Guide Posts

Environment and Economics …

Posted on September 20, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Business, Guide Posts |

George Monbiot in The Guardian

There was “a flaw” in the theory – this is the famous admission by Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, to a congressional inquiry into the 2008 financial crisis. His belief that the self-interest of the lending institutions would lead automatically to the correction of financial markets had been proved wrong.

Now, in the midst of the environmental crisis, we await a similar admission. We may be waiting for some time.

Similarly, Milton Friedman, an architects of neoliberal ideology, put it: “Ecological values can find their natural space in the market, like any other consumer demand.” As long as environmental goods are correctly priced, neither planning nor regulation is required. Any attempt by governments or citizens to change the likely course of events is unwarranted and misguided.

But there’s a flaw.

Hurricanes do not respond to market signals. The plastic fibres in our oceans, food and drinking water do not respond to market signals. Nor does the collapse of insect populations, or coral reefs, or the extirpation of orangutans from Borneo. The unregulated market is as powerless in the face of these forces as the people in Florida who resolved to fight Hurricane Irma by shooting it.

It is the wrong tool, the wrong approach, the wrong system. There are two inherent problems with the pricing of the living world and its destruction.

The first is that it depends on attaching a financial value to items – such as human life, species and ecosystems – that cannot be redeemed for money. The second is that it seeks to quantify events and processes that cannot be reliably predicted.

Environmental collapse does not progress by neat increments. You can estimate the money you might make from building an airport: this is likely to be linear and fairly predictable. But you cannot reasonably estimate the environmental cost the airport might incur.

Climate breakdown will behave like a tectonic plate in an earthquake zone: periods of comparative stasis followed by sudden jolts.

Any attempt to compare economic benefit with economic cost in such cases is an exercise in false precision. Even to discuss such flaws is a kind of blasphemy, because the theory allows no role for political thought or for action.

The system is supposed to operate not through deliberate human agency, but through the automatic writing of the invisible hand. Our choice is confined to deciding which goods and services to buy. But even this is illusory.

A system that depends on growth can survive only if we progressively lose our ability to make reasoned decisions.

After our needs, then strong desires, then faint desires have been met, we must keep buying goods and services we neither need nor want, induced by marketing to abandon our discriminating faculties, and to succumb instead to impulse.

You can now buy a selfie toaster, that burns an image of your own face on to your bread – the Turin Shroud of toast.

You can buy beer for dogs and wine for cats; a toilet roll holder that sends a message to your phone when the paper is running out; a $30 branded brick; a hairbrush that informs you whether or not you are brushing your hair correctly. Panasonic intends to produce a mobile fridge that, in response to a voice command, will deliver beers to your chair.

Urge, splurge, purge: we are sucked into a cycle of compulsion followed by consumption, followed by the periodic detoxing of ourselves or our homes, like Romans making themselves sick after eating, so that we can cram more in.

Continued economic growth depends on continued disposal: unless we rapidly junk the goods we buy, it fails. The growth economy and the throwaway society cannot be separated.

Environmental destruction is not a byproduct of this system: it is a necessary element. The environmental crisis is an inevitable result not just of neoliberalism – the most extreme variety of capitalism – but of capitalism itself.

Even the social democratic (Keynesian) kind depends on perpetual growth on a finite planet: a formula for eventual collapse. But the peculiar contribution of neoliberalism is to deny that action is necessary: to insist that the system, like Greenspan’s financial markets, is inherently self-regulating.

The myth of the self-regulating market accelerates the destruction of the self-regulating Earth. What cannot be admitted must be denied.

Ten years ago this week, Matt Ridley – as chair of Northern Rock – helped to cause the first run on a British bank since 1878. This triggered the financial crisis in the UK. Now, in his new incarnation as a Times columnist, he continues to demonstrate his unerring ability to assess risk, by insisting that we needn’t worry about hurricanes: as long as there’s enough money to keep bailing us out, we’ll be fine.

Ridley, who helped destroy the hopes of millions, is one of the faces of the New Optimism that claims life is becoming inexorably better. This vision relies on downplaying or dismissing the predictions of environmental scientists.

We cannot buy our way out of a process that could, through a combination of heat stress, aridity, sea level rise and crop failure, render large parts of the inhabited world hostile to human life; and which, through sudden jolts, could translate environmental crisis into financial crisis.

