Placeholder Content Image

“It’s not personal”: New mum shares divisive list of rules

<p dir="ltr">An expecting mum has divided opinions with an extensive list of strict rules her family and friends must follow if they want to meet her new baby. </p> <p dir="ltr">KIIS FM hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O read out the list live on air, as they debated the rules and regulations put in place by the pregnant woman. </p> <p dir="ltr">The rules included not touching the baby, being vaccinated and only going to see the child if you've been asked, with the hosts asking listeners if they thought the rules were “too strict” or “reasonable”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We're drawing closer to the birth of our daughter, and we couldn't be more excited, but unfortunately we have to implement some boundaries. We hope you can respect our wishes and no one takes these personally,” the mum's announcement read.</p> <p dir="ltr">First, the mum declared that there will be no information about the baby put online, including photos and information of the child’s name, or even an announcement that she had given birth. </p> <p dir="ltr">“If we want you to know, you'll know,” the mum outlined. </p> <p dir="ltr">Next, she said that only those who have “checked in” with the expecting parents since the announcement of the pregnancy will be notified of the birth. </p> <p dir="ltr">The mum took a brutal swing at anyone else she hasn't heard from and wrote, “Otherwise we have taken your silence as not being interested in our friendship and it is also reciprocated.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple went on to add that for the first two weeks following the birth, they will not be having any visitors. </p> <p dir="ltr">“No exceptions, no texts, no calls,” the mum wrote in capital letters, further explaining that no visitors will be welcome at either the hospital or at home. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple also expect those who want to meet the baby to be vaccinated. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Don't be offended if we ask for proof. We will not be putting her health at risk,” the point read. </p> <p dir="ltr">The mum also asked visitors to “not smell of cigarettes or wear cologne or perfume that is too strong when meeting the baby”. </p> <p dir="ltr">Lastly, if family or friends visit the couple at home they will need to bring their own snacks and drinks.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Please do not expect to be hosted. Mum will probably be tired,” the list read. </p> <p dir="ltr">After sharing a video on TikTok, some mentioned the number one parenting rule of all: “their baby, their rules”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Not a single one of those rules is unreasonable,” one person commented online. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The people triggered over this are the type of people these boundaries are intended for,” another added. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, others deemed the list as “passive aggressive”.  </p> <p dir="ltr">“Yeah right, nice knowing ya,” one wrote, while another said, “I hope she knows what she's doing.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

Alzheimer’s may have once spread from person to person, but the risk of that happening today is incredibly low

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steve-macfarlane-4722">Steve Macfarlane</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>An article published this week in the prestigious journal <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-023-02729-2">Nature Medicine</a> documents what is believed to be the first evidence that Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted from person to person.</p> <p>The finding arose from long-term follow up of patients who received human growth hormone (hGH) that was taken from brain tissue of deceased donors.</p> <p>Preparations of donated hGH were used in medicine to treat a variety of conditions from 1959 onwards – including in Australia from the mid 60s.</p> <p>The practice stopped in 1985 when it was discovered around 200 patients worldwide who had received these donations went on to develop <a href="https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-cjd/">Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease</a> (CJD), which causes a rapidly progressive dementia. This is an otherwise extremely rare condition, affecting roughly one person in a million.</p> <h2>What’s CJD got to do with Alzehimer’s?</h2> <p>CJD is caused by prions: infective particles that are neither bacterial or viral, but consist of abnormally folded proteins that can be transmitted from cell to cell.</p> <p>Other prion diseases include kuru, a dementia seen in New Guinea tribespeople caused by eating human tissue, scrapie (a disease of sheep) and variant CJD or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as mad cow disease. This raised <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_BSE_outbreak">public health concerns</a> over the eating of beef products in the United Kingdom in the 1980s.</p> <h2>Human growth hormone used to come from donated organs</h2> <p>Human growth hormone (hGH) is produced in the brain by the pituitary gland. Treatments were originally prepared from purified human pituitary tissue.</p> <p>But because the amount of hGH contained in a single gland is extremely small, any single dose given to any one patient could contain material from around <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000563.htm">16,000 donated glands</a>.</p> <p>An average course of hGH treatment lasts around four years, so the chances of receiving contaminated material – even for a very rare condition such as CJD – became quite high for such people.</p> <p>hGH is now manufactured synthetically in a laboratory, rather than from human tissue. So this particular mode of CJD transmission is no longer a risk.</p> <h2>What are the latest findings about Alzheimer’s disease?</h2> <p>The Nature Medicine paper provides the first evidence that transmission of Alzheimer’s disease can occur via human-to-human transmission.</p> <p>The authors examined the outcomes of people who received donated hGH until 1985. They found five such recipients had developed early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>They considered other explanations for the findings but concluded donated hGH was the likely cause.</p> <p>Given Alzheimer’s disease is a much more common illness than CJD, the authors presume those who received donated hGH before 1985 may be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>Alzheimer’s disease is caused by presence of two abnormally folded proteins: amyloid and tau. There is <a href="https://actaneurocomms.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40478-017-0488-7">increasing evidence</a> these proteins spread in the brain in a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8086126/">similar way to prion diseases</a>. So the mode of transmission the authors propose is certainly plausible.</p> <p>However, given the amyloid protein deposits in the brain <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/estimates-amyloid-onset-may-predict-alzheimers-progression">at least 20 years</a> before clinical Alzheimer’s disease develops, there is likely to be a considerable time lag before cases that might arise from the receipt of donated hGH become evident.</p> <h2>When was this process used in Australia?</h2> <p>In Australia, donated pituitary material <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022/07/the-cjd-review-final-report.pdf">was used</a> from 1967 to 1985 to treat people with short stature and infertility.</p> <p><a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022/07/the-cjd-review-final-report.pdf">More than 2,000 people</a> received such treatment. Four developed CJD, the last case identified in 1991. All four cases were likely linked to a single contaminated batch.</p> <p>The risks of any other cases of CJD developing now in pituitary material recipients, so long after the occurrence of the last identified case in Australia, are <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010/193/6/iatrogenic-creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-australia-time-amend-infection-control">considered to be</a> incredibly small.</p> <p>Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (defined as occurring before the age of 65) is uncommon, accounting for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4356853/">around 5%</a> of all cases. Below the age of 50 it’s rare and likely to have a genetic contribution.</p> <h2>The risk is very low – and you can’t ‘catch’ it like a virus</h2> <p>The Nature Medicine paper identified five cases which were diagnosed in people aged 38 to 55. This is more than could be expected by chance, but still very low in comparison to the total number of patients treated worldwide.</p> <p>Although the long “incubation period” of Alzheimer’s disease may mean more similar cases may be identified in the future, the absolute risk remains very low. The main scientific interest of the article lies in the fact it’s first to demonstrate that Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted from person to person in a similar way to prion diseases, rather than in any public health risk.</p> <p>The authors were keen to emphasise, as I will, that Alzheimer’s cannot be contracted via contact with or providing care to people with Alzheimer’s disease.<!-- 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/222374/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/steve-macfarlane-4722"><em>Steve Macfarlane</em></a><em>, Head of Clinical Services, Dementia Support Australia, &amp; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash 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/alzheimers-may-have-once-spread-from-person-to-person-but-the-risk-of-that-happening-today-is-incredibly-low-222374">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

