Posts Tagged ‘Brain’
* Forgetting your past is virtually impossible because of the cringeworthy digital trails we leave on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Those embarrassing mistakes you made in college are often the first things that strangers know about you. Uh oh. – NY Times
* Go behind-the-scenes at the Library of Congress as the pros preserve and digitize ancient texts…it’s an insanely delicate (and unbelievably important) job. – Boing Boing
* Humans spend the majority of time (even more than having sex) in imaginary worlds through books, films, video games, etc – Why is it that even when we know something is fictional, there’s a biological part of us that truly believes it’s real? – Chronicle
* Take an in-depth look at Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, and how the production revealed cracks in the seemingly unstoppable Jackson Machine. – Vanity Fair
* The age-old mystery has finally been solved – why do some countries drive on the left versus the right? Great info for your next cocktail party (or a dive bar, or wherever you get drunk). – Today I Found Out
* A Russian dude turned down the $1 Million he won for solving one of the world’s most difficult math problems, the Poincare Conjecture, because he got in a little tiff with the ‘math community’ (bitchy mathematicians). Here’s what the Poincare Conjecture is all about. – Slate
* Did you hear how Chinese corporations are hiring white dudes to act like the president of the company in the hopes of attracting more investments? So crazy. Check out these interviews with guys that have actually taken part in the bizarre stunts. – VBS & The Atlantic
* I’ve wanted cities to install moving sidewalks for as long as I can remember…it’s been a slight obsession of mine. (Yes, I need a hobby.) But is it really a good idea? – Slate
* The potential successor to the Dalai Lama isn’t an old sage sitting silently in a forest cave waiting for his turn. His name is Karmapa Lama. He’s 24 years old, loves video games, listens to rap music, and is WAY cooler than you and me – Global Post
* Have you noticed the new subculture called ‘Steampunk’ gaining steam lately? (Sorry, bad pun). It’s based on an intense love with Victorian-era machines and the world of Jules Verne (think “Back to the Future 3″). Learn more about this crazy world. – More Intelligent Life
(Did you see I used a photo from my Awkward Stock Photos post? Apparently they ARE useful!)
The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce) has a new video lecture series called RSA Animate that adds a layer of clever hand-drawn animation to their most compelling talks…if all my college lectures were animated like this, my GPA would have taken me out for a drink to thank me.
This talk, by Professor Philip Zimbardo, is titled “The Secret Powers of Time” – he explains how shared time perspectives can characterize a nation. For example, in Sicilian dialect, future tense verbs (like ‘will be’) simply don’t exist – Zimbardo says this is because Sicilians are more focused on traditions of the past instead of the future.
I think I’m a “Present Hedonist” – so I want to watch this video NOW, and I’ll be ANGRY if I have to wait more than 5 secs for it to load.
YOU: We’ve got a lot of reading to do this time, so no dilly-dallying.
BRAIN: Don’t you want to talk?
YOU: About what?
BRAIN: Um, Alex vs. Jill? Lindsay vs. Avril? Andrews vs. Hasselbeck?
YOU: … … …
BRAIN: OK…your silence is deafening. I get it. (But seriously, as much as I’ve stopped liking Jill, Alex was completely out of line…sure, Linsday is a mess, but Avril has always been a little twit… and I still can’t believe 95% of the things that come out of that Hasselbeck’s mouth…)
YOU: SHUT UP!
