Living in The Matrix – More Isolation, Fear, and Tribalism

Executive Summary

  • Our politics and culture are mired in fear and tribalism.
  • The algorithms tracking you on social media are triggered by your negative emotions and amplify the negativity.
  • Your digital tribe keeps consuming and feeding each other with the same ideology.
  • We regress further into tribalism and mistrust of those not in your tribe.
  • Higher social media use is linked with increased anxiety, stress and depression.
  • Short attention spans deactivate critical thinking skills (skills which are no longer being taught by the intellectual elites in our colleges and universities).

Those of us old enough to know what life was like before social media may remember how exciting Facebook was at its inception. Imagine, the ability to connect with old friends we had not seen for decades! Then, Facebook was a virtual dynamic conversation. This brilliant idea, to connect to others with shared experiences and interests, was strengthened with the advent of Twitter, Instagram and apps.

Things did not remain that simple. These platforms have morphed into Frankenstein’s monsters, filled with so-called friends we’ve never met, slanted news stories, celebrity gossip, self-aggrandizement and ads.

The Matrix is already here: Social media promised to connect us, but left us isolated, scared and tribal — https://theconversation.com/the-matrix-is-already-here-social-media-promised-to-connect-us-but-left-us-isolated-scared-and-tribal-148799

I’ve written about the dangers of social media many times:

More Social Media Use Linked to More Depression and Anxiety in Teens

Quit Social Media – Dr. Cal Newport

The Pleasures of Life without Social Media

The Potential Harm of Social Media

I’ve bulleted the highlights of the Matrix article but the entire article is well worth reading. What truth?

A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression

In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults.

A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression — https://pewrsr.ch/351SVs1

And to think the number of young people living with their parents was based upon data from July. This percentage will go higher since a lot of kids are moving back home from college earlier than expected.

The problem with college during the coronavirus pandemic is not just what’s happening on campuses and in college towns. It’s also that colleges may end up spreading the virus to dozens of other communities. In recent weeks, as students have returned to campus, thousands have become infected. And some colleges have responded by sending students home, including those known to have the virus.

Last week, after hundreds of students came down with the virus, the State University of New York at Oneonta ended in-person classes and sent students home. Colorado College, North Carolina State, James Madison (in Virginia) and Chico State (in California) have taken similar steps. At Illinois State, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, administrators have encouraged some students who have tested positive to leave campus, so they don’t infect other students, and return home.

These decisions to scatter students — rather than quarantine them on campus — have led to widespread criticism. “It’s the worst thing you could do,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious-disease expert, said on NBC. “When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.” – Zach Morin, a University of Georgia student, told WXIA, a local television station, “Once it is open and people are there and spreading it, it doesn’t make sense to send it across the nation.” Susan Dynarski, a University of Michigan economist, wrote on Twitter that “unloading students onto home communities” was “deeply unethical.”

There are no easy answers for colleges, because creating on-campus quarantines brings its own challenges. At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, one student who tested positive — Brianna Hayes — said that no employee checked on her during her week in isolation. “Feverish and exhausted from the virus, she made four trips up and down staircases to move her bedding and other belongings to her isolation room,” The Times’s Natasha Singer writes, in a story about campus quarantines.

Still, many experts say that the colleges that chose to reopen their campuses despite the risks, often for financial reasons, have a moral responsibility to do better. “Universities are not taking responsibility for the risks they are creating,” Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, said.

Last spring, the meatpacking industry became a vector for spreading the disease, when it quickly reopened and caused hundreds of new infections. This fall, higher education may end up being a similar vector.

David Leonhardt – The New York Times The Morning newsletter email 09.09.20

Clusterfuck.

Nutrition and Obesity in Covid-19

USCOVID19_IMAGE

NEJM

A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and calorie-dense processed foods, is essential to health. The ability to eat a healthy diet is largely determined by one’s access to affordable, healthy foods — a consequence of the conditions and environment in which one lives. In the United States, poor diet is the leading underlying cause of death, having surpassed tobacco use in related mortality.2 A study of dietary trends among U.S. adults between 1999 and 2012 showed overall improvement in the American diet, with the proportion of people who reported having a poor-quality diet decreasing from 55.9% to 45.6%; additional analyses, however, revealed persistent or worsening disparities in nutrition based on race or ethnicity, education, and income level.3

Covid-19 and Disparities in Nutrition and Obesity

Screenshot_2020-07-19 Covid-19 and Disparities in Nutrition and Obesity NEJM

The BMJ

Global efforts to develop treatments for covid-19 have focused on drug repurposing, immunotherapies including convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines. Despite obesity prevalence rates of 40% in the United States, 29% in England, and 13% globally, to our knowledge none of the several thousand clinical studies of covid-19 in international clinical trial registries proactively recruit participants with obesity. On the contrary, several studies consider overweight or obesity as exclusion criteria. We call for proportional representation of people with obesity in clinical trials of drugs and vaccines, including dose finding studies.

