How Behavioral Economics Could Help Reduce Credit Card Delinquency


How Behavioral Economics Could Help Reduce Credit Card Delinquency
Nina Mažar
JULY 26, 2018
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With U.S. household credit card debt at an all-time high of more than $1 trillion, delinquent payments can be more costly than ever. For companies, delinquencies can mean massive collection costs and write-offs of entire accounts. For consumers, delinquency can mean late fees, increased interest rates, downgraded credit scores, the loss of vehicles or homes, or even bankruptcy, despite their intentions to bring their accounts current by making a payment large enough to satisfy their credit card balance. Recent research indicates that simple modifications of automated phone prompts provide an inexpensive way for companies to help consumers make good on their intentions, benefiting both parties.

My colleagues Daniel Mochon and Dan Ariely and I collaborated with a large North American store that offers credit cards, aiming to study how to get recently delinquent customers to pay at least a portion of their balance. These are customers who have just missed paying at least their minimum payment and are therefore considered one month delinquent. Most credit card companies, including our collaborating card company, use interactive voice recordings (IVRs) — large-volume automated phone calls — to remind early-stage delinquent customers to pay. This assumes that there are only two groups of delinquent customers: those who are unable to pay and those who simply forgot. To take care of those who forgot, a short automated reminder is thought to suffice: “[Customer name], you have a past due amount. If you have already paid, press 1. If you are going to pay within the next three days, press 2. If you want to speak to an agent, press 3.”

However, we know from many other domains of life that people can have the best of intentions but fail to follow through on them. For example, many of us intend to save more money, live a healthier lifestyle, or start working on our taxes early instead of at the last minute. But life gets in the way; we procrastinate and end up not doing what we intended to do. My colleagues and I thought that this might also be true for some of the delinquent credit card customers. So we tested two separate modifications to the baseline IVR to see if they would help overcome this type of inaction in the case of recipients who indicated they would pay within the next three days.

Our first modified version added an interactive menu level that asked call recipients to select a concrete timeframe within which they would make their payment during the ensuing three days: “If you are going to pay within the next 24 hours, press 1” and so on, continuing through 36, 48, and 72 hours. We expected this intervention to prompt deeper mental engagement that would help them remember their intention.

Our second modified version added yet another interactive menu level right after this new one. Call recipients were asked to take a personalized pledge: “[Customer name], you have committed to pay [total amount due] within the next 24 hours. Press 1 to confirm your commitment to this pledge.” The idea was to strengthen call recipients’ sense of commitment to their expressed intention.

Over nine months we randomly assigned a small subgroup of the company’s early-stage delinquent customers, around 50,000 people, to one of the three IVRs. We found that compared with the baseline IVR, the prompt with the concrete timeframe increased customers’ likelihood to pay by 2.26 percentage points and led them to pay 0.23 days faster. Adding both the concrete timeframe prompt and the pledge increased the likelihood by 2.54 percentage points and the speed by 0.51 days.

What does this mean in dollars? The people in our small subgroup had a mean total amount due of $142. Some 15,000 indicated they would pay within the next three days. If all 15,000 had received the IVR with the timeframe prompt and pledge, instead of the baseline IVR, the improvement in response would have translated into an increase in immediate revenue of more than $56,000.

When scaled to a credit card company’s entire customer population, these interventions could result in significant revenue increases. Moreover, additional customers become delinquent every day, increasing the long-term revenue benefits of such interventions. In addition, they cost little, they scale easily, and they reduce more-costly later-stage collection efforts, which can include letters, live agent calls, and collection agency fees. Meanwhile, consumers benefit from avoiding the costs associated with debt delinquency.

These results demonstrate that even simple, minimal prompts delivered through automated, high-volume IVR calls can bridge the intention-action gap that so often prevents people from completing beneficial behaviors. Asking people to express their intentions more precisely about when they will act and to take a pledge could work in areas ranging from tax compliance to medication adherence to students’ procrastination on assignments. More generally, the results affirm that applying behavioral insights has great potential for increasing economic and individual well-being at low cost, as the recent work of Daniel Kahneman, Steven Levitt, Cass Sunstein, Richard Thaler, and others has shown.

