The #Psychology of the Color Pencil Set


Just because we’re grown ups doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a good coloring session.

London organization The School of Life created these fun colored pencils for adults. On the side of each pencil, there’s a mood or feeling where the name of the color might be. Each word is something that the color might invoke, according to color psychology. For example, the dark red is called power and the purple is called ambiguity. The pack comes with a handy guidebook that explains the reason for each word.

“This box knows that colours are connected to the chords of our souls,” the website explains.

The pencils come in a super slick buckram finish box. There are 12 pencils per set so you can color with a wide range of emotions. Here’s the full list of what you can convey with your colored pencils:


Hope – Yellow
Vitality – Orange
Adventure – Red
Power – Dark Red
Ambiguity – Purple
Clarity – Light Blue
Discipline – Dark Blue
Sanity – Light Green
Realism – Dark Green
Mellowness – Brown
Dignity – Dark Brown
Authority – Black


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Top 10 Reasons to Avoid #GMOs #Health #Food


More than 60 countries require GMO labeling (or ban GMOs altogether) for a number of reasons. While there are many, these are some of the most common concerns:

1. Are they safe? Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow—they’ll all tell you their GMO products have met safety requirements, but the truth is, long term studies haven’t been done on their impact to the human body. USDA approval requires several processes that prove safety, but GMOs have only been in our diet since the mid-’90s, so it’s difficult to know what the long-term health impacts truly are.

2. Known health risks: What we do know is that when genetic modification happens, genes are forced to express certain traits (including pesticides). To do this, the scientists “turn on” all the gene’s components, which can mean releasing allergens that would normally not be expressed in a non-GMO variety. Experts like Jeffrey Smith suggest this is directly related to the rise in health issues.

3. Heavy use of toxic pesticides and herbicides: By design, genetically modified seeds require pesticides and herbicides. While some manufacturers have claimed the pesticide use would decrease over time, it’s only increased, according to a peer-reviewed 2012 study.

4. Pesticides and digestive health: The main function of herbicides and pesticides is to kill unwanted plants and insects. Glyphosate—the most common herbicide used on GMO crops—has been shown to negatively impact the gut bacteria of humans.  Jeffrey Smith’s recent film Genetic Roulette highlights the parallel of GMOs in our diet and the rise in digestive health issues and food allergies.

5. Cancer: Both pesticides and GMOs have been connected with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. There are additonal health concerns too including reproductive issues, autism and even heart disease.

6. Environmental impact: GMO crops and their companion pesticides and herbicides wreak havoc on the environment including polluting air, water and soil. Glyphosate—marketed by Monsanto as the herbicide Roundup—is in effect, an antibiotic, which can destroy soil quality and thus impair the plant’s nutritional value as well. Cross-polination between GMO and non-GMO cropsis common as well, and can destroy natural plant varieties in the wild.

7. Superbugs and superweeds: Despite the claims that pesticides and GMO crops can relieve farmers of crop-destroying insects and plants, the opposite is showing to be true. Farmers in the Midwest are now battling superbugs and superweeds resistant to pesticides. They’re damaging crops and farm equipment and costing the farmers more money in having to apply heavier doses of toxic pesticides.

8. Patent issues: At the core of the GMO industry is the corporate ownership of seed and seed patents. Companies like Monsanto are notorious for suing small farmers for saving seeds or if GMO crop drift pollinates on their land.

9. Corporate protection: Earlier this year, the U.S. government passed a bill nicknamed the “Monsanto Protection Act.” In essence, it grants biotech companies immunity from the courts, even if a judge determines it’s unlawful to plant GMO crops, the companies can do it anyway.

10. Prolific presence: Whether or not GMOs are safe has yet to be determined, yet every day, millions of Americans eat them unknowingly due to the lack of labeling requirements. Are you a lab rat?  Don’t you at least have the right to know what you’re eating?

Original article by Andrea Donsky for Naturally Savvy (please check for references)

Read more: What’s So Bad About GMOs? Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Them

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What If No #Candidate Is “Likable” Enough?


