Robert Vinet

A​ Passionately Curious Bloke

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Latin American Countries Score Highest in Positive Experiences

The annual Gallup Global Emotions Report attempts to measure life’s intangibles — feelings and emotions — and provides a snapshot of people’s daily experiences. The survey focused on the previous day’s experience. Gallop then ranked each country on both the Positive Experience Index and the Negative Experience Index.

Of some 151,000 adults surveyed across 143 countries for the report, a third said they suffered stress and at least 20%  experienced sadness or anger.

The five questions on Gallup’s Positive Experience Index questions focused on the previous day and asked if they felt well-rested, if they were treated with respect, if they smiled or laughed a lot, if they did something interesting, and if they experienced enjoyment.

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15 skills every adventurer should have, according to National Geographic

Lauren Matison, writing for National Geographic, believes these are the necessary skills to have to enjoy and survive a “multi-day trek, afternoon bike ride, or overnight camping trip.”

  • Layering properly
  • Navigation
  • Safety
  • Packing a backpack
  • Hydration
  • Fuelling up
  • Handling unexpected wildlife
  • Being resourceful
  • Building a fire
  • Fixing a flat tire
  • Gearing up responsibly
  • Mental strength
  • Tech knowledge
  • Leave No Trace
  • Knowing when to stop

 

Best Countries in 2019

U.S. News and World Report has released it’s annual Best Country Rankings.

The overall rankings are made up of nine subrankings:

  • Adventure
  • Citizenship
  • Cultural Influence
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Heritage
  • Movers
  • Open for Business
  • Power
  • Quality of Life

These are the top 10 overall:

1. 🇨🇭 Switzerland – Overall score 10.0

2.  🇯🇵 Japan – 9.8

3. 🇨🇦 Canada – 9.7

4. 🇩🇪 Germany – 9.6

5. 🇬🇧 United Kingdom – 9.4

6. 🇸🇪 Sweden – 9.3

7. 🇦🇺 Australia – 9.3

8. 🇺🇸 United States – 9.2

9. 🇳🇴 Norway – 8.8

10. 🇫🇷 France – 8.7

11. 🇳🇱 Netherlands – 8.5

12. 🇳🇿 New Zealand – 8.3

13. 🇩🇰 Denmark – 8.2

14. 🇫🇮 Finland – 8.1

15. 🇸🇬 Singapore – 7.7

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Increased Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Decline and Ward Off Alzheimer’s Onset

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have found that higher levels of daily physical activity may protect against cognitive decline and brain tissue loss in adults who are believed to be at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The best results were found among the research participants who took more than 8,900 steps per day.

Traci Pedersen, writing in PsychCentral:

“One of the most striking findings from our study was that greater physical activity not only appeared to have positive effects on slowing cognitive decline, but also on slowing the rate of brain tissue loss over time in normal people who had high levels of amyloid plaque in the brain,” said Jasmeer Chhatwal, M.D., Ph.D. of the MGH Department of Neurology, and corresponding author of the study.

The results suggest that physical activity might reduce b-amyloid (Ab)-related cortical thinning and preserve gray matter structure in regions of the brain that have been associated with episodic memory loss and Alzheimer’s-related neurodegeneration.

The underlying processes of Alzheimer’s disease can begin decades before clinical symptoms appear and is characterized by early accumulation of b-amyloid protein.

The new study is among the first to demonstrate the protective effects of physical activity and vascular risk management in the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, while there is an opportunity to intervene prior to the onset of substantial neuronal loss and clinical impairment.

“Because there are currently no disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, there is a critical need to identify potential risk-altering factors that might delay progression of the disease,” Chhatwal said.

The new research published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

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How To Pack For A Long Backpacking Trip

From the folks at Outside magazine.

Starting Exercise in Middle Age or Older is Tied to a Longer Healthier and Better Qualify of Life

It’s never too late to start exercising. Even if you already have have a serious chronic condition.

Lisa Rapaport, writing for Reuters Health »

… researchers assessed activity levels several times over eight years for 14,599 men and women who were between 40 and 80 years old at the outset. After the first eight years, researchers started tracking mortality for another 12.5 years, on average. During that period, there were 3,148 deaths, including 950 from cardiovascular disease and 1,091 from cancer.

The researchers measured both work and leisure-time physical activity in terms of energy expended per kilogram of body weight. Activity increases over time that were equivalent to going from sedentary to meeting the World Health Organization’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity were associated with a 24% lower risk of death from any cause, a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular death and an 11% lower risk of cancer death compared to those who remained inactive.

“This sends a strong message to all of us, irrespective of what our current life circumstances may be, since it is never too late to build physical activity into your daily routine in order to enjoy a longer healthier life,” said Soren Brage, senior author of the study and a researcher at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Everybody benefitted from becoming more active,” Brage said by email. “This was also true for the subgroup of people who already had a serious chronic condition such as heart disease and cancer at baseline.”

