ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

IDEAS

The Pronouns Problem

For now, pronoun declarations are both novel and blatant — which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether you’re socially progressive or socially conservative. As in almost every other segment of American life, society is fractured. - Los Angeles Review of Books

American Cynicism Has Reached Our Breaking Point

Cynicism, at scale, makes democracy’s most basic demand—seeing one another as we are—impossible. And America, at the moment, is saturated with it. - The Atlantic

Studies: EMail Is Making You Miserable!

A study, published in 2019, looked at long-term trends in the health of a group of nearly five thousand Swedish workers. They found that repeated exposure to “high information and communication technology demands” (translation: a need to be constantly connected) were associated with “suboptimal” health outcomes. - The New Yorker

Dealing With The Existential Void At The Heart Of Our Constant Information Overload

It's not easy for any of us. "More information isn’t always a good thing, particularly when it’s an overload of unwanted (even predatory) (mis)information." And the designers of search engines use keywords that, to put it mildly, don't always work for humans who aren't the search engine designers. But new apps may give some hope. - Slate

How Memory And The Passage Of Time Fold On Top Of One Another

The COVID-19 pandemic has wrung meaning from time. Each day is so like the former. April disappeared entirely; Thanksgiving feels as close, or faraway, as last June. I no longer can keep track of the dates; time has become a pool of standing water. - Psyche

Our Strained Conceptual Relationship With Squirrels

"It’s almost as though the existence of animals, and their various similarities to humans, constituted insults. Like a squirrel, I have eyes and ears, scurry about on the ground and occasionally climb a tree. (One of us does this better than the other does.) Our shared qualities — the fact that we are both hairy or that we have...

Why Should We Trust Smiles When They’re So Easy To Fake?

"The trouble is that smiling is easy to do. If flashing a smile can so easily convey good intent, it could be ‘hacked’ by unscrupulous individuals who want you to think that they’re trustworthy so they can exploit you. These kinds of ‘false smiles’ certainly happen in everyday life, yet we still generally trust smiles. In my research, I...

Why Librarians Have Been Unsuccessful At Fighting Misinformation

"This failure has many roots: The low social status of teachers and librarians relative to those in other professions, the lack of consistent instruction about information and media literacy across students’ educational experience, the diminishment of the humanities as a core element of general education, and the difficulty of keeping up with technological change and digital culture have all...

Getting At What Truth Really Is (Not That Simple)

"True seems to be that which is in accordance with the facts or reality, the way things simply are. But it is not as simple as that. For there are not only ‘brute facts’ (eg whether Germany invaded Belgium in 1914), but also more complex phenomena, where interpretation and the weighing of evidence apply (eg, the causes of World...

Defining The Struggle Inside to “Do The Right Thing”

"From the first-person stance, you navigate the world as an agent trying to realise your projects and satisfy your desires. From the second-person perspective, you understand yourself and the world through the lens of other people, who are a locus of projects and preferences of their own; projects and preferences that make legitimate demands on your time and attention....

How Boredom Is Changing Us

Another way the pandemic has had an impact on the economy is by making people bored. By limiting social engagements, leisure activities and travel, the pandemic has forced many people to live a more muted life, without the normal deviations from daily monotony. The result is a collective sense of ennui — one that is shaping what we do...

Monopoly Place Names Are Just As Redlined As Real Life Cities

To wit: Cyril and Ruth Harvey, "who played a key role in popularizing the game, lived on Pennsylvania Avenue (a pricey $320 green property on the board); their friends, the Joneses, lived on Park Place. ... The Harveys employed a Black maid named Clara Watson. She lived on Baltic Avenue in a low-income, Black neighborhood, not far from Mediterranean...

Breakthrough: Scientists Figure Out How To Talk To Dreamers In Their Sleep

An international team of researchers was able to achieve real-time dialogues with people in the midst of lucid dreams, a phenomenon that is called “interactive dreaming,” according to a study published on Thursday in Current Biology. - Vice

Why “Noisy” Brains Are So Attractive (And More Difficult)

"The use of antidepressants has inadvertently left many of us less able to feel empathy toward others, laugh, cry, dream, and enjoy life just when we need those things the most: in the middle of a global pandemic." - Nautilus

How Big Tech Subverted The Public Square

"A functioning market required transparency, a mutual understanding of exchanges and a shared moral framework. And, as Rana Foroohar puts it in this brief animation for the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), surveillance capitalism – pioneered by Google, and now, to varying degrees, ubiquitous worldwide – comes up short on all three fronts." - Aeon

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