Action-Control / Self-Control 

By Selim Gautschi, Switzerland

How free are our thoughts and actions really?

Isn’t it interesting and fascinating to understand one’s actions and intensions? I think this topic is important in today’s life because everyone has goals and desires and has to struggle with discipline. The origin of our actions often comes from unconscious decisions we make in everyday life. Our emotions are a big part in this process of deciding and thinking.

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The term “Action-control” was invented in the early 1980s by Julius Kuhl, a German professor in differential psychology. The term includes processes where intensions are protected from neurological distractions. Everyone who has tried to stop smoking or lose weight knows how hard it is to control their actions. Whether we execute discipline or not depends a lot on our ability to control our emotions. Studies show that people who can control their emotions tend to live a happier, healthier and wealthier life.

 

Having willpower in your childhood years determines your willpower for adulthood, especially when it comes to emotional situations. Probably the best known experiment in the 3history of psychology shows what impact willpower has on our personality. In the 60s, Walter Mischel, a personality psychologist, did 4the marshmallow-test with 4 year old kids. In this popular test, several kids wrestle with waiting to eat a marshmallow in hopes of a bigger prize. This video is a good illustration of temptation and the hope of future rewards. Video: Marshmallow Test

The good news is that we can train and use different techniques to execute and stay disciplined and determined about our goals.
There are five strategies to a more conscious way of acting:  5

  • Attention-control
  • Motivation-control
  • Emotional-control
  • Environmental control
  • Economy of information processing

NUCLEAR ENERGY: DECIDE WHICH SIDE YOU’RE ON

By Arthur Gris, France

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Nuclear power will help provide the electricity that our growing economy needs without increasing emissions. This is truly an environmentally responsible source of energy.” assured American politician Michael Burgess, while former Finnish President Tarja Halonen warned “Nuclear power is not a miracle key for the future.”. People have been arguing about nuclear power since its creation in the 1940s, until today in 2017. And we’re pretty sure that it will last forever whatever happens. If it stays like this, the debate will remain the same as the pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear will keep on arguing, and if nuclear power is banned, it’s very likely to see the pro-nuclear continue to argue to get it back.

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The aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, 1945.

After its well-known and controversial use in the 1940s with the 2 atomic bombs in Japan which made approximately 250,000 victims, the nuclear power were used in the next decade to offer a brighter and peaceful future designed for the development of new technologies. In the 50s, people saw in the atomic power the actual key to the future. However, we soon learned the limit of that extraordinary power as it was expansive and complicated to maintain. That is when it became really disputed with on one hand industries that preferred to keep going with the traditional sources of power (such as gas, coal and oil) that were in their opinion more reliable and cheaper, and on the other hand those who wanted this power because of its plentiful of positive aspects.

The nuclear power reached its highest peak during the oil wars that started in the 70s and which caused oil prices to shoot up, leading to more and more investments in the atomic power: more than half of all the nuclear reactors were built between 1970 and 1985. Since then, what made this power controversial were mainly the catastrophes such as the Chernobyl one in 1986 and the Fukushima disaster in 2011 which both caused casualties when and after the accidents happened due to the mortal and extremely expandable radioactivity.

Nowadays, the nuclear plants are getting old though new ones are planned for the next years in some countries, mainly developing. The situation faced today by those “nuclear countries” is whether spend money to make their nuclear plants brand new with the latest technologies, or move towards other kind of power.

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The “cons” of this power are well known and are the reasons why it’s so controversial and why people are protesting. One of them is the fact that developing nuclear power can lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons. These kinds of weapons, owned by both enemy nations are often said to be the cause of a 3rd world war. But a war with nuclear weapons on both sides would be an unseen massacre in the history of humanity and for the earth too. A less scary yet worrying situation is the pollution due to the nuclear rejections and wastes coming from the nuclear plants. We still don’t know what to do with it, and bury them in the soil of the earth is not a good and durable solution even though it is very little compared to greenhouse gasses and rejections and waste from the regular sources of energy. Lastly, the major accidents we seen had a radioactive spreading that was very serious and certainly the cause of cancer for the individuals located in many kilometers square around the area. In the most famous case of Chernobyl, the catastrophe will cause about 270 000 cancers (93 000 fatal) within 70 years, according to Greenpeace.

