Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘“Blink”

“Blood for blood”, “Must get up at 5 am…”, “Must work 360 days per year…” legacies are enduring

The tradition of “Blood for blood” revenge is a very common heritage on all continents, inherited and practiced not long ago, but enduring, and not about to vanish with current civilization trends.

Mankind started and developed as “River specie“ in plains, virgin forests, and on river shores.  This specie lived on fish and fruit trees and whatever vegetable nature offered.

Due to increase in number of the clan members, and the need to split up for cohesion reason, and rivalry among clans for fertile environment, and climatic changes…“River specie“ had to transferred to colder, dryer, and eventually to mountain plateau regions…The new breed of mankind is known as “Mountain specie“.

The “River specie“ who were displaced to desert environment with scarce water resources were called the nomad specie

Mountain specie  fled to borderline lawless regions, separating settled and urban civilizations, and had to live herding goats and sheep.

Mountain specie grew harder bonesheavier legs and buttocks, and swimming was becoming a much harder exercise to undertake for fishing. Eating red meat poisoned the Mountain specie, physically and mentally, and they acquired violent mood swings and insanity was prevalent among them:  They killed their own kind more frequently, and occasionally ate their victims.

The life-span of Mountain specie was significantly (statistically) shorter than the river specie because of the more dangerous activities, more prevalence of aches and pains in the lower back, swelling knees and ankles, heart attacks… They preferred to attack neighboring clans who were more settled and were engaged in agriculture, and they abducted females to serve them in old age (around 30 year-old at best)…

River specie disseminated falsehoods that the mountain specie had great characteristics and physical strength…just to encourage more of vacating the crowded river region. The river specie knew full well that the clans perched on mountain tops were actually a bunch of cowards:  They preferred to have their ass freeze rather than come down and reclaim their right to “eat fish” and fresh food.

Nomad specie and mountain specie share the characteristic of blood for blood legacy, of looting customs and living the day-to-day culture…

In the 18th century, Scotch-Irish from the lowlands of Scotland, the northern counties of England and the Ulster in northern Ireland immigrated to America and converged to the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky and the southern States with identical environments: High plateau, borderline not delimited “debatable lands”, contested territories without established government or the rule of law…

Before they immigrated to America, these people were scraping out a living on rocky and infertile lands and they herded goats and sheep and lived a lonely and individualistic life-style. The other side of the coin is that these people were clannish by nature and formed tight family bonds and paying loyalty to Blood above all else.

For 3 centuries in the southern States, the highlanders practiced the blood for blood revenge legacy. Two families in a small village, cut out from civilization, would start hating one another and the killing of dozens in the two families would backfire for centuries. Like this mother who gets upset as one of her boys enters the house, moaning and screaming in pain from a fatal wound shot and she snails: “Stop it now. Die like a man as your brother died before you...”. These kinds of crap…

Nomads scraping a living in deserts have acquired the same kind of blood for blood legacy.

Culture developed in plains and river shores depends on the cooperation of others in the community. The culture in the Far East that depend on growing rice is called “Rice paddy” culture legacy.

Growing rice is the hardest and most meticulous agricultural work, and people harvest around four times per year small paddies.  This legacy is: “No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich…” (an idiom in South China around the Pearl River Delta of rice paddies)

Doing well in math or physics or solving problems is not so much of ability as of attitude:  The longer you persist in resolving a problem the better your attitude to understand complex and difficult problems and topics.

The longer you insist on attacking a problem from different angles and perspectives the higher the chance of reaching this critical phase of “Yah! I get it. Eureka…”

If you are the type of people who acquired the patience of not leaving a blank in a 100-question sheet, you are most probably a success story…

Cultures that pragmatically places the highest emphasis on effort and hard work are best in doing math, in spite of their lower IQ scores compared to the biased questions of the western culture. Pragmatic means to actually do and finish any task/job thrown at you since childhood, whether you dislike or like the task…

And the reward? To be recognized by the community as a hard-working member that the community can rely on…

Six decades ago, the two species (River and Mountain) have been merging. How?

1. Water sources are polluted and toxic: Fish, fruit, vegetable, cereal…are all poisoned from herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers,  toxic waste…Mankind is poisoned in the womb…and growing violent by the years and certified insane…

2. Except in the rich and developed States with affordable indoor chlorinated swimming pool and accessible clean beaches to the common people…mankind is churning out mountain specie type at increased rate, and more violent, and heavier in the hips, and suffering from musculoskeletal chronic ailments...What of those people hoarding reserves for the coming calamity of end of time?

