No-bid contracts, Utah suicide rate NOT up and swearing is good for you. Seriously.

No-bid contracts – Rep. Candice Pierucci says HB43, brought forward in response to no-bid contracts last spring would allow “the executive branch to be both nimble and responsive while also putting guardrails and checkpoints into place to encourage transparency, accountability and ultimately the competitive bid process.” The bill stipulates that a no-bid emergency contract could last not longer than 30 days, except in the case of a natural disaster, and then they would be limited to 60 days. A pandemic does not meet the definition of “natural disaster.” After the emergency contracts expire, the state would go through the standard procurement process. The bill passed out of the Government Ops committee unanimously. (KUERSLTrib)


Utah’s suicide rate did not go up – In a report released yesterday by Utah’s Department of Health saying that the number of suicide deaths did not increase and has remained consistent with the previous three years. It largely debunks information that was spread during 2020 about increased suicide rates during the pandemic. The report notes: The pandemic has impacted Utahns in significant ways, yet preliminary data shows Utahns are resilient. At yesterday’s weekly COVID-19 briefing, State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn credited the Utah Department of Health and Human Services for identifying the potential for a mental health crisis early in the pandemic and providing the necessary services to address it. “At the very beginning of this pandemic, so, a year ago, we started planning for addressing the mental health strain that would come with a pandemic, quarantine, social distancing …We’ve been working with partners for over a year to focus on this effort, and I think the fact that we haven’t seen an increase in suicides or overdoses is a testament to the hard work that’s been put in by both our health and human services departments.” Governor Spencer Cox said at that same press conference :Despite these difficult times, there is hope. We are not powerless to the difficult circumstances around us. I encourage all Utahns to continue to lift each other up and provide the support we all need during these challenging times.” (KUER, ABC4, KUTV, SLTrib, Fox 13)

Swearing is a sign of intelligence, damn it – No, really. “The advantages of swearing are many,” said Timothy Jay, professor emeritus of psychology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, who has studied swearing for more than 40 years. “The benefits of swearing have just emerged in the last two decades, as a result of a lot of research on brain and emotion, along with much better technology to study brain anatomy.” Here are 5: 

  1. Cursing fluency happens most in intelligent people with large vocabulariesA 2015 study found that contrary to the folk assumption that swear words are used because speakers don’t have a large vocabulary, it’s the people with the largest vocabularies overall who have the largest “taboo” vocabulary as well.
  2. Swearing is associated with higher levels of personal integrity – A series of three studies in 2017 show a link between cursing and honesty. “When you’re honestly expressing your emotions with powerful words, then you’re going to come across as more honest,” said Jay, who was not involved in the studies. 
  3. Swearing increases pain tolerance – As a midwife, I can tell you that’s true of women in labor. There’s research to back it up, too. Researcher Richard Stephens says the process works like this: Cussing produces a stress response that initiates the body’s ancient defensive reflex. A flush of adrenaline increases heart rate and breathing, prepping muscles for fight or flight. 
  4. Simultaneously, there is another physiological reaction called an analgesic response, which makes the body more impervious to pain. There’s a caveat, though – the effectiveness of using swear words for pain relief decreases if overused.
  5. Swearing is a sign of creativity – “We do know patients who have strokes on the right side tend to become less emotional, less able to understand and tell jokes, and they tend to just stop swearing even if they swore quite a lot before,” Emma Byrne, the author of “Swearing Is Good for You,” said.
  6. Non-violent outlet – The purpose of swearing is to vent my emotion, and there’s an advantage in that it allows me to cope,” said Jay. “And then it communicates very readily to bystanders what my emotional state is. It has that advantage of emotional efficiency — it’s very quick and clear.”
  7. Social bonding – “Swearing can serve to show that we are not a fragmented member of a society. That’s why, cursing/swearing among friends can make you feel slightly better, when it’s coupled with a sense of validation from others.”

And guess what – humans aren’t the only ones who swear. Chimpanzees in the wild tend to use their excrement as a social signal, one that’s designed to keep people away,” Byrne said. Chimps who are taught sign language for “poo” as they were being potty-trained quickly shifted how they used the sign. “As soon as they learned the poo sign they began using it like we do the word sh*t,” Byrne said. “Cursing is just a way of expressing your feelings that doesn’t involve throwing actual sh*t. You just throw the idea of sh*t around.”

So if politics makes you swear, well, you’re just showing us your intelligence, large vocabulary and desire for social bonding with other political afficionados.

Hey. I don’t make the rules.

(CNN, PsychCentral)