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Learning and Exploring

My Issues with the Whole Personality Hoopla

Everything about personality is subjective; the terms (different connotations, different frames of reference), the assessment (how can you understand someone else’s brain, preferences? How can you truly know your own in other people’s terms?), the concept of personality itself. So I find it extremely annoying when people try to say it is scientific or can be made so. I think that psychology itself is a pseudo-science (at best) because how can you prove the abstract, dynamic, and subjective IN SOMEONE ELSE’S mind, emotions, etc. For that matter, how can you define and determine the beginning or end of the mind, emotions, instinct, etc.?

So, I have fun taking all these tests, but I inevitably don’t match, and I inevitably run into so many false correlations, false dichotomies, such as implied associations “if you are emotional, you are an empathetic, people pleaser,” “analytical equals quiet,” or “if you have a logical mind, you aren’t run by emotions.” That last, HAHAHA, who says your mind has any control over your emotions or actions?

If this was a “what kind of cookie are you?” sort of test from Buzzfeed, everything would be fun, but people inevitably try to push all this as fact, and that is what, exacerbated by the obvious logical errors, drives me INSANE. That, and repeatedly trying to type myself by various versions of a highly anti-scientific typology. I’m learning more about the “cognitive functions.” Which again, has SO many false correlations/dichotomies, why do you have two extroverted functions and two introverted?

If you are wondering, on 16 Personalities. I’ve gotten ISTP (a couple times), ISTJ (once), and INTP (once); and they’ve all being Turbulent (my highest percentage). On other dinkier tests, I’ve gotten ISTP. Oh, and another thing, I’m NOT a quiet person. I don’t understand people-lover=talker and people-dislike/hater/fearer=quiet. Most people like at least some people, we are human after all. Some of us just aren’t highly motivated to socialize with or please everyone.

ISTP are “doers.” Mechanical sort of people. I don’t think that fits. Being mechanically minded can probably be confused with being kinesthetic. But that is tied to my thinking, I think best when my hands are busy. That doesn’t sound like ISTP.

I’ve also (anecdotal evidence, hello, inconsistent), feel (subjective) that Myers-Briggs draws certain types, namely the I-F people (although, you could run some sort of Big Data test to pull up the most used Myers-Briggs type on the Internet or a search engine; digital footprints are concrete though not conclusive or necessarily entirely representative). The least-likely to be scientific people in other words.

Confused by Meyers-Briggs

Hexaco Personality Inventory

23 Signs You’re Secretly a Narcissist Masquerading as a Sensitive Introvert

The Enneagram Types of Your Favorite Books, Characters, and Authors

Google “Sedig Enneagram Test” to pull up the PDF test (this is the best free online one I’ve seen with nice explanations)

Ancestry DNA Update

I think DNA is fascinating. One of the aspects of Ancestry DNA is that they update our results as more research becomes available (just re-affirms that this is a new science, and they are trying for accuracy).

So, here are my results. My heritage isn’t particularly spectacularly interesting to any but me except in point of reaffirming historical patterns, and I wasn’t expecting huge changes. I did see bigger changes than I thought, and then looked again at the map and realized they weren’t as huge (I wish I’d saved the first maps; I forgot they changed groupings, previous to my test the Celtic peoples were under Ireland rather than Ireland/Scotland/Wales.

They changed their maps a bit (more overlapping, I think), so while it looks like my Great Britain/Europe West changed, when you look at the new region map and add the percentages, it didn’t actually change much. Basically, Great Britain changed to more a broader area and now includes some of continental Europe and Wales, while Western Europe might have shrunk a bit. I think that is probably because of all the waves of people groups coming to England.

I no longer show a huge (to me, I wasn’t expecting any) amount of Scandinavian, but the more specific and smaller Norway. Finland, a separate category as before, has been bumped a bit and Southern Europe eliminated. So the actual change is significant lowering of Scandinavia and significant raising of Ireland and Scotland (which I’m THRILLED with and which going by migrations plus family history is probably all Scottish, as much as I’d love to be Irish, I really think the history doesn’t fit at all).

 

10 Questions to Consider Before Addressing a Controversial or Sensitive Subject

If the answer to any of these is “no,” please stop right there and re-evaluate and be quiet.

