Category Archives: Human behavior

Peña issues a non-apologetic corruption apology

Ah, the sheer hubris of it all, an apology that really isn’t from the Slick Willie of the South.

From United Press International:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has apologized for a $7 million luxury home buying scandal of which he and his wife Angelica Rivera were previously cleared of wrongdoing.

Last August, an investigation by Mexico’s Public Function Secretariat found no conflict of interest perpetrated by Peña Nieto or Mexican Finance Secretary Jose Luis Videgaray over awarding contracts to companies that sold homes to them and first lady Rivera, according to federal comptroller Virgilio Andrade.

“There was no conflict of interest,” Andrade then told reporters. “Independently of what public opinion has established, this is the legal dimension of the case.”

Peña Nieto on Monday apologized, stating the scandal damaged the Mexican people’s faith in the presidency. He said he did not break the law and promised to work harder to fight corruption.

“For this reason, with all humility I ask your forgiveness,” Peña Nieto said while addressing political leaders during the unveiling of a new anti-corruption system broadcast on television. “I repeat my sincere and profound apology for the offense and indignation I have caused you.”

When the mass paparazzi instinct turns lethal

The invention of the cell phone [thanks, Hedy Lamar] and the decision to use it to house first still, then moving image cameras, complete with sound capability, have transformed daily life.

Throw in the Internet and the rise of viral videos and still images made each of us all vigilant for opportunities for images to share, both free and for profit.

As Benedict Evans, trend analyst for the Silicon Valley investment bankers at Andreessen Horowitz noted last year, “more photos will be taken this year than were taken on film in the entire history of the analogue [film] camera business.”

While this technology enables us to creative a documentary record unparalleled in human history, the omnipresence of the camera plus the egoistic drive to assert olur being in the world can lead to mishaps, especially when we all turn paparazzi simultaneously when presented with an irresistible image.

We’ve heard of lethal selfie accidents, when folks seeking to self-immortalize end up proving self mortality.

But then there the time times when the same drive leads to death of the object of our visual obsession.

From the Associated Press:

A mountain goat in Alaska jumped into the ocean to get away from crowds snapping its picture, and the animal drowned when it couldn’t get back to land because of the crush of people on shore.

Alaska State Troopers say it’s imperative to give animals adequate space. That didn’t happen Saturday in downtown Seward, and troopers say in an online post that it “resulted in a wild animal dying for no cause.”

It comes amid a series of incidents of people getting too close to wildlife, including tourists in Yellowstone National Park who picked up a bison calf they thought was abandoned. It had to be euthanized.

 In Alaska, troopers got a call about people harassing the goat and another about a large group following it onto the breakwater rocks.

Chart of the day: A question of black and white

From the Pew Research Center:


Headline of the day: American image obsession

From the Guardian:

Half of all US food produce is thrown away, new research suggests

The demand for ‘perfect’ fruit and veg means much is discarded, damaging the climate and leaving people hungry

Map of the day: European views of Muslims

From Europeans Fear Wave of Refugees Will Mean More Terrorism, Fewer Jobs, a new report from the Pew Research Center:

BLOG Euormuslims

Today’s young adults plagued by greater anxiety

More and more, American college students wish they could retreat to childhood’s less anxious times, though whether it’s due simply the fear of crushing student loan debt or existential threats such as climate change, global economic uncertainty, and the pressures of outsourced labor remain open questions.

From the British Psychology Society:

In Western democracies, young adults are living with their parents for longer, spending more time in education and delaying having children  So much so that some commentators have suggested that we need a new term, such as “emerging adulthood”, to describe the phase of life between late adolescence and true adulthood. Adding to this picture, a new cross-generational study [$36 to read] in International Journal of Behavioural Development of hundreds of undergrads at two US universities finds that students today are more anxious about growing up and maturing than students from previous generations.

April Smith and her colleagues took advantage of data collected from male and female students at a northeastern private university in 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2012 when they were aged around 20, that included their answers to four statements about “fears of maturity”. Specifically, the students rated their agreement with items like “I wish that I could return to the security of childhood” and disagreement with items like “I feel happy that I am not a child anymore” (the questions were part of a larger investigation into eating disorders). The researchers also had access to similar data from female students at a large public university in southeastern USA collected in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2012.

The results from both universities revealed a clear trend – students today have more fears about maturing than students of the same age in previous generations. The researchers said this was a worrying result because fear of maturity is associated with negative outcomes including poorer psychological wellbeing.

Quite why today’s students have an increased reluctance to leave their childhoods behind remains open to speculation because as the researchers put it: “empirical studies on adolescents’ and young adults’ fears related to the natural ageing process are almost entirely absent from the literature.” Smith and her team suggest that these fears might in some ways be a realistic response to changing circumstances, including the recent global economic recession. Also contemporary students’ reluctance to grow up might be related to changes to parenting styles – for instance, research from the UK shows that parents today are less willing to take risks, as revealed by the drastic reduction in the number of children permitted to walk to school on their own.

It’s not clear how far we can generalise these results beyond US undergrads to non-students or young adults in other cultures. It’s also worth noting that it’s possible that all age groups today (not just young adults) are more anxious about ageing than were people of a similar age in previous eras. Still, as Smith and her colleagues put it, the new findings certainly suggest that “today’s emerging adults seem reluctant to take on life’s next chapter” and that we perhaps need to do more to remind them that “maturity’s wisdom, knowledge and experience are precious, hard-won and nothing to fear.”

Headline of the day: He seems fairly unbalanced

From the Guardian:

Six women accuse Roger Ailes, raising speculation of ouster at Fox News

The Fox News executive has been accused of sustained and brutal sexual harassment – but in the past, he has not been one to bow to external pressure

UPDATE: A screencap of the London Daily Mail homepage teaser for this story:

BLOG Ailes