• Life

    How To Lose a Friend On Facebook In 3 Easy Steps

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    How To Lose a Friend On Facebook In 3 Easy Steps

    So we all have that flaky friend on Facebook. I have several. Probably you do, too. I have one in particular, who posts all kinds of crazy things. Some of it amounts to newage (actually a lot of it), and some of it is stuff that a single google search will take care of. I ignore a lot of the first kind of post, because there’s probably nothing I can do other than roll my eyes, and because I have indications that she’s had a rough time at various points in her life and she can take solace wherever she likes. I’d prefer she take solace in the people around her instead of conspiracy theories and so called spiritualism, but some changes are harder to make.

    It’s the second thing that I find easier to deal with, and while I let a lot of it go by, I do google something for a lot of them and post an article or two to point out what’s really available.

    Sunday, things took a more dramatic turn, when she posted this:

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    The usual, as far as I could tell. An article about how eating cannabis extract oil (hash oil) cures not just Cancer, but Arthritis, Crohn’s, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s, among other things. The author contends that “There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of scientific studies showing that cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as whole plant formulations, are effective against nearly any disease you can think of.” He offers a place to click for that “incredibly extensive list” but there’s no hyperlink. I do wonder if he’s referring to the large amount of science done backing up marijuana as a pain management medicine, but that’s something entirely different from a cure for anything.

    Read the article a little further, you’ll find out he’s apparently been giving it away to people for years with incredible results, there’s a conspiracy to keep people from finding out about how awesome it is, and he’s produced his own documentary to explain the benefits and the conspiracy.

    After a little reading at a few more reliable sources, I picked my favourite, a quick article from the Canadian Cancer Society that addresses the curing cancer claim. It boils down to how there’s no reliable evidence that cannabis/hemp/hash oil can treat/cure cancer, but that some cannabis extracts and synthetic THC are effective and licensed for pain management and relief of nausea from cancer treatments. They have a separate page on medical use of marijuana, still talking about pain/symptom management, not a cure.

    So I posted this:

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    Now, I’ve since gone back and read a lot more on the subject and the article’s author, and in a variety of places, and there doesn’t seem to be a direct indication that he’s selling it, so I’m fine with being wrong about that.

    So, business as usual, as far as I was concerned, and expecting that my raised eyebrow would come through with her as it always has before. And yet…

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    Um, wow. We went from lmfao to finding out I’ve lost my heart and soul in under a minute. “You people”… and other less veiled insults. Not good. Try to get back on track:

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    Okay, so I should have specified which ‘your’ I wanted to correct, and maybe it was the wrong time for the grammar nerd to be raising his head, but I was looking for ways to bring her up short and didn’t manage to stop myself. I could have gone back and edited, but chose not to.

    Still, there were a lot of exclamation marks in place of the missing question mark, so I picked blunt for my response.

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    I’ve made this point with her before, usually in a more joking manner, but it seemed like she was deliberately trying to goad me here. Maybe, I thought, it was time to put the card actually on the table.

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    Or maybe not.

    I haven’t yet denied that weed might help people. As I’ve said, there’s a lot of science that indicates it assists with pain and nausea management. Cure? Not so much. The winky face gave me pause with last comment, at odds with the rest of the string. Let’s lay out another card or two to completely express my real argument.

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    Typo for me! But it’s not “tonne”—that’s the Canadian spelling.

    Am I being unreasonable in my expectations? Evolution has given us some pretty good tools for the most part. Why sacrifice them because we want to believe something? Shouldn’t we figure out if it’s real or not?

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    No, I’m not. But apparently I’ve derailed the argument. At this point, I’m a little bewildered, wondering how I got sucked into an argument that wasn’t. Where did I go wrong? Probably in responding in the first place.

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    And another typo. What I get for trying to get the words out quickly on a touch screen, I suppose.

    But the response this time was silence. I didn’t know if I’d actually made her angry enough to walk away from the computer or it was dinner time at the house on the other end of the “conversation”. As far as I can tell, she wasn’t even on Facebook for the rest of the day.

    The silence continued until late yesterday afternoon after I finished the draft of this post. An apology along the lines of “I wasn’t being serious and you couldn’t hear me laughing. Hope I didn’t offend you.”

    I’m not offended or upset—the first is difficult at a personal level, and the second I try to save for special occasions—though I think I did push things harder than I might have once or twice and that bothers me a bit. Maybe the thing is that it’s not actually my job to point this stuff out.

    Except I feel it should be. In fact, I feel it should be everyone’s job. Like I said, evolution has given us some pretty awesome senses and quite a large number of brain cells. We owe it to ourselves, and to the people around us, to look at the world, and particularly the things in front of us, critically with the benefit of those. Blind acceptance of things just because we want them to be true doesn’t help anyone, least of all ourselves, and it’s worse when we decide other people should blindly accept those things too.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life,  Philosophy

    Introducing the ERQ

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    The ERQ

    There are times I just have to walk away from Facebook. Last night was one of those times.

    I mostly like Facebook, really. Yes, I know that I’m the commodity as far as they’re concerned, but it’s become an important point of social contact. People find each other on Facebook and get to stay peripherally part of each other’s lives when they would naturally have drifted apart and never heard from each other again in a pre-internet era. You can decide if that’s a bad thing or not. Overall, I like it.

    The problem I usually have with Facebook (when I have a problem with Facebook), as all the crackpot, idiotic, stupid bullshit people not only believe in the privacy of their own skulls, but now can post for other people to believe or plaster all over other people’s news feeds in an effort to make them believe it.

    My current profile picture on FB is this:

    Demand evidence and think critically

    That probably tells you something about me. What it should tell you is that I believe everyone has a brain of some sort and should use it to the best of their ability. People should think for themselves and not just believe what they’re told. Demand evidence. Think critically. These are two very important things.

    But most people don’t do either. I’m sorry. Don’t be offended, but in my experience, it’s true. Conduct your own experiment.

    And start it this way: go through your Facebook news feed and see how many ridiculous things people in your friends list have posted in the past 24 hours.

    Ignore the jokes and memes and “what I had for lunch” status updates and pictures of cats. Well, go ahead and look at the cats. They’re pretty cute, mostly.  Even Grumpy Cat.

    Instead, tally posts that spout conspiracy theories, new age pronouncements, natural remedies completely unsupported by any science or evidence, urban legends, virtual chain letters, and hoaxes that have been floating around long enough that they’re obviously hoaxes. Depending on your religious persuasion, you may or may not leave out the religious pronouncements, if you like, unless they fall under some other category. I include them.

    Sorry. I realize I’m asking you to do a little work here, having a look at your entire feed, comments included, for a 24 hour period, but it’s a worthwhile experiment. Trust me.

    Count comments friends of friends have made on your friends’ posts. This might serve to inflate things a bit if you have a friend or two who attracts the flakier crowd, but it will give you a better representation of what you’re seeing. You’ll need to open up the comments list on posts with more than a couple.

    Don’t count things on pages you’ve subscribed to. Most people don’t read more than a couple of those on the posts they really love and none at all on the rest unless Facebook draws their attention to them.

    Got your number yet? Okay, now divide this number by the number of friends you have on Facebook. The resulting number is your current ERQ. Eye Roll Quotient.

    I’ve just conducted this experiment myself, rolling my timeline back to as close to exactly twenty-four hours ago as I can. My current ERQ is 0.0892, which is actually better than I thought it would be, considering I had to step away from the Internet. Then I think about the handful of people I’ve hidden because I’ve gotten tired of the conspiracy theories, new age and/or religious pronouncements, natural remedies completely unsupported by any science or evidence, urban legends, virtual chain letters, and hoaxes that have been floating around long enough that they’re obviously hoaxes.

    So, 0.0892. Sounds like a nice small number, right? What it means is that out of every hundred (non-page) posts in my news feed, Nine of them have at least a comment attached by someone who hasn’t demanded evidence or taken the time to think about what they’re about to post/comment.

    Lower is better. It should, for most people, be a small fraction. If it’s a big fraction, and especially if it’s more than 1, you’re probably in trouble. Or maybe should look around a bit and figure out what universe you’re in.

    Be well, everyone.

    Also keep your eyes and minds open.

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