Category Archives: Fear

Bitter almonds were banned by the US government because they can treat cancer?

TL; DR Summary

  • This appeared in my Facebook news feed yesterday.
  • Many of the commenters to it, believed this to be true.
  • A few noted that perhaps this ban was because bitter almonds contain hydrogen cyanide (this is true) but pointed to other “nuts” like Apricot pits, that also contain similar levels of cyanide – and those are not banned. Therefore, say the conspiracy theorists, this poster must be true!

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APA sees sharp rise in anxiety among Americans-why? Social media?

“The results of the January 2017 poll show a statistically significant increase in stress for the first time since the survey was first conducted in 2007,” the APA said on Wednesday in a report on the survey of 1,019 adults living in the U.S., conducted from Jan. 5 to Jan. 19 by Harris Poll.


“I don’t think it can be just be boiled down to the side that won vs. the side that didn’t,” Wright said. “There is something going on across the aisle.”

Source: Americans Just Broke the Psychologists’ Stress Record – Bloomberg

Yes, there is something – it is everyone’s attachment to social media and its culture of perpetual outrage, anger and hate. I continue to hear from more and more people who have chosen to leave the outrage behind, by reducing or eliminating social media from their lives, or “unfriending” and “unfollowing” those who are a daily source of outrage.

News media target your emotions to increase customer engagement – and increase anxiety

Regarding those who closely follow the news:

‘“These are the people with an intolerance of uncertainty, and are probably already anxious individuals, and are exactly the ones for whom negative news has a negative psychological impact on their own personal anxieties and worries,” he said.

As consumers become satiated, the news media responds by increasing the “emotionality” of its coverage, meaning negativity is emphasized to keep customers engaged, he wrote.’

Source: Fatigued by the News? Experts Suggest How to Adjust Your Media Diet – The New York Times

With the ability today to measure every “click” on a news story, the media is gradually becoming more and more like “fake news” web sites, designing stories and headlines with inflammatory and often perjorative headlines to drive more Likes, Shares and eyeballs for advertisers.

Inflammatory and scary stories (“fear” is a powerful propaganda tool) engage readers and viewers. Those that are emotionally hooked are more likely to read the entire story or watch the TV news report. Further, those who respond on an emotional level are also more likely to respond to advertising messages – in effect, once emotionally engaged, our “guard” is down. We stop thinking.

At some point, as we realize the culture of perpetual outrage is keeping us in a heightened state of anxiety, many of us tune out and consume less and less news.

Same country, different data – the ease of creating propaganda posters

DenmarkTL; DR Summary

  • All true.
  • Illustrates the ease of creating propaganda posters.
  • Share if you agree!

As I continue to cross-check the very popular (on social media) Denmark propaganda posters, I created one of my own!



Points that did not fit on this poster:

  • Denmark has the highest taxes in the world
  • Denmark has the highest personal debts in the world with household debt equal to 321% of disposable income.
  • Banks pay negative interest rates – meaning that savers pay the bank to hold their money
  • One of the easiest countries in which to fire workers!

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