Later On

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Archive for December 30th, 2016

“Code of Silence” revisited: An update on the Watts investigation

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Although criminal police officers are a minority, the majority protects them with the “code of silence” and retaliation against investigators attempting to catch and convict criminal officers. Jamie Kalven reports in The Intercept on efforts in Chicago to catch a criminal gang of police officers.

ON OCTOBER 6, The Intercept published “Code of Silence,” a four-part investigation of a far-reaching criminal enterprise within the Chicago Police Department. For more than a decade, a team of gang tactical officers led by Sgt. Ronald Watts were major players in the drug trade radiating out from public housing developments on Chicago’s South Side. In exchange for a “tax,” Watts and his gang protected drug dealers from interference by law enforcement, targeted their competition, and fed the drugs they seized to dealers aligned with them. In pursuit of their criminal ends, they routinely framed those who did not cooperate by planting drugs on them and are rumored to have had a hand in the murders of two drug dealers who defied them.

Over the course of Watts’s career, he and his team were investigated by multiple agencies — CPD’s Internal Affairs, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the States Attorney’s Office. For several years, two Chicago police officers, Shannon Spalding and Danny Echeverria, participated in a joint FBI-Internal Affairs investigation, which they claim was ultimately derailed by senior CPD officials. Among other things, they allege that deputy superintendent Ernest Brown, long rumored to be an ally and protector of Watts, made it known within the department that they were engaged in an internal investigation, prompting other CPD brass to order officers under their commands to retaliate against them as “Internal Affairs rats.”

In the end, Watts and his partner Kallatt Mohammed were caught in an FBI-IAD sting and charged with a single count of stealing government property (the bait used in the sting). They pleaded guilty and received sentences — 18 months and 22 months respectively — that represented a small fraction of the time served by some of those they falsely arrested.

At the end of the article, I posed a series of open questions about the scope of the criminal activities of Watts and his co-conspirators, the fate of their many victims, and the operation of the code of silence at the highest levels of the CPD. Several recent developments since the publication of “Code of Silence” give reason to hope some of those questions will receive definitive answers.

Settlement of Spalding-Echeverria Suit

On October 31, the Finance Committee of the Chicago City Council approved settlement of a whistleblower suit brought by Spalding and Echeverria. The $2 million settlement was presented by First Deputy Corporation Counsel Jenny Notz. When it was first announced on May 31 that the parties had agreed to settle, there was widespread speculation that the city was seeking to head off the possibility Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be compelled to testify about his statement, in the wake of the Laquan McDonald implosion, that a code of silence exists with the CPD. In her presentation to the committee, however, Notz did not mention the mayor. Rather, she said the city had decided to settle the case because recent developments had damaged the credibility of two high-ranking police officials, one of them a defendant and the other “a key CPD witness.”

The defendant, Notz told the aldermen, had “resigned in December of 2015 before the police department initiated disciplinary proceedings against him” for falsifying evidence in another case. Although she did not name him, this was a reference to Joseph Salemme, formerly commander of the fugitive apprehension unit, who at the time of his retirement had been promoted to chief of detectives by former superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Salemme resigned after the inspector general of Chicago recommended he be disciplined for his role in investigating a homicide committed by a nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley. He had been among the authors of a report recommending the case be closed without any charges that relied heavily on a fabricated witness statement.

Notz then turned to the witness, “who would have rebutted some of the plaintiffs’ most serious allegations relating to their experiences in the narcotics unit,” had he not been indicted on perjury charges in one case and “falsified another officer’s CPD records in another.” The officer’s name is James Padar. According to Spalding and Echeverria, it was Padar who first informed them that commander O’Grady had instructed officers under his command, “You are not to work with those IAD rats.” In March, interim superintendent John Escalante recommended that Padar be terminated. (On December 7, a judge found Padar not guilty on the perjury charge.)

A settlement is not an admission of liability. Yet it can provide a window on the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments the parties would have presented, had the case gone to trial. In this instance, the city would have been in the unenviable position of seeking to counter claims regarding the operation of the code of silence in the Spalding-Echeverria case with testimony by officers found to have falsified official reports in other cases.

After listening to Notz describe the vulnerabilities in the city’s case, Alderman Edward Burke, chairman of the committee and a staunch political ally of the CPD, had a question. “Why are they settling for only $2 million,” he asked, “if they had the potential to hit it out of the park?”

