Pandemics–history, control, and prevention

A pandemic is defined as a disease epidemic occurring over a widespread geographic area. Whether technically a pandemic or not, the world has experienced many large outbreaks of disease–examples include the Black Death (bubonic plague) which affected Asia and Europe and peaked in the mid 1300’s to the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918-1919 which killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people to more recent…

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Fear — impacts on decision-making and behavior

Fear is corrosive whether caused by events outside our immediate control or if purposefully used (for example, by politicians trying to gain or consolidate power). Fear impacts the decisions we make and the actions we take. We do things we would not do if the fear was not present. We believe things we normally would not. We act against our own best interests. Quick bibliography:…

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Politics and Fear

Whipping up fear is a common tactic in politics. Providing stark, seemingly life or death choices, us versus them, scapegoating, creating a false bogeyman to distract from real problems, using lies and disinformation … fear is used because it often works. Fear breeds anxiety and stress, and “anxiety increases the attention to negative choice options, the likelihood that ambiguous options will be interpreted negatively, and…

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You have the power to make your own decisions about issues important to your life–use it!

Knowledge brings understanding; more fully understanding an issue (immigration, health care, abortion, border security, taxation, tariffs, climate change, etc., etc.) reduces fear and anxiety about that issue.  Many people and organizations across the political spectrum push fear to make you act in a way that they want. Make an effort to better understand the issues that are important in your life.  Remember that the truth…

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Scapegoats and self-blame

Scapegoating is “the act of blaming and often punishing a person or a group for a negative outcome that is due, in large part, to other causes.” It’s not a new phenomenon.  It’s been going on for centuries–think of the witch hysteria and trials in Europe and America that lasted into the late 1700’s, the Nazis’ “attempted extermination of Jews and other minority groups” during…

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Clues to deception; who is telling the truth?

In a highly-cited study from 2003, DePaulo, et al. investigated if “people behave in discernibly different ways when they are lying compared with when they are telling the truth.”  The quest for determining consistent and obvious behavioral cues for deception is longstanding.  In the virtual world we live in today, separating falsehoods from the the truth is even more important. Through a review and analysis…

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