The benefits of ‘body doubling’ when you have ADHD, according to experts

The benefits of ‘body doubling’ when you have ADHD, according to experts


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Once a week, ADHD coach Robin Nordmeyer joins a Zoom meeting with other coaches while she writes blogs, does administrative tasks or works on content for presentations she has been putting off.

Nordmeyer, who has ADHD, isn’t necessarily using the meeting to collaborate with others — she just needs their presence as a motivator to help her get things done.

“I run a business, and I have to balance lots of different areas of the business,” said Nordmeyer, cofounder and managing director of the Center for Living Well with ADHD-Minnesota, an ADHD coaching group near Minneapolis serving all ages.

“Some of those things come very easy — like, they’re in my wheelhouse, they energize me, I can’t wait to get to them,” Nordmeyer said. “And some of those things are a little more tedious, or I have some resistance around them.”

What Nordmeyer does to get through those tougher tasks is sometimes known as “body doubling,” a productivity and self-help strategy that involves working with another person around to help improve motivation and focus. It has been popular for some time among people with ADHD — attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — especially during the pandemic.

“The idea is that the presence of another is essentially a gentle reminder to stay on task,” said Billy Roberts, clinical director of Focused Mind ADHD Counseling in Columbus, Ohio. “For folks (with) ADHD whose minds tend to wander and get off task, the body double somehow works as an external motivator to stay on task.”

Body doubling isn’t just for people with ADHD, but like many “coping strategies, something that can be helpful for anybody is more central and important for folks with ADHD,” said Dr. J. Russell Ramsay, founding codirector of the University of Pennsylvania’s ADHD Treatment and Research Program.

Why body doubling works

A neurodevelopmental disorder commonly diagnosed in childhood but lasting into adulthood, ADHD stems from underdeveloped or impaired executive function and self-regulation skills, according to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child. Those skills help us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions and multitask. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity — so people with this disorder might have trouble concentrating, staying organized, managing their time or controlling their impulses, which can affect both their work and personal lives, Roberts said.

If people with ADHD have no intrinsic interest in a task, Roberts said, they typically struggle with a lack of internal motivation to complete it or even to get started. Body doubling provides that motivation, experts said.

“It also draws on our social selves,” Ramsay said. “A lot of people with ADHD will say, ‘I have a hard time getting started on this if I’m doing it for myself, but if I know somebody else is relying on me, if somebody else is waiting outside for me to show up to go for our walk, I’m more likely to go and be there because I don’t want to let them down.’”

There doesn’t appear to be extensive research on body doubling for productivity, according to Roberts and other experts. “But I do know that the idea of externalizing motivation is a long-standing, evidence-based mechanism for managing ADHD,” Roberts said.

In theory, the method is pretty straightforward, but there a few factors to keep in mind to make the most of it.

How to use body doubling effectively

Body doubling can help with pretty much any task you’re having a hard time getting done — whether that’s work, chores, exercise, schoolwork or paperwork. The other person doesn’t have to be doing the same thing as you, unless the activity you need body doubling for — such as exercising — requires that assistance.

Be choosy about whom you ask to be your body double. The person should be as committed to you completing your work as you are, Roberts said — not distracting you with conversation or anything else. Choose someone who usually makes you feel comfortable and safe, and who can encourage you when necessary.

“It’s important to keep a body double session focused on its purpose,” Nordmeyer said. If conversations do come up, table them for later, perhaps during a break or dinner.

Asking someone to be your body double might feel awkward, but Roberts said the best approach is often a straightforward one. You could say, “It’s something I heard can help with productivity. Would you mind just being around me while I work on this? Maybe you have something you could work on, too.”

You could also barter with them, in a sense, by making an offer such as, “You help me organize my garage on Saturday; I’ll help you organize your home office on Sunday,” Ramsay said.

Those small first steps of seeking a partner and setting up the session get you started and keep you going, he added.