3. With the advent of computer and TV… our standing position skeletal is less and less performing…

I can conjecture that within less than another 6 decades, mankind with revert back to the “”four-legged posture:  The hands will not touch the floor directly because extension appliances to the arms will be adorned by “hand-shoes” for restricted short-distance ambulatory exercises around the restricted studios…

Note 1:  Part of the article was inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2:

Cultural legacy matters. Cultural Difference exist: No connotation attached, except for safety of third-party…

Between 19760 and 70, the Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstedes worked for the human resources division at IBM Europe headquarters. Geert amassed plenty of data, questioning staff on matters related to:

1. How people solved problems

2. How they worked together

3. What are their attitude toward authority figures

4. How frequently employees felt afraid of expressing disagreement with managers

5. How the less powerful members in institutions and organization accepted and expected the unequal distribution in the hierarchy

6. How much are older people respected and feared

7. Should power holders be entitled to special privileges…

Geert analyzed the mass of data and published “Hofstede’s Dimensions”.  These discriminating attributes are used as paradigms in cross-cultural psychology. Among the dimensions in cultural differences:

1. Individualism/Collectivism scale

How much a culture expect the individual to look after himself? How many choices an individual expects to be enjoying and navigate around them before making a decision?

There are cultures where a person lives a lonely and very individual life style tending to herds in highlands, and yet be stuck with the heritage of family “blood for blood” legacy.  In the next article, I’ll describe the legacy of this nasty heritage, in the last three centuries, in the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and the southern States in general.

People in Guatemala scored the lowest in individualistic tendencies, and the US first in rank

2. Uncertainty/Avoidance scale

How well does a culture tolerate ambiguity? For example, does the individual rely on rules and regulation for his decisions and does he sticks to procedures regardless of circumstances?

The culture in Greece, Portugal, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Belgium expect plans and programs to be made for all the citizens and for all to abide by the rules…

Denmark is similar to Belgium in more attributes than any other country, except in this dimension: The Danes have a mind of their own and tolerate ambiguity and choices

3. Power Distance Index (PDI) scale

This dimension is concerned with attitudes toward hierarchy, how a culture values and respect “blindly” authority figures…

In culture of high PDI, it is not likely that subordinates would attempt to assert opinions in critical situations: They more often than not let calamity harvest innocent people instead of speaking up to the higher ranked authority…

Hofstede wrote in the classic “Culture’s Consequences“:

“In particular cultures, power holders are almost ashamed of their statue and they will try hard to underplay their power, like taking the streetcar to the ministerial office, or vacationing with his private motor home at a regular camping site…They try their best not to look or behave powerful…In many other cultures, it is unlikely that power is not displayed in all aspect of every day activities…”

I have this strong impression that the three dimensions are highly correlated: In the sense that you can pick up any one of the scale (without mentioning the other two dimensions) and rearrange the story of article consistent, convincing, and coherent…Telling the story from a dimension perspective might let you gain additional handles on cultural differences

Note: This article was inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

International commercial air-flights fatal accidents are related to “Cultural Differences”?

Three decades ago, International commercial air-flights of a set of countries exhibited a dangerous trend of high fatal accident ratio compared to another set of countries.

Commercial air-flights of Brazil, South Korea, Morocco, Mexico, and the Philippines experienced each over 17 fatal accidents per 4 million departures, compared to countries such as the USA, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. What were the problems?

Mind you that for a fatal accident to take place, at least more than 3 errors (technical and judgment) must occur in succession, each error in itself not being a potential fatal error. It is the combination of minor errors, minor technical malfunctions, bad weather, tired crew and pilot…that set the stage for a calamity.

In a chapter of “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, it transpires that 3 problems accounted for this increase in accidents:

1. Cultural communication transmission.  In the countries with the least accidents, the culture is “Transmitter Oriented”: The talker has the responsibility of  speaking up clearly and to the point, in critical moments so that the listener gets the message clear and loud. Many cultures are “Receiver oriented“: The subordinate talker has to convey the statements in hints, in indirect ways what he means to says. It is the responsibility of the listener, the boss, to filter out and attend to what the cultured statement is meant to convey.

In “Receiver oriented” culture, If the boss is tired or not focused on what is being said, the critical message is lost and not attended to.

In most accidents, flight crews, first officer and flight engineer spoke in deference statements to the higher in rank (Pilot Captain).  The errors and bad judgment of the captain were corrected in a polite manner (the danger was not stated unequivocally and bluntly), even when it was too late to respond and correct a fatal decision.

A Colombian plane crashed before landing in JFK simply because it ran out of fuel! The engines caught fire: The flight officer was very shy to tell the ATC that they are completely out of fuel and need to land in emergency. For example:

ATC: “…I’m gonna bring you about 15 miles northeast and then you turn back onto the approach. Is that okay with you? And your fuel?…”

First officer Klotz: “I guess so. Thank you very much. And ah, we’re running out of fuel, sir

Captain Caviedes: “Did you advise that we have no fuel?”

