The Strange remains the same 28 April 2014

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
~Albert Camus

Frontiers | Hauntings, homeopathy, and the Hopkinsville Goblins: using pseudoscience to teach scientific thinking | Educational Psychology.

Plane Stowaway Info Curbed Fearing Copycats : Discovery News.

How “they” view “us” « Science-Based Medicine.

Princeton Alumni Weekly: The People Who Saw Evolution.

BBC News – The strange case of the ‘time travel’ murder.

Giant cauliflower weighs in at 27.5kg – Telegraph.

Giant cactus bursts through Lincolnshire roof as it won’t stop growing | Lincolnshire Echo.

Because I'm HAPPEEE....

Because I’m HAPPEEE….


Editor and owner of Doubtful News. Writer, specializing in science and society, science policy and education.


  6 comments for “The Strange remains the same 28 April 2014

  1. Chris Howard
    April 29, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Ah the cult of happyism, as fueld by consumerism in the U.S.

    We’re obsessed with an emotion, often mistaking it for something that can be obtained, and once obtained, sustained indefinitely.

    Ironically, The Pursuit of Happiness is probably the key factor in the rise of depression in the U.S.– keeping up with the Jones’ on the happiness index, and all that.

    It’s root is from happenstance, or to happen. The odd thing is that study after study indicates that we’re not actually very good at knowing what we want, i.e., knowing what actually makes us happy.

    Sociologists say that the right amount of money– not too much, but not too little– can, in a sense, buy you happiness (I think they’re confusing happiness with security, and therefore less stress) Whereas psychologist say it can’t buy you happiness. Only positive experiences, or experiences that led to rewarding or fulfilling outcomes can give make you happy.

    I say its WAY overrated. It’s an emotional state, and therefore, by definition, fleeting. Basing your life on the pursuit of a feel good emotion, generally, isn’t a good idea. Just ask an addict.

    Contentment with the understanding that as a human you’ll experience a full range of necessary emotional states is a much better goal, but that’s not a very good marketing hook. “The new Honda Opiate, it will make you extremely content.”


  2. Chris Howard
    April 29, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Just to clarify.

    I don’t necessarily view contentment as synonymous with happiness (the positive psychology movement is a mess, at best) but if one is seeking happiness it’s necessary foundation IS contentment.

    Keep in mind that happiness is the straw house built on the bedrock of contentment. One lasts, the other is at the mercy of the wind.

  3. Lee
    April 29, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I agree with you. Too many people think it is a perpetual state they are persuing. The majority thinking it is generated by something other then their perception of the world. Once you realize it is a transitory state that must just be acknowleged and tucked away into memory for access, we are much better off. If you wish to extend that happiness a little bit take a look at the “Hedonic treadmill” for ideas. Yes I do believe that depression is caused by this misconception of a perpetual emotional state. Consumerism is a BIG part of this. Good points sir!

  4. xxicenturyboy
    April 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    So did that lady with the cactus trade in a cow for three magic beans or something? Let me know if she suddenly is pawning golden eggs for cash.

  5. Walter Turner
    April 29, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    The “giant cactus” turned out to be an agave. Wrong family, wrong order, wrong clade for a cactus. It’s more related to asparagus than to cactus.
    If “the couple have run the specialist cactus nursery….for many years….” then they are not fooled by this cuckoo. The designation seems to have been introduced by the journalist. I think anything spiky is likely to be called a cactus.
    Spectacular plant.

  6. April 29, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    It’s eerie (and scary) how quack medicine rhetoric is nearly indistinguishable from science-based rhetoric. These 2 grafs come from the “How they view us” blog. In this case, it’s a statement by a Burzynski advocate:

    “Overall, you need to be able to think for yourself. Question everything, including me and this film. Feel free to verify all sources used for this film for yourself via the Sourced Transcript [link]. You will notice the “anti-Burzynski bloggers” refuse to do that or adhere to reputable sources. You might say, “they are preying on desperate cancer patients and families of cancer patients” by carelessly misleading their readers about Burzynski and his invention. This is a natural course of history when scientific innovation like this occurs, and is something that is to be expected. Never underestimate the irrationality of the human brain when it is confronted with something it doesn’t understand. These bloggers have an agenda, and are not open to rational discourse.

    Our society is built on propaganda wars, and wars of information and disinformation. The fact that most people will basically believe anything they are told without bothering to find out if what they are told is true or not—makes them for easy prey, especially when they are dying of cancer. “

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