Ideas

Why Hasn’t The Internet Made More Of An Impact On Our Lives?

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“The Internet age just isn’t that impressive. Technological advancements of the last century had a truly transformative effect over the previous industrial age. Ice farming was replaced by refrigeration, the horse and buggy by the automobile, burning of fossil fuels for energy by centralized electrical power production. These advancements were notable not just in what they achieved in themselves but how they affected society.”

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Artificial Intelligence – Be Careful What You Wish For

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“The distinction between a corporation and an algorithm is fading. Does that make an algorithm a person? Here we have this interesting confluence between two totally different worlds. We have the world of money and politics and the so-called conservative Supreme Court, with this other world of what we can call artificial intelligence, which is a movement within the technical culture to find an equivalence between computers and people.”

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Why Is Reason Frightening?

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The ideal of “clear and intelligent thought,” stripped of its condescension and its indifference to the non-rational dimensions of human life, deserves to be defended. We need not be a nation of intellectuals, but we must not be a nation of idiots.

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Wait, So Now Physical And Emotional Pain Aren’t The Same Thing Neurologically?

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“In recent years, researchers and the public have, to a certain extent, latched onto the idea that there are important similarities between physical and emotional pain … At the very least,” according to new research, “pain and rejection appear to show up as distinct ‘representations’ in fMRI (brain scan) readings of study participants.”

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How To Make Fewer Stupid Mistakes, From A Man Who Knows

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Dr. David Dunning “is probably best known for the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect, … which argues, in short, that people without a lot of competence in a given area tend to overrate how good they are at the thing in question.” Here’s some advice he offers on how to avoid that effect.

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How Data Is Revolutionizing Design

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“More than ever, highly technical design is becoming more data-driven, faster, and smarter. As I learned at the Dassault Systèmes’ 3D Experience Forum in Las Vegas this week, engineers are increasingly using virtual test benches, new data sources, advanced computer simulations, and extremely sophisticated 3D modeling software to build much better mousetraps.”

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Why We Sometimes Laugh At Painful Events Or Want To Smack Adorable Babies (It’s Called Maintaining Emotional Homeostasis)

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“If you get into a very high or very low emotion that you’re almost to the point of being overwhelmed, you become incapacitated so you can’t function well. Emotional homeostasis is important for people so they can be in control of their cognitive, social, and psychological functions.”

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The New Smithsonian Design Has Futuristic Plans For The Mall In D.C.

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“The current design, which is a mishmash of buildings built over the past century, can be difficult for tourists to navigate and isn’t up-to-par for modern exhibitions. In addition, it faces away from the National Mall, making it less inviting to those walking from the US Capitol to other sites.”

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What Happens When You’re Spinning Your Creative Wheels In The Internet Era

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“Now that life isn’t evaluated by good grades or audiences who feel forced to applaud, every period to a sentence is my own tiny award for finishing a coherent thought. I keep going. I don’t have a path or a vision board or a career strategy, but I just keep moving in this direction and trusting that something cool will eventually happen.”

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Originality Is Overrated: Innovation Depends On Imitation

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“Throughout human history, innovation -including the technological progress we cherish -has been fuelled and sustained by imitation. Copying is the mighty force that has allowed the human race to move from stone knives to remote-guided drones, from digging sticks to crops that manufacture their own pesticides. … We’re natural-born rip-off artists. To be human is to copy.”

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Cowardice – What Exactly Is It?

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Perhaps no quality has been more reviled and scorned but less clearly defined. Fear is often useful, after all, and most writers who approach the subject of cowardice wind up writing about its opposite, courage, instead. Chris Walsh looks at the factor that seems to make the difference.

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Do Harsh Environments Lead To Stern Gods?

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“Religions with ‘moralizing high gods’ – that is, powerful supernatural beings that oversee human events and take an active interest in how humans are behaving – are more likely to be found in cultures residing in ecologically harsh areas,” a new study has found.

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“The Realism Canard” And What Movies Do To Our Brains

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“The realism canard” is what critic Isaac Butler calls the tendency to find fault with works of fiction, especially films, because events and conditions in them aren’t like real life. (For instance, in outer space, you can’t hear explosions.) Problem is, our brains are fooled by filmed images a lot more than we’d like to think.

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There Is No Foolproof Way To Detect A Lie

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“There are speech patterns and facial expressions said to be ‘cues,’ but these are often unreliable, and can be overcome, particularly when the liar in question doesn’t care if you believe her or not. (Wanting to be believed stresses us out, which can lead to giveaways like averted eye contact and stammering.)”

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Those Who Freak Out About Spoilers Are Clueless About The Art Of Criticism

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“The rise of spoiler-free criticism seems like a move away from criticism as art — and a move toward criticism as an arm of fandom marketing. It’s fine to not want spoilers in your criticism. But there is something distasteful about the assumption that providing spoilers is some sort of lapse in ethics or etiquette.”

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