Category: Articles

While we do our best to reference science and interpret the publications for you, they are prone to misinterpretation and should read with a critical mind.

Rethinking Punishment: A Call for Empathy in a Desperate World

Rethinking Punishment: A Call for Empathy in a Desperate World


Introduction

In today’s society, it is all too common to write off individuals who commit crimes or behave erratically as inherently bad people deserving of punishment. This perspective, however, often overlooks the complex realities that drive these actions. In many cases, these are individuals struggling with mental health issues or facing desperate circumstances.

The Desperation Behind the Crime

The cost of living continues to soar, and as big corporations tighten their reins, the support for people slipping through the cracks is dwindling. For many, desperation becomes the driving force behind their actions, not an inherent desire to do wrong.

The Arbitrary Application of Laws

Adding to this problem is the arbitrary and often discriminatory application of laws, which places additional obstacles in the path of already marginalized individuals. This approach not only fails to address the root causes of criminal behavior but also perpetuates a cycle of poverty and crime.

The Harm of Authoritarian Approaches

A hard-line, punitive approach to crime and erratic behavior often does more harm than good. It stigmatizes individuals, making reintegration into society more challenging, and often ignores the underlying issues that led to the behavior in the first place, such as mental health problems or socioeconomic struggles.

The Need for Empathy and Support

Rather than defaulting to punishment as the solution, we must exercise more empathy towards each other. This means advocating for mental health services, affordable housing, and job training programs that address the root causes of desperate actions, rather than simply penalizing the actions themselves.

A Path to Change: Shifting Our Approach to Judging Others

Self-Reflection and Empathy

The first step towards change begins with self-reflection. We must all make a conscious effort to empathize with others and consider the circumstances that may have led them to their current situation. Before passing judgment, we should ask ourselves: “What would I have done in their shoes? Could I have ended up in a similar situation under different circumstances?”

Understanding Mental Health and Neurodivergence

Mental health challenges and neurodivergence further complicate the picture. Neurodivergent individuals, such as those with autism, ADHD, or other neurological differences, often experience the world in unique ways. Their behavior, which might seem unusual or challenging to neurotypical individuals, is often misinterpreted, leading to unnecessary conflict and misunderstanding.

Challenging Cancel Culture

In today’s world of ‘cancel culture,’ where public shaming can occur at the drop of a hat, we must be especially cautious. The rush to condemn someone based on limited information, often without considering their mental health or neurodivergence, is a dangerous trend. We must prioritize understanding and compassion over immediate judgment and cancellation.

Advocacy and Education

To foster a more empathetic society, we must advocate for comprehensive mental health education. This includes pushing for curricula in schools that teach children about mental health and neurodivergence from a young age, as well as community education programs for adults.

Supporting Policy Change

On a broader scale, we must support policies that prioritize mental health services and social support systems over punitive measures. This includes voting for representatives who understand and advocate for these issues, and actively engaging in discussions that challenge the status quo of our criminal justice system.

The Armchair Judge: The Harm of Judging from Afar

The Ease of Remote Judgement

In the age of social media and instant news, it has become all too easy to become an “armchair judge.” From the comfort of our homes, we form opinions and pass judgments on individuals and situations we know little about. This distant form of judgment lacks the nuance and understanding that comes from direct experience, and it often leads to the vilification and dismissal of people who are already struggling.

The Consequences of Vilification

When we vilify others from our lounge chairs, we contribute to a culture that values punishment over rehabilitation and isolation over community support. This type of judgment can have real-world consequences, influencing public opinion and policy in ways that further marginalize and harm those who are doing it tough.

Shifting the Discourse

To break this cycle, we need a fundamental shift in our social discourse. Instead of immediately resorting to vilification and dismissal, we should strive to approach each situation with empathy, understanding, and a genuine desire to help. This means listening more than we speak, seeking to understand the full context of a person’s actions, and advocating for solutions that address root causes rather than symptoms.

The Power of Support

When we choose to support rather than judge, we help to create a society where people are no longer forced into desperate situations. By providing access to mental health services, affordable housing, education, and job opportunities, we can offer paths towards stability and well-being that don’t involve punitive measures.

Conclusion

The armchair judge may be a convenient role to slip into, but it is a harmful one. As members of a shared society, we have the power to change the narrative. By shifting our discourse from one of vilification to one of empathy and support, we can help to build a world that uplifts those who are struggling, rather than pushing them further into desperation.


The Costly Failure of Lockdowns: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of COVID-19 Mortality

The Costly Failure of Lockdowns: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of COVID-19 Mortality

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted governments worldwide to implement various measures, including lockdowns, to mitigate the spread of the virus. This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, to assess the impact of lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions on mortality rates. The analysis is based on empirical evidence from 22 studies encompassing actual measured mortality data, rather than relying on epidemiological modeling. The results demonstrate that lockdowns had a negligible effect on COVID-19 mortality, while imposing significant economic, social, and political costs. The findings emphasize the importance of voluntary behavior changes, such as social distancing, in mitigating the pandemic. This paper calls for a reconsideration of the effectiveness of lockdowns as a primary strategy in controlling future pandemics.

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the implementation of strict measures, including lockdowns, to curb the spread of the virus. However, the efficacy and impact of these measures remain subjects of debate. This paper aims to critically analyze the mortality outcomes associated with lockdowns, social distancing measures, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of empirical studies.

Methodology

A systematic search and screening procedure were employed to identify relevant studies. Out of 19,646 studies initially identified, 32 studies qualified for further analysis. Of these, 22 studies provided measured mortality data and were suitable for meta-analysis. The analysis focused on comparing the mortality rates during periods of lockdown and stringent NPIs with less strict policies, such as those observed in Sweden.

