Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Joys and Burdens of Intelligence: Three musts for the high-IQ person

Geralt, Pixabay, Public Domain
There’s someone I know who has a 155 IQ (99.99 percentile) and he articulated the joys and burdens of intelligence.
Even if you’re not quite as brainy, his story offer lessons that the intelligent readership of Psychology Today may find of value.

I recorded his telling of the story. My Psychology Today article today offers pretty much a paraphrase of what he said but with irrelevant details changed to protect his anonymity.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Plant Envy: Some of the world's best ornamental plants

As people are sheltering in place amid the pandemic, they’re spending more time gardening. Previously, I wrote about practical gardening: how to grow a Corona Victory Garden.  Here I talk pure pleasure. 

My Psychology Today article today describes some of the world’s most beautiful, easy to grow, and otherwise desirable ornamental plants.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Nanobreaks and Projations: New vacation options for Corona Time

Pikrepo, Public Domain
We’re working at home, and work time tends to bleed into life time. Sure, there’s the standard advice to set boundaries, but there may be options better suited to some, notably, the nanobreak and the projation.  I describe them in my Psychology Today article today.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Keeping Your Business from Bleeding Out

Larry and Teddy Page, Flickr, CC 2.0
Money is the lifeblood of any business, indeed of any nonprofit, although less so for the federal government because it can decide to print more money even if everyone’s dollars are thereby worth less.

But how can all but the strongest businesses weather the economic shutdown that promises to continue for weeks if not months, and then face a second shutdown after the predicted coronavirus resurgence? I share my ideas in my Psychology Today article today.

A Smarter Approach to the Coronavirus Pandemic?

I don’t understand the focus on coronavirus testing, spending billions of financial and human cost that could more wisely be spent or returned to the taxpayer, merely to discover prevalence — We know it’s prevalent.
Testing’s ostensible additional purpose, as argued by Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA), is to quarantine the infected. He’s calling for to search out everyone the millions of of infected people have been in contact with. These trackers will be scouting in every imaginable locale, from Calexico to Modesto, Los Angeles to Los Banos, San Francisco to Crescent City. And if the trackers find even half of the millions infected, do you keep them all in quarantine? How do you enforce it? The vast majority already self-quarantine and those foolish and selfish enough not to will be impractical to police. And the tests yield , which quarantine and worry people unnecessarily. which allow carriers to sally around infecting others. Today, the New York Times in an article’s title, Antibody Tests: Can You Trust the Results? It went on to report that even the best of the 14 tests reviewed had flaws. Then there’s problem that we don’t know how positive is positive enough to convey serious disease, and in the case of the antibody test, how much immunity that confers and for how long. And you could test negative today and test positive tomorrow! Do we test millions of people day in and day out, even every month in and month out?! Even in the low, low probability that all of these concerns are overblown, we’d save a relatively few lives, mainly old people with severe underlying conditions so they can live a little longer, often in a nursing home, only soon to be beset by the death-causing sequelae of one of their underlying conditions, a more horrific disease such as diabetes amputations and blindness, crushing heart attack, or vegetating stroke.

Almost as foolish is spending so many billions more on treatment and on research to find better treatment. Again, it’s mainly people with underlying conditions so severe that even putting them on ventilators and state-of-the-art drug cocktails isn’t working for
Huge cost and major diversion of medical resources from people with greater potential to benefit.

And then there’s handing out of “stimulus” checks — Everyone has their hand out knowing that there’s minimal checking. Hey, until social shaming,

How ‘s all this going to get paid for? Borrowing and printing more money, which at minimum, makes everyone’s dollars worth less. That $1,200 per person ends up being trivial in real dollars.
Our government is robbing Peter to pay Peter. Perhaps worse, we’re increasing our already , over a ! That not only increases the cost of future taxpayer-paid debt service it’s an increasingly existential threat to the U.S.

