“Five for Your Eyes” is a new series of posts where I share five features that I found to be interesting or worth reading. I read a lot of books, but I also love reading long-form pieces in publications like the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the New Yorker, looking into slices of the world I was previously unaware of, or have held interests in. I hope some of these articles will interest you as well!
So as I sat on the crinkly paper in the doctor’s office, swinging my legs and staring off into space, I felt restless. When my doctor finally returned with some papers in his hand and asked me if I’d been contacted about a small biopsy I’d had done a few months prior, I said no, I assumed no news was good news and promptly forgot about it.
That’s when he told me I had dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. I had cancer.
You’d think this was my moment—the moment that shook me at my core and convinced me to slow down. But it wasn’t.
Immediately after being told I had a rare form of skin cancer, my brain said to me, You need to get better as soon as possible so you can get back to New York and back to work. It helped that my cancer was treatable, and that my prognosis was positive—it was easier to try and brush off. Getting well for the sake of being well didn’t cross my mind for a second.
And that’s how I operated for a while. We went ahead with the film’s premiere and got to work creating an international distribution plan, all while I was making trips back to Ottawa for two invasive surgeries and recovery. It was a mix of the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life. Five months later, I was finally cancer free and in the clear.
I dove back into travel, overtime work, and my fast paced life in New York. To me, everything was back to normal.
Then, one cold New York morning in early 2017, I woke up with no vision in my left eye.
☆ Undercover Asia: Lonely Deaths (Channel News Asia International)
In Japan an estimated 30,000 people per year die alone in their homes in a growing social crisis known as ‘Lonely Death’. Specialist ‘Lonely Death’ cleaner Masuda started his business 15 years ago after finding an elderly neighbour dead in her apartment. Masuda’s young female assistant Miyu, is motivated by the lonely death of her alcoholic father. Together, they tackle the grim aftermath of two shocking cases. In Yokohama, a wealthy middle aged man dies alone but his relatives are unwilling to come to the apartment to collect his possessions.
In Ibaraki, a man in his 60’s has been dead for two months before his neighbour raises the alarm after her apartment becomes infested with maggots and flies. The man was unable to pay his bills and had all his amenities cut off. Miyu discovers he has been defecating into buckets for five years because he has no running water. The man’s brother turns up to collect his possessions and Miyu learns how and why the siblings lost contact.
☆ Want to be happy? Be grateful (TED)
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude.
An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.
☆ Good News for Women With Breast Cancer: Many Don’t Need Chemo (The New York Times)
Many women with early-stage breast cancer who would receive chemotherapy under current standards do not actually need it, according to a major international study that is expected to quickly change medical treatment.
“We can spare thousands and thousands of women from getting toxic treatment that really wouldn’t benefit them,” said Dr. Ingrid A. Mayer, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, an author of the study. “This is very powerful. It really changes the standard of care.”
The study found that gene tests on tumor samples were able to identify women who could safely skip chemotherapy and take only a drug that blocks the hormone estrogen or stops the body from making it. The hormone-blocking drug tamoxifen and related medicines, called endocrine therapy, have become an essential part of treatment for most women because they lower the risks of recurrence, new breast tumors and death from the disease.
☆ Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test (The Atlantic)
The marshmallow test is one of the most famous pieces of social-science research: Put a marshmallow in front of a child, tell her that she can have a second one if she can go 15 minutes without eating the first one, and then leave the room. Whether she’s patient enough to double her payout is supposedly indicative of a willpower that will pay dividends down the line, at school and eventually at work. Passing the test is, to many, a promising signal of future success.
But a new study, published last week, has cast the whole concept into doubt. The researchers—NYU’s Tyler Watts and UC Irvine’s Greg Duncan and Hoanan Quan—restaged the classic marshmallow test, which was developed by the Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s. Mischel and his colleagues administered the test and then tracked how children went on to fare later in life. They described the results in a 1990 study, which suggested that delayed gratification had huge benefits, including on such measures as standardized test scores.
Watts and his colleagues were skeptical of that finding. The original results were based on studies that included fewer than 90 children—all enrolled in a preschool on Stanford’s campus. In restaging the experiment, Watts and his colleagues thus adjusted the experimental design in important ways: The researchers used a sample that was much larger—more than 900 children—and also more representative of the general population in terms of race, ethnicity, and parents’ education. The researchers also, when analyzing their test’s results, controlled for certain factors—such as the income of a child’s household—that might explain children’s ability to delay gratification and their long-term success.
Five for Your Eyes – 005
So that was the fifth installment of “Five for Your Eyes“! I hope at least one of the articles intrigued you! Let me know what you think, or anything you thought was interesting!
If you have a recommendation for an article, please share them with me!