Results

The meta-analysis revealed that the average lockdowns in Europe and the United States in the spring of 2020 only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 3.2%. This translated into approximately 6,000 avoided deaths in Europe and 4,000 in the United States. Shelter-in-place orders were relatively ineffective, reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.0%, resulting in approximately 4,000 avoided deaths in Europe and 3,000 in the United States. Specific NPIs implemented in the spring of 2020 reduced COVID-19 mortality by 10.7%, significantly less than estimates derived from epidemiological modeling. This amounted to approximately 23,000 avoided deaths in Europe and 16,000 in the United States.

Discussion

The findings challenge the initial predictions made by modeling exercises, such as those from the Imperial College of London, which estimated millions of lives saved through lockdowns. In comparison to annual flu deaths, the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns appears disproportionately low. The analysis suggests that voluntary changes in behavior, such as social distancing, played a crucial role in mitigating the pandemic. Moreover, the study highlights the substantial economic, social, and political costs associated with lockdowns, including stunted economic growth, increased public debt, rising inequality, damage to children’s education and health, reduced health-related quality of life, increased crime rates, threats to democracy, loss of freedom, and damage to mental health.

Conclusion

Based on the comprehensive evaluation of empirical research, this study concludes that lockdowns were a failed promise. While having negligible health effects on COVID-19 mortality, they imposed disastrous economic, social, and political costs on society. The findings underscore the need to reconsider the effectiveness of lockdowns as a primary strategy for controlling future pandemics. Future pandemic response strategies should focus on voluntary behavior changes, tailored NPIs, and a balanced approach that considers the collateral effects on society.

References:

  • Campbell, J. (2023, June 5). Lockdowns were a costly failure. Retrieved from https://iea.org.uk/publications/did-l…
  • Institute of Economic Affairs. (2022, January). Did lockdowns, Covid restrictions, social distancing measures etc. effect COVID-19 mortality, based on empirical evidence. Retrieved from https://sites.krieger.jhu.edu/iae/fil…
  • NHS Digital. (n.d.). Mental health. Retrieved from https://digital.nhs.uk/services/organ…

Keywords: COVID-19, lockdowns, mortality, non-pharmaceutical interventions, systematic

The Harmful Effects of Taking Offense to Language Used by Neurodivergent People

The Harmful Effects of Taking Offense to Language Used by Neurodivergent People

Background:

For individuals who are neurodivergent, accessing government services and organisations can be a daunting and frustrating experience. This is due to a variety of factors, including long wait times, complex systems, and a lack of understanding and support for neurodivergent individuals.

When trying to access services and organisations, it is not uncommon for individuals to experience long wait times on the phone, which can lead to frustration and difficulty communicating effectively.

In some cases, this frustration can manifest as the use of language that is considered offensive or inappropriate by service providers. However, it is important to recognise that this language is often a symptom of the difficulties and challenges that neurodivergent individuals face when trying to access support and services.

Harmful Effects of Taking Offense to Language Used by Neurodivergent People:

Taking offense to language used by neurodivergent people can be particularly harmful. Many neurodivergent people may struggle to understand social norms around language, leading to their use of language that may be deemed inappropriate or offensive. However, this language is not meant to be offensive and is often used as a coping mechanism or to express emotions. When organisations take offense to this language, it can lead to further isolation and distress for the neurodivergent person.

Furthermore, the use of language deemed offensive, particularly variations of the word ‘fuck’ as used extensively in Australian culture, can often be used as a form of self-expression and a way to connect with others. When organisations take offense to this language, it can lead to a breakdown in communication and a lack of trust between the neurodivergent person and the organisation.

Discrimination:

Unfortunately, the use of language that is considered offensive can often lead to discrimination and a denial of access to services. Service providers may refuse to continue the conversation or hang up on the individual, effectively denying them the support and assistance that they desperately need.

This discrimination is not only unjust, but it is also a violation of the individual’s human rights. All individuals, regardless of their neurodivergent status, have the right to access government services and organisations without fear of discrimination or retaliation.

The Disabilities Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is a federal law in Australia that aims to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, including neurodivergent individuals, and to promote their full and equal participation in all aspects of life.

The DDA protects people with disabilities from discrimination in many areas, including employment, education, access to goods and services, and accommodation. With regard to the use of language, the DDA recognises that certain language and behavior can be discriminatory and harmful to people with disabilities, including neurodivergent individuals, and prohibits such behavior.

Under the DDA, individuals with disabilities have the right to access services and to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their communication style or the language they use. Therefore, organisations and service providers must ensure that their policies and practices do not discriminate against individuals with disabilities, including those who may use language that others deem offensive.

Conclusion:

Organisations need to take steps to understand the language used by neurodivergent people and not take offense to it.

The harm that can be caused by taking offense to language used by neurodivergent people is significant and can lead to further discrimination when accessing services. It is crucial for organisations to create a safe and welcoming environment for neurodivergent people to access the services they need without fear of being discriminated against based on their language use.

References:

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2019). Autism in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/disability/autism-australia/latest-release#key-findings

Crompton, A. (2018). Language, identity and autism: A sociolinguistic study. Routledge.

National Disability Insurance Agency. (2021). Supporting access for people with disability during COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/supporting-access-people-disability-during-covid-19

Schulze, C. (2019). The language of autism: Why we need to use words carefully. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/neurodivergent-thinking/201904/the-language-autism-why-we-need-use-words-carefully

The Emergence of Faceless Corporations: Analyzing the Shift Towards a Dystopian Society

The Emergence of Faceless Corporations: Analyzing the Shift Towards a Dystopian Society

Abstract

This paper examines the increasing prevalence of large, faceless corporations, their impact on customer well-being, and the potential consequences of this societal shift. Factors contributing to this phenomenon are explored, and possible strategies for halting and reversing this trend are discussed. The analysis is rooted in the context of cyberpunk culture and its portrayal of a dystopian future marked by corporate dominance.