Obesity and covid-19: the unseen risks

More from The BMJ

Covid-19: What we eat matters all the more now

our food systems are making us ill.11 The covid-19 outbreaks at meat packing plants have focused minds on the meat industry as a driver for acute and chronic disease.12 Last month Monique Tan and colleagues wrote that the food industry should be held partly accountable “not only for the obesity pandemic but also for the severity of covid-19 disease and its devastating consequences.”13 The government must do more to hold the industry to account.

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2840

Lose weight.  Make better food choices.  Wear a mask.

 

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Watch Your Quarantini Intake

Nielsen reports alcohol sales in stores were up 54% in late March compared to that time last year, while online sales were up nearly 500% in late April. According to a Morning Consult poll of 2,200 U.S. adults conducted in early April, 16% of all adults said they were drinking more during the pandemic, with higher rates among younger adults: One in 4 Millennials and nearly 1 in 5 Gen Xers said they had upped their alcohol intake.

COVID-19 pandemic brings new concerns about excessive drinking

Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association News. See full terms of use.

I stumbled upon the same AHA news article in several other websites.  The entire article was reprinted in its entirety and just one website provided attribution to the source.  The copyright notice and proper attribution is included above.

Quote for Today – 04.07.20

As China is now emerging as a world economic powerhouse, the Communist leadership has tightened its ideological control by systematically whitewashing history and using the powerful state-controlled media to brainwash its citizens. Nowadays, if you ask a young person born after the 1980s about the Cultural Revolution, the Anti-Rightist Movement, or the student pro-democracy protest movement of 1989, it’s highly likely that he or she hardly knows anything. You can’t get a lot from the internet in China because of the censorship.

Wenguang Huang – Chicago-based journalist, writer and translator.

 

Binge Drinkers Bingeing More

Binge Drinkers Drinking More

The CDC looked at self-reported data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess binge-drinking trends from 2011 to 2017.

During this time, the overall prevalence of binge drinking decreased from 18.9% to 18.0%. However, among those who binge drank, the total number of binge drinks consumed annually per adult increased 12%.

LINK(S):

MMWR article (Free)

Anyone surprised?

The toxic rhetoric of climate change — Climate Etc.

Message to children and young adults:  Don’t believe the hype that you are hearing from Extinction Rebellion and the like.  Rather than going on strike or just worrying, take the time to learn something about the science of climate change.  The IPCC reports are a good place to start; for a critical perspective on the IPCC, Climate Etc. is a good resource.

Climate change — man made and/or natural — along with extreme weather events, provide reasons for concern.   However, the rhetoric and politics of climate change have become absolutely toxic and nonsensical.

In the mean time, live your best life.  Trying where you can to lessen your impact on the planet is a worthwhile thing to do.   Societal prosperity is the best insurance policy that we have for reducing our vulnerability to the vagaries of weather and climate.

via The toxic rhetoric of climate change — Climate Etc.

What does cable news do to your brain?

What does cable news do to your brain? A neurosurgeon explains.

The availability of up to the minute information, presented 24/7/365, could assist a democratic society in making the best choices in determining its future. That was the promise of cable news. Unfortunately, cable news has fallen short of its potential and has led to the further polarization of America. More than that, it has changed the way your brain works.

Does cable news change how your brain works?

Possibly.  But I take no chances.  I don’t watch cable news networks.

Daddy always told me you go to college so that they can teach you how to think.

Unfortunately nowadays institutions of higher “education” teach the young what to think, not how to think.

Think about this for a while.

If you can.

 

Vaporizing and inhaling an oily liquid is bad? Go figure…

Vaporizing and inhaling an oily liquid is bad? Go figure…

American Thoracic Society

PUBLIC HEALTH | INFORMATION SERIES

http://www.thoracic.org

Diseases Associated with VAPI

The following patterns of lung injury have been reported with VAPI:

■■Acute eosinophilic pneumonia

■■Lipoid pneumonia

■■Acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome

■■Acute and subacute hypersensitivity pneumonitis

■■Organizing pneumonia

■■Acute eosinophilic pneumonia

■■Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage

■■Respiratory bronchiolitis-associated pneumonitis

Nearly 300 New Cases of Vaping-Related Lung Disease This Week

Teen e-cigarette use doubles since 2017