Read the whole story …

Leave Something Good Behind

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

– Anthony Bourdain

The Stress of Separation and Detention Changes the Lives of Children

These actions have focused outrage and attention on the current U.S. Administration’s callous, racial, and white supremacist agenda.

What shocks me the most is not that these actions are supported by many Americans. The U.S.A. has a long history of problems over race. What shocks me the most is just how deep and wide the support really is.

This is the United States of America today. This is what is happening now. And there is a good chance this will continue for a while as there’s a good chance he will get reelected.

The horrific conditions under which immigrants and especially immigrant children are being held in US detention centers, rightly reminds us of the Nazi concentration camps. Lessons of the past have been forgotten.

What I’ve Learned: If their words don’t match their actions, trust their actions. More important than talk is how one lives their life and how they treat others.

Isaac Chotiner, writing for The New Yorker (paywall):

What most concerns you about what we have read about and seen from these border facilities holding children?

Oh, God, where do I begin? I think—to cut through all of the noise, the politics, the back-and-forth on the details—there are just two core issues that are screaming out. One is the fact that the forced and abrupt separation of children from their parents is a huge psychological trauma and assault. The magnitude of the nature of the crisis for a child’s health and well-being cannot be overstated. Abrupt separation from primary caregivers or parents is a major psychological emergency.

The second issue is the prolonged placement of children in institutional settings. Obviously, the two are linked in this particular situation. From the perspective of what we know about children’s health and well-being, what we know about trauma, abrupt separation is one area where we have a lot of research and a lot of evidence about its consequences. But prolonged institutionalization is a separate area in which we have an equally deep research base and knowledge about how damaging that kind of setting is for kids. We are dealing with two very well-studied, serious assaults on the health and well-being of children.

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7 Scenic Drives Through Quebec

Quebec is the biggest province in Canada, and there’s a whole lot to see and do.

Destination Canada has put together seven wonderful road trip routes which will take you to some of this provinces’ most beautiful wonders and sought-after experiences.

Some of these trips are short, while others will take you quite a bit longer, and really embrace that road trip spirit.

1. The New France Route – 56 kilometres / 35 miles – Road trip highlights starting in Quebec City include Domaine de Maizerets, Maison Girardin, Montmorency Falls Park, Auberge Baker, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area

2. The Fjord Route – 235 kilometres / 146 miles – Highlights include Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Musée de la Nature, the Musée du Fjord, Saguenay Fjord National Park

3. The King’s Road – 280 kilometres / 174 miles – Highlights include Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade church, the Quebec Folk Culture Museum, the Old Prison of Trois-Rivières, Lake Saint-Pierre

4. The Wine Route – 138 kilometres / 86 miles – Highlights include many vineyards, Brome Lake, Mont Sutton

5. The Navigators’ Route – 470 kilometres / 292 miles – Highlights include Centre de la Biodiversité du Québec in Bécancour, Îles du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie archipelago and Île aux Lièvres, the Musée maritime du Québec, Bic Provincial Park, Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site

6. The Whale Route – 880 kilometres / 546 miles – Highlights include Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre, Daniel Johnson Dam and Manic-5 Generating Station, Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse, Vauréal Canyon

7. The Gaspesie Tour – 1,230 kilometres – 765 miles – Highlights include the Rimouski Wildlife Reserve, Reford Gardens, Exploramer, Bonaventure Island, and Gaspesie and Percé Rock provincial parks

Learn more at Destination Canada

World’s Most Powerful Passports as of Q3 2019

The Henley Passport Index has released its third quarter ranking of the world’s most powerful passports in 2019.

The index is compiled from data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and measures global mobility based on visa-free access to destinations. It also uses data from the index’s 14-year history, “to show how travel mobility has changed over the past decade, looking at which passports have gained in strength and which have fallen behind.”

Japan and Singapore hold the world’s strongest passports, with Visa-free access to 189 destinations. South Korea dropped to second place, joining Germany and Finland with Visa-free access to 187 destinations.

The United Arab Emirates entered the top 20 index for the first time in the list’s 14-year-history, moving up an astonishing 41 spots. Other countries that climbed standings include Taiwan, which climbed 24 places over the past ten years and ranks 30th.

The USA and the UK each dropped to the lowest position they’ve held since 2010, sharing the sixth spot with Canada, Greece, Norway, Belgium and Ireland.

Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the USA or the UK.

Afghanistan is once again at the other end of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Most Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:
1. Japan, Singapore (189 Destinations)
2. South Korea, Germany, Finland (187)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186)
4. France, Sweden, Spain (185)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184)
6. Canada, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, UK, USA (183)
7. Malta (182)
8. Czechia (181)
9. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Lithuania (180)
10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

The Least Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39 Destinations)
102. Nepal (38)
103. Libya, Palestinian, Sudan (37)
104. Yemen (33)
105. Somalia (31)
106. Pakistan (30)
107. Syria (29)
108. Iraq (27)
109. Afghanistan (25)

Source: Henley Passport Index

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