Scheduling regular body doubling sessions is one option, Nordmeyer said, or just ask whenever the need arises. How transparent you are about why you need a body double is up to you, as is whether you have more than one body double.

“It depends on the individual,” Roberts said. “If it turns into a distraction more than mindfulness, accountability or behavioral support, then you just want to rework things. You can kind of tinker with things until you find what works.”

Virtual body doubling

If you don’t have a friend or colleague to be your body double, you aren’t out of luck.

Some TikTok users, such as Allie K. Campbell, regularly go live while they’re working so others can use them as a virtual body double. There are also body doubling or coworking platforms or apps such as Flown, Focusmate or Flow Club.

In virtual sessions, “most body doubles ask you to share your camera, and a lot of people are real nervous about being visible,” Nordmeyer said. “The purpose of that is to make sure you’re still in your chair working. … But there might be other ways you can create that accountability through a chat feature.”

The benefits of body doubling are likely why some people like working on things in coffee shops, libraries or coworking spaces — which can be sources of passive body doubling if you don’t have someone to ask, Roberts said.

“Some people work better with community support and just the awareness of other people around them,” he added. “You saw that a lot with the pandemic, like people learning more about the kinds of structure they needed.

“We all think and work differently, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Roberts said.




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Americans are doing a good job of misunderstanding Britain

By BAGEHOT

A RESTAURANT critic for the New York Times informs us that, on returning to London after a ten-year absence, he was astonished to discover that the local restaurants have moved beyond “porridge and boiled mutton”. Robert Draper has been widely mocked for this nonsense. What next on his list of amazing discoveries? That kings can no longer behead people at will? That not all Britons live in castles? That suits of armour have fallen out of favour? But Mr Draper is not alone: I’ve noticed a recent surge in American-sourced gibberish about Britain. This rubbish is bipartisan: the left and the right are equally guilty. And it is driven by the same psychological force: the desire to project your own fears onto the convenient (English-speaking) canvas that is Britain. But the two sides project exactly the opposite fears onto Britain: the left argues that it is falling apart because it’s rejecting globalisation while the right worries that it’s falling apart because it’s too keen on globalisation.

The New York Times has run a series of articles on the evils of Brexit Britain. Britain is divided into two nations—a wealthy south and a Dickensian north. The country voted to leave the European Union out of a fit of racism-tinged nostalgia. Britain is no longer a “brave galleon, banners waving, trumpets blaring”, as Steven Erlanger wrote in his farewell to the country that had been his home for two long spells as a foreign correspondent. Instead, it is “a modest-sized ship on the global ocean”.


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Trans-nuclease activity of Cas9 activated by DNA or RNA target binding

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    The Keyper is a casual adventure game for Playdate that unexpectedly made me cry

    The Keyper is a casual adventure game for Playdate that unexpectedly made me cry

    Sometimes it’s the simplest games that end up leaving you all teary-eyed and emotional.

    When I first downloaded Cool Lemon Club’s The Keyper for Playdate, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations beyond a general sense that it should be pretty good, since lots of people online seemed to be recommending it. The adventure game, which is available on and the official , sees the player searching for the many different keys needed to unlock areas of the mysterious Winchester 21 building after taking over the role of caretaker. The person who formerly held the job is gone, leaving only some cryptic notes behind, and the residents are varying degrees of weird.

    On its face, it seems like a pretty standard game of puzzle solving and exploration. It’s effectively frustrating throughout, as you repeatedly retrace your steps trying to navigate the Winchester 21’s several floors and labyrinthine tunnel system to find the keys and the doors they unlock. But as the plot unfolds and you uncover more of the building’s secrets, The Keyper reveals itself to be a game with a lot of heart.

    Its charm lies in the strange interactions between you and the people who live in the apartments (and tunnels… and walls) of the Winchester 21. They each have their own little storylines, some of which present new mysteries and side-quests for you to take on. One of these in particular really tugged at my heartstrings, but I wouldn’t dare spoil it for you here.