Klotz: “I did. The guy in ATC is angry”

All long-distance planes are running out of fuel before landing. After spending over an hour circling because of very bad weather, the flight officer must have said: “We are totally out of fuel. We request immediate landing…”

Airplanes were in perfect flight conditions, aircrew were without physical limitations, and considered above average in flight ability and practice, and still accidents happened…

A South Korea plane crashed because the flight officer and the crew failed to clearly and directly warn the Captain of the dangerous situation and that his intention of visual landing is not appropriate in the unstable weather condition.  The flight engineer said: “Captain, the weather radar has helped us a lot…” He meant: “This is not a night to rely on just your eyes for landing. Look at what the weather radar is telling: There’s trouble ahead…”

Several of these indirect statements of suggestion, hint, query, and preference statements were uttered with difficulty and hesitation in order to save the face for the higher up in ranking. After all, in the receiver oriented culture, the Captain is the sole responsible for landing the plane safety, and the fight crew are there to obey commands…

The work schedule was exhausting, and the captain was extremely tired and his cognitive mind was not attending properly to the statements that required analysis and consideration…Even “obligation statement” such as “I think we need to deviate right now…” was not in the repertoire of receiver oriented cultures…

2. The second cause is probably deficiency in speaking American English as ATC at JFK hear and understand…as the chapter in Blink want us to believe.

Do you know that the language of all international flights is English? All ATC in international airports should master English, as well as the pilots, flight officers, flight engineers, and flight crew…

The implicit cause is that foreign commercial flight-crew are not trained properly to be at the same wave length with communication culture and protocols as expected by ATC…

And why internal flights in vast countries such as Russia, China, India, Brazil…experience the same dangerous trend, even after decades of international safety regulations and rules? The language should not be the major cause, even though the US insist on giving priority to English as the first major step into training and practice…

3. The third main cause is most probably the exhausting schedule that flight-crew work under in order for commercial companies to generate the most profit… The flight-crews have to depart and land to several airports, and chain this process for several days before taking a deserving rest. Most fatal accidents are combinations of very tired crew, bad weather conditions, and crew well to apathetic to attend to minor errors or transmitting minor errors:  Silence in the cockpit is deafening in these situations

I contend that receiver oriented cultures train captains in separate training centers than the flight officers and flight engineer: These crews do not mingle naturally with Captain pilot and their training centers instill the hierarchy obligation privileges and deference…

I bet that international commercial flight improved their record simply because, in order to train flight-crew that they are all responsible for the safety of passengers and not just the captain, they must learn and train and practice in the same centers as the pilots and Captains…


Highest expensive War Game: Executed in Iraq, failed, at a cost of $2 trillion

General Paul Van Ripple (The Rip) is a retired from the Marines Corps. In the spring of 2000, Rip is called in by the Pentagon to head the Red Team of the Millennium Challenge ’02, a War Game in the planning that will cost $250 million by August 2002 as the US Blue Team lost the war game.

The Red Team in the scenario is a “rogue” military commander (not satisfying the interest of the US government policies) and who enjoys considerable power base from strong religious and ethnic loyalties.  The Red Baron is harboring and sponsoring 4 terrorist organizations, he is a virulent anti-US and threatening to engulf the entire Persian/Arabic Gulf region in war.

The US Blue Team is called the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM).

Marine Corps, air force, army, and navy units at various military bases in the US stood by to enact the commands of Red and Blue Teams’ brass. For example, if a Blue Team commander orders the firing of a missile at target, or launching a plane…a missile would occasionally be fired live, or one of the 42 separate computer models would simulate the order-action. The simulated firing was so precise that the war room staff couldn’t tell that it wasn’t real…This war game was to last about 15 days when D-Day was announced and the Red Team received the ultimatum to desist from rogue behaviors…

Specialists monitored and recorded every conversation and a computer kept track of every single bullet fired and every tank deployment… The War game was meant to be a full dress rehearsal for actual war against Iraq of Saddam Hussein.

The Pentagon wanted to test a set of new and “radical” ideas about how to go to battle: Conventional war would rarely be fought from now on. Two armies fighting it out in an open battlefield as during Operation Desert Storm of 1991 was not realistic: Conflict is to be diffuse, actions taking place in cities and engaging economic, social, cultural dimensions.

A JFCOM analyst said: “The decisive factor is how you take apart your adversary systems. We are going after war-making capabilities, connected to the economic and cultural systems, to personal relationships, and to understanding the links among all these systems…”

The head commander of the Blue Team was General William F. Kernan who said: “Blue Team has the means and tools to interrupt people’s capabilities, to influence the national will of the enemy, to disrupt all communication systems, and to take out the power grids…”

Blue Team was not to be waging any battle under uncertainties: All data, information, and pieces of intelligence will be available and accessible within seconds before making any decision…The Blue Team enjoys the full benefit of high-powered satellites, sophisticated sensors, super computers…in order to lift any fog before any decision

Blue Team brass was endowed with much greater intellectual, military hardware, and communication systems, and human resources than the Red Team could even dream of.  JFCOM was to apply the Operational Net Assessment (ONA) decision-making software, a tool meant to break the enemy down into series of systems and create a matrix of interrelations among all the systems, and evaluate the critical most vulnerable links in the array of systems (social, political, economical, military, chain of commands…)

Blue Team hoarded a tool called Effects-Based Operations capable of extending a comprehensive, real-time map (Common Relevant Operational Picture) of any combat situation… Blue Team was given a tool for joint interactive planning

In short, Blue Team had an overwhelming advantage in instant information and pieces of intelligence gathered around the US and the World…

The Red Team was to make do with lower quality weapons, communication systems that rogue States dictators possess.