Everyone knows you should stay six feet away and wear a mask in a store. We don’t need more a fortune more of taxpayer dollars to promulgate the universally known. Yes, in low-compliance areas, community leaders should encourage residents to follow those guidelines. (So sad that in some areas, people need that.)

I would not shut down the economy — the short and long-term sequelae are too great: small businesses going out of business, people unable to pay rent, people’s life savings decimated in the stock market decline, countless people suffering the mental, physical, and relational costs of isolation.

The only major area the government should be involved is to fund undercapitalized efforts to create a vaccine. Big Pharma has plenty of money. The government should support only startups with smart research avenues but little cash.

That’s what I think is the wisest plan. Anyone want to argue with me? Agree with me?
I read this aloud
You can reach Dr. Marty Nemko at

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Private Practitioner, Is it Time for a Change?

pxhere, public domain
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, some private practitioners are doing just fine. But for others, the pandemic can be a tipping point: Is it time to refocus your practice: get more skills, work for someone else, change locales, even leave the profession? Perhaps my Psychology Today article today will help you gain clarity.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

CoronaMusic: A source of calm amid the pandemic

Eindzel, Flickr 2.0
It’s been said that music tames the savage beast. It also can calm the worried one, whether about the coronavirus or otherwise. To that end, My Psychology Today contribution offers a mini-concert of calming music that I play on the piano plus recommendations of others' music.

The Joy of Accepting That I'm Average

I've always striven to be excellent, suppressing the many signs that, net, I'm pretty average. Today, that truth hit me. Surprisingly, my reaction hasn't been sadness but relief. I tell the story in my Psychology Today article today.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Gender Gap in Empathy: A path to the end of the gender war?

Eminent expert on men's issues Dr. Warren Farrell has written a guest article on my Psychology Today blog. It asserts that reducing a gender gap in empathy is core to ending the gender war.

A Contrarian View on How We Should Respond to Coronavirus

I have the temerity to believe that my ideas re COVID-19 are wiser than what's being implemented by our world's leaders and leading public health scientists--The leaders are too scared about their re-electability and the public health scientists have a too narrow view: too steeped in protecting all lives equally and indifference to the relative cost of that in terms of the economic curve: the devastation of a larger percentage lives, especially young and middle-age lives relative to the benefit of saving largely very old people with underlying conditions merely so they can live a bit longer to die worse deaths.. 

These tweets encapsulate my views:

Trump is 73, Fauci 79, Biden 79 (and with quite clear signs of cognitive confusion, Pelosi is 80. Brains, like bodies, do deteriorate with age. We're so damn worried about isms that we don't dare raise this even though their age is increasing the world's existential risk. 

A young and an old man are on a boat that springs a leak. The old man falls overboard. If the young takes the time to save the old man, the old man lives. If he lets the old die but fixes the  boat, he and boat survive and fish for decades. Any relevance to weighting the medical vs econ curves now?

Today's policy must is egalitarianism over utilitarianism: treat everyone equally, independent of or even inversely correlated with merit. So the coronavirus policies are eviscerating the whole, short and-long-term, mainly the young and middle-aged, to briefly save a small percentage of the old with severe underlying conditions, merely so they can live a bit longer and die worse deaths: e.g., cancer, vegetating strokes, diabetes amputations and sepsis, etc.

A core difference between liberals & conservatives is that liberals tend to believe all lives are equally worth resources. Conservatives tend to think it's wisest to focus on the people most likely to yield the most societal net good, ironically something that Marx advocated.

 COVID is a continuum: For most, we don't even know we have it. And of those who do, it's mild. Plus, we don't know the extent of infectability nor intensity and length of immunity conferred across the continuum. Why prioritize massive testing, at giant opportunity cost of money and effort? Isn't it wise to just test the quite ill until a simple, valid at-home swab test exists?

My biggest corona worry is supply chain. Think of the myriad specialized people needed to create everything from medicine to utility components to milk. I worry about the PC term, "social unrest," more clearly: looting & home invasions.

