Monday, July 31, 2023

Thinking Fast and Slow

 Thinking Fast and Slow

Report by Jared Keane

Pseudoscience and the Paranormal

Overview -

“Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman invites the reader to question the ways of thinking and mentions two types of thought. System 1 operates by thinking quickly and jumping to conclusions, System 2 operates by thinking slowly and carefully considering facts and evidence. The book mentions that System 1 can be useful in dangerous, fight or flight responses and can help us gather information quickly, just not as accurately or reliably as system 2. In fact, in order for the slow, accurate thinking in System 2 to work, information is fed through System 1 first (that’s why the systems are called 1 and 2). Furthermore, System 1 is unconscious. That’s where plenty of cognitive biases and mental processing flaws can come into the picture. 

Favorite Part -

Roy Baumeister’s social experiments. He concluded that mental activity is in some ways related to physical activity. In addition, when the body is starved of glucose (sugar) during exercise, the muscles will become exhausted much quicker; could the same be true for mental exercises as well? Baumeister’s “Ego Depletion” refers to a theory that emotional and mental effort requires a replenishment of energy just like physical effort does. He notes that ego-depleted people succumb more quickly to the urge to quit. Basically, people who haven't eaten recently will give up their effort quicker than those who have maintained energy; the idea that mental energy is more than just a metaphor. Interestingly, a study was done on eight parole judges in Israel. While reviewing applications for parole, on average, 35% of applicants were accepted. Then, after the judges had a lunch break, 65% of applicants were accepted. During the next two hours, the approval rate started steadily dropping. The conclusion was that tired and fatigued individuals tend to fall back on an easier default position. It is definitely a macabre thought to imagine those whose decisions we rely on can be so easily influenced.

Connection to Class -

The book mentions many topics discussed in class. Cognitive Heuristics, which involves unconscious and quick thinking based on guidelines and ‘rules of thumb’ are frequently brought up. Confirmation bias is also a common point the book makes. Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to have a favor for things that already support their beliefs. This can lead to people intentionally not searching out information that places doubts on their beliefs. Anchoring, which is the effect of people getting influenced by large or excessive numbers is mentioned in a brief section. Loss aversion, which is the tendency for people to take action simply to avoid loss, rather than seek gains is mentioned and related to the emotional side of system 1. Finally, The Halo Effect, which is if a person has one positive attribute about them, there is a tendency to overall view that person as positive. Sunk Cost, which was also talked about in the Midterm, is the tendency that most people will avoid to continue to take risks if they already experienced losses. 

Creative Section -

For this section, I have selected two videos; the first is about cognitive biases. In summary, a series of participants are given the numbers 2, 4, 8. The participants have to guess the rule it follows. Most say it’s multiplying by 2, but it’s not. However, 20, 40, 80 follows the rule. If not multiplying by 2, then what is it? It’s only when participants try to guess something that breaks the rule that they get it right. One group guessed 10, 9, 8. They found out it doesn’t follow the rule. Only then, could they guess the rule is numbers in ascending order.  The point of the experiment is people always try to prove what they already believe, and very few try to disprove what they believe. The scientific method was founded on if you intentionally try to disprove something and you can’t then you might be onto something. So many times throughout this class and in this book, we learn that people have a confirmation bias and almost always attempt to confirm what they already know instead of challenging it.

The second example is more specifically related to System 1 and System 2. He notes that the slow paced thinking of System 2 is often unaware of what the fast paced System 1 is doing. Therefore, if system one quickly deduces information rapidly, system 2 “could” catch the mistake, but is often unaware one was made at all. It’s like reading a sentence. I'm typing this very sentence pretty quickly, but it is only when I go back and reread it, that I’ll ever hope to notice a mistake. One of the examples used is how within System 2, working memory is very bad at remembering short term information. The number 3202 is difficult to recall just five minutes from now, but if you reverse it, it’s just the present year - 2023. It provides context. The main point is the relationship between System 1 and System 2. Not just how these systems interpret memory, but how the unreliability of system 1 can often lead to false information like biased assumptions. 

Both of these videos are around 10 minutes and I highly recommend checking them out, they are highly informative.

Video 1 -

Video 2 -

Extension -

Since the book frequently lists the disadvantages of quick thinking and suggests that both systems should work together to be efficient and accurate, I propose the actual advantages of System 1. System 1 throughout the book is criticized for its inaccuracy, while true, it can find its niche. One of the largest roles that system one has is in common sense. While common sense is not naturally occurring, it can be trained to play a role in the subconscious mind. The decision not to turn down a dark alley at 2:00am is system 1, it’s fast and impulsive, but it is also the best possible decision to make at that moment. System 2, as it relates to the paranormal, might be super useful. After all, if someone tells you that the Earth looks flat and therefore must be flat, you don’t want to immediately and unquestionably rely on that. However, if someone tells you that it’s a bad idea to jump into a tank filled with sharks, it is fairly reliable to quickly and effortlessly rely on your common sense without a second thought.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Blog Post #3: False Memories


I found the lecture about false memories to be equal parts interesting and terrifying. The TEDx Talk with Elizabeth Loftus, specifically the part with eyewitness testimony stood out to me the most. The fact that they identified 300 convicted people that were later proven to be innocent and 75% of those convictions were due to eyewitness testimonies is truly awful. Part of me wonders how many of those faulty testimonies were a result of the biases held by the various eyewitnesses. I am also curious to see the demographics data of those who were falsely convicted because of the eyewitness testimonies to see if there may have been a common pattern as a result of commonly held biases.

Blog Post #2: Learning Styles


I recall having a teacher in elementary school who was a big supporter of the audio, visual, kinesthetic learning styles which we’ve now come to learn has very little meaning. I do think that learning styles do exist to an extent, but it is not as simple as putting students into one of three boxes. I believe that there are many different methods of teaching that students may find themselves most receptive to. Furthermore, an individual student may have many methods that they may be more or less receptive to depending on what it is that is being taught. However, it is much easier to classify ourselves as an “X”-type learner and place the blame on that when we don’t perform as well as we would like.

Blog Post #1: 10% of Our Brains


The age-old myth of people only using 10% of their brains was always a fun one to me. Part of me thinks that part of why this belief gained so much traction was that it made people, myself included, think that they are greater than they actually are. The idea that we are sitting on a gold mine of untapped potential that we can tap into gives people hope. Honestly when I was a child believing in this myth meant there was the chance of getting psychokinetic powers one day, which was a thought I held onto for an embarrassingly long time.

