Alexonomic's Outlook for 2013: South America

Yes, the Brazilians are still the centerpiece of South American economic growth, yet there are competitors arising. While Venezuala faces a period of uncertainty with the potential replacement of Hugo Chavez, Argentina offers a renewed challenge to the Falklands under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Alexonomic's Outlook for 2013: Europe

Europe reminds many historians of conditions during the 1930s. Economically depressed countries are embracing extremist political parties with racial divide, riots, and anger as the symptoms. Currently, most of the population is aware of the European debt crisis. Although a serious as the economic crisis is, the side effects of lower economic output can be more serious.

Americans and their Guns

To stray from the Predictions of 2013 series, I did an infographic of the gun control debate raging in the US, along with some statistics. The objectives of Obama gun control rules come plainly from the White House publication on the topic. As one can see, the proposed regulations are quite practical.

Alexonomics' Outlook for 2013: Africa

Egypt has often been the focus of news in Africa as of late. The removal of Mubarak and election of Mohammed Morsi has proven to be an interesting turn of events, but the excitement is far from over. Morsi symbolically removed ties from the Muslim Brotherhood, but that move hardly removes the influence the party has on the President.

A guide to Environmental Economics

Often, articles will be conclusions with a few supporting facts that will often sway the reader. I find this problematic for two reasons. First, the reader does not have the chance to fully understand the topic because no background is given. Secondly, the reader doesn't really have an opportunity to disagree with the writer's conclusion if the reader has little to no knowledge of the topic.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Reflections on Young Fatherhood: Lucky Me

Editor's Note: This is a guest post written by Matt Henry, a comedian. These views do not necessarily reflect this publication, and are the views of the writer. To reach Matt Henry, email him at Lucky Me.
So I flew to close to the sun, and had my son when I was 19 going on 20. To be honest I was more afraid to tell my mom that I was going to be be a parent then actually becoming one. There was never a point in time where I thought about bailing. At the time I was “in love” with the girl I was having this child with and more importantly me having a son was a chance to get my shot.
A shot that I never had. 
I have my step dad who I consider my dad, but I never met my actual dad until I was like 19. So I felt so fortunate to be having a son because now I could do all the things with him I never did with my dad - and I do. 
The fact that I was young never phased me, I always liked the idea of having kids young. There are parts of it that are really sweet. Because our age gap isn't huge, I feel I’ll always be able to relate to him on things and learn as he learns, continue to grow as he begins to grow. I feel when the generational gap is to wide it may be difficult to relate on things from the Dad to son, because 15 and 55 I can only assume your into different things. 
The only thing that I envy older dads for I think is the fact that they are established and have money. I know you’re not supposed spoil your kids, but it’s something I take pride in. Respect is always there, however if I can get him something extra for my little guy, I will. 
I got lucky with a boy I know that. I would have welcomed a daughter.However, then I would have had to join the gym. With a son I feel like I have a tag team partner for life. And with all great Tag Teams there is leader. Then the leader gets old and the apprentice has a fantastic solo career. 
I'm addicted to attempting to set a fantastic launching point for my son. It’s because of him that I crave to be the best version of myself, so that he can use my shoulders if need be to make himself even better.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Answering the Riddle of Relationships

Editors Note: This blog is usually devoted to political issues, financial issues, world events or closely related topics. The following is off topic from the blog's content, and does not reflect the opinions of Alexonomics.

Most commonly, humans talk about events, issues, politics, sports, ideas or interesting facts. One topic has been left from that list, and that is relationships. Probably the most intense subject of conversation is the story behind the lives of others. Gossip, tall tales, airing the dirty laundry, defamation, slanderous babble often peak the interest of many. Participation in this conduct is widely spread, even by those who you would think not too interested. It's this reason why reality shows that document the supposed inside lives of people who society feels are interesting continue to be popular.

Cosmopolitan may give bad relationship advice to
keep their audience coming back. Decent business model.
These stories always are about an association, friendship, relationship - some sort of affiliation. Obviously, everyone has an opinion on how to engage in what used to be called courtship. Fortunes have been made banking on humanity's favourite subject. Cosmopolitan regularly gives their mostly female readers advice on relationships stating that to have a great relationship you should not "be BFF's" with one's partner, and to "grow your tolerance" of one's partner's downfalls. Ask Men tells their mostly male audience that friends and family, or persistent suitors are the biggest relationship killers.

Relationship advice does not only come from conversations or publications, but is also widely discussed on internet forums such as the the Reddit Relationship Advice subreddit to simple Yahoo questions from frustrated lovers. Interestingly enough, so called pick up artists teach males on how to impress and seduce their female victims.

It seems among all this discussion, debate, advice, analysis, venting, and deliberation, that no one actually has an actual answer for how to conduct a relationship.

To begin looking at an answer, science offers a glimpse. Recently a study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences found men's brains have a greater neural connection from the back of the brain to the front. This allows men to focus better, and hypothetically superior at learning a single ask and performing a task. According to the National Post, this allows men to navigate directions better than a female. In opposition, a female brain has more connectivity between the left and right hemisphere, allowing women to have better memories, and are supposedly more collaborative.

Basically, the study reveals females are more analytical while men are quicker to act on their perceptions. This means men could be more prone to make more rash decisions while women take their time to make an assertion by gathering evidence. Either way, the study reveals that the different genders have different methodologies of conducting themselves. Something that has been known by most humans since the beginning of time.

However, even if the difference between the genders brains could pose a serious problem to interconnection; the sorcery of a little thing called love begins the mutations of both genders. Science can tell us biologically why humans have allurement toward each other. If one looks towards Charles Darwin, evolutionary instincts toward procreation play a large part in attraction.

These instincts create quite the change, as the brain of someone supposedly in love looks a lot like a person who is on cocaine.

Maybe Rob Ford is just in love.

Cocaine lowers the threshold of pleasures centres in the brain, which is similar to one who is smitten by some special somebody. Basically, someone who has certain feelings toward another finds joy in even the smallest events during the day and begin to view a more romanticized world. Pain centres fire less, so one becomes less agitated. The chemicals that can be released by simply even looking at someone who holds a special place in one's heart (or more accurately - brain) are dopamine and Norepinephrine giving motivation to be with the loved one. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, is released during sexual acts or even more romanticized actions such as holding hands or looking into another's eyes. It is suggested that the continual release of oxytocin from these activities strengthens the neural bond between a couple, which means couples that stray from physical activities together may become less intimate. Additionally, couples in love have lower levels of serotonin, which means messages between one part of the brain and another may be slower. Unfortunately, this could mean neural circuits associated with the way people assess others may be suppressed.

Scientifically, love has been broken down to its biological realisms. The preceding paragraph could explain many different situations. Someone in an abusive relationship may not leave their partner because of lower levels of serotonin reducing their discernment or may be simply craving the chemicals released when their loved one is near. A relationship that slowly fades may be the result of less physicality and thus lower chemical releases which slowly erodes the neural connection between a couple. Or, someone who is spending more time with their significant other and ignoring their traditional social venues is simply creating a stronger neural bond and satisfying their addiction for more love hormones. 

Additionally, science can explain the continual relationship advice conversations that appear anywhere from on the train to work to social media venues. People are less sure of themselves because they realize their behaviour is less than normal. As a result, advice is sought. Over analysis, hair-brained theories, breakdowns of the smallest action, and intense scrutiny are often the result of this. However, it is important to receive the opinions of others in a relationship situation, as one may be blind to the faults of their affection while others not under the love spell will be able to see clearly.

Until geneticists discover the perfect algorithm for perfect couples, humans have simple trial and error to continue their quest of finding the one they will procreate with. No advice is perfect, and often over thinking can completely reduce one's mental capabilities to a state of turmoil. For once, this blog offers no conclusions or answers to have the perfect relationship as the sample size is too large and different to assess and find the perfect relationship recipe. Simply ask one question to oneself to determine whether you should continue a courtship.

Am I happier than I was when single?

Answering that question may be simple, but acting on it will be tougher.