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June 16, 2013
The Awl 06/13/13
Mental Floss 06/12/13
The Atlantic 06/13/13
The Observer (UK) 06/15/13
The New York Times 06/14/13
June 14, 2013
Why The Distinction Between 'Less' And 'Fewer" Matters
"In fact, far from being a mere linguistic slip, this error does a profound disservice to concepts that are at the very foundation of modern technology. The fundamental distinction that is glossed over in that usage is the one between the continuous and the discrete."
Scientific American 06/11/13
The Power of Parting Words
"Goodbye is larger than just a word. It encompasses an entire ritual." And why do many of us, for instance, end an email message with "Thanks" even when there's been no occasion for gratitude to the reader?
Scientific American 06/11/13
New Scientist 06/13/13
June 13, 2013
The Physical Benefits Of Laughter
"At the physiological level, humor reduces levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and is thought to enhance our immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems. Laughter also provides a workout for the muscles of the diaphragm, abdomen, and face. A joke can raise our spirits, or ease our tension. If we're able to laugh during a stressful situation, we can put psychological distance between ourselves and the stress."
The American Scholar Summer, 2013
Want To Become A Less Rigid Thinker? Read Novels
"Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It's a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making. Fortunately, new research suggests a simple antidote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction."
Pacific Standard 06/12/13
What Creativity Researchers Know About Performers
"Three seeming contradictions - energy/rest, extroversion/introversion, and openness/sensitivity - are not separate phenomena but together seem to form the core of the creative performer's personality."
Scientific American 06/10/13
June 12, 2013
Scientific American 06/11/13
June 11, 2013
Algorithms Are Running Everything Now - Even Movies
"Thousands of times every second, above your head, someone will search for something on Google. It will be an algorithm that determines what they see; an algorithm that is their gatekeeper to the internet. It will be another algorithm that determines what adverts accompany the search--gatekeeping does not pay for itself."
More Intelligent Life 06/13
Does 'Yeah, No...' Mean Yes Or No (Or Both)?
"In fact, according to research by a couple of Australian linguists, 'yeah, no' (and its less popular sibling 'yes, no') has a hidden logic all its own and can be used in a number of discrete ways. Listen to Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo dissect a construction that appears to be contradictory but is actually quite useful."
Slate 06/10/13 (audio)
June 9, 2013
Surprise (Subscription) Gift Packages Making Snail Mail Cool
"Old-timey physical boxes that you can touch -- that's totally a contrast to a lot of what's out there, but I think we're going through this period of correction where people realize there are experiences in the tangible world that are more powerful than any digital interaction."
Los Angeles Times 06/09/13
June 7, 2013
All Philosophy Needs To Become Relevant Is A Good Marketing Plan
"If philosophy is so important, then selling itself to the culture at large is important too. So it's time for philosophers to put their clothespins on their noses, wade into the stench of real-world commerce, and ask some of those tanned and toned marketing majors who skipped out on Philosophy 101 for some help." After all, philosophy already has a popular product: thought experiments.
What Christians Can Learn From Listening To Young Atheists
Last year the Fixed Point Foundation began a nationwide campaign to interview members of college atheist groups. "The rules were simple: Tell us your journey to unbelief.
It was not our purpose to dispute their stories or to debate the merits of their views. Not then, anyway. We just wanted to listen to what they had to say. And what they had to say startled us."
The Atlantic 06/06/13
June 6, 2013
Decoding How Time And Space Are Perceived In The Brain
"While most people are familiar with the ensuing influence Einstein's ideas had on both the academic and public conception of the physical universe, few people are aware a similar revolution against space and time is underway in the fields of experimental psychology and neuroscience."
Scientific American 06/03/13
New Scientist 06/05/13 (includes video)
June 5, 2013
There Could Be Devices To Let Us Communicate With Animals: Researcher
Says animal behaviorist Con Slobodchikoff, who has successfully decoded some of the language (yes, it seems to be a language) used by prairie dogs, "It's probably five to 10 years out. But I think we can get to the point where we can actually communicate back and forth in basic animal languages to dogs, cats, maybe farm animals."
