Earning trust is critical
Zombie ice from the massive Greenland ice sheet will eventually raise global sea level by at least 10 inches on its own, according to a study released Monday.
Box collaborated with scientists based at institutions in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.S. to assess the extent of ice loss already locked in by human activity.
Here is an short excerpt from Al Gore's presentation "An Inconvenient Truth."
Your car warranty has expired. You owe taxes. Your Social Security or Medicare account has been suspended. There’s a question about your most recent credit card payment. Your Amazon, Apple, or Microsoft account has been hijacked.
Despite improved technology and stronger regulations, our phones are still inundated by scam robocalls and texts. The volume is astonishing: According to Nomorobo, a robocall blocking service, scammers make nearly 30 percent of all calls placed on U.S. telecommunications networks. RoboKiller, another blocking service, reported that in May 2022 Americans received more than 6.5 billion robocalls—nearly 24 spam calls for every person in the country. It also reported that we received 11.9 billion spam text messages.
Fraudsters make robocalls and send fake texts because they are effective, cheap to set up and run, and allow criminals to solicit millions of consumers worldwide instantly. Internet-based phone technology lets them disguise (“spoof”) their own phone numbers so they seem to come from a trusted source, such as a local area code and exchange, credit card company, the IRS, or police department. RoboKiller estimates that in 2021 Americans lost more than $30 billion to scams that began with robocalls. (Because most fraud victims never report their losses, the actual figure is probably much higher.)
“Most of us think we won’t be a victim of this scam. But, certainly, with billions of dollars being lost like this, it’s happening to a lot of us,” said Amy Nofziger, director of fraud victim support for the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
Can’t the Phone Networks Reject Robocalls?
For years, regulators and phone companies have been promising that new technology would kill robocalls. But phones keep ringing.In 2019, Congress passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which required telephone companies to implement new technology called “STIR/SHAKEN” by June 2021. (Yes, James Bond fans are involved in the project.)
The STIR/SHAKEN system requires phone companies to flag calls that don’t originate from the numbers displayed on our phones’ caller ID. That’s why your phone now often will warn that you’re getting a call from “Scam Likely” or his brother, “Suspected Scam.”
But the new system doesn’t catch all scam calls. “While STIR/SHAKEN will improve the quality of caller ID information, it does not mean the call itself is legitimate,” the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cautions on its website. “You need to remain vigilant.”
Many scam robocalls originate from outside the country, which makes them more difficult to identify by STIR/SHAKEN technology. In May, the FCC voted unanimously to adopt new rules to stop illegal robocalls that originate overseas from entering U.S. phone networks. Gateway providers, which are the companies that connect those foreign calls to American phones, will be required to comply with STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication protocols, and take additional measures to validate the identity of the foreign telephone providers whose traffic they are routing.
Another limitation: STIR/SHAKEN technology works on mobile phones and internet-based telephone services, not on old-fashioned copper landlines. And it doesn’t address the growing problem of spam texts (more on that later).
While phone companies ignored the growing robocall problem for years, they are now using STIR/SHAKEN technology (as required) to block fraudulent calls that are spoofed and label those that appear suspicious. AT&T told Checkbook that it now blocks or labels about one billion robocalls per month.
Despite improving call screening technology, fighting robocalls continues to be a game of whack-a-mole, as criminals find ways to avoid detection. For example, some are now buying blocks of legitimate phone numbers to circumvent STIR/SHAKEN.
Robotexts Present Even More Problems
Despite the overwhelming number of robocalls being made, robotexts have already overtaken them as the most common way fraudsters target victims. The 2021 Year in Calling report from Truecaller, a spam-blocking company, noted its app alone blocked 38 billion spam calls last year, as well as 182 billion texts.Scam text messages, like their phishing email cousins, are designed to lull you into clicking on a malicious hyperlink or into providing sensitive information. (With texts, the practice is called “smishing.”)
A common ploy: The message says “Your package delivery is pending. Click this link to confirm your order.” Crooks also often pose as banks and send messages that say they are closing your account, hoping you’ll click on the hyperlink with the message.
Dealing with robotexts presents a different challenge for phone companies and regulators than trying to block calls. So far, they’ve tried to apply a law—the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991—but it was written long before texting existed.
