Archive for the ‘Public’ Category

Opinion Polls and Their Biases

October 29, 2008

I am getting better and better on how to avoid biases in polls. 

I have been reading things this year that are helping me learn where I, we, human beings are likely to go wrong in interpreting data.  Here is a letter I sent to my sister, on the occasion of her forwarding a Newt Gingrich document with some opinions that totally lacked any information on the sampliing (size or composition) and its biases:

 
We, humans, myself included are prone to question things that we agree with *far* less than things we do not agree with.  The same would happen for me if I found some opinion poll that was based on a sample that agreed with my views, which of course, this does not – not remotely.
 
 
For more information on things like sample biases, and opinions about what will and won’t work I can recommend about 3 books that I’ve found very educational on how to interpret things like what you sent.
 
There is almost no bias here toward any position, just research on humans and how we make decisions and form opinions.
 
 
1.  How We Know What Isn’t So:  The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life  – Thomas Gilovich
 
http://www.amazon.com/How-Know-What-Isnt-Fallibility/dp/0029117062/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225307799&sr=8-1
 
2.  On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You Are Not  – Robert Burton 
 
http://www.amazon.com/Being-Certain-Believing-Right-Youre/dp/0312359209/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225307856&sr=1-1
 
3.  Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert
 
http://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Happiness-Daniel-Gilbert/dp/1400077427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225307948&sr=1-1
 
 
and then this one, maybe, which I have not read, but have on order:
 
4.  Blink:  The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell
 
http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Power-Thinking-Without/dp/B001G60FSY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225307988&sr=1-1
 
 
 
I think it is good to learn how to think through these things and make decisions before we are railroaded by poorly-done studies and emotionally charged rhetoric that sways us because we already agree with something.

I may have already posted this elsewhere, but another important piece is to understand and notice Logical Fallacies. Here are two excellent links:

 http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html

It is interesting to me how anyone who agrees with what that document (or voter information or advertisements or the news  or  . . . ) says might not question the validity of the sampling.

If we learned how to evaluate these things, at least by high school, I think it would help tremendously with things like how to vote.
 
Love,
Stacy

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Peace Now – Inner Peace Thoughts for 9/11

September 11, 2007

http://advancedmeditation.com/cmd.php?Clk=2095310

Hi,

Just in case some of you want to know about this . . .

Please Pass It On to Others!

The Call is Thursday 9/13

Do you know Gay Hendricks? He’s written over 30 best-selling transformational books — books about relationships, breathing, manifestation, even golf!

Gay is are offering an upcoming teleclass that I’d like to invite you to attend at no charge.

http://advancedmeditation.com/cmd.php?Clk=2095310

Here’s Gay’s message about the class:

   When I was in Boulder recently, I had dinner with an old friend,    Steven Sashen. He’s one of the best “system thinkers” I know. If you want to know what REALLY makes something work, or how to make something more powerful or efficient, he’s your guy. He and I are teaming up on a new meditation course that will be offered via teleseminar.

   Steven is a longtime meditator. And when he turned his systems-thinking scope on meditation he discovered something that truly impressed me, a set of insights and practices that I wish I’d had 30 years ago. (Some of you know that I’m a longtime  meditator–in fact, I haven’t missed a day of meditation since 1973. So, anything that fine-tunes meditation is right up my alley.)

   If I’d had Steven’s insights and techniques, I think it would have accelerated my practice and my spiritual growth by years. He’s taken people who are new to meditation or who couldn’t make it work  for them – he’s even worked with teenagers and homeless people–and after just a few minutes of instruction, they’ve had experiences of peace, and deep spiritual insights that take most meditators decades to find.

   Steven’s techniques work well for advanced meditators, too. If you already have a meditation or spiritual practice, you can make an almost instant leap to a new depth and expansion.

   With Steven’s techniques you don’t need to stop (or even slow down) your thoughts and you don’t need to take time out from your busy schedule. You can do them practically anywhere.

   I could tell you more, it would be better for you to experience it yourself. So, I’ve arranged a way for you to do that.

       Go to http://advancedmeditation.com/cmd.php?Clk=2095310
  
   When you get to the site, fill out the registration form and I’ll let you know about an upcoming free teleclass where you can discover for yourself how easily you can find deep body relaxation, greatly expanded awareness, and real inner-peace…even while the kids are demanding your attention or work is getting nuts.

