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social studies

Personal pronouns linked to interpersonal problems Add to ...

‘I’ got the blues

“We each vary in how much we use first-person-singular pronouns (I, me, myself) in our speech and writing, and how much we use first-person-plural pronouns (we, us, ourselves),” says BPS Research Digest. “Researchers say it’s a kind of habit and not something we usually have much control over. Now, a study conducted in Germany claims that people who are more prolific users of ‘I’ and ‘me’ tend to have more interpersonal problems and to experience more depression. ‘Using first-person-singular pronouns highlights the self as a distinct entity,’ say the researchers, led by Johannes Zimmermann, ‘whereas using first-person-plural pronouns emphasizes its embedded-ness into social relationships.’”

In defence of roaches

“Cockroaches can be found almost anywhere that supports life,” writes Brian Palmer in The Washington Post. “The microbes in the bellies of forest roaches break down leaf litter and other plant materials that are indigestible to many mammals. They are pollinators in the tropics. Desert lizards feed on roaches. In the southeastern United States … cockroaches constitute more than 50 per cent of the diet of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, a small black-and-white bird with a red spot behind the eyes of males. If these roaches disappeared, the birds and lizards that feed on them would suffer, and some might plummet dangerously close to extinction.”

Loneliness can kill you

“Just as we once knew that infectious diseases killed, but didn’t know that germs spread them, we’ve known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how,” writes Judith Shulevitz in The New Republic. “Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejigs the molecules on genes that govern behaviour, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer – tumours can metastasize faster in lonely people.”

Jumping the queue

“They are 1 per centers who are 100 per cent despicable,” writes Tara Palmeri in The New York Post. “Some wealthy Manhattan moms have figured out a way to cut the long lines at Disney World – by hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they and their kids can jump to the front. … The ‘black-market Disney guides’ run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day. ‘My daughter waited one minute to get on It’s a Small World – the other kids had to wait 2½ hours,’ crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.”

A captive audience rebels

“Singing on a commercial flight is not illegal, but apparently it can get you thrown off a plane if you refuse to stop,” says the Los Angeles Times. “That was the lesson learned by a woman on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York last week. The flight was diverted to Kansas City because she was disruptive and apparently refused to stop singing. Her song of choice? I Will Always Love You, the Dolly Parton tune made famous by Whitney Houston in the movie The Bodyguard.” The airline would only say that the flight was diverted because of a “disruptive passenger.” One passenger’s video shows a woman being led off the plane in handcuffs as she continues to belt out the love ballad.

Thought du jour

“Most people do not believe in anything very much and our greatest poetry is given to us by those who do.”

Cyril Connolly, English intellectual (1903-74)

 

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