NEW MOON - March 16-23

Those who have gone along with the flow of change, as suggested by the stars in recent weeks, have nothing to fear. For those who still don't see reality for what it is better put their armor on. The need to make a correction is increasingly evident. Security of a new job and affections are around the corner. The best days will be at the weekend: Singles will find moments of passion and "destined meetings" won't be ruled out.

TEMPO: vivace in trasformazione

From Tuesday on, Venus will be in your sign. Finally the recovery can begin, especially in love. A conclusion is in sight for matters recently discussed with partners. There is greater willingness to talk and plan, and there will be new knowledge for lonely souls. Sunday offers opportunities to make your heart beat. Work is getting serious and foundations are set for a huge turning point which will take place at the end of the summer.

Tempo: allegretto fiducioso

Those looking for work or starting a new project could get some good proposals, or finally reach an agreement, on March 16 and 17. There is no doubt that a change is coming. There are many challenges to stability, little free time and undeniable fatigue. Go forward with determination and clear objectives. Try to devote some more attention to your feelings and your relationship, which despite some job strain, is still watertight. The exceptions are those who have been in crisis for a while and are beginning to think about drastic measures to turn things around.

TEMPO: marcia calando

From Tuesday on, Venus will be back in favor — which means the return of your good mood. Couples who have recently moved away (or discussed this possibility) because of work, will be given a second chance. Despite your anxieties, you must look towards the future. The weekend offers wonderful opportunities to meet people in search of new emotions. A small tip: Don't run into dangerous dynamics you have experienced in the past, especially with ambitious people. Even at work you're looking to the future: Confirmations or deals will come around Wednesday or Friday.

TEMPO: andante in ripresa

There's a little bit of tiredness at work — your boss, a colleague, or a client creating trouble. Despite your efforts to maintain a zen attitude, Wednesday is an electric day: Try not to get ticked off too easily. The rest is a sky of great strength. In love, those who pursued a chimera have now decided to let it go, without any drama. Couples face small problems on their projects, in particular financial incentives, but nothing can compromise a beautiful and bright sky.

TEMPO: allegretto moderato

From Tuesday on, Venus will support you with a wonderful melody, allowing you to better address certain themes introduced by the New Moon on March 20. When dealing with your feelings, you should get straight to the point. There may be trivial discussion about the organization of a happy event coming this summer. But "the day of reckoning" is coming for couples in crisis. Single people have the wind at their backs, especially on Sunday. A period of challenges and rewards is beginning at work: A huge change in fortunes will come at the end of the summer. If necessary, accept a compromise.

TEMPO: andantino in rimonta

The year's second New Moon in Pisces brings back innovation in the professional field. The difficulties that have undermined your patience more than once this year are coming to a final resolution. There is still some more compromise to accept, but from the middle of April everything fill fall into place: efforts, opportunities, awards and rewards. For the moment, keep suggesting ideas. Your heart takes second place, with some possible tension at the weekend.

TEMPO: moderato lungimirante

The eve of spring brings a relentless desire to innovate and change the air in the professional field. There are those who need a vacation and those who want to engage in new projects or start new collaborations. Already around Thursday you'll receive a proposal or confirmation of your merits which will renew your enthusiasm. In love, Venus is in opposition and puts your heart into turmoil. There may be some tension with partners that will be have to be faced calmly. Couples in crisis are at a crossroads.

TEMPO: andante provocando

This week, those who have experienced a recent separation will be able to find an amicable resolution to a legal dispute. Some are struggling with their children's concerns about study or work. In short, family is at the center of everything this week. You will have to face problems, but answers and solutions are at hand. The sky pushes couples to further invest, whether it's by saying "I do" or by thinking about new additions to the family. Single people respond to spring's call and start looking around again.

TEMPO: allegro con brio

It's the end of the deadlock that has characterized the beginning of March. A nice boost comes on Tuesday, thanks to Venus and the New Moon syncing together. Dialogue is back — or at least a peaceful coexistence among couples who have argued recently. Will this new closeness bring something new…? Who knows, maybe even a baby bump! Lonely hearts are warming their engines up. At work, talk about proposals begin, and an opportunity that you can't say no to may present itself.

TEMPO: marcia leggero

Starting Tuesday, Venus becomes spiteful, with a squaring off from the sign of Taurus. There's nothing to fear, at least if you're not swimming in deep waters. Distractions at work could create some distance with your partner — or it could be a financial issue causing worry and creating tensions. Work confirms a growth trend, albeit slowly. Friday, with the equinox and the New Moon, brings professional confirmations: You might receive a proposal, or a project you're really fond of could finally take off!

TEMPO: andantino distratto

Here we are at last in a week of recuperation and recovery! Venus is good to you and eases the tensions that you've recently seen with your partner. Those in crisis continue to pretend that nothing has happened, portraying a version of themselves that is more independent than in reality. There will be good opportunities for singles on March 19 and 20 — although of the fleeting kind. In work, raising your voice worked. It's possible to get something more around Thursday.

TEMPO: allegretto osservando

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Saving The Planet Is Really A Question Of Dopamine

Our carelessness toward the environment could be due, in part, to the functioning of a very primitive area of our brain: the striatum.

Ad scuba-diver and brain coral

Stefano Lupieri

PARIS — Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?

In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.

This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.

Addictions to sex and social media

Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the 'pleasure hormone.'

Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.

No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.

Transverse section of striatum from a structural MRI image

Lindsay Hanford and Geoff B Hall via Wikipedia

Tweaking genetics 

According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.

Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.

Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.

Les Echos
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