A guilt-laying event that I rejected.

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Today I had someone try to push a guilt-inducing feeling into my mind. It was a very sophisticated delivery filled with Nazi book burnings and Crystal Night stupidities that I was supposed to feel guilty about because I am a human being. Human beings are capable of doing disgusting racist things, and since I am a human being I must be capable of those things, and therefore I must accept guilt for those happenings. It is hard to know if the person delivering this ugly message was aware of how hate inducing his anti-hate message was. It was a constant barrage of doublethink, making good behavior into bad and bad behavior into good. Even bad behavior done with a good artistic delivery was made into a good thing because it was good art and highly motivational. Soon, it was the exact opposite.

Perhaps I was taking all of this sophistry the wrong way but I don’t think so.

Where to go for the American eclipse?

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I wrote that title thinking about the eclipse of the sun this August 21, 2017, but when I read it felt like the eclipse of America, this wonderful experiment in democracy. Back in the 1960’s, there was turmoil aplenty — McCarthyism, the Free Speech Movement, race riots, and the insane Vietnam war. Those were ugly problems but I don’t remember ever feeling there was a fundamental problem with our form of government. It was that there were just nasty problems that needed improvement, and I, and it seemed that the people I knew, also felt that we could do it. We could solve our problems, at least we could make them a lot better if we tried really hard.

At the moment there seems to be a desperation that the information we are basing our thoughts on is being manipulated by evil people. The media are always suspect of being biased, and that’s why we used to have a variety of newspapers with their views on what was wrong and each had their ideas on what we should and could do to correct the problems. Nowadays, there is a fundamental question about the truth of media because there are people outside of our country who benefit by creating confusion and conflict within our country. They are not trying to solve our problems they are trying to make them worse. That appears to be the new reality that we must cope with and adapt to. It will be a new experiment in government, with the belief that the media and the government are no longer even attempting to behave in ways that will be to the general benefit. One extreme example is the intentional attempt to deprive vast numbers of people of medical care, which means that many of them will die, which is the deliberate policy of some politicians. They are functionally committing murder, even genocide. Not genocide of an ethnic group, but a genocide of people who were born into unfortunate situations and then deprived of an education or other ways out of their poverty.

I spent a lot of time the last few days searching for the best place to view the eclipse of the sun. I have different ideas about what the ideal place would be and if I published them here there might be stacks of people on that exact spot. With a bit of luck a few days after that event I will have a spectacular post. I watched the sun rise eclipsed on July 9th 1945 12:18Z near Wilder, Idaho, exactly a week before the first atomic bomb exploded over Alamogordo, New Mexico, July 16th 1945 12:29Z at sunrise.

July 9, 1945 was my first solar eclipse and August 21, 2017 may be my last. Enjoy!

Love Our Life cover just had its eighteenth final revision

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The Love Our Life cover just had its eighteenth final revision. These covers are printed up on thick photo paper and look like professionally done book covers. Putting these covers into a final form and showing them to people reveals subtleties and innuendos that slip right past my personal observation. They slip past until they are seen and then they appear as glaring faults.

I want to get everything about this book just right because the ideas within it are desperately needed by billions of people. It is inevitable that there will be many kinds of flaws in the first drafts of a book and the second and the third and unfortunately even in the eighteenth attempt. Usually, my strategy with visual art is to make things good enough that I can’t see the flaws at half the viewing distance and twice the viewing distance that an audience would normally be viewing a picture. This cover has been put to that test and even more stringent ones too and it is very clean. It is the subtlety of the text that keeps slipping away. Something will look okay when reading it but when Debbie reads it aloud it just doesn’t flow very well, and she is an excellent reader. The important ideas are there and stated clearly enough, but they seem obvious, or trite, or repetitive, or boring.

Is “A Playful Approach to Happiness and Health” better than “A Playful Approach to Health and Happiness?” That word order doesn’t make much difference to what is printed in the book. Or does it? When I say those words out loud, the “Health and Happiness” flows more easily than “Happiness and Health.” I don’t know why, but it feels better to my ear.

I struggle on with tiny things that no one will see and will only feel.

The new cover for Love Our Life met with approval.

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I have been fussing specifically with the Love Our Life front and back cover for several days. I and my helpful friends have been trying to find just the right words to be attractive and say exactly what the book offers. The sixteenth “final” printing was popular with my friends and a couple of coffee-shop young women. Those unknown women are particularly important to me because that demographic will probably be the first users of the book.

The front cover may be final. The back cover presently reads well but is a bit wordy, so I will let it rest for a few days and then read it with a fresh mind. I need to show the cover to enough different people to get some feedback on what is acceptable and appealing to them.

