Psychology

14edo: when seven notes are not enough

What is 14edo? Western music is based on a seven-note octave. The eighth note is the note where the next octave begins. In between there are five “half-tones”. In fact twelve tones.

Octaves

Physically speaking, a note one octave higher is a sound wave that is twice as short. So a tone of 300 Hz (vibrations per second) sounds an octave higher than a tone of 150 Hz.

The 'primal scale' is the pentatonic scale. This occurs all over the world. There are minor and major octaves.

14edo

However, this is just a small selection of the enormous choice we have in alternative scales. Because, why not, for example, a note between C and C# (cis)? Or a scale with 14 (14edo) or 20 (20edo) notes?

A standard keyboard is not suitable for playing these compositions. The mathematician and composer Elaine Walker therefore developed keyboards with different pitch distances.

Elaine Walker with one of her vertical keyboards. This allows her to explore 14edo and other scales. Source: crop from ziaspace.com

The core of creativity is to see “buttons” with which you can change things. Such as the self-evidence, with which we start from the western octave. Walker turned the previously unthinkable knob. Namely the button, how we divide an octave into pieces. With this discovery, Walker opened up a world of new, groundbreaking music.

Below is a piece by the composer, based on an octave of 14 notes.

Elaine Walker had been locked up at home because of the Covid-19 epidemic. A disaster for many, but an opportunity for Walker to finally be able to work calmly. She therefore indulged herself in exotic music that, unlike atonal music, has mathematical regularity. That is why it sounds quite pleasant to the ears.

This 14edo music is slightly more cheerful.

Which of course raises questions. Like, can we teach humans to enjoy alternative tonal scales? And also, what kind of music would other animals like? Or aliens? And also, how does music interact with our brain?

More remarkable compositions on her website ZIAspace.

Dream world: speaking with dreaming people now possible

The dream world has been the place where everything is possible for centuries. Now speaking with dreaming people is also possible. Even at a pretty high level.

Dream World: enigmatic, inaccessible and fleeting

Dreams take us to another reality, a world of hallucinations that feels as real as any waking experience. These often bizarre episodes are characteristic of human sleep, but are still an unexplained phenomenon. We are a little further than Plato, who in his famous parable assumed that we are living in a dream, but much is still unexplained. Which makes this “inner voyage” all the more fascinating. For the first time, researchers have entered a previously unknown domain.

Eyewitness account from lucid dream

Until now, dream research relied mainly on witness reports from dreaming people. Dream memories fade quickly, within minutes of waking up. our conscious mind also distorts the dream. In this groundbreaking study, subjects were able to answer questions from the study leaders. The test subjects were present in a lucid dream. Lucid dreams are a special type of dreams in which the dreamer is aware of the fact that she is dreaming during the dream. Fellow writer Niek has studied it and regularly dreams lucidly. Here are tips for learning how to dream lucidly yourself.

In the dream world, our brain often makes fun of reality. Source: Pixabay / Kellepics

Questioning about the dream world during REM sleep

We know from previous research that people dream during so-called REM sleep. Brainwaves show an activity that is very similar to the waking state and the eyes make 'Rapid Eye Movements' (REM). The experiments took place in 36 lucid dreaming subjects who were determined by brainwave measurement that they were in REM sleep. During this sleep, they analyzed new information as an awake person would, they memorized information in their working memory, calculated simple answers, and gave voluntary answers. These findings were made by four independent research groups. In short: for the first time, it is now possible to actually communicate with people who are dreaming, and to hear firsthand from them how they experience their dream world. Can we now start exploring the hidden world in which we each spend hours each night? More details in the resource, which is publicly available.

Source

Karen R. Konkoli et al., Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep, Current Biology, 2021, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.01.026

Life after death as a chatbot, ethical dilemmas

Will there be life after death after all? Microsoft has applied for a patent on the idea of an afterlife as a chatbot.

The two protagonists. Is a life after death as a chatbot ethically acceptable? Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Be_Right_Back.jpg (Fair Use)

In the episode Be Right Back from the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror, exactly this idea emerges. A woman's dead boyfriend is digitally “brought to life” again. By using her memories of him, and the photos and conversations left behind, to fabricate a realistic look-alike robot of her ex. Of course, in Black Mirror style, this also ends badly.