Out of Body Expiriences - Beyond the Body

   Photo of surgeons operations  

    Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are subjective experiences in which individuals feel as though they have separated from their physical bodies and can observe themselves and their surroundings from a location outside their body. These experiences can be associated with a sense of floating or hovering, and some people report seeing their own body or the surgical room from above or even other parts of the hospital.

    Working in the medical field I have heard a few out of body experiences and they always amaze me. These patients are able to recall things that they shouldn't be able to recall. These patients who are being operated on and have an OBE from my experience in most cases have a normal heart rate, oxygen, blood-pressure, and other vital signs indicative of being awake during surgery. Normal vital signs mean the patient is not awake during the surgery, if the patient was awake and aware they would have a faster heart rate, higher bp and would be in distress. In OBE's vitals are normal which is an incredible phenomenon.

    In many spiritual beliefs, the human body is considered a vessel that houses the soul or spirit. During an OBE, some individuals believe that their consciousness temporarily separates from the physical body, allowing them to explore other dimensions or realms. This experience is often seen as evidence of the existence of an immortal soul or consciousness beyond the physical body.

Picture link: 

Friday, July 28, 2023

UFO sightings

    UFOs and aliens are a symbol for most people that says we're not alone in this big galaxy. The belief in aliens serves as a deflection of dispair in everyday lives. The high following of the belief that one day aliens will come to our planet and either help us towards a utopian world or send us spiraling into a dystopian world could be seen as a form of religion. This article better explains how the belief and faith in aliens can be considered a religion. By looking at UFO sightings in this regard, I can definitely see why so many people desperately try to cling onto this belief by turning towards unreliable pseudoscience. I guess you could consider it to be a sort of 'blissful ignorance' to have this untrue faith. However, living in this false state of denial can lead to more problems than solutions.
    Another thing I wanted to mention in this post is the recent court cases with testimonials that the government has aliens in hiding and etc. This website gives a brief synopsis of the trial. Apparently, some government pilots had seen some alien aircraft and many questions that officials had for them he insisted they had to be in a confidential setting. If you've heard about this please comment below! I'm very interested in what other people in this class are thinking about these trials. Am I crazy for thinking theres at least a morsel of truth behind this?

Blog Post #3 Using 10% of Our Brain

 Lucy, featuring Scarlett Johannson is a movie that I am willing to admit, made me believe the age old myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. It wasn't until I did my own individual research years after watching the film to find out humans on average use 90-95% of brain functionality. That is a huge difference from 10% that I had originally thought. This myth tends to prove the point of how gullible people can be. I know personally after Lucy had come out and few of my friends had seen it, we all believed that we were only using 10% of our brains and tried to find ways to increase it which realistically probably took 100%.

Blog Post 3: The End of the World

 The End of the World was an interesting subject to read about. It does seem as though every few years there is some type of hysteria about the world coming to an end and how judgment day will soon be upon us. I personally think some of these reasons for that belief are quite silly while others are more understandable. People thinking that doomsday is coming due to the Mayan calendars ending in 2012 is rather silly. However, something like Y2K is more understandable due to the fact that computers and that type of technology was newer back in the 90s. With everything being run through computers, I can see why that’d be quite scary. Or even with Covid-19 and all of the controversy around it with people not wanting to wear masks or get the vaccine and make things more dangerous for others. I personally think the end of the world is going to come from a nuclear war. I believe there are far too many weapons of mass destruction controlled by irrational world leaders. And all it will take is one of them to send one at another and the other will retaliate and so on.

Blog Post 2: Subliminal Messaging

Subliminal messaging was a pretty cool thing to learn about. From my understanding it is shown mostly in today’s society by creating an image in everyone's head of one thing or activity that includes other things or products. This is mostly shown in advertisements and commercials. They give the most obvious example which was going to the movie theater and eating popcorn and drinking Coke. Another one that I could instantly realize I was guilty of taking part in is watching a sports game while eating pizza/wings and drinking a beer. Anytime you see a football game advertisement it’ll include those things. It’s like it's installed in my brain that anytime I make plans with anyone to watch a game, we will take part in that. Another example I’ve noticed before is on the Tostitos logo. They have the two “t’s” as people eating a chip with a bowl of salsa underneath it. I personally don’t know who would eat those without some kind of dip but that is definitely something their company put there in order to sell more salsa containers along with the chips.

Blog Post 1: The Jersey Devil

The Jersey Devil is a cryptid that is known by most people coming from South Jersey. The legend is often brought up in situations where one is camping, sitting around a fire pit, or even just telling scary stories. Legend has it that the Jersey Devil looks like a being made up of a horse, goat, and bat, that also has claws and bright red eyes. I’m personally not one to believe in many cryptids, however I do receive pleasure from hearing the stories that many people have when claiming to have seen it. I enjoyed reading the origin story about Mother Leeds giving birth to her 13th child and praying that it’d be a devil, then the child transforming into that. I also like to look into stories of the proclaimed sightings of these beings. I will often look to see if the area of the sightings has any animals that the person may have actually seen but didn’t get the best look at. The only thing I could think these people may have seen in the South Jersey area that somewhat fits the given descriptions is a large bird such as a turkey vulture or something like that. Although turkey vultures don’t even really match up too well with the description. So who knows, maybe the Jersey Devil is out there somewhere.

Blog Post #2 Psychic Crime Detectives

 Psychic crime detectives are a new topic for me. When it comes to believing someone who claims to have psychic abilities to solve a crime and science based evidence, I believe I would lean towards the scientific proof. Not to down play people like Noreen Renier, who claim to be able to solve crime in a newer fashion but science based results just have a better chance of providing substantial evidence that help professionals get the job done. Even though Renier had speculated where Charles Capel may be found there was no real evidence which lead to his discovery.  

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Blog Post #1 The Jersey Devil

 Having grown up in South Jersey, the lore of the Jersey Devil has been one that I've been told time and time again. It wasn't until now that I've learned the true history of the Leeds family and their connection with the Pine Barrens. Having said that, the lore of the Jersey Devil has withstood the test of time and still told when the topic of ghost stories comes up in a conversation. I am no one to judge whether this myth is all fake or potentially has some truth to it but it sure does make the history of the pine barrens somewhat mysterious and exciting. I remember as a child, watching Discovery Channel's Monster Quest, which was a show where cryptologists would go all over the world in hopes of finding a mythical creature and being so excited to see New Jersey on my tv screen when the episode of the Jersey Devil aired. Real or legend, the Jersey Devil will always be a representation of New Jersey. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Factfulness - Book Report

 I. Introduction

 Pseudoscience and the paranormal have long fascinated the human imagination, but the lines between evidence-based thinking and believing in unsubstantiated claims often blur. In an age where misinformation is prevalent and empirical evidence is ignored, it is important to develop critical thinking skills that will help us navigate our increasingly complex world. Hans Rosling's book Factfulness is a beacon of hope in this intellectual haze, offering many people a fresh perspective on how to treat information critically and scientifically.

