Humans Excel at… Please Wait… Patience

first_imgHere’s another thing that distinguishes humans from animals: patience.  Current Biology usually has a “Quick Guide” feature on some aspect of biology.  In the latest issue, patience was the patient.  First of all, what is it?Humans and other animals often make decisions that trade off present and future benefits.  Should a monkey eat an unripe fruit or wait for it to ripen?  Should I purchase the iPhone at its debut or wait for the price to drop in a few months?  In these dilemmas, large gains often require long waits, so decision makers must choose between a smaller, sooner reward and a larger, later reward.Animals experience these tradeoffs all the time, particularly when foraging for food.  A Clark’s nutcracker (a Western bird) can, for instance, store 33,000 seeds for later consumption, “that is 33,000 decisions to delay gratification.”  But being impulsive can have its payoffs, too.  “He who hesitates is lost,” a proverb says.  If you don’t snatch at the seed in front of you, it could fall into the river.    Following several questions and answers about patience (how it is measured, how animals measure up, etc.) came the question of interest to the human animal: “Are humans uniquely patient?”The most extreme examples of nonhuman animal patience pale in comparison to the levels of patience seen in humans.  Rather than waiting for only seconds or minutes, humans will wait days, weeks, months or even years for gains.  Is this a true cognitive divide?  The answer is yes and no.  In one sense, comparing the human and nonhuman experimental work is like comparing apples and oranges because the methodologies differ so greatly.  Repeated choices with all real rewards and time delays may yield different results from one-shot choices with hypothetical rewards and delays.  When tested in a manner similar to other animals, human subjects look similar to (or sometimes even more impulsive than!) chimpanzees.    Thus, in certain situations humans show similar levels of patience as other primates.  Yet, clearly situations exist in which humans are much more patient than other animals.  It is difficult to imagine even chimpanzees investing in the future in a way comparable to depositing money into a retirement account 30-40 years before receiving a return.  Nonetheless, we know that, for instance, many species show impressive abilities for future planning.  Western scrub jays can plan for their breakfast in the morning.  Monkeys and apes, especially chimpanzees, strategically invest in relationships with group members to climb the political ladder of their dominance hierarchies.  Though these species lack the complex language and symbolic systems (such as money and legal contracts) that allow humans to work over vast temporal horizons, they do demonstrate a flexible means of dealing with the future.  Perhaps the recent surge in interest in animal patience will tell us whether long-term patience is a uniquely human virtue.In short, put your money into an IRA instead of investing in a Monkey Bank. 1.  Jeffrey R. Stevens and David W. Stephens, “Quick Guide: Patience,” Current Biology, Volume 18, Issue 1, 8 January 2008, Pages R11-R12.They missed the whole point.  Human patience is a virtue, not a trait.  The fact that animals (and humans) may have instincts that work in a raw-biological context tells us nothing about the rationality and virtue behind human patience.  If it were merely instinctive, it would not require training and education and conscious choice.  If it were a biological trait, we would not see so many exceptions.    Humans have the capacity for long-term gratification because we were made in the image of God.  That is the only explanation that makes sense for the ability to wait for payoff for decades, or a lifetime.  That is what explains parents denying their gratification for the sake of their children, so that they will be able to have opportunities they never had.  And that is what enables a soul to deny itself till death for a joy in a future life, following the example of Christ, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).    We are animals, but we are not mere animals.  All theists recognize we are rational animals; it’s not like they believe humans float above the ground.  We have stomachs and sex organs and biological urges like the rest of biology.  That curious blend of body and soul is what makes our lives so interesting and challenging.  We were made for an unseen reality that can override our natural urges.  That is why we have need of patience.  That is why we are admonished to “consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (v.3).    Having a biological propensity like the animals to weigh the costs and benefits of immediate vs delayed gratification does in no way diminish the unique capacity of humans for patience, nor does a listing of the misdeeds of impulsive or diseased individuals who act only according to their animal natures.  Indeed, try to imagine a chimpanzee investing in an IRA for 40 years.  Without a soul, with its rational capacity for language, choice and wisdom, such capabilities would be unexplainable.  Current biology demonstrates it.(Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Fighting cancer one cupcake at a time

