“Metaknowledge functions as a powerful bullshit detector. It can separate crowd members who actually know something from those who are guessing wildly or just parroting what everyone else says.” It can also function, writes George Musser, as a “lie detector” and/or a “truth serum.”
One study, “financed by the National Institutes of Health, suggests that cognitive training that uses thinking, such as problem solving and learning, like reading a newspaper article and discussing it with a friend, has staying power in the brain — even 10 years after the training ends.”
“Astronomers are exploring ancient tombs in Portugal that they believe may have been used by prehistoric humans to enhance specific views of the night skies. Researchers are focusing on the alignment of the stars with … dolmens that feature long narrow entrances that act as apertures, essentially zooming in on stars and planets that wouldn’t always be visible from the outside.”
“Apple remains the biggest holdout. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but critics say it has little incentive to do anything that might undermine Beats One, Apple Music, and other streaming services.”
“There’s a year-round Bavarian Christmas village (a village within the Village) that’s showered with fake snow every four minutes and has a toy shop with a resident Santa who refuses to break character. Yankee Candle Village is the epitome of sensory overload.”
In a University of Washington lab test tube, researchers stored an HD video of the song “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go. They also stored the text of 100 books, and the Declaration of Human Rights in multiple languages.
Their data lists not only the size of past cities, but how, when, and where they emerged. That’s a big deal—and not just for historians.
“The brainbound view pictures the brain as a powerful executive, planning every aspect of behaviour and sending detailed instructions to the muscles. But, as work in robotics has illustrated, there are more efficient ways of doing things, which nature almost certainly employs.”
It’s actually the other way around: “If music makes you see colors and shapes, you might be more likely to pick up a guitar or sit at a piano in the first place … Ssynesthetes see the similar in the dissimilar (music and color; pain and color; syllables and shapes), and people who excel at making metaphors are generally more creative.
“Writers, entrepreneurs, and creative leaders of all types know that intense focus that happens when you’re ‘in the zone’: You’re feeling empowered, productive, and engaged. Psychologists might call this flow, the experience of zeroing in so closely on some activity that you lose yourself in it. And this immersive state, as it turns out, also happens to be something that some adults with ADHD commonly experience.”
Karan Mahajan: “‘How’s it going?’ I ask the barista. ‘How’s your day been?’
‘Ah, not too busy. What are you up to?’
‘Not much. Just reading.’
This, I have learned, is one of the key rituals of American life. It has taken me only a decade to master.”
“Thanks to René Descartes and a pantheon of very serious dead white men, Western intellectual history has long maintained that thought is something that happens only in the kingdom of the brain; it’s just the body’s job, as educator Ken Robinson famously quipped, to bring the brain from meeting to meeting. But your hands suggest otherwise.”
Yes, “the belief that the best ideas will always succeed is rather like the faith that unregulated financial markets will always produce the best economic outcomes. … But in the marketplace of ideas, zombies can actually be useful. Or if not, they can at least make us feel better. That, paradoxically, is what I think the flat-Earthers of today are really offering – comfort.”
James Blachowicz argues that what we think of as the scientific method is basically the same as the process by which one edits a poem or hones a philosophical argument.
“In more recent years she has been fitted with a chip implant in her elbow that wirelessly attaches to seismographs around the world, vibrating with varied intensity based on Richter scale readings. From such movements she choreographs dance concerts she calls Waiting for Earthquakes.”
“As we drove deeper into Western Europe, the sense of longing grew. Surely we’d meet someone, somewhere, who would not be able to tell that we were only Czechs? Of course, we were used to feeling second class. This was built into our upbringing and culture.”
“This statement isn’t just hyperbole, it’s got a truly spectacular number of incorrect assumptions packed into its seven words. In fact, it’s got so many levels of wrongness that it’s actually a fantastic opportunity to explore what language is, what language isn’t, and how emoji fit into this whole thing.”
City lights. And that’s bad. “When plants bloom earlier than usual, it can spell disaster for ecological systems—in which timing is key.”
“Each carried a card with the name of the soldier they represented and his age – if known – when he died.”
On Wednesday, America’s star astrophysicist sent out this tweet: “Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.” Jesse Singal explains that “it is, in fact, a pretty dumb tweet – uncharacteristically so, given how smart the author is – but one which usefully sums up a common misconception held by folks who bang the drum loudest for science and reason.”
“After the AI devoured all that video to train itself, the researchers fed the algorithm a single frame from a video it had not seen and tasked it with predicting what would happen next. The algorithm got it right about 43 percent of the time.”
“I am surrounded by colleagues who study members of our species by presenting them with questionnaires. They trust the answers they receive and have ways, they assure me, of checking their veracity. But who says that what people say about themselves reveals actual emotions and motivations?”
“Most of us love perceptual illusions, and … from 4 p.m. EDT on June 29 to 4 p.m. EST on June 30, participants around the world are invited to visit illusionoftheyear.com to check out this year’s top 10 finalists and cast their votes.” (includes video)
“Recent history and philosophy have taught that violence is the surest outcome of blithely ascribing the quality of evil to another. At best, this process may supplant the thing we brand evil for a time, but the notion that evil can be ‘destroyed’ is an ethical version of a fool’s errand. “
“People are phubbed, but they are also phubbers. In an environment where people are constantly switching from being the protagonists and recipients of this behavior, our data suggests that phubbing becomes seen as the norm.”
“Philosophy must become more diverse in order to make progress on its fundamental questions. But cultural diversity means something different in philosophy, compared with other humanities disciplines.”
“Sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many “intelligent” systems that shape how we are categorized and advertised to.”
“Far from undervaluing effort, Americans seems to overestimate the potential of their own endeavour. A 2014 study by Pew Research found that 73 per cent of Americans believe that hard work is very important to success, the highest out of all the countries surveyed. Only 49 per cent of Germans agreed. We know, from a growing pile of evidence from many different sources, that while innate ability is far from the only contributor to success, it is probably the best predictor of it.”
“The fact that mistakes have more to do with the problem itself, as opposed to skill or time, raises questions well beyond the domain of chess.”
If by “save” we mean “archive”: “Philip Napoli (Rutgers Univ.) argued that with current news archiving practices, it would be easier for future historians to study local newspapers from 1940 than from 2015.”