About cbt0

Philosopher, inventor, writer, student of behavior, aficionado of physics, very amateur astronomy, terrible poet, businessman. Also enjoy eating, traveling, and flying.

Define Tyrant

The very first step towards understanding ANYTHING is knowing that a THING is a THING.

What????

Whether it’s the colors of the rainbow, or knowing if your leaders are corrupt, you first have to have a way to think about those things: colors, corruption, whatever.

These are definitions.  If my own little brain can’t define colors very well, then I’m never going to have a decent conversation about rainbows; even WITH MYSELF.

If I want to talk about rainbows with you, then I need to share my definition of colors with you as well.  If you agree, then we can have a nice conversation about rainbows.

The same goes for tyrants.  What is a tyrant?  Some people are already calling tRump a tyrant.  Many of his supporters totally disagree.  Who is right?

Let’s take a stab at a simple definition.  Let’s pretend that one way you can identify a tyrant is if they use their position as a public speaker to incite a mob towards violence.

Now, violence in general could include rugby or smashing beer bottles.  But what if the violence is targeted towards certain people?  Like people who wear yellow stars?  Or people who talk funny?  Or people with skin that looks like coffee or chocolate?

Here’s my definition.  A tyrant is someone who uses their public position to incite mob violence towards opposition or a group that is different from themselves.

Guess what?

We have video, much written experience, and even a lawsuit about President drumpf using exactly these tactics during his speeches.  I wish it was only during his campaign that he does this, but it turns out that he continues to use the highest office in the (previously) “land of the free” to do the same thing.

Now, many of his supporters will be quick to point out that this is fake news and have alternative facts.  However, Pres 45 did exactly these things even in his last press conference.  More like a press battle, but if you look carefully, you can see that he is at battle with a free and independent press, and pushing his supporters to punish them appropriately.

Disagree?  Fair enough.

So, what’s your definition?

 

 

Battle of the Sexes

Yesterday I talked about how messy Mother Nature really is.

To sum up Her methods, she throws a lot of things together and sees how they fare in the “real world.”*

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about species like the platypus, or making natural soap.  The outcome is messy, and as humans we don’t understand everything she does.  After all, we’re only human.

Speaking of humans, we are also a product of Mother Nature.  And therefore, we must also be a mess.

Here’s where the fun starts.  Ask a typical woman what she thinks of men, and she will tell you that, as a class, they are pretty much messed up.

Ask a typical man the same question, and you’ll probably get the same answer.

We think differently, we experience the world differently, and we remember differently.  As a result, we live together yet apart.  If we find a partner, we grow together, and yet also grow apart.

Let’s talk sex, raw unadulterated baby-making orgasm related sex.  Got your attention?

When humans are young adults, the sex drive goes into hyper mode.  Men think about it all the time.**

Young women think about it somewhat less.  But young women do think about babies.  They are genetically programmed to do this.  Young married women who want a family go into their own hyper mode.  As an old man I’ve been able to talk with some women who are unafraid to tell me their habits.  Sex every day.  Maybe twice a day.

This is a husband’s joy.  For a wife, she is working.  And she’s feeling a bit stressed, because it’s her job to collect that baby-making stuff and turn it into a screaming, teething mass of tissue.  And she’ll do whatever it takes.

Including, if month’s of making babies the old way doesn’t work, going to the doc and checking out the latest technology.

Let’s fast forward a few decades.  The baby has grown and left the nest.  The man is still around, and for the most part, his sex drive is a good fraction of what he had as a youth.

But for the wife, she’s done her job.  The sex drive is probably greatly reduced.  Let’s face it, for many women it may be gone.  For many women, it may never have even been there!  Once the hard work is over, why bother doing something a grotesque and messy as making love?

Here’s where our messy Mother and humanity clash.  For we have been made this way.  We are an experiment.  She has turned our women into beings that live longer, are generally smarter, and more attuned to sustainable living than the male half.

What does this mean for the future of our species?  After all, we left our own nest some 100,000 years ago.  As species go, we are still babies.  Does this sexual dichotomy mean that we are stronger than the dinosaurs?  Or does our declining birth rates mean that our species is doomed?

We didn’t get a chance to talk about natural selection, and that’s where things can get truly interesting.  But I don’t want to bore you, either.  I just wanted to point out that there is a battle between our sexes in the bedroom, and on the stage that Mother Nature has provided.

So, think about that the next time you are “getting some.”

 

 

* Lets be clear here.  Mother Nature, or Mom, always lives in the real world.  It’s us humans that prefer to live in a delusion.  Let me know if you want to hear more.

