What's your favourite abandoned or outdated "science"?
I'm talking about things like phrenology (the study of the shape of a person's skull and the effects that has on their life and personality) and alchemy (the study of how to artificially create gold, among other substances). Wikipedia's pseudoscience entry also mentions homeopathy and "medical quackery" among the pseudosciences, and I think it's appropriate to throw astrology in there, as well.
I've always been partial to phrenology, because it's fun to think of what things would be like if it actually were legitimate. Wouldn't it be neat if you could feel someone's head, or maybe measure their forehead with some forceps, and tell whether they were a criminal or not? That would totally be both awesome and hilarious.
What got me thinking about pseudoscience was today's guest story at 50WS, which is about phrenology.
So what are some other pseudosciences, and if you could pick one to be legit, which would it be?
As I understand it, the concept of Lent is to give up something that takes you away from being close to God. Originally, Lent was a time for fasting: instead of preparing and eating meals, you spent that time praying and meditating on scripture, as a way to draw closer to God. The experience of Lent has obviously been somewhat cheapened from that original concept, but I think sacrificing other things can still be beneficial, as long as your heart is in the right place.
In the past, I've Lented from things like chocolate, and while I don't think that was necessarily a bad thing -- not eating chocolate can be a healthy choice, and every time I thought of eating chocolate it reminded me to think about God -- I don't think it was necessarily all that effective in doing what it was really supposed to do, either.
This year, I'm giving up something that often distracts me from what's important, and I'm hoping it will allow me to pay attention to what's really meaningful in life, which is a) God and b) the people around me. What is this thing?
Ok, I'm not entirely fasting from my phone. What I'm actually doing is not allowing myself to use it for all those little things that keep me distracted over the course of the day. That includes things like Twitter and Facebook, random web browsing, checking hockey scores, games, and so on.
To help me accomplish this, I've moved all of my "forbidden" apps off of the main home screen of my phone, leaving only the simple utilities and the most useful core functions. Here they are:
I decided I needed to be able to use my phone for email, since that's related to the work I do at school, etc. And being able to keep grocery lists, to-do lists, and so on is pretty important for me. I may end up using Voice Memos to do interviews for my research, so that stays in, too.
To be clear, I'm still allowed to use Twitter and Facebook, just not on my phone. I'm trying to get away from the moments where there's a lull in conversation, or my mind wanders a little, and I click my phone on and absent-mindedly read what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook, or check that I have my fantasy hockey rosters picked. I can do those things on my computer when I'm at home; I don't need to do them when I'm in the middle of other things.
I'm hoping this will be a really positive time, and that some of the focus of my daily activities will change in a beneficial way.
Are you giving anything up for Lent? What are you giving up, and why?
Last week I (finally) received approval from the Human Research Ethics Board to begin recruiting and interviewing participants for my thesis research. I've been in a holding pattern since basically mid-December on this, so it's great to be able to start moving forward again.
My next step, which I began to work on today, is to go looking for people who were involved with the anti-HST movement in some capacity, especially online. So today I started putting the word out a bit, to see if there are interested people out there, and we'll see over the next week or two what kind of interest that generates.
If all goes well, I'll be finished recruiting and interviewing people by the end of the month, but this kind of thing is completely unpredictable, so who knows what will happen.
About a month ago, while searching for some other microfiction or flash fiction websites, I came across a really cool site called Six Minute Story. The concept of the site is that you are shown a prompt -- either a quote, or an image, or something else -- and given six minutes to write a story based on it. Once the timer runs out, your story is locked in, and you are given the choice to officially submit it or start over with something new. The prompts change daily, and Fridays are for free-form writing with no prompts.
I've written four stories over there so far. You can read them here. I've trended towards dark and gloomy stories for some reason, and I think if I was given the opportunity to go back to them, I might add in a couple of words that would turn the tone into something more positive, but it's been a lot of fun, either way.
Try your hand at writing some stories. It's really challenging, but totally worthwhile. And the great thing is that if you don't end up with something you like, it's only taken you six minutes, so you can just do another one tomorrow!
I strongly recommend the site. Check it out.