Monday, August 10, 2020

This Idea Must Die

      This book by John Brockman is a collection of answers to one main question: "what scientific idea is ready for retirement?" Each short essay is written by a highly respected member of their respective field, which ranged from philosophy to physics and back again to finance. Each describes an idea within their community that, in their eyes, prevents advancement. In our years on this earth, humans have learned many new ideas through the pursuit of truth called science. However, we have become stuck in some of our ways. We haven't always gotten everything right, and trying to build on a foundational idea that isn't necessarily true means that any conclusions draw from it are inherently at least partially false. While rejecting long-standing scientific truths may sound counter intuitive to progress, in some instances it must be done in order to remove them as an obstacle for true growth.

    The one entry that stuck out to me was titled "Simplicity" by A. C. Grayling. It discussed how the process decided which of two hypotheses is chosen, when they both explain the same phenomenon. Essentially, whichever hypothesis is "simpler" wins. Now this seems like a good idea, simpler is easier to understand and more accessible. On the other hand, simple is subjective. How "simple" a hypothesis can be based on how nicely it is worded, the conciseness, the elegance of the words used. He says, that simply the aesthetic value of a hypothesis doesn't actually add any scientific weight to it and does not make it inherently better than the other.

    This made me think of how in the lecture the simplest explanation, that Uri Gellar simply held magic powers and was using the power of his mind, was far from the truth. In actuality they were putting much preparation into their tricks beforehand, such as tampering with the spoon to just the perfect point of weakness, where his illusion would work. I really admired the commitment to the truth that James Randi held, using most of his time and money to fight lawsuits because he believed in spreading the truth that firmly. 

    Below is a video describing the ending of the movie The Prestige. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it; it is very engaging. This video does spoil the end of the movie, which follows a duo of magicians as they go from partners to rival acts, and the extents to which they go to pull off their acts. Throughout the movie they pull off a number of very impressive tricks, where the audience forms the "simplest" hypothesis to what occurred on stage, when the actual mechanics to pulling off such a feat is much more involved. This movie captured not just my imagination, watching the amazing tricks, but also my more critical scientific part of my mind in the mechanics that go on behind the scenes. It not only reminded me or Uri Gellar and his tricks but also really exemplifies how the "simple" answer isn't always the truth.


The End of the World

    There was a futurist called KFK, he claimed that he came back to 2019 from 2060. In 2019, he created a post on social media and let people ask him questions. Someone asked him if the Chinese women volleyball team are going to be the champion in the Tokyo Olympics. His answer was "There will be some accidents going to happen in the Tokyo Olympics. " A perfect example of Ambiguous. 

   Then he predicted some more specific prophecies. First, the 2032 Olympics will be hosted by Jakarta. Second, Bitcoin is going to disappear in 2060. Third, there will be no more cancer in 2060. 

   These prophecies have a specific year and event if any of these prophecies go south, we can make sure that this KFK is not a futurist. So let see if this KFK is really a futurist. 

Book Report: The Demon-Haunted World

 I chose to do a google slides for my book report on The Demon-Haunted World. The link is down below.

Book report “Factfulness”

     I decided to go with the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling. Factfulness was not my first option. I am glad that I chose this book because it was an eye opener. The way that the book started off was quite intriguing, I was reeled in with the thirteen questions that Hans Rosling presented at the beginning. I scored a zero out of the thirteen questions, although I was surprised with my grade. The book explains that the world isn't as bad as we believe it is. I highly recommend this book because it made me look at things differently. I realized that I was a bit close minded when it came to some causes. I genuinely feel that we can take the tactics that Rosling provided us and use it in our everyday lives.

    In each chapter Rosling explains to the reader each of the misconceptions that influence our viewpoints. These misconceptions are the gap instinct, the destiny instinct, the single perspective instinct, the negativity instinct, the straight line instinct, the fear instinct, the size instinct and the generalization instinct. Throughout the book Rosling provides data for each of the ten misconseptions. Throughout the book Rosling gives you more reasons to overcome these instincts that we have that influences our beliefs of how we look at the world and also how we make decisions. 

I enjoyed every part of the book but the chapter that stood out to me the most was “The Single Instinct”. In this chapter Rosling explains that we tend to just focus on one single thing. We are just fixated on one idea and don’t bother to look at it from another perspective. Rosling encourages people to be open to other ideas. If we just focus on one cause this can limit our imagination as he stated, “and rather than only talking only to people who agree with you, or collecting examples that fit your ideas, see people who contradict you, disagree with you, and put forward different idea as a great resource for understanding the world”.


     Learning about graphology was very intriguing. I had always noticed a sort of correlation between handwriting and the person. It was mostly more general things, not as in depth as some of the videos we watched. Cursive or print, precise or messy, rounded or straight, different ways of writing individual letters, or those who mixed in uppercase letters. I never even thought to deduce whether or not someone was lonely or ambitious. It was interesting to see the extent to which graphology was both inaccurate and widespread. I'm not saying I think it's a real science, but I had always thought my less particular observations were fairly accurate. 

     In my experience, I always associated more rounded, bubbly writing as being feminine and straighter, pointier chicken scratch with more masculine energy. Messier, bigger handwriting was usually rushed, while smaller, neat print had more time invested into it. Of course, it is very easily to consciously or not change your hand writing in a moment, especially if you know someone is going to be looking at it closely and analyzing it. 

In middle school, I decided I wanted to have nicer, fancier handwriting so I started making myself write in different ways. I added the extra tail on top of my lowercase A's, crosses to my 7's and Z's, reduced the size and speed of my writing. Most of it fell away eventually, as it wasn't natural to me. My writing may have reverted to be large and quick, however, crossing my 7's and Z's stuck and I still do that to this day. 

Handwriting - Resourceaholic

“Believing in Magic - The Psychology of Superstition” by Stuart A. Vyse

This book about the psychology of superstition explains the origins of some popular superstitions while also explaining the type of person who is more likely to abide by them while also attempting to explain why. Many of these superstitions branch off from centuries ago when certain circumstances occurring in close conjunction could be easily correlated. Regardless, the types of people most likely to be involved with superstition such as lucky tokens or behaviors include athletes, sailors, soldiers, gamblers, and college students. Examples of these particular superstitions includes eating chicken before every baseball game, using a lucky pen (or pencil), or even entering a classroom from a window before an exam. While all of these behaviors seem relatively harmless, the book goes on to explain the repercussions that a come with continued heuristic thinking associated with superstitions. As a result, Vyse attempts to connect data retrieved from past research to help connect the dots in the world of pseudoscientific superstitions.