Introduction

The rise of faceless corporations has been increasingly observed in recent years, with many large companies avoiding direct contact with customers and evading responsibility for mistakes that adversely affect customer well-being (Klein, 2000).

This trend has led to concerns that society is moving toward a dystopian future, reminiscent of the corporate-controlled world depicted in cyberpunk literature and media (Bukatman, 1993). This paper aims to analyse the factors contributing to this shift and explore potential strategies for reversing this trend.

Factors Contributing to the Emergence of Faceless Corporations

  • Technological Advancements: The growth of digital platforms and communication technologies has allowed corporations to automate and streamline customer interactions, reducing the need for personal contact (Lee & Clarke, 2019).
  • Globalisation: The expansion of global markets has led to the growth of multinational corporations, which often results in a loss of local identity and a disconnect between customers and corporate decision-makers (Appadurai, 1996).
  • Profit Maximisation: Many corporations prioritize profit maximisation above all else, leading to cost-cutting measures that may compromise customer well-being and satisfaction (Freeman & Gilbert, 1988).
  • Regulatory Capture: The close relationships between corporations and regulatory bodies can undermine the enforcement of consumer protections and contribute to corporate unaccountability (Stigler, 1971).

Strategies to Halt and Reverse the Trend

  • Strengthening Regulations: Implementing and enforcing stricter regulations on corporate transparency, accountability, and consumer protection could help counterbalance the power of faceless corporations (Stiglitz, 2017).
  • Supporting Local Businesses: Encouraging consumers to support local businesses can foster stronger connections between customers and businesses, reducing the influence of faceless corporations (Matarrita-Cascante et al., 2010).
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Promoting CSR initiatives can incentivize corporations to prioritise customer well-being and social impact alongside profit maximisation (Carroll, 1999).
  • Consumer Advocacy: Empowering consumers to demand transparency, accountability, and fair treatment from corporations can help hold companies responsible for their actions and mitigate the consequences of corporate dominance (Hirschman, 1970).

Conclusion

The emergence of faceless corporations is a concerning societal trend that requires urgent attention. Through a combination of regulatory changes, consumer empowerment, and corporate responsibility initiatives, it may be possible to halt and reverse this shift, preserving the well-being of customers and preventing a dystopian future marked by corporate control.

References

  • Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Bukatman, S. (1993). Terminal identity: The virtual subject in postmodern science fiction. Duke University Press.
  • Carroll, A. B. (1999). Corporate social responsibility: Evolution of a definitional construct. Business & Society, 38(3), 268-295.
  • Freeman, R. E., & Gilbert, D. R. (1988). Corporate strategy and the search for ethics. Prentice Hall.
  • Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, voice, and loyalty: Responses to decline in firms, organizations, and states. Harvard University Press.
  • Klein, N. (2000). No logo: Taking aim at the brand bullies. Picador.
  • Lee, D., & Clarke, M. (2019). Digital transformation: Surviving the age of automation. Kogan Page.
  • Matarrita-Cascante, D., Trejos, B., Qin, H., Joo, D., & Debner, S. (2010). Changing communities, community businesses, and natural resources: A case study of the Arenal region, Costa Rica. Community Development, 41(2), 191-207.
  • Stigler, G. J. (1971). The theory of economic regulation. The Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science, 2(1), 3-21.
  • Stiglitz, J. E. (2017). Toward a global governance structure for addressing inequality. Journal of Globalization Studies, 8(1), 8-17.
Complexity and the Emergence of Intelligence: Exploring Opportunities for Learning in Organisms and Artificial Systems

Complexity and the Emergence of Intelligence: Exploring Opportunities for Learning in Organisms and Artificial Systems

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between complexity and the emergence of intelligence in biological organisms and artificial systems. It proposes that as systems become more complex and granular, the opportunities for learning and skill development increase, leading to the emergence of intelligence as a byproduct. The discussion includes a comparison between humans and less mobile organisms, as well as implications for artificial intelligence development.

Introduction

The nature and origins of intelligence have long been a subject of interest in the fields of biology, psychology, and artificial intelligence. One intriguing hypothesis posits that intelligence is a mere side effect of complexity, emerging in systems or organisms as they grow more intricate. This perspective challenges the conventional understanding of intelligence as an evolved trait that serves specific purposes. In this paper, we will explore this hypothesis by examining the relationship between complexity and opportunities for learning and skill development in biological organisms and artificial systems.

The Role of Complexity in Biological Evolution

If intelligence arises as an unintended consequence of complexity, it might suggest that as organisms become more intricate, they gain greater opportunities for learning and skill development. This possibility could be observed in the comparison between humans and less mobile creatures with fewer limbs and feedback systems.

Humans possess a diverse array of motor, cognitive, and social skills that enable them to engage in a wide range of activities and experiences. This diversity provides ample opportunities for learning, as humans can adapt and respond to various challenges and environmental stimuli (Smith & Gasser, 2005). In contrast, less mobile creatures with fewer limbs and feedback systems may have a more limited range of interactions with their environment, resulting in fewer opportunities to learn and develop new skills.

Artificial Intelligence and Complexity

The relationship between complexity and intelligence also has significant implications for the development of artificial intelligence systems. As we create increasingly complex computational systems, the emergence of intelligence in these systems might occur as an unintended side effect (Chalmers, 2011). This possibility raises ethical, philosophical, and practical questions about the nature of intelligence, the potential consequences of creating intelligent machines, and our responsibilities as creators and stewards of such systems.

