Famous blogger Cgallo, author of Galloblog, is suing her boyfriend for ruining her ability to write long, rambling blog posts about singleness and casual dating.
“For over 18 months, my god-awful dating life fueled a multitude of posts that appealed to a niche group of angsty singles,” Cgallo stated in a press release blasted to all 17 of her followers on Facebook.
“Then [the defendant] Max came into my life and has made it exceedingly difficult to feel sorry for myself or be filled with energizing anger,” the plaintiff explained.
Galloblog readers seem to agree that Max has really been a wet blanket on the fiery angst that initially drew them in.
“Reading Galloblog posts used to always make me feel like I had my life together, at least in comparison. Now I have to read about science and general life advice? Awful!” One reader complained.
Cgallo is suing her boyfriend Max Powers for $100,000. $40 of that is to compensate for the reduced Wordads clicks on her blog from reduced reader interest after her relationship began, and the other $99,960 is for damage to ego from lackluster Facebook engagements with Galloblog posts.
Max Powers has not made any official comments on the lawsuit, although there have been rumors that he referred to Cgallo as a “nutto” in private text conversations.
Until the suit is settled, it is recommended that all Galloblog readers send Cgallo their most bizarre and traumatic dating woes so that Cgallo can be vicariously fueled for more zesty posts on romanticals.
A big question that seems to be tumbling around in the minds of many Christian comedy fangirls is – Are Trey Kennedy and John Crist related?
This is a great question that deserves careful consideration.
My first pass at this question was to analyze the last names of the two persons in question. John Crist’s last name seems to be “Crist,” whereas Trey Kennedy’s last name seems to be “Kennedy.” Obviously, the best way to analyze the similarity between these two is to use the Levenshtein distance, which according to the Wikipedia is “a string metric for measuring the difference between two sequences.”
According to the Levenshtein distance provided by the unquestionably reputable planetcalc.org, Crist and Kennedy have a pretty high distance. If my grasp of the Levenshtein distance is correct, this means they probably do not have the same last name. Hmm.
Okay, well what about the origin of their names? To answer this question, I judiciously chose to trust the findings from the first website that Bing’s search engine gave me.
Okay, so the original Crists probably hailed from Austria. Let’s see about the Kennedys.
Scotland! By jove, that’s not the same country as Austria whatsoever. But maybe they are close?
Ohhhhh me! Oh my! I’m afraid they are not. Even though they are both in Europe, it looks like a stroll from Austria to Scotland would take 323 hours! And that’s no traffic and assuming the brave traveler was an excellent swimmer.
Okay, so far this is not looking promising. But surely there are other ways to tell if John Crist and Trey Kennedy are related. Let’s look at their facial similarity match.
55%… that doesn’t seem high at all. In fact, John Crist shares much more similarity with this amazingly gorgeous, completely random woman who I’ve never seen in my entire life!
Alright then, but sometimes siblings don’t look exactly alike, and maybe one of them changed their name to be more fame-friendly. So let’s see — relatives usually grow up around each other. So where did these fellas grow up?
John Crist’s official bio says he grew up in the deep south.
A random internet site says Trey Kennedy grew up in Oklahoma.
But wait, sometimes Oklahoma is considered part of the south — so maybe we’re onto something! But wait a minute… The interwebz tell us the deep south is defined as —-
Another strike out.
Alright everyone, so according to my expert-level, exhaustive analyses, it would seem that John Crist and Trey Kennedy …
Do not share the same last name
Have different family origins
Do not have similar faces
Did not grow up in the same area of the country.
Based on the facts listed above, I would like to tentatively conclude that they might be related.
Please weigh in if you have any more analysis ideers!
When I was in high school, people were always asking me
“Where are you going to go to college?”
Once in college, they asked
“What’s your major? How are you going to use that?”
Once in grad school, it was
“When are you going to graduate?”
Once graduated, people became bored with my career trajectory and began an assault of inquiries about my relationship status.
“Who are you dating right now?”
“Why aren’t you dating anyone?”
