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A Quick Lesson in Detecting Propaganda

Language changes our perception. One word can make you hallucinate. Changing a single word in a sentence is enough for you to remember seeing something that never happened. Our minds and memories are malleable. Those that understand the power that language has over shaping our perception can end up becoming the purveyors of propaganda. Influencing the masses with nothing more than a few carefully selected words. Language is the vehicle of propaganda. I’ve written before about how fickle our memories are. Look at the 1974 Loftus and Palmer study. They got a group of students together to witness a car crash that had been filmed. They were asked “About how fast were the cars going when they (smashed / collided / bumped / hit / contacted) each other?”.  Depending on what verb was used in the question, depends on how fast they thought the vehicle was going. They all saw the same crash, yet one word changed how fast they perceived the cars were going because each of the verbs have a non-di
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Free Will and Clairvoyants

One question is all that is needed to see if a clairvoyant is genuine. Or at least to see if they believe their skills are genuine. I will explain why no one can claim to know what the future holds while simultaneously maintaining their belief in free will. This extends to deities, psychics, cartomancers - anyone who claims they can accurately and precisely predict the future. Today I will focus on modern day snake oil salesmen - clairvoyants. To their credit, when fortune tellers give you their prediction for the future they will avoid giving any specifics. This will prevent you from testing their claim. Instead they give vague suggestions that could happen to anyone, which you then mold your experience into. “Something bad will happen to a family member” they say. Which family member? How bad? When? You fill out all of these details when an event like that inevitably happens. It will happen, not because they predicted it, but because eventually something bad will always happens to a

It's the Little Things that make a BIG Difference

What follows are two golden systems that I have implemented in my life and I recommend you try. I guarantee that these two small things will change some people's lives more than any major changes that they could implement. These systems are easy, and the pay off is huge. They’ll help you use your time more efficiently and give you more time overall. Let’s start with a seemingly irrelevant quote. Before you read on, please, do not take this as an advocacy for eating elephants, I disavow all, and every attempt to eat elephants.  “There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time” -Desmond Tutu. Now you may be asking, what does this quote have to do with anything? Before I give you that answer, I’ll have to give you a bit of context. Your time is precious, as is mine, so this won’t take long.  My home is relatively clean. I manage to maintain a level of cleanliness where it rarely, if ever, falls into a state of disarray. I manage to keep this relatively high standard, not by

Increase Your Productivity: Energy Levels

Energy produces productivity. If there’s no energy, nothing productive gets done. The key to using your time effectively is managing your energy levels and matching your activity to your current energy level. The idea is that you find what it is that can promote feelings of productivity and use this knowledge to create productive moods which you will spend on exercising, cleaning, or whatever activity you need to get done. Use your pattern recognition skills to do this. Figure out what promotes productivity, and then figure out what activities you should be doing during the day, when you should be doing them, and for how long. Match your activity to your energy level: After breakfast and during my cup of coffee is the best time for me to do my writing. My energy levels are just right, I want to do this. After that, I’m itching to do something active so I’ll head to the gym. Once I’m done with my workout, I like to do something sedentary for a while so I’ll work on some video editing,

New Year's Resolutions SUCK. Here's a Better Way to Build Habits That Last.

New Year’s resolutions don’t work. They’re a bad way to turn one’s life around. The most common of which are: eating healthier, exercising and saving money. The idea, presumably, is that you want to maintain these habits for life - but the trouble is that you’re forcing a sudden change on yourself and expecting it to stick. Most of the time it won’t. In fact, 45% of people fail to keep their resolutions by February, less than 20% of people keep them for two years. The motivation is there when you start, but motivation is short term. In order to create something that stays ingrained in you for the rest of your life, you need a system to fall back onto. Where goals can fail, systems prevail. If your goal is healthy eating and exercise it makes sense to think that signing up to a gym, promising yourself you’ll go 5 times a week with your PT and starting to eat broccoli and beans for dinner every night is a good idea. But this isn’t sustainable. This isn’t the way to create lasting habits

The Age of (dis)information.

Our civilisation is changing. Rapidly. There are different eras that intelligent species inevitably go through. I’m sure there are more official, or accurate definitions out there, but here are a few I have thought of. There’s the primal stage where the dominant species of the planet has yet to become as intelligent as they will - tribal warfare and violence reigns supreme. There’s the middle ages where religion ruled largely on the basis of fear and where the foundations of reason and enlightenment have yet to be established. Currently, we are living in the age of information. The age of information is as big a step forward as the industrial revolution was, if not bigger. I’d say it really started to kick off at the beginning of this century. The marking of this age is the fact that we are able to find any piece of information at almost any time. It’s a tool that was never afforded to previous generations. But with great power comes great… corruption. We are in the age of information.

How can we Trust our Memories?

When we think back to past events, how can we know that they're accurate? Can we reminisce over things that never happened? If there’s one thing that I have learnt over the past few years, it’s how easily manipulated people can be. Anything from our actions to our fickle memories. False memories are a more common phenomena than you would think. How many of your memories are false? You wouldn't know - you can't  know for certain. 90% of them could be completely fabricated. But you trust that most of the memories you have are real. I for one, know of some false memories that I have, merely due to logical inconsistencies in how the story in my head goes. When I think back to them, my brain realises the incongruency and tries to fix it by ‘remembering’ something else so that it makes sense. I can clearly remember both memories, knowing that at least one of them is incorrect. I honestly don’t know which parts of that story are real any more. Matching your memories with someone e