(The following excerpt from What If No Candidate Is “Likable Enough”? by Keli Goff recently appeared on To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

They say people vote for the one they’d rather have a beer with. Who’s that, between Hillary and Jeb? But it’s probably not true anyway.

Few moments from debates are actually remembered by voters come Election Day, let alone years later. But some are, and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen telling senator and fellow aspiring Vice-president Dan Quayle “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” is high on the list of such moments. Then-Senator Barack Obama telling fellow primary candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton during the 2008 election “you’re likable enough” is another. It is widely believed that Obama’s perceived condescension that moment actually made him appear less likable and helped lead to Clinton’s win in New Hampshire. However, it didn’t alter the crucial fact: many people believe Hillary Clinton has a likability problem.

While much has changed in the seven years since her last presidential run, this has not. And in fact, with the increasingly damaging coverage of email gate and her family foundation’s finances, it’s possible she is becoming less likable to voters not more. The only difference is this time her competition could end up being even less likable than she is—or at the very least just “likable enough,” which is to say not all that likable. The long-held wisdom has been that while qualities like experience matter, they ultimately may not be as important to a lot of voters as which candidate they just like more—which, to use the cliche, they’d rather have a beer with.

For years, the beer standard has been used to gauge which presidential candidate is winning the likability Olympics. More undecided voters preferred a drink with reformed party animal turned teetotaler George W. Bush to the more staid John Kerry, who lost. It is widely believed that likability played a key role in President Obama winning a second term in office, despite a tough term that included dealing with a sagging economy. But what happens when voters end up having to choose between two candidates they don’t want to have a beer with, bowl with, barbecue with, salsa with, party with etc.? Will 2016 finally become the year voters based on unsexy attributes like managerial experience?

Along with Clinton, there are other 2016 potential contenders with personality problems of their own. In contrast to his brother, who was practically charmer-in-chief, Jeb Bush is so widely known to be an introvert that this has already been a point of reference in multiple articles–and the campaign’s just getting started.

And Rand Paul is already having to trot out his spouse to “humanize” him with voters—particularly women—after losing his cool in multiple interviews, most infamously one with “The Today Show’s” Savannah Guthrie. The fact that his family is having to play defense this early does not bode well. While Sen. Ted Cruz would have a tough time winning a popularity contest in his own party, let alone nationwide.

But according to some experts, Paul’s burgeoning likeability problem and the personality challenges of some of his peers may not matter nearly as much as those of us covering the election like to think that it does. “Empirical evidence suggests that personality does not play the decisive role for the outcome of elections that journalists and political commentators often attribute to it,” said Dr. Andreas Graefe in an email. Graefe has studied the impact of candidate personalities on election outcomes extensively.

In his examination of presidential elections from 1972 to 2012 he found that, “While candidates with the more favorable personality tend to win more often, the effect that can be attributed to personality is rather small after accounting for other factors. In other words, the candidate with the more favorable personality usually would have won anyway.”

Jamal Simmons, who served as press secretary for multiple Democratic presidential campaigns, echoed this sentiment. Simmons argued that the whole “who would you have a beer with” concept has been overhyped and overplayed. While he said who voters are okay with seeing appear on their television every single day for four years, as a president does, may play a small role in their decision making, ultimately, “I think people vote for who they trust the most.” He added, “You can like somebody such as Ron Paul—he seemed so likable but you wouldn’t vote for that person for president. Rick Perry seemed like a fun guy but his campaign did not make you think you wanted this guy to have his finger over the button.”

Simmons noted that even among those who really like President Obama, some now feel he may have benefited from more managerial experience. It is possible this time around that feeling may benefit a candidate like Clinton or Bush, who are both perceived as experienced managers.

To this point, Dr. Graefe noted that, “One of the most important factors that determines the election outcome is beyond the control of the candidates: the state of the economy. When casting their vote, voters look at how they economy is doing and blame the incumbent government for bad performance, or reward it for good performance. Thus, the election can be seen as a referendum on the state of the economy. That said, when the incumbent is not running, such as in 2016, candidate qualities do become more important.” He pointed to experience as one of them.

Simmons challenged the idea that this campaign may lack a viable candidate who also has charisma, noting Florida Senator Marco Rubio could prove to be a serious contender.