The Atlantic 06/04/13 (includes video)
June 4, 2013
Science Listens To The Voices In Our Heads
"But although philosophers have long been interested in the relationship between language and thought, many believed that inner speech lay outside the realms of science. That is now changing, with new experimental designs for encouraging it, interfering with it and neuroimaging it. We are beginning to understand how the experience is created in the brain; its subjective qualities - essentially, what the words 'sound' like; and its role in processes such as self-control and self-awareness."
New Scientist 06/03/13
June 3, 2013
Leon Wieseltier: Our Culture Is Crumbling Around Us
"In recent years I have come to regard a commitment to the humanities as nothing less than an act of intellectual defiance, of cultural dissidence. For decades now in America we have been witnessing a steady and sickening denigration of humanistic understanding and humanistic method."
The New Republic 05/28/13
June 2, 2013
What Does 'Gatsby' Say About The 21st Century?
"We've not given up make-believe. We want nothing more than to revive the fake prosperity that preceded the crash. Just like Gatsby, we want to return to a world that was conjured into being from dreams."
The New York Times 06/01/13
May 31, 2013
The New Yorker 05/29/13
The Atlantic 05/30/13
May 30, 2013
What Secular People Misunderstand About Faith
"But secular Americans often think that the most important thing to understand about religion is why people believe in God, because we think that belief precedes action and explains choice. That's part of our folk model of the mind: that belief comes first."
The New York Times 05/30/13
May 29, 2013
Why Science Needs Philosophy Now More Than Ever
"Recent attempts to explain how the universe came out of nothing... reveal conceptual confusion beneath mathematical sophistication. They demonstrate the urgent need for a radical re-examination of the invisible frameworks within which scientific investigations are conducted."
The Guardian (UK) 05/26/13
Pacific Standard 05/28/13
It's Totally Natural To Become More Boring As You Age
"Happiness becomes less the high-energy, totally-psyched
experience of a teenager partying while his parents are out of town, and more the peaceful, relaxing experience of an overworked mom who's been dreaming of that hot bath all day. ... It's a different way of understanding what happiness is" - as psychologists put it, promotion motivation
versus prevention motivation
The Atlantic 05/28/13
May 28, 2013
Grown-Ups Can Still Learn As Children Do
"A decade ago, few neuroscientists would have agreed that adults can rival the learning talents of children. But we needn't be so defeatist. The mature brain, it turns out, is more supple than anyone thought. ... Indeed, many researchers believe that an adult's lifestyle may be the biggest obstacle."
New Scientist 05/24/13
Why Are Americans Obsessed With Germs?
"Compared with the rest of the world, Americans take personal hygiene and general disinfection to another level. ... What makes us so eager to be clean? Is it noble and healthy, or should we relax a little?" Nine contributors offer their thought in this Room for Debate.
The New York Times 05/27/13
May 26, 2013
Do We Really Want A Supercomputer Replica Of A Human Brain?
"Once you've built a plug-and-play brain, anything is possible. You could take it apart to figure out the causes of brain diseases. You could rig it to robotics and develop a whole new range of intelligent technologies. You could strap on a pair of virtual reality glasses and experience a brain other than your own."
Binge Watching Is Changing Our Narrative Culture
"We binge on TV to craft time and space, and to fashion an immersive near-world with special properties. We enter a world that is, for all its narrative complexity, a place of sudden continuity. We may have made the world 'go away' for psychological purposes, but here, for anthropological ones, we have built another in its place."
The Washington Post 05/25/13
May 24, 2013
Why Has Scientific Research Become So Unreliable?
"Fraud (the principal cause of retractions, which are up roughly tenfold since 1975) is not a new phenomenon, but digital manipulation and distribution tools have increased the spread and impact of science, both faulty and legitimate, beyond the confines of the ivory tower."