Researchers describe it as a progression from aggressive humor to affiliative humor – but it’s clearer and more understandable than those two terms may sound.
“The name of [this] ‘new attention disorder’ sounds like an Onion-style parody … It also sounds like a classic case of disease mongering: blurring normality with sickness to boost drug companies’ bottom lines. … Disease mongering is a tough concept to define – but if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. What we have here seems to be a duck egg.”
“A new generation of tech companies, however, have made Silicon Valley’s political needs less theoretical, and more immediate. They are taking on pre-existing, real-world industries. (The purely virtual ideas — search, portals, email — have been taken.) It’s harder to ignore politics when you’re changing the world, not just the web. And so these companies — Uber and Airbnb are the most obvious — have found a sweet spot where founders’ disdain for politics and regulators meets the smartest political strategy money can buy.”
“Even some of the most seemingly unemotional forms of trust can be deeply emotional. In other words, policymakers who want to improve our faith in others should take a page from the self-help crowd and do more to build a sense of social intimacy and promote what neuroeconomist Paul Zak once called the ‘empathic human connection’.”
“Every minute she’s asked to spend serving that function, valuable and necessary as it is, and perfectly understandable as it is that people are curious about her experiences, is a minute she’s not answering the same questions Damon Lindelof gets, or Joss Whedon gets, or Chuck Lorre gets. She’s not talking about her process, she’s not talking about her characters, she’s not telling her silly show business stories.”
The term “genius” in its modern sense was first adopted in the eighteenth century and it involved a conflation of two Latin terms: genius, which for the Romans was the god of our conception, imbuing us with particular personality traits but nevertheless a supernatural force external to us, and ingenium, a related noun referring to our internal dispositions and talents, our inborn nature.
“Over the last 50 years, the ‘Marshmallow Test’ has become synonymous with temptation, willpower, and grit. Walter Mischel’s work permeates popular culture.” In a Q&A, Mischel discusses “what the [test] really captures, how schools can use his work to help problem students, why men like Tiger Woods and President Bill Clinton may have suffered ‘willpower fatigue'” – and whether to worry if your pre-schooler flunks the test.
“If you go to the Boston Review Web site, you’ll find the slogan ‘Ideas Matter’ gracing the top of the homepage. … But in the social sciences, the idea that ideas matter has always been controversial. How much do ideas really matter? Do they affect individuals and societies more or less than do material circumstances such as economic incentives, physical constraints, and military force?” (In one way, definitely.)
“Relying on empathy to motivate charity means that it is not enough that the needy are humans, but they must also be lucky … The needy must also not be repulsive, but preferably be adorable. … The Abrahamic tradition has a different approach to altruism. The New and Old Testaments largely command people who are comfortable to give to people who aren’t – unconditionally.”
“The incentives are meant, in part, to encourage cultural activity among immigrants and other New Yorkers who may feel they cannot afford to visit the symphony or ballet. That anyone can sign up is by design: The de Blasio administration clearly hopes the cards will be embraced by a wide swath of residents, reducing any potential stigma they may carry.”
“There are still cases when I want to physically experience a product before I buy it, since the product is not standardized. I want to feel and test it. My decision as to whether to buy it or not depends on the feel of it and on a conversation with the sales staff that cannot be replaced by or compensated through a return service.”
“Eavesdrop on a conversation and it’s likely that, sooner or later, a concept invented or popularised by the founding father of free association will pop up. Oedipus complex. Denial. Id, ego and super-ego. Libido. Death wishes. Anal retentiveness. … Phallic symbols. Projection. And, of course, Freudian slips.”
“Change is exciting, but it can also be exhausting. And for the first time in a long time, reactions to the Apple Watch reveal seem to underscore exhaustion as much as excitement. But even these skeptical replies question the watch’s implementation, rather than express lethargy at the prospect of living in the world it might bestow on us.”
“Data analytics in support of human decision making, however, has one flaw — the human. This weak link in the data-driven agility chain becomes apparent as we move to Big Data: as the data grow so too do the results of the analyses, and yet people have a limited attention span and with it, the ability to process information. It doesn’t matter how wonderful the reports your newfangled Big Data tool generate if no one has the time or predilection to read them — or even worse, understand them.”