Nina Mažar is Professor of Marketing and Co-Director of the Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy at Questrom School of Business, Boston University, and co-founder (with Dan Ariely) of BEworks, a behavioral economics consultancy.

via How Behavioral Economics Could Help Reduce Credit Card Delinquency

Did you know


Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of Pink Floyd? In 1967, Pink Floyd released its debut album “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” the first of many incredible albums. In 2012, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was voted 347th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”

— Mae Jemison

Random acts of Kindness. Please choose one. I did.


  1. Who will be making dinner for your family today? Tag, you’re it!
  2. Compliment someone today!
  3. Lend a friend a book you think they’d like
  4. House chores can be tiring – offer a helping hand
  5. Life can get really busy – take some time out to spend with a family member
  6. Someone looking lost? Help them with directions
  7. Visit a friend who’s sick
  8. Make a conscious effort to recycle
  9. Make someone’s day – tell a friend why you appreciate them
  10. Read a good book recently? Pass it on to someone else

Random Idioms generated: Boost Creativity


No Good Comes From A Favor.

Yes. very true. All that we offer Pro-Bono or free has no value for people who are so Pricey!

Float Like A Brick.

Hmmm…. Not with anger on mind though – Make dream castles – that’s alright.

That’s Swimming Against The Tides.

Which is cool if you are an expert swimmer!

A Light In The Night Is A Night Without Fright.

Nostalgia of my childhood. But later i learnt to walk in the dark, living in the village huts for 3 years – I came closer to the nature.

Glue Doesn’t Stick To Everything.

WOW! That’s a cool Idiom worth using.  A Mentor can prove to be a Tabula Rasa for the Mentee with sparks of Brilliance and Reverse mentoring/ NLP practice 🙂

Friendship Day – A Didactic Cinquain


Friendship Day – A Didactic Cinquain

by jay

Friendship Day
Fantastic, grand
Sounding, rocking, laughing
Never ending
Friend’s Way

Random Phrases Generated today for Creative thoughts..


  1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled Meaning: To be watchful; paying careful attention to something.  While doing couple of courses online today, difficult to pay careful attention while walking.  Beta activity while Alpha and Theta learning brains were needed. 
  2. No-Brainer Meaning: Anything that requires minimal brain activity to accomplish. Doing categorisation as per the SEO course I am learning. Too many subjects I am writing on.
  3. Cup Of Joe Meaning: A cup of joe is an American nickname for a cup of coffee.  Coffee smells good at 4.15pm 🙂
  4. Heads Up Meaning: Used as an advanced warning. To become keenly aware.   Friendship day and some of the messages I read today and the answers I did not get today 🙂
  5. A Dime a Dozen Meaning: Something that is extremely common. Making progress on the Blog writing – I have few followers and I am happy to have them. 
  6. Jaws of Death Meaning: Being in a dangerous or very deadly situation. It is bad past. Best forgotten. 
  7. Right Out of the Gate Meaning: Right from the beginning; to do something from the start. I am cutting of many unnecessary things = made a list this morning and will implement strictly from today itself. Too many negative people, negative influences, unwanted connections, time wasters  best shown the Gate. 
  8. Lickety Split Meaning: To go at a quick pace; no delaying!  Yes the G R O = Get rid off process. 
  9. Jack of All Trades Master of None Meaning: Having suitable skill in multiple things, but not being an expert in any of them. Yes… I get named as one all the time. 

     

Like a great lily in the shadowy glade where


Like a great lily in the shadowy glade where

In the head like a kick gods

who bit mankind sucked joyfully;
in hideous love-making on each skull;
and among water-lilies!

star which is melting away!

The wind kisses her breasts the shivering willows.
– its coolness on my feet, the flowers that you picked.
To the evening breeze dropping pollen like commas.
– nubile and full-blooded being a goddess with the.

Like a great lily, in the shadowy glade where
into the deep ocean

and the poet says
tremble at the tones flower-flesh perfumed;

I no longer felt myself,

whose sobs realize incredible floridas ,
stronger than alcohol lightnings and

the yellow-blue awakenings
dawns are heartbreaking,

i hung there

by Jay

Delta Free verse by Jay


A mudflat, however hard it tries,
Will always be Delta.
Does the mudflat make you shiver?
does it?

