Voting and Politics with Mental Illness

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I got out and voted this morning.  I didn’t have to fight a long line as I went in the middle of the morning.  I did the online registration earlier this year.  I found it intriguing that in some nations a person is automatically registered to vote when they get their driver’s license.  I saw that some countries have their major elections on the weekend or make the day a national holiday where everything is closed.  Regardless of the results I did my civic duty for now.

I have to admit this was the meanest and nastiest election I can ever remember.  I imagine there were parents explaining to their kids that this wasn’t a typical election cycle.  At least I hope it doesn’t become the new normal.  This has been a real stressful and unsettling election for me.  I have had to increase doses on all my medications just to deal with the anxiety and depression.  I hate how divisive and hateful this election was.  I have had to block friends and even stopped talking to friends and family over this.  I even quit talking to people I agree with.  Many normals were insane about this election.

Too many normal people have for the last eighteen months acted like the election is the only thing that is going on.  Seriously?  I just quit watching the news because that was all that was being reported.  One of the reasons I got to studying science and tech advances on science web pages was I wasn’t hearing about the state of science or technology on the regular news channels.  I also think that science and tech advances will benefit humanity far more than any elected politician.  It’s no comparison.  I think normal people are insane and out of touch with reality paying so much attention to the election.  Most politicians are lawyers and business people by trade, not scientists or engineers.  A politician doesn’t know how to build power plants. A politician can’t figure out how to grow more crops with less water and pesticides.  It wasn’t politicians who figured out how to build houses that won’t fall apart during earthquakes.  We are electing people to represent us, pass laws, and set budgets.  We are not electing Santa Claus who will make everything we desire come true with pixie dust and magic.  We really give politicians too much praise when things go right and too much blame when things go bad.  Too bad there wasn’t a Mt. Rushmore type monument dedicated to inventors, scientists, and humanitarians.  I’d visit a place like that.

In short I’m glad this election is going to be over soon.  Thank God.  I’ve seen enough nastiness to last me several election cycles.  I only hope that 2016 isn’t a preview of future elections.

 

Science and Tech Advances in 2016, Part II

I tweaked my knee while exercising a couple days ago.  Today it hurt so bad I was housebound for the whole day.  As it’s almost the middle of the night as I write this I’ve had an opportunity to think and do some research I had been neglecting.  For this entry I decided to continue on in the vein of science and tech advances that have happened in 2016 that may or may not have gotten the press exposure they should have.  So here goes:

  1. Scientists at Florida Atlantic University have found gene responsible for sleep deprivation and metabolic disorders.
  2. Scientists in China have discovered that coating solar cells with graphene will allow solar panels to generate energy from rain drops.
  3. Scientists at the University of Southern California have learned that drinking coffee can lead to a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  4. Scientists in Belgium have discovered three potentially habitable planets orbiting a red dwarf star approximately 40 light years from Earth.
  5. Scientists announce Breakthrough Starshot, a concept that would send fleets of small centimeter sized crafts to Alpha Centauri at 15 to 20 percent the speed of light, taking approximately twenty years to travel to our interstellar neighbor and approximately four years to send word back.
  6. Scientists discuss creating a synthetic human genome.
  7. An extensive study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have found no substantial evidence of different health risks between Genetically Modified Crops and traditionally bred crops.
  8. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital developed a procedure to allow long term cultivating adult stem cells.
  9. Carbon nanotube transistors outperform silicon transistors for the first time.

These are just a few examples of the scientific breakthroughs made this year that may have gone unnoticed.  I hope to make another post similar to this soon.

Recovering Doom Junkie

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Rarely can you turn on your tv or log onto your internet without seeing some piece of bad news.  Any given day you can hear about some mass shooting, some terrorist attack, or some natural disaster.  Yet we rarely pay attention when something really good happens.  Whenever we get poor customer service we usually get upset with the company and feel free to tell all of our friends and coworkers.  But the vast majority of the time we received good or even great service, it’s nothing but silence.

I don’t think it’s ingratitude that cause people to pay no attention to good things and good news.  It’s how we are wired.  We are much more likely to pay attention to bad news than good.  It served us well when we were still prehistoric hunter gatherers trying to forge a living in an unforgiving environments.  Not so much anymore.  We make little note of the facts that we are much less likely to suffer violence in our lives or cheated in business.  We pay more attention to these facts because we hear about every murder and every foul business practice. ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ is still true today.  And I am convinced constantly paying attention to these needless fears and anxieties are not good for our mental health.

I had to consciously stop watching the news because I knew that everything that is going on is not being equally reported.  About all I have heard on my news feeds for a year now was election this and election that.  Seriously?  That’s the only thing that matters in our world for the last year?  You have got to be joking.  We’re sending probes all over our solar system, just finished digging a huge tunnel under the Swiss and French Alps, are testing medications that could severely slow down degenerative brain diseases, the Olympics are starting in early August, the Chinese are about finished building the largest radio telescope in history, Nicaruaga is building a canal to compete with the Panama Canal, we’re testing vaccines for HIV, and we’re discovering new exoplanets all the time.  And that is just a short list.  We are living in really cool times and the media isn’t even covering most of the good stuff.  All the news that’s fit to print, right.

People wonder why I haven’t watched cable news in almost ten years.  I have enough going on in my own life and I see enough cool stuff going on through non traditional and specialized media sources to pay attention to the cable news dinosaurs.  I really don’t know anyone under the age of 40 who watches cable news on a regular basis.  My brother and most of my friends don’t even have cable or satellite tv.  I wouldn’t have it except I get it with my apartment.  All I watch on traditional tv is live sporting events.  Cable news companies, if you want to quit losing your audiences try reporting something other than calamity and politics.  Some of us actually want an easy source to find out about science and tech advances and humanitarian efforts.  The latest violence and the politician who got busted in a scandal doesn’t matter to most people.  It certainly doesn’t matter to me anymore.  That’s why I’m no longer a viewer.  And that has gone a long way in helping me manage my depression and anxiety problems.