Now is the time to begin rewriting a large number of essays that will be the text of this book. Debbie bought a Scrivener writers program to help organize what is already in text form. However, after spending so much time getting the cover into shape and thinking more in an overview mindset rather than specifics, the tone of the book has shifted from those earlier essays. Before it was aimed at specific recommendations, but in the future is moving more toward making this “diet-book” a totally positive experience. I am cutting through the guilt, which is destructive to actually promoting success. Being successful with any activity is done by making every action into something that can be counted as a success. For example, Debbie and I have been doing a diet for six months now and weighing ourselves every day. What becomes obvious while doing that procedure is that almost every day our weight is higher than our best record weigh-in. Therefore, it can be felt as a failure, a disappointment, a cause for depression. The way we counter that problem is not to rate the daily weight as the success but the fact that we did our eating routines, our daily walks and weighed ourselves. That is the success we pay attention to and the good feeling about. It is knowing we did what we intended to do that is the success. An even bigger life success is in knowing we can trust ourselves to do what we set out to do.

That may not sound like much, but nearly everyone who sets out on a New Year’s Resolution, to go on a diet, for example, fails. Fails. To be able to successfully do a diet is a huge accomplishment. We have succeeded in working out ways to be successful.

What Love Our Life will do for people is help them to trust themselves.

Love Our Life is designed to be fun to read.

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The existing diet books tend to be laden with hidden guilt. They also keep referring to science and scientific studies in an attempt to appear well-founded and important. Perhaps this is because people who have body image problems feel guilty and want to change for the better but don’t know how. The diet mavens, in an effort to respond to the seriousness of the current obesity epidemic, become pretentious and overload their writing with useless facts. They also promise fantastic improvements that magically happen overnight if only you suffer enough.

Love Our Life is going to be fun to read and every bit of it is going to be repeatedly proofread to filter out negative thoughts. If we expect someone to do the games as routine behavior for the rest of their lives, they must be pleasurable. This is the opposite of standard diets that expect their followers to be willfully overruling their bodies’ natural eagerness to eat. They try to force their gut to act as if there is a famine currently in progress. That generates internal pain, and no one wants to live in pain every moment of their future life. We may suffer pain for a little while to achieve a grander goal of being comfortable in the long run. But even then we must expect that if we follow the plan of suffering we will eventually reach a state of harmony and contentment. Just endure this pain for a little longer. Unfortunately, a little longer is forever.

Love Our Life is designed to be pleasurable from the very first moment you begin reading the little book of LOL games. Writing about something that has as much negativity associated with it as dieting does is a challenge. To do comedy about obesity is easy if it is based on making fun of the problem. But that is not only ugly, it is counterproductive. It doesn’t help anyone take control of their personal situation and instead drives them toward resentment and despair.

Having a positive attitude toward solving a problem is what works. It is necessary to get into a positive relationship with problems to deal with them effectively. It works best to be a friend to all of your emotions. Strong emotions wouldn’t be coming up if there wasn’t some problem that provoked the response. That moment of response is telling you in clear terms something needs to be attended to.

I have already written forty-three essays dealing with various aspects of the dieting problem, and much more about habits. This LOL book has a fertile ground upon which to grow the new ideas. The LOL diet is based on games that bring happiness and health. The easy games can reach people who can’t endure a future based on deprivation and pain.

This new strategy isn’t easy or obvious and I have already rewritten what was thought to be the final cover and introduction fifteen times. Fortunately, I have some older professional friends who are willing to discuss these problems with me and keep me on track to what will work.

The goal of Love Our Life isn’t to have fun myself, it’s to help all humanity to cope with their problems.

 

It was a good day but it felt routine for me.

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Early this morning was spent working on the cover for Love Our Life – A Game Approach to Health. It includes an emoji-based icon of a smile and a small print prompt on the bottom that may be included on every page. Quite a few thoughts and variations have been explored in the cover with the idea of having enough uniqueness to be seen, remembered and picked up. Once it is picked up the back cover must be interesting enough to open the book. As I write this and read the brief blurb on the back, I feel that it doesn’t have enough grabbing power. The words do convey what is to be found in the book but they aren’t stimulating enough.

The other day Jerry suggested that I do the main ideas as bullet points for the back cover. I have already done several of the existing forty-three subject essays as bullet point lists. Some of those lists are game titles. Perhaps it would be intriguing to post an easy but interesting challenge.

Can you close your eyes right now and imagine putting your hand on some candy? If you find yourself drooling you have a problem. So, try playing this game … When at the grocery store in the checkout line, hover your hand over the pile of candy and say to yourself, “I don’t need this candy in my home tempting me all the time. I can say no right now and eliminate that problem.” If you have time you can carry on a long conversation with yourself about that candy. Doing that successfully a single time is a success and sets up the possibility of doing it again the next time you are at the store. After doing this successfully for a while you will have a strong habit of resisting candy in that particular situation. As a bonus, you will have the possibility of applying that habit when you are at parties and there is a pile of candies and cakes. This isn’t dieting. You are not depriving yourself of anything because you are just playing a game. At any moment you can choose to stop playing the game but by not taking the candy you are winning the game. There is a point system for measuring your successful passing by of things you don’t want.

Those are the kinds of thoughts I have been mulling over for months.

Later in the morning, I attended a two-hour conversation where people were discussing their life trajectories and how they were coping with their problems. I haven’t spoken up for weeks in these conversations because my problems seem trivial and abstract compared to other people’s serious problems. The problems of writing a book about trying to save a billion people from their obesity are nothing compared to their awful problems. My problems are more concerned with avoiding distractions. For example, thinking about where am I going to go for the coming solar eclipse and then cruising Google Earth for a long time. I have been invited to a ranch where the eclipse is going to be a minute long, but it’s going to be two minutes long out at our ex-family farm, but I don’t have any access to that anymore. Besides, it is recommended that you get to those good locations three days before the event and plan on staying for another day to avoid the huge exodus after the event.

Debbie and I went to an eclipse lecture for two hours this evening. I won a T-shirt for answering more questions right than a hundred other people. I usually win a T-shirt at these Science Pub events and then give it to someone who needs an orange OSU shirt. After the lecture, I talked to an ex-astronaut for a couple of minutes and then to the speaker for about ten minutes until the lecture hall was empty and he was headed home. Typical me.

My iPhone says I walked over 7,000 steps today.

It was a typical day but I want to make the LOL book read much better. Distractions.

How does one reach out to humanity?

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I have been writing and rewriting the covers, introduction and early chapters to the Love Our Life book. It is an effort to find words that will reach everyone. The main thrust of this has been aimed at coping with the obesity epidemic that is now world-wide. Well over a billion people are now directly affected by overweight bodies. The current methods of weight loss clearly don’t work. In addition to obesity, there are other problems with different manifestations, but it is apparent to me that the root causes are similar. The book is being written with a generality of approach that can be useful for coping with those additional problems.

The book is designed to be very inexpensive to publish so that it might reach a worldwide audience more easily. It is intended to be easy to translate and to reprint. The sentence structure is intentionally easy to understand and the games easy to play. The style of the sentence structure will be epigrammatic to be memorable. It is written as the first edition with blank spaces for additional games to be inserted into the book by the reader. An annual worldwide contest, with prizes, will be part of the book. The method of solving problems with new games can be expanded to other types of situations. The working model is 4 x 6 inches so that it is pocketable, but it might be a little smaller. It is intended that it be carried for ready reference until its games become automatic. Then it is intended that it be given to a friend as a gift. That is stated on the title page and at the bottom of every page in small type.

I drew a stylized smiling mouth on the cover as an iconic symbol for the Love Our Life movement. The idea of a worldwide movement seems premature. To reach everyone, having a movement as part of the original layout makes sense. Having a book as the foundation makes it possible to present the ideas more coherently. Having access to social media makes the wider circulation of the ideas happen more quickly.

To be a success the Love Our Life movement must show significant results promptly.

What happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? What’s next?

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It would appear that before we can predict future events with any hope of success we must ask and answer things that we can observe and relate to. That quest begins with the simple question — What happened? That requires our observing some phenomena and defining the limits of what is within a definition and what is outside of the definition. As this entity is defined it will be helpful to give the resultant thing a name, even a simple name for that unknown like happened with X-rays. Those people didn’t know what the phenomena were that they were observing but they knew it radiated like light so they named it X … rays. Usually, things get more descriptive names, except in mathematics where they seem to prefer single letters.

As soon as a phenomenon is observed to be existing the next fundamental question would be — How did it happen? How did this thing come into existence? If the event has familiar precursors it may be easy to explain the event as dependent upon the precursors. But, when the event is new to the observer or totally unique to everyone, it may require a subset of observations and definitions similar to those needed to define the original question, what happened? If enough satisfactory precursors can be determined then we can claim we know how it happened. If that claim is made and we know the precursors, then we can often do a simple repetition of those conditions and expect to get the same result. However, there may be unknown necessary precursors that have been affecting the outcomes but which only occur randomly but with a statistical probability, like radioactive particle decay. Or earthquakes. These things are known to happen, but the only way to cope is to prepare for Black Swan events and wait, or to construct situations where antifragile defenses function to make even the unknowable frequency be survivable and tolerable, even advantageous. Both of those strategies are a form of pre-thinking and preparing by antifragile preadaptation.

