Last Week’s Links

Last Week's Links

The Year in 41 Debates

From The New York Times:

Is America no longer governable? Can psychedelics cure us? What’s in a Subway tuna fish sandwich? This December, Times Opinion is looking back at the most important — and absurd — debates of 2021.

Serious cognitive problems see abrupt drop among older people, study says. Here’s why

Katie Camero reports on the results of a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease:

There was an “abrupt decline” in the percentage of older Americans reporting serious problems with concentration, memory and decision making over a decade — particularly among women, according to a new study. . . .

From 2008 to 2017, the percentage of adults ages 65 and older in the U.S. with serious cognitive issues dropped from 12.2% to 10%, researchers from Canada found. In a hypothetical scenario without the decline, about an additional 1.1 million older people in the U.S. would have reported experiencing mental congestion.

Betty White Shares Her Secrets Ahead of 100th Birthday: “I Always Find the Positive”

Vanity Fair shares a portrait of Betty White, apparently prepared before her death on December 31.

In Good Taste: Marilyn Stasio on a Lifetime of Book Reviews

“The legendary critic talks about how she got her start, how crime fiction got taken seriously, and what she’s reading now.”

For many years Marilyn Stasio was the crime columnist for The New York Times: “A rave or pan from Stasio could float or sink a novel.” She was “unceremoniously fired from her position (a move falsely announced as a retirement) in February.” 

But at age 81, she’s still going strong. Read this interview “about how reviewing has changed, when to find beauty in the ugly, and why Agatha Christie is still the greatest.”

Lost perspective? Try this linguistic trick to reset your view

Social psychologist Ariana Orvell describes distanced self-talk, the “process of reflecting on one’s self using parts of speech that are typically used to refer to other people – ie, second- or third-person pronouns, or even one’s own name.” 

In particular:

When using the second-person pronoun ‘you’ to reflect on ourselves, we can move beyond our default, egocentric perspective, and consider our thoughts and feelings from the stance of a more objective observer. This distanced self-perspective then opens up new ways of thinking, which can make a difference for our feelings and behaviour in a variety of emotional situations.

How We Make Sense of Time

“January 2022 arrives as our methods of keeping time feel like they are breaking. Calendar pages turn, yet time feels lost. In this year of all years, what does it mean for a year to be new?”

Colorful fireworks against a night sky. Overlay: 2022
Photo by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash

But this year of all years, what does it mean for a year to be new? How do we measure our lives? The past year began with the promise of mass vaccination and the hope that life as we had known it would return. The year is ending with unmet expectations — Omicron’s spread, people lighting candles for their third Covid birthday cakes, and meager jokes that 2022 could really be “2020, two.” How do we make sense of time when calendar pages turn, and yet time feels lost?

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

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