Trapped By Your Concepts Of Culture? Then Try These

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“The concepts and ideas we celebrate — like our spiritual beliefs and daily habits — are a choice, though sometimes it feels like we “have” to celebrate them, even if we don’t feel like it. Culture is ours to do with as we choose, and that means that we can add, subtract, or edit celebrations or holidays as we see fit — because you and me and everyone reading this makes up our culture, and it is defined by us, for us, after all.”

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Cities Are Becoming Inhospitable For Artists (But Not For The Traditional Reasons)

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The “urban Renaissance” we are living through is a terrific example of solving a problem by not solving it, or rather, by turning it inside-out. We’ve imported suburbia to the city, recreating its bucolic aura via bike lanes and urban gardening, and its gated community vibe via “broken windows” policing. Soon it will have all those stereotypical negative characteristics of suburbia too: lack of human diversity, and commercial life crushed under chain stores. Meanwhile, we are exporting poverty to places where you need a car to survive.

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Study: Muscles Are A State Of Mind

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“In a small study recently published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers found that much of muscle strength is based on brain activity, rather than on the mass of the muscles themselves.”

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Why Is Narrative Powerful Enough To Change Minds And Even Politics? It Rewires Our Brains

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“For thousands of years, we’ve known intuitively that stories alter our thinking and, in turn, the way we engage with the world. But only recently has research begun to shed light on how this transformation takes place from inside. Using modern technology like functional MRI scanning, scientists are tackling age-old questions: What kind of effect do powerful narratives really have on our brains? And how might a story-inspired perspective translate into behavioural change?”

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The Man Who Secretly Filmed A Shakespeare Play Right After Directing The Avengers On How To Be Prolific

amy acker

“This comes from Kai, my wife, who produced the film. She [quotes from] Rio Grande: ‘Get it done, Johnny Reb.’ It’s like, don’t make excuses. There aren’t any anymore. If you’re talking about it, you should be doing it and she doesn’t like to see talent go fallow. She doesn’t like to see people repeat themselves. She likes people to get it done, purely out of love of the person and then joy for the product itself.”

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Look, No, The Internet Isn’t Killing The Creative Class – It’s Just Hard To Make A Living In The Arts

Illustration by Jon Chadurjian.

“This Jane Jacobs-ish defense of the Comic Book Guys of the world is passionate but unconvincing: Are we really losing something essential with these ‘gathering places’ that isn’t made up for by Wi-Fi-enabled coffee shops (frequently havens of creative production, not just consumption) on the one hand, and online forums for critical discussion on the other? Does the labor of culture have to happen in a store?”

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You Have Remarkable Music Abilities – You Just Don’t Know About Them Yet

you might be musical

“The more psychologists investigate musicality, the more it seems that nearly all of us are musical experts, in quite a startling sense. The difference between a virtuoso performer and an ordinary music fan is much smaller than the gulf between that fan and someone with no musical knowledge at all. … We aren’t talking about instinctive, inborn universals here. Our musical knowledge is learned.”

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The Last Time I Smiled: On Living With Facial Paralysis

L0037796 Experiments in physiology. Facial expressions

Jonathan Kalb: “For the past thirteen years, my smile has been an incoherent tug-of-war between a grin on one side and a frown on the other: an expression of joy spliced to an expression of horror. … If a stranger approaches me smiling and I try to return the greeting, I watch the person’s face fade into apprehension and wariness.”

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Here’s How Robots Will Take Over The World (Really)

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“Yes. I think eventually, robots will take over your job. If you work in the fast food industry, I think at this point the whole restaurant could just be run by robots. I’m not trying to insult fast food workers – I’m just trying to tell the truth. A robot can make some chicken nuggets and a robot can take your order. Robots can clean up and they don’t make many mistakes.”

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So Why *Do* Women Cry More Than Men?

why women cry more than men

“We can intuit that men cry less often than women owing to social conditioning; crying doesn’t really fit in with our image of stereotypical manhood, after all, and that’s no doubt a partial explanation of why men are more likely to hold in their tears. But men may also be biologically built to shed fewer tears.”

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A Patent System So Broken It Stifles Innovation

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It’s “a market so constricted by high transaction costs and legal risks that it excludes the vast majority of small and mid-sized businesses and prevents literally 95 percent of all patented discoveries from ever being put to use to create new products and services, new jobs, and new economic growth.”

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Why It Matters To Have A Canon Of Great Works

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“Starting from the premise that aesthetics were just another social construct rather than a product of universal principles, postmodernist thinkers succeeded in toppling hierarchies and nullifying the literary canon. Indeed, they were so good at unearthing the socioeconomic considerations behind canon formation that even unapologetic highbrows had to wonder if they hadn’t been bamboozled by Arnoldian acolytes and eloquent ideologues.”

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Our Patent System Is Utterly Borked, But There Are Ways To Fix It

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“How ironic that we live in a democratized technological ecosystem in which anyone can invent and patent anything, yet it is mostly just the rich and powerful who can effectively partake of its resources. The patent system is thus hostage to a costly and exclusionary legal system. So let’s liberate it.”

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Why Airlines Have An Interest In Making You Suffer

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“Here’s the thing: in order for fees to work, there needs be something worth paying to avoid. That necessitates, at some level, a strategy that can be described as “calculated misery.” Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that’s where the suffering begins.”

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Buddhism, Stoicism, Shmoicism – Do We Really Want To Transcend Suffering?

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Todd May: “In their official guise, these doctrines are examples of what I am going to label ‘invulnerabilism.’ They say that we can, and we should, make ourselves immune to the world’s vicissitudes. … Instead, I want to say that most of us, when we really reflect upon our lives, would not want what is officially on offer, but instead something else.”

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How Do We Arrive At A Science Of Consciousness?

consciousness

“Philosopher Alva Noë explores ideas in a new book that suggests consciousness and self is best looked at by combining insight from Western science, Indian philosophy and contemplative practices.”

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The Medical Costs Of Loneliness

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“The range of harmful neural and behavioural effects of perceived isolation documented in adults include increased anxiety, hostility and social withdrawal; fragmented sleep and daytime fatigue; increased vascular resistance and altered gene expression and immunity; decreased impulse control; increased negativity and depressive symptoms; and increased age-related cognitive decline and risk of dementia.”

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A Case For The Importance Of ’70s Culture

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“The recent burst of fictional resurrections of the Seventies — the most acclaimed novels of recent years among them — doesn’t just represent the establishment of a new consumer market. The novelists who have lately returned to the Seventies seem to be making a stronger claim: that there is something uniquely vital to the decade, and in fact uniquely to be missed.”

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How Much Can You Trust Published Scientific Research?

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“Has published research become less reproducible than it was in the past? We’ll likely never know, but the history of science is filled with examples of researchers arguing over the reproducibility of a published result—and then stumbling onto a completely new discovery.”

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Everyone’s Trying To Figure Out How Our Brains Work (It’s Really Really Difficult)

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One “danger that the big brain projects will have to navigate is the temptation to consider the brain in isolation. This has been a prevalent tendency ever since the brain became established as the “seat of the mind:” as the popular view has it, all that we are and all that we experience takes place within this wobbly mass of grey tissue. But of course, it doesn’t.”

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How To Hack Your Holiday Memories

how to hack your holiday memories

“What if we could choose which memories of the holiday season – or any season – will stand out most vividly and which we’re content to let fade with the passage of time? While it isn’t possible to do this with an exacting, sci-fi level of precision, it is possible to use some basic findings about human memory to increase the odds that you will remember that amazing New Year’s party but forget that Christmas-dinner squabble over Obamacare.”

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