• Day: July 28, 2018

  • 10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (7/27/18) – Listverse

    via 10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (7/27/18) – Listverse

     

    10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (7/27/18)

    MORRIS M. 

     

    Keeping up with the news is hard. So hard, in fact, that we’ve decided to save you the hassle by rounding up the most significant, unusual, or just plain old mind-blowing stories each week.

    The last full week of July was marked by tragedy. An inexplicable shooting in Toronto, a dam collapse in Laos, and a horrific wildfire in Greece all wreaked havoc on humanity. But while sadness was part and parcel of this week’s news, there were more upbeat stories, too—alongside plenty that were just straight-up newsworthy.

    10A Devastating Wildfire Killed Scores In Greece

    Photo credit: nbcnews.com

    It was one of the worst wildfires to ever hit Greece. On Monday afternoon, a blaze started in the village of Mati on the edges of Athens. Thanks to the dry conditions, it quickly became an inferno. The coastline, the nearby countryside, and some districts of the capital were engulfed in fast-moving flames. At the time of this writing, over 80 have been confirmed killed, with another 40 still missing.

    Among the dead were tourists and children, including one group of 26 charred bodies found clutching each other at a cliff’s edge. They are thought to have been a family. In many ways, it could have been even worse. Extremely close proximity to the sea allowed hundreds of people to escape the fire by running into the ocean.

    An investigation has now been opened into the possibility of arson. Greece has a track record of wildfires springing from attempts to clear forest land for new buildings. It could be that the deaths of these 80 people rest on the conscience of a single idiot.[1]

    9A Mass Shooting Caused Grief (And Mystery) In Toronto

    Photo credit: nationalpost.com

    On Sunday night, Faisal Hussain took a gun and walked onto busy Danforth Avenue in Toronto. There, he opened fire, killing one teenage girl and one child and wounding 13 others before committing suicide. He left in his wake not only heartbreak, but a horrible mystery.

    While many mass shootings appear to be motiveless (we still don’t know why Stephen Paddock killed 58 people in Las Vegas last year), the actions of Hussain seem almost cruelly unfathomable because there are perhaps too many possible motives to count.[2]

    He was friends with some Islamic extremists, yet the police say it wasn’t a terrorist attack. He was on the fringes of Toronto’s gang culture, yet the shooting was too random for gang violence. He was mentally ill, yet doctors believe that it was not to a degree that might have triggered a massacre.

    Ultimately, we may never know why such bloodshed came to Toronto on Sunday. All we do know is that, for whatever combination of reasons, two people are now dead because of Hussain.

    8We Heard The Shocking Details Of MGM’s Plan To Sue The Vegas Shooting Victims

    Photo credit: chicagotribune.com

    For centuries to come, this will be the lawsuit that gets trotted out whenever anyone wants to prove that the legal system is screwed beyond hope. At a press conference on Monday, we learned the shocking details of MGM Resorts International’s plan to sue the victims of last year’s Las Vegas shooting. Filed in court last week, MGM’s lawsuit would drag survivors of America’s worst-ever mass shooting through the trauma all over again.[3]

    MGM is not seeking money from the victims. Instead, it is seeking to avoid having to pay damages to those who were wounded—some 850 people. MGM contends that the shooting was an act of terrorism. As a result, they believe that they are not liable under a federal act passed after 9/11. This is despite both federal and local authorities saying that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, was not a terrorist.

    To call this lawsuit insane would be an understatement. Aside from making MGM look like the bad guys in a Hollywood flick about heartless corporate scumbags, it will ensure that many of the survivors are forced to relive the massacre in court.

    7We May Have Discovered Liquid Water On Mars

    Photo credit: newscientist.com

    This week, a group of Italian scientists published a paper that could well change how we view our solar system. They discovered an underground lake of liquid water on Mars. If confirmed, the finding could represent our best chance for locating alien life in the near future.

    Briny water isn’t unheard-of on the Red Planet, but it has previously always been either seasonal or frozen inside chunks of ice. This lake would be unique because it seems to be in a permanently liquid state. A stable source of water is one of the essentials for life (as we know it) to arise.

    If the lake is for real, though, getting to it will be a problem. It exists 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mi) below the surface of the Martian south pole, a tall order for exploring.[4]

    6Hackers Stole Data On A Quarter Of Singapore’s Population

    It was the eye-watering numbers that really made it headline news. Last Friday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared that a massive cyberattack had hit the country’s biggest health provider, making off with the data of 1.5 million patients—over a quarter of the city-state’s population. While the majority of those targeted only had their most basic details stolen, another 160,000 had details about their prescriptions snatched.