 II. Book outline

 “Factfulness” challenges our preconceived notions about global trends and highlights the importance of data-driven analytics in understanding reality. Rosling argues that media coverage has an inherent tendency to be sensational, leading many to view the world's progress in an outdated and negative way.

 The author introduces ten instincts that shape our worldview, including the instinct of ignorance, the instinct of fear, and the instinct of size. By examining these instincts through data-driven narratives, Rosling invites readers to challenge their own assumptions about issues such as population growth, poverty levels, education and health.

III. Favorite part of the book

One of the chapters that particularly struck me was The Blame instinct. In this chapter, Rosling discusses the human tendency to assign blame or find simplistic explanations for complex situations. This chapter emphasizes the importance of considering nuances rather than scapegoating when seeking solutions to social problems.

 What struck me most was how Rosling used historical factual examples to debunk common myths perpetuated by pseudoscientific beliefs. He gives examples of quick fixes being proposed without considering the underlying complexity or systemic problem, which is common in the pseudoscientific community.

 Ⅳ. Relations with pseudoscience

 Rosling's emphasis on factfulness aligns directly with efforts to expose pseudoscience, the distortion of facts and empirical evidence. By encouraging readers to question their initial assumptions, Rosling effectively gives them the tools they need to discern pseudoscientific claims that lack conclusive support.

 Throughout his book, Rosling emphasizes the importance of understanding data and statistics. This emphasis on critical thinking helps distinguish between genuine scientific research and pseudoscience, based on anecdotal evidence and carefully selected data points.

 V. Criticism of pseudoscience in society

Pseudoscience finds fertile soil in today's society, permeating fields as diverse as healthcare, climate denial, and alternative medicine. The impact of this intrusion is far-reaching. These include the perpetuation of harmful practices, misallocation of resources and distorted public perceptions.

 Rosling's Factfulness addresses these issues by giving readers a toolkit to combat misinformation. He stresses the need for rigorous fact-checking and encourages individuals to seek reliable sources before taking any allegations at face value. Furthermore, he emphasizes the critical role that experts play in interpreting complex phenomena. This is in stark contrast to the self-proclaimed guru often associated with the pseudoscience movement. 

VI. Personal Reflections on Pseudoscience and Facts

 As a student in scientific research , I have seen firsthand how vulnerable people are to pseudoscientific beliefs. It is discouraging to see individuals fall prey to misleading claims despite conclusive evidence to the contrary.

However “Factfulness” reignited my optimism by showing that misconceptions can be systematically disproved by factual information presented in an understandable way. Rosling's book is a reminder that knowledge can really help in distinguishing factual analysis from unsubstantiated claims masquerading as truth.  

VII. Conclusion

In conclusion, Hans Rosling's Factfulness challenges us not only to evaluate our assumptions, but to adopt a fact-based worldview. By shedding light on the prevalence and impact of pseudoscience, Rosling gives readers the tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex information environment.

 Understanding the relationship between pseudoscience and factfulness is critical to combating misinformation. The book's emphasis on critical thinking enables individuals to challenge unsubstantiated claims while promoting a more evidence-based decision-making approach. In a world often dominated by pseudoscientific beliefs, factfulness brings hope by promoting a society that values ​​fact over fiction, reason over irrationality, and knowledge over ignorance. Through these lens, we can expose the illusions perpetuated by pseudoscience and aim for a more enlightened future. 

The End Of The World

Pseudoscience and the paranormal have always fascinated people and often led to the formation of conspiracy theories. A particularly interesting subset of these theories revolves around the end of the world. This blog post examines how fast thinking and slow critical thinking affect these conspiracy theories. Rapid thinking is characterized by rapid instinctive reactions based on cognitive biases and heuristics. It provides fertile ground for the dissemination and acceptance of doomsday conspiracy theories. People tend to rely on quick thinking in complex or uncertain situations. For example, when faced with global challenges such as climate change and pandemics, individuals may resort to overly simplistic explanations, such as secret societies orchestrating these events for nefarious purposes. There are many examples of slow critical thinking dispelling popular conspiracy theories about doomsday scenarios. For example, claims of an imminent apocalypse predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar are invalidated by a careful study of the historical context and Mayan culture. Similarly, scientific research consistently refutes claims that extraterrestrials are planning to destroy Earth. Comparing the effects of fast and slow critical thinking on conspiracy beliefs related to apocalyptic scenarios reveals that both play important roles in shaping public opinion about pseudoscience and the paranormal. . Quick thinking can lead people down a path formed by their reliance on unfounded beliefs 

Cognitive biases; but without slow critical thinking, many people would not be able to critically analyze why they believe what they believe. In developing doomsday conspiracy theories, it is important to recognize the interplay of fast thinking and slow critical thinking. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Subliminal messaging

 This lecture was very interesting to learn more about. I was somewhat aware of subliminal messaging but was happy to learn more about it. What`s sad and honestly very scary is that subliminal messaging is consistently used today. The concept of consumerism or “everyday life” is how a society functions, ultimately through subliminal messaging. Companies target their ideal consumers by appealing to their senses, using specific colors that may attract consumers and anything that increases salience towards their product. To some degree, modern countries have become addicted to consumerism, and most likely, we are not consciously aware. To purchase things is entirely human; we need to eat, sleep and maintain our activity. The lecture mentions how popcorn and Coke sales increased when displayed in front of an audience, and this tactic is still used today. In the theatres, promotional deals on food and beverages are shown before every film. Movie theaters attract consumers through these messages while appealing to their senses. 



  When I was in Elementary School, I used to be an avid watcher of History Channel Documentaries. This was in a period of transition for the Channel in between them actually producing historically accurate viewing materials and diving into pseudoscience (Ancient Aliens ring a bell?) Anyway, Lecture 4 unlocked a core memory for me when I remembered that I watched a documentary about Nostrademus and I got scared that the end was nigh. 