A Plan to Review Wrongful Convictions

On November 29, represented by Joshua Tepfer of the Exoneration Project, I filed a petition requesting that the chief of the Cook County criminal court appoint a special master to identify valid claims of wrongful conviction arising from false arrests by Watts and his team.  On December 6, we reached agreement in principle with the States Attorney’s Office about this strategy. We will meet in early January to work out the details and will present our plan to the court on January 18. The city has said it will not oppose the petition.

Appointment of a special master is a rarely used legal mechanism. A notable instance of its use in Cook County was the appointment of a special master to identify valid claims of police torture by commander Jon Burge and officers under his command. Unlike a special prosecutor, the argument for a special master does not hinge on showing the prosecutor has a conflict of interest. (In this case, both the outgoing and incoming states attorneys have been responsive to concerns about wrongful convictions due to Watts and his team.) Rather, it is a means of increasing the capacity of prosecutors to review the hundreds of cases in which individuals may have been framed by Watts and members of his team.

The need for such a systematic review was dramatized on December 14 when . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2016 at 6:37 pm

What a great movie: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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I just rewatched it, and what a very great movie it is. And it’s on Netflix.

Interesting how the story mode of fable and myth enables certain things. The three sirens for the three men: you couldn’t use that in regular fiction because too coincidental, whereas in fable and myth it is not coincidental, it’s inevitable. And also efficient: no backstory required.

The countryside is like the sea: long stretches with no people, then separated encounters and adventures.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2016 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Does Information Have a Smell?

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In the NY Review of Books Riccardo Manzotti and Tim Parks continue their conversation about consciousness:

In our first two dialogues, we presented the standard, or “internalist” version of how our conscious experience of the world comes about: very bluntly, it assumes that the brain receives “inputs” from the sense organs—eyes, ears, nose, etc.—and transforms them into the physical phenomenon we know as consciousness, perhaps the single most important phenomenon of our lives. We also pointed out, particularly with reference to color perception, how difficult it has been for scientists to demonstrate how, or even whether, this really happens. Neuro­scientists can correlate activity in the brain with specific kinds of experience, but they cannot say this activity is the experience. In fact, the neural activity relating to one experience often seems nearly indistinguishable from the neural activity relating to another quite different experience. So we remain unsure where or how consciousness happens. All the same, the internalist model remains dominant and continues to be taught in textbooks and broadcast to a wider public in TV documentaries and popular non-fiction books. So our questions today are: Why this apparent consensus in the absence of convincing evidence? And what new ideas are internalists exploring to advance the science?

—Tim Parks


Tim Parks: Riccardo, I know I should be asking the questions, not answering them. But I’m going to suggest that one reason for this consensus is that we are in thrall to the analogy of the brain as computer. For example, a recent paper I was reading about the neural activity that correlates with the sense of smell begins, “The lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) computes and transfers olfactory information from the olfactory bulb to the hippocampus.” Words like “input,” “output,” “code,” “encoding,” and “decoding” abound. It all sounds so familiar, as if we knew exactly what was going on.

Riccardo Manzotti: We must distinguish between internalism as an approach to the problem of consciousness (the idea that it is entirely produced in the head) and neuroscience as a discipline. The neuroscientists have made huge progress in mapping out the brain and analyzing the nitty-gritty of what goes on there, which neurons are firing impulses in which rhythms to which others, what chemical exchanges are involved, and so on. But you are right, the way they describe their experiments by way of a computer analogy—in particular of information processing and memory storage—can give the mistaken impression that they’re getting nearer to understanding what consciousness is.

When physiologists address other parts of the body—the immune system, the kidneys, our blood circulation—they don’t feel the need to use anything but the language of biology. Read a paper on, say, the liver, and it will be talking about biochemical mechanisms—metabolites, ion homeo­stasis, acetaminophen poisoning, sepsis, infection, fibrosis, and the like, all terms that refer to actual physical circumstances. Yet, when dealing with the brain, we suddenly find that neurons are processing “information,” rather than chemicals.

Parks: Is this because while we know what other organs are doing—I mean, which physical processes in the body each is responsible for—we’re not sure what all this neural activity is for?

