Why a cat can beat a Lamborghini Diablo at taking off quickly

Cat gotcha beat? 

Most human-engineered flying machines require either long runways (airplanes) or flat, stable surfaces (helicopters or drones) for takeoff. Either way, they take a while to overcome gravity and gain elevation. Springs and levers allow more rapid acceleration than wheels do–and many animals like cats and birds are naturals at using their joints springs and levers.

Fast get away

There is a need for more agile robots that “can jump over obstacles or debris in cluttered environments. To design such a machine, designers have turned to nature.

“Birds are really good jumpers.” 

The trouble is, when birds start to take off, they lean so far forward that, according to the rules of physics, they should tip over and fall onto their beaks. Yet that does not happen.

Researchers used computer modeling to discover how birds avoid this fate and discovered that birds rotate their bodies slightly backward while accelerating into a jump. They also have flexible leg and toe joints, which prevent them from taking off and immediately crashing into the ground.*

Runway Optional by Peggy

Springs and levers enable more rapid acceleration than wheels and axles do. And many animals are masters of springs and levers. “A house cat will beat a Lamborghini Diablo off the line for the first 100 feet while the car has to rev up, the feline catapults itself into a run. The same principle underlies how birds initiate flight.”*

“If you can understand how that works, you can build a robot that’s good at running around and good at flying, and it will also be good at taking off suddenly in all kinds of conditions and landing on a dime.”*

A robot using these principles, as an alternative to wheeled rovers for exploring other planets, is currently being designed.

 

*Michael Habib, University of Southern California biomechanist. 

Scientific American, What Birds Can Teach Us about Flying Robots. Modeling the physics of bird jumping is helping engineers make more mobile machines bJason G. Goldman 

 

Surprise! I’m a published Author – Buy my book! Cheap!

Years ago, I took a year long on-line art class from one of my favorite teachers Carla Sonheim  called The Year of the Fairy Tale.  Every month Carla focused on a different fairy tale and different illustration techniques. 

After reading a few original Little Red Riding Hood stories (which I won’t link to here as I do not condone violence nor death by consumption) I had to exonerate the Wolf who I knew had gotten a bad rap because I know about “wild life” and wolves are no exception:

  • Wolves do not eat people whole like a boa constrictor.
  • Wolves never eat little girls because they prefer their meat well-done and chewy.  (Grandma’s might qualify)
  • If they did eat little girls they would never eat one wearing a red cape because they are environmentalists and prefer green.
  • And lastly Wolves NEVER dine alone

I uploaded The Real Tale of Little Red Riding Hood & the Wolf on this blog . . . years later Peggy found it . . .

As a surprise for my last birthday Peggy massaged the blog post I wrote into a book.  Peggy published the book and to my surprise . . .

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!

and Kindle

 Buy the book and Surprise me too.

It makes a nice gift cuz it’s CHEAP! 

Click here to see how cheap:  

The Real Tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

OR surprise Peggy!

Click here for “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs” on Amazon 

Can you improve eyesight by seeing red?

There could be an easy, DIY to improve eyesight deterioration due to age, and prevent it from getting worse. All it might take is a few minutes of looking at a red light.

With age we often lose some sensitivity to light and color. Our eyes age faster than any other part of our body. Once we pass 40, we are at higher risk for cataracts, also diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

It’s known that the progress of these diseases can be slowed by eating a diet rich in antioxidants and maintaining normal levels of blood sugar, body weight and blood pressure.  Now LIGHT therapy is a focus of research.

Seeing Red by Peggy

Why does red light work? Researches think that it helps keep mitochondria healthy, the parts of our cells that produce energy.

In a study published in the Journal of Gerontology, subjects looked at a specific spectrum of red light for just 3 minutes a day.  All subjects had an improvement in color perception, with people over 40 showing the most improvement.

The study was small and there was no control group. More study is needed to ensure this treatment works and is safe, and even then treatment should be under a doctor’s care. The promising news is that red lights have been shown to be safe in other studies.

The mitochondrial theory of aging, indicates that animals age when damage accumulates in mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA. The theory is anything that reduces damage in the mitochondria is a way of slowing aging.  Eye retina cells have more mitochondria than other parts of the body.

Mitochondria is involved in other disease, such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, so it’s even possible red light therapies may help these and other conditions.

Stay Tuned!

 

 Journal of Gerontology.

Bet you didn’t know you should sing Jingle Bells for Thanksgiving . .

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Buzzers that ding

Aromas that delight

IF you’re a turkey and hear bells ring

Something’s not quite right

It’s the oven timer . . . too late to TAKE FLIGHT!

Birds of a Feather by Peggy


Click here for Birds of a Feather Dine Together Apron

Jingle Bells, one of the most familiar American Christmas songs was originally written for Thanksgiving.  The author and composer of Jingle Bells was James Pierpoint, a minister, who composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving at his Boston Sunday school.

Click here for Happy Folly Days card

Remember!

50% of profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales will be donated to:

The Gentle Barn

Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

 

“The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs.”

Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:

 

Did you know I’ve got something to lose? (parenthetically speaking)

It’s well-known that I agreed to do this blog-site if I was amused . . . so far, so good.  I’ve added another criteria – find information about how I can lose weight (preferably without dieting, counting calories or exercising).  So far NO good.

Admittedly, part of my reason for wanting to lose weight is vanity.  More importantly, the other part is for my health.

My body does not bounce back as easily as it once did (even though there’s more to bounce). 

I’d like to blame it on genetics but since neither of my parents was overweight I know it’s my lifestyle choices.  Here’s my take and confession (in red) on this article about  “Six of the top lifestyle habits to focus on”.

1. Fight the dreaded spread

“Fat in the mid-section is metabolically active and we gain more of it as we age. That’s not a good thing. As opposed to the fat we gain in our thighs and rear, abdominal fat can lead to several chronic conditions.” (Totally agree!)

“A 2014 study found that the type of fat we consume might make all the difference. Participants in the study were asked to eat 750 extra calories every day for seven weeks. Those having excess calories from saturated fats had activated cells that promoted fat storage in the belly and increased insulin resistance. However, individuals who had had a high consumption of polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds, gained less abdominal fat and were more likely to increase muscle mass instead.”

“Multiple studies have demonstrated this connection between saturated fat intake and belly fat, especially when it is coupled with reduced levels of estrogen.”

(My problem is not cutting out saturated fats – it’s eating too many nuts and seeds.  I love the crunch and crunching food expends calories)

2. Get your biceps back

Bulge those Biceps by Peggy

“Jump off the treadmill, if want to lose weight. If you change nothing about your exercise routine now, it’s almost a guarantee you will find the pounds creeping up. This all boils down to a loss of muscle mass — a condition called sarcopenia that begins at 40.”

“In fact, up to 40 percent of muscle mass is lost between the ages of 40 and 80. (Ay yi iiii I only have a short time before ALL my muscles are gone) This alone is the kiss of death to metabolism. Muscle weighs more than fat making it a metabolically superior calorie burner.”

“. . .  attempts to lose weight on low-calorie diets can lead to even more lost muscle. Studies have found that regular resistance or strength training may be a better alternative than your daily runs to preserve and gain muscle — even when coupled with a low-calorie diet. Aerobic exercise is still important, just don’t make it your only form of activity.”

(My core muscles are holding up all the belly fat)

3. Fall in love with plants

“A study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that healthy behaviors, like eating fruits and vegetables daily, significantly improved the odds of successful aging. Plants provide a protective measure against oxidative stress and free radical formation — two things that go hand-in-hand and increase with age.”

“Oxidative stress occurs when the balance between free radicals in the body and our ability to fight against is uneven, with free radicals prevailing. Free radicals can cause disease and there is an association with an increased risk of formation of free radicals as we age. That’s why after a certain age, building up our defenses (through having lots of antioxidants in plants) can help reduce this imbalance and stack the cards in our defense system instead.”