Brought back to life using an algorithm

In its patent [1], Microsoft focuses on an initially, more modest goal. A chatbot, fed with all the knowledge and memories of the deceased. The idea is not new. Two years after the broadcast of the first episode of Black Mirror, a number of Russians worked on the development of a chatbot to bring their friend who was killed in a collision back to life. [2]

Is an afterlife ethical as a chatbot?

As is often the case with artificial intelligence, ethical issues come into play here too. To begin with, is it ethical to use private conversations of a deceased person as a grief counseling? Are you not violating that person? And in the slightly more distant future, as artificial intelligence keeps getting better, is there still a distinction between a chatbot and a real person? Is it murder to delete the chatbot? And how ethical is it to give a survivor false hope? To make her or him like something that is nothing more than a computer program? Or are we no more than a computer program?

And the question that burns us all on the lips: is Microsoft Windows' infamous Blue Screen of Death getting a second meaning? Because Microsoft is known for its abundant production of vaporware. Questions and more questions.

Sources
1. Creating a Conversational Chat Bot Of A Specific Person, US Patent Office, 2020
2. Speak, Memory - Casey Newton in The Verge, 2015
3. After You Die, Microsoft Wants to Resurrect You as a Chatbot, Popular Mechanics, 2021

Should the Pill of Drion be on everyone's nightstand?

Member of Parliament Pia Dijkstra of the D66 party comes with a proposal to improve the sustainability of public finances. Give anyone over 75 a suicide pill, the Drion pill. Is this a good plan?

What is the Pill of Drion?
In 1991, legal scholar Huib Drion (1917-2004) proposed in an opinion article [1] that a suicide pill should be made available to all elderly people over 75 years old who requested it. This pill had to consist of two preparations: pill A and pill B. Only the combination of these two preparations would have a lethal effect. Preparation B should then be taken a few days after preparation A to allow the suicide to reconsider. This idea caused quite a stir and became the proverbial Pill of Drion.

Bill Completed Life in broad outlines

  • To be eligible, someone must be 75 or older;

  • These are people who do not qualify for euthanasia, but who do consider their lives complete;

  • These people first have a conversation with an end-of-life counselor;

  • There must be at least two meetings with the end-of-life counselor and there must be at least two months in between;

  • The end-of-life counselor is a doctor, nurse or psychiatrist who has completed a special head study to become an end-of-life counselor;

  • The life counselor must check whether the death wish is authentic and consistent, and whether other solutions are possible;

  • If the end-of-life counselor agrees, a date of death will be agreed;

  • The end-of-life counselor collects the lethal substance from the pharmacy, keeps it at home, administers it on the agreed date, stays with it until the client is dead and returns any remainder to the pharmacy;

  • An assessment committee checks whether everything has gone according to the rules. [4]

Benefits of Drion Pill
Proponents of the Pill of Drion cite arguments such as: if an elder feels that his life is no longer meaningful, he should be able to end his life in a painless way, because suicide is a human right.

Is being able to end your life voluntarily a human right?
Source: Adapted

Unspoken arguments are, for example: the elderly are expensive. They don't work, they eat our pension pot, make disproportionate demands on healthcare and to make matters worse, they exacerbate the housing shortage and vote more often than average for populist parties. They poison young, impressionable people with “wrong” ideas such as nationalism, religion and traditional festivals. Every year of life of an elderly person costs society tens of thousands of euros in pension and care, which can be more usefully spent on, for example, redundancy schemes for politicians and contributions to the European Union. Suppose that every older person over the age of 75 took the Pill of Drion, that would mean 1.4 million fewer AOW benefits, hundreds of thousands of empty houses and, if every older person over 65 took this pill, half the health care costs [2 ]. And think of the inheritance tax. Enough to keep even the most insane election promises and to spice up the European Union. At least, for a while. It is also remarkable that the discussion about the Pill of Drion flares up especially in times of economic hardship. For example, in 1991 the Dutch economy showed signs of cooling down and in 1993 there was a slight dip.

Some proponents, such as [3], the D66 proposal does not go far enough. They want everyone to have access to this “miracle pill”, including people under 75. Can Drion's “humane” Pill save our public finances?

