Friday, February 22, 2013

Things I learned this week

• Why do we often forget the reason we went into a room? Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale. [Source: Reader's Digest]

• Apparently office workers are healthier, and have more energy, when they stand at their desks.

• Women represent 22% of those arrested for serious crimes in the United States, but women are just 10% of those convicted and 5% of those imprisoned. Only 12 women have been executed in the United States since 1976, compared to 1,308 men. The difference can not be entirely explained by men's greater propensity for violence. One theory postulates that the criminal justice system is predisposed to see women as incapable of violent acts and, if caught, not responsible for those acts. [Source: The New Yorker].

• Setting a precedent, a Canadian federal court decision states that employers must accommodate reasonable childcare-related requests from their employees. The case revolved around a woman's request for changes in her work shifts to accommodate her childcare responsibilities. Some believe that the new standard will discourage the hiring of women of childbearing age.

• According to the Stress in America study released last week, those in the 18-33 and 34-47 age groups, so-called Millennials and Generation X, are the most stressed-out generations.

• Washington has cleared the first burial of a same-sex spouse of a veteran in a national cemetery,


  1. The theory about women and the justice system is a a good one. Women will never be equal until they are seen in society as complete persons capable of good and evil. I've blogged about the missing Mrs. Satan in Christian mythology for good reason.

    1. The case of Carla Homolka is instructive. The prosecutors thought she was an unwilling victim and cut a sweetheart deal with her for her testimony against Paul Bernardo, then found out she was his accomplice.

  2. If we want equality as women, we have to get it - and accept it - equally from every which way; good, bad, and other.

    If the work place has to be accommodating, it shouldn't be accommodating only to childcare. There are people who take care of their elderly folks, disabled children, siblings, parents, etc. It shouldn't be only for childcare; I don't believe that's fair. Parents of young children are not the only ones with responsibilities.

    1. Martha, those are excellent points. Many people are stretched pretty thin these days timewise, and there needs to be some flexibility to help them.

      On the other hand, this kind of thing is very hard on small businesses which do not have enough staff to have someone cover an employee's job when they are away or require a different schedule. Hiring and training temporary replacements, while being required to keep an employee's job available for their return, is expensive and disruptive. Courts and lawmakers often fail to consider this kind of impact.

      I know for a fact that many small business owners are reluctant to hire women in certain age groups due to these concerns.

      It's a case of unintended consequences. Rules sometimes wind up hurting those they were designed to help.