(Many studies focus on the inflammatory process being involved in many chronic conditions, including the fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue and Hashimoto’s diseases I have.  I struggle with eating more vegetables and THAT I blame on my father who rarely ate vegetables . . .  but lived to 93 . . . )

4. Find your own ‘om’

OM by Judy

“The more years we live, the higher our risk of developing a disease, especially heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. All of these conditions are tied, in some way, to inflammation. A 2017 study from Georgetown showed that mindfulness meditation had a significant impact on reducing stress hormones and inflammatory proteins and a 2014 study found that just 25 minutes of meditation a day could alleviate stress levels.”

If you don’t have 25 minutes to spare each day, a 5-minute meditation helps. Or 1-minute meditations can calm your mind. It’s that easy.

5. Think about your magnesium

Legume by Peggy

“Even individuals with relatively healthy diets can be deficient in magnesium. Adequate magnesium is important to protect our bones. In addition to promoting bone health, magnesium plays a role in protecting our brain, heart and nervous system. It’s also associated with keeping energy levels up and bathroom habits regular.”

Women between ages 31-50 need 320 milligrams daily, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • Seeds, especially pumpkin seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, swiss chard and collard greens
  • Beans and legumes

(I take my magnesium in pill form – another way to avoid vegetables . . .)

6. Be less happy about happy hour

The American Heart Association found that heavy drinking in middle age — defined as more than two drinks daily — increased the risk of heart attack and stroke (and breast cancer) more than traditional risk factors such as diabetes and heart disease.

(I’m good here . . . wine gives me headaches.  Too bad over-eating doesn’t.)

judyw

Here’s the article:  How to Lose Weight After 40

This post originally appeared on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more posts like it.

Make no MASKtakes

MASK HACKS

1.  Add a folded paper towel to fabric mask – cut a slit in the back of the mask and slip in a towel for added protection.

Coffee Filters and Vacuum Filters work too.

2.  Add a static charge -COVID 19 particles have a charge, and static repels the virus. Create static by rubbing a polyester mask with a latex glove for 30 seconds.

3.  Double layer – Wear a paper mask underneath a cloth mask.  You’ll be fashion forward and get added protection.

UNhacks

NOT a hack: Since the virus isn’t a bacteria, things such as copper that kill bacteria won’t help. 

Scarves and bandanas usually do not offer needed protection.

REMINDER:
Get a good fit: You want your mask to fit snugly over your mouth and nostrils, up to the nose bridge, with little excess air escaping from the sides when you exhale.

Masks that gap can reduce protection by more than half

FABRIC MASKS:
Cotton is best because it is tightly woven but breathable.  Polyester and thicker fabrics are better than thinner. Multiple layers always provide more protection.

Look at the weave. Hold your mask up to bright light, stretch it.  If you see light through the material it needs another layer for adequate protection.

Bill Nye “The Science Guy” Mask Test

Mimic the typical interaction of people speaking to one another.

Wearing your mask, try to blow out a candle from about a foot away.  While not foolproof (conditions around you can change), if the flame stays lit, it is a sign that the mask is working.  

 


https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/07/24/895090627/coronavirus-faq-what-does-it-mean-if-i-can-blow-out-a-candle-while-wearing-a-mask

If you think politics are interesting . . . Watch a bit of Washington Wild Life!

Giant panda at National Zoo gives birth to cub: ‘A much-needed moment of pure joy’
by Ryan W. Miller & Joel Shannon, USA TODAY

“It’s panda-monium amid pandemic.”

“In a refreshing bit of good news out of Washington, Mei Xiang, the giant panda matriarch of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, gave birth to a cub Friday and immediately began cradling and caring for it, zoo officials said.”

“A precious giant panda cub has arrived! We’re overjoyed to share that Mei Xiang gave birth at 6:35 p.m. and is caring for her newborn attentively,” the Zoo tweeted Friday. “



“The zoo encouraged people to tune in to its “Giant Panda Cam” page to see Mei Xiang and the cub.”



“Zoo officials say they are monitoring the mother and the new cub using the cams. It may be several days before zookeepers retrieve the cub to perform a neonatal exam, and the cub’s sex will be determined in the future, the zoo said in a release.”

“At 22, Mei Xiang is the oldest giant panda to successfully give birth in the United States. The oldest in the world was 23.”

“Her age made the chances of having a cub “slim” — but zookeepers “wanted to give her one more opportunity to contribute to her species’ survival,” zoo administrators are quoted in a release.”



“Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and with the birth of this precious cub we are thrilled to offer the world a much-needed moment of pure joy.”

Don’t Miss Out – Christmas & Channukah in October

In appreciation for all your support, comments and contributing to our current charity The Gentle Barn by purchasing from our Zazzle Store I’m extending the lowered price on my FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK until October 15.

The Pulling, Pushing, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs 

A picture book for children for the reduced price of only $6.99!

Shop early for Christmas & Channukah 

Santa & Freddie recommended for children

to learn about perseverance & healing

  • Maui inspired me to write his story as a book to help children know that they too can flourish with patience and persistence.
  • Maui’s story is proof the brain, YOURS and mine, is capable of “rewiring” and “repatterning”. 

Click HERE:

The Pulling, Pushing, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs

Click here for your copy on

Kindle

If you want to read about the book and how my cat Maui recovered the use of his paralyzed back legs here are some links:

To read Maui’s story click here

My First Interview as an Author

The Gentle Barn

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for helping me help children learn and animals be rescued.

Peggy

How to Live Life To the Fullest – A Penelope Pig Primer

Eat greedily all the delectable things life gives you.

Wallow in what’s soothing & cool.

Snort at those who are not loving.

Celebrate how delicious you are.

Pray you will not be eaten before your time.

Many, many, many years ago, at a business lunch, I defended the pig as being a very intelligent animal. I pointed out that pigs were one of the few animals that would drink alcohol willingly.  You have to remember I was young and so was my view of intelligence.

My colleagues found it humorous. In the ensuing year they inundated me by pigs of all sizes, shapes and incarnations:  Stuffed pigs, pig pens, pig posters, marizapan pigs, ceramic pigs, wooden pigs, pig calendars, pig stationery.  Drowning in all things pig, I vowed never again to defend a sow in public and hence forth I would make it a point to talk about expensive crystal or gemstones.

Decades later.

When my 70th birthday approached I was surprised how sad I felt about all that I had not accomplished in my time here on earth.  I was surprised at the sense of regret about missed opportunities.  I was surprised I was surprised.  After all, I was a psychotherapist and trained to be very aware of feelings – my own feelings were obviously an exception!

Then I received a birthday party invitation from a former colleague who’s the same age.  She was one of my pig-present friends.  I flashed back to that conversation decades ago and smiled at the innocence (bordering on occasion on stupidity) of my youth and the wisdom of the pig:

Let’s all pig-out on life!

My First Interview as an “Author”

“G’day folks, Today, I interview a multi-talented author from California. Welcome, Peggy …”  Hearing Clancy Turner describe me as multi-talented was both flattering and confusing.

 I wrote one book, “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs”.  And actually Maui had a great story, so I just wrote it down for him. Maui was my cat and he created his own amazing tale by learning how to regain the use of his paralyzed back legs.  So when a friend started writing a children’s book,  I decided to do the same and tell Maui’s story.  I struggled with writing, but loved drawing pictures for the book. When Clancy asked to interview me,  I could not pass up the opportunity, since Maui can’t speak for himself.

 I’ve always been fascinated by the brain and applied a lot of what I read about neuroscience when I treated psychiatric patients.  I recognized that Maui was using brain plasticity to help him recover. But I was writing his story with my then 5 year old granddaughter Lucy. in mind.  So I didn’t put in the neuroscience. But  Maui’s story seemed a perfect introduction to  perseverance, hope and healing.  