Clearly, new rules are needed to protect consumers from scam texters. In October 2021, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel proposed rules that would require cellular service providers to block illegal text messaging.
“In a world where so many of us rely heavily on texting to stay connected with our friends and family, ensuring the integrity of this communication is vitally important,” Rosenworcel said at the time. “It’s time we take steps to confront this latest wave of fraud and identify how mobile carriers can block these automated messages before they have the opportunity to cause any harm.”
Unfortunately, Rosenworcel’s anti-scam-text proposal, which has overwhelming support from consumer advocates and other fraud-watch groups, has not come up for a vote by the commission.
In the meantime, the problem continues to worsen. Consumer complaints to the FCC about robotexts grew from about 5,700 in 2019 to 14,000 in 2020, 15,300 in 2021, and already 8,500 as of the end of June 2022.
Look for red flags. Does the caller ID show that a call or text is coming from your phone number? That’s a common trick to get you to take the crook’s call or respond to their text. And the Social Security Administration will never call you out of the blue. Should there ever be a problem with your account, they’ll send a letter via the U.S. Postal Service.
Don’t answer. If you don’t recognize a number, let the call go to voicemail. If they leave a message claiming to be with your bank, credit card company, Apple, Amazon, etc., don’t call the number provided; instead, call a number or visit a website for the company that you know is legitimate, such as one on a statement or credit card, to find out what’s really going on.
Don’t click on links. The hyperlinks criminals include in their scam texts often lead to a website they’ve set up to look like a legitimate online portal for a familiar bank or company. Their goal is to get you to share your user account, password, or other personal info. Never click on links sent via text or email; instead, go to the company’s website or call its customer support line.
Don’t share. Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls, or if you are suspicious.
Don’t pay up. Banks, retailers, and the federal government won’t insist you pay via Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, or use a peer-to-peer app (such as Venmo or Zelle), or ask you to buy gift cards.
Use available tools. Most phone companies offer apps for your mobile phone or VoIP devices that can help block unwanted calls. The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission have detailed information about robocalls and robotexts. The FCC also has a list of call blocking resources available from phone companies, phone manufacturers, and third-party screening services.
Not sure? Call for help. AARP's Fraud Watch Network Helpline is a fantastic resource. If you get a call and don’t know what to do, you can call 877-908-3360 for advice. You do not need to be an AARP member to use it.
Contributing editor Herb Weisbaum (“The ConsumerMan”) is an Emmy award-winning broadcaster and one of America's top consumer experts. He is also the consumer reporter for NW Newsradio in Seattle. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and at ConsumerMan.com.
Best Buy will soon offer a wider selection of hearing aids after a federal ruling this week created a market expansion for devices that don't require a prescription.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its final rule to allow the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids. These types of hearing devices would be for those with less severe hearing issues and would not require a medical exam, prescription or a fitting by an audiologist.
Best Buy said Wednesday it would offer more hearing devices this fall and create a new customer in-store experience in more than 300 stores for those looking to buy devices.
It will also make available an online hearing assessment tool for customers to determine the severity of their hearing loss.
"Our expansion of the hearing collection and new store experience will let customers easily find a hearing loss solution from brands they trust," said Frank Bedo, category officer of e-commerce and health at Best Buy, in a statement.
For years, the Richfield-based electronics chain has offered hearing solutions such as personal sound amplification products, self-fitting hearing devices, television amplifiers, hearing protection devices and other accessories.
Later this year, the collection will grow to include over-the-counter hearing devices for mild or moderate hearing loss from brands like Lexie Hearing, Nuheara, Jabra Enhance Plus and others.
Nicole Norfleet covers the fast-paced retail scene including industry giants Target and Best Buy. She previously covered commercial real estate and professional services.
firstname.lastname@example.org 612-673-4495 nicolenorfleet
In the Wallace and Gromit clay-animated movie "The Wrong Trousers," a pair of futuristic pants lets people walk on walls and ceilings.
Researchers in England said the film sparked an idea: Robotic clothes could help society.
They created "The Right Trousers," a set of pants embedded with electrical pumps to force air into tiny tubes that expand and can help elderly or disabled people with issues like getting up or improving blood circulation.