Conclusion

The hypothesis that intelligence is a mere side effect of complexity offers a novel perspective on the origins and development of intelligence in both biological organisms and artificial systems. By examining the relationship between complexity and opportunities for learning, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to the emergence and development of intelligence. Further research on this topic may help to refine our understanding of intelligence and guide the development of more advanced and ethically responsible artificial systems.

References


Chalmers, D. J. (2011). The singularity: A philosophical analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 17(9-10), 7-65.

Smith, L. B., & Gasser, M. (2005). The development of embodied cognition: Six lessons from babies. Artificial Life, 11(1-2), 13-29.

Novel Neurodivergent treatments worth investigating

Novel Neurodivergent treatments worth investigating

Neurodivergent conditions, such as ADHD and autism, have traditionally been treated with medication and behavioral therapy. However, recent studies have shown promise in the use of novel treatments, including dietary changes, alternative therapies, and psychoactive substances, to help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.

  1. Dietary Changes: According to recent research, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish and nuts, can help improve symptoms in individuals with ADHD and autism. Additionally, reducing processed and high-sugar foods has also been linked to improvement in symptoms.
  2. Alternative Therapies: Meditation and mindfulness practices, such as yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), have been shown to help improve focus, regulate mood, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals with ADHD and autism.
  3. CBD and Cannabis: CBD, a compound found in cannabis, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant effects, making it a promising treatment for individuals with ADHD and autism. However, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD and cannabis on neurodivergent conditions.
  4. Psychedelics: Psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) and LSD, have been the subject of recent research exploring their potential use in treating depression, anxiety, and addiction. While the results of these studies are promising, it is important to note that the use of psychedelics is still illegal in many countries, and more research is needed to fully understand their effects and potential risks.

In conclusion, while traditional treatments for neurodivergent conditions, such as medication and behavioral therapy, remain the mainstay of treatment, the data suggests that there are several promising novel treatments that may help individuals with ADHD and autism manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. However, it is important to remember that every individual is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. As such, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for each individual.

Longevity, healthspan and aging: what you need to know

Longevity, healthspan and aging: what you need to know

As you age, it’s important to focus on maintaining your health and wellbeing. This means eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and ensuring you’re taking care of your mental health. But what about your physical health? What can you do to ensure you live a long, healthy life?

There are many things you can do to improve your lifespan and healthspan. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Eat a balanced diet

A balanced diet is key to good health. It’s important to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks whenever possible.

  1. Get regular exercise

Exercise is essential for good health. It helps keep your body strong and healthy, and it can also help protect against diseases such as cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days per week.

  1. Take care of your mental health

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Taking care of your mental wellbeing can help protect against conditions such as anxiety and depression. Make sure you take some time for yourself each day to relax and de-stress. And if you’re experiencing any problems with your mental health, be sure to seek professional help.

  1. Stay hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to a number of problems, including fatigue, headaches and dizziness. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated.

  1. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for good health. Adults should aim for around eight hours of sleep each night. Poor sleep can lead to a number of problems, including fatigue, stress and anxiety.

  1. Take supplements if needed

In some cases, supplements may be necessary in order to maintain good health. Omega-3 fatty acids are a good example – many people don’t get enough omega-3s from their diet, so taking a supplement can be beneficial. Consult with your doctor before starting any new supplements, however – not all supplements are safe for everyone to take.

  1. Consider nmn therapy

nmN therapy is a novel treatment that uses neural modulation to improve cellular function and promote longevity [1]. The therapy involves injecting nmN into specific areas of the brain in order to promote cell rejuvenation [2]. so far, studies have shown that nmN therapy can improve cognitive function, increase lifespan and protect against age-related diseases [3].

8 . Consider rapamicin therapy

Rapamicin is a drug that has been shown to increase lifespan in animals [4]. It works by inhibiting the mTOR pathway, which is responsible for cell growth and aging [5]. Rapamicin has been shown to delay the onset of age-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease [6], and it may also be able to improve cognitive function [7].

9 . Consider metformin therapy

Metformin is a drug that is commonly used to treat diabetes [8]. However, research suggests that it may also have anti-aging properties [9]. One study found that metformin was able to extend the lifespan of worms by up to 50% [10]. Another study showed that metformin was able to reduce the risk of death from all causes in patients with type 2 diabetes [11] . While more research is needed on the anti-aging effects of metformin, it’s possible that this drug could play an important role in extending lifespan in humans .

What is ableism?

So what, exactly, counts as ableism?

If you don’t live with a disability yourself, you may not realize the numerous ways society pushes people with disabilities to the fringes.

As a start, it might help to unpack what “disability” means. This term might automatically bring to mind people with noticeable physical conditions.

For example:

  • A person who uses a wheelchair
  • a blind person who uses a sight stick
  • a person who has only one arm

But according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability can include any physical or mental health condition or symptom that significantly affects at least one major activity of daily life.

Disabilities can affect the ability to:

  • communicate
  • stand, walk, or move from place to place
  • leave home
  • see, hear, breathe, or eat and drink
  • learn and remember information
  • handle work responsibilities
  • interact with others, including co-workers, friends, loved ones, and anyone else
  • shower, use the bathroom, or handle other basic needs

Mocking or dismissing someone with a disability might be a pretty obvious form of ableism, but ableism doesn’t always happen intentionally. Maybe you just never realized chronic illness or mental health conditions counted as disabilities.

But ableism often begins with the failure to acknowledge the different types of disabilities people can experience. You may not have any negative intentions or ill will, but unintentional ableism can still have a major impact.

Republished from https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-ableism#identifying-it

Have we made a mistake?

We do not claim by any stretch of the imagination that we can get everything right.

If you see something we post or share that you can explain pragmatically, and demonstrate with quality evidence as wrong, or you see a typo or misquote, anything, please leave us note via the comments or contact form.