Placeholder Content Image

14 personal finance tips you were never taught – but need to know

<p><strong>Take a day to think about large purchases to avoid impulse buys</strong></p> <p>“Delaying your purchases for a day gives you time to think about whether or not you really need the items, and it curbs regrettable impulse buys,” advises Marc Diana, CEO of MoneyTips.</p> <p>“Sale items may be an exception to this rule, but even then, question how badly you need the item compared to saving or investing the money you would use to purchase it. When times are tough, and you’re cutting expenses, would you rather have a rarely worn $300 pair of shoes or $300 cash?”</p> <p><strong>Budgets are freeing, not constricting</strong></p> <p>Says financial educator Tiffany Aliche, “Keeping a budget allows you to say yes to your goals in a strategic way. If you have a budget, you can save for the holiday, house or car you want to get. You can look at it as ‘No dining out,’ but I see it as ‘Yes to a trip to Paris.’ A budget is not a NO plan, but a YES plan with actual steps towards achieving your goals.”</p> <p><strong>Budget with the 50/20/30 rule</strong></p> <p>Lynn Toomey, co-founder of Your Retirement Advisor, suggests following this easy budgeting rule:</p> <p>Use 50 per cent of your income for non-discretionary necessities like food, rent/house payment, utilities, and transportation.</p> <p>Put aside 20 per cent of your income for an emergency fund (three to six months’ salary is a good target), retirement, savings, and to pay off any debts.</p> <p>Use 30 per cent of your income for discretionary (non-essential) spending such as entertainment, holidays and gifts.</p> <p><strong>Penny-pinching is not the road to wealth</strong></p> <p>Spending less doesn’t mean you’ll have more. Saving is a good way to stabilise your finances, but you still need to invest. “Pretend there are two islands,” advises Aliche, who is also known as The Budgetnista: “Financially Stuck Island and Wealthy Island.”</p> <p>She says that your savings can be like a car – you can’t drive off Financially Stuck Island without a bridge. Investing is the bridge to financial success. “To get from one island to another, you need to get in your savings car and drive it over your investment bridge.”</p> <p><strong>It’s OK to put yourself before your kids</strong></p> <p>Many people want their kids to go to university, says Aliche, “but it’s more important for you to save enough for retirement. Because the best gift you can give your child is not a free ride to school, but rather not to be a financial burden on them when it’s time to start their own family. Kids can get student loans; no one is going to lend you money without collateral when you’re retired.”</p> <p><strong>Financial advisors aren’t only for wealthy people</strong></p> <p>Millions of people have trillions invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other stock exchange investments, but just because you can easily make trades yourself doesn’t mean you should. “Why not do what you do best to earn money and let a trained professional invest it for you?” asks Brian Saranovitz, president of Your Retirement Advisor. “A recent Vanguard Investments study indicated that integrating proper retirement strategies can add as much as 3 per cent efficient return to a retirement portfolio.”</p> <p>Adds Aliche, “You need to purposefully seek out knowledge. If you break a leg, you know that you need to go to a doctor. With personal finance, people have got the notion that they could just fix it themselves. When it comes to investing, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.”</p> <p><strong>Get a clear picture of yourself at 80</strong></p> <p>Barring tragedy, you will live to a ripe, old age. Aliche recommends naming your 80-year-old image of yourself. “Mine is Wanda. I imagine Wanda sitting on the front steps in her yard. People feel disconnected from their older self. The more you can picture her, the better. I don’t want to see her mopping floors at 80. When I’m making a decision, I think, ‘How will this affect Wanda?’ If I dip into my retirement funds to buy an expensive car, that’s going to hurt Wanda.”</p> <p>If it’s easier, pretend you’re living with your grandfather or grandmother. “You’re not going to tell Granny, ‘You have to go to work. We need the money,’” she says.</p> <p><strong>You can never have too much retirement savings</strong></p> <p>Says Lynn Toomey, co-founder of Your Retirement Advisor, “Life is good. Retirement is better, if you are prepared.” She points out that retirement is laden with potential costs, such as healthcare, longevity, market volatility and inflation.</p> <p>“Even if you think you’re saving enough and have assets, it still may not be enough. The earlier you start saving and investing, the longer compound interest can work its magic to help you achieve a successful retirement.”</p> <p><strong>Don’t blow your tax refund</strong></p> <p>“What are you planning on doing with your tax refund?” asks financial advisor Mike Zaino. “If you’re like most people, the world of instant gratification is beckoning. It could be extremely damaging to your retirement account, however, especially given the time value of money and what Albert Einstein called ‘The eighth wonder of the world” – compound interest.”</p> <p><strong>Ask current lenders for a better rate</strong></p> <p>“Banks, credit unions and other lenders are keenly aware of their competition,” says Diana of MoneyTips.com. “If your credit score qualifies you for a better rate from another credit card issuer or lender, ask them to match the rate. There’s no downside to asking; the worst they could do is refuse.”</p> <p><strong>Asking for your credit limit to be raised can improve your credit score</strong></p> <p>Keep your credit utilisation – the amount of credit you use compared to your credit limit – low to boost your all-important credit, advises Diana. “You can borrow less, or you can ask for a raise in your credit limit.”</p> <p>A recent study from CreditCards.com found that only 28 per cent of respondents have never asked for an increase in their credit limit. However, a whopping 89 per cent of those who asked for a credit limit increase received one.</p> <p><strong>Unless they have a high annual fee, don’t close your old credit cards</strong></p> <p>“The longer your stable credit history, the better it reflects on your credit score,” explains Diana. “The age of accounts is averaged over all of your credit accounts, so closing an older account that is infrequently used actually harms your credit score in two ways: it lowers your credit limit, which raises your credit utilisation; and it lowers your average account age. If you have an old card with a decent credit limit, use it at least annually to keep it open. But don’t forget to pay the bill on time!”</p> <p><strong>Don’t ever co-sign a loan</strong></p> <p>“Co-signing a loan isn’t just vouching for someone’s character,” explains Toomey. “Understand that if the borrower doesn’t pay, then you’re responsible for every single missed payment. If they don’t pay, it’s your credit that will be ruined.”</p> <p><strong>Being debt-free should not be your goal</strong></p> <p>Says Aliche, creator of the Live Richer Challenge, “People focus on getting out of debt. If they use that money to grow wealth instead of getting rid of debt, they could be debt-free faster. Do you pay off your student loans to get debt-free, or invest money in your business to grow and secure wealth for yourself? If you focus on being debt-free, that’s all you’ll be. If you focus on building wealth, then you can be wealthy and debt-free.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/14-personal-finance-tips-you-were-never-taught-but-need-to-know?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Surprise choice for Time's 2023 Person of the Year

<p>Hold onto your hats, folks: Taylor Swift has been crowned <em>Time</em> magazine's Person of the Year for 2023, leaving the world collectively scratching its head and asking, "Did we miss the memo that we're living in Taylor's world now?"</p> <p>Traditionally reserved for influential political figures or those who've left an indelible mark on the global stage – <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">you know, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, King Charles III, Barbie – </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">this time the Person of the Year honour has been bestowed upon a pop sensation </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">who can make you both weep and dance in the span of a three-minute song.</span></p> <p>In a statement that surely made a few historians raise an eyebrow, <em>Time</em>'s editor-in-chief, Sam Jacobs, explained, "In a divided world, where too many institutions are failing, Taylor Swift found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light." Because when we think of bridging divides and bringing people together, we immediately think of "Shake It Off" and "Love Story".</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Time Magazine: We’d like to name you Person of the Yea-</p> <p>Me: Can I bring my cat. <a href="https://t.co/SOhkYKSTwG">https://t.co/SOhkYKSTwG</a></p> <p>— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) <a href="https://twitter.com/taylorswift13/status/1732406430857093501?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 6, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>While past Persons of the Year have included world leaders and political heavyweights, Swift's victory signals a definite paradigm shift. Apparently, in 2023, the ability to make millions of people sing along to your breakup anthems and inspire an army of fans to don cat ears for Halloween is a more valuable global contribution than, say, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy being honoured for his courage in resisting Russia's invasion.</p> <p>In 2023, it seems we've collectively decided that what the world really needs is more "Bad Blood" and less, well, actual bad blood between nations.</p> <p>Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hollywood strikers also found themselves on the shortlist, along with <em>Barbie</em>, who apparently had a banner year as the highest-grossing film of 2023. Forget geopolitics; it's all about the dollars and sense.</p> <p>Swift also triumphed over King Charles III, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, and even OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Apparently, even the promise of artificial intelligence couldn't outshine the real magic of Taylor Swift.</p> <p>In the end, T-Swift's ability to sell out stadiums and break box office records with her concert movie proved that in a world full of political turmoil and global challenges, what we really need is a good sing-along. </p> <p><em>Images: Twitter / X</em></p>

Books

Placeholder Content Image

New fines of over $100k for owners of dogs that attack a person

<p>Queensland is taking a strong stance on dog attacks with the introduction of new legislation aimed at holding owners accountable for the actions of their pets.</p> <p>The proposed laws, set to be introduced into the state parliament, come as a response to the increasing incidents of serious harm caused by dangerous dogs. If passed, the legislation will not only significantly increase fines for irresponsible dog owners but will also enforce a ban on five specific breeds deemed as posing a higher risk.</p> <p>The breeds targeted by the legislation include Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American Pit Bull Terrier or Pit Bull Terrier, and Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario. These breeds have been singled out due to their perceived potential for aggression and the severity of harm they can inflict. The legislation aims to mitigate the risks associated with these breeds by implementing strict measures.</p> <p>Under the proposed legislation, owners whose dogs cause death or grievous bodily harm and have not taken "reasonable steps" to prevent such incidents could face fines of up to $108,000. This marks a significant increase from the current fines outlined in the Animal Management Act. Additionally, the legislation introduces the possibility of a maximum three-year jail term for owners found guilty of negligence in preventing their dogs from causing harm.</p> <p>The laws assure that dogs of the prohibited breeds won't be euthanised. Instead, they will be "grandfathered out", meaning they will not be allowed to have puppies. Furthermore, the legislation puts a halt to the importation of these breeds into Queensland, aiming to curb the growth of the population of potentially dangerous dogs.</p> <p>Mark Furner, Queensland's agriculture minister, emphasised that these laws are designed to put dog owners on notice to be responsible. He pointed out that over the last decade, there has been a 64% increase in emergency department presentations due to attacks by dangerous dogs. Furner stated, "On average each year, councils in Queensland declare 500 dogs as dangerous," highlighting the need for a legislative framework that addresses irresponsible ownership.</p> <p>The new legislation is geared towards making the community safer by placing a heightened focus on the owners of dogs deemed irresponsible. Furner shared a harrowing incident involving a toddler girl who suffered severe wounds from a dog attack, underlining the urgency of such laws to prevent similar tragedies. Notably, 81% of dog attacks in Queensland on average are reported to involve children.</p> <p>In addition to the penalties for serious incidents, the legislation grants local council officers the authority to issue fines to owners who exhibit a "lack of control" over their dogs at off-leash parks. This provision aims to ensure that owners maintain control over their pets, even in public spaces where they may interact with other dogs and people.</p> <p>Queensland's proposed legislation marks a significant step towards promoting responsible dog ownership and safeguarding the community from the risks associated with dangerous breeds. If successfully passed, these laws could serve as a model for other regions grappling with similar issues related to dog attacks and irresponsible ownership.</p> <p><em>Image: Britannica</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

The enduring appeal of Friends, and why so many of us feel we’ve lost a personal friend in Matthew Perry

