Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - September 21 Edition

Foreign Aid, Refugees

“The United States will contribute nearly $32 million in humanitarian aid to help Rohingya Muslim refugees, the State Department said Wednesday, in the Trump administration’s first major response to the mass exodus from Myanmar.

The new money for food, medical care, water, sanitation and shelter comes as the U.S. joins a growing chorus of international condemnation over the minority group’s plight. In less than a month, some 421,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries, as the United Nations and others raise allegations of ethnic cleansing.

The U.S. said the new money makes up roughly one-fourth of what global aid groups say they need to address the humanitarian crisis, with the expectation that the rest of the world will make up the remaining three-quarters. Over time, the overall cost will probably run into many hundreds of millions, said Eric Schwartz, the president of Refugees International.

“I’ve been doing this work for 30 years,” Schwartz said by phone as he flew back from Bangladesh. “This is as bad as anything I’ve ever seen in terms of the human mystery that the Burmese military has created.””

Inspiration, Science, Kindness

(Read or Listen)

“Sophia Spencer, 8, loves bugs — especially grasshoppers. She's an expert on insects, and likes to give her littlest friends an occasional ride on her shoulder.

That used to earn her mockery from her peers. But now it's earned her a massive outpouring of support — and a byline in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

Everything changed after Sophia's mom, Nicole Spencer, reached out to scientists for support last year.

She wrote to the Entomological Society of Canada and explained the dilemma. Her daughter wanted to know if she could learn more about bugs as a job, but her mom wasn't sure how to encourage her. And she wanted to reassure her that her entomological enthusiasm wasn't weird.

Mission accomplished. The organization tweeted out the appeal, with the hashtag #BugsR4Girls, and hundreds of people responded with encouragement. Scores of working entomologists reached out to share their stories. And Sophia joined forces with Morgan Jackson, the entomology Ph.D. candidate who wrote that tweet, to write a paper about the role Twitter can serve in promoting women in science.”

Women, Military
From March 2017:

“The US military is the largest employer in the world, but only about 15% of its nearly 1.3 million active-duty workforce are women. In the Marine Corps, it’s only about 7%.

The small numbers are a very big problem.

The latest US military scandal is shocking in its both scale and the level of malice: Hundreds of current and former Marines posted and commented on nude and sexually suggestive photos of female colleagues in a 30,000-member, private Facebook group.

Online harassment, not limited to the Marine Corps, is only one of the problems the US military struggles with to make the armed forces a suitable workplace for women. And while there are a number of critical steps to take toward true integration, the military needs, first and foremost, more women.

The military is slowly moving to draw them into more combat jobs. The Army also wants to increase the number of female recruiters by 1% per year. Neller’s initiative to recruit more women focuses on high-school athletes. His stated goal is modest—increasing female ranks to 10%. Even that is proving difficult. It’s been twice as hard to find women recruits.”

Disaster Relief, Mexico

“A devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico City on Tuesday, killing at least 139 people.

With power and phone lines down, people are having trouble getting in touch with loved ones. To make matters more stressful, the country was already recovering from an earthquake that hit less than two weeks ago.

Instead of feeling hopeless in the face of the destruction, here's how you can help earthquake victims. 

Donate what you can

Organizations like UNICEF Mexico are looking for monetary donations. 
There's a big need for clothes, water, and food. Giving to places like the Red Cross MexicoOxfam Mexico, and Save the Children Mexico is a way to get resources flowing. Smaller nonprofits like Project Paz are also collecting donations for earthquake relief.

A rescue brigade, Topos Mexico, was huge part of efforts back in 1985 and is hard at work with the latest earthquakes and taking donations.”

Cancer, Coping

“Sometime, during my cancer trial, I began to believe the lies cancer told me. Lies like, “You’re not good enough. You’re no longer a real woman. Your life is over.” Those words wormed their way into my heart and mind, taking up residence there. They would surface whenever I let my guard down. At first, I didn’t recognize the damage they were doing. I found myself saying, “I can’t” more often. I used my health issues as an excuse to get out of doing things I would normally do. But as I found myself speaking negatively more often, I realized something had to change. I needed to learn to discern fact from fiction.

By encouraging myself with positive self-talk, I found, like the little engine that could, that tasks were easier to complete. At first, I felt silly being my own cheerleader, but even when I didn’t speak the words aloud, my thoughts gradually shifted from negative to positive ones. If I needed to accomplish a task for which I didn’t have the strength or energy, I’d tell myself I’d try. Sometimes I’d attempt a task multiple times before it was complete, but if I persisted, I usually succeeded. Whenever I managed to get the job done, I’d compliment myself by saying something like, “See, you did it!” or “Slow and steady wins the race.” I was happier because even though my physical limitations were real, the power of positive thinking helped me a great deal.”

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