   I hope you’ll join me for this new and exciting opportunity,

   Gay Hendricks

http://advancedmeditation.com/cmd.php?Clk=2095310

The teleclass is going to be really fun and interesting and there’s a chance to get a $400 gift. I hope you can make it, too.

presented by Garuda, Inc.

Have fun!

Love,
Stacy

“It is no sign of mental health to be well-adjusted to an insane world.”

                 The Dalai Lama

That Dream May Come True

August 31, 2007

Hi y’all,

I had to share Eric Francis’ words for Paul, who is a November 8, 1958 Scorpio and myself this week. It’s perfect, if you know the story. He has loved me for 35 years. And you all know how I feel about love & marriage.

Next week we will take the next steps toward being together and see how it flies.

What I read here is that our mutual dreams of living and teaching may work together. We hope to pool our life experiences and share them with others, writing and teaching . . . and living. 

And yes, we both realize nobody needs us to teach them anything. We just can’t seem to stop. We’re having that much fun!

www.planetwaves.net

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
This week’s eclipse of the Moon in your empathic sign Pisces has helped put your priorities on the right track. Indeed, you were in danger of becoming so focused on work and achievement that you nearly forgot your deeper calling as a passionate, creative person. Yet these traits, of your soul as well as your personality, are newly unveiled. You are free to take risks you would not have dreamed of the past few years, and this will help you on what promises to be an intriguing, challenging path for the next few years of carving out a special place for yourself in the world — a place among your friends, your professional colleagues, and among those whose ideas and visions help shape life on our planet. These may come in small ways, but be on notice, they may come in rather large ones as well.
 
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
The main attraction of the year has yet to happen, but it’s drawing you toward it with all the intensity of the Galactic Core, where it occurs: a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Sagittarius. If you feel like your life has been leading to a deep breakthrough or a revelation; if you feel like you are slowly coming into inheritance of some deep spiritual truth, but on the most personal level; this is likely to be it. That being said, most people miss these things as casually as missing a city bus. What can I say? Well, this is about you, but it’s not entirely about you. As Saturn moves into Virgo, punctuated by a dramatic solar eclipse, remember that your true calling is service. To perform your service, you must be exceptionally self-aware, yet constantly connected to the golden thread that weaves together all people, all cultures, and all humanitarian ideals.
 
 

Love,

Stacy

My Letter to Becky

February 19, 2007

I knew that my appreciation of what Becky said to me yesterday (see yesterday’s blog first and this one makes more sense) about how when she has a relationship with me she has a relationship with everyone might bother her. She thinks it is a bad thing. I don’t. So, she wrote me a nasty note about how awful it was and she was sorry she was talking to me and what a waste of time it was. Then, a few hours later wrote and apologized for flying off the handle, but saying she still could not be friends.

Here is my reply:  

Dear Becky,

1.  I am not an enemy.

2.  I am not your mother.

3.  I cannot hurt you.

4.  We are not separate.

5.  We are one.

Separating ourselves, distancing, has never helped me to heal in the long run. It only recreates the “fall of man,” the illusion that anyone can be separate from God, echoed in appearing to be separate from each other.

Temporarily, it may give me the sense of safety that I am not finding when I am with a person who triggers me. Okay, for a while.

Eventually, when this sort of thing comes up for me, I want to feel safe and loved in that person’s presence. (Ideally, no matter what they are doing or saying or not doing and not saying.)

If the person was never a friend, and we don’t have common interests, we may not see each other a lot even when that healing occurs. Such is the case with my father. He can barely trigger me at all most of the time. We just don’t have a lot in common and live 800 miles apart. I talk to him about once a month on the phone.

But you were once a friend. We once shared some of my (our?) deepest interests with each other. Then we reached a place where your safety seemed to depend on silence and separation and mine seemed to depend on speaking and union. We defend ourselves in opposite ways. You have told me before to say whatever I need to say to whomever.

I held silence for you for most of the past 2 years because I love you, and because I saw that as the only way that there would ever be any possibility of healing between us – if I shut up and went away for a while. That’s what Jake and Jared told me might help.

It is not easy for me. It was a constant strain, especially at first. Now it’s become a bit of a habit. I don’t pick up the phone to share with you when I’m excited about something you would resonate with or understand, much less when I am upset and would value your insights. I don’t even speak much when I sit next to you at a party.

I hope to heal that.

My healing shows up when I don’t feel I’m “holding silence” and it is not a strain, but relaxed. I’ll get clearer with that part. I’m sure that it doesn’t help you feel safe when it feels to you like I’m constantly bursting with things I want to say.

Becky, we can heal this. Please don’t walk away. Please help me find a balance that really works for both of us.

I hold the possibility for renewed friendship in any moment we are together, even in my thoughts.

I don’t offer myself or my friendship overtly to you anymore. I do try to hold myself ready to respond to any slight offer you make. I thought that was what happened at Amante. I thought you opened a door when you told me I had triggered survival fears relating to your mother and triangulation. I respect that. I know what it’s like to feel I’m going to die or be hurt around someone who reminds me of a parent or situation that does not feel safe. (to me or to themselves)

It did feel good to speak for a couple of days and say the things I’ve held for so long. Thank you. And I’m sorry it triggered you.

That’s as much vulnerability as I can find right now and I don’t know how it is coming across in print. 

I wanted your friendship, Becky. I can live without it. It is neither my first choice, nor my ideal world to do so.

(end of letter to Becky)

I could send this same letter to about 4 women in my life who have responded the same way Becky did. Three of them are Libras. One is a Taurus.

I’m going to do a Worksheet (Work of Byron Katie) on this and see what’s in there for me.

I may post it here when I’m done.

Love,

Stacy

All One

February 18, 2007

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that I want. It said, “All One.”

Wouldn’t that be a beautiful world to work toward? No?

All One… that’s GOD, y’all!

Spider Robinson goes into this in most, if not all, of his books. Especially read “Time Pressure” if you have trouble with the idea of strangers knowing about you.

Today Becky, someone I used to be fairly close to, said one of the most wonderful things anyone has ever said to me or about me:

  “When I have a close relationship with you I have a relationship with everybody”

I love that and hope it is true. 

Yes, I took that out of context. She was complaining that I might say something about her to other friends of mine that she did not know. Her complete sentence was:

“When I have a close relationship with you I have a relationship with everybody – potentially people I don’t know, people with varying agendas or biases, varying
worldviews, etc.”

It’s true no matter where I put the period.  

I can’t find a problem with her or you or anyone else talking about me to others and thereby creating a relationship for me with someone I “don’t know.”

That one is a little tricky. In a way, I know everybody. So do you. They’re all you, or all me or whatever that is.

Sure, we’re not always aware of that place. We’re often in the black/white, right/wrong, you/me, us/them of this beautiful creative dual world. Okay. So?

I know that I have a really different take on these things than most people do. Frankly, it is one of my most precious gifts and something I cherish about myself. I can be sad sometimes when a former close friend like Becky chooses to distance herself (seem to distance herself) from me out of what looks like fear or separation or something. (I don’t really know. I’m not in her head, but that’s how it looks from what seems to be “out here.”)

I ran into this same thing with another friend. Well, he’s an ex-lover, but I’m not supposed to say that. No wait, I can say that part. It gets all confusing for me when I have to remember what I can and cannot say. I loved my ex-husband, Marvin, for completely agreeing with me about just sticking to the truth and not worrying about who we could say what to. That really worked for me. Totally.

Anyway, this lover’s name is Cricket. Well, that’s what I call him. Anyway, I’m about to go to some parties where he will know more people than I do. It’s a group he’s been hanging out with for a couple of years. One of my friends invited me, and I decided it was worth it for many reasons.

Remember the “Medieval Girl” blog?  It was right before this one.

This group has guys with long hair! I just have to go and see if I might have anything in common with them. Or the women, for that matter. Maybe people with similar interests. I’d love it if they do.

So, Cricket writes me and says, “my personal life is private.” I replied and said, “My personal life is public” and asked how he wants me to handle this. He says I can say we dated and that’s all anyone needs to know. Well, we actually lived together for nearly a year, so I’m going to go ahead and say that. I ran it by him. But I know the stuff he doesn’t want people to know.

It’s the stuff I’m blogging about all the time!

Sex, connection, relationships, etc.

What’s not to share about that?

Well, okay, I may not choose to share all of that with everyone all the time, but I share it with my friends and I do hope that by extension I am sharing it with all of their friends!  Good grief! This isn’t just anyone they would talk to about me! These are their friends!  

And so what if I don’t like all their friends? Or so what if they get me all wrong and don’t “understand” whatever that is? What harm does that do me?

If they really want to know, they can get to know me. If they don’t, okay.

So what if they publish it in tomorrow morning’s newspaper? And the whole world reads their opinion about me? People survive that all the time. Hell, they make good money off it!  

I can keep dealing with who and what is in front of me.

I somehow don’t feel threatened by it the same way Becky does.

What other people think of me is really none of my business.

Love,

Stacy