We should only be contemptuous of contempt itself.

Opinion Piece: Our Culture of Contempt

Written By: Arthur C. Brooks

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/02/opinion/sunday/political-polarization.html?fbclid=IwAR3WsJZp4LgQJP5X0WaYAyTGEObWyvfA-DkVB0angtM7CWOegr5ZNuga6QY

Notes:

We make an assumption that our ideology is based in benevolence and love and our opponents is based in hate and evil.

Contempt makes political compromise and progress impossible, and also increases anxiety, depression, and sadness. It also stimulates stress hormones in the contemptuous person.

Large majorities of Americans will privately say they’re tired of how divided we are and that compromise is important.

Disagreement is not contempt. We need to disagree, but disagree better.

When you find yourself hating something, someone is making money or winning elections off of your contempt. Unless a leader is actually teaching you something you didn’t know or expanding your worldview, you are being used.

Make a commitment to never treat others with contempt. Contempt makes persuasion impossible – no one has ever been hated into agreement.

To address this, we need to se contempt as an opportunity, not a threat. When treated with contempt, respond with warmheartedness and good humor.

Not Udder Bull

Podcast: Soy, Almond, Oat Milks: Are They Udder Bull?

By: Science Vs.

Link: https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/5whmzx/soy-almond-oat-milks-are-they-udder-bull

Notes:

In terms of environmental impact, dairy milk is the worst compared to all other types.

Globally, dairy cows graze an area the size of Brazil.

On average, it takes 9 times more land to produce dairy milk compare to the others.

Almond milk requires a lot of water, and most of Americans almonds are produced in California where there’s already a lot of water pressure. It can take 4 times as much water as the other non-dairy types.

Rice milk production emits the most greenhouse gasses in the form of methane. Flooded rice paddies are filled with methane-creating bacteria. Also fertilizer runoff can be a big problem with rice.

Soy and oat milk both require more land than the other non-dairy types. Also a lot of Soy milk is grown near or in the Amazon.

There is no clear winner among the four non-dairy types. But they’re all very low impact compared to dairy.

If everyone in the world switched from dairy to soy, it would save half a billion hectares of land, a billion tons of greenhouse gases, and the same amount of water as if everyone in the world stopped having showers or baths for a year.

 

That’s an intimidating Talent Tree

Game: Path of Exile

Developer: Grinding Gear Games

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

I like the “Flask” concept, how you use charges and they refill when you go back to town. Feels pretty streamlined, but maybe a little complicated for someone unfamiliar with the genre?

That skill tree is imposing. It’s big enough where I’m not curious to explore it – feels like too much to worry about and i’ll just spend points one at a time as I get them without making a plan.

Socketing spells into weapons feels kind of cool initially, will re-evaulate after I get another weapon.

Looks like socketed gems gain experience? Maybe they get stronger? Kind of an interesting idea, need to watch it.

Support gems is kind of a cool idea too, giving up more attacks for utility maybe?

I get notifications to level up my gems. I’m not sure why I wouldn’t do this? What is the decision I’m making here?

It seems cool that my gems level up, but I’m wondering what happens if I’m high level and get gem drops. Do they level up super fast, or start at a reasonable level compared to me? Will have to see.

I can’t help but wonder if there’s a better balance between wanting to start the game off simple so players can learn, but not being bland/boring. I want to start off already as a badass, and get even more badass. Having just one spell and it’s simple and bland isn’t a great way to get hooked.

I feel so limited by inventory space. Not enjoying that aspect of the game.

I feel like there’s good pacing of getting levels, or gem levels up, or new gear. I’m not sure if it feels significant though, no individual event is making me feel more powerful although i’m gaining in power.

The Lord’s Labyrinth spike trap thing is an interesting idea. Difficult though! Ok maybe not that difficult.

There are some really satisfying explosions of monsters at times.

Lots of junk items. Doesn’t feel great seeing so much junk drop. Not sure if I’m supposed to be picking all this up.

I don’t understand the vendoring system. There’s no money? Just materials?

I like the ability to toggle between the overlay map and the minimap in the upper right corner.

 

How was this even a question?