Here’s the link to the interview. Please take a look. I would love to hear what you think. How did I do as Maui’s surrogate?

Clancy Tucker’s Blog, Peggy Arndt – Guest Author

P.S.  I’m delighted by many comments from people all over the world about “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs” and happy that Maui’s tale (pun intended) is reaching beyond Lucy.

“As a behavioral pediatrician, I see many children with a variety of difficulties. It can be hard to persist when you are having a bad day. However, I think the story of Maui and the will to continue to try, not give up on what he truly enjoys can be a wonderful conversation starter for children facing adversity. I will recommend this book to my families in clinic.” Nerissa Bauer, M.D., Behavioral pediatrician, Consultant, Blogger, Carmel, Indiana

“I read the story of Maui. It is touchy and inspiring. Though being a cat, Maui was determined, to resolve her back leg problem with continuous & renewed hope. And the Pictorials were so lively, pleasant and explanatory. These type of stories are good for Children, parents must make a habit of them read inspiring stories, which has fun and moral, which is Determination.” Anil Kumar Morathoti, Senior Social Worker-Child/Student Welfare, Education Development. State Coordinator, India
“You had one strong, courageous cat there! The story is great to read, and inspiring to say the least. It does go to show us the power of the mind, and how we all possess the power of healing, ourselves and others. It comes with courage, belief, perseverance, hope, and most of all love and passion for life. I applaud you for your determination but most of all for your vision of Maui walking again.” Paul Del Sordo, Special Needs Inclusion Coordinator

In appreciation I’ve lowered the price for all our readers.

10 days only at $6.99!

Check out Clancy’s Website

Clancy Tucker in Laos

Clancy Tucker writes young adult fiction for reluctant readers but has also achieved success as a poet and photographer. Clancy has lived in four countries, speaks three languages, has photography accepted and published in books in the USA (Innocent Dreams, Endless Journeys & A Trip Down Memory Lane), used as covers for magazines (‘The Australian Writer’ – 2008 & ‘Victorian Writer – 2008), has work registered with the International Library of Photography, published in literary magazines and he’s written more than 90 short stories.

Storyteller, Author, Publisher, Photographer, Human Rights Activist, Social Justice Campaigner and sometime poet

The NEUROSCIENCE OF ZOMBIES & another “Z”

Send a Friend Zombie Cat

Remember! 50% of profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales is donated to:

The Gentle Barn*

Click here for zombie cat card

 Send Witchy Friends to your friend!

Click here for Witchy Friendship card

Click here for Which Witch is Which kitchen towel

Click for ALL our Halloween items

Featuring, CURIOUS CRITTERS, Witchy Witches to create

a SMILE-A-WEEN for someone you know.

*“The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs.”

Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:

At Risk Youth 

Special Needs Children

Educational Programs

Click here to visit our CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

There’s MORE in STORE!

 

Creative Covid Couture

 

Three wardrobes for three mindsets in extraordinary times of change.

“Viktor & Rolf subvert the traditional catwalk by showcasing this collection in a special haute couture presentation. The film is directed by Marijke Aerden, narrated by MIKA and shot on location in the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam. The ‘Change’ animation is realised by Studio Maan Bijster. Concept and text by Viktor & Rolf.”

Anger and Sadness – My Creative Covid Couture is beige cargo pants and black t-shirt.

black

Confusion – My Creative Covid Couture is beige cargo pants and a yellow, or maybe red, or perhaps blue t-shirt . . . or white or green. . .

 

Serenity and Love – My Creative Covid Couture is cargo pants and a pink t-shirt

pink.png

judy

Don’t despair If you missed the live “Hamilton” stage show

Lucy never is at a loss for creative projects.  Hamilton has captured her imagination.  She created hair do’s out of magic clay that fit her Lego Hamilton characters, and made them a stage. She is currently making a hotel for the Lego cast to stay in when they go to New York to perform.

Lucy* and Lego present:

HAMILTON in all it’s glory

“Alexander Hamilton.
My name is Alexander Hamilton.
And there’s a million things I haven’t done.
But just you wait, just you, wait.”

Hamilton was primary author of the Federalist Papers, one of the founding fathers of the United States, the founder of the nation’s financial system and first US Treasury Secretary.  He worked closely with George Washington.

“I’m a general, whee”

Charles Lee

Charles Lee  served as a general in the Continental army during the American Revolutionary War

Philip and Eliza with piano

Eliza was Hamilton’s wife.  Philip, his son, was killed in a duel (before Hamilton was).

“Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for
You can’t be serious
You wanna get ahead?
Yes
Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead”

Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr, another founding father of the United States.  His role in developing the nation was a bit overshadowed when he killed Hamilton in a duel.

Spinning piece on stage

Stage with lift in back to raise actors

“Hey yo, I’m just like my country

I’m young, scrappy and hungry

And I’m not throwing away my shot”

“We are outgunned
Outmanned
Outnumbered, outplanned
We’re gonna need an allot stand
Ayo, I’m gonna need a right-hand man”
George Washington
“‘Cause when push comes to shove
I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love
Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da”
King George 

Sneek a Peek into my journal & my HeART of Chronic Conditions (including life)

The best I can describe my “condition” is feeling like a sandy beach being worn away by unrelenting waves and occasional pounding storms.

Fibromyalgia/Chronic fatigue is said to not be life threatening only life altering,  Flares come and go, exhaustion is ever present.  Describing the pain is difficult but sharp pressure anywhere on my body hurts. I’m just reporting, not complaining, (although I’ve been known to moan & groan) .

A WHOLE HOLE, judy’s visual journal

I was blessed in my first forty plus years with relatively good health.  In 1995 that changed for me with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.  I admit it’s been a struggle trying to ignore, over-ride or giving in to the daily fatigue, pain and various other “irritants”.  The older I get the harder it’s been.  

In public I look fine and only those who intimately know me would know if I were feeling exhausted, in pain or depressed.  When I’m feeling particularly bad no one knows as I shelter in place – stay home and lick my wounds.  Any contact, even a phone call, can feel overwhelming.  Weirdly, having to isolate at home during the pandemic has been a relief.

Black-eyed Anger, collage by judy

CURIOUStotheMAX blog has been my in-home companion:  A way to connect to the world and my incredibly understanding friends while expending minimal energy;  posts that remind me to eat better, be grateful, and most of all Peggy and her delightful drawings that make me smile.  

My Baha’i faith, above all, is what sustain me.   Even on my worst days my question is never “Why me?”.  I ask God for guidance, the wisdom to understand that guidance and the where-with-all to carry it out . . . one day at a time . . . sometimes one hour at a time.

The Eye of Grace, judy’s visual journal

I learned early on that each of us, in ways large and small, carry physical or emotional pain.  Each of us searches, longs for answers, respite and meaning.

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.

Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.

Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.”

The Baha’i World Faith)

Check out this way of giving – POUR for POVERTY

This post first appeared on MaxYourMind. Click here to see more 

Chocolate Rides Again

Yaaaaaa hoooooooooo.  Yet another reason to indulge.  A new study to support your . . .  er . . .  my . . . chocolate cravings. 

Adding a little dark chocolate to a training diet may effortlessly improve endurance performance.  The findings provide ammunition both for athletes looking for an edge (and those of us wanting to improve our eating performance).

Woofer on recumbent bike

Eight male recreational cyclists who agreed, in the interests of science (yeh sure . . . science . . .), to swallow a little dark chocolate every day. Without going into the details of the study, here are the findings:

“Each of the cyclists performed better in most of the physical tests after two weeks of supplementing with dark chocolate, compared to baseline results and after they had eaten white chocolate. The riders utilized less oxygen to ride at a moderate pace, a change that would generally allow them to ride longer or harder before tiring; and they covered more distance during a two-minute, all-out time trial, meaning that their anaerobic, sprinting ability had been enhanced.”

