My Top 10 Articles for July 1st-7th

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My Top 10 Articles for this week range from early childhood education addressing gender bias, the way to manage professional life, Google Map’s new feature aiming to improve public transportation trip, to central bank independence.

Also, in honor of US Women Soccer team’s victory in Women World Cup, I featured an article talking about how a legislation to ban discrimination against girls in school led to those US female athletes’ great achievement. I truly believe that such legislation would empower girls and women around the world. Other countries should learn from USA, if they have not adopted similar policies.

The purpose of my Top 10 Article project is to share articles that I believe contain essential information for parents, potential parents, children, or anyone who care about the next generation. I ranked the articles subjectively. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!

10. Facebook is aiming to enhance users’ well-being, while it has been criticized for having caused mixed impacts on users’ well-being

Facebook and other social media have caused addiction and negatively impacted many users’ mental health, while helping many of us connect with friends and families. For example, a study earlier this year by researchers found that people who deactivated their Facebook accounts were happier and more satisfied and felt less anxious and depressed.

But actually Facebook has a “well-being” team made up of researchers to reduce any negative effects associated with using Facebook. Facebook’s researchers define the term “well-being” as “how people perceive their lives.” Within that scope, they focus on three specific areas: unhealthy amounts of time spent on Facebook, loneliness, and declines in self-worth related to users comparing themselves to others, according to the article.

(Source: Fortune)           

9. Japan has resumed commercial whale hunting

When it comes to whale hunting, I feel deeply shamed of my country that recently withdrew from the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial whale hunting. Whale meat is completely unnecessary in Japan, where food is abundant and much of it is wasted.

There is no legitimacy in Japanese government’s claim that Japan has a right to hunt whales because eating whales is Japan’s tradition. Whales used to be the source of protein for the poor after World War II, when the country was struggling to feed the population. Eating whale meat peaked in the early 1960s, falling off as other meat became more available. Nowadays few younger Japanese are willing to eat whales. Only some older people nostalgically recall eating whale meat in school lunches.

(Source: Japan Today)

8. Will technology improve women’s work?

Automation and Artificial Intelligence are likely to displace men and women equally over the next decade. But, women will face more difficulty to transit and to capture new opportunities. Many women are in service or clerical (administrative or routine document) jobs, which are more likely to be replaced by automation. Also, more women find it harder to switch jobs or to relocate for employment, partly for family reasons. Furthermore, women may be disadvantaged compared to men for new types of tech-related jobs, such as social media manager, data scientists, while more men are in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field than women.

We need to encourage girls and women to study and pursue STEM field. But, on the other hand, good news is technology may break down barriers faced by women, enable them to work flexibly, and open up new job opportunities.

(Source: Harvard Business Review)

7. Tackling gender stereotype from early ages

Tackling gender bias early in life is critical to bridge gender gaps, because young toddlers begin to identify gender and preschoolers start to think what they should do or should not. Thus, we need to reinforce from early stage that both boys and girls can develop the ability to think critically, communicate, and build confidence. If not, existing gender stereotype will prevail and give disadvantages to girls.

As India is extending free and compulsory education for 3-6 years old children, the country – infamous for gender discrimination and sex crimes against women – has a good potential to address gender stereotype problems by properly educating preschoolers.

(Source: Bookings Institution)

6. Google Map now tells users how late or crowded buses and trains are

A great news especially for commuters using public transportation and for parents commuting/traveling with small children. Google Map has started to provide information on live traffic delays and prediction on crowdedness for buses and trains in nearly 200 cities worldwide.

(Source: Google)

5. What you should do if your professional decline is coming much sooner than you think

The level of happiness declines in your 30s and 40s, bottoms out and increase in you 50s until 70s, as agreed by many researchers. After 70, some stay happy, while others see a decline in happiness. People who showed intellectual giftedness at very young age tend to feel unhappy at 80, because memories of remarkable success provides an invidious contrast and less remarkable later life, according to the article.

Then, what should we do to stay happy longer? Learn about our life stage, understand what we can do well for each stage, and gradually prepare for our happy later life, as the author states. For example, there are two kinds of intelligence: 1) fluid intelligence, which relates to being innovative and observing new things; and 2) crystallized intelligence, the ability to use knowledge ground accumulated in the past. While fluid intelligence peaks in your 20s or 30s, crystallized intelligence enhances through your 40s and does not diminish until very late. The implication is that once you reach mid 40s, you can focus on the profession, field, or position in which crystallized intelligence brings more advantage.

While many of us pursue power, fame, status, and money at early stage, it is not feasible to pursue those when you advance your life. Instead, you can start focusing more on spirituality, faith, and wisdom, which the author call relates to “Eulogy Virtues” in contrast to “Resume Virtues.” After all, at your funeral, people will remember who you really are – such as your kindness, honesty, dignity – rather than your professional achievement and amazing career at an early age. Thus, after your 50s or 60s, you should strive to detach progressively from the most obvious early rewards (power, fame, and money).

(Source: The Atlantic)

4. Gender Equality Act led to US women football team’s victory in Women World Cup for a record of fourth time

US schools have to treat boys and girls equally in all educational programs including sports, thanks to the Education Amendment Act that became law in 1972, when girls’ sport activities were almost non-existent except cheerleading. Today American girls are enthusiastically engaged in sports including football, and many of them wish to become professional athletes.

I hope that all countries adopt similar policies so that boys and girls are treated equally in school. When I was a young girl in Japan, I saw boys glory in boys’ baseball teams that were well funded by my school and the local government, while there were no girls’ sport teams in the same school.  

(Source: The Guardian)

3. What if everyone votes

Voters’ turnout for the US 2016 Presidential Election was 60%, which is low for a rich country. If every American had voted (or voting had been mandatory in USA) for the election, Hillary Clinton would be the US President now. Those who did not vote were relatively uneducated, young, or non-white. If voting were universal or mandatory, parties would need to push policies toward the center of their election campaigns, instead of appealing their supporting base as we saw during the 2016 presidential campaign, stated by the article.

This article helped me make up my mind to vote for Japan’s upper house election set for later this month. The big ruling party of Japan would most likely win the election without competitive opposition parties. Still, voting is one of a few opportunities for a citizen to participate in political decision making.

(Source: The Economist)

2. Why central banks should be independent

Central banks’ objectives, such as price stability, often contradict political or electoral pressure to deliver short-term economic growth, which is why central banks should be independent.

The move of Turkish President firing the country’s central bank governor came after the president complained that high interest rates (set by the central bank’s policy rates) were hurting the country’s economy. It’s a textbook case of central bank independence being hindered.  

(Source: Financial Times)

1. We finally know how we should plant trees to greatly slow down global warming

We have been aware for years that trees can help save the world from global warming. Now the data and science finally exist to show that if the right species of trees are planted in the right soil across the planet, the emerging forest could capture a massive amount of carbon dioxide enough to greatly slow down global warming in the next 40-100 years, according to the article.

(Source: Scientific American)  

(Photo by Jan's Archive on Unsplash)