Share Your World (6 April 2020)

Last week I took part in my first Share Your World post from Sparke from a Combustible Mind. While I’m still stuck at home, I’m going to try and answer some of these prompts. I don’t know what will happen afterwards, but who does?

This week, Melanie’s questions are:

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make them?

We are afraid to make mistakes precisely because we are learning from them. The whole process of being burned in the past is what makes us cautious in the future.

How do we know that pleasure is good and pain is bad?

Pretty much by definition. Pleasure is something that pleases us, therefore our perception is that it is good. On the flip side, the body uses pain to warn us that things aren’t right.

What problem or situation did TV / movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?

Balance. I think that TV can just skew our perspective, unless we balance it by what we see out in the real world.

In his last few years, my grandfather viewed the world from his armchair – he didn’t get out much. My grandfather was born in the 1900s – I can judge him by my own standards and conclude that he was racist, but probably also conclude that he was no more racist than anybody else of his agegroup. But every time he saw a news story on tv of a black man being convicted of some crime, it reinforced his stereotype that all black people were criminals.

That’s what it can do – it can warp our view, unless we have a counter-balance.

Actually, I did think this, just with the coverage of COVID-19. At the start of the outbreak, when deaths were still in the ones and twos, the media spent a lot of time going into the circumstances behild each death. A lot, as in maybe 80% of any news bulletin. Now, COVID-19 is a killer, and the media was absolutely right to press home the seriousness of the outbreak. But in doing so, they did not touch upon the fact that the death rate, so far as we knew at the time, was 1%-3% of cases. In other words, people would catch the virus, but would most likely survive it.

We had no coverage at all of this survival scenario, presumably because it is far less sensational. In my opinion, the bulletins lacked balance.

The saving grace here is that a TV channel is just one source of information, and we have many sources at our disposal. So it is possible to gain an more balanced picture, but it does put some responsibility on us to establish credibility. Even the best programmes will have editors who decide what they want us to see and not to see.

If you drive, do you speed when no one is watching?   Have you ever run a red light late at night on purpose, particularly if it doesn’t seem to change very quickly?   If you don’t drive, what minor law may you have broken?

I certainly sped, when no pedestrians were about. I had my car up to 150mph on a French autoroute once. Yes, it could have killed me if something had gone wrong, but I was young and indestructable. It became a lot harder to speed in the UK once we got cameras on the roads – I had an American friend and once asked them why I never saw cameras in the USA. Well, they tried ’em, he said, but people just shot ’em! That was mid-Nineties. In any case, as I got older I became more environment-conscious and actually downsized my cars. At the moment, I haven’t driven since the stroke, and it has certainly been good for stress levels.

What positive things are you finding to do to occupy your time right now?

Well, this morning, for example, I was working on an Excel macro. It is still WIP, in fact I need to get back to it once I have finished writing this.

Twice a day I prick my finger and test my sugar, and all these numbers go into Excel – I have numbers going back to 2016. The numbers themselves can be all over the place, but when you start to look at averages and so on, you get a clearer idea. I wrote macros in the spreadsheet so that, once I enter the data, I click a button and … hey presto!

I already have a spreadsheet which can do all this, but I have been looking at how I can improve it.

Excel, by the way, is very functional, but if you only ever used it to keep some numbers on a spreadsheet, there is a lot more to it. But having said that, it is a nasty environment in which to work – I’ve done it a few times now, it hasn’t changed for twenty years, and … you can preobably think of more pleasant ways to spend your time.


  1. I have too seen many people who usually suspect whole religion being a part of a criminal activity if only one has done it. Humans are very complex creatures to understand. It is very likely that we won’t get a fully secular human world in the coming years, seeing how much religion and caste system has to play around people. Nice post. Cheers!

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  2. Thank you so much for participating in Share Your World! I hope we do see you do this challenge ‘after’ because I really enjoy your thoughtful perspective on things! 🙂 150 mph?? Wow! Wind in your hair takes on a whole new meaning! 😀 I’ve used Excel, but only to plug numbers into. I had begun to learn a very little about the programming behind it when I stopped working in 2010, and here at home, although using it as a sugar track and statistics sheet is a great idea; I’ve just never fired my version up. One of these days perhaps?

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    • I already have a spreadsheet which works with UK units, I’m currently redoing it to work with US units too. It doesn’t bother with whether you’re fasting or not, but it does calculate your average measurements over the last fifty days. I’ll post a copy when I’m happy with it. Plus, you can look at the code behind it if you’re feeling brave 🤣


  3. As far as the cameras are concerned, I can explain what has happened in our neck of the woods. The cameras are owned by a third party and not the city or unincorporated area they are placed in. With that in mind, it means that if someone chooses not to pay the ticket absolutely nothing happens. I have never heard of anyone shooting the cameras here. Also many are placed in school zones and are only supposed to be on during arrival and dismissal times. The however go off at all times and on the weekends. This gets many angry. I personally wish that any car that ran a red light was spraypainted with bright orange pain to indicate their error. I would venture to say that in my town more people disobey the lights than abide by them. 😦

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    • Here, speed cameras are publicly-owned. There’s a parallel though with thinks like private parking, as in at a supermarket or something. Supermarkets (and others) are now starting to say “you can park for 3 hours” and using either cameras or attendants to enforce it. Used to be they couldn’t do anything, but now I think they can. It’s a bit of a minefield and there are stories all across the web of people with seemingly legitimate reasons who get caught out. Supermarkets “sell” the management of their car parks to third-party companies, and these companies, their only revenue is by charging people, It also means that people complain to the supermarket, and the supermarket says “sorry, nothing we can do”.

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