Poor Jordan Peterson

I guess it’s a good thing that Jordan Peterson never professed happiness as a goal in life.

“It’s all very well to think the meaning of life is happiness, but what happens when you’re unhappy? Happiness is a great side effect. When it comes, accept it gratefully. But it’s fleeting and unpredictable. It’s not something to aim at – because it’s not an aim. And if happiness is the purpose of life, what happens when you’re unhappy? Then you’re a failure. And perhaps a suicidal failure. Happiness is like cotton candy. It’s just not going to do the job.”

I hate having to agree with Peterson, but I do on this one point, despite having a mostly happy life myself. Misery is always going to intrude, whether by chance or the actions of others or your own failings, so don’t judge your worth by whether there’s a smile on your face.

So, sad to say, Mr Peterson is rather miserable right now.

She [Jordan Peterson’s daughter] says that her mother’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgical complication created an unbearable amount of stress for the family, and particularly her father. A doctor prescribed clonazepam, or Klonopin, to help him cope with the anxiety it caused. Clonazepam is an anti-seizure medication that is also prescribed to treat panic disorder.

After her mother went into remission, Peterson attempted to get off the drug on his own. This caused terrible withdrawals, his daughter says. “The reason we’re in New York is because dad’s in rehab using other medications to try and get off this clonazepam.”

All sympathy to the man. His daughter says he’s going to use this experience in his next book, because he really does need to improve his understanding of addiction and get away from his previous simplistic prescriptions.

Peterson’s YouTube videos routinely amass hundreds of thousands of views. In these videos, as with his writings, he lectures people on how to lead a successful, fulfilling life. In 2017, he advised people to cure addiction by replacing the substance or activity, such as smartphone use, with “something better.” The behavioral psychologist has provided advice that some may call over-simplifications about addiction on multiple occasions.

Maybe he’s not happy, but he has a learning opportunity here.

Friday Spider

Oh my. Oh my oh my. While I was out at our climate strike event, I had to, naturally enough, prowl around for spiders, and there she was, hanging out behind the door of the men’s restroom at Green River Park, a stunning beauty, a classic Steatoda borealis, her body all dark and gleaming in confident repose. She’s perfect.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o’er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek and o’er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,—
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.

Where’s Brienne?

We go from the sublime to the hideous. When we were doing our routine check for egg sacs the other day, we discovered that Brienne had produced a nice one for us, deep in the elaborate network of webbing she had built in her box. It’s the pale oval on the lower left in this photo.

But…no Brienne. She had disappeared. Look below the egg sac above — there’s a tangled mess below it. I zoomed in on it. It’s an ogre’s nest, apparently.

Ick. Dead flies, bits of dead cricket carapace, all strung together with thick, ropey cables of webbing. Spiders make multiple kinds of web, you know, and these spiders will make cables of web silk that are remarkably tough and hard even for humans to break. I tugged at these with forceps, and nope, they aren’t going anywhere, shy of ripping out the whole structure and possibly injuring its occupant.

Yeah, Brienne is hiding deep inside, the dark shadow near the center of the nest.

These animals always surprise me. They’ve got a complex range of behaviors, and I have no idea what triggered this strange construction. The other spiders in the colony aren’t doing it. I’ve seen a few examples of spiders cobbling together debris into shelters, but it’s not universal, and usually they aren’t this thickly armored and enclosed.

Next they’re going to start assembling tools and weapons, and then you’d better look out.

The Pragerization of YouTube

I’ve been naughty and haven’t made any YouTube videos in a while (I have to change that, if only I had time), but would you believe I still get comments on stuff I made months ago? Here’s a recent comment made on my video about Jordan Peterson’s PragerU video on those darned liberal arts universities. It’s all racist talking points while accusing Democrats of being racist, but of course they wander all over the place with all kinds of random boogity-boos.

Why does school cost so much? Gov offers more loan money to students who have no business being in school. Then what does the wonderful university do? Yep you guessed it raise tuition. The whole alt right dog whistle thing is a low blow, so far from the truth. Why do some left Leaning universities like Berkeley try and ban Ben Shapiro? Does he have alt right dog whistles lol 😂. Mr. left professor how many genders are there? Another question do support or oppose the death penalty? Are you pro choice or pro life? Those two questions can tell a lot about someone. The left has done more harm to this country then good. Democrats and slavery, kkk, Jim Crow. Once the blacks switched parties in the thirties it’s been all down hill. The more black government officials at the county, city levels the more corruption. Teachers unions have ensured the black inner kids a horrendous education. That fucking pisses me off that unions and make no mistake they give more campaign money to democrats and it has caused inner city schools to be horrible. I’m sorry I don’t care as much about men and women transitioning into whatever they want to be called as much as Obama did. When Obama and his education secretary saw how bad things were they said they needed to act. Well still waiting President Obama! Let’s be perfectly honestly the Left doesn’t care about black kids if they did there would be vouchers and choice. The thing is everybody knows what needs to happen but it would cost the Democrats dearly at election time. I say once and for all stop oppressing black people.

So much incoherence and contradictions! I should whip up a video about how there are far more than two genders, to pick just one example of its nonsense.

My little video focused on just one collection of bogus claims by one cranky Canadian fart, but PragerU is a far more poisonous set of lies than that…and yet somehow they’ve avoided the mass demonetizations that afflict my liberal friends, or even the raving right wing nutcases. Money greases a lot of wheels at Google, I guess. Rather than wasting a lot of time on this one fool’s comment, I’ll just point you at this recent analysis of PragerU.

It’s not enough to just say that PragerU isn’t an actual university. It’s outright propaganda, and those appearing on the channel are propagandists.

As an institution, PragerU has proved to be toxic, and it should be best understood as — as its “About Us” page notes — a “digital marketing campaign.” If one of Prager University’s goals really is to “[make] the world a better place, five minutes at a time,” it deserves a failing grade for its current output.

Is this the 21st century, or what?

I got an email ad from the Mary Sue shop. I am very disappointed in them, and think they should be ashamed. It was an ad for this:

Jesus fuck. Cupping “therapy”?

This Premium 32-Piece Massage Cupping Therapy Set by Onetify contains high-quality plastic cups that can be used to treat several various ailments. Aiding in moving static blood, relieving pain, lymph, and toxins that are present in the body, these premium cups promote relaxation and healing from injuries and improves digestion, blood circulation, and respiratory issues. These massage cups provide you natural relaxation and healing at the comfort of your home.

• Massage & improve the treatment of several different ailments
• Promote relaxation & healing from injuries
• Improve digestion, blood circulation, respiratory issues & carpal tunnel syndrome detoxifacation
• Relieve pain, lymph & toxins that are present in your body

Note: The purpose of this unit is for relaxation and NOT for medical treatment of any kind. Please consult your doctor for medical advice, if needed

Madness. The first line says can be used to treat several various ailments, and at the end it says NOT for medical treatment of any kind. Make up your mind, you quacks. It’s for moving static blood…what the hell? That’s an imaginary ailment. If you’ve got static blood, cupping ain’t gonna help. I am also interested in the fact it relieves pain, lymph, and toxins. Is lymph now considered a bad thing?

Just the fact that it mentions toxins and detoxification tells me it’s garbage.

I think I once bought a USB flash drive from them — it was a good deal — and now I’m on their bullshit mailing list. I’m beginning to wonder if that drive is at all trustworthy.

No, I’m not going to spend $44 on your crap pseudoscience, The Mary Sue. You should be ashamed.

Dramatic wars begin with a grievous setback that makes everyone desperate to fight back, right?

I isolated myself in a coffee shop, buckled down, and pounded straight through my grading. I got it done! Early even! The students…well, umm, there were some rough spots. The mean was about 65%, brought down by one specific page where they had to do some math, and it was a massacre. I was imagining that page soaked in blood, with more pouring out of my wicked pen, and was getting a little uneasy. I know what we’re going to be going over in the next class!

Now, though, I get to go home, where my wife has some chore involving the picket fence I’m supposed to do, but once that’s over, I’ve got to honor the completion of one onerous task (if not the outcome).

I’m thinking I’ll sit back and read the new Joe Abercrombie, A Little Hatred. It seems appropriate, very grim-dark, with lots of close-fought bloody battles. For that 65%, you know, which is barely passing and means half the class is getting Ds or worse so far.

(The title does not reflect my feelings towards the students, who are my brave compatriots in the struggle to master cell biology.)