Please note that while we do our best to publish or share quality information that we have in good faith determined to be trustworthy and accurate, we do not have the resources to do ongoing review of past posts for accuracy or being withdrawn from publication.

We are all in this together, so if you are able to help we truly appreciate it, and we take all feedback and collaboration offered. In fact we actively encourage it.

Emotional thinking and conflicting opinions

Opinion

It seems apparent that there are essentially two ways to think, or reason if you prefer. The pragmatic, unemotional, and more objective process, and the emotionally driven, subjective and often bias process. This also seems to be something that is leveraged by certain actors throughout society.

One could postulate that people are being encouraged to think more emotionally in place of more pragmatic reasoning to perpetuate an advantageous environment to be leveraged. There doesn’t have to be some big conspiracy, it can be no more than a common preference selected by powerful people to market to consumers, and keep those quarterly profits at record growth every month.

Notwithstanding the immense benefits of a captialist market, a free and open market that anyone can be a part of and build wealth; it seems clear that it has it’s issues. Namely that the human race, once called Homo Erectus, is now a product of the market, not so much a consumer. We have shifted focus so much that we are now a new species, Homo Economicus. Yes, it’s an actual thing!

As we digress we take a look at the core ways of reasoning and some of the factors at play.

Emotional reasoning

Being almost entirely subjective, and often very biased, and for good reason; emotional thinking is driven by emotional needs. The need to avoid offence, seen as rude etc, are amongst the main reasons people use this approach to reasoning.

While emotional thinking is valuable and useful, it must be kept in check and measured against the pragmatic postulations. It is imperative for the individual to be discerning in choosing which reasoning to apply in any given situation. Remember, no matter how you or anyone feels about it, fact is fact.

Deductive vs pragmatic reasoning

Made famous by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, deductive reasoning is a process of gathering evidence, past events leading to, and forming a foregone conclusion. These conclusions are typically considered immutable, and should not change or be questioned.

Pragmatic reasoning is not too dissimilar in that we use the above process, but we extend it to factor in context, external influences, and any other information that may have causation to the subject. Also, very importantly, the conclusion reached is transient. We take it as our best educated guess that can and should be challenged, especially as new information comes to light.

Holding conflicting opinions

If one can acknowledge the subjective experience and emotional influence in reaching conclusions, then one might find oneself holding multiple differing opinions based on differing requirements or scenarios.

Let us consider what I’m sure most would agree to be the most extreme of situations a human being can find oneself in, a passing of life.

Let us consider this using the above methods of reasoning:

Deductively and emotionally, we might say we know this person and care for them, or we suppose we are someone that does.

This triggers an emotion, often a slew of them; sadness, anger, disappointment, depression, grief etc. Depending on the person and the situation, one may act on the emotion and decide to take retribution.

However, the pragmatic thinker kicks in and we decide not to take retribution because of the concequences to us.

Here we see both ways of reasoning working together in balance. It serves us to think emotionally so that we can express empathy and console our loved ones through the grief. We act on emotional thinking here because it’s advantageous to us and the people we care about.

However, let’s suppose we don’t know the person that has passed. Perhaps we have a decision to make that impacts many. If we were to act on our emotions, is that useful? Do we have a bias here that may restrict us from considering the needs of others?

Self depricating justification of vilification – Opinion

Self deprecating justification of vilification is the excusing of toxic and even abusive behaviour towards people by way of trying to make out the other person has done something so egregious that it deserves being vilified and castrated in public.

It seems to stem from tribalism, which makes sense in regards to supporting your tribe, and protecting against neighbouring tribes who may want to come and damaged or pilfer your crops, however it’s perpetuated in modern Society through sport and fanaticism, even in TV shows and celebrities.

Seems so many have this foregone conclusion they have formed of the people or things that they side with or feel attached to and if you dare threaten that at all it’s met with huge amounts of defence and even hostility.

We see these labels such as karens being thrown around and it’s a very simple way for people to immediately validate and qualify to each other that it’s ok to engage in this toxic and harmful behaviour towards this person. We even see situations where men are standing over and using extremely aggressive violent language towards females in a setting where this person has been called a Karen being called heros. Traditionally we would say that that was a bit out of line however noble the cause. After all, two wrongs don’t make a right! This behaviour is no better than the original behaviour that was perceived as justifying this vilification.

We need to stop following shallow things. Stop following people. What we need to do is shift focus to ideas and outcomes.

Are you ok?

It goes without saying that there’s plenty we’re all dealing with. It’s important to know that your not alone, and you don’t have to do it alone.

There’s no shame in reaching out and letting someone know you need a bit of extra support to get through.

We are here. We care, and we are happy to help. This is not a service we charge for, it’s just a genuine offer for help.

Use our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

L-Tyrosine+L-Theanine +Coffee bean&berry as Possible ADHD treatment pathway

L-Tyrosine+L-Theanine +Coffee bean&berry as Possible ADHD treatment pathway

Personal anecdote/not sponsored:

In our quest to find the most effective and healthy options in treating conditions, we’ve come across an interesting supplement based mainly on caffine, coffee beans, L-theanine, and L-tyrosine.

Our head researcher has both ADHD and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Traditional medication used in ADHD treatment has been deficient, until now.

The clarity and calm that is had via this particular supplement has made one of the single biggest changes for him. This may be an option for others wishing to find a more effective treatment, or to make a change away from their current regime.

As always, exercise caution when making changes to your medication, and discuss with your health care professionals.