    Although the main focus was on the numbers, perhaps the most chilling part was the political nature of the breach. Prime Minister Lee was among those targeted, alongside several other ministers.[5]

    Lee claimed that the attack was seemingly carried out with the backing of a nation-state, likely one looking for embarrassing or blackmail-worthy material. With a number of countries recently flexing their hacking muscles on the world stage, identifying the culprit could be even harder than it seems.

    5A Secret Recording Embarrassed The White House

    Photo credit: The Atlantic

    Forget Stormy Daniels. The big sex scandal to hit the White House now goes by the name of Karen McDougal. On Wednesday, a secret recording from 2016 was broadcast on CNN, detailing a conversation between Trump and his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, about paying hush money to McDougal over a kiss-and-tell she planned to publish in the National Enquirer.

    The real story of the tape wasn’t its contents. Although it appears to confirm that Trump had an affair with McDougal, it offers no evidence that he actually broke the law by authorizing hush payments. No, the real story was the tape’s origins. It was released by Cohen.

    A longtime lawyer for Trump, Cohen was disgraced during the Stormy Daniels scandal and forced to walk away from the president. Now he appears to have decided to turn on his old boss, and he presumably has the tapes to make Trump’s life very uncomfortable. He’s also hired lawyer Lanny Davis, a Democratic stalwart and Clinton ally who specializes in attacking Republicans.[6]

    It seems likely that this tape is just the opening salvo in an upcoming Trump-Cohen war.

    4A Bizarre Scandal Threatened To Bring Down Emmanuel Macron’s Presidency

    Photo credit: nypost.com

    Whatever you may think of him, French President Emmanuel Macron is usually adept at staying on top of things. Which is part of what makes the huge scandal currently rocking his presidency so bizarre.

    On May 1, Macron’s personal bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, was filmed impersonating a police officer to rough up two rock-throwing protesters. The government was told, and Benalla was given a slap on the wrist. The footage was then made public last week, and people began to ask why Benalla hadn’t been punished properly.

    Macron’s response? He fell completely silent for five whole days.[7]

    If there’s one thing that Macron likes to do, it’s talk. Endlessly. So his sudden absence made journalists wonder if there was more to the story. They started digging and discovered that Benalla was being paid an inflated salary of €10,000 a month. He also had his own government car with a siren for cutting through traffic and his own key to the house shared by Macron and his wife in northern France. Clearly, something very unusual was up.

    Benalla has since been fired, but the scandal is being compared in the Paris press to Watergate. A vote of no-confidence in Macron has been arranged, but don’t expect it to succeed. He will almost certainly survive this scandal. His reputation may not.

    3Colombia’s Ex-President Stepped Down To Face Bribery Charges

    Photo credit: BBC

    For a country with a long track record of impunity for the rich and powerful, it was a bombshell moment. On Tuesday, former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe stepped down from the Senate to face charges of corruption and witness tampering. His summons marked the first time a Colombian court has ever asked an ex-president to testify.

    The charges are largely of Uribe’s own making. For years, the former president has been suspected of funding right-wing death squads to carry out atrocities. Those charges are unproven. But when lawmaker Ivan Cepeda tried to open an investigation in 2012, Uribe demanded an investigation into Cepeda.

    Colombia’s Supreme Court dismissed the charges against Cepeda. In reviewing the case, however, they found evidence that Uribe had bribed witnesses. Cepeda was cleared, and a case was opened against Uribe.[8]

    Now that he’s left the Senate, Uribe’s case will be transferred to the Public Prosecution Service, which critics say will be far easier for the former president to pay off. Yet his resignation still marks a defeat. Uribe was one of the most powerful anti–peace deal voices in Colombia. His exit makes it far less likely that the deal will be undone.

    2A Laos Dam Collapse Killed Scores

    Photo credit: Time

    At the time of this writing, we still don’t know the true death toll. After a hydroelectric dam failed in Laos on Monday night, it unleashed a torrent of water that obliterated entire rural communities and caused catastrophic flooding even over the border in Cambodia. As of Thursday, the number of the dead stands at 27. But with hundreds of people missing, it is thought that the final toll could be as much as 10 times higher.

    In addition to this, 3,000 people are currently trapped by floodwaters and awaiting rescue. Meanwhile, some 6,000 families have been displaced in Laos, with even more displaced in Cambodia. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said it could be the worst natural disaster to hit Laos in decades.[9]

    However, “natural” may be a stretch. Warnings about the dam had been sounded leading up to the disaster, but it seems that nobody did a damn thing.