* We always root for the underdog…in sports, crappy reality shows, and life in general. Learn about the hard-wired psychological reasons why we just can’t help loving losers. – Slate
* “Mommy…I want THAT one”, little Johnny screamed as he pointed his fat finger towards Double Choco Crispy Fruity Flaky Pebble Chunks. Marketing junk food to kids is complicated, conflicted, and wildly controversial. Get the real story. – Alternet
* Imagine spending 10pm to 7am every single night cleaning gum and spit off lamp posts at Disneyland. The overnight shift is an incredibly busy and hectic time for workers…go behind-the-pristine-scenes of the Disneyland overnight cleanup crew. – LA Times
* The rest of the world doesn’t look down on plastic wine corks like us snobby Americans do…the battle between cork and plastic has been raging for about 30 years, and it’s getting nastier and more intense by the minute. – Wall Street Journal (via @patkiernan)
* The next time you let out a sigh, think about this – sighs are actually part of an intricate system that regulates our breathing patterns. Learn what these little puffs of air really mean to our bodies and minds. – Discovery
* Each year, people who’ve had their genomes mapped gather at an exclusive meeting. The club’s membership grows exponentially each year as technology becomes more accessible. Be a fly-on-the-wall at this unusual and compelling meeting. – Discover Magazine
* If you really want to learn about how the TV business makes money, check out this clear and concise article explaining the golden ticket of revenue…affiliate fees. – Above The Crowd
* Please cover your ears if you work in the pharmaceutical industry: it’s hard to ignore the fact that some placebos actually work well in clinical trials. Is it time to proactively use placebos to help cure what ails us? – Boston Globe
YOU: You’ve been quiet lately…everything ok?
BRAIN: Yeah, just thinking.
YOU: About the Icelandic volcano? Or maybe the SEC’s charges against Goldman Sachs?
BRAIN: Um…not exactly. You know what, actually, let’s just drop it. You have any articles for me?
YOU: Come on, you can tell me anything. We’re friends.
YOU: What the – is that Betty White holding a flaming chainsaw while riding a Jon Ritter centuar?
BRAIN: Um…yeah. DON’T say anything – just give me those articles…
* It’s impossible to walk out of a Costco empty-handed, no matter how much we don’t need that 20 lb tub of peanut butter. There’s actually some serious scientific stuff going on in our brains that explain this phenomenon. – Science Blogs
* Humans are superstitious animals…especially when we’re playing & watching sports. Why can’t sportscasters (and the rest of us) resist finding meaning in completely random events? - Skeptic
* Accidentally leaving a child in the backseat of a car is a terrifying mistake. But is it a crime? The answer is more complicated than you might think…this Pulitzer prize-winning piece explores the thorny issue. - Washington Post
* It was once thought that artistic globalism (and Evil Hollywood) would suffocate and homogenize local cultures around the world. But in reality, new D.I.Y. hyper-local cultures have thrived. – NY Times
* The obsessive need for kids to be constantly connected online shouldn’t be discouraged or ignored. It’s actually made younger generations more empathetic, and has shifted the emphasis from individualism to collaboration. – Huff Po
(crazy Betty White / Jon Ritter image from Neatorama)
BRAIN: I’m exhausted.
YOU: Been reading all your high-brow fancy-schmancy articles again, huh? What’s that you’re reading now?
YOU: It’s obviously something. What is it?
BRAIN: …schmuss breechley…
BRAIN: …frush kreakly…
BRAIN: Fine…US WEEKLY! Happy now?!? Are you KIDDING me, Jesse James? That’s America’s Sweetheart, Acadamy Award winner Sandra Bullock! We’re already on Mistress #4, and who knows when th-
YOU: SHUT THE HELL UP!
YOU: First you were obsessed with Tiger Woods, now this dude? Put down the damn magazine and read these articles…NOW.
BRAIN: thanks……i need help.
* The honeymoon is over. Digital media and the internet are creating some fascinating (and some would argue, negative) side-effects: our ‘mash-up’ culture is challenging concepts of ownership, our political discourse is becoming even more intensely polarized, mediocrity is winning the battle against expertise, and the list goes on. This article is chocked-full of compelling ideas. – NY Times
* Fun-fact: By 2025, China will build TEN New York-sized cities. Not-so-fun-fact: China executes three times as many people as the rest of the world COMBINED. Those are just 2 of 15 facts about China that will literally blow your mind. – Business Insider
* Have snarky movie review blogs killed legitimate film criticism, or are they simply adding more accessible ideas to ‘establishment’ opinions? The evolution of film criticism has been long and winding, from it’s birth at the beginning of the 20th century, to it’s debatable death today. – The Chronicle
* Researchers studied 150 Hollywood films and recorded the length of every shot. They then calculated the average frequency between shots, called “Pink Noise”. Now here’s the trippy part – the specific characteristic of “Pink Noise” that they discovered is found all over our everyday life: the beating of our heart, the ups and downs of the stock market, traffic patterns, how we focus/re-focus our attention, and so much more…woah. – NY Times
* Apparently male mice are romantic little devils – they actually sing ultrasonic love songs to impress the ladies. (Rats do this too, but no one wants to think about them). – MSNBC
A newfangled high-tech machine called the ‘Berlin Brain-Computer Interface’ uses brain waves to give commands to machines. In this vid, the player simply has to think about moving his left or right hand, and the corresponding pinball flipper is flicked. Besides this being freaky/amazing, imagine the possibilities for paralyzed people. Wow.