Disadvantages of Drion's Pill
The main drawback of the Pill of Drion is that it makes it so much easier to kill without leaving a trace. A murder with this suicide pill can then seem like a suicide by a murderer. A forensic anatomist cannot distinguish between murder and suicide. Also, spreading deadly poisons among the population means that murder weapons are always close by. Every drink can contain a deadly poison. Not a pleasant thought.
In the D66 proposal, this disadvantage has been overcome by placing the professional “end-of-life counselor” as an independent third party. This makes the job more difficult for killers. However, murders by “end-of-life counselors” and psychological murders, in which wealthy older people are told that their lives are over and it is okay if they die, remain possible.

A second drawback is the drawback of euthanasia in general. It is a great violation of the dignity of human life.

Why do the elderly want to die?
A healthy person enjoys life. This also applies to almost all healthy elderly people. Reasons for no longer wanting to live for healthy elderly people are a feeling of loneliness, hopelessness or uselessness. As with young people, loneliness is a major problem among the elderly. We humans are a social animal species and contacts with young people are very important for the elderly. The elderly are the living memory of humanity and also ensure the transfer of culture. It is true that a transfer of culture that is in conflict with the “makeable society” so beloved by D66, but still: a transfer of culture.

Conclusion: the Pill of Drion is an unfortunate idea. There are plenty of useful things healthy seniors can do when they feel useless. The late Drion himself has also done many useful things after his retirement. Instead of glorifying death and seeing the elderly as a burden, we need to develop medical devices and medicines that help older people stay healthy longer (preferably: stop or reverse the aging process) and involve them more in society. There are reasons why older people are less involved with fashionable theories. Often, not always, these are very good reasons. Their life-based criticism can help put things in perspective and develop better concepts.

Sources
1. H. Drion, The Self-Willed End of Older People, NRC Handelsblad, 1991
2. People over 65 make half of all healthcare costs, Vectis.nl, 2018
3. 'Make the Drion pill available to everyone', John Jansen van Galen, Het Parool, 2020
4. Completed Life Bill, EO Explainer, 2020

Why we must unconditionally protect freedom of speech

Is a cartoon worth a human life? At first glance you would say no. However, appearances are deceptive here: not only our freedom, but also the survival of the human species benefits from integrity in thinking, and in this respect from absolute freedom of expression.

Humans and humanity as information processors
Evolution is basically information processing. Evolution is the product of the confrontation of our genotype (the DNA blueprint in our genes) and the resulting phenotype (our bodies) with the natural environment (including other organisms). In billions of years of evolution, the genotype of our species has expanded and adapted until we have grown from two single strands of bacterial and archaeal DNA housed in a simple cell into a complex multicellular organism capable of solving the mysteries of life. to unravel space and time.

This process took place only through the endless exposure of our genome to ever-changing challenges. Our ancestors have survived global disasters such as a catastrophic asteroid impact, a gamma-ray burst, and what may have been a massive volcano eruption. Each disaster has usually selected the toughest survivors. The catastrophic disaster at the end of the Permian 252 million years ago, with more than ninety percent of the species on Earth perishing, paved the way for the ancestor of the dinosaurs (and thus birds), the Chicxulub weft for groups of mammals including the primates, our group.

Some subtler cartoons by Charlie Hebdo wittily portray the supposed inventor of Islam, the merchant Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Source / Copyright: Charlie Hebdo Magazine

Technical and cultural evolution
Economic, social and cultural competition is subject to similar evolutionary pressures. The “DNA” of a bicycle, for example, is the CAD construction drawings, specifications and assembly manuals of the various parts and the entire construction, and the mental blueprint in the brains of bicycle repairers, where the phenotype is the bicycle itself. A beautiful, strong and pleasantly driving bicycle is sold more often, so that the manufacturer can further develop the bicycle and other bicycle manufacturers take over elements. The same mechanism also occurs with cultural elements such as language, ideologies and religion. A religion that is more successful at converting people and preserving the faith is ahead of those that discourage or prohibit conversion, or have too weak a grip on the minds of their adherents. religions, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, succeed best in this.