The Rip understood that he will have to forego electronic communication systems and relied on motorcycle carriers to transmit messages and orders…

The Rip strategy is never to overburden his field commanders with irrelevant frequent orders and information…The field commander cognitive power was not to be disrupted in the heat of battle and has to rely on his expert knowledge and split-second decisions acquired from long years of doing this business…

The Rip is in command but out of control during the battle: He gives his general intention and strategy and let the brass do their jobs…

The Rip told his staff: “We will not use the Blue Team terminology. and I don’t want to hear that word “Effects” or ONT…We will use our wisdom, experience, and good judgment…No need to waste time explaining your decision or meeting to discuss on critical decisions…”

The field commanders were to decide and take risks under uncertainties

The Rip dispatched hundreds of small rafts and boats to locate Blue Team war ships.

The Rip opted to preempt the first attack planned by Blue Team and fired thousands of missiles from all directions, sinking 16 ships and assassinating rulers of host US allied States…

Two days after the Red Team demolished the US fleet, the rules of the games were changed:

1. The ships were resurrected from the bottom of the sea: The Red Team missiles could not be that precise…

2. The assassinated head of allied States and their commanders were of no consequence to the war in progress…

3. The Red Team second in command was to receive orders from the Program Director to give the Red Team brass different set of instructions to facilitate the landing of the Blue Team marines. The second round was all scripted to permit Blue Team to win the game. These crazy tactics of the Rip cannot be conceived by any rogue commander and thus should not be considered!

And the Blue Team had won the game, with flying color and under certainty in all its decisions…

Maybe the Millennium Challenge is currently being revisited (against Iran) and the offensive of the Rip taken seriously as strong possibilities.  Make no mistake: Iran and serious national resistance forces (Hezbollah) do read foreign sources and are updated on the latest policies and motivations…

Logically and rationally, the US has no interest in preempting any major war, not with Russia and China against a war on Iran.

However, the main objective of War Games is to instill a mind-fix among the military brass that the game should be tested live, at any cost and regardless of rational reasons.

I bet the military, Corporation America, and the financial multinationals want Mitt Romney to represent the “interest of America”. Why?

The economy is bad and unemployment pretty high.  The natural resolution to the problem is a preemptive war to absorb all the unemployed lower middle-class in the US and get the Federal Bank to infuse vast liquidity in the market…

Note 1: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2: The preemptive war on Iraq in 2003 should not have engaged that much technology and sophistication.

1. Iraq was experiencing 10 year of International embargo: Babies were dying by the thousands from lack of powder milk

2. Iraq had dismantled all its chemical facilities and whatever “nuclear” installations the US claimed Saddam had.

3. The army was totally impotent and not armed: The Republican Guard existed to preempt any military takeover.

4. Iraq was crumbling, hungry, scared and dissatisfied with the dictatorship

Claiming to be food-tasting expert: With only three kinds of taste buds?

So far, textbooks tell me that mankind enjoy only three kinds of taste buds: Sweet, Salty and Sour.  I have tasted these attributes in food. They are called basic taste dimension, and I am wondering “are there other taste buds that particular people might have and the rest of us normal people are denied of?” How can 3 kinds of buds generate hundreds of attributes and a dozen of dimensions to evaluating competing food products?

For example, you are handed a questionnaire asking you to evaluate a food product relative to its texture…Am I evaluating food or fabrics? How am I to understand the meaning of texture in a field that is out of my expertise?

Can you believe food-tasting experts evaluate mayonnaise product on a 15-point scale according to these “dimensions”:

1. Appearance: color, chroma, color intensity, shine, lumpiness, and bubbles

2. Texture: adhesiveness to lips, firmness, denseness..Ten attributes just for textures. Are tasting woody and “wine”y acceptable attributes?

3. Flavor (14 attributes): aromatic,eggy, mustardy…

4. Chemical-feeling: burn, pungent, astringent…

How sweet, how caramelized, the citrus character (lemon, lime, grapefruit,orange…)

The computer will churn out results on every attribute and it is up to the kinds of expert to figure out what are essential and critical.  A statistical computer analyst might extend his interpretation of the results according to particular protocols of tasting techniques by naive tasters, or the food-taster expert his judgment by actually tasting the food and figuring out the competing best product and offering recommendations…

Gail Vance Civille and Judy Heylmun of (Sensory Spectrum) based in New Jersey are food-taster experts. Heylmun says: “We did Oreos and we broke them into 90 attributes. It turned out that 11 attributes are probably critical…”

Heylmun went on: “Give me cookies and crackers and I can tell you what factories produce them and how they were reworked…”

Reworked food products are recombined leftover of rejected ingredients from product batches into another product batch (recycling process?)