**  If you don’t think this is true, do your own research.  Just be careful.  Take backup!

 

Messy Messy Mother Nature

My friends,

Consider, if you will, the platypus.

An animal concocted of many parts: bird, turtle, otter, kangaroo, and who knows how many others.

Or take the common ant, available in so many varieties and colors.  Or the banana slug, or jellyfish.

Each in their own right is a thing of beauty, a thing wrought of nature.  A thing that should be the very essence of beauty in the eyes of their queen, or mother, or lover.

For us, they can be an abomination.  How can anyone, or thing, love a spider?

To be a true scientist, especially in biology or behavior, one must accept that all things natural are, in fact, beautiful as well.*

Here’s a fun but seemingly unrelated fact: My company manufactures natural soap.

So what! you say.  What? is this some kind of subliminal advert? you protest.  Your eyes are already getting ready to close this window.  But wait!**

What I’ve learned in making our soap is that the chemical reactions are vastly more complex than we understand.  In fact, what passes for soap in today’s society is a chemical detergent.  Highly engineered chemicals that are extremely efficient at removing oils and water from your skin.

Because they are so efficient, people also buy lotion to try and re-oil and re-moisturize that very skin.

In natural soap, anyone’s natural soap, lotion and lots of other re-moisturizers are already there.  It turns out that Mother Nature makes tens, if not hundreds, of different compounds during the soap making process.

Here’s my point.  When you put together a species, or when you combine natural compounds and make soap, the outcome is not clean and neat.  It’s messy.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Then how does Mother Nature check her own work?  Is there some way that she tests her products for “doneness” in order to make sure her improvements are greater than her mistakes?

Some people don’t think Mother Nature ever tests for improvements, but I think she does.  That’s why life may have started out as one celled plants, but has ultimately peaked with mankind.  If you’re not a fan of man, then maybe you’ll agree the peak was dinosaurs.  No matter. Overall, Mother Nature makes things better.

How she does this, and what it means for you and me, I’ll discuss tomorrow.  For now, I suggest you go and get some natural soap.  It’s good for you.

 

 

 

*We’re going to skip a definition of beauty for now.  If you want an essay on the essence of beauty, and a definition that can cross cultures, clades, and countless centuries, feel free to ask!

**I’m only bringing up the soap bit to make a point.  This is not an advert!  If you want validation of this statement, however, I will provide a hint.  Search for “Uncle Earl’s Soap.”

 

Watching a Lady Closely

I don’t normally like to watch a celebrity very closely, especially not one connected to politics.

But this headline and the attached videos caught my eye.

As part of my “fake news checking checklist” I incorporated the article as a thing to check, but now I’m going to reference it as a way to analyze a celebrity’s behavior in excrutiating detail.

Here’s the article: http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/a48289/these-melania-gifs-are-dividing-opinion/

And here’s some of the images:

http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/a48289/these-melania-gifs-are-dividing-opinion/?zoomable

http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/01/donald-and-melania-trump-inauguration-smile-video.html

There are certainly now many more images, videos, and links that you can find on this subject.

The important aspect to all of this is that we are seeing multiple moments with the two, in public, that show the first lady recoiling from her husband’s advances.  From simple hand-holding requests, air kissing, responsive facial expressions after engaging him, and even when being held closely during their first dance, each of these in itself may not be enough to draw a conclusion.

But they are not isolated.  Each one builds upon and reinforces the other.  The totality of these images showing her EXPRESSED behavior means that something deep, something permanent, something serious is going on.

Could that something be abuse?  Could that something be deep distrust?  We don’t know.  All we do know is that the first lady is expressing herself, and because she is a strong woman, we must also assume that she is being honest.

As behavioral students and scientists, we should also remember that an expressed behavior “in the wild” is far more revealing than any premeditated response or organized interrogation.  If we were to have a famous ex-playboy model now TV personality interview her, and ask her if she were happy, the answer should be predictable.  Of course she’s happy.  Of course everything is perfect.

But do they live together?  Do they sleep together?  Does every minute apart from each other create anxiety?  My guess is that, no, Don and Mel do NOT miss each other when they are apart.  They do NOT want to be together, and that she, in particular, is trying to be as far away as possible.

Agree?  Disagree?  Check them out.  Let me hear your thoughts.  Try to use real evidence.  For now, we have to assume that video, especially video taken during the inauguration, is going to be “fact.”

For my part, I hope she can escape as quickly as possible.  I hope all of us can.

 

 

 

 

Fake News Process Checklist

Hi there!  Anyone miss me?

Quite a bit has happened in the months since we last met.  I finished my book on Hate, and a great “orange tide” has washed over our nation.  Whether or not you trust in the latest president to head the great US of A, there’s a good chance you have heard about “fake news.”