The “pros” however, are often ignored by most of people. They can be divided into two main points. At first, NASA scientists demonstrated that it is cleaner than the gases that fossil fuels produce. Which means that, in a way, there are a lot more deaths due to the fossil energy exploitation, but when people died because of the nuclear energies its mainly due to the catastrophes mentioned earlier in the article which always have a great impact in people’s minds. Actually, the NASA scientist said that in 2009, 1.8 million deaths have been prevented thanks to the nuclear energy replacing other kind of energy.

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Fuel needed to power a lightbulb, nuclear is clearly the less consuming energy.

Second, the new technologies which will be used to rebuild the old nuclear plants will reduce a lot the risks of such disasters. If countries invest in those specific fields of technologies, they might be able to control the risks and use nuclear power instead of poisonous fossil energies. Yes, the aftermaths of the nuclear catastrophes are terrible and are what is frightening and repulsive to people regarding nuclear energy, but since there has been already not a lot of such catastrophes in the past 50 years with the old technologies, the newest being more secure might stop or prevent any catastrophes. It definitely looks like the best solution to produce energy, only before we can fully produce only with renewable energies (in 40 years in the best scenarios, according to experts).

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So…                                 Is it good?                                                                       Is it bad?

Happiness

By: Rafaella Amorim de Souza, Brazil

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“Try to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.”

– Sydney Smith

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Does money bring happiness? Is it possible to be happy alone? Are children happier than adults? Are joy, satisfaction, pleasure and happiness the same? Happiness is the absence of sadness? Is health fundamental to happiness? Have we been born happy or unhappy? We were happy and did not know? What does the brain have to do with happiness? These are questions that positive psychology are trying to respond.

Since Classical Antiquity, Happiness has been the subject of debates, philosophical and religious reflections.  Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Carl Jung, Albert Bandura, Gordon Allport and others focused on the investigation of positive emotions. Therefore, the great contribution of Positive Psychology wasn’t to create the study of Happiness, but to have it developed on a scientific basis.

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To include the research of happiness in the field of sciences, Positive Psychology uses both traditional methods of psychological research and the most advanced process in the field of neurosciences for the study of emotions and human behavior. This is how Positive Psychology chooses the path of empirical research, respecting the rigors of scientific methodology and basing its analyzes on concrete data.

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Unlike the “smiley face” apologists, positive psychologists distinguish the importance of knowledge of dark and thorny subjects such as depression and misery for the understanding of happiness. That’s why their scientific objectivity that Positive Psychology should not be confused as the source of a recipe for happiness. Happiness is not about always being smiling but try to see the good on every bad decision, moment of sadness.

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Negative emotions are essential for us, because they shows when we need to st
op and look to ourselves, because they’re signals urging us to change what we’re doing wrong, so If you never permit your self feeling blue you will never truly know why you are sad. That’s why thousand of people don’t achieve the happiness, because they think superficially and don’t try to change what is wrong.

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Happiness is never found in materialistic things that cannot be physically possessed. The society are forgetting their bases, living their lives with no sense of control, buying everything just as excuse for trying to emerge on a social standard, that will never be reached. Therefore, happiness is priceless. It can never be purchased. Obviously you need money to survive, but you have to concentrate on what is really important for you. The life is made by small and unforgettable moments that money can’t buy.

 

 

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Paintball

by: Afshar Mahdi (Ecuador)

What is paintball?

Paintball is a sport played by two or more teams of players. Each player is equipped with one marker (gun), compressed air tank, loader (where you put the paintballs), protective gear such as knee-pads, elbow-pads, jersey and pants. In paintball they are different types of games; Speedball is a fast game where the game zone is about 100 ft x 120 ft. In this game you can cover yourself with inflatable bunkers where each bunker has a different shape and a name like “Doritos”, “snake”, etc.

Another type of gamImage result for speedball san diego dynastye is Woodsball.Woodsball, most of the time is played in big scenarios like in a forest, where you can cover yourself with nature like with trees, bushes, trenches, etc. Paintball has lots of benefits like full body workout, increasing of interpersonal skills and self-confidence, major stress relief. It also promotes teamwork where a lot of companies in the world are using paintball as a tool to fortify the relationship between co-workers.

