Sunday, February 22, 2015

As if it weren't bad enough trivializing domestic violence in her "Blank Space" video, Taylor Swift is now trying to trademark her lyrics. Forgive me for doubting her creative genius, but I think I'd heard the words "speak now" before.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Quote of the Day

Oh my god, I am the patriarchy. -- Brene Brown, recounting to Krista Tippett her insight that, by concerning herself only with women's vulnerability issues, she'd been perpetuating men's emotional repression.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

James Hansen's Exit Strategy from Climate Change

His "fee and dividend" proposal is the most politically astute way of getting done what needs doing, while there's still time:

Thursday, January 01, 2015

There's probably no truth to the theory that the Salem witch trials were due to psychedelic effects of ergotism. But it can't be denied that when pasture is infected with ergot, the steaks can be high.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

"It's not a God-shaped hole, it's a hole-shaped God." -- ciphergoth,

Monday, December 22, 2014

I wrote about a week ago ( about giving myself an exposure to help train me not to be controlled by social anxiety. My thinking of this, and overcoming my own resistance, were doubtless facilitated by the fact I was reading Scott Stossel's book My Age of Anxiety.

An aspect of anxiety I learned about while reading it is that anxious persons tend to have a higher level of "interoceptive awareness," meaning sensitivity to their internal physical state. Combined with their predisposition to worry, this results in an increased likelihood of noticing things that they construe as signs of anxiety, causing them to worry about behaviors that may result from that anxiety, spawning further anxiety in a vicious cycle.

This must have been on my mind last Friday evening shortly after work, while I was in a Rite Aid to get a couple things before going home. I detected what I thought was a moment of faintness that might be attributed to having eaten lightly that day. I thought of buying a piece of candy to "tide me over" until I got home, but then cross-examined this impulse. I realized I didn't really know if what I'd felt was faintness, or just sleepiness. Further, even it was a very slight faintness, there was no reason to think there's be any catastrophic consequences if it recurred during my ride home.

In other words, I was applying one of the routine questions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for anxiety disorders, "What's the worst that could happen?" which serves to counter anxious people's tendency to catastrophize. As a result I chose not to buy any candy, saving me money and hazard to my physiology while teaching myself not to be controlled so easily by minor sensations. And I didn't, in fact, feel faint again on the ride home.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

Equality is no more than an empty shadow so long as monopolies give the rich the power of life and death over their fellow human beings. -- French revolutionary Jacques Roux, quoted in Albert Soboul, A Short History of the French Revolution, 1789-1799 (London: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 86-87