My favorite chapter in this book was the chapter on coincidences, probability, and contingency because of how it addressed how people came to think about circumstantial superstitions. An example could be that a basketball player did really well during a portion of the game and his likelihood of maintaining his scoring streak was “hot”. But, realistically it is more likely much more than just mere chance that the athlete chanced upon a hot streak. There are many variables within a the many nuanced moments of a basket ball game that one cannot deduce that it was simply about time that the player began to do well after a period of time without a hot streak. Another example could be a student did really well on a test one time after finding a coin before the test was administered. As a result, the coincidence of finding a coin beforehand could lead that student to need to find a coin before any test because they’ve connected the idea of their success on a test with finding a coin. These two examples may not be ultimately worrisome but when the student continues to search for coins it could negatively impact their test performance in the future. As a result, just because two circumstances might happen simultaneously doesn’t mean that their likelihood of increasing your luck/skill are true but rather that humans search for ways that give the, some semblance of control. People do not like letting chance being a determining factor in their daily lives because it isn’t trustworthy. A lucky pen or pair of socks on the other hand, despite being absurd, might allow someone to feel like they are taking control of their lives.

Book Report: A Demon Haunted World

For my book report, I chose to make a powerpoint to discuss the book, A Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan and to talk about my favorite section and how it relates to class. Below is a link to the powerpoint:

Post #3: Hypnosis and Alien Abductees

     In class, we have learned about how clinicians would use hypnosis to help people recall past events as well as projective tests which help the clinician examine a person’s personality and gather information about their client. Hypnosis has been commonly used for UFO abductees and while the individual is under hypnosis they are able to describe being abducted and what they witnessed. However, we learned that this method can usually be ineffective and does not improve one’s ability to recall events. When the client is hypnotized, they are in a highly suggestive state and clinicians can have a strong influence on their clients so this can cause them to have false memories since the clinician can use suggestive cues and their client will believe that they experienced something that never actually occurred as a result. I personally don’t believe in aliens and UFO’s but I found a video of a hypnotherapist who specializes in alien abductions and UFO’s and she talks about her sessions with clients and what they have experienced. She describes a little bit of what her clients remember and she even talks about how some of them have claimed to have had sexual experiences with extraterrestrials. I find it shocking that people have claimed to have that type of experience with extraterrestrials and I find her opinion on this topic very interesting overall.

Here's the video I found:

Book Report: Factfulness by Hans Rosling

     The novel Factfulness by Hans Rosling, was a very intriguing text for me. To begin, Rosling writes the book about ten different instincts and how they contribute to the real world. These instincts could be identified as stereotypes or even just someone's view of things. In short, this report will give a brief explanation about each instinct. The first instinct is the "gap instinct". This refers to the rich and poor or even first world or third world countries. People automatically make these assumptions and stereotypes comparing countries based on their wealth. The second instinct is the "negative instinct". This is believing that things are bad and will get worse with time. Moving to the next instinct, there is the "straight line instinct". This pertains to the belief that the world population will not continue to grow. It is more out of fear and ignorance to the already growing populations. Next, there is the "fear instinct. This is where people think something bad or violent is going to happen at all times. For example, doomsday preppers prepare for the possibility of the end of the world. 

    Moving on to the next instinct, there is the "size instinct". This relates to people overestimating how large a piece of data is. The example used was HIV and how people would think that the statistics were a lot, when in fact it was at a steady decrease. The sixth instinct is the "generalization instinct". This is the overgeneralization of a certain group or groups of people. Next, there is the "destiny instinct". This one was confusing, but seemed to be that people believe that some cultures are at a standstill and are not progressing with the development of the world. The eighth instinct is the "single perspective instinct". This seems to be happening more and more since the pandemic as people believe there is one solution or problem to a situation. Furthermore, there is the "blame instinct". This is where people always try to find someone or something to blame. This too is something that has been happening, especially with our president. Finally, there is the "urgency instinct". This is when people make decisions without thinking about them. They do not look at how to do something or fix something, rather they just make a decision recklessly and move forward. 

Overall, this book goes over how factfulness is practiced and gives several real world examples of these instincts. My favorite chapter was the "blame instinct" because I understood it so well. Rosling described it just as I imagined, and I immediately thought of my own examples to better understand its meaning. This chapter also talks about conspiracy theories and how some people blame things on outrageous scenarios. To tie this into a class discussion, conspiracy theories are a form of pseudoscience. Some can be proven with photos or videos, like the UFOs. 

In all, this book was very informative. It could be used to help people understand unconscious stereotypes we make, and give people a better understanding on how to address different scenarios. More people should read this to get a grip on how to be a better person, and think factually rather than with just an opinion. 

Attached is a clip from a press briefing that President Donald Trump had where he blamed protests, bars, and people traveling from Mexico as the reason for the increase in coronavirus cases. Protests have been occurring everywhere across the country, but not every state is seeing a rise in cases. This is a good example of the blame instinct as addressed by Hans Rosling.

The Mozart Effect

    Reading about the Mozart Effect and how people believed it made intellectual improvements was very interesting. I was familiar with the connotation of intellect with Mozart, but I didn't realize it was a supposed causation. When I was a baby, there was this video company called Baby Einstein and they would put out DVDs of clips of toys set to classical music. My mother would put it on for me in car rides so I would watch it instead of crying while she tried to drive. The attachment of names such as Einstein Beethoven and Mozart to this product insinuate that they will make you smarter. I don't know if it worked, but I am a first-gen student. I thought the music was just to stimulate the baby's mind and give them something to listen to, not to actually improve their IQ just simply my listening. Then, in my dad's favorite kid's movie of mine The Incredibles, the babysitter Connie is on the phone with Ellen and she says "you know what they say, Mozart makes babies smart!" Another reference to this Mozart Effect that I didn't even realize I was subject to. 


I also liked the prompt at the end of the lesson "students who receive extensive music training also receive..." It is easy to draw a straight line from music to improved brain power when you see a correlation like that, with those as the only two considered factors. However, the truth can really be six degrees of separation away. Parents who can afford to give their children music training, can also afford things such as a nice house in a nice neighborhood that has lots of property taxes funding their public schools, or a private tutor to help the student in areas they struggle in, or even to send their child to a private school should they decide that the local public school is not up to par. All of these factors can help lead to that alleged "improved intelligence," which may not be caused by the music at all, but rather just run parallel alongside it.


    I watched this section of videos with my little sister. She was very interested in the elusive creatures. When we finished this lesson she asked me, "do you believe in them? Because I do." Now, in her mind, she equated these cryptids with other mythical creatures such as unicorns. She had been exposed to such legends through movies and shows for years. However, she had never heard of the Chupacabra, yet she now firmly believed it existed. Why is that?

