What I Learned the Week of May 13th, 2022

 Pod Casts – Birds Aren’t Real

Armchaired & Dangerous interview with David Farrier who is a New Zealand journalist and actor. I went into this podcast not sure what to expect. I had heard of the conspiracy theory about “birds aren’t real” somewhere in passing, probably on a late-night show reference from Trevor Noah or Stephen Colbert as they were attempting to make fun of the many extremist views that get media attention these days. 

Spoiler alert. The conspiracy theory “birds aren’t real” is not a real conspiracy. The person who created did it as a spoof while observing a group of radicals protesting something like the world is flat. He quickly made a sign and just started walking around with it. Before long he had other people joining in. Long story very short he has created a massive facade where many of the followers do believe in the conspiracy theory. They believe that the US Government killed all the birds, replaced them with robot drones of some sort, and they now spy on Americans all day long. 

First – brilliant to this guy. Love the approach radical thought with radical thought + humour. 

Second – OMG. Some people believe this theory.

The entire podcast is worth a listen particularly the point around media’s role in advancing conspiracy theories. Freedom of speech, as mentioned in earlier blog, is there to protect citizens rights to protest the government. But at what point does the media need to pause before they give the microphone to someone who is spouting off things which are clearly based loose to entirely false data or even no data at all – simply radical opinion.

Or are they that radical?

Many years ago, it would have been radical to suggest a woman ever being the president or CEO of a company. A person of colour the president of the United States. The potential for individuals from the same gender to marry and have the same legal rights as opposite gender marriages.

Malcom X was often seen as a very radical protester in his day, and I would imagine many people even today would still associate him with radical thoughts. However, when you go back and look at some of these messages around systemic racism, they are not that radical today. 

This all leads me to believe that where it’s most important for us to double down on is education for skills like critical thinking and cognitive empathy so that people can engage in healthy debates versus making the other side wrong or idiots. Asking the media to police or the government (which no one trusts) to control what is public information or not isn’t the answer. I care less whether the education is teaching knowledge and more that it is teaching how to learn, discern and engage with compassion. 

I still appreciate the inclusion of humour into the approach of “birds aren’t real” conspiracy or the recent environmental crisis movie Don’t Look Up. Humour might be our first vaccination to getting people a little curious. And stop taking ourselves so freaking serious.

From a Book/Article – How To Find Genuine Male Allies

This HBR article had some of the common generalized statements you likely have heard before. It’s always good to read again but there were two specific points that stood out to me as the most helpful.

Ask yourself these questions when trying to identify an ally:

  • Does this person speak up in pressured moments, exercising their voice, deploying their privilege by stepping in and raising eyebrows to the inequities witnessed?
  • Is there a pattern of performance when it comes to public displays of support that do not add up to concrete results?

This last point really reminded me of recent words from Abby Wambach speaking at the graduation ceremony for Catholic University. Specifically, her words on don’t just accept the words that performative allies might spout. Ask them for the data that proves they are genuine allies. 

There are unfortunately not enough genuine allies out there for the marginalized. Particularly in the workforce. I’m sure there are a bagful of excuses for anyone that is continuing to benefit from being quiet. That’s the key question to ask. Whose benefiting from simply being performative versus taking consistent action that is in support of the power dynamics increasing for everyone.

From Social Media – Advanced Searching in Twitter

Not sure if you have had this experience. And maybe it’s limited to those of us of a certain age. I often will scan Twitter while multi-tasking on something else (e.g., waiting for water to boil, in an elevator, in between sips of whiskey). And often I will see something that catches my attention but then later when I try to find it to share or reference, I scroll for far too long before I usually give up. It’s gone into the ether of Twitter land.

No more! This Tweet from Tessa Davis breaks down all the advanced searching features that I never knew existed. Note she summarizes them at the bottom of the thread but provides good examples of each along the way. https://twitter.com/tessardavis/status/1512402324102291467?s=21&t=oP_DmPeJZa3fJyVWi4qhng

A few key ones

• from:twittername

• keyword1 OR keyword2

• min_faves:2000

• min_retweets:2000

• filter:links

• filter:images

• until:YYYY-MM-DD

• since:YYYY-MM-DD

• near:location within:15mi

From Others

OK this might only be helpful to a small portion of humans out there. Roughly 50% of you. 😉

I get physical exercise just about every day, including a couple of days of strength training. Over the past several months I have noticed a lot of aching in my knees and hips when I get out of a chair, which could be tied to hitting that big number of 50. I asked my amazing trainer, Garfield Wilson, for suggestions that could help with these aches. The outcome is not yet known as I have just started but for the next 3-months I plan to include these 3 things in my daily nutritional intake.

  1. Creatine
  2. Glutamine
  3. BCAA’s

It should also be noted that I am returning to a diet of reducing other foods that I know cause inflammation, such as night shade vegetables. And as a vegetarian I am going to increase my protein intake with a protein shake to help my muscles recover. 

Bottom line – my body does not recover from exercises the way it once did. So, I need to adjust. Hopefully these changes will make a difference. Will report back by end of August. 

From My Reflections

This week has been low on reflections as I have done little journaling. Why? My sleep schedule has been interrupted which greatly impacts everything else that I do. 

However, my general reflection is simply how grateful I am for having the good fortune to be the worst thing I can complain about being a lack of sleep and a messy house (can’t be bothered to clean up). 

I’m also proud of every day that I drove by the bakery and did NOT stop to get a scone with the dreams of how soothing it would be to devour it using the excuse of terribly tired. 

I’m also feeling joy that I overall went easy on myself in terms of expectations for achievements without also embracing a ton of guilt.

Wherever you are struggling with out there I hope you can find something you can still be grateful for and something you can be proud of for yourself for even the smallest of things.

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