“What are you doing to snag a man?” *
Now that I’ve been dating an amazin-raisin feller for a few months, I’m starting to get the
“So do you think you two are going to get married?”
Anddddd I’m not there yet, but I’ve heard married people complain they get hounded with
“When are y’all going to have kids?”
And from there , who knows – probably constant badgering about when you’re going to buy a house, make a star athlete out of your kid, retire, etc etc etc
Ayiyiyi! Too many nosy presumptive questions!
Just imagine if every time a soccer mom asked me when I was getting married, I said “I don’t know — when are you getting your PhD?” Of course that would be mighty rude, because that’s obviously not their priority right now.. and getting a PhD likely does not fit into their life goals at all. Their question was of course just as rude because getting married *obviously* wasn’t my top priority in my 20s, and who’s to say it fits into my life goals at all.** But I wouldn’t be that snarky because I choose to take the high road! #holy
Regardless of the intent of the questioners, it’s distressing to answer over and over and over again “I don’t know,” or “not anytime soon,” or “when I receive a direct word from the Almighty.”
If you’re constantly hounded by any one or more of these questions, I encourage you to pump the brakes, be still, and actively reject the latent assumptions built into these questions. They are
1) you *must* finish / do / choose the activity in question and
2) you are “falling behind” or a failure of a human being if you don’t tick off the running list of normal human activities in the order and time frame that suits all your friends and family.
So take heart! Your life is not anyone else’s life. Sure, you want to check in with trusted people who love you to make sure you’re not doing anything obviously destructive (e.g. staying in a toxic relationship), but other than that… you have so much freedom! Even if the questioners are simply trying to be friendly and interested in your life, don’t let them get to ya!
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*Writing this blog, obvs *snorts*
**Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. You’ll never know until I’m deadz bwahaha
This post will address one of the most important science-related concepts I think I’ve ever grasped: No evidence is not the same as evidence against.
“Whatever do you mean, Dr. Galloswag?!” exclaims you.
Okay – let’s think about Facebook use in relation to anxiety. Facebook has been accessible to the unwashed masses since 2006. I didn’t sign up until I began undergrad in Fall 2007. #ancient Pretend my mum was nervous about the idea of me joining Facebook.
Mum of Cgallo: “I don’t know sweetums, it just seems like having that much interaction with random people without actually seeing them face-to-face could be bad for your mental health.”
Young Cgallo: “There is no evidence that Facebook use is linked to anxiety, Mum! Get out of my face!”
Guess what? Young Cgallo was technically right – at the time there wasn’t any scientific evidence. When I entered the search terms “Facebook, anxiety” into PubMed ( a database of life-science / biological articles), the earliest search result was from 2009, and the earliest might-be-relevant search result was dated 2013.
Why this delay? Because it took a while for older adults to realize how impactful Facebook was. Because research is slow. And so there was no evidence because, well, no one had looked for it. But now there are articles galore on the relationship between Facebook use – and other forms of social media – in relation to anxiety.
So Cgallo’s Mum in this imaginary situation was vindicated over time!
Takeaway #1: Sometimes someone can be technically correct that there is “no evidence” — but that’s because no one has published data on the topic at all!
Now, let’s imagine another scenario — what if there had been multiple studies of Facebook and anxiety, but most or all of the studies reported no significant correlation between Facebook use and anxiety. That is much more informative than there simply being no data at all… but it’s only moderately in favor of young Cgallo. When a study doesn’t find a relationship it could be because …
There is not a correlation between the variables of interest (in this case, Facebook use and anxiety)
Power issues: The study did not include enough participants to detect meaningful differences if they were there.
Operational-definition issues: The study defined anxiety in a funky way. One study might decide to look at Facebook use in relation to being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by a therapist, another in relation to scoring high on a standardized anxiety scale, yet another in relation to self-reported feelings of stress.
Time-scale issues: The study could have looked at the effect of Facebook use over the course of a week and found no correlation to anxiety. That still doesn’t tell us much about the effect of Facebook use over several years.
Takeaway #2: Sometimes someone can be technically correct that there is “no evidence” — but that’s because all the studies conducted on the issue of interest had design issue(s).
I remember the first time I really thought about this in graduate school, and it’s actually pretty frustrating. But there is almost always going to be another, usually different/better way a researcher could approach a research question. So often times, a lack of evidence means absolutely nothing meaningful IRL.
“What are you getting at here, Cgallo? Are you trying to suggest that we can never really say with confidence that two things are not related to each other??” demands you.
“Mais non!” Cgallo sputters.
For one, if there are many good quality (e.g. large sample size, good operational definitions, relevant time scales) studies conducted on an issue and none of them find an association, that’s a pretty good clue that there may not actually be a relationship between Facebook use and anxiety, or whatever you’re interested in (autism and vaccine *cough cough*).
But let’s contrast all of this with the gold standard: evidence against!
What do I mean? Well, many researchers are terrified of publishing mumbo jumbo, so they err on the side of caution and choose statistical tests that are more likely to give false negatives than false positives (I may go more into what this means in a future post, if it pleases the queen). As a result of this statistical conservatism (teehee), it’s quite difficult to get results that say “yes! Thing 1 is related to thing 2 in a meaningful way!” *SO* if you really want to argue that there’s no relationship between Facebook use and anxiety, find evidence against this statement. How? Well, what if there was an entire body of research pointing to Facebook use being linked to feelings of calm, tranquility, peace, stability, happiness, etc.? That is very different – and in my opinion, much more meaningful – than a simple absence of evidence.
Takeaway #3: The absence of evidence for something (e.g. Facebook use being anxiogenic) is not nearly as powerful as evidence for the opposite (e.g. Facebook use being anxiolytic).
Great! I think we all feel better now! Make sure you share this article on Facebook!
“Scientifically proven” is often thrown in as a final punch to convince you to buy something (“Scientifically proven to support liver health!” or take a certain political stance (“there is no scientific proof that teaching abstinence in public schools reduces teenage pregnancy.”). But regardless of my own susceptibility to marketing plots or personal political beliefs, this phrase often makes me cringe.
Now, my goal here is *not* to convince you to doubt anyone and everyone who talks about scientific proof. There is, for example, strong scientific proof of gravity. So going too far in one direction – immediately rejecting a claim solely because someone assures you it has been scientifically proven – is just as stupid as immediately accepting a claim because someone assures you it has been scientifically proven.
So, how do you even begin to evaluate the “scientifically proven”claims?
Let’s start with a real life example of mine, with the nutrition company Neolife.
A few years back I had several friends who were bigtime crusaders for Neolife supplements. “Cgallo you will be especially impressed by these supplements because they are backed by Science!” they would insist. In fact, the company tag-line is even “Based in nature | Backed in Science.” Being the curious and trusting person that I am, I went ahead and bought a 3 month prescription of their little super pack of wellness, which included all sorts of goodies like vitamins, minerals, fish oils, etc. At the end of the 3 months, my pee was very yellow and I was $100 poorer, but I wasn’t filled with such electrifying energy that I wanted to give up coffee or sprint up a mountain.* So of course after I spent my money and yellowed my pee, I decided to look into the original research that Neolife was so cocky about.
I found two original research articles. I think both of us only have the time and mental energy to tackle the first one. So, let’s chat about the article “Effects of a carotene-deficient diet on measures of blah blah blah” by Dixon and chums, published in 1994. The author affiliations were from respectable places like the University of California and the Center of Disease Control, so that seemed legit.
It was also published in Free Radical and Biology Medicine journal, which although I had never heard of, has a high impact factor,** so another check.
Then I began to read the methods.
Umm.. 9 subjects? That is a very low number — especially for a study involving humans, who are chockfull of randomness and variation. Even lab rats have tons of variability in behavioral and physiological measures despite being in-bred and kept in extremely similar environments — so humans with all of our snowflake complexity are even worse!
All 9 women were given a beta-carotene (which our bodies convert into Vitamin A) supplement for 4 days. These 4 days were considered baseline.
Then, for over 2 months the women were made to eat a diet very low in beta-carotene while taking nonsense (aka placebo) pills to trick the women into thinking they were taking beta-carotene.