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-gerace-325968">Adam Gerace</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/videos/world/friends-star-matthew-perry-dies-aged-54/cloatn0ae00ea0jqbpdz0h8td">death of Matthew Perry</a>, best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the television series Friends, has seen an outpouring of grief from fans and the Hollywood community.</p> <p>His passing at age 54 has shocked both those who admired his acting work, as well as those who followed his efforts to bring awareness to <a href="https://people.com/tv/matthew-perry-opens-up-about-addiction-new-memoir/">the pains of addiction</a>.</p> <p>Tributes to Perry have understandably focused on his star-making turn on the incredibly popular television sitcom. Scenes, catchphrases, and his character’s lines have been lovingly repurposed across the internet to memorialise the gifted actor.</p> <p>Meanwhile, many viewers have situated their <a href="https://variety.com/2023/tv/news/friends-fans-mourn-matthew-perry-new-york-apartment-1235772520/">recollections</a> of Perry and the series within the context of their own experiences.</p> <p>Viewers who came of age, or were the characters’ ages during the show’s original run, have reminisced about what the work of Perry and his co-stars meant to them at formative times in their lives. Newer viewers have similarly shared how important the series has been to them – their relationship with the show often beginning long after production ended.</p> <p>For many, Friends was the television equivalent of the soundtrack to their lives.</p> <p>To appreciate the staying power of the series for original and <a href="https://www.etonline.com/streaming-friends-how-a-90s-sitcom-became-gen-zs-new-favorite-show-132624">newer viewers alike</a> almost 30 years since it debuted, we need to consider what functions television viewing serves and the bonds we form with its characters.</p> <h2>Enduring appeal</h2> <p>Part of Friends’ popularity lies in its timing. The show premiered in 1994, a period when network television was still dominant. By its end a decade later, while the power of the big television networks had <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/08838150701820924">eroded</a>, the series had maintained <a href="https://www.ratingsryan.com/2022/09/friends-nbc-ratings-recap.html">an average</a> of more than 20 million viewers each season.</p> <p>The 2004 finale brought in a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/08/arts/friends-finale-s-audience-is-the-fourth-biggest-ever.html">record-breaking</a> 52.5 million viewers in the United States. The series then entered repeats around the world. It hasn’t left our screens since.</p> <p>The late 90s and early 2000s have sometimes been referred to as the end of monoculture. While a <a href="https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/12/17/21024439/monoculture-algorithm-netflix-spotify">contested and controversial idea</a> because of, among other concerns, who was included and excluded on our screens, monoculture meant we watched <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/bestmusic2012/2012/12/21/167836852/the-year-in-pop-charts-return-of-the-monoculture">many of the same things</a>.</p> <p>One of the most popular shows of its era, Friends brought people together. It was a show we watched with our families or friends, spoke about the next day with colleagues, and it provided a common connection. It allowed bonding with real friends as much as fictional ones.</p> <p>Friends did not only reflect style of the time; it also frequently created it. Jennifer Aniston’s haircut, coined “<a href="https://www.bustle.com/style/the-rachel-haircut">The Rachel</a>”, or Perry’s lovable smart-alecky cadence, typified with Chandler’s catchphrase of “Could I <em>be</em> any more…”, were endlessly imitated. I know I attempted to replicate Chandler’s <a href="https://www.gq.com.au/style/celebrity/unexpectedly-great-fashion-inspiration-courtesy-of-friends/image-gallery/f55ac75cc180e31c462525da961295fc">sweater vests</a> and light blue denim look. Participation provided viewers <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2011.00866.x">a sense</a> of identity.</p> <p>As people enter their 30s and 40s, they often <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208595">gravitate</a> towards the memories made during their formative adolescent and young adult years. So perhaps it’s no surprise Friends endures for original viewers as it represents – and was a part of – their lives at this important time.</p> <h2>Likeable characters</h2> <p>Television and other fictional media meet our needs for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2009.01368.x">both</a> pleasure and extracting meaning. We get excited, entertained and moved by television.</p> <p>As part of this, we bond with fictional characters. We cannot help but <a href="https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327825MCS0403_01">empathise</a> with them. A series like Friends with its characters and their combinations of breakups, makeups and other mishaps allowed us to safely use our empathy muscles to cheer on and sometimes commiserate with the group of six. It helped that each character was flawed but inherently likeable.</p> <p>Fictional characters also allow us to <a href="https://theconversation.com/neighbours-vs-friends-we-found-out-which-beloved-show-fans-mourned-more-when-it-ended-212843">experience lifestyles</a> we might not otherwise. In the case of Friends, who didn’t want to live in a rent-controlled apartment like Monica’s, or regularly meet their supportive and funny pals for coffee at Central Perk? As a teen, I imagined such a world for myself in the not-too-distant future.</p> <p>Younger generations might be more aware of how out-of-reach that lifestyle was, or find the show’s <a href="https://ew.com/tv/jennifer-aniston-friends-offensive-new-generation/">humour sometimes dated</a>. But the idea of what the friends’ lifestyle represented – possibility, freedom, a chosen family – evidently still holds appeal.</p> <h2>Fictional relationships, but real sadness</h2> <p>In forming relationships with fictional characters, we form bonds with the performers who bring them to life. The lines between character and creator become blurry, both because of the knowledge about actors’ lives celebrity culture affords us, but also because their characters seem so real. When the actors pass away, we <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.06.042">feel real grief</a>.</p> <p>It’s important for fans of Matthew Perry to <a href="https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/why-with-all-the-sht-happening-in-the-world-its-still-okay-to-grieve-a-celebritys-death/">acknowledge</a> their loss. Even though his character is fictional, and you didn’t know him personally, you can still feel sad. Watching the series may be difficult right now. With time, it will become easier.</p> <p>Matthew Perry wanted <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/matthew-perry-death-addiction-alcoholism-drugs-b2437980.html">his legacy</a> to be awareness of addiction and the help he provided to people struggling with this disorder. Hopefully what will be felt now, alongside collective sadness, is an empathy for those facing addiction. That may be the power of television, and of a character named Chandler, and the actor who brought him to life, who many considered their friend.<!-- 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/216626/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/adam-gerace-325968"><em>Adam Gerace</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer and Head of Course - Positive Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</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-enduring-appeal-of-friends-and-why-so-many-of-us-feel-weve-lost-a-personal-friend-in-matthew-perry-216626">original article</a>.</em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

"His worst moment as a person": Sean Penn unleashes on Will Smith's Oscar's slap

<p>Sean Penn has become visibly angry as he recalled the infamous moment at the 2022 Oscars ceremony when Will Smith stormed the stage to slap Chris Rock. </p> <p>Penn recalled the award ceremony moment as he reflected on the Academy's decision to not let Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speak at the ceremony. </p> <p>The actor has been a strong advocate for the people of Ukraine in their ongoing war against Russia, and even traveling to the war-torn region to help in their fight. </p> <p>Speaking to <a href="https://variety.com/2023/film/features/sean-penn-slams-will-smith-slap-ai-oscars-1235720417/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Variety</em></a>, Penn shared how frustrated he was that Zelenskyy was silenced, while Smith's actions were the real problem. </p> <p>“The Oscars producer thought, ‘Oh, he’s [Zelenskyy] not lighthearted enough.’ Well, guess what you got instead? Will Smith.”</p> <p><em>Variety</em> noted that the actor was visibly infuriated speaking on the subject, even turning red during the interview.</p> <p>“I don’t know Will Smith. I met him once,” Penn said. “He seemed very nice when I met him. He was so f***ing good in <em>King Richard</em>.”</p> <p>“So why the f**k did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid f***ing thing? Why did I go to f***ing jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?” the 63-year-old said, referencing his 1987 arrest and jail stint for punching a film extra in the face.</p> <p>“This f***ing bulls**t wouldn’t have happened with Zelenskyy,” Penn added. “Will Smith would never have left that chair to be part of stupid violence. It never would have happened.”</p> <p>Penn was so shocked and infuriated by the moment that he chose to destroy his two Oscars. </p> <p>"I thought, ‘Well, f**k, you know? I’ll give them to Ukraine. They can be melted down to bullets they can shoot at the Russians,’” he said.</p> <p>When visiting Zelenskyy in Ukraine last fall, Penn showed his support by giving the leader one of his Oscars.</p> <p>At the 2022 Oscar's ceremony, Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. </p> <p>After returning to his seat, Smith shouted out, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Movies

Placeholder Content Image

What your glasses are secretly revealing about your personality

<p><strong>Colourful frames are for creative types</strong></p> <p>Glasses frames come in every imaginable colour nowadays. While black and brown frames still exist, they are no longer the only options. Those who do dare to colour their vision are typically very creative, says optometrist Lynn Green. “Artists love colour,” she says. “They are very particular with what they like and they know what they like.” But artists aren’t the only ones who gravitate towards colour frames. Both the extrovert and the introvert veer toward this kind of eye wear.</p> <p>“Usually bright, bold colours are somebody that’s fun and outgoing,” Green discerns, “but what’s nice about fun colours is somebody…who’s always been neutral and blends in, they’ve gotten to a point in their life where they’re like, ‘You know what, I need a change.’” While it is very natural for an outgoing person to pick up a pair of attention-grabbing glasses, shy people who are trying to break out of their shell can use these glasses as a means of putting themselves out there.</p> <p><strong>Thick black frames are trendy </strong></p> <p>Thick black frames go largely to the young, hipster crowd. The people who wear these glasses are definitely trying to make a statement about themselves. Green describes this type as, “That bold, ‘look-at-me’ frame.” It has been her observation that the dark, thick, heavier frames have been the favourite of people in the late teens to 20s age range.</p> <p>These are the glasses that are one of the biggest trends. A person that has a pair of these glasses is probably young, bold, opinionated, and trendy.</p> <p><strong>Patterned frames are cheerful </strong></p> <p>In terms of demographics, Green has also surmised that it is mostly women who tend to opt for colour and different patterns on their frames. Not only that, but bright colours with patterns are also preferred by older people who want to feel the fun of youth again.</p> <p>Sometimes they even have designs by the temples, like little flowers. These cute and stylish glasses express a cheerful nature and someone who doesn’t like to take life too seriously.</p> <p><strong>Aviators are for the adventurous </strong></p> <p>Another person who has an intimate relationship with fashion and eye wear is fashion designer Larisa Ginzburg. According to her, those who have a penchant for aviators are quite the adventurers. “If you’re a fan of the aviators frame, chances are you’ve always been a risk taker. Just like you, this style is classic, but not concerned with respecting the rules and will stand out in its modern reinterpretations.</p> <p>The wearer is an active, devoted person who knows what they want and they’re not afraid to live for the moment. An undying staple of coolness, aviator glasses are a favourite among outspoken people who don’t just talk, but walk the talk.” If you’ve got at least one pair of aviators, you’re the kind of person whose presence is always felt. You enter a room and people notice, and you usually end up being the life of the party.</p> <p><strong>Fake glasses are a confidence boost </strong></p> <p>Yes, people really do wear fake glasses, and it’s more common than you’d think. According to Green, the whole “glasses make you look smart” thing still applies. “I had a patient come in,” Green shares, “[and] she was going for a very important job interview. She did not have a prescription. She wanted glasses that made her look very confident, and we found the perfect Tom Ford classic look. She brought us all chocolate because she got the job, and she said it was the glasses that did it.”</p> <p>Other than just for career, there are a lot of reasons that people wear fake glasses. As Green observes, glasses are now just as much an accessory as they are a necessity. Like shoes or purses or earrings, people buy glasses to intentionally convey something about themselves. People who wear fake glasses are very concerned with how the world sees them and may be somewhat insecure. At the same time, they could also be fashionistas who want to complete their perfect look.</p> <p><strong>Simple, clean lines are pragmatic </strong></p> <p>We’ve talked a lot about the creative person, but what about people who are more logically, mathematically, or scientifically driven? In her two decades of being an optician, Green has noticed that these types of people tend to pay less attention to style and more attention to function.</p> <p>“They go for structure,” she says. “They’re very detail oriented. They usually go with a more simple, clean line look.” For this type of person, glasses are more about pragmatism and not so much about showing off.</p> <p><strong>Big round frames are quirky </strong></p> <p>These are the glasses that Green refers to as “The Harry Potter frames.” They’re not as common as they used to be, but people do still rock that big, circular frame. “In that round shape is a very classic style,” she says. “It’s old Hollywood.”</p> <p>People who wear these glasses in the modern era tend to be men in their 30s to late 40s, she explains. They’re a little bit quirkier then your average person and might have an appreciation for history or vintage style.</p> <p><strong>Browline frames are for those who mean business</strong></p> <p>Last on the list are browline frames (aka club masters or semi-rimless frames). Just because they appear at the end of this list doesn’t mean they aren’t popular, though. These are the glasses that have a bold upper frame and a thin bottom frame.</p> <p>Ginzburg says, “[They] are both smart and stylish, and they say that you mean business! They are a classic power accessory for your professional life, and a favourite among knowledgeable hipsters who aim high in life. This style reflects the fact that you are quick on your feet, and have a well-rounded personality.” Browline frames are the great compromise between being bold and being simple. If you wear these, you’re not afraid to make a statement but you also don’t let your ego get you in trouble.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/what-your-glasses-are-secretly-revealing-about-your-personality" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Beauty & Style