I cannot help but stop and look at the Theta estuary.
Does the estuary make you shiver?
does it?

I will consider my sudd.
For my sudd is little because it wants to provide.
A sudd is diminutive. a sudd is shrimpy,
a sudd is teentsy, however.

What Association means and how to attain inner transformation


Via Sivakumar Mathada on Facebook.

 

Beautiful explanation by Swami Vivekananda:
Explaining the meaning of ‘Association’ he said:..“A rain drop from the sky: if it is caught by clean hands, is pure enough for drinking. If it falls in the gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing your feet. If it falls on a hot surface, it will evaporate… If it falls on a lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl and finally, if it falls on an oyster, it becomes a pearl…The drop is the same, but its existence & worth depends on whom it is associated with.”…Always be associated with people who are good at heart..You will experience your own inner transformation”…
Send this to all people with a beautiful heart💓 whom you wish to be associated with….

I just did 👍

Beautiful explanation by Swami Vivekananda:
Explaining the meaning of ‘Association’ he said:..“A rain drop from the sky: if it is caught by clean hands, is pure enough for drinking. If it falls in the gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing your feet. If it falls on a hot surface, it will evaporate… If it falls on a lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl and finally, if it falls on an oyster, it becomes a pearl…The drop is the same, but its existence & worth depends on whom it is associated with.”…Always be associated with people who are good at heart..You will experience your own inner transformation”…
Send this to all people with a beautiful heart💓 whom you wish to be associated with….

I just did 👍

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (8/4/18)


RADU ALEXANDER 

Now that the weekend is here, we have a bit of free time to wind down and catch up on the news of the week. You can click here to learn about all the serious stuff. This list, however, focuses on headlines with a trace of bizarreness.

This week, mathematics gets a fair bit of attention, both good and bad. There are a few strange stories involving animals and new discoveries made regarding old places. And let’s not forget a great moment in firefighting history.

10Fields Medal Is Stolen

Photo credit: Silvia Izquierdo/AP

Daring thieves were particularly active this week. First, the Swedish crown jewels were stolen in a brazen speedboat heist. Then, a villain purloined the most prestigious award in mathematics just minutes after it was awarded.

On Wednesday, the International Congress of Mathematics took place in Rio de Janeiro. Among the events that occurred was the granting of the Fields Medal—a distinction informally referred to as the “Nobel Prize of mathematics.” Four people received it. Among them was Caucher Birkar, a Kurdish refugee who now teaches at Cambridge University. However, he didn’t have time to admire his trophy. Someone stole it half an hour after he won it.[1]

Birkar left his medal in his briefcase on top of his table at Riocentro, where the event had been organized. The thief absconded with the briefcase, which was later found under a bench, minus the Fields Medal. Police have already identified the criminal using security footage, but it remains to be seen if they will be able to recover the prize.

9Zebra Or Donkey?

Photo credit: Mahmoud Sarhan

A zoo in Egypt has been mocked for painting a donkey to look like a zebra after a picture of the animal taken by a student went viral on social media.

Last week, Mahmoud Sarhan visited the International Garden in Cairo. At the zebra enclosure, he noticed that the animal looked more like a donkey despite the black and white stripes. He took some pictures of the counterfeitzebra, which made their way online.

Animal experts pointed out that there were many clues which indicated that the creature in the photos was not a zebra. It had long, pointy ears, a gray snout, and a small frame. Worst of all, some of the black stripes were smudged.[2]

A similar thing happened in 2009 in Gaza when a zoo couldn’t get real zebras through the Israeli blockade. However, that zoo owner admitted to painting the donkeys. Cairo zoo director Mohamed Sultan still insists that his animal is not a fake.

8Man Pees Out A Fire

Photo credit: Thomas Watson

Southend Pier, a major landmark of Southend-on-Sea and the longest pleasure pier in the world, faced a potential crisis last Friday when a small portion of it caught fire. Fortunately, local hero Thomas Watson was there to put the fire out by peeing on it.

Watson was visiting the pier with his partner and daughter. According to him, the weather had turned, and they were the last people there. He noticed flames and a lot of smoke coming up from underneath the wooden planks. His partner called the fire service, but fearing they might arrive too late, Watson decided to take matters into his own hands. By the time the emergency crew showed up, the fire had been completely extinguished, leaving only a bit of charred wood.

