Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: The Topography of Tears

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How many times have you cried in your life? Although I’m not sure we could narrow it down to a specific number, I’m sure we would all agree that we have cried different types of tears: happy, sad, angry, grieving……the list could go on and on!

Over the summer, I stumbled across the most fascinating article about tears. After a season of personal change and loss, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher, wondered if her tears of grief would look any different from her tears of happiness, so she set out to explore them up close, using tools of science to make art and to ponder personal and aesthetic questions. Thus The Topography of Tears project was born, which is a study of 100 tears photographed through a standard light microscope.

The photography is stunning, I’ve included one image below, which are tears of ‘laughing till I’m crying’ but you really should go check it out, too!

tears

Happy Monday!

~Mandy

Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Books to Read this Year – at least before they hit the cinemas!

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Do you have a list of books to read for 2014?

I’m the kind of person that usually reads a novel before it comes out in movie form. (Case in point, if I love the book I will often refuse to see the movie, as I have specific ideas of what the characters, etc look like)! This list came out and I wondered if any of our readers had read any of these books, or will you just be watching the movies when they come out later this year?

In parallel, The Atlantic just published an article on how reading changes your brain. The study suggests that ‘reading could have long-term effects on the brain through the strengthening of the language-processing regions and the effects of embodied semantics.’

I hope you enjoy reading in 2014! If not, let us know if the movies are any good. :)

Happy Monday!

~Mandy

Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Thinning the Ph.D. Herd

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Change is coming, at least to Johns Hopkins University, who is proposing sweeping cuts across its Ph.D. programs in order to raise grad student stipends. Those cuts include reducing graduate student enrollment by 25%. Under the new proposal, graduate students would see their stipends rise to $30,000 a year.

There are a lot of arguments as to whether or not this is a good idea, as it could be emulated at other universities. The bottom line, as the article states, is that JH is taking drastic but needed measures. Given the grim statistics of prospective future jobs for PhDs, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if it was emulated at other universities.

What do you think? Do you think this is a good idea? Do you think it will stifle research institutions?

Happy Monday,

-Mandy & M.C.

Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Some Ethical Holiday Shopping

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Do you ever think about where your Christmas or holiday gifts come from, how they are made, and who they were made by?

As a lot of us mull over those questions, especially this time of year, we know from reading articles like this, that there is an apparent shift in trends as consumers look to purchase from companies who are socially responsible. It can be time consuming and daunting to research every company that you’d like to purchase from, so when we stumbled across this ethical shopping guide, we thought it might assist you in your shopping. (And, it’s handy to have year round)!

Do you practice ethical shopping? Is it something that you would like to begin doing?

Happy holiday shopping!

~Mandy & M.C.

Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Trailing Spouse Syndrome

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Recently, a good friend of mine forwarded me an article about something called “Trailing Spouse Syndrome.” Upon reading the article, I googled it and was surprised at the amount of articles and blog essays on this phenomenon. I’ve been following my husband around for the last 9 years (both in the USA and the UK), and I can honestly say I’ve seen this, even though, at the time, I didn’t know it had a name or was a syndrome!

Indeed, most of us have moved to support our grads in school; and a lot of time that has most definitely raised issues on identity, marriage, relationships, dreams etc. for those of us in the supporting role. As interesting as it is, I have to say I really dislike the term ‘trailing spouse’. Most of the articles I’ve read are a bit negative, so when I stumbled across this article, I loved the author’s concept of using the time to sort of reinvent yourself, whether you move because of your husband’s job or place in school; or if you move to different state or country!

What do you think? Would you consider yourself a trailing spouse? Do you like or dislike that term? How do you deal with it?

Happy Monday,

~Mandy

Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Refreshing our language?

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I came across this article in the Harvard Business Review a few weeks ago and was really struck by it’s simple and profound message.

“The words and images we use to describe things affect our thinking.

What if the words we use are limiting the solutions we can create?”

“Many of our words are archaic, not just “TV show.”  How many of us still say, “Will you tape that show for me?” when no tape is involved.  We talk about albums, records, and filming.  We “dial” and “hang up” the phone…You click a magnifying glass to search. (Perhaps Sherlock Holmes, somewhere, approves.) You click a floppy disc to save. (Do your kids even know what that is?)…What if instead of being asked to create a “TV show”, we were asked to create a story using video?  Would it open our mind to more options than broadcast or cable TV? A YouTube channel? Vine or Instagram videos? Something entirely different? What if, when you need a package for your new product, instead of thinking of a package as a separate container to be discarded, it was part of the product itself in some way? Would it still be a package? Would it still need to be thrown out?”

Give it a read and I highly encourage you to take the challenge presented at the end of the article.  I wonder just how much the changing of a few words could open our horizons?

-M.C.

 

Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Higher education – Right or privilege?

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Is education a right or a privilege?

Or better yet, is higher education a right or a privilege?

With education costs soaring, and fewer jobs available for those wishing to pursue work in the academy, it’s a good question to ask. I ran across this article awhile back, and it took me back to the first discussions my husband and I had about going to grad school. We didn’t know if the cost was worth it, if we wanted to carry debt, or if he would end up with the job he wanted at the end of it. But, we decided to take the plunge and do it.

I wonder sometimes, as I’ve watched friends struggle with balancing growing families (and budgets!) and their school debt, if it really is worth it. I know it’s an incredibly personal choice to pursue a higher degree, but often finding a way to make it work, even after landing that dream job, can be difficult.

Great excerpt from the article:

The cost is making people wonder whether college is worth it. In the survey of the general public, a majority of respondents said they don’t believe the higher-education system is providing students with good value for the money.

Among all survey respondents who took out college loans and are no longer in school, about half said that paying back the loan has made it harder to make ends meet, 25 percent said it has made it difficult to buy a home, 24 percent said it has had an impact on the kind of career they are pursuing, and 7 percent said they have delayed getting married or starting a family.

Even a majority of college presidents said most people cannot afford a college education today.

What do you think? Do you think it’s been worth it?

~Mandy