She is still in elementary school. She hasn't gotten to the point of learning the scientific method or having to question the information that she's given. Children trust adults, parents, teachers, and in today's day and age actors and YouTubers. Everything in early education is given to children at face-value. If a parent answers you question, that's just how it is. If a teacher tells you something, that's just how it is. Anything they are presented with comes with that trust. This results in quick thinking. She doesn't stop to think "why haven't we caught one yet?" or "how is the Jersey Devil that old?" or even "what does (my dad's favorite response to a 'why?' question) 'because science' even mean?"

The Lore Of Bigfoot Lives On At North Carolina Bigfoot Festival | KUNC

    She simply accepts that the information given to her by someone who is established in her mind as being older and smarter than her. If they said it, then it must be true. Fast thinking. She relies on heuristics to navigate and understand the world around her. She has no use for slow thinking at this point in her life. So when she sees a video of Bigfoot walking through the forest, or a movie with unicorns, such as the one on the very shirt she is wearing, hiding in the woods that becomes a part of her world. She creates her reality at face value.

Book Report "Why People Believe Weird Things"

     For most of my life, I have always shook my head at conspiracy theorists. I never understood what was going on in their heads that made them so convinced about weird things. That is why the title of this book caught my eye and made me want to read it. In the first part of the book, the author, Michael Shermer, discusses the meaning of skepticism and why it is so important. He cited a personal experience on when he first became a skeptic. He was advised to use a mega vitamin therapy program during Race Across America by a trained nutritionist in a P.H.D. program. However, it caused negative effects for him and then he found out that the nutritionist had not been trained by an accredited school and lacked real research data and scientific training. He had just made claims that it would help him win. He then goes on to talk about how skepticism is an important part of the scientific method, and how all facts in science are provisional and can be challenged. Also, the process of making factual claims relies on self correction from scientists and strong evidence. 

    Throughout the rest of the book, Shermer uses science and evidence to attempt to debunk different beliefs and conspiracies. Some of these paranormal beliefs include alien abductions, UFOs, creationism, and denial of the Holocaust. Also throughout the book, Shermer explains why people, including smart and normal people, believe these things. He describes these people as those who had their thinking just go wrong. When describing smart people who believe weird things, he says that they are "skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." 

    The most interesting section of the book to me was the part about the deniers of the Holocaust. I honestly did not even know that there were people out there who deny it, so it was interesting for me to learn about the claims that they make. I have met people who believe in some pretty insane conspiracies, but I can not remember meeting any Holocaust deniers. 

    Shermer cited the arguments made by the Holocaust deniers. There are three main points that they deny. First, they deny that there was intentionality of genocide based primarily on race. Next, they deny that a highly technical and well-organized extermination program was implemented using gas chambers and crematoria. Third, they say that between 300,000 and 2 million Jews died instead of 5-6 million. Shermer goes to great lengths to debunk these deniers. He also criticizes their methodology. He says that they only focus on their opponent's weak points instead of helping their own argument, they treat one error as if it negates all other conclusions, they take quotes out of context, and they focus on what is not known instead of what is known. To me, based on this, it sounds like these deniers completely lack the fair-mindedness that is required to be a fair minded thinker.  

    Overall, this book relates to the class because it is about people believing things without having any real evidence. Examples that have been covered in the class include alien abductions, the Jersey Devil, and the end of the world. People want to believe these things, and they find ways to justify it, despite lacking real evidence. They believe witnesses even though they very well may have been hallucinating. I think this was a good book that highlights the importance of skepticism and science. I think it also encourages critical thinking, which is unfortunately lacking in society today.

Book Report: The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

 The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan discussed pseudoscience and real science. The book tries to explain differences between real science and thing that people believe. People are easily gullible when they either see things or people tell them things and this book tries to explain that in some cases these claims are not indeed true and he uses science to prove this. Carl Sagan uses science to help him explain to the reader that even those things may seem so, science proves otherwise and helps you see a different outlook on things now. It is important to have some sort of curiosity in science because without someone having curiosity about something, there would be no science. Science comes from someone being curious about something and figuring out a reason why things are the way they are. There were topics in the book that were controversial that even with proven fact, some people still may not believe.

All of the chapters in the book were titles that would draw you in and make you want to keep reading based off of what the title stated. There were topics in the book that people still may not believe are true but that is why Sagan tried his best at explaining things for the reader to understand in a better way. Sagan also warns readers about the "dumbing down America" to help people understand certain situations. Every chapter made you rethink a lot of things, especially if you've heard of a conspiracy that was in the book. The book was very good and it makes you have a totally different outlook on the topic after reading about it.

My favorite chapter was chapter four because I am very interesting in aliens and flying saucers and I believe there are other life forms that visit earth just like we visit other planets. It also discussed people missing time and feeling paralyzed when waking up in the middle of the night, meaning that they might have been abducted by aliens of some sort. I think if this were to happen, the person would not know that they were abducted due to not knowing what that would even feel like to be abducted in the first place. It never really made sense to me, Sagan stated as well, why aliens of some sort would travel so far just to abduct a human and go back to wherever they came from. Maybe to me they would like more information about earth and the life forms on it, but even then still would not make sense for me. I really enjoyed reading the book as a whole and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in these types of controversial topics because it makes you think a lot about things you already are curious about.

The link below is a link of a video I found of an Oprah show that showed a man that believed that he was abducted by aliens of some sort. I am still am not sure in my opinion if I believe in all of this but he explains what he went through and why he believes this was a real experience that he went through. Out There Human Being Abducted by Aliens Space Saucer ...

The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan (Book Report) Dan Baroni

 In "The Demon Haunted World, Science as a Candle In the Dark," Carl Sagan explains to us the reality of how many people on this planet are deeply engaged in pseudoscience and emphasizes why we need science and technology to move society forward.  He is saying today's humans are ideologically warped, meaning we believe in things that might not necessarily become true or help society grow in anyway. The title "Science as a Candle in the Dark" was meant to show how science throughout the centuries has progressed humans into what we are today, though we have lost that drive to push society because we are too focused on "baloney" as Sagan calls it. The baloney would be things like, superstition, UFO's, demons, things that many people believe but science has not shown a single shred of evidence for. Without condemning multiple popular beliefs, Sagan suggests a better way to understand the world through science. 

    The best part about the book for me was in the chapter "The Man in the Moon and the Face on Mars." In this chapter Sagan talks about how the government has "suppressed" many great or not so great discoveries about space.  This chapter made me question Carl Sagan philosophy because as a young adult we do not have the resources yet to discover something on another planet on our own. If the government is hiding some discoveries and facts, how can we use Sagan's philosophy of using science to propel humans forward. Or is Sagan blaming the scientists who made the discovery for not sharing it. If nothing was hidden where would society be right now? My mind was spinning through this chapter but had me heavily interested. 

In chapter "The Demon Haunted world," Sagan notes how similar some paranormal beings are described to extra terrestrial life. This is a perfect example from lecture one; Ways of thinking, because we are association learners. Humans are pattern seeking primates, we love to connect and relate things of our world. We use paternicity to understand a topic better because we can compare it to something we already know. 