Now, in university labs across the world, material scientists, computer programmers and fabric designers are working to advance robotic clothing at a rapid pace, inching us closer to a reality where the clothes we wear help us keep healthy or improve daily life.
"We're sort of at the pre-iPhone announcement [stage]," said Yoel Fink, a materials science professor at MIT. "It's very, very exciting."
In June, researchers in Australia created robotic textile fibers, which can make fabric move automatically.
Last year, scientists at MIT fabricated computer programmable threads and built fiber batteries using battery gels that could embed into clothes and power robotic textiles. In a sign that the technology is approaching maturity, the intelligence community announced in July it's looking to develop smart clothes for soldiers and spies.
Researchers said their work is at a turning point, and could soon unlock an era where clothing will act more like a computer, sensing how your body feels and telling your clothes how to help. In the coming decade, scientists said, customers can expect a whole range of futuristic offerings: pants that can help lift elderly or disabled people up; athletic socks that can promote blood flow through automatic compression; maternity clothes that could passively track fetal heart rates to improve pregnancy outcomes.
Textiles have been around for centuries. The interlocking weaves of yarn, fabric and thread have made empires rich and remained relatively unchanged for decades.
In recent years, companies have begun releasing smart clothing, which connects to cellphones.
Google — through its Jacquard project — partnered with brands like Levi's, Yves Saint Laurent and Adidas to put sensors in denim jackets, backpacks and shoes, letting users access their phones instantly, swiping sleeves to change music.
Fashion technology startup Wearablex built yoga pants that emit vibrations to improve your posture, also through a smartphone.
But these connected clothes are just the first wave of smart clothing technology, researchers said, and technological advances they're working on will create clothing that can do far more.
At the University of New South Wales in Australia, researchers are creating fabrics that can shape shift. Than Nho Do, a senior lecturer at the school, said his team has created tiny silicon tubes, similar to the size of yarn and inspired by muscle fibers, that can weaving into sheets of fabric. These tubes, triggered by electronic or thermal stimulation, can make fabric take various preprogrammed shapes.
But challenges still remain for Do's team, notably around making these robotic tubes smaller so they can weave easily with yarns and other fabrics without adding bulk, he said. Currently, they have a .5-mm diameter and are aiming for 0.1mm, roughly the size of an average syringe needle tip. Yarn can average around 3 to 4 mm.
To make smart clothing truly transformational, though, requires computing power inside fabrics, so they can monitor physiological signs and direct the technology, Fink said. Researchers are attempting to build computing fabrics that could process data being generated by the human skin and turn it into commands that clothes obey.
"Software is going to determine what services you're receiving," he said, "and that thing is going to look like your T-shirt and your pants that you're wearing right now."
To that end, Fink and other researchers from MIT have created fibers with hundreds of silicone microchips to transmit digital signals — essential if clothes are to automatically track things like heart rate or foot swelling. These fibers are small enough to pass through a needle that can be sown into fabric and washed at least 10 times.
Others at the institute have also created rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in the form of an ultralong fiber that can be woven into fabric, powering textiles without an external power source.
But one of the biggest challenges facing the field, Fink said, is design. "What could this fabric look like?" he said.
It should "look exactly, feel exactly, wear exactly, wash exactly like the fabric you're wearing right now."
He noted that his lab is partnering with industrial designers from the Rhode Island School of Design to attack key questions.
Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, a professor of mechanical engineering at Yale University, agreed that many challenges remain before smart textiles "reach their full potential." It will be challenging to make these clothes, filled with fibers and technology, durable enough to withstand multiple cycles in the laundry, she said.
Kramer-Bottiglio noted that size will be a challenge, too.
"The added bulk of specialized fibers could make wearable smart textiles uncomfortable or difficult" to put on or remove. Furthermore, she added, researchers will have to find the most optimal way to place robotic fibers in fabrics and ensure power sources are light weight.
Despite that, she says researchers will figure out a way forward.
"Recent breakthroughs," Kramer-Bottiglio said, "point toward a not-so-distant future where smart textiles will be a part of our everyday wardrobe."
Well, I made it. I turned 100 years old on Wednesday. I wake up every morning grateful to be alive.
Reaching my own personal centennial is cause for a bit of reflection on my first century — and on what the next century will bring for the people and country I love. To be honest, I'm a bit worried that I may be in better shape than our democracy is.