Placeholder Content Image

These 12 common terms started life as a real-person’s name

<p><strong>Oscar</strong></p> <p>And the Academy Award for the ‘Golden Statuette’s Eponym’ is … a mystery! But, there are a few theories circulating. Actress Bette Davis supposedly claimed that the statue’s backside bore a striking resemblance to her husband Harmon Oscar Nelson.</p> <p>While Sidney Skolsky, a columnist, gives himself the title of ‘eponym creator’ because he thought the nickname negated pretension from the esteemed award. And the Academy’s librarian Margaret Herrick reportedly declared that the statuette reminded her of her uncle, Oscar Pierce. We may never know its true origins.</p> <p><strong>Shirley Temple</strong></p> <p>Your favourite childhood mocktail was definitely named after none other than the curly-haired child star, Shirley Temple. The story goes that the wait staff at a Hollywood restaurant overheard the little girl whining when her parents wouldn’t give her a sip of their old-fashioned cocktails.</p> <p>A member of the staff mixed up a kid-friendly version made with a splash of grenadine, a cup of ginger ale, and garnished it with a signature maraschino cherry to emulate the old-fashioned cocktails her parents drank. One sip of the sweet, fizzy drink was all it took to quiet her cries.</p> <p><strong>Boycott</strong></p> <p>During the 1870s, history began to repeat itself as another agricultural crisis wreaked havoc in Ireland. The crisis threatened to recreate the horrific famine and mass evictions that occurred a mere thirty years prior. In an effort to campaign against rent increases and evictions by landlords, the Irish farmers banded together to form the Irish Land League.</p> <p>The group targeted one apathetic English land agent, in particular, Charles Cunningham Boycott, a man responsible for kicking out tenant farmers who refused to pay their rents. Boycott’s angered laborers and servants quit, his crops rotted to the ground, and the word ‘boycott’ defined as ‘refusing to deal with a country, organisation, or person to protest or punish them’ was named after him. In a way, karma got him good.</p> <p><strong>Dunce</strong></p> <p>No one wants to be crowned the dunce of the group, in other words, the dumb, dopey one. But there was a time when being called a dunce was the greatest form of flattery. Long ago, everyone wanted to think just like John Duns Scotus, the greatest medieval philosopher of his time. In fact, his followers referred to themselves as ‘dunsmen.’</p> <p>Unfortunately, Scotus’ beliefs faded with the times and soon people criticised his convictions as being antiquated and dumb. Thus, ‘dunsman’ was shortened to “duns” – no longer a term for a great thinker, but instead a slow-witted person.</p> <p><strong>Bloomers</strong></p> <p>The women’s rights activist, Amelia Bloomer, helped popularise the bloomer craze, despite the fact that other progressive women wore them much earlier than she did. As part of a women’s dress-reform movement, Bloomer started wearing loose-fitting blouses and short skirts with long pantaloons underneath to protest the heavy petticoats and bone-crushing corsets that women were forced to wear in the 1850s.</p> <p>Many people ridiculed her outlandish outfit that went against every gender norm. She lashed back at her critics in an article she wrote for a women’s rights newspaper that said, “Let men be compelled to wear our dress for a while, and we should soon hear them advocating for change.” Soon after the article’s publication, everyone called the pantaloons ‘bloomers’ – a new symbol for women’s rights.</p> <p><strong>Cardigan</strong></p> <p>Your favourite winter knit-wear wasn’t named after a seamstress or fashion designer. In fact, you can thank British general, James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, for reportedly popularising the timeless fashion item. During the Crimean War in 1854, Cardigan’s regiment donned wool knit waistcoats, which were later called cardigans, to keep them warm on the battlefields of the Crimean Peninsula.</p> <p>No one is sure why cardigans were named after a man who didn’t invent the article of clothing. But some people theorise that his highbrow tastes for elegance and extravagance amongst his troop’s uniforms helped cardigans gain traction as a fashion statement well after the war.</p> <p><strong>Saxophone</strong></p> <p>This object was actually named after its inventor, Adolphe Sax. The Belgian-French instrument maker wanted to combine the best of brass, woodwind and stringed instruments into one masterpiece. By 1841, he had created his first working model of the bass horn, the saxophone’s former name.</p> <p>But a French reporter had a much ‘saxier’ name for the instrument and dubbed it the saxophone. Sax patented the saxophone in 1846 and the name has stuck ever since!</p> <p><strong>Sideburns</strong></p> <p>Sideburns were all the rage in the American Civil War well before Elvis Presley was even born. The popular male hair trend of bushy whiskers on the cheeks was originally called burnsides after the Union Army General Ambrose E. Burnside.</p> <p>His wildly different facial hair first caught people’s attention during a parade in Washington DC as he led his regiment of Rhode Island volunteers. By the 1880s, the name was switched to sideburns.</p> <p><strong>Silhouette</strong></p> <p>Before there were selfies, painted or paper cut-out silhouettes were the most affordable portraits that adorned people’s homes during the 18th century. Many people loved their silhouette selfies, but the man for who they were named after was anything but loved.</p> <p>France’s finance minister at the time, Étienne de Silhouette, had a reputation for being a frugal French man and was often seen making the cut-paper shadow portraits, himself, in his free time. Because of his cheap ways and favourite hobby, the French phrase “à la Silhouette” came to mean ‘on the cheap’ and the shadow portraits were named after Silhouette to poke fun at him as well.</p> <p><strong>Sandwich</strong></p> <p>John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich who lived from 1718 to 1792, may have created the classic lunch staple. It was no secret in town that Montagu’s vice was gambling.</p> <p>Legend has it that the gambler once spent an entire 24 hours at the gambling table eating nothing but slices of cold beef wedged between two pieces of toast. And if the story bears any truth, it’s how the sandwich was invented.</p> <p><strong>Casanova</strong></p> <p>You may have dated a casanova or two in your life. Giacomo Girolamo Casanova inspired the well-known term for a promiscuous male. The Italian adventurer and author wrote a memoir that bragged about his many ‘conquests’ along his travels.</p> <p><strong>Dahlia</strong></p> <p>The vibrant flower with colourful hues from Mexico was named after Anders Dahl, an 18th-century Swedish botanist. Dahl must have been a highly admired plant expert of his time because many botanists have been credited for bestowing his name upon the flower.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/12-common-words-that-were-inspired-by-real-life-people?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Know thyself, know thy finances: which of the 5 money personalities are you?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ayesha-scott-867030">Ayesha Scott</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/aaron-gilbert-867098">Aaron Gilbert</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>When it comes to money, are you a big spender or a fearful saver? Do you give away all your money or ignore financial demands until they become urgent?</p> <p>After decades of focus on financial literacy, it has become clear there is more to how we manage our money than access to information. Now new research has identified five distinct money personalities that drive how we spend.</p> <p>Commissioned by Te Ara Ahunga Ora (Retirement Commission) for their free, independent personal finance site <a href="https://sorted.org.nz/">Sorted</a>, <a href="https://assets.retirement.govt.nz/public/Uploads/Financial-Capability-Research/Report-Money-Personality-Tool-Project-AUT-vFINAL.pdf">our study</a> included an extensive review of the research on personality traits, values and attitudes. We then created an online survey, completed by nearly 500 New Zealanders, exploring how people engaged with their money.</p> <p>The research findings form the backbone of a <a href="https://sorted.org.nz/tools/money-personality-quiz">new online money personality quiz</a> designed to help people understand their money personality and inform their financial decisions and behaviour.</p> <p>With New Zealand <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/492013/new-zealand-in-recession-as-gdp-falls-for-second-quarter">officially in a recession</a>, it has never been more important to understand money management. Despite our best intentions, we often struggle to make “good” financial decisions consistently – including saving enough, using debt wisely, and staying on top of insurance policies and KiwiSaver.</p> <h2>Doing better with our money</h2> <p>According to Te Ara Ahunga Ora, New Zealanders are <a href="https://assets.retirement.govt.nz/public/Uploads/Research/TAAO-RC-NZ-FinCap-Survey-Report.pdf">good with the basics of financial capability</a> – budgeting and keeping track of money. But we score lower than comparable countries like Canada, Norway, Australia and Ireland on more advanced financial capabilities like long-term savings. We also lack confidence when it comes to our cash.</p> <p>There is a growing body of evidence that personality traits, money values and attitudes each play a crucial part in either aiding or hindering us making those “smart” financial decisions.</p> <p>Attitudes towards saving, the degree to which we value material possessions, and how comfortable we are with risk, will all affect the financial decisions we make – and, as a result, our financial wellbeing.</p> <h2>The 5 money personalities</h2> <p>We identified five distinct money personalities, each with their own strengths and weaknesses: the enterpriser, socialite, minimalist, contemporary and realist.</p> <p><strong>An enterpriser</strong> is a financially confident, future-orientated planner who enjoys looking after their finances and is proud of being money savvy. Their strengths include self-control, financial knowledge and making their money work for them.</p> <p>An enterpriser is unlikely to make impulsive or emotional purchases. However, their aspirational approach – viewing money as a priority and a symbol of success – may pair badly with materialism, causing them to spend money to gain status rather than for value or utility. Enterprisers benefit from learning about investing and planning for the future.</p> <p><strong>The minimalist</strong> is frugal, confident with their saving ability, and on top of their financial situation. Minimalists value a simpler life, scoring low on materialism and are not prone to impulsive or emotional purchases.</p> <p>Their weakness is not always making their money work as hard for them as it could, as they are less likely to take financial risks – even where there is a potential for higher investment returns. Low-cost, passive investment strategies may appeal to minimalists.</p> <p><strong>A socialite</strong> is a joyful risk taker, outgoing, and confident with their money handling. A generous extrovert, they are more likely to be materialistic than other personality types and tend to live for today rather than plan for tomorrow.</p> <p>Their high tolerance for risk suggests some socialites may take on unwise levels of financial risk. Those in this group who are also impulsive or prone to emotional purchases may find themselves overspending or vulnerable to over-extending themselves with consumer debt.</p> <p>Socialites may like to explore active investment strategies and riskier investment classes, however. Taking calculated risks and building financial resilience is an important focus for them.</p> <p><strong>A contemporary</strong> doesn’t enjoy managing their money and they lack confidence when it comes to financial matters. They are likely to say they’re a spender despite being less materialistic than others; living for today, they tend to engage in impulsive emotional spending and are generous to a fault.</p> <p>For contemporaries, the focus is increasing financial resilience by paying down debt and building an emergency savings fund, enabling them to share their wealth with others without affecting their own financial well-being. Working on their money mindset and general financial knowledge may allow them to build confidence and savings, then take a passive or “set and forget” approach to their financial life.</p> <p><strong>A realist</strong> is future-focused, very conservative with risk, and values money highly. But they are not confident with their money handling, despite paying close attention to their financial situation.</p> <p>The most introverted personality type, a more aspirational realist may be materialistic but is unlikely to make impulsive or emotional purchases a habit. This suggests building confidence and encouragement to take appropriate investment risks is important. Given they do not like making money decisions, automation of bill payments and savings may appeal.</p> <h2>Know thy money self</h2> <p>Each money personality offers different challenges when it comes to making financial decisions.</p> <p>Taking Sorted’s money personality quiz is fun, but it’s also a useful financial decision you can make right now.</p> <p>It’s not just about the label. Knowing your money personality can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to financial decision making, giving you tools to improve your financial resiliency and security.<!-- 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/207621/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/ayesha-scott-867030">A<em>yesha Scott</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer - Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/aaron-gilbert-867098">Aaron Gilbert</a>, Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</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/know-thyself-know-thy-finances-which-of-the-5-money-personalities-are-you-207621">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

