5 Things You Should Know – Part 399

Here are 5 things you should know.

1. When you have self-defeating thoughts, feelings, or habits, it helps to ask what’s the story behind them and revise it. Psychologists call this story editing and it’s an actually engaging, evidence-based way to improve mental health.

There’s significant evidence that story editing can improve mood, reduce depressive symptoms, help you find clarity, and achieve closure on upsetting experiences. It’s accessible, works for problems big and small, gets your mind unstuck, you name it.

TECHNIQUES: You can do a sort of brain dump, where you write without stopping or censoring yourself for 15 min (a form of the expressive writing pioneered by James Pennebaker). Another effective way is to write about an upsetting event from a third-person’s perspective ( a form of self-distancing).

If you think about it, it makes sense – we are storytelling creatures, after all. Sometimes the stories we tell get us into trouble and the way out is to learn to take control and not get frozen in bad stories.

2. If you make a mistake with your baby’s name or change your mind about the name, in the United States and in some other countries, you have a grace period in which to change the birth certificate without a court order. Some states allow a whole year even.

Because mistakes happen and minds change, especially during such an emotional and stressful time. You don’t have to live with regret because you messed up the spelling or you suddenly realize that the baby’s name just isn’t the right one.

3. If you’re in a car accident and you have a child car seat in the back, even if it doesn’t look damaged, you should still report it to your insurance company. They will reimburse you for the full amount. Safety first.

Car seats are expensive and usually extremely safe. Even if your child’s car seat takes no damage during an accident, your insurance company should still replace or reimburse you for the full amount.

4. Your modern automobile is gathering data about you & it can be used against you.

Cars made in this century (and a few in the last) have come a long way in terms of technology and capability. Unfortunately, they have also begun tracking you. So-called automobile “Black Boxes” (event data recorders) record and retain speed, braking, steering angle, and more if you are in an accident. Most policing agencies and insurance companies have the tools to access this data. In the case of a civil or criminal court action, this data can be used against you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.

A 2016 white paper estimated that the potential value of the data your car collects about you has a value between $450 – $750 billion dollars. The auto industry is very interested in collecting this money.

If you signed up for the “little stick” that reduces your auto insurance, you’ve already agreed to give your data to one company. This data is monetized by the insco already but could also be sold to others.

The issue to decide who actually owns the data hasn’t been totally decided, but one court’s opinion stated, “[A]utomobiles are justifiably the subject of pervasive regulation by the State [and e]very operator of a motor vehicle must expect the State, in enforcing its regulations, will intrude to some extent upon that operator’s privacy.” (New York v. Class, (475 U.S. 106, 113 (1986))

Just be aware and fight to keep this data private. Otherwise, your car will be like your television…you’ll have to agree to THEIR terms (being tracked, monitored, and sold) to operate/use the item you purchased.

Read more here

Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation to learn more about technology and privacy.

5. Almost all interstates in the USA end in an odd number if the road runs north/south, and end in an even number if they run east/west.

This is a simple trick that can help with knowing your directions better, especially when traveling in an unfamiliar area. There are a few exceptions, however, but generally most interstate highways follow this format across the country.

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