    The Keyper is a little dark, a little funny and just the right amount of challenging. While it does offer the option to save your progress so you can walk away from it and come back later, I’d recommend setting aside a few hours and just playing this through in one shot for the most impact. By the time you reach the end and finally figure out what’s been going on all along, the entire tone of the game has shifted into something a lot more heartwarming than it all first appears. I may even have cried a little during the final scene.


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    Heatwave intensity will reduce in parts of India in next three days: IMD | India News

    Heatwave intensity will reduce in parts of India in next three days: IMD | India News

    Heatwave intensity will reduce in parts of India in next three days: IMD | India News

    Among other places in Haryana, Bhiwani recorded a high of 45.1 degrees Celsius while Rohtak recorded a high of 44.2 degrees. | Photo: REUTERS


    A reduction in the intensity of heatwave conditions is likely in the country over the next three days, the weather office said on Sunday.


    Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh was the hottest in the country with a maximum temperature of 46.2 degrees Celsius.


    Sirsa in Haryana and Ganganagar in Rajasthan sizzled at 45.4 degrees Celsius followed by Jhansi and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh which recorded 45.2 degrees Celsius each, and Prithvipur in Madhya Pradesh and Bhiwani in Haryana at 45.1 degrees.


    The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said heat wave conditions over northwest, central and east India were likely to continue with reduced intensity during the next three days.


    The maximum temperature in the national capital settled at 42.8 degrees Celsius, two notches above the normal for the season.


    Aya Nagar in south Delhi recorded 43.4 degrees Celsius, Ridge 43.7 degrees Celsius, and Palam 43.5 degrees Celsius.


    Light rain with thundershowers were experienced in parts of Rajasthan.


    The weather department has predicted more light to moderate rain in parts of Bikaner, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Ajmer and Jodhpur divisions.


    Jaipur MeT department Director Radheshyam Sharma said the maximum temperature will settle below 45 degrees Celsius in the coming days and relief from the heat wave is expected.


    “Today, maximum temperatures have fallen by 3-4 degrees Celsius over some parts of East Madhya Pradesh; by 2-3 degrees Celsius in some parts of interior Odisha, Vidarbha, Punjab and by 1-2 degrees Celsius over some parts of Haryana, West Uttar Pradesh, West Madhya Pradesh & adjoining East Rajasthan,” it said.


    It said maximum temperatures are in the range 43-45 degrees Celsius over some parts of north Rajasthan, south Haryana, Delhi, north Madhya Pradesh and southeast Madhya Pradesh; in the range 41-43 degrees Celsius over many parts of Punjab, remaining parts of Haryana, Delhi south Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh; over some parts of west Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, Telangana and south Interior Odisha.


    The weather office said hot and humid weather is very likely to prevail over isolated pockets of Bihar during June 2-4, Konkan & Goa on June 2-3; Odisha on June 5-6.


    Among other places in Haryana, Bhiwani recorded a high of 45.1 degrees Celsius while Rohtak recorded a high of 44.2 degrees.


    Ambala recorded a maximum of 42.3 degrees Celsius, Hisar registered a high of 42.7 degrees Celsius while Gurugram and Faridabad registered 42.5 degrees Celsius and 43.9 degrees Celsius, respectively.


    Chandigarh recorded a high of 42.4 degrees Celsius.


    In Punjab, Bathinda reeled at a maximum of 45.1 degrees Celsius.


    Amritsar recorded a high of 43.5 degrees Celsius, Ludhiana 42.2 degrees Celsius while Patiala’s maximum settled at 42.6 degrees Celsius.


    Gurdaspur recorded a high of 43.4 degrees Celsius while Faridkot’s maximum settled at 42.5 degrees Celsius.


    The heat wave conditions persisted in Jammu which recorded the maximum temperature at 41.6 degrees Celsius, 2.2 notches above the season’s average, the meteorological department said.


