Sunday, February 25, 2018

Akrasia: Acting Against Your Own Better Judgement

“Akrasia is the state of acting against one’s better judgment.
While akrasia is sometimes called ‘weakness of will’, recent research suggests that it’s not a personal failing, but a result of a cognitive bias that strike us all — ‘time inconsistency,’ our tendency to discount the future in favor of the present.”

“...if you give people a choice between a smaller, more expedient reward and a larger delayed one, timing has an interesting impact on their decisions.
If you pretend it’s a game show and you offer people $50 today or $100 in two years, when you ask how many people would prefer $50 today, a lot of people raise their hands.
But if people can choose between receiving $50 in six years or $100 in eight years, nobody wants the $50, even though it’s the same choice, just spread over a different time period. Such results show that people discount the future in an inconsistent way that gives preference to smaller, more immediate rewards....”

Battle of the Selves —
“One of akrasia’s most common manifestations is procrastination.
Long-term planning, such as saving for retirement or committing to an exercise plan, is done in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. Then we have the limbic system, which is much more compulsive and focused on the here and now. One way to see it is to think of our brain as a house with two floors, each with a set of residents. The limbic system is the young, hip couple on the ground floor who are energetic and passionate, and focused on the present. Meanwhile, the prefrontal cortex is the older couple upstairs who pay the mortgage and keep the house in order.”

“Long-term planning happens in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, while the more compulsive limbic system focuses on things that provide immediate gratification.”

“Akrasia is essentially a one-player game against your future self. For example, my present limbic system-influenced self would rather surf the Internet than write this story. But my future prefrontal cortex-influenced self would rather finish the story so my check arrives on time. To overcome akrasia means to ensure the future-oriented self overrides the present-oriented one. A handful of tools exist to help bridge the gap between your future and present selves. Such tools create an immediate payoff for desired behavior and a short-term punishment for choices that derail long-term plans.”

Fighting Temptation
“Our modern environments have made us more susceptible to akrasia. We’re not really designed to have temptation constantly at our fingertips. Those of us who work on computers know this all too well: The Internet ensures we have time-sucking distractions constantly competing for our attention. And since the 1970s, researchers have seen about a 500 percent increase in chronic procrastination. So if we really want to tame akrasia, we need to change our environment.....”

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

“Last Letter-First Letter” Word Chain: Word Maze, Word Daze, Super Word Daze (kids to make a puzzle to be solved)

“Word chain, also known as Grab on Behind, Last and First, Alpha and Omega, and The Name Game is a word game in which players come up with words that begin with the letter or letters that the previous word ended with. A category of words is usually chosen, there is a time limit such as five seconds and words may not be repeated in the same game. An example chain for food would be: Soup - Peas - Sugar - Rice.”

Taking this format and putting it on graph paper instead of verbalizing it (and perhaps dropping the use of categories) is a good fun puzzle making exercise for strengthening spelling, printing and word recognition skills in younger learners in the classroom or home schooling situations. Using appropriate grade level word lists as spelling guide and source material is beneficial. Xerox or print out multiple copies of the word list that is appropriate. 

Word Maze —  using pencil, on a sheet of graph paper, from your word list neatly print a word horizontally in the center of the page and bracket in the first letter. Scratch out, circle or underline that word on your word list (to encourage puzzle maker to eventually use all of the words on the list). Younger puzzle makers might need to use all capital letters in order to print more neatly. Now, using the last letter of that word as the first letter of the next word, print in a new word either vertically going down, vertically goin up or horizontally. Using the last letter of this new word, go either vertically or horizontally. No diagonals are allowed. Words can be spelled horizontally or vertically in either direction. You may not cross or overlap any other word. Keep repeating this process in til the page is full. 
[If you want to use this as a ‘word find’ challenge puzzle, let students make an answer key by writing down the words in sequence. Then fill in the empty squares with random letters from the alphabet. Xerox copies of the master puzzle for the ‘puzzle solvers’. They should use pencil to lightly shade in the word maze.]

Word Daze — Is like Word Maze, except that crossing and overlapping other words is okay. This is a more difficult puzzle to make and solve.

Super Word Daze — Is like Word Daze, except that diagonals are permitted additionally.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Earth’s Latest Ice Age Documentary (and more)...