Manzotti: On the contrary. We know very well that neural activity controls behavior, the nervous system having evolved to meet complex external circumstances with appropriate reactions. The question is, did it also evolve to orchestrate an internal mental theater for us—David Chalmers’s “movie-in-the-head”? Or to “process information”? Stanislas Dehaene and Jean Pierre Changeux, two leading neuroscientists, recently claimed that to explain consciousness we must show “how an external or internal piece of information goes beyond nonconscious processing and gains access to conscious processing, a transition characterized by the existence of a reportable subjective experience.” There’s barely a word here that refers to anything physical.

Parks: But is it really not possible to connect the notion of information with chemical exchanges occurring in the brain? Surely when we use a computer the information input is moved along toward the output through electrical signals. Can’t this also be the case with the brain? Hasn’t the philosopher Luciano Floridi claimed that “information is a physical phenomenon, subject to the laws of thermodynamics”?

Manzotti: Listen, when something physically exists and obeys the laws of thermodynamics, then you can find it, concretely. Electrons were predicted to exist and then found. Likewise the planet Neptune and a host of other things. But information, or data, is not a thing. It’s an idea we stipulated because it served a certain purpose, but it doesn’t exist physically, as an entity in its own right in the causal chain. Brutally, when we look inside a computer, or a brain, we don’t see or even detect information. Or data. We see physical stuff: voltage levels in a computer, chemicals in the brain.

Parks: So what you’re saying is that everything that goes on in a computer or in a brain could be fully and properly described without resorting to words like information or data?

Manzotti: Absolutely. Imagine you’re describing a battery; you will have to refer to electricity. It is an indispensable part of the thing. But, when you describe what the brain or even a calculator does, everything can be exhaustively described in terms of causal processes, chemical releases, and voltage changes without ever using the word information.

Parks: But then what is information? How can Floridi make the claims he does? What part can information have in the consciousness debate?

Manzotti: Obviously there is the definition of the word in common use: “facts, data, communicated about something.” The bus leaves at six. Yesterday it rained. The cash machine is out of order. That meaning has been around in English since the fifteenth century.

Parks: And? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2016 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

The mysterious virus that can cause obesity

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Obesity doubtless has multiple causes, but some scientists are now focused on the possibility in some cases a virus could be at fault. The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body’s Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You is a book by Sylvia Tara that discusses this. Wired magazine has an excerpt from that book:

RANDY IS 62 years old and stands tall at six foot one. He grew up on a farm in Glasford, Illinois, in the 1950s. Randy was raised with the strong discipline of a farming family. From the time he was five, he would get out of bed at dawn, and before breakfast he’d put on his boots and jeans to milk cows, lift hay, and clean the chicken coops. Day in and out, no matter the weather or how he felt, Randy did his physically demanding chores. Only when his work was complete would he come into the kitchen for breakfast.

Tending to the chickens was hard work—it involved getting into the pen, clearing birds out of their dirty cages, and shooing them into a holding enclosure. This process was always a little scary because the animals could be quite aggressive after being cooped up all night. On one of these occasions, when Randy was 11, a particularly large and perturbed rooster swung its claw and gave him a good spurring on his leg. Randy felt the piercing of his skin and squealed in pain. He said it felt like being gored by a thick fishhook. The rooster left a long gash, and blood streamed down Randy’s leg to his ankle. He ran back to the house to clean the wound, as chickens are filthy after a night in their cages.

Some days later, Randy noticed a change in his appetite. He was constantly hungry. He felt drawn to food and thought about it all the time. He started eating in between meals and overeating when he finally sat down to dinner. Randy had always been a skinny kid, but in the course of the next year, he gained about 10 pounds. His parents thought it might be puberty, though it seemed a little early. His pudginess was also unusual given that everyone else in the family was thin. Randy was no stranger to discipline. He forced himself to eat less, switched to lower-calorie foods and exercised more. But by the time he was a teenager, he was bouncing between 30 and 40 pounds overweight. He says, “I gained all of this weight even though these were some of my most active years on the farm.”

Randy’s family supported his efforts to control his weight. They made lower-calorie foods, gave him time to exercise, and didn’t pressure him to eat things he didn’t want. However, he continued to struggle with his weight through college. Randy kept thinking back to the moment everything changed. He had been the skinniest kid among his friends. And then he got cut by that chicken.

The Curious Case of Indian Chickens

In Mumbai, India, Nikhil Dhurandhar followed his father Vinod’s footsteps in treating obesity. But Nikhil ran into the same obstacle that had bedeviled obesity doctors everywhere. “The problem was that I was not able to produce something for patients that could have meaningful weight loss that was sustainable for a long time,” he says. “Patients kept coming back.”