Govt should focus its efforts on subsiding poorly capitalized but promising vaccine research and urging and policing that small percentage of census tracts where the residents have low rates of compliance with social distancing.  

I welcome your comments, especially any that argue that the most good for the most people would accrue from the current policies: spend as much as needed to test everyone and try to keep everyone alive even at the existential threat of long-term structural job less and the sequelae of that, and of the government printing yet more money, deflating all of our dollars, and increasing the debt to an existentially unsustainable amount, much of it to the Chinese government, which if it called in our debt, Oy!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Feeling Not So Bad Despite the Pandemic

Clementina, Wikimedia, CC 3.0
I'm certainly sad for the countless people affected by the coronavirus pandemic: for example, those who have lost jobs, gotten sick, and yes, died. 

Yet I find the sadness modulated by the following. Perhaps one or more of them that I describe in my Psychology Today article today might at least modestly improve your state of being:

Friday, April 17, 2020

Low-Risk Business to Start in the Time of Coronavirus

In just the past four weeks, 22 million people have filed for unemployment, and a good number of them are considering self-employment.

The obvious ideas including selling corona-related products like masks and sanitizers are too obvious and so the market may already be overcrowded. 

The ideas I offer in my Psychology Today article today are less-so and, because they’re service businesses, they require little money to start and run. Might you have the expertise and desire to try one of them?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Why Coronavirus Models Fail . . . and how to keep your head amid the ever-changing, often contradictory pronouncements

It’s easy to be seduced by the word, “model.” Alas, we have short memories. Just weeks ago, respected models predicted cataclysmic shortages of ventilators. That spurred the media to attack government for not doing more. Yet just a week later, the creators of the model that policymakers most rely on and that the media most cites, the IHME model, essentially said, “Never mind.” The model’s prediction of a lack of ventilators and hospital beds proved dramatically wrong.

Why are models so often wrong? My Psychology Today article today offers explanations and how to keep your head amid the ever-changing, often contradictory pronouncements.

Career: A blueprint for a game

WallpaperFlare, Public Domain
Many people have more time amid the Stay-Home edict, and some are looking for a project. I see a gap in the game market: one where the adventure is an opportunity- and peril-filled walk through a career.

Although I would be willing to provide the career expertise for the game, I have no programming skills nor the desire to market a board game or video game, so I thought, as my Psychology Today article today, I’d offer my outline of the game, which I’m calling, Career, in case a reader is interested in tackling it or or wants to forward it to someone who might.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Upskilling in the Time of Coronavirus

WallpaperFlare, Public Domain
Do any of these describe you?

  • You’re employed but have more time amid the stay-home edict and want to up your game so you can improve your career trajectory
  •  You’re employed but worried you’ll join the 16.6 million people, one in 10 workers, who have lost their job in the past three weeks because of the economic shutdown.
  • You’re unemployed and amid that vastly increased number of unemployed people, you’re deferring looking for a job, and in the meanwhile want to upskill to improve your prospects of landing good work when the job market improves.
  • You’d like to do something more useful with your time than playing board games, cleaning out your closets, and making elaborate recipes.
My Psychology Today article today offers some ways to upskill.

Five Virulent Corona Scams That Can Fool Even Smart People

U.S. Air Force, Public Domain
The scammers must be as addicted to coronanews as we are, because their scams sure are capitalizing. As President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” In just the first nine days of April, the Federal Trade Commission reported $7 million lost to scams.

My Psychology Today article today describes a current rogue’s gallery of coronascams and how to avoid them.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The All-Ins: Those people who work hard even in the absence of an emergency

Timothy Vollner, Flickr, CC 2.0
In recent years, we’ve often pathologized people who emphasized the work part of work/life balance as "workaholic," as though they were addicts, like alcoholics.

Even in the absence of an emergency, these All-Ins especially deserve recognition. I attempt to provide some in my Psychology Today article today.

