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Scariest Thing You Will See Today

I can’t tell if this secret video is real, but it purports to show a scientist proposing to develop a military-grade virus that would eliminate extreme religious thoughts in people as a way to end terrorism.

The scary part is that it would probably work. 

We know which parts of the brain deal with religious thoughts, and apparently we know how to make a virus that would mess with those parts of the brain.

Free will is an illusion, obviously. Otherwise scientists couldn’t change someone’s religion with a virus. But they can.

Science keeps discovering new buttons on the user interface for humans. Many of us are already chemical cyborgs, with personalities that come from big pharma and not our own DNA. 

By the way, what most defines you as an individual? It isn’t your body, because your cells have died and been replaced many times, yet you are the same person. And you aren’t the sum of your knowledge, because that has changed since you were a baby, yet you are the same person. I would argue that the thing that most defines an individual is their preferences. And pharmaceuticals can change your entire set of preferences in a few hours. Just look at someone who is going on Adderall for the first time, and needs it. They have a different personality profile – literally different preferences – on the drug.

If the video I linked to is real, apparently scientists know how to create a virus that will eliminate your religious preferences. If you think the virus would only work on the terrorists, you’re wrong. I’m guessing that the Department of Defense decided against using the virus approach because it might have eliminated Christianity as well as every other religion as a side-effect. It didn’t sound as if they were working on a vaccine for this virus. That means everyone would get it eventually.

For more on the topic of the user interface for human beings, see my book about programming the moist robot that is you.

If you are meeting friends for lunch, know see everyone is along the route with the WhenHub app.

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Persuasion Advice for African-Americans

President Obama’s presidency did a lot to diminish racial bias simply because he was a black president who – in the opinion of many, including me – did a good job. As a role model, he was exceptional. But all the factors that made him a great role model are the same factors that prevented him from doing much for the African-American community. It would have looked like favoritism if he had focused too much in that area. The resistance from the right would have been ferocious. And it would have ruined Obama’s brand. People loved Obama in part because he didn’t focus on his race. The country needed that.

Now we have President Trump. You might not realize it yet, but this is an extraordinary opportunity for the African-American community to make some gains. In the standard 2D view of the world, Trump is a typical Republican who you expect to do little or nothing for minority interests. But in the 3D world of persuasion, the door of opportunity for African-Americans just swung wide open. If that is still invisible to you, let me draw a picture.

President Obama didn’t need to deliver any special improvements to the African-American community. His existence was the change. But Trump is in a deep “Hitler hole” that his opponents dug for him. He needs a way out.

And that opens the door.

If the African-American community has a specific set of proposals that Trump can sell to Republicans, this is the time to do it. He needs the black community more than they need him. That’s the perfect negotiating situation. 

The African-American community is mostly aligned with the anti-Trumpers of every type. Their interests are getting lost in the noise. What they need is a simple, bold plan that they can sell to the President, and he can sell to the country. Remember, President Trump needs the help. This is the perfect time to negotiate.

I’ll give you an example of what such a plan might look like, just for discussion purposes. This is only an example so you can see what sort of scope I’m talking about.

Suppose some organized group of African-Americans puts together a slavery reparations plan that focuses on free college education as the compensation. The plan would call for universal free college (to get all the liberals onboard) but specify that any such plan has to be phased in over a decade for practical reasons. And that means someone has to go first. Why not start with African-Americans who are also below a certain economic level?

Republicans like the idea of free college too. They just don’t know how the country could pay for it. I think technology will eventually solve the college expense problem by making online schooling more effective. But instead of waiting until something changes, it would be useful to have a phased plan to get us moving in the right direction. You have to start small, and one way to do that is by starting with college-bound African-Americans. 

Keep in mind that we have to start with one group or another. I can’t imagine turning a switch and making college free for everyone at the same time. And if someone has to go first, there is no real way to avoid discrimination. If you limit free college to the poor, the middle-class gets screwed, and so forth.

I think Trump could argue that offering free college to the demographic group with the most social friction is also the best path for long-term economic prosperity. In simple terms, helping one white male make 20% more income might be less valuable to society than putting one black male into the productive workforce. Republicans need to hear an economic argument, and I think there is one in this case.