Why Do Religions Exist?
Religions stem from the same urge that led to the emergence of science: the need to understand the world around us and the meaning of our existence. Religion arises from the physical and metaphysical ideas of the time when religion originated. These ideas are framed, usually by a founder (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism) or group of founders (Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism) and institutionalized in subsequent years as a result of confrontation with other religions and philosophies. The canon (collection of sacred writings) is established and classes of institutionalized bearers of knowledge of the religion emerge, such as monks, gurus, priests, theologians and ulema. This gives religions an additional evolutionary advantage: full-time professionals whose existence depends on the presence of large numbers of believers who give their tithes. These professionals are constantly inventing new ways to bring in believers, maintain their faith, and prevent apostasy. This explains the caste system among Hindus, the emphasis on repentance as the only way to save people from hell among Christians, and the draconian punishments of Muslims leaving Islam.

Do Religions Have Value?
Religions frame ideas and hinder scientific and metaphysical thinking. In principle, religions thus have a negative influence on human survival. Elements of religions can be exceptionally useful. Think of the protection of the family, interpersonal ethics, the stimulation of abstract thinking and the provision of a metaphysical reality that creates a distance from the observable reality and thus stretches the world of thought.
The over-representation of Jews and, to a lesser extent, Christians among scientific pioneers suggests that these religions contain elements that promote the development of theory, induction and critical scientific thinking. While primitive Judaism is very similar to current Islam, later rabbinical Judaism has a more playful, more equal relationship with the supreme god. Also “lernen”, the emphasis on learning, is very important in contemporary Judaism. As far as scientific knowledge is concerned, this is of course very useful in scientific practice. This also applies to Christianity, which focuses more on the esoteric domain and thus (after the devastating defeats suffered by the Catholic Church against Galileo and the Copernicists, and the Protestant heretics) opposed natural science much less and in some cases even promoted. In short: religions can still have a positive value on balance, depending on the ideas they contain. However, this is more the exception than the rule. This also explains why in distinctly atheistic countries like both China's, the Czech Republic and Japan, the practice of science and technology is at a higher level.

Freedom of speech is higher than religious dogma
The essence of evolution is information processing. Our technical and cultural evolution is in fact an extension and a logical continuation of biological evolution. To give up freedom of speech because a mythical supreme being, or a legendary founder, of a religion might be offended is to halt the evolution of human thought and culture. If a religion is unable to refute ridicule or criticism, then this religion loses out in the war of ideas. Just as it is not permitted in the Netherlands or Belgium to extort consumers, it must also not be permitted to make religious criticism impossible with improper methods. If a religion like Islam is unable to survive without intimidating its critics with murder and manslaughter, then this religion must disappear from the face of the earth for good. Anyone calling to kill critics in order to silence them is an obstacle to the evolution of humanity. They are principals of murder and therefore guilty of murder. They should be treated like terrorists. Humanity is better off without them.

Toxic masculinity or toxic feminism?

The Flemish sociologist and “gender expert” Katrien van der Heyden caused a lot of attention in Flemish media with her statement that toxic masculinity causes a lot of suffering. Is she right about this?

What does Van der Heyden mean by toxic masculinity?
According to Van der Heijden, the prevailing culture, in which men are expected to be breadwinners, strong, tough and successful, leads to a lot of suffering. Men cannot meet this standard and therefore become unhappy. This manifests itself in socially undesirable, “toxic” behavior, such as drug addiction, assault, and the sexual intimidation (or worse) of women. To make matters worse, they withdraw en masse from household tasks. This toxic behavior in turn stems from so-called toxic masculinity, which mainly affects a “growing number of white, angry, scared men”. [1] This behavior is also harmful to the man in question. Consider, for example, ignoring medical complaints (a friend of mine died of stage 4 lung cancer for this reason).

