First of all, congratulations on reaching 5,000 subscribers—that’s quite a milestone!

When I hear the word “fascinating,” the first person who comes to mind is Oliver Sacks, one of my favorite human beings in all of history and whom I dearly miss. But then, what to choose, as every sentence Sacks wrote was the definition of fascinating? For some reason, what popped into my mind was his essay, “Night of the Ginkgo” (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/24/night-ginkgo), in which he explains, “While the leaves of the more modern angiosperms—maples, oaks, beeches, what have you—are shed over a period of weeks after turning dry and brown, the ginkgo, a gymnosperm, drops its leaves all at once.”

While the ginkgo jettisons every leaf in a single evening, the date varies from year to year. So, in the next few weeks, we will discover which November day the ginkgo decides to shed its fan-shaped leaves in preparation for the winter slumber and the restorative spring to come.

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Oct 25, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

I've learned that there is light beyond the 'mainstream' tribal campfire. That the wolves can be friendly, that we can generate our own light in an even bigger, less fearful circle. That you can engage with the stars when you step outside the circle, that the heavens await our vision ... there IS light beyond the campfire that otherwise blinds us to that which is bigger ... as long as you don't get tied to the stake and thrown into it.

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Excellent! Thanks Hatchy

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Oct 25, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

Great idea! I love learning and have had to learn to allow myself "the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind" which is a quote from Maria Popova. I'm hoping this helps me update regularly.

New information is such a joy and challenge, which might explain why discovering your work and your newsletter was the highlight of this rather strange time.

As for teaching you something cool... I'm a classically trained musician (voice and piano), and to embark on folk and contemporary music especially songwriting took some adjustment away from my reliance on the written manuscript was very difficult. I am now teaching myself mandolin without writing anything down, and loving it.

I've also taken up blues harp, ceramics and oil painting (not so hard as my training is in graphic design). Now I'm wondering how to enter the world of statistics - at least to bring up my general knowledge of it to a level where I can benefit more from all your work.

I can highly recommend a musical instrument if you don't already play one. The blues harp is intuitive and fun. You need a wilderness and a dark night alone to get into it.

Thanks Mathew.

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I have played piano and guitar off and on, but unfortunately too little in childhood to have the time to become expert at either.

I love the Maria Popova quote.

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The species of mammalian life in Australia are distinct from the rest of the world because it has been cut off from the land mass for millions of years, so providing distinct evolutionary paths by chance. Yet that random chance has also provided similar (but distinct) mammals from the mainland. Australia shows that Darwin's simple evolutionary theory is inadequate.

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Oct 25, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

I’m so grateful to have found this substack and have it become my first paid subscription. For what it’s worth, even the commentary here are an example of fascinating and curious minds, so 5000 subscribers (congrats!) has exponential value. The ability to have information change your belief system is a painful process, but one I have come to regard as invaluable, and ultimately, an acquired taste. I love following Brian Roemmele on Twitter with his “consider this” tweets of mind blowing proportions. So in that vain, consider the esoteric nature of interbeing: all sentient beings, including the planet itself, possess a consciousness and an intelligence and we are all connected. The trees talk to one another, and to other creatures, including us, if we are listening; every animal, every fungus, every virus, believe it or not, even the kunlangeta, are part of the same ecosystem. Whatever beings visiting from out of space and time are out there, also exist as a piece of the same puzzle. The universe is absolutely fascinating and we are alive during an incredibly exciting time of transformation as humanity hasn’t experienced a collective shift in human consciousness in over 2000 years. All that is happening now is reaching an apex as we evolve into the next human experience. What a time to be alive! In the end, love is the only answer, my brothers and sisters.

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For me, every time I stumble upon something "fascinating" I experience some sort of minor reset of my brain. It is tantamount to forcing yourself to take a step back and think about things in a manner that you previously prevented yourself from thinking.

It is usually the small series of "fascinations" that drives me to become a more rational, more caring and more circumspective person. All to often you sit in your invisible mental cage, pecking on the cage bars and wondering how to get out, when you realize that it has largely been you yourself who actually built that cage.

Speaking of cages, a very cool and (at least for me) very fascinating discovery has been the superstitious behavior of pigeons: https://psych.hanover.edu/classes/Learning/papers/Skinner%20Superstion%20(1948%20orig).pdf

In short, pigeons were presented with food every once in a while but in a deterministic pattern. Pigeons that happened to perform some random movement at the first few times of food presentation repeated that random movement hoping that it would elicit repeated food presentation. However, while the food presentation (reinforcement) did indeed repeat, its cause was entirely de-coupled from the movement of the pigeon (response). Nevertheless, the majority of pigeons elevated the response to ritual performances, apparently truly believing that their ritual had influence on the food presentation.

B.F. Skinner, the notorious psychologist smacks the reader right in the face, placing the most noteworthy sentence of the whole paper at the very beginning: "To say that a reinforcement is contingent upon a response may mean nothing more than that it follows the response."

The last 19 months, all of a sudden everyone and their dog began staring at numbers, graphs, percentages, efficacy numbers, incidences, R-values, hospitalization quotes. Any everyone began looking for patterns, coincidences and anecdotal evidence in his mental perimeter trying to tie reinforcements with the trained responses to this pandemic mess. Most did not realize that the unfolding of events was more likely than not completely detached from whatever the general public was doing or has been told to do.

A sad consequence may be that quite a high percentage of whatever ordinary people believe should be done right now is most likely just ritualized superstition.

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The origins of Halloween from the inimitable Randall Carlson: https://youtu.be/75hVrv392BY

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Oct 26, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

Having studied just enough Asian culture to count to 100 in Japanese and Chinese, it occured to me that the reason western children don't learn math well is that going beyond ten introduces different bases, is based in different languages, and reverses the linguistic structure (and therefore neural associations), thus creating multiple obstacles to numeracy.

Kids quickly and proudly learn to count to 10, with the help of fingers and toes, but that is where the fun ends. In the books I wrote on the subject (unpublished, alas) I point out the initial problem in counting, that because we do not start with zero, ten is imagined to be like other numbers, which up to that point are all numerals. Ten, in fact, is a two digit number, one ten, and zero ones. WIthout teaching children zero, and zero through nine as both numerals and numbers, we create the first obstacle.

In Asian languages, counting after ten is simple, ten plus one, ten plus two, etc, but in English, we take 11 and 12 from the French (THE FRENCH!), who must have had six fingers at some point, and decided that base 12 was how to roll. (Hmmm, roll, maybe it was dice oriented...?) Anyway, eleven and twelve are completely meaningless words with no clear association to ten plus one and ten plus two.

When we move into the teens (those troubling teens) we see that the ordinal pattern of ALL numbers (largest power of tens digit first), is reversed! Say 4,444.

Now try 14. Four Teen, it's BACKWARDS!

If your poor child makes it past twelve, they are now learning to state the one's digit before the ten's digit, essentially entraining in counting backward, Things go forward again as soon as they past 20, and stay that way, assuming they make it that far. But by then, they are suspicious.

If you do make it that far, you will then be taught to replace cardinal numbers with abstract and ordinal numbers. What in Asian counting is two-ten-one, or three-ten-one, is, in English, twin-(two of a kind)-ten-one or third-(ordinal three)-ten-one. These flummoxes correct with forty, the root of which, like the rest, is both cardinal and ordinal.

This takes me back to my main structural issue with ten. Ten is not a numeral, nor a digit, and based on the rest of tens series names (twenTee, thirTee, forTee, fifTee), none of which include ten, the word ten should be eliminated and replaced with Tee.

Ten, as it stands, is the expression of ONE TEE and Zero Ones. Similarly, TwoTee, and ThreeTee would precede Forty, Fifty, Sixty, etc. As with Asian languages, we should count 11 as onety-one, 12 as onety-two, 13 as onety-three, etc. This structural and linguistic alignment could revolutionize early numeracy, if parents were taught to teach their children things they never learned...

I used this method to teach my daughter, and other than having to battle with the existing system at school, it helped here quite a bit.

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Thank you, Mathew, I don’t think I always fully understand what you are writing, but it has been a pleasure nevertheless 😄

Something cool that I can teach you is that it is possible to have your spirit purified. And stronger still, the pandemium as you call it, is caused by the innumerable impurities covering our spirit. I highly recommend booking a time to have your spirit purified. You will find the necessary details when you click on my profile picture, I guess, but I am not sure, I’ve just published my first post on Substack last week 😄

This has been my journey for the past more than 30 years. It never ceases to amaze me.

We were meant to raise to the level of Divine Spirits in a physical body. As our spiritual level rises with the increasing purification of our spirit, we are allowed deeper and deeper understanding of (ultimate) reality.

In the next 40 years this process will get completed and even the ultimate Divine Art, creation, materialization to the physical realm from nothingness, from spirit, may be possible for human beings with a Divine Soul within by that time 😄

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I watched a video a bit back that talked about how oak trees manage their acorn production. 2 or 3 years ago in the fall, I remember that there was just an ungodly amount of acorns falling all around (I live in a fairly densely wooded area and neighborhood). It was almost constant at all hours of the day every couple seconds for almost a week. Apparently in an attempt to increase the chances of acorns germinating into new oak trees, they have evolved in such a way that every certain number of years all of the oak trees in a region will produce a massive amount of acorns. People studying it haven't figured out exactly what triggers these "mast years", but they believe it to be done in a way that there are just so many acorns going around that the animals which feed on them can't possibly eat them all and will often bury them and forget, thus bringing about a new generation of trees.

I believe this year may have been one of those years as well, but not to quite the extent that it was several years ago. It was unbelievable how many there were that year.

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That's interesting. Isn't there a theory that some trees and plants may coordinate their actions by communicating through a network of underground fungi?

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OK you asked for it- and thanks for asking! The "Carbon only" picture of climate change is so oversimplified as to be useless in many ways. Just how does extra CO2 in the atmosphere make droughts and floods more intense? It is well established that water vapor: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/climatescience/climatesciencenarratives/its-water-vapor-not-the-co2.html -is by far the most important greenhouse gas and that- going back to the '80's- was not studied in reference to climate because it was too big/ubiquitous and considered too complicated to measure- unlike CO2.

In our agriculture, grazing and development decisions we make the land hotter, drier and less able to turn the sun's energy into a cooling photosynthetic cycle thus moving that incoming solar energy toward large scale high pressure conditions 9the heat island effect writ large) hat repel low pressure cooling rains. A few resources may say it a lot better: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/climatescience/climatesciencenarratives/its-water-vapor-not-the-co2.html And: https://soilcarboncoalition.org/walter-jehne-water/ Much of this work is included in the umbrella of the Biotic Pump theory: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228528788_The_Biotic_Pump_Condensation_atmospheric_dynamics_and_climate Enjoy.

Dale Hendricks

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The total amount of water on Earth is shockingly small. We all know that over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. We also know how hard it is to explore the deep parts parts of the oceans, because they're so deep. It's easy to assume without thinking that Earth contains an ungodly amount of water. But the deepest point in any of the oceans is still only about 7 miles down. The Earth's radius, by contrast, is almost 4000 miles.

All of Earth's water would fit inside a sphere with a diameter of 860 miles. That's a volume 332.5 * 10^6 cubic miles. (Source: https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/all-earths-water-a-single-sphere ). Compare that to Earth's volume of about 260 * 10^9 cubic miles. (Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=volume+of+the+earth+in+cubic+miles ).

That mean's that Earth's volume is around 0.12% water. Maybe that still isn't concrete for you. If the Earth was scaled down to have a 12 inch diameter (a common size for classroom globes), all of the globe's water would amount to 1.15 cubic inches of water. That's less than 4 teaspoons.

Let's take it one step further, and "paint" the 12" classroom globe with that water. How deep would it be? That water "shell" would only be about 2.5566 * 10^-3 inches thick. That's about 65 microns -- similar to the thickness of a human hair.

Just for fun, the Python code I used: https://pastebin.com/4gNydrvz

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Whoops. In the Python code I forgot to multiply by 100 to get the water ratio as a percentage. The 0.12% above is correct, and the ratio is used correctly in the Python (other than that one line).

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I reckon there is nothing cooler, nor more existentially significant, than the clash of worldviews between academic modernism and conservative traditionalism. This is not merely a matter of politics (blue versus red) rather it goes to the heart of how we individually and collectively make sense of the world. Details matter however we can simplify into this question: Do you believe in facts, scientism and organizations of experts or do you subscribe to traditional values of family, patriotism and faith in something higher than human knowledge?

I believe we are at a unique moment in history (aren't they all?) because for the first time we know enough about our biology and the workings of the human brain that it has become clear that our minds do not operate using facts, logic and reason – but instead our neural systems operate in the moment. The blue tribe narrative that education is taking us to a higher state of being is no longer tenable.

We can now see that groups of humans, including those in academia, are not increasingly smart but instead are beholden to what I term "tribal banners." For instance, either you believe in vaccines or you are an anti-science, anti-society heretic. This logic, characteristic of the blue tribe, has become unmistakably religious.

Science cannot be disentangled from our need to believe in something and the inherent "goal directed" characteristic of our neural systems. We can see how instant tribalism is a result of how our neural systems work. The increasing knowledge of genetics, biochemistry and evolution makes this conclusion irrefutable. Actually, the matter is broader, taking into account the transformative powers of digital communications, and is resulting in the growing together of disciplines (aka "consilience"). I explain the details in my book with the ironic title, "How to Understand Everything.

I'd be happy to explain more about consilience and how it relate to vaccines, IVM, Trump, the web etc etc.

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I would be curious to know what you think of this article. It's one of the first things that came to mind when the pandemic first started becoming a thing and the lockdowns and all that. What's disturbing to me is how very close it is to what actually is happening:


There was endless talk about the idea of Patient Zero at the very beginning of CoVid and yet people insist that we're beyond such things.

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All the corruption and gaslighting going about covid is a refinement of a communication and cognitive warfare strategy first used during the AIDS crisis, with some of the same players in key positions. Its a delightful and deep rabbit hole to go into: http://www.virusmyth.com/

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A man in Romania named Anil Nadu Kostovitz was a pioneer in the longevity movement and helped coordinate thousands of scientists. He found that low dose novocaine extended life. His work along with Kholansky's work on the bio-energetics of cells is largely unknown except in certain weirdo health circles but they are quite important as all cells give off light and diseased tissue gives off different frequencies and light than others. Ilia Stambler goes more into this in his history of the life extension movement.

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