But for those other candidates who may not have been born with Rubio’s ease with public speaking, media trainer Jane Praeger said being authentic is more important than trying to be some perfect candidate. “You can’t fake charisma but you can make a genuine connection with voters. For example, last time around, while trying to look “tough enough” to be president, Hillary masked her natural humor, liveliness and warmth – some of her greatest assets.”

As Simmons concluded, “There’s no Mother Theresa or Gandhi on the ballot. You’re not voting for a perfect human being.”

For #TransgenderStudents, Schools Craft Policies Of Support


(The following excerpt from For Transgender Students, Schools Craft Policies Of Support by Angie Leventis Lourgos that recently appeared on can be viewed in its entirety by clicking on the link below.)

The eighth-grader fidgeted nervously during an impromptu meeting with the principal of Haven Middle School in Evanston just before the start of first semester.

While classmates and teachers had long known the student as a girl, the 13-year-old actually identified as a boy and was starting to make that transition. He explained that he’s transgender and asked to be called Avery from now on instead of Sarah, the name on his birth certificate.

Principal Kathleen Roberson commended him for his bravery and openness. Avery was shocked.

“I don’t think I’ve ever really heard about a positive reaction from a school,” he recalled. “I was so scared she was going to be like ‘no, you can’t do that.’ ”

Avery Kaplan is Haven’s first openly transgender student, so he, his supportive mother and Roberson crafted a plan. It included staffwide diversity training, specific instruction on transgender issues for his core teachers, meetings with the school psychologist and — at his request — a private space where he felt comfortable changing clothes for physical education class.

Schools across the Chicago area and the nation are grappling with these kinds of decisions as they address the needs of students who don’t fit typical gender norms, with policies spanning a spectrum of tolerance and support. While there are no definitive statistics on transgender students in the Chicago area, about 0.5 percent of adults identify as transgender, according to a Massachusetts phone survey published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2012.

Chicago Public Schools in October adopted its first guidelines for supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students. It includes affirming the right of students to wear clothing, attend classes and use names and pronouns that reflect the gender they identify with; restroom and locker room use are determined on a case-by-case basis. CPS spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said all schools will be trained on the guidelines.

But sometimes even well-meaning educators can go awry. East Aurora School District officials about two years ago approved anti-discrimination rules that included allowing transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms of their identified gender, but rescinded it just days later in the wake of community backlash. The policy was pulled on Spirit Day, a day when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters wear purple to take a stand against bullying, though school officials said the timing was coincidental.

And nationally, the LGBT community was livid when Kentucky lawmakers recently attempted to pass legislation that would have forced transgender students to use separate single-stall bathrooms and locker rooms while barring them from facilities that correlate with their gender identity, though the bill died in March.

While this relatively new area of school policy can be controversial, advocates for transgender youth stress that school support is critical to the safety and emotional health of this group often referred to as the minority within the LGBT community.

“Take away the politics or the emotions people might feel about transgender individuals and let’s boil it down to something that I think every parent can understand,” said Dr. Robert Garofalo, pediatrician and co-director of the Gender and Sex Development Program at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “And that’s that every child deserves to go to school in a safe and nurturing environment.”

As for Avery, he said he’s more excited to go to school since coming out. He walks more confidently through the halls of Haven this year, his blond hair cut short and swept to the side, his gray eyes framed by unisex glasses.

When a few classmates have made rude inquiries about his gender or questioned why he’s singing with the boys in the school play, Avery said he simply responds “because I am a boy.” Close friends who dubbed themselves the Avery Defense Squad are quick to correct anyone who addresses him with the wrong pronoun or his former name.

He started the year using single-stall bathrooms that are open to anyone at school but recently began going to the boys restroom, which he said hasn’t been an issue.

And Haven formed its first gay-straight alliance this year. Co-sponsor and school psychologist Allina Nikolopoulou said Avery was the catalyst for the club, which now has about a dozen consistent members.

“Avery has been very thoughtful in helping us transition as well,” Roberson said. “I think we had more anxiety at the beginning of the year, just not knowing. As soon as we got into it a month or so, Avery is just Avery.”