The local council thanked Watson for his “quick-thinking tinkling,” although it also expressed confidence that the sprinkler system could have handled the “miniature inferno.”[3] That being said, the Southend Pier was severely damaged by a blaze back in 2005, so who can say for sure what the consequences would have been if Thomas Watson hadn’t been there with valiant determination and a full bladder?

7Do Spiders Like Colors?

A new study from the University of Cincinnati (UC) seeks to answer the age-old question—what is a spider’s favorite color?

The assumption used to be that arachnids, which have dichromatic vision, paid little attention to colors. However, a recent discovery showed that male peacock jumping spiders proudly show off their gaudy tones in courtship displays and that the females respond to the bright colors. Based on this, biologists at UC wanted to see if the ability translated to more drab species such as the wolf spider, which only has muted brown and tan hues to display.

Researchers took lab specimens and showed them footage of courting arachnids where they manipulated the color and contrast of the video. They found that female wolf spiders respond to color more than grayscale but, overall, react to intensity most of all. Videos where the male spiders sharply contrasted with their backgrounds garnered the strongest responses.[4]Most surprisingly, color also influenced “eavesdroppers”—male spiders who watch and mimic others to learn courtship displays. They paid closer attention to the spiders with more intense coloring.

6Lennon Or McCartney?

North American scientists from Harvard and Dalhousie Universities used stylometry to determine if John Lennon or Paul McCartney wrote some of the most successful Beatles songs in history.

One of the most successful writing partnerships in music history, Lennon and McCartney established early on in their careers that they would both receive credits on the songs they worked on. After the Beatles split, however, they began giving differing accounts regarding their contributions on certain tunes. For example, McCartney said Lennon only provided “half a line” to the lyrics of “Eleanor Rigby,” while the latter claimed to have written 70 percent of the song.

A mathematician and a statistician with a common passion for the Beatles teamed up to try to settle a few disputes using stylometry. This is the application of the study of linguistic style, most famously employed to identify Ted Kaczynski as the Unabomber.

The scientists first decomposed all Beatles tracks between 1962 and 1966 and identified 149 constituent components ranging across five categories.[5]They also broke down the songs into “contours”—four-note melodic sequences consisting of series of “ups,” “downs,” and “stays the same.” They then established a baseline using 70 tracks where the authorship was firmly certified.

Although they didn’t formulate results for all disputed songs, the mathematical duo concluded that there was only a .018 probability that Paul McCartney wrote “In My Life.” Ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the fifth best Beatles song and 23rd greatest song of all time, “In My Life” caused controversy, as both Lennon and McCartney claimed authorship of the melody.

5Ancient Library Found In Germany

Excavations for a church in Cologne uncovered an ancient library which might be the oldest building of its kind in Germany. The structure dates to between AD 150 and 200 and could have once stored up to 20,000 scrolls.

Archaeologists first realized there was something there in 2017, when construction began on a community center for a Protestant church in the middle of the city. They initially believed the area used to be the site of a public assembly hall, but they reconsidered after making a “mystifying” discovery. The ancient walls had niches, roughly 80 by 50 centimeters (30 x 20 in). They were too small for statues but perfect for cupboards used to store scrolls.[6]

Dirk Schmitz, head of the Cologne archaeological monument authority, says the wall niches are identical to the ones found at the Library of Ephesus in modern-day Turkey. He also believes that, since the building had a central location in the forum of Roman Cologne (Colonia back then) and was made of strong materials, it was a public library. The current plan is to continue construction on the community center while preserving the walls and making them accessible to the populace.

4Rare Hybrid Spotted In The Wild

Researchers recently announced what they believe to be the first sighting of a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin.[7] The animal (shown in the foreground above) was spotted in August 2017 in the waters off Hawaii and could be just the third confirmed case of a wild-born hybrid from the Delphinidae family.

The creature is a male and believed to be close to adult age. One of the study’s authors, Robin Baird, biologist with the Cascadia Research Collective, urged the public and the media to avoid calling the animal a “wholphin.” Besides being utterly predictable, it does not make sense, as the melon-headed whale is, technically, a dolphin. Therefore, the creature is a hybrid between two species of the same family, and the “wholphin” moniker would only confuse things further.