Our nation continues to polarize, so that members of each side trust news sources identified with the “other side” less and less.  We have taken to calling the news from the other side “fake news.”  It’s time to fight back.

Are you a fighter? Then rather than ranting against the other side, why not PROVE to them that their news is the fake news, and that yours is the real news?

I’m going to link to a few articles here that try to show how to tell the difference, but they really don’t.  Rather than picking them apart (I’ll do that later on if anyone asks) I’m just going to include them so we have something to look upon.

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/the-best-tips-for-spotting-fake-news-in-the-age-of-trump

http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/a48289/these-melania-gifs-are-dividing-opinion/

and this link to a graphic: https://gdcf-0916001bcltd.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ultimate-critical-thinking-worksheet.jpg

The first one might be the best, but it is obviously stacked against one side, which will automatically make the other side distrust it.

So, as students of behavior, why not come up with a system that works for any believer, of any idea, in any day and age?  Just follow the steps and let’s see where the chips fall.  If the chips fall in the TRUE category, then we can say we have a fact.  If the chips fall into the FALSE category, we have a lie.

Here, in short order, is a good way to tell the difference in a written article or video broadcast.  For convenience’s sake, I’m going to call all of them an article.

  1. Does the headline use emotional triggers to excite attention?
  2. Does the article give specific details as to place, time, and anything else that can be cross-checked for accuracy?
  3. Does the article or video cite a secondary authority that validates the claims made in the headline, or elsewhere in the article?
  4. Does the article make claims that contradict the law as we know them, whether they are natural or not?
  5. Is the news authority fully transparent as to its ownership and motives?

That’s it for now.  I’m curious as to whether or not anyone here cares.  Please let me know if you do, and I’ll be happy to elaborate upon these.  For now, no matter who you voted for in the US election, try following these questions for any given story and see where they take you.  If you have any difficulties, feel free to ask me and I’ll take you through it in a fully bipartisan manner.

Good hunting!

Tusok

 

 

 

Best Aviation Weather app

Hello everyone,

It’s been a long time since I’ve published any thoughts.  I don’t get the sense that they make much difference.

But a week at Oshkosh for Airventure 2016 has thoroughly rejuvenated me as far as getting excited about life.  Writing?  Maybe not so much.  I’ll focus on making money for now.  But at the moment, there’s something you should know.

As a pilot, one of the most important things we learn is that the weather matters.  This may seem trite, but the fact is that most people, and too many pilots, take weather for granted.

We are content to watch the weather-people tell us what the weather is going to be a few weeks out. Maybe we make some plans based on those predictions, maybe we don’t.

What you may not know is that those predictions come from a whole lot of data that the government collects every day, every minute.  Thousands of balloons are sent high up in the air from all around the world, twice a day.  Radar stations send out about a dozen separate beams at different angles, about once every second.  And every airport, marine port, and many other locations are busy collecting a lot of other weather data continuously.

The government headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is in charge of digesting all this data and representing it to us, the general public, commercial customers, and pilots, in forms that we can understand.  The team that works on weather for pilots, for example, only makes predictions out as far as two days – max.

Here’s the fun detail most people don’t realize.  When the weather channel people get the data, they massage it a bit so that it fits their style more comfortably.  Same for your local news station or anyone else for that matter.  One form of that massaging is that your local radar data doesn’t show you a dozen slices of weather – only one.  Another massage is that they stretch out the prediction period from one to two days to almost two weeks!

So if you care about weather, and you want it as pure and clean as organic food, then stop getting it from a processor like your news station.  Go to the source.  Go to NOAA.

Here’s where you can get the app for pilots (sorry, nothing for apple).

     Use this link to spread the word – this is our FREE html web browser version:
     EAsy way to remember – just Google: zoa2  and the first entry will be this webpage for mobile.

Enjoy!

 

 

Enjoying Nature’s Cold Remedy

Achoo!

Yes, I’ve got a humdinger of a head cold.  I never get sick, but a combination of spending two days in court and weeks in preparation and all the other junk that is work have combined to lay me low.

And am I low.  I am just hyped up enough on ibuprofen and ginger tea to write this.

So many have told me to take this, or drink that.  Cold-eze, or vita-C, or whatever.  Each has some kind of magic mixture of minerals, vitamins, and other things to get you better faster.

Bull.  Including red.

Our bodies can do a lot on their own.  After all, how did the old-timers handle these things?  Did they die?

Nope.  We have pretty good records for when people did get colds, and they lived just fine.

As I lay here feeling sorry for myself, I sneezed.  And I realized what the answer is.

Sneezing.  Yes, the lowly sneeze is our cold medicine.