YOU: What’s wrong? Are you sick?
BRAIN: I’m so full…yet so empty…I can’t believe you forced me to do it.
BRAIN: You made me watch the entire “America’s Next Top Model” marathon – yesterday and today. Cycle 6 and Cycle 7. I can’t believe Danielle won. And, ugh, that Melrose was so obnoxious. And remember Jade? Thailand…Barcelona…HELP.
YOU: OK…this isn’t good. I’m so sorry. Here…let’s read these articles:
* A revealing yet light-hearted look at how public radio stations convince readers to donate cash through guilt-trips, begging, flattery and more. Those annoying fundraising drives are psychologically deeper than you might think. – Slate
* In what will hopefully be the final Balloon Boy analysis, Frank Rich paints a vivid picture of the current American landscape of fame, opportunity, and desperation by drawing parallels to fame-hungry Americans in the Great Depression. - NY Times
* You’ve heard “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” your whole life. But maybe it’s not true. Is it possible to determine if a person is dangerous just by looking at his/her face? Psychologists weigh in and give their professional opinion based on some startling research. – Slate
* Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich shines a light on what’s been happening on Wall Street over the past few months since the public has shifted attention to Health Care, Letterman, and Balloon Boy. In a nutshell, the much-needed regulation never happened and the situation is looking extremely precarious…again. - Salon
* People with Asberger’s syndrome have a hard time dealing with social situations and usually lack empathy towards others. Some lawyers for criminals with Asbergers claim that locking them up in prison would be cruel and unusual punishment because of the stressful social situations they would face. Should they be treated differently? – Slate
Brain Recharge: Reshaping The Middle East, Hardwired For Empathy, New Erotic Fundamentalism, & More…
BRAIN: WAKE UP!
YOU: Huh? Oh, sorry. I actually wasn’t sleeping – I was thinking.
BRAIN: About what? The fact that we could have used the economic bailout money to cure several deadly diseases worldwide? Or were you considering what a nuclear-armed Iran would mean for the rest of the Middle East?
YOU: Not exactly.
BRAIN: So…what then?
YOU: Um…which one of the new playmates on “The Girls Next Door” I like best.
BRAIN: Ugh. Read these articles NOW.
* The financial bailout will cost us lucky taxpayers over $4 trillion. Did you know for less than $300 million we wiped Smallpox off the planet? And for $5 billion we put a significant dent in Polio? Imagine what we could do with $4 trillion (after we paid out the AIG bonuses, of course). - Salon
* The Obama administration is starting to give subtle signs that they won’t be able to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. So, how will this actually reshape the Middle East? Hint: it doesn’t look good. - Slate
* Some schools in France are experimenting with the idea of paying students for attending class. It worked for a few schools in the US…will it work abroad, or does it conflict too severely with France’s egalitarian ideals? – Time
* Sure, humans fight, cheat, and destroy each other…but it might actually be true that we’re biologically and evolutionarily hardwired to be empathetic, kind, and full of warm fuzzies. - Slate
* Cristina Nehring writes an incredibly thought-provoking article about what she calls the “New Erotic Fundamentalism”, and argues convincingly that we’ve all been a bit too hard on hopeless romantic Mark Sanford. - Truthdig