Enable Updates – 7 Takeaways for October 24, 2021

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1. “a vivid example of catastrophising”

Why do we wake around 3am and dwell on our fears and shortcomings? – Greg Murray – (The Conversation)

To be completely blunt, my real takeaway from this piece is something along the lines of “so, it’s not just me?”

No, it’s not. Apparently it’s fairly common, and there are biological and psychological contributions to the effect. Knowing that alone will help next time it happens to me, since part of the catastrophizing is catastrophizing about the catastrophizing.

Not surprisingly, there is evidence the pandemic is a sleep-disturbing stressor.

And that explains, in part, why it seems worse of late.

Do this: Take heart that it’s not just you. The article also outlines a couple of suggestions for dealing with it at 3AM, one of which is, essentially, meditation.

2. “I cringe when I look back at 10th grade”

10th Grade Peter was an Absolute Idiot! – Peter Shankman – (email newsletter)

10th grade Leo was too. (1972 — 15 years old — <shudder>). Those are not my favorite years.

My buddy asked what I would have changed, if I could go back in time today and change things. I thought for a bit and answered:

Absolutely nothing.

Here’s why: You can’t hate the experience that shaped you, if you love who you’ve become from it.

I’ve written about it before, and indeed, there is something I would have done differently. But Shankman’s point above is well taken. Regardless of what I might have done differently, my past has made me what I am today. I’m not unhappy about where I’ve landed.

Perhaps more importantly, unless there’s something you can learn from it, there’s nothing to be done about the past anyway. Why waste energy ruminating on it?

Do this: Learn from, and/or be grateful for, your past. It made you who you are today.

3. “good is almost always happening around us”

Facebook post – Mark Manson

The reason this caught my eye is that, on the surface, it seems out of character for the author. This is the guy that wrote the book “Everything is F*cked”, after all. And yet he acknowledges something I’ve believed for a long time:

1. Bad things are easy to do. Good things are often difficult or complicated.
2. Bad things grab and hold attention. Good things are often taken for granted.
3. Bad things are memorable. Good things are easily forgotten.

It’s why I run Not All News is Bad, after all.

My takeaway? While everything may be f’ed, in one sense, in a very real sense there’s a lot of good — a LOT of good — that we never see, never pay attention to, or don’t recognize.

Do this: pay attention.

4. “maybe we just don’t need superpowers anymore”

10 Signs America Is Headed for Certain Collapse – Jared Brock – (Medium)
(Also available via Substack if Medium is paywalled for you.)

I’ve mentioned before that I follow Brock not because I agree with him, but rather, he produces well-written pieces that make me think.

That being said, it’s hard for me to disagree with many of the points he raises here. There’s a lot to indicate there’s a slow, steady, demise happening. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of it wasn’t quite so slow, either.

The problem I have with things like this is that they are doom-pieces. They don’t really offer solutions, only prognostications. I want to know what to do.

Do this: Prepare?

5. “Discovering you were wrong is an update, not a failure…”

The Scout Mindset – Julia Galef – (ebook)

I find this an interesting change of perspective that can open us up to more accurate information.

We hate — I mean HATE — being wrong. Honestly, I think a lot of the political and social drama we face today can be traced back to this one simple fact. It’s one reason that no amount of data or factual information is going to change their minds about today’s more controversial issues. Doing so would mean that they were wrong, and we hate being wrong. So much so that it’s easier to simply deny the facts.

We’re all familiar with updates. They happen all the time. Reframing new information as an update can make changing our minds conceptually easier.

Do this: enable updates.

6. “Publishing science is slow; highly contagious diseases are fast.”

The Real Scandal About Ivermectin – James Heathers – (The Atlantic)

For all of us who desperately want to rely on proven scientific research to make educated decisions, this piece is worrisome.

Studies about Ivermectin are apparently all over the map. That’s a problem. That it’s apparently more widespread across all medical research seems like even more of a problem.

. . . scientific studies were produced at record pace, peer-reviewed almost immediately after they were submitted or else put into the public domain via preprint as soon as they had been completed.

The rapid publish-and-release required to make faster progress in the face of COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation, but I’m hoping the resulting visibility might help things improve.

Do this: Choose your sources even more carefully, it would seem.

7. “a vulture hedge fund”

A Secretive Hedge Fund Is Gutting Newsrooms – McKay Coppins – (The Atlantic)

That newspapers are having a tough go of it is not news. How and why it’s happening is complex, starting with the internet — perhaps more specifically CraigsList — and apparently ending with predatory financial firms buying local newspapers and wringing as much cash out of them as they can.

In the past 15 years, more than a quarter of American newspapers have gone out of business. Those that have survived are smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable to acquisition. Today, half of all daily newspapers in the U.S. are controlled by financial firms,

The timing couldn’t be worse. (Though there’s a strong argument there’s a cause-and-effect relationship here as well.) This quote is chilling:

When a local newspaper vanishes, research shows, it tends to correspond with lower voter turnout, increased polarization, and a general erosion of civic engagement. Misinformation proliferates. City budgets balloon, along with corruption and dysfunction. The consequences can influence national politics as well; an analysis by Politico found that Donald Trump performed best during the 2016 election in places with limited access to local news.

The full article is lengthy, but an important ready. There are many chilling points raised.

Do this: support local and independent news. Please.

What I’m Reading

In progress (also on GoodReads):


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1 thought on “Enable Updates – 7 Takeaways for October 24, 2021”

  1. Re #’s 4, 6 & 7. See #3. There is a lot of good happening. The pendulum tends to swing back. We had the first black president in US history for 8 years, then…well you know. Now we have a historical VP. Gotta keep the faith.


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