What your glasses are secretly revealing about your personality

<h2>Colourful frames are for creative types</h2> <p>Glasses frames come in every imaginable colour nowadays. While black and brown frames still exist, they are no longer the only options. Those who do dare to colour their vision are typically very creative, says optometrist Lynn Green. “Artists love colour,” she says. “They are very particular with what they like and they know what they like.” But artists aren’t the only ones who gravitate towards colour frames. Both the extrovert and the introvert veer toward this kind of eye wear. “Usually bright, bold colours are somebody that’s fun and outgoing,” Green discerns, “but what’s nice about fun colours is somebody…who’s always been neutral and blends in, they’ve gotten to a point in their life where they’re like, ‘You know what, I need a change.’” While it is very natural for an outgoing person to pick up a pair of attention-grabbing glasses, shy people who are trying to break out of their shell can use these glasses as a means of putting themselves out there.</p> <h2>Thick black frames are trendy</h2> <p>Thick black frames go largely to the young, hipster crowd. The people who wear these glasses are definitely trying to make a statement about themselves. Green describes this type as, “That bold, ‘look-at-me’ frame.” It has been her observation that the dark, thick, heavier frames have been the favourite of people in the late teens to 20s age range. These are the glasses that are one of the biggest trends. A person that has a pair of these glasses is probably young, bold, opinionated, and trendy.</p> <h2>Patterned frames are cheerful</h2> <p>In terms of demographics, Green has also surmised that it is mostly women who tend to opt for colour and different patterns on their frames. Not only that, but bright colours with patterns are also preferred by older people who want to feel the fun of youth again. Sometimes they even have designs by the temples, like little flowers. These cute and stylish glasses express a cheerful nature and someone who doesn’t like to take life too seriously.</p> <h2>Aviators are for the adventurous</h2> <p>Another person who has an intimate relationship with fashion and eye wear is fashion designer Larisa Ginzburg. According to her, those who have a penchant for aviators are quite the adventurers. “If you’re a fan of the aviators frame, chances are you’ve always been a risk taker. Just like you, this style is classic, but not concerned with respecting the rules and will stand out in its modern reinterpretations. The wearer is an active, devoted person who knows what they want and they’re not afraid to live for the moment. An undying staple of coolness, aviator glasses are a favourite among outspoken people who don’t just talk, but walk the talk.” If you’ve got at least one pair of aviators, you’re the kind of person whose presence is always felt. You enter a room and people notice, and you usually end up being the life of the party.</p> <h2>Fake glasses are a confidence boost</h2> <p>Yes, people really do wear fake glasses, and it’s more common than you’d think. According to Green, the whole “glasses make you look smart” thing still applies. “I had a patient come in,” Green shares, “[and] she was going for a very important job interview. She did not have a prescription. She wanted glasses that made her look very confident, and we found the perfect Tom Ford classic look. She brought us all chocolate because she got the job, and she said it was the glasses that did it.” Other than just for career, there are a lot of reasons that people wear fake glasses. As Green observes, glasses are now just as much an accessory as they are a necessity. Like shoes or purses or earrings, people buy glasses to intentionally convey something about themselves. People who wear fake glasses are very concerned with how the world sees them and may be somewhat insecure. At the same time, they could also be fashionistas who want to complete their perfect look.</p> <h2>Simple, clean lines are pragmatic</h2> <p>We’ve talked a lot about the creative person, but what about people who are more logically, mathematically, or scientifically driven? In her two decades of being an optician, Green has noticed that these types of people tend to pay less attention to style and more attention to function. “They go for structure,” she says. “They’re very detail oriented. They usually go with a more simple, clean line look.” For this type of person, glasses are more about pragmatism and not so much about showing off.</p> <h2>Big round frames are quirky</h2> <p>These are the glasses that Green refers to as “The Harry Potter frames.” They’re not as common as they used to be, but people do still rock that big, circular frame. “In that round shape is a very classic style,” she says. “It’s old Hollywood.” People who wear these glasses in the modern era tend to be men in their 30s to late 40s, she explains. They’re a little bit quirkier then your average person and might have an appreciation for history or vintage style.</p> <h2>Browline frames are for those who mean business</h2> <p>Last on the list are browline frames (aka club masters or semi-rimless frames). Just because they appear at the end of this list doesn’t mean they aren’t popular, though. These are the glasses that have a bold upper frame and a thin bottom frame. Ginzburg says, “[They] are both smart and stylish, and they say that you mean business! They are a classic power accessory for your professional life, and a favourite among knowledgeable hipsters who aim high in life. This style reflects the fact that you are quick on your feet, and have a well-rounded personality.” Browline frames are the great compromise between being bold and being simple. If you wear these, you’re not afraid to make a statement but you also don’t let your ego get you in trouble.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/what-your-glasses-are-secretly-revealing-about-your-personality" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Beauty & Style

Placeholder Content Image

Sophie Delezio's fantastic personal news

<p>Inspirational burns survivor Sophie Delezio has shared a happy update on her personal life.</p> <p>Her longtime boyfriend, Joseph Salerno has proposed, and she said yes.</p> <p>Delezio took to Instagram to share the exciting news, posting a photo of her with her now fiancé, alongside the caption “Here’s to forever with you <a href="https://www.instagram.com/thetroseph/?hl=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@thetroseph</a> 💍.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CrNRqgMPqJp/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CrNRqgMPqJp/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Sophie Delezio (@soph.delezio)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Delezio told <em>The Australian Women’s Weekly</em> that her whole family knew Salerno was going to propose on Valentine’s Day 2023, but they managed to keep it a secret.</p> <p>“I had no idea,” she said.</p> <p>“Funnily enough, I got a heart painted on one of my nails the week before and joked that it might give Joseph the hint!</p> <p>“That’s how little I suspected what he had planned.”</p> <p>The two had been good friends for years prior to their romantic relationship.</p> <p>Salerno told the outlet that he knew what a strong person she was when he first met her in Year 9.</p> <p>“Strong, confident and generous, those three words best describe Sophie,” he said.</p> <p>“That’s what I see when I’m with her.”</p> <p>Delezio had the entire nation behind her after her miraculous recovery from two horrific incidents, the life-threatening burns she got as a result of a car crashing into her daycare in 2003, then again when she was hit by a car in 2006.</p> <p>She and Salerno <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/he-s-so-good-for-me-sophie-delezio-has-found-love" target="_blank" rel="noopener">started dating</a> during the COVID pandemic in 2021.</p> <p>In 2022 she and Salerno travelled the world together, which she<a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/sophie-delezio-celebrates-huge-milestone-ahead-of-new-adventure" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> announced on Instagram</a> before he proposed to her on Valentine’s Day 2023.</p> <p>Salerno had been working on a scrapbook of their travels before gifting it to Delezio on Valentine's Day.</p> <p>“She turned to me and I was down on one knee bawling,” he said to <em>The Australian Woman’s Weekly</em>.</p> <p>“Our go-to song is ‘Be My Baby’ so I just asked if Sophie would be my baby and luckily she ticked the box on the back of the scrapbook that said yes.”</p> <p>There hasn’t been a date set for the wedding yet, but the news of the engagement had Delezio’s social media followers running wild with excitement.</p> <p>“Wonderful!” one follower wrote.</p> <p>“Congratulations to both of you. Such wonderful news,” another said.</p> <p>“This makes me so happy,” a third added.</p> <p>Delezio is nothing short of a warrior, with her taking a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/sophie-delezio-exciting-news" target="_blank" rel="noopener">remarkable step</a> in life just a few years ago.</p> <p>She is a miracle survivor and continues to inspire everyone who followed along with her recovery.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Don’t let financial shame be your ruin: open conversations can help ease the burden of personal debt

