Ideas

Why People Fall For Fake News Stories (It’s Not Just Irony Impairment)

the onion

“‘This isn’t about shortened attention spans. This is about an overabundance of decontextualized snippets of info.’ Facebook headlines and Tweets simply don’t consistently provide the cues one would need to distinguish weird news from fake news, ‘unless the http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/why-facebooks-satire-tag-is-necessary.html is consistently ironic’.”

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Dystopian Young Adult Novels Have A Lot To Tell Us About The Philosophy Of Equality

the giver

“There is a real danger that inequality is not just related to literal capital accumulation, but to equality of opportunity and the accumulation of cultural capital. This might include things like what kind of education your family can afford to give you. … It isn’t hard to see how this ends up a popular theme in young adult dystopias.”

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Ten Writing Studios You Might Just Want For Yourself

shed2

“The water collection basin that doubles as the front step draws in birds and deer. At midday, the silhouettes of these animals project from the water onto the interior ceiling. Windows on the west and north sides frame different bird habitats.”

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Take A Look At How These Artists Live

how artists live

“I wanted to see how people spend the majority of their time, how they work, to motivate myself—and take away more positive ways that people work with their space, or work with whatever situation they’re in, to stay motivated.”

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The Blessings Of Exile (That Is, If You Survive It)

Buenos_Aires_Tango

“Because everything has become so evident, you’ve stopped seeing anything. Exile gives you a chance to break free. All that heavy luggage of old ‘truths,’ which seemed so only because they were so familiar, is to be left behind. Exiles always travel light.”

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E-Reading Is Convenient, But It’s Less Memorable (Literally)

memorable a

“In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and the paper readers [in the study] But, the Kindle readers scored significantly lower on questions about when events in the story occurred. They also performed almost twice as poorly when asked to arrange 14 plot points in the correct sequence.” Says one of the researchers, “It’s interesting to us that the differences were both related to time and temporality – why is that?”

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Metaphors Really Are Powerful (But You Won’t Believe Us If You Happen To Be Smelling Something Fishy)

fishy

Research psychologists call them metaphorical effects: “instances in which a metaphor commonly used to describe a psychological state or social reality can, in turn, induce that state or reality. So, for example, holding a warm cup of coffee makes people feel warmly toward each other … and cleaning one’s hands makes a person feel morally clean.”

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Do Broccoli Eaters Get More Out Of Life?

broccoli

Of course we do! “People [in a recent study] who ate more fruits and vegetables over the 13-day period reported higher average levels of curiosity, creativity, and positive emotions, as well as engagement, meaning, and purpose.”

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Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

type

“If we are our own harshest critics, why do we miss those annoying little details? The reason typos get through isn’t because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we’re doing is actually very smart.”

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Inside The Head Of A Moscow Shaman

mark-208

“All my ancestors were healers and performed rituals, even my surname Guslyak means ‘sorcerer’. Once a day my body convulses for 15-20 minutes. Reality changes in this condition and it takes special powers in order to return to normality. I still don’t understand everything.”

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Lucid Dreaming: The Next Miracle Mental Technique?

lucid dreaming

Some people use it “to solve problems, spur creativity, overcome nightmares or practice a physical skill.” Researchers are seeing early indications that the technique can improve cognition and help alleviate depression. “Many of the studies are small, however, and it isn’t always clear whether lucid dreaming is responsible for the improvements or simply linked to them.”

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What Does Anna Karenina Look Like? How We Visualize What We Read

anna karenina

“Most authors wittingly or unwittingly provide their fictional characters with more behavior than physical description. Even if an author excels at physical description, we are left with shambling concoctions of stray body parts and random detail. We fill in gaps. We shade them in. We gloss over them. We elide. Our mental sketches of characters are worse than police composites.”

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Even Dogs Get That Eureka! Feeling (And So Do Cows)

dog eureka

Recent research from Sweden found “that when dogs solved the problem and earned a reward they wagged their tails more and were more eager to repeat the experience than if they were just given a reward.” The study was inspred by earlier research showing a similar effect in cattle. (How could they tell?)

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Your Brain Needs Vacations (Seriously)

brain vacation

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s a reason: The processing capacity of the conscious mind is limited. This is a result of how the brain’s attentional system evolved.” (Simple daydreaming definitely counts as brain vacation, but it’s not. enough.)

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“Fighting” Illness: The Trouble With Metaphors In Medicine

medical metaphors

“Metaphors are a fundamental mechanism through which our minds conceptualize the world around us, especially in the face of complexity. But evidence suggests they do more than explain similarities – they can invent them where they don’t exist, and blur the lines between the literal and the figurative.”

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What Does A Minute Feel Like?

a minute

For that matter, what is a minute, really? Newton “believed that time was absolute – marked by God’s great metronome in the sky. It was certainly not subjective.” Einstein once wrote, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” And then there’s David Lamelas’s conceptual piece Time.

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Who Are We? (And Other Fundamental Things That Define Us As Human)

2014_29human

“Why are we the only species on earth that is concerned about things that don’t directly concern our survival or that of our offspring? Porcupines do not look up at the night sky and wonder what all the sparkly bits are; weasels don’t worry about what other weasels think of them; lobsters really don’t enjoy pub quizzes.”

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Why Is The Internet Blue?

blue internet

Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg’s “version of the internet is profoundly blue, bluer than any internet before, for a reason he didn’t realize was personal until long after the decision was made.”

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Could A Three-Day Work Week Really Work?

work week

Maria Konnikova: “When we own more of our time, we feel like we’re in charge of our lives and our schedules, which makes us happier and, ultimately, better at what we do. Our health and happiness also increases in the course of our lifetimes and, with it, our value to the workplace and to society as a whole. Additionally, we may finally recover from chronic sleep deprivation.”

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Neuroscientists Find Differences In Brains Of Heroes

heroes

“There were 16 heroes, including 11 women, who rescued the trapped man. Nineteen others, including 12 women, passed by without helping. The remaining 8 tried to help but gave up – they were omitted from the subsequent brain analysis because they were so few in number.”

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Virtual Reality – Coming Soon To A World Around You

Google Cardboard, virtual reality

“Advances in graphics, computing power and interface devices such as the Nintendo Wii or Microsoft Kinect have opened the door to a new level of sophistication of virtual reality, he says. Most important, though, has been the continuing drop in cost of virtual reality technology, a trend largely driven by the gaming industry.”

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