The sigh of relief from insurers and financiers when Irma changed course could be heard around the world. In April Bloomberg News, drawing on a Report by the US Federal Mortgage Corporation Freddie Mac, investigated the possibility that climate breakdown could cause a collapse in real estate prices in Florida.

It looked only at the impact of sea-level rise – hurricanes were not considered. It warned that a bursting of the coastal property bubble “could spread through banks, insurers and other industries. And, unlike the recession, there’s no hope of a bounce back in property values.”

The sigh of relief from insurers and financiers when Hurricane Irma, whose intensity is likely to have been enhanced by global heating, changed course at the last minute could be heard around the world.

This year, for the first time, three of the five global risks with the greatest potential impact listed by the World Economic Forum were environmental; a fourth (water crises) has a strong environmental component. If an economic crisis is caused by the environmental crisis, it will be the second crash in which Ridley will have played a part.

They bailed out the banks. But as the storms keep rolling in, you’ll have to bail out your own flooded home. There is no environmental rescue plan: to admit the need for one would be to admit that the economic system is based on a series of delusions.

The environmental crisis demands a new ethics, politics and economics. A few of us are groping towards it, but it cannot be left to the scattered efforts of independent thinkers – this should be Humanity’s Central Project.

At least the first step is clear: to recognise that the current system is flawed.

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Jojo – A Life as Great as Any …

Posted on September 13, 2017. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Stuff, Personalities |

An edited Version of Raj Mehta’s Tribute. –

What can you say about a brave, outstanding Cavalry officer who was blinded at 22?

That he was blinded by by an Anti Tk shell hitting the turret of his tank as he stood in the open turret in the 1965 War. That he was a topper in all he did? That he was handsome, personable, perceptive and lovable. That the only battle he ever lost, was surrendering with a half smile to the insidious lung cancer.

His name – Jayanta Kumar Sengupta. Born on 17 October 1942, Chotu was the second son of Amar Prashad, a corporate executive, and Namita Sengupta. He left Huddard High School after making it to the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehra Dun. He was adjudged ‘Best Cadet’ – stood 1st in the All-India UPSC order of merit for NDA and won the Gold Medal for the 22nd course at NDA and again the Gold Medal at IMA, passing out tops with the 31st course.

Commissioned into India’s oldest Cavalry Regiment, the 16th Light Cavalry in December 1962, Chotu was awarded the Silver Centurion trophy for best Young Officer at Ahmadnagar. When the 1965 Indo-Pak War started, he was attending a Gunnery course at ‘Nagar.

Currently US based veteran, Lt Col Kartar Singh Sidhu Brar, Chotu’s CO, recalls that Chotu rejoined the Regiment on 17 September and that Chotu “had a very special place in our hearts”. On arrival on 17 September, Chotu was appointed troop leader in B Squadron under Maj ‘Morris’ Ravindran.

On 21 September morning, Chotu was standing up out of the cupola with his binocs when his tank got a direct hit on the turret. The blinding flash, splinters and glass lacerated his face. ‘Wendy’ Dewan who was close recalls Chotu’s calmness – “I can’t see but I’m fine. How are the boys?” Chotu was placed on blankets on a tank deck and brought to RHQ where Gen Rajinder Singh had landed and him evacuated.

After Army Hospital Delhi, Chotu was moved to INS Aswini. His optic nerve was severed and that meant “profound, 100 percent blindness”. At St Dunstan’s he learnt Brail, powered by his wit, humour, zest for life. In 1967, he was boarded out from the Army with 100 percent disability.

In a rare interview, he smilingly recalled that ‘there was no emotional setback following the mishap. Indeed, my family and the Army were strong sources of support.” He added that his St Dunstan’s stay where soldiers blinded in war are trained was a godsend – it was a new beginning. ‘I met a lot of Britishers with a similar disability. Seeing them go about their work inspired me.”

Focusing on winning the ‘Battle of Life’, this unassuming, genuine real-life hero attracted people like a magnet. He took up a dealership with Tata Oil Mills and in 1972, he was allotted a LPG dealership in Siliguri by the Army and he relocated there from Calcutta with infectious positivity.

In 1977, Chotu got married to Ms Rita Biswas – a teacher driven by passion. The duo were like minded, compassionate and compelling. Jojo is on record paying his wife a handsome tribute for bringing greater focus, happiness and harmony in his life. Blessed with twin daughters, Sreemoyee and Sreerupa and a younger son Bibek, he and his wife were well settled when his number of days on Earth were completed. He on August 31, 2013 but his family is living out his dreams with character courage.