A closer look at the key nootropics:

Alpha GPC (L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine) – a cholinergic compound that regulates a neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine, that supports physical and mental performance.
Huperzine A – a compound found in Chinese club moss, increases the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, supporting memory, focus and brain health.
Ginseng – derived from a fleshy plant root; Ginseng is natural energy support used in Chinese medicine for centuries. This herb can help sharpen your mind and support relaxation simultaneously.
L-Theanine – if you’ve had green tea, you’ve had L-Theanine! This amino acid helps give you a mental boost without the jitters and is now a popular component of many pre-workout formulas.
L-Tyrosine – Your neurotransmitters (such as Dopamine) rely on nonessential amino acids like L-Tyrosine. It assists communication between nerve cells, helping your brain to function with clarity and assisting the healthy stress response.
Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) – traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, this herb supports focus, learning and memory.

https://athleticsport.com.au/blogs/blog/what-are-the-best-nootropics

Nootopia Nootropic

References

Bellar D, LeBlanc NR, Campbell B. The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:42. Published 2015 Nov 17. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0103-x

Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B., 2020. Theanine Research Analysis. [online] Examine.com.

Here, S., Guide, N., Nootropics, L., Nootropics, B. and Take, W., 2020. The Definitive Guide To Nootropics – Nootropics Expert. [online] Nootropicsexpert.com.

Parker, A.G., Byars, A., Purpura, M. et al. The effects of Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 12, P41 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-12-S1-P41

Noor Azuin Suliman, Che Norma Mat Taib, Mohamad Aris Mohd Moklas, Mohd Ilham Adenan, Mohamad Taufik Hidayat Baharuldin, Rusliza Basir, “Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic”,Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2016, Article ID 4391375, 12 pages, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/4391375

Consumer trends during Covid-19

Some interesting and somewhat encouraging news from the Woolworths CEO today via his email updates during Covid-19 show some interesting trends in consumer spending on food and vitamins during this time.

To quote from his email:

We are becoming healthier and more adventurous in our cooking
While the slow cooking movement continues, we’re also becoming increasingly adventurous. Ingredients such as cardamom, saffron and dried sesame seeds have doubled in sales. Roasted peppers are up 65%, Asian and hot chilli sauces are both up 40% and capers are up 35%.

We’re also well into soup season. What’s interesting this year is the explosive growth of dried soup mix packets (up 200%) as people make more warming soup at home.

It’s also interesting to see customers think about their health, with a big rise in vitamin sales, plus ground ginger and turmeric sales up 120% and sauerkraut up 76%. On a related topic, sales of cough and cold products are much lower this year compared to last year.”

This is encouraging and hopefully a sign that the general population is starting to become more interested in preparing fresh meals rather than fast food, and hopefully the rise in vitamins and other beneficial products is a sign that people are starting to see value in improving their health and eating better.

It’s pretty clear that the more fit and healthy you are and the better you eat, the less likely you are to contract Covid-19 and, less likely to have severe complication if you do. We have been keeping an eye on developments and have been hoping that the silver lining from all of this may be a new focus on health and well-being.

So please ensure you take some time out of your busy life to focus on whats really important, your life! We at Health Hacker wish all of you good health and encourage you to keep exploring and trying to improve your diet and lifestyle as much as possoble. Remember, something is better than nothing so start on somethign today!

What lifestyle changes will help me live longer and healthier?

We’ve previously spoken about how we might introduce foods and supplements to our diet to improve health span and lifespan. Here we explore activities and other therapies that show potential in living healthier and longer. We also explore things you perhaps should stop doing to improve health and longevity.

Mitochondrial support

Mitochondria are organelles, basically, little functional units within cells, much like an organ is to our body. They provide power to our cells by delivering ATP to the cells and are thought to once be free-ranging bacteria. It is thought that the break down of mitochondrial function is one of, if not the main contributor to aging.

Continue reading “What lifestyle changes will help me live longer and healthier?”

Which supplements can help me live longer and healthier?

There are two main ways to provide the nutrients and myriad of compounds that can help your body operate at its best and improve both lifespan and healthspan. One is to include foods and adjust your diet, however, we don’t always have that option to due various constraints such as taste and lifestyle. This is where supplements step in to provide the essential components of those foods as extracts or via chemical synthesis.

Here we explore the supplements you can incorporate into your lifestyle to get those identified goodies that keep us healthy for longer. This is the second of three articles on increasing health and life span. Our article on foods will have some overlap with this article as in many cases supplements are a derivative of food.
As always, we do our best to validate any information presented however, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of statements made here and does not constitute medical advice. Please check with your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
We have included as many references as possible to back our claims and for you to click into to investigate further for yourself. We encourage anyone seeking to improve their health via supplementation to take some time to research it’s effects, side effects and dosage.

Continue reading “Which supplements can help me live longer and healthier?”

Eating to live…longer and healthier.

There are two main ways to provide the nutrients and the myriad of compounds that can help your body operate at its best and improve both lifespan and healthspan. One is to use supplements and the other is to do it via food in our diet.

Here, in the first of our three part series on direct action for longevity, we explore the foods you can incorporate into your diet to get those identified goodies that keep us healthy for longer. We will also include herbs here as food as they require little to no handling to be beneficial and can be consumed as a food. Some of this is known via human clinical trial while some may be a mix of anecdotal use or animal studies. In all cases we take a can’t hurt, might help, approach and will either call out or exclude anything showing any risk of harm.

It’s important to note that, while all care is taken, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and you should consult your health care professional before making changes in your diet and lifestyle.

Continue reading “Eating to live…longer and healthier.”

Australian Bushfire Relief: Where you can donate

Please excuse the slightly off topic post and thank you an advance for reading. We don’t like to stray from our core focus however, people’s lives and health are under threat.

As you may or may not be aware, Health Hacker is based in Sydney, Australia and our state, as well as neighbouring states have seen huge amounts of devastation over the last few months. Massive tracts of forests have been burned with countless animal losses and homes and human lives lost.