Podcast: Ancestry

By: Constitutional

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/constitutional/episode-02-ancestry/?utm_term=.0f4aaea67510

Notes:

In 1879 a court case involving Chief Standing Bull of the Ponca tribe came before a Federal court that demanded an answer to the question:  Are Native Americans considered people by the U.S. Constitution.

In 1878, despite having two separate treaties with the U.S. Senate, the Ponca tribe were forcibly removed off their land by the U.S. Government. As a result of the sickness and starvation conditions, Chief Standing Bull’s only son died that winter. Before he died, his father promised him he would bury him in their traditional ceremonial burial grounds.

Chief Standing Bull and about 30 other members of the Ponca Tribe went on a three month journey to bury his son. They were detained by the U.S. Army 2 days short of their goal.

General George Crook took the Native Americans under guard but doubted the morality of his orders and informed several news stations and lawyers of the situation.

Chief Standing Bull filed for a writ of habeas corpus.

This was the first civil trial for a Native American in U.S. History.

During the trial, Chief Standing Bull was quotes as saying, “That hand is not the color of yours, but if I prick it, the blood will flow, and I shall feel pain. The blood is of the same color as yours. God made me, and I am a man.”

Judge Elmer S. Dundy ruled that “an Indian is a person” within the meaning of habeas corpus, recognizing that an Indian is a “person” under the law and entitled to its rights and protection. He concluded “The right of expatriation is a natural, inherent and inalienable right and extends to the Indian as well as to the more fortunate white race.”

Not so fast

Podcast: Fasting Diets: What’s the Skinny?

By: Science Vs

Link: https://www.gimletmedia.com/science-vs/fasting-diets-whats-the-skinny#episode-player

Notes:

After not eating for a period of time your body runs out of sugars to burn and starts burning more fat for energy. An example in the episode was someone who was burning around 50% fat in normal circumstances went up to 70% after fasting.

To study how much fat is being burned they use a machine that analyzes your breath and the ratio of oxygen to carbon dioxide that you exhale. Fat that’s been burned exits the body through exhaling.

People on fasting diets tend to lose weight. A 5 week study that controlled for calories eaten seems to indicate this isn’t a result of fasting, but that people on these diets tend to eat less calories.

Studies of worms and mice indicate that fasting increases the rate at which cells consume and recycle themselves (called autophagy) and can increase longevity. Studies in humans are mixed and much less conclusive.

Studies in mice indicate that fasting can starve cancer cells (many types of cancer aggressively consume sugar for energy) and make them more susceptible to normal cancer treatments. Studies in humans for this are ongoing.

 

I may have made a mistake.

Book: Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)

Author: Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Notes:

Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two ideas that are psychologically inconsistent. It produces mental discomfort so our brain finds ways to reduce it.

The more we commit to something (especially things we deem important or irreversible), the more mental gymnastics we’ll do to avoid admitting we were wrong.

Once a decision has been made we’ll do what we need to bolster it, including evangelising it to others. Often, the best time to get good information on a topic is to ask someone researching a decision before they have committed to it.

Violent or aggressive acts aren’t a good form of venting, they set the stage for justifying more violence or aggression.

If we do a good deed for someone we don’t like, we can use our CD behavior to get into the mental state of “If they were such a jerk, I wouldn’t have done this for them, therefore they must be ok.”

You can use this in reverse to ask favors of people who don’t like you.

Experts in fields often have no better than a 50/50 chance of prediction, and CD can be extreme for them because of this.

People with low self esteem also suffer from CD interpreting actions of other people or results of their efforts to show why they don’t have value.

The Pyramid of Choice

Once we’ve made a choice we go down the path of justifying it, often ending up very far away mentally from someone who made the opposite choice.

We all have prejudice blind spots of which we’re not aware.

Often we start making small choices that lead to larger ones and get further away from our initial belief leading us to eventually do something we never would have done initially. Example: Lunch with lobbyist, local golf game with lobbyist, trip to St. Andrews for golf game with lobbyist.

Scientists used to be funded with public money and most research didn’t have patients associated with it (Polio vaccine) but little by little we’ve evolved into a world where most scientific research is privately funded. Results in very minor and questionable improvements.

Lots of privately funded research yields results that are not consistent with unbiased research in terms of safety or effectiveness of products.