Scientists are unsure how the hybrid came to be but think it is likely that a melon-headed whale got separated from its group and joined up with a pod of rough-toothed dolphins.

3Rappers Brawl At Paris Airport

A departures hall at Paris Orly Airport had to be temporarily closed following a fight between two French rappers named Booba and Kaaris and their entourages.[8]There was a time when the two were close friends. However, the French rap stars had a falling out in 2013 and have been rivals ever since. Recently, both men were scheduled to perform concerts in Barcelona and met one another while waiting for their flights. What started as a verbal confrontation soon turned into an all-out brawl. Booba, Kaaris and multiple members of their entourages started sparring in the cosmetics section of a duty-free shop before their scuffle spilled into the waiting lounge. Some of the passengers ran for safety while others pulled out their phones and filmed the skirmish.

Police detained eleven people involved in the brawl for questioning. A few flights experienced delays between 15 and 30 minutes. Booba’s lawyer claimed that his client was ambushed and only defended himself, while Kaaris’s camp said a similar thing. Nobody has been charged yet, but the numerous videos should make it easier to determine who is at fault.

2Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved Yet Again


The Bermuda Triangle is in the news again thanks to a documentary which claims, like many before it, to have solved the mystery of the deadly patch of water stretching between Florida, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. The show presents a study by oceanographers at the University of Southampton who consider rogue waves to be the culprits responsible for some puzzling disappearances inside the Devil’s Triangle.

The bigger question here should be if there is actually anything special about the Bermuda Triangle at all. No official geographic or oceanic organization acknowledges its existence. Scientific inquiries into the phenomenon reveal that numerous incidents ascribed to the triangle are either exaggerated, unverifiable, or easily clarified through humdrum explanations such as human error.

That being said, there are a few perplexing disappearances, such as the USS Cyclops, that lack a definitive explication. The ship was lost at sea in 1918 with a crew of 309, leading to the largest noncombat loss of life in US Navy history. Study leader Dr. Simon Boxall believes a rogue wave was responsible for its sinking. His team built a model of the USS Cyclops and simulated the effect of a 30-meter (100 ft) wave, showing that it could snap the ship in two and sink it within minutes.[9]

For centuries, rogue waves were considered myths perpetuated by superstitious sailors. It wasn’t until 1995 that we confirmed that this legend was, in fact, true. Since then, these monster waves have been regarded as likely explanations for many ships that disappeared without a trace.

1Geometry Has A New Shape

An international team of scientists introduced a new geometric shape which is probably found all over our bodies. They named it a scutoid since it resembles part of a beetle’s shell called a scutellum.

Their study, published in Nature Communications, ran simulations to find out how epithelial cells are packed together to form human skin. Since our bodies aren’t a flat surface, traditional shapes such as cubes, prisms, or columns couldn’t really create an air- and watertight seal. That’s how they got to the scutoid, which resembles a five-sided prism where one diagonal face is sliced off at one end to create a sixth side. That way, scutoids can be packed together tightly and create curved surfaces without breaking apart.

Of course, just because their computer simulations predicted it did not mean that this geometric shape existed in nature. The next step was to actually find it. Scientists discovered scutoid-like shapes in the epithelia of zebrafish and the salivary glands of fruit flies.[10] They are confident that scutoids are present in many other creatures, including humans.

As far as practical applications are concerned, the discovery could prove useful when growing artificial organs. By creating a scaffold which encourages the packing of cells in such a manner, it replicates the most efficient tissue development found in nature.

10 Fascinating Finds From Ordinary Yards


WEIRD STUFF

M DAVID SCOTT 

 

In mid-2018, Chris Martin was having his UK home renovated when he discovered a World War II bunker in his back garden. The two-room concrete bunker found at the Middlesbrough home was large enough to hold up to 50 people. Martin plans to turn the bunker into an office or wine cellar.

He isn’t the first person to make an amazing discovery in his backyard. People have been finding strange items and treasures on their properties for years, including a stolen vehicle, a bag of cash, ancient fossils, and even mysterious objects. Here is a list of 10 fascinating discoveries in ordinary yards.

