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On Sleep, or Lack Thereof 19 November 2015

Posted by Lao Tzu in biology, health, psychology.
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So, I don’t sleep much.  I like to think it is because I have a very active mind, and don’t like to sleep.  I feel that there is so much I could be doing, and should be doing.  It seems like a waste of time.  There is also the idea that I am getting more out of life, spending more waking hours in a positive way.

So I am not an expert on the effects of sleep deprivation, and this is not a study of multiple subjects, just anecdotal insight.  So let me tell you about sleep deprivation.  The effects are noticeable by “flickering”, alternating between periods with normal sleep and deprived periods.  Flickering is a technique I use to subjectively assess the effects of anything, such as caffeine’s effect on the body, just as one can use it to tell the differences between 2 images.

Deprived State (0-4 hours for 1-3 nights):

Body:  Or course, it becomes tired and week.  But also, my joints feel sore and stiff.  This condition returns to normal after about 2 days or normal (7+ hours) sleep.  Also, my resting pulse is significantly higher when sleep deprived (data to follow).

Mind:  Unproductive, difficult to focus, difficult to solve problems.

Survival Mode (<3 hours for more than 4 days):

I noticed that there is a phase where I am so sleep deprived that I should not be able to function at all.  My system then goes to a different state I call “Survival Mode”.  I am almost hyperactive.  In this state, I do not feel tired or sleepy.  It is actually difficult to fall asleep in this mode.  But brain function is somehow better, but not always correctly.  I noticed that I can have “semi-dreams” where I am awake but thinking abstract thoughts like a dream.  Weird, eh.  I have not experienced any auditory or visual hallucinations.  Sometimes I doze off and wake up and I do not know where I am, that sucks.

Additionally, sleep math is not linear.  2 hours + 2 hours does not = 4 hours.

Finally, if not obvious to everyone already; it is clear that “physically tired”, “sleepy”, and “mentally exhausted” are 3 completely separate phenomena, and it really sucks when they are not on the same schedule.

Bottom line:  I need to sleep, you need to sleep, it is not as productive as you think.  You may get more hours or work in when you sacrifice sleep, but you are very slow during that time.  Your body needs to rest and rebuild, and your mind needs to rest as well.  So make sleep a priority.


Long Time 19 November 2015

Posted by Lao Tzu in Uncategorized.
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Sorry, been off this grid for a long time.  But, there has been much to talk about.  Will start  writing again this week.  Stand by.

Boston vs. Cleveland 10 May 2013

Posted by Lao Tzu in anthropology, child abuse, law, psychology, sociology.
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I watched the manhunt unfold on TV for the Boston bombing suspect. I was impressed with how the Boston PD handled the situation, rapidly and aggressively taking action – closing down the city, containing the search perimeter, then choking it down and bringing out the last suspect. I had said this before, but I had to say it after this experience, “Wow, if they would just do this when a child is missing, we might be able to increase our success rate in finding them in time.”

Days later, 3 women are rescued from a horrible situation in Cleveland. Held captive in a house for over a decade by a mad man, only 3 miles from their homes. All 3 girls abducted on the same street. 11 years and 3 miles away and not found. Calls to police about screams and seeing them outside, and no action taken by police. No door to door search. The police dropped the ball many, many times.

We need to take this problem seriously. It is not just the safety of our children at stake, it is also about allowing a culture of evil in our society. If a child is abducted, we need to do the following:

Alert everyone
Lockdown the area
Door to Door Search
Focus on success

Let’s take this seriously already!

Casey Anthony Trial: Exchanging Logic for Sensationalism 6 July 2011

Posted by Lao Tzu in child abuse, idiocracy, law, media, mental laziness, philosophy, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized.
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So the verdict came in yesterday on the trial of Casey Anthony for the alleged murder of her 2 year old daughter, Caylee Anthony. She was found not guilty on the counts of murder and abuse, but guilty on three counts of lying to investigators regarding facts related to the case. There is so much that went wrong with this case and verdict, I do not know where to begin. I did not follow the case, so I do not have all the information, but here are some facts to which I am aware:


  1. Casey did not report her daughter missing to police, even after several weeks.
  2. Casey’s parents made first contact with police.
  3. The child was found with duct tape over nose and mouth.
  4. Casey lied to investigators on multiple occasions about the circumstances around this case.

Inductive Reasoning

  1. Fact #1 suggests that Casey killed her, knows who did, or did not care. For a normal person, if their child were missing, they would call police immediately, at least the same day, and definitely not longer than a few days. If she lied to investigators about this situation (e.g., that a nanny that did not exist had her) then that should be even more suspicious. Instead, it is treated as a separate, isolated issue.
  2. Fact #2 indicates that it is unlikely the parents are to blame. It also means we have no way of knowing if Casey would have called the police at all.  The fact that the grandfather attempted to commit suicide could be taken either way – as sympathetic or guilty.  His explanation sounded genuinely sympathetic – but that is just his testimony.  Although I am having a hard time understanding the motives of the witness Krystal Holloway if she were not telling the truth.
  3. The defense explanation was that the child died in a drowning accident. There was no evidence at all to support this theory. No normal parent or grandparent would bury their child after an accident. Any teenage babysitter would have called 911. If this were true, the Anthony family would not even know whether the child could have been revived.
  4. Fact #3 clearly, undisputably, indicates that the child was murdered and did not drown, discounting the above theory.
  5. Fact #4 indicates she is hiding information.

