Psychology

I find it’s good practice to approach literally anybody, from a municipal worker who I am passing on the sidewalk while they’re performing official duties to clerks in shops with an immediate attempt at a substantive conversation, not just a rote exchange of greetings or well-wishes. By that means the other morning I got the […]

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Describing the period in the 1980s when Osama bin Laden was emerging as a major private fundraiser for the mujahideen resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: The lure of an illustrious and meaningful death was especially powerful in cases where the pleasures and rewards of life were crushed by government oppression and economic deprivation. From […]

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The most common physical health symptom described by the participants was chronic insomnia. Heidi explained: ‘One of the first indicators for me is insomnia. . . . I’m waking up in the middle of the night thinking about how I need to do this or bring this in or what time I am meeting with […]

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Yaks grunted and snorted around the tent, munching closer and closer. I shook the tarp to provoke a retreating thunder of hoofs. Against the distant drone of traffic I could hear the delicate pinging of flies trapped between the tent’s inner and outer walls. I lay in my sleeping bag, aching all over, and fervently […]

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In one of the Dan Carlin Hardcore History series, he describes a discussion with a mentor who explained to him that the hardest thing about understanding history is forgetting how we know things will turn out. That impairs our ability to understand why people behaved as they did at the time, particularly because we over-estimate […]

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However, by concealing their past intentions, the Iraqis encouraged the assumption that those were their future intentions as well. In the first phase of the Iraqi cover-up, the hidden past intentions certainly did reflect the goals for the future of the political leadership, even though Iraqi scientists and experts knew that restarting the programs would […]

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As recently as March 5th, The Economist published an article entitled: A recession is unlikely but not impossible The April 18th issue reports: “On April 14th the IMF warned that the global recession would be the deepest for the best part of a century.” I can’t find my note about it, but somewhere I recorded […]

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Besides, the historian William Cronon argues that there is nothing “natural” about wilderness, that it is a deeply human construct, “the creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history.” Though I might be appalled by Marco Polo’s failure to swoon at mountains and deserts along the Silk Road, wilderness in […]

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I’ve avoided posting about the SARD-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 outbreak, largely because anything I say is redundant when the news is largely comprised of saturation coverage. Two stories did stand out today though: Even with strict containment measures, COVID-19 could claim 22,000 lives, federal officials project The hard truth: Be prepared to live like this […]

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CBC’s Ideas with Nahlah Ayed ran a good segment on Stoicism during the coronavirus pandemic. It covers a lot of what I find appealing about philosophy and the contrast with the “power of positive thinking” notion which I dispute both factually and ethically. We can’t make things happen by wanting them or “thinking positive”, and […]

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