Raising a child with autism: How optimism can help to cope

Medley 6 Autism


Research sheds light on relationship between optimism, coping strategies, and depressive symptoms of Hispanic parents of children with autism

Humans are resilient, even facing the toughest of life's challenges. How individuals and families deal with demanding and emotionally charged circumstances plays a large role in how they view and face the world and the possible outcomes of a difficult situation. There's no exception for the challenging Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how families adjust and cope with the reported stress of raising a child with autism.

In the first known study of its kind, University of Miami (UM) College of Arts and Sciences psychologists Dr. Michael Alessandri and Dr. Hoa Lam Schneider worked with Texas Christian University researchers to further the understanding of the relationship between optimism, coping strategies, and depressive symptoms among Hispanic mothers and fathers of children with autism.

Read more: Raising a child with autism: How optimism can help to cope

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 15

Leo Babauta -USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 15 
Effortless Action 
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  "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

Lao Tzu 


There’s a concept in Taoism, “ wei wu wei ” , which is often translated as “ action without action ” or “ effortless doing ”. I prefer to think of it more in the sense of  “action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort ”.

This is an important concept, because effortless action is a way to not only achieve focus in a world of chaos, but to be effective without stress, to respond to any si tuation with economy of effort and action, and to pursue our passions while beating procrastination .

Think for a moment of times when you’ve struggled to work, and instead procrastinated by heading for your distractions – email, social networks, blog reading, games, whatever your flavor might be.

This struggle is often a losing battle for most people. They fight against it, but only win occasionally. Effortless action is an easier way to find focus and beat procrastination.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 15

Conflict between science, religion lies in our brains

The conflict between science and religion may have its origins in the structure of our brains, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and Babson College have found.


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 Clashes between the use of faith vs. scientific evidence to explain the world around us dates back centuries and is perhaps most visible today in the arguments between evolution and creationism.

To believe in a supernatural god or universal spirit, people appear to suppress the brain network used for analytical thinking and engage the empathetic network, the scientists say. When thinking analytically about the physical world, people appear to do the opposite.

“When there's a question of faith, from the analytic point of view, it may seem absurd,” said Tony Jack, who led the research. “But, from what we understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking to help us achieve greater social and emotional insight.”

Jack is an associate professor of philosophy at Case Western Reserve and research director of the university's Inamori International Center of Ethics and Excellence, which helped sponsor the research.

Read more: Conflict between science, religion lies in our brains

Rare Earth atoms see the light

Physicist discovers a promising route for combined optical and solid state-based quantum information processing

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Tiny units of matter and chemistry that they are, atoms constitute the entire universe. Some rare atoms can store quantum information, an important phenomenon for scientists in their ongoing quest for a quantum Internet.

New research from UC Santa Barbara scientists and their Dutch colleagues exploits a system that has the potential to transfer optical quantum information to a locally stored solid-state quantum format, a requirement of quantum communication. The team's findings appear in the journal Nature Photonics.

“Our research aims at creating a quantum analog of current fiber optic technology in which light is used to transfer classical information – bits with values zero or one –  between computers,” said author Dirk Bouwmeester, a professor in UCSB's Department of Physics. “The rare earth atoms we're studying can store the superpositions of zero and one used in quantum computation. In addition, the light by which we communicate with these atoms can also store quantum information.”

Read more: Rare Earth atoms see the light

The aftermath of 1492: Study shows how Native American depopulation impacted ecology

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Without humans in the region to clear trees for building materials, heating, cooking, and agriculture, the forest began to reclaim that territory, providing, literally, more fuel for fires

There is little dispute that in the wake of European colonists' arrival in the New World, Native American populations were decimated by disease and conflict. But when it comes to the timing, magnitude, and effects of this depopulation – it depends on who you ask.

Many scholars claim that disease struck the native population shortly after their first contact with Europeans, and spread with such ferocity that it left tell-tale fingerprints on the global climate. Others, however, argue that – though still devastating – the process was far more gradual, and took place over many years.

Read more: The aftermath of 1492: Study shows how Native American depopulation impacted ecology

Life in Egypt

Kathleen Hall – Canada

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The Great Pyramid and Sphinx at Giza

In June 2015 I accepted a teaching position at an international school in Cairo. I had previously travelled a bit in Egypt and have always been fascinated with the Middle East so I was very excited about this new adventure in my life. Although tourism has significantly dropped since 2010, Egypt still attracts many foreigners and expats such as myself - who finally embraced the overwhelming pull its magnetic forces had on my life since childhood, and moved there! As a side note, for me it began with my armchair travels when I was a young girl, reading about and seeing old photos of Egypt and the Seven Wonders of the World, in the lovely old “Books of Knowledge” we had in our family library.

Read more: Life in Egypt

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 14

Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 14

Going with the flow

Medley Focus 2

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let
reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in
whatever way they like.


No matter how much structure we create in our lives, no matter how many good habits we build, there will always be things that we cannot control — and if we let them, these things can be a huge source of anger, frustration and stress.

The simple solution: learn to go with the flow. For example, let’s say you’ve created the perfect peaceful morning routine. You’ve structured your mornings so that you do things that bring you calm and happiness. And then a water pipe bursts in your bathroom and you spend a stressful morning trying to clean up the mess and get the pipe fixed.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 14

Solving hard quantum problems: Everything is connected


Medley Quantum 2
Waves in a Bose-Einstein condensate: a many-particle effect.

New methods for many-body quantum calculations

Quantum systems are extremely hard to analyze if they consist of more than just a few parts. It is not difficult to calculate a single hydrogen atom, but in order to describe an atom cloud of several thousand atoms, it is usually necessary to use rough approximations. The reason for this is that quantum particles are connected to each other and cannot be described separately. Kaspar Sakmann (TU Wien, Vienna) and Mark Kasevich (Stanford, USA) have now shown in an article published in Nature Physics that this problem can be overcome. They succeeded in calculating effects in ultra-cold atom clouds which can only be explained in terms of the quantum correlations between many atoms. Such atom clouds are known as Bose-Einstein condensates and are an active field of research.

Read more: Solving hard quantum problems: Everything is connected

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