It's the end of another work week here at Abbey Research, and as I (Dr. Hinson) sit at my desk watching the snow fall in Pittsburgh, I'm ready to share the top five interesting, engaging, or in this season, joyful things I came across. Some weeks we will have focused or themed lists, but more often than not, since we both have our feet in so many spaces, they will be a more random collection of shareable content. Let's crack on, shall we?
1. I like to start off these lists with something cheerful, and what made me smile the most this week was the results of the X-Factor UK Finale. Living in the UK for 5 years Dr. Donnelly and I adopted many new shows, including the American Idol-esque singing competition (which airs in the US on AXSTv). This year's winners, Rak-Su are a charming group of childhood best friends from Watford, who stole the show with their original music, creativity, friendship, and pure joy. Here's their winning song, I dare you not to get up and dance along:
2. Moving on to something more empowering than cheerful, Time Magazine announced the much anticipated Person of the Year. The magazine made the brave and bold decision to select The Silence Breakers - women who have spoken out about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. With an accompanying video - shot, directed, edited, and produced by women - the magazine made a powerful statement that real change starts with believing women and elevating unheard voices. There was a rousing three cheers for Time here at Abbey Research when we heard the news!
3. As a devoted Steelers fan, I was struck, like many others in Steelers Nation, by the brutal hits (with potentially horrific consequences) in Monday's game against the Bengals. It served as a harrowing reminder to me of the damage that this sport is doing to young men, particularly when we consider the recent findings about CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Though the NFL has recognized the damage and funded a recent study, other sports are slower to accept the risks and make changes. NPR recently spoke to a neuroscientist who is working to get the NHL on board.
4. In reading Amy Goldstein's brilliant book Janesville (review coming soon), I was deeply saddened to read about the ramifications of deindustrialization in small town America. Janesville saw a dramatic increase in teen homelessness. In response, a local high school guidance counselor started a program called 16:49 (the 16 hours and 49 minutes between each school day). Their documentary Sixteen Forty-Nine follows the stories of young people facing more than half a day with nowhere to go.
5. Preparing for the holiday season means accepting a level of glitter in your life - whether in cards, decorations, or presents. But scientists in the UK have warned in a new study that our societal over-use of glitter could have serious ramifications for sea life. Most non-recycled plastic makes it's way to the oceans, so maybe we can all find a new way to sparkle this holiday season!
That's a wrap on #Friyays from snowy Pittsburgh! What got you smiling, thinking, or clapping this week? Let us know below and see you next week!