Jojo had kept the Honour Board ticking. He did his BA from North Bengal University obtaining the expected ‘First-class-First’. He routinely won the ‘Best Dealer’ Award from Tata Oil for several years. As an LPG dealer at Siliguri, his consumers remember with awe how he had memorized some 8000 subscriber names, consumer numbers and addresses, compelling them to call up ‘Joy Da’ – to verify their details instantaneously when seeking gas refills, terminations or transfers of LPG connections.

Chotu went through a transformation in 1990 by taking up social work on a large scale. By 1998 he, Rita and friends had founded the Prerana Educational Centre. Flourishing, it has 145 physically challenged students on its rolls. Earlier in 1990, Jojo had also founded the North Bengal Council for the Disabled (NBCD) to run the centre.

Apart from Prerana, he also reached towards the rural handicapped under the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program. Since 1998, about 700 villages around Siliguri have been covered to help the rural disabled to cope. Jojo ensured that the CBR became a WHO certified initiative which today benefits some 3000 people.

In 2003, Capt Sengupta’s daughter, Sreerupa married Maj Gopal Mitra, SM (Retd). Alas Maj Mitra was totally blinded in a terrorist encounter in Kupwara, Kashmir. Commissioned into 15 Mahar, this St Xavier’s Calcutta Honours graduate suffered total visual impairment.

He underwent extensive reconstructive surgery but his military career was over. The young gallantry award winner underwent several reorientation courses, ending up with his being the first blind student to top a Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai post graduate course.

Mitra then did M.Sc. in Development Management at the London School of Economics (LSE) with outstanding grades. After several career advancements, he is now with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund as Programme Specialist for Disability. Sreerupa completed her Masters from LSE, London and now works at the United Nations along with husband Gopal.

Her twin, Sreemoyee completed her Masters in Early Years Education from the famous Institute of Education, London and now teaches at Neev School, Bangalore.

Jojo’s son, Bibek, is a top-notch financial expert and Chotu’s sister-in-law, Nalini Sengupta, runs the famous Vidya Valley School at Pune, where Chotu was on the Founding Governing Board. Ms Rita carries on her legacy with Jojo and has ensured that the Institutions they started are vibrant and flourishing.

Suffering for almost a year from lung cancer, Capt Sengupta passed away at Command Hospital Pune at 0945 hours on 31 August 2013. Chotu had realised a week or so before his death that he would lose this battle.
Brave and courageous as always, he requested to ba shifted to the Officers Ward from the ICU where he could be visited by only a few and very briefly.

He faced death with the same calmness that was his trademark during all the turbulence in his life.

Arriving 15 minutes after he had gone with his trademark of a lingering, wry smile while nurses, doctors, officers were in tears and his family stood bowed in respectful silent grief.

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For those wanting to know about the Division and what it did ..
https://improveacrati.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/indo-pak-war-sep-1965-part-1/

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Something for Mankind …

Posted on August 9, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Guide Posts, Quotes, Searching for Success |

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr was a jurist and Supreme Court Justice for 30 yrs. He is famous for his concise, pithy, prescient opinions and remains one of the most widely cited Supreme Court justices. He is the author of the phrase, “clear and present danger.” These extracts are from his thought

ATTITUDE is more important than heritage, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say; it is also more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.

Carve every word before you let it fall. A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used. Don’t be ‘consistent but be true.

Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him. Man’s mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.

A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience. A new and valid idea is stronger than an army. The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are tending. The rule of joy and the law of duty seem to me all one.

Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our fathers have done them or our neighbors do them, and the same is true of a larger part of what we think. People talk fundamentals and superlatives and then make some changes of detail.

To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at the touch, nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.

The only prize much cared for by the powerful is power. Yet nothing is so commonplace that it has not the wish to be remarkable.

Beware how you take away hope from any human being.

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Gen Bhimaya on Leadership …

Posted on August 9, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Guide Posts, Searching for Success, Sports |

Here is the noted Thinker and Historian on Matters Military, commenting on a recent ‘Take’ on this riveting subject. Though the US Brigs SLA Marshal’s and Bill Slim’s lecture to West Point Cadets are among the last words on the subject, the field remains wide open for endless discussion. My vote is for Slim’s take!

