Most cancers caused by bad luck, not lifestyle

A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that of the 31 cancers studied, only nine were found to be linked to lifestyle or genetic faults.  The majority of cancers are due to “bad luck,” which in scientific terms means “random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells.” So most cancers are beyond our control. Do you find that comforting? I do, especially when faced with what often feels like an endless list of things to do or not do, or eat and not eat, all in the name of health! The research was published in the journal Science.

Speaking while female

Sheryl Sandburg and Adam Grant writing in The New York Times

“When male employees contributed ideas that brought in new revenue, they got significantly higher performance evaluations. But female employees who spoke up with equally valuable ideas did not improve their managers’ perception of their performance.

“Also, the more the men spoke up, the more helpful their managers believed them to be. But when women spoke more, there was no increase in their perceived helpfulness.

“This speaking-up double bind harms organisations by depriving them of valuable ideas.”

“The long-term solution to the double bind of speaking while female is to increase the number of women in leadership roles.”

In a free society, people have to be free to offend each other

Nick Clegg speaking on LBC radio, 8 January 2015

“Here’s the bottom line – at the end of the day in a free society people have to be free to offend each other.

“You cannot have freedom unless people are free to offend each other. We have no right not to be offended. That fundamental principle of being free to offend people – and not saying somehow that you have a right not be offended in a democratic, open society such as ours is exactly what was under threat by these murderous barbarians.

“To even suggest that there is a rationale, an explanation, a motive that somehow absolves them or sheds greater light on such a horrific, cold hearted, cowardly act, I find outrageous.”

The expiry of gender inequality by 2030

UN Women led the call to action from women leaders around the world at a recent meeting in Santiago, Chile, in February 2015, saying “We declare 2015 to be a momentous year for gender equality and women’s empowerment.” As well as renewing the demand that women be “at the heart of decision-making in all spheres,” the call to action sets a deadline for the expiry of gender inequality – 2030 – and shares the responsibility for equality across society. This requires “male champions of women’s rights; and shared responsibility for action – every woman and girl, every man and boy.”

Yes! Use methodologies and skills to solve real-world problems

Researchers are warning that there will continue to be a dire lack of women in influential monetary policy positions because too few women are studying economics.

In the UK, women make up just 27 per cent of economics students, despite accounting for 57 per cent of the undergraduate population.”

Increasingly, university economics curriculums are being seen as both the problem and the solution.  The problem being that much of what is taught is statistical modelling and theories based on rational man, neither of which translate directly to real-world situations where life is messy and complicated and people do not always act rationally.

Students have started a Rethinking Economics campaign with the goal to change the image of the field from being a springboard into a banking career to one as an evidence-based method of inquiry into real-life problems.  Current economics leaders believe that this development could help entice more people, men and women, who want to help others into the field.

Tending to the invisible wounds of conflict

I found this incredibly inspirational!

Gardening Leave is a charity that works with veterans to help them achieve the World Health Organisation’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The organisation does this through horticultural therapy providing “professionally conducted, individualised, goal-oriented treatment sessions” and also campaigns to reduce the stigma of mental ill-health.

At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. George Orwell