Tournaments in Ecuador

In Ecuador they are many tournaments where Speedball and Woodsball are include. The most important Speedball tournament in Ecuador is the EPPL (Ecuadorian Professional Paintball League), where there are 5 vs 5 players. Another league is called 3 x 3, which is played with three players on both teams. IImage result for eppl ecuadorn Woodsball they have the UWL (Ultimate Woodsball League), where bigger scenarios are played and there are 10 players on each team. Having a lot of tournaments in Ecuador is good because it maintains a high performance of game between the players on a national scale.

Why do I like Paintball?

I like to play paintball for a lot of reasons. The first one is that paintball is a fun sport that you can enjoy with your family and friends. Also, it helps me to release all my accumulated stress from the week. At the same time it helps me to be fit. In conclusion, I would recommend everyone to join and play paintball, in fact, there are  extraordinary benefits shown above. It is a sport that you can enjoy with your friends and family.

 

Autism as a Unique World

by Klaudia Lubczuk, Poland

Today’s world is full of people whose behavior is difficult for us to understand. Seldom are we drawing attention to these people who, despite having specific disabilities, are unique. One of these disabilities is autism, which is invisible to the eyes. Autism is one of the major issues affecting children nowadays. Although, do we know for sure what the condition involves? Autistic children with language and cognitive abilities is the topic which I would like to raise. This subject is close to my heart, because in the future I would like to work with autistic children, helping them with everyday reality.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that can cause problems with thinking, feeling, language and the ability to relate to others. To the main symptoms of ASD we can include limited ability to initiate and sustain social contacts, deficits in verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as repetitive, stereotyped forms of activity and behavior. Cognition deficits of autistic people relate to deficits in the development of the theory of mind.

“By THE TIME I’d returned to my old school, I was so withdrawn that I had little idea of what was going on around me.  As I gradually emerged, it was once again into a world of things. I became fascinated with words and books, and making outside order out of inner chaos.”

Donna Williams, “Nobody Nowhere”

Helen Tager-Flusberg in 1995 carried out research based on detailed studies of autistic children’s narrative story-telling abilities by PhD Loveland and her colleagues. Loveland asked autistic children to tell the story that they were watching in the form of a puppet show. She found out that autistic children weren’t able to retell the story. Furthermore, some of them in this research failed to understand the events. Thus, we can speak about the lack of cultural perspective, imagination of others intentions, desires or the ways of thinking. These deficits can have a strong impact on fundamental aspects of autism, for instance, participation in social interactions.

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Hinging on the foregoing research, Helen Tager-Flusberg wanted to verify autistic children narrative abilities. She asked 10 autistic and 10 developmentally typical children to narrate a story from a wordless picture book. The book was telling the story about a boy, whose lovely frog ran away at night. This is a typical task for examining the theory of mind. In narrative stories, it was difficult to identify the character’s emotions, and only 4 of the 10 children reported a solution to the character’s situation. Autistic children were using very expressive language, they were minimally narrating picture stories, not describing the main characters. In their stories there was lack of cause-effect relationships. Henceforth, we can see the deficits in understanding others intentions and mental states. The empathy level of autistic children’s is relatively low.

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Whenever we are raising the narrative abilities issue, we need to remember how big an impact it has on the theory of mind. Autistic children’s stories represent particular deficits in understanding both mental states and other’s emotions. Deficits in emphatic behaviors can be broaden by usage of strong expressive language which, widely considered, is inadequate to socially agreed standards. Furthermore, deficits in the theory of mind can bring many complications. In 1992, Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues had put forward a hypothesis that autistic children have problems with understanding other’s desires, beliefs and intentions. These elements concur to support the theory of mind which is indispensable to understanding and predicting other’s behaviors. Baron-Cohen mentioned as well that autistic people can perceive the world as chaotic or even intimidating. Not only social contacts but also attempts to understand them will end up in failure. The motivation to begin social interactions is very common for autistic children, nonetheless, the biggest barrier is misunderstanding the function of communicating, as well as their limited skills in people-to-people contacts.

In essence, autistic children have many difficulties with everyday reality. Despite having motivation to communicate with others, they cannot understand the process of communication. Perceiving the world as chaotic or even intimidating should not affect autistic people. Our duty is to make their life easier, because they see the world  in different colors than we do.