LEADERSHIP 101 — BACK TO THE BASICS

To revisit a field that is well-beaten is both exciting and challenging. One is excited to find something new that might pique one’s interest, or that might have escaped one’s attention before. One may also find it challenging because, often, the simplest concept is difficult to explain because of the embedded nuances.

Then, there are always the rewards of serendipity to boot. I leave it to the readers to delve deeper into this bold if unverified statement to identify examples from their own experience.

The preceding thoughts were my initial impulses when I came across a research article on leadership of great team captains in sports (The Wall Street Journal, May 13-14, 2017, C1-C2)

To make it easier for the reader, let me follow the bullet format to list important findings, summarized in this article. Against each finding, I have added some brief but controversial comments in parentheses, primarily to provoke a discussion.

v “The leaders of history’s championship dynasties relied on a range of surprising traits, from dissent and rule-breaking to emotional self-control and a low-key communication style.”
(This is the central finding and readers might want to keep this uppermost in their minds).

· True leaders took care of tough, unglamorous tasks. They did not dazzle in the field but labored in the shadows and often led from the back.
(How true! The true leader toils in the background lending a helping hand to the needy, encouraging the weak, while cleaning up their mistakes firmly but unobtrusively. They seldom crave for recognition; the team’s success is their final reward).

· True leaders broke the rules for a purpose. They are not exemplars of fair play. They often test the limits of the rules, but soon after the objective is achieved, they return to normal. (Does the “out- of- the- box leadership of Major Gogoi fit this description?)

· True leaders communicated practically, not in grand speeches (Simple, understandable language that the riflemen understand is important. This implies ruthless elimination of English words that may mean different things to different riflemen; according to some officers who had the privilege of commanding both the Gorkhas and the Garhwalis, important patrol briefing used to be done by the Subedar Major, to combine experience with clarity of thought and expression. It may not be necessary now as most of us, hopefully, understand the language our troops speak. The important thing is grandiloquence and grandstanding are less important than simplicity and clarity.)

· True leaders knew how to use deeds to motivate. (Words are not enough. True leaders should exercise leadership by example of deeds, not merely by words. Deeds by example have tremendous substantive, as well as symbolic values).

· True leaders are independent thinkers, unafraid to dissent. (While dissent is a necessary part of healthy discourse that often leads to robust decision-making, one does not have to dissent as a matter of habit, or on frivolous issues. Dissent must be grounded in solid reasoning (MacArthur’s dissent with the Navy and the Joint Chief of Staff about his plan for the Inchon landings was not based on his ego, but a careful study of the British General Wolfe’s audacious and successful battle against the French in Quebec).

· True leaders are relentless. (In brief they follow the dictum, “Never give up.” And they cling to this spirit until the end: victory, or fighting to the last).

· True leaders possessed remarkable, emotional self-control. (Now, this is a tough one. This implies the ability to block out negative feelings and supplant it with emotional fortitude: courage in adversity, ability to handle panic with whatever it takes, for example, steadfastness, if possible, and humor, if necessary).

I do not wish to paraphrase the concluding remarks of the author.

He states, “They helped their teams to become dynasties by behaving a certain way, by making the right choices on the job—every hour, every day. They were dedicated to doing whatever it took to make success more likely, even if their efforts were unpopular, controversial, or completely invisible. They were not in it for personal glory but for the greater good of the team.” (Can there be a better epitome of selflessness?)

It is important for officers to study leadership in all walks of life, so they can be eclectic in internalizing their virtues. As leaders, it is our indivisible responsibility to identify leadership potential among our men, and help develop it.

It is a continual responsibility that needs to be shouldered with care and circumspection.

Bhimaya

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Falling in Love …

Posted on June 12, 2017. Filed under: Guide Posts, Mars & Venus, Searching for Success |

During a seminar, a woman asks, “How do I know if I married the right person?” There was this guy sitting next to her, so the guy asks, “Is that your husband?” Taken aback she asks, “How did you guess?” He goes onto explain.

’Every relationship has a cycle. In the beginning, you fell in love with your spouse. You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies.

Falling in love with your spouse wasn’t hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn’t have to DO anything. That’s why it’s called “falling” in love. Because it’s happening TO YOU.

People in love sometimes say, “I was swept off my feet.” Think about the imagery of that expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something came along and happened TO YOU.

Falling in love is easy. It’s a passive and spontaneous experience.