If those conditions are met, then the preadapted strategist will win in games of strategy against all but the most sophisticated of players. For those special situations, it is necessary to have inside information. Why did it happen? may be unknowable when there are sophisticated players involved in the situation and What’s next? will be unknowable. The situation may appear to be perfectly within the predictions based on the experience defined above but at the critical moment when you are most exposed, things fail to behave as expected. Therefore:

You must be very careful when playing with the Big Boys, but as my father told me when I was very young, “You never know who the Big Boys are.”

 

 

A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg

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On January 1, 2014 I chose Jennifer Doudna as Probaway Person of the Year 2014. I choose a person who did something so significant the year before that it will be remembered 500 years in the future. At the time I made that prediction Doudna was almost unknown to the general public but her creating a workable CRISPR technology has been picked up by thousands of research scientists since her discovery. It has propelled her into a position of having to make ethical and political decisions and statements so she wrote this book.

A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna & Samuel Sternberg is about the creation of CRISPR and thus the human ability to control the exact DNA of any living, dead, or potential species. It is a significant event, perhaps with even more long-term effects than the creation of life itself. I make that audacious statement because the natural processes of life are limited by natural selection. That process is a blind adaptation to past experiences of a given species. CRISPR is different in that it can be directed by human forethought and even computer forethought to create living creatures to do our bidding. Life now can have a forethought and a preconceived purpose. It is a God-like purpose rather than just a natural selection of some random life form that didn’t die before it reproduced!

Most of the book is about the people, technology, and history of creating the CRISPR technique of modifying DNA. It is valuable having an overview of what these research scientists are doing and discovering. There is a discussion of what technologies are presently being developed that will be making an impact on various living things.

With that background information laid out in terms a general reader can follow but probably not make any personal use of, Doudna explores the immediate future uses of CRISPR. As a scientist, she is eager to explore all the nuances of what nature has provided for us, but as a responsible human being, she is concerned that a technology this powerful will create problems humans may not be able to cope with.

The last chapters of the book deal with the physical and moral implications of how CRISPR may be developed in the near future. She has called high-level conferences of the chief scientists and policy makers in this field to discuss these almost imponderable problems. They are trying to create international guidelines for the development of cures for diseases and especially to go very slow on modifying the heritable parts of human DNA that would be carried forward to descendants. Her thoughts may be noble and responsible, but there are already others with other motivations, like creating descendants with super abilities of various sorts, and of course of making money. With a technology with this power, there are infinite possibilities.

CRISPR is the genie out of the bottle that may prove bigger than humanity.

 

Where do low ACE score people hang out?

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The ACE test, the acronym for the Adverse Childhood Experience test, was reflected by me as the PCE test, the Positive Childhood Experience test. PDF of ACE-PCE test

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences (ACE versus PCE)

I’ve been watching for groups of people gathering together who could be called adults who had very low Adverse Childhood Experiences and very high Positive Childhood Experiences. There have been people at the various groups that I attend who have good scores, as determined by me from general conversations with them. That doesn’t have any scientific validity, being only what is called anecdotal evidence, but it is usually where we usually start the formulating our inquiries.

As a generalization, it would seem that the worse the scores on these two tests the more likely the adult behavior that would result would be characterized as stiff and inflexible. That does have its positive aspect in that people of that personal historical background would be more dedicated to whatever ideas they have and would fight for those ideas more vehemently. Their life is accepted as a constant struggle, even with friends, and they would have the attitude that you must fight for whatever you get.

The people who had very mild ACE experiences and strong PCE experiences would expect that life would be predictable and people would be cooperative. Inevitable conflicts between people’s needs would be solved by cooperation, discussion, and agreement on mutually beneficial actions. Their lives would be polite, contractual and agreeable with very little vehemence and considerable humor.

A clear published expression of this dichotomy of life approach is found by comparing two books  Hillbilly Elegy, A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance and Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman are both about men coming out of their communities and entering into very successful lives. I blogged about this last January 15th and this blog post is a response to my watching for examples of those ideas.

In Thank You for Being Late we see where a community of mutually supportive people produced a lot of children who became very successful adults. In the Hillbilly Elegy, where the community was self-destructive, there were few children who had successful adult lives and yet the author was an exception. The lesson to be learned is obvious about where to find low ACE and high PCE scores:

Participate in communities of people who are agreeable and mutually supportive.