“This toxic masculinity is characterized by alienation and violence, unjustified privilege and power. Alienation is the result of a lifelong education to learn to push emotions away, which means that all kinds of violence seem to be the only answers to many questions. Furthermore, toxic men are blind to their privileges in society and are more likely to feel reverse discriminated against by a social movement that demands equal opportunities for everyone. They realize how society is questioning their power and privileges, but mainly experience impotence themselves in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and economically difficult. ” according to Van der Heijden. [1]

Men are willing to do housework, but paid, as a butler. Source: Pavillion Agency, https://pavillionagency.com/butlers/modern-day-butler

Is this analysis correct?
Northwestern European culture, of which the Belgian and Dutch culture are a part, is characterized by relatively great detachment compared to the human cultural baseline. Putting an arm around a friend, as is normal in Mediterranean, South Asian and African cultures, is easily seen as gay or effeminate. There are in itself good arguments for adjusting this element. Skin hunger is an elementary human need [3], which single men in particular are short of; the embrace is more common among women. Since, thanks in part to the #metoo movement, any form of physical intimacy between men and women is potentially suspect, only the comradeship embrace remains. Or cuddle with a pet, of course. Ignoring medical complaints is not cool, but rather stupid. If symptoms do not go away, you should see a doctor to have the problem resolved.

As with just about everywhere else in the world with a functional society - the Caribbean islands where single mothers take care of the children cannot really be labeled as such - the man is expected to be the main breadwinner. This has logical, practical reasons. Men are physically stronger. They don't get pregnant, which gives them more time to work. There are also emotional reasons. Unlike women, for whom social relationships and children are usually the most satisfying, the feeling of being needed and useful to men is most important to mental well-being. Work is pre-eminently a means for this. Taking work from a man who grew up in a Western culture is therefore a cruel act. Men are extremely goal-oriented [2] and aimlessness feels like a death sentence to the average man.

Crime statistics show the most “Toxic” groups of men not from the group of 'angry white men', by which Van der Heyden probably means the ethnically Flemish man who votes for parties such as Vlaams Belang and N-VA, but from Caribbean and Sunni-Islamic cultures [4]. In these groups, violence is culturally honorable.
The privilege for men, if any, is not very great. This is reflected in, among other things, their lower life expectancy and the overrepresentation of men among marginal groups such as vagrants and addicts.

Toxic feminism
The MGTOW movement and other pro-man activists argue that feminism has gone too far and men are now being heavily exploited, for example through affirmative action and the very one-sided emphasis on women's rights after divorce. There is some truth to this. The life expectancy of low-educated men is stagnating, or even declining, as in the US [6]. Society is increasingly feminized by Van der Heyden's kindred spirits for low-educated men. Talking and consultation rounds are becoming increasingly important. Talking professions already make up the majority of the work. As a result, for many men more and more the fun of their work takes away, where most women love to talk. More and more of their independence, the 'thinking' is taken away and taken over by highly educated managers.

The core problem with feminism is that when women take over a man's duties, there is little left for men. There are also activities in which men are on average better than women, such as professions that require little contact with people, a lot of physical strength, physical courage or focus on one goal. The falling birth rates, now well below the replacement level in Belgium and the Netherlands, also indicate that the working woman is overburdened. The problems are exacerbated as feminist educators impose the anti-authoritarian parenting style. This breeds insecurity in children, which causes them to look for boundaries and thus cause extra stress.

What should be done then?
Men and women both have strengths and weaknesses that are largely innate. When a man is happy to sit at home and look after the children, and a woman to work, they have found a way of living together that makes them happy. Who, then, are others to get involved in? The same also applies to a reverse division of roles. Adult people have to decide for themselves what to do with their lives, if it does not harm others. A better solution is to introduce a so-called educator's wage, to be deducted from the wages of the working partner. This brings legal recognition for the social benefit of raising children. There should also be a tax deduction for people with children, which replaces the single parent allowance. How they then arrange the income and household tasks is up to the family itself.

Since work is an absolute necessity for men, and many women, to feel happy, the priority must be to create meaningful work for the low-skilled. This can be done, for example, by accelerating the energy transition and infrastructural works, resulting in a lot of building and construction work. The Netherlands and to a lesser extent Belgium must prepare for sea level rise.

Violence is taboo in our feminine culture, less so in many other, more masculine cultures. Violence against the weak is a taboo that should in any case remain.

The problem with harassing women is not too much, but too little masculinity. A mentally functioning man has no need to assault women. Instead of turning men into women with a penis, as Van der Heijden wants, it is better to work on more mutual camaraderie and respect for men, so that their self-confidence increases. Sick narcissists, like current US President Donald J. Trump, are the exception, not the rule. These types of men should be treated by a professional. It is not necessary to send half of Belgium and the Netherlands to the feminist social psychiatrist for the sake of individuals whose behavior is strongly disapproved of by most men.