Turns out sneezing is something all mammals do.  Heck, it may be that all animals sneeze, maybe even fish!

The sneeze reflex starts in our nose, detecting invaders.

Then it travels to an ancient part of our brain.  The part that we share with LOTS of other animals.

And we sneeze.  And in sneezing we’re getting rid of those invaders.  Lots of them.

So next time you have a cold, think about sniffing some dust, or pepper.

Why?  Because it’s natural.  It’s cheaper.  And chances are it’ll work better than anything else.

Gesundheit!

PS – Let me know if you want details on the court case.  It’s a doozy!

 

 

Phony Driving Laws

Wifey and I are walking down the street enjoying crunchy snow and blue sky.  We feel so much better knowing that New York is snowed under for a change.  Why should it always be us?

As we approach the crosswalk we stop and look.  We’ve learned our lesson by watching other unsuspecting tourists get run over.

Yes!  Here comes a speedy car making the turn.  He doesn’t even see us.  No signal.  He’s going fast, and he’s even driving in the other lane for a while.  Are these all driving transgressions?

Under the old regime, back when people paid attention to reality, sure.  But what makes this all good is the fact that the young man is intently talking on his phone.

Yes, the black rectangle is glued to his head.  In the few seconds of sight I see him vocalizing loudly.  I see head wagging.  I see one hand on the wheel, and at least his eyes appear to be on the road.

Should I be angry?  No!  I realize the laws need to be changed.

If you’re on the phone, it’s the other cars and pedestrians that have to get out of the way.

Let’s say you’re at a 4 way stop and you pulled up first.  But a car pulls up to your left and you see they have a phone to their ear, who gets priority?  Why, he does of course!  He can’t see you, and he’s not going to wait.  Why should he?  He’s busy.

So it’s your job to wait and respect the call.  After all, communicating with our friends is one of the few pure joys left in our otherwise dull and boring lives.

Well, that and dodging those drivers who are out to kill us.

 

Yoga Deconstructed

I had the pleasure of meeting Alexandria Crow the other day and learning about her perspective on yoga.  It was fantastic.

She’s an ex-gymnast and a push-the-envelope kind of person.  She has intimate knowledge of what our bodies are capable of, and what they aren’t.

She knows better than most because she’s suffered.  She went too far.  You’d think that would be bad news.  But it isn’t.

For that’s how the best of the best learn, and we mere mortals must learn from their pain.

Ms. Crow is like a yoga test-pilot.  She took her body to places it shouldn’t go.

She’s learned about what’s out there, the demons who live beyond the envelope.  She lived through the experience, and she’s willing to teach us about it.  We should listen.

As soon as I figured that out, I was riveted.  She wasn’t just another bendy-body beauty, but someone who could give me a deeper insight into my yoga, and yoga in general.

I hadn’t planned on being so captivated.  I thought it would be a nice way to learn some sequencing tips from a seasoned professional.  The fact that she appeared to be twenty-something gave me doubts, but by the end of the session I realized she’d blown my mind.  And not just with respect to sequencing.

For some years I’ve been learning from many different experts, people who have taught, and thought, long and hard about yoga.  I’ve studied a bit of yoga history and about some of the great players in the field.

I’ve only passing interest in the current fads in today’s marketplace.  Mostly because they’re trendy and about establishing brand.  As a business person I can pick up and understand those aspects quickly.

No, the big insight came from combining what I learned from and about Ms Crow, with what I’ve learned from other great yogis I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

Ginny Nadler has taught me that the hips and deeper are the true center of any pose.  Some independent practitioners and a bit of anthropology agree with her.  Peter Starios taught me that even the innocence of balasana (child’s pose) could be the basis for a rock solid regime.  Yes, he taught me to sweat in child’s pose.  Reading Judith Lasater has taught me that deep and gentle and listening to your body is far more profitable than any standard set of pictures.

Yes there have been others, each of whom has their own particular “angle” on yoga.  But each and everyone had something else: they had broken free of the tyranny of perfect posture.

Ms. Crow calls them fancy poses.  BKS Iyengar made them famous in his book.  Only a professional contortionist can do all of them well.  But I don’t.  I can’t.  I own an old, stiff, anti-athletic body.

But what Sterios, Nadler, Crow and Lasater have done is deconstruct yoga down to its most essential elements – body positions.  And where those body parts should go is indicated by looking at your own body, inside your own body.  Not at someone else’s picture.  Not even the person next to you or at the front of the room.

We don’t have to strive for fancy pose number 9.  We do have to strive to put our hips, feet, and shoulders in the right place.

