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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Addiction to Search

Addiction to Search

 August 4, 2018

690 words
2 min 51 read

On my way to research the search phenomenon, I just recognized, my addiction to ‘SEARCH’

I found an equalling interesting subject: ‘FAKE NEWS’ NEWPHILOSPHER Issue #17: Communication, September 1, 2017
By Tom Chatfield

He quotes philosopher Harry Frankfurt in his 2005 book ‘ON BULLSHIT’.

Quoting Mr. Frankfurt “The essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony.”

“A liar and an honest person are interested in the truth, they are playing on opposite sides of the same game.

A bullshitter, however, has no such constraint.”

A politician witnessed the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

During a campaign interview in 2015, he proclaimed that New Jersey, which had a heavy Arab population, he saw the Muslims cheering the collapse of these towers.

A normal politician caught in a lie would offer an apology, or an excuse or offer some reason when he knew he was caught.

However, this politician made up a different rule: claim what is false is FAKE NEWS.

I read the other day a summary of FAKE NEWS as being ‘propaganda’.

I now have to concede that calling it ‘BULLSHIT’ is far more accurate and, I dare say, more enjoyable.

For Frankfurt, a bullshitter “is neither on the side of truth nor the side of false… He does not care whether the things he says describe reality. He just makes them up to suit his purpose.”

Our author, Tom Chatfield, continues “these words capture something central to the phenomenon that is called fake news: the belief that emotive impact is not only the supreme test of a story but the only metric that matters.”


Two perceptive insights in four paragraphs.

I have to move onto the main reason for this post but I will leave you with Mr. Chatfield’s observation: we are in a “FESTIVAL OF BULLSHIT” (caps mine).

What a fabulous metaphor!

Enjoy slogging around in this bullshit for a long while longer.

In the 1950s, psychologists found that, when an electrode was placed in a rat’s brain, the lateral hypothalamus, they would give themselves shocks.

They would do this rather than eat or drink.

They would do this up to seven hundred times per hour!

“What is especially troubling is that humans have a brain system similar to rats.” Antonia Case 11/14/2014 in the NewPhilospher Issue #5: ‘self’

Think about this for a minute.

How many of us can lie around, on a couch, doing nothing? Not reading, not watching TV just staring off into nothingness?

Neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp was a neuroscientist and psychobiologist at Washington State University.
He and other researchers say that we are happiest when we ’re in search mode, seeking rewards of some kind.

Apparently, it doesn’t make much difference what we are searching for.

“We seek new weather, new disasters, new ideas, new inspiration. The more novel and unexpected, the bigger hit we get from it.”

Ms. Case uses the analogy our seeking is a “conveyor belt that’s forever moving onward”.

We may profess that we really want to “lay up in a hammock and happily look at the sky, neuroscientists give us the unfortunate verdict, that no, we’ll simply replace the search with another.”

“Our seeking pathways, called dopamine transmitter, which energizes us while seeking, are firing best when we are in search mode.”

Professor Panksepp says “animals can be driven into a frenzy when rewards for search are dished out in minuscule chunks; unable to be satisfied, the search continues, at a more frantic pace.”

How do you react when the ding announcing a new text message or email tinkles on your phone? This is the” bell Pavlov rang for his dogs.”

“We become sweating rats in the laboratory, pressing the lever to get our fix!”

Are you like a drug user?

“Drug users get to the point where they can’t stop seeking drugs, even as the rewards for using decline over time.”

“We keep hitting the refresh button because we have no choice–we’re caught in a loop.”

Are we doing harm?

Thanks for stopping by.


PS I am a rat on a conveyor belt hunting for a sugar fix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             internet search addiction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sleep Soundly My Friend

Sleep Soundly, My Friend

August 3, 2018

1804 Words
7 min 19 sec read

Have you ever had trouble falling asleep?

Have you ever gone days or even weeks without a refreshing, recharging sleep?

You know then of what I speak.