<p>Nearly <a href="https://www.ipsos.com/en-nz/19th-ipsos-new-zealand-issues-monitor">two-thirds of New Zealanders</a> are worried about the cost of living, and a quarter are worried about <a href="https://www.canstar.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Consumer-Pulse-Report-NZ-2023-Final-4.pdf">putting food on the table</a>. But the <a href="https://visionwest.org.nz/food-hardship-part-one/">shame</a> that can come with financial stress is preventing some people from seeking help. </p> <p>According to a recent survey, a third of New Zealanders were not completely truthful with their family or partners about the state of their finances, and 12% <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/129477493/financial-infidelity-research-finds-kiwis-hiding-debts-from-their-partners">actively hid their debt</a>. This shame and worry about money can spill over into <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/concerns-buy-now-pay-later-schemes-could-fuel-addiction-as-kiwis-spend-17b-last-year/VOV3VIDIG2MZBGJEGPMLGWDMJI/">addiction</a>, <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/i-had-serious-concussion-bad-credit-and-15000-debt-abuse-survivor">violence</a> and <a href="https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news/financial-strains-significantly-raise-risk-suicide-attempts">suicide</a>. </p> <p>Considering the effect of financial stress on our wellbeing, it is clear we need to overcome the financial stigma that prevents us from getting help. We also <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/money/family-financial-strain">owe it to our kids</a> to break the taboo around money by communicating our worries and educating them on how to manage finances better. </p> <h2>The burden of growing debt</h2> <p><a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/300817697/mortgage-pain-homeowners-facing-repayment-hikes-of-up-to-900-a-fortnight">Ballooning mortgage repayments</a> are compounding the financial distress of many New Zealanders. At the beginning of 2023, an estimated 11.9% of home owners were behind on loan payments, with more than <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/485045/data-shows-430-000-new-zealanders-behind-in-credit-repayments-in-january">18,400 mortgagees in arrears</a>. </p> <div data-id="17"> </div> <p>Given the <a href="https://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/an/an-21-01-html">majority of household wealth</a> in New Zealand is in property, our financial vulnerability is closely linked to the ebbs and flows of the <a href="https://content.knightfrank.com/research/84/documents/en/global-house-price-index-q2-2021-8422.pdf">second most overinflated property market</a> in the world. </p> <p>There are also cultural reasons for growing financial distress. Many households have taken on significant debt to “<a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/7616361/Keeping-up-with-the-Joneses">keep up with the Joneses</a>” and to pursue the quintessential <a href="https://www.interest.co.nz/property/99890/westpac-commissioned-survey-suggests-many-new-zealanders-still-pine-quarter-acre">quarter-acre dream</a>. Social comparison and peer pressure act as powerful levers contributing to problem debt and over-indebtedness. </p> <p>The average household debt in New Zealand is more than <a href="https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/households-debt-to-income">170% of gross household income</a>. That is higher than the United Kingdom (133%), Australia (113%) or Ireland (96%).</p> <h2>The rise of problem debt</h2> <p>And we are digging a deeper hole. Over the past year, <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/485045/data-shows-430-000-new-zealanders-behind-in-credit-repayments-in-january">demand for credit cards increased by 21.7%</a>. The use of personal debt such as personal loans and deferred payment schemes <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/demand-for-personal-credit-rises-arrears-also-up-as-cost-of-living-bites/YCEM74CII5FQBPJXO3UOG4Y3GY/">is also climbing</a>. There is a real risk this debt could become problem debt. </p> <p>Problem debt can have severe and wide-reaching consequences, including <a href="https://theconversation.com/over-300-000-new-zealanders-owe-more-than-they-own-is-this-a-problem-173497">housing insecurity</a>, <a href="http://www.socialinclusion.ie/publications/documents/2011_03_07_FinancialExclusionPublication.pdf">financial exclusion</a> (the inability to access debt at affordable interest rates), <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07409710.2012.652016?journalCode=gfof20">poor food choices</a> and a plethora of <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-489">health problems</a>. </p> <p>Yet, the hidden <a href="https://spssi.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sipr.12074">psychological</a> and <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11205-008-9286-8">social cost of financial distress</a>remains often unspoken, overlooked and underestimated.</p> <p>Even before the pandemic, <a href="https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1909/S00616/research-shows-financial-stress-impacts-mental-wellbeing.htm">69% of New Zealanders were worried</a>about money. The share of people worrying about their financial situation was higher for women (74%), and particularly women aged 18-34 (82%). It is no coincidence that the latter are particularly at risk of problem debt through so-called <a href="https://acfr.aut.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/691577/Gilbert-and-Scott-Study-2-Draft-v10Sept2022.pdf">“buy now, pay later” schemes</a>. </p> <p>The stigma of financial distress extends beyond the vulnerable and the marginalised in our society. A growing number of <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/467417/middle-income-families-hoping-for-help-in-budget-as-rising-costs-sting">middle-class New Zealanders </a> are quietly suffering financial distress, isolated by financial stigma and the taboos around discussing money. When pressed, one in two New Zealanders would rather <a href="https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU2203/S00384/research-shows-wed-rather-talk-about-politics-than-our-finances.htm">talk politics over money</a>. </p> <h2>Time to talk about money</h2> <p>Navigating financial distress and <a href="https://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2526&context=sulr">stigma</a> can feel overwhelming. Where money is a taboo subject, it may feel safer to withdraw, maintain false appearances, be secretive or shun social support. </p> <p>This tendency to avoid open discussions and suffer in silence can lead to <a href="https://loneliness.org.nz/lonely/at-home/financially-struggling/">feelings of isolation</a> and contribute to <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-financial-stress-can-affect-your-mental-health-and-5-things-that-can-help-201557">poor mental health</a>, such as depression, anxiety and emotional distress. </p> <p>Sadly, the trauma of living in financial distress can also <a href="http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/39442/1/1307565_Wakefield.pdf">break up families</a>. Losing the symbols of hard-gained success and facing the prospect of a reduced lifestyle can be tough. It often triggers feelings of personal failure and self doubt that deter us from taking proactive steps to talk openly and seek help. </p> <p>But what can families do to alleviate some of this distress?</p> <h2>Seek help</h2> <p>First, understand that <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/86767aac-98e0-4dae-8c5a-d3301b030703">you are not alone</a>. Over 300,000 New Zealanders <a href="https://theconversation.com/over-300-000-new-zealanders-owe-more-than-they-own-is-this-a-problem-173497">owe more than they earn</a>.</p> <p>Second, seek help. There are many services that help people work through their financial situation and formulate a plan. In the case of excessive debts, debt consolidation or <a href="https://goodshepherd.org.nz/debtsolve/">debt solution loans</a> may help reduce the overall burden and simplify your financial situation. </p> <p>For those struggling with increasing interest on their mortgages, reaching out to your bank early is critical. During the 2008 recession, banks in New Zealand <a href="https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/banks-exchange-letters-crown-support-distressed-mortgage-borrowers">worked with customers</a> to avoid defaulting on mortgages, including reducing servicing costs, capitalising interest and moving households to interest-only loans. It is essential to understand that the <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/real-estate/130677426/are-we-on-the-brink-of-a-wave-of-mortgagee-sales">banks do not want mortgagees to fail</a>, and that options exist.</p> <p>To help future generations avoid debt traps, we need open communication about money – also known as “<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10834-020-09736-2">financial socialisation</a>”. This includes developing values, sharing knowledge and promoting behaviours that help build <a href="https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1241099.pdf">financial viability and contribute to financial wellbeing</a>. </p> <p>The lessons about handling money from family and friends are crucial for <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02162/full">improving our children’s financial capability</a>, helping them be <a href="https://www.fsc.org.nz/it-starts-with-action-theme/growing-financially-resilient-kids">more financially resilient</a> and better able to survive the stresses we are experiencing now – and those <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/300836616/heres-how-much-household-costs-are-expected-to-increase">yet to come</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-let-financial-shame-be-your-ruin-open-conversations-can-help-ease-the-burden-of-personal-debt-202496" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Fergie reveals Queen’s tender personal advice before passing

<p>Sarah Ferguson has shared that she is reminded of Queen Elizabeth II’s advice when she walks the late monarch’s infamous corgis.</p> <p>Sarah, the Duchess of York, 63, appeared on <em>The One Show</em> to promote her latest book, A Most Intriguing Lady, and she has revealed that the dogs make her think about the “values” upheld by her late mother-in-law.</p> <p>“One thing I really love when I'm with them actually, cause I really think about HM and I just really think about the value system that she supported in this country,” the duchess told presenters Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas.</p> <p>“And I remember she used to say, "Sarah there needs to be more kindness in the world, which would disarm malice".”</p> <p>The Duchess feels that everyone should “stop to remember those words with respect and affection for a great leader, who has now passed it to another great leader in her son”.</p> <p>“It's so funny to say that...straight off the corgis,” she continued. "But when I look at them I think "yes come on”.”</p> <p>She also mentioned she believes that the late Queen’s message can, and should be followed more broadly across the country.</p> <p>“And I think - so important - for the whole country to unite and uphold the values that for 72 years the monarch gave us all, really.”</p> <p>Sarah also admitted to feeling frightened that something could happen to the dogs as she walks them.</p> <p>“Because they're national treasures I'm terrified when they go out running," she told <em>The One Show</em>. “They chase everything. Straight into tress, bang, like that! I go "no, no, no, the nation loves you, stop, stop, stop chasing the squirrels”.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

