Friday, April 25, 2014

Pick a career compatible with your personality

You really can’t do much to change your personality. It’s more or less fixed upon adulthood and will likely remain largely unchanged throughout your life unless you’re affected by head injuries, medications or other substances, or, gasp, old age. Like many other characteristics it’s the result of both genes and environment.

Since personality is quite stable it’s important to pick a career that’s congruent with it. This may seem like common sense, but I’ve seen a lot of people take on jobs which are largely incompatible with their nature. If there’s a mismatch you’ll constantly feel like you’re swimming upstream, putting on an act, and always feel “on.” Essentially, you’ll feel stressed out and unhappy.

There’s of course no single job that will perfectly fit your personality at all times, but, rather, even in a compatible position, you’ll end up altering it to some degree throughout your work day. The question is how much, to what extent, and your degree of comfort with this.

In general temporary and subtle personality adjustments are tolerable and may even feel effortless. These changes often happen automatically without conscious thought. For a moment, think of someone who’s generally outgoing and loud. This person could likely comfortably act subdued while spending a some time browsing in the library. And he probably wouldn’t even give it much if any thought. However, if he became a librarian, it would be far more difficult and his personality adjustment will not be sustainable. He will likely not be able to conform to the library’s cultural norms, so, he will probably end up quitting or be fired after being loud on too many occasions because it was simply too hard to keep the guard up, masking his true self. The bridge between his and the required personality is simply too wide.

Some people’s personality is such that they are comfortable making frequent short-term personality changes. A lot of these people tend to do well in sales. Salespeople tend to be relatively comfortable “mirroring” prospective customers, for example. This involves mimicking characteristics of the individual they’re communicating with, which in turn can build rapport between individuals since people tend to trust others they perceive as being similar to themselves. But even these people have a core personality, of course, and this trait is merely one component, and they too benefit from carefully gauging their degree of comfort with the frequency and extent of any personality adjustments.


The photo was taken with my cell phone this past winter. I saw the deer alongside a road. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Exercise, obesity, brain health

From the New York Times
How Fat May Hurt the Brain, and How Exercise May Help 
Obesity may have harmful effects on the brain, and exercise may counteract many of those negative effects, according to sophisticated new neurological experiments with mice, even when the animals do not lose much weight. While it’s impossible to know if human brains respond in precisely the same way to fat and physical activity, the findings offer one more reason to get out and exercise.
It’s been known for some time that obesity can alter cognition in animals. Past experiments with lab rodents, for instance, have shown that obese animals display poor memory and learning skills compared to their normal-weight peers. They don’t recognize familiar objects or recall the location of the exit in mazes that they’ve negotiated multiple times.
 One more article to reinforce what we already know. It's important to make time for exercise if we want to have a healthy mind and body.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fluoride can carry health risks

Most Americans aren't aware that there's controversy over whether or not fluoride should be added to the public water supply; it rarely gets discussed in the mainstream media. Most first world countries no longer add the substance. In Western Europe this figure is well over 90%. This contrasts America where approximately 73.9% of Americans are “served” fluoridated water. Compared to other states, a high proportion of Minnesota residents, approximately 98.8%, are provided fluoridated water.  

Proponents of adding fluoride say it fights tooth decay and is safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 
Water fluoridation prevents tooth decay mainly by providing teeth with frequent contact with low levels of fluoride throughout each day and throughout life. Even today, with other available sources of fluoride, studies show that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person's lifetime.
Community water fluoridation is not only safe and effective, but it is also cost-saving and the least expensive way to deliver the benefits of fluoride to all residents of a community. For larger communities of more than 20,000 people, it costs about 50 cents per person to fluoridate the water. It is also cost-effective because every $1 invested in this preventive measure yields approximately $38 savings in dental treatment costs.
It's pretty much undisputed that fluoride can help prevent tooth decay but there’s mounting evidence that fluoride can cause some serious harm including depressing children's IQ. From the Harvard School of Public Health: 
For years health experts have been unable to agree on whether fluoride in the drinking water may be toxic to the developing human brain. Extremely high levels of fluoride are known to cause neurotoxicity in adults, and negative impacts on memory and learning have been reported in rodent studies, but little is known about the substance’s impact on children’s neurodevelopment. In a meta-analysis, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang for the first time combined 27 studies and found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted.
It seems obvious that the risks of water fluoridation outweigh any benefits and that the practice should be discontinued immediately.  

There's a number of ways people can avoid consuming fluoridated water. Purchasing an appropriate water filter appears to be the most practical. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Swiss voters approve immigration referendum

Swiss voters approved a very moderate and sensible referendum to curtail continued mass immigration. The mainstream media is behaving as if the sky is falling.

Switzerland is introducing what could be one of the most dangerous experiments in the history of immigration reform.
Swiss voters approved a plan in referendum on Sunday that will set new limits on the number of foreigners who can settle and work in their country. Details haven’t been worked out yet, but strict curbs would be catastrophic for major Swiss industries such as pharmaceuticals, where 45 percent of employees—mainly skilled professionals—come from outside the country.

If there is a shortage of labor in Switzerland in a particular industry, such as pharmaceuticals—and there is not a genuine shortage, by the way, despite big businesses pleas for cheap labor—this simply means that businesses should raise their wages to attract the talent that already exists in the country.

The referendum barely passed despite strong lobbying from the high echelons of business, government, and the prestige press. It’s quite amazing to see the stark divide between the voters and most of the people who run things. Switzerland is a packed country. The last thing the typical citizen wants is more congestion, environmental degradation, depressed wages, cultural conflict, and strains on welfare programs.

Comcast wants to purchase Time Warner Cable

Many people are taking to Twitter to air their complaints about Comcast’s desire to purchase Time Warner Cable.

I have a negative Comcast customer service story. I've long had my own cable modem yet Comcast was convinced that I was renting one of theirs, so, I had incorrect charges associated with my account. After talking to customer service representatives for hours over the course of a year or so, they seem to have finally realized that I am not renting one of their modems and have removed those incorrect charges.