I had trouble sleeping as long as I can remember and even longer.


In 1997, I was working in the porch on our house.

I was stripping paint from the narrow beadboard woodwork.

It was a long, tedious, and exhausting project.

After using a gel stripper to remove the paint, I still had to sand where each strip of board met up with the one next to it.

This was taxing when I was working overhead. It has extremely punishing work on the neck and shoulders.

Well, I finally finished the overhead part and began work on the door frame and was not doing the walls or window frames.

Hopefully, when completed it would appear that the stripped and varnished parts would be an accent to the white walls and window frames.

This was a porch built in 1927 so there were a lot of windows.

By many, there were exactly fourteen. Fourteen frames, with an upper and lower section. Fourteen dividers between each window.
Dividers above the windows and below the windows.

Dividers above the front door and the exterior door.

Lots of stripping to do. And after that, I had to strip the floor.

I thought the floor would be the easiest part of the job since it was flat and I didn’t need to stand on a ladder.


There were eight coats of paint on the floor to strip before I got down to the wood grained floor.

 Stripping that many coats of paint resembles playing in mounds of slippery, wet gunk. A challenge to wipe up too.

But that is getting ahead of myself.

I had the front door frame to strip.

The beautiful door was varnished. A light steel wool to sand and remove the old checked varnish. Apply a new coat of fresh polyurethane varnish would make the door beautiful again.

There were eight frames for the windows. The windows were six inches by eight inches. The framing between the windows was narrow but detailed.

I patted myself on the back and decided to just touch up the framing and just put on a new of varnish.

I started to paint the gel stripper on the vertical portions of the door frame.


What just happened?

The whole floor was ablaze!

Flames licking from the edges of the floor where stripper had fallen. Encircling the whole outside edge of the porch!

I was stomping as fast as I could.

I panicked and hollered for my wife to help me.

It was scary. Flames licking every there was stripper.

Finally, we put the flames out.

Sitting outside on the front steps I couldn't catch my breath!

I huffed and huffed and gasped and gasped. But I still could not catch my breath.

It was late summer, and the evening was cool which made breathing easier.

What a relief!

What in the world had happened? How did the fire start?

It took several days to figure that mystery. 

Later I examined the door frame.

A doorbell buzzer!

I hadn’t disconnected the power supply from the button.

As the gel slide down the wood frame, it eventually came in contact with the live wire of the doorbell.


A fireball flew out of the connection and dropped to the floor where more stripper awaited the flame.

The flame spread lightning fast around the inside edge of the porch.

I don’t know how long we took to stomp out the flames, but it felt like an eternity.


The next day was a Monday, a workday.

I drove to work still feeling punk from the prior evening’s excitement.

I got to work and sat in the breakroom.

I still couldn’t catch my breath!

I called my doctor, and he said to get to the hospital at once.

The hospital was a short drive, around 10 miles.

I stood outside the emergency room door and sucked down another cigarette!

I figured it would be a few days before I would be able to light up another.

I entered the door and walked the few steps to the desk.

When asked  I said I couldn’t catch my breath.


An orderly pounced on a wheelchair and flew me into an awaiting room.

It was a long time from getting underdressed to the time a doctor came.
The prognosis?

I was on my way to undergo heart catheterization.

What? I couldn’t catch my breath! It was my lungs not my heart!

The nurse assured me it was my heart. A wire would be inserted in an artery in my groin and the cardiologist would snake it up the artery and see what was going on in my heart.

Four blockages. Four!

I later learned that I qualified for the ‘real’ heart repair club. The requirement was to undergo more than three blockages to qualify.

Of course, this made grown men giggle during rehab (it hurt to much to laugh!).


Now you know the back story. We can move forward.

While in the hospital I complained of my legs were driving me to DISTRACTION! 

A discussion with my wife and doctor ensued.

I didn't remember my wife telling me my legs would jump at night and kick her. We had a kingsize mattress, so we weren’t sleeping squished into the bed.