Here is a video of a #StarTalk speaking about the "what ifs" about whether the government withheld alien contact. I think this is interesting because they explore the possibilities of what would happen  if the government came clean and told the public about extra terrestrial life.

As non-progressive as it sounds, I think myths and unproven beliefs give some humans a better quality of life. Science is full of disappointments and unsettling realities. Pseudoscience is and will always remain prevalent just like religion.  

Post Three: The Hat Man

 I have never personally experienced the hat man but I know people that have. I remember growing up my grandpa told me a story about how he seen a shadow of man with a hat on and he was in a panic. He said that it felt like something heavy was on his chest and he could not move or talk, he was stuck like that. He said he was sleeping when he was suddenly woken up by something heavy on his chest and not really being able to breathe. I myself believe in bad spirits 110%. I believe if there are good spirits there has to be bad because there is always bad and good for everything. I think maybe people are stuck in a between area before they go to where they are going after death and some of the bad get stuck in between that process. I have struggled with the unknown of what's in the darkness my whole life and I do not take darkness very well. I personally am one to sleep with my bedroom door closed at night due to the fear of possibly looking into the darkness and seeing something I do not want to see. If I do hear something at night for any reason I ignore it and try to act like I do not hear it. In situations like the hat man experience, I pray before bed and say out-loud what I can thankful for so that I welcome good energy to come my way to stay away from things like the hat man happening. I sometimes though, freak myself out about stuff like this because I feel like just taking about it will bring bad energy your way. The video I posted below is a video of an actual reaction from someone who has seen this shadow and is terrified of what she saw.

The Top Hat Man | Grim Magazine

Post Two: UFO's/Aliens

 I believe in UFO's/Aliens. I kind of makes you think about what other life forms are out there that we do not know about. If we take space ships to other planets then what makes everything think there aren't other life forms that take their version of a space ship to other planets as well. After reading more on this topic, I feel like things about UFO's and Aliens are kept from civilians to "protect" the information that they discovered. I believe that when people come from space and other trips to foreign planets, they in fact find things that they do not want people to know due to scaring people, etc. When people find out new things they often bring it to social media and get scared about it and I do not think that's what they want on the media. This topic will always be interesting to me because I always find out something new after reading on these two things.

Navy confirms videos did capture UFO sightings, but it calls them ...

Area 51 officially acknowledged by CIA -

Post One: Jersey Devil

 The Jersey Devil is something I've grown up hearing stories about my whole life. I've always been scared, growing up in a Puerto Rican household, this was something that older family members scared the young children with so that they listen and behave themselves. The way that Puerto Ricans talked about it was something more scary and I always known the Jersey Devil as the "Chupacabra" but after reading I see they are two different things. Reading more about the Jersey Devil has made me more interested learning more on the topic because it is a lot different than what I was taught about it growing up. I think the story behind it is very interesting because it is so close to home, knowing I live in South Jersey. It creeps you out thinking that there may be something walking around at night or near campus and it keeps you thinking.

Man Claims to Have Photographed Mythical 'New Jersey Devil' From ...

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Astral Projection

    Astral projection (AP) is something that has peaked my interest for a very long time. I first heard about AP in the movie Insidious 2 in 2013. I had to research and find out what they were talking about. Much to my surprise there was actually a lot of information out there. AP is the act of separating the soul from the body in a meditative state in order for the soul to reach the astral realm. It is said that when traveling through the astral realm you will find the answers to life's questions. I have wanted to try it out of curiosity, but I have been warned that it is very easy to become lost in the astral realm and never be able to return to the physical body. I don't necessarily believe that this is something that is true and can happen, but out of an abundance of caution I have decided against attempting it. However, I do still enjoy reading about it, and hope one day there will be answers to all of the unknowns regarding this practice. 

Mumbai: Class X student found hanging in alleged attempt of Astral  Travelling in Bhoiwada

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Book Report)

            As a social work major whose goal is to become a psychotherapist, it is important for me to study how people think. I have found that for majority of my life it is something that I have always tried to learn, and it has helped me become more conscious of others in my environment. Growing up I was always told I was a very emotional and sensitive, which used to cloud my judgment significantly, but over the years of studying and receiving counseling I began thinking about my thinking. Now, I try to practice using System 2, slower thinking, when analyzing options and making decisions.

            I especially enjoyed Chapter 28 where the author, Daniel Kahneman, discusses loss aversion. Put simply, this is the idea that it is more important to avoid losing than it is to strive to win. It was discussed that it is much easier to point out a negative in a situation than to find a positive. Kahneman gives the example of having a bowl of delicious cherries in front of you and finding a roach in the bowl. This one cockroach ruins the entire bowl and deems it virtually inedible for most people. If, on the other hand, there was a bowl of cockroaches with one delicious cherry in the bowl, this would not make the bowl any less disgusting to most people. Negativity is much more powerful to the brain than positivity.

            This concept of loss aversion reminds me of what I have learned about cognitive distortions. A few come to mind, but the most prominent is the cognitive distortion of disqualifying the positive. This is when someone recognizes only the negative aspects in a situation, and completely ignores the positive. I personally try to remind myself to not become overwhelmed by what I could perceive as negative thoughts or feelings and try to think more logically and rationally. That isn’t to say I cannot have negative thoughts and feelings, but that I actively try to look for potential positives as well.

I have linked this video because I found it to be very informative and helpful when trying to understand the concept of loss aversion.

Book Report Factfulness- written By Hans Roslings post by Carli Figlia


Factfulness, written by Hans Roslings, makes you rethink your way of thinking and not to overthink things and to see the bigger picture. I found this book overall pretty interesting, it was full of a lot of facts. However, at times the book became a lot and overwhelming with information. I enjoyed all of the questions that the author asks throughout the book. This book really makes you think about life and how you are living it. The begging of chapter two was very interesting when he about is life getting better, worse, or not getting better or worse. Most people would say the world is getting worse but overall life is getting better and we came a long way. We have improved so much over the years, there are more workers, people live longer, we have better health conditions. We are very negative thinking about every little thing that go wrong we do not think about the big picture. 

I really enjoyed chapter 4 it was very interesting and I liked his story in beginning about the guy who crashed in war. And he was saying that he was so scared and freaked he was just panicking and not thinking. When we are in fear we panic and we can not think straight and we think the worse. We have an overdramatic view of the world. 