But after a few years of marriage, the euphoria of love fades. It’s the natural cycle of EVERY relationship. Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens) and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts.

The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship but if you think about your marriage you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angrier subsequent stage. At this point, you or your spouse might start asking, “Did I marry the right person?”

As you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when marriages breakdown.

People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their marriage for fulfillment. Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, a hobby, a friendship, excessive TV or abusive substances.

But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your marriage. It lies within it. I’m not saying that you couldn’t fall in love with someone else. You could. And TEMPORARILY you’d feel better.

But you’d be in the same situation a few years later. Because, THE KEY TO SUCCEEDING IN MARRIAGE IS NOT FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON IT’S LEARNING TO LOVE THE PERSON YOU FOUND.

SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. It’ll NEVER just happen to you. You can’t “find” LASTING love. You have to “make” it day in and day out.

That’s why we have the expression “the labor of love.” Because it takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it takes WISDOM.

You have to know WHAT TO DO to make your marriage work. Make no mistake about it. Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your spouse) to succeed with your marriage.

Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship WILL make your marriage stronger. It’s  direct cause and effect.

If you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable. You can “make” love. Love in marriage is indeed a “decision”. Not just a feeling. “No one falls in love by choice, it is by CHANCE. No one stays in love by chance, it is by CHOICE.’

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This Wonderful English Language …

Posted on December 24, 2016. Filed under: Guide Posts, Light plus Weighty, The English, Uncategorized |

C. N. Annadurai was a prominent Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, India,  known for his proficiency in English. Once at Yale University he was asked to mention a hundred words which did not have any of the letters –  A, B, C or D.

He promptly recited ‘One to Ninety Nine’ ………….. and then shouted ‘STOP’ – thus completing the one hundred words without any  of the Four Letters !

The next request was to  construct a sentence repeating ‘because’ three times contiguously.

After a moments thought, he says, “A sentence never ends with ‘because,’ because ‘because’ is a conjunction”.

Over to Messrs Shakespeare and Milton!

 

 

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Colin Powell’s Lesson for the Officer Corps …

Posted on December 2, 2016. Filed under: American Thinkers, Guide Posts, Uncategorized |

Colin Powell is a truly Great Man who because of loyalty to his Boss, President George W Bush, compromised himself – so very tragically. Here are his maxims

Check small things – Share credit – Remain calm – Be kind.

It ain’t as bad as you think – Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier – Get mad, then get over it.

It can be done  – Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

Have vision –  Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

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Machiavelli and Cicero on Political Power …

Posted on November 16, 2016. Filed under: Books, Great Writing, Guide Posts, Personalities, Uncategorized |

“The Prince” is an extended analysis of how to acquire and maintain political power. The dedication declares Machiavelli’s intention to discuss in plain language the conduct of great men and the principles of princely government.

The book’s 26 chapters can be divided into four sections: Chapters 1-11 discuss the different types of principalities or states, Chapters 12-14 discuss the different types of armies and the proper conduct of a prince as military leader, Chapters 15-23 discuss the character and behavior of the prince.

Golden Rules

It is better to be stingy than generous ………….. It is better to be cruel than merciful.

It is better to break promises if keeping them would be against one’s interests.

Princes must avoid making themselves hated and despised; the goodwill of the people is a better defense than any fortress. …. Princes should undertake great projects to enhance their reputation.

Princes should choose wise advisers and avoid flatterers.

Fortune controls half of human affairs, but free will controls the rest, leaving the prince free to act. However, few princes can adapt their actions to the times.

And Now Cicero

Quintus Cicero’s letter in 64 BC containing some practical advice to his more idealistic brother Marcus which became the work “How to Win an Election” (Philip Freeman), which includes political principles like:

  1. Have the backing of your family & friends. Surround yourself with the right people.
  2. Call in ALL favors. Build a wide base of support. Every vote counts.
  3. Promise EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY. It’s easier for people to vote for you if you come up with excuses for why you couldn’t keep your promise later than flat out refusing to make a promise in the first place.
  4. Communication skills are KEY. Give people hope..  Flatter voters SHAMELESSLY.
  5. Know your opponent’s weaknesses and exploit them.

How did the election go? Well, Marcus went on to win and there’s a book called “How to Run a Country” (also by Philip Freeman) which contains Marcus’ letters, speeches, and other writings on the subject.

While some things change, the principles stay the same.