“Most of this research has focused on the role of a substance called epicatechin, a plant nutrient found in cocoa. Dark chocolate is generally rich in epicatechin, though levels vary, depending on how the sweet was produced.”

Levels of epicatechin tend to be much lower in milk chocolate, which contains little cocoa, and white chocolate contains little or none of the nutrient. (Fine by me, since I do NOT consider any white food to be chocolate.)

“Epicatechin is known to prompt cells that line blood vessels to release extra nitric oxide, a substance that has multiple effects in the body. Nitric oxide slightly increases vasodilation, or a widening of the veins and arteries, improving blood flow and cardiac function. It also gooses muscle cells to take in more blood sugar, providing them with more energy, and it enhances the passage of oxygen into cells.”

“. . . scientists do not yet know the ideal dosage of dark chocolate for athletes, and that more than 40 grams is unlikely to be helpful” (those of us who are NOT athletes can eat more).

Read the entire article and click here:Chocolate Really can boost your workout. 

This post first appeared on MaxYourMind. Click here to see more posts like it.

Maui’s Mood Tips

There’s more than one way to . . . feel better

Get a new perspective. Climb a tree.

Get your feet wet. Literally.

Click here to learn how water lifts your mood

Click here to learn how sunshine lifts your mood

Play 

Click here to learn to lift your mood in 10 minutes

Play with whatever is at paw . . .  or hand.

Sneak Peek – charcoal, pastels, snacks & wine

Judy Formato collects people – from bus rides, parties, meetings and invites them to her “POP” gatherings – Painting on the Patio. A few years ago I met her collection of very talented and welcoming women who have been meeting for many years to paint, chat and share resources.

I experimented with my newly purchased pastels to color two of my quickie life drawing sketches. 

The afternoons were topped off with wine and snacks.  Judy served a verrrrry tasty egg plant dip that had zing from some delicious pepper sauce imported by the family fine Italian food company Formato Brothers.

Here are my “befores” and “afters”:

DSCN6651

“After” – pastel

Click here for card with this artwork

DSCN6610

“Before”, Charcoal – 1 minute sketch

DSCN6596

“Before”, Charcoal,  1 minute sketch

DSCN6650

“After”, pastel

Hmmmm . . . looks like they are all "afters" . . . after drinking

Hmmmm . . . looks like all the drawings are “afters” . . . afters drinking wine . . .

Having trouble concentrating during the COVID-19 pandemic? Neuroscience explains why

I’m not a good barometer of what is considered “good” concentration since I have always “multi-tasked” my whole life.  (I call it multi-tasking, others might refer to it as attention deficit disorder.  I suppose I could split the difference and call it multi-tasking disorder.)

I read about people, young to old, having trouble concentrating during this pandemic. Some lack motivation, and those who need to concentrate and complete tasks that require sustained intellectual engagement because of studies or jobs are having trouble.

Can science explain this? 

FIRST: Emotions CAN take over our minds – A question of the amygdala

Emotions can warn us and activate our bodies system for defense. The amygdala responds rapidly to anything that may be threatening. It responds to possible threats, so we are ready to act-to run or to fight, if the threat is real. It is faster than our prefrontal cortex, which can analyze if the threat is real or just looks like a threat.

Think of seeing a coiled shape on the ground. The amygdala immediately responds and starts to set in motion your systems to run or fight. A bit slower, the prefrontal cortex looks closely-is it a snake? Or just a coiled rope? The prefrontal cortex can shut down the emergency response that the amygdala has started if it is safe. But if it isn’t safe, if it was a snake, your body is already preparing, This helps you cope with danger and survive.

In people, the amygdala responds to social cues. People are very sensitive to the emotional charge of situations and people they encounter. Neuroscience shows we are unable to ignore the emotional charge we sense.

SECOND: Attention/focus/concentration are limited resources. 

The cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winner in 2002, was among the first to propose that attention is a limited cognitive resource and that some cognitive processes require more attention than others. This is particularly the case for activities that require conscious control, like reading or writing. 
These activities use working memory, which is limited. The brain circuits for working memory are in the prefrontal cortex.

Researchers have thought that the emotions being processed in the amygdala do not affect the attention resources of working memory. But new evidence indicates the circuits that connect the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex are important in determining what is relevant and what is not for whatever activity is currently being undertaken. 

THIRD: Emotional stimuli interfere with tasks that require working memory.

For tasks that need a lot of cognitive resources, there is more interference. The more someone needs to concentrate, the more easily they are distracted. Research by Michael Eysenck supports this idea. He and his colleagues showed that people who are anxious prefer to focus on the perceived threat, rather than the task they are performing. This can include internal thoughts or external images. This is also true of worry. Both anxiety and worry use up attention and cognitive resources that are needed for working memory. This decreases performance, especially if a task is complicated.

 

FOURTH: Mental fatigue tells us that our mental resources are depleted.

It is also mentally draining to do a task while trying not to attend to other demands. Mental fatigue tells us that our mental resources are depleted. So even if we try to avoid attending to something other than the task at hand, this in itself depletes our attention. This explains why it is so difficult and tiring to work and focus when there is an emotional situation such as Covid 19 that concerns us.


In the context of messages of danger about the virus, people find it difficult to focus fully.

FINALLY!  An excuse I can use.  I just wish my excuse wasn’t connected to a viral killer. judy



https://theconversation.com/having-trouble-concentrating-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-neuroscience-explains-why-139185


Thoughts on Solitude


There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are.  And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song — but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.”

Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat  (1904–1973)

5 Memorable Quotes from John R. Lewis

 

He was an orator unlike many others, his words galvanizing action for multiple generations. To honor his legacy, here are some of his most powerful quotes.


“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”
— From his 2017 memoir, “Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America”

“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant.”
— From his 2017 memoir, “Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America”

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
— A tweet from June 2018

“My dear friends: Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”
— A 2012 speech in Charlotte, North Carolina

“When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something. Our children and their children will ask us, ‘What did you do? What did you say?’ For some, this vote may be hard. But we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”

 

 

Do you want an easy and MEANINGFUL way to make a difference?

  • Macy is looking for a pen pal with interest in church, singing and playing checkers, because he is the current checkers champion.
  • Ms. Julie says she loves cats and crossword puzzles.
  • Ms. Edna is looking for someone to chat about her favorite show, “Family Feud”.
  • Roger is looking for a pen pal who likes Las Vegas and casino games.
  • Lenora, isn’t picky about what she is sent — she just wants to receive some mail.

Nearly four months into a strict no-visitor rule due to the coronavirus, an assisted living community in North Carolina tapped into the power of social media to get its residents connected with people from all over the world.

After reading this CNN report we thought it would interest some of our readers to take out a pen and address a card to brighten up someone’s life.  Isolation isn’t impacting only those at senior homes but many people around the world as the pandemic continues to change the way we are able to connect with each other.

Check out assisted living in your own area.  Our guess is they would be delighted to have cards sent, even one time, if you don’t want to be a pen pal.

“It has been mentally straining on them not to see family members and loved ones,” Meredith Seals, the chief operating officer of Victorian Senior Care, told CNN on Wednesday. “When you are used to having family there every day and then you can’t, it’s very lonely for them.”

“It only took one question for the post on Facebook to go viral: Will you be my pen pal?
Residents in the various Victorian Senior Care communities smiled for pictures while holding signs with their names and interests. Staff then shared the images on Facebook with the address of where to send the letters.”

“They are overcome with joy when they see the mail,” Seals said. “It’s good to bring people together as much as we can.”