There were also serious failures within the court that helped sacrifice logic for sensationalism. For example, one of the explanations for the shocking verdict was that there was information presented in the courtroom on TV when the jury was not present. That means, the public had more information than the jury, when it is really supposed to be the other way around. It should be clear that someone in that family murdered that poor child.

Other Plausible Explanations

  1. Casey knows who killed her and is covering it up.
  2. Casey’s brother murderd her.  He demonstrated abnormally strong emotions for being “left out” of the child’s life. There is also the theory that he is the father, which makes sense given the previous sentence.
  3. Casey is being framed by another member in the family. This explains the weird internet searches. No normal person would Google “shovel”. This would also explain the mother calling police and saying, “it smells like a decomposing body.” Most people do not know what that smells like.

This case really demonstrates how broken the court system is.  The general public should never have more information than the jury.  Facts should be the foundation of arguments but are often over-shadowed by smoke screening of irrelevant information.  Many people cannot distinguish opinion from fact.  Many people are still persuaded, even subconsciously, by personal appearance of the defendant, witnesses, and even victims.  The focus should be on the crime and victim, and not the individual defendant.  We need to apply logic (deductive and inductive reasoning) more in the courtroom.

I hate writing about this kind of stuff, and reading it, but we cannot turn our backs on it.  We need to protect our children and not facilitate the system into continuously neglecting them and their rights.

The end result of all this is that there is no justice for 2 year old Caylee Anthony.

Why Preschool is a Bad Idea 18 October 2010

Posted by Lao Tzu in anthropology, biology, economy, evolution, medicine, sociology, Uncategorized.
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So in my previous post, I mentioned a potential benefit to children staying at home at a later age prior to starting school. I now present the complimentary reason why going to school at too young of an age is detrimental to children, society, and could have long term impacts on childrens’ health.

At the preschool age, children have not yet learned many skills that we take for granted to get through our daily life – in particular, how to avoid getting sick. At preschool age, children are still putting objects in their mouth, sneezing and coughing without covering up, not washing their hands when they need to, etc. This greatly increases the chance of them getting sick or spreading germs.

Preschoolers that are sick might not always know they are sick, or know what to tell you about how they feel. This makes it difficult to even diagnose a sick toddler.

Once they are sick, there are very few medicines they can take. Often one has to resort to indirect medications, such as anti-histamines for nasal congestion.

If there is a medicine they can take, you have the difficult task of trying to administer the medication in some manner that is often intimidating, resulting in hours of trying to squirt a syringe into the mouth of a kicking and screaming child, hoping you don’t loose too much of your ultra-conservative prescription.

Few preschool age children can blow their nose effectively. Blowing your nose is one of the most effective means for managing what is often the most challenging symptom, nasal congestion. Not only does nasal congestion interfere with their breathing; but as they sleep, the mucus drips down into their throat causing them to cough, and even into their stomach causing them to vomit. Often, they continuously sniff if they do not know how to blow their nose. All of this could lead to further complications, such as pneumonia and sinus infections. The alternative is a bulb syringe to the nose, which is also intimidating, and extremely painful if the child also has an ear infection.

Toddlers with a fever are more likely to experience seizures.

Some interesting stats would be:
– The proportion of children in preschool that have to get tubes in their eardrums compared to those at home
– Sick day rates of adults with preschool children compared to those without.

I think you will find that preschool age children are the main hub of cold and flu season, at no fault of their own. Everyone benefits from children under 6 years old not attending school or day care, especially the children. A common argument I hear is that getting sick in school builds their immune system. This is obviously not true. How many adults have immunities to the common cold or every strain of flu?

I am not a medical doctor, and this article in no way offers any medical advice. Always consult with a physician before treating anyone for any medical condition.

The Devolution of Parenting 18 October 2010

Posted by Lao Tzu in anthropology, evolution, psychology, relationships, sociology.
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There is a recent news article investigating the question, “Is it time to return to caveman parenting?”. It turns out that our neanderthal ancestors were better (i.e., really more advanced) at raising children into mentally heathy, well adjusted adults in comparison to today’s trends. I, for one, am not surprised, and there could be several reasons for this. The need for survival tempers us to focus on truly important matters. In addition, abnormal, unusual, strange (essentially bad) social behavior probably takes time to evolve within a society. Unfortunately, television and movies are speeding up that process for us today.

This article also reverberates a thought I have been having for a while. That children need to spend more time at home with the family before going off to school. This time is critical for learning the basic foundations of behavior and social interaction, and it can occur best in a non-threatening environment. I am not an advocate of putting children in to school as fast as possible for several reasons (see next post). I do not think teaching a 4 year old how to read is as important in teaching them how to interact socially and become self reliant and self confident. There is plenty of time to teach them to read.