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Acciaroli – Where 1/5 of the Population is Hundred Plus …

Posted on October 17, 2016. Filed under: Guide Posts, Light plus Weighty |

Acciaroli ………..  the Place Where People Live Long!

There is a small hamlet in south west Italy where more than 10% of the people are aged over 100, and 20% of this number live to be 110. This extraordinary statistic completely dwarfs the number of American, British or Australian centenarians, which stands at around 1 per 5,000 of the population.

It’s for this reason that a study has just been conducted to find out why the beautiful village of Acciaroli is the place with the oldest residents in the world. The results are out, and the news is staggering – and very exciting.

When Dr. Alan Maisel of the University of California first decided to study the area he was chiefly interested because the people didn’t seem to lead such healthy lifestyles.

He said: “We would notice these people were walking around. Some would be smoking, some would be pretty fat as well, and it just seemed [beyond] the usual health benefits of just the Mediterranean diet.”

The amazing thing about Acciaroli is that the local people here live a happy life and don’t pay much attention to their health. Not only do they smoke a lot, they also eat greasy, fried fish, drink coffee all day and wine in the evening.

They do not spend their time on exercise regimes. They neither jog nor do yoga.

Yet, they do not suffer from the typical chronic diseases that most western elderly people are prone too – illnesses like heart disease, obesity and Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Maisel and his team were also surprised that they saw no one over 80 who had cataracts, which most Americans who reach the grand old age are afflicted with.

The 6-month study of the area by Sapineza University and San Diego School of Medicine found that the local inhabitants of Acciaroli have amazingly good blood circulation for their age. After analyzing the blood samples taken from just over 80 elderly people, the researchers realized that each of them had unbelievably low levels of a hormone known as adrenomedullin, which helps to widen blood vessels.

When people age, their bodies usually produce more adrenomedullin, which contracts the blood vessels. This leads to circulatory problems and a whole host of debilitating health issues. Yet, the levels of adrenomedullin in these retired locals are at the same level as those of healthy people in their 20s and 30s.

According to the published results, the scientists found adrenomedullin “in a much reduced quantity in the subjects studied and seems to act as a powerful protecting factor, helping the optimal development of microcirculation.”

This result brings us to the following questions: What is causing this marvelous occurrence, and can we import the solution to my community? The Anti-Aging Secrets of Acciaroli.

Here are 6 possible candidates for the secret of Acciaroli’s residents’ longevity. Each of these lifestyle choices seem to do something important when it comes to preserving our health and helping us live longer, and each of them are typical of the people of Acciaroli.

1. The residents of Acciaroli generally eat local food, including locally caught sardines and anchovies. The anchovies are eaten in virtually every meal, which is interesting because this fish is full of antioxidants, which reduce cholesterol and inflammation. Many of them keep rabbits and chickens, which they kill for meat. Furthermore, the olive oil, wine, fruit and vegetables are all locally grown. The lack of imported foods mean they consume very fresh food, uninfected with pesticides.

2. Locally grown rosemary is also used constantly here, they even add it to their olive oil. Rosemary is considered to be useful in improving brain function, and the particular varieties grown here are being tested too. It could be that the dozen separate compounds found in this rosemary are especially healthy.

3. The people of Acciaroli are incredibly active, though they don’t exercise for the sake of it. Because the region is hilly, they are simply forced to drag themselves up and down, around and around, day after day. Yet, you’ll never see them joining a gym.

4. Take it easy and enjoy life. Acciaroli is a quiet little town, far removed from much of the hustle and bustle that typifies modern living. Thus, the people here are relaxed. They enjoy sitting in cafes, where they talk politics, read the newspapers, drink coffee and take it easy. Every day is like a lazy Sunday afternoon here. According to Dr. Maisel, here ‘it’s a stress free life. There’s a joie de vivre.’ This is important because stress destroys our immune system and eats away at our brain cells.

5. Weather & environment There is plenty of warm sunshine in Acciaroli, helping the locals get their fair share of vitamin D. It’s weather like this that keeps them outdoors and active too. Furthermore, since there is no real industry around here, the air is unpolluted and clean. There is something marvelous about the air that wafts along the town with the cool sea breeze that smells of immortality.

6. Romantic activities Dr. Maisel believes that the elderly people in Acciaroli spend more time enjoying each other’s bedroom embraces than any average couple. He says: “Sexual activity among the elderly appears to be rampant. Maybe living long has something to do with that.” Could this be the secret cause of long life?
In my opinion it rings true. Having a joy for life, being in love with someone and spending time with them is such a revivifying feeling that I can well believe it gives us a few more good years to enjoy!

