Ideas

Social Trust And Personal Trust: What Policymakers Can Learn From The Self-Help Gurus

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“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’.”

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What Happens When You’re The Only One?

shonda rhimes

“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.”

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Is This The City Of The Future?

songdo

“The city was built for a future that hasn’t yet arrived. Songdo’s wide sidewalks and roads—evoking a movie set—are still waiting for pedestrians and cars to fill them.”

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Let’s Reconsider This Idea Of “Genius”

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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.

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What the Marshmallow Test Really Teaches About Self-Control

marshmallow test

“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.

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Art Is Science, Science Is Art (Is That Really Radical?)

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John Brockman has a “fundamental opposition to the separation of art and science. Instead, he sees art as science and science as art. This way of thinking beyond the boundaries is a guiding theme that defines his activities, which focus on establishing networks.”

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Do Ideas Actually Matter?

do ideas matter

“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.)

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If Empathy Doesn’t Work, Try Religion

empathy religion

“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.”

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New York’s New Identity Card Comes With A Lot Of Free Culture

kids brooklyn museum

“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.”

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Is Local The New Digital?

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“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.”

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How Freud And His -Ism Came To Be Ubiquitous

freud

“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.”

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How To Dig Yourself Out Of Your Sleep Debt

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“Sleep loss, researchers contend, works kind of like credit. Skip a few hours of sleep, and you’ll be all right, so long as you pay back the ‘debt’ in a timely manner. But when sleepless nights stretch on for weeks, or months, your sleep debt starts to accumulate.”

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Innovation or Invention?

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“What is the difference? For me, innovation requires a radical new understanding of some basic questions of your craft. On the other hand, incremental invention only extends what you already know.”

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Future Ennui: Technology Advances Aren’t Exciting Anymore, They’re Just …

future ennui

“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.”

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So Big Data Will Make Us Better? There’s A Flaw… Us!

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“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.”

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How Are Our Online Relationships Impacting Our Real World Interactions?

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“For something so prevalent in our society, there is surprisingly little conclusive research on how social media affects our offline relationships. Yes, there have been articles proclaiming the downfall of personal relationships because of social media, but there have also been studies arguing that social networking leads to greater amounts of personal interaction.”

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A Feeling of Control: How America Can Finally Learn to Deal With Its Impulses

feeling of control

“The ability to delay gratification has been held up as the one character trait to rule them all – the key to academic success, financial security, and social well-being. … Which lends a kind of overpowering weight to the question: If self-control is so important, how are we supposed to achieve it?” Sheer willpower, it’s turning out, isn’t the best approach.

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It’s The Little Annoyances That’ll Really Kill You

little annoyances

“The godawful commute. The fight you had with your partner this morning. The kitchen sink that won’t stop leaking. Minor annoyances? Maybe. But these little, everyday hassles can add up and may be as likely to do you in as the bigger, more serious stressors in life, like divorce or job loss, according to new research.”

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