This hypothetical plan of offering free college for African-Americans would work best if paired with student loan relief of some kind that applies to everyone. That would take some of the sting out of the “fairness” critics. And it also needs to be wrapped in a larger plan to get to free college for all, eventually.

President Obama would have had zero chance of selling a plan like the one I just described. It would have looked super-racist coming from a black president. But if Trump tries to sell this sort of plan, it would solve his biggest brand problem because it wouldn’t look Hitlerish in the least.

The big obstacle with this idea, as you will eagerly tell me, is that even Trump can’t sell the idea of free college for African-Americans. Someone needs to pay for it, and Republicans don’t like that part. But remember, you didn’t think Trump could sell himself into the presidency either. My advice to African-American voters is to challenge the president with a specific plan. See what he can do.

You might be surprised. 

African-Americans have negotiating leverage right now because President Trump needs a win. Bring him a constructive plan and see what happens.

Have you seen my startup, WhenHub? You might like it because it’s the best way to tell stories with time.

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De-hypnotizing a Climate Science Zombie

I recently stumbled upon a way to nudge anti-Trump zombies off the idea that 97% of climate scientists agree with each other and Trump is on the wrong side. I’m not arguing about the accuracy of the estimate because I have nothing to compare it to. I’m only concerned that people are trusting the fate of the planet to that estimate without knowing how it was derived.

I started with a quote from this article by Lawrence Solomon. He says…

“…a much heralded claim that 97 per cent of scientists believed the planet was overheating came from a 2008 master’s thesis by a student at the University of Illinois who obtained her results by conducting a survey of 10,257 earth scientists, then discarding the views of all but 77 of them. Of those 77 scientists, 75 thought humans contributed to climate change.  The ratio 75/77 produced the 97-per-cent figure that global warming activists then touted.”

I assume the student discarded from the study the scientists who were least-involved with climate science. That seems entirely sensible, right? But I don’t know that to be the case.

But then I asked my test subject if it would be important to know the opinions of scientists in general, even if they were not directly involved in climate science. If, for example, 60% of scientists in general were skeptical of climate science, wouldn’t you want to know that? I assume scientists are better-equipped to judge other scientists, even in unrelated fields, at least compared to the public at large.

Next, I asked my test subject if he agreed with the following statement:

“The claim that 97% of scientists agree on climate science MIGHT be true, but I would need to know more about how it was derived to judge its credibility.”

He agreed it was fair.

And keep in mind that the question that generated the 97% figure was limited to whether human activity contributes to warming. Even the critics agree with that statement. Where they differ is on the predictive accuracy of the models.

Summarizing, the problems with the 97% estimate are:

1. Human-caused warming is the part upon which both sides AGREE. Humans “contribute” to warming. The disagreement is on how much, and whether it matters. That wasn’t asked.

2. We don’t know what non-climate-scientists think of the climate models. That would add to our understanding of the topic in a big way.

3. We don’t know how reliable the 97% estimate is because we don’t know enough about the methodology. And it hasn’t been repeated as far as I know.

Try this approach with climate science zombies near you and see if you can nudge them off the 97% figure. Let me know how it goes.

You might enjoy my book because 97% of climate scientists agree that it has nothing to do with climate science.

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Trump and Sweden

You can see me discussing Trump’s puzzling comments about Sweden in this Youtube video.

I don’t have the technology all worked out yet (it’s a system, not a goal) but you’ll get my point.

This is the direction I’m heading for 2017. Short Youtube videos on recent events.

Twitter shadowbans me so I can’t depend on that platform for the long run. We’ll see how Google and Youtube treat me.

My general YouTube link will be here:

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The Paperwork Mistake That Made My Luxury Car Worthless

My BMW X5 SUV is in the shop for its third leak-related problem this year. While it was there, and by coincidence, the dealership’s used car manager called and offered to buy it because there is demand for that model in the used market. I told him it was already at the dealership and he could take a look at it.

The used car manager called me later to tell me my car only has “salvage value.” It turns out that the last two times I took it to Big O for tire repairs they wrote down my mileage incorrectly. One time they recorded it as 30,000 miles. Another time they said 80,000 miles. The actual mileage is around 50,000.