    However, the day temperature in Jammu was 1.3 degrees Celsius less than that of the previous day, a spokesperson of the Met department said, adding that the city may witness relief from the prevailing conditions after June 4.


    He said hot and dry weather over the plains of Jammu division is likely to continue till June 4. After that during the next three days, Jammu may see light to moderate rain or thunder in many places with gusty winds in a few places.


    The weather is likely to remain partly cloudy on June 8 and 9, the spokesperson said.


    He said Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills in Reasi district, recorded a high of 38.8 degrees Celsius and a low of 24.8 degrees Celsius.


    Srinagar, on the other hand, recorded a maximum of 30.3 degrees Celsius against 27.5 degrees Celsius the previous day, the spokesperson said, adding the day temperature in the city was four degrees above normal.

    (Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

    First Published: Jun 02 2024 | 11:47 PM IST


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    Book excerpt: “Challenger” by Adam Higginbotham

    We may receive an affiliate commission from anything you buy from this article.

    British journalist Adam Higginbotham, author of “Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster,” returns with his exhaustively-researched new book, “Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space” (Simon & Schuster), about the 1986 space shuttle disaster.

    Read an excerpt below.

    “Challenger” by Adam Higginbotham

    Prefer to listen? Audible has a 30-day free trial available right now.

    Flight Control Room One
    Johnson Space Center, Houston
    January 28, 1986, 8:30 a.m.

    The coffee, as usual, was terrible: bitter and thin, the color of tea; almost certainly undrinkable. He filled a cup anyway, returned to his console, and plugged in his headset. It promised to be a long morning.

    Steve Nesbitt had arrived at his office early, checking for the latest weather updates from the Cape before taking the short walk, out past the duck ponds to Building 30, and up in the elevator to Mission Control. But from what he’d already seen on TV, there was no way they would launch today: it was freezing down in Florida, and there were two-foot icicles hanging from the gantry. Space Shuttle mission 51-L seemed sure to face yet another delay.

    Nesbitt had been with NASA public affairs for just over five years, and was there for the triumph of the first Space Shuttle launch in 1981 — helping to respond to a clamor of press and media inquiries from all over the world. Since then, he had become chief commentator for Mission Control, and delivered the live commentary from Houston on almost every one of the twenty-four shuttle flights. But he was still nervous.

    Responsibility for translating the bewildering patois of engineering jargon and acronyms spoken by NASA engineers and astronauts into language the public could understand began with the launch countdown commentary that boomed from the loudspeakers at Cape Canaveral. After that — once the count reached zero and the spacecraft left the ground — everything that happened was on Nesbitt’s watch. There was no script, and he knew his words went out live to anyone watching a launch on television — either on the three national networks, on the recently launched cable channel CNN, or over NASA’s own dedicated satellite feed; he relied instead on his Ascent Events List, which mapped a series of milestones the shuttle would pass on its way to orbit, from the slow roll it would execute as it roared away from the launchpad to the moment its main engines cut out, at the edge of space.

    The hushed environment of the Flight Control Rooms had been devised to concentrate the minds of each of the flight controllers on their own tasks, and only recently had a TV set been installed near the Flight Director’s console, to display images of the shuttle in flight. Nesbitt rarely had time to look at that, as he focused attention on the console in front of him. Here, he had access to real-time information about the spacecraft: on his headset, he could listen in to dozens of audio “loops” connecting groups of NASA engineers and flight controllers on the internal communications network; and on a pair of black-and-white monitors, he could see telemetry data transmitted back to Earth from the shuttle, columns of numbers updated every second describing any one of hundreds of technical parameters of its performance in flight.

    With a couple of hundred feeds to choose from, Nesbitt had his regular preferences: “Flight Ops Procedures,” which included data on the shuttle’s engine performance, and the “Trajectory” display, which showed its speed, altitude, and downrange distance. Even with all this at his fingertips, Nesbitt found the live commentary nerve-racking, and practiced often. He took his duty of public service seriously, and hated it when other commentators took flight with flowery language, like Hollywood PR guys. He wanted to play it straight.

