henry copeland @hc

Convener, pizzaphile, runner. Blogads CEO, toolbuilder: Pullquote, RunwMe, Twiangulate, Twialog & Distillry. Durham via Wooster, New Haven, NYC, Budapest, Paris

Recent quotes:

Lessons from running

Some days, my run achieves little more than sweat and puffing. But even on mediocre runs, I relearn life-lessons: When in doubt, run. The first step is hardest. Try new trails. Look up. Everything passes. Pick a goal and, when it’s closer, pick another. Relax your shoulders. Grinds bring glides. Embrace the burn. Say hello. Enjoy breathing.

When You Shouldn’t Try to Dominate a Negotiation

there are instances when negotiators should act deferentially—they should maintain a constrictive body posture, adopt a softer tone of voice, and take other steps to ensure their negotiation partner feels respected, competent and unthreatened. It all comes down to the complexity of the deal and how the person across the table is behaving. In negotiations with many moving parts, negotiators need to find a conversational dynamic that allows them to exchange information effectively, to unravel the different areas of dispute, and to ensure that all the nuances of a potential deal are fully explored.  This is best achieved when two parties attain what we call “dominance complementarity,” wherein one person in an interaction behaves relatively deferentially and the other behaves relatively dominantly.

Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well). Continue reading the main story Recent Comments CT February 19, 2015 As the mother of an autistic child with a brilliant, very alive mind I thank you deeply for helping open minds to all of the wonderful human... Nightwood February 19, 2015 Dear Dr. Sacks. Some people say there are no miracles in this immense universe. Still, some how you popped up and became a walking, two... Diane McIntyre February 19, 2015 Dr Sacks, you are-- and have been-- my hero. Live with verve. See All Comments I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends.

Pooled consciousness? No...

‘Take a sentence of a dozen words, and take twelve men and tell to each one word. Then stand the men in a row or jam them in a bunch, and let each think of his word as intently as he will; nowhere will there be a consciousness of the whole sentence’. This is how William James illustrated the combination problem of panpsychism [110]. Or take John Searle: ‘Consciousness cannot spread over the universe like a thin veneer of jam; there has to be a point where my consciousness ends and yours begins’ [117]. Indeed, if consciousness is everywhere, why should it not animate the United States of America? IIT deals squarely with this problem by stating that only maxima of integrated information exist. Consider two people talking: within each brain, there will be a major complex—a set of neurons that form a maximally irreducible cause–effect structure with definite borders and a high value of Φmax. Now let the two speak together. They will now form a system that is also irreducible (Φ > zero) due to their interactions. However, it is not maximally irreducible, since its value of integrated information will be much less than that of each of the two major complexes it contains. According to IIT, there should indeed be two separate experiences, but no superordinate conscious entity that is the union of the two. In other words, there is nothing-it-is-like-to-be two people, let alone the 300 plus million citizens making up the USA.13

Consciousness: here, there and everywhere? | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

A corollary of IIT that violates common intuitions is that even circuits as simple as a ‘photodiode’ made up of a sensor and a memory element can have a modicum of experience [80] (see also figure 5a, right panel). It is nearly impossible to imagine what it would ‘feel like’ to be such a circuit, for which the only phenomenal distinction would be between ‘this rather than not this’ (unlike a photodiode, when we are conscious of ‘light’ or of ‘dark,’ our experience is what it is because it includes scores of negative concepts, such as no colours, no shapes, no thoughts and so on, that are all available to us). But consider that normal matter at −272.15°C, one degree above absolute zero, still contains some heat. However, in practice its temperature is as cold as it gets. Similarly, there may well be a practical threshold for Φmax below which people do not report feeling much of anything, but this does not mean that consciousness has reached its absolute minimum, zero. Indeed, when we fall into a deep, dreamless sleep and don't report any experience upon being awoken, some small complex of neurons within our sleeping brain will likely have a Φmax value greater than zero, yet that may not amount to much compared to that of our rich, everyday experience.

The TVification of the Internet

The web was not envisioned as a form of television when it was invented. But, like it or not, it is rapidly resembling TV: linear, passive, programmed and inward-looking.