Food experts are excellent figuring out the “difference” between Coke and Pepsi for example.

The two female food-tasters conduct “difference study” on a scale of 1 to 10, called Degree of Difference (DoD) to compare similar food product.

For example, the is a difference of 4 between Coke and Pepsi, 8 degrees between Lay and wise’s salt and vinegar potato chips..

Coke or Pepsi might change taste after some time of not being consumed: aging, level of carbonation, vanilla turned pruney..

Food experts are excellent in the food triangle testing technique. You pour Coke in two glasses and Pepsi in a third glass.  It is extremely hard for naive tasters to get it right. Why?

You need to be a taster expert so that the sensory memory learn to become resilient to the first impressions. And the best way to become an expert is to know the vocabulary in the tasting industry and understand what each word means and “taste”…

Do you think it is a good judging technique for taking a single sip?  What a single sip can tell you about Coke and Pepsi? That one is sweeter than the other or more sour (citrus?)  What if you were asked to drink two liters of each drink? Or to take home an entire carton to taste in comfort and leisurely?  Do you think that your judgment would be different? How much can you withstand a very sweet drink, a very sour drink in the long run…?

Suppose you have a highly developed tasting skills, but you have no idea how to explain what you are tasting? Is you judgment of any utility?

Food-taste expert have developed a taxonomy of the various dimensions and attributes to evaluate.  And it is this knowledge that permit food-taster experts to differentiate among shades and levels of the basic tastes buds combination.  They have acquired a particular sensory tasting memory to verbally discriminate among varieties of foods…

Actually, many of the attributes accounts for the smell memory, the seeing memory, and the touch memory when tasting food.  I think that the smell contribute more to the taxonomy than even taste in differentiating among food.

For example, suppose your smell is blocked out in the tasting evaluation, do you think that tasting judgment would be the same to you, or the food would taste good?

Actually, evaluation of food should focus more on health and safe consumption.  Cancer, cancer, cancer…cancer taste good.

Note: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell 

Police car chasing is fatal, at any Speed…

The police force is moving away from two-partner police cars into One-officer cars alternative. Why?

With a partner or more in the car, the officers speed thing up and act recklessly:

1. A cop by himself makes approaches that are different of peer pressure alternatives

2. A single cop is no longer prone to “ambush” the target

3. A single cop would refrain to “charge in”. He says: “I’m going to wait for backup to arrive…”

4. A single cop slows thing down and allow more time before going into action, and behave more kindly…

5. A single cop in a police car remembers the golden rule “ Time is on our side. There is no urgency for fast-breaking situations...”

The fundamental new teaching and training methods of police officers is to practice frequently under dangerous conditions so that to avoid the risk of “momentary autism” blackout of mind-reading capability of facial expressions of the target person.

Temporary autistic conditions dissolve the mind-reading power of people’s faces:

1. The heart rate reaches the dangerous level of 175 quickly

2. An absolute breakdown of the cognitive processing ensue: The forebrain shuts down and we are functioning under the mid-brain commands.

3. The mid-brain is what a dog uses in hot hunting pursuit “no time to stop and scratch the flees”

4 . Hearing is totally blocked: You cannot hear the shots you made or those of others around you. Obviously, you are unable to hear an order to stop or to cool it down…

5. You experience a tunnel vision condition: Your entire world is focused on the gun of the “aggressor” and everything is acting in slow motion..

6. Blood is withdrawn from the outer muscle layers and flows toward the core muscle mass: The feeling is of  very hard muscles, a kind of armor that would limit bleeding in the event of injuries…

7. The subsequent state is of feeling clumsy and helpless: cops are unable to pick up the radio in the car or even dialing 911, except if practiced frequently  to acquiring an automatic reflex…

What a speed chase, even at speed less than 50 a mile, produce? Exactly temporary autistic conditions from the high arousal state that the chase generates.  The chase produces a euphoric state, wrapped up in the chase and you lose all perspectives.

It is “after the chase” is over that the nastiest beating and violence occur: These behaviors ignited the worst riots, such as the Rodney Kind riot in LA, the Liberty City riot in Miami (1980) and another riot in Miami in 1986…

The chase (in cars or on foot or…) is basically the hunting instinct. Mankind is worst than the carnivorous animals in these situations: He is not motivated  for eating the prey, but intent on inflicting the most violent and brutal “chastising”, handicapping the prey and harming him for life and killing him occasionally

Note: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

A one year baby looks you straight in the eyes. Is your gesture toward him of love or made out of fear?