I was deeply troubled by the attack on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 — by supporters of former President Donald Trump attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. Those concerns have only grown with every revelation about just how far Mr. Trump was willing to go to stay in office after being rejected by voters — and about his ongoing efforts to install loyalists in positions with the power to sway future elections.
I don't take the threat of authoritarianism lightly. As a young man, I dropped out of college when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and joined the U.S. Army Air Forces. I flew more than 50 missions in a B-17 bomber to defeat fascism consuming Europe. I am a flag-waving believer in truth, justice and the American way, and I don't understand how so many people who call themselves patriots can support efforts to undermine our democracy and our Constitution. It is alarming.
Encouraging that kind of conversation was a goal of mine when we began broadcasting "All in the Family" in 1971. The kinds of topics Archie Bunker and his family argued about — issues that were dividing Americans from one another, such as racism, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam War and Watergate — were certainly being talked about in homes and families. They just weren't being acknowledged on television.
For all his faults, Archie loved his country and he loved his family, even when they called him out on his ignorance and bigotries. If Archie had been around 50 years later, he probably would have watched Fox News. He probably would have been a Trump voter. But I think that the sight of the American flag being used to attack Capitol Police would have sickened him. I hope that the resolve shown by U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and their commitment to exposing the truth, would have won his respect.
It is remarkable to consider that television — the medium for which I am most well-known — did not even exist when I was born, in 1922. The internet came along decades later, and then social media. We have seen that each of these technologies can be put to destructive use — spreading lies, sowing hatred and creating the conditions for authoritarianism to take root. But that is not the whole story. Innovative technologies create new ways for us to express ourselves and, I hope, will allow humanity to learn more about itself and better understand one another's ideas, failures and achievements. These technologies have also been used to create connection, community and platforms for the kind of ideological sparring that might have drawn Archie to a keyboard. I can only imagine the creative and constructive possibilities that technological innovation might offer us in solving some of our most intractable problems.
I often feel disheartened by the direction that our politics, courts and culture are taking. But I do not lose faith in our country or its future. I remind myself how far we have come. I think of the brilliantly creative people I have had the pleasure to work with in entertainment and politics, and at People for the American Way, a progressive group I co-founded to defend our freedoms and build a country in which all people benefit from the blessings of liberty. Those encounters renew my belief that Americans will find ways to build solidarity on behalf of our values, our country and our fragile planet.
Those closest to me know that I try to stay forward-focused. Two of my favorite words are "over" and "next." It's an attitude that has served me well through a long life of ups and downs, along with a deeply felt appreciation for the absurdity of the human condition.
Reaching this birthday with my health and wits mostly intact is a privilege. Approaching it with loving family, friends and creative collaborators to share my days has filled me with a gratitude I can hardly express.
This is our century, dear reader, yours and mine. Let us encourage one another with visions of a shared future. And let us bring all the grit and openheartedness and creative spirit we can muster to gather together and build that future.
Norman Lear produced "All in the Family," "Maude," "The Jeffersons" and "Good Times," among other groundbreaking television shows. He is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors. An activist and philanthropist, he co-founded and serves on the board of the advocacy organization People for the American Way. This article originally appeared in the New York Times.
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he had been asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a 4-year-old child whose next-door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy joined the old gentleman in his garden, climbed onto his lap and sat there.
When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said: "Nothing. I just helped him cry."
Compassion is at the heart of every little thing we do. It is the dearest quality we possess. Yet all too often, it can be cast aside, with consequences too tragic to speak of. To lose our compassion, we lose what it is to be human.
Although compassion seems to be a waning art these days, we can choose to show it to others through kindness. Kindness should not be confused with weakness. Quite the opposite, kindness demonstrates basic decency and respect that reflect a willingness to get along with someone, even when you disagree with them.
Contrary to the common saying, nice people can often do finish first. No one wants to work with or do business with someone who treats them rudely or disrespectfully.
It's a funny thing about kindness: The more it's used, the more you have. The smallest act of kindness can have a significant impact on a person's life.
Other things to show compassion:
Simply listen carefully and without judgment.
Listening can be hard work, and some people are more challenging to listen to than others. But if you want people to listen to you, you need to listen to them.