I also found chapter 9, the blame instinct very interesting and very relatable. We tend to want to blame someone or something else for or problems or something not going to plan. I like what Hans said about wanting to punch someone and getting so mad that life isn’t your way. We have to think more and stay calm in certain situations and stop blaming others and accept the fact that something went wrong and we can’t blame other people. We never want to be there when something goes bad. Also, the part about Syphilis and how every country renamed it based on where the affected person came from. We blame others because it is easier and we don’t want the bad to be in our hands. Like the author says we should take the blame as quickly as we take claim.  I also enjoyed chapter ten just overall. When he says not really to freak out during urgent things. Also, when he was talking about Global warming and how that is urgent but we are not doing anything about it. We are freaking out about but not doing anything about it so how urgent is it really. Also, throughout the book, he mentions Ebola and pandemics and things doubling and it made me think about how quickly Coronavirus spread and how everyone freaked out and how everything changed so quickly. How this book relates to this class is that it makes you think about life.

Overall, I really enjoyed certain parts of this book and found the studies very interesting. However, sometimes I was a little bored and confused. He also repeated a lot of similar ideas and it got respite at times. However, I really thought overall the book was very interesting and made me think more. I would recommend this book to anyone else talking about this class it is very inspirational and gives you a positive outlook in life.

Carl Sagan's 'The Demon Haunted World' Book Report

The 'Demon Haunted World' is a book written by Carl Sagan who tries to explain the science behind the meaning of the universe. People see something once or twice and assume something from it instead of finding the actual explanation. Sagan gives the science to help explain these extraterrestrial claims. He breaks down many claims chapter by chapter and explains why things may be the way they are. Sagan describes in the book many other important people in science that were also independent thinkers that allowed for people to explore new possibilities. That's the reason for science becoming so important in our society. It brings new technology and ideas of improvement and the possibility of going to another planet earth or understanding why extraterrestrial beings would be around us today.

The book's name is a metaphor of the persuasions that the world has on our minds. All of the chapters were named something that caught the attention of the reader. They were events or titles of things all humans have heard of. He explains throughout the novel that some topics can be controversial topics. The conspiracies of these chapters make Sagan go to the science behind everything. Sagan doesn't know all the answers to everything that happens, but he want to let the readers realize that there could be a reason for everything that happens. The different conspiracies that took place in the past and still make people wonder what happen is what makes Sagan get into his work so much. This book was very interesting and made you question what you truly thought about different things.

The most interesting chapter in my opinion would have to be chapter 5, Spoofing and Secrecy. This chapter talks about the UFO sightings that accrued over the mid 1900s in the United States. Sagan explains that if there were a sighting of any type of UFO, it could have been the Soviets spying on the US Military. Are these the truth, or is it a cover up? Even Sagan says that the government could be hiding something from its citizens. The chapter mostly talks about sightings during the Cold War. So what about the sighting that people have witnessed now? I've personally have seen things in the sky that cant be explained. There are some things can be explained and other that could just be the government covering something up. Even thinking slowly and trying to understand what one could have seen is hard. One may think they have seen something and our brains will tell us otherwise. This chapter is very interesting and makes you wonder whether or not there is something else out there. Are we the only ones in our universe, or is it other countries spying on us?

This book really makes you rethink about what you thought you knew. Science is about slow thinking and finding the truth of what's behind something and Sagan tries to do that with every chapter. He explains why demons could be around, to the UFO sightings in the US. Sagan debunks the conspiracies about extraterrestrial claims.

Here is a youtube video I found before reading the book. This is what made me want to read this book over others.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Hat Man (post #2)

    There is an international phenomenon that millions of people have experienced. Shadow people, and more specifically the hat man, have both been seen by many people, including myself. I had no idea who or what they were until I stumbled across a video about them on YouTube about a year after I initially saw the hat man. They are associated with being evil spirits, and the worst of them is the hat man. He is called by many names in different cultures, but symptoms experienced by his presence are commonly the same. Intense fear and feelings of having something sitting on your chest are two of the most common things experienced by those who encounter him. Most people, including myself, have only seen them during episodes of sleep paralysis.

The Chupacabra (post #1)

I have heard stories about the Chupacabra my entire life because of my Puerto Rican background. The first stories came from Puerto Rico in March 1995 when 8 sheep were found dead with 3 holes bitten into them with all their blood drained. In August of the same year, over 150 animals were found to have the same fate. It has been described to be about 4 to 5 feet tall and walk on its hind legs but run on all fours. It is said to have scaly green skin, and long claws. Thrill seekers from all over the world have searched for their own encounter with the creature, and some have come up with their own proof in the form of photos and videos. I personally will not be going out trying to find it, as I’m not sure what you should do when you do. However, we can’t be sure of their existence until they are able to be truly identified and studied.


 Lost in all of the craziness of 2020, the government released videos and images of UFOs. Normally, this would be considered massive news and would be the only thing we talk about for months. However, with everything else happening, it seemed that people talked about this for about 20 minutes and moved on. When I was younger, I thought that the idea of aliens was ridiculous and I was certain that they did not exist. However, now I realize that it would be short-sighted to believe that we are the only intelligent life that exists in this never-ending universe. There could be life similar to humans somewhere else asking the same questions we are. We just do not know. While I do not want to dismiss people's stories of alien encounters or abductions, I think some of them sound a bit far-fetched. People can say anything they want, so it is difficult to just take someone's word for it. I also think it is interesting how when we think of aliens, we all have a universal image in our head about what we think they would look like, when they could actually look like anything. For all we know, we could have encountered them without even knowing it. It is also generalized that aliens would all be evil and looking to abduct us or kill us, but that could also be false.

Post 2 The Jersey Devil

 Although I have lived in South Jersey my whole life, I have never actually learned about the Jersey Devil. I had heard of it, but I had always dismissed it as just being too ridiculous to spend any time with. However, after reading the stories in this lecture, I am far more interested in it now. I still think it is absolutely insane to believe that a woman can give birth to a creature like this. It just is not logical. However, I think it is natural to be intrigued and even creeped out by some of the stories of witnesses. I think it is likely that many people who go looking for the Devil will create images and noises in their head to trick them into thinking there is something there, when there is not.