    1Pakistan’s Election Descended Into Violence And Scandal

    Photo credit: BBC

    Everyone was braced for it, but still the violence was shocking. Pakistan went to the polls for a general election on Wednesday in the shadow of a suicide bombing on Sunday that killed a candidate for former cricketer Imran Khan’s populist nationalist PTI party.

    As the polls opened, a further spate of shooting and bomb attacks killed another 33 people. Crazily, this wasn’t even the most controversial part of the election. That came when the PML-N party claimed that the military had rigged the vote.

    This isn’t as wild a claim as it seems. Pakistan’s military is notorious for coups and meddling in civilian politics. However, it’s also a claim clearly designed to help the ruling PML-N ignore results which currently have it in second place behind PTI. In a terse press conference on Thursday, PML-N said it would refuse to step down, adding that every other party running aside from PTI was alleging election interference, too.[10]

    If a so-called “soft coup” has indeed taken place, it would mean that this election failed to deliver Pakistan’s second ever civilian transfer of power. Whatever the truth, it now looks certain that Khan will be the next prime minister. His stated plan to turn Pakistan into an “Islamic welfare state” will have repercussions for years to come.

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  • These are the 10 habits of unlikeable people | Ladders. I CONFESS. I have them too.

    via These are the 10 habits of unlikeable people | Ladders

    No one is perfect. But that’s a very lame excuse! No? I read this article and said. Oh, Gosh! I have the same habits which surface at wrong times.  Interesting article for deeper personal introspection and improvement.  LIked and shared.

     

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    THE WHOLE HUMAN

    10 habits of unlikeable people

    Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few — the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ).

    In a study conducted at UCLA, subjects rated over 500 descriptions of people based on their perceived significance to likeability. The top-rated descriptors had nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent, or attractive (innate characteristics). Instead, the top descriptors were sincerity, transparency, and capable of understanding (another person).

    These adjectives, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence. TalentSmartresearch data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable; they outperform those who don’t by a large margin.


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    Likeability is so critical to your success at work that it can completely alter your performance. A University of Massachusetts study found that managers were willing to accept an auditor’s argument with no supporting evidence if he or she was likeable, and Jack Zenger found that just 1 in 2,000 unlikeable leaders were considered effective by their colleagues.

    Being likeable is as much about avoiding behaviors that decrease your likeability as it is about magnifying those that increase it. To help you with this, I did some digging to uncover the key behaviors that hold people back when it comes to likeability. Make certain these behaviors don’t catch you by surprise.

    Name-dropping

    It’s great to know important and interesting people, but using every conversation as an opportunity to name-drop is pretentious and silly. Just like humble-bragging, people see right through it. Instead of making you look interesting, it makes people feel as though you’re insecure and overly concerned with having them like you. It also cheapens what you have to offer. When you connect everything you know with whoyou know (instead of what you know or what you think), conversations lose their color.

    People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them that you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than who you know.

    Emotional hijackings

    My company provides 360° feedback assessments, and we come across far too many instances of people throwing things, screaming, making people cry, and other telltale signs of an emotional hijacking. An emotional hijacking demonstrates low emotional intelligence. As soon as you show that level of instability, people will question whether or not you’re trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts.

    Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they might “deserve it,” turns a huge amount of negative attention your way. You’ll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. Controlling your emotions keeps you in the driver’s seat. When you’re able to control your emotions around someone who wrongs you, they end up looking bad instead of you.

    Humble-bragging

    We all know those people who like to brag about themselves behind the mask of self-deprecation. For example, the gal who makes fun of herself for being a nerd when she really wants to draw attention to the fact that she’s smart or the guy who makes fun of himself for having a strict diet when he really wants you to know how healthy and fit he is. While many people think that self-deprecation masks their bragging, everyone sees right through it. This makes the bragging all the more frustrating, because it isn’t just bragging; it’s also an attempt to deceive.

    Whipping out your phone

    Nothing turns someone off to you like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all of your energy on the conversation. You’ll find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.

    Having a closed mind

    If you want to be likeable, you must be open-minded, which makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is unwilling to listen. Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace, where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require that you believe what they believe or condone their behavior; it simply means that you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick.

    Not asking enough questions

    The biggest mistake people make in conversation is being so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening but that you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.

    Being too serious

    People gravitate toward those who are passionate. That said, it’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested, because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likeable people balance their passion for their work with their ability to have fun. At work they are serious, yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They focus on having meaningful interactions with their coworkers, remembering what people said to them yesterday or last week, which shows people that they are just as important to them as their work is.

    Gossiping

    People make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossiping. Wallowing in talk of other people’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip ever finds its way to them, but gossiping is guaranteed to make you look negative and spiteful every time.