   Anyway,  Lecture 4 talked about how Nostradameus cryptic language gave him enough specific ambiguity where It would be hard to prove him as a quack. To give an example from the lecture, one of his predictions could accurately describe either the Blitz or 9/11. While this is important to emphasize, I also feel it's relevant that sometimes Nostrademus offers a prediction that is more detailed to the point of it being eery. To give an example that was published in a Guardian article from last year. The author Mario Redding stated that the French prophet's quatrains (a line of 4 stanzas) are indexed to certain dates. According to Redding, the quatrain 10/22 forecasted the October 2022 death of Queen Elizabeth II. The prophecy reads "“Because they disapproved of his divorce / A man who later they considered unworthy / The People will force out the King of the islands / A Man will replace who never expected to be king.”  
   Redding interpreted this line to refer to Prince Charles (now King Charles III). Many Britons still to this day do not forgive Charles for his nasty breakup with his first wife, Princess Diana. Moving forward, If one were to follow this prophecy to it's natural conclusion that it could also hint to Prince Harry ("A man will replace who never expected to be King") sucedding his father to the British throne. 
 Anyway, Here's the spooky thing about Redding's intereptation. He made this analysis in 2006 and passed away in 2017. Years before Queen Elizabeth's departure. This leads us to a trilemna. Either, this is a wild coincidence, Redding was off the mark with his analysis or there is some truth to Nostrademus's alleged power. Whatever the case might be, examples like this showcase why Nostradamus has enjoyed staying power among the populace even 500 years after his death.


Sunday, July 23, 2023

The Power of Subliminal Messaging

     Subliminal messaging involves the presentation of stimuli, such as images or sounds, known to be “below the threshold of conscious awareness”. These messages are designed to influence the subconscious mind. Some believe it can tap into our subconscious thoughts and desires, leading to positive changes in behavior, attitudes, and belief. Subliminal messaging has been used to enhance self-improvement and motivation. Messages in audio recordings or visuals can reinforce positive affirmations and can also play a role in stress reduction and relaxation techniques  Calming images or sounds can be incorporated, which helps lead to relaxation. I've known about subliminal messages since the beginning of high school while I was on a search for inspirational videos. I've put on subliminal message videos for sleeping, which was similar to white noise, and in my opinion, I didn't see a difference. Overall the topic of subliminal messages is very interesting, but it's hard to tell if it actually works or not.

Links to Subliminal Messages

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Book Report: Carl Sagan The Demon Haunted World; Science as a candle in the dark

     Carl Sagan was an Astronomer that was very into science and physics. In this book, he talks a lot about science and pseudoscience and how it has shaped the world we live in today. The paranormal myths that have been popular for the last decade/century, were even more popular in the 1800s-1900s. Sagan mentions that people were uninterested in science and didn't know how it worked, unlike him. Scientists and Astronomers used skepticism and critical thinking to understand a lot of the claims and theories that were presented. 

    He used the art of "baloney" detection a lot throughout this book when deep diving into different claims and theories, to weed out delusions and false information which encapsulated our daily lives. Sagan explained how the science used in this book, taught us a deep understanding of our universe. He uncovered a lot of topics on the planets in our universe, astrology, aliens, witches, etc. and how most of them are no good because there's no concrete evidence to back them up. To truly experience and have a better understanding of the world, Sagan suggests using real science (evidence) and critical thinking. 

    Chapter 7 was definitely my favorite chapter because it talked about witches, demons, whether they were real or not and discussed the (physical) evidence people have reported. Demons were causing people to have nightmares/night terrors, and how they would come down from the sky and sexually assault people of their choosing. It was disturbing to read that, but it was interesting and shocking because it was mainly done to women, and demons would leave "devils marks" on their victims private parts. If you were found to have "devil's marks" on your body, you were stripped naked and displayed to the public. Similar things happened to witches; If you were accused of being a witch, that makes you one. If you were accused of being one, people would do torturous things to you until you eventually die. That part is interesting because in today's society, witches are more looked up upon (as far as I know) than something that's bad.

Friday, July 21, 2023


While learning about Graphology, I found it very interesting to hear that the term originated back to 1868 and has many different systems. Handwriting is a personal and individual sense of oneself which is why I can understand the thought behind handwriting determining personality and characteristics. In this lecture I learned that the spacing between words and letters is looked at, as well as writing slant, pressure, and sizing. For example, if your letter sizes are large, that means you are confident. 

I was surprised to learn that Graphology is used to determine performance job ratings. But it was found that when this was used as a determinant for personnel selection, there were high financial losses. This is because they were using cold readings. They were making a guess or prediction that better hand writing would equal better work and performance. 

I always try to write neatly because this allows my mind to feel clear and put together. But when I am taking notes quickly, it often bothers me when it becomes messy. It makes me feel like my mind is messy too. 
I wanted to see a few examples of Graphology and the following website has great ones and includes what they mean.  

(Abigail Bell - Post #3) 

Subliminal Messaging

 I have always found Subliminal Messaging to be an interesting yet scary topic. In this lecture we covered James Vicary and his experimentation in the movie theater. It was impressive to see the results of the experiment, coke and popcorn sales increasing by 18% and 58% through the use of a stachistoscope.  With these new advancements and findings, advertisers saw the benefit of subliminal messaging. Today companies use this to assist in sending out a certain message through their logos or company names.  

I found the following article which gives a few examples of companies that have successful subliminal messages. For example, the article mentions how the Subway logo includes arrows to show the idea of going in and out, highlighting the convenience and speed of the food chain. This connection subconsciously occurs when the customer sees the sign, increasing their likelihood of choosing Subway, especially if they want something quick. There is another example that is well known. For Amazon's logo they utilize an arrow pointing from the "a" to the "z" showing their consumers how they have everything they need from "a" to "z".

Learning about this makes me wonder the statistics of how much subliminal messaging increases sales for companies today. As much as it helps, it is scary to know it could be taken advantage of. It also makes me wonder how much we have been exposed to subliminal messages but never noticed its effect. This is something I think I will be more on the lookout for now that I have learned a bit more about it.

