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A painting of King Richard III by an unknown artist from the 16th Century is seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London in this file photograph dated August 24, 2012. (NEIL HALL/Reuters)
A painting of King Richard III by an unknown artist from the 16th Century is seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London in this file photograph dated August 24, 2012. (NEIL HALL/Reuters)

Social Studies

What’s in a name? A great deal, it appears Add to ...

Hanging on to Richard

“Distant relatives of England’s King Richard III have escalated their fight to have the much-maligned monarch’s mortal remains buried in York, claiming that the matter is a human rights issue,” reports NBCNews.com. “Even before the bones were exhumed, the University of Leicester was granted a licence from the British Ministry of Justice that gave university officials the power to decide the disposition of any remains that were found.” The relatives intend to argue that the ministry failed to consult them about the exhumation and reburial, and that this failure breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Stress is my copilot

“Where you work can be an excellent predictor of your health, happiness and stress levels,” says 247wallst.com. “A recent Gallup poll demonstrates the extent to which workers in different professions tend to have similar levels of overall well-being. According to the 2012 results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, physicians had the highest level of well-being of any major profession, while transportation workers including drivers, pilots, flight attendants and air-traffic controllers had the lowest.”

To share or not to share?

“It’s both a scientific mystery and a parenting conundrum: How do children learn to share?” writes Carolyn Johnson of the Boston Globe. “Children as young as three understand the concept of fairness. Fair means one child should get the same number of stickers as another. But put a child in charge, and fairness seems to go out the window. Young children tend to hoard when they are the ones deciding how much of their own candy or toys to hand over. New research is beginning to untangle the disconnect between knowledge and behaviour, with a surprising finding: Young children asked to predict how they will divvy up stickers … anticipate they will tip the scale in their favour. When it comes to sharing, the three- to six-year-old set is – scientifically speaking – a bunch of self-aware hypocrites.”

Letting go is hard to do

“For most Chinese parents and grandparents,” says the Shanghai Daily, “the first thing in the morning is to take their children or grandchildren to school – primary, middle or even high school, when children can certainly walk by themselves, take a bus and manage transport. It can be on foot, by bicycle, moped or car. It’s not uncommon to see high school seniors dropped off by their parents. In U.S. and Western countries students would be mortified by their hovering parents. These young people are commonly known as ‘big babies’ … In many cases, the escort service doesn’t end even after a young person enters university.”

Are these the luckiest names?

Reactions to names are based on unconscious associations of startling simplicity, says Charles Nevin in BBC News magazine. “We will think someone is likely to be successful if he or she has a name given to royalty, that a woman is likely to be attractive if she has a soft, feminine-sounding name, that a boy or a man is likely to be attractive if he has a hard, masculine-sounding name. For those who argue for the inspiring evolution of our species into rational sophisticates, it gets worse,” says Nevin, citing research from the University of Hertfordshire. “We think someone is likely to be lucky if their name sounds like ‘luck’ and has the same number of letters. So Jack is thought to be luckier than other men, while Lucy is thought to be the luckiest name for a woman.”

Thought du jour

Confidence that one is of value and significance as a unique individual is one of the most precious possessions which anyone can have.

Anthony Storr, English psychiatrist and author (1920-2001)

 

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