Offering compliments based on a person's character or actions inspires them to perform in such a manner that it invites additional praise. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.
Forgiving someone ultimately makes you stronger. A nationwide Gallup poll found that 94% of those surveyed said it was important to forgive. Yet in the same survey, only 48% said they usually tried to forgive others.
I don't think a single person can escape life without being hurt by another person. That's as true in business as in every other phase of life. Everyone, and I mean everyone, messes up, hurts others, finds fault, misjudges and acts emotionally and improperly from time to time at the expense of others. It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.
Express gratitude and appreciation.
Saying thank you — and meaning it — is never a bad idea. It appeals to a basic human need to be appreciated. It sets the stage for the next pleasant encounter. And it helps keep in perspective the importance of receiving and giving help.
The world today is testing everyone's patience. And we have never needed it more. Patience is an invaluable virtue, but it takes some work. We live in a world where we are used to getting things quickly, including information or products. This impatient attitude can cause a lot of harm — unproductive time, stress, poor decisions and more.
Research shows that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows and we secrete the bonding hormone oxytocin, which results in people wanting to care for other people.
Maybe that's why compassionate people live longer. Who doesn't want that?
Mackay's Moral: Helping someone up won't pull you down.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail email@example.com.
Sustainable Safari is the place to go if you want to smell an anteater. Or stroke the downy fur on a baby kangaroo's head. Or be swarmed by parakeets. Or wrap a boa constrictor around your neck and feel the serpent ever-so-slightly tighten its hug, as 16-year-old Wyatt Love of Farmington did on a recent visit.
"You can feel the muscles just, like, moving — it's a strange feeling," he said cheerfully as the snake twisted around his throat.
At Sustainable Safari, in Maplewood Mall, you can interact with more than 25 species of exotic animals, including a few you might never have heard of, and probably have never seen close up. At the Safari, you can peer at them from inches away, touch them, feed them and hold them in your arms. (For some holding experiences, there's an extra charge above the $14.50 admission.)
There are kangaroos — on a recent day, two baby feet poked out from the pouch of a lounging kangaroo mom. Porcupines fanned out their decorative black-and-white-striped quills to reveal what's underneath — the more menacing black quills that can pierce flesh. Visitors carried wooden sticks coated with seeds into the aviary and suddenly found themselves extremely popular with dozens of brilliantly hued parakeets.
There were goats, foxes, deer, alligators, prairie dogs, marmosets and cute (yes, cute!) little armadillos. There were less familiar species such as coatimundi, greater grison, kinkajou, binturong and capybara — the world's largest rodent.
A slender anteater, let out of its cage for a bit, strode purposefully across the floor, apparently determined to inspect a chair.
"We let them run around a lot," said Melissa Gallup, the Safari employee in charge of supervising the animals' health. "I love anteaters. I love how they smell, too." (The latter is something of a minority opinion).
All the animals have names, many involving groan-worthy puns: the boa constrictor is Rocky Balboa, a porcupine is Don Prickles, a kangaroo is Marilyn Monroo.
The experience is meant to be fun, of course, but it also has a serious purpose. The hope is that after bonding with the Safari's animals, visitors will go away wanting to help protect their counterparts in the wild.
Bob Pilz, the Safari's founder and owner, was never one for common pets like dogs or cats or goldfish. "That's to normal — a dog is boring," said Pilz, although he now has three and has come around to finding them "adorable."
As a kid growing up in White Bear Lake, he'd sneak quail and geese into the house, telling his mother they were for a school project. He grew up and became a firefighter, living in the White Bear Lake station where he kept a potbelly pig hidden in the basement. When his bosses found out about the porcine resident, they gave Pilz a choice between his job and the pig. He quit the fire department.
In 1998, Pilz and his wife moved to a 10-acre hobby farm in Scandia, and soon filled it with farm animals — chickens, ducks, a donkey. His wife, Mishelle, came home one day to find Pilz had acquired goats. She was fine with it.
"He's got a really great wife," said Safari President and CEO Dave Harvey with a grin.
Pilz's animal collection turned more exotic in the early 2000s, when someone brought camels to town around the holidays to appear in an event. While in Minnesota, the camels had a baby. Pilz offered the camel a home.