Post 1 Self-deception/ Superstition

In the first lecture, I thought that the part about superstition and patternicity in the TED video was very interesting. I liked the example he gave of the dangerous predator and rustle in the grass in comparing Type 1 and Type II errors. The Type II error is much more costly so we naturally assume all patterns are real. As a huge sports fan, I can be very superstitious. I think that my superstition started many years ago during an Eagles game that is known as the Miracle at the Meadowlands. I had been watching the game downstairs while they were getting blown out, and then they came back and won as soon as I changed locations of where I was watching. Since then, I still hold superstitions about where I watch a game or even what jersey I wear. I usually feel ridiculous thinking that it makes any kind of impact, but I still do it anyway. I think this goes along with the analogy of the dangerous predator and naturally believing all patterns are real.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Book Review- This Idea Must Die: Scientific Ideas That Are Blocking Progress

Science today is not merely about discovering new ways of thinking. Advancement in the field is much about offering new perspectives to solving problems as much as it is rebuking and better yet abandoning redundant ideas and concepts. This is precisely John Brockman’s message in his publication This Idea Must Die: Scientific Ideas That Are Blocking Progress. Scientific progress, according to Max Planck, was a state in which authentic and plausible scientific concepts do not triumph over redundant and questionable ones by simply exposing their weaknesses but by simply being. This is to say that “lame” scientific arguments will eventually wither out and be forgotten- paving the way for more meaningful ones that contribute to the advancement of the discipline. Planck’s theory was plausible, but the reality was and is still very different. For this reason, Brockman engages over 175 influential personalities in the field of science in an attempt to weed out scientific ideas and concepts that have outlived their usefulness. This group of contributors includes scientists (such as Eric J. Topol, Andrei Linde, Robert Sapolsky, and Sherry Turkle), thinkers and philosophers (such as Sam Harris, Martin Rees and Steven Pinker), economists (such as Hans Ulrich Obrist and Eric R. Weinstein), media personalities (such as Douglas Rushkoff), and psychologists (such as Nicholas Humprey, Susan Blackmore, Adam Waytz, Gary Klein, Stephen M. Kosslyn and Ernst Poppel amongst others). Each of these personalities has a unique stand on specific areas of science; for instance, Rushkoff in his “The Atheism Prerequisite” talks about godlessness while Susan Blackmore questions what we know about the brain and consciousness.  

Going through this book, every reader is bound to have a favorite part in the sense that it peaks interest and challenges one to be a more diverse and liberal thinker. For me, that part- just like my colleague Carrie Alpin was Lee Smolin’s “The Big Bang Was the First Moment of Time”. I have always been intrigued by our background-the origin of humanity and its external surrounding. Naturally, I have enjoyed studying related concepts as argued by renowned scientists and philosophers such as Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (through his theory of the transmutation of species) and Charles Darwin (through his theory of common descent). Here, however, the focus is on the origin of our world and universe. Smolin is transparent in acknowledging that the arguments of the Big Bang Theory is plausible on one part, the part that argues that what we see today is a result of a 13.8 billion-year expansion of the hot and dense primordial state. It is not merely a theory but one with the empirical backing to substantiate it. On the other part, Smolin is categorical in stating that the consequential explanation of the 13.8 billion-year evolution theory is not convincing enough-at least not from a scientific perspective. His main concern is that the explanation implies that the Big bang was the very first moment of time; that absolutely nothing existed before then-not even time. To him, this is far-fetched. Stating that the Bing Bang was the first moment of time discredits the theory’s arguments because in Smolin’s own words, “there was no “before” on which to base an explanation.” It is this flaw that sees the introduction of religious explanations that require nothing but faith to hold “true”. If Big bang was the first moment in time, then we have been relying on laws of nature we know nothing of. In terms of application to the modern context, this “weakness” of Big bang offers a plausible chance of linking general relativity and quantum physics.

Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition (Book Report)

        According to history, superstitions have been practiced for over 5,000 years. Many people today still believe in superstitious rituals. They believe that superstitious rituals ultimately increase their chances for success. For instance, some college students use lucky pens or pencils during exams. Students believe that using their lucky pen or pencil will allow them to achieve a higher score on their exams. In Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, Stuart Vyse discusses pseudoscientific ideas that many people believe to be real. Vyse explains the behavior behind one’s pseudoscientific actions and how it impacts a person. Many of Vyse’s explanations are supported by data and psychological evidence. In addition to pseudoscientific ideas, Vyse distinguishes between religion and pseudoscience. Specifically, he discusses how religion is not the same as superstition. He creates an understanding between superstition and religion by defining it in his own terms. Overall, Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition is an interesting book that goes over the reasoning behind some of the irrational and superstitious rituals that humans do.

         While reading Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, chapter 2 piqued my interest. In chapter 2, Vyse discusses superstitious rituals and ‘good luck’ charms that supposedly increases the success rate of a desired outcome. For instance, many college students use lucky pens or pencils during an exam in order to increase their scores. While reading about superstitious rituals and ‘good luck’ charms, I felt that I could personally relate to this topic. Personally, I use a lucky pen and pencil whenever I take exams. However, I do not believe that using the ‘lucky’ pen and pencil increases my score through luck. In fact, I believe that using a ‘lucky’ pen or pencil reduces my anxiety while taking an exam. The pen and pencil comforts me during the exam since I have been using it for a long time. The ‘lucky’ pen and pencil reduces my anxiety allowing me to think clearly which ultimately leads to a higher exam score. Another superstitious ritual that some college students’ practice is going to the testing site prior to the testing date. Visiting the testing site allows the student to relieve any exam related stress or anxiety. By using this pseudoscientific method, I believe that it reduces my anxiety which ultimately leads to a better score.

         Many people around the world practice superstitious rituals because they believe that it will increase the chances of their desired outcome. People who practice superstitious rituals blindly follow and accept it without slow thinking (critical thinking). Slow thinking is “reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do” (Robert Ennis). Slow thinking is harder to do daily since it is not the natural states of affairs. On the other hand, fast thinking relies on cognitive heuristics, rules of thumb, presuppositions, biases, assumptions, and intuitive flaws. Most people that practice superstitious rituals rely on fast thinking because they use biases and baseless assumptions to justify their actions. If the people that practice superstitious rituals observe any increase in success rate, then they will continue to practice their superstitious rituals without critically analyzing the data. Although their ritual is not scientifically proven to work, many still practice irrational rituals without question. Fast thinking is not always used for the worse; it can be used for good too. Specifically, some students struggle with exam anxiety which negatively impacts their testing performance by obtaining a lower score. Students can lower college anxiety levels by using pseudoscience. A real-world use for superstitious rituals and ‘lucky’ charms could be to reduce anxiety levels. Like a placebo pill, students can practice superstitious rituals or keep a ‘lucky’ charm to lower anxiety levels. My personal ‘lucky’ pen and pencil comfort me during exams which ultimately leads to lower anxiety levels. The lower anxiety levels allow me to think clearly which leads to better performance on the exam. This pseudoscientific method could be applied to help people with anxiety disorder. Aforementioned, fast thinking can be used to help people with anxiety. On the other hand, fast thinking can be used to trick other people such as talking with the afterlife from Derren Brown's video. Overall, fast thinking has its benefits and downsides.