10Stolen Ferrari

Photo credit: latimes.com

In 1978, children were playing in their Los Angeles yard and digging in the mud when they touched something unusual under the ground. The children flagged down a sheriff’s car nearby and told him about the strange object they had found.

The sheriff came back with some help and made an odd discovery. They unearthed a green 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS worth about $18,000 when it was brand-new. It was a mystery to authorities how the vehicle could have ended up there.

The car was purchased by Rosendo Cruz in October 1974, and it was stolen on December 7. The police couldn’t figure out what had happened to the Ferrari, but the insurance company decided to reimburse Cruz for the vehicle anyway. It remains a mystery as to who placed the car in the yard.

The car was eventually purchased from the insurance company for about $7,000 by a mechanic who restored much of the vehicle. The Dino remains unlisted on any Dino registry.[1] But hopefully, someone is out there taking it for a joyous spin down some winding roads.

91,000-Year-Old Human Remains

Photo credit: outsideonline.com

Ali Erturk was building a trout pond in his Utah backyard for his father when he came across something unusual. The 14-year-old boy thought he had found an animal bone. But after continuing to dig, he realized that the bones might have belonged to a human. Erturk discovered the first bone about 2 meters (6 ft) below the surface.

After the police arrived, they quickly realized that the bones were incredibly old and referred the case to the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts. The department workers soon determined that the bones belonged to a Native American who had lived over 1,000 years ago.

Humans have occupied this area of Utah for over 10,000 years. The department gets multiple calls a year that are similar to this one.[2]

8$10 Million Worth Of Gold Coins

Photo credit: nydailynews.com

Northern California couple stumbled across something rare as they were walking their dog. Buried in the shadow of a tree was $10 million in gold coins. There were over 1,400 coins dating from 1847–1894. They were also in rare mint condition. The face value of the coins only added up to $27,000, but they were so rare that they were worth much more. The couple knew that they were about to be rich.

Some experts believed that the coins were stolen, but the robbery could never be proven. The couple remained anonymous and decided to auction off the collection. The first coin to sell was an 1874 $20 double eagle that brought in $15,000. An 1866-S No Motto $20 gold piece was valued at more than $1 million. The entire collection was estimated to be worth over $11 million.[3]

7Mysterious Crystal Object

Photo credit: kitchener.ctvnews.ca

In Kitchener, Ontario, two sisters were digging in their backyard for wormsfor an upcoming fishing trip when they discovered a large, transparent, shiny object with a bluish hue. Some believed that it was part of a meteorite that had fallen just a month earlier, but nobody could seem to identify it. The family hoped that the object had a high value and could be sold.[4]

A local gem and mineral expert didn’t know what it was, so the piece was sent to the University of Waterloo for further testing. The curator of the school’s Earth sciences museum was finally able to identify the object, but it wasn’t anything special. It was a type of glass sold in various colors that was used as a garden ornament.

After the object was identified, it was sent back to the two sisters.

6Mammoth Bone

Photo credit: mnh.uiowa.edu

A family in rural Iowa went out to pick blackberries, but they returned with more than just a bucketful of berries. The family had discovered a 1.2-meter-long (4 ft) mammoth femur.

This was just the beginning of what would be found on their property. The father took the massive bone to the University of Iowa to have it identified. The university’s Museum of Natural History continued the excavation and found several other bones on the property.[5]

The team of excavators has found parts of at least three woolly mammoths, although none of them is complete. The crew found several bones, teeth, and tusks belonging to the creatures. After examining the discovery, scientists have determined that the woolly mammoth bones are about 13,000 to 14,000 years old.

5World War II Explosives

Photo credit: armytimes.com

About 75–100 people in a Southern California neighborhood were evacuated after authorities discovered several World War II–era explosives in the backyard of an abandoned home. The house was once owned by a World War II veteran who had died months before the discovery, but it is not clear if he was the owner of the explosives. The house had been vacant after his death, and transients had taken over the property.[6]

After searching the yard and home, authorities found several grenades, mortar rounds, rusty artillery shells, bullets, and more. Many of the devices were duds, but authorities were concerned about some of the ammunition. Most of the explosives were transported to another location for safe disposal, and nearby residents had to wait many hours to return to their homes.