He gradually began collecting wild animals, trying to avoid anything native to Minnesota. For a while, he showed them at county fairs and city festivals. But the business was seasonal and inclement weather a frequent annoyance. Pilz decided to try setting up an exhibit in a warm, dry, year-round mall. In December 2019, Maplewood Mall, struggling like many malls these days, welcomed Sustainable Safari.
Pilz has some rules: He's never had anything dangerous, like lions or tigers or bears. He acquires all his animals as infants from facilities licensed by the USDA. They grow up comfortable with being around people.
None were caught in the wild — a dangerous practice even if the animal is a baby, Pilz said. A little racoon brought in from outdoors might be cute for a while, but when it matures it will become, well, a wild animal, liable to attack its owners and wreck their home.
"Three years max," Pilz said. "Then it will turn on you."
But it isn't quite wild enough — an animal that's been kept in a home, relying on humans for food, can't be returned to its natural habitat. "Chances are it will not survive," he said. Such animals should be taken to nature facilities that can train them to be put back in the wild, Pilz said.
Most of the animals in Sustainable Safari rotate in and out, alternating time at the attraction with time at Pilz's farm (a few seem to prefer the mall). They eat well and their health is closely monitored. Thanks to protection from disease and predators, Pilz's animals are likely to outlive their wild counterparts. Their cages are cleaned daily.
But that can be a problematic word — cages. Some animal lovers believe no animal should ever be kept in a cage.
"We'll get a bad review every once in a while," Pilz said. "That person came specifically here to bash us."
His counterargument is that when people can connect with animals in person rather than knowing them only from pictures taken on another part of the planet, they become more conscious of the importance of protecting the animals' wild counterparts.
"Most of the guys we have here are ambassadors for their species," Harvey said.
"I'm not someone exploiting animals for money," Pilz said. "Plenty of research shows that zoos make a big difference in the health of the planet."
Best job ever
Gallup went to work at Sustainable Safari for her own health — her mental health, which was under strain after 18 years as an emergency medical technician at North Memorial Health Hospital. She once loved her job, but as violent crime and drug abuse escalated, treating victims of gunshots and stabbings and overdoses on a daily basis was taking a toll.
"There was a lot of anxiety about going to work," Gallup said. "It kept getting worse and worse. It was just hard to go in and know all these young kids are going to come in and there's nothing you can do about it."
Then she heard about Sustainable Safari.
"I was looking for something to give me some balance," she said. "I begged Dave to hire me."
At first, Gallup thought she would take a temporary break from her EMT job, she said. She spent time scooping up poop and playing with the animals. In the summer of 2020, she began working at the Safari full-time, using her medical background in the role of animal health manager. Her job involves ensuring animal well-being, scheduling veterinarian appointments and keeping track of animal health records.
She had tried other treatments for stress, but nothing helped her relax like Sustainable Safari. She still gets to care for others, but in a happier environment.
"Animals are just nicer than people — they really are," she said. "This is the best job I've ever had, hands down."
Katy Read writes for the Star Tribune's Inspired section. She previously covered Carver County and western Hennepin County as well as aging, workplace issues and other topics since she began at the paper in 2011. Prior to that, she was a reporter at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, La., and the Duluth News-Tribune and spent 15 years as a freelance writer for national and regional magazines.
We all have negative thoughts from time to time. But studies show constant negativity can lead to depression, anxiety, personality disorders and even mental illness. That’s why I don’t recommend hanging around with negative people. A negative person sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while a positive person sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
According to the website Power of Positivity, there are three leading causes of negative thoughts:
Fear of the future.
People often fear the unknown, which can lead to predicting failure and disaster. Accept that there is a limit to what you can change in the future and strive to focus on the present instead.
Anxiety about the present.
Negative thinkers often come up with the worst-case scenarios Organization and routine can help with banishing negative thoughts.
Shame about the past.
Everyone does and says things they feel embarrassed about, but negative thinkers tend to dwell on past mistakes and failures more than others.
Author Emma-Marie Smith suggests asking yourself these five questions when you feel negative thoughts creeping in:
• Is the thought true?
• Is the thought giving you power, or is it taking your power away?
• Can you put a positive spin on this thought or learn from it?
