How to Debunk Bad Science, Conspiracy, and Fake News

Star trek

Fake News, “alternative facts,” and bogus science is more viral now than ever. Over 100,000 videos on Youtube tell us the Earth is flat. Our President denies basic science, and thanked InfoWars (a conspiracy site) for help in his election. The “History” Channel suggests the pyramids were built by Ancient Aliens, relying on ancient writings and drawings as “evidence.” Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life’s mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. Static societies endured for ages, without progress, because creativity was suppressed. Challenges to dogma were met with death. In THE BEGINNING OF INFINITY, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, shows why man’s ego colors his faulty interpretations of events and observations. The human eye, he argues, is the least important tool of science, and the most easily fooled. Things are rarely what they seem, and no justification or authority is needed to arrive at truth. What is needed is to recognize flaws of logic, which have plagued mankind for thousands of years. Static thinking, mired in superstition and error, is our past, but need not be our future. Listening to this 20 hour audiobook is like getting a college degree in physics, biology, math, and geology. You will no longer be victim to those who would manipulate your beliefs for profit. Called one of the most profound science books ever written by the NY Times, it shows why explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach. Optimistic in outlook, the book shows how we are subject only to the laws of physics, but they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve. A most relevant Must Read or Hear. http://TowerReview.com

work it

Are You Being ZAPPED?

Zapped book

How many electronic innovations have you dialed, watched, surfed, charged, listed to, booted up, commuted on, cooked with, and plugged in today? Consider your typical day: if you’re like most people, it probably starts in front of your coffee maker and toaster, ends as you set the alarm on your cell phone, and involves no end of computers and gadgets, televisions and microwaves in between. We’re being zapped: today 84 percent of Americans own a cell phone, 89 million of us watch TV beamed in by satellite, and we can’t sip a cup of coffee at our local café without being exposed to Wi-Fi. The very electronic innovations that have changed our lives are also exposing us, in ways big and small, to an unprecedented number of electromagnetic fields. Invisible pollution surrounds us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, interrupting our bodies’ natural flow of energy. And for some, that pollution has reached the point of toxicity, causing fatigue, irritability, weakness, and even illness. But we don’t have to simply surrender. Ann Louise Gittleman brings forth the latest research into electromagnetic fields to create this groundbreaking guide for every citizen of the wireless age. With the proactive, levelheaded approach that has made her one of our most respected health experts, she not only clarifies the risks but also offers specific, step-by-step information for how anyone can minimize them. From where you place your sofa to when you use your cell phone to what you eat for dinner, Zapped is packed with strategies for avoiding and mitigating the damaging effects of electropollution. As she examines modern life room by room, device by device, Gittleman reveals a master plan for detoxifying your surroundings and protecting yourself and your family. We don’t need to abandon our homes—or even give up our PDAs—to be healthier and happier. Based on the latest scientific data, case studies, and Gittleman’s years of clinical practice, Zapped is an empowering guide to living safely with the gadgets we can’t live without.

Bob Berman

Your electronic devices swarm with it; the sun bathes you in it. It’s zooming at you from cell towers, microwave ovens, CT scans, mammogram machines, nuclear power plants, deep space, even the walls of your basement. You cannot see, hear, smell or feel it, but there is never a single second when it is not flying through your body. Too much of it will kill you, but without it you wouldn’t live a year. From beloved popular science writer Bob Berman, his ZAPPED tells the story of all the light we cannot see, tracing infrared, microwaves, ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays, radio waves and other forms of radiation from their historic, world-altering discoveries in the 19th century to their central role in our modern way of life, setting the record straight on health costs (and benefits) and exploring the consequences of our newest technologies. Lively, informative, and packed with fun facts and “eureka moments,” ZAPPED will delight anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of our world.

solar eclipse

 

Tinker Dabble Doodle TRY

Tinker Dabble Doodle Try

Tinker Dabble Doodle Try is about unfocusing your mind to achieve goals, certainly a contrarian approach. Culture tells us to be razor focused, Linked In, and concentrated on our busy schedules. But the mind is not a muscle, and doesn’t need endless reps at the gym. It needs down time, day dreaming, and awareness of our inner world in order to avoid the traps of obsession, burnout, and anxious tension that lead to depression and lost attention span. The author cites Jeff Bazos of Amazon as someone who uses seemingly contradictory methods to find solutions. He is, quote, “Both demanding and playful, both rigorous and relaxed, both focused and open at the same time.” Mark Cuban is the same way. One’s drive to succeed should not be blind or cruel, the author says. To be more productive, you need to pay more attention to things outside the box of your To-Do list. You must be willing to change, and to realize that cognitive dissonance is a tyrant that reinforces what we did in the past (or purchased in the past) by making us believe it is best (when it is not.) The ideal is to learn from mistakes: others and your own. The truth can only set you free to grow. Dr. Srini Pillay (who narrates the book on audio) is a Harvard trained psychiatrist and brain imaging researcher. Recommended for anyone stuck in a rut, and seeking a more profound purpose and joy in life by employing imagination. 