first_imgCupcakes for Hope has also contributed to other charities, including: Cansa, Reach for a Dream, The Sunflower Fund, CHOC, Little Fighters Cancer Trust and Hospice. (Image: Wikipedia)The effects of cancer are being fought one cupcake at a time, to raise awareness and funds for families affected by the disease who are in need of medical assistance.Cupcakes for Hope is a non-profit organisation established in 1999. “I have always loved Oprah’s Angel Network and it showed me that we can all make a difference in someone’s life,” said Sandy Cipriano, its founder. “You don’t need money, but if you have love and a bit of time, you can all make a difference.“In 2009, we had our first fundraiser at our restaurant, Rio Sol Portuguese Restaurant, in Vereeniging. The first year we raised R5 000, the following year R50 000 and so it grew and grew. In 2011, Cupcakes 4 Kids with Cancer set a new world record for the most cupcakes on display – 21 000. Through this achievement we were able to raise R200 000 for kids with cancer.”MEANINGFUL WORK ALREADY DONEIn September 2014, Cupcakes for Hope hosted the third National Cupcake Day 4 Kids with Cancer at 55 malls – and raised R1.2-million.“Thank you to all our sponsors and amazing Cupcake Angels, who baked all the stunning cupcakes for the event,” Cipriano said. “All your hard work has made a difference in the lives of so many cancer patients already. I can’t wait to see what God has got planned for us in the future.”In 2012, Cupcakes for Hope auctioned a very special cupcake for R14 000 at the Mark Scott Golf Day at the invitation of Zelda la Grange, who was the personal assistant to Nelson Mandela. Mark Scott is the son of popular TV personality Darren Scott, who was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney.“It is truly amazing how a beautiful cupcake is bound to bring a smile to your face. This has to be South Africa’s most expensive cupcake,” Cipriano said about that sale.Cupcakes for Hope has also contributed to other charities, including: Cansa, Reach for a Dream, The Sunflower Fund, CHOC, Little Fighters Cancer Trust and Hospice.WALL OF GENEROSITYIn late November, Mugg & Bean, which has been a Cupcakes for Hope sponsor since 2012, held its Wall of Generosity campaign. Since the start of its sponsorship, the coffee themed restaurant franchise has raised over half-a-million rand for the charity.During its latest event, members of the public were invited to Sandton City, in Johannesburg, and share in acknowledging the meaning of the Wall of Generosity. On the day, Mugg & Bean gave away cupcakes from the wall and each person who received a cupcake was asked to write the name of their cancer hero on their hand and to take a picture holding up their hand with the cupcake.This act signified support for those who were suffering or had suffered from cancer, as well as supported the drive for awareness of early detection in children and how this could save lives.According to Mugg & Bean, the Wall of Generosity was a way for it to give back; it was also a way for it as a brand to lend its support to a cause in which the company truly believed. “Ultimately, it is a way for us to raise awareness for the plight of so many adults and children suffering from cancer,” the company said.PARTY OF HOPEIf you would like to support the cause and help to create awareness at your company or your child’s school, register now to host your own Party of Hope.Cupcakes for Kids has set the following dates for the Parties of Hope in 2016:4 February: World Cancer Day;15 February: International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day;1 April: Caps 4 Cancer (April Fools);5 June: Cancer Survivors Day;16 July: Nelson Mandela International Day;1 September: International Cupcake for Breakfast Day;Whole of September: Childhood Cancer Awareness; and,31 October: Superheroes 4 Cancer.When you register for a Party of Hope, the organisation sends you: leaflets containing information on early cancer warning signs and badges to wear on the day, as well as cupcake baking cups and balloons bearing the Cupcakes for Hop logo.Companies can use this event as a team building project and challenge their different departments to a bake off. Some companies host Cupcake and Tea parties for their staff. There is no right or wrong way of hosting your event; whatever works in your environment will be perfect.“Remember, this is not so much about fundraising but about educating others about the cancer early warning signs,” Cipriano said, “so the only requirement is that either an email or leaflet gets sent out to all the parents or co-workers.“We also now have the early warning signs in 11 different languages available for download.”last_img read more

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India dazzles the world as Commonwealth Games kick off

first_imgFireworks light up the Jawaharlal Nehry Stadium at the CWG opening ceremony on Sunday evening.Putting behind months of controversies, New Delhi put together a spectacular opening ceremony for the 19th Commonwealth Games, which received the approval of all watching.The show of colour, light, music and dance at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium left the 65,000-plus present there screaming in delight as the 12-day sporting extravaganza kicked off with participating teams from 71 members of the Commonwealth.Prince Charles, filling in for Queen Elizabeth II, declared the Games open after which President Pratibha Patil, making a short speech, said, “Let the Games begin!”AR Rahman capped the evening with his CWG anthem, Jeeyo Utho Badho, followed by Jai Ho, which the crowd gladly sung along.Among those attending the grand opening were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi, and Patil’s husband Devi Singh Shekhawat.Manmohan said: “Welcome to India, welcome to these Games. It is a proud moment for the country. We invite all our guests to enjoy our hospitality.”CWG chief Michael Fennell, who was critical of the Games preparations, acknowledged the big, through belated, turnaround. “Congratulations to the Organising Committee. Let us join hands in celebrating the glorious opening ceremony,” he said.Abhinav Bindra leads the Indian contingent at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.The Delhi Games organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi was initially welcomed by the large crowd here, but later booed by it. advertisement”India is ready to host the games,” Kalmadi said, reading out from a prepared speech, sounding confident and not a man whose career in sports administration nearly came to an end because of the problems leading up to this day.Kalmadi also mentioned AB Vajpayee in his speech as he brought the Games to India. At the parade of the participating contingents, the Pakistan team received loud cheers. But the roof was brought down the moment ace marksman and Olympic hero Abhinav Bindra led the Indian contingent on to the park.Patil, Manmohan and Sonia all stood up to applaud the Indian team, which aims to finish with a best ever CWG rank of No. 2.The day’s festivities were marred a little by official broadcaster Doordarshan’s deferred live coverage of the event.Rahman’s act was broadcast only after 10.30 pm, nearly an hour after the opening ceremony had already concluded.last_img read more

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Pakistan Cricket Board should isolate India: Former ICC President Ehsan Mani

first_imgFormer International Cricket Council president Ehsan Mani has criticised BCCI chief Anurag Thakur for his “inflammatory” comments on Pakistan and asked the PCB to push for India to be stripped off hosting ICC events.Mani said on Tuesday night that Pakistani cricket officials should come strong at the ICC executive board meeting in Cape Town next week. “The Indian Cricket Board President, with his immature and inflammatory statements, has given an opening to Pakistan to plead its case more effectively at the ICC meeting,” he said.Mani said that the Pakistan delegation should also demand that the ICC should ask the BCCI president to explain his position in making his statements against Pakistan. (Pakistan sponsor of terrorism, no question of playing cricket with them: Anurag Thakur)”Anurag Thakur is a politician and member of parliament of the ruling party and the ICC must ask him to explain in what capacity does he give his statements on Pakistan or any other cricket issue,” Mani said.”They must ask him to explain his position since the ICC constitution clearly forbade any of its own officials or those of member countries to make statements that bring the game into disrepute and that is what Thakur has done in his statements,” the former ICC chief said. (Pakistan Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq wants to play with India despite deteriorating relationship)Mani said for the last two years he had been advising the Pakistan board to stop playing India in the group stage of ICC events. “Now India is talking about not playing us in group stages of ICC events. The truth is that the ICC earns a lot from these Indo-Pak matches in its tournaments and India takes home the lions share under the big three governance formula. Yet they don’t want to have bilateral cricket ties with us.”advertisementMani said that Pakistani cricket officials for years had been following a policy of appeasement with India because they wanted resumption of bilateral cricket series.”But now it is clear there is lot of negativity from the Indian cricket board and even otherwise the situation is tense. So this is the best time for Pakistan to make its point at the ICC meeting.” (Please don’t go to war: Shahid Afridi’s message to India and Pakistan)A PCB official recently confirmed that due to India not playing against Pakistan since 2007 in a full bilateral series, it had suffered losses to the tune of more than USD 100 million.Najam Sethi, the former chairman of the PCB, who now heads the executive committee, told the media in Lahore that they planned to give a befitting reply to India’s recent threats to not play Pakistan in ICC events.”Yes we have been reading these statements and we will give them a strong response at the ICC meeting,” Sethi said.Sethi will be attending the ICC board meeting with CEO, Subhan Ahmad since chairman Shaharyar Khan, a former career diplomat, remains indisposed as he is recovering from a heart surgery.last_img read more

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