Jaywalking as a crime

She and her children were struck by an onrushing van, and her 4-year-old son was killed. The driver, it was later discovered, had alcohol and painkillers in his system. He had two previous hit-and-runs on his record and was visually impaired in his left eye. The driver pleaded guilty to fleeing the scene of the accident and served six months in prison. Nelson, soon after the funeral was held for her son, was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless conduct, and crossing a roadway in an inappropriate manner—in other words, jaywalking. These charges, in collaboration, carried a penalty of up to three years in prison. In the end, Nelson was sentenced to 12 months of probation, for doing nothing more than trying to get her children home.

A nap a day could save your life, research suggests - Telegraph

The research found that overall, the average systolic blood pressure readings of the regular nappers were four per cent lower than the non-nappers when they were awake (5 mmHg) and 6 per cent lower while they slept at night (7 mmHg). When hearts are healthy, blood pressure should drop at night. The study found that those who achieved a significant drop in pressure when sleeping, had on average 17 minutes more mid-day sleep than those for whom findings remained constant.

Mapping with must three words (of 40k)

"Precise GPS coordinates would mean 18 digits," says What3Words' founder Chris Sheldrick, "but we wanted something that humans could actually remember. People have flawless recollection for three words. A dictionary of 40,000 words is enough to fill those 57 trillion squares with unique combinations - you can't do it any other way."

Innovation in liberal arts

Many liberal arts colleges (e.g., Antioch, Reed, Colorado, St. John’s) have been sources of innovation in undergraduate education. Due to their small size, emphasis on undergraduate education, and private control, they have been free to experiment with alternative curricula and pedagogies, unencumbered by the influence of powerful practitioner groups or the fixed requirements of professional licensure. If the liberal arts college as an educational alternative dies out or morphs into another type of higher education institution, an influential “test kitchen” for innovation in undergraduate education will disappear or, perhaps, become too peripheral to play a leadership role.

Tony remembers Born to Run

how about this for the funniest joke in the world: springsteen was about to be fired from Columbia. his first two records (the wild and the innocent, and greetings from asbury park) were not really flops, but the label were disappointed with their sales. they wanted to give Bruce just one. more. chance. and that last chance turned out to be the mona lisa: born to run. the joke is today labels dont give bands three records. you get one. one and done. theres no vision theres no patience. theres no artist DEVELOPMENT. as much as i love bruce’s first two records, and trust me LOVE is the word, theyre not born to run.

Automated analysis of free speech predicts psychosis

The semantic coherence feature that best contributed to classification of subsequent psychosis onset was the minimum coherence between two consecutive phrases (i.e., the maximum discontinuity) that occurred in the interview. The syntactic measure included in classification was the frequency of use of determiners (‘that’, ‘what’, ‘whatever’, ‘which’, and ‘whichever’), normalized by the phrase length. Because speech in emergent psychosis often shows marked reductions in verbosity (referred to clinically as poverty of speech), we also included the maximum number of words per phrase in the classification.

A few key signs betray betrayal

When they used a computer program to compare exchanges between players whose relationships ended in betrayal with those whose relationships lasted, the computer discerned subtle signals of impending betrayal. One harbinger was a shift in politeness. Players who were excessively polite in general were more likely to betray, and people who were suddenly more polite were more likely to become victims of betrayal, study coauthor and Cornell graduate student Vlad Niculae reportedJuly 29 at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics in Beijing.

Cars are gonna be commodities

It may make more sense for the cars themselves to be owned by someone with a big balance sheet - a GE Capital, if you like - that owns hundreds or thousands or cars with an optimised financial structure, rather than individual drivers getting their own leases. That in turn means that the cars get bought the way Hertz buys cars, or - critically - the way corporate PCs get bought. In this world what matters is ROI and a check-list of features, not flair, design, innovation or fit and finish. The US car-rental companies account for around 15% of the US industry's output, and some models are specifically designed with this market in mind. They're not the cool ones. That poses a challenge for Apple, and indeed Tesla. If the users are not the buyers, the retracting door handles or diamond-cut chamfers don't matter.

Hungary at the Milan Expo: An expensive, embarrassing pavilion - Hungarian Spectrum

America's religious divide

Given the power of right-wing religiosity in this country it’s not surprising that there should be a very fierce atheist and rationalist countermovement. I am actually one of these people who really likes watching those YouTube videos with titles like, “Christopher Hitchens owns idiotic Texan religionist” or whatever. I actually watch that stuff and enjoy it. But when I drift down to the comments section, I’m always amazed anew that there are quite so many atheists in this country, and that they are quite so completely fanatical. That is to say, if you are unwise enough, as I have been, to write a sort of plague on both their houses type of piece, in which you are mildly critical of certain elements of the new atheism as well as being fairly obviously critical of religiosity, you get no quarter from the atheistic camp.