Since this program started last week, mail and packages for residents have been received from all over the world including Germany, countries in Africa and New Zealand.
“We posted a world map in each facility and they are tracking where they are getting letters from,” she said.
She added that the residents are enjoying getting photos of pets and people. They are working to get a pen pal board added to each facility so residents can hang up pictures they get.”

Again . . .

. . . check out assisted living, in your own area.  Our guess is they would be delighted to have cards sent, even one time if you didn’t want to be a pen pal.

We’ve got a stash of cards in our Zazzle store.  Remember!  We donate half our proceeds to The Gentle Barn.

Here’s some samples:

Click here for quilt card 

 

Click here fo Cute Creatures Card

Click here for Mask Making card

 

Click here for Tree of Life card

Anyone can send mail to the residents. People can click through the images on the Victorian Senior Care Facebook page to select a pen pal, their addresses are in the captions.
For anyone having a hard time picking, the main office is collecting themed packages it will distribute to the appropriate residents. Seals asks that the sender write on the envelope what the theme is — for example, sports, veteran, dog, or crafts.

Those can be mailed to:
4270 Heath Dairy Road
Randleman NC 27317
Attn: VSCPenPals

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/01/us/assisted-living-pen-pals-north-carolina-trnd/index.html

Please SHARE THIS Post by sending this link http://judithwesterfield.com

to a friend, neighbor or relative who might be interested.

Frankly Freddie – Poem Pun Intended

Dear Freddie Fans,

Have you missed me? I’m taking a bit of a sabbatical.

Here’s the not-so-good news:

A few weeks ago I had a HUGE seizure.   I’ve had several mini-seizures since.  Scared my humans a LOT so they’re being extra nice to me. My new veterinarian is giving me phenobarbital to hopefully control the seizures.  All your prayers are licking good.

Here’s the GOOD news:

My humans are not allowing me to eat carbohydrates – the vet said that was a good idea – and my treats are deeeeeelectible:  chicken, egg, cheese, pure beef patty bites.  Much tastier than the packaged treats, if I do say so myself.  

Resting


Pome

by Freddie Parker Westerfield

Life will always be full of surprise

So each morning you arise

inhale, exhale

 wag your tail

Even when things don’t go your way

Seize the Day!

Everyday Habits (like lounging in the nude) that Reveal your Personality

The results are surprising. Example: Are you a prolific curser?  Defend your habit as a sign of your open-mindedness . . .

1. Greater conscientiousness was distinguished by:

  • Avoidance of various activities, including such innocuous pastimes as reading  (speculated that it may be seen by the highly conscientious as a leisure-time luxury), Swearing and Chewing on a pencil.
  • Wear a watch
  • Comb their hair
  • Polish their shoes

Agreeably Ironing Things Out by Peggy

2. People scoring high on agreeability said they spent more time:

  • Ironing,
  • Playing with children 
  • Washing the dishes presumably because their strong motivation to keep other people happy means they’d rather do the chores than have domestic acrimony.
  • More likely to sing in the shower or the car.

3. Neurotic people engaged more often in:

  • Activities and substances associated with helping reduce mental distress, such as taking more tranquilisers and anti-depressants.
  • Anti-social behaviours, such as losing their temper more often,
  • Making fun of others – perhaps because they struggle to keep their own emotions in check.

    4. Extraverts are more likely to ink themselves with tattoos

    • Wallow more in hot tubs
    • Spent more time planning parties
    • Drinking in bars
    • Discussing ways to make money
    • Talking on the phone while driving

    5. Open-mindedness went together with some obvious behaviors like:

    Open-minded by Peggy

  • Going to the opera
  • Smoking marijuana
  • Producing art
  • Swearing around others,
  • Lounging around the house with no clothes on. (To be precise, the highest scorers said they were about twice as likely to have sat around in the nude for more than 15 times in the past year, compared to the lowest scorers.)
  • Less likely to follow a sports team.

The serious side to this field of research is learning more about the harmful and unhealthy everyday behaviors linked to the different personality traits which then could contribute to better, more targeted health campaigns and interventions. 

*”The researchers, Benjamin Chapman at the University of Rochester and Lewis Goldberg at the Oregon Research Institute, profiled nearly 800 people in Oregon, USA, most of whom were white, and their average age was 51. The personality test asked participants to rate how accurately 100 different trait adjectives described their personalities, including words such as bashful, kind, neat, relaxed, moody, bright and artistic. The researchers then compared these personality test scores with the same participants’ answers, recorded four years later, to how often they had performed 400 different activities over the last year, from reading a book to singing in the shower.”

Here’s the entire article: Everyday Habits that Reveal our Personalities 

This post was originally published on MaxYourMind (peggy arndt.com). Click here to see other posts like it. 

How to Sleep Better: 6 cool cat tips & 4 human techniques

Did you know sleep isn’t for your body?  Sleep is for your brain.  When completely deprived of sleep, for only a few days, research shows that at best our immune system is depressed, we have trouble concentrating or processing information and at worst become paranoid and schizophrenic.

sleep-small

Maui, my cat, was a superb sleeper. No matter where I went in the house I found him stretched out. Whatever magically found its way to the floor (I certainly never put it there) I’d find him asleep on it – pillows, magazines, empty boxes, dirty clothes . . . new clothes. A particular comfy spot was in the middle of a pathway at the top or bottom of the stairs.

As far as I could tell Maui was never sleep deprived, paranoid or schizophrenic.

sleepfoot

Superbly Sleeping

Maui’s Tips for a Good Nights Sleep . . . for humans only

  1. Exercise every day but never just before bedtime. (Chasing things like children and dreams doesn’t count)
  2. Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine (catnip is fine).
  3. Have a relaxing bedtime routine (stretch, turn in circles and always clean your paws and teeth).
  4. Keep the room temperature cool.  It helps us hibernate.
  5. Limit catnapping during the day to 10 minutes, 20 minutes max.  Any longer and your brain goes into deep sleep (and you’ll be a ornery cat when you wake up)
  6. Keep your bedtime consistent. 
  7. Don’t sleep all day and be up all night – it messes with your circadian rhythm.

Peggy’s Tips on Sleeping Well

  • Mind won’t shut off? Do a brain dump 30 minutes before bed. Write down your worries, things to do, random thoughts until your brain is empty. (takes about 3 days for this to work, but it works!)

  • Talk to your brain.  Assure your brain it can solve any problem or cope with difficulties much better when you are rested.  Your unconscious mind is always working and give you solutions while you sleep.

  • Get bright sunlight in the morning when you first wake up.  Go outside if you can.  Even if it is cloudy you get 3000 lumens vs 200 inside. (That’s a lot of lumens!)

  • Turn off cell phones, computers – anything that emits blue light.  It keeps the brain awake. 

Here’s a bonus tip to help you sleep well!!

Buy Guatemalan Worry Cats from the Greater Good Site  Charity Site

images

Handmade Guatemalan Worry Cats

 http://GreaterGood.com

Tell them your troubles and they’ll worry for you while you sleep!

Sleep even better knowing you’ve contributed to worthy causes.

This post first appeared on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more like it. 

Sneak Peak into my painted pears & favorite foods

After painting ice cream sundaes, cupcakes, doughnuts and pecan pie I did a “chaser” of fruit.  It wasn’t as fun as the desert but a lot easier than dripping ice cream or frosting. (jw)

Acrylic

Fruit Chaser

Appetizer

Main Course

How Many Symptoms of Happiness Do You Have?

I was embarrassed!

Patients who had just been released from the hospital’s psychiatric unit caught me red-handed.   I was leading a group therapy session about how important it is to focus on the positive – what they wanted instead of what they did not want. I went on and on explaining that when we think negatively the neo-cortex part of our brains triggers neuro-chemical emotions which correspond to those thoughts.

Not happy

I smoothly segwayed into explaining the many symptoms of depression. The patients had been listening, and stopped me by not so diplomatically pointing out I was focusing on the negative. Lesson learned!  MY lesson learned.

