blogging

A Double Tragedy hits the British People

I was saddened to read of the tragic death of Prince Harry. The young Prince and Father killed in a horse-riding accident in the early hours of this morning. Only hours after the news of the Prince’s death broke, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, choked on a cucumber sandwich and couldn’t be revived when ambulances arrived at his home. The world is in shock.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

Then again, I could be making the whole thing up, couldn’t I?

Would you believe it?

It is so easy to post misleading information. A few twitter or facebook posts and a monster takes form, spreading like wildlfire across social media.

Apparently:

  • Taylor Swift has been declared dead in news reports, three times, but remains alive and well.
  • Some people stridently believe Paul McCartney died in 1966 and all appearances by him since, are mere look-a-like impersonators designed to keep the lie going. Confirmation for them is a song, by John Lennon and George Harrison which, when played backwards says, ‘Paul is dead, miss him, miss him, miss him.’

These examples are ludicrous, but is evidence that many folks will BELIEVE certain things about ANY subject.

Can we be certain just where our information comes from and whether it is grounded in fact or hearsay?

Person 1: Why are we still in lockdown? The Corona virus is nothing more than a cold.

Person 2: People don’t generally die from a cold. We must keep the borders closed.

We all have different opinions and perspectives and that makes for vigorous discussions around the world; discussions that sometimes affects our relationships. That is no less true for topics such as Climate Change and Corona.

Do you think about where your information is coming from?

Is it verified by authentic sources? What do you consider an authentic source?

A scholarly article backed up by studies? Anecdotal evidence? A blog post?

Photo by Life of Wu on Pexels.com

Confirmation Bias and the Dunning Kruger Effect

Is our upbringing, values, political persuasion or faith blocking our understanding? Are we only seeking out information that supports what we already think? This is known as Confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is even more pronounced in a world where we can use our social media to filter out information we don’t want to absorb and where we follow influencers who reinforce our existing beliefs.

Rebecca Huntley

We all struggle with something outside of our experience level, says J. Marshal Shepherd, an American Meteorologist. Because of this, scepticism and individual biases can block our understanding and skew our opinions.

Rebecca Huntley states that focus group participants, with no scientific training or credentials, will pick apart facts and figures regarding climate science. This is referred to as the Dunning-Kruger bias.

This human tendency for people to think they know more than they actually do, as well as underestimate what they don’t know, is called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Cognitive Dissonance

Once people encounter a viewpoint that is at odds with what they perceive to be true, they experience discomfort, or cognitive dissonance.

Rebecca explains that when this occurs:

They then try to resolve their discomfort by arguing away the new evidence until it’s consistent with their own beliefs.

rebecca Huntely

Inadvertantly they reinforce the skewed perspectives.

Is Your View the only One?

So next time you read or hear a report:

Question the accuracy of the information and be aware of what it is that might be shaping our views and perceptions, (or misperceptions), about science and the world?

Ask Yourself What News Sources You Rely on?

Photo by Joshua Miranda on Pexels.com

Check Your Bias?

  • Take an inventory of your own bias
  • Read broadly
  • Evaluate your sources
  • Share this information with others

More about determining misinformation here.

Community, Mental Health

Raising Children and Productivity

Lindy is a young Mum to two energetic boys. Lindy’s house is orderly and tidy, and Lindy works part time in a local law firm. The boys go to Daycare when she is at work, and she reports they love the activities there. Even so, she ensures she makes up for the time away from them, by rewarding them with an extra special outing or activity, on the weekends.

Every day she keeps their young minds busy by taking them out to parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities or plays. They are rarely at home.  Twice a week, they are enrolled in Early Music tuition and next year they will join a junior football team. She is also considering Maths tutoring so that will have a head start on their peers, at school. Lindy wants them to grow up to be motivated and ambitious individuals, living life and experiencing the opportunities she missed during her childhood.

But is she doing the right thing for her boys?

Are the boys benefiting from all these scheduled activities?

Or are they being raised with the expectation that entertainment will be provided, each and every day?  Will they thrive on this daily dose of stimulation, or come to expect it as a birthright? Could they even become victims of information overload?

Some experts now think it’s essential for our mental well-being to make time to relax, unwind and do nothing. But, isn’t that a tad boring? Won’t the kids get into mischief? Do young children really need down time at all? And what about us? Do we really NEED some down time away from the “bling” of notification tones? What is the value of downtime, anyway?

Confucius has some words of wisdom: –

“Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous” – Confucius

As well as Confucius, Forbes offers some insights –

“Introspection and reflection have become lost arts” as we are unable to resist the temptation to ‘just finish this’ or ‘find out that.’

With vast amounts of information at our fingertips, who needs to memorize facts at all?

“Working harder is not necessarily working smarter. In fact  slacking off and setting aside regular periods of ‘doing nothing’ may be the best thing we can do to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination and improve our mental health. “

https://www.forbes.com/sites/insead/2014/07/01/the-importance-of-doing-nothing/#354e533e75e4

Does free-time sound appealing to you? Works for me. Schedule time for Feet up, drink in hand, and letting one’s mind free-wheel. Muting notifications of course.

I hope Lindy and her two boys are listening.

Something to Ponder About

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Community

Poetry Challenge for July closing soon

A and I Poetry Challenge

Time is running out if you wish to join in for the month of July in the A and I Bilingual Poetry Challenge (running each month until October).  Linkbacks to contributors will be posted next week. Leave a comment here, and tag your post as per instructions, to be included in the July round up.

The prompt for July is:

Turn on the radio to any channel.

Write a poem inspired by the first thing you hear

(lyrics to a song, a commercial, etc.)

For the Afrikaans version of the Poetry Challenge, please visit Ineke at   scrapydo2.wordpress.com

Full instructions on joining in with the Poetry Challenge, look here

One member of my blogging community posted the following poem on his blog, Chief Writing Wolf and I am reproducing it here, as I believe that the thirst and acquisition of knowledge is so important. The radio can be a vehicle for this, particularly in remote areas of the world.

Pardon me,

If I may sound critical of I.

But I realized once a short time ago,

That I’m a whore.

A whore of the spirits.

My mind and body and everything in between are open to everyone and everything.

It’s not that I have no moral turpitude.

I’m a glutton for emotion.

I’m a fool for curiosity.

I’m in need of knowledge.

And the people who possess it.

People like you.

I’m a whore of the spirits.

Your spirit and mine.

The spirit of anyone who’s lived in this world,

And wants to share their ideals.

I’ve let myself be used for good and bad.

For all others to enjoy.

Now I demand to enjoy myself.

And be a whore for my brain.

I have no more qualms of life.

I don’t fear mysteries of the human creature.

I frolic with my pod of friends,

In orgied lusts of the good.

Beneath a midnight sky or a crystal sun,

Call me as you please.

I gleefully admit,

I’m a whore.

Because I understand my true soul.

I’m in need of company,

But only to learn.

Always and forever.

I feed from that.

I must nourish from a bountiful mass of gray matter.

It’s my blood.

It’s my breath.

Shout at me, “You whore!”

And I laugh.

“Thank you, my friend!”

Because I know who I am.

One of the spirits.

Hungrier and thirstier,

For a tapestry of brilliant introspection.

Alejandro – Chiefwritingwolf.com

Poetry can be Something powerful to Ponder About

Something to PonderAbout