Whichever of these is ultimately found to be the cause of Acciaroli’s longevity magic, you are probably curious to visit the place to see for yourself. The hamlet is 85 miles south of Naples, and was famously visited by Mediterranean-diet-aficionado, American nutritionist Ancel Keys in 1950.

He was so taken with the area that he remained here with his wife. And guess what – he also lived to be 100 years old!

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‘Taps’ Courtesy TIME Magzine

Posted on October 11, 2016. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Guide Posts, Uncategorized |

TAPS is a high musical moan, part love song, part hymn. Composed in battle by a Civil War general to order lights-out, it also signaled that all was well: the day is over, you are safe, now rest. So it goes at military funerals: a last bugle call, a life is over, you are safe, now rest.

TAPS is also the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and if you do nothing else this Memorial Day, take a moment to learn about what it does.

“It’s a hard day for us,” says Stephanie Dostie, whose husband Sergeant First Class Shawn Dostie was killed by an IED in Baghdad in 2005. For military families, loss recoils and ricochets: you live on or near a base, pick a portable career, get to know the other families. “You become part of the military family, and then in an instant, you’re a civilian again,” Dostie says. “Your whole life changes.” Her family was allowed to stay in base housing at Fort Campbell for 12 months, but she had to fight for her children, who were 5 and 8, to remain at the base school after they moved off post. “The concern was that if we kept them in the school system, they were not moving on,” Dostie recalls. She confronted Army officials: “‘You cannot tell my children when they are moving on. They want to be with teachers who supported them when their dad died.’ To me, it was cruel to remove them.”

Death ends a life, says TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll. It does not end a relationship. What do you do with the boxes in the attic? How do you handle the grief? Honor the life and learn to make a new one.

Carroll founded TAPS in 1994, after her husband Brigadier General Tom Carroll died in the crash of an Army C-12 plane, to help surviving families find a safe place to land. It offers peer mentoring, grief counseling and all kinds of social support, and for five days over Memorial Day weekend there’s a mass gathering in Washington that families like the Dosties attend. The kids go to a Good Grief camp, where they are matched with mentors, take tours, write journals, bond with other kids who have lost a parent. They lay wreaths made of their handprints, each with a message to their loved one, at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The adults attend workshops like Grief Support for Siblings, Dream Visits, Creating a Facebook Memorial, Coping with Suicide Loss. There is one conducted by military physicians called Did My Loved One Suffer? “It’s a very tough session but always the most packed,” says Carroll. “It’s an opportunity for families who don’t understand elements of a traumatic, horrific death to ask questions of absolute experts.”

Almost every weekend, somewhere in America there is a gathering of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of survivors looking to help one another cope — 30,000 families registered to date. It is a far cry from the days of early Vietnam when the Army was so overwhelmed with casualties that it enlisted cabdrivers to deliver the telegrams with news of a soldier’s death and when fierce opposition to the war sometimes translated to an inhuman lack of sympathy. “We’d hear things like ‘We’re glad he’s gone. He was a baby killer,'” recalls Kit Frazer, president of Gold Star Wives of America. “It was a very unhappy time. Now there’s an outpouring of love for widows and widowers and an attempt to help them.” Children get medical and dental benefits until they are 21, rather than just for three years after the death; the Army has a 24-hour call center for survivors with benefits questions, a new family center at Dover Air Force Base and Survivor Outreach Services to coordinate the efforts.

But there is also, sadly, a growing need, which private groups like TAPS are serving. Many of today’s soldiers are older — reservists or National Guard members — and more likely to leave a spouse and children behind, as well as grieving siblings and parents. Ask soldiers and survivors what they need from civilians, and it too has to do with memory. Fort Campbell is about to deploy again. “These troops want to know that we haven’t forgotten that the war’s not over,” Dostie says. “Civilians need to understand that those guys are over there fighting for our lives and their lives and leaving behind families worried every day that they are going to get that knock on the door.”

In my town on Memorial Day, we will wrap bikes with streamers and put bandannas on puppies and march in messy rows down Main Street behind the Cub Scouts and VFW and League of Women Voters. The flags will be flying and waving. Most of us haven’t had to bear the presentation into our hands of a folded one. But somewhere close by, there is probably someone who has.

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