(Abigail Bell- Post #2)

10% of our brain

 Lucy was one of my favorite movies. But telepathy would not be possible if we could utilize more than 10% of our brains. We wouldn't be able to move things with our minds; instead, we could grow and use the resources we are given more effectively. Identify and solve ongoing issues in our world or continue researching to increase our knowledge about multiple phenomena. Utilizing more of our brains allows us to grow as a society. We can unlock or help advance technology, medicine, and more. But too much of something, even if it's good, unfortunately, can have its consequences. Utilizing more than 10% can also increase crime, and crime may advance further wholly. Our brains are remarkable organs, allowing us to do much more than "live," but it is the reason why we grow as a society. It is the most complex thing in this universe~ Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. "the seat of intelligence, interpreter of the senses, initiator of body movement, and controller of behavior…… the brain is the source of all the qualities that define our humanity. The brain is the crown jewel of the human body. (NIH.2023) But as the lectures show, this is merely a myth; our brain utilizes every area. For everything we do, our brain has a specialized area, for example, auditory processing. Our brain works actively to coordinate our thoughts, emotions, etc. Even during sleep, our brains are active. So no, we don't use just 10% of brains, but in truth, if we did, we would advance as a society; we wouldn't be able to control objects. 

But this lecture was very interesting; after viewing the first case, it shows how gullible we all can be. But it's not just gullibility; I honestly think we are all just looking for peace and are taken advantage of by other people.  

Lecture 2: Jersey Devil

   Like many life-long residents of South Jersey, I became acquainted with the Jersey Devil from an early age. My Father would often take us on weekend trips to Basto Village and he would tease me by showing me renditions of the Devil, which horrified a 5 year old me.  Up until a few years ago, I always thought the Jersey Devil was a myth made up by bored residents back in the day. However, eventually I read about the true origin of the "Leeds Devil" that was described in Lecture 2. 

   Though interesting, I am truly fascinated about how the myth of the Leed's Devil sustain itself for centuries and eventually took on a life of it's own. Speaking frankly, I feel the Jersey Devil is a prime example of how various elements of folklore are simply reflections of the culture for which it originates from. Most accounts of the story states that Mother Leed had her 13th child sometime in the 18th Century. Several accounts place the date around the Eve of the American Revolution. With that being said, i feel it's important to be cognizant of the JD story within the broader context of what the Pine Barrens was like during the colonial era. 

  For many in Colonial America, the Pine Barrens served as a refuge for outcasts from mainstream society. Many outlaws would evade prosecution by hiding out within the desolate Pines. I would also like to bring up that more than two centuries before arguably the most memorable Sopranos episode was shot within the Pine Barrens, there was multiple "Pine Robber" crime syndicates and outlaws such as Joe Mulliner that operated within these dense woods during the War for Independence. 

 What I am trying to get at is that I feel one of the reasons why the Jersey Devil legend has survived for so long is because It meshes well with the Pine Barrens outcast culture. Moreover, I feel that the solitary Jersey Devil perfectly encapsulates the isolation, both geographically and socially that epitomizes the area. The desolation of the Pine Barrens are still felt today. Frankly, I would pity the motorist whose car breaks down on one of the numerous backroads that crosses through the Pines. 

   Personally, I get the perception that the Jersey Devil remains popular even today because in some ways he represents the values associated with "Piney" residents (Strength, Tenacity, Cunnigness, Fierceness, Persaveriness, etc) to the point of contention where he held up as a symbol of pride. I feel this thesis is validated if you simply drive around the area and see how many businesses are named "Jersey Devil _____". If you turn on the TV to watch the Devils play on the NHL or even if you decide to loosen up with a drink (I work at a liquor store and a local winery makes a batch called "Jersey Devil Red") 

 To summarize, I feel the Jersey Devil is a prime example of how many paranormal creatures are really just an extension of the culture for which these tales of folklore originate from. Though, I found it interesting on how the Jersey Devil tale originates from a local political dispute, I also feel it's important to emphasis why this myth caught on and has remained within the public conscious for 3 centuries. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Subliminal Messaging


July 20th

Subliminal Messaging has always been fascinating to me, and I've always wanted to explore how it worked. After looking over the slides I now understand that it doesn't work. I remember when i was little, my mom never let me watch Spongebob, Ed Edd and Eddy, or Wizards of Waverly Place (very specific choices I know) because she heard they had subliminal anti-catholic messages. I'm glad I can finally tell her that she was wrong! Anyway, as I was further looking into subliminal messages in children's media for this post, I found this article  explaining hidden messages in shows like My Little Pony or Adventure Time. These shows (supposedly) have post apocalyptic messages with themes such as magical creatures being reinserted to ecosystems to save these ecosystems from collapse, going to other planets to escape earth or find the solution to save earth, inevitable apocalyptic demise, and etc. This website was that Adventure Time was glorifying the atomic bombs and saying that it could make children think that "life would be more rad if an A-bomb dropped".

Obviously, after applying critical thinking and looking deeper into this article, the claims are based on minimal information and mostly the authors own opinions. As a child who grew up watching some shows mentioned on this list, I (at least consciously) have not observed any signs of these subliminal messages taking effect. As the slides mention, studies have not found subliminal messaging to be effective in changing behaviors. This article further proves to be an example of pseudoscience and fast thinking with unreliable/limited sources and profound claims with little evidence backing them up. 

Book Report: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & The Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright


Book Report: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & The Prison of Belief

by Lawrence Wright

General Overview

Going Clear by Lawrence Wright is riveting. It discusses the “religion” Scientology, which is described not unlike the material its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, wrote about in his science-fiction books. It is captivating to hear how this mentally disturbed man used his twisted imagination to convince thousands of people to follow his rules, all in the quest for wealth. Tactics included violence, being unable to communicate with family, kids being raised away from parents, and prison-like situations. Yet, because some individuals, including well-know actors in Hollywood, prospered from the teachings of this group, people believed in his truth.

The information supplied about what the members of this religion endured is hard to comprehend. Both L. Ron Hubbard and its future leader, David Miscavige, were ruthless to members, members that chose to leave, and anyone that had a negative word to say about Scientology.  They chose to be referred to as a religion for the sole purpose of being a tax-free institution. The aspects of this life more resemble a cult than a religion. In reality, Scientology was a controlling, abusive entity that satisfied a misled man that was greedy for wealth and power.


Favorite Part

The most extreme topic of this book that both blew my mind and sickened me, is the idea of the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) and the Child Care Org that were created by Hubbard. The RPF was a living situation that was a form of punishment for members that dared to question any of the teachings (known as a Suppressed Person (SP)) or were not progressing to Hubbard’s standards. It was presented as a second chance opportunity, but the conditions were unfair and extreme, rather than rehabilitating. The RPF housed members “in the old cattle hold belowdecks, illuminated by a single lightbulb, sleeping on stained mattresses on the floor. They were dressed in black overalls, called boiler suits, and forbidden to speak to anyone outside of their group. They ate using their hands from a bucket of table scraps, shoveling the food into their mouths as if they were starving” (Wright 155).  

This horrific treatment was also extended to the children. Sylvia Taylor was appointed a “handler” to take care of John Travolta during his time with Scientology. When she questioned the treatment of another member, she was taken to the RPF and her newborn daughter was put in the Scientology nursery known as the Child Care Org. “there were thirty infants crammed into a small apartment with wall-to-wall cribs, with one nanny for every twelve children. It was dark and dank, and the children were rarely, if ever, taken outside” (Wright 190). Another example is that of member David Mayo who was sent to the RPF and was “made to run around a pole in the searing heat for 12 hours a day, until his teeth fell out” (Wright 212).

Hubbard spoke about a dictator named Xenu, who ran the Galactic Confederation of 76 planets. This story talks about “body thetans” which were Xenu’s people that he cast away that cause humans harm.  Scientology uses auditing, a form of therapy because this is the only way to remove these thetans from the Scientologist. Which sounds credible in one of his best-selling science fiction novels, but not in real life. This made me think about many of the lectures from this class.  In the talk on Subliminal Messaging, we learn that "What you expect is what you believe [not what you get]" (Pratkanis). You may believe in things that are hard to grasp based on what life experiences you have already experienced that may have left you vulnerable. Therefore, if repeated images and suggestions are told over and over, certain people who are looking for “help” may begin to believe what they are being told. The Xenu story is similar to the UFO sightings/abductions where people want to believe this is true to feel “special” or “chosen” and since they have heard other stories, they hang on to the hope that it is true.



Because of these stories of mistreatment, the question is why did the followers choose to stay? One quick answer is that Hubbard had tactics in place where a person was forced to suffer consequences for leaving or attempting to leave.  In trying to “go clear”, members take classes and counseling to rise higher on the “bridge to total freedom.” If they decided to leave, they were then subjected to paying a “freeloader’s tab” equal to thousands of dollars for the information they already received. To add to this negative revelation was the fact that until they paid this huge debt, they were unable to speak to any family members still in Scientology. So, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. This is an example of the sunk cost bias where you have already invested so much time and energy into this organization that it is hard to leave. The pros are clouded by all the cons. The idea of being ostracized and separated from your family, having to pay back money you don’t have, and admitting that all the time spent there was in vain, is too much to handle in many cases. Another bias is the Groupthink because if you questioned anything about Hubbard’s teachings, it was assumed that you were against the group and there would be a punishment for it. So, it was best to keep any questionable thoughts to yourself when associating with the other members. The confirmation bias is when you take new, potentially important information and twist it around to fit what you already believe. This is what the Scientology members do to justify the outlandish beliefs they have been taught. 10% of Our Brain and Out of Body Experiences applies to Hubbard’s teachings as well because he was capable of convincing others (brainwashing) that he knew what he was talking about, and he was going to help them. This could be because he was such an accomplished science fiction writer, that he sounded credible. In life, sometimes, based on how you were raised, people believe what they cannot see or prove. They followed these teaching with the blind faith of accomplishing something great because they so needed to get a “win” from life.


The entire idea of being told what to do despite what your gut tells you or without proper explanation reminds me of a parent or teacher instructing children and they are taught to listen. The idea of Scientology is mind control at best and abuse at its worst. If their teachings were to achieve “spiritual enlightenment” there should not be a need for the harassment the is used toward any member with a question or doubt. Children need to follow the lessons of an adult because the child needs to learn. However, hitting or locking away adults for not agreeing with everything that came out of a delusional, mentally unstable man looking to get rich is quite another issue. My photo is using satire to illustrate how I view the teachings of Scientology. It’s like scolding little kids on what they should believe and how they should think.

Scientology videos that show/explain the conditions:



We live in a current environment where we have the “me-too” movement, the idea of “cancel culture “, bullying both online and in person, and forms of racism still existing. Leah Remini has produced a television show, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath where past Scientologists, including her co-host, Mike Rinder, who was high in the Scientology world, detail horrific events during their stay on the Scientology compounds. Many of the events are criminal and the perpetrators should be jailed. Yet somehow Scientology is still profiting, still a tax-free organization, still abusing members and still harassing anyone that attempts to form their own opinion.  A major coup for this “religion” is getting and using celebrities to support their teachings. Hollywood has the power to expose this organization for who they truly are, but they seem to take what they can get from Scientology and “stick their head in the sand” for the rest. This a type of in-group bias. The celebrities are being treated well so they will stand behind those other members because they are benefiting and are feeling positive effects.

I think Scientology does a good job of providing an answer for all of the actions that they take, good or bad. They have a reason for everything. My hope is that more celebrities who are aware of the atrocities of this group, come forward and stand up for what is right. Leah Remini strikes me as a strong-willed person who speaks her mind. This is what is necessary if the truth is to be set free. Even if the celebrity themselves have not been abused, they need to stop ignoring the truth of what this “cult” really is.

False Memories

While learning about false memories, it reminded me about something that one of my friends told me about in June. She was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she talked about how there are certain  memories that she cannot remember if they are true or not. To her, they seem so real, but she understands that some of it is false. This got me thinking about how mental illnesses affect your memory. I read an article (,can%20be%20false%20or%20true.) that says it is likely for false memories to occur if there is a mental illness present such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. It is interesting to read about this as someone who has major depressive disorder. I remember talking to a friend, and I explained to her that I was able to recall more negative memories rather than positive ones. We joked about it at the time, however, I read in this study (,related%20to%20their%20knowledge%20base.&text=Memory%20aberrations%20are%20notable%20characteristics,disorder%20(PTSD)%20and%20depression.) that it is common for individuals with depression to recall negative related memories. However, having depression can still increase the chances of having false memories. I never knew this, and I wonder how deeply it has affected people who are in therapy. Since the therapist or counselor cannot confirm if the memory is true or not, it is likely that false memories are more common in sessions. It makes me question if I have presented any false memories when I started therapy in high school. I am with a different therapist now, but it is a question I ask myself now. 