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Coronavirus Talk I Wish I Could Give: Advice and numbers are not enough

Pixabay, Public Domain
I cringe as I listen to the politicians’ coronavirus speeches, both Democrats' and Republicans'. They strike me as emotionally tone deaf. We need not just to inform about numbers and best practice but to heal people emotionally and to inspire them--including that small percentage of the recalcitrant--to stay apart, wash hands, and wear a mask in public.

My Psychology Today article today offers the talk I wish I could give.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

How Much Control Do We Have? The free-will debate in the time of coronavirus

For time immemorial, philosophers have debated the extent to which we have free will.

The coronavirus pandemic makes such a debate timely because something so important is happening to us that is out of our control. As a result, it's easy to feel helpless and unmotivated to do what we should do.

In my Psychology Today article today, I argue that they're wrong and that we do retain much free will. The article's goal is to reassure and motivate us to be assertive, to have internal locus of control even in this time of coronavirus. We can choose to make a difference or not to, in our lives and others.

I focus on behaviors related to the coronavirus.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Corona Q&A From My Clients

Pixabay, Public Domain
It seems that everyone mainly wants to talk about one thing: the coronavirus. My Psychology Today article today lists some questions my clients have recently asked me and my responses.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Corona Chronicle: Musings on today's coronavirus news

I've been offering my psychological and practical reactions to the latest coronavirus news. Here's what's going through my head today.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Another Conversation With Myself About the Coronavirus

My post yesterday was an experiment: a point/counterpoint exchange with myself on coronavirus. On rereading it with fresh eyes this morning, I still felt it was helpful to readers, viewers of my YouTube reading of it, and myself. 

So I paced my house this morning contemplating whether I had more to say that might be of value. My Psychology Today article today presents I’ve come up with.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

How Will The Pandemic End? Best-, Worst-, and Moderate-Case Scenarios

Sketchport, Public Domain
No one knows how or when the coronavirus pandemic will end and join previous pandemics in the history book. But it may be helpful, psychologically and practically, to posit three scenarios: best-case, worst-case, and moderate-case and then consider the implications. I do so in my Psychology Today article today.

A Conversation with Myself About the Coronavirus

NeedPix, Public Domain
Sometimes, the most honest thoughts on the coronavirus come not from repackaging CDC advice, which I’ve been guilty of doing, but from honest reflection. My Psychology Today article today offers a conversation with myself.

Friday, April 3, 2020

How to Prepare for a Supply Chain Shortage

Wikimedia Gnu, 1.2
As I wrote in my post yesterday, experts as reported in publications such as the New York Times and The Atlantic are worried about possible supply-chain shortages. Today, a Reuters headline is “Coronavirus upends global food supply chains in latest economic shock."
Just as most of us buy insurance, for example, medical or fire insurance, my Psychology Today article today suggests what you might buy as “supply-chain insurance."

Growing Your Corona Victory Garden

Pixabay, Public Domain
There is some chance that the coronavirus will restrict the food supply chain. One way to help protect yourself is to grow a Corona Victory Garden. I tell you how in my Psychology Today article today.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dealing with Exaggerated Coronavirus Fears: Questions from my clients and friends, and my responses

Clients, friends, and readers and, okay, me aren’t always completely rational regarding the coronavirus. Of course, it’s easier to say what’s rational than to feel it but perhaps the following responses to coronafears I offer in my Psychology Today article today will be helpful:

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

UltraCourses The coronavirus’s silveriest lining?

pxhere, public domain
 Years ago, I wrote about a clearly superior form of online education that the editors at TIME, The Atlantic, and the Washington Post deemed worth of publication. But it never got implemented. Amid the coronavirus, online education is suddenly the norm, K-20 and so perhaps the timing is better now. I lay out the case in my Psychology Today article today.

Working at Home in the Time of Coronavirus

The coronavirus is forcing many people to work from home, and they’re not used to it. As one said, “My commute is 15 feet from my bedroom, no one is structuring my day for me, and there’s no one to talk with.”

My Psychology Today article today presents my answers to  questions my clients have been asking me: