Compared both to full-time and non-employed mothers, “the part-timers seem to be closest to the sweet spot.”
These mini versions mimic one or more parts of a brain. Since they grow and respond to drugs like portions of a living brain, researchers can learn from them in truly unprecedented ways.
Despite Gould’s split-the-difference approach – science and religion as “non-overlapping magisteria” – “The fact is that religion and science do overlap in people’s minds, in their life choices, in the difficult moral challenges society faces. To strictly deny the power of religion in the world, with billions following a diversity of faiths, is also terribly naïve. The difficult question that needs to be asked is why so many people across every culture need to believe. What is religion providing that so many need to embrace?” Astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser has some ideas.
“The philosopher Michael Ruse has argued that ‘morality is a collective illusion foisted upon us by our genes.’ If that’s true, why have our genes played such a trick on us?” Philosopher William Irwin considers the options of what he calls fictionalism – religious, moral, or free will – and compatbilism.
Robinson Meyer: “On Twitter, people say things that they think of as ephemeral and chatty. Their utterances are then treated as unequivocal political statements by people outside the conversation. Because there’s a kind of sensationalistic value in interpreting someone’s chattiness in partisan terms, tweets ‘are taken up as magnum opi to be leapt upon and eviscerated, not only by ideological opponents or threatened employers but by in-network peers.'”
“Why would anyone spend thousands of dollars on a Prada handbag, an Armani suit, or a Rolex watch? If you really need to know the time, buy a cheap Timex or just look at your phone and send the money you have saved to Oxfam. Certain consumer behaviors seem irrational, wasteful, even evil. What drives people to possess so much more than they need?” But then: “Most people own things that they don’t really need. It is worth thinking about why.”
Brainsights is a Toronto company that specializes in scanning people’s brainwaves in order to see if they’re responding to companies’ messages and content, whether they’re emotionally engaged, and whether they’ll remember any of it.
“The existence of the medium has created an unremitting low-intensity neural disquiet that we somehow feel only the medium can allay. We are on the run from the anxious vibration of our living.”
The Other Paris is both eulogy and paean to the matrixes of anarchy, creativity, crime, and serendipity that once gave shape to the City of Light. “The past, whatever its drawbacks, was wild,” Sante writes. “By contrast, the present is farmed.”
Twenty-first-century tastemakers like to think of themselves as beyond highbrow vs. lowbrow—that monocle popped long ago—but our eye for subtlety persists.
“Caitlyn Jenner identifies as a woman, Rachel Dolezal as black. Why should one be legitimate and the other condemned?”
“It seems that every Halloween there are articles about why people willingly let themselves get scared by watching horror movies or going to haunted houses, but there is surprisingly little research about the people who are compelled to do the scaring.” Alana Massey considers the possibilities.
“How could you not think you were special if you, with the help of the king of France, beat the British army? You’re just these little nothing colonists and you triumph over one of the most powerful empires in the history of the world. How could you not get a big head about that?”
“The device is a cosmic ham radio—a direct, if fuzzy, line to the big Whatever that provides things when they are asked for in the right way. Radionics is also called psionics or psychotronics, and radionics machines ‘wishing machines.'”
“We suggest that creative identity derives its value, specifically, from a sense of rarity, specialness, and uniqueness, which causes a sense of entitlement (among creative people),” they write in the Academy of Management Journal. “This sense of entitlement, in turn, can cause individuals to engage in dishonest behaviors.”
“Think of rivalry as a type of über competition driven by mutual obsession, with the rivals propelling each other to spiralling achievement, and investing more mental and emotional resources in each other than circumstances would ever dictate on their own.”
“The capacity for self-correction is the source of science’s immense strength, but the public is unnerved by the fact that scientific wisdom isn’t immutable. Scientific knowledge changes with great speed and frequency – as it should – yet public opinion drags with reluctance to be modified once established.”
The idea of an “Ideas Festival” is so broad that it could mean almost anything and thus, to most people, means absolutely nothing. Will they be celebrating new ideas? Old ideas? Is the festival strictly academic? Policy-oriented? Does it strive to make “ideas” culturally relevant? Will there be award statuettes shaped like light bulbs? And so on.
“Sitting in a pub one night a dozen years ago, Charles Spence realized that he was in the presence of the ideal experimental model: the Pringles potato chip.” The Oxford experimental psychologist argues “that in most cases at least half of our experience of food and drink is determined by the forgotten flavor senses of vision, sound, and touch.”
“The controversial psychologist, whose famous 1960s experiments concluded that most people will obey unethical orders, is the subject of a critically acclaimed new movie. … Not surprisingly, Milgram’s name is prominently mentioned in a recent study that takes a new look at an old question: What does it take to get us to comply with instructions, even when we know doing so could harm others?
The study’s conclusion: A gentle nudge will generally do it.”
The holdings of the Centre for Time Use Research at the University of Oxford “have been gathered from nearly 30 countries, span more than 50 years and cover some 850,000 person-days in total. They offer the most detailed portrait ever created of when people work, sleep, play and socialize – and of how those patterns have changed over time.”
“Rather than conceiving them under a rubric of disciplines, we are developing the ‘big idea’ that the enterprise entire is the study of the different ways that human beings have chosen or been able to live their lives as human beings.”
“RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.”
No, that’s not a joke. “Hologram USA, a technology company that specializes in these visual recreations of celebrities, announced that it would use the likenesses of Kaufman and Foxx and parts of their previously recorded routines to create hologram shows that will be presented across the country next year.”
“The individualistic appeal of the Regime of Choice tends to cast the desire for commitment as ‘loving too much’ – that is, loving against one’s own self-interest.”
“For some ancient Greeks and Romans, history was a downhill slide. … Nowadays some optimists think that history slants in the opposite direction. Some techno-utopians argue that technological progress is following an exponential curve, a J that is bending upward toward the vertical. … At the other extreme are today’s gloomy Malthusians. They view history as a spike, in which industrial and population growth overshoot the limits to sustainability, followed by a sharp crash likely to involve the collapse of industrial civilization … There is a third alternative: The shape of things to come may be a logistic curve or S-curve.”
“Melville, despite his struggles, was a hopeful person. ‘Bartleby’ is the freewheeling dream of a bibliophile, the mock epic of a dusty office, the shards of a lifetime of thought. One hundred sixty-two years of scholarship have failed to solve its mysteries—or diminish its pleasures.”
“‘I think being in a home environment is so much more comfortable for people,’ Ratzabi said. ‘It establishes this automatic comfort level. There’s something comforting about food, about sitting around a couch in a safe space where we’re here to support and critique each other.'”
Adam Kirsch: “If you Google ‘Homer’ and ‘bees,’ you get images of Homer Simpson, not quotations from the Iliad.”
James Parker: “I resent it, this mania for topicality. Update, refresh, delete cache, clear history, change your underpants.”
(But they agree that if you aim for timelessness, you’ll probably miss.)
“The Tofflers framed the question of technological change and its speed in a way that has been largely ignored before and after: as a psychological challenge.”