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  • The Know Daily - Thursday 7 March 2024

The Know Daily - Thursday 7 March 2024

🧠 What the Budget means for you, why empathy is contagious + better access to birth control.

Read in 5m 28s Listening to Birdy 

💼 What yesterday’s Budget means for your finances

🧠 Why empathy is contagious 

👏 Better access to birth control in the US

Brazil’s first all-women samba school took part in Rio de Janeiro’s carnival last month in a “defiant” parade. Its head Barbara Rigaud explained how samba schools are typically coordinated by men, with women “receiving orders”. “Here, a woman can express her desires, her ideas, her opinions, which increases self-esteem,” said Rigaud. 

With thanks to Wild Nutrition for keeping news that's conscious of your wellbeing free and available to all. Wild Nutrition is B Corp pioneering naturally-sourced, scientifically studied Food-Grown supplements.

💼 Budget breakdown

Yesterday, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the spring Budget, the last before the next election. The Budget affects how much tax you pay, the benefits you get and where you can save your money - and here are some key takeaways:

A cut to national insurance
From April, workers will pay 2p less in national insurance (NI), which could reportedly save the average earner up to £450 a year. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) - the UK’s independent  financial forecaster - has warned that the typical worker could be "worse off".

This is because tax thresholds - the amount you can earn before you start paying tax and national insurance - will remain frozen. Essentially, you might have a bit more money in your pocket from the tax cut, but you might end up paying more tax as you earn more.

Support for families
Families will be able to earn more money before losing child benefits, as the The High Income Child Benefit Charge threshold will increase from £50,000 to £60,000.

The Household Support Fund - a “vital lifeline” for many during the cost-of-living crisis - will be extended for another six months.

What else?

Want to learn more about how the Budget will affect you?
Check out Sky’s Budget 2024 Tax Calculator, The Guardian’s breakdown on what the budget means for people on a range of incomes, and, if you prefer podcasts, here’s one from Martin Lewis at the BBC.


Which of these events did not happen on March 7th?

A) The late Queen Elizabeth shared her first Instagram post
B) The BBC broadcast the news in colour for the first time
C) The Beatles released their single “Let it Be”

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🧠  Empathy is contagious

Empathy - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person - can be “socially transmitted”, a new study suggests.

Go on…
Humans learn by observing others - and the skill of empathy is no different, according to new research led by neuroscientist Professor Grit Hein at Würzburg University in Germany. The findings suggest that adults can learn to be “more or less compassionate” through observing others, “in addition to their genetic predispositions”.

How did the study come to that conclusion?
50 participants were asked to watch videos of hands receiving painful stimulation before indicating their own feelings on a rating scale. They were then shown the empathic or non-empathic responses of other individuals to the same video, before being asked to rate their own empathy again. 

Depending on which reactions participants observed, their own empathy ratings “increased or decreased”, Hein explained. This suggests that empathy can be “socially transmitted” - that is, affected by the people and environment around us. 

Interestingly, Hein’s study only involved female participants, although the professor has indicated that she would like to conduct further studies with both men and women. 

What’s the bigger picture? 
Hein said that the “good news” from the study is that it is possible to “learn positive empathy from others”, adding that the findings suggest investing in an empathetic workplace environment is worthwhile. 

Stanford University psychologist Jamil Zaki agrees, telling The Washington Post in 2020 that while we often think of empathy as a “hard-wired trait”, in reality it is “more like a skill”. “The right experiences, habits and practices can increase our empathic capacity,” Zaki added.

💊 OTC access: The first birth control pill approved for over-the-counter distribution (meaning a prescription isn’t needed) will become available in the US later this month.

🌎 Global warming: For the last 9 months, global temperatures have hit a new high for that time of year - and February just gone was no different.

🇺🇸 White House race: Nikki Haley quit the presidential race on Wednesday, meaning that Donald Trump is set to be the Republican candidate in November’s election.

🤝 Takeover terms: Nationwide has reached an agreement to buy Virgin Money, in a £2.9bn deal that would create “one of the UK’s largest mortgage and savings groups”.

🍿 A peek inside: We don’t yet know who will be taking home the Oscars on Sunday, but we do know what they’ll be getting in their goodie bags. There’s a purse seat, tuning fork, cat superfood and so much more…

Want to win holidays, days out, experiences, house renovations and lots more? You’ll love DAYMADE, a lottery with great odds of winning prizes big & small.

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Picking up a new novel - or rekindling your reading habit after a hiatus - in celebration of World Book Day.

Come for: Your new fave read - we’re currently reading Antarctica by Claire Keegan (love a short story), The List of Suspicious Things by Jennie Godfrey and Green Dot by Madeleine Gray.

Stay for: The unique joy of losing yourself in a good book. Bonus points if you get it from your local indie bookstore or library.

Recommended by Effie (and the mounting pile of books on her bedside table waiting to be read…)

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Trivia answer: C) The Beatles actually released “Let it Be” on March 6th 1970 -  although the inspiration behind the song had been brewing for a few years before.

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