What Do Americans Fear?

What do Americans fear?

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Chapman University recently completed its third annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears (2016). The survey asked respondents about 65 fears across a broad range of categories including fears about the government, crime, the environment, the future, technology, health, natural disasters, as well as fears of public speaking, spiders, heights, ghosts and many other personal anxieties.

In addition to the set of fears examined in previous waves, the survey team took a closer look at two fear related phenomena: Americans' beliefs in conspiracy theories and fear of Muslims, sometimes referred to as “Islamophobia.”

In its third year, the annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears included more than 1,500 adult participants from across the nation and all walks of life. The 2016 survey data is organized into five basic categories: personal fears, conspiracy theories, terrorism, natural disasters, paranormal fears, and fear of Muslims.

Read more: What Do Americans Fear?

A visit to John of God

Nelda Samarel – USA

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João Teixeira de Faria – John of God

In 2011 I was scheduled to teach the winter school at the center for the Theosophical Society in Brazil, one hour from Brasília. It seemed an opportune time to visit Abadiânia, the home of the world-renowned healer, John of God. After all, I was “in the neighborhood” and, since I have been practicing and teaching the energetic healing modality known as Therapeutic Touch for over thirty-five years, my interest as a healer was keen.

According to Google Maps, the trip from the Theosophical center to Abadiânia should be two hours and thirty-two minutes. However, we took a “short cut” and the resultant four-hour ride took us through the bucolic Brazilian countryside.

Arriving in Abadiânia, my home for the next week, I was struck by the poverty of the rural town. As I learned the following day, most of Abadiânia is structured around and economically dependent on the Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola or “the Casa” as the location of John of God’s clinics is known. Scattered throughout the small town are pousadas, inns where visitors to the Casa are housed; restaurants; Internet cafes; and shops selling essentials for travelers.

Read more: A visit to John of God

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 16

Leo Babauta -USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 16 
Three strategies for prioritizing tasks
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Author Unknown


One of the biggest problems people have when trying to find focus is having too many tasks competing for their time. It can be tough to prioritize.

Let’s break this problem into three smaller problems:

1. too many tasks

2. tough to prioritize

3. tasks compete for your time

And with that, let’s discuss three strategies for dealing with these smaller problems.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 16

Religious upbringing linked to less altruism, study of children suggests

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Many families believe religion plays an essential role in childhood moral development. But children of religious parents may not be as altruistic as those parents think, according to a new international study from the University of Chicago published Nov. 5 in Current Biology

Read more: Religious upbringing linked to less altruism, study of children suggests

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

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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

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