If you can help in any way but aren’t sure how, this is how:

TO HELP AFFECTED COMMUNITIES

Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief
The Australian Red Cross is supporting communities affected by fires in NSW, QLD and SA. Volunteers are providing psychological first aid, working at evacuation centres and helping people to get in touch with their loved ones.
Where to donate: redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-new-years-eve

Salvation Army Disaster Appeal
Salvation Army teams have been activated at multiple locations across the country. They are providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders, and will continue to provide whatever support is needed as the situation develops.
Where to donate: salvationarmy.org.au/donate/make-a-donation/donate-online/

St Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal
The St Vincent De Paul Society is running a NSW bushfire appeal, to help those affected with food, clothing, furniture, other essentials, and funds to pay bills.
Where to donate: donate.vinnies.org.au/appeals-nsw/vinnies-nsw-bushfire-appeal-nsw

Givit
Givit is encouraging people to donate funds or specific items requested by residents.
Where to donate: givit.worldsecuresystems.com/items-needed

Foodbank
Foodbank is delivering emergency food relief and water to firefighters and local communities caught up in the bushfires.
Where to donate: foodbank.org.au/support-us/make-a-donation/

TO HELP FIREFIGHTERS

Support firefighter families
Donate to the families of the volunteer firefighters who were tragically killed while on duty.
Where to donate: rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/general-news/featured/support-for-firefighter-families

TO HELP WILDLIFE

WIRES
WIRES is accepting donations to help their efforts in supporting displaced and injured wildlife.
Where to donate: wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund

Koalas in Care Inc
Koalas in Care Inc are accepting donations to help koalas injured or displaced by the fires in NSW.
Where: to donate: koalasincare.org.au/pages/donation.htm

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is accepting donations to develop and build watering stations for thirsty koalas.
Where to donate: gofundme.com/f/help-thirsty-koalas-devastated-by-recent-fires

Taken from:

http://www.mygc.com.au/bushfire-relief-where-you-can-donate/

Thank you for your time.

Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year, and a new decade lay before us as we reach the end of 2019.

You’re inspired to start improving something about your health of life.

Don’t, well, more accurately do, but don’t do it for a new years resolution.

Do it because you are ready, do it because you’re done with the status quo, do it for your happiness, for your family.

Do it for any reason other than an arbitrary date with artificial importance projected upon it.

Changes are hard and habits are strong. It takes time and conviction to change so you need to be truly ready and you need to do it as soon as you can.

If you set yourself a new years resolution and fail you are likely to give up completely or revert back to comfort to relive the disappointment and depression that may follow a failed new years resolution.

Know that you have it in you to change without an arbitrary date. You can do it!

from:

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail

Mitochondria—hubs for regulating cellular biochemistry: emerging concepts and networks | Open Biology

Mitochondria—hubs for regulating cellular biochemistry: emerging concepts and networks | Open Biology

Mitochondria are iconic structures in biochemistry and cell biology, traditionally referred to as the powerhouse of the cell due to a central role in energy production. However, modern-day mitochondria are recognized as key players in eukaryotic cell biology and are known to regulate crucial cellular processes, including calcium signalling, cell metabolism and cell death, to name a few. In this review, we will discuss foundational knowledge in mitochondrial biology and provide snapshots of recent advances that showcase how mitochondrial function regulates other cellular responses.

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsob.190126?utm_source=researcher-app&utm_medium=researcherad&utm_campaign=DVaughan_Promotedpaper_190126&utm_content=Paper

DNA Testing

DNA Testing

Have you considered getting your DNA sequenced? Wonder what kind of information you could expect out of it?

I recently got my DNA sequenced at Self Decode and the results are in! Let’s take a look at whats in there and how I might be able to use it to improve my health and lifespan.

The introductory report shows me a high level overview of things I may want to dig deeper into.

Now, what does this mean and what can I do about it?

Typical risk of vit. k deficiency so, not much needed to be done here
Mostly typical ability to convert beta-carotene to Vit. A. Nothing to see here.
Seemingly normal ability to process B12. Good news.
I know I have one of two MTFHR gene mutations so no surprises here on Folate. I supplement with MTHF or Methyl-Folate to make up for this.
Now, I don’t drink Coffee, nor do I drink and caffeinated drinks so, nothing to worry about here. Basically I can process caffeine more readily.
Need to keep an eye on food intake. I have recently started intermittent fasting and have reduce my sugar and dairy intake (see our post about miRNA’s in milk expressing mTOR and suppressing AMPK).
Mix results here meaning no real action needed except that I should possibly target power training.
Typical Lipid levels. Not better or worse, just your regular ability to process lipids.
I never considered that DNA may influence something like my levels of empathy. I guess this explains why I’ve started Health Hacker to help people live healthier and longer lives.
Look out Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here comes an impulse shopper!
Anxiety is something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. I employ multiple strategies to help with it including CBD and B3, along with Omega-3.

Along with the report are sources to NIH publications to back the assertions. You also get deeper reports on each of those subject areas including MTFHR, APOE, Mood, Cognitive, Essential Minerals, Vitamins, Sleep, Cardiovascular, Inflammation and Fitness. You also get a personalised blog that shows you articles related to SNPs in your results.

I’m not saying that this is the best DNA service but it’s the one I chose and this is what I got. It seems quite comprehensive and does a good job at explaining what it all means and how I can adjust my diet and lifestyle to account for deficiencies caused by gene mutations. If this is something you are interested in then it might be an option for you.

12 Ways To Upgrade Your Lifespan & Healthspan IQ

12 Ways To Upgrade Your Lifespan & Healthspan IQ

The amount of time we live is called lifespan. The length of time that a person is healthy and functional—not just alive—is called healthspan. Scientific understanding in these areas is advancing rapidly. Below are 12 things the collective thinks will help on your journey to a longer healthier you. 