One person’s cringe is another’s dream Spongebob proposal

<p dir="ltr">Sometimes it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself, especially when it comes to the one of the most important days of your friend’s life, as one woman has learned the hard way. </p> <p dir="ltr">After witnessing her best friend’s “super cringey and uncomfortable” proposal, she was left with some feedback. Some feedback she felt compelled to share, though her friend - unsurprisingly - was not too thrilled with what she heard. </p> <p dir="ltr">Taking to Reddit’s ‘Am I the A***ole’ (commonly known as AITA), the woman asked other users for their take, wanting to find out if she really was in the wrong, as she just didn’t [get why she’s [her friend] so upset.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“My friend invited a group of us over for her birthday last night. During dinner, her bf leaves the room and comes back playing the harmonica,” she began, before explaining how it had seemed a little odd to her, but that she’d just assumed he was “showing off or something.” </p> <p dir="ltr">That was when things took a turn for the bizarre, with the groom-to-be switching out the harmonica to instead serenade his would-be fiancée with <em>Spongebob</em>’s ‘<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzGH_AtmfRw">Gary Come Home</a>’. She noted that he wasn’t a particularly good singer, and that everyone in the room appeared to have the same idea about how cringe-inducing the whole thing was.</p> <p dir="ltr">“After he finishes singing,” the woman continued, “he goes over to my friend [and] gets down on one knee and proposes. She said yes and we all congratulated her but the rest of dinner I was having severe second hand embarrassment.” </p> <p dir="ltr">These thoughts got the better of her in the end, and she went on to explain how she’d approached her friend while the two were cleaning up, and asked what she’d thought of the proposal, adding “I told her it was weird especially since she’s never watched/liked <em>Spongebob</em>. They haven’t really talked about marriage before so she was completely surprised and I told her that makes it even weirder.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her friend was offended, and made the accusation that the original poster just wasn’t “happy for her”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I pointed out [that] she seemed embarrassed too during his charade,” she said. It was then revealed that the two hadn’t spoken for the remainder of their evening, and that she still couldn’t understand why her friend had gotten upset, as “a proposal should be romantic, not whatever the f*** that was.” </p> <p dir="ltr">And of her question as to whether or not she was the bad guy in the situation, her fellow Redditors had plenty to say. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Are you the proposal police?” one asked. “It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of the proposal but your friend! When she asked you for your opinion all you had to do was say, ‘as long as you are happy I’m happy for you’ instead you went on a long tirade about how weird it was.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“What you feel is romantic could well be someone else’s version of horrific. It wasn’t your place to feel second hand embarrassment. It wasn’t your place to tell your friend it was weird,” another chastised. “If she was happy, you should have been happy for her, but instead you’ve made her upset. There was no need for you to do that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">One was of the mind that while yes, she had been out of line with her sharing her opinion, “that proposal was weird and the fiancé forced people to be a part of it with no heads up? It’s cool if they’re both into bad harmonica music and SpongeBob but keep the proposal private. Or let people know what they’re in for.</p> <p dir="ltr">“OP [original poster] deserves a trophy for not laughing during. The friend clearly knew it was weird, but asked anyway. OP should have bit her tongue and had this conversation later, but proposing before ever talking about marriage is also strange. Real friends can be honest with each other, but some more tact was needed.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

"We said YES!": Rebel Wilson drops major news about personal life

<p>Rebel Wilson has announced her engagement to her now-fiancee, Ramona, Agruma, on Instagram.</p> <p>In one of the snaps, the 42-year-old star showed off the engagement ring as the couple engaged in a kiss.</p> <p>“We said YES! Thank you @tiffanyandco for the stunning ring and to Bob Iger and the incredible team at Disneyland @disneyweddings for pulling off this magical surprise!” Wilson wrote.</p> <p>Wilson also shared a photo taken not long after she proposed during a trip to Disneyland.</p> <p>The actress expressed her gratitude to Tiffany & Co. for the ring and to Bob Iger and the team at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings for allowing her proposal to be all the more magical.</p> <p>Wilson and Agruma can be seen wearing matching striped jumpers while the actress got down on one knee in front of Disney’s Magic Castle.</p> <p>Friends of Wilson, including Kathy Hilton and Lindsey Vonn, shared their well wishes for the happy couple on the Instagram post.</p> <p>The actress and Agruma were first introduced to one another by a mutual friend in late 2021.</p> <p>Wilson spoke to People, recalling that she and her now-fiancee, who was not identified at the time of the interview, had made an effort to establish a genuine connection before their first date.</p> <p>“We spoke on the phone for weeks before meeting. And that was a really good way to get to know each other. It was a bit old-school in that sense — very romantic,” Wilson told People.</p> <p>The actress also commented that she felt much more supported in her new relationship.</p> <p>“There were times — I'm not saying with all my exes, they're great — but there were some times that I was probably putting up with that I shouldn't have. So it feels different to be in a really healthy relationship,” she said.</p> <p>The couple went on to make numerous public appearances with one another in early 2022 but did not confirm they were romantically involved at the time.</p> <p>The pair made their relationship Instagram official in June 2022.</p> <p>Wilson and Agruma’s later collaborated on a collection of loungewear called R&R club, which was released in November.</p> <p>Engagement rumours began to circulate that same month, but Wilson publicly denied all claims.</p> <p>Wilson surprised many when she revealed she had become a mother to her daughter, Royce Lillian, who was welcomed via surrogate on November 7 2022.</p> <p>Prior to Royce’s arrival, Agruma threw a baby shower for Wilson, and the actress described her to People as “so amazing and such a great partner.”</p> <p>On a recent podcast on Life Uncut, Wilson shared that while her family was happy for the couple, Agruma’s family weren’t as supportive.</p> <p>“Ramona's family hasn't been as accepting. And so in many respects, it has been a lot harder on her to have to make the news public,” she said.</p> <p>She also mentioned she wanted to be able to connect with Agruma’s loved ones in the future.</p> <p>“I feel so sad to see what happened with her family over it. Hopefully, people will change their attitudes about things,” she said.</p> <p>Image credit: Getty</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

“Luckiest person on earth”: John Blackman shares health update

<p>Australian TV personality John Blackman has opened up about the extreme surgery he underwent to remove a cancerous growth on his mouth and jaw.</p> <p>John, who is best known for his voice work on the variety TV show <em>Hey Hey It’s Saturday</em>, was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma in 2018. The cancer, which had formed on his chin, is classed as both a rare and aggressive type of skin cancer. </p> <p>John’s extensive surgery spanned 10 hours, and saw his jaw removed to be replaced with a bone from his leg. </p> <p>Speaking to the <em>You Cannot Be Serious</em> podcast, he shed some insight into the operation, and on his entire journey, from diagnosis to the present. </p> <p>“I had a little pimple under my skin, you scratch at it and it turned out it was a BCC,” he explained. “SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) is the most deadly thing you can get on your chin apart from a pimple. </p> <p>“Over time it rotted my chin and it was hideous. They said it was really aggressive and it was about to eat away the rest of my face and eventually get to my brain and I’d be brown bread.</p> <p>“Another aggressive SCC started growing in a crater that was created when they removed one minor one and it was heading towards my brain. There’s the skin, then there’s the scalp, then there’s your brain. What this was doing was very aggressive and it was starting to go through what’s left of my meniscus.”</p> <p>At one stage, he compared his surgery to John Farnham's - the singer underwent a similar surgery of 11 and a half hours to remove a cancerous mouth tumour last year. </p> <p>'I don't think his was as radical as mine,” John mused, “because I had all of my lower jaw removed along with the teeth.”</p> <p>“Hopefully John will get through this with as little angst as possible,” he said of Farnham’s experience, “and he’s going to need all the support he can get. I know his family is very loving and they’re all going to gather around him.”</p> <p>John has maintained a positive approach throughout his fight, as he demonstrated in 2020 after surgery when he tweeted his thanks, and that his “journey towards becoming George Clooney's stunt double for all his love scenes … continued today at Linacre Private Hospital.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">My journey towards becoming George Clooney's stunt double for all his love scenes (or the part of Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz) continued today at Linacre Private Hospital. Huge thanks to all the wonderful staff and my plastic surgeon Doctor Frank! <a href="https://t.co/9Xta5eDB3E">pic.twitter.com/9Xta5eDB3E</a></p> <p>— JohnBlackman (@johnblackmanhey) <a href="https://twitter.com/johnblackmanhey/status/1259757239964844045?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 11, 2020</a></p></blockquote> <p>In another 2020 update posted to Facebook, John continued his good humour, writing, “sufficed to say, there’ll be more excavation work going on around my face tomorrow than the Westgate Tunnel Project!”</p> <p>While the nature of John’s cancer is aggressive, and the surgeries long and difficult, John has remained optimistic, and considers himself to be “the luckiest person on earth.” </p> <p>“Adversity,” as he told <em>You Cannot Be Serious </em>hosts Sam Newman and Don Scott, “doesn’t matter how important or smart you think you are, everyone has some sort of adversity in their life.”</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Here’s who decides cause of death, how death certificates work – and whether a person died with or of COVID