  1. Is your desire to add a layer of concrete information or analysis?
  2. Are your emotions in check and are you well aware you might me wrong?
  3. Are you addressing a specific, well-defined, and significant issue?
  4. Are you an important voice for your sphere or forum?
  5. Is the issue or your understanding of it unique?
  6. Can you clearly define the error?
  7. Will you use formal and informal logic, scholarly resources, and critical reasoning with good interpersonal communication skills to address the error and point other people towards helpful resources?
  8. If there is good, will you acknowledge it?
  9. If someone offers a valid counter-point or counter-argument will you answer it?
  10. Are you going to change or align your own life with your views (not merely tell others how to act)?

My AncestryDNA Results

I ordered my AncestryDNA test during the Black Friday sale and then in January received a notification that I would have to send a new sample (I got a free second kit), so people, the instructions on the package are NOT STRICT ENOUGH. My email (after the AncesteryDNA people couldn’t retrieve my results) stated to wait 1 hour after drinking, eating, smoking, brushing teeth, and chewing gum (or is that my extra precaution for gum-chewers?).

The box only says 30″ for eating and drinking. I cannot remember doing ANY of those things listed in the email (I don’t smoke, and I almost never chew gum). The only thing I can think I did was brush my teeth . . .which was not prohibited on the box’s instructions. I made sure and waited over an hour for all the email items the second time. Moral of the story, go above and beyond what the box says to save yourself time (especially because I don’t know how many free boxes you can get before having to pay again).

I mailed the second box around the middle of January, I think. I received my AncestryDNA results around the middle of February (not too long to wait considering I thought I might have to wait until the middle of March). I have to say I was spot on (not that that was difficult knowing what I know of history and my genealogy . . . or what anyone knows of history and U.S. genealogy :/).

Here were my predictions:

~60-70% British
~30-40% Western Europe (Germany and Switzerland for me specifically because I know)
~Above average (0.19%) African American
~Average (0.18%) or below Native American
~Wondering about European Jewish?

I realize anything less than 1% isn’t going to show on the test, but I really don’t have anything in my family stories to safely assume anything more. The alleged Native American ancestor was quite far back plus I saw a photo, she looks European to me. And my European percentages are variable because like I said, ancestry doesn’t equal exact ratio. And my Dad’s history is empty of immigrants after the 18th century, so I assume a massive if not entirely British heritage from that fact and their locations.”

Bear in mind that Ancestry.com points out in this article that the average modern Brit’s results include: “36.94% British (Anglo Saxon), 21.59% Irish (Celtic) and 19.91% Western European (the region covered today by France and Germany)” and the article also points out significant Scandinavian results in the UK which I think might explain mine since I have zero reason to believe of Scandinavian American ancestry (meaning it was a VERY long time ago). Granted, my British ancestors came in the early 18th century (also covered in the results), and the genetic results for the British now may be more mixed.

Here are my results:

Yeah, boring, I know.

I did find the migrations interesting. I love to see pieces of history I’ve learned from different sources match up. Also, I signed up for matches, and I have over 1,000 4th cousin or closer* matches and over half of these people have family trees. I want to look into joining DNA circles also. The DNA page states that testing parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles increases the ability to properly place one’s matches in one’s family tree.

I have a tree I filled out with my grandparents’ collected information during two free trials, but I want to wait to get a membership on sale and purchase some DNA tests for my parents and grandparents. I also want to see if I can cross-reference my results on other ancestry websites. I’ll have to see what I can do now. Many of my matches don’t have familiar names or don’t even have full names listed, but I have had two contact me (both are from the most well-documented branch of the family, the ones that came over most recently, which for us isn’t very recently, late 19th century).

*Most of the very close ones will be 1st/2nd/3rd cousin many times removed. I printed out this cousin chart to try to understand confusing cousin terminology terms.

Pompano Beach, Florida Family Vacation

My dad found out maybe a year and a half ago that he would be offered a retirement package, so we had family (marrieds and all) vacation planned for ages. We went to Pompano Beach in the Fort Lauderdale area (which is near West Palm beach where all the celebrities and such are; we were driving behind a Ferrari through that area). We left a few days after Christmas and came back a week into the new year. Most of use drove and so we stopped in St. Augustine on the way there and walked around a bit. The weather was too cold to do much, but we did see some pretty, old buildings.