Now here’s the interesting part. That double-paperwork-error by the tire shop made its way to the Internet and the CarFax service that dealers use to know whether cars have had accidents or other issues. The mileage discrepancy automatically puts my car in the “probably turned-back the odometer” category. And that means it has no resale value to dealers or anyone else who checked online.

Apparently I can fix this problem by providing documentation of my correct mileage. I probably don’t have that documentation because the only other people who ever checked my mileage were the dealership that is telling me my car is now officially garbage.

You’ll tell me they just want to buy the car from me for cheap. But they didn’t even offer to buy it. The used car manager just seemed embarrassed by the whole thing. Apparently this isn’t a trick. My car is actually “salvage value” now.

Thanks, Big O Tires. Don’t expect me to come back.

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Imaginary News

I think we can all agree that there has been plenty of fake news coming from both sides. Fake news is usually intentional, although in some cases it is the result of honest mistakes. But lately we are seeing an entirely new type of untrue news. I call it Imaginary News. Here’s a good example from the Huffington Post.

I watched President Trump’s press conference with the alleged “meltdown,” and all I saw was Trump talking the way he normally talks. The Huffington Post watched and apparently saw some other set of circumstances. That means we have three possibilities to consider:

1. Huffington Post saw the situation accurately while I was hallucinating.

2. My version of events is accurate and Huffington Post hallucinated.

3. Both the Huffington Post and I were hallucinating.

When I was younger, I would have automatically assumed that I was right and the Huffington Post was either intentionally lying or deluded. My more mature understanding of the world is that most people are hallucinating most of the time. We live in our own personal movies. This is a perfect example. Millions of Americans looked at the same press conference and half of us came away thinking we saw an entirely different movie than the other half. Many of us saw Trump talking the way he normally does, and saying the things he normally says. Other people saw a raving lunatic, melting down.

Those are not the same movies.

So how can we know who is hallucinating in this case? The best way to tell is by looking for the trigger for cognitive dissonance. In this case, the trigger is clear. Trump’s unexpected win forced the Huffington Post to rewrite their mental movies from one in which they were extra-clever writers to one in which they were the dumbest political observers in the entire solar system.

You might recall that the Huffington Post made a big deal of refusing to cover Trump on their political pages when he first announced his candidacy. They only carried him on their entertainment pages because they were so smart they knew he could not win.

Then he won. 

When reality violates your ego that rudely, you either have to rewrite the movie in your head to recast yourself as an idiot, or you rewrite the movie to make yourself the hero who could see what others missed. Apparently the Huffington Post chose to rewrite their movie so Trump is a deranged monster, just like they warned us. That’s what they see. This isn’t an example of so-called “fake” news as we generally understand it. This is literally imaginary news. I believe the Huffington Post’s description of the press conference is literally what they saw. If you gave them lie detector tests, they would swear they saw a meltdown, and the lie detector would say they were telling the truth.

There are two clues that the Huffington Post is hallucinating and I’m not. The first clue is that they have a trigger and I don’t. Reality violated their egos, whereas I was predicting a Trump win all along. My world has been consistent with my ego. No trigger. All I have is a warm feeling of rightness.

The second clue is that the Huffington Post is seeing something that half the country doesn’t see. As a general rule, the person who sees the elephant in the room is the one hallucinating, not the one who can’t see the elephant. The Huffington Post is literally seeing something that is invisible to me and other observers. We see a President Trump talking the way he normally talks. They see a 77-minute meltdown.

I’m writing more on this topic in my upcoming book. 

You might want to read my existing book because the new one will be out in October and you’ll want to read that one second.

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How to Evaluate a President

Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Richard Branson. What do they all have in common, aside from wealth?

They all succeeded without the right kind of prior experience. Apparently they knew how to figure out what they needed once they started. I’ll bet they are all systems-thinkers, not goal-thinkers.

If you see the world in terms of goals, you might think President Trump has failed at every important goal so far. He didn’t get what he wanted on immigration. He hasn’t gotten his Supreme Court nomination confirmed. He hasn’t replaced Obamacare. He hasn’t defeated ISIS. He hasn’t done a lot of things he said he would do. He even had to fire General Flynn. President Trump is a big ol’ failure when it comes to goals.