    Sharing too much, too early

    While getting to know people requires a healthy amount of sharing, sharing too much about yourself right off the bat comes across wrong. Be careful to avoid sharing personal problems and confessions too quickly. Likeable people let the other person guide them as to when it’s the right time for them to open up. Over-sharing comes across as self-obsessed and insensitive to the balance of the conversation. Think of it this way: if you’re getting into the nitty gritty of your life without learning about the other person first, you’re sending the message that you see them as nothing more than a sounding board for your problems.

    Sharing too much on social media

    Studies have shown that people who over-share on social media do so because they crave acceptance, but the Pew Research Center has revealed that this over-sharing works against them by making people dislike them. Sharing on social media can be an important mode of expression, but it needs to be done thoughtfully and with some self-control. Letting everyone know what you ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with how many times you walked your dog today will do much more harm than good when it comes to likeability.

    Bringing it all together

    When you build your awareness of how your actions are received by other people, you pave the way to becoming more likeable.

     

     

  • Here’s why you should stop looking for a mentor | Ladders

    via Here’s why you should stop looking for a mentor | Ladders

     

    MENTORSHIPS

    Here’s why you should stop looking for a mentor

    Will you be my mentor?

    This question makes me cringe. It’s not that I don’t want to help. I do — I really do. It’s just that when someone asks me to be their mentor, I don’t know what I’m signing up for. The question feels like a marriage proposal from someone I’ve never met, an indefinite labor contract with unspecified terms of service, and a giant pile of responsibility on an already full plate.

    But I understand where people are coming from. We’ve been spoon-fed the idea that finding a mentor is a prerequisite for success. Countless business books and self-help guides preach the importance of a good mentor. Under this image we have nurtured, a mentor takes a mentee under their wing, like Socrates and Plato, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, and Mr. Miyagi and Daniel. The relationship then blossoms, and the mentee achieves philosophical greatness, makes billions, or wins the All Valley Karate Championship.

    I hate to be a buzzkill, but this isn’t how things work in real life. We wait for a good mentor to arrive like a prophet, whisk us from our canyon of despair, and push us up the ladder of success. But that mentor often doesn’t come, at least not in the form that we’re expecting. We then use the lack of a mentor as an excuse for not getting started.

    The solution to this quandary appears in a scene in Good Will Hunting, one of my favorite movies. In the scene, Sean McGuire, the therapist played by Robin Williams, asks Matt Damon’s genius character, Will Hunting, if he has a soulmate—someone who challenges him.

    After some meandering, Will replies: “I got plenty. Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Frost, O’Connor, Kant, Pope, Locke.” Sean mocks this answer: “That’s great. They’re all dead.” Undeterred, Will says: “Not to me, they’re not.”

    Will is on to something. We assume our soulmates and sources of inspiration have to be real-life mentors who are a quick phone call or an email away. But that assumption is false. As Elizabeth Gilbert writes, mentors “live on the shelves of your library; they live on the walls of museums; they live in recordings made decades ago.”

    No one has taught me more about democracy than the Czech writer and politician Vaclav Havel. He’s not alive. No one has taught me more about writing than Stephen King. I’ve never met him. No one has taught me more about humility than the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. He’s been fertilizing daffodils for nearly two thousand years. No one has inspired me more about leveraging failure for success than Sara Blakely. I saw her on the television show Billions once, but our paths have never crossed.

    All I had to do to learn from these incredible people, and many others like them, was to study their lives. Take, for example, Stephen King. I treat his fiction like a textbook. I highlight, underline, circle, and review. I’ve learned more from studying his writing than I ever could from a formal “mentoring” session where I would ask him if he has any advice on writing (to which he would probably respond, “Go read my books.”).

    You can channel the power of these teachers without holding a seance. Pick your favorite source of inspiration and ask yourself this question: What would they do if they were in my shoes? What would Elon Musk do when faced with this challenge? How would Elizabeth Gilbert tackle this creativity problem? How would Jane Austen develop the character in my novel? If you’ve done your homework, and studied their works, you’ll know what the answer is.

    So, to those of you looking for real-life mentors, I say, stop looking.

    Your mentors are already all around you.

    You just have to open your eyes to see them.

    Ozan Varol is a rocket scientist turned law professor and bestselling author. Click here to download a free copy of his e-book, The Contrarian Handbook: 8 Principles for Innovating Your Thinking. Along with your free e-book, you’ll get the Weekly Contrarian — a newsletter that challenges conventional wisdom and changes the way we look at the world (plus access to exclusive content for subscribers only).

    This article first appeared on OzanVarol.com.