We are usually a Gulf family. We went to Jekyll Island, GA a couple years ago (our last vacation as an entire family, I believe), and I wasn’t impressed by the water, to say the least. Now, the water was less gross here, but trust me, it’s not the Gulf or San Diego. Mom and I weren’t really impressed with the beach overall although the lighthouse was lovely (the loveliest was the first night with the pink sky behind it . . . I didn’t have my camera or phone then), but we enjoyed it for what it was.

We were able to get into the water a couple days, and visited the beach almost everyday. I came back with a nice selections of shells and coral (first time for the latter) which I hope to put into a shadowbox. The house wasn’t on the beach but had private access through a corridor, under some trees, over a bridge, and through some grass. We traversed this a couple times before noticing the trees were FILLED with HUGE iguanas. EEP. Actually, it was hilarious to watch them in their perches. Apparently, the NYT had an article mentioning that it was so cold iguanas were falling stunned from the trees; we didn’t see that happen.

We played tons of new games that many of us received for Christmas, one of the favorites was a game called “Things.” We watched some movies and comedians (you know, real ones, not the goofs in our family), swam in the heated pool, and some people went golfing, played tennis, and went putt-putting. Dad made his traditional Alton Brown recipe doughnuts for New Year’s (I thought they were his best yet). We ate at a Cuban restaurant for one lunch, and we picked up doughnuts twice from a local bakery.

We mostly saw birds (quite a variety) on the beach after passing through Iguana Headquarters, except one or two days when we say these freaky Portuguese Man O’Wars. If Mom hadn’t said something, I probably would’ve stepped on them since they look like plastic bags. We saw pretty long white birds (they looked so thin they would break) along the highways by standing pools of water, but not much else (my sister and brother-in-law left early and went through the Everglades and saw tons of alligators), except for (we think) dead pumas on the side of the road (I think twice, I’m almost positive once; I am sure I saw a massive cat’s tail and what else is that particular shade of tawny?).

We had tons of fun, took family photos, and then returned home to the cold although I think we missed the near-to-zero worst of it.

 

I Finally Bought the Ancestry Test

Things to Bear in Mind (watch this video, focus especially on his explanations after the comparisons).

1. DNA test are new, sketchy, and general and humans are dumb.

2. In order to determine ethnicity matches, we must have reference populations. These are MODERN, so may/probably don’t reflect when my ancestors came over. For non-Europeans, the modern reference groups are much smaller or non-existent which distorts their results.

3. It only takes a few generations back before you reach ancestors from which you receive 0 DNA because DNA is halved every generation.

BUT

4. DNA is random. Don’t expect a perfect halved percentage of your ancestor’s ethnicity and don’t expect your siblings ethnicity percentages to match yours closely.

OKAY. So I bought my DNA test through ancestry.com via a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. I had previously built a tree with a free trial plus got an extra two weeks for this. So hopefully I will get some matches.

Now, I want to try and predict my results based on what I know from my grandparents and my research and estimating with help from this previously mentioned study. Like I’ve mentioned before, from what I’ve seen on my ancestry, my family REALLY matches the patterns described in David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed.

I’m looking at the averages for European Americans and then at the charts plus factoring in what I know.

~60-70% British
~30-40% Western Europe (Germany and Switzerland for me specifically because I know)
~Above average (0.19%) African American
~Average (0.18%) or below Native American
~Wondering about European Jewish?

I realize anything less than 1% isn’t going to show on the test, but I really don’t have anything in my family stories to safely assume anything more. The alleged Native American ancestor was quite far back plus I saw a photo, she looks European to me. And my European percentages are variable because like I said, ancestry doesn’t equal exact ratio. And my Dad’s history is empty of immigrants after the 18th century, so I assume a massive if not entirely British heritage from that fact and their locations.