Now the story begins.

They told me I woke up frequently during the night. What?

They scheduled me for a sleep study for a time after my convalescence.

They diagnosed my kicking legs as Restless Leg Syndrome.

In 1997 there wasn’t much known regarding this condition and much less medication to help in resolving it.

The Sleep Study was not painful. A bit aggravating yes. But it was nothing I had to study for.

I check into the section of the hospital where the studies were done. I was glad there was nothing I had to prepare for or study to take the test.

After checking into the hospital, they hooked me up with as many wires as they attached during heart surgery or so it seemed.

They assigned me a room and told to sleep. Yeah right!

A strange bed, a strange room, and a strange pillow. Not to mention as a jumble of wires sticking to every section of my skull and chest.

Did I mention I am blessed with a large quantity of chest hair?

Good luck getting the sticky pads removed that were attached everywhere!

I dozed off because they woke me up and hooked me up with a mask.

There was a machine that pumped air into the mask was attached to my face.

Later I was woken up again. This time it was morning!

The nurse asked me if I was refreshed.

That stopped me like a thunderbolt.


I had not felt so good after a spending a night laying in bed in… forever. And it was only four hours!

During the sleep study, they discovered I stopped breathing 90 times A MINUTE!

Sleep Apnea specifically obstructive sleep apnea was my curse.

They asked if I wanted a machine like the one they had attached to my face.


I learned it was a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine.

I ran to the Medical Equipment store and requested one ASAP!

They had one in stock and I snatched it up and received instruction on how to use it.


The first night was a struggle to figure out the contraption and how to fit in on my face whether to start the machine with ‘ramping’ the air flow or just start full blast.

I much preferred the full blast when laying my head on the pillow. No messing around here!

The next morning I woke.

I felt like I had just drunk nectar from the gods (I was hung up on Greek Mythology at the time).

Boy, I felt like a new person, I had not slept like that in many many years, if ever.

I was now on a CPAP machine and could be given medication to help resolve the Restless Legs.

There were only a few choices at that time.

My doctor and I finally settled on clonazepam. It came with its own set of issues.

When I kept an appointment at the VA Hospital in Mpls, the doctor put me on ‘Ropinerole’ (generic 'Requip').

That worked wonders to help get to sleep and stay asleep.

It too had its own issues as I was to find out later.


If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, help is available.

Check with your doctor. Your local hospital may have a Sleep Study Lab.

If possible, please use it. You deserve a much more comfortable life.

Don’t worry about the cost of the CPAP machine. Insurance will cover the cost of it (around $1,500+).

The supplies are not exorbitant.

Even when I didn’t have insurance, I found a supplier on the internet that supplied me for a very reasonable cost per month (less than $10).


By whatever means get the Sleep Study test.

You will then have a diagnosis on why you can’t sleep.

I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

I have heard people, usually, men, don’t use a CPAP machine. They don’t like it.

I have rarely heard such cockamamie nonsense.

To not sleep when there is relief baffles me.

Some people say it takes time to get used to the machine blowing air down your throat. I can understand that. There are times my mouth feels dry and irritated.

The dry mouth also has a nasty effect on your teeth.

If I had a do-over I would you a mouth 'moistener'. Bacteria grows fast in a dry environment.

I didn’t have an issue once the Restless Legs were under control.
I have listed an article from the Mayo Clinic on tips for avoiding the 10 most common problems you may encounter using a CPAP machine.

The issues range from the noise that might irritate people. The machines are comparatively quiet now but my wife still wears earplugs.

Some issues are due to the mask itself. It might not be the correct size or it may have a leak along the edges. They will be overcome with practice and patience.

Then there are the psychological issues.

Perhaps you may feel claustrophobic.

You might notice difficulty tolerating the forced air.

As the article “CPAP Machines: Tips for avoiding 10 common problems” encourages: “Time and Patience are the keys. CPAP can positively affect the quality of your life and health.”


Thanks for stopping by.


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