    And yet, suffering from the effects of a cold he’d picked up the day before, even as the final countdown began, Nesbitt would have welcomed another launch delay: his throat was sore, and he wasn’t certain he could talk through the whole ascent without his voice straining or cracking. He waited in silence for his cue: for the shuttle engines and the giant solid rockets to light; for his counterpart at the Cape to announce that Challenger had cleared the tower.

    It was almost exactly 11:38 in the morning when Nesbitt saw the numbers on his screen start to move, and a few seconds later keyed his mike to speak:

    “Good roll program confirmed. Challenger now heading downrange.”

    At the console position next to him, the flight surgeon — a navy doctor in full uniform — had her eyes on the big TV set across the room. It was a perfect launch. Challenger was less than half a minute into flight when Nesbitt gave his next update.

    “Engines beginning throttling down, now at 94 percent,” he said. “Normal throttle for most of the flight is 104 percent. We’ll throttle down to 65 percent shortly.”

    The flight surgeon watched the shuttle climb higher into the cloudless sky over the Atlantic; Nesbitt kept his gaze on the monitors. “Velocity 2,257 feet per second,” he said. “Altitude 4.3 nautical miles, downrange distance three nautical miles.” The numbers all looked good; at sixty-eight seconds, he reported the next key moment on the list in front of him. “Engines are throttling up. Three engines now at 104 percent.”

    Ten feet away, down on the next row of consoles, astronaut Dick Covey confirmed the change with the shuttle commander: “Challenger, go at throttle up.”

    “Roger, go at throttle up.”

    The spacecraft was one minute and ten seconds into flight.

    Four seconds later, Nesbitt heard a loud crackle in his headphones. Beside him, the surgeon saw Challenger abruptly obscured by a ball of orange and white flame.

    “What was that?” she said.

    But Nesbitt was staring at his monitors.

    “One minute fifteen seconds. Velocity 2,900 feet per second,” he said.

    “Altitude nine nautical miles. Downrange distance seven nautical miles.” Then Nesbitt looked up, and followed the surgeon’s gaze toward the TV set. Something terrible had happened. There was no sign of Challenger, just the expanding fireball where it had once been — and the exhaust trails of the shuttle’s two booster rockets, twisting in opposite directions across the sky. His console was no help: the data streams had frozen. Around him, the other flight controllers sat stunned, faces slack with shock. No one said a word.

    Nesbitt knew he had to speak, but he had no information to explain what he was witnessing. His mind raced. He thought of his responsibility to the public, and to the astronauts’ families. He thought, suddenly, of the attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life nearly five years before: in the confusion that followed, CBS news anchor Dan Rather had announced that White House press secretary James Brady had been killed — only to discover that Brady, despite the bullet in his head, remained very much alive. Nesbitt didn’t want to make a mistake like that.

    A few moments of quiet extended into half a minute. An agonizing silence enveloped the NASA commentary loop; an eternity of dead air. On the TV screen, the cloud drifted in the wind; fragments of debris fluttered toward the ocean. The Flight Director polled his team in vain for answers.

    It was forty-one seconds before Steve Nesbitt spoke again.

    “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation,” he said, his voice flat and impassive. “Obviously a major malfunction.”

         
    Excerpted from “Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space” by Adam Higginbotham. Published by Avid Reader Press/Simon and Schuster. Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.

    Get the book here:

    “Challenger” by Adam Higginbotham

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    “Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space” by Adam Higginbotham (Simon & Schuster), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formatsadamhigginbotham.com

    Netanyahu indicates no cease-fire until Israel’s objectives are achieved

    Biden rebukes Trump’s response to New York conviction

    Douglas Brinkley and the lesson of Trump’s guilty verdict


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    Starliner NASA launch: A chance for Boeing reset after a tide of bad headlines

    Starliner NASA launch: A chance for Boeing reset after a tide of bad headlines

    Boeing’s first spacecraft to carry a human crew is set to launch on Saturday. If all goes as planned, the mission will bring astronauts to the International Space Station and prove to NASA that Boeing can be a reliable transportation partner. 

    It’s been a long journey to get to this point: NASA has rescheduled the launch multiple times this month amid technical concerns. That follows years of delays and costs running $1 billion over budget. 

    Why We Wrote This

    Boeing’s brand has taken hits from several troubling incidents. On Saturday, the company plans to launch a crewed spaceflight to prove it can successfully transport astronauts to the space station.

    Safely transporting astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams is a crucial priority. A successful launch of the Starliner capsule would also provide NASA with a second U.S. spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to and from the space station. 

    Boeing could use a public relations win right now after a string of negative news about its commercial aviation business. 

    Boeing and NASA will learn from this test flight, says Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, who notes a successful launch would “build trust with our customers and our employees.”

    Boeing’s first spacecraft to carry a human crew is set to launch Saturday from Florida. If all goes as planned, the mission will bring astronauts to the International Space Station and prove to NASA that Boeing can be a reliable transportation partner. 

    The Starliner capsule is scheduled to take off as soon as 12:25 p.m. EDT on June 1. It’s been a long journey to get to this point: NASA has rescheduled the launch five times this month amid technical concerns. That follows years of delays and costs running $1 billion over budget. 

    Astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams are expected to test the spacecraft’s systems while at the space station for about seven days, before landing in the southwestern United States. 

    Why We Wrote This

    Boeing’s brand has taken hits from several troubling incidents. On Saturday, the company plans to launch a crewed spaceflight to prove it can successfully transport astronauts to the space station.

    A successful launch would be a milestone moment for Boeing and help solidify a new era of commercial space flight. The Starliner is the second of two contracts NASA awarded to private companies to shuttle astronauts to the space station. 

    Why is this Starliner launch important?

    Safely transporting Mr. Wilmore and Ms. Williams is a crucial priority. A successful launch would also provide NASA with a second U.S. spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to and from the space station. 

    “It was really important for the nation to have a strategy where we would have multiple companies with the capability to take humans to outer space,” says Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.


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    Study shows little transformation in new suburbs in country’s economic hub

    Study shows little transformation in new suburbs in country’s economic hub

    Study shows little transformation in new suburbs in country’s economic hub
    Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

    As South Africa reflects on 30 years of democracy, it’s important to ask whether its cities have changed for the better when it comes to racial mixing.

    During apartheid, South Africa’s residential development was segregated in law along racial lines. Black African residents were consigned to townships on the outskirts of cities while white residents lived in suburbs close to facilities and employment. This established negative spatial, economic and social outcomes among race groups.

    Democracy in 1994 brought an opportunity for new residential developments to be more racially mixed. But are they?

    In a recent study I explore whether South Africa is achieving spatial transformation now that different race groups can legally mix in neighborhoods.

    The short answer is no. While a few new residential developments in the country’s Gauteng province improve racial mixing, many other developments do not. Expansion projects near townships (the residential areas set aside for black people) are still home to residents who are black African and poor. Suburban expansion for wealthy residents is racially mixed, but is still rife between race groups.

    This segregation causes some groups to remain separated from job opportunities and urban amenities. These residents face many costs (like transport) in order to find and keep jobs or to access amenities in parts of the city that are far away from their homes.

    The result is a continuous cycle of segregation and inequality. In order to break this cycle, South Africa’s cities need radical spatial transformation.

    The study

    Overall, levels of racial mixing have increased since the advent of democracy. In Gauteng, the country’s economic hub, desegregation has taken place in many former white-only suburbs. This represents some progress towards a racially equal post-apartheid society. But what about new residential areas?