Earth Ice Age Documentary
43 minutes
Texts of documentary:

“.....the geologists investigating America's ice age have found the evidence that the power of ice has been crucial in the creation of modern North America. Sea bugs, tiny organisms in marine mud, acted as thermometers recording the start of America's Ice Age. Moraine Hills prove that moving glaciers float far enough south to blanket two-thirds of the continent in ice. ‘Chatter marks’ (crescent-shaped indentations ) in rocks on a mountaintop in upstate New York showed that the ice sheets grew to be more than a mile in depth. And ancient coral reefs were evidence that sea levels repeatedly change throughout America's two million year long period of ice ages and interglacials. The investigation has uncovered the full picture of how ice sculpted the continent of the United States; but, that process is not yet over. As North America's ice melts, it uncovers a landscape that's been buried for thousands and sometimes millions of years. It’s living proof that planet Earth is never at rest.”

“How the Earth Was Made” is a series.
Season 1

Even more videos about Earth:

Note: Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels normally increase or decrease trailing along behind Milankovitch cycle induced global temperature changes as the global climate swings between glacial and interglacial periods. Very recently that has not been the case. If the Milankovitch cycle does not favor us in the future with a naturally ‘forced’ cooling trend and ‘tilts’ us towards warming, then the amplified Greenhouse Effect will make the last interglacial look like a “wet willy”.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Continental Shelf and Past Sea Levels

As I watch movies that include scenic views of coastlines, I often imagine what the scene will look like in a century, two centuries and on into the next millennium. Current rates of sea level rise will not decrease until the onset of the next ice age tempers the global warming induced by the increasing level of greenhouse gases. As current coastlines are submerged, they will become part of the continental shelf.

The continental shelves are not considered part of the ocean floor proper, but as the flooded margins of a continent. It is the stretch of the seabed adjacent to the shores of a particular country to which it belongs. The shelf break of the continental margins is located at a current uniform depth of 460 feet. This depth marks the ancient shorelines of the continents during past ice ages, when the sea level was lower than it is now.

Continental shelves:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Reading Esoteric Material: Raising Your Level of Consciousness

“The purpose of our existence is to grow in self-awareness, and this can happen only when we make choices and experience the consequences of them. Understand the Law of Free Will.

When reading any material, tune in to your heart and consider whether the experience of reading the material causes your subtle energies to rise upwards or sink (or be pulled) downwards. If your energies rise, this is a good indication that the material can help you raise your consciousness.

If you have no such experience, then simply move on and look for other teachings and tools that do resonate with you.”

I recommend:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

More Quips and Quotes

"When things go wrong, don't go with them." -- Elvis Presley

“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate them.”

“Do not degrade your soul by treating anyone unfairly or unjustly.”

“Practice exercising patience. Allow things the time they need to unfold.”

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”

“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing.”

“If you have no expectations, you have fear. So, some fear is to be expected.”

“Go with the flow, and time will lead the way.”

“Much of human life is like playing a game, in that you need to learn the rules.”

“You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.”

“Fear from the Left;
Fear from the Right;
Neither is of the Light.
Love from the Left;
Love from the Right;
Both shine forth Thy Light!”

“There is a fine line between coincidence and destiny.”

“If one does not fully embrace their past, then embracing the future is problematic”.”

“it is the actions you take based on those beliefs that matters."

“Just when I think I know something, I all too often realize that I only just knew enough to get myself into trouble.”

“While neither condemning nor condoning, observe yourself observing.”

“Where there’s patience, there’s hope.”

“Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”

“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”

“Teenagers are the toughest audience, because they need to hear the truth more than anything.”

“The weak have the purest sense of history: Anything can happen.”

“What is irrational divides us; 
What is rational unites us.”

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”

Monday, February 12, 2018

About Danger of Tuning In To Astral and Psychic Plane

“...God’s creation is made of energy. There are many levels of God’s creation, and they are separated only by their vibration. The human mind has the ability to tune in to the different levels of God’s creation. By turning the dial of consciousness, a person can receive ideas or messages from other realms. 

There are several realms that are beyond the material universe but their vibration is too low to make them part of the spiritual world. One such realm is what we call the psychic realm or the astral plane. There are a large number of beings that reside in this realm. On earth, you see that human beings are in many different states of consciousness. The same holds true in the astral realm.
* At the lower levels of the astral realm, you find beings that clearly have an evil intent. Such beings will deliberately seek to manipulate human beings for various purposes, including stealing their spiritual energy.
* At the middle levels of the astral realm, you find beings who do not have an evil intent but are simply acting out of ignorance. At the higher levels of the astral realm, you find beings who have attained a certain level of spiritual understanding. Such beings might appear wise or advanced to people in the material world.
* These beings might not have any evil intent, and they might be able to give people directions or teachings that contain a certain amount of truth. However, you need to ask yourself why these beings are residing in the astral realm and why they have not ascended to the spiritual realm. The reason is that for various psychological reasons, these beings have become stuck at that level of God’s creation. Therefore, if you continue to commune with such beings, you run the risk of getting stuck at that same level....”