<p>COVID was Australia’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/aug/08/covid-becomes-australias-third-most-common-cause-of-death-in-2022">third leading cause of death</a> (after heart disease and dementia) in 2022. In a <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0%7E2017%7EMain%20Features%7EDeaths%20due%20to%20influenza%7E5">bad flu year</a> we have about 1,200 influenza deaths. We had more than <a href="https://covidlive.com.au/">1,500</a> COVID deaths in just the first month of 2023. We need to take COVID seriously. It is not like a cold or the flu. It is an exceptional disease.</p> <p>Because of the availability of vaccines and antivirals, there is no need for panic or further lockdowns. But there is no room for complacency either.</p> <p>The starting point in taking COVID seriously is ensuring policymakers and the public have confidence in the data about who is getting sick and who is dying. Without accurate data, there is no way to track the disease or work out how best to contain it.</p> <p>And a crucial part of this is ensuring people understand how death certificates work and how death data are recorded.</p> <h2>Dying of COVID or with COVID?</h2> <p>A common misconception is that the numbers being reported are people who died with, not of, COVID. </p> <p>Dying of COVID means COVID caused your death. Dying withCOVID means you died from another cause, but just happened to have COVID at the time.</p> <p>While we routinely collect data about both, a COVID death is when you die of COVID.</p> <p>This misconception makes it easy to dismiss COVID deaths on the basis that the numbers being reported are exaggerated. Dismissing the numbers makes people complacent and lets governments off the hook. If we all pretend COVID is just a mild disease, there is no need for governments and individuals to do our bit to minimise its spread.</p> <p>For most people whose vaccinations are up to date, COVID really is a mild disease. But about <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/we-re-all-vulnerable-one-in-10-people-will-end-up-with-long-covid-new-study-says-20230115-p5ccn5.html">one in ten</a> people infected with COVID go on to develop “long COVID” and the number of COVID deaths just keeps increasing as the pandemic drags on.</p> <h2>How the system works</h2> <p>The cause of every death in Australia must be certified by a medical practitioner. If the cause of death is not clear, the death is reported to the state or territory coroner for a coronial investigation. </p> <p>After the cause of death is determined either by a medical practitioner or the coroner, a death certificate is issued and sent to the bureau of births, deaths and marriages in each state or territory. </p> <p>From there, the data are sent to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which is the independent statutory agency responsible for national statistical reporting.</p> <h2>The death certificate</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/1205.0.55.001Main%20Features12008?opendocument&amp;tabname=Summary&amp;prodno=1205.0.55.001&amp;issue=2008&amp;num=&amp;view=">death certificate</a> records the immediate cause or the condition that led directly to death. It also records what are called “antecedent causes”.</p> <p>Antecedent causes are the underlying causes. These are the conditions or events that occurred before the immediate cause. All other significant conditions that contributed to the death but were not related to the disease or condition that caused it must also be reported.</p> <p>So how does it work in practice? Imagine a family member dies of respiratory problems after having COVID. In this imaginary case, the direct cause of death is recorded as “acute respiratory distress syndrome”. The acute respiratory distress syndrome was due to pneumonia. In turn, the pneumonia was due to COVID. COVID is recorded as the antecedent cause of death. So the data may be recorded like this:</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/02/med-cert.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>The way medical certificates are written is important. They give us quite accurate data on who dies of COVID (where COVID recorded as the direct or the antecedent cause) and who dies with it (COVID recorded as an “other significant condition”). We use both of these pieces of information for different purposes.</p> <h2>Professional judgment</h2> <p>While the cause of a person’s death is usually clear, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes doctors and coroners have to exercise their professional judgement in determining the cause of death. </p> <p>But this is a long way from claims on social media that medical practitioners and coroners are systematically reporting deaths “with COVID” as deaths “of COVID” as a way to exaggerate the COVID death toll. This is simply nonsense.</p> <p>There are often time delays between a person dying and their death certificate being issued.</p> <p>This is particularly the case for deaths referred to the coroner for investigation. In the interim, health departments around the country need data in real time so they can track the pandemic. They compile provisional COVID cause of death data as they go and then progressively update their data as death certificates are finalised. While this causes the numbers to fluctuate a little from week to week, the data used in official statistics are of very high quality.</p> <p>Australian clinical training, standards and documentation are excellent by all international standards. Australia has well developed systems in place for the accurate reporting of the causes of death and illness.</p> <p>These systems should inspire confidence in the numbers and that medical practitioners and coroners are reporting COVID deaths correctly.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-who-decides-cause-of-death-how-death-certificates-work-and-whether-a-person-died-with-or-of-covid-198401" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Time announces Person of the Year

<p dir="ltr">Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been announced as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2022, alongside the “spirit of Ukraine”, for “proving that courage can be as contagious as fear”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said the choice was “the most clear-cut in memory” after the announcement was made on Wednesday.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ba84db44-7fff-f491-e3d8-f7951d142d96"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“Whether the battle for Ukraine fills one with hope or with fear, the world marched to Volodymyr Zelensky’s beat in 2022,” he said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">TIME's 2022 Person of the Year: Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TIMEPOY?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TIMEPOY</a> <a href="https://t.co/06Y5fuc0fG">https://t.co/06Y5fuc0fG</a> <a href="https://t.co/i8ZT3d5GDa">pic.twitter.com/i8ZT3d5GDa</a></p> <p>— TIME (@TIME) <a href="https://twitter.com/TIME/status/1600470652363866113?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 7, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">The comedian-turned-politician was elected as the country’s President in 2019 and has been working to rally support among his people and the world at large since the Russian invasion began in February.</p> <p dir="ltr">Zelenskyy’s decision “not to flee Kyiv but to stay and rally support was fateful”, according to Felsenthal.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For proving that courage can be as contagious as fear, for stirring people and nations to come together in defence of freedom, for reminding the world of the fragility of democracy — and of peace — Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine are TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year,” he added.</p> <p dir="ltr">The magazine also honoured the people of Ukraine, highlighting engineer Oleg Kutkov - who worked to help keep Ukraine connected - Kyiv Independent editor Olga Rudenko, and David Nott, a British combat surgeon.</p> <p dir="ltr">The annual award, which has sparked debate and controversy over the nearly 100 years since it began, is given to an event or person deemed to have had the most influence on global events each year.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with Zelenskyy and the spirit of Ukraine, the finalists for this year’s award included protestors in Iran, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and the US Supreme Court.</p> <p dir="ltr">Women in Iran were the magazine’s 2022 Heroes of the Year, while K-pop band Blackpink were deemed the Entertainer of the Year.</p> <p dir="ltr">To see TIME’s full list of recipients for 2022, head <a href="https://time.com/person-of-the-year-2022-volodymyr-zelensky/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-7eed59e0-7fff-4271-c60a-c94a993432e8"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Why mourning a pet can be harder than grieving for a person

<p>Many pet owners know that our connections with animals can be on an emotional par with those we share with other humans – and <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ben-Rockett/publication/274344384_Animals_and_Attachment_Theory/links/5f8552bb458515b7cf7c5851/Animals-and-Attachment-Theory.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">scientific research backs this up</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407507087958" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The key ingredients of human attachment</a> are experiencing the other person as a dependable source of comfort, seeking them out when distressed, feeling enjoyment in their presence and missing them when apart. Researchers have identified these as features of our relationships with pets too.</p> <p>But there are complexities. Some groups of people are more likely to develop intimate bonds with their pets. This includes <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=yyM5DQAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PA123&amp;dq=pet+attachment+and+older+people&amp;ots=g4NhHQwmag&amp;sig=82Jmnjag7NC40mxaITf18Vsjk8g#v=onepage&amp;q=pet%20attachment%20and%20older%20people&amp;f=false" target="_blank" rel="noopener">isolated older people</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ben-Rockett/publication/313459134_Fostering_secure_attachment_experiences_of_animal_companions_in_the_foster_home/links/5f85529e458515b7cf7c5848/Fostering-secure-attachment-experiences-of-animal-companions-in-the-foster-home.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">people who have lost trust in humans</a>, and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616734.2011.584410?journalCode=rahd20" target="_blank" rel="noopener">people who rely on assistance animals</a>.</p> <p>Researchers have also found our connections with our fluffy, scaled and feathered friends come with a price, in that we <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07481187.2021.1901799" target="_blank" rel="noopener">grieve the loss of our pets</a>. But some aspects of pet grief are unique.</p> <h2>Euthanasia</h2> <p>For many people, pet death may be the only experience they have of grief connected to euthanasia. Guilt or doubt over a decision to euthanise a cherished companion animal can complicate grief. For example, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288696026_Pet_loss_and_human_emotion_A_guide_to_recovery_Second_edition" target="_blank" rel="noopener">research has found</a> that disagreements within families about whether it is (or was) right to put a pet to sleep can be particularly challenging.</p> <p>But euthanasia also gives people a chance to prepare for a beloved animal’s passing. There is a chance to say goodbye and plan final moments to express love and respect such as a favourite meal, a night in together or a last goodbye.</p> <p>There are stark differences in people’s responses to pet euthanasia. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07481187.2012.738764" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Israeli research</a> found that in the aftermath of euthanised pet death, 83% of people feel certain they made the right decision. They believed they had granted their animal companion a more honourable death that minimised suffering.</p> <p>However, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1539639/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Canadian study</a> found 16% of participants in their study whose pets were euthanised “felt like murderers”. And <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Establishing-a-model-pet-loss-support-hotline.-Mader-Hart/ed169dfdb2d43c2c94bc3f4c617e92bb37c08402" target="_blank" rel="noopener">American research</a> has shown how nuanced the decision can be as 41% of participants in a study felt guilty and 4% experienced suicidal feelings after they consented to their animal being euthanised. Cultural beliefs, the nature and intensity of their relationship, attachment styles and personality influence people’s experience of pet euthanasia.</p> <h2>Disenfranchised grief</h2> <p>This type of loss <a href="https://neurosciencenews.com/grief-pet-loss-21950/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is still less acceptable socially</a>. This is called disenfranchised grief, which refers to losses that society doesn’t fully appreciate or ignores. This makes it harder to mourn, at least in public.</p> <p>Psychologists Robert Neiymeyer and John Jordan said <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Disenfranchised-Grief%3A-New-Directions%2C-Challenges%2C-Doka/93982a0299f424a451986bc2938751d909b5a98b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">disenfranchised grief</a> is a result of an empathy failure. People deny their own pet grief because a part of them feels it is shameful. This isn’t just about keeping a stiff upper lip in the office or at the pub. People may feel pet grief is unacceptable to certain members of their family, or to the family more generally.</p> <p>And at a wider level, there may be a mismatch between the depth of pet grief and social expectations around animal death. For example, some people may react with contempt if someone misses work or takes leave to mourn a pet.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2019.1621545?journalCode=rfan20" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Research</a> suggests that when people are in anguish over the loss of a pet, disenfranchised grief makes it more difficult for them to find solace, post-traumatic growth and healing. Disenfranchised grief seems to restrain emotional expression in a way that makes it harder to process.</p> <p>Our relationships to our pets can be as meaningful as those we share with each other. Losing our pets is no less painful, and our grief reflects that. There are dimensions of pet grief we need to recognise as unique. If we can accept pet death as a type of bereavement, we can lessen people’s suffering. We’re only human, after all.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-mourning-a-pet-can-be-harder-than-grieving-for-a-person-195514" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Relationships

Our Partners