The Most Detailed Map Of The Human Brain Was Revealed This Week

brain-atlas

“Scientists released the most detailed map ever made of the fetal human brain today. It contains a massive amount of information about gene activity at a crucial time in development — just as the cerebral cortex is developing. The scientists believe it holds important clues about the biological origins of disorders like autism, as well […]

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Nations Are Failing To Solve Problems. But Cities…

big_7c336d5ee3

“As nations become increasingly ineffective, gridlocked and dysfunctional, cities are taking their place not just as local problem solvers – which they’ve always been pretty good at – but also as collectives that start to tackle global problems like climate change, that nations are unable to redress on their own.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Can Comedy Bring About Real Political Change?

Can comedy bring about real political change

From Lysistrata to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to the satirical banners in Tahrir Square, it can seem that comedy really is that powerful. On the other hand, all those Soviet jokes weren’t what brought down the USSR. (On the third hand, it wasn’t actually Sarah Palin who said, “I can see Russia from my house.”)

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Intellectual Property and Jokes

Photo of a gun by Tanjala Gica/Thinkstock, photo illustration by

No, this isn’t about a sub-genre of lawyer jokes. Comedians and civilians alike steal each other’s laugh lines. “Does anyone actually own a joke, after all? What legal recourse, if any, does that owner have when some hack swipes his best material?”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Why Should You Have To Believe God Exists In Order To Be Religious?

NYT The Stone logo

“Richard Feynman, the great physicist, is rumored to have said that he lived among the numbers, that he was intimate with them. However, he had no views about their metaphysical status … Just as a practicing mathematician need not have views about the metaphysical status of numbers, so too religious life does not require a […]

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Humans Have 20 Different Ways to Make Faces

20 ways to make faces

“For years, scientists studying facial expressions have focused their research on six primary emotions: happiness, surprise, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust.” But Ohio State University researchers “suspected that there’s more to the human condition than these six simplest states of being.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Why Does It Matter That Heidegger Was Anti-Semitic?

Heidegger

“Why do these thinkers’ personal lives and ideological compromises seem unusually relevant to their work, beyond the usual scandal-sheet Schadenfreude? It may have something to do with their distinctive views regarding the relevance (or, rather, irrelevance) of character and personality to the objects of their study.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Rumsfeld’s Knowns and Unknowns: The Intellectual History of a Quip

Rumsfeld

“I recall many people viewing it as handwaving nonsense meant to cover over reality. It was a laughingstock … but wasn’t [it] a brilliantly pithy piece of popular epistemology? Decoupled from its context, it seemed smart … and I’d wager most people couldn’t tell you what Rumsfeld was talking about when he said it.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

What’s The Key To Patience In The Age Of Distraction?

marzipan

Much of our talk of patience today disguises itself with words like “attention,” “mindfulness,” and “time management.” Patience is required to pay attention to the article before us, to be mindful of the person in front of us, and to manage our time in such a way that we accomplish all the tasks required of […]

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Time For The Arts To Smarten Up About Smartphones

Smartphones For the Arts

“Largely gone are the old apprehensions, the old tensions that marked the relationship between smartphones and the arts. Where those running organizations once wondered what to do about these new devices that could record audio and video and take pictures — practices that had sometimes been barred — now they know: Embrace them.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Investing In People (Or Indentured Servitude?)

human-capital

“Companies like Upstart, Pave, and Lumni are acting like Kickstarter platforms for people instead of businesses or products. Through them, it’s possible to invest in a human being, funding their education or professional development and getting a cut of their future profits in return.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Developing Prosthetic Voices

prosthetic voice

Rupal Patel and Tim Bunnell have been “developing algorithms that build voices for those unable to speak – without computer assistance. The voices aren’t just natural-sounding; they’re also unique. … [The premise is] that technology now allows us to think about the voice ‘just like we think about fonts for written text’.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

A Unified Theory of Humor

unified field theory of comedy

What makes something funny? There’s Plato and Aristotle’s old “superiority theory”, there’s Freud’s “relief theory”, there’s the currently-favored “incongruity theory”. But the founder of the Humor Research Lab (HuRL) argues that each of those theories has a flaw – and offers one of his own.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Too Soon! How Long Before It’s Okay to Joke About Something?

too soon

As Mark Twain observed, “Humor is tragedy plus time.” But how much time? Researcher Peter McGraw of the Humor Research Lab (HuRL) tried some experiments (e.g., a Hurricane Sandy Twitter account) and thinks that “Too soon?” may not be the right question.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Flavor Of The Month: Behavioral Economics (It Can Explain Everything!)

6a4c29d2-b085-11e3-8058-00144feab7de

“So popular is the field that behavioural economics is now often misapplied as a catch-all term to refer to almost anything that’s cool in popular social science, from the storycraft of Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point (2000), to the empirical investigations of Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics (2005).”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

What’s Up With The Teenage Obsession With Dystopia? (Duh)

Shailene Woodley and Theo James in Divergent.

“The to-do list for the decade between ages 10 and 20 includes separating from your parents, finding your place among your peers at school, beginning to make decisions about your own future, and—oh yes—figuring out how to relate to the world, and yourself, as a suddenly and mystifyingly sexual being.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter