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The surprising reason why pilots don’t have beards

<p dir="ltr">When walking through an airport before you board a flight, it's very common to pass a pilot or two walking around the terminals. </p> <p dir="ltr">But there’s one thing you may not have noticed that unites the male pilots, and it's not just their clean cut uniforms. </p> <p dir="ltr">While trendy facial hair is very common amongst men, it seems that pilots are swapping the beards and moustaches for a more clean cut look. </p> <p dir="ltr">And there is one key reason for the sleek look: safety. </p> <p dir="ltr">It turns out sporting a beard could lead to issues with using oxygen masks, with the hair preventing a seal from forming. </p> <p dir="ltr">A study in 1987 titled <em><a href="https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentid/22765">The Influence of Beards on Oxygen Mask Efficiency</a></em> outlined how facial hair could impede the efficiency of masks, with pilots still adhering to the procedure. </p> <p dir="ltr">"A Department of Navy study reported an average inboard leakage of 16 to 67 percent for military-type crew oxygen masks when tested with subjects wearing beards to altitudes of 18,000 feet," the report noted.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The data resulting from these tests indicated that decrement in performance does occur when facial hair is present along the sealing surface of crew oxygen masks."</p> <p dir="ltr">The Civil Aviation Authority in New Zealand told Stuff Travel that there are no "explicit written rules specifically addressing pilot dress codes in its regulatory framework".</p> <p dir="ltr">"The focus of the CAA rules is primarily on operational, technical, and safety requirements for aviation activities​," said a spokesperson.</p> <p dir="ltr">"However, individual airlines may have their own internal policies and standards regarding pilot dress codes. These policies ensure a professional appearance and may be part of broader company procedures and safety protocols."</p> <p dir="ltr">Air New Zealand's head of flight operations, Captain Hugh Pearce, said the airline allows moustaches and goatees, "but not full beards".</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is a safety-driven policy to ensure the best fit and most effective use of an oxygen mask if deployed, and is also recommended practice from mask manufacturers.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority and it is of utmost importance that our pilots are equipped to act in the unlikely event of an emergency."</p> <p dir="ltr">Jetstar goes one step further, with goatees also getting the snip: "For safety reasons our pilots don't have beards or goatees. This is to ensure the best possible seal on quick donning oxygen masks."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Do you have a mental illness? Why some people answer ‘yes’, even if they haven’t been diagnosed

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jesse-tse-1429151">Jesse Tse</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-haslam-10182">Nick Haslam</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722"><em>The University of Melbourne</em></a></em></p> <p>Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders have become more prevalent, especially among <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/mental-health/overview/prevalence-and-impact-of-mental-illness#changeovertime">young people</a>. Demand for treatment is surging and prescriptions of some <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35176912/">psychiatric medications</a> have climbed.</p> <p>These upswinging prevalence trends are paralleled by rising public attention to mental illness. Mental health messages saturate traditional and social media. Organisations and governments are developing awareness, prevention and treatment initiatives with growing urgency.</p> <p>The mounting cultural focus on mental health has obvious benefits. It increases awareness, reduces stigma and promotes help-seeking.</p> <p>However, it may also have costs. Critics worry <a href="https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/therapy-today/2023/april-2023/the-big-issue/">social media</a> sites are incubating mental illness and that ordinary unhappiness is being pathologised by the overuse of diagnostic concepts and “<a href="https://www.bustle.com/wellness/is-therapy-speak-making-us-selfish">therapy speak</a>”.</p> <p>British psychologist <a href="https://www.psych.ox.ac.uk/team/lucy-foulkes">Lucy Foulkes</a> argues the trends for rising attention and prevalence are linked. Her “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0732118X2300003X">prevalence inflation hypothesis</a>” proposes that increasing awareness of mental illness may lead some people to diagnose themselves inaccurately when they are experiencing relatively mild or transient problems.</p> <p>Foulkes’ hypothesis implies that some people develop overly broad concepts of mental illness. Our research supports this view. In a new study, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666560324000318?via%3Dihub">we show</a> that concepts of mental illness have broadened in recent years – a phenomenon we call “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1047840X.2016.1082418">concept creep</a>” – and that <a href="https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-023-05152-6">people differ</a> in the breadth of their concepts of mental illness.</p> <h2>Why do people self-diagnose mental illnesses?</h2> <p>In our new <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmmh.2024.100326">study</a>, we examined whether people with broad concepts of mental illness are, in fact, more likely to self-diagnose.</p> <p>We defined self-diagnosis as a person’s belief they have an illness, whether or not they have received the diagnosis from a professional. We assessed people as having a “broad concept of mental illness” if they judged a wide variety of experiences and behaviours to be disorders, including relatively mild conditions.</p> <p>We asked a nationally representative sample of 474 American adults if they believed they had a mental disorder and if they had received a diagnosis from a health professional. We also asked about other possible contributing factors and demographics.</p> <p>Mental illness was common in our sample: 42% reported they had a current self-diagnosed condition, a majority of whom had received it from a health professional.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, the strongest predictor of reporting a diagnosis was experiencing relatively severe distress.</p> <p>The second most important factor after distress was having a broad concept of mental illness. When their levels of distress were the same, people with broad concepts were substantially more likely to report a current diagnosis.</p> <p>The graph below illustrates this effect. It divides the sample by levels of distress and shows the proportion of people at each level who report a current diagnosis. People with broad concepts of mental illness (the highest quarter of the sample) are represented by the dark blue line. People with narrow concepts of mental illness (the lowest quarter of the sample) are represented by the light blue line. People with broad concepts were much more likely to report having a mental illness, especially when their distress was relatively high.</p> <p>People with greater mental health literacy and less stigmatising attitudes were also more likely to report a diagnosis.</p> <p>Two interesting further findings emerged from our study. People who self-diagnosed but had not received a professional diagnosis tended to have broader illness concepts than those who had.</p> <p>In addition, younger and politically progressive people were more likely to report a diagnosis, consistent with some <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666560321000438">previous research</a>, and held broader concepts of mental illness. Their tendency to hold these more expansive concepts partially explained their higher rates of diagnosis.</p> <h2>Why does it matter?</h2> <p>Our findings support the idea that expansive concepts of mental illness promote self-diagnosis and may thereby increase the apparent prevalence of mental ill health. People who have a lower threshold for defining distress as a disorder are more likely to identify themselves as having a mental illness.</p> <p>Our findings do not directly show that people with broad concepts over-diagnose or those with narrow concepts under-diagnose. Nor do they prove that having broad concepts <em>causes</em> self-diagnosis or results in <em>actual</em> increases in mental illness. Nevertheless, the findings raise important concerns.</p> <p>First, they suggest that rising mental health awareness may <a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25934573-900-why-being-more-open-about-mental-health-could-be-making-us-feel-worse/">come at a cost</a>. In addition to boosting mental health literacy it may increase the likelihood of people incorrectly identifying their problems as pathologies.</p> <p>Inappropriate self-diagnosis can have adverse effects. Diagnostic labels may become identity-defining and self-limiting, as people come to believe their problems are enduring, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032724002489?via%3Dihub">hard-to-control</a> aspects of who they are.</p> <p>Second, unwarranted self-diagnosis may lead people experiencing relatively mild levels of distress to seek help that is unnecessary, inappropriate and ineffective. Recent <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37844607/">Australian research</a> found people with relatively mild distress who received psychotherapy worsened more often than they improved.</p> <p>Third, these effects may be particularly problematic for young people. They are most liable to hold broad concepts of mental illness, in part due to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X22000682?via%3Dihub">social media</a> <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10810730.2023.2235563">consumption</a>, and they experience mental ill health at relatively high and rising rates. Whether expansive concepts of illness play a role in the youth mental health crisis remains to be seen.</p> <p>Ongoing cultural shifts are fostering increasingly expansive definitions of mental illness. These shifts are likely to have mixed blessings. By normalising mental illness they may help to remove its stigma. However, by pathologising some forms of everyday distress, they may have an unintended downside.</p> <p>As we wrestle with the mental health crisis, it is crucial we find ways to increase awareness of mental ill health without inadvertently inflating it.<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/231687/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jesse-tse-1429151">Jesse Tse</a>, PhD Candidate at Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-haslam-10182">Nick Haslam</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/do-you-have-a-mental-illness-why-some-people-answer-yes-even-if-they-havent-been-diagnosed-231687">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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I’ve been given opioids after surgery to take at home. What do I need to know?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katelyn-jauregui-1527878">Katelyn Jauregui</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/asad-patanwala-1529611">Asad Patanwala</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-penm-404921">Jonathan Penm</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shania-liu-1433659">Shania Liu</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-alberta-1232">University of Alberta</a></em></p> <p>Opioids are commonly prescribed when you’re discharged from hospital after surgery to help manage pain at home.</p> <p>These strong painkillers may have unwanted side effects or harms, such as constipation, drowsiness or the risk of dependence.</p> <p>However, there are steps you can take to minimise those harms and use opioids more safely as you recover from surgery.</p> <h2>Which types of opioids are most common?</h2> <p>The <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0310057X231163890">most commonly prescribed</a> opioids after surgery in Australia are oxycodone (brand names include Endone, OxyNorm) and tapentadol (Palexia).</p> <p>In fact, <a href="https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.16063">about half</a> of new oxycodone prescriptions in Australia occur after a recent hospital visit.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0310057X231163890">Most commonly</a>, people will be given immediate-release opioids for their pain. These are quick-acting and are used to manage short-term pain.</p> <p>Because they work quickly, their dose can be easily adjusted to manage current pain levels. Your doctor will provide instructions on how to adjust the dosage based on your pain levels.</p> <p>Then there are slow-release opioids, which are specially formulated to slowly release the dose over about half to a full day. These may have “sustained-release”, “controlled-release” or “extended-release” on the box.</p> <p>Slow-release formulations are primarily used for chronic or long-term pain. The slow-release form means the medicine does not have to be taken as often. However, it takes longer to have an effect compared with immediate-release, so it is not commonly used after surgery.</p> <p>Controlling your pain after surgery is <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/4811a27845042173-00a4ff09097b-postoperative-pain-management_36-202.pdf">important</a>. This allows you get up and start moving sooner, and recover faster. Moving around sooner after surgery prevents muscle wasting and harms associated with immobility, such as bed sores and blood clots.</p> <p>Everyone’s pain levels and needs for pain medicines are different. Pain levels also decrease as your surgical wound heals, so you may need to take less of your medicine as you recover.</p> <h2>But there are also risks</h2> <p>As mentioned above, side effects of opioids include constipation and feeling drowsy or nauseous. The drowsiness can also make you more likely to fall over.</p> <p>Opioids prescribed to manage pain at home after surgery are usually prescribed for short-term use.</p> <p>But up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35545810/">one in ten</a> Australians still take them up to four months after surgery. <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/msc.1837">One study</a> found people didn’t know how to safely stop taking opioids.</p> <p>Such long-term opioid use may lead to dependence and overdose. It can also reduce the medicine’s effectiveness. That’s because your body becomes used to the opioid and needs more of it to have the same effect.</p> <p>Dependency and side effects are also more common with <a href="https://www.anzca.edu.au/getattachment/535097e6-9f50-4d09-bd7f-ffa8faf02cdd/Prescribing-slow-release-opioids-4-april-2018#:%7E:text=%E2%80%9CSlow%2Drelease%20opioids%20are%20not,its%20Faculty%20of%20Pain%20Medicine.">slow-release opioids</a> than immediate-release opioids. This is because people are usually on slow-release opioids for longer.</p> <p>Then there are concerns about “leftover” opioids. One study found 40% of participants were prescribed <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0310057X231163890">more than twice</a> the amount they needed.</p> <p>This results in unused opioids at home, which <a href="https://www.anzca.edu.au/getattachment/558316c5-ea93-457c-b51f-d57556b0ffa7/PS41-Guideline-on-acute-pain-management">can be dangerous</a> to the person and their family. Storing leftover opioids at home increases the risk of taking too much, sharing with others inappropriately, and using without doctor supervision.</p> <h2>How to mimimise the risks</h2> <p>Before using opioids, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about using over-the-counter pain medicines such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (for example, Nurofen, Brufen) or diclofenac (for example, Voltaren, Fenac).</p> <p>These can be quite effective at controlling pain and will lessen your need for opioids. They can often be used instead of opioids, but in some cases a combination of both is needed.</p> <p>Other techniques to manage pain include physiotherapy, exercise, <a href="https://theconversation.com/hot-pack-or-cold-pack-which-one-to-reach-for-when-youre-injured-or-in-pain-161086">heat packs or ice packs</a>. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist to discuss which techniques would benefit you the most.</p> <p>However, if you do need opioids, there are some ways to make sure you use them <a href="https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-04/opioid-analgesic-stewardship-in-acute-pain-clinical-care-standard.pdf">safely and effectively</a>:</p> <ul> <li> <p>ask for <a href="https://associationofanaesthetists-publications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/anae.16085">immediate-release</a> rather than slow-release opioids to lower your risk of side effects</p> </li> <li> <p>do not drink alcohol or take sleeping tablets while on opioids. This can increase any drowsiness, and lead to reduced alertness and slower breathing</p> </li> <li> <p>as you may be at higher risk of falls, remove trip hazards from your home and make sure you can safely get up off the sofa or bed and to the bathroom or kitchen</p> </li> <li> <p>before starting opioids, have a plan in place with your doctor or pharmacist about how and when to stop taking them. Opioids after surgery are ideally taken at the lowest possible dose for the shortest length of time.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>If you’re concerned about side effects</h2> <p>If you are concerned about side effects while taking opioids, speak to your pharmacist or doctor. Side effects include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-causes-constipation-114290">constipation</a> – your pharmacist will be able to give you lifestyle advice and recommend laxatives</p> </li> <li> <p>drowsiness – do not drive or operate heavy machinery. If you’re trying to stay awake during the day, but keep falling asleep, your dose may be too high and you should contact your doctor</p> </li> <li> <p>weakness and slowed breathing – this may be a sign of a more serious side effect such as respiratory depression which requires medical attention. Contact your doctor immediately.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>If you’re having trouble stopping opioids</h2> <p>Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re having trouble stopping opioids. They can give you alternatives to manage the pain and provide advice on gradually lowering your dose.</p> <p>You may experience withdrawal effects, such as agitation, anxiety and insomnia, but your doctor and pharmacist can help you manage these.</p> <h2>How about leftover opioids?</h2> <p>After you have finished using opioids, take any leftovers to your local pharmacy to <a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-should-you-do-with-your-unused-medicine-81406">dispose of them safely</a>, free of charge.</p> <p>Do not share opioids with others and keep them away from others in the house who do not need them, as opioids can cause unintended harms if not used under the supervision of a medical professional. This could include accidental ingestion by children.</p> <hr /> <p><em>For more information, speak to your pharmacist or doctor. Choosing Wisely Australia also has <a href="https://www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers-and-carers/patient-guide-to-managing-pain-and-opioid-medicines">free online information</a> about managing pain and opioid medicines.</em><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/228615/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katelyn-jauregui-1527878">Katelyn Jauregui</a>, PhD Candidate and Clinical Pharmacist, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/asad-patanwala-1529611">Asad Patanwala</a>, Professor, Sydney School of Pharmacy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-penm-404921">Jonathan Penm</a>, Senior lecturer, School of Pharmacy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shania-liu-1433659">Shania Liu</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-alberta-1232">University of Alberta</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </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/ive-been-given-opioids-after-surgery-to-take-at-home-what-do-i-need-to-know-228615">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Kevin Costner reveals heartwarming interaction with Prince William

<p>Kevin Costner has revealed that Prince William left a strong impression on him after the royal organised a meet-up with him several years ago. </p> <p>"I happened to be in England, and I got this message that the Prince would love to talk, and I said, 'What?'... and then I went, 'Okay'," the Hollywood actor told <em>People</em> magazine. </p> <p>"We met in this room, and it was just us. He walked up, and we shook hands. ..." </p> <p>What came out of the royals mouth next left the actor feeling delighted, as he revealed that his late mother, Princess Diana, had a crush on Costner. </p> <p>"The first line out of his mouth was, 'You know, my mom kind of fancied you'."</p> <p>He described Prince William as "quite a young man," and that the interaction had left him with  "fond memories of who he was, how I was approached and what we talked about."</p> <p>Costner also revealed that he had talks with the late Princess about being involved in the sequel to his iconic film <em>The Bodyguard</em>. </p> <p>"There was a moment that that was really flying down the tracks, very quietly, because it's how I operate," he said. </p> <p>The three-time Golden Globe winner shared that Sarah Ferguson was the one who introduced him to the Diana. </p> <p>"It was so sweet. Sarah was the one that set this up. Sarah was very cool... when she could have been going, 'Well, I'm a princess too. What about me? ' She didn't do that at all. Diana and I began to talk," he praised the Duchess of York. </p> <p><em>Images: Marina Takimoto/ZUMA Press Wire/ Shutterstock editorial/ Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Walking can prevent low back pain, a new study shows

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tash-pocovi-1293184">Tash Pocovi</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christine-lin-346821">Christine Lin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-hancock-1463059">Mark Hancock</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/petra-graham-892602">Petra Graham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-french-713564">Simon French</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>Do you suffer from low back pain that recurs regularly? If you do, you’re not alone. Roughly <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31208917/">70% of people</a> who recover from an episode of low back pain will experience a new episode in the following year.</p> <p>The recurrent nature of low back pain is a major contributor to the <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanrhe/article/PIIS2665-9913(23)00098-X/fulltext">enormous burden</a> low back pain places on individuals and the health-care system.</p> <p>In our new study, published today in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00755-4/fulltext">The Lancet</a>, we found that a program combining walking and education can effectively reduce the recurrence of low back pain.</p> <h2>The WalkBack trial</h2> <p>We randomly assigned 701 adults who had recently recovered from an episode of low back pain to receive an individualised walking program and education (intervention), or to a no treatment group (control).</p> <p>Participants in the intervention group were guided by physiotherapists across six sessions, over a six-month period. In the first, third and fifth sessions, the physiotherapist helped each participant to develop a personalised and progressive walking program that was realistic and tailored to their specific needs and preferences.</p> <p>The remaining sessions were short check-ins (typically less than 15 minutes) to monitor progress and troubleshoot any potential barriers to engagement with the walking program. Due to the COVID pandemic, most participants received the entire intervention via telehealth, using video consultations and phone calls.</p> <p>The program was designed to be manageable, with a target of five walks per week of roughly 30 minutes daily by the end of the six-month program. Participants were also encouraged to continue walking independently after the program.</p> <p>Importantly, the walking program was combined with education provided by the physiotherapists during the six sessions. This education aimed to give people a better understanding of pain, reduce fear associated with exercise and movement, and give people the confidence to self-manage any minor recurrences if they occurred.</p> <p>People in the control group received no preventative treatment or education. This reflects what <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2468781222001308?via%3Dihub">typically occurs</a> after people recover from an episode of low back pain and are discharged from care.</p> <h2>What the results showed</h2> <p>We monitored the participants monthly from the time they were enrolled in the study, for up to three years, to collect information about any new recurrences of low back pain they may have experienced. We also asked participants to report on any costs related to their back pain, including time off work and the use of health-care services.</p> <p>The intervention reduced the risk of a recurrence of low back pain that limited daily activity by 28%, while the recurrence of low back pain leading participants to seek care from a health professional decreased by 43%.</p> <p>Participants who received the intervention had a longer average period before they had a recurrence, with a median of 208 days pain-free, compared to 112 days in the control group.</p> <p>Overall, we also found this intervention to be cost-effective. The biggest savings came from less work absenteeism and less health service use (such as physiotherapy and massage) among the intervention group.</p> <p>This trial, like all studies, had some limitations to consider. Although we tried to recruit a wide sample, we found that most participants were female, aged between 43 and 66, and were generally well educated. This may limit the extent to which we can generalise our findings.</p> <p>Also, in this trial, we used physiotherapists who were up-skilled in health coaching. So we don’t know whether the intervention would achieve the same impact if it were to be delivered by other clinicians.</p> <h2>Walking has multiple benefits</h2> <p>We’ve all heard the saying that “prevention is better than a cure” – and it’s true. But this approach has been largely neglected when it comes to low back pain. Almost all <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673618304896?via%3Dihub">previous studies</a> have focused on treating episodes of pain, not preventing future back pain.</p> <p>A limited number of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26752509/">small studies</a> have shown that exercise and education can help prevent low back pain. However, most of these studies focused on exercises that are not accessible to everyone due to factors such as high cost, complexity, and the need for supervision from health-care or fitness professionals.</p> <p>On the other hand, walking is a free, accessible way to exercise, including for people in rural and remote areas with limited access to health care.</p> <p>Walking also delivers many other <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/VH_Benefits-of-Walking-Summary2020.pdf">health benefits</a>, including better heart health, improved mood and sleep quality, and reduced risk of several chronic diseases.</p> <p>While walking is not everyone’s favourite form of exercise, the intervention was well-received by most people in our study. Participants <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37271689/">reported</a> that the additional general health benefits contributed to their ongoing motivation to continue the walking program independently.</p> <h2>Why is walking helpful for low back pain?</h2> <p>We don’t know exactly why walking is effective for preventing back pain, but <a href="https://www.e-jer.org/journal/view.php?number=2013600295">possible reasons</a> could include the combination of gentle movements, loading and strengthening of the spinal structures and muscles. It also could be related to relaxation and stress relief, and the release of “feel-good” endorphins, which <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23040-endorphins">block pain signals</a> between your body and brain – essentially turning down the dial on pain.</p> <p>It’s possible that other accessible and low-cost forms of exercise, such as swimming, may also be effective in preventing back pain, but surprisingly, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34783263/">no studies</a> have investigated this.</p> <p>Preventing low back pain is not easy. But these findings give us hope that we are getting closer to a solution, one step at a time.<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/231682/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tash-pocovi-1293184">Tash Pocovi</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Health Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christine-lin-346821">Christine Lin</a>, Professor, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-hancock-1463059">Mark Hancock</a>, Professor of Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/petra-graham-892602">Petra Graham</a>, Associate Professor, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-french-713564">Simon French</a>, Professor of Musculoskeletal Disorders, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </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/walking-can-prevent-low-back-pain-a-new-study-shows-231682">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"Felt like a criminal": Mother and disabled son "kicked out" of Pink concert

<p>A distraught mother has taken to social media to recall the moment her and her seven-year-old son, who has Down syndrome, were asked to leave a concert venue. </p> <p>Vanessa Vasey, 48, spent over $1,000 to take her son Jesse to see Pink in London during her UK stadium tour, but when the pair arrived at the venue, things took a turn. </p> <p>Jesse struggled to stay still in his seat and was soon surrounded by "six security guards" who ordered the disabled boy to sit down, otherwise they would have to leave.</p> <p>She said she tried to explain her son’s condition to the guards but they ended up being “escorted from the premises” just as Pink took to the stage.</p> <p>On Facebook, Vasey wrote in detail about what happened, saying her son had been “robbed” of a special experience.</p> <p>“Music is his life and Pink is one of his absolute favourites,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We successfully saw her perform at BST Hyde Park last year and were thrilled to learn of her return again this year.”</p> <p>Vasey said she purchased more expensive “hospitality tickets” allowing people to move between bars and food outlets during the night “so that Jesse wouldn’t be pressured into remaining in one seat all night, as he gets overwhelmed in busy environments and finds it hard to sit still.”</p> <p>“We spent some time in the bar leading up to the main act, and Jesse was having a wonderful time, until about 45 minutes before Pink was due to come on, they suddenly shut all the blinds, obstructing us from seeing anything,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I tried to consult with the hospitality managers over this, and explained Jesse’s needs, but they wouldn’t budge on it. So not wanting Jesse to stare at a blind all night, we attempted to go into the seating zone."</p> <p>“We couldn’t get him to sit in his seat, but he was happy dancing and singing at the front railings, and even interacting with some of the other guests."</p> <p>“Doing no harm to anyone, or obstructing anyone’s view. This seemed OK for about half an hour or so. Then ... just as Pink dropped from the sky in her opening number, we had six security guards come into the zone and ask us to leave or sit in our seats.”</p> <p>Vasey said the security guards were “abrupt, intimidating and unpleasant”, as they "tried to force us to take Jesse to a sensory room which was soundproof, and watch Pink on a screen.” </p> <div> </div> <p>“Something we could do at home, robbing us of the whole experience, as if my son was some sort of inconvenience, and better off shut in a room out of sight.”</p> <p>When Vasey complained to venue staff, she claims that more security guards appeared and they had no choice but to leave. </p> <p>“We were escorted out of the building like criminals and saw no more of the Pink show. Jesse was utterly devastated, and they showed absolutely zero care or understanding."</p> <p>“Shame on you Tottenham Stadium,” she concluded. “My poor boy deserved so much better than this!”</p> <p>After UK media picked up Vasey's story, Tottenham Stadium released a statement explaining their actions. </p> <p>“Following further investigation, we can confirm that Ms Vasey was offered assistance by our Safeguarding and Welfare teams throughout the night to provide Jesse with a comfortable viewing experience, including access to our dedicated Sensory Room,” the statement read.</p> <p>“The offers of assistance were declined by Ms Vasey and the party chose to leave the event.”</p> <p>Vasey was soon set upon by online trolls who condemned her choice to take Jesse to the concert in the first place, to which she issues a lengthy statement about inclusivity and not singling people out for their disabilities. </p> <p>“Why do we take them [to events]? Because, as parents, we have the same dreams and aspirations for our children as any other parent,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We have the same desires to see our children’s faces light up, as any other parent would. Our children are exposed to the same world as other children, and they enjoy the same things."</p> <p>“They have the same likes and desires. The only thing that’s different is their needs, their abilities and their way of accessing their dreams."</p> <p>“Why should these things deny them of fulfilling these dreams and passions? This is meant to be a world of inclusion. So let’s start including!"</p> <p>“That means adapting, understanding, supporting and most importantly; changing the way we deliver these privileges so that they are privileges for all of us, and not just some of us.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook/Richard Isaac/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland dies at age 88

<p>Legendary Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland has died at the age of 88 after a battle with an ongoing illness. </p> <p>The actor, known for his roles in<em> M*A*S*H</em>, <em>Klute</em> and <em>The Hunger Games</em>, passed away on Thursday in Miami, his agency confirmed. </p> <p>Donald's actor son Kiefer announced his father's death in an emotional post on Instagram, reflecting on his illustrious career. </p> <p>“With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away,” he began. </p> <p>“I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film. Never daunted by a role, good, bad or ugly."</p> <p>“He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived.”</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-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C8cgckJJ548/?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/C8cgckJJ548/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Kiefer Sutherland (@kiefersutherland)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Tributes from past colleagues have flooded social media, as director Ron Howard reflected on working with the iconic actor. </p> <p>"I was blessed to direct him in Backdraft. One of the most intelligent, interesting &amp; engrossing film actors of all time," he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).</p> <p>"Incredible range, creative courage &amp; dedication to serving the story &amp; the audience with supreme excellence."</p> <p>Helen Mirren, who co-starred with Sutherland in 2017's <em>The Leisure Seekers</em>, also paid tribute to her late friend, saying in a statement, "Donald Sutherland was one of the smartest actors I ever worked with. He had a wonderful enquiring brain, and a great knowledge on a wide variety of subjects."</p> <p>"He combined this great intelligence with a deep sensitivity, and with a seriousness about his profession as an actor. This all made him into the legend of film that he became."</p> <p>Sutherland’s career spanned more than 50 years and 140 film credits and earned an Emmy for his role as a Soviet official in the fact-based HBO movie<em> Citizen X</em>, as well as a pair of Golden Globes.</p> <p>Sutherland’s big break came when he was cast as one of <em>The Dirty Dozen</em> in the star-studded 1967 film, before landing a role in the movie version of<em> M*A*S*H,</em> and also playing alongside Jane Fonda in her Oscar-winning portrayal of a high-class “call girl” in the crime mystery <em>Klute</em>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ace Pictures/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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Why doesn’t water help with spicy food? What about milk or beer?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Spicy foods taste spicy because they contain a family of compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the major culprit. It’s found in chillies, jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and is even the active ingredient in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31334983/">pepper spray</a>.</p> <p>Capsaicin doesn’t actually physically heat up your mouth. The burning sensation comes from receptors in the mouth reacting to capsaicin and sending a signal to the brain that something is very hot.</p> <p>That’s why the “hot” chilli sensation feels so real – we even respond by sweating. To alleviate the heat, you need to remove the capsaicin from your mouth.</p> <p>So why doesn’t drinking water help make that spicy feeling go away? And what would work better instead?</p> <h2>Water-loving and water-hating molecules</h2> <p>To help us choose what might wash the capsaicin away most effectively, it’s helpful to know that capsaicin is a hydrophobic molecule. That means it hates being in contact with water and will not easily mix with it.</p> <p>Look what happens when you try to mix hydrophobic sand with water.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H8cj9CpHW7w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>On the other hand, hydrophilic molecules love water and are very happy to mix with it.</p> <p>You’ve likely seen this before. You can easily dissolve hydrophilic sugar in water, but it’s hard to wash away hydrophobic oils from your pan using tap water alone.</p> <p>If you try to wash hydrophobic capsaicin away with water, it won’t be very effective, because hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances don’t mix.</p> <p>Going for iced water will be even less effective, as hydrophobic capsaicin is even less soluble in water at lower temperatures. You may get a temporary sense of relief while the cold liquid is in your mouth, but as soon as you swallow it, you’ll be back where you started.</p> <p>Instead, a good choice would be to consume something that is also hydrophobic. This is because of an old-but-true adage in chemistry that “like dissolves like”.</p> <p>The idea is that generally, hydrophobic substances will not dissolve in something hydrophilic – like water – but will dissolve in something that is also hydrophobic, as this video shows:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s5yfs-Pr_y8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>My mouth is on fire. What should I drink instead of water?</h2> <p>A swig of oil would likely be effective, but is perhaps not so palatable.</p> <p>Milk makes for an ideal choice for two reasons.</p> <p>The first is that milk contains hydrophobic fats, which the capsaicin will more easily dissolve in, allowing it to be washed away.</p> <p>The second is that dairy products contain a protein called casein. Casein is an emulsifier, a substance that helps oils and water mix, as in this video:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S4XeQhZRLDE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Casein plays a large role in keeping the fat mixed throughout your glass of milk, and it also has a strong affinity for capsaicin. It will readily wrap up and encapsulate capsaicin molecules and assist in carrying them away from the receptor. This relieves the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36510373/">burning sensation</a>.</p> <h2>OK but I hate drinking milk. What else can I try?</h2> <p>What about raita? This dish, commonly served with Indian curries, is made primarily from yoghurt. So aside from being its own culinary experience, raita is rich in fats, and therefore contains plenty of hydrophobic material. It also contains casein, which will again help lock up and remove the capsaicin.</p> <p>Ice cream would also work, as it contains both casein and large amounts of hydrophobic substances.</p> <p>Some studies have also shown that consuming <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328490/">drinks with large amounts of sugar</a> can relieve spiciness.</p> <p>What about reaching for that ice cold beer?</p> <p>This is commonly suggested as a suitable approach to stop the burning. At first glance, this may seem a good idea because capsaicin is highly soluble in alcohol.</p> <p>However, most beers only contain between 4–6% alcohol. The bulk of the liquid in beer is water, which is hydrophilic and cannot wash away capsaicin. The small amount of alcohol in your beer would make it slightly more effective, but not to any great degree.</p> <p>Your curry and beer may taste great together, but that’s likely the only benefit.</p> <p>In truth, an alcoholic beverage is not going to help much unless you go for something with a much, much higher alcohol content, which comes with its own problems.<!-- 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/226624/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><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Shutterstock</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/why-doesnt-water-help-with-spicy-food-what-about-milk-or-beer-226624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Iconic Star Trek actor dies suddenly at age 73

<p dir="ltr">Iconic <em>Star Trek: Enterprise</em> actor Gary Graham has passed away suddenly at the age of 73. </p> <p dir="ltr">The actor’s ex-wife Susan Lavelle confirmed the news in an emotional facebook post, sharing their family’s devastation over his death. </p> <p dir="ltr">The family chose not to disclose his cause of death, only writing that his passing was “sudden” and came as a “shock”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It is with deep profound sadness to say that Gary Graham, my ex-husband, amazing actor and father of our beautiful only child together, Haylee Graham, has passed away today,” Lavelle wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We are completely devastated, especially our daughter Haley. His wife, Becky, was by his side.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She went on to share some of her favourite things about her ex-husband, writing that he was “Funny, sarcastic sense of humour but kind, fought for what he believed in, a devout Christian and was so proud of his daughter, Haylee.”</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsusanashleylavelle%2Fposts%2Fpfbid0XTf8xMGFeD96Ehnk6a8X7RcKQYDxdHvvm3S82J24FX3eaNwtVo3Uax6H4SvQW3YKl&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="777" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">“This was sudden, so please pray for our daughter as she navigates through this thing called grief,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Fly high into the heavens Gar!”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thank you for our journey and thank you for the gifts you left me in acting, my love of horses and most importantly, our daughter.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Gary shot to fame in Hollywood for his role in the ‘80s series <em>Alien Nation</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">He stayed in the world of sci-fi as he played Vulcan Ambassador Soval on <em>Star Trek: Enterprise</em> between 2001 and 2005.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gary also starred in TV series such as <em>Starsky and Hutch</em> and <em>The Dukes of Hazzard</em>, before acting alongside Tom Cruise in the film <em>All the Right Moves</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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UK PM causes outrage over transgender comments

<p dir="ltr">Rishi Sunak has sparked outrage after making very controversial comments about transgender people at his first party conference as leader.</p> <p dir="ltr">The UK Prime Minister, who is campaigning to get people to support his Conservative party ahead of next year’s general election, declared that “we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be”.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the party’s annual conference, Mr Sunak spoke for more than an hour as he promised that the Tories would break the mould of the last 30 years of government.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite being in power for 13 years, the Conservative party is on the road to defeat the next election, after increasing dissatisfaction among voters. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We will be bold, we will be radical. We will face resistance and we will meet it,” he told delegates at the conference.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many have seen his comments about transgender people as the most bold and radical parts of his speech.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It shouldn’t be controversial for parents to know what their children are being taught in school about relationships,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Patients should know when hospitals are talking about men or women. We shouldn’t get bullied.”</p> <p dir="ltr">His delegates applauded his controversial statements, to which Sunak continued, “We shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“A man is a man and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Sunak’s comments quickly went viral online, with many people expressing their concern over such a prominent figure making such divisive comments. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Outrageous hate, which is going to encourage bullying and physical attacks by thugs, utterly vile,” transgender British newsreader India Willoughby wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If a single trans person gets attacked or murdered after today then Rishi Sunak should be arrested and charged,” added another.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Never had so many DMs from worried UK trans people and their families,” wrote a third.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The important thing following Rishi Sunak’s hate speech: IT IS NOT LAW. Nothing has changed. Trans are still legally recognised and protected. Yes it’s scary – but they do not have time to change rules/law.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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World mourns the passing of one of the true greats of cinema

<p>Renowned British-Irish actor, Sir Michael Gambon, celebrated worldwide for his iconic portrayal of Albus Dumbledore in the beloved Harry Potter film series, has passed away at the age of 82.</p> <p>In an official statement relayed by his publicist, it was confirmed that he succumbed to pneumonia, leaving his family and fans heartbroken. The statement issued by his family reads, "We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon. Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in the hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus by his side."</p> <p>Michael Gambon's acting journey spanned more than half a century, with one of his most significant milestones being his assumption of the role of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, succeeding the late Richard Harris in 2004. In characteristic humility, Gambon downplayed his performance, often remarking that he merely portrayed himself "with a stuck-on beard and a long robe".</p> <p>The Harry Potter franchise expressed its grief, stating, "He brought immeasurable joy to Harry Potter fans from all over the world with his humour, kindness, and grace. We will forever hold his memory in our hearts."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Michael Gambon. He brought immeasurable joy to Harry Potter fans from all over the world with his humour, kindness and grace. We will forever hold his memory in our hearts. <a href="https://t.co/1CoTF3zeTo">pic.twitter.com/1CoTF3zeTo</a></p> <p>— Harry Potter (@harrypotter) <a href="https://twitter.com/harrypotter/status/1707371391866028071?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 28, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>James Phelps, known for his portrayal of Fred Weasley in the series, shared a touching anecdote on Instagram, recounting how Gambon generously helped him rehearse a script during the filming of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince". Phelps hailed Gambon as both a legend on and off the camera, describing him as funny and always willing to share his knowledge.</p> <p>Gambon embarked on his acting career in the early 1960s, initially treading the boards of the stage before transitioning to television and film. His filmography boasted remarkable performances, such as his portrayal of a psychotic mob leader in Peter Greenaway's <em>The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover</em> in 1989 and his portrayal of the elderly King George V in Tom Hooper's <em>The King's Speech</em> in 2010.</p> <p>Despite an early start in engineering apprenticeship, Gambon's passion for acting remained unwavering. He recounted to <em>The Herald</em> newspaper in 2004 that he always knew he would become an actor. His breakthrough came in 1962 when he auditioned for the legendary Laurence Olivier, who subsequently appointed him as one of the founding members of the National Theatre at the Old Vic, alongside emerging talents like Derek Jacobi and Maggie Smith.</p> <p>Gambon's reputation soared on the stage, with his portrayal of Galileo in John Dexter's <em>Life of Galileo</em> in 1980 being a standout moment. In the 1980s, his lead role in the TV series <em>The Singing Detective</em> garnered widespread acclaim, earning him one of his four BAFTA Awards. Additionally, he clinched three Olivier Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for ensemble cast performances in <em>Gosford Park</em> (2001) and <em>The King's Speech</em>.</p> <p>Acknowledged for his contributions to drama, Gambon was honoured as a Commander of the British Empire in 1992 and subsequently knighted in 1998. Despite these prestigious titles, he often displayed a mischievous side, weaving tales such as showing fellow actors a forged signed photograph of Robert De Niro, among other playful antics.</p> <p>In 2015, Gambon retired from the stage due to long-term memory issues, yet he continued to grace the screen with his talent until 2019. In a 2002 interview, he expressed that his work made him feel "the luckiest man in the world".</p> <p><em>Images: Getty / Instagram</em></p>

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Nelson Mandela's granddaughter dies at just 43

<p>Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, has died of cancer at the age of 43. She passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25th, surrounded by friends and family.</p> <p>Mandela had been battling cancer for several years. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, but went into remission. However, the cancer returned last year and had metastasised to her liver and lungs.</p> <p>Despite her illness, Mandela remained active in her community and continued to advocate for cancer prevention and awareness. She was also a vocal advocate for road safety after her 13-year-old daughter, Zenani, was killed in a car crash in 2010.</p> <p>In an interview with Kaya FM in April, Mandela said: "I'm learning to be okay with my eventuality."</p> <p>“The Nelson Mandela Foundation extends its heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family on the passing of Zoleka Mandela, tragically last night,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement. “We mourn the loss of a beloved grandchild of Mum Winnie and Madiba and a friend of the Foundation.”</p> <p>Zoleka's frank disclosures about her illness and her strength in the face of adversity earned her a devoted following on social media.</p> <p>"Utterly tragic loss of a human being in her grandfather's footsteps. A decent, honest human being in a dishonest, hypocritical world," one person on X, formerly Twitter, said.</p> <p>"You were one of the bravest people I know and you inspired many people on your life's journey of hope," another person wrote on Instagram below the Mandela family's announcement.</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/Cxo-ZxXNgXL/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/Cxo-ZxXNgXL/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Zoleka Zobuhle Mandela (@zolekamandela)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mandela was only 10 years old when her grandfather was released from prison in 1990 after 27 years in detention. She had only ever known him as an incarcerated man, so when he was released she was just excited he was coming home.</p> <p>Mr Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.</p> <p>Zoleka Mandela will be remembered as a courageous advocate for cancer prevention and awareness, as well as a loving mother and grandmother. She is survived by her husband, Thierry Murekatete, and their two children.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Travel

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Bird strike: what happens when a plane collides with a bird?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>Late last night, Virgin Australia flight VA 148 set out from Queenstown in New Zealand bound for Melbourne. Not long after takeoff, the right engine of the Boeing 737-800 jet started <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/virgin-australia-flight-makes-emergency-landing-after-engine-catches-fire/iquv5w1is">emitting loud bangs</a>, followed by flames.</p> <p>The pilot flew on with the remaining engine, bringing the plane’s 73 passengers and crew to a safe emergency landing at nearby Invercargill airport.</p> <p>Virgin Australia says the dramatic turn of events was caused by a “possible bird strike”. Queenstown Airport <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/bird-strike-blamed-for-fiery-virgin-australia-emergency-out-of-queenstown/news-story/9ef5c57829d0535baed223d2caf0b55f">played down</a> the likelihood of bird strike, saying “no birds were detected on the airfield at that time”.</p> <p>While we don’t know exactly what happened, bird strike is a common and real risk for aircraft. It can damage planes, and even lead to deaths.</p> <h2>How common are bird strikes?</h2> <p>A bird strike is a <a href="https://skyaviationholdings.com/bird-strikes-on-planes/">collision between</a> an aircraft and a bird. (Though the definition is sometimes expanded to include <a href="https://aawhg.org/">collisions on the ground</a> with land animals including deer, rabbits, dogs and alligators.)</p> <p>The <a href="https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/icwdm_usdanwrc/1459/">first bird strike</a> was recorded by Orville Wright in 1905, over a cornfield in Ohio.</p> <p>Now they happen every day, with some seasonal variability due to the <a href="https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim_html/chap7_section_5.html">migratory patterns</a> of birds.</p> <p>Perhaps the most famous migratory bird strike occurred in 2009, when <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549">US Airways Flight 1549</a> encountered a flock of migrating Canadian geese shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York. Both of the plane’s engines failed, and captain Sully Sullenberger was forced to pilot it to an unpowered landing in the Hudson River.</p> <p>Between 2008 and 2017, the Australian Transport Safety Board recorded <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2018/ar-2018-035">16,626 bird strikes</a>. In America, the Federal Aviation Administration reported <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2023/04/25/bird-strike-plane-american-airlines/">17,200 bird strikes</a> in 2022 alone.</p> <h2>Where do bird strikes happen, and what are the effects?</h2> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.icao.int/Pages/default.aspx">International Civil Aviation Organization</a>, 90% of bird strikes happen near airports. In general, this is while aircraft are taking off or landing, or flying at lower altitudes where most bird activity occurs.</p> <p>The effect of bird strike depends on many factors including the type of aircraft. Outcomes may include shutting down an engine, as may have happened with the Virgin Australia flight. This plane was a Boeing 737-800, which has the capability to fly on a single engine to an alternate airport.</p> <p>In smaller aircraft, particularly single-engine aircraft, bird strikes can be fatal. Since 1988, <a href="https://aawhg.org/#:%7E:text=The%20majority%20happen%20at%20low,billion%20in%20aircraft%20damage%20annually.">262 bird strike fatalities</a> have been reported globally, and 250 aircraft destroyed.</p> <h2>How do manufacturers and pilots defend against bird strike?</h2> <p>Most <a href="https://aawhg.org/">bird strikes</a> occur early in the morning or a sunset when birds are most active. Pilots are trained to be vigilant during these times.</p> <p>Radar can be used to <a href="https://detect-inc.com/aircraft-birdstrike-avoidance-radar/?gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjwvb-zBhCmARIsAAfUI2ullN-s0MdDfzV2Hu9fLfdr8pKQCuyZWsoJfRN2W5s-tSm6Vo0wHgwaAgBMEALw_wcB">track flocks of birds</a>. However, this technology is ground-based and not available worldwide so it can’t be used everywhere.</p> <p>The two largest manufacturers of passenger jets, Boeing and Airbus, use <a href="https://aerospaceengineeringblog.com/jet-engine-design/">turbofan engines</a>. These use a series of fan blades to compress air before adding fuel and flame to get the thrust needed to take off.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lgspIiTFWIk?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Engine manufacturers test how well they are likely to stand up to a bird strike.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Bird strike in one of these engines can cause severe damage to the fan blades, causing the engine to fail. Engine manufacturers test the safety of these engines by firing <a href="https://www.aerospacetestinginternational.com/news/engine-testing/faa-proposes-new-engine-test-for-bird-ingestion.html">a high-speed frozen chicken</a> at them while the engine is operating at full thrust.</p> <p>The Australian Government’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority <a href="https://www.casa.gov.au/wildlife-hazard-management">circular on wildlife hazard management</a> outlines what airports should do to keep birds and animals away from the vicinity of the airport. One technique is to use small gas explosions to mimic the sound of a shotgun to deter birds from loitering near the runway. In areas with high bird populations, airports may also use certain grasses and plants that do not attract the birds.<!-- 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/232702/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/doug-drury-1277871"><em>Doug Drury</em></a><em>, Professor/Head of Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/bird-strike-what-happens-when-a-plane-collides-with-a-bird-232702">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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"So embarrassing": Tourist slammed for "stupid" stunt in Bali

<p>A British tourist has gone viral for all the wrong reasons after his "stupid" stunt in a Bali resort left him red-faced. </p> <p>The British traveller was believed to be staying at the 5-star Apurva Kempinski hotel in Nusa Dua, considered the island’s most luxurious location, when he came across a large decorative bowl filled with water and flower petals. </p> <p>The man was then filmed and egged on by a friend who can be heard saying "Okay now put your face in it", before he followed the instruction.</p> <p>When he went to submerge himself, he proceeded to accidentally tip over the bowl sending water and rose petals flying through the lobby of the resort, and all over himself too.</p> <p>The video, which has amassed a whopping 41 million views, was quickly subject to a wave of backlash online, with many slamming the tourist's "stupid" actions. </p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: currentcolor !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: none; vertical-align: baseline; width: 600px; max-width: 100%; outline: currentcolor !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7380708475237666081&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40milzo09%2Fvideo%2F7380708475237666081&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-useast2a.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast2a-p-0037-euttp%2F9eff1d6040b74f98b167ccb18b4559ef_1718455117%3Fx-expires%3D1718924400%26x-signature%3DIcusEtP7QnSZKUZGZe5cGhO6cFg%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>“You come to Bali without bringing your brain? Why do you have to destroy everything in someone else’s country?” one person wrote.</p> <p>“Omg money can’t buy brains. So stupid and embarrassing.” said another.</p> <p>A third added sarcastically, “Well that’s just lovely isn’t it, so careful and respectful and cultured.”</p> <p>Despite the thousands of comments sharing their condemnation of the tourist's actions, others were quick to leap to his defence, saying it was clearly an accident. </p> <p>“I mean it’s just a bowl of water and flowers. Nothing broke it’ll be OK. Just say you’re sorry,” one person said. </p> <p>“Am I the only one who feels bad for him,” another wrote</p> <p>.Other viewers admitted they would be “mortified” if it had happened to them.</p> <p>“I would just lay on the floor like I passed out,” one joked. “I would leave the country,” another wrote.</p> <p>It’s not clear what happened afterwards but many were hopeful the tourist helped staff clean up the mess.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Why you should be wary of charging your phone in an airport

<p dir="ltr">While charging stations at airports can often be life-savings before boarding a flight, it turns out these handy outlets can be leaving you vulnerable. </p> <p dir="ltr">Many people have fought over a spot to charge up your devices at the last minute before embarking on a holiday, but next time you leave home with your phone or laptop needing some more juice, think again. </p> <p dir="ltr">Emily Stallings, co-founder of tech retailer <em><a href="https://www.getcasely.com/">Casely</a></em>, says that by plugging your phone into a power outlet at a public USB charging station, you're at risk of data breaches and malware infection.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If a device gets infected, it could end up leaking sensitive information or even stop working properly," she told <em><a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/charging-phone-at-the-airport-danger-expert/57d141df-33ba-4a50-89e5-26f6f2a0c18d">9Travel</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">These public USB ports have often been compromised by cybercriminals, who then use these unsecured ports to steal sensitive information transmitted between devices.</p> <p dir="ltr">"From personal emails to financial data, the information intercepted through these compromised ports could lead to identity theft, financial loss, and other serious consequences," explains Stallings.</p> <p dir="ltr">The best way to get around this threat, without letting your phone run out of battery, is to pack a portable charging device in your carry-on bag every time you travel.</p> <p dir="ltr">With your own cord and power bank, it's far less likely that any sneaky hackers will be able to access your device's data.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stallings says you can also enable security features such as USB Restricted Mode on your device, for those moments when you're desperate for a charger and have to rely on public ports. </p> <p dir="ltr">"This adds an extra layer of protection against potential data breaches and malware infections when charging from public USB ports."</p> <p dir="ltr">"By activating USB Restricted Mode or similar security features, you restrict data transfer over USB connections, effectively preventing unauthorised access to your device's data while charging in public spaces."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

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Health

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Why do I poo in the morning? A gut expert explains

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>No, you’re not imagining it. People really are more likely to poo in the morning, shortly after breakfast. Researchers have actually studied this.</p> <p>But why mornings? What if you tend to poo later in the day? And is it worth training yourself to be a morning pooper?</p> <p>To understand what makes us poo when we do, we need to consider a range of factors including our body clock, gut muscles and what we have for breakfast.</p> <p>Here’s what the science says.</p> <h2>So morning poos are real?</h2> <p>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379343/">UK study</a> from the early 1990s, researchers asked nearly 2,000 men and women in Bristol about their bowel habits.</p> <p>The most common time to poo was in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379343/pdf/gut00573-0122.pdf">early morning</a>. The peak time was 7-8am for men and about an hour later for women. The researchers speculated that the earlier time for men was because they woke up earlier for work.</p> <p>About a decade later, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16200717/">a Chinese study</a> found a similar pattern. Some 77% of the almost 2,500 participants said they did a poo in the morning.</p> <h2>But why the morning?</h2> <p>There are a few reasons. The first involves our <a href="https://theconversation.com/circadian-rhythm-nobel-what-they-discovered-and-why-it-matters-85072">circadian rhythm</a> – our 24-hour internal clock that helps regulate bodily processes, such as digestion.</p> <p>For healthy people, our internal clock means the muscular contractions in our colon follow <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19926812/">a distinct rhythm</a>.</p> <p>There’s minimal activity in the night. The deeper and more restful our sleep, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677652">fewer</a> of these muscle contractions we have. It’s one reason why we don’t tend to poo in our sleep.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Diagram of digestive system including colon and rectum" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Your lower gut is a muscular tube that contracts more strongly at certain times of day.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/illustration-healthcare-medical-education-drawing-chart-1984316789">Vectomart/Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>But there’s increasing activity during the day. Contractions in our colon are most active in the morning after waking up and after any meal.</p> <p>One particular type of colon contraction partly controlled by our internal clock are known as “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1411356/">mass movements</a>”. These are powerful contractions that push poo down to the rectum to prepare for the poo to be expelled from the body, but don’t always result in a bowel movement. In healthy people, these contractions occur a few times a day. They are more frequent in the morning than in the evening, and after meals.</p> <p>Breakfast is also a trigger for us to poo. When we eat and drink our stomach stretches, which triggers the “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549888/">gastrocolic reflex</a>”. This reflex stimulates the colon to forcefully contract and can lead you to push existing poo in the colon out of the body. We know the gastrocolic reflex is strongest in the morning. So that explains why breakfast can be such a powerful trigger for a bowel motion.</p> <p>Then there’s our morning coffee. This is a very <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2338272/">powerful stimulant</a> of contractions in the sigmoid colon (the last part of the colon before the rectum) and of the rectum itself. This leads to a bowel motion.</p> <h2>How important are morning poos?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1846921/pdf/brmedj02601-0041.pdf">Large international</a> <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20205503/">surveys</a> show the vast majority of people will poo between three times a day and three times a week.</p> <p>This still leaves a lot of people who don’t have regular bowel habits, are regular but poo at different frequencies, or who don’t always poo in the morning.</p> <p>So if you’re healthy, it’s much more important that your bowel habits are comfortable and regular for you. Bowel motions <em>do not</em> have to occur once a day in the morning.</p> <p>Morning poos are also not a good thing for everyone. <a href="https://gut.bmj.com/content/61/Suppl_2/A318.1">Some people</a> with <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-irritable-bowel-syndrome-and-what-can-i-do-about-it-102579">irritable bowel syndrome</a> feel the urgent need to poo in the morning – often several times after getting up, during and after breakfast. This can be quite distressing. It appears this early-morning rush to poo is due to overstimulation of colon contractions in the morning.</p> <h2>Can you train yourself to be regular?</h2> <p>Yes, for example, to help treat constipation using the gastrocolic reflex. Children and elderly people with constipation can use the toilet immediately after eating breakfast <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549888/">to relieve symptoms</a>. And for adults with constipation, drinking coffee regularly can help stimulate the gut, particularly in the morning.</p> <p>A disturbed circadian rhythm can also lead to irregular bowel motions and people more likely to poo in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7147411/">evenings</a>. So better sleep habits can not only help people get a better night’s sleep, it can help them get into a more regular bowel routine.</p> <p>Regular physical activity and avoiding <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2787735/">sitting down a lot</a> are also important in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16028436/">stimulating bowel movements</a>, particularly in people with constipation.</p> <p>We know <a href="https://theconversation.com/nervous-tummy-why-you-might-get-the-runs-before-a-first-date-106925">stress</a> can contribute to irregular bowel habits. So minimising stress and focusing on relaxation <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5193306/">can help</a> bowel habits become more regular.</p> <p>Fibre from fruits and vegetables also <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/665565/">helps</a> make bowel motions more regular.</p> <p>Finally, ensuring <a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-causes-constipation-114290">adequate hydration</a> helps minimise the chance of developing constipation, and helps make bowel motions more regular.</p> <h2>Monitoring your bowel habits</h2> <p>Most of us consider pooing in the morning to be regular. But there’s a wide variation in normal so don’t be concerned if your poos don’t follow this pattern. It’s more important your poos are comfortable and regular for you.</p> <p>If there’s a major change in the regularity of your bowel habits that’s concerning you, see your GP. The reason might be as simple as a change in diet or starting a new medication.</p> <p>But sometimes this can signify an important change in the health of your gut. So your GP may need to arrange further investigations, which could include blood tests or imaging.<!-- 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/229624/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><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, Associate Professor and clinical academic gastroenterologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/why-do-i-poo-in-the-morning-a-gut-expert-explains-229624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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To-do list got you down? Understanding the psychology of goals can help tick things off – and keep you on track

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p>It feels like we are living in busy times.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance/">OECD Better Life Index</a>, 12.5% of Australians report working at least 50 hours a week, higher than the OECD average. Many Australians are also <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-03/multiple-job-holders-hit-record-high-abs/102679190">working more than one job to buffer against cost-of-living pressures</a>.</p> <p>Psychology has long been interested in our goals – our mental representations of desirable outcomes. Much of this research is on how we form, pursue and attain goals, plus how goals make us feel. Across studies, we see a consistent pattern of <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-013-9493-0#Sec34">successful goal pursuit and wellbeing</a>. So, having time to work toward our goals is important.</p> <p>With this in mind, what is the best way to get things done – and how can we get better at achieving our goals, especially when we feel time poor?</p> <h2>Make a list</h2> <p>Most of us approach multiple goals with the age-old “to-do” list. First, you write down everything you need to do. Then you “check” or tick things off as you do them.</p> <p>One reason to-do lists are useful is because we are more likely to remember things we haven’t completed, rather than things we have. This is known as the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-F1U4bV2m8">Zeigarnik effect</a>.</p> <p>While to-do lists are easy to write, they don’t always work. There are however <a href="https://hbr.org/2021/01/i-tried-4-to-do-list-methods-heres-what-worked">various approaches for to-do lists</a> that may improve their effectiveness.</p> <p>Another thing to consider is the wide range of apps, tools and platforms that can make tasks more fun and outsource mental load. Adding elements of game play like point scoring or competition – called “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-gamification-could-revolutionise-creative-thinking-in-the-workplace-122852">gamification</a>” – can <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563221002867">help people work toward goals in educational and work settings</a>. Similarly, app-based reminders can help people reach <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/2047487320905717">physical rehabilitation goals and form good exercise habits</a>.</p> <h2>Finding your why</h2> <p>Researchers have focused a lot on the psychology of <em>why</em> people pursue goals – and how this affects their approach to tasks.</p> <p>For example, some people want to complete a university degree because they want to get a job. Others may be more interested in developing skills or knowledge. In both cases, there is a desired outcome – albeit with differing reasons.</p> <p>Our goals can be differentiated by who or what is driving them. Goals that feel like our own, and for which we experience a sense of intrinsic motivation, are known as “self-concordant”. These goals represent enduring personal interests, are aligned with values and are positively <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-020-01156-7">linked to wellbeing</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10648-006-9012-5">Goal orientation theory</a> offers a similar perspective. Using the same example, you may study so you score well on a test (a performance goal) or because you want to be sure you develop your knowledge (a mastery goal). Mastery goals tend to lead to <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10869-010-9201-6">better results and self-regulation</a>.</p> <h2>Juggling goals – 4 to-do tips</h2> <p>So, what happens when we have multiple – perhaps even competing – goals, or goals that aren’t so enjoyable? We might want to finish writing a report or assignment, then read a few chapters of a textbook – but also go to the gym and binge a few episodes of our favourite TV show.</p> <p>In such scenarios, psychological science offers some insights into how we might stay task-focused, and on track to tick more items off our to-do list.</p> <p><strong>1. Beware the <a href="https://www.pwc.pl/en/articles/planning-fallacy-part-I-cognitive-traps.html">planning fallacy</a>.</strong> This happens when we underestimate the amount of resources (such as time) it will take to reach a goal. As writer and religious thinker William Penn put it: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst”. Think through the all the steps and time required to complete your goal.</p> <p><strong>2. Monitor your progress.</strong> <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/91437/8/3_PDFsam_Does%20monitoring%20goal.pdf">Incorporating goal monitoring</a> into an activity can boost progress. And reviewing your estimations and expectations against your actual times and achievements can be used to calculate a “<a href="https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/estimating-time-for-tasks">fudge ratio</a>” to aid future planning. For instance, you could multiply your expected time on tasks by 1.5 to help buffer against the planning fallacy.</p> <p><strong>3. Focus on mastery.</strong> Self-concordant goals and tasks feel easier, and their underlying tasks may be <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0146167215575730">less subject to forgetting</a>. Tedious but necessary goals (such as doing the dishes or filling out forms) are less intrinsically motivating. This means <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/EBHRM-04-2014-0013/full/html#idm45933122746592">planning, reminders and support become more important to goal progress</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Plan for derailments.</strong> People vary in their ability to plan and might forget to take a goal-directed action at an appropriate time (this could be one reason the <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-streaming-services-winning-the-battle-for-attention-and-the-feature-australians-want/9crrpafgd">average Australian streams 27 hours of video each week</a>). <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10463283.2024.2334563">Implementation intentions</a> bring our attention back toward our goals by linking them to an environmental marker. These simple “if-then” plans are shown to <a href="https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/research/constructs/implementation-intentions#:%7E:text=Implementation%20intentions%20are%20formed%20for,might%20otherwise%20undermine%20goal%20striving.">help overcome issues with self-regulation</a>. Such a statement might be “if I see the ‘next episode’ icon appear, I will get up and turn off the TV so I can read a chapter of my textbook”.</p> <p>With time being frustratingly finite, it is inevitable we will run out of time to do all of the things on our to-do list. Finding an approach that works for us will take time and effort. But it’s probably a worthy goal in itself.<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/230399/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, Senior Lecturer - Psychology | Chair, Researchers in Behavioural Addictions, Alcohol and Drugs (BAAD), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/to-do-list-got-you-down-understanding-the-psychology-of-goals-can-help-tick-things-off-and-keep-you-on-track-230399">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Super Rugby player dies at just 25

<p>New Zealand rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop has died aged 25.</p> <p>Police were called to the scene of a sudden death in Fendalton, Christchurch just before 6pm on Monday, according to the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“The death is not being treated as suspicious and will be referred to the Coroner,” police said.</p> <p>Garden-Bachop, son of former All Black Stephen Bachop, was part of the Highlanders' Super Rugby squad this season, and they have also confirmed his death in a statement shared on Facebook.</p> <p>“On behalf of the entire rugby community, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby, New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association would like to extend our deepest thoughts and love to the Garden-Bachop family,” the statement read.</p> <p>“Connor passed away on Monday following a medical event, and rugby’s collective focus at this time is on supporting his family.</p> <p>"All of rugby walks alongside the Garden-Bachop family at this time and we are collectively united in our grief," the statement continued. </p> <p>“Connor was a fantastic young player, an exciting New Zealand age-grade representative and a proud Māori All Black. Wherever he played, he was a committed and popular teammate with infectious energy and someone who could light up the room.</p> <p>“Most importantly, he was a loving father to his twin girls, a brother, a son and immeasurably loved by all those who knew him.</p> <p>“NZR, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby and the Players Association are providing support and we ask that the privacy of the Garden-Bachop family is respected.”</p> <p>Garden-Bachop, an outside back, made his Highlanders debut in 2021. After five seasons with the team, the Highlanders announced on Facebook last week that he would not return to the team next season. </p> <p>The rugby player is survived by his twin daughters. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

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Not quite an introvert or an extrovert? Maybe you’re an ambivert

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peta-stapleton-10417">Peta Stapleton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p>Our personalities are generally thought to consist of <a href="https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-big-five-personality-traits">five primary factors</a>: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, with each of us ranking low to high for each.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/596664/original/file-20240528-17-t4z3cu.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/596664/original/file-20240528-17-t4z3cu.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=427&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/596664/original/file-20240528-17-t4z3cu.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=427&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/596664/original/file-20240528-17-t4z3cu.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=427&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/596664/original/file-20240528-17-t4z3cu.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=537&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/596664/original/file-20240528-17-t4z3cu.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=537&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/596664/original/file-20240528-17-t4z3cu.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=537&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Graphic" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Extroversion is one of the Big Five personality traits.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/big-five-personality-traits-infographic-has-2197584463">Big 5 personality traits graphic</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Those who rank high in extroversion, known as extroverts, <a href="https://www.cell.com/heliyon/pdf/S2405-8440(20)30772-6.pdf">typically</a> focus on their external world. They tend to be more optimistic, recharge by socialising and enjoy social interaction.</p> <p>On the other end of the spectrum, introverts are more likely to be quiet, deep thinkers, who recharge by being alone and learn by observing (but aren’t necessarily shy).</p> <p>But what if you’re neither an introvert or extrovert – or you’re a bit of both? Another category might fit better: <a href="https://ijmra.in/v4i12/Doc/13.pdf">ambiverts</a>. They’re the middle of the spectrum and are also called “social introverts”.</p> <h2>What exactly is an ambivert?</h2> <p>The term ambivert <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-01533-004">emerged</a> in 1923. While it was not <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fh0071034">initially embraced</a> as part of the introvert-extrovert spectrum, more recent <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797617724435">research</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jhbs.21868">suggests</a> ambiverts are a distinct category.</p> <p>Ambiverts exhibit traits of both extroverts and introverts, adapting their behaviour based on the situation. It may be that they socialise well but need solitude and rest to recharge, and they intuitively know when to do this.</p> <p>Ambiverts seems to have the following characteristics:</p> <ul> <li>good communication skills, as a listener and speaker</li> <li>ability to be a peacemaker if conflict occurs</li> <li>leadership and negotiation skills, especially in teams</li> <li>compassion and understanding for others.</li> </ul> <p>Some <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/not-an-introvert-not-an-extrovert-you-may-be-an-ambivert-1438013534">research suggests</a> ambiverts make up a significant portion of the population, with about <a href="https://www.today.com/health/winning-personality-advantages-being-ambivert-t70236">two-thirds</a> of people falling into <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jhbs.21868">this category</a>.</p> <h2>What makes someone an ambivert?</h2> <p>Personality is thought to be 50% <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306987721000311?via%3Dihub">inherited</a>, with the remaining being influenced by environmental factors and individual experiences.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27918536/">Emerging research</a> has found physical locations of genes on chromosomes closely aligned with extroversion-introversion traits.</p> <p>So, chances are, if you are a blend of the two styles as an ambivert, one of your parents may be too.</p> <h2>What do ambiverts tend to be good at?</h2> <p>One area of research focus in recent decades has been personality type and job satisfaction. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612463706">One study</a> examined 340 introverts, extroverts and ambiverts in sales careers.</p> <p>It has always been thought extroverts were more successful with sales. However, the author found ambiverts were more influential and successful.</p> <p>They may have a sales advantage because of their ability to read the situation and modify their behaviour if they notice a customer is not interested, as they’re <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23567176/">able to reflect and adapt</a>.</p> <h2>Ambiverts stress less than introverts</h2> <p>Generally, people lower in extroversion have higher stress levels. <a href="https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/honors/20/">One study</a> found introverts experience more stress than both ambiverts and extroverts.</p> <p>It <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7218023/">may be</a> that highly sensitive or introverted individuals are more susceptible to worry and stress due to being more perfectionistic.</p> <p>Ambiverts are adept at knowing when to be outgoing and when to be reflective, showcasing a high degree of situational awareness. This may contribute to their overall wellbeing because of how they handle stress.</p> <h2>What do ambiverts tend to struggle with?</h2> <p>Ambiverts may overextend themselves attempting to conform or fit in with many social settings. This is termed “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23567176/">overadaptation</a>” and may force ambiverts to feel uncomfortable and strained, ultimately resulting in stress or burnout.</p> <h2>But personality traits aren’t fixed</h2> <p>Regardless of where you sit on the scale of introversion through to extroversion, the reality is it may not be fixed. Different situations may be more comfortable for introverts to be social, and extroverts may be content with quieter moments.</p> <p>And there are also four other key personality traits – openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness and neuroticism – which we all possess in varying levels, and are expressed in different ways, alongside our levels of extroversion.</p> <p>There is also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2017548118">evidence</a> our personality traits can change throughout our life spans are indeed open to change.<!-- 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/223344/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><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peta-stapleton-10417">Peta Stapleton</a>, Associate Professor in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </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/not-quite-an-introvert-or-an-extrovert-maybe-youre-an-ambivert-223344">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Relationships

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"Heartbroken and blindsided": The Beast's ex-girlfriend opens up about split

<p>The ex-girlfriend of <em>The Chase</em> star Mark Labbett, also known as The Beast, has opened up about her high-profile break-up with the TV star, slamming his behaviour in the last weeks of their relationship. </p> <p>Hayley Palmer, an entertainment news presenter, announced her <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/mark-the-beast-labbett-s-girlfriend-drops-major-relationship-bombshell" target="_blank" rel="noopener">split</a> from Labbett just days after their one year anniversary, sharing the news on Instagram in May. </p> <p>Now, in an interview with <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tv/28526452/mark-beast-labbett-hayley-palmer-split/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Sun</em></a> newspaper, Palmer took aim at Labbett and his alleged handling of their split, saying she had been “blindsided” by their break-up, and shared how he had lived up to his name as The Beast.</p> <p>“It has come as a complete shock. I thought we were really happy,” she said.</p> <p>“I’m heartbroken and blindsided. His behaviour has been beastly.”</p> <p>Palmer went on to say that Labbett dumped her over a callous three-minute phone call, and said their breakup came because The Beast did not want to formally divorce his ex-wife Katie, who is also his second cousin. </p> <p>She went on to say that before their shock split, Mark — who has a seven-year-old son with his former wife — had even suggested they move in together.</p> <p>But in the days following, a phone call came from Labbett to end their relationship. </p> <p>Struggling to hold back tears, Hayley told the publication, “The call started off as a normal conversation.  He was spending time with his son and we’d had a conversation about me joining them at a water park."</p> <p>“Then he said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but you were right. I don’t want to divorce my ex-wife’.</p> <div> <div id="articlempu"></div> </div> <p>“The shock of the way he said it was so brutally cold and not the Mark I know. I thought he was a gentle giant, so this was the complete opposite. He was as cold as ice."</p> <p>“The phone went from my hands, I just hung up on him. I ended up walking around for three hours not knowing where I was going."</p> <p>“I’ll never get over the shock of that, I’m still in shock now. It’s such a hurtful way to do it. The fact that he didn’t have the respect for me, and for him to do it over the phone — it was a really low move."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Relationships

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"We love you, Papa": Sweet father's day tribute to Prince William

<p>Kate Middleton shared a sweet new photo she took of her husband, Prince William, and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis for Father's Day. </p> <p>The Princess of Wales shared the tribute not long after <a href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/caring/princess-kate-makes-first-public-appearance-since-cancer-diagnosis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">returning to her royal duties</a> at Trooping the Colour on Saturday. </p> <p>The photograph was captioned: "We love you, Papa. Happy Father's Day. G, C &amp; L." </p> <p>In the image, William has his arms around his children as they all stand on a beach facing the sea. </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/C8Rb1TRtNnh/?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/C8Rb1TRtNnh/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Royal fans took to the comments to wish Prince William a happy Father's Day. </p> <p>"This is a lovely photo of a lovely family. Happy Fathers Day, Prince William," wrote one fan. </p> <p>"Really lovely photo, Happy Fathers day William," added another. </p> <p>"What a beautiful photo of William and the children and a sweet message! Happy Father’s Day William," wrote a third. </p> <p>‪"Aww what a beautiful picture taken by our talented Princess of Wales!! And the message from the kids is adorable. You are such a wonderful, loving dad and you just deserve the best!" added a fourth/</p> <p>A few hours before the Father's Day tribute for William was posted, the Prince of Wales shared his own throwback photo with King Charles. </p> <p>"Happy Father's Day, Pa. W," he captioned the photo of them playing football when he was a boy. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Beloved author slams Carrie Bickmore for “schoolyard bullying”

<p>New Zealand author and poet Jessica Urlichs has voiced her extreme displeasure with Carrie Bickmore and Tommy Little for her radio program "Carrie &amp; Tommy", claiming that she experienced what amounted to "schoolyard bullying" during a recent segment.</p> <p>Bickmore read one of Urlichs’ poems on air recently while speaking to her co-host, Tommy Little. Urlichs, who has nearly half-a-million followers on Instagram, felt that her work was shamefully mocked during the broadcast.</p> <p>"I don’t have any words left to truly articulate the schoolyard bullying you displayed in your recent segment across multiple radio stations," Urlichs wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday.</p> <p>She continued, "You used my heartfelt poem (without permission) as your very weak punchline. Your co-host wasn’t allowing a voice for post-partum women, nor you for that matter, and as a woman who was once post-partum it was very disappointing to see you reduce yourself to his childlike behaviour on such an important topic."</p> <p>In her caption, Urlichs explained she wrote the poem for herself and for mothers who might be offended by the radio segment. She also mentioned that her requests to have the content removed had been ignored.</p> <p>During the radio segment, Bickmore explained to Little that the poems, written from the perspective of a baby to its mother, frequently appeared in her social media feed. Little responded with skepticism and humour, questioning the premise that a baby could write such a poem.</p> <p>Bickmore defended the work, identifying Urlichs as the author and stressing the poem's emotional significance for mothers dealing with sleepless nights. Despite this, Little continued to mock the poem, suggesting it was written by a middle-aged man pretending to be a baby.</p> <p>The segment continued with Bickmore reading the poem aloud, accompanied by background music, while Little laughed and interjected. This tone persisted throughout the reading, leading to further comments from Little that questioned the poem's authenticity and meaning.</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/C8Q8DaXPMd9/?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/C8Q8DaXPMd9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by J E S S I C A U R L I C H S (@jessurlichs)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Following the broadcast, a video clip of the segment was posted on Instagram, where Urlichs expressed her disappointment in the comments. "If you’d asked for my permission to post this and I’d seen how it was mocked throughout I would have said no," she wrote on the post that has now been removed. She added that while she appreciates people sharing her work to support other mothers, she felt her writing was treated as a punchline in this instance.</p> <p>The full text of the remarkable poem can be read below.</p> <p><iframe style="overflow: hidden; border: initial none initial;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjessurlichs%2Fposts%2Fpfbid02jzy9gwBKnMAAX12NYp7XiZ1CpWsgxfd2zyhRaHVQfgLJ3NoB1kCcGXNbhJucZcYNl&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="666" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

Finance

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How to buy a home: 7 tips for negotiating like a pro

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/park-thaichon-175182">Park Thaichon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>The main purpose of negotiation is to find a mutually acceptable solution for buyers and sellers. Good negotiations greatly improve relationships between buyers, sellers and agents. They also help avoid future problems and conflicts.</p> <p>Negotiating skills become even more important for home buyers in a “seller’s market”, where demand from buyers exceeds supply from sellers. That’s <a href="https://propertyupdate.com.au/australian-property-market-predictions/">currently the case</a> in all Australian capital cities and major regional cities such as Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and others.</p> <p>Many home buyers mistakenly believe negotiation only occurs during the signing of the sale contract. However, it involves distinct stages: <em>pre-negotiation</em> and <em>during negotiation</em>.</p> <p>So how can people maximise their chances of successfully negotiating a purchase in a seller’s market? I offer the following tips.</p> <h2>Be someone the seller’s agent wants to do business with</h2> <p>Buyers often communicate solely with the seller’s agent, rather than directly with the seller. It’s crucial to ensure the agent views the buyer positively. Ultimately, it’s the agent who presents offers to the seller for their decision.</p> <p>It’s important, then, to understand what might motivate the seller’s agent to choose your offer. The key performance indicator for the agent often revolves around closing a property sale at a reasonable price within a certain time.</p> <p>This means price is a crucial factor. However, other factors can influence the seller’s agent and seller.</p> <p>For example, having pre-approved finance can increase the agent’s confidence in the buyer. If the buyer appears serious, can make quick decisions and makes a good impression, the agent may be more motivated to push for them, even if their offer is slightly lower than others without pre-approved finance.</p> <h2>Be a big fish (for the seller’s agent)</h2> <p>The next strategy is to give the seller’s agent extra incentive to favour you and your offer. <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/MIP-09-2019-0489/full/html">Our research</a> in customer behaviour suggests businesses value customers who make frequent purchases or engage them for long-term services.</p> <p>For example, the agent would be pleased to learn that the buyer might be interested in buying another property in the near future or in using their rental service for the new property. You have an advantage if you can position yourself as someone who could provide them with extra business.</p> <h2>Point to competing options</h2> <p>In a positive manner, let the seller’s agent know you are considering two or three properties, and this specific property is among those you are inclined to make an offer on.</p> <p>In certain situations, it may stimulate competitive pricing when multiple properties of similar quality are available in the same area. Make it clear to the agent you will choose the property that offers you the best overall value.</p> <p>While this strategy might not necessarily lower the price in a seller’s market, it can prompt the agent to have a fuller discussion with you.</p> <h2>Think beyond price</h2> <p>The next set of tips focuses on the <em>during negotiation</em> stages. It can be challenging for buyers to negotiate a lower price in a market with low supply and high demand. You might have to “think outside the price box”.</p> <p>Buyers often have a specific price range or fixed budget in mind when they start discussions with a seller. However, other factors besides price can influence a property’s overall value.</p> <p>So if a seller won’t adjust the price, consider negotiating for other concessions that could reduce your expenses.</p> <p>These may include:</p> <p><strong>Settlement period</strong></p> <p>Consider the expenses associated with the settlement period. A shorter settlement period could enable buyers to move into the property sooner and save on rent. For example, if a buyer is paying $600 per week in rent, an early settlement could save them around $2,400 per month.</p> <p><strong>Insurance costs after contract signing</strong></p> <p>In many states, buyers’ <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/home-insurance/home-insurance-cost">home insurance cover</a> is required to begin from the date of contract signing. It’s reasonable for buyers to include a special condition requesting the seller to bear the insurance costs until settlement. On average, home insurance may amount to about $140 per month.</p> <p><strong>Cleaning expenses</strong></p> <p>Consider negotiating a condition stipulating that the seller must ensure the property is professionally cleaned by settlement. Failure to do so could result in a $500 adjustment in the buyer’s favour at settlement.</p> <p>In some states, like Queensland, sellers are not obligated to deliver a clean property. Based on typical end-of-lease cleaning charges, internal cleaning of a four-bedroom property could cost <a href="https://firstcallhomeservices.com.au/service-menu/bond-exit-end-lease-cleaning/">$455 to $590</a>.</p> <p><strong>Building and pest inspection costs</strong></p> <p>Buyers should always include a 14-day pre-purchase inspection clause for <a href="https://www.topdogpestcontrol.com.au/building-pest-inspections-gold-coast/">building and pest inspections</a> in their offer. Although they may cost $300 to $600, these inspections provide a clear report that could lead to negotiations after contract signing if they find any issues with the property.</p> <h2>Be careful with your first offer</h2> <p>Don’t present the first offer in writing. It can be challenging to negotiate down the price once it has been written in an offer document.</p> <p>Instead, the buyer should begin by testing the expected price of the property. As well as obtaining property reports from multiple banks, the buyer could talk with the seller’s agent in person about a price range that would be agreeable to the seller.</p> <p>You could include phrases like “a price that will make the seller happy” or “a price that will make the seller accept the offer”. While the agent might not provide a specific price, this talk can provide a guideline for the buyer. All properties up for auction or private sale should have an expected price set, which may or may not be discussed with potential buyers.</p> <p>It’s also advisable to consult a solicitor before submitting an offer or signing a contract. They can offer valuable suggestions to smooth the purchase process and identify any issues.</p> <h2>Use the power of 900</h2> <p>Buyers often submit offers with round numbers, such as $700,000 or $750,000. In a competitive seller’s market, aim to submit an offer with a number that stands out from the rest, yet remains within your budget.</p> <p>An example of such a number is $900. For instance, comparing $700,000 to $700,900, the extra $900 makes the offer feel closer to $710,000.</p> <h2>Write a personalised letter</h2> <p>It’s true the most important point of selling a house for many sellers is price. But they are human and have emotions. Finishing a purchasing offer with a personal letter to the seller can make a difference.</p> <p>Often that $3,000 to $20,000 could be a lot of money for a buyer, but it may not be as much for someone selling a house for $700,000 or $1,000,000. Write the letter to express your feelings about the property in a way that makes it clear you will care for it. Most people selling their home would prefer to have someone look after it well.<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/226237/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/park-thaichon-175182">Park Thaichon</a>, Associate Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </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/how-to-buy-a-home-7-tips-for-negotiating-like-a-pro-226237">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Outrageous": Stonehenge defaced by protesters

<p>In a highly divisive demonstration ahead of the Summer Solstice festival in the UK, climate activists from the Just Stop Oil group have sprayed Stonehenge with orange powder paint, leading to the arrest of two individuals.</p> <p>The protest, aimed at pushing for a legal commitment from the UK government to phase out fossil fuels by 2030, has sparked widespread condemnation.</p> <p>The ancient site of Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site managed by English Heritage, was targeted early on Tuesday. Videos shared on social media show activists in “Just Stop Oil” T-shirts spraying a cluster of the prehistoric stones with orange cornflour from small canisters. The activists, Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student, and Rajan Naidu, 73, were quickly wrestled and apprehended by bystanders before being detained by police.</p> <p><a href="https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">English Heritage</a> has launched an investigation to assess the extent of the damage to the stones, some of which are believed to be around 5,000 years old. A spokeswoman for the organisation described the protest as “extremely upsetting” but reassured that the site remains open to the public.</p> <p>“We are working closely with English Heritage to understand the damage caused by this act,” said a spokesperson for Wiltshire Police. “Our inquiries are ongoing.”</p> <p>The protest has drawn sharp rebukes from leaders of the UK’s major political parties, coming at a crucial time during the campaign for the upcoming general election on July 4. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the act as “a disgraceful act of vandalism”, and called for the group to be held accountable.</p> <p>Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is favoured to become the next prime minister, also criticised the protesters, calling the act “outrageous” and demanding that “those responsible must face the full force of the law.” </p> <p>Just Stop Oil, founded in 2022, has been vocal in its opposition to new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. The group’s actions, which often disrupt daily life and major events, have led to numerous arrests and jailings of its members.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil defended the Stonehenge protest, stating that while the Labour Party has pledged not to issue new oil and gas drilling licenses, this is insufficient. “We need a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030,” the spokesperson said. “If the government fails to act, we will continue our resistance this summer.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter (X)</em></p>

Legal

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Justin Timberlake arrested

<p>Justin Timberlake, the acclaimed singer and actor, has spent the night behind bars on charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York's Long Island. The incident took place in the upscale seaside village of Sag Harbor, a well-known summer retreat for the affluent.</p> <p>Timberlake, 43, was reportedly driving a BMW around 12:30am when he failed to stop at a stop sign and veered out of his lane. An officer pulled him over and noticed signs of intoxication. According to the court documents, the officer observed that Timberlake had bloodshot and glassy eyes, smelled strongly of alcohol, had slowed speech and was unsteady on his feet. He performed poorly on all standard field sobriety tests administered at the scene.</p> <p>Despite Timberlake's assertion that he had only consumed one martini and was following friends home, he was arrested and taken to a police station in East Hampton. There, he refused a breath test. The court documents list his occupation as "professional" and noted that he is "self-employed".</p> <p>According to a report from <a href="https://pagesix.com/2024/06/18/entertainment/justin-timberlake-dwi-refused-breathalyzer-cop-didnt-recognize/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the New York Post</a>, the arresting officer was so young he did not recognise the world-famous singer, even after Timberlake told him his name. “He didn’t recognise him or his name,” an insider claimed, with a second source adding, “Justin said under his breath, ‘This is going to ruin the tour.’ The policeman replied, ‘What tour?’ Justin said, ‘The world tour.’”</p> <p>After spending the night in custody, Timberlake was formally charged and released later on Tuesday morning (Wednesday AEST). He faces one count of DWI and is scheduled to appear in court on July 26, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office. Timberlake's lawyer and representatives have not yet commented on the incident.</p> <p>Timberlake's journey to fame began as a Disney Mouseketeer, where he shared the stage with future pop stars like Britney Spears. He gained widespread recognition as a member of the boy band NSYNC before launching a successful solo career in 2002. Timberlake has since won 10 Grammy Awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards. His acting credits include acclaimed performances in movies such as <em>The Social Network</em> and <em>Friends With Benefits</em>.</p> <p>Sag Harbor, located about 160km from New York City, is a part of the Hamptons, a popular destination for wealthy visitors during the summer. The village is known for its picturesque views and luxurious lifestyle, attracting celebrities and high-profile individuals.</p> <p>This incident marks a rare brush with the law for Timberlake, who has largely maintained a positive public image throughout his career. As the legal process unfolds, more details are likely to emerge, shedding light on the circumstances of his arrest and the potential consequences he may face.</p> <p><em>Images: Sag County Police | Today show</em></p>

Legal

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What you should know before you start chasing bargains at the EOFY sales

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/park-thaichon-175182">Park Thaichon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>What cost-of-living crisis? Millions of Australians are expected to spend <a href="https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/9592-ara-roy-morgan-media-release-eofy-mid-year-sales-2024">A$10.1 billion</a> during the end of financial year (EOFY) sales.</p> <p>Many products, from cars and holiday packages to clothing and white goods will be available at marked down prices over the next few weeks.</p> <p>Clothing and accessories will attract the biggest spend, followed by electronics and technology, household items and decorations and then appliances and white goods.</p> <p>To put the estimated $10.1 billion EOFY spend in perspective, in 2023 Australians spent <a href="https://ecommerce-report.auspost.com.au/">$361 billion on retail goods</a>, with $63.6 billion of that spent online.</p> <p>With such high spending, consumers need to make informed decisions to maximise their savings and avoid pitfalls.</p> <h2>Buyer beware</h2> <p>It is important to understand the return and exchange policies of the different retail stores.</p> <p>Most retailers allow shoppers who change their mind up to 30 days to return and receive a refund or exchange the product. Some may have shorter return periods or may not accept returns on sale items.</p> <p>These items are sometimes referred to as final sales, non-refundable purchases, last-chance deals, no-return sales and clearance items. This means if a customer bought something on sale and later doesn’t want it, they can’t return or exchange it.</p> <p>Some retailers have specific conditions about where items can be returned. For example, in Melbourne <a href="https://www.davidjones.com/return-options">David Jones</a> requires boutique brands to be returned to specific branch locations. For example, items purchased instore from Chanel can only be returned at Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street Mall branches.</p> <p>Other conditions might include <a href="https://www.myer.com.au/content/returns-exchanges">no refunds/no exchanges</a> on large electrical items, furniture or mattresses unless faulty or damaged. Or retailers may only offer instore credit or charge a <a href="https://www.davidjones.com/return-options">25% restocking fee</a> when a customer cancels an order for a large or bulky item.</p> <p>Many retailers, such as streetwear brand <a href="https://www.culturekings.com.au/pages/shipping-returns">Culture Kings</a>, also require a payment if the return process involves shipping.</p> <p>As well as these conditions, retailers require any returned items to be in their original condition and sometimes, their original packaging. Being aware of these policies can help customers make more informed decisions and avoid being stuck with items they don’t want.</p> <h2>What to buy and where to get it</h2> <p>Certain items, such as off-season clothing, electronics and furniture are often discounted during EOFY sales, making it a good time to get them at reduced cost.</p> <p>However, some items, like the latest Playstation or newest smart phone, may not be as heavily discounted and might be better bought at other times of the year.</p> <p>Shoppers should also avoid buying items they are unlikely to use or consume before they expire including perishable goods like food, cosmetics and vitamins.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="dnC1Y" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/dnC1Y/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>It’s also important to consider the value of the item and whether the discount offered during sales justifies the purchase, especially for big-ticket items that may require significant storage space or maintenance.</p> <p>Customers should also consider where to buy their items. Online retailers often have competitive prices and a wide selection, but some customers may prefer to see the item before they purchase instore.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/14413582231167664">Multi-channel shopping</a> is a combination of both instore and online shopping. It gives customers the flexibility to choose how and where they want to browse and purchase.</p> <p>For example, some customers prefer to touch, feel and try a product instore but then make the purchase online for convenience, taking advantage of any free shipping offers and online discount.</p> <h2>Pressure tactics</h2> <p>It is important to be wary any deceptive tactics to persuade you to buy unwanted products.</p> <p>For example, some stores might use misleading advertising or pressure tactics to convince customers to make purchases with the feeling of fear of missing out (FOMO).</p> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ijcs.12649?casa_token=271MN72XdP8AAAAA%3AfhYF_2yUJtM7KGv5jvFdXn5UsXQLkMcIM_F6hffYa30QaSdRivjf2mhFX-cr5C7ttCuLl1-e2OFYXBA">Our research found</a> FOMO played a role in panic buying.</p> <p>During the EOFY sales, businesses may try to create a sense of urgency by claiming that items are selling out quickly or prices will increase soon.</p> <p>For example, online sites might state a product is “low in stock”, “151 items have been sold today” or “25 people are watching this item”.</p> <p>By being aware these tactics are intended to lock them into buying, customers can take their time to consider purchases carefully and avoid being swayed into buying things they do not really want or need.</p> <p>Ultimately, the best approach for customers is to plan ahead, research prices and shop around to find the best deals for their needs.</p> <h2>Why we have EOFY sales</h2> <p>The original purpose of the EOFY is to mark the end of a 12-month accounting period for businesses and individuals. EOFY sales help businesses clear out last year’s stock and make way for new.</p> <p>Moving stock also helps to improve the bottom line by converting unsold goods into revenue.</p> <p>If consumers are savvy, they can find ways to make savings while also putting money back into the economy.<!-- 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/232568/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/park-thaichon-175182"><em>Park Thaichon</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/what-you-should-know-before-you-start-chasing-bargains-at-the-eofy-sales-232568">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

Entertainment

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Cyndi Lauper announces farewell tour

<p>Cyndi Lauper is saying goodbye to fans after announcing that her upcoming US tour will also be her last. </p> <p>The music legend, who turns 71 later this month, will go on a <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">23-date tour of the US and Canada in October. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The announcement of her tour titled </span><em>Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: The Farewell Tour,</em> sent fans into a frenzy on social media, as they begged her to extend her last tour to more countries. </p> <p>“Farewell tour? Nooo,” wrote one fan on Instagram. </p> <p>“I’m so happy and so incredibly sad. I know you have worked your booty off since the very early 80s and you are due for a darn good rest but I just cannot imagine not seeing you all the time,” another added. </p> <p>“I hate farewells and I am so thankful I grew up when your music was always on the radio!” a third wrote. </p> <p>Fans hoped that the singer would hold a similar farewell tour to fellow pop diva Cher, who went on a 326-date farewell tour from 2002 to 2005. </p> <p>Cher has since performed two more world tours and two separate Las Vegas residences, making it a total of 430 concerts since her announcement. </p> <p>Lauper has not yet spoken publicly about what exactly this “farewell” means in terms of whether she is retiring from touring or the music industry altogether. </p> <p>The singer last visited Australia in March 2023, when she was a support act for Rod Stewart. </p> <p>In the 1980s she had 10 top 20 hits, including scoring a number one spot for her solo debut single <em>Girls Just Wanna Have Fun</em>.</p> <p><em>Image: SplashNews.com/ Shutterstock Editorial</em></p> <p> </p>

Music

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Spending too much time on social media and doomscrolling? The problem might be FOMO

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p>For as long as we have used the internet to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/07/email-ray-tomlinson-history">communicate and connect with each other</a>, it has influenced how we think, feel and behave.</p> <p>During the COVID pandemic, many of us were <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953622007985">“cut off” from our social worlds</a> through restrictions, lockdowns and mandates. Understandably, many of us tried to <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0258344">find ways to connect online</a>.</p> <p>Now, as pandemic restrictions have lifted, some of the ways we use the internet have become concerning. Part of what drives problematic internet use may be something most of us are familiar with – the fear of missing out, or FOMO.</p> <p>In <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12888-024-05834-9">our latest research</a>, my colleagues and I investigated the role FOMO plays in two kinds of internet use: problematic social media use and “doomscrolling”.</p> <h2>What are FOMO, problematic social media use and doomscrolling?</h2> <p>FOMO is the fear some of us experience when we get a sense of “missing out” on things happening in our social scene. Psychology researchers have been studying FOMO for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014">more than a decade</a>, and it has consistently been linked to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8283615/">mental health and wellbeing</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871624001947">alcohol use</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106839">problematic social media use</a>.</p> <p>Social media use becomes a problem for people when they have difficulty controlling urges to use social media, have difficulty cutting back on use, and where the use has a negative impact on their everyday life.</p> <p>Doomscrolling is characterised by a need to constantly look at and <a href="https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210226-the-darkly-soothing-compulsion-of-doomscrolling">seek out “bad” news</a>. Doomscrollers may constantly refresh their news feeds or stay up late to read bad news.</p> <p>While problematic social media use has been around for a while, doomscrolling seems to be a more recent phenomenon – <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7735659/">attracting research attention</a> during and following the pandemic.</p> <h2>What we tried to find out</h2> <p>In our study, we wanted to test the idea that FOMO leads individuals to engage in problematic use behaviours due to their difficulty in managing the “fear” in FOMO.</p> <p>The key factor, we thought, was <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/b:joba.0000007455.08539.94">emotion regulation</a> – our ability to deal with our emotions. We know some people tend to be good at this, while others find it difficult. In fact, greater difficulties with emotion regulation was linked to experiencing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S088761852100058X">greater acute stress related to COVID</a>.</p> <p>However, an idea that has been gaining attention recently is <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.636919/full">interpersonal emotion regulation</a>. This means looking to others to help us regulate our emotions.</p> <p>Interpersonal emotion regulation can be helpful (such as “<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-016-9569-3">affective engagement</a>”, where someone might listen and talk about your feelings) or unhelpful (such as “<a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0012-1649.43.4.1019">co-rumination</a>” or rehashing problems together), depending on the context.</p> <p>In our analyses, we sought to uncover how both <em>intrapersonal</em> emotion regulation (ability to self-manage our own emotional states) and <em>interpersonal</em> emotion regulation (relying on others to help manage our emotions) accounted for the link between FOMO and problematic social media use, and FOMO and doomscrolling, respectively.</p> <h2>What we found – and what it might mean for the future of internet use</h2> <p>Our findings indicated that people who report stronger FOMO engage in problematic social media use because of difficulty regulating their emotions (intrapersonally), and they look to others for help (interpersonally).</p> <p>Similarly, people who report stronger FOMO are drawn to doomscrolling because of difficulty regulating their emotions intrapersonally (within themselves). However, we found no link between FOMO and doomscrolling through interpersonal emotion regulation.</p> <p>We suspect this difference may be due to doomscrolling being more of a solitary activity, occurring outside more social contexts that facilitate interpersonal regulation. For instance, there are probably fewer people with whom to share your emotions while staying up trawling through bad news.</p> <p>While links between FOMO and doomscrolling have been observed before, our study is among the first to try and account for this theoretically.</p> <p>We suspect the link between FOMO and doomscrolling may be more about having more of an online presence <em>while things are happening</em>. This would account for intrapersonal emotion regulation failing to help manage our reactions to “bad news” stories as they unfold, leading to doomscrolling.</p> <p>Problematic social media use, on the other hand, involves a more complex interpersonal context. If someone is feeling the fear of being “left out” and has difficulty managing that feeling, they may be drawn to social media platforms in part to try and elicit help from others in their network.</p> <h2>Getting the balance right</h2> <p>Our findings suggest the current discussions around <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/psychology-group-says-infinite-scrolling-social-media-features-are-par-rcna147876">restricting social media use for young people</a>, while controversial, are important. We need to balance our need for social connection – which is happening increasingly online – with the <a href="https://www.biomedcentral.com/collections/spia#tab-3">detrimental consequences </a>associated with problematic internet use behaviours.</p> <p>It is important to also consider the nature of social media platforms and how they have changed over time. For example, adolescent social media use patterns across various platforms are <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10964-019-01060-9">associated with</a> different mental health and socialisation outcomes.</p> <p>Public health policy experts and legislators have quite the challenge ahead of them here. Recent work has shown how loneliness is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190033">a contributing factor</a> to all-cause mortality (death from any cause).</p> <p>We have long known, too, that social connectedness is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190033">good for our mental health</a>. In fact, last year, the World Health Organization established a <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/15-11-2023-who-launches-commission-to-foster-social-connection">Commission on Social Connection</a> to help promote the importance of socialisation to our lives.</p> <p>The recent controversy in the United States around the ownership of TikTok illustrates how central social media platforms are to our lives and ways of interacting with one another. We need to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/27/dominic-andre-tiktok-ban">consider the rights of individuals</a> to use them as they please, but understand that governments carry the responsibility of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/apr/04/what-does-tiktoks-ban-on-australian-government-devices-mean-for-its-future">protecting users from harm</a> and safeguarding their privacy.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If you feel concerned about problematic social media use or doomscrolling, you can speak to a healthcare or mental health professional. You can also call <a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a> on 13 11 14, or <a href="https://www.13yarn.org.au/">13 YARN</a> (13 92 76) to yarn with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander crisis supporters.</em><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/230980/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, Senior Lecturer - Psychology | Chair, Researchers in Behavioural Addictions, Alcohol and Drugs (BAAD), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </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/spending-too-much-time-on-social-media-and-doomscrolling-the-problem-might-be-fomo-230980">original article</a>.</em></p>

Technology

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ABBA members reunite for knighthood

<p>ABBA has reunited to receive the Royal Order of Vasa knighthoods in Sweden. </p> <p>All four members of the iconic group were handed the honours by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the Royal Palace in Sweden.</p> <p>Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Benny Andersson received one of the country's most prestigious awards, establishing them as Commanders of the First Class, for “very outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music life.”</p> <p>The Royal Order of Vasa is an order of chivalry given in recognition of personal efforts for Sweden or for Swedish interests, and was last handed out almost 50 years ago. </p> <p>The pop band were recognised by the King and Queen for their cultural impact, which has taken Swedish pop music to a huge global audience, following their win in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with their smash hit <em>Waterloo</em>. </p> <p>Candidates for this year's Royal Order of Vasa honours were nominated by the public and approved by the Swedish government and the King. </p> <p>It has been forty years since the group last performed live together. </p> <p>In 2021 they released a comeback album called <em>Voyage</em>. </p> <p>The group also gathered at the ABBA Arena in London on Thursday to celebrate the second anniversary of <em>Abba Voyage, </em>the avatar show that has been successfully playing at the venue. </p> <p>They have declined to perform at at this year's Eurovision, marking 50 years since their win. </p> <p><em>Image: Henrik Montgomery/EPA-EFE/ Shutterstock Editorial</em></p>

Music

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Who really was Mona Lisa? More than 500 years on, there’s good reason to think we got it wrong

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/darius-von-guttner-sporzynski-112147">Darius von Guttner Sporzynski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p>In the pantheon of Renaissance art, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa stands as an unrivalled icon. This half-length portrait is more than just an artistic masterpiece; it embodies the allure of an era marked by unparalleled cultural flourishing.</p> <p>Yet, beneath the surface of the Mona Lisa’s elusive smile lies a debate that touches the very essence of the Renaissance, its politics and the role of women in history.</p> <h2>A mystery woman</h2> <p>The intrigue of the Mona Lisa, also known as <a href="https://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/artdok/4207/1/Zoellner_Leonardos_portrait_of_Mona_Lisa_1993.pdf">La Gioconda</a>, isn’t solely due to Leonardo’s revolutionary painting techniques. It’s also because the identity of the subject is unconfirmed to this day. More than half a millennium since it was first painted, the real identity of the Mona Lisa remains one of art’s greatest mysteries, intriguing scholars and enthusiasts alike.</p> <p>The painting has traditionally been associated with Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. But another compelling theory suggests a different sitter: Isabella of Aragon.</p> <p>Isabella of Aragon was born into the illustrious House of Aragon in Naples, in 1470. She was a princess who was deeply entwined in the political and cultural fabric of the Renaissance.</p> <p>Her 1490 marriage to Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan, positioned Isabella at the heart of Italian politics. And this role was both complicated and elevated by the ambitions and machinations of Ludovico Sforza (also called Ludovico il Moro), her husband’s uncle and usurper of the Milanese dukedom.</p> <h2>Scholarly perspectives</h2> <p>The theory that Isabella is the real Mona Lisa is supported by a combination of stylistic analyses, historical connections and reinterpretations of Leonardo’s intent as an artist.</p> <p>In his <a href="https://www.bookstellyouwhy.com/pages/books/51791/robert-payne/leonardo-1st-edition-1st-printing">biography of Leonardo</a>, author Robert Payne points to <a href="https://emuseum.hydecollection.org/objects/94/study-of-the-mona-lisa?ctx=760b87fd-efbf-4468-b579-42f98e9712d2&amp;idx=0">preliminary studies</a> by the artist that bear a striking resemblances to Isabella around age 20. Payne suggests Leonardo captured Isabella <a href="https://emuseum.hydecollection.org/objects/94/study-of-the-mona-lisa?ctx=760b87fd-efbf-4468-b579-42f98e9712d2&amp;idx=0">across different life stages</a>, including during widowhood, as depicted in the Mona Lisa.</p> <p>US artist Lillian F. Schwartz’s <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0097849395000317">1988 study</a> used x-rays to reveal an initial sketch of a woman hidden beneath Leonardo’s painting. This sketch was then painted over with Leonardo’s own likeness.</p> <p>Schwartz believes the woman in the sketch is Isabella, because of its similarity with a cartoon Leonardo made of the princess. She proposes the work was made by integrating specific features of the initial model with Leonardo’s own features.</p> <p>This hypothesis is further supported by art historians Jerzy Kulski and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owjJWxcnKrE">Maike Vogt-Luerssen</a>.</p> <p>According to Vogt-Luerssen’s <a href="https://www.kleio.org/de/buecher/wer-ist-mona-lisa/">detailed analysis</a> of the Mona Lisa, the symbols of the Sforza house and the depiction of mourning garb both align with Isabella’s known life circumstances. They suggest the Mona Lisa isn’t a commissioned portrait, but a nuanced representation of a woman’s journey through triumph and tragedy.</p> <p>Similarly, Kulski highlights the <a href="https://www.academia.edu/40147186/The_Mona_Lisa_Portrait_Leonardos_Personal_and_Political_Tribute_to_Isabella_Aragon_Sforza_the_Duchess_of_Milan">portrait’s heraldic designs</a>, which would be atypical for a silk merchant’s wife. He, too, suggests the painting shows Isabella mourning her late husband.</p> <p>The Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression also captures Isabella’s self-described state post-1500 of being “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1468-0424.12683">alone in misfortune</a>”. Contrary to representing a wealthy, recently married woman, the portrait exudes the aura of a virtuous widow.</p> <p>Late professor of art history <a href="https://brill.com/display/book/edcoll/9789004304130/B9789004304130_014.xml?language=en">Joanna Woods-Marsden</a> suggested the Mona Lisa transcends traditional portraiture and embodies Leonardo’s ideal, rather than being a straightforward commission.</p> <p>This perspective frames the work as a deeply personal project for Leonardo, possibly signifying a special connection between him and Isabella. Leonardo’s reluctance to part with the work also indicates a deeper, personal investment in it.</p> <h2>Beyond the canvas</h2> <p>The theory that Isabella of Aragon could be the true Mona Lisa is a profound reevaluation of the painting’s context, opening up new avenues through which to appreciate the work.</p> <p>It elevates Isabella from a figure overshadowed by the men in her life, to a woman of courage and complexity who deserves recognition in her own right.</p> <p>Through her strategic marriage and political savvy, <a href="https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85147429412&amp;origin=resultslist">Isabella played a crucial role in the alliances and conflicts</a> that defined the Italian Renaissance. By possibly choosing her as his subject, Leonardo immortalised her and also made a profound statement on the complexity and agency of women in a male-dominated society.</p> <p>The ongoing debate over Mona Lisa’s identity underscores this work’s significance as a cultural and historical artefact. It also invites us to reflect on the roles of women in the Renaissance and challenge common narratives that minimise them.</p> <p>In this light, it becomes a legacy of the women who shaped the Renaissance.<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/220666/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/darius-von-guttner-sporzynski-112147">Darius von Guttner Sporzynski</a>, Historian, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency/Shutterstock Editorial </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/who-really-was-mona-lisa-more-than-500-years-on-theres-good-reason-to-think-we-got-it-wrong-220666">original article</a>.</em></p>

Art

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Yoko Ono selling John Lennon's New York home for first time in 50 years

<p>For the first time in 50 years, the house where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived in New York City has hit the market.</p> <p>The brick, bluestone and terra cotta structure at 496 Broome St. was the first home the pair bought together in New York City before they moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. </p> <p>Yoko Ono has held onto the property since she first bought it with the late Beatles member, and has now listed it with her son with JLL Real Estate, for an asking price of $US5.5 million ($8.23m AUD).</p> <p>“The building on Broome St. was sort of like a base for their artistic ventures,” Philip Norman, author of “John Lennon: The Life,” told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/21/real-estate/yoko-ono-lists-former-nyc-home-for-5-5m/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>. “Bank Street was their salon, where people could just walk in.”</p> <p>First built in 1885, the two-storey building has an open-plan format, with a gallery-like ground floor space with 14.4-foot-high ceilings, an open kitchen and a lofted bedroom.</p> <p>On the second floor, there’s a live-work space and a recording studio.</p> <p>“496 Broome St. is both a unique piece of New York history and popular culture and a prime investment opportunity for the right buyer,” said Paul Smadbeck, who holds the listing.</p> <p>“Versatile zoning and its location in one of the city’s most desirable and trendsetting neighbourhoods offers an exciting opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind property.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Mediapunch / JLL Real Estate </em></p>

Real Estate

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Airbnb launches real-life "Up" house - and it actually floats!

<p>Airbnb is taking its latest listing to the sky - literally. </p> <p>The accommodation provider has announced a partnership that will see the iconic house from Pixar's hit film <em>Up</em> being lifted into the air, balloons and all. </p> <p>In their ongoing quest to redefine hospitality, Airbnb has launched a permanent category called “Icons,” which features partnerships with brands and celebrities that promise unforgettable experiences.</p> <p>Suspended over the New Mexico desert with the aid of a crane, the property looks like an exact replica of the home and contains adorable easter eggs from the film - including the Adventure Book. </p> <p>“Icons take you inside worlds that only existed in your imagination — until now,”  Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said in a statement.</p> <p>“As life becomes increasingly digital, we’re focused on bringing more magic into the real world … we’ve created the most extraordinary experiences on Earth." </p> <p>The house offers a stunning view of the desert, which you can enjoy while sitting on replica's of Ellie and Carl's chairs or have breakfast with a view in the kitchen. </p> <p>Alternatively, you could look at the stars while sitting on the front porch - but don't look down because the adventure is out there. </p> <p>Of course there are questions about the logistics of the stay, including plumbing and electricity, but the accommodation giant has assured that the house is “fully functional,” connected to generators and utilities that will be seamlessly managed before and after its flight.</p> <p>Other fantastical listings include a replica of the mansion from the “X-Men ’97” cartoon, a stay at the Ferrari Museum in Italy, and Prince's house that was featured in the legendary film <em>Purple Rain</em>. </p> <p>Check out the <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/1126185893236246260?_set_bev_on_new_domain=1715826165_M2NkZDdkODdhMjcy&amp;source_impression_id=p3_1715826166_A20M4770EGAtl8AV&amp;modal=PHOTO_TOUR_SCROLLABLE" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Up</em></a> listing here, be warned the sweet listing may make you shed a tear or two. </p> <p><em>Images: Airbnb</em></p>

Real Estate

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World's most expensive house up for sale

<p>A French chateau, once owned by a member of the Rothschild family and, later on, the King of Morocco, has gone up for sale with a £363 million (AU$699) price tag. </p> <p>Chateau d’Armainvilliers located at Seine-et-Marne, 48km east of the Eiffel Tower, is the world's most expensive home. </p> <p>Built upon the foundations of a 12th century castle, the sprawling mansion boasts 1,000 hectares of land, 100 rooms across 2,500 square metres of living space, a private lake, and plenty of sequoia trees - the largest trees in the world. </p> <p>Ignace Meuwissen, a self-acclaimed "real estate advisor to the global elite" described the property as a display of "opulence and grandeur".</p> <p>"It is the most expensive castle in France and perhaps in the world. The price of €425million is justified by the property itself but also by the 1,000 hectare land which offers numerous possibilities," he told Paris Match magazine. </p> <p>"An investor could build thousands of apartments there if he wanted."</p> <p>The chateau was first bought by the Rothschild banking empird in the late 19th century, before King Hassan II of Morocco bought it in the 1980s. </p> <p>He then made the chateau more fit for a king, adding a hammam spa, a beauty and hairdressing salon, and a fully-equipped medical and dental facility.</p> <p>The Moroccan King  also added a basement level, which has a network of tunnels, kitchens, cold rooms, storage spaces and staff quarters.</p> <p>The lucky owner will also find Moroccan mosaics and wall tiles decorating the home, and for any avid equestrians, the home also has a stable big enough for 50 horses. </p> <p>However, some luxury property agents have expressed their doubts on whether the property would sell with its nine-figure sum, with one saying it was an "unrealistic" price tag. </p> <p>"It doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd Properties of this type could sell for 20-25 million, or even 30 million if we really fall in love with them. I’m not even sure that Vaux-le-Vicomte (a Baroque French château), which has no marketing plans, would sell at this price," one agent told French real estate publication <em>Le Figaro Immobilier</em>.</p> <p>Others were unsure whether the changes made by the King in the 1980s would suit modern tastes. </p> <p><em>Images: Whisper Auctions</em></p>

Real Estate

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Princess Diana's childhood home up for rent

<p>The house Princess Diana spent her childhood and teenage years in is now available for the public to rent. </p> <p>Althorp House, located in West Northamptonshire in England, is owned by Diana's brother Earl Spencer, who has lived on the sprawling property as custodian of the estate since 1992. </p> <p>The expansive property has been listed for royal fans with deep pockets to rent on <a href="https://www.elysian-estates.co.uk/althorp/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Elysian Estates</a>, an upmarket equivalent of Airbnb.</p> <p>Althorp House, which is a 90 minute drive out of London, was built in 1508 and has been in the Spencer family for 19 generations.</p> <p>Lady Diana lived in the 90-room stately home for most of her childhood and teenage years, before she married the then-Prince Charles in 1981.</p> <p>Not just one grand property, the estate covers 13,000 acres of countryside as it encompasses cottages, farms, woodlands and villages, which are open to visitors but only at certain times of the year.</p> <p>Now, the home is once again available to rent via Elysian Estates.</p> <p>"Althorp offers unparalleled levels of service, privacy and luxury to rival the finest properties anywhere in the world; yet retains the truly welcoming and homely feel that makes Althorp so special," the listing says.</p> <p>"Walk in the footsteps of kings and queens, feast or celebrate in spectacular surroundings, marvel at the sense of history and artwork, and slumber in pure luxury."</p> <p>In the main house, there are six state bedrooms to choose from offering "a level of opulence befitting royalty, with these very rooms playing as much a part of English history as any royal palace".</p> <p>Prices for the rental are not yet publicly available as an enquiry must be sent to reserve the opulent property.</p> <p>The listing stated that the stay includes "butler service, a team of private chefs and housekeeping, with a dedicated concierge service".</p> <p>Althorp is today most famous for being the final resting place of Princess Diana following her death in Paris.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Instagram</em></p>

Real Estate