tech news

 

Acting & Listening Advice from Alan Alda

Alan Alda bookMost communication is nonverbal. We want to look at the faces of those testifying in Congress and detect lies or deceit. They try to keep their faces blank in order not to telegraph this, but subtle clues or reactions are there in their voices and tone, too. Their pauses, gestures. Alan Alda talks about how the face is judged, not for just beauty or ugliness, but for believability. Why paying attention to people’s reactions or expressions when they talk is most important in understanding WHAT THEY MEAN. Mostly we misunderstand what people say or mean, but by truly listening and observing we have a better chance of connecting (and resolving conflicts too.) Instead of waiting for people to stop speaking so we can make another point, Alda’s point is to LISTEN with all our senses with the objective to UNDERSTAND. Not to “win” an argument by demeaning or defeating anyone (or everyone) seen as an opponent. Great new audiobook upcoming June 6. Order at Tower Review. As James Garner once put it: “I don’t act. I react. Give me a reactor over an actor any time. It puts you there in the moment, and you’re less likely to flub the way you read your lines, too.” Alda was in the movies Bridge of Spies, The Aviator, Everyone Says I Love You, Manhattan Murder Mystery, and Crimes & Misdemeanors. On TV’s MASH, and Scientific American Frontiers. He has won 7 Emmys, and is a big fan of science. “At first I think they just wanted a famous face do the introduction, and then narrate off camera, but I wanted to be there and interview the scientists.” He’s read Scientific American magazine since a kid.

Ariana Grande

The Future of Happiness

Architecture

What kind of future does happiness have in an anti-science culture? 

In The Future of Happiness, author Amy Blankson, cofounder of the global positive psychology consulting firm GoodThink, unveils five strategies that successful individuals can use to not just survive but to actually thrive in the Digital Age:

  • Stay grounded to focus and channel your energy with intention
  • Know thyself through app-driven data to strive toward your potential
  • Train your brain to develop and sustain an optimistic mindset
  • Create a habitat for happiness to maximize the spaces and places in which you live, work, and learn
  • Be a conscious innovator to actively shape your future beyond social media obsession and distraction

By rethinking when, where, why and how you use technology, you will not only able to influence your own well-being, but also help shape the future of your community. Discover how futuristic technologies can transform the idea of “I’ll be happy when …” to your way of being now.

Speaking of a habitat for happiness, what constitutes a sense of place, and how is that sense forged in homes and neighborhoods and cities in order to meld function with style and beauty? What is beauty, anyway? In THE ARCHITECTURE OF HAPPINESS author Alain de Botton delves into the philosophy and psychology of art and architecture, describing how art affects our emotions and leads us to a higher understanding of ourselves and our desire for the pursuit of ideals. More a collection of essays than a textbook, it provokes reflection on where we have come from, and where we may be going. Narrated by Simon Vance, the audiobook shows that all the arts are mysterious and cannot be defined or owned, and so are more like pointers toward a higher goodness represented by perfection and ultimate truth. Yet art is only real when felt by and within the heart. An interesting and literate philosophical journey. Brad Pitt has long been a fan of architecture. Outside of making movies, it is his passion.

Greenville

 

The Hits Keep Coming!

Hit MakersBut why? In the new book HIT MAKERS by Derek Thompson “hits” in music, movies, and books depend on Chaos theory: a “Happy Days” alignment of people, culture, ideas, and timing. Since we have moved to a Twitter society of many choices and low attention span, people tend to gravitate to fewer things by following what is most popular (instead of what is best.) This creates an environment of many failures and fewer successes, with a “microscopic few” reaping most of the benefits. Essentially, we are bewildered by choice, and look to social media to direct us…while social media platforms spy on us and direct our attention to those things which generate the most profit. (Junk food, prescription drugs, blockbuster cartoon movies, bestsellers.) An interesting psychology book with the subtitle, “The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction.” On audio, it is read by the author, who is an editor at The Atlantic and chosen by Forbes as a “30 Under 30.” Young, and bright. 

Zapped book