For 28 days after that, all the women were given a supplement with a butt-load of beta-carotene AND for the very last 12 days, given six capsules of Neolife’s “carotenoid complex.” What is probably the most puzzling aspect of this study is that although they threw in Neolife products at the end of the study, they make no effort to distinguish the effects of mega-beta-carotene supplement alone from the effects of mega-beta-carotene supplement + Neolife carotenoid complex. So it is entirely unclear if any effects shown are due to the whopping serving of beta-carotene, the Neolife supplements, or a combination of both.
Throughout all of this roller coaster of carotenes , they would take samples of the women’s blood to analyze the content for various markers of oxidation. Honestly, I’m a neuroscientist and unfamiliar with the exact techniques used in this study to measure different oxidants, so I’m not even going to touch that. But the great news is, neither you or I don’t have to know a thing about the techniques or measures of this study because the design and analyses tell us enough.
Let’s just review what we know so far, just by reading the methods —
This study was done on such a small number of women, even with an otherwise perfect study design all of the results should be taken with a grain of salt.
The researchers looked at the effects of supplementation for roughly 1 month. Neolife people want you to be popping their pills for life. That’s a pretty huge difference. If there’s some sort of long-term benefit or detriment to lifetime use, this study doesn’t even begin to address it.
As I harped on before — but is definitely worth saying again — this study made no effort to distinguish between the effects of a regular ol’ beta-carotene supplement and Neolife’s carotenoid complex.
Even if everything else about this study was perfect — including the techniques used to measure oxidation, that’s still just one measure. A very important general principle when evaluating “scientific proof” is what the researchers are using as their metric of effect. Often, extremely specific results like “beta-carotene supplementation reduced plasma TBARS and erythrocyte superoxide dismutase
activity” — through a twisted game of telephone as non-scientist writers try to interpret and communicate the findings — eventually gets presented as “carrots can save your life!” But how many people know what plasma TBARS and erythrocyte superoxide dismutase activity actually is, and what low or high levels really mean? Certainly not I. So always look and see how researchers evaluated their end point, and try not to accept overly-simplistic explanations like “oxidation = bad. Supplement make oxidation low. Supplement = good.”
There was no “control group” that was not deprived of beta-carotene before given supplements, or any group that was deprived but then allowed to just start eating normally again without taking a booty load of carrot pills. Disrupting the body by force-depleting levels of a nutritive substance… and then showing your supplements can bring the levels back to normal … doesn’t tell us anything about whether they would work in populations with a normal range of beta-carotene levels, much less if it would even be healthy to increase levels too far above baseline! In almost every biological system, it’s about balance, not blasting the system with any one nutritive component. In fact, see this article written for lay audiences (original article here) indicating that too much beta-carotene can be risky biz.
Okay.. well that was cathartic for me, at least. I hope you all feel super smart and can now lay a scientific whoopin’ on anyone who tries to close the argument with “scientific proof.”
YOU’RE WELCOME, AMERICA!
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*I always want to saunter up a mountain. But sprinting is a different story.
I have been through a lot of schooling. Some of it was a complete waste of time and utter nonsense. Some of it was useful. Thankfully, I am intellectually generous enough to share the highlights of my education so you all can be PhD-level thinkers without all the poverty-level stipends, rat bites, and bi-monthly existential crises.
I decided to write a series of short posts covering some of the most generally useful tools I learned to see through the b.s. when marketing companies, pop-science articles, politicians, and other ruffians present data in order to convince you of something.
This episode of Think Like a Scientist, let’s talk about y axes.
Okay, let’s set the scene. I’m the writer of Galloblog. I want you to read more Galloblog. In order to convince you, I throw this figure in your face –
Yowza! Pretty convincing, amiright?! Look how far apart those bars are! Reading Galloblog is equivalent to playing with puppies while eating peanut butter and listening to Tim Keller sermons!!
Or.. is it?!
Let me give you a few things to consider when you look at that figure.