The one glitch came in the fall, when he was proud to make the honor roll but dismayed to read his old name, Sarah, on the certificate.

“I felt a little rejected,” he said.

He was gratified that school officials fixed the problem when he made the honor roll again in March. And Roberson said he will receive two diplomas when he graduates in June — one with the old name because it’s still his legal identity, the other honoring him as Avery.

“This year is the first year that I transitioned; I kind of want to remember that,” he said. “And now I’ll have a diploma with my name on it.”

The pronoun cup

Teachers and administrators milled around the hallways during a break at a seminar in Naperville in late February, chatting about everything from single-stall bathrooms to appropriate pronouns to gender-neutral uniforms.

The conference, called “A Day in the Life of Transgender Students,” explored policies and cultural changes to promote transgender inclusion in elementary, middle and high school, sponsored by the Naperville Community Network for Professionals Serving LGBT Youth. It was the third-annual seminar of its kind, attended by roughly 150 educators from 23 school districts in DuPage, Kane, Cook and McHenry counties.

A kindergarten teacher asked for advice on how to respond when parents would ask whether a student was a boy or a girl, because the child was consistently bucking gender stereotypes. One participant lamented how even innocuously starting the day with “hello boys and girls” can be rough for kids who aren’t sure where they fit.

A west suburban mom spoke of her son who is now in college, noting that it was a third-grade teacher who persuaded the mom to stop forcing her son to wear “girl” clothes, and it was a fifth-grade teacher who explained to her that her child was transgender.

“You educate the parents as you educate the kids,” she said. “You are the front line.”

Then a student spoke of the pain of living in a body that seemed foreign.

Adam Beaty, a junior at Naperville North, came out at school last year. He said he contemplated switching schools to make a clean break, but he decided to stay after a transgender friend at another school reported being bullied so badly that he dropped out.

In an interview at his Naperville home, Adam said he’s glad he stayed. He found a strong ally in his school nurse. After he came out, he said she took a little paper cup and labeled it a “pronoun cup,” agreeing to pay him a dollar for every time she messed up and called Adam “she” or “her.”

“It wasn’t like she cared about the money,” he said. “I didn’t care about the money. It was just the fact that she realized it was so important.”

Adam used to wear an elastic binder that flattened his chest before he had “top surgery,” the surgical removal of breast tissue, in December. When the binder’s constriction caused him too much pain to run the mile in gym class, he said the nurse understood and wrote him an excuse note.

He’s had his name legally changed. His voice is deep due to regular testosterone injections; his brown hair is cut short and a scruff of beard lines his jaw.

Blue and pink

Adam said sometimes he’s had to be his own advocate, like the day he said an administrator told him he couldn’t use the boys restroom because another student felt uncomfortable.

“I told him ‘I’m going to use the guys’ bathroom.’ And they just kind of stepped off,” he said, adding that no one has reproached him since.

Spokeswoman Michelle Fregoso said school officials weren’t aware of the circumstances of that incident. She said the school doesn’t have a policy on the matter, but decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. She added that the district hosted a speaker to talk to staff last month about transgender youth, and staff members have had previous training on LGBT issues.

“Accommodations are made by working with students and their families for the best, most appropriate outcome given the circumstance,” she said. “Our objective is always for all our students to have a supportive environment in our schools.”

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects students from discrimination based on gender identity, but there hasn’t been a case in Illinois that specifically addresses bathroom and locker room use, so the law needs clarification, said Owen Daniel-McCarter, policy and advocacy director of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

But Daniel-McCarter believes that under the act students should be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity and cites a 2014 Maine Supreme Court case that ruled a public school discriminated against a transgender girl by barring her from using the girls bathroom and requiring her to use a unisex staff restroom.

In Illinois, about 80 percent of adults who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity reported harassment in school, and 33 percent said they were physically assaulted in school, according the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Ten percent of survey respondents said harassment was so severe that it led them to leave a K-12 school or higher education.

Adam said he’s lost some close friends since coming out — including one who started calling him “It.”

“A lot of people avoided me,” he said. “They just didn’t want to have to deal with it, so they didn’t.”

But his mother, Liza Beaty, pointed out that he’s also gained “a truer class” of friends.

Adam has a girlfriend now. They’ve been dating for about four months. He said his gender identity isn’t really a big deal in their relationship.

“As a society, we’re so programmed to think in pink or blue,” he said. “It’s so hard to break out of those binaries and realize there’s more than that.”

Why #SocialMedia Will Dominate the #2016 Campaigns


(The following excerpt from Why Social Media Will Dominate the 2016 Campaign by Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D., M.B.A., recently appeared on  To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

We should expect all candidates to be investing heavily in social media . Why? Because social media isn’t just the NEW way to campaign; it’s THE way to campaign these days. There are several reasons why.

1. Lack of a strong social media presence makes a candidate seem old-fashioned and out touch.

Social media is the people’s media. Not communicating on social media makes a candidate look as if they don’t want to talk to real people. Engaging with social media makes candidates seem accessible, alive and responsive.

2. Social media is immediate, direct and unfiltered.

While we’d have to be naïve to think that candidates are completely unscripted on Twitter and Facebook, those avenues feel much more direct than reading an article by a journalist or listening to a prepared speech. But seeing dialogues on social media, even with others, increases our sense of intimacy. We feel as if we can have direct interaction with the candidate. We feel part of the conversation and it increases our beliefs that we know a candidate because our instinctive brain doesn’t make the distinction between virtual and real that our logical brain would—if it had a vote.

3. Social media is by definition interactive. It engages our attention and senses because it makes demands on us. We are it.

By making demands on us, social media interaction turns us into stakeholders. To get Hillary Clinton’s, Ted Cruz’s or anyone else’s announcement that that they are in the race for president, we had to go out and get that information. In true social media style, we pull it to ourselves by preference or curiosity. In order to see that tweet, we had to search Twitter, read our Twitter or Facebook feeds or check out Instagram. The alternative is to wait for the evening news where we rely on a journalist’s synopsis. The story is stripped of any immediacy and rawness. You can’t feel the pulse of the exchange, the excitement of followers or the energy level of the discourse.

4. Social media is hot. In all senses of the word.

Beyond hot = popular, I also have heard social media referred to as a hot medium (although lumping social media into one bucket is problematic given the range of differences among platforms and audience roles). But is it “hot”? Marshall McLuhan’s proposed a dichotomy that described the gestalt of a medium has either hot or cool. This media grammar is challenging to apply to social media. It was derived—according to, among others, Janine Marchessault (2005)—from Eastern philosophy and vernacular characterizations of jazz. A hot medium, in his taxonomy, like the big brassy bands of the 1920s, was totally absorbing with little room for participation because it extends a single sense into “high definition.” He considered films and photographs to be hot media. A cool medium with “low definition” left plenty of room for participation because the audience was required to fill in missing information to complete the message.

However we describe social media in terms of temperature and definition, it’s clear that it doesn’t leave plenty of room for participation but demands it. Nevertheless, it is also a compelling and absorbing extension of self. Oh, if Marshall were with us now.

5. Social media is not about a single platform. It’s about the flow of information across networks and platforms. It’s about creating an immersive story.

Social media has been a massive disrupter of all kinds of things. In no way has it been more disruptive than in how we think about communication and tools. We have, since the printing press, expected a medium to stay put. To keep itself to itself. Like placing a 3 month old on on the floor. You were pretty sure that when you came back, it would be where you left it. Initially, when you mentioned social media, people thought of it as a single thing, like Facebook or My Space. Then maybe Twitter or YouTube.

Not now. Social media is like tracking a four year old, with information running hither and yon, traveling under, over and across sometimes without apparent rhyme or reason. That fluidity and uncertainty is also its power. Everything is connected in nonlinear ways. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, web pages, SnapChat, YouTube, Periscope, MeerKat—you name it. For skilled storytellers, these platforms allow the creation of an immersive environment where, little by little—they hope—you become immersed in the candidate’s story.

Marchessault, J. (2005). Marshall McLuhan. Thousand Oaks: Sage.