My (Lack of) Travel Experience

I’ve been reading a lot of travel blogs lately (am I late to this or have they particularly exploded recently?). I’m not well-traveled, but I’d like to improve that. But I will never be a traveler of the sort on these blogs. I’m a homebody, I burn out easily, and I’m not usually ever all that interested in one thing (rather extreme and also, boring, imo), so I’d prefer travel as a part of my life not THE focus. And I’m afraid I would start to quickly not see it as exciting and interesting; I’d rather keep it a bit rare and special (that is a theme with me; if I read or watch something to many times I can almost hate it). Anyway. I thought I’d highlight some of my and my family’s travel experience. I will be in Florida soon!

My mom’s family took road trips all over the days when she was growing up. My grandparents have taken many trips all over the U.S. in their retirement. They’ve visited Canada and Israel as well, and my grandmother visited Switzerland. My Dad’s family moved from Texas to our current (my and my Mom’s family’s) state, but I don’t know if they ever traveled again. I was born in Michigan as my Dad worked there for several years after college, and then we moved back. Dad’s job has taken him all over the world, but he isn’t adventurous. Even though we were home-schooled, he didn’t take any of us with him overseas. We have, however, traveled with him domestically. Travelgirl has traveled to the Caribbean, Central American, and Oceania (she lived there for several months). I have my passport but haven’t used it yet. I hope to use it within the year at least once.

We (as a family) stayed in the South and Midwest until the end of 2006. Florida is where everyone goes around here. Or the Smokies. I have visited a few less than half the states, but I haven’t explored all the ones we visited. Sometimes we went with Dad to boring places and stayed in a hotel and swam. I’ll only mention states in which we visited an interesting place.

Arizona. We visited the Grand Canyon. And driving through the state and seeing the landscape is an experience.

California. I’ve been twice. We visited San Francisco and Monterey Bay area in January of 2007 with Dad on a work trip. We visited the San Francisco Bay in a boat, the Sourdough Factory, Muir Woods, Point Reyes, Monterey bay aquarium, a winery, and various seashores. Then we visited San Diego in May of 2016 during our epic two-week road trip. We visited the zoo, La Jolla Cove, and the beaches. I think Mission Beach the prettiest I’ve been to.

Colorado. We drove through here on the way back. Colorado is another one of those states which driving through is an experience.

Florida. My parents took me to Disney and Sea World as a tiny child. I barely remember it. We’ve visited the Gulf at least three times, once to St. George Island.

Georgia. Visited Jekyll Island. The Island is gorgeous but the water brackish. We saw two turtles released to the ocean.

Illinois. Chicago once. Chicago area later to visit friends. We ate Chicago style pizza that time.

Kentucky. Mammoth Cave.

Michigan. Holland.

Missouri. St. Louis twice.

New Mexico. Beautiful, another of those driving experience states. We visited Albuquerque.

Tennessee. We visited Chattanooga. We’ve been to the Smokies three times.

Texas. Dad’s family is from there but we aren’t close to his side, so we’ve only made one family trip to see his grandfather on his ranch. We drove through (another experience) North Texas and visited friends in the Fort Worth area during our grand trip. We also stopped at Palo Duro Canyon.

Utah. So beautiful. An epic drive, but we also visited Zion and Arches.

Virginia. Williamsburg twice, and Monticello once.

 

Link Love: Genealogy and DNA

I mistakenly assumed that my DNA ethnic breakdown would exactly match my siblings. I also assumed it would proportionally match my ancestry. Genes are far more complex and random than that. For example, my grandfather is of 1/4 Swiss ancestry. Yet, his DNA might not show 25% Swiss genes nor mine 6.25% although it could. I found this out via this article, and the concept is further explained in this article.

This fascinating study of a small sampling of people attempts to analyze the backgrounds of the three main ethnic groups in the U.S.: European Americans, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans. Now, there is no way of knowing if this is a representative sampling, as they note, but I think it is still great for general information. Be sure to look at all the maps. This is something to regularly refer back to.

And in a similar vein, this map displays subgroups and migration patterns and typical generation length in U.S. This matches with my family’s genealogy and some of David Hackett Fischer’s explanations. We’ve always moved West, quite literally.

And if you are ever in the market for DNA testing, this is a thorough analysis of the pros and cons. I’d like to test a couple people in my family for a variety of these tests. The ethnicity one is interesting, but the Y-DNA is probably most helpful for genealogical research.