Note the y axes (in red) is zoomed in to show 0.7 to 0.8. The more zoomed in, the more dramatic any differences between bars will look. Look at the figure below — far less impressive. Glancing at this figure, you may conclude that there are no differences at all, yes? But look! It’s the exact same data.
Now, “zooming” in on the differences between groups isn’t always a shady scientific practice, but when evaluating the quality / importance of the data presented it’s important to have an understanding of what the possible range of scores actually is.
Ooo! I threw this in at the last minute for free! Something that drives me *insane* that I have seen far too many times in peer-reviewed scientific articles is showing two figures side by side – as a way to say “the difference between these two groups in this condition (in this example, reading Galloblog) is real and we want you to be impressed by this, but we don’t want you to be impressed by the difference between these two groups in this other condition (in this example, reading Matt Walsh’s blog)” – but with different y axes!
If you just glanced at the figures above, you would think – “Yowza! Galloblog readers are so much happier than Matt Walsh blog readers!”
But if you made the Matt Walsh blog y axis scale the same “zoom” as the y axis in the Galloblog figure, they look pretty similar. The only real difference here is in the overall happiness level of Galloblog and Matt Walsh blog readers – not the effect of reading the blog. Surprise, surprise! 😉
Finally, let’s talk very briefly about the label of the y axis. The y label is “Happiness Factor (AU).” What is a “happiness factor” – is it a legit scale that many other researchers have used to evaluate happiness, or did Galloblog researchers pull it out of their bootays?
AU usually means arbitrary units, which means this scale isn’t linked to an observable measurement per se (e.g. “number of times smiled”) but is a relative scale. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth noting, but it does mean you should be asking “what is this happiness relative to?”
Okay — that is all the lecturing either of us could handle for right now. Stay tuned for more opportunities to become a sophisticated critic of all data!
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
No Galloblog readers were harmed in the writing of this article.
On the 20th anniversary that You’ve Got Mail graced the big screen, my dear friend Lola told me she had seen You’ve Got Mail for the first time and thought it was “meh.”
Needless to say, I was horrified. I have watched that movie more than any other, and it fills my heart with joy and wonder each time. How is You’ve Got Mail the best movie of all time ? Let me ‘splain.
Besides perhaps When Harry Met Sally – another one of my absolutely favorite movies of all time – there are practically no rom coms that let their viewers enjoy so many minutes of the two main characters chumming it up. It adds a realistic charm to their entire relationship. It’s not fiery and sexy, it’s adorbs.
I love love LOVE that Joe Fox spends so much time wooing Kathleen once he *SPOILER ALERT* gets over the fact that his fanciful email girlfriend is the woman who own the business he’s trying to crush. It seems that IRL, most men go for women that are low hanging fruit and are so aware of the desperation of women over age 25 that they have no will to spend any amount of time trying to get to know, much less woo, any one woman. So You’ve Got Mail really shines in championing a man who is so taken by a woman who – despite having zero sexy time ! – captivates him enough that he’s willing to put in significant time and effort convincing her to fall in love with him.
Very rarely can a movie, much less a rom com, change my perspective on something IRL. But Kathleen’s feels for NYC gave me feels for NYC. The last time I went to New York City, I felt the charm – deep in my tums (at least in upper east side 😀 ) !
The magic factor
I don’t know what else to call it, but You’ve Got Mail captures that magic that’s missing from modern rom coms. There’s something … lovely … about this story. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It makes me feel happier about life and love. That’s what rom coms are for!
Okay — your orders are to watch You’ve Got Mail, soak in the wonder and magic, and agree with me that it’s the best rom com of all time!! Please and THANK YOU
Many people don’t know this, but almost all PhDs get all their tuition waived and also receive a stipend. A stipend is –
according to the googlez –
according to C Galloz-
But who am I to bicker over definitions? The point is, I didn’t go into debt and I’m very happy that I was given enough money for my basic needs to be met, but trust me — it was basic. Now that I’m rolling in the fat post-doc g’s, I noticed that I’m starting to spend my money on all these little things. They’re not even “treat yoself” or splurge-y items, just kind of things that most adults would consider basic. But because I lived on the brink of poverty for 6+ years, I want to share which items and categories may seem like they are completely indispensable, but are actually quite possible to live without (and at least be decently content).