The group decided that instead of learning symptoms of depression, they would create a list of  symptoms of happiness.  Here’s their list:

Symptoms of Happiness

  1. Feeling good (or at least “decent”) most of the day, for two weeks or more.
  2. Eating an appropriate amount of food with good appetite.
  3. Sleeping well and awakening refreshed.
  4. Taking pleasure in most everyday activities and enjoying fun activities.
  5. Having a good energy level most of the day, every day, for two weeks or more.
  6. Having thoughts of fun or good times to come.
  7. Being able to concentrate on the activity on hand.
  8. Thinking that one’s life matters.
  9. Able to exercise three times a week for half an hour, or more.
  10. Socialize in person or on the phone with 5 to 7 people each week. (FaceTime and zoom count too)
  11. Laugh or at least smile every day.

    tailupsmall

    Happy is as Happy Thinks

Tell us what your happiness “symptoms” are.

PA

Are you one of the 30% who is sensitive to negative ions?

Am I lucky, or what!  Not only do I live in a house with running water, I live close to the  ocean (Pacific to be exact).  There’s evidence that some people are especially sensitive to the effects of water and even feel their mood lifted by fresh, humid air.

Roughly one-third of the population seems to be particularly sensitive to negative-ion depletion . . .  can lead to feeling “down” at best and depressed at worst.

I am one of the 30%.  Even a humid breeze lifts my spirits.  I remember getting off a plane in Hawaii, breathing in the fresh, humid breeze and instantly feeling my mood elevate.  Perhaps it’s not only the incredible beauty of islands that attracts but the humidity that lifts the spirits?

“Columbia University studies of people with winter and chronic depression show that negative ion generators relieve depression as much as antidepressants.”

scan-11

The atmosphere we breathe, normally is full of positive and negative ions. However, air conditioning, lack of ventilation, and long dry spells remove negative ions from the air.  The proportion of negative ions is highest around moving water – storms, oceans, rivers, waterfalls.  No wonder I feel so energized at the beach.

The best ratios of negative to positive ions are associated with waterfalls and the time before, during, and after storms. The worst are found in windowless rooms and closed, moving vehicles. Air purifiers typically work by emitting negative ions, which purify room air by attaching to impurities and sinking them.

Marian Diamond, professor of neuroanatomy, University of California, Berkeley, found that levels of negative ions are inversely related to levels of serotonin in the brain. Negative ions suppress serotonin levels in much the same way that natural sunlight suppresses melatonin.

Deplete the air of negative ions and you experience an increase in serotonin and its attendant drowsiness and relaxation—not what you want when mental agility is demanded.

Feeling a bit down right now?  Go take a shower . . . or move to Hawaii . . .

(PeggyA)

Source: Robert E. Thayer,  Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal

Read Falling Water Raising  Spirits for more ion information.

This post was originally on Max Your Mind.  For more from Max Your Mind, click here.

Neuroscience Gives me a Pass for “laziness”

My earliest memory was my mother waking me up. It was dark outside and chilly inside.  I don’t remember how many times she came into my room to get me out of bed.  I do remember pulling the covers over my head and refusing to get up in the dark and cold to get ready for pre-school . . .  

Mom was the first to give up our morning battle and I started kindergarten with “learning deficits”. Decades later I continue to not want to greet the new day until it is DAYtime. Morning and me ain’t buddies.

Furthermore, people, like Peggy, who bound out of bed alert and cheerful are jarring at best and obnoxious at worst.  

I take umbrage at being labeled “lazy” by you early-morning-worshipers who think those of us who understand that moving any extremity in increments larger than a few inches is not natural before 10 am. 

NOW!  FINALLY I’m vindicated!!!  Read this excerpt!  (jw)

“As anyone who struggles to get out of bed in the morning knows, fighting laziness is a losing battle. From beneath the covers, the world outside seems colder; the commute to work seems longer; the number of e-mails to answer unbearably high. Authority figures may chalk our lethargy to lack of self-discipline, but . . . 

. . . new research suggests that we’re just being our true selves: Choosing the path of least resistance, scientists argue, is hard-wired into our brains.” (What a relief.  I thought my wiring was simply “loose”)

“When we make decisions to act (or not), the brain thinks like an economist and runs a cost-benefit analysis. If the “cost to act,” as the researchers call it, is too high, it can bias our decision-making process, making us less likely to do things.  Applied cleverly, their findings can help us do things that we should be doing — and those that we should be avoiding. For example, going to the gym in the morning could seem more effortless if you sleep in your sweats, just as stashing your booze on a hard-to-reach shelf might make drinking it seem like more effort than its worth. There’s no guarantee that these hacks will work, but . . . “

“. . . if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that we’ll always take the easy route when it’s available — and becoming less lazy may simply come down to avoiding that option altogether.”

If you don’t believe me read the article: Neuroscientists Just Gave Lazy Humans a Free Pass

Originally posted on Max Your Mind. To see more from Max Your Mind, click here.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”*

I’m “prone” to procrastination.  I’m not talking about things that are tedious, difficult, unappealing or boring.  I’m talking about things that interest me.  

These 3 things often feed my hesitancy to start or finish a project:

  • Wanting to do something “perfectly” (or at least competently)
  • Waiting for the “perfect time” before starting.
  • Thinking that everyone else does it perfectly so I should do on first try.

Collage by judy

From now on “Do it Badly” is my motto to give me the courage to try new things, stop me from focusing on the outcome and have more fun.

“Do it Badly” today and . . .  improve as I go.

(jw)

Let us know if this works for you.

*writer and poet GK Chesterton

Mind over Matter – Maui the Miracle Cat & Cassidy the Miracle Kitten

Maui, my cat was the inspiration for MAXyourMIND blog where we focus on neuroscience research for all forms of wellness – mind, body and soul.  Maui’s healing journey taught me that with time and persistence retraining the brain is possible.  

Watching Maui struggle to walk and his recovery set the stage for my interest in the neuroplasticity of the human brain and how our our thoughts and behavior actually change the structure and neuro-connectivity in the brain.  When I was a practicing psychotherapist and working with in-patients in a hospital what I learned about neuro-science I taught my clients.

Luckily animals don’t have the ego that gets us humans in trouble. Animals with “disabilities” prove time and time again that living life, rather than bemoaning what they lack, is yet another important lesson.

Take a look at Cassidy, The Miracle Kitten!

See how Cassidy, the two-legged #MiracleKitten is doing 7 months after his rescue.

Be inspired!

Click here and read about Maui’s Healing Tale

Peggy

Just Say’n . . .

The early bird

“gets” the worm.

(LOVE_no_need_to_explain_poster available on Zazzle, click here)

Check out other Curious Critters and  inspirational sayings on Max Your Mind every Pausitively TUESDAY

There’s an Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation, Series ON!

If indeed you despair

Isolation needn’t be a bear

Find your own elephant  

 whose advice waxes eloquent

(not to mention relevant)

And if your friends are petulant

 please share!

We’re all about self-care

Click on each image to read Elph’s guidance

First Week of Self Isolation

Second Week of Self Isolation

Third Week of Self Isolation

 

 

 

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation, Knitting Us All Together

The Elephant Says:

Don’t just sit and stare

Let’s knit and prepare

Something warm to wear

Winter is near

and we may still be here . . . 

Week #1 The Elephant in the Room

Click here for : Self Isolation & Self Indulgence

Click here for:  Liven up your environment

Click here for: Self Isolation Selfies 

How to spend Week #2, The Elephant in the Room

Click here for: So, Sew Sew Sew

Click here for: Do it Up

Click here for: Self Isolation, Veg About

Click here to  Week #3

Click here for: Posing

 Click here for: Going out’a your mind purposely

Click here for : Dye Job

The Elephant in the Room – Going out’a your mind purposely

The Elephant says:

 When you’re going crazy

 breath deep and meditate

a pillow for your bum

and sit up very straight

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room, Self Isolation – Veg

 

Elephant in the Room: It’s to dye for

Elephant says:

It’s a new day

time for a new do

a little color, a bit of spray

so the real you shines through

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

 

Why smart people believe coronavirus myths

(We are posting this article in its entirety, including pictures, because of it’s importance to the health and safety of everyone.)