Fate intervened in Dhurandhar’s life one day was when he was meeting his father and a family friend, S. M. Ajinkya, a veterinary pathologist, for tea. Ajinkya described an epidemic then blazing through the Indian poultry industry killing thousands of chickens. He had identified the virus and named it using, in part, his own initials—SMAM-1. Upon necropsy, Ajinkya explained, the chickens were found to have shrunken thymuses, enlarged kidneys and livers, and fat deposited in the abdomen. Dhurandhar thought this was unusual because typically viruses cause weight loss, not gain. Ajinkya was about to go on, but Dhurandhar stopped him: “You just said something that doesn’t sound right to me. You said that the chickens had a lot of fat in their abdomen. Is it possible that the virus was making them fat?”

Ajinkya answered honestly, “I don’t know,” and urged Dhurandhar to study the question. That fateful conversation set Dhurandhar on a path to investigate as part of his PhD project whether a virus could cause fat.

Dhurandhar pushed ahead and arranged an experiment using 20 healthy chickens. He infected half of them with SMAM-1 and left the other half uninfected. During the experiment, both groups of chickens consumed the same amount of food. By the end of the experiment, only the chickens infected with the SMAM-1 virus had become fat. However, even though the infected chickens were fatter, they had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in their blood than the uninfected birds. “It was quite paradoxical,” Dhurandhar remembers, “because if you have a fatter chicken, you would expect them to have greater cholesterol and circulating triglycerides, but instead those levels went in the wrong direction.”

To confirm the results, he set up a repeat experiment, this time using 100 chickens. Again, only the chickens with the SMAM-1 virus in their blood became fat. Dhurandhar was intrigued. A virus, it seemed, was causing obesity. Dhurandhar thought of a way to test this. He arranged three groups of chickens in separate cages: one group that was not infected, a second group that was infected with the virus, and a third group that caged infected and uninfected chickens together. Within three weeks, the uninfected chickens that shared a cage with infected ones had caught the virus and gained a significant amount of body fat compared to the isolated uninfected birds.

Fat, it seemed, could indeed be contagious.

Now, Dhurandhar is a man of science. He is rational and calm. But even he had to admit that the idea was startling. Does this mean that sneezing on somebody can transmit obesity? This now seemed possible in animals, but what about humans? Injecting the virus into people would be unethical, but Dhurandhar did have a way to test patients to see if they had contracted the virus in the past.

Dhurandhar says, “At that time I had my obesity clinic, and I was doing blood tests for patients for their treatment. I thought I might just as well take a little bit of blood and test for antibodies to SMAM-1. Antibodies would indicate whether the patient was infected in the past with SMAM-1. The conventional wisdom is that an adenovirus for chickens does not infect humans, but I decided to check anyway. It turned out that 20 percent of the people we tested were positive for antibodies for SMAM-1. And those 20 percent were heavier, had greater body mass index and lower cholesterol and lower triglycerides compared to the antibody-negative individuals, just as the chickens had.” Dhurandhar observed that people who had been infected with SMAM-1 were on average 33 pounds heavier than those who weren’t infected.

The Pounds Keep Coming

While Nikhil Dhurandhar was in India pursuing his curiosity about fat, Randy was looking for solutions of his own. After a brief stint as a teacher he moved back to the family land in 1977 because he loved farming.

Randy married and had four children. At family dinners and holiday gatherings, he ate alongside everyone else, but tried eating less than the others. Still, his weight ballooned; by his late 30s he had topped 300 pounds. He remembers feeling hungry all the time, though even when he abstained it didn’t help him lose weight. “I could have several good weeks of eating stringently, much less than others around me, but if I went off my diet for just one meal—boom, the weight would come back.”

The effort to control his eating, even when it was successful, made Randy miserable: “I can’t tell you what it is like to be hungry all the time. It is an ongoing stress. Try it. Most people who give advice don’t have to feel it.”

In the fall of 1989, Randy applied for a commercial driver’s license. The application required a medical exam. After his urine test, the nurse asked Randy if he felt all right. “Normal for the day,” he replied. But the nurse told Randy he would have to give a blood sample because she thought the lab had spilled glucose solution into his urine sample. The blood work showed that Randy’s glucose level was near 500 mg/dL (a normal reading is 100). The lab hadn’t made a mistake with the urine sample after all; Randy’s numbers were just off the charts. Alarmed, the nurse notified Randy’s doctor, who then tested him for fasting blood sugar levels. The results showed that Randy had insulin resistance and severe diabetes.

At 40 years old and 350 pounds, Randy was in trouble. If he didn’t fix this problem soon, he would start to develop serious complications of diabetes, including cardiovascular disease and nerve damage.

Having tried and failed multiple diets, Randy and his doctor decided the best hope was . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2016 at 11:55 am

Rethinking The Cost of War

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The blurb: “What if casualties don’t end on the battlefield, but extend to future generations? Our reporting this year suggests the government may not want to know the answer.” The ProPublica article is by Mike Hixenbaugh and Charles Ornstein:

There are many ways to measure the cost of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War: In bombs (7 million tons), in dollars ($760 billion in today’s dollars) and in bodies (58,220).

Then there’s the price of caring for those who survived: Each year, the Department of Veterans Affairs spends more than $23 billion compensating Vietnam-era veterans for disabilities linked to their military service — a repayment of a debt that’s supported by most Americans.

But what if the casualties don’t end there?

The question has been at the heart of reporting by The Virginian-Pilot and ProPublicaover the past 18 months as we’ve sought to reexamine the lingering consequences of Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide sprayed by the millions of gallons over Vietnam.

We’ve written about ailing Navy veterans fighting to prove they were exposed to the chemicals off Vietnam’s coast. About widows left to battle the VA for benefits after their husbands died of brain cancer. About scores of children who struggle with strange, debilitating health problems and wonder if the herbicide that sickened their fathers has also affected them.

Along the way, we noticed some themes: For decades, the federal government has resisted addressing these issues, which could ultimately cost billions of dollars in new disability claims. When science does suggest a connection, the VA has hesitated to take action, instead weighing political and financial costs. And in some cases, officials have turned to a known skeptic of Agent Orange’s deadly effects to guide the VA’s decisions.

Frustrated vets summarize the VA’s position this way: “Delay, deny, wait till I die.”

This month, after repeated recommendations by federal scientific advisory panels, Congress passed a bill directing the VA to pursue research into toxic exposures and their potential effects across generations. But even that will take years to produce results, years some ailing vets don’t have.

The questions we’ve posed have no easy answers. But science — and our own analysis of internal VA data — increasingly points to the possibility that Agent Orange exposure might have led to health problems in the children of veterans. And we can’t help but think of the words displayed at the entrance to the VA headquarters in Washington: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”

We noticed the phrase, a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, during an evening stroll through D.C. in June, a day before hosting a forum on Agent Orange’s generational effects and policy implications. With us that night was Stephen M. Katz, the Virginian-Pilot photographer who initiated our reporting project when he shared the story of his estranged father, a Vietnam vet who’d gotten back in touch to warn that he’d sprayed Agent Orange.

Does the VA’s motto apply to Katz? His brother born before the war is healthy. At 46, Katz suffers from myriad health problems, including a heart defect, type-2 diabetes, an underactive thyroid, immune and endocrine deficiencies, and a nerve disorder that severely limits the use of his right hand.

What about the thousands of other children of Vietnam veterans who shared their stories with us over the past year? What about the children of Gulf War veterans exposed to depleted uranium? The children of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans exposed to toxic burn pits? The children of future service members exposed to yet unknown toxins on the modern battlefield?

What responsibility — if any — does a nation have to those who weren’t drafted into service, but who may have been harmed nonetheless?

We posed the question to Dr. Ralph Erickson, the VA’s chief consultant of post-deployment health services, who’s involved with the agency’s research efforts. Erickson, who’s had the job since last year, wouldn’t comment on the VA’s past reluctance to study these issues, saying only that his team is committed to it.

And if research someday proves a wartime exposure has harmed veterans’ children or grandchildren? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2016 at 11:47 am

15 tips to strengthen your willpower, just in time to shore up your resolutions

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Dan Colman has a good post in Open Culture, and it includes a video. Worth the click. From the post (though there’s more at the link):

For those of you who don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find McGonigal’s ideas presented in a recent book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It. Below, we have highlighted 15 of Dr. McGonigal’s strategies for increasing your willpower reserves and making your New Year’s resolution endure.