In no particular order *drum roll*
(Frequent) eating out / snack foods
Cutting edge technology
6. Fancy hair dos
7. Trendiest of fitness routines
There you have it — if you’re looking to save some mula, or not sure how to survive the impoverished years of grad school – hopefully these tips will inspire you. I did it! It is possible!
You’ve heard of fair-weather friends- those friends who are only with you in the good times. The friends who dip out when times get rough. They’re only by your side when the sun is shining brightly and you are paying for their Chipotle.
I must admit, howevers, that I haven’t had much experience with fair weather friends. When I’m feeling sadsies, especially about single or break-up angst, I’m surrounded by sympathetic friends who want to pat my head, take me out to coffee, and send me stockphotos of beach sunrises beset with inspirational Psalms in script writing. They are there with me in the storm.
And all that is great. But recently I’ve noticed that many of these Sympathetic Sallies disappear when the sun starts peaking out again. If I’m doing well – especially relationship wise – I would estimate … hmmm … ~52% of these ladies go MIA.
Perhaps I’m not being completely fair, but I have started to wonder if people who are unhappy actually relish hanging out with other people who are unhappy. But when their friend’s happiness increases, they begin to avoid them.
They are inclement-weather friends. Only with you in the bad times. Dip out when times start looking up. They’re only by your side when the storm is raging and they’re paying for your Chipotle.
Why are inclement weather friends a thing? I’m not 100% sure, but I think it may have something to do with the power dynamics of a relationship and pride. If someone is suffering, you can be their rock, comforter, life-line. It elevates you. When someone is rejoicing though, you lose power. You become more like a kindly Gma cheering on your friend. And maybe you start to resent them because you think if anyone deserves their life to pick up, it’s you– not this miserable little skank who could barely function without you a few months ago!
Here’s to the ppls who can mourn and rejoice with their friends through all sorts of types of weather and nonsensical weather changes. I’ll call them.. Georgia weather friends. God bless you all 😀
I used to completely ignore all advertisements, until targeted ads became a thing. Now I’m not seeing an ad because of random chance, but because some marketing algorithm (or nefarious robot??) specifically targeted me ..because of my own browser activities, stated interests, etc.
Being the natural narcissist that I am, the new targeting strategies have made me intrigued in the ads that are selected for me. I thought it would be funsies to try to figure out what sort of niche marketing demographic I’m in – thinking they profiled me as Hip-but-No-Nonsense-Overeducated-but-Whimsical-Millennial —- but also kind of hoping they would profile me as Skilled-Assassin-with-Heart-of-Gold-and-Exquisite-Taste-in-Whiskey. But! Once I began looking into my ads — I mean realllly looking into them — I was crushed. Social media sites don’t think I’m hip or whimsical, or a badarse criminal… social media apparently thinks I’m a desperate old-maid with several, ehh.. womanly problems. 😥
For example —
There is of course the ever present, ever mocking – WE KNOW YOU’RE SINGLE, JUST GET MARRIED TO A BIBLE BARRY ALREADY!!!
Ouchhhhh on Instagram, no less! Where I post all my pictures… somehow a robot has determined I’m high risk for fat rolls. WOW
You don’t know me, Facebook! Get out of my ovaries!
Even my poor lil pony isn’t safe! Geeezzzzzz
This one I took extremely personally. Sweat is healthy and detoxifying, you jerks!!
To add insult to injury, now Facebook just assumes that I’m growing a full beard
So even when I’m just trying to check up on my friends, get a few lolz for the day.. I’m told that I 1) need a man pronto 2) need to reign in my flab 3) have disgusting periods; probably due to chronic illness 4) have a lame pony game 5) have socially unacceptable pit stains 6) am turning into wolf-man.
This is just in one log-in!! And people wonder why women are so “obsessed” with our looks.. maybe because everyday we are bombarded by images telling us how disgusting we are.
Oh, but don’t forget women — love yourself and be confident!