1. BOOST NAD+ LEVELS

2. POWER UP WITH ATP

3. CREATE FIT MITOCHONDRIA

4. ACTIVATE AMPK

5. CALORIE RESTRICTION AND CALORIE RESTRICTION MIMETICS

6. EXERCISE AND EXERCISE MIMETICS

7. BODY CLOCK 

8. FOLLOW A HEALTHY AGING EXPERT

12 Ways To Upgrade Your Lifespan & Healthspan IQ

Mitochondria: Exploring 5 Lifestyle Habits to Benefit Cell Health

Mitochondria: Exploring 5 Lifestyle Habits to Benefit Cell Health

In each of our cells are small energy generators called mitochondria. The health of our mitochondria determines the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) they can produce from the calories we eat and oxygen we consume. Without robust mitochondria, cells cannot do as much work as they’re capable of and we need them to do so we can stay healthy. To achieve higher levels of performance we must optimize our mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells, to produce energy. Cell function isn’t always the first place biohackers and nootropics enthusiasts start because it is challenging to notice a subjective boost in our mitochondrial function. Whether we can detect enhanced mitochondria subjectively or not, the science is pretty clear that healthy mitochondria play a role in supporting all indicators of cognition, physical performance, and aging. In a series of comprehensive posts, we will introduce scientifically-backed lifestyle changes and nootropics that up-regulate your mitochondrial function. In our last post, we went over how to use light and temperature to boost mitochondria. Now let’s tackle 5 more lifestyle habits we can implement to achieve healthier mitochondria.

Mitochondria: Exploring 5 Lifestyle Habits to Benefit Cell Health

The strange case of AMPK and cancer: Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?† | Open Biology

The strange case of AMPK and cancer: Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?† | Open Biology

“The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) acts as a cellular energy sensor. Once switched on by increases in cellular AMP : ATP ratios, it acts to restore energy homeostasis by switching on catabolic pathways while switching off cell growth and proliferation. The canonical AMP-dependent mechanism of activation requires the upstream kinase LKB1, which was identified genetically to be a tumour suppressor. AMPK can also be switched on by increases in intracellular Ca2+, by glucose starvation and by DNA damage via non-canonical, AMP-independent pathways. Genetic studies of the role of AMPK in mouse cancer suggest that, before disease arises, AMPK acts as a tumour suppressor that protects against cancer, with this protection being further enhanced by AMPK activators such as the biguanide phenformin. However, once cancer has occurred, AMPK switches to being a tumour promoter instead, enhancing cancer cell survival by protecting against metabolic, oxidative and genotoxic stresses. Studies of genetic changes in human cancer also suggest diverging roles for genes encoding subunit isoforms, with some being frequently amplified, while others are mutated.”

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsob.190099?utm_source=researcher-app&utm_medium=researcherad&utm_campaign=DVaughan_Promotedpaper_190099&utm_content=Paper

Mitochondria—hubs for regulating cellular biochemistry: emerging concepts and networks | Open Biology

Mitochondria—hubs for regulating cellular biochemistry: emerging concepts and networks | Open Biology

“Mitochondria are iconic structures in biochemistry and cell biology, traditionally referred to as the powerhouse of the cell due to a central role in energy production. However, modern-day mitochondria are recognized as key players in eukaryotic cell biology and are known to regulate crucial cellular processes, including calcium signalling, cell metabolism and cell death, to name a few. In this review, we will discuss foundational knowledge in mitochondrial biology and provide snapshots of recent advances that showcase how mitochondrial function regulates other cellular responses.”

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsob.190126?utm_source=researcher-app&utm_medium=researcherad&utm_campaign=DVaughan_Promotedpaper_190126&utm_content=Paper

NMN – Nicotinimide Mononucleotide

NMN – Nicotinimide Mononucleotide

Metformin

Metformin

Risks: this risk is low (less than 10 cases for 100,000 patient years), but the risk of metformin-induced lactic acidosis (MALA) increases in certain situations where both the plasma levels of metformin are increased and lactate clearance is impaired.[6] 

Epithalon

Epithalon

What is a stack and whats in one? – Opinion

What is a stack and whats in one? – Opinion

So you have a bunch of information on things that can help you live healthier and longer. What next?

Typically what a biohacker does is builds a stack. A stack is a collection of supplements that is aimed at a certain goal.

I’m going to give you some insight into my “pet rabbit” stack 😉 My rabbit is 104kgs and around 40 years old (Super Rabbit 😉 My rabbit is wanting to live healthier and longer as well as improve cognetive function and avoid cognitive decline. She wants to grow her hair and keep it a healthy colour and improve general health and fitness.

Firstly a dosing routine showing morning and evening dosing and which to take at what time of day for the desirable outcome.

Continue reading “What is a stack and whats in one? – Opinion”
Vaping is not dangerous, black market cartridges with hydrogen cyanide is though! – Opinion

Vaping is not dangerous, black market cartridges with hydrogen cyanide is though! – Opinion

While hysteria reins on news outlets and social media and some officials calling for or enacting laws to ban it, the real source of danger is the unregulated black market cartridges that contain some chemicals that turn to hydrogen cyanide when heated.

Saying vaping is dangerous is the same as saying water is dangerous. If misused or abuse anything can be dangerous.

This blog is trying to deliver the real truth without influences from politics or even laws. We want you to have the right information so you can make truly informed choices about your health.

It is estimated that vaping is 90% more safe than smoking. Most vape products contain less chemicals and less harmful chemicals. While it’s true we don’t know long term effects, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s a better way of consumption than burning and smoking material.

https://hightimes.com/news/report-shows-some-vapes-from-illicit-sources-contain-highly-toxic-pesticides/