  Here are my ‘lucky’ pen and pencil:


Book Report- Why People Believe Weird Things

While reading the book "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer, there seemed to be one main reoccurring theme throughout the book. Real science is backed up and proven with facts while pseudoscience is completely based on belief. One thing important thing you learn while reading the book is that you need to be able to determine the difference between something scientifically proven true and a pseudoscience. Without knowing the difference you might believe a pseudoscientific belief, as they use imprecise, scientific-sounding language. They also use terms that are illogical and incorrect as a way to seem credible to an average person. Science uses laws and theories, theories can be unproven and then are expanded upon. This allows for growth and improvement over time as our technology continues to get better. However, pseudoscience does not involve any laws or theories. Pseudoscience is based completely on belief and since you can't technically disprove someone's subjective belief it is hard to make new findings. In addition, pseudosciences don't progress due to the fact that they can never be proven wrong or right. 
Another big theme covered in the book was that divination was not real. Psychics can seem pretty accurate at first, but in reality they are just using tricks to fool their audience. One particular trick they use is a cold reading, where they try to guess details about someone's life. This may seem difficult, but by using really vague guesses and reading body language is actually fairly easy. A hot reading is where a psychic researches a client's life ahead of time, usually done during a show to try to impress the audience. 

The general overview of the book is trying to explain why even today people still hold beliefs that are outdated, weird, or just make no sense. My favorite part about the book is debunking the psychics because since I was a kid I've known that it was not really the person's ability. I always knew there was a trick, but actually reading and learning about how they do it was interesting. This relates to a class because it is basically a pseudoscience as the psychics are using language and tricks to deceive you. Overall, this book was filled with interesting knowledge and an enjoyable read. 

Misbehaving by Richard Thaler


Richard Thaler talks about the history of behavioral economics, and mainstream economics. Out of all the social sciences, Economics is the most influential, with how it has impacts on people’s lives. What happened was, from the 70s to the modern era, there was this classical economic model that humans were rational. Everyone made these basic, classical rational economic decisions, based on the utility of the products we had. In today's society, everyone is so economically different, not everyone is living the same. This is the culmination as Thaler describes as misbehaving and the study of misbehaving of others.

The way people misbehave is completely opposite as the way people in economists think how people misbehave, or how the way people in economic models misbehave. The people he (Thaler) studies are human beings, just ordinary people doing the most they can for their personal lives. Thaler talks about how we as humans do not always choose the right things. Sometimes we do not exercise properly, or we overeat. Some of us do not save the money we should be saving so we can retire at a very honest age.

My favorite part of this book and it really opened my eyes was more towards the end of the book. Richard Thaler dropped a lot of knowledge about how the standard economic models do not explain real-world behaviors. Behavioral economics has been accepted by the mid-2000s, and even Thaler harps on real-world problems, and the discipline we must have to tackle them. Whether it be paying your taxes on time or saving money for retirement, these go into what we talk about as a class with how science relies on Slow Thinking and Critical Thinking. A lot of people do not understand how the economy works. I even learned about what mainstream economics are and different traits of economics. You have to be think very thoroughly on the type of income you are bringing to the table, and make a decision whether it is enough to get by in life or if you want to make even more money. We discuss Slow Thinking in the lecture slides and how to have good habits of mind and what a selfish critical thinker is.

With being the person who is good at thinking but unfair to others, which is what a selfish critical thinker is, I think that is key in economics. It is always good to think of others in any point in time, but to focus on your own economic values and have your own set plan, that is more important. Knowing more about Economics and how it can affect yourself in the real world, I think people should pay more attention to economics, and get a better understanding in life a little bit more. Richard Thaler talks about in his text, that the textbooks for courses of economics are about 10 years behind. Kids today need to learn how to handle their own money and think for themselves in the long run.

Flim-Flam Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Dilutions By James Randi


Book Report

Flim-Flam Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Dilutions By James Randi

In the text, James has discovered and exposed what he considers to be disgraceful dishonesty that has been endorsed extensively in the media (Randi, 1982). Therefore, the author is fearless and calls researchers to analysis concerning their disappointments and impostures. On the other hand, he has explained how scientists have wrongly served their readers by failing to follow the necessary processes obligatory by their exercise and custom (Randi, 1982). At this point, James expresses what he considers to be chaotic research, which is followed by justifications of evident catastrophes, and the book reveals such errors and caricatures (Randi, 1982). Therefore, the book has provided the reader with a persuasive and substantial document that disconcerts and enlightens the readers.

In the text, James expresses his paramount investigations regarding the mystical, occult, and uncanny entitlements that have impressed the intelligence of the modern public and generation (Randi, 1982). The author has concentrated on mental investigators, hovering, dowsing fortunetelling, and psychokinesis, among other areas (Randi, 1982). Therefore, he has solved issues regarding individuals who are always unable to distinguish between sincere scientific research and the pseudoscientific nonsense that results in unconventional theories.

One of the most attractive sections to me in the text is where he has discussed how researchers have been misleading their readers in their researches. According to the book, most researchers have not been following the correct procedures and skills acquired in their training when doing their researchers (Randi, 1982). They have been recording anything for their benefit and apply skills that make it difficult for many readers to distinguish. Hence, it becomes difficult to evaluate legit researchers and vague ones, and many of them are left confused. We have discussed researchers who would do their study and encounter situations based on their field of interest rather than what is found in the research.

In our course lectures, we have identified biased research that may seem real, but in reality, they are not. On this note, the text has discussed researchers who conduct such studies in detail. Some are so skillful in a manner that it is not easy for a reader to distinguish where biasness is applied. On the other hand, some researchers have been concentrating on issues that attract them and leave other content uncovered (Randi, 1982). Therefore, a field that was supposed to be two way argued is left with some issues not discussed or wrongly discussed.

When researchers do this, they outwardly mislead readers. A reader can be interested in investigating a particular issue and decide to use secondary data for references. Therefore, if such a person consumes a wrongly done study, the wrong information is established and recorded, which may mislead so many people if the later research is to be used by various people. On this note, the entire line to use studies did wrongly first, or the study did refereeing to this researches will have the wrong information.

In conclusion, the text is a perfect demonstration of all wrong styles applied by biased researchers in their study. Hence, it can be used as a reference to todays world and the events of the pandemic. The current issues regarding the pandemic and the skewed numbers and data relayed to individuals is purely biased. Thus the public needs to open their own personal investigation concerning said data and should apply knowledge entailed in the book to respond and create their own conclusions. I myself have been in several situations where I am investigating some issues and find contradicting solutions; hence, it is necessary for me to examine more to get the correct information concerning the matter, because it is difficult evaluating the wrongly done researches.

Book Report: A Demon Haunted World- Science as a Candle in the Dark

 For my book report, I made a Google Slideshow and recorded myself presenting it. Enjoy! :)

*if the link doesn't work, let me know via email, but it's published under my YouTube account with my full name. You should be able to find it there.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

"Chupacabra " (Post #3)

The Chupacabra has been a BIG part of my childhood. I lived in Mexico with my parents and grandparents for over a year. My grandparents own a farm so the Chupacabra will always be brought up. My Grandmother would use the Chupacabra to always make us fall into line ad not disobey. The story was always great to tell at night with the family. I wouldn't go outside of the house or even bother to go to the bathroom because I'd believe the Chupacabra would come and take me. 

