly limited. Until now that is. Findings recently released from the study, Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (or LIFE), suggest that regular exercise, including walking, significantly reduces the chance that a frail older person will become physically disabled. Ever needed more of push to ensure you undertake frequent physical activity?</p> <p>Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr Marco Pahor – the director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida and the lead author of the study – said, “For the first time, we have directly shown that exercise can effectively lessen or prevent the development of physical disability in a population of extremely vulnerable older people.”</p> <p>So, you’re probably thinking you’ve heard something along these lines before: “There’s a strong connection between physical activity in advanced age and a longer, healthier life.” While there has been much research to this effect, such studies haven’t gone as far to prove that exercise improves a mature person’s health, only that healthy people of such an age exercise.</p> <p>The LIFE study, which took place over two-and-a-half years, is particularly interesting because rather than selecting relatively robust volunteers to take part who could easily exercise; it opted for volunteers who were sedentary and infirm, and on the cusp of frailty. All in all, 1635 people were selected aged 70 to 89.</p> <p>For the study there were two groups, and education or exercise category. Those in the education group visited a research centre once a month to learn about nutrition, health care and other topics related to ageing. On the contrary, the exercise group started a program of walking as well as light, lower-body weight training with ankle weights; going to the research centre to receive some information about ageing but also for twice-weekly supervised group walks on a track. The walks grew progressively longer over time. In addition to this, they were also asked to complete three or four more exercise sessions in their own time, aiming for 150 minutes of walking and three 10-minute weight-training sessions each week.</p> <p>While the results were good all round, with the exercising volunteers 18 per cent less likely to have experienced any physical disability during the experiment, there was little difference between the number of people who became disabled in the two groups. For instance, 35 per cent of those in the education group had a period of physical disability during the study versus 30 per cent in the exercise group. While at first glance those stats might seem disappointing, it is interesting to learn that the study data shows that in many cases the participants in the education group began to exercise, despite not being directed to, which may have affected the outcome.</p> <p>The important thing to take from this study is how important it is to keep active in order to prevent physical disability as you age. The study highlights the necessity for regular exercise, including walking, in significantly reducing the chance that a frail older person will become physically disabled. And as with most things, it’s best to consult medical advice before starting any sort of physical activity.</p> <p>While the scientists who worked on the study continue to examine their results for further analysis, we leave you with this quote from Mildred Johnston, an 82-year-old retired office worker who volunteered for the LIFE study. She has kept up her weekly walks with two of the other volunteers she met during the study.</p> <p>“Exercising has changed my whole aspect of what ageing means,” she revealed. “It’s not about how much help you need from other people now. It’s more about what I can do for myself.” The walking coupled with the conversation during her walking sessions, “really keeps you engaged with life,” she says. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Caring

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Lisa Curry lists her home and wellness retreat

<p>Lisa Curry has put her Queensland hinterland home and business on the market. </p> <p>The former Olympian and her husband Mark have listed their Crohamhurst residence and wellness retreat of five years, called Mali, <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/96-crohamhurst-rd-crohamhurst-qld-4519-2017895384?utm_source=nine.com.au&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_campaign=editorial-content" target="_blank" rel="noopener">for sale</a>. </p> <p>Mali, a combination of Lisa and Mark's names, has hosted camping, weddings, corporate events, yoga getaways and fitness bootcamps.</p> <p>Lisa told the <a href="https://www.sunshinecoastnews.com.au/2022/06/24/lisa-curry-retreat-on-market/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sunshine Coast News</a> paper that her and Mark had been discussing what their future holds when deciding to sell their retreat. </p> <p>"For a couple like us who have been working our whole lives, we've been talking about what we want to do for the rest of our life. It includes travel, looking after ourselves and self care so that we can stay active and adventurous … being a fun Granny requires that," she said.</p> <p>"You have to make those decisions and be realistic about those decisions."</p> <p>"This is a beautiful place to either work it as a business, or a beautiful place to retire, or just to be in nature, have land all around you and just tinker with your passions."</p> <p>"Whoever buys this place will be very happy."</p> <p>Lisa's husband Mark told the news outlet that their priorities in life have shifted since the sudden death of Lisa's daughter Jaimi in 2020. </p> <p>"We've been here five years now and it was Lisa's dream to have a retreat space."</p> <p>"We've kind of achieved the dream and since the tragedy in her family with the loss of Jaimi … I suppose priorities changed."</p> <p>The 26-hectare former equine property, buzzing with local birdlife, includes the house and a barn, which has been used for events.</p> <p>The homestead is a traditional Queenslander with a wood-burning fire, panelled walls, rustic floorboards and a tropical-style pool.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Domain / Instagram </em></p>

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