The Disturbing Truth About “Disturbing Truths”

Whenever I see a video or article that has a title vaguely reminiscent of “The Disturbing Truth About _____”, I find myself mentally correcting it to “One Very Specific View of _____ That, if Correct, May Be Controversial to Some People.”

I’m really tired of folks hopping on viral video trains or relying on word of mouth to get their news on current events. I’m glad that people are trying to stay current and are reading news articles, I really am, and it’s great that people are trying to be informed. That’s not the problem. The problem is that a lot of people (myself included), regardless of how noble their pursuit of information is, habitually take things they’ve read or seen online at face value without doing any background research or source checking.

This is particularly problematic when it comes to scientific articles that were picked up by reporters, as it can be very hard to tell which ones have been peer reviewed or published by reliable scientific sources (i.e. a real epidemic report from the CDC vs. a news report over CNN). Things can get oversimplified, and people snag vague, alarming and misunderstood phrases like “genetically modified” and run with them, creating all these trigger words that people don’t really understand the real root or cause of, which is how things like the Antivacc and anti-GMO movements even get started in the first place.

It doesn’t help that a lot of times, people will share these things they’ve read online with their close friends and family, who then take this as correct and share it with their own friends, etc. This plays out like a huge game of Telephone and a lot of fine details can get lost in translation. Things like “there is one Ebola patient in the US” can turn into “Ebola has invaded the United States”, which while still technically true, has a much broader and more alarming interpretation down the line. The waters of information grow very murky the farther you are from the source.

To summarize, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn, but for the love of cheese check your sources, people.

Psychology of Failure

Walking into a test I know I’m probably going to fail is an odd sensation, and one that I didn’t have too much experience with until this one class, in this one semester. Usually, it starts off with really intense and sweating panic, but at the end, the panic is gone and it’s replaced by a weird and unique sort of resignation. “Well, that was that.” It’s one thing to feel disappointed after a test didn’t go as well as I had hoped or thought it had, but a test that you actively expect to fail going into it is different. It almost feels like I can’t afford to be upset about it, so I become apathetic instead, and care less about it than I would if I simply did mediocre.

I’m sure other people have this problem, or deal with their failures differently, it’s just interesting for me to analyze.

I’ve recently picked up playing Magic: The Gathering due to getting a bunch of free cards from a friend, and it’s surprisingly fun. The ability to build functional decks around virtually any theme you want makes it really versatile, and neat to collaborate and trade with other people.

Do any of you play? If so, what kind of decks do you like, and why do you like them? I favor black decks, purely thematically, but my most functional deck is a Black/Red.

If you have never sobbed over a book, I don’t even know what you’re doing with your life.

Sometimes friends are like your appendix.

Sometimes… friends become appendicitis.

Your appendix has been with you for your entire life, or long enough to feel like it. It’s a part of you, deeply and completely. You never think about the connection you share because it goes unspoken. Sometimes, though, the appendix gets something inside it, and it changes. Slowly at first, but it starts to swell, and grow infected, and it starts to hurt you. It swells and swells and starts spreading the infection and it feels like you’ve being stabbed. It becomes dangerous and malignant and harmful to your health, but it’s still a part of you. They eventually take you to the hospital, where they decide; your appendix, no matter how long it’s been with you, is hurting you too badly. It has to go. They take you under the knife and they cut and clean the infection out of your body.

You recover, slowly. At first, you might think about how a part of you is missing, but the infection - and the pain - scar over, and eventually fade.

Friendships that hurt you are like appendicitis. If you keep a toxic person in your life because you love them, even though they hurt you…

…maybe it’s time to get the infection removed. The empty space will hurt, but those scars will heal over like the infection never could.

Joshua Radin
We Were Here


You are the one
I’ve been waiting for today

In other news, alligators are perfect

In other news, alligators are perfect


To start this off, I think being Vegetarian or Vegan is fine. It’s a cool thing to do for those with strong social convictions, or caring about their health, food preference, animal rights, et cetera. Whatever the chosen reason. What I really cannot deal with are those particular social-justice-vegans that use their diet and commitment as a bargaining chip for why they are a good person, or insist that every non-vegan is some sort of monster, uneducated, lazy, or cruel. This actually really upsets me sometimes.

I do care about animals, seeing them hurt upsets me, and the way they are treated in the meat industry is despicable. However, plain and simply, there is not much I can do to change my diet, nor do I want to. I would like to consider myself a decently good person. I treat my friends well, my pets are happy as they could be, I give to charities when I can spare it. I try and do good things in the world. Vegans can’t make me change what I eat by guilt tripping me and calling me uncaring or selfish, because I am not being purely lazy or negligent for not choosing to be vegan. I have many reasons for not doing so, as I’m sure most other educated non-vegans do.

For one, I have Celiac, an autoimmune disease which cuts out wheat, barley and other gluten-containing grains from my diet. This eliminates the majority of the bottom of the food pyramid from my food options. Gluten is found in processed foods as a cheap thickener, including the majority of pre-made or frozen vegan and vegetarian meal options at the store. People could argue that I could just make vegan food for myself at home, but there are problems there as well. Cooking on a Celiac diet involves making almost everything from scratch. I am a full-time college student with very little free time to devote to my specialized diet as it is, and I eat perhaps one home-cooked meal a week if I’m lucky. Preparing my own food is expensive and time-consuming. I am not being lazy so much as am trying to keep myself fed on a pathetic budget.

Secondly, and only partially due to my illness, I really don’t feel like fighting my biology more than I have to. Humans are omnivores. Yes, I am aware that nutrients like protein can be obtained from alternate sources like supplements, legumes and nuts, but I also know that nothing fills me up in the morning better than a fried egg or makes me feel better after a crappy, draining day than a piece of iron-rich beef. You can call me selfish for this, but eating non-vegan makes me feel healthy and full. It is terrible that animals have to suffer in large-scale markets, but the facts are that plenty of local farms (such as the ones that I buy from) are perfectly humane. It is also a fact that I need to eat meat and cheese and eggs along with vegetables and fruits and grains to avoid feeling like I’m starving to death.

I don’t want to feel like a monster just because I prioritized avoiding malnutrition over preserving the rights of farm animals.


I wish it lasted longer.

To be fair, I live in Alaska, and in a part of the state where fall lasts about two weeks from yellow leaves to naked trees, so it has a lot to do with location. Overall though, I wish the season itself was longer. It’s a transition period between boring, predictably warm summers and long, cold, dark winters, and it seems to me to be the perfect season.

One of my favorite things is to go outside during those pleasant, warm autumn windstorms, where the leaves get blown all around your face and legs during the particularly violent gusts and get tangled in your hat and the air always smells like a storm.

Even though the air is crisp and frosty and the wind almost never stops blowing, a thick brown scarf, a cup of hot cider, and all the vibrant colors of fall always manage to make me feel warm.


I have recently discovered (or not discovered so much as confirmed to myself) that I have a mild freckle obsession. I have no idea why, but the effect that a smattering of freckles adds to a person’s appearance is so absolutely endearing to me, especially when they seem out of place.

Several of my friends - one girl in particular - bring this to mind. My friend (name omitted, because this is the internet) has a very dark-skinned Haitian father, and a very pale Caucasian mother. She herself has got very tan skin and black curly hair, with a few darker freckles across the bridge of her nose, and it is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. This crosses into celebrities and fictional characters as well.

Freckly shoulders and cheeks and noses just add so much personality to a person.

Does this count as a fetish, or just a fascination?