By David Robson
6th April 2020

“From students to politicians, many smart people have fallen for dangerous lies spread about the new coronavirus. Why? And how can you protect yourself from misinformation?

It is a sad truth that any health crisis will spawn its own pandemic of misinformation.

In the 80s, 90s, and 2000s we saw the spread of dangerous lies about Aids – fromthe belief that the HIV virus was created by a government laboratory to the idea that the HIV tests were unreliable, and even the spectacularly unfounded theory that it could be treated with goat’s milk. These claims increased risky behaviour and exacerbated the crisis.

Now, we are seeing a fresh inundation of fake news – this time around the coronavirus pandemic. From Facebook to WhatsApp, frequently shared misinformation include everything from what caused the outbreak to how you can prevent becoming ill.

In past decades, dangerous lies spread about Aids which exacerbated the crisis (Credit: Getty Images)

We’ve debunked several claims here on BBC Future, including misinformation around how sunshine, warm weather and drinking water can affect the coronavirus. The BBC’s Reality Check team is also checking popular coronavirus claims, and the World Health Organization is keeping a myth-busting pageregularly updated too.

At worst, the ideas themselves are harmful – a recent report from one province in Iran found that more people had died from drinking industrial-strength alcohol, based on a false claim that it could protect you from Covid-19, than from the virus itself. But even seemingly innocuous ideas could lure you and others into a false sense of security, discouraging you from adhering to government guidelines, and eroding trust in health officials and organisations.

There’s evidence these ideas are sticking. One poll by YouGov and the Economist in March 2020 found 13% of Americans believed the Covid-19 crisis was a hoax,for example, while a whopping 49% believed the epidemic might be man-made. And while you might hope that greater brainpower or education would help us to tell fact from fiction, it is easy to find examples of many educated people falling for this false information.

Just consider the writer Kelly Brogan, a prominent Covid-19 conspiracy theorist; she has a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studied psychiatry at Cornell University. Yet she has shunned clear evidence of the virus’s danger in countries like China and Italy. She even went as far as to question the basic tenets of germ theory itself while endorsing pseudoscientific ideas.

Kelly Brogan received a medical degree from Cornell University, yet has questioned germ theory and the existence of Covid-19 (Credit: Getty Images)

Even some world leaders – who you would hope to have greater discernment when it comes to unfounded rumours – have been guilty of spreading inaccurate information about the risk of the outbreak and promoting unproven remedies that may do more harm than good, leading Twitter and Facebook to take the unprecedented step of removing their posts.  

Fortunately, psychologists are already studying this phenomenon. And what they find might suggest new ways to protect ourselves from lies and help stem the spread of this misinformation and foolish behaviour.

Information overload

Part of the problem arises from the nature of the messages themselves.

We are bombarded with information all day, every day, and we therefore often rely on our intuition to decide whether something is accurate. As BBC Future has described in the past, purveyors of fake news can make their message feel “truthy” through a few simple tricks, which discourages us from applying our critical thinking skills – such as checking the veracity of its source. As the authors of one paper put it: “When thoughts flow smoothly, people nod along.”

Eryn Newman at Australian National University, for instance, has shown that the simple presence of an image alongside a statement increases our trust in its accuracy – even if it is only tangentially related to the claim. A generic image of a virus accompanying some claim about a new treatment, say, may offer no proof of the statement itself, but it helps us visualise the general scenario. We take that “processing fluency” as a sign that the claim is true.

The mere presence of an image alongside a statement increases our trust in its accuracy (Credit: Getty Images)

For similar reasons, misinformation will include descriptive language or vivid personal stories. It will also feature just enough familiar facts or figures – such as mentioning the name of a recognised medical body – to make the lie within feel convincing, allowing it to tether itself to our previous knowledge.

The more often we see something in our news feed, the more likely we are to think that it’s true – even if we were originally sceptical

Even the simple repetition of a statement – whether the same text, or over multiple messages – can increase the “truthiness” by increasing feelings of familiarity, which we mistake for factual accuracy. So, the more often we see something in our news feed, the more likely we are to think that it’s true – even if we were originally sceptical.

Sharing before thinking

These tricks have long been known by propagandists and peddlers of misinformation, but today’s social media may exaggerate our gullible tendencies. Recent evidence shows that many people reflexively share content without even thinking about its accuracy.

In one study, only about 25% of participants said the fake news was true– but 35% said they would share the headline

Gordon Pennycook, a leading researcher into the psychology of misinformation at the University of Regina, Canada, asked participants to consider a mixture of true and false headlines about the coronavirus outbreak. When they were specifically asked to judge the accuracy of the statements, the participants said the fake news was true about 25% of time. When they were simply asked whether they wouldshare the headline, however, around 35% said they would pass on the fake news – 10% more.

“It suggests people were sharing material that they could have known was false, if they had thought about it more directly,” Pennycook says. (Like much of the cutting-edge research on Covid-19, this research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but a pre-print has been uploaded to the Psyarxiv website.)

Perhaps their brains were engaged in wondering whether a statement would get likes and retweets rather than considering its accuracy. “Social media doesn’t incentivise truth,” Pennycook says. “What it incentivises is engagement.”

Research suggests that some people share material they would know was false if they thought about it more directly (Credit: Getty Images)

Or perhaps they thought they could shift responsibility on to others to judge: many people have been sharing false information with a sort of disclaimer at the top, saying something like “I don’t know if this is true, but…”. They may think that if there’s any truth to the information, it could be helpful to friends and followers, and if it isn’t true, it’s harmless – so the impetus is to share it, not realising that sharing causes harm too.

Whether it’s promises of a homemade remedy or claims about some kind of dark government cover-up, the promise of eliciting a strong response in their followers distracts people from the obvious question.

This question should be, of course: is it true?

Override reactions

Classic psychological research shows that some people are naturally better at overriding their reflexive responses than others. This finding may help us understand why some people are more susceptible to fake news than others.

Researchers like Pennycook use a tool called the “cognitive reflection test” or CRT to measure this tendency. To understand how it works, consider the following question:

  • Emily’s father has three daughters. The first two are named April and May. What is the third daughter’s name?

Did you answer June? That’s the intuitive answer that many people give – but the correct answer is, of course, Emily.

To come to that solution, you need to pause and override that initial gut response. For this reason, CRT questions are not so much a test of raw intelligence, as a test of someone’s tendency to employ their intelligence by thinking things through in a deliberative, analytical fashion, rather than going with your initial intuitions. The people who don’t do this are often called “cognitive misers” by psychologists, since they may be in possession of substantial mental reserves, but they don’t “spend” them.

Cognitive miserliness renders us susceptible to many cognitive biases, and it also seems to change the way we consume information (and misinformation).

We consume headlines and posts differently depending on our amount of ‘cognitive miserliness’ (Credit: Getty Images)

When it came to the coronavirus statements, for instance, Pennycook found that people who scored badly on the CRT were less discerning in the statements that they believed and were willing to share.

Matthew Stanley, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has reported a similar pattern in people’s susceptibility to the coronavirus hoax theories. Remember that around 13% of US citizens believed this theory, which could potentially discourage hygiene and social distancing. “Thirteen percent seems like plenty to make this [virus] go around very quickly,” Stanley says.

Testing participants soon after the original YouGov/Economist poll was conducted, he found that people who scored worse on the CRT were significantly more susceptible to these flawed arguments.

These cognitive misers were also less likely to report having changed their behaviour to stop the disease from spreading – such as handwashing and social distancing.

Stop the spread

Knowing that many people – even the intelligent and educated – have these “miserly” tendencies to accept misinformation at face value might help us to stop the spread of misinformation.

Given the work on truthiness – the idea that we “nod along when thoughts flow smoothly” – organisations attempting to debunk a myth should avoid being overly complex.

To fight misinformation, it’s important to present the facts as simply as possible (Credit: Getty Images)

Instead, they should present the facts as simply as possible – preferably with aids like images and graphs that make the ideas easier to visualise. As Stanley puts it: “We need more communications and strategy work to target those folks who are not as willing to be reflective and deliberative.” It’s simply not good enough to present a sound argument and hope that it sticks.

If they can, these campaigns should avoid repeating the myths themselves. The repetition makes the idea feel more familiar, which could increase perceptions of truthiness. That’s not always possible, of course. But campaigns can at least try to make the true facts more prominent and more memorable than the myths, so they are more likely to stick in people’s minds. (It is for this reason that I’ve given as little information as possible about the hoax theories in this article.)

When it comes to our own online behaviour, we might try to disengage from the emotion of the content and think a bit more about its factual basis before passing it on. Is it based on hearsay or hard scientific evidence? Can you trace it back to the original source? How does it compare to the existing data? And is the author relying on the common logical fallacies to make their case?

One thing we can do is simply think about a post’s factual basis before we pass it on (Credit: Getty Images)

These are the questions that we should be asking – rather than whether or not the post is going to start amassing likes, or whether it “could” be helpful to others. And there is some evidence that we can all get better at this kind of thinking with practice.

Pennycook suggests that social media networks could nudge their users to be more discerning with relatively straightforward interventions. In his experiments, he found that asking participants to rate the factual accuracy of a single claim primed participants to start thinking more critically about other statements, so that they were more than twice as discerning about the information they shared.

In practice, it might be as simple as a social media platform providing the occasional automated reminder to think twice before sharing, though careful testing could help the companies to find the most reliable strategy, he says.

There is no panacea. Like our attempts to contain the virus itself, we are going to need a multi-pronged approach to fight the dissemination of dangerous and potentially life-threatening misinformation.

And as the crisis deepens, it will be everyone’s responsibility to stem that spread.”

_____________________________________________
David Robson is the author of The Intelligence Trap, which examines why smart people act foolishly and the ways we can all make wiser decisions. He is @d_a_robson on Twitter.

As an award-winning science site, BBC Future is committed to bringing you evidence-based analysis and myth-busting stories around the new coronavirus. You can read more of our Covid-19 coverage here.   https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200406-why-smart-people-believe-coronavirus-myths?xtor=ES-213-[BBC%20Features%20Newsletter]-2020April17-[Future%7c+Button]

The Elephant in the Room: Posing

Elephant Says:

Don’t be lame

Get off your bum

Stretch, don’t strain

calm your brain

Yoga-phant by Peggy

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

 

Frankly Freddie – It’s her birthday!!!!!!!!!!

Dear all my Freddie Fans,
It’s Peggy’s birthday today


I won’t tell you her age
But she’s reached that stage
When considered a sage.
Tho no longer a pup
She still whoops it up
Please send her some “licks”
from your ruby red lips

Peggy by Peggy

Happy Birthday Peggy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From FreddieL, L, L, L, L, L, L, L

(air kisses)

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation: Veg About

The Elephant says:

Since it’s only us

Here’s our new plan

No need to cook

Eat out of the can.

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

 

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation : Sooooo Sew Sew Sew

  The Elephants says:

As long as you’re sitting

Let’s make masks

Give back to others

Live up to the task

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation: Do It Up

The Elephant says:

Hair’s turning grey

You’re no longer a pup

No need to be dowdy

Let’s gussy you up

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation, Selfie Rumba

The Elephant says:

Take some selfies, send to friends

Show ’em you’re hip

Come on, let’s dance

Put on a dress

Get out of those pants

 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

Messy is ME – making a mess of my life on purpose

Declutter! Focus! Do one-thing-at-a-time! Plan! Schedule!

There are thousands of books and articles on how to be organized.  I’ve read them.  I understand them.  I don’t follow them.

I rarely keep a things-to-do list.  I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda person.  My  process is divergent, I am a piler not a filer, not logical and I used to think there was something wrong with me. (jw)

AND NOW I’m vindicated!  Read this excerpt*:

“Sometimes, we place too much faith in the idea that if something looks well-organized, then we’ve got our lives under control.”

“It’s all too easy to fall into this trap. Many of us feel embarrassed about our cluttered desks, for example, assuming that they are an externalization of our internal chaos. Yet emptying your desk may, ironically, clutter your mind more than ever. All those tasks—read that book, reply to that letter, pay that bill—still exist. But lacking physical reminders that you trust, you may be forced to rely on your subconscious to remind you of all these incomplete tasks. Your subconscious will do a pretty good job of that: it will remind you every few minutes. An empty desk can mean an anxious mind.”

Piler Cat by Peggy

“Nor are empty-deskers necessarily better organized in their work lives. In 2001, Steve Whittaker and Julia Hirschberg, then researchers at AT&T Labs, studied the behavior (pdf) of “filers”, who scrupulously file away their paperwork, and “pilers” who let it accumulate on their desk and any other convenient horizontal surface.”

“. . .  the researchers discovered that the “filers” accumulated bloated archives full of useless chaff. Whittaker has a term for this: “premature filing.” That’s what happens when we take a new document and promptly file it in a fit of tidy-mindedness before we really understand what it means, how it fits into our ongoing commitments, and whether we need to keep it at all. The result: duplicate folders, folders within folders, folders holding just a single document, and filing cabinets that serve as highly-structured trash cans.”

“Meanwhile, the “pilers” flourished. They were much more likely to throw paperwork away—after all, it was in plain sight on their desks—and when they did file something, they were more likely to understand it. Paradoxically, the messy workers had lean, practical and well-used archives. Their organizational system was messy, but it worked.”

“It’s possible to over-structure your life in other ways, too. As the psychologist Marc Wittman told Quartz in August, a partly or wholly unplanned holiday tends to feel longer and fuller than a holiday in which every decision has been made in advance. Critical decisions have to be made in the moment, which means you pay more attention to what’s happening and have richer memories after the fact. But to carry out Wittman’s advice, of course, means letting go and taking a risk. Switching off autopilot always carries an element of danger. That’s why it works.”

“One fascinating study conducted in the early 1980s examined the well-worn question of how structured one should make a calendar. Some people think that if you want to get something done, you should block out a time to do it on the calendar. Others think that the calendar should be reserved only for fixed appointments, and that everything else should be a movable feast”

“The study, run by the psychologists, Daniel Kirschenbaum, Laura Humphrey and Sheldon Malett explored this question, asked undergraduates to participate in a study-skills course. Some were advised to set out monthly goals and study activities; others were told to plan activities and goals in much more detail, day by day.”

 “The researchers, assuming daily plans would work better than months were wrong: “The daily plans were catastrophically demotivating, while the monthly plans worked very nicely. The effect was still in evidence a year later. The likely explanation is that the daily plans simply became derailed by unexpected events. A rigid structure is inherently fragile. Better for both your peace of mind and your productivity to improvise a little more often.

I believe our brains are hard-wired to be logical or creatively divergent.  What works for one person, one situation, will not work for another.  If I can learn to stop berating myself when piles and projects surround me you can stop berating yourself for being overly organized.

(jw)

*Source:  Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist.

Originally posted on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more from Max Your Mind

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation: Liven Up Your Environment

The Elephant says:

This room’s a bore

Let’s change up things

Bring in some pizzazzz

we’ll give it some zing