Big Pharma spends lots of money on small gifts to doctors offices because it’s been shown to work. Even these small gifts cause doctors to recommend their medications more often.

We invoke stereotypes to justify behavior that would otherwise make us feel bad about the kind of person we are or the kind of country we live in.

Being stressed, frustrated, or tired makes people more likely to express their prejudices.

It’s important to have people in our lives that are willing to puncture our bubbles of self-justification and point out our blind spots.

We rewrite over our own memories to self justify actions or events that happened in the past to make ourselves more favorable

Memory is not like pulling files from a hard drive it is like reconstructing a movie from several still frames and your brain fills in the details at the time of reconstruction. Often it will fill in details that fit your current model of the world and who you are.

We hear stories of people saved by Dolphins nudging them to safety. But we never hear stories of Dolphins nudging people out to sea, because those people die and the story is never hear. So much data we use suffers from this problem.

The criminal justice system is full of CD and many aspects of it reinforce self justification. Cops plant evidence because they’re sure someone is guilty and don’t want them to get off because they couldn’t find evidence. Prosecutors spend an enormous amount of time and energy creating a case against someone and then can’t imagine a world where the person is innocent, even if DNA evidence proves otherwise.

Interrogations use techniques to extract guilt even from innocent people, relying on methods such as lying to innocent people to trigger their own CD.

Americans who live in the North learn about the Civil War as a matter of ancient history in which our brave Union troops forced the South to abandon the ugly institution of slavery and defeated the traitorous Confederates. But most white Southerners tell a different story where the brave Confederate troops were victims of greedy crude Northerners, destroyed our cities and traditions, and are still trying to destroy our state’s rights.

People long to hear “I screwed up. I will do my best to ensure it will not happen again”

Try to look at your own actions critically and dispassionately as if you were observing someone else.

When a friend makes a mistake, the friend remains a friend and the mistake remains a mistake.

Americans tend to think that mistakes mean stupidity.But we need to treat them as a natural part of learning. The more we identify as having “natural ability” at something, the more we are terrified of making mistakes in it.

When I, a decent smart person, make a mistake, I remain a decent smart person and the mistake remains a mistake. I made a mistake, I need to understand what went wrong. I don’t want to make the same mistake again.

On the verge of a great Metroidvania

Game: Axiom Verge

Developer: Thomas Happ Games LLC

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

The guns feel very different from each other, but so far I haven’t found a good reason to use the new ones (purple six way explosion and short range green electricity) other than to get past gates. Most weapons I fire once or twice and then don’t use again. I used the blue one that splits off at perpendicular angles most of the game. The laser was pretty cool too.

When fighting bosses I really want a clear indication of how much life they have left. This would be nice for some normal enemies too.

The difficulty curve feels pretty good, and I’m appreciating how helpful the powerups are.

Not sure how I feel about this scorpion tail upgrade. Is it helpful?

The third(?) boss where you can damage the parts of it that fire at you is pretty cool.

The disruptor tool is interesting, I like how it can turn enemies into weaker or non hostile versions.

The various tools (laser drill, disruptor tool, walking through walls) feel like they have very specific uses just to get through gates. Maybe too much and not enough concentrated coolness?

I like the idea of the little drone, and being able to get through places the main guy can’t.

Something about the grappling hook doesn’t work the way I expect, having trouble using it and chaining together hooks.

The boss where you are the boss and fight yourself is great!

The part on Edin where you use the little steam powered lifts to get higher, and then have to grapple and teleport when at the max swing of your grapple – that was frustrating. It didn’t seem like something I could do, so after I failed at it multiple times, and wasted a bunch of time trying other things, I had to look it up online.

The extended drone and warp to drone are a pretty interesting way to get a lot of mobility. That really slight cooldown between being able to fire a drone again though really trips me up often though.

There’s a place where you have to fire the drone against a wall, teleport to it, and then double tap left to go through a wall. I can’t do it. It just requires too many unique button presses in too short a time. Somewhat frustrating.

Wasp boss was cool, but I didn’t use his adds against him. Just beat him normally.

The “metroid” type enemies feel like a pretty steep difficulty step from other normal enemies.

I’m constantly accidentally switching weapons.