    My investigation required two things: spatial data for over the decades and recent population estimates for different racial categories. Then I used an index of segregation to calculate the racial diversity of all residential areas built in Gauteng since 1990.

    In this period, the residential footprint of Gauteng grew by about 905km², creating many opportunities for racial mixing and spatial transformation. But my research shows that new residential developments tend to reproduce the racial diversity of the areas from which they expanded. And the majority of residential expansion happens in peripheral land around townships. This actually lowers the overall racial diversity of the province.

    Racial diversity studies provide valuable insights into the broad changes to the apartheid geography since democracy.

    The findings

    I found that the racial diversity of new residential developments in Gauteng is even lower now than it was in 1990. So new residential expansion in Gauteng, on average, does not lead to more racial mixing. Of those who live in residential areas that developed after 1990, 80% live in areas that have very little—less than 10%—of racial mixing.

    There is, however, considerable variation across the province (see map above). Desegregation (racial mixing) takes place in quite a few areas. But new residential areas with low and high racial diversity are still far away from each other on the map. For example, the richer northern parts of Johannesburg have high racial diversity (people of all races live in new residential developments there). The poorer southern parts have low racial diversity.

    In the map, new residential areas are shaded based on their racial diversity. Light yellow areas have low racial diversity and dark purple ones have higher racial diversity. It’s easy to see that racial diversity is low in areas that were added next to townships such as Mamelodi in Pretoria and Soweto in Johannesburg.

    But it’s high in areas added next to former white-only suburbs like Menlyn and Randburg. The higher racial diversity here is directly related to increases in townhouses, cluster complexes and semi-detached housing developments. Middle- to upper-income households live here. Even so, some of these developments led to more racial mixing while others didn’t.

    Are classes mixing more?

    Another aim of the research was to try to understand if more racial mixing also leads to more class mixing. Does it positively influence socio-economic sorting? Research has highlighted increasing inequality and socio-economic sorting in many cities around the world. Cities that are increasingly shaped by socio-economic sorting, for example, include Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Istanbul.

    My research found that in racially mixed areas, the average household income of white residents is significantly higher than that of black African residents (see graph above).

    Income inequality in neighborhoods therefore remains high despite desegregation. Case studies in the research also illustrate how the affordability of housing and the social character of neighborhoods influence class mixing. For example, in many instances affordable housing leads to more mixed residential areas while this is not happening in the upper end of the market with more expensive houses.

    So, while it’s not possible to assume that affluent areas include just one race group as they did in the past, one can also not assume there’s socio-economic equality in new racially mixed areas.

    Despite 30 years of gradual racial mixing in former whites-only neighborhoods, spatial transformation is slow. And the association between space and class in Gauteng has not changed significantly. Residential expansion generally reproduces the racial and socio-economic composition of the areas from which they expanded.

    What this all means

    The research highlights that opportunities for racial and socio-economic integration can only be created on a very local level if a diversity of housing options is provided in neighborhoods. In other words, new developments must cater to a bigger range of income groups—there should be upmarket townhouses alongside more affordable flats and social housing developments, for example like what is happening in suburbs like Cosmo City or Fleurhof.

    Public housing programs and post-apartheid housing policies provide some hope that this can still happen. Public housing initiatives must provide affordable in close proximity to areas with economic opportunities. Public policy must ensure that a person’s residential location is not the biggest (and most impossible) burden that they have to overcome for a better life.

    Provided by
    The Conversation


    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

    Citation:
    Race still divides South Africa: Study shows little transformation in new suburbs in country’s economic hub (2024, June 2)
    retrieved 2 June 2024
    from https://phys.org/news/2024-05-south-africa-suburbs-country-economic.html

    This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
    part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.