"Aliens" (Post #2)

Aliens have always been my conversation starter. I am such a strong believer that there is life out there in space even if it just means bacteria. I think Aliens is something that will catch everyone's attention. I personally believe that Aliens do not look like the way that Hollywood makes them out to look. I know we all remember when they "confirmed" the existence of UFO"s earlier this summer. This really made me think about what else is true. And if any Aliens are held captive out there. The reason why I believe Aliens is such a popular topic is because of the movie that Hollywood produces and also social media. Space is so vast so why wouldn't there be any life out there? 

"Jersey Devil" (post #1)

     I was excited when I saw this was one of our lectures. Folklore was always something that made me excited. Especially the story about the Jersey Devil. A few years back when I was 15, my father took me to the place where the Jersey Devil has been spotted. We went after the sun had set to make the experience a little more fascinating. A part of me knew that I was not going to see anything that night but another part of me had her fingers crossed. Sadly I didn't encounter anything. The whole idea of a woman giving birth to a creature that has a head of a horse and wings like a bat is absurd to me. I feel as if people have mistaken objects or animals to be the Jersey Devil. It is so easy for the human eye to get tricked. 

Book Report on “Why People Believe Weird Things” By Michael Shermer

I suppose I should begin with an admission of guilt. I am guilty of giving my hard-earned dollars to psychics and tarot card readers in the past. I find myself, now, realizing that I could have been considered a “believer”. I wanted to believe the great things I was being told. Looking back, I am trying to remember the psychics using what has been described in this book as “tells” or subconscious indicators used to obtain information from me. The book’s section where psychics, or mentalists, were debunked caused a sense of embarrassment for me.

The most relatable section of the book for me, which was my favorite part, was chapter 3 because it was an opener for me. I am, without a doubt, a skeptic in relation to the Roswell NM alien incident. I find it astonishing that there were/are so many believers in this “discovery”. The number of things that disprove this alien landing far outweigh any supporting information. I see the same level of belief in false or incredible stories on social media on nearly a daily basis. People are so easily led to believe claims of miracle weight loss scams or political hoaxes. Social media seems to have no standard of factual information to adhere to. It is evident to me that people choose to believe what makes them hopeful or agrees with their personal beliefs. For example, a person committed to a political party will be more likely to think slanderous statements of “fact” by the opposing party.

People tend to believe what they see online as fact. This can relate to the lecture about the Jersey Devil and the people who believe the folk tale from the newspapers and the “witness”. I wish that the masses would look at information with a more analytical mind. It would be easier to change a skeptic’s mind on a topic than a believer’s mind. This relates to the “witnesses” of the Jersey Devil and the difference between the people who do not believe in it. It is easier to convince someone. A skeptic will look at the facts and probability of truths, but a believer seems to accept simply. I am, after years of education and disappointments in my personal life, a skeptic.

By - Victoria Wolford

Post #3 - Graphology (Lecture 8)

From this lecture, I understood that graphology is a type of analysis that studies different physical characteristics or the study of different patterns of handwriting. Graphology explains that everyone's script has a character of its own. This theory is due to the uniqueness of the writer's personality. Therefore, people believe that graphology can identify personality traits in humans. In my opinion, this is a fascinating lecture! 

I have seen in movies, and TV shows detectives studying someone's handwriting but never really understood it until reading this lecture. I thought it was amazing how someone could figure out who the actual author was by how someone writes. However, I found myself thinking about my handwriting. I feel like depending on the situations, my script is either very sloppy or neat. I see it change all the time. I then thought about graphology being compared to someone's signature. My question would be, how do the forensic graphologists determine who is the authentic writer if the scripts change often? I believe it would be challenging to figure out sometimes. But that is why they are the experts and not me! 

By - Victoria Wolford

Post #2 - The Jersey Devil (Lecture 2)

    The story of the Jersey Devil has always interested me ever since I was a child. This New Jersey folklore, which developed from around the 1700s, has developed roughly over 200 witnesses that have claimed to see this creature living in the Pine Barrens woods. Our lecture discusses a story about a woman named Mrs. Leeds, who became pregnant with her 13th child and wanted that child to become the devil. I was told this as a child and how I was told with the story ending with the woman getting her wish and has been lurking around the southern part of New Jersey ever since. Fun fact, the New Jersey's hockey team was named the New Jersey Devils after the famed creature.

    I have just recently watched an X-Files episode where it was all about the Jersey Devil. From what I have learned and what I have watched, I believe that it is fascinating to see the difference in theories and stories. In the episode, detectives Mulder and Scully investigate the murder of a homeless man in Atlantic County, New Jersey. Mulder believes there is a connection to a 1947 case where a "half-human creature ate a person." Along the way, Mulder meets some people that believe a man was killed by the Jersey Devil, such as the ranger and a homeless man. Mulder waits out in a dark alley and finally sees "a"  creature, but it escapes. After this find, Mulder visits a professor who validates Mulder's theory on a human reverting to connivers neanderthal. After another body is found in the wood, Mulder locates a female creature but is killed by the police. Ending the episode, it showed a wild child searching the woods for food.

By - Victoria Wolford

Post #1 - Ways of Thinking (Lecture 1)

During this lecture, it explained the different types of thinkers. We learned about the three different kinds of thinkers and the traits that make them different. These different ways of thinking are labeled the native thinker, the selfish critical thinker, and the fair-minded thinker. In my opinion, I suggest we should all strive to be fair-minded thinkers regarding the world today and the amount of fighting and disagreeing that goes on. People becoming more like fair-minded thinkers would lead this world to have a lot less hate and fight if we all understood and respected one another for the way they think or feel. Respectfully explaining our views and ideas without telling someone they are wrong could be the start of everyone becoming more critical in the way they observe and understand the world today. 

One article I have read over the years gives good examples of the different characteristics of critical thinkers. The report states that critical thinkers think "clearly and rationally." (Patel, 2018). These types of people make logical connections between ideas, and they are crucial to exploring and understanding the world we live in. The article teaches the read that critical thinkers can stay as objective as possible when looking at any information. (Patel, 2018). 

Another interesting point was that the best analytical thinkers are also critical thinkers. It explained that critical thinkers need to assess the information and draw conclusions based on raw data. This characteristic leads them to be called "creative thinkers." (Patel, 2018). Looking deeper into the data, the most significant difference between critical thinkers and creative thinkers is that creativity is associated with generating ideas. In contrast, critical thinking is associated with analyzing and appraising those ideas. (Patel, 2018).

Patel, Deep. 16 Characteristics of Critical Thinkers. 24 Oct. 2018,

By - Victoria Wolford