Be a Better Spouse, New Forms of Super-Bacteria, The NFL, More

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How to Be a Better Spouse

Being nice, paying attention and praising a partner’s strengths all pay off in a long-term relationship.

Before you get married, everyone tells you that marriage takes work. I never really believed it until my husband and I landed in therapy after four years, two kids and one seismically stressful cross-country move. Turns out you really can’t just flip the switch to autopilot and trust love to take care of itself; you have to devote actual time and effort to understanding and appreciating your spouse. Anyone who is married knows that’s not always a simple feat. Here’s what relationship research (and a touch of game theory) tells us about how to become a better spouse.

#1 Be nice as often as you can. A lot of modern relationship therapy is based on the research of John Gottman, a prolific psychologist famous for videotaping thousands of couples and dissecting their interactions into quantifiable data. One of his most concrete findings was that happier couples had a ratio of five positive interactions to every negative interaction. “That just leapt off the pages of the data analysis,” he says. It was true in very different types of relationships, including those in which the people were very independent and even distant or argumentative. These positive interactions don’t have to be grand gestures: “A smile, a head nod, even just grunting to show you’re listening to your partner—those are all positive,” Gottman says.

#2 Think about what your partner needs, even when fighting. To resolve conflicts, Gottman says we can learn from game theory—the study of conflict and decision making used in political science, sociology and economics. It used to be widely accepted that negotiations were mostly zero-sum situations, meaning one party’s gain was the other party’s loss. In 1950 mathematician John Nash proved there was another, better outcome: a solution in which the parties may have to compromise, but in the end all of them come out satisfied. (This now famous “Nash equilibrium” won him a Nobel Prize in 1994.) I’m reminded of a recent situation in my own marriage—my husband hated the house we bought a couple of years ago and wanted to move to a different neighborhood; I liked the house just fine and didn’t want to goanywhere. After much discussion, we realized that what we both really want is to settle in somewhere for the long haul. If the current house is not a place my husband feels he can settle in, then I can’t truly settle in either. So we’re moving next month, for both our sakes! Find the Nash equilibrium in your conflict, and you’ll both get your needs met.

#3 Just notice them. “People are always making attempts to get their partners’ attention and interest,” Gottman says. In his research, he has found that couples who stay happy (at least during the first seven years) pick up on these cues for attention and give it 86 percent of the time. Pairs who ended up divorced did so 33 percent of the time. “It’s the moment we choose to listen to our partner vent about a bad day instead of returning to our television show,” explains Dana R. Baerger, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “In any interaction, we have the opportunity to connect with our partner or to turn away. If we consistently turn away, then over time the foundation of the marriage can slowly erode, even in the absence of overt conflict.”

#4 Ignore the bad, praise the good. Observations of couples at home reveal that people who focus on the negative miss many of the positive things that their partners are doing. Happy spouses, however, ignore the annoyances and focus on the good. “If your wife is irritable one morning, it’s not a big deal. It’s not going to become a confrontation,” Gottman says. “Then when she does something nice, you notice and comment on that.” Guess what that breeds? More of the good stuff.

It’s this lesson that I’m going to try to implement right away. The guy I’m married to leaves dirty shirts balled up on the floor, never loads the dishwasher correctly and can be prickly when he hasn’t had enough sleep—but he is an amazing husband. He’s honest, shares his feelings, hugs and kisses me, and basically acts like I matter. I want to show him how much he matters, too, and that all the other stupid little stuff doesn’t.

Found this one HERE.

Is Sewage Treatment Arming New Forms of Super-Bacteria?

This is the argument being made this weekend at the ?249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society: the chlorine (usually) used in treating wastewater may be encouraging the formation of new, so-far unknown antibiotics. These antibiotics are then leaking into water supplies where they foster the development of new microbe-resistant strains of bacteria, diminishing the effects of our current arsenal of antibiotics. Which was already looking sketchy enough.

So, it’s not some big secret that pharmaceuticals are making their way into aquatic ecosystems and causing all sorts of problems, from the basic fucking up of fish lifestyles to, indeed, antibiotic resistance up here on dry land. This is a bit different, however. The antibiotics being introduced are in a sense new or at least significantly tweaked. It’s sort of like offering harmful bacteria a antibiotic sneak preview.

This insight comes courtesy of Olya Keen, an environmental engineering professor at the University of North Carolina, and her team of graduate researchers. In laboratory experiments, the group took the common antibiotic doxycycline and exposed it to wastewater chlorine, observing any changes in the compound’s antibiotic properties.

Indeed, that was what Keen and co. observed: super-doxycycline. “Surprisingly, we found that the products formed in the lab sample were even stronger antibiotics than doxycycline, the parent and starting compound,” she offered in an ACS statement.

The mechanisms behind these “transformation compounds” are still vague, as is what they even are. They could be entirely new antibiotics, or just upgraded versions.

The whole water treatment process is one of harm reduction, not harm elimination. Chlorine is already known to result in a number of ?not-so-great byproducts(disinfection byproducts, properly) and, as Keen herself ?demonstrated in a 2014 study, the same holds true for UV treatment followed by chlorine treatment, a more recent, more advanced process in part designed to handle pharmaceuticals and “personal care products.” Still, the effects can be minimized and drug disposal is a persistent problem, in which old and disused pharmaceuticals often wind up in the toilet or drain (don’t do that).

Treated water is one of the very definitions of the developed world and, make no mistake, we don’t want the alternatives: cholera, typhoid, fucking worms, cyclosporiasis, Legionnaires’ disease, etc. The antiseptic world gets a lot of shit, often for good reason, but the alternative isn’t a pretty place. Still, we have the luxury of doing disinfection better and clearly the need is there.

That’s just a harder problem than it might’ve first seemed.

Found this one HERE.

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America’s Socialist Sports League: The NFL

Because revenues are spread evenly across franchises, owners don’t gain much financially when their teams win.

Free agency in the National Football League began this month and a number of stars—Ndamukong Suh, DeMarco Murray, and Darrelle Revis—have found new employers. NFL fans everywhere love looking at each move their favorite teams make and debating whether or not these moves are likely to improve their own future happiness.

Although people might disagree about the merits of each transaction, there is a general sense that each team is trying to win. After all, don’t teams have a clear financial incentive to win more games? Don’t more wins lead to more fans in the stands and more viewers on television? And doesn’t all that make the team owners more money?

As it turns out, the economics of the NFL don’t quite work this way. The NFL equally shares its nearly $5 billion of national television revenue among all its teams. It also shares a substantial portion of its ticket and merchandise revenue, but not revenue from suites, sponsorships, or naming rights. All of this means that the link between a team’s record and the revenue it brings in is quite weak.

In a recent paper published in the International Journal of Sport Finance,Michael Leeds, Peter von Allmen, and I look at the statistical link between a team’s wins and its total revenue in the NFL, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball. With respect to baseball we found that a 10 percent increase in regular season wins for an average team would lead to a 2.7 percent increase in revenue. The same result was uncovered for the NBA. In both of these leagues the national television revenue is shared, but other revenue streams, such as local media, gate revenue, and sponsorship revenue are—relative to what we see in the NFL—not shared as much.

Much more found HERE.

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