Learning about false memories has put some things in perspective and put me in the reality that our brains really cannot accurately recall a memory 100% especially since emotions can distort your memory. If you are going through a break up with your partner, you're are most likely to see certain memories differently now because your perspective is different. I know that my memories have changed about my last relationship, and I cannot remember the positive memories from it. I wonder how the accuracy of our memory has affected certain events in our lives or even history. 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Blog post 1: lecture 2 (Jersey Devil)

 I was born and raised in new jersey and have never heard of the jersey devil. But what I found interesting and slightly infuriating is that folklore or myths I have heard are heavily based upon women. It could be a witch or, in the case of our lectures, mother leeds giving birth to a devil, or even the kwakiutls that were represented as women who abducted children. Women seem to play the role of chaos in many folklores. As for case number 2 on Bigfoot, this myth is particularly interesting. The only way I had heard about this story was from the viral video filmed by roger patterson. But what sparked my interest was that this myth and even the Jersey devil still live on today. We as a society have access to so many resources now; could we find definitive proof? As stated many times throughout our first two lectures: pseudoscience relies on fast thinking and heuristics, while science relies on slow thinking and critical thinking. Do I believe that are things or phenomena out there that exist? Absolutely, for example, there are organisms in the deep sea that humans cannot discover due to limited resources, but some stories are beyond farfetched and inhumanly impossible. They are called legends for a reason and most likely are created to pick up traction. 

End of the World

Predictions and talk about the end of the world resurfaces every few years. Learning about the many predictions made by different sources was interesting to hear because I did not realize that so many people had their own predictions based on their own beliefs. For example, we learned about Harold Camping, a radio host, who thought the world would end May 21, 2011 and then changed it to October of 2011. Supporter of Camping, Chris McCann believed in his words and felt the world would end on October 7, 2015. Another example is Jeane Dixon who believed the world would end between 2020 and 2037. 

I found the following article covering an interview with Chris McCann. He admitted he was wrong in his prediction but still believes the end of the world is coming. He is unsure of when and says it is like a doctor predicting when a terminally ill person would pass.

In this lecture we also learned about Michel Nostradamus. He was a French Astronomer who predicted things like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. But, he was specifically ambiguous and extremely vague. This vagueness was used in his 10 volume collection of prophecies. Because it was so vague it was able to be applied to different events. I find it fascinating how people will subconsciously work to find the information that confirms their thoughts and what they want to believe. 

I found the following article which covers his predictions for 2023.

(Abigail Bell- Post #1) 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

The Three Kinds of Thinkers

 In the lecture slides, we talked about how there are three distinct types of thinkers: the naive thinker, the selfish critical thinker, and the fair-minded critical thinker. I think knowing and understanding what kind of thinker you are can be beneficial to not only you but society as well. It can provide insights into how we approach challenges and interact with others. 

  • A naive thinker is someone who lacks critical evaluation skills and tends to accept information or ideas without any question. They usually rely on intuition and emotions instead of examining information or considering alternative viewpoints. 

  • The selfish critical thinker prioritizes personal gain and self-interest over fair evaluation. They often use logical reasoning and persuasive arguments to justify their actions or beliefs, not thinking about the impact on others.

  •  A fair-minded critical thinker is an individual who has a genuine commitment to impartial evaluation, open-mindedness, and intellectual integrity. This type of thinker actively seeks out diverse perspectives, engages in a thorough analysis of information, and weighs evidence objectively before forming conclusions.

 Overall, by recognizing our thinking patterns and actively striving to become fair-minded critical thinkers, we can contribute to a more intellectually honest society.

Friday, July 14, 2023

The New Jersey Devil - Lecture 3

 I believe the legends surrounding the Jersey Devil to be true. Because of the accounts and sightings that were made in the 1900s, I believe they are real. Schools were closed at that time, and there was little to no activity because no one dared venture outside, according to It kind of reminded me of the coronavirus, where everyone stayed inside because there was no proof of the virus's fatality. From a scientific perspective, we'll never truly be able to determine if the Jersey Devil is a legendary entity or not because up until this point, all we have are the stories that are being told and scant to no proof that it actually exists. 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Subliminal Messaging

Subliminal messaging is something that hasn't gone away but has become modernized into something different. In the 80s, it was tapes. In the 90s, it was CDs. In the 2000s/2010s, it was YouTube videos. Now, I believe that it has been involved in appearing in the world of TikTok. TikTok has become a popular platform in this modern age. I, myself, am a frequent user of it. I use it as a form of entertainment in my daily life. While learning about subliminal messaging, it reminded me of a common type of video that I see frequently on my recommendation page. This would, otherwise, be known as an FYP (For You Page). The type of video I'm talking about is the type that says "Don't skip this audio", "Claim this 3X", and "Use this sound". Here is a link to an example TikTok:

These types of TikTok videos will, oftentimes, involve a person saying that if the viewer doesn't skip the audio or claims it three times, they will be granted fortune, or their crush will confess their love to them.  It will sometimes be a broad statement and say their life will improve within just a few days if they don't skip the audio. 

Here is an article that talks more about it as well.

It is easy to fall for these types of videos, especially when people comment about how it works or people will post their own videos and explain that it has worked for them. I have fallen for these videos once or twice, but that was about a year ago. Subliminal messaging seems to target those who desire something in their life but is hard to obtain because it would involve the person's patience. Oftentimes, it would just require pure luck. I think subliminal messaging has become the term manifestation. It is the concept that an idea will become a reality. I use the term a lot, especially when I desire something.

I think it is interesting how subliminal messaging takes on new forms as time goes on and as technology develops. It's also interesting how no study can prove they work, but no one seems to pay attention or care that there is no evidence. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


      Observing handwriting dates back to the 17th century. In the lecture slides, it talked a lot about determining different types of handwriting, what each mean, and what your personality might be. Some can be correct such as the ones for small, big, connected, and bold font/handwriting, but trying to determine other types can seem like a stretch. 

     Small handwriting meant that you pay close attention to detail & are concentrated, average handwriting means well adjusted & adaptable, and connected means you're logical. Other handwriting styles like narrow or wide spacing meant that you're lonely or dependent on others, made no sense to me because that's more of an emotion rather than what can be presented to others. 

     This may seem like a stretch or doesn't make any sense to other people, but I like to find hidden messages or meanings in things. I feel like that makes things more interesting, when there's more than one perspective on things. From a scientific standpoint, we will never know whether different types of handwriting can actually determine your personality.

The End of the World

     People have made predictions about the world ending since the year 2000 because the computer had run out of digits, it was the end of the calendar year, or other times it was because "the last prediction was wrong, so it has to be this one". Every time someone announced that the world was ending, the whole world went into a state of frenzy. 

     Whenever something occurs that people are unfamiliar with, it seems like it gets labeled as something that might not be true. Like an alien/ufo sightings, paranormal activity, and with this it would be telling people that the world is ending, when it's just the end of the calendar year. People broadcasting that the world is ending, I feel like it gets to the point where it's like "the boy who cried wolf". I feel like people are at the point where they don't even believe it anymore, because it has been said so many times and nothing has happened.

