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Replace Christmas Spirit With Thanksgiving Vibe
Thanksgiving is the least commercialized major holiday. There are no special items to purchase, no material obligations, and no gift-exchanging.
There is something about Christmas, especially if it comes on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, that is a bit of a downer. The entire day reaches its climax about 10 am, when all of the gifts have been opened, and the commercial glow has begun to fade, until nothing is left but scraps of wrapping paper lying about amid the stacks of new belongings. Christmas dinner is often joyous, but strained, as if its participants can already feel those credit card bills in the mail, or wonder how they are going to juggle the bills they didn’t pay to create that temporary commercial glow earlier in the day.
If Christmas is on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, a lot of people are going back to work the next day. If it's on a Friday, they are slipping into a bit of a funk – the same people who just finished stacking up their new belongings now want to go out and buy even more stuff, because its…well, because everybody knows stuff is cheaper after Christmas. In the last ten years or so, as I focused less on the material things in life and more on the experiences I could have, I started to notice more clearly the mixed messages the Christmas holiday czars were sending as they attempted to fuse religion, family tradition, and materialism.
Thanksgiving, by contrast, is unambiguous. It is all about the family. And it is always on a Thursday, which means that a lot of non-retail related workplaces have given up trying to schedule any real work during this time, making this America’s only official four day holiday period.
Waging War on Christmas, to Save Thanksgiving 3 Quarks Daily
Thanksgiving is the least commercialized major holiday. There are no special items to purchase, no material obligations, and no gift-exchanging. Since the point is to come together with loved ones, there is no need for commercial items to mediate the relations between people. We gather on Thanksgiving in order to be in each other’s company.
The phrase “giving thanks” seems to actually mean something when people say it at Thanksgiving. For a lot of us, it is a beginning of that end-of-the-year contemplation, where we go through informal self assessments as to what we’ve accomplished, and what remains undone. The focus of the day is on food, shared with people you are related to by blood or people to whom you’ve chosen to be related. No one is obligated to bring anything other than a dish, an empty stomach, and a sense of goodwill. We catch up; we reminisce; we watch football; we tell tall tales. We play games; we take pictures; we exchange email addresses. We celebrate new beginnings, and cherish the memories of those who are no longer with us.
I would replace the Christmas spirit in a New York minute for the one I feel at Thanksgiving.
Some mysteries take generations to unfold.
- In 1959, a group of nine Russian hikers was killed in an overnight incident in the Ural Mountains.
- Conspiracies about their deaths have flourished ever since, including alien invasion, an irate Yeti, and angry tribesmen.
- Researchers have finally confirmed that their deaths were due to a slab avalanche caused by intense winds.
a: Last picture of the Dyatlov group taken before sunset, while making a cut in the slope to install the tent. b: Broken tent covered with snow as it was found during the search 26 days after the event.
Photographs courtesy of the Dyatlov Memorial Foundation.<p>Finally, a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-020-00081-8" target="_blank">new study</a>, published in the Nature journal Communications Earth & Environment, has put the case to rest: it was a slab avalanche.</p><p>This theory isn't exactly new either. Researchers have long been skeptical about the avalanche notion, however, due to the grade of the hill. Slab avalanches don't need a steep slope to get started. Crown or flank fractures can quickly release as little as a few centimeters of earth (or snow) sliding down a hill (or mountain). </p><p>As researchers Johan Gaume (Switzerland's WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF) and Alexander Puzrin (Switzerland's Institute for Geotechnical Engineering) write, it was "a combination of irregular topography, a cut made in the slope to install the tent and the subsequent deposition of snow induced by strong katabatic winds contributed after a suitable time to the slab release, which caused severe non-fatal injuries, in agreement with the autopsy results."</p><p>Conspiracy theories abound when evidence is lacking. Twenty-six days after the incident, a team showed up to investigate. They didn't find any obvious sounds of an avalanche; the slope angle was below 30 degrees, ruling out (to them) the possibility of a landslide. Plus, the head injuries suffered were not typical of avalanche victims. Inject doubt and crazy theories will flourish.</p>
Configuration of the Dyatlov tent installed on a flat surface after making a cut in the slope below a small shoulder. Snow deposition above the tent is due to wind transport of snow (with deposition flux Q).
Photo courtesy of Communications Earth & Environment.<p>Add to this Russian leadership's longstanding battle with (or against) the truth. In 2015 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation decided to reopen this case. Four years later the agency concluded it was indeed a snow avalanche—an assertion immediately challenged within the Russian Federation. The oppositional agency eventually agreed as well. The problem was neither really provided conclusive scientific evidence.</p><p>Gaume and Puzrin went to work. They provided four critical factors that confirmed the avalanche: </p><ul><li>The location of the tent under a shoulder in a locally steeper slope to protect them from the wind </li><li>A buried weak snow layer parallel to the locally steeper terrain, which resulted in an upward-thinning snow slab</li><li>The cut in the snow slab made by the group to install the tent </li><li>Strong katabatic winds that led to progressive snow accumulation due to the local topography (shoulder above the tent) causing a delayed failure</li></ul><p>Case closed? It appears so, though don't expect conspiracy theories to abate. Good research takes time—sometimes generations. We're constantly learning about our environment and then applying those lessons to the past. While we can't expect every skeptic to accept the findings, from the looks of this study, a 62-year-old case is now closed.</p><p> --</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
As patients approached death, many had dreams and visions of deceased loved ones.
One of the most devastating elements of the coronavirus pandemic has been the inability to personally care for loved ones who have fallen ill.
Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.
- Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
- Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
- The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
A model of water turnover for humans and chimpanzees who have similar fat free mass and body water pools.
Credit: Current Biology
Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.