4Cursed Money

Photo credit: chicagotribune.com

In 2011, Wayne Sabaj found a nylon bag with $150,000 stashed in his Illinois backyard garden. The carpenter, who had been unemployed for two years, was picking broccoli when he discovered the cash.

He turned the money over to authorities, and they told him that he could keep the cash if it was not claimed by the end of 2012. Eventually, his 87-year-old neighbor, Delores Johnson, and a liquor store stepped in to claim the money.[7]

Johnson suffered from dementia, but she told her daughter that she got rid of the money because it was cursed. Johnson died before she could claim the bulk of the money, but it would later go to her daughter.

Due to a diabetic problem, Sabaj died just 10 days before receiving his smaller portion of the money. Sabaj’s father went into cardiac arrest after finding out about his son’s death, but he was awarded the amount that Sabaj would have received. Mrs. Johnson may have been right about the money being cursed after all.

3Rusty Old Safe

A New York couple always noticed a piece of metal under some trees in their backyard, but they thought that it was just an electrical box or cable. A landscaping crew at their home discovered that it was actually an old rusty safe.

Inside the safe, they found wet money and lots of jewelry in plastic bags. There were dozens of rings (including an engagement ring), diamonds, and other jewelry. There was also a piece of paper with their neighbor’s address.

The couple went to the neighbor and asked if they had ever been robbed. They replied that their safe had been stolen the night after Christmas 2011. They even knew that the safe contained cash and jewelry that was worth about $52,000.

The couple returned the safe to their neighbor. When the couple was asked why they didn’t just keep it for themselves, they replied, “It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours.”[8]

2Whale Fossil

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

Gary Johnson first discovered a half-ton whale fossil when he was a teenager exploring the creek behind his family’s home in Southern California. A local museum passed on adding it to their collection back then. In 2014, 53-year-old Johnson contacted the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County about the fossil after another sperm whale fossil was recovered at a nearby school.

A paleontologist from the Natural History Museum claimed that the baleen whale fossil was around 16–17 million years old. Only about 20 baleen fossils are known to exist.

The fossil was lodged in a 450-kilogram (1,000 lb) rock, and it was hoisted from a ravine by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Their search-and-rescue team used the fossil recovery as a training mission, but they typically rescue motorists and hikers who have careened off the roadway onto the steep and rugged hills.[9]

1Cold War Bomb Shelter

Photo credit: tucson.com

John Sims discovered a Cold War–era fallout shelter underneath the lawn of his Tucson, Arizona, home. He uncovered the shelter after receiving a tip from a previous owner of the home.

Sims started digging shallow holes in the backyard, but he began to believe that the shelter had either collapsed or was under a bricked-in corner of the yard. After hiring a consultant with metal detectors who found where to dig, Sims hit the metal cap that covered the entrance of the shelter.

He discovered that the shelter was from 1961 and had been built by Whitaker Pools. Made of concrete with a domed fiberglass ceiling, the bunker could be entered by walking down a spiral staircase. It led to a large room that was emptied of any furniture.[10]

The shelter appeared to have been deliberately closed off after the Cold War. Between the 1960s and 1980s, 18 intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads were deployed in the desert around Tucson, making the city no stranger to the Cold War. Sims plans to restore the bunker to its original glory.

Elimination of the Ego


ELIMINATION OF THE EGO ~~~

Baba’s ways of eliminating the ego were both skillful and
subtle, but they did rapidly cut down both prejudice and
pride. To quote Baba,

“The spiritual benefit accruing to an aspirant on the path
approaching a Spiritual Master is in direct proportion to
the weakening or elimination of the ego.”

And so Baba might frequently ask you to do just those things
which your nature revolted against, but never gave you the
reason why. At first, we were rarely given occupations which
we had done before joining the ashram but rather chores that we would have avoided doing in the outside world, or which we disliked intensely.

Said one who set to work in the kitchen, “I did not come to
peel potatoes — I can do this at home. I came to be with
Baba!” Did we think we had come to sit with Baba all day, to
meditate, discuss spiritual subjects, read philosophical
books, escape the problems and monotony of daily life? If such was our vision, Baba through His own example showed us that this was not His way of life.