  1. Will power is like a muscle. The more you work on developing it, the more you can incorporate it into your life. It helps, McGonigal says in this podcast, to start with small feats of willpower before trying to tackle more difficult feats. Ideally, find the smallest change that’s consistent with your larger goal, and start there.

  2. Choose a goal or resolution that you really want, not a goal that someone else desires for you, or a goal that you think you should want. Choose a positive goal that truly comes from within and that contributes to something important in life.

  3. Willpower is contagious. Find a willpower role model — someone who has accomplished what you want to do. Also try to surround yourself with family members, friends or groups who can support you. Change is often not made alone.

  4. Know that people have more willpower when they wake up, and then willpower steadily declines throughout the day as people fatigue. So try to accomplish what you need to — for example, exercise — earlier in the day. Then watch out for the evenings, when bad habits can return.

  5. Understand that stress and willpower are incompatible. Any time we’re under stress it’s harder to find our willpower. According to McGonigal, “the fight-or-flight response floods the body with energy to act instinctively and steals it from the areas of the brain needed for wise decision-making. Stress also encourages you to focus on immediate, short-term goals and outcomes, but self-control requires keeping the big picture in mind.” The upshot? “Learning how to better manage your stress is one of the most important things you can do to improve your willpower.” When you get stressed out, go for a walk. Even a five minute walk outside can reduce your stress levels, boost your mood, and help you replenish your willpower reserves.

  6. Sleep deprivation (less than six hours a night) makes it so that the prefrontal cortex loses control over the regions of the brain that create cravings. Science shows that getting just one more hour of sleep each night (eight hours is ideal) helps recovering drug addicts avoid a relapse. So it can certainly help you resist a doughnut or a cigarette.

  7. Also remember that nutrition plays a key role. “Eating a more plant-based, less-processed diet makes energy more available to the brain and can improve every aspect of willpower from overcoming procrastination to sticking to a New Year’s resolution,” McGonigal says.

  8. Don’t think it will be different tomorrow. McGonigal notes that we have a tendency to think that we will have more willpower, energy, time, and motivation tomorrow. The problem is that “if we think we have the opportunity to make a different choice tomorrow, we almost always ‘give in’ to temptation or habit today.”

  9. Acknowledge and understand your cravings rather than denying them. That will take you further in the end. The video above has more on that.

  10. Imagine the things that could get in the way of achieving your goal. Understand the tendencies you have that could lead you to break your resolution. Don’t be overly optimistic and assume the road will be easy.

  11. Know your limits, and plan for them. Says McGonigal, “People who think they have the most self-control are the most likely to fail at their resolutions; they put themselves in tempting situations, don’t get help, give up at setbacks. You need to know how you fail; how you are tempted; how you procrastinate.”

  12. Pay attention to small choices that add up. “One study found that the average person thinks they make 14 food choices a day; they actually make over 200. When you aren’t aware that you’re making a choice, you’ll almost always default to habit/temptation.” It’s important to figure out when you have opportunities to make a choice consistent with your goals.

  13. Be specific but flexible. It’s good to know your goal and how you’ll get there. But, she cautions, “you should leave room to revise these steps if they turn out to be unsustainable or don’t lead to the benefits you expected.”

  14. Give yourself small, healthy rewards along the way. Research shows that the mind responds well to it. (If you’re trying to quite smoking, the reward shouldn’t be a cigarette, by the way.)

  15. Finally, if you experience a setback, don’t be hard on yourself. Although it seems counter-intuitive, studies show that people who experience shame/guilt are much more likely to break their resolutions than ones who cut themselves some slack. In a nutshell, you should “Give up guilt.”

Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2016 at 11:42 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Law-enforcement links from Radley Balko

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Radley Balko posts links in the Washington Post. Here arethose posted this morning:

  • Pennsylvania prosecutors drop murder charges against two former death-row inmates who have protested their innocence for decades.
  • From the “watching the watchers” files: New crowdsourced project aims to track how police collect and use data from social media sites.
  • Video appears to show off-duty Texas police officers shooting a man as he was walking away. They were apparently looking for robbery suspects. The man wasn’t implicated in the robbery.
  • Incredible Justice Department report finds brazen and systemic police abuse in Louisiana. Officers in two departments made hundreds of “secret” arrests without probable cause. The arrests typically included strip-searches, and arrestees could be held for days without access to a lawyer. Most were based on little more than an officer’s hunch, after which the arrestee would be pressured to confess.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2016 at 10:53 am

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