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    Stunning Comet Could Photobomb This April’s Total Solar Eclipse

    Stunning Comet Could Photobomb This April’s Total Solar Eclipse

    Stunning Comet Could Photobomb This April’s Total Solar Eclipse

    Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks will make its closest approach to the sun this April—right after North America is treated to a total solar eclipse

    Stunning Comet Could Photobomb This April’s Total Solar Eclipse

    12P/Pons–Brooks is a Halley-type periodic comet with an orbital period of 71 years. It was discovered in 1812 and later recovered during passages in 1883 and 1954. It is expected to brighten to an apparent magnitude of 4.5 (visible to the naked eye) during its upcoming passage in April 2024.

    This article is part of a special report on the total solar eclipse that will be visible from parts of the U.S., Mexico and Canada on April 8, 2024.

    On April 8 a swath of Mexico, the U. S. and Canada will be treated to a stunning total solar eclipse, the second such eclipse to be widely visible in the U.S. in less than a decade. But this time a comet may photobomb the display.

    The dirty ice ball, officially known as Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, was discovered in 1812. The comet takes a little more than 71 years to orbit the sun in a path that sends it zipping out past Neptune’s orbit and then diving back through the inner solar system. During Comet 12P’s current pass, professional and amateur astronomers have observed a series of outbursts from the hurtling ice ball that appeared to give it horns, earning it nicknames such as “Millennium Falcon” and “Devil Comet.”


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    “This is one of the brightest comets in history,” says Rosita Kokotanekova, a planetary scientist at the Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

    And Comet 12P will make its closest approach to the sun on April 21—less than two weeks after the total solar eclipse. The timing means that the comet will appear about 25 degrees away from the sun during totality. (Your clenched fist held at arm’s length can be used to measure about 10 degrees across in the sky.)

    A band running across a map of North America marks the April 8 2024 path of totality. The moon's shadow hits land in Sinaloa, Mexico and tracks northeast to Newfoundland, Canada.

    Credit: Katie Peek; Source: NASA (eclipse track data)

    Just how visible Comet 12P may be during totality is still uncertain. Although the sun will be blocked at that time, the sky won’t reach true nighttime hues—it will be more like twilight—and our home star’s outer atmosphere, or corona, will be shining as well. Based on the current observations, during totality, the comet may be just barely visible to the naked eye, or sky watchers may need binoculars to spot it.

    “I don’t want people to get disappointed if they don’t see the comet,” Kokotanekova says. “If people expect to see something extremely bright on a fully dark sky, I think that unless we’re very luck with an outburst, it will be more challenging than that.”

    But if the comet cooperates, it could appear much brighter. That’s because Comet 12P is known for its dramatic outbursts, during which the ice ball loses a substantial amount of material, both ice that sublimates into gas and dust shed into the surrounding space. This causes the comet to appear brighter by increasing the size of the fuzzy halo around it.

    “It has had some spectacular outbursts,” Kokotanekova says of Comet 12P. Scientists aren’t yet sure what causes them, she adds—some researchers have theorized that cracks are opening in the comet’s icy body or that cliffs on its potentially jagged surface are collapsing. “It’s a very unknown territory,” she says. “That’s why we’re interested in every comet that does this.”

    Whatever the cause of 12P’s outbursts, a well-timed one could turn Comet 12P’s appearance at totality from subtle to stunning. That said, our limited records from the comet’s previous close approaches to the sun suggest that its outbursts may subside as it hurtles closer to our star—another puzzle for scientists to tackle in the coming months.

    Although total solar eclipses and bright comets are each relatively rare phenomena, Comet 12P wouldn’t be the first to make an appearance during totality. A historian reported discovering a different comet during a total solar eclipse over what is now Turkey in C.E. 418, for example. And since the late 1800s observers have often spotted “sungrazing” comets—which pass within about 850,000 miles of the star—during eclipses. Particularly notable, in 1997 Comet Hale-Bopp made its closest approach to Earth just two weeks after a total solar eclipse. We’ll just need to wait a little longer to see how Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks will compare.


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