“All work is My work,” He said. Baba was so intensely
practical and I feel it was a help to Baba if those around Him
were practical too.

LOVE ALONE PREVAILS, pp. 241
By Kitty Davy
Copyright 1981 AMBPPCT
Photo Courtesy : Meher Baba Travels

OFFICE RELATIONSHIPS


These are the careers where you are most likely to cheat on your significant other

Despite the risk of the fallout, many of us continue to engage in the adventure of an office romance.

Romances between colleagues are increasingly common — 40% of us have engaged in an office romance at one point in our careers. And according to a new SimplyHired survey of 939 people, some of us are not only willing to risk our careers, but our current relationships for cupid’s arrow, engaging in office flings even if it means that one of us is cheating on our current partner to do it.

Survey: Education and finance are the biggest cheating industries

SimplyHired found that there are certain industries that have more infidelity among employees than others.

The field of education had the highest number of cheaters with 33% of respondents acknowledging that they had been in a workplace relationship that involved at least one cheating party. The finance and insurance industry came in second place at 30%.

A survey from dating site Illicit Encounters also listed teachers as the profession most likely to have an affair with a colleague. Christian Grant, a spokesman for the site, commented on the results: “Teaching is one of the most stressful and time-consuming jobs out there, so teachers are far too consumed by work throughout most of the year to notice the cracks appearing in their marriage.”

High-stress generally is known to be harmful to marriages, which could explain the presence of relatively high-stress jobs such as teaching, finance, and government at the top of the list.


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On the opposite spectrum, workers in the hospitality industry were the least likely to cheat on their partner with a coworker, with only 17% admitting that they had done it.

Should you risk it all for that water cooler romance? Maybe not. Many respondents said they felt regret about doing it. Women were more likely than men to say they regretted the experience with 45% of women expressing remorse compared to 30% of men.

Meanwhile, men were more likely than women to report that they would have a sexual relationship with a colleague for a raise or a promotion, at a rate of 10% versus 3% for women.

Brainpickings.org – My fav newsletter


This is the brainpickings.org weekly digest by Maria Popova. If you missed last week’s edition — Walt Whitman on democracy and our mightiest force of resistance, Martin Buber on love and what it really means to live in the present, and more” — you can catch up right here. And if you’re enjoying this newsletter, please consider supporting my labor of love with a donation – each month, I spend hundreds of hours and tremendous resources on it, and every little bit of support helps enormously. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

Tennessee Williams on Love and How the Very Thing Worth Saving Is the Thing That Will Save Us

“Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills,”Tolstoy wrote at the end of his life in his forgotten correspondence with Gandhi about human nature and why we hurt each other, as the global tensions that would soon erupt into World War I were building. How love can save us and what exactly it saves us from — each other, ourselves, the maelstrom of our intersubjective suffering — are questions each person and each generation must answer for themselves.

Tennessee Williams (March 26, 1911–February 25, 1983), born several months after Tolstoy’s death, addressed this abiding question with uncommonly poetic precision several months before his own death in a 1982 conversation with James Grissom, who would spend three decades synthesizing his interviews with, research on, and insight into the beloved playwright in Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog (public library).

Tennessee Williams (Photograph: John Springer)

A quarter century after Martin Luther King, Jr. made his impassioned case for reviving the ancient Greek concept of agape, Williams reflects:

The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.

Complement with Jeanette Winterson on how art saves us and Elizabeth Alexander on the ethic of love, then revisit Williams’s conversation with William S. Burroughs about writing and death and his stirring reading of two poems by Hart Crane.

Divine Live-in Human Love


Divine love is qualitatively different from human love.

Human love is for the many in the One and divine love is for the One in the many.

Human love leads to innumerable complications and tangles, but divine love leads to integration and freedom.

In divine love the personal and the impersonal aspects are equally balanced, but in human love the two aspects are in alternating ascendency.

Human love in its personal and impersonal aspects is limited, but divine love with its fusion of the personal and the impersonal aspects is infinite in being and expression.

——-AVATAR MEHER BABA

[Source- Discourses by Meher Baba, volume-I, p-162-163 (Copyright ©1967 by Adi K. Irani, King’s Rd., Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India]