What makes any place right?  It’s all up to you.  Are you practicing for flexibility? Balance? Strength? Endurance? Coordination? Or something else?  Then that defines where your body goes, how you get there, how long you linger and how hard you push.

Are you warming up for intense forward folds?  Then back off on the updogs!  Need some spinal twists?  Don’t force yourself with external pressures like your arms, legs or ropes.  Let your twist come from inside yourself.  You won’t twist as far, but it’s a better workout, and you’re far less likely to hurt yourself.

Don’t hurt yourself!  It’s fine to feel discomfort that goes away within a day.  But pain lingers and annoys and reduces your quality of life.

I’m a firm believer in this part of the Marine creed: “pain is weakness leaving the body.”  For us civilians, it should read that “discomfort is weakness leaving the body.”

What all these insightful teachers are creating is a new yoga.  Each has taken their bodies to beyond its normal limit, and come back using the power of yoga.

Now they’re teaching us a new way, a more rational, even scientific approach to yoga.  It’s not a trend, yet.  It will never be a fad because it’s too deep.  Right now its leaders are smart, courageous, and working hard.

The results are well worth the effort.  I’m convinced that I’ve avoided hip and knee surgeries that my friends have already had.  My busted shoulder healed faster and better because of yoga.  And I’m certainly a more relaxed person than I would be otherwise.

Yoga means many things.  For me, it’s about harmony.  For Ms. Crow it boiled down to attention.  For our proto-indo european ancestors, it meant “to join.”.

My conclusion from all of these maverick yogis deconstructing today’s yoga is this: they are all closer to the true spirit of yoga’s greatest founders, T. Krishnamacharya.

Krishnamacharya didn’t believe in fancy poses or perfect positions or their names.  His student BKS made many of those up for business purposes.  Krishnamacharya never taught the same way twice, for every student was different.  And he was always learning.

For me, that’s harmony, that paying attention.  And that’s having the ability to join all the different parts of our bodies and lives together in one big practice.

Namaste.

 

Disclaimer: I’m an amateur yogi and only study this as a hobby.  Any mistakes are my own.  Let me know and I’ll fix them as soon as I’m able!

 

 

Alphabet 2.0

It’s time for a serious rant.

Not about anything “see-ree-us” but about something nearby all the time.

This item is impossible to run from, for it’s always within arm’s length.

Yes, there’s a major problem in our nation and it has nothing to do with war, spying, drugs, budgets, or greed, lust, lies, power, or pollution.

No, none of those.  It’s about our alphabet.

Some years ago I realized that a good operating system improves our ability to work.  Those who used linux or apple rapidly got up to speed and stayed that way.  Good work, people!

Those who went the way of windows spent far more time learning how to use it and also had more problems.  In the long run, both groups are about equal.  But why make life harder than it has to be?

The alphabet is an operating system for our brain.  We think in it, talk in it, and write down all our important thoughts.

It takes years for kids to learn it.  And even as adults, many still don’t get the idea of spelling.  My favorites are many, but some are: thorough, philosophy, and agile.  What are some of yours?

The list is almost endless.  So many funny words, not spelled the way they sound.  No, they get spelled the way someone else did it by mistake years earlier.

Need proof?  Look at any old writing that is 200 years old.  See how differently the words are spelt.  Grammar nightmare for young and old alike.

Where should I start improving the alphabet?  I’m going to begin at the beginning, to make this short.

Sure, I have issues with the idea of “Q” always being followed by a “U” – how useless is that?  Or the fun we have with “G” being hard and soft.  Is there a word where both “G” sounds appear?

No, I’m going to ignore those fun problems and start at the top with the biggest offender of them all, letter number three, the “see.”

What are it’s offenses?  Let me sum the ways.  First, students of English never know if it’s sounds like an “ess” or a “kay.”

In Latin they only used it for the “K” sound.  So the Roman Emperor Julius?  He was a Kaiser, like a King.  He was not a “see-zur” like the salad!

Then at times our perpetrator teams up with unknowing partners.  Paired with the “H” or the more popular “S” our perp alters the entire sound, leaving hate and mayhem in its wake.

No, Fair Reader, the time is now for removing the old letter from our operating system and re-purposing it as an entirely new sound.

Perhaps it’s willing to take up the mantle of “TH” so we don’t have to merge those two letters in order to make one sound.

Or maybe, finally, we fulfill its destiny and free the poor partner “H.”  In this way a popular point of worship would be spelled “see-you-are-see.”  In a way, spelling it like this seems very zen-like.

There’s my rant.  Time to reinvent our alphabet and promote the third letter to a new position.  Are you with me?

PS. I’d love to hear some of the alphabet problems you’ve seen.  “See” you later!