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The Whippet #93: Stay for the blood plastic!

McKinley Valentine — 6 min read

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In lieu of an introduction, here is a 13-second video of a chicken jumping up to pluck an apple off a tree.

In These Unprecedented Times, some of us are the chicken setting and achieving wild goals for itself, and some of us are the newsletter-writers unable to put together their usual proper newsletter.

Book review, for some reason

I recently read The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters - which I recommend if the premise sounds interesting to you. An asteroid is coming towards earth, absolutely going to kill everyone without a doubt, some people move back home with their families, some people go on bucket list holidays, some people stay at work because, well, you still gotta pay rent - unless you're lucky and your landlord's gone bucket-listing and doesn't care anymore. It's not like The Purge - some supply chains have broken down, but lots are still in place. Mostly people keep going about their days, but they don't exactly whole-ass their jobs anymore.

Given all of that, if you were a detective, would you bother investigating a murder? When everyone's gonna be dead soon anyway? Does stuff still have a meaning if it doesn't have an impact?

It's a great book!

Anyway, one tiny aspect of it is he starts to sort of collect how everyone euphemistically refers to the coming asteroid/destruction. Like the diner, "sorry, we're out of bacon, what with all this craziness". These Unprecedented Times. All This Craziness. The Whole Asteroid Situation.

That bit (as well as the mix of life-as-usual and life-really-not-as-usual) is really reminiscent of now-times.

Your mood is less about how you feel internally, and more about how the world looks to you

Basically, if you're in a grouchy mood, the experience isn't necessarily one of "feeling grouchy". It's more that people and the environment does a lot more annoying things than usual.

I used 'how the world looks to you' but when it's happening to you it doesn't feel like a perception, it feels like reality. "Everything's going wrong today". Sometimes lots of things do go wrong on the same day of course (I think this is not coincidence, but because we make more careless errors and miscommunications when we're tired and stressed). But also some things don't register as obstacles or annoyances when you're in a great mood.

I've noticed when I'm in an excellent mood, everyone I see seems really beautiful to me. I just like their faces.

So: you don't learn about yourself by looking inward. You learn about yourself by looking at how others' look to you, and tracking and comparing that.

This idea is discussed with more examples in this article, although it's something I've thought about before.

🚨🚨🚨 Speculation territory 🚨🚨🚨

I have this theory that people who go through PMS are more likely to develop emotional self-awareness because you have this repeated, predictable experience of seeing how the world becomes better or worse and you have direct experience of it being a hormonal fluctuation. If you're really teary, you'll just be like "oh, this" and wait a couple days for it to go away on its own.

Whereas people who don't menstruate, they have hormonal cycles too, but they don't have a clear way of tracking when they are. And since being in a bad mood doesn't feel like a bad mood, it feels like the world is bad, they haven't had this decades-long training in seeing how external reality is shaped by different moods.

You can learn emotional self-awareness in lots of ways, but it's always easier to learn things if you have data to track.

Repeating again that this is just speculation. There are a few studies that seem to suggest men are more likely to externalise feelings - to interpret their own feelings as reality, as coming from an outside source, rather than coming from within themselves. For example, thinking that if they feel angry, then the person they are angry at did something deliberately in an attempt to anger them. Or incorrectly gauging women they find more attractive as more interested in them - i.e. interpreting their own feelings of attraction as coming from an external source.

But I think these things are hard to study well and so I would take them with a grain of salt. And I would expect that to be mostly coming from culture and parenting rather than lack of PMS. Even I think in studies of trans men, it would be hard to separate out the effects of cultural pressure to do perceived-masculine stuff.

⚖️⚖️⚖️ Back to the cold hard facts ⚖️⚖️⚖️

Testosterone not actually linked to aggression or libido

I came across this article - Testosterone is widely and sometimes wildly misunderstood - and it's fascinating but it's basically what it says in the title. But that will give you the best overview and links to sources.

It seems to be culture. Women who believed they had been given testosterone — whether or not they had — bargained much more aggressively in the research situation they were given.

This link is on sex drive - men with very (unhealthily) low testosterone do have a lower sex drive, but once you're in the healthy range, there is a huge amount of variability that doesn't correlate at all. (Like how an iron deficiency will make you low-energy, but you won't become ultra high-energy by taking iron supplements if you were already in the healthy range.)

Plastic made from 100% pressed blood

"This plastic material is made from 100 per cent dried and pressed cow’s blood, without any additives. Animal blood is a waste material from the meat industry." Made by designer Basse Stittgen.

via Material District, which includes info on its material properties, e.g. glossiness, acoustics, scratch resistance, etc.

If you like materials/design stuff, follow them on twitter.

could not find source I'm sorry!

Unsolicited Advice

Overreacting vs under-reacting vs being proactive

How can you tell if someone is overreacting? Well, first you would have to have a pretty robust and evidence-based understanding of both the situation itself and the best way to respond to it. Then once you knew the correct mount of reaction, you would be able to use that as a gauge for whether someone else was going too far over or under.

If you don't know all that, then you cannot know if someone is overreacting or under-reacting or just reacting.

You are just saying "my reaction is the right amount, based on gut feeling, and everyone else's gut feeling is off-base."

Secondly, being proactive is about taking action before something happens, instead of after (after = reaction). So being proactive will sort of always look like an overreaction, because it's a reaction to something that hasn't even happened yet.

But we all generally agree that being proactive is good, yeah?

I know it seems like I'm subtweeting coronavirus, and I am, but I am also talking about in general our tendency to think we know what the correct amount of emotional response to a situation should be, even when we don't know many of the details.

Things are pretty weird huh!

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