• What would your life look like if you didn’t have these negative beliefs?
• Is the thought glossing over an issue that needs addressing? Thomas Edison used to say his deafness was his greatest blessing — a blessing because it saved him from having to listen to reasons why things couldn’t be done.
I love that thought. In fact, I would suggest that practicing “selective hearing” is a positive step toward filtering the negativity that discourages you from trying new things.
Think about the famous story of David and Goliath. A small boy with only a slingshot and a few stones was facing a fierce giant who could crush him with one hand. David could have looked at his formidable foe and thought, “He’s really big. And mean. And scary. And I am none of those things. I’m outta here.” But he turned his thoughts toward what he could do. Looking at the giant towering over him, he said instead, “That guy is so big. There’s no way I can miss him.”
Mackay’s Moral: Negative thinking will not produce positive results.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378- 6202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Minnesota legalized cannabis edibles, it also opened the door to THC-infused beverages — which some breweries are planning to roll out this summer. Indeed Brewing announced this week it's developing a nonalcoholic seltzer with a low dose of hemp-derived THC.
"We see more and more customers drinking less alcohol who are interested in alternative experiences," said Tom Whisenand, CEO of the Minneapolis brewery. "We're excited to have another offering."
Bent Paddle Brewing in Duluth is also bringing back its CBD seltzer this summer, including a new one with small amounts of hemp-sourced THC.
"We're looking into how we can best do that and make sure it's something we can offer customers for a long time to come," said Pepin Young, Bent Paddle's director of taproom and retail operations. "We're still going to paddle responsibly into these waters."
A number of Minnesota breweries are expected to make use of the new law that allows up to 5 milligrams of THC, the main intoxicating compound in cannabis, in food and drinks.
"We have members who are super curious as to the regulations and the ability to do THC seltzers," said Bob Galligan, director of government and industry relations for the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. "I know there are some who have started or will start producing them, and right now it's up to each business owner as we wade into these waters."
Indeed is aiming for an Aug. 1 launch of its Two Good seltzer, which will contain 2 mg of THC and 2 mg of CBD. One can might not get regular users high, but it will provide an intoxicating effect for many.
Bent Paddle is a few weeks out from releasing its seltzers, one of which will contain up to 2 mg of THC. Both breweries work with Minnesota-based Superior Molecular to get water-soluble cannabinoids from Minnesota-grown hemp. They previously made nonalcoholic seltzers with CBD only, which are also expected to return this summer.
Whisenand, of Indeed, said he's worked with lawyers, insurance, banks and credit card-processing companies to navigate the law as he works to "turn yellow caution lights green.""We're trying to be an example of a participant in this space who is cautious and prudent," he said. The consumer-education piece is important as well, said Young, of Bent Paddle. "With alcohol, it's really on the consumer," he said. "We want people to be aware that if there is hemp-derived THC present, we don't want to surprise them."
Both breweries are looking into whether they are able to sell THC seltzers at the taproom or only in cans for off-site consumption. Minnesota's cannabis edibles law allows up to 5 mg of THC per serving and up to 50 mg per clearly labeled package in food and drinks sold to those 21 and older. The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is charged with overseeing the burgeoning industry.
As with edibles, the effects of THC may come on slowly when consumed in a beverage compared when smoked or vaped.
Local cannabis attorney Susan Burns said she thinks 2 mg is the right amount for beverages. "If you put 5 mg in there, many people could only have one," she said. "These are responsible business owners who want to meet customer demand and do it in a safe and legal way."
In states that have legalized recreational marijuana over the past decade, infused beverages are just starting to take off. Beverages accounted for 5% of cannabis sales in legal states but grew 64% between 2020 and 2021, according to a recent report from analytics firm BDSA.
Michigan-based Happi says its 2.5 mg THC seltzers have "just enough THC to leave you feeling buzzed (think one glass of wine)."
Michigan's recreational THC market is more heavily regulated than Minnesota's, however, and Galligan said breweries should proceed with caution. "Right now I'm telling our membership we're interested in this as a space, but tread lightly," he said. "We want to do what's best for safety and legality, and every day it becomes a little more clear."
Brooks Johnson is a business reporter covering Minnesota’s food industry, 3M and manufacturing trends.
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