The Scan Scam 4 August 2010

Posted by Lao Tzu in computers, law, politics, science, sociology, systems engineering, technology.
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Image from Backscatter Xray Image from Airport Scanner, from MSN

Backscatter Xray Image from Airport Scanner, from MSN

When new scanners that could see through clothing were proposed for security screening at airports, the TSA stated that the devices could not save / store images. It was then quickly discovered that these devices could store images (not surprising), but the TSA claimed that it was only for training purposes and that they devices would not have that capability in operations. Today, marshalls reported that these devices are being used to store images, and one such device has stored thousands of images.

So what this means is that the Government has implemented a device that violates your privacy by taking images through your clothing, and the device has the capability for users to store and distribute the image, and we were lied to about that capability.

What is Technological Progress 14 July 2010

Posted by Lao Tzu in advertising, anthropology, business, false adertising, science, sociology, technology.
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So I have been meaning to write a post for a while on the meaning of technological progress. Then today I saw an article that was slightly related regarding the never-ending development of mens’ facial razors. My concern lately has been more on telephones and televisions. So let’s elaborate. What is the definition of technological progress? How do you know you have advanced?
The article on razor’s points out that there are new designs with a lot of hype and increased cost, but are they really better? I, for one data point, can attest that I have the latest model razor from Gillete, complete with a battery in the handle and a vibrating head, and I still get nicks. I shave my head at night to give time for my nicks to heal before showering again in the morning. So, after several high tech designs with corresponding increase in cost, there is no real advancement in the core required capability.
Cell phones are another easy example. I have the latest cell phone technology, a Motorola Droid. And, much like my previous BlackBerry device, it is a great, multi-function, all-in-one, personal digital assistant, However, it is a crappy phone. The speakers are always designed to be small, as if they do not know that the bigger the speaker – the louder. Reception has not really improved – only coverage. I still get a lot of dropped calls – a phenomenon where the Apple iPhone is an even better example. I do not expect a cell phone to sound as good as a land line, but land lines are getting worse. I remember talking on a telephone in the 1970s, and I never had a problem with hearing someone, or had static or other background noise. Now, my landline, decades later, with Comcast digital voice, sounds terrible – very quiet, static, and plenty of background noise. It is essentially useless. And they advertise digital voice as sounding better than an analog phone. Whenever I hear a marketeer wield the word digital, it reminds me of the word electrolytes in the movie Idiocrasy.
So, if we ignore the hype, the additional features, and focus on the core required functionality, I think we would see very little progress in several technologies, but not all.
But let’s expand this even further to not just technological progress, but social progress. For example, if new technology costs more, is it really progress at all?

The Twisted Story of Elian Gonzalez 2 July 2010

Posted by Lao Tzu in media, mental laziness, politics, sociology, Uncategorized.
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It is 10 years after Elian Gonzalez escaped Cuba with his mother, and was found floating alone off the coast of Florida, taken in by relatives in Florida, and then arrested at gun point by US agents and sent back to Cuba to be with his father.

The Arrest of Elian Gonzalez

The Arrest of Elian Gonzalez

There is a story out today about how, “Elian Gonzalez is not angry at Miami relatives”. Huh? Why would he be angry?

This is a great example of how the press can either intentionally, but subtly, steer public opinion about a topic; or unintentionally take a stance on a topic based on what certain organizations want us to believe. The media can no longer be trusted as unbiased muckrakers, not because they are being directly manipulated by a totalitarian Government as in China and Korea, but because they are being corrupted by their own stupidity as well as an affinity towards social rends and group think.

Guess Who’s in List of Life’s 100 28 June 2010

Posted by Lao Tzu in entertainment, media, sociology.
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Life magazine recently published a special edition entitled, “Life, 100 People Who Changed the World”. The cover includes icons of such individuals as Jesus, Einstein, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Beethoven, Hitler, Lincoln, and a few others that are also recognizable by a single name. What’s surprising is that in the top left spot (a spot that usually indicates ‘first’) is Oprah. So Oprah Winfrey is considered one of the 100 people that changed the world. Listed before Jesus and Einstein and Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What algorithm were they using? What has Oprah accomplished that has changed the world? Making yourself rich and famous is not changing the world. And let’s not forget that the only reason Oprah is rich and famous is because she is portrayed as famous. In the words of the movie Ed TV, “People used to be famous for being great, now they are just great for being famous”. I think I have said this before. But shouldn’t such an acclaimed magazine making such a notorious list be a little more logical in their selection. She is definitely an outlier in this list, there for some other reason that escapes me. The only change that Oprah has inflicted upon the world is projecting her own fear of men on her female audience, and giving a voice to right brain ‘thinkers’ to project their ‘theories’ into mainstream group think. She has been the platform for pop-psychology and psuedo-science for over 20 years, making her the pied piper of the uneducated.

I do credit her for giving a voice to the abused, however. This is an important accomplishment. But does it put her in the same company as Newton, Joan of Arc, Margaret Mead, Madam Curie, Galileo, and Homer? Perhaps if she were actually helping to reduce child abuse.

Congrats, Oprah.