The power of hypnosis and its effects on the brain

Hypnosis is a legitimate psychological technique that can impact the brain and its cognitive processes. Hypnosis is a state of focused attention and increased suggestibility, typically done by a trained professional. Hypnosis is known to tap into the brain's natural capacity for heightened concentration and receptivity to suggestions. It is often used as a therapeutic tool to address multiple conditions, like anxiety, pain management, and habit modification. Research has shown that hypnosis can bring about observable changes in brain activity and functioning. Even neuroimaging studies, like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), have shown insight into the neural mechanisms during hypnotic states. Three interesting effects it has on the brain are being in a state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility, influencing sensory perception, enhancing cognitive control processes, such as attention, memory, and inhibitory control, and influencing emotional responses. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Psychic Detectives

So, my first question while listening to this topic is: Are psychics just complete con artists or do they believe in what they are doing? Are these people really just guessing at where someone's loved one is if they go missing? Do they think they see visions in their head of valid information or are they just making things up as they go along?

To see Dr. Carr attempt his "remote viewing" that ended with him drawing on 100 pieces of paper, for an hour and a half, various pictures and words of random thoughts, is so ridiculous. And he is a doctor! Does he truly believe that he can enter someone else's body and see what they see? And if so, wouldn't that be maybe 2 or 3 drawings? It boggles my mind that these people are given credit for guessing. 

My assumption is that when you have no other answers, even made-up ones are something substantial. It implies there is hope. Humans need hope, especially in stressful times, and that is what these people provide. We also need closure. The unknowing is the hardest part and even if it's not accurate, it's something to hang on to. I am just not sure if the motivation behind these "psychic detectives" is to gain recognition, money, and power or to help people. Peter Popoff was a clear example of lying for personal gain when he was faking his abilities and preying on vulnerable people. All of this is interesting to learn about, at the very least.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

10% of Our Brains

 Learning about how we use only 10% of our brain was extremely interesting especially since I took the course, Addictions, back in June and we learned about the different parts of the brain for a brief period of time. It makes me question why humans only use 10% of their brains and if it is part of an evolutionary trait that was developed through time. There could also be no explanation to it and it is simply that we only use 10% of our brains. It is fascinating. The videos that were shown in the lecture slides remind me of the different movies and shows that depict the characters having a psychic ability through psychokinesis or other physic abilities. Although it does not explicitly mention the character using more than 10% of their brain, it falls under the belief that if humans had the ability to use more than 10% of their brain, they would have psychic abilities. The movies and tv show that I thought of were Matilda, Carrie, and an episode of South Park.

In the movies, Matilda and Carrie, the main characters both have telekinesis abilities that they use to their own advantage. Obviously, the movie, Matilda, is kid-friendly while the movie, Carrie, is a horror film so their actions will be completely different. However, the movies indicate that Carrie and Matilda, the main characters from the films, have used more than 10% of their brain. They have an ability like no other character in the movies, and it is unbelievable until everyone else witnesses it. 

In the episode, The Biggest Douche in the Universe, from South Park, a couple of characters travel to New York to appear on a tv show to receive help from an individual who can "talk" to the dead. The character, Stan, quickly understands that the guy does not have a special ability and he is simply using simple tricks to appear right. Stan begins to use those tricks and people begin to believe that he has special abilities as well. It reminds me of how James Randi exposed James Hydrick and Uri Gellar through his explanations. James Randi was able to debunk their abilities by explaining the tricks they use and how they prepare the necessary supplies. Once Randi knew that information, he was able to perform the same tricks that Hydrick and Gellar had. It is similar to how Stan was able to recreate the abilities of the man who could "talk" to the dead. 

I think it is interesting how we do not know what would happen if we used more than 10% of our brain, but we all have a common depiction of what it would be and that we use it to create the plots of films, tv shows, and books. However, it never seems to be dull to anyone if the same physic ability can be used over and over again. 

10% of Our Brain and Out of Body Experiences

This information was interesting because illusion causes people to believe what they know cannot be real. Obviously, people having the ability to move things with their mind is not attainable but when you see it with your eyes, your mind plays tricks on you and this is why illusionists are so popular. David Blaine, the illusionist, performs ridiculous stunts that look like one thing but are really something completely different. Watch one here: 

What's compelling about the Heaven's Gate story is that they believed their soul and body were separate. So they were content with committing mass suicide, which is completely unhinged. But, it made me stop to think that being raised as a Catholic, I was told that when we die, just our soul goes to heaven, leaving our body. It was something that I never really thought about, I just accepted that to be true. Again, religions/cults causes people to believe what they want to believe.

End of the World


The examples that tell of prophecies for the end of the world, do not seem credible. This is because in most stories, it isn’t based on facts, but merely thoughts of a “leader” or someone with a following that has created hysteria though their mere “guesses” of a catastrophe.

However, I can see how the Y2K fears could have been found credible. That was because computers were not equipped to calculate using dates that started with 20 instead of 19. My older brother was born in 2000, so my mom was pregnant with him on that New Year’s Eve when it was turning 2000, and my father, was a police officer so he was working that night.

They have both told me stories from that night that they were unsure of what may happen. My mom went to stay with her parents, in case anything weird happened so she wasn’t alone. My father said a normal night on the street was tough enough, and he didn’t know if traffic lights, police scanners, electricity, computers etc. would malfunction and cause major, chaotic issues. Nothing bad happened, but this seemed more like it had the potential for bedlam.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Using 10% of our brains

Speaking to animals/My Cat From Hell 

July 8th

I found this topic to be really interesting. As a former believer of the idea that we only use 10% of our minds, it was really cool to see that all parts of our brains are active in some way or another throughout the day. The first video on the slides about a woman who could speak to dogs shocked me and it made me wonder about the reality show My Cat From Hell (here is an example episode if you haven't heard of it) about this man who goes house to house as a 'cat whisperer' and helps families with disobedient and dangerous pets. I wanted to investigate if his 11 season show was actually credible.

After watching a few episodes, I decided that his show was, although dramatized, based on facts, science, and slow thinking. He uses behavioral clues from both owners and animals to figure out what the underlying issues are (territory, fear, trauma) for the animal and he gives the owners advice on what to do moving forward to help living happily with their pets. Unlike the video from the slides with the woman who would give general and vague descriptions that could describe any golden retreiver, this man uses science, animal behavioral specifically, and facts to make a reasonable estimation of why the cat is acting hellish.