Maybe that’s because Trump just started on the job. Success generally comes after you start. If you think success comes before you start, the world probably looks confusing to you.

But in any case, as I often say, goals are for losers. Systems are better. As I describe in my book, a good system is something you do every day that leads you to better outcomes, not specific objectives. For example, going to college is a good system even if you don’t know what job you might later want. Any time you learn something valuable, that’s a system. Networking with important people is a system. And so on.

Trump seems to be a systems thinker. I doubt he knew he would jump from real estate developer, to author, to reality TV star, to president. At least not in that order. Instead, he systematically accumulated money, persuasion skills, and personal connections until he had lots of options. Being president was one of them.

Now the world watches as an entrepreneurial systems-thinker with no government experience takes over the White House and tries to learn on the job. How did you expect that to go?

I expected some broken dishes, some firings, some chaos, and some rookie mistakes. We got all of that. But I also expect a systems-thinker to tame the chaos over time as he learns on the job. For example, the leaks will stop as soon as Trump fires the right people. He’ll figure out which meetings he can skip. He’ll know who to trust. He’ll learn where all the buttons and levers are. It’s a process.

If you are comparing the incoming Trump administration to the smooth transfer of power that defines our modern history, that’s an irrational comparison. If the country wanted a smooth ride it would have elected Hillary Clinton. Instead, voters opted to “drain the swamp.“ And you can’t drain the swamp without angering the alligators and getting some swamp water on your pants. That’s what we’re watching now.

My liberal friends are gleefully scouring the semi-fake news and sending me articles that show Trump is “incompetent.” That’s the new narrative on the left. The Hitler illusion is starting to fade because Trump refuses to build concentration camps as his critics hallucinated he would. And Israel likes Trump, which is making the Hitler illusion harder to maintain. So the critics are evolving their main line of attack from Hitler to “incompetent,” with a dash of “chaos.” You’ll see those two words all over the Opposition Media’s coverage. It isn’t a coincidence.

Persuasion-wise, focusing on incompetence and chaos is a strong play by the anti-Trumpers. One would expect the new Trump administration to have lots of growing pains. That means the Opposition Media will have plenty of fodder that they can frame as incompetence and chaos. Confirmation bias will make it all seem to fit the narrative. This is the same persuasion play that Trump used when he assigned to his opponents nicknames such as Lyin’ Ted and Crooked Hillary. He depended on future news cycles to serve up lots of confirmation bias to make his labels more credible over time. Trump’s opposition is running the same persuasion play on him. Now everything he does will be seen through their frame of “incompetence” and “chaos.” Even if it isn’t. That is strong persuasion.

If you step out of the Opposition Media’s framing of Trump, another frame that fits the data is that he’s learning on the job, just like he learned every other field that he entered and eventually mastered. I don’t know what you expected when Trump went to Washington, but it isn’t too different from what I imagined. I assumed there would be broken dishes. And I assumed it would take him months to get his systems in place. 

When I worked in corporate America, I was usually involved in setting goals for the department. When we didn’t meet those goals, I always pointed out that the problem could be on either end. Either the goals were unrealistic or the performance was bad. Both explanations fits the data. Likewise, Trump’s first few weeks do look exactly like “incompetence” and “chaos” if you are primed to see it that way. But they also look like a systems-thinker simultaneously draining the swamp and learning on the job.

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

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How to Persuade the Other Party

An interesting article in The Atlantic talks about studies showing that liberals think in terms of fairness while conservatives think in terms of morality. So if you want to persuade someone on the other team, you need to speak in their language. We almost never do that. That’s why you rarely see people change their opinions. 

As I often say, fairness is a concept invented so children and idiots can participate in debates. Fairness is a subjective illusion. It isn’t a rule of physics, and it isn’t an objective quality of the universe. We just think it is.

On the conservative side, morality is usually seen as coming from God. I’m not a believer, so I see morality as a set of rationalizations for our biological impulses. Luckily, we evolved with some instincts for taking care of each other. 

The Persuasion Filter says that both fairness and morality are different forms of magical thinking. And according to that filter on reality, you can’t change the mind of a liberal or a conservative with your logic and your reason. Magical thinking is immune to both.

If your aim is to persuade, you have to speak the language of the other. Talking about fairness to a conservative, or morality to a liberal, fails at the starting gate. The other side just can’t hear what you are saying.

Let me run through some examples. These haven’t been A/B tested, so don’t assume they are persuasive. But they do follow proper form. 

Bad argument from a conservative to a liberal:

Abortion is wrong because it takes a human life. (morality)

Good argument from a conservative to a liberal:

Is it fair that you got to grow from a fetus to a full life while so many others do not? Who gets to choose who lives and who dies? (fairness)

I’m not saying the “good” argument would necessarily work. I’m just saying it follows form.

Flipping it around…

Bad argument from a liberal to a conservative:

Climate change is enriching the energy companies at the expense of everyone else. (fairness)

Good argument from a liberal to a conservative:

God created this world and asked us to look after it. We will be judged in the afterlife if we accidentally ruin it for the sake of temporary profit. (morality)

I realize my examples are not strong, but they help explain the concept. The only way you can judge the power of the arguments is by testing them.

Logic, morality, and fairness are three different approaches to persuasion. But there is a fourth way to persuade that involves ignoring both fairness and morality without giving up logic. You can take most debates out of the weeds of fairness and morality to what I call the High Ground, where everyone already agrees. 

For example, on the topic of abortion rights there is no way to reach agreement if we are squabbling about morality and fairness. But we might agree that the Federal government should stay out of the abortion business – both pro or con – and leave those types of decisions to the individual and the states.

In the olden days of Roe Vs. Wade, states could ban abortion and get away with it. In 2017 it would be economic suicide. Big employers would stay away because it would be hard to attract talent. Tourists would stay away in protest. Social media would turn the state into a wasteland. No governor can survive a drop in employment that is both state-specific and caused by government action.

Liberals can argue that it is only fair for women to have control over their own bodies. Conservatives can argue that morality means protecting every “life” as they define it. There is no room for compromise with that framing. But both sides might agree on three High Ground concepts:

1. The Federal government (and their Supreme Court puppets) should get out of the business of deciding on women’s reproductive rights. It is neither fair nor moral for them to be involved.

2. It would be economic suicide for a state to ban abortion in 2017.

3. The question of who pays for what is a separate issue.

For new readers of this blog, my view on abortion is that the most credible laws in that area are the ones that have the support of the most women. I choose to delegate my opinion on this topic to women because they have the most skin in the game and I have no special insight to improve the quality of the decisions. I also respect the principle that the people who contribute the most should get some extra rights. (The question of who pays for what is separate.)

If you are waiting for your kids to be dropped off by the school bus, you might love using the WhenHub app that my startup makes because you’ll know exactly where they are. That is both fair and moral. And logical.

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Freedom of Speech is Now Largely an Illusion

Here’s a fresh example (today) of how Twitter throttles back my free speech when it doesn’t fit their political views. This only happens for Trump-related content, as far as I can tell. I haven’t seen an exception yet. Notice the referenced tweet shows as “unavailable” but it actually is available when users click the link. Twitter does this trick so my followers will think the link is gone and they won’t bother to click. This Twitter censorship method is well-documented by others. 

The clever thing about Twitter’s approach is that they randomize it so everyone sees my content sometimes, but no one sees the good stuff all of the time. That creates the illusion that it might be a fluke, a temporary bug, or just a perceptual thing. Best of all, it makes people like me look like conspiracy nuts. This is brilliant technique for mind control. It took me about a year to see this as a real thing. I thought everyone that was yapping about it was in deep conspiracy theory mode too. Most of you reading this post will think the same about me.

And you might be right, which is even cooler. As you know, the only person who can’t see the cognitive dissonance is the one in it. So I can never rule out the possibility that the problem is on my end.

I won’t ask you to believe me about Twitter’s backdoor assault on the First Amendment. That would be a waste of energy. Just file it away in your brain and remember that I warned you. Twitter’s business is about to fall apart and I expect that you’ll see this story emerge from whistleblowers.

I’m trying to get my channel on YouTube running smoothly for after Twitter’s collapse. I’m still having massive and unpredictable hardware/software issues. You’ll see my A/B testing over at this link. Keep it handy in case I suddenly disappear from Twitter.

See the Grammy winners in a WhenCast.

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Two Monday Mind-blowers

First we have a link to an example of how two movies can play on one screen (in our minds) at the same time. This is how hypnotists see the world. It is rare to see an example this clean.

If you like or hate science you will love this real life example of cognitive dissonance @ScottAdamsSays

— Andrew Fisher (@fortyseventogo) February 13, 2017

Next, a link to an article that gives you a preview of how machines are learning to chemically program humans. The machines are learning how to adjust our rewards to maximize addiction. There is no logical end to this. Once machines learn hypnosis (and they can), we work for them.

Dopamine Labs slings tools to boost and reduce app addiction by @jshieber

— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) February 13, 2017

Did you see the Grammy’s? My startup was running a continuously-updated WhenCast of the winners that night. You can see them here.

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Good Example of Our Two-Movie Reality

I have been saying since Trump’s election that the world has split into two realities – or as I prefer to say, two movies on one screen – and most of us don’t realize it. We’re all looking at the same events and interpreting them wildly differently. That’s how cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias work. They work together to create a spontaneous hallucination that gets reinforced over time. That hallucination becomes your reality until something changes.

This phenomenon has nothing to do with natural intelligence. We like to think that the people on the other side of the political debate are dumb, under-informed, or just plain evil. That’s not the case. We’re actually experiencing different realities. I mean that literally.

I know, I know. When you read something like that, you probably shake your head and think I’m either being new-agey or speaking metaphorically. I am being neither. This is well-understood cognitive science. 

And here comes the fun part.

I’m about to show you some mind-blowing evidence of the two-movie effect. Figuratively speaking, I’ll hold an apple in my hand and show it to the audience. Half of you will see an apple. The other half will see a gun. That’s how dramatic this two-movie illusion is. I can be watching a comedy movie while you’re in the same theater, sitting next to me, watching a drama. On the same screen. At the same time.

Watch this.

Here’s a screenshot from a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. The bullet points purport to show the “crazy” things President Trump said this past week. Focus on the first bullet point, just to keep things simple. The point I’ll make applies to all of them, but we can simplify by looking at the first one. It says, “So-called judge.”

The bullet point refers to the recent court reversal of Trump’s executive order to ban immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

If you are a Trump supporter, all you see is an example of Trump talking the way Trump always does. He bluntly criticizes everything he doesn’t like. That’s one of the things his supporters like about him. Mmm, that’s a delicious apple.

Oh, and Trump is also directionally accurate in his criticism. Even Alan Dershowitz, who is no fan of the president, says Trump would probably win in the Supreme Court on the narrow question of whether the President has the right to order the seven-country immigration ban.

And Trump is sticking to the law and preparing a legal response to the court’s action. All normal stuff. Nothing here but some normal (for him) Trump words.

But if you are an anti-Trumper, and his unexpected election sent you into cognitive dissonance, you see “So-called judge” as exactly what Hitler might say before he lined them all up and shot them. Where his supporters see a delicious apple in Trump’s hand, his critics see a gun.

But here’s the freaky part: Both of our movies are intact. In my movie, Trump took a bite out of a juicy apple. In your movie, he cocked his gun and is ready to fire. But none of these movie scenes touches either one of us, at least not yet. We are observers. I can still drink my coffee and you can still brush your teeth. At this very moment, it makes no difference to our lives that I see an apple and you see a gun – except that you live in terror and I’m having a good laugh (literally) while watching my movie.

In order for our two-movie situation to merge back into a single movie, one of us needs to see our expectations violated in ways that even cognitive dissonance can’t explain away. As long as the movie with the apple and the movie with the gun both “work” in terms of their scripts, they will keep playing at the same time. You might see confirmation bias that tells you it really was a gun. I might see confirmation bias that it was a delicious apple. 

Let me give you an example of how the two-movie reality could fold back into one. It will take a lot of time plus a lot of observations like this one:

Try the line below on anti-Trumpers and watch them pivot to “But…he is also incompetent.” Then mention the rise in stock prices. Fun!

— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) February 12, 2017

If you’re a creative type, or you deal with schedules in any way, you will love because it is a startup I cofounded. 

You might also enjoy reading my book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, because apples are good for you.

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About the 97% of Climate Scientists

One of the most famous statistics in the world of politics is the claim that 97% of climate scientists agree with the idea that humans activity is boosting CO2 to dangerous levels.

Critics say the 97% is misleading, because the critics like to include in their own list the scientists that are working for energy companies. The industry-paid scientists and engineers have less credibility, say the critics of the climate science critics.

Recently I retweeted a link to a climate science whistleblower. I don’t have any way to evaluate his claims. But his story did a good job of illustrating the flow of data from the measuring devices all the way to the published papers and then to your brain. And what I got out of that was that very few people have direct access to the measuring devices and the original data. Let’s say 1% of climate scientists are actually involved in generating the temperature data and deciding what to include, what to smooth, what to replace, and so on. Apparently you can measure Earth’s temperature a number of ways, from ice core samples, to satellites, to ocean buoys, to land thermometers. I might be missing a few. Oh, and each of those methods probably change a bit over time, so you have some apples-to-oranges comparisons if you look at history.

In other words, even the 1% involved in direct measurements might not be involved in all the different forms of it. 

What follows next is pure speculation, based on my years of experience in corporate America and my understanding of human nature. But it seems to me that 99% of the 97% are relying on the accuracy and honesty of the 1% who actually produce the temperature measurements. Sure, the other scientists read the papers, and see whatever “adjustments” were made by the authors. But that seems like opening the hood of the car, looking at the outside of the engine, and determining that it’s all good on the inside. 

Speaking of my corporate experience, this reminds me of a situation when I worked for the phone company. 100% of the employees believed that one of the Executive Directors in our group was a PhD in some sort of technology field. After all, he said he was, and the Human Resources group does background checks before hiring. So he had to be a PhD, right? 

But it turns out he was a con man. He had no PHd. The Human Resources group was two years behind in their background checks. When they caught up with him, he was fired immediately.

I’m open to correction on my assumption that the 97% of climate scientists depend on the accuracy and honesty of the handful of people with direct access to the data. Let me know if I got that wrong. If I’m wrong, that supports my point that non-scientists such as myself can’t be expected to have useful opinions on science topics.

You just witnessed a little trick I learned from President Trump. I gave myself two ways to win and no way to lose. You should try it. It works every time.

Have you tried my startup, WhenHub, to create an amazing-looking training schedule or curriculum that you can share on social media, and people can add to their calendars? Create it once and just move any date in the range to adjust all the rest of the dates relatively. That’s just a tiny sample of what it can do. 

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Lady Gaga – Master Persuader

Just some quick thoughts about Lady Gaga’s performance at the Super Bowl. It was the most brilliant persuasion you are likely to see. A lot of people enjoy her music. Many don’t. Music is personal. But I’m here to talk about persuasion.

You expected her to be political, right? You were primed. The commercials were political. The smell of Trump is in the air. She seems like the type to get too political.

What’s she gonna do?

She sings the best version of America the Beautiful you are likely to hear, while drones formed an American flag behind her. At the Superbowl.

And in so doing, she paced the Republicans who were watching. She already owned the liberals. Two minutes in, and it was perfect persuasion. No politics, just agreeing with all of us. And she did it visually, aurally, and emotionally.

I believe she next sang her hit song “Born This Way,” a sort of anthem for LGBTQ rights. Not too political, especially since we know the song. Her dancers were a rainbow of preferences and types. She said her message every way you can say it, and it went down easy, because she paced us.

Then she went into a song that was punctuated by her stage direction to focus on the lyrics “Why don’t you stay?” What did that make you think about?

By the time she got to “Get up and dance,” I can assure you that in living rooms and bars all across America a lot of people were literally getting up and moving to the beat. If you moved, she owned you. That’s textbook persuasion. 

No form of persuasion works on everyone. If you hate her music, this didn’t change a thing. But as persuasion goes, you just saw the best of the best. I like her music, and I did get up and move. Anything that I hear her say about America from now on will sound extra-logical to me. That’s how brains work.

Good stuff.

Maybe Kanye can be her VP.

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