Sources
1. Toxic men is a trend in society that causes a lot of suffering, K. van der Heijden in Knack.be, 2018
2. Men more likely to achieve targets if they set goals, University of Leicester Press Office, 2015
3. Tiffany Field, American Adolescents Touch Each Other Less and Are More Aggressive toward Their Peers as Compared with French Adolescents, Adolescence, 2018
4. NJ Baas, Immigration and Crime in Eight Western European Countries - A literature survey, 1998
5. How many homeless people are there in Belgium?
6. A shocking decline in American life expectancy, The Atlantic, 2017

The Flat Earth: Is the Earth Flat?

Back from long gone: the flat Earth, this time accompanied by the inevitable conspiracy theories.
Youtube filmmaker Vsauce made this amusing video about it.

The Flat Earth Theory

The flat-earth adherents believe that we live on some kind of flat plate with a dome over it. Gravity, the flat-earthers say, is nonsense. (Sir Henry Cavendish, of course, measured gravity between two metal spheres and so g determined also in the plot).

The flat earth, according to believers.

Even the Middle Ages knew better

For thousands of years, since classical Greek times, to be precise Pythagoras, the earth is known to be spherical. With the famous experiment of Erastothenes (he knew the distance between the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Syene, and measured the angle of the shadow in both cities at noon), this Hellenistic astronomer managed to determine the circumference of the earth. Thus, this view was common in the Hellenistic world. Even the Roman Catholic Church, not exactly a beacon of enlightenment, recognized this - think of the papal blessing urbi et orbi, the city and the world. Orbus is also the Latin word for sphere, and de "National apple", which symbolized rulership over the world, was already a fixed attribute of monarchs in Roman times (and also in the Middle Ages).

Far from nature

An interesting question is why there are thousands of supporters of these kinds of theories in the Netherlands alone, while a little common sense and logical thinking can already dismiss the theory as nonsensical. My personal theory is that this is because we humans have become increasingly distant from nature. If you are alone in nature, not surrounded by gadgets, you cannot escape experiencing the laws of nature. Only fewer and fewer people come into contact with nature.

This results in three reactions. The first group, the Makers Movement, is intensively involved in science, technology and experimental research. In this way they regain contact with nature. The second group wants to return to a simpler life and is concerned with permaculture and the like. The third group consists of people who oppose the established order, including the scientific knowledge of nature. The flat-earthers are a prime example of this group.

Psychological Advantages of Flat Earth Theory

The fanatic following of the flat-earth theory is also motivated by the blue-ocean advantage. You don't have to do five years of physics studies plus PhD research to add a measly footnote. For the flat-earth theorist, there is a tremendous amount of experimental evidence ready to be debunked with contrived reasoning. No tensor geometry, differential equations, Hamiltonians and that kind of scary stuff. Appealing to a global conspiracy, with some high school math is enough to be seen by fellow flat earthers as a great thinker.
Furthermore, the flat-earth "theory" requires that you doubt about everything you learned in school and through the media and believe in a global conspiracy. Just about everyone laughs at you, which makes you naturally seek the solidarity of your fellow flat earthers.

For the marketers and sociologists among our readers, there are wise lessons to be learned from this.

Crowd security: the answer to terrorism?

Istanbul. Paris. Beirut, Qamishli and now Brussels. Islamic State continues to ramp up the terror campaign. Can we stop terrorism with out-of-the box solutions?

The strategic goal of IS
Islamic State is best characterized as an apocalyptic doomsday group with political goals. IS bases hereby on the Quran and especially the hadith (traditions) and Salafist theology (which is based on this). In the hadith some predictions are made about the End of Times. These are taken very seriously by IS. IS wants to achieve a world war between the Muslims and the non-Muslims. The most suitable strategy for this is to have IS operatives carry out attacks in non-Muslim countries with a large population of Muslims. This will create a lot of hostility between the 25 million Muslims in Western Europe and non-Muslims, according to the IS strategy. IS wants to disrupt these countries, as has happened with Syria and Libya, and have the Muslims attack Rome. This should trigger the apocalyptic vision of IS.

The purpose of terrorism: destabilizing Western Europe
At the moment, the people of Europe are quite powerless against terrorism. Our political leaders are still in denial, believe in the lies with which they try to keep the population calm and have no idea what drives their opponent. With each attack, the countries where the attacks are committed are further disrupted. The government is increasingly losing its authority - protecting its own people is a core task of any government - and feelings of hatred about the weather are getting stronger, threatening civil war. Given the large amount of weapons in circulation in ghettos like Molenbeek and the banlieues around Paris, this one will be bloody. In short: the dream scenario of IS is becoming a reality.

A rare sight: a headscarf-wearing Muslim woman embracing an unbelieving man at a Trump rally. Only when such images become commonplace can we stop religious-ethnic conflicts.

How can we stop this process?
It is not possible to secure every public building or supermarket. The police simply do not have sufficient capacity for this. However, there is a group that is easily able to secure all public buildings. That's us, the population. We are so many that we can monitor and protect every target. In Israel this system already exists de facto. A significant part of the Israeli population is conscript or reservist. If a Palestinian Arab feels called to kill Jews, it takes about a minute for him or her to be eliminated.

So there must be an organization of lightly armed volunteers, who carry weapons all day long - such as tasers and, if necessary, light firearms. This should be about five to ten percent of the entire population. That way there is always a majority of vigilantes if terrorists want to strike a place. These volunteers must regularly attend shooting training and first aid courses. Any volunteer can be notified by app or SMS, and alert the authorities. If the Internet of Things becomes more and more a reality, you can

Relationships between Muslims and Non-Muslims
There is no biological difference between Muslim and non-Muslims. They are both people. There is, however, a necessary difference in religious and cultural baggage. Their belief / political ideology teaches orthodox Muslims, more than half of all Muslims, to see themselves as a separate group, the so-called ummah, or the Muslim people. Solidarity to the Ummah goes beyond any solidarity with neighbors, fellow countrymen, etc. Even if this “brother” uses poison gas or commits terrorist attacks, which many Muslims usually have difficulty with. Remarkably enough, Muslims do not pay attention to someone's moral behavior, but purely on being a Muslim or superficial signs, such as keeping Ramadan and wearing a headscarf. This is a serious problem. Only the Muslims themselves can change this. The non-Muslims can lend a hand, for example by persecuting Muslim radicals with a heavy hand and if possible, imprison or deport them. In this way, the grip of fear and terror can be broken and the more moderate Muslims can be given the space to develop a more people-friendly form of Islam.

Nudging, the fine art of subtle manipulation

Nudging has become increasingly popular among policy and corporate officials in recent years. What exactly is nudging?

Men often have the tendency to urinate next to the pot, or rather the urinal. A clever inventor invented a ceramic fly, which uses the innate hunting instinct of men. The result: the men peed en masse on the fly, in the urinal. A classic example of this nudging: subtly manipulating people's behavior to make them do something you want them to do.

I myself was introduced to this technology when the network operator Enexis wanted to force a so-called “smart meter” on me. This makes it possible to follow very accurately the electricity consumption - and thus the electronic behavior - of the residents. The appointment card only stated the option to reschedule the appointment. The option to refuse the smart meter, which is your right as a consumer, was not mentioned.

The proponents of nudging find the technique very useful, because the desired behavioral change is achieved with relatively little effort and without coercion. Critics find this kind unconscious manipulation quite, indeed, manipulative. One thing is clear: the line between harmless, ethical applications and manipulation is thin.

The image of the fly in urinals at Schiphol is intended to make the urination behavior of men more accurate. The textbook example of a nudge. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Video: Ten Bizarre Religions

Have a laugh. Tired of caste discrimination, hand chopping, exorcisms, murdering ex-Muslims and other expressions of faith? Yes, there are believers with humor. As shown by the ten religions listed below.

If believers were to realize more that there is no scientific claim to their claims about supernatural matters, they would be more modest and less convinced of their own inexorable right.

Also, a faith with many adherents need not have more power of expression than a small faith. Often not even. After all, a decidedly stupid and not very challenging faith is rapidly gaining popularity. And what many followers of great faiths do not realize: their faith also started as a small sect ...

Pastafarians of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster celebrate the recognition of their faith in Poland.

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