Covid-19 musings and stuff

Just a few things and a few thoughts I want to share.

First, THIS link about happiness and mental-well-being. The site is the Happiness Lab and it currently features short episodes on coping with coronavirus Social Distancing and isolation. You can also listen to Season 1 and Season 2 begins on the 27th.

Even more interesting is THIS link . . . it takes you to Yale’s most popular course (over 2M people currently enrolled for the course) which begins today, April 18th.

You can join the course for free — as I did — or pay the $49 entry fee if you want to earn a certificate to add to your resume. I entered for free; just provided my name and email address, and I was registered. There are ten weeks and it looks like there’s about 2-3 hours worth of material per week (just a cursory look, I had, so don’t hold me responsible if that’s not true).

Here’s the bio on the professor (including the links above):

Laurie Santos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. She hosts the popular podcast The Happiness Lab and she teaches the most popular course offered at Yale to date, titled The Science of Well-Being. Laurie is also the director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and the Canine Cognition Center at Yale. She received her A.B. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard in 2003.

That blurb is from the Sam Harris interview with the lady, featured on his Waking Up app (a meditation app).

Some of what I see (looking at the titles) covers ground I’m already familiar with through reading various articles about cognitive studies and listening to podcasts, and I’ve already incorporated some of what I learned into how I live my life and how I cope with life.

Still, I’m always interested in learning more about how my brain works and controlling it to my benefit.

The class begins today, as I said, and I don’t know if it’s also the last day to register. Keep that in mind if interested in it.

Right, let’s proceed . . .

So, I recently e-mailed some links to my distribution list, one of which is THIS article about scams. Just asking people to be careful about cold-calls from people wanting to take advantage of a stressful time when one’s guard might be lowered.

All you have to remember is this: banks and lending institutions don’t call you asking for information. Also, if you receive an email from one of them, don’t click on the enclosed link or call the enclosed number. Get the contact information from their site. At no time should anyone ask you for passwords, and if they do, hang up and double-check the number you called.

Which brings to mind another thing . . . there is a lot of information flying around; information being presented as “factual”. I’m tired of arguing about it, so I will reprint a short excerpt from THIS Project 313 post:

“… came across a phrase that describes it to near perfection . . . the phrase is “curse of original belief”.

… it refers to the propensity of denying evidence in favor of imagined knowledge anchored on things figured out through one’s own reasoning. Meaning, I believe so therefore it must be so”.

Typically, in such instances, the thought of admitting error is so damaging to one’s fragile self-image that one adheres to one’s distorted view of reality against all evidence to the contrary.

Most people recognize such propensity in others (for example, religious people, conspiracy theorists, non-socialists, people not you) but can’t imagine it might apply to one’s self.

One might assume they are the victims of the “curse of knowledge” but it’s not the same thing. The curse of knowledge happens when one assumes the other person has the same information one possesses when in fact, they do not. “

I mention this because a lot of the information being shared seems anchored in things people believe with little evidence other than they think it’s true, so it must be true.

Articles like THIS are scarce.

A friend forwarded me THIS article referencing an unlikely source. It’s truly sad that a sliced steak promoter can verbalize (or Twitterize) common-sense advice while scores of people spew nonsense (and that includes the POTUS).

It’s rational, informative, and funny . . . unusual stuff in these times.

Speaking about politics and our President — which I find none of those things — there are many things that concern me. Here are a few . . .

That I can tell, no one is overseeing the distribution of the $2T stimulus package or exactly what is in subsequent packages. We simply don’t know where that money is going. I mean, we know where some of the money is going, and what little I know has me practice my calming exercises.

Some people call for action and even offer proposals that seem reasonable (although I see some issues with it and a bit of a conflict with how a few things work). Me? I’d just like an honest discussion and any indication politicians care about their constituents.

As of now, I don’t see it . . . at any one time, at least half the country distrusts the government and whoever is in charge. Half the country distrusts Trump and the other half distrusted Obama, and the first half distrusted Bush, and the second half distrusted Clinton, and so on and on . . .

I offer something to worry about . . . if it were a marriage, the USA wouldn’t last long, and this I fear. A country that is so split in ideology and faux loyalties doesn’t have any hope of lasting, let alone flourishing.

One other thing . . . the current ruling coalition is increasingly nationalistic and anti-other countries. I know their tiny brains have difficulty comprehending BIG concepts (they take their cue from Trump), but you can’t be “the greatest” when you don’t want to play with others. The only thing that’s saving our bacon right now is that we’re still looked at as global leaders (even if without a sound basis for it), ethically, economically, morally . . . but less and less.

If the rest of the countries lose confidence in our leadership (and Trump has his pedal to the metal in that regard), at some point, someone else will step in. Keep insulting and denigrating our allies, and soon we’ll have what we want . . . isolation; monetary and commercial isolation, and won’t that be a fun day.

Mind you, there are problems with globalization and this brought some of them to the forefront. You can bet there will be diversification and less willingness to cede sole control of critical supplies to a single entity. (For example THIS — note, this doesn’t open for everyone.)

Which, as a side note, is my main argument against China have “done this on purpose” — something I hear from far-right voices. Sure, they lied and were possibly negligent (who isn’t these days), but I can’t see the advantage of triggering a world recession. Not for them, not for anyone. Besides, all they had to do is wait for Trump to be re-elected in November and we’d be well and good down the road of imploding (if we’re not already traveling that road).

Anyway, I need to set this free so people who want to be as happy as I am can sign up for that course.

Take care and stay safe.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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