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Refugee Explorer


San Francisco
Last Active
San Francisco
  • Re: Do you speak Emoji?


    You took that waaaaaayyy too seriously. <3

    It's pretty evident that emojis aren't a symbolic language all on their lonesome; they lack all the requisite features of any self-contained writing system. The comparison to cueiniform is merely for humorous effect.

    Nevertheless, in response to your valid point, I personally find the overuse (i.e., non-skillful use) of emojis obnoxious and disingenuous. A string of emojis doesn't add any value to any conversation that isn't surface-level chitchat. When it comes to substance, I trust a man who smiles too much very little; I trust a man who does nothing but send "haha" and happy faces even less.

    The key difference between nonverbal cues and using emojis is that most people really aren't that great at hiding what they're genuinely feeling, at least if you're attuned to such things. Smiling from the wrist down, however, is easy. Emojis or no, I refuse to have any important conversation about anything unless it's face to face. It's really frustrating trying to find people my age who understand this. It's a whole generation who grew up on the Diet Coke of communication mediums.

  • Re: Mental Health and Emotions.

    I would like to echo @lobster's recommendation for physical exertion. I've been working against chronic depression and anxiety for years, and I've spent thousands of hours researching the mechanisms by which it occurs and perpetuates itself.

    Aerobic exercise is akin to Miracle Gro for the brain. Is it a cure all? No. Reliably, though, aerobic exercise over time increases brain volume, white matter density, boosts the size of the hippocampus, and improves scores in executive function, focus, and problem solving. Antidepressant medications (SSRIs in particular) are now thought to work by the same mechanism, i.e., increasing growth factors in the brain. The whole "chemical imbalance" thing you see in ads is a load of hogwash that hasn't been academically supported for more than ten years now.

    (If you want to go do some Googling, the most promising antidepressant I've ever seen is now in phase II clinical trials. The compound is NSI-189. A company called Neuralstem took the neurotrophic theory of depression and ran with it, searching Edison-style for a compound that directly increases hippocampal volume. They found one. In rats, it increased hippocampus size by 20%!)

    Aerobic exercise on top of regular meditation practice has compounding benefits. As your brain is pumping out BDNF and NGF and laying down myelin sheath, forming new synapses, and even growing new neurons, it is highly likely that you will progress faster in meditation due to your brain's neuroplasticiy. The more malleable the brain, the faster it learns. There is one study I read that showed that aerobic exercise combined with concentration meditation outperformed either treatment alone.

    I highly encourage you to research this topic on your own. There is an ever-growing mountain of evidence showing how beneficial exercise is in depression and anxiety management.

    Best wishes.

  • Re: You sit on a plane that is about to crash

    Honestly, I'd grab hold of the hand of whoever's sitting next to me and talk with them for as long as possible. I used to have extremely bad flight anxiety, where I got to think about this exact situation many, many times over, and this is precisely what I wanted to do whenever the panic rose to its highest pitch. The only thing that stopped me from doing just that is that the person sitting next to me usually wasn't feeling the same fear that I was, but in the face of certain death, our walls start coming down. We all go into death alone, but there's no reason we can't take advantage of those moments of fear where we're most vulnerable to have one last chance at genuine connection.

  • Re: Chinese Herbal Medicine/ Supplements


    Agreed. I got into an argument the other day with a person who believes in the validity of TCM's underlying philosophy of qi and meridians, which to me is no different than the Greek idea of humors or early Western vitalism concepts. These things are not founded on scientific knowledge; they're pure conjecture. His argument was that I simply didn't understand TCM but when challenged, he was unable to correct my supposed ignorance.

    Then again, this is a person who won't allow his belly button to be uncovered because evil spirits might gain entrance that way, so I'm not sure why I engaged.

  • Re: Getting rid of my smartphone may just save me


    The other day I was listening to a radio program which suggested that many younger people communicate better using devices than actually listening to each other. If this true than using devices for communications seems a social negative.

    Indeed. I'm 30, and while I remember a time where smartphones were not prevalent, I "grew up" on the Internet. This is where I spent my formative adolescent years and made most of my true friends. To this day, I feel far more expressive and fluid in writing than I do speaking. It has been both a positive and negative factor in my life.

    Positive: I can type at over 150WPM and bang out five paragraphs without pausing for breath. This serves me well in the technical world.

    Negative: I'm awkward (or intimidating) in person and have trouble making friends in real life.

    I think Generation Z has it worse than Millennials in some way -- but importantly! -- not all. Generation Z seemingly favors small social networks (intimate friend groups) facilitated by ephemeral mediums like Snapchat as opposed to the wide-spanning social networks with permanent history like Facebook. Facebook hasn't seen wide adoption amongst the Zs. They're on there, but engagement is low.

    I think they've learned from their elders' mistakes, to some extent. The social networks they create with technology more closely resemble social network structures in real life. They also favor in-person communication for important conversations, which is a crucial difference between them and Millennials.

    I'm going from memory here from some papers circulated on Hacker News and other tech sector outlets.