Your face constantly displays your inner emotions. Your face instantly expresses what you feel at every moment. And vice versa: You make a face and you feel what this expression is meant to convey in emotions.

Mankind face is activated by 42 action muscles. Activating two muscles generate 300 expressions, activating 3 muscles produce 4,000 expressions, and the combination of 5 muscles at a time generate 10,000 facial expressions.

Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen spent 7 years to develop a taxonomy for facial expressions. Apparently, about 3,000 expressions were judged to mean anything. These emotions were categorized in the Facial Action Coding System (FAC), which many researchers study to become expert mind-readers (about 500 are certified)

Computer animators use this coding system such as Pixar (Toy Story) and DreamWorks (Shrek).

Strong with so many meaningful expressions, it is possible to study shades and levels for every major emotions such as anger, happiness, stonewalling…

Ekman and Friesen would face one another for hours creating expressions by activating the appropriate action muscles. Many muscles are almost impossible to activate voluntarily, unless an electrode is used.  You need to feel a muscle in action and repeatedly in order to learn to activate it voluntarily, like wiggling your ears…

The researchers gave names to particular expressions such as “Peck’s Bad Boy,” Hand caught in cookie jar”, “Duping delight”, “Love-me Mommy”, “I’m a rascal”, “Cat ate the canary”… 

The Bill Clinton expression of  “hand caught in cookie jar, love me mommy” has these action muscles sequences: tug corners of lips down, raise chin, press lips together, and roll eyes…

The two researchers discovered that the facial expressions they activated generated the corresponding emotions. For example, if they displayed a sad face they felt sad. Actually very few are able to create a sad face sign. There is this genuine sign of a pleasure smile that it cannot be reproduced voluntarily (tightening the muscles that encircle the eyes).  This impossibility can unmasked the false friend according to Guillaume Duchenne (French 19th century neurologist)

The brain has two parts that store pictures. The sophisticated and most developed part (fusiform gyrus) saves and sorts out faces: You can recognize a familiar face forty years later (unless drastic plastic surgery deformed a characteristic feature?).  The other part is called the inferior temporal gyrus, which saves and sorts out pictures of products, and is far less sophisticated compared to the other part

It is thus possible to control the emotions you want to convey with practice, except the initial split-second face that your unconscious display for all to notice, before you step in and distort…

Can projection of emotions be controlled? The flickering emotion (fraction of a second) will be displayed no matter what, and your mind-reading power will catch these split-second expressions.  The experts will have to rewind their videos to discover the flash distorting your facial expression

Autistic people lack the fusiform gyrus brain and thus cannot retrieve but pictures of objects. They never look at you,at your face or care about your gestures: mankind is another object to them and cannot recognize emotions on people’s faces.  They have no mind-reading capabilities, and still they can be functional and rational…

Paraplegic people and deaf acquire a high level proficiency of reading minds by paying attention to facial expressions…

Note 1:  Article was inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2: A few examples of action muscles coming into play to expressing emotions.

1. Happiness and joy: raise the cheek, pull up the corners of the lips… A pen clenched between teeth forces a smiling face. Pen between lips prevent a smiling sign.

2. Fear: raise inner brow, raise outer brow, brow lowering, stretch the lips, raise upper lid, part the lips, drop jaw…

3. Disgust: wrinkling the nose

4. Anguish and sadness: raise inner eyebrow, raise cheeks, lower corner of the lips

5. Anger: lower brows, raise upper eyelid, narrow eyelids, press lips together…Anger increases heart rate by12 beats, and hands get hot and it is difficult to disconnect from the system

6. Distress: one of the inner brows is raised

“I can pick up bits of a 3-minute conversation and feel confident which relationship is in serious trouble…”

There is this psychologist who conducted an experiment that lasted 20 years. This experimenter thinks that:

1. Stable relationship of couples is necessary for the equilibrium in a community

2. He spent the best part of his life to discovering a model that would predict relationships in serious difficulties

3. He invited over 3,000 couples to the second floor of a psychology department

4. Each couple was to discuss for 15 minutes any topic that they think is an issue of contention

5. He and his trained assistants videotaped the couple, one camera focused on one individual

6. The couple had the opportunity to watch the video after the session, and invariably were shocked on how they sounded and how they projected in the discussion. (Very few of us had an opportunity to watch our discussions live, not a single one…)

7. He sliced the videotapes into seconds and assigned each emotion and feeling and facial expression into 20 categories of emotions such as Anger, Defensiveness, Whining, Sadness, Contempt, Stonewalling, Neutral…

8. He used a computer to save, sort out the data, and come out with a model for the relationships

9. Based on these data, a huge file, he hoped to assign a weight to each emotion that predicted failure or success of a relationship

10. He invested plenty of time and fund money to train assistants to view and review the videotapes and slice them into seconds and assign the emotions into the categories

After 20 years of labor, the researcher managed to select four key emotions that could predict a failure of a relationship over 7 and 15 years of marriage.

It turned out that three of the emotions were one too many. Only one emotion could definitely point to a failure: One of the member in the couple is showing contempt, a systematic habit of over lording it on the partner.

John Gottman says: “I can pick up bits of a 3-minute conversation and feel confident which relationship is in serious trouble…”

Contempt situations and contempt conditions seep through slices and bits of any conversation.

From the start of the chapter in Blink by Malcolm Gladwell I kept thinking: “Why all this trouble! Anyone should know that contempt is the sure killing emotion in any relationship…”

Gottman has proven that if he watched the conversation of a couple for 15 minutes, his success rate of prediction of a failure in the relationship is about 90% of the time.

Sybil Carriere, an assistant to Gottman, managed to reduce the conversation to just 3 minutes with the same 90% hit rate

The most critical discovery is that the same Signature of emotions emerge at every conversation between the couple: It is not a matter of bad timing, low-energy level or a harassing day or…that a conversation takes the wrong turn every time…

You know “it is contempt” when you hear one or see one. But how to create an operational process that enables a researcher to capture data of emotions “objectively”?

For example, when you hear slices of a conversation that says:

1. “I don’t want to argue about this issue…”

2. One closes his eyes while you are talking

3. One rolls his eyes as you explain

4. One partner refuses to give you credits for your efforts

5. One of the partner keeps cutting you off…

Actually, Gottman learned to define an emotion from facial expressions: He didn’t need to listen to the videotape to identify specific emotions.

I still have problems with this research:

1. Implicitly, what is observed and counted as a hit is a divorce materializing with the couple. Divorce is the tip of the iceberg in the failure of a relationship. Far more relationships are dead in the first month and the couple never even separate. Divorcing is a harsh decision that not many can afford, financially or emotionally.  What if the extended family members refuse you visit them or talk to them if your relationship ends up in a divorce? What if the State social institutions have no facilities to rescue you for a few months after a divorce?…

2. Even in developed countries with many social facilities, divorce in not the norm. Married couples have great difficulties overcoming the inertia of years of living together…

3. If we can define “failure” in many other forms than divorce, it is obvious that success in relationships are very rare. If for every negative emotion we show we are to compensate with 7 positive emotions, I don-t see how any relationship can survive the turmoil of the living…We are asking for a tremendous effort of goodwill from one partner…

We really do not need to elaborate on all the negative emotions we let come across to know that relationships are meant to fail very shortly and in every society.

Note: John Gottman is a psychologist by training who studied mathematics at MIT. He published a 500-page treatise “The Mathematics of Divorce“.. Since 1980, more than 3,000 couples entered the “Love Lab” near the Univ. of Washington campus. The data of the research were analyzed and coded in the system SPAFF (Spedific Affect)

Is it the less information the better in critical split-second decision cases?

ER of Cook County Hospital (Chicago)

ER of Cook County Hospital (Chicago) on West Harriston Street, close to downtown, was built at the turn of last century. I was home of the world’s first blood bank, cobalt-beam therapy, surgeons attaching severed fingers, famous trauma center for gangs’ gunshot wounds and injuries…and most famous for the TV series ER, and George Cluny

In the mid 90’s. the ER welcomed 250,000 patients a year, mostly homeless and health non-insured patients… Smart patients would come the first thing in the morning to the ER and pack a lunch and a dinner.  Long lines crowded the walls of the cavernous corridors…

There were no air-conditioners: During the summer heat waves, the heat index inside the hospital reached 120 degrees. An administrator didn’t last 8 seconds in the middle of one of the wards.

There were no private rooms and patients were separated by plywood dividers.

There were no cafeteria or private phones: The single public phone was at the end of the hall.

One bathroom served all that crowd of patients.

There was a single light switch: You wanted to light a room and the entire hospital had to light up…

The big air fans, the radios and TV that patients brought with them (to keep company), the nurses’ bell buzzing non-stop and no free nurses around… rendered the ER a crazy place to treat emergency cases

Asthma cases were numerous: Chicago was the world worst in patients suffering from asthma…

Protocols had to be created to efficiently treat asthma cases, chest pain cases, homeless patients…

About 30 patients a day converged to the ER complaining of chest pains (potential heart attack worries) and there were only 20 beds in two wards for these cases.

It cost $2,000 a night per bed for serious intensive care, and about $1,000 for the lesser care (nurses instead of cardiologists tending to the chest pain patient…)

A third ward was created as observation unit for half a day patients.  Was there any rational protocol to decide in which ward the chest-pain patient should be allocated to? It was the attending physician call, and most of the decisions were wrong, except for the most obvious heart attack cases…

In the 70’s, cardiologist Lee Goldman borrowed the statistical rules of a group of mathematicians for telling apart subatomic particles. Goldman fed a computer data of hundreds of files of heart attack cases and crunched the numbers into a “predictive equation” or model.

Four key risk factors emerged as the most critical telltale of a real heart attack case:

1. ECG (the ancient electrocardiogram graph) showing acute ischemia

2. unstable angina pain

3, fluid in the lungs

4. systolic blood pressure under 100…

A decision tree was fine-tuned to decide on serious cases. For example:

1. ECG is normal but at least two key risk factors are positive

2. ECG is abnormal with at leat one risk factor positive…These kinds of decision trees…

The trouble was that physicians insisted on letting discriminating factors muddle their decisions. For example, statistics had shown that “normally” females do not suffer heart attack until old age, and thus a young female might be sent home (and die the same night) more often than middle-aged black or older white males patients…

Brendan Reilly, chairman of the hospital department of Medicine, decided to try Goldman decision tree.  Physicians were to try the tree and their own instincts for a period.  The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the Goldman algorithm…

It turned out that, if the physician was not bombarded with dozens of pieces of intelligence and just followed the decision tree, he was better off in the allocation to ward process…

For example, a nurse should record all the necessary information of the patients (smoker, age, gender, overweight, job stress, physical activities, high blood pressure, blood sugar content, family history for heart attacks, sweating tendencies, prior heart surgeries,…), but the attending physician must receive quickly the results of the 4 key risk factors to decide on…

Basically, the physician could allocate the patient to the proper ward without even seeing the individual and be influenced by extraneous pieces of intelligence that are not serious today, but could be potential hazards later on or even tomorrow…

Mind you that in order to save on medical malpractice suits, physicians and nurses treating a patient must Not send the patient any signals that can be captured as “contempt”, feeling invisible and insignificant

Many factors are potential predictors for heart attack cases, but they are minor today, for quick decisions…

No need to overwhelm with irrelevant information at critical time.  Analytic reasoning and snap judgment are neither good or bad: Either method is bad at the inappropriate circumstances.

In the “battle field” the less the information coming in, the less the communication streams and the better the rapid cognition decisions of field commanders…

All you need to know is the “forecast” and not the numbers of temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure…

Note: post inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Any differences between behavior priming and brainwashing?

Have you submitted to a scrambled-sentence test? For example, rectify these sentences:

1. him was worried she always

2. from are Florida orange temperature

3. shoes give replace old the…

How quickly do you think you can work out each scrambled sentence? Do you think on any thinking else when being tested? Surely not.

Suppose among the ten scrambled sentences there are words such as worried, Florida, old, lonely, gray, bingo, wrinkle, forgetfull…scattered throughout the sentences…Is there anything common among these words?

Undergraduate students participating in these tests, behaved for a short time as old people do after the test: They invariably walked slowly, back bent…

The unconscious Big Brain was picking up on these common denominator words, behind its locked door…

The unconscious mind got the clues and was telling the body of the test-taker: “We are in an environment that is concerned about old age. We better behave accordingly…”

The unconscious mind is acting as a mental valet, taking care of minor details to act accordingly, so that we can be freed to focus on the main problem at hand…

John Bargh experimented with two groups of undergraduate students. Group One worked scrambled sentences sprinkled with words such as aggressively, bold, rude, bother, disturb, intrude, infringe…

Group Two worked with words like respect, consideration, appreciate, patiently, yield, polite and courteous…

After the test, each student had to walk the corridor to an office to meet with the principal researcher. A confederate researcher was to block the entrance of the door and converse with the main researcher, a long and pretty boring conversation…

Group One subjects ended the conversation and barged into the office within 5 minutes. Group Two subject waited for the conversation to end before getting in. Group Two students could have waited for much longer if the protocol was not set for only 10 minutes of conversation…

There are these mental clinical cases called ventromedial pre-frontal cortex,  a part of the brain situated behind the nose.  When this part is damaged, the individual is unable of judgment and making decision. The patient is functional, intelligent and highly rational but lacks judgment. For example, if the patient is asked to choose between two appointment dates, he will analyse and offer all kinds of pros and cons for 30 minutes and still be unable to decide on any date… The mental valet is not working in this case to guide and orient the patient toward more important tasks at hand…

When mentioning a brainwashed mind, you visualize someone robbing a bank or doing violent acts without his full will, or being induced to describe details of his childhood against his will…

Maybe there is a subtle factor or a catalyst that shifts behavioral priming into the qualitative condition of brainwashing

I posit that brainwashing is very much like priming a brain, but done on successive and frequent occasions, verging on a continuous situation where the mental valet is working full-time and barely able to liberate the mind to focus on more important tasks to reflect on…

Think of totalitarian regimes of communism or the Catholic Church dominion in Europe for 9 centuries of the dark Middle Age period. People had to navigate an environment of restrictions and limitation in ideas, opinions, objects, products, hair style, fashion…

You may read about the priming of the thief-program in the link of note 2.

Note 1: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2:




May 2023

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