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Happy Song: Initially Created for Babies

“Plenty of research has looked at adults’ emotional responses to music. But research with babies is more piecemeal and eclectic, perhaps reflecting the difficulty of asking them what they like. Researchers know that babies can hear and remember music even while they are still in the womb. And one curious study found that newborn babies prefer Bach to Aerosmith.
Most systematic work has found young babies have clear preferences for consonance over dissonance and can remember the tempo and timbre of music they’ve heard before. Babies prefer the female voice but like it even more when it takes on the qualities of “motherese” (the high-energy singsong tone we all naturally adopt when talking to babies). But their emotional responses to music is a bit more of a mystery. What kind of music makes them calm and content? And what makes them happy?.....”

Listen to the Happy Song:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Unrig the System

In places where one particular party is dominant, they resist any reforms that might threaten their being in power. It doesn’t matter which party you’re talking about — this holds true across the nation.

“This is a simple math issue. Americans identify as 25% liberal, 36% conservative, 34% moderate, and 5% other. None of these factions can win reform on their own. The good news is this isn’t a partisan issue – this is about people with power and those without it.
Despite the divisive and partisan nature of American politics right now, the vast majority of Americans agree that our political system is rigged and agree on the solutions that can fix it.”

“Unfortunately, this is a complex problem, which means there is no one quick and easy fix. Ethics and accountability, reducing the influence of money in politics, fair districts, voting and election reforms, technical innovations: we need them all to make this work.
These reforms are popular – with conservatives, progressives, and independents – and they can be implemented across the country in many ways. Reformers can make these changes through ballot initiatives, lobbying, innovation, the courts, and eventually, Congress....”

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Health Care: Amazon To Shake Up Health Market

“Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase are joining forces to form an independent health-care company for their employees. The alliance of the three business titans, which boast a combined 1 million workers, reflects corporate America’s increasing frustration with the state of the nation’s health-care system and the rapidly spiraling cost of medical treatment. The partnership will be technology-focused and free from profit incentives, but is still in the early planning stages. Still, the announcement landed like a thunderclap in the health-care industry, given that these companies could become models for other businesses.
The partnership could be one of the most ambitious employer efforts to date to control health expenses. Analysts said the firms’ combined clout and expertise in technology and finance could be used to bring drastic changes to the way prescription drugs are paid for. The companies could also save vast sums of money by cutting out pharmacy-benefit managers altogether. Amazon has been eyeing an entrance into the pharmacy market, and given the e-commerce giant’s reputation for upending whatever industry it enters, this week’s news was what prescription-drug middlemen had long feared.”
The WEEK 02-09-18

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Global Impasse Over Immigration

Throughout the Western world, immigration is the most divisive issue of our times. Anger over a large influx of immigrants powered Donald Trump’s triumph over the Republican and Democratic establishments, while tipping the U.K. referendum toward Brexit. In Germany, Prime Minister Angela Merkel, once the unchallenged master of European politics, has been badly weakened by her decision to admit 1 million Middle Eastern and African immigrants, and is now struggling to form a governing coalition. Why is immigration “so radioactive?” Educated elites and the business class strongly favor immigration on “economic and moral grounds.” But many working- and middle-class voters believe that low-skilled immigrants depress wages, bring social problems, and siphon off public benefits. Their resentment has given rise to right-wing populist movements throughout the West. Over time, the conflict over immigration will only grow, as hundreds of millions of people from poor and chaotic countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Central America seek to migrate to North America and the European Union. To avoid an even bigger backlash, political leaders must find a middle ground between a na├»ve open-door policy and “ugly nativism.” Without “pragmatic reform,” this fight will get far uglier.
The WEEK Feb.2, 2018

Note: The situation will steadily worsen as the global climate increasingly warms and forces more and more people to leave their homelands behind. Reactionary conservative forces that thwart family planning and increased renewable energy sources are only exacerbating the situation. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Global “State of Mind”

Mental illnesses, like bipolar disease, schizophrenia and depression, are medical issues, not character weaknesses. They take a major toll on the world’s health, and addressing them is a necessity, not a luxury.

Half of the world’s 10 leading causes of disability are from psychiatric conditions. Mental illnesses, like bipolar disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and depression, are medical issues —not character weaknesses. They take a major toll on the world’s health, and addressing them is a necessity, not a luxury. Depression alone was the leading cause of disability in every region of the world except sub-Saharan Africa, and outranked the death and disability caused by anemia (a sign of malnutrition), heart disease, cancer, malaria and lung disease.

More on OCPD and OCD
For a shallow but meaningful introduction to OCOD there’s a very good movie, “The Last Word”, that I highly recommend. Here’s a trailer: