Think About It! – Relatively Interesting http://www.relativelyinteresting.com Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:55:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 39163838 Will a Vitamin C Megadose Protect Against the Cold Virus? http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/will-vitamin-c-megadose-protect-cold-virus/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/will-vitamin-c-megadose-protect-cold-virus/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:05:51 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=10124 Relatively Interesting -

Will taking Vitamin C protect against a cold?  The average U.S. adult catches between two and four cold viruses each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While more than 200 viral strains can cause the common cold, the most common is the rhinovirus, which is responsible for 10 to 40 percent of […]

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Will taking Vitamin C protect against a cold? 

The average U.S. adult catches between two and four cold viruses each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While more than 200 viral strains can cause the common cold, the most common is the rhinovirus, which is responsible for 10 to 40 percent of all colds.

The good news is that cold infections — rhinovirus and other strains — typically resolve without the need for medical attention. Young children and the elderly have the highest risk of complications, but most people recover within 7 to 10 days. The bad news is that vaccination doesn’t offer immunity to cold infections. There are vaccines available to protect against the flu, but not the cold.

Vitamin C Megadose Explained

There’s some belief that taking a vitamin C megadose as a supplement can protect against the cold virus. A vitamin C megadose is defined as a dose of vitamin C that’s significantly greater than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends 45 milligrams of vitamin C daily for health adults, and 25 to 30 milligrams for children.

A vitamin C, megadose, however, may consist of several thousand milligrams daily. Linus Pauling, Nobel Peace Prize-winning chemist and pioneer of the vitamin C megadose, was said to have consumed up to 12,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily.

The Science Behind Vitamin C Megadoses

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, is a naturally occurring vitamin that’s found in a variety of foods, some of which include apples, oranges, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, tomatoes, broccoli and peas. It’s well-tolerated by the human body, with approximately 70 to 90 percent being absorbed when taken orally at normal dosage levels. When consumed as a megadose, however, about 50 percent of vitamin C is absorbed.

Vitamin C Benefits

Vitamin C offers a wide range of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving skin elasticity, treating lead toxicity, improving cataracts and strengthening the immune system. And because it’s touted as an immune booster, many people assume that large doses will protect against the common cold.

A Cochrane study conducted in 2007 found that vitamin C, at regular dosage, did not significantly reduce the risk of cold infections in the general population. It did, however, reduce rates of cold infections in highly active individuals, such as marathon runners, skiers and soldiers.

There are mixed findings regarding the effectiveness of vitamin C megadoses when taken to prevent and/or treat cold infections, however. A study of 800 students published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found cold symptoms were 85 percent less severe in participants who consumed a vitamin C megadose. This was a relatively small study, consisting of just 463 young adults.

A separate study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, found no significant differences in either severity or duration of cold infections between participants who took a low-dose of vitamin C and a megadose. The nonprofit organization AARP also published an article in which it debunked the myth that vitamin megadoses prevent or shorten illnesses.

Risks of Adverse Side Effects

Not only is its effectiveness questionable, but vitamin C megadoses have been linked to several adverse side effects, including diarrhea, iron overload, scurvy, kidney stones and tooth decay.

While vitamin C is certainly beneficial, a megadose isn’t the miracle wonder that many people claim. Following the recommended dosage will likely provide the same immune-strengthening effects as a megadose. If you want to further reduce your risk of catching a cold, follow the tips listed below.

Tips to Protect Against Cold Infections

  • Avoid or limit exposure to individuals who are infected with the cold virus.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water regularly, especially after eating. This is the single most important step in protecting against colds and other infections.
  • Don’t touch your nose, mouth, eyes or face
  • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, counter tops, remote controls and telephones.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get enough rest.

The basis on which the vitamin C megadose was invented is that higher doses translate into stronger effects. As several studies have found, though, a higher dose doesn’t offer improved benefits. If you decide to begin a vitamin C megadose regimen, consult with your primary care physician first.

 

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The Evolution of Religion: Faith, Myths, and Mysticism http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/evolution-religion-faith-myths-mysticism/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/evolution-religion-faith-myths-mysticism/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 15:50:00 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9817 Relatively Interesting -

Designed by Simon E. Davies from the Human Odyssey, The Evolutionary Tree of Religion provides a timeline for the origins of faith, myths, and mysticism dating as far back as 40,000 BCE to the modern day and spread all across the globe. There are roughly 4,200 known religions in the world, which often drive morality, […]

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Designed by Simon E. Davies from the Human Odyssey, The Evolutionary Tree of Religion provides a timeline for the origins of faith, myths, and mysticism dating as far back as 40,000 BCE to the modern day and spread all across the globe.

There are roughly 4,200 known religions in the world, which often drive morality, ethics, laws, and lifestyle.  Many of these religions have narratives, symbols, traditions, and histories that are intended – for better or worse – to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe.

Of course, the graphic does not contain all 4,200, but still represents some of the more historically significant faiths.

Click to see a larger, more legible version.  

The evolution of religion (family tree)

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Creatures, Beings, and Beasts of World Mythology http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/creatures-beings-beasts-world-mythology/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/creatures-beings-beasts-world-mythology/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:37:53 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9821 Relatively Interesting -

For thousands of years, humans have told stories.  The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia would be written on clay tablets some 4,000 years ago, in 2,100 BCE.  It is generally regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. Before the modern era, and faced with unexplainable phenomena and wild imaginations, […]

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For thousands of years, humans have told stories.  The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia would be written on clay tablets some 4,000 years ago, in 2,100 BCE.  It is generally regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature.

Before the modern era, and faced with unexplainable phenomena and wild imaginations, we created creatures: monsters and beings to be revered or feared or simply magical.  Many mythical creatures were imbued with supernatural powers that could be used for both good or evil.  Often, their actual existence was only secondary to the moral of the story that they were featured.

The fantastical creatures were sometimes used to explain the impossible:  How could Genghis Khan be so powerful?  Surely he was imbued with the power of one of the beasts.  According to Marco Polo, Genghis Khan possessed the feather of a Roc – a mythical giant bird that was so large and powerful that it fed on elephants – but Polo’s translator suspected otherwise:  that the feature was only a palm-tree frond.  Mermaids were probably born in the minds of lonely European sailors.  Dragons were perhaps born after discovering dinosaur fossils.  The Kraken?  Perhaps a giant squid washed ashore.  Some mythical creatures were simply based on garbled accounts of traveler’s tales from their discoveries of strange lands and beasts.

Mythical creatures appear in film and literature still today – think King Kong, or Godzilla.  The resurgence of these monster movies are testament to the strength of their popularity, even though some were conceived thousands of years ago.

Created by Mr. P’s Mythopedia, this collection of creatures, beings, and beasts from world mythology provides a glimpse into the imagination of cultures across the globe over thousands of years.

Get ready to scroll…

Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Supernatural creatures, beasts, and beings from world mythology
Water Deities of World Mythology
Water Deities of World Mythology
War Deities in World Mythology
War Deities in World Mythology
Trickster Deities of World Mythology
Trickster Deities of World Mythology
Supernatural beings of ancient Egypt
Supernatural beings of ancient Egypt

 

Solar deities of world mythology
Solar deities of world mythology
Sky deities of world mythology
Sky deities of world mythology
Psychopomps in world mythology
Psychopomps in world mythology
Beasts, supernatural spirits, & cunning creatures of Norse mythology
Beasts, supernatural spirits, & cunning creatures of Norse mythology
Nature deities of world mythology
Supernatural beings of Native American mythology
Supernatural beings of Native American mythology
Love deities of world mythology
Love deities of world mythology
Mesoamerican messengers of the dead
Mesoamerican messengers of the dead
Monsters of Mesopotamian mythology
Monsters of Mesopotamian mythology
Mythological beings of the Inuit
Mythological beings of the Inuit
Nagas: Hinduism's semi-divine serpents
Nagas: Hinduism’s semi-divine serpents
Liminal deities: the gatekeepers
Liminal deities: the gatekeepers
Heroes and Heroines of world mythology
Heroes and Heroines of world mythology
Female figures of magic and sorcery in world mythology
Female figures of magic and sorcery in world mythology
Deities of wisdom, learning and intelligence
Deities of wisdom, learning and intelligence
Deities and beings of the Basque: the Euskal Pantheon
Deities and beings of the Basque: the Euskal Pantheon
Creatures, beings, and spirits of Brazilian Mythology
Creatures, beings, and spirits of Brazilian Mythology

Source: All images via www.facebook.com/MrPsMythopedia/

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37 more atheist memes that aren’t afraid to question religion http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/37-atheist-memes-arent-afraid-question-religion/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/37-atheist-memes-arent-afraid-question-religion/#respond Mon, 15 Jan 2018 21:21:47 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9620 Relatively Interesting -

Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group. And the vast majority of these religious “nones” (78%) say they were raised as a member of a particular religion before dropping their religious identity in adulthood. As part […]

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Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group. And the vast majority of these religious “nones” (78%) say they were raised as a member of a particular religion before dropping their religious identity in adulthood.

As part of a survey connected in the PEW Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study, PEW surveyors asked these people to explain, in their own words, why they no longer identify with a religious group. This resulted in hundreds of different responses but many of them shared one of a few common themes.

Why Some People are Unaffiliated with a Religion

Don’t Believe – Why?

  • “Learning about evolution when I went away to college.”
  • “Too many Christians doing un-Christian things.”
  • “Religion is the opiate of the people.”
  • “Rational thought makes religion go out the window.”
  • “Lack of any of sort of scientific or specific evidence of a creator.”
  • “I just realized somewhere along the line that I didn’t really believe it.”
  • “I’m doing a lot more learning studying and kind of making decisions myself rather than listening to someone else.”

Dislike Organized Religion – Why?

  • “I see organized religious groups as more divisive than uniting.”
  • “I think that more harm has been done in the name of religion than any other area.”
  • “I no longer believe in organized religion. I don’t attend services anymore. Ijust believe that religion is very personal conversation with me and my creator.”
  • “Because I think religion is nota religion anymore. It’s a business it’s all about money.”
  • “The clergy sex abuse scandal.”
  • “The church’s teachings on homosexuality.”

Religiously Unsure/Undecided – Why?

  • “I don’t have a particular religion because I am open-minded and I don’t think there is one particular religion that is right or wrong.”
  • “I feel that there is something out there, but I can’t nail down a religion.”
  • “Right now I’m kind of leaning towards spirituality, but I’m not too sure. I know l can pray to my God anywhere. I do believe in a higher power, but I don’t need a church to do that.”

Inactive Believer

  • “I just basically stopped going to church when I went to college and never picked it back up. I was never super religious.”
  • “I don’t practice any religion and I don’t go to church or participate in any of the rituals of the church.”
  • “I don’t have the time to go to church.”

On With It!  Show Me The Atheist Memes

The following are a collection of atheist related memes.  They aren’t intended to insult readers who happen to follow the particular religion that is ridiculed.  They are intended, at the very least, to provoke thought.  Many of the memes point out a specific flaw with a religion, but taken as a whole, they actually support the reasons for religious unaffiliation listed above.

Remember, ideas and thoughts don’t have feelings.  Individuals have the right to believe what they wish, but their ideas do not have rights – and so we have the right (and one could argue, the obligation) to criticize and challenge them… especially if they are dangerous.

If you like these, there’s many more here and here.  You know who didn’t like them?  The folks over at the Clear Lens Podcast.  In Episode 37, they discuss a few of our previous atheist meme posts, but seem to misunderstand the point behind the memes they’re attempting do dismantle.  We recommending listening to the episode so that you can participate in the debate.  Also, we’d be happy to discuss these memes and more on a future podcast episide.

And finally, the memes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:  Atheist Republic, Atheist Memebase

 

 

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Bertrand Russell’s 10 Commandments http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/bertrand-russells-10-commandments/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/bertrand-russells-10-commandments/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 15:15:34 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=2316 Relatively Interesting -

Bertrand Russell’s “Liberal Decalogue” first appeared at the end of the article “The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism” with the subtitle: “Its calm search for truth, viewed as dangerous in many places, remains the hope of humanity.” in the New York Times Magazine (16/December/1951). It was then included in The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Vol. […]

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Bertrand Russell’s “Liberal Decalogue” first appeared at the end of the article “The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism” with the subtitle: “Its calm search for truth, viewed as dangerous in many places, remains the hope of humanity.” in the New York Times Magazine (16/December/1951). It was then included in The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Vol. 3, 1944-1967.

In the article, Russell writes that “Liberalism is not so much a creed as a disposition. It is, indeed, opposed to creeds.” He continues:

But the liberal attitude does not say that you should oppose authority. It says only that you should be free to oppose authority, which is quite a different thing. The essence of the liberal outlook in the intellectual sphere is a belief that unbiased discussion is a useful thing and that men should be free to question anything if they can support their questioning by solid arguments. The opposite view, which is maintained by those who cannot be called liberals, is that the truth is already known, and that to question it is necessarily subversive.

It shows the usual sharp mind and tongue of Bertrand Russell, never more at ease as when presenting his unconventional ideas.

“The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

Bertrand Russell's 10 Commandments

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.”

 

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40 Tourist Scams to Avoid During Your Travels http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/40-tourist-scams-avoid-travels/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/40-tourist-scams-avoid-travels/#comments Tue, 02 Jan 2018 18:51:25 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9740 Relatively Interesting -

Traveling is stressful.  The last thing you want to worry about is getting scammed by crooks on the street.  Your best tool?  Knowledge.  Know how they work.  Know what they’ll do.  Prevent it from happening in the first place. Put together by the folks over at Just The Flight, here are 40 tourist scams to […]

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Traveling is stressful.  The last thing you want to worry about is getting scammed by crooks on the street.  Your best tool?  Knowledge.  Know how they work.  Know what they’ll do.  Prevent it from happening in the first place.

Put together by the folks over at Just The Flight, here are 40 tourist scams to avoid during your worldly travels.

40 Common Tourist Scams
40 Common Tourist Scams from Around the World

The Photographer

When you’re taking photos (particularly when couples are taking individual photos of each other), a friendly-looking local will come over and offer to take a photo of the two of you together.  The best case scenario here is that he will ask for money for his services.  The worst case – he’ll run off with your camera.

The Broken Camera

Someone will ask you to take a photo of them and their group of friends.  The camera won’t work, and when you go to hand it back, they will drop it can cause it to smash.  The entire group will then demand money for repairs, or pickpocket you during the commotion.

The Drug Deal

Taxi drivers, or tuk-tuk drivers, will sometimes offer you drugs if you’re on your way to a party or a night out (particularly full moon parties).  When you accept them, fake policemen will just “happen” to be walking past to catch you – ordering you to pay a large fine to avoid jail.

The Drop and Swap

Taxi drivers, waiters, shop keepers, etc, will “accidentally” drop your change, and pick up similar looking (but less worthy) coins or notes instead.

The Fake Takeaway Menu

Scam artists will slide fake takeaway menus under your hotel door, in the hope that you order from them on an evening where you don’t feel like going out.  You won’t receive any food though, just a frightening bank statement after they have used your card details to make their own copy.

The Map Seller

People will approach you and try to sell you a map.  They will unfold the map in your face to show it to you, but this is done as a distraction while their accomplice pickpockets you.

The Getaway Taxi Driver

When you arrive at your hotel from the airport, the taxi driver will kindly take your bags out of the trunk for you.  He’ll seem in a rush though, and quickly hop back into his car and drive off as soon as possible.  This is because he’s actually left one of your smaller and less memorable bags in his taxi.

The Thrown Baby

A woman will talk up to you and throw her baby (usually a doll) into your arms.  While you’re in shock and your hands are occupied holding the baby, her accomplices will go through your pockets or bag.  Or, they’ll just pickpocket you.

 

Image Source:  justtheflight.co.uk

 

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2017 failed and forgotten psychic predictions http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/2017-failed-forgotten-psychic-predictions/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/2017-failed-forgotten-psychic-predictions/#comments Tue, 19 Dec 2017 21:08:21 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9722 Relatively Interesting -

Another year has come and gone and so we have the opportunity to review how the world’s leading psychics fared in their predictions for the year 2017. Before we take a look at some of the predictions, let us also review the major events that – one could argue – should have been predicted. Major […]

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Another year has come and gone and so we have the opportunity to review how the world’s leading psychics fared in their predictions for the year 2017.

Before we take a look at some of the predictions, let us also review the major events that – one could argue – should have been predicted.

Major Events that were NOT Predicted by Psychics for 2017

  • Harvey Weinstein and exposure of sexual harassment and misconduct in the entertainment industry, politics, and more. This has been an ongoing story for months and has impacted many victims and big-name celebrities – none of which were predicted.
  • The Las Vegas shooting which claimed 58 lives and injured more than 500 people. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
  • The death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington (41), Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (52), and Tom Petty (66). They were all relatively young, making their death predictably difficult.
  • Hurricane Harvey, its torrential rain, flooding, impact on Houston
  • Hurricane Maria, which struck the Caribbean and destroyed much of Puerto Rico
  • Hurricane Irma, the strongest recorded storm ever to exist in the Atlantic, which claimed more than 100 lives.
  • The surge in Bitcoin’s price to over $17,000. Some psychics could have been millionaires, if only they were able to predict this.
  • Emmanuel Macron’s presidential win in France, which, at 39, made him the youngest leader France has had since Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • The assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s eldest son, Kim Jong-nam.
  • The resignation of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
  • And so much more!

The psychic that one day “predicts” a catastrophic event and saves lives will forever be remembered as a hero.  If only they could unleash their powers for the good of humanity.  Until then, the best we can hope for are vague and general references to things that may or may not happen.

List of Psychic Predictions and Results for the year 2017:

Author’s Notes:

  • All predictions were taken from each psychic’s website. They are unedited.  Author’s notes/results/comments/research are in brackets and italics.  Where possible, links to sources for research are provided.
  • There were simply too many predictions made for the year 2017, so not all of them are commented on below. Some useful references are provided, and it will be up to you, the reader, to judge each psychic’s accuracy.
  • Accurate predictions are in green. False predictions (misses) and extremely obvious predictions are in red (for example:  Earthquake in California doesn’t count, since it is very common).  If it’s on the edge of accuracy, it’s orange.

Keep these points in mind when you review…

  • Was the psychic making an obvious claim? (Example: “There will be continued unrest in the Middle East”)
  • Were they predicting something that is untestable? (Example: “The world will be calmer place as people discover their inner spirit.”
  • Are they predicting something that is already known? (Example: “There will be a merger between company X and Y in the new year.” … but you can find articles that already state a merger is imminent.
  • Is the psychic taking a shotgun approach to their guesses? (Example: “Famous actor X needs to be careful.” Note that famous actor X is in a list with over 100 other famous actors, and he’s also old…)   Did the psychic simply make many, many predictions, in the hopes that you will “remember the hits and forget the misses”?
  • When the psychic is very specific, are they right or wrong? You will see a pattern.

 

Here we go…

 

Sidney Friedman

 

  • Totally unusual, and probably highly unlikely, an iceberg is spotted off the coast of Massachusetts. (I guess Patriots fans will now have a way to keep their beer cold throughout the season.) A HIT.  At the end of September this happened: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2017/09/29/iceberg-boston-fort-point-channel/   Technically, it is a hit, BUT, it’s foam iceberg!  The link referenced by Mr. Friedman acknowledges this.  It’s for an art project, aptly named, “Iceberg”.   Even if it was a real iceberg, it wouldn’t be a miracle, since it’s happened before.
  • This past year there was talk of building walls, but ironically in 2017 a wall crumbles!!!! What does this even mean?
  • With deep hopes this does NOT occur, dangerous, life-threatening nuclear radiation is found leaking in an eastern state of the United States, very likely in upper-state New York. HALF A HIT.  Leaks did indeed occur at a nuclear plant, but in Illinois. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/investigation-radioactive-leaks-illinois-nuclear-plants-51229007  Again, this is not really a prediction.  These leaks have been going on since 2007.
  • The United States Post Office institutes a FREE postage day. …….. (Still, there are no guarantees your letter will arrive. Ba-da-bum.) Didn’t happen.
  • The Knot comes untied. Kim and Kanye split. Yes, it’s over, but ……… only for a while. Then surprisingly, they reconnect. (Back in 2012 on the nationally syndicated “TRISHA” TV show, I predicted their marriage well ahead of their engagement in 2013. So I may have a handle on this. Or not.)  A HIT. This couple has split several times this year.  Fair enough, this happened… but they already had a pretty rocky relationship and so it’s not an earth shattering prediction.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get engaged. It may even occur in a few days just before the new year of 2017. The wedding probably will be scheduled for Spring of 2018. A HIT.   https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/prince-harry-and-meghan-markle-will-wed-in-the-summer/ and  http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/27/europe/prince-harry-meghan-markle/index.html
  • I hope this does not occur, but Queen Elizabeth has a hospital stay. This is NOT in relation to the aforementioned engagement. I mean, she’s like 150 years old, so one shouldn’t be surprised if she had to spend some time in the hospital.
  • Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C. sees inclement, nasty, stormy weather. A HIT OF HITS. This eerily came true shortly after noon-time on January 20th. The moment Donald Trump began his inaugural address, the rain showers began.  This is a “hit of hits”?  It’s pretty average weather for Washington on inauguration day.  All the statistics for every inauguration day are available
  • Surprisingly, and to the delight of liberal-leaning folks, the White House proposes to Congress some form of tuition-free college, an idea initially talked about by Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Didn’t happen.
  • This is an easy prediction and probably should not count. In a way, Donald Trump played psychic during his campaign, prognosticating repeatedly that “everything is going to be GREAT.” But while I sincerely hope the world will become Utopia, I predict “everything” won’t be “great.” Sure, some things will be great, but certainly not everything.  True, but does not count.  It doesn’t count.
  • The President’s cabinet has 4 resignations within the first two years. A HIT. The cabinet already has had 4 resignations with Bannon, Spicer, Walsh and Priebus.  This is, indeed, a hit.
  • Emerging between now and inauguration day, and then growing through the year, expect a “yuuuuuuuuge” dramatic twist of political theater. It potentially involves thousands of minority voters. Not sure what this means – should be more specific to be useful.
  • A march on Washington occurs in late summer or early fall, the scale of which has not been seen in many decades. A HIT.  The 2017 Women’s March, though it took place in late January, was one of the largest in decades with over 500,000 marching in D.C.  and an estimated 4,000,000 total throughout the U.S.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Women%27s_March  Fair enough, but there were many protests already, so it would be safe to assume they’d continue.
  • Apple Corporation buys an island. Potentially, instead, the island buyer could be Google or Amazon.  HALF A HIT.  While Apple did not actually buy an island, it was reported in November, 2017 on MASHABLE that they have set up a “tax haven” on a little-known island.  This was set up prior to 2017.
  • There is always some kind of seismic activity in and around LA county, but this year sees the highest rumble on the Richter Scale in quite some time, possibly on the night of either the Oscars or the Grammys. Didn’t happen.
  • Chicago has one of the hottest summers on record. Didn’t happen.
  • The color purple becomes popular in food and in the serving of food in restaurants. A HIT.  With vegetables as noted here: https://www.chefs-garden.com/blog/may-2017/current-food-trend-delicious-nutritious-purple  Should really this count as a hit?  The link is pointing to an opinion piece.  Also, who cares?  What spirit is deciding to speak through a psychic to share this?
  • In men’s fashion, extra-long suit coats (with a length down to the knees) begins to become a trend. Nope.
  • Cuba becomes a popular Spring Break destination. A HIT.  Came true in 2017, though it may not be so in 2018.  Claimed to be a hit, but USA today doesn’t acknowledge this.  Its top 10 list does not include Cuba.
  • Two bridges in different parts of the United States break down nearly simultaneously, within a day of each other. Not aware of this.
  • The numbers 2, 8 and 11 are significant this year. What does this even mean?
  • I predicted the CUBS would win the World Series last year, but I predict it every year. 🙂   I’ve done it publicly on various media each year for the last 21 years  The mega CUBS fan that I am, what else can I do???  SO, THANK YOU CUBS FOR FINALLY MAKING ME ACCURATE.  …  Oh, and btw, once more I’m predicting they’ll return to the World Series and win it again this year, only this time in far more dominant fashion. Of course they will!!! Hey, why not.  Fair enough, and congratulations to the Cubs.

The Psychic Twins

https://psychictwins.com/psychic-twins-world-predictions-2017-2018/

  • We see continued growth for the US in 2017 and 2018. Growth in what?  Growth in where?  Specifics please.
  • Get ready for another roller-coaster ride! We are feeling there will be a chaotic couple of years ahead. What does this even mean?  What counts as “chaotic”?
  • Big scandals! More corporate and government corruption will be exposed. There’s always corporate and government scandals!  Big scandals!
  • We see big scandals coming out in the entertainment world and reality TV. Sure, but this was pretty broad.  There were the sexual harassment scandals – and many of them – but this was not specified in the prediction.
  • Exciting innovation in technology, inventions, drones, robotics and medical technology. There’s always innovation in these technologies.  How can there not be innovation when it comes to inventions?
  • We are seeing Trump creating more jobs for the economy, and bringing jobs back from overseas. Fair enough.
  • We see a rise in tech jobs, and computer science skills will be in high demand. Man and machine are becoming more connected. More jobs will be replaced with machines and robotic technology in the coming years. Again, this is easily predictable and very general.  Doesn’t count.
  • Stock Market volatility continues but the Dow will soar as lower taxes and fewer government regulations stimulate the economy. A hit!
  • Stock markets will be strong but we see volatility later in the year. We see a major stock market correction. Nope, no major correction.  Should have quit while you were ahead!
  • Oceans will become more valuable and utilized for resources such as algae farming, which is a good alternative source of renewable energy.  No major breakthroughs here.
  • Obamacare, Obama’s signature legislation, will haunt Democrats. Define “haunt”.
  • The Affordable Care Act will be difficult to replace with a well-conceived alternative; it covers 20 million people. Replacing it with something else (Trumpcare) will be a massive challenge. Some mandates will be repealed but we see the GOP meeting with many obstacles in replacing Obamacare, and the struggle to make changes could continue for years. Obviously it will be difficult to replace Obamacare.  Obviously providing health care that works for most people in a country as big as the USA is a massive challenge.
  • Every part of the political process is corrupt, and it would be easy for a dictatorship to occur because of the demoralized state people are living in. Unfortunately for Americans, this is looking more and more like a hit.
  • We are seeing more political instability worldwide with foreign governments, and overthrows of regimes in the Middle East. Strife in the Middle East?  No way.
  • The new POTUS will face a major national security crisis within the first few months of taking office. We also see a major cyber crisis coming, which the US is not prepared for. This event will be a huge wakeup call. None that should qualify as a major national security crisis – it will always be a risk to any nation.
  • The last decade was one of extreme political turbulence. We see this continuing through the Trump administration. This is a totally useless prediction.  What should we do with this information?
  • What Trump is going to do at a policy level will have enormous impact on the country. It’s going to be revolutionary change, for better or for worse: from climate issues, to women’s rights, to Social Security, to health care, to immigration. At the same time, he will do a lot of things to throw the media off balance, and to shock people. We also see Trump reversing his position on a lot of his campaign promises.  We knew this about Trump in 2016, did we not?
  • Putin will play Trump like a fiddle. We also see Russia will be continuing to undermine American democracy. Still unknown for sure, but there might be something there.
  • We see several terror plots in progress now, targeting The White House and other government buildings in Washington, DC and also Trump Tower in New York City. Some may be foiled, but not all. They may happen in nearby locations. Can’t verify all foiled attempts, but there was nothing at those specific locations.  What is considered a “nearby location”?  If it’s New York, then technically it’s a hit.
  • Cyber wars will become increasingly dangerous and prevalent, leaving people in a place of disempowerment and fear. We see continued Russian cyber meddling with the US government. Trump will be the most pro-Russian president in US history. (We were the psychics who predicted Russia’s unprecedented cyber-attacks on the DNC during the 2016 election. 17 intelligence agencies have now confirmed that Putin ordered the massive covert attacks to help Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton.) This narrative was popular throughout 2016, so it was pretty safe to assume it would continue into 2017.
  • It will be a long, difficult road to peaceful relations between the US, the Middle East and Russia. No kidding.
  • We see some homegrown and lone wolf plots / terror attacks. Again, a totally useless prediction.  For one, it’s obvious, as this has been a trend for years.  Second, be specific if you want to help people avoid particularly dangerous locations.
  • ISIS – We see ISIS and Al Qaeda terror attacks intensifying in Europe and other continents in 2017-18. Europe (especially France, Germany, Great Britain and Turkey), the Middle East, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Africa over the next two years. We see more of a growing presence in India, Egypt and Australia. Russia will be victims of more terror attacks in retaliation for their involvement in the war against ISIS in Syria.  There were terror attacks in Europe, just like the previous couple of years, but Russia was not specifically targeted.
  • Terror attacks will continue to happen around the world as they lose control of their caliphate, and as their areas of control are shrinking. If you want to help people, be specific.  Where will the terror attacks take place, specifically?
  • We are seeing more vehicle-as-weapon attacks in Europe as ISIS becomes more decentralized. These attacks are meant to cause fear and to keep people off balance. The new reality is the metastasizing of ISIS in new forms. Again, obvious.
  • We will see terror groups growing in reach, sophistication and ambition. Terror groups (and lone wolves inspired by them) will be focusing on markets, shopping centers, places of worship, schools, sporting events, hotels, and airports. Transport systems will be targeted as well.  Terrorists almost always target locations that have lots of people so that they can do the most damage, so predicting this is meaningless.
  • There will be major plane crashes due to terror, with mass casualties. What flights?  That information might be useful.
  • We see an increase in mass shootings and school shootings occurring across the US and in other countries. Hate crimes will be on the rise. Define “increase”.  Where?
  • Psychic intelligence is what is needed. Be very vigilant, and if you see something, say something.   Psychic intelligence is unnecessary.
  • Deadly terror plots are in the planning stage now in all 50 US states. Attacks and massacres are so common now, we will list only specific places that we see being in highest danger:
    • New York City
    • Washington DC
    • Florida
    • Texas
    • Washington State
    • Colorado
    • California
    • Arizona
    • Ohio
    • North Carolina
    • South Carolina
    • Georgia
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Listing the majority of the USA’s most populous states is not much of a prediction. How about listing the specific city, street, or building?  You could save lives!
  • Airport plots are in progress. We see quite a few attacks being successful. Not successful.
  • Be alert for more terror attacks in France, England, Germany and Turkey inspired by ISIS. These are the countries where most terror attacks occur, so this is utterly meaningless.
  • Also in high danger:
    • Germany
    • Spain
    • UK/ England
    • France
    • Turkey
    • Australia
    • Sweden
    • Netherlands
    • Israel
    • China
    • Japan
    • Yemen
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Syria
    • Pakistan
    • Russia
    • India
    • Indonesia / Phillippines (SE Asia)
    • Egypt
    • Africa
    • Canada
  • We’re seeing massive crippling cyber-attacks on critical US infrastructure and energy grids by China, Russia, and North Korea. Expect more cyber-attacks on:
    • Airports and transport systems
    • Power plants and electrical grids
    • Energy grids
    • Water and power systems
    • Government information systems
    • Defense systems
    • Air traffic control
    • Subways
    • Major corporations
    • Didn’t really happen. But even if it did, EVERY sector is covered in the prediction, so it’s likely that one would be affected.
  • The debate about race and injustice will continue. We predicted that in 2015 to 2016 we would be seeing a lot of copycat crimes against the police nationwide. That happened, and it will continue. We see rampage killings by lone wolf shooters nationwide, many against law enforcement.
  • We are seeing a couple of assassination plots that may be thwarted. Maybe?
  • The new America is not all white. It is comprised of many minorities now. Every single person needs to be treated with respect and dignity.  I don’t think anyone would disagree with this statement.  But it’s not a prediction.
  • We see a growing emergence of epidemics and infectious diseases globally. We see more global cooperation and sharing of resources regarding epidemics. More effective vaccines will be developed to prevent and treat them. What infections?  Where?
  • We see more clusters of infectious diseases in some places rather than a widespread threat in US. We had predicted an increase in infectious diseases, and this happened with the Ebola epidemic and the Zika virus this past year. We are seeing a vaccine for the Zika virus within the next year. It is much more dangerous than originally thought, and is now present in 30 US states. No vaccine yet.
  • WE SEE ADVANCES AND BREAKTHROUGHS IN THE FOLLOWING:
    • Brain diseases/ concussions and football helmet technology
    • Neuroscience and brain technology, more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s and mental illness (including early detection and treatment, and microchip technology to bridge neural pathways)
    • Breakthroughs in the mysteries of human intelligence
    • Blindness treatments and drugs, including macular degeneration
    • New fertility treatments
    • Various forms of Cancer
    • Autism
    • Arthritis, Lupus and Fibromyalgia
    • Various cancers
    • Stroke
    • Stem cells – many more advancements
    • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
    • Headaches/ migraines
    • Addiction
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Heart disease
    • Prostate
    • Weight loss and obesity
    • Eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia
    • Depression/ mental illness
    • Diabetes
    • AIDS/ HIV
    • Alzheimer’s and Dementia
    • PTSD
    • So basically the most popular diseases. This is a shotgun approach to prediction, and is worthless.
  • We also see exciting advances in drone and robotic technology, and Virtual Reality will be bigger than ever. Predicting that the hottest trends in technology will remain hot is worthless.  They forgot about AI though.
  • We are seeing severe storms, frigid cold and above average snowfall, crazy weather fluctuations. There will be more extreme weather globally, including superstorms, typhoons, hurricanes, and flooding. This has been predicted by climate scientists for years.
  • Cat 4 and 5 strength hurricanes and typhoons will increase in 2017 and 2018. Increase over what?  The annual average?  The previous year?  Since 1920?  What?
  • Several hurricanes and mega-storms will threaten coastal areas. No kidding.  Hurricanes generally threaten coastal areas every year so this is a non-prediction.
  • There will be an active hurricane season for 2017 and 2018. Define “active”.
  • We see some massive fires and floods nationwide. Floods will be occurring in California, the Gulf States, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
  • West coast of California and Mexico – There is high risk/ strong likelihood for a very strong earthquake within the next 2-3 years.
  • Droughts and wildfires continue in many states
  • Tornado Alley, Midwest and South: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama. Is this a prediction, or a statement?
  • In the coming years, we see more movement toward togetherness, collaboration, harmony, optimism, and more feminine qualities expressed in leadership. More women will be gaining power politically, and in corporate culture. What does this even mean?  How could you measure this to determine if it was correct?
  • Love is such an important lesson on our planet at this tumultuous time. It’s the most significant challenge we’re facing as individuals and as a collective. We each have more power than we think to offer healing and protection to the world. Okay, thanks for the tip.

 

Lyndsay Edwards

https://lyndsayedwards.com/psychic-predictions-2017/

Disclaimer – All psychic predictions on this website are given to me by spirit and are not my thoughts/words/wishes.  Thank you for clarifying…

  • Donald Trump will be assassinated Didn’t happen.  Didn’t happen.
  • Theresa May will step down Didn’t happen.
  • Donald Trump will win the war against ISIS.  ISIS has supposedly been driven out of Iraq, but it’s not because of Trump.
  • French President makes wrong judgement call & will have to publicly apologize Didn’t happen.
  • Donald Trump sacrifices hostages lives Didn’t happen.
  • Theresa May sends troops into Syria to tackle ISIS – She did agree to send 100 more troops into Afghanistan on 9th May 2017.
  • The ocean will explode and destroy parts of certain countries The ocean will “explode”.    Didn’t happen.
  • London will be bombed from a plane above Didn’t happen.
  • Women and children will be targeted during in terror attacks – Happened Manchester arena attack May 2017
  • Italy will be attacked by ISIS
  • The Pope will be targeted
  • Huge protest in London after the bombing/explosion
  • Terror attack on a school in America
  • Theresa May will WIN the general election 2017 – Happened 09/06/2017
  • Huge shoot down in Westminster between multiple terrorists and the police
  • Multiple unarmed police officers killed by terrorists in London
  • Plane crash into Westminster or drops a bomb on it from above… Didn’t happen.
  • The use of nuclear weapons against ISIS Didn’t happen.
  • One country having to start again from scratch Didn’t happen.
  • Theresa May will give the go ahead to the military to tackle ISIS alongside our American Friends
  • Donald Trump is hiding something (evidence) connected to Obamacare What?
  • Spirit guide says terror attacks on Italy are currently being planned Are you going to do something about it?  Maybe be more specific?
  • Terror attack at a music concert in the US near the stage area
  • Terror attack and hostage situation in a Post Office in London
  • Kathy Griffin’s death threats are not real
  • North Korea Leader Kim Jong-Un declares war & missile collides with U.S military aircraft There was an unofficial declaration of war, but no missile collision.
  • NASA Rocket will be hit by Russia missile Didn’t happen.
  • Terror attack at a bowling alley & talks of attacks at Royal Variety Show & drive by shooting at police officers Didn’t happen.
  • US Election was rigged and Russia were involved
  • Donald Trump will break his arm, Someone will find hidden evidence in Trumps office related to the US election Russian scandal, Trump will be assassinated before any charges can be brought against him but the case will continue against his son. There’s a lot there.  A lot that didn’t happen.
  • ISIS accidentally kill one of their own during killing hostages Seems like it could happen.
  • Donald Trump to use prisoners to build wall Seems like something he’d do…
  • North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un to announce he’s ready and fully prepared for war against USA – Happened: North Korea declared ready for war against the US.  He always says this sort of thing.  It’s common rhetoric by now.
  • American troops taken out by ISIS due to incorrect intelligence being used Happened: Sure, this happened, when 4 US soldiers killed by ISIS in a surprise ambush attack, intelligence showed it was unlikely they’d run into enemy forces.  However, wouldn’t it have been useful to the military to say WHICH intelligence was bad?
  • Terrorist rams innocent victims with his vehicle near a beach/pier in the UK
  • Donald Trump is a good guy with good intentions for the American people
  • Prince Harry will get engaged to Meghan Markle November/December time (Happened) but split up before any wedding takes place, Prince Harry will meet the girl he is going to marry not long after splitting up from Meghan.
  • Terror attack explosion/fire in winter time
  • Justin Bieber will propose to Selena Gomez in 2018
  • More than one person is shown to be having dark thoughts about assassinating President Trump.  Sure, it seems reasonable that more than one person is thinking dark thoughts about him.
  • President Donald Trump won’t face any charges but the court case will continue after his passing against Donald Trump Jr
  • Update on the Prince Harry & Meghan Markle break up, the heated arguments will start January 2018 and they’ll split up March/April time.
  • Her Royal Majesty The Queen will announce her retirement in 2018 with Prince Charles taking over her duties.
  • Her Royal Majesty The Queen will fall in 2018 and have ongoing health issues with her legs due to the fall.
  • President Donald Trump will not complete 2018 as President of the United States. Maybe?
  • President Donald Trump and his wife will be going through difficulties in their marriage in 2018. They are already on tough times.  It’s a loveless relationship.  Also, didn’t you predict Trump would be dead?
  • Theresa May will step down from prime minister in 2018. But you predicted that would happen in 2017?  Can they step down twice in the UK? 
  • UK will have a surge in terror attacks in 2018.
  • Press will accuse Theresa May of heavy drinking in 2018.
  • Gun violence used outside pizza takeaway after night out in 2018. Where, specifically?
  • North Korea will test and launch more missiles in 2018. Seems obvious.

Psychic Nikki

http://www.psychicnikki.com/predictions.html

 

  • Kidnapping around the Trump family Didn’t happen.
  • Italy going broke Didn’t happen, unless if there was a pasta shortage.
  • A worldwide pasta shortage Didn’t happen.  Italy will be fine.
  • The moon will turn green. Didn’t happen.
  • A giant lemon will be found in a southern California garden Didn’t happen. Finally, an important prediction.
  • Bullets and impeachment in Washington DC
  • 2 volcanoes will erupt in Italy
  • Avalanche in Whistler, British Columbia
  • Leaning tower of Piza in Italy collapsing Didn’t happen.
  • Terrorist attack in Brussels
  • A wheel chair around us politician How many US politicians are there?  What are the odds that one might need a wheelchair? 
  • Terrorist attack in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway
  • Scandal around Scientology
  • Cuba becoming the 51st US State
  • A 7.9 to 8.9 earthquake hitting Italy
  • Rome, Italy on fire
  • A mining accident in South Africa
  • An Ecological disaster problem in the swamp areas of Florida
  • An earthquake in Arizona and the Grand Canyon
  • An earthquake in Monaco and France
  • 2 planes collide at Heathrow airport, London, England Didn’t happen.
  • A biological attack in the United Kingdom, France, and the US Didn’t happen.
  • An earthquake in Niagara Falls Didn’t happen.
  • Mount St. Helens erupting Didn’t happen.
  • Potomac River overflowing in Washington DC
  • An Air India flight crashes between Vancouver, British Columbia to Mumbai, India
  • Floods in the Scottish Highlands Didn’t happen.
  • Hikers are confronted and attacked by Grizzly bears like in the movie The Revenant
  • Rainbows are seen all over the world at the same time That would have been pretty.  I’m sure this happens every day though.
  • A fire at the White House in Washington DC
  • Shootings in Chinatown, San Francisco, California
  • Ted Cruz has to be careful of airplanes
  • Bernie Sanders late night talk show or political show, but has to watch his health
  • Houses of Parliament in London, England has a great fire
  • Explosions on Wall Street, New York – many deaths
  • A meteor hitting San Francisco Didn’t happen.
  • Another tsunami in Thailand
  • Modern day pirates kidnapping crew and passengers from a cruise ship
  • A large earthquake in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California
  • A gigantic earthquake in San Francisco, California
  • America will free Cuba from Communist tyranny Didn’t happen.
  • A lot of snow hits Australia Didn’t happen.
  • Doctors find cures for many diseases in a manuscript that was buried in a cavern in England near the druids Didn’t happen.
  • A high profile murder around a person which resolves around a polo match
  • Tragedy around Seattle’s Space Needle
  • A space ship could land and take hostages
  • A financial tycoon will be kidnapped and held for ransom
  • A member of the Royal Family will be kidnapped Didn’t happen.
  • Hillary and Bill Clinton have to watch their health
  • A love triangle around the White House
  • Grave danger around Vladimir Putin
  • A bomb explosion around the United Nations
  • A Cuban revolution Didn’t happen.
  • A treasure of Gold Bullion worth millions will be found in a bunker in Cuba belonging to the late Fidel Castro Didn’t happen.
  • Another gorilla incident will happen Didn’t happen.
  • A devastating hurricane along the Texas panhandle
  • A robot will break into the White House Didn’t happen.
  • Iceland will be flooded by melting ice Didn’t happen.
  • All of North America will be in the dark with a power blackout Didn’t happen.
  • A hail storm in the Middle East will destroy cities and kill many people Didn’t happen.
  • Iran and the US will attack each other Didn’t happen.
  • A massive earthquake will destroy parts of the Middle East
  • Large earthquake in Moscow Didn’t happen.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge will be partly destroyed in San Francisco, California, and many people dead or injured Didn’t happen.
  • A great fire at the Royal Palace in Monaco or France Didn’t happen.
  • Trouble around the Brooklyn Bridge, New York
  • A famous politician will end up in a coma
  • Mumbai, India will have an enormous earthquake
  • Torrential rain will cause havoc world-wide for 2 weeks Didn’t happen.
  • The leader of an Asian country is assassinated Didn’t happen.
  • A UFO lands in Lake Erie   No, but that would have been awesome.
  • More terrorist attacks in Paris and France
  • A float in a parade will overturn, killing many people Didn’t happen.
  • There is something in walnuts that will help with Alzheimers
  • A terrorist attack at the Arch de Triumph in Paris, France Didn’t happen.
  • Statue of Liberty under water Didn’t happen.
  • A Hurricane hitting New York City Didn’t happen.
  • A commuter train in Chicago derails and overturns causing many deaths Try Seattle.
  • A Great Lake tragedy
  • Terrorist attacks in Australia
  • A plane will crash from Sydney, Australia to New York Didn’t happen.
  • Monaco on fire
  • Bomb blast at Buckingham palace
  • Island of Malta almost destroyed by an earthquake Didn’t happen.
  • President Obama could face a health scare Didn’t happen.
  • Britain will leave the EU
  • Donald Trump in grave danger
  • A Ferris wheel accident
  • A funnel cloud in Toronto, Canada Didn’t happen.
  • Parts of Coney Island, New York under water
  • Huge earthquake in Italy devastating the country Didn’t happen.
  • Blackout in Paris, France and London, England Didn’t happen.
  • A child will show up claiming he is Donald Trump’s son, who he had out of wedlock Didn’t happen.
  • An elephant will be born with 2 trunks Didn’t happen.
  • A great fire and explosion at the Taj Mahal in India
  • Pandas will start eating each other in China Didn’t happen.
  • There will be a bamboo shortage in China Didn’t happen.
  • Mumbai will have an enormous earthquake
  • A Washington politician will strip naked after getting drunk
  • A magician will bring a woman back from the dead Didn’t happen.
  • A cold war between China and the US Didn’t happen.
  • Giant ladybugs invade a city Didn’t happen.
  • Squirrels attack people worldwide Didn’t happen. But that doesn’t mean we should start trusting the squirrels.   You’ve been warned.
  • A dog with glasses will become a school teacher WTF.  Not likely.  But it would make a great TV show.
  • An explosion destroys parts of the Bronx in New York
  • A woman in her 80s will give birth to a baby
  • A beloved male singer turns out to be a woman
  • A piranha fish escapes from a water tank and eats many people
  • A movie star will be killed by a shark
  • A lion eats a lion tamer
  • Charles Lindberg was the first man to fly non-stop from New York to Paris, France in 1927, and I see a man trying to re-enact that
  • Impeachment or grave danger for Rodrigo Duterte (President of the Phillipines)
  • A vacuum cleaner kills a person
  • A royal baby and a royal divorce
  • Terror attacks in Antwerp, Belgium
  • Terror attack in Moscow
  • Protests and riots in Washington, DC No way!  More protests?
  • A fire at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles
  • A terror attack at a Trump hotel
  • An Impeachment of a politician in the US
  • Terror attack in Manchester, England and Birmingham
  • The pope has to watch health and danger
  • Terror attacks in Saudi Arabia   Terror attacks in the Middle East?
  • Terror attack at Victoria Station in London, England
  • Two planes crash at John F Kennedy airport in New York City
  • Terrorist attack in Toronto, Canada Didn’t happen.
  • Terrorist attack in Vancouver, Canada Didn’t happen.
  • Ottawa and Montreal still has to be alert for attacks
  • A bomb blast at Heathrow airport
  • A mass shooting at a casino There’s a hit.  But the actual location, time, and date, would have been useful.
  • North Korean president Kim Jong Un in danger
  • North Korea attacks South Korea
  • Queen Elizabeth has to watch health and danger
  • The Duke of Edenborough has to watch health
  • A change in the Monarchy in England
  • Earthquakes in Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec Didn’t happen.
  • Riots in Madrid, Spain
  • A new species of bird with 4 wings will be found in South America
  • Cows will start to disappear in the Swiss Alps, leading to a chocolate shortage.   No.
  • Florida having a terrorist attack
  • A ski accident around the Trump family Didn’t happen.
  • Terrorist attack in Tel Aviv.
  • Terror attack in Amsterdam, Holland.
  • Terror attack in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Drone strike at Buckingham Palace. Didn’t happen.
  • Attack at the White House in Washington, D.C.
  • Stock markets are very volatile around the world.
  • Terror attack in Rome, Italy.
  • A giant earthquake in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • A large earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Gigantic earthquake in Manila and Guam.
  • Prince Albert of Monaco could split with wife.
  • More “lone wolf” terrorists attack worldwide.  Obviously.
  • Giant earthquake in San Francisco, California.
  • A commercial airliner shot down by a drone attack. Didn’t happen.
  • A chemical attack on London, England.
  • Terror attack at a shopping mall in Dubai.
  • The Beverly Center on fire in Los Angeles.
  • A terror attack at a Trump hotel. Didn’t happen.
  • Avalanche at Mount Hood.
  • A terror attack in London, England.
  • A terror attack in Las Vegas. There’s a hit.  If you list enough popular cities, you’re bound to get one right.
  • A terror attack in Paris.
  • A terror attack in New York. There’s a hit.  If you list enough popular cities, you’re bound to get one right.
  • A terror attack in Los Angeles. Didn’t happen.
  • A terror attack in Vancouver. Didn’t happen.
  • A terror attack in Toronto. Didn’t happen.
  • A terror attack in Chicago. Didn’t happen.
  • Danger around Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel.
  • A change in the British Monarchy.
  • Mount Etna erupting. Didn’t happen.  Swing and a miss.
  • A great earthquake in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.
  • Earthquake in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Tragedy at Logan International Airport in Boston.
  • Terror attack in Knightsbridge area of London, England.
  • Tragedy around the new World Trade Center in New York City.
  • Terror attack in Scotland.
  • An arrest in the Madeleine McCann case.
  • Mount St. Helen erupting. Didn’t happen.
  • Israel and Iran attacking each other.
  • An attack on the Vatican and the Pope.
  • The Pope has to watch health.
  • Terror attack on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, California.
  • Terror attack in California.
  • Bomb blast at the British Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street, in London, England.
  • A giant earthquake in Mexico City.
  • A huge breakthrough in the cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.  Didn’t happen.
  • A plane goes into Eiffel Tower in Paris. Didn’t happen.
  • A huge heist at the Louvre in Paris; Monets, Van Goghs, etc., are stolen. Didn’t happen.
  • A casino fire in the South of France.
  • Terror attacks in Pakistan and India.
  • More terror attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • A Saudi prince will be kidnapped.
  • Saudi Arabia terror attacks, including Riyadh.
  • Two planes crash at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
  • An attack or shootings at the United Nations in New York City.
  • A subway goes out of control in New York City.
  • A U.S. heiress will be kidnapped.
  • Spaceship landing. Didn’t happen.
  • Marijuana legalized in Canada and the U.S. Didn’t happen. But it will be legal in Canada in July of 2018.
  • Metal detectors everywhere. This doesn’t make sense at all.
  • “Lone wolf” attacks in Brussels, Belgium and Luxembourg.
  • Scott Peterson, convicted killer of Laci Peterson and her unborn child, Connor, is in danger.
  • A casino in Las Vegas is robbed and under attack.
  • Bomb blast at Heathrow Airport.
  • Terror attack in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.
  • Seattle earthquake.
  • Trouble with the earth’s magnetic fields caused by solar flares.
  • A space tragedy.
  • A hurricane hitting the Louisiana Coast, similar to Katrina.
  • Shootings at Rockefeller Center and Times Square in New York City.
  • Poisonous gas in the Lincoln Tunnel in New York.
  • Blast, explosion and shootings at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York. Didn’t happen.
  • Explosion at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
  • Earthquakes in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec. Didn’t happen.
  • Tragedy at the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. Didn’t happen.
  • Power blackout hits North America. Didn’t happen.
  • Raging hurricane in Florida. Define “raging”.  Also, hurricanes hit Florida fairly often.
  • The United States will take over Cuba when Fidel Castro passes. Didn’t happen.
  • President Obama is in danger.
  • Prime Minister Justine Trudeau is in danger.
  • Kim Jong Un will vanish
  • Alex Baldwin will run for political office and his career taking off due to his spoofs on Saturday Night Live
  • Elton John will split up, and he has to watch his health
  • Snoop Dog will cook for royalty
  • Snoop Dog will move to Toronto, but has to be careful of a drug-related incident Didn’t happen.
  • Panela Anderson will get bitten by a wild animal
  • Sexual allegations against a gameshow host
  • Drake will star in a Western Didn’t happen.
  • Drake buying a sports team Didn’t happen.
  • Drake has to watch his health Didn’t happen.
  • Drake will act in a main-stream file and do some directing
  • Drake may have a full-fledge relationship and a child
  • Julia Roberts will divorce
  • A monkey pulls Jimmy Kimmel’s hair out in his show, but he is OK
  • The “World’s Sexiest Man”, David Beckham, will split from his wife, Victoria.
  • Justin Bieber will father a child.
  • Large earthquake in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado.
  • Large tornado hits Kansas. Just ask Dorothy – there are often tornadoes here.
  • Large tornado hits Wichita, Kansas.
  • Devastating destruction destroys a town in Oklahoma, after a tornado.
  • Earthquake in Oklahoma.
  • Super-large earthquake hits Kansas.
  • Earthquake in Chicago, St. Louis and Missouri.
  • Super storms across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. Define “super”.
  • Earthquake for New Zealand. There are often earthquakes here… it’s in the Pacific Rim of Fire.
  • An earthquake and tsunami in Thailand and Indonesia.
  • A large earthquake in the Philippines.
  • A large earthquake in Guam.
  • Category 5 hurricane wipes out Miami. Miami was hit with a hurricane but not a Cat 5, and it was certainly not wiped out.
  • An earthquake hits the British Isles.  Didn’t happen.
  • Earthquake in London, England.  Didn’t happen.
  • Earthquake in New York City and Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Extra-large earthquakes wiping out towns in the U.S.  Didn’t happen.
  • Major floods in the U.S. and Europe.  Pretty broad range here…
  • An earthquake in Utah.
  • Large earthquake and tornadoes in Québec and the Niagara Region, and Ontario.  Didn’t happen.
  • Earthquakes hit Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • Wildfires in Greece, Hawaii, California, British Columbia and Australia. There are often wildfires here.
  • An earthquake in Malta. There are often earthquakes here.
  • An earthquake in Seattle, Washington. There are often earthquakes here.
  • An earthquake in Oregon. There are often earthquakes here.
  • Mount St. Helens erupting. Didn’t happen.
  • Tsunami in Malibu. Didn’t happen.
  • Giant tornadoes strike Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, California, Missouri and Tennessee.  Yeah, basically where they always strike.
  • Russian earthquake. Russia is massive.  If there’s an earthquake there, are we to be surprised?
  • Large earthquake in Greece and Cyprus. There are often earthquakes here.
  • An earthquake in Corfu and Crete. There are often earthquakes here.
  • Monster earthquake in Japan. There are often earthquakes here.
  • Giant earthquake in Japan, along with another tsunami. There are often earthquakes here.
  • Tsunamis hit Alaska, Russia, Hawaii, Chile, Peru and Thailand. There are often earthquakes here.
  • Giant earthquake in Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. There are often earthquakes here.
  • Earthquakes hitting Panama, Guatemala and Nicaragua. There are often earthquakes here.
  • Mudslides killing people in Los Angeles.
  • Giant earthquake hitting Fukushima, Japan, causing radiation nightmare.  Again?
  • Avalanche snowstorm for Whistler, BC.
  • Earthquakes in Iran, China, Afghanistan and Tibet, including Nepal.
  • Volcano erupting and earthquake in Iceland.  This is very common.
  • Giant earthquake in Italy and Spain.
  • Another earthquake affecting New York City, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland and Virginia.
  • An earthquake strikes North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • An earthquake in Denmark.
  • Earthquakes hit Norway and Scotland.
  • More polar vortex.
  • An earthquake for Buffalo.  Didn’t happen.
  • Earthquakes in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Grand Canyon.
  • Large earthquake in Yellowstone National Park.
  • An earthquake in Toronto.
  • Floods and typhoons for Bangladesh and India. They are very common there.
  • An earthquake in South Africa.
  • Snow in Turkey and Egypt.
  • Huge earthquake in Afghanistan.
  • An earthquake in San Francisco. They are very common there.
  • Paris, France flooding.
  • A large earthquake strikes Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • A devastating earthquake in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Alaska.
  • A heat wave covers London, England.
  • Gigantic earthquake hits the Solomon Islands and Tonga
  • Lots of snow in Australia
  • Melting of ice in Iceland and Greenland and earthquakes in those regions
  • Kate and William will have another child, but they have to watch their marriage.
  • Sickness around the Queen.
  • A bomb blast at Buckingham Palace.
  • Prince Charles has to watch health.
  • An assassination attempt on the Queen.
  • Bombing at British Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street.
  • A kidnapping around the Royal Family.
  • Royal Family in danger at home and especially while travelling.
  • Death and Health Watch: Walter Gretzky, Wayne Gretzky, Tori Spelling, Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, Giuliana Rancic, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Conrad Black, Kenny Rogers, Valerie Harper, the Pope, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ozzy Osbourne, Jack Nicholson, Drake, Nik Wallenda, Kim Jong-Un, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Penny Marshall, Val Kilmer, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Doris Day, Dario Franchitti, Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Paul Tracy, Britney Spears, La Toya Jackson, “Peewee Herman” Paul Reubens, John Walsh, Stephen Harper, Burt Reynolds, David Hasselhoff, Bernard Madoff, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Egyptian President Mubarak, Rupert Murdoch, Kelly Osbourne, Carol Channing, Loretta Lynn, Billy Graham, Jerry Lewis, Kirk Douglas, Joanne Woodward, Debbie Reynolds, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Pesci, Robert Blake, Larry King, Jimmy Carter, Barbara Bush, Duke of Edinburgh, Bob Barker, Keith Richards, Barry Manilow, Jackie Stallone, Charles Manson, Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Howie Mandel, Jack Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Hugh Hefner, Danny Glover, Betty White, Woody Allen, Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michelle Williams, Heidi Montag, Dick Cheney, John Travolta, George Bush Sr., Regis Philbin, Natalie Portman, George Bush Jr., Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett, David Letterman, Jackie Mason, Justin Bieber, RuPaul, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith, Mick Jagger, Ed Asner, Sean Combs, Karl Lagerfeld, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Douglas, Kreskin, Cloris Leachman, Queen Elizabeth, Chaz Bono, Cher, Jodie Foster, Madonna, Pink, Harry Belafonte, Mary Tyler Moore, Sarah “Fergie” Duchess of York, Shia LaBeouf, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Carol Burnett, Steven Tyler, Mark Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Gordon Lightfoot, James Randi, Avril Lavigne, Criss Angel, Ronnie Hawkins, Joni Mitchell, Alex Trebek, Jay Leno, Paul McCartney, Anderson Cooper, Robert Evans, Barbara Streisand, Sir Richard Branson, Prince William, Prince Harry, Nicole Richie, Simon Cowell, David Copperfield, Desi Arnaz Jr., Monty Hall, Angie Dickinson, Jimmy Fallon, Christopher Plummer, Katherine Jackson, Joe Jackson, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Jane Seymour, Richard Simmons, Olivia de Havilland, Hazel McCallion, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, Martha Stewart, David Cameron, French President François Hollande, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, Scott Peterson, Jian Ghomeshi, George Zimmerman, former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, Monty Hall, U2’s Bono, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Heather Locklear, Joan Collins, Kirk Douglas, Petula Clark, Warren Beatty, Shirley Maclaine, Mel Gibson, Angie Everhart, Sharon Stone, Pamela Anderson, Liza Minnelli, Robert Wagner, Don Rickles, Oscar Pistorius, Bill Cosby, Pierce Brosnan, Jerry Springer, Céline Dion, René Angelil, Howard Stern, Dick van Dyke, Barbara Walters, Christopher Walken, Don Cherry, Gerard Depardieu, George Clooney, Amal (née Alamuddin) Clooney, Gerard Butler, “Crocodile Dundee” Paul Hogan, Bindi Irwin.
  • Psychic note: It does not mean the above mentioned will pass but they might have to watch their health and also watch for danger in their life.  So many people are listed, some are already quite old and are bound to be in trouble.  This is just so ridiculous and completely worthless.
  • Basically, lots of earthquakes where there are usually earthquakes. Lots of hurricanes where there are usually hurricanes.  Terror attacks where there are usually terror attacks.  Many, many celebrities need to watch their health.

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A Universe Not Made For Us http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/universe-not-made-for-us-carl-sagan/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/universe-not-made-for-us-carl-sagan/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:54:17 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9715 Relatively Interesting -

Our ancestors understood origins by extrapolating from their own experience.  How else could they have done it? So the Universe was hatched from a cosmic egg, or conceived in the sexual congress of a mother god and a father god, or was a kind of product of the Creator’s workshop—perhaps the latest of many flawed […]

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Our ancestors understood origins by extrapolating from their own experience.  How else could they have done it?

So the Universe was hatched from a cosmic egg, or conceived in the sexual congress of a mother god and a father god, or was a kind of product of the Creator’s workshop—perhaps the latest of many flawed attempts.

And the Universe was not much bigger than we see, and not much older than our written or oral records, and nowhere very different from places that we know.

We’ve tended in our cosmologies to make things familiar. Despite all our best efforts, we’ve not been very inventive. In the West, Heaven is placid and fluffy, and Hell is like the inside of a volcano. In many stories, both realms are governed by dominance hierarchies headed by gods or devils. Monotheists talked about the king of kings. In every culture we imagined something like our own political system running the Universe. Few found the similarity suspicious.

Then science came along and taught us that we are not the measure of all things, that there are wonders unimagined, that the Universe is not obliged to conform to what we consider comfortable or plausible. We have learned something about the idiosyncratic nature of our common sense. Science has carried human self-consciousness to a higher level. This is surely a rite of passage, a step towards maturity. It contrasts starkly with the childishness and narcissism of our pre-Copernican notions.

And, again, if we’re not important, not central, not the apple of God’s eye, what is implied for our theologically based moral codes?

The discovery of our true bearings in the Cosmos was resisted for so long and to such a degree that many traces of the debate remain, sometimes with the motives of the geocentrists laid bare.

So, what do we really want from philosophy and religion? Palliatives? Therapy? Comfort? Do we want reassuring fables or an understanding of our actual circumstances? Dismay that the Universe does not conform to our preferences seems childish. You might think that grown-ups would be ashamed to put such disappointments into print. The fashionable way of doing this is not to blame the Universe—which seems truly pointless—but rather to blame the means by which we know the Universe, namely science.

Science has taught us that, because we have a talent for deceiving ourselves, subjectivity may not freely reign.  Its conclusions derive from the interrogation of Nature, and are not in all cases predesigned to satisfy our wants.

We recognize that even revered religious leaders, the products of their time as we are of ours, may have made mistakes. Religions contradict one another on small matters, such as whether we should put on a hat or take one off on entering a house of worship, or whether we should eat beef and eschew pork or the other way around, all the way to the most central issues, such as whether there are no gods, one God, or many gods.

If you lived two or three millennia ago, there was no shame in holding that the Universe was made for us. It was an appealing thesis consistent with everything we knew; it was what the most learned among us taught without qualification. But we have found out much since then. Defending such a position today amounts to willful disregard of the evidence, and a flight from self-knowledge.

We long to be here for a purpose, even though, despite much self-deception, none is evident.

Our time is burdened under the cumulative weight of successive debunkings of our conceits: We’re Johnny-come-latelies. We live in the cosmic boondocks. We emerged from microbes and muck. Apes are our cousins. Our thoughts and feelings are not fully under our own control. There may be much smarter and very different beings elsewhere. And on top of all this, we’re making a mess of our planet and becoming a danger to ourselves.

The trapdoor beneath our feet swings open. We find ourselves in bottomless free fall. We are lost in a great darkness, and there’s no one to send out a search party. Given so harsh a reality, of course we’re tempted to shut our eyes and pretend that we’re safe and snug at home, that the fall is only a bad dream.

Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs—in time, in space, and in potential—the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors.

We gaze across billions of light-years of space to view the Universe shortly after the Big Bang, and plumb the fine structure of matter. We peer down into the core of our planet, and the blazing interior of our star. We read the genetic language in which is written the diverse skills and propensities of every being on Earth. We uncover hidden chapters in the record of our own origins, and with some anguish better understand our nature and prospects. We invent and refine agriculture, without which almost all of us would starve to death. We create medicines and vaccines that save the lives of billions. We communicate at the speed of light, and whip around the Earth in an hour and a half. We have sent dozens of ships to more than seventy worlds, and four spacecraft to the stars.

To our ancestors there was much in Nature to be afraid of—lightning, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, plagues, drought, long winters. Religions arose in part as attempts to propitiate and control, if not much to understand, the disorderly aspect of Nature.

How much more satisfying had we been placed in a garden custom-made for us, its other occupants put there for us to use as we saw fit. There is a celebrated story in the Western tradition like this, except that not quite everything was there for us.

There was one particular tree of which we were not to partake: a tree of knowledge.

Knowledge and understanding and wisdom were forbidden to us in this story. We were to be kept ignorant. But we couldn’t help ourselves. We were starving for knowledge—created hungry, you might say. This was the origin of all our troubles. In particular, it is why we no longer live in a garden: We found out too much. So long as we were incurious and obedient, I imagine, we could console ourselves with our importance and centrality, and tell ourselves that we were the reason the Universe was made.

As we began to indulge our curiosity, though, to explore, to learn how the Universe really is, we expelled ourselves from Eden. Angels with a flaming sword were set as sentries at the gates of Paradise to bar our return. The gardeners became exiles and wanderers. Occasionally we mourn that lost world, but that, it seems to me, is maudlin and sentimental. We could not happily have remained ignorant forever.

There is in this Universe much of what seems to be design.

But instead, we repeatedly discover that natural processes—collisional selection of worlds, say, or natural selection of gene pools, or even the convection pattern in a pot of boiling water—can extract order out of chaos, and deceive us into deducing purpose where there is none.

The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes.

But knowledge is preferable to ignorance.

Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.

If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.

 

Carl Sagan (1934–1996)
Astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science communicator, and more

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Why children believe (or not) that Santa Claus exists http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/children-believe-not-santa-claus-exists/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/children-believe-not-santa-claus-exists/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:04:53 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9709 Relatively Interesting -

Jacqueline D. Woolley, University of Texas at Austin The holiday season is upon us, and so are its attendant myths, most prominent of which is the Santa Claus story. This is the time that many children are told about a man who lives forever, resides at the North Pole, knows what every child in the […]

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Jacqueline D. Woolley, University of Texas at Austin

The holiday season is upon us, and so are its attendant myths, most prominent of which is the Santa Claus story. This is the time that many children are told about a man who lives forever, resides at the North Pole, knows what every child in the world desires, drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer and enters one’s house through a chimney, which most children don’t even have.

Given the many absurdities and contradictions in this story, it’s surprising that even young children would believe it. Yet research from my lab shows that 83 percent of five-year-olds think that Santa Claus is real.

Why?

An evolutionary advantage?

At the root of this paradox is a very basic question regarding the nature of the young child as an inherently credulous being – that is, believing everything he or she is told – versus a rational one.

The noted author and ethologist Richard Dawkins, in a 1995 essay, proposed that children are inherently credulous, and prone to believing in just about anything. He even suggested that it was an evolutionary advantage for children to believe.

He illustrated that quite convincingly with an example of a young child living near an alligator-infested swamp. His point was that the child who is skeptical, and prone to critically evaluating his parents’ advice not to go swimming in that swamp, has much less chance of surviving than does the child who unthinkingly heeds his parents’ advice.

This view of young children who believe easily is shared by many, including 18th-century philosopher Thomas Reid, and developmental psychologists, who argue that children are strongly biased to trust what people tell them.

Not very different from adults?

Yet research from my lab shows that children actually are rational, thoughtful consumers of information. In fact, they use many of the same tools as adults to decide what to believe.

So, what are some of the tools that adults use to decide what to believe, and what evidence is there that children possess them?

I’ll focus on three: One is attention to the context in which new information is embedded. A second is the tendency to measure new information against one’s existing knowledge base. And the third is the ability to evaluate the expertise of other people.

Let’s look first at context.

Imagine reading an article about a new species of fish – let’s call them “surnits.” Then imagine you’re reading this article in two very different contexts – one in which your doctor is late and you’re in the waiting room reading the article in a copy of National Geographic, the official magazine of a scientific society.

Adults usually trust information based on the context.  Nicolas Alejandro, CC BY

In another context, you encounter a report of this discovery while waiting in line at the grocery store and perusing the National Enquirer, an American supermarket tabloid. My guess is that the context surrounding your introduction to this new information would guide your judgment about the reality status of this new fish.

We essentially did this with children. We told them about animals they’d never heard of, like surnits. Some children heard about them in a fantastical context, in which they were told that dragons or ghosts collect them. Other children learned about surnits in a scientific context, in which they were told that doctors or scientists use them.

Children as young as four were more likely to claim that surnits really existed when they heard about them in the scientific context versus in the fantastical context.

How children use knowledge and expertise

One of the primary ways we, as adults, learn about new things is by hearing about them from others. Imagine hearing about a new kind of fish from a marine biologist versus from your next-door neighbor who often regales you with reports of his alien abductions. Your evaluation of the expertise and trustworthiness of these sources presumably will guide your beliefs about the true existence of this fish.

In another research project, we presented young children with novel animals that were either possible (e.g., a fish that lives in the ocean), impossible (e.g., a fish that lives on the moon) or improbable (e.g., a fish as big as a car). Then we gave them the choice to figure out on their own whether the entity really existed or to ask someone. They also heard reports from either a zookeeper (an expert) or a chef (a nonexpert).

We found that children believed in the possible entities and rejected the impossible ones. Children made these decisions by comparing the new information to their existing knowledge. For the improbable animals – ones that could possibly exist but were rare or odd – children were significantly more likely to believe in them when the zookeeper claimed they were real than when the chef did.

In other words, children use expertise, just as adults do.

It’s the adults

If children are so smart, why do they believe in Santa?

The reason is simple: Parents and others go to great lengths to support the Santa myth. In a recent study we found that 84 percent of parents reported taking their child to visit more than two Santa impersonators during the Christmas season.

The Elf on the Shelf, originally a children’s picture book about elves who inform Santa about children’s behavior around Christmastime, is now a multi-million-dollar franchise. And the United States Postal Service now promotes a “Letters from Santa” program in which it provides personal replies to children’s letters to Santa.

Why do children believe the myth? It’s the parents.   Steven Falconer, CC BY-SA

Why do we feel compelled to go to such great lengths? Why does Uncle Jack insist on climbing onto the roof on Christmas Eve to stomp around and shake jingle bells?

The answer is simply this: Children are not unthinkingly credulous and do not believe everything we tell them. So, we adults must overwhelm them with evidence – the bells on the roof, the live Santas at the mall, the half-eaten carrot on Christmas morning.

How children evaluate

Given this effort, it essentially would be irrational for children not to believe. In believing in Santa Claus, children, in fact, exercise their scientific thinking skills.

First, they evaluate sources of information. As ongoing research in my lab indicates, they’re more likely to believe an adult than a child about what’s real.

Second, they use evidence (e.g., the empty glass of milk and half-eaten cookies on Christmas morning) to come to a conclusion about existence. Other research from my lab shows that children use similar evidence to guide their beliefs about a fantastical being, the Candy Witch, who visits children on Halloween night and leaves new toys in exchange for candy.

Third, research shows that, as children’s understanding becomes more sophisticated, they tend to engage more with the absurdities in the Santa Claus myth, like how a fat man can fit through a small chimney, or how animals could possibly fly.

Wondering what to tell your child?

Some parents wonder whether they are harming their children by engaging in the Santa myth. Philosophers and bloggers alike have mounted arguments against perpetuating the “Santa-lie,” some even claiming that it could lead to permanent distrust of parents and other authorities.

So, what should parents do?

There is no evidence that belief, and eventual disbelief in Santa, affects parental trust in any significant way. Furthermore, not only do children have the tools to ferret out the truth; but engaging with the Santa story may give them a chance to exercise these abilities.

The ConversationSo, if you think it would be fun for you and your family to invite Santa Claus into your home at Christmas time, you should do so. Your children will be fine. And they might even learn something.

Jacqueline D. Woolley, Professor and Department of Psychology Chair, University of Texas at Austin

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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A behavioral scientist’s guide to tactful truth telling http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/behavioral-scientists-guide-tactful-truth-telling/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/behavioral-scientists-guide-tactful-truth-telling/#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:49:35 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9698 Relatively Interesting -

fizkes/Shutterstock.com Gleb Tsipursky, The Ohio State University When was the last time a colleague – perhaps fueled by too much alcohol – said something so ridiculous that it made your jaw drop? Perhaps a desk mate went into something political, claiming that George Bush is behind 9/11 or that Barack Obama is a Muslim from […]

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fizkes/Shutterstock.com

Gleb Tsipursky, The Ohio State University

When was the last time a colleague – perhaps fueled by too much alcohol – said something so ridiculous that it made your jaw drop? Perhaps a desk mate went into something political, claiming that George Bush is behind 9/11 or that Barack Obama is a Muslim from Kenya? Or maybe your boss voiced science denialism, arguing that the Earth is flat or the Apollo moon landing was faked?

Just as disconcerting as the conspiracy theorist in your midst is hearing a boss or colleague blatantly deny a business reality, such as evidence that a favored product flopped or a decision was absolutely the wrong one.

So what do you do when someone you work with – even the CEO of the company – tells you something that’s demonstrably false?

Dealing with truth denialism – in business, politics and other life areas – is one of my areas of research, and I recently published a book on the topic. Here are some tips to navigate that Christmas office party or one-on-one with a boss in denial.

To reality deniers, facts and photos won’t change minds.
AP Photo/NASA/Neil A. Armstrong

It begins at the top

The worst-case scenario is when your chief executive is the one in denial.

A four-year study by LeadershipIQ.com, which provides online leadership seminars, interviewed 1,087 board members from 286 organizations of all sorts that forced out their chief executive officers. It found that almost one quarter of CEOs – 23 percent – got fired for denying reality, meaning refusing to recognize negative facts about the organization’s performance.

Other research strongly suggests that the behaviors expressed by CEOs “are felt throughout the organization by impacting the norms that sanction or discourage member behavior and decision making, and the patterns of behavior and interaction among members.”

Together, these findings suggest that organizations where CEOs deny negative facts will have a culture of denying reality throughout the hierarchy. Of course, even when the boss lives in the real world, others in the organization may hold false beliefs.

Professionals at all levels can suffer from the tendency to deny uncomfortable facts in business settings. Scholars term this thinking error the ostrich effect, named after the (mythical) notion that ostriches stick their heads into the sand when they see threats.

Forget facts and logic

Our intuition is to confront colleagues suffering from the ostrich effect with the facts.

But research – and common sense, if the colleague is your supervisor – suggests that’s usually the wrong thing to do. That’s because when someone believes something we know to be false, some kind of emotional block is probably at play. A number of factors explain why this happens.

For example, research on confirmation bias shows that we tend to look for and interpret information in ways that conforms to our beliefs. So even if sales are far below expectations, a CEO might reject that information in projecting good financial forecasts on the belief that his actions should lead the company to do well.

In another example at a company where I consulted, a manager refused to acknowledge that a person hired directly by her was a bad fit, despite everyone else in the department telling me that the employee was holding back the team. The manager’s behavior likely resulted from what scholars term the sunk cost fallacy, a tendency to double down on past decisions even when an objective assessment shows the decision to be problematic.

In both cases, facing facts would cause the CEO or the manager to feel bad. We often prefer to stick our heads into the sand rather than acknowledge our fault because of our reluctance to experience negative emotions.

Research on a phenomenon called the backfire effect shows we tend to dig in our heels when we are presented with facts that cause us to feel bad about our identity, self-worth, worldview or group belonging. In some cases, presenting the facts actually backfires, causing people to develop a stronger attachment to incorrect beliefs. Moreover, we express anger at the person bringing us the message, a phenomenon researchers term “shoot the messenger.”

There are many other mental errors that inhibit business professionals from seeing reality clearly and making good decisions.

Modeling emotions and values

This isn’t to say that emotions are the problem. They are not.

Emotions are fundamentally important to the human experience, and we need both reason and emotion to make good decisions.

So rather than offering facts, your goal should be to show emotional leadership and try to figure out what are the emotional blocks inhibiting your colleague from seeing reality clearly. To do so, use curiosity and subtle questioning to figure out their values and goals and how they shape their perception of self-identity. And focus on deploying the emotional intelligence skill of empathy.

Unfortunately, despite extensive research about the importance of emotional intelligence in professional settings, too many organizations still fail to provide such training.

Building trust

Once you understand your colleague’s goals and values, try to show you share them.

Research shows doing so is crucial to conveying knowledge effectively in professional environments.
Practice mirroring, or rephrasing in your own words the points made by the other person, which demonstrates you understand how they feel and helps build trust.

With a CEO, you might talk about how both of you share a desire for the executive to be a truly strong leader. Try to connect the traits and emotions identified by the CEO to specific examples of his behavior.

And regarding the manager with the problematic employee, I had a conversation about how she saw her current and potential future employees playing a role in the long-term future of the department she ran. I echoed her anxiety about the company’s financial performance and concerns about getting funding for future hires, which gave me an additional clue into why she might be protecting the incompetent employee.

Unclogging emotional blocks

After placing yourself on the same side, building up trust and establishing an emotional connection, move on to the problem at hand: their emotional block.

The key here is to show them, without arousing a defensive or aggressive response, how their current truth denialism undermines their own goals in the long term. It can help to cite a prominent example of a business leader accepting difficult facts to move forward, such as how former Ford CEO Alan Mulally helped save the company through repeated course corrections. Research shows that offering positive reinforcement, without condescension, can be effective with colleagues and bosses alike.

So when you’re at your next office party and encounter a truth-denying colleague, remember these tips and perhaps you won’t have to spend the evening with your face buried in your hands.

Gleb Tsipursky, Assistant Professor of History of Behavioral Science, The Ohio State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Is drinking wine really good for your heart? http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/drinking-wine-really-good-heart/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/drinking-wine-really-good-heart/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 00:34:17 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9702 Relatively Interesting -

Adrian Baranchuk, Queen’s University, Ontario; Bryce Alexander, Queen’s University, Ontario, and Sohaib Haseeb, Queen’s University, Ontario As the weekend approaches, people are opening wine bottles in bars and restaurants and homes around the world, ready to kick back and relax. This relationship with wine has a long history. The oldest known winery, dating back to […]

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Adrian Baranchuk, Queen’s University, Ontario; Bryce Alexander, Queen’s University, Ontario, and Sohaib Haseeb, Queen’s University, Ontario

As the weekend approaches, people are opening wine bottles in bars and restaurants and homes around the world, ready to kick back and relax.

This relationship with wine has a long history. The oldest known winery, dating back to 4100 B.C, was discovered in 2010 by archeologists in an Armenian cave. Wine was used in ceremonies by the Egyptians, traded by the Phoenicians, honoured by the Greek God Dionysus and the Roman God Bacchus. By 2014, humanity was consuming more than 24 billion litres of wine every year globally. Now there is some fear that extreme weather events in western Europe during 2017 have reduced production substantially and prices of this high-demand commodity are set to rise.

So why is wine so popular? Aside from its flavours, and capacity to help people relax, wine has gained something of a reputation as a “healthy” alcohol — with researchers in the past noting associations between red wine drinking in France, and lower incidence of heart disease.

However, wine drinking is also known to increase risks of serious health issues, including liver cirrhosis, sudden cardiac death, alcoholic cardiomyopathies and cardiac rhythm disorders. Excessive consumption and chronic misuse of alcohol are risk factors contributing to an increase in global disease.

How does the average drinker know what to believe? And how much wine is safe? As medical researchers, we recently published an in-depth analysis of the anatomy of wine. This included analysis of the risks and benefits of consumption, comparisons with other alcoholic beverages and a discussion around wine’s much publicised health benefits.

Wine and heart disease

Modern scientific intrigue surrounding wine has grown immensely since the 1970s, when large, international studies first reported a link between light-to-moderate consumption of alcohol and lower rates of ischemic heart disease (IHD) occurrence and associated deaths. IHDs are a group of diseases characterised by a reduced blood flow to the heart, and account for significant deaths worldwide.

Similar results have been reported individually for wine, specifically red wine. This phenomenon was eventually coined “the French paradox” after Renaud and de Lorgeril, two scientists who became known for this work, observed a relatively low risk of IHD-associated mortality in red wine drinkers despite a consumption of a diet rich in saturated fat.

Does this mean red wine is good for the heart? This is a complex question and as yet there is no consensus on the answer. More than one factor needs to be considered in order to explain this situation. Drinking patterns, lifestyle characteristics and dietary intake are all important for individuals to obtain a healthy cardiovascular profile.

The Mediterranean diet has been put forward as one explanation. This diet emphasizes consumption of plant-based foods in addition to the moderate consumption of red wine and has been labelled as beneficial by scientific advisory committees.

In the Mediterranean diet, the low-consumption of saturated fat, emphasis on a healthy lifestyle, and more independently, alpha-linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid) and red wine, may allow this diet to confer the much researched cardio-protective benefits.

Cholesterol, inflamation, blood pressure

Red wine contains over 500 different chemical substances. One class, called “polyphenols,” has been widely investigated for imparting the apparent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of red wine.

Alcohol and polyphenols are thought to have several positive health impacts. One is a contribution to an increase in HDL-cholesterol or “good cholestrol” and a decrease in LDL-oxidation or “bad cholesterol.” They also contribute to a decrease in inflammation. They are thought to increase insulin sensitivity. And they are understood to improve blood pressure.

There is no consistent pattern when wine is compared to beer and spirits. Some report wine’s superiority in a reduction from IHD and mortality. Others report it for beer and spirits. Others suggest there is no difference. This suggests that alcohol and polyphenols both contribute to explaining the French paradox, in addition to lifestyle factors.

Despite the beneficial effects of wine and alcohol consumption, drinking is still a potential risk-factor for atrial fibrillation, the most-common “rhythm alteration” of the heart.

How much should you drink?

In much of the research, adverse effects were increasingly observed with excessive or binge-consumption of wine, while low-to-moderate intakes lowered IHD and mortality risks.

In response, various governing bodies have come forth with guidelines for alcohol consumption. These follow similar patterns, but vary remarkably by country and source. And the definition of “one standard drink” used in each guideline is highly variable, and discrepant between country borders. This causes great confusion. Readers should be wary of this when interpreting alcohol consumption guidelines.

Most guidelines suggest a moderate consumption of no more than one or two alcoholic drinks per day. But is yours a 4 oz. or an 8 oz. glass?
(Shutterstock)

The World Health Organization recommends low-risk alcohol consumption of no more than two standard drinks per day with at least two non-drinking days during the week. Here one standard drink is defined as 10 g of pure ethanol.

The American Heart Association recommends alcohol in moderation — less than or equal to one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Here one drink is defined as 12 oz. of beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 – 2020 developed by the United States Department of Agriculture recommends a moderate consumption of alcohol. This equates to up to two standard drinks per day for men and one for women. Here, one standard drink is defined as 14 g of pure ethanol.

The Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health guidelines recommend low-risk alcohol consumption — up to three drinks per day for men and two for women. One drink is defined as 12 oz. of 5 per cent beer, 5 oz. of 12 per cent wine, and 1.5 oz. of 40 per cent spirits.

Future research opportunities

Observational data around alcohol consumption and heart health suggests that a light-to-moderate intake, in regular amounts, appears to be healthy. However, when mathematical models have been applied to determine causation (an approach known as Mendelian randomization) the results have been mixed.

Some studies have found light-to-moderate drinking beneficial, while others have reported long-term alcohol consumption to be harmful for the heart.

For doctors, it is quite clear what to recommend to patients when it comes to diet, exercise and smoking. Given the inconsistencies in the findings relating to alcohol, and wine specifically, recommendations for consumption are less obvious.

For wine drinkers too, definitive answers on wine and health remain elusive. There is, however, immense research potential in this area for the future.

And as all the guidelines say, one or two glasses of red wine tonight will be just fine.

The ConversationThis is a corrected version of a story originally published Oct. 26, 2017. The earlier story mistakenly said as of 2014, more than 24 million litres of wine are consumed annually. The correct figure is 24 billion litres.

Adrian Baranchuk, Professor of Medicine, Queen’s University, Ontario; Bryce Alexander, Medical Student, Queen’s University, Ontario, and Sohaib Haseeb, Student, Queen’s University, Ontario

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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The myth of the genius solitary scientist is dangerous http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/myth-genius-solitary-scientist-dangerous/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/myth-genius-solitary-scientist-dangerous/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:56:05 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9680 Relatively Interesting -

By Ken Clark, Queen’s University, Ontario Picture a scientist. Seriously, right now. I’m not going to discuss the nature of the person that you have in your mind (although I am going to guess: White? Male? Crazy hair? That’s not surprising, but another topic entirely). I’m more curious about what they are doing. It’s a […]

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By Ken Clark, Queen’s University, Ontario

Picture a scientist. Seriously, right now. I’m not going to discuss the nature of the person that you have in your mind (although I am going to guess: White? Male? Crazy hair? That’s not surprising, but another topic entirely). I’m more curious about what they are doing.

It’s a relatively safe bet that the scientist in your head is sitting somewhere in front of some very intimidating looking equipment, researching as hard as they can. What’s more important to me is what you don’t see in that image: All of the people worldwide with whom your pretend scientist collaborates.

Unfortunately, this omission can be dangerous, an idea that I will explain later.

First, let’s try to figure out why the archetypal image of a scientist is one who works alone. In fact, for centuries this was close to the truth. Looking back at history you can see that many of the greatest scientific minds tended to work mostly in isolation or, at most, with a few indentured graduate students.

Albert Einstein, seen here in 1947, is the likely inspiration for the stereotypical image of scientists with wild hair.  (Orren Jack Turner)

 

 

Sir Isaac Newton, for example, is credited with much of not only the physics still used today but also the mathematical framework, and famously preferred working alone (although that could have been due to his propensity for viewing his colleagues as enemies).

James Clerk Maxwell, father of electromagnetism as we know it today, also tended to work solo. Even Albert Einstein gave us the theory of general relativity (and probably the inspiration for the crazy hair mentioned earlier) working by himself.

So, the “lone genius” model of scientific progress has historical justification, right? Well maybe not.

Reality of scientific genius

Newton looked down on his contemporaries (while suspecting them of stealing his work) but regularly communicated with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who was also working on the development of calculus. Maxwell studied at several prestigious institutions and interacted with many intelligent people. Even Einstein made the majority of his groundbreaking discoveries while surrounded by people with whom he famously used as sounding boards.

So if this myth has little basis in reality, why do people still believe it?

Think back to the last pop culture representation of a scientist that you saw. I would tend to think of a few favourites like Eleanor Arroway (Contact), Doc Brown (Back to the Future), Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters), Dana Scully (The X-Files), Seth Brundle (The Fly), Hubert Farnsworth (Futurama), and even Rick Sanchez (Rick and Morty).

The one thread that connects all of these characters is that they worked alone. In fact, this is one of the defining characteristics for the majority of them. But this is far from how science has evolved, through many centuries of effort, to function.

Science doesn’t happen in a vacuum (unless your experiment requires vacuum conditions). The whole philosophy of scientific investigation requires every idea to go through validation and scrutiny by many scientists. This process can be a bit time-consuming, and sometimes harsh, however it serves to improve not only the results, but the entire process.

Anything that passes through the fire of criticism from other scientists comes out the other side a vastly improved product.

Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown (Christopher Lloyd) of the Back to the Future films remains one of the iconic popular depictions of the lone genius scientist.

Dangerous rejection of facts

Given that collaboration is the norm, you may be asking yourself the eternal question: Who cares? How does the image of a lone scientist hero cause any danger to me?

The problem arises when there is a debate about a scientific topic. Following this structure, debate is a necessary and encouraged part of the scientific process. This debate happens before the idea is released to anyone outside of a few scientists and, while it can become heated at times, takes place with great respect between proponents of different viewpoints.

The danger can come when scientific results are released to the public. Our society now provides a platform for anyone to comment, regardless of his or her education, experience or even knowledge of the topic at hand.

While this is an excellent method of disseminating knowledge, it can also provide a platform for any opinion — regardless of the weight of data behind it — to be equal to that released in more traditional scientific ways.

Particularly in today’s largely populist climate, people are looking to see the lone scientist hero overthrow the perceived dominance of facts coming from academia.

And herein lies the problem. In this situation, the opinion of a lone commenter may be considered on equal footing with that of tens or hundreds of people who have made the subject their life’s work to ensure their interpretations are correct.

This could give the impression that there is debate about whether evolution is real (it is), or the connection between vaccination and autism (there is none), or whether humans have had an impact on the climate (we most certainly have). Taken to the extreme — which is the only way the internet seems able to take things — these misconceptions can be harmful to everyone.

Setting the record straight

So what can be done? Everyone in this scenario has some responsibility to enact change. The scientists have an obligation to present their results in a manner that’s not cloaked behind impenetrable (to anyone but them) jargon, theories, and paywalls.

Particularly in a society in which science is publicly funded, it is the duty of researchers receiving that money to ensure that science can be understood by everyone. Scientists must also walk a fine line not to dismiss “external” viewpoints out of hand.

On the other side, the public has an obligation to consider the reliability of any opinions they read. In this way, discussions can be had which are well-informed and can further lead to the improvement of the final results.

The ConversationIt’s important to make science accessible so that the perception of the “hero scientist” does not cause widespread harm to the results as a whole.

Ken Clark, Professor of Astroparticle Physics, Queen’s University, Ontario

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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The Secrets Behind Famous Magic Tricks Revealed http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/secrets-behind-famous-magic-tricks-revealed/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/secrets-behind-famous-magic-tricks-revealed/#comments Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:33:35 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9655 Relatively Interesting -

How Famous Magic Tricks Work Magic is the alleged ability to manipulate supernatural forces.  More specifically, stage magic is the art of making things happen that appear to be impossible. It is an ancient art, used over the centuries for both entertainment and deceit, and knowledge of magical techniques figures heavily in the modern skeptical community as a means of […]

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How Famous Magic Tricks Work

Magic is the alleged ability to manipulate supernatural forces.  More specifically, stage magic is the art of making things happen that appear to be impossible. It is an ancient art, used over the centuries for both entertainment and deceit, and knowledge of magical techniques figures heavily in the modern skeptical community as a means of detecting fraud amongst those who claim paranormal powers or phenomena.

Rational Wiki notes that several of the best-known skeptical authors, including Martin Gardner, James Randi, and Penn & Teller are trained magicians, as is debunker Derren Brown. Skeptical magicians have been critical to exposing the bad behavior of alleged psychics and faith healers; Randi’s two biggest trophies are Uri Geller and Peter Popoff. Randi’s team has, at various times, convinced serious and well-regarded scientists that they are psychic or possess other paranormal powers, while simply using the tricks of a magician. These men, among others, believe that while scientists are generally logical folk, they do not necessarily understand the trickery used by magicians, and can therefore be still fooled by it.

Let’s take a look at a few famous magic tricks and see how they work.

How to Bend a Spoon

To successfully perform this trick, you first need to hide a small silver coin in the palm of your hand.

When you’re ready to ’’bend’’ the spoon, hold the coin in such a way that only the tip of it is visible.

Place the coin on top of the spoon’s handle so that it will look as though you are simply holding the spoon.

Press the oval end of the spoon against the table and try to make an impression of putting a lot of effort into ’’bending’’ the spoon. As you’re doing this, let the handle drop from the back of your hand.

Since the tip of the coin will still be showing, it will look like the spoon is actually starting to bend!

How to Cut a Person In Half 

This trick starts with a woman climbing into a box. After some song and dance, the magician starts to saw/cut the woman in half.  What is this sorcery?  How could she survive such an ordeal!?

Here’s the trick:  there’s more than one woman.

Often, the chamber that they sit in is deep, but the audience can’t see this.  This provides both women with room. Sometimes, the magician asks the assistant to wiggle their feet after the cut has already taken place to further enhance the illusion.

How Indian Yogis (Street Performers) Levitate 

If you’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world, then at some point you may have encountered “levitating” street performers.  The “floating man illusion” is usually set up with one or two people.  In both cases, it’s made to look like the performer is floating in mid-air, supporting his or her entire body weight with strength of their hand…

In the one-man version, the mystic will appear to float above a carpet or small garden in the sitting position while holding the top of a rod with his hand.  To the onlooker, he’ll have the strength to do this for hours on end…

Indian yogis claim to have mastered the powers of this “levitation”. In reality, they’ve simply managed to trick unsuspecting bystanders by employing fundamental design principles and little bit of physics.

In short, the floating man illusion is accomplished via the strategic placement of steel rods and plates. And though the performers appear to be defying the laws of physics, the structure is remarkably stable and contains only three parts;  1)  the seat, 2)  the shaft, and 3)  the plate.

Of course, there’s always a rug or garden to cover up the plate, and the street performer would also require long sleeves or baggy clothing to help hide the shaft.

Here’s some variations of the same trick, which work in similar ways:

How the Floating Woman Trick Works

The trick begins with an assistant laying on a table in front of the magician. The audience is amazed when the magician suddenly removes the table and assistant appears to levitate.  The magician will then pull a hoop over the assistant to “prove” there are no devices or strings attached.

There are a few tricks of the trade the magician uses to pull off this crowd favorite.

The woman involved in the trick usually wears a long flowing dress that covers up – you guessed it — a mechanical levitation device hooked onto the magician. It’s up to the magician to distract the audience so they don’t clue into the existence of the device…

That’s where the hula hoop comes in.

To convince the crowd that nothing is attached to the woman, the magician moves a large hula hoop along the length of the woman. The location where the lift device attaches to the magician allows for the ring to pass smoothly over her body.

 

How Michael Jackson Leaned So Far Forward in “Smooth Criminal”

Remember that fantastic lean Michael Jackson did in the music video for “Smooth Criminal?”  How could pop star defy gravity?

Both in the music video and live performances, Jackson wore custom-made shoes that hooked onto a stage ‘nail.’  Once hooked in, it was easy for him to lean over – way over.  You can see how it works in the GIF below.

How to Pull a Rabbit out of a Hat

This is probably the most common and well-known magic tricks -pulling a rabbit out of a hat!  Rabbits are hard to hide – it’s not like you can have a false compartment in the hat that fits a fully grown rabbit.

The solution is deceptively simple.

Hide the rabbit from a cloth sac at the edge of the table.

Of course, in addition to sac, rabbit, and hat, a tablecloth is also needed for this trick.

While the magician shows the crowd that the top hat is completely empty, a rabbit is fully hanging from a cloth sac under the tablecloth.  It takes practice since the difficult part of this trick comes when you lift the hat and slide the rabbit into it from underneath, placing the hat upside down, and then pulling the rabbit out.

How David Copperfield convinced an entire crowd that he made the Statue of Liberty disappear. 

On live television in 1983, the magician had a large audience sit facing the Statue of Liberty. The audience could initially see the statue through two giant pillars, but Copperfield hid it behind a curtain soon afterward. A few minutes later, Copperfield dropped the curtain revealing that his magic had made the Statue of Liberty… disappear!

Here’s the trick:  What the audience didn’t know is that they were actually positioned on a giant lazy-susan! After the audience initially looked at the statue, they slowly rotated around to a point where it was no longer visible. Wouldn’t they notice that they were being rotated? No, because it was very slow, and because it was set up so that the illusion  occurred in a location at night with relatively few noticeable landmarks.

After the stage finished rotating, Copperfield dropped the curtain and the crowd gasped in amazement that he made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

How to Make Smoke Rise From Your Fingers

Take a matchbox and cut out one of it’s striker sides.

Separate the actual flammable surface from the cardboard lining. Fold the resulting strip in two and light it up.

Let the strip burn, then discard it and collect the residue produced by the burning. This white phosphorus residue is what you’ll need to perform the trick! Slowly rub it onto your thumb and index fingers.

Now all you need to do is to rub your fingers together to make them smoke!  BTW – be sure to wash your hands when you’re done…

How to Guess a Celebrity Name in a Sealed Envelope

This is one magic trick you can easily do at a party.

Before you start, write on a piece of paper, “You will choose…” plus the name of a famous celebrity (for example, Brad Pitt).  Make sure it’s someone your audience knows!  Seal it in an envelope.

You will also need a notepad, a pen, a hat, and a box or bag to put pieces of paper in.

Place a hat on the table in front of you.  Put the envelope next to it, saying there’s a prediction in it…

Sit back with a notepad and ask people to call out the names of celebrities. When someone suggests a name, pretend to write it down, but instead write the name you put in the envelope.  Tear off the sheet of paper, fold it up, and put it in the hat.  Nobody should see what you’re writing!

Ask for more names, but write the same one each time (ie: Brad Pitt).  Stop when you have ten or more pieces of paper in the hat and when someone has called out the name of the person in the envelope.  The more names in the hat, the better the illusion.

Now ask a volunteer to choose a piece of paper from the hat and read out the name (knowing that they will definitely pick “Brad Pitt”, in our example).

Emphasize that there’s no way you could know which name they’d pick.  Now ask them to open the envelope and see your prediction – it’s Brad Pitt!

Take it up a notch:  put photo of the person in the envelope instead of writing their name.

 

Sources:  https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Magic and https://brightside.me/wonder-curiosities/the-secrets-behind-our-five-all-time-favorite-magic-tricks-134305/

 

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The Monstrous Compendium of Mythical Monsters from Around the World http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/monstrous-compendium-mythical-monsters-around-world/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/monstrous-compendium-mythical-monsters-around-world/#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 13:32:11 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9640 Relatively Interesting -

Dungeons and Dragons has managed to remain a pinnacle of gaming for more than four decades due, in large part, to how well it stimulates the imagination (it also helps that it was referenced extensively on the show Stranger Things).  But every new campaign needs some kind of jumping off point, especially if you’re the […]

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Dungeons and Dragons has managed to remain a pinnacle of gaming for more than four decades due, in large part, to how well it stimulates the imagination (it also helps that it was referenced extensively on the show Stranger Things).  But every new campaign needs some kind of jumping off point, especially if you’re the type of dungeon master who’s going to be creating some monsters from scratch. To that end, here before you are 45 of the most insane and twisted mythical creatures ever imagined by people, from across the globe.

The list was designed by Kate Maloney of the Halloween costume site, Costume Craze. While some of the monsters on this list are reasonably familiar–e.g. Cerberus (pictured in flames, above), Gargoyle (Gargouille), Minotaur – most of the beasts are esoteric and made of unique brain-twisting combinations of limbs and mouths and organs.

And the best part is, they’re all based on real, truly horrific and violent myths.

Featured image:  Cerberus  

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Does the size of the universe prove God doesn’t exist? http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/size-universe-prove-god-doesnt-exist/ http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/size-universe-prove-god-doesnt-exist/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:44:46 +0000 http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/?p=9635 Relatively Interesting -

Does the size of the universe prove God doesn’t exist? Emily Thomas, Durham University Scientists now know that the universe contains at least two trillion galaxies. It’s a mind-scrunchingly big place, very different to the conception of the universe we had when the world’s major religions were founded. So do the astronomical discoveries of the […]

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Does the size of the universe prove God doesn’t exist?

Emily Thomas, Durham University

Scientists now know that the universe contains at least two trillion galaxies. It’s a mind-scrunchingly big place, very different to the conception of the universe we had when the world’s major religions were founded. So do the astronomical discoveries of the last few centuries have implications for religion?

Over the last few decades, a new way of arguing for atheism has emerged. Philosophers of religion such as Michael Martin and Nicholas Everitt have asked us to consider the kind of universe we would expect the Christian God to have created, and compare it with the universe we actually live in. They argue there is a mismatch. Everitt focuses on how big the universe is, and argues this gives us reason to believe the God of classical Christianity doesn’t exist.

To explain why, we need a little theology. Traditionally, the Christian God is held to be deeply concerned with human beings. Genesis (1:27) states: “God created mankind in his own image.” Psalms (8:1-5) says: “O Lord … What is man that You take thought of him … Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” And, of course, John (3:16) explains God gave humans his son out of love for us.

These texts show that God is human-oriented: human beings are like God, and he values us highly. Although we’re focusing on Christianity, these claims can be found in other monotheistic religions, too.

Not a human-oriented universe

If God is human-oriented, wouldn’t you expect him to create a universe in which humans feature prominently? You’d expect humans to occupy most of the universe, existing across time. Yet that isn’t the kind of universe we live in. Humans are very small, and space, as Douglas Adams once put it, “is big, really really big”.

Scientists estimate that the observable universe, the part of it we can see, is around 93 billion light years across. The whole universe is at least 250 times as large as the observable universe.

Our own planet is 150m kilometres away from the sun. Earth’s nearest stars, the Alpha Centauri system, are four light years away (that’s around 40 trillion kilometres). Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains anywhere from 100 to 400 billion stars. The observable universe contains around 300 sextillion stars. Humans occupy the tiniest fraction of it. The landmass of planet Earth is a drop in this ocean of space.

Humancentric universe.  Wikipedia/Unmismoobjetivo, CC BY-SA

 

To paraphrase Adams, the universe is also really, really old. Perhaps over 13 billion years old. Earth is around four billion years old, and humans evolved around 200,000 years ago. Temporally speaking, humans have been around for an eye-blink.

Clearly, there is a discrepancy between the kind of universe we would expect a human-oriented God to create, and the universe we live in. How can we explain it? Surely the simplest explanation is that God doesn’t exist. The spatial and temporal size of the universe gives us reason to be atheists.

As Everitt puts it:

The findings of modern science significantly reduce the probability that theism is true, because the universe is turning out to be very unlike the sort of universe which we would have expected, had theism been true.

Other explanations?

The fact that atheism is the simplest reply to the mismatch doesn’t mean that other explanations aren’t possible. Perhaps God exists but his motives for not creating humans sooner, or on a bigger scale, are unknowable. The divine is, after all, mysterious.

Perhaps the swathes of space strung with gossamer nebulae serve some aesthetic purpose, beauty wrought on an inhuman scale. Or, perhaps, God exists but isn’t as human-oriented as we thought. Perhaps God values rocks and cosmic dust more highly than humans.

The ConversationThe problem with these rival explanations is that, as they stand, they are unsatisfying. They hint at reasons why God might create tiny humans in a gargantuan place but are a million miles away from fully explaining why. The weight of galaxies, and the press of years, seem to sweep us towards atheism.

Emily Thomas, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Durham University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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