Lousy 401k matches

If Amazon matched employee retirement contributions in cash, a new employee earning $80,000 a year would get a maximum company contribution of $1,600. Someone earning that same pay at Apple, Oracle, or Microsoft, by contrast, would get a maximum contribution of $2,400 in her first year. At Facebook, the company contribution would be $2,800
Following a long time dream of ours, we left our apartment in San Francisco in May 2013, sold everything expect the very essential — what would fit in 2 carry-on luggage — and became digital nomads. For a year, we changed location every month while working remotely, Colin as software engineer and me as blogger. The daily run became part of our traveling adventures. We ran in Berlin between Sisyphus and Berghain, on the beaches of Croatia, Morocco, Goa and Mexico. We ran at 3am before taking long flights, we ran among locals under the eye of Ho Chi Minh in Saigon, in the rice fields of Ubud in Bali, under a rain of cherry blossoms in Tachikawa near Tokyo.
O thrice-brave Don, thou calls’t a spade a spade, Maks’t all the world afraid, very afraid.

The dream of California

Didion came to see the whole pioneer mystique as bogus from the start. The cultivation of California was not the act of rugged pioneers, she decided. It was the act of the federal government, which built the dams and the weirs and the railroads that made the state economically exploitable, public money spent on behalf of private business. Didion called it “the subsidized monopolization” of the state. Big business had always run California. First, there were the ranches, then the corporate agribusinesses, and then, after the Second World War, the aeronautics industry, Boeing and Douglas, Lockheed and Rockwell. Defense contracts and government-funded infrastructure kept these businesses flush. Everyone else was a pawn in the game, living in a fantasy of hardy individualism and cheering on economic growth that benefitted only a few. Social stability was a mirage. It lasted only as long as the going was good for business. When conditions got cheaper elsewhere or defense contracts shrank or mergers became appealing, the plants were shut down, workers were laid off, and the middle-class dream vanished in the smog. “This process,” Didion wrote, “one of trading the state to outside owners in exchange for their (it now seems) entirely temporary agreement to enrich us . . . had in fact begun at the time Americans first entered the state, took what they could, and, abetted by the native weakness for boosterism, set about selling the rest.” When the social structure starts to crack is when the dropouts and the delinquents and the crazies turn up. These are not people who don’t know the rules. These are people who can see, without understanding why, that the rules no longer make sense. But, once people like that are thrown out of the system, once they become druggies or panhandlers or abusers of various sorts, no one wants them back in. They get scapegoated. Individual moral failure is taken to be the problem. It can’t be the system. Part of wagon-train morality was leaving the weakest behind to freeze in the mountain passes. Survival, not caring, is what Didion thinks that ethos finally boiled down to—“careless self-interest and optimism,” the California mentality. California’s answer to the problem of broken people was to build more prisons to put them in.

The veil falls for Joan Didion

. Her moment of insight came in 1971 or 1972, during a summer visit with Quintana, then five or six, to Old Sacramento, an area of the city reconstructed to look like downtown Sacramento, where Didion’s father’s great-grandfather owned a saloon, circa 1850. She began telling Quintana about all the ancestors who had once walked on those sidewalks, and then she remembered that Quintana was adopted. Quintana had no relationship to Old Sacramento and its sidewalks and saloons. And this thought made her realize, as she put it later, that, “in fact, I had no more attachment to this wooden sidewalk than Quintana did: it was no more than a theme, a decorative effect.” Looking back, she decided that this was the moment when the story she had grown up with—“the entire enchantment under which I had lived my life”—began to seem foreign.

Pre-ipo valuations

In March 2012, for instance, Facebook shares traded hands privately at $44.10 apiece. Two months later, when Facebook went public, the shares were priced at $38, and a week after that they were trading at less than $27. By August, they were less than $20. It wasn’t until more than a year later, in September 2013, that the share price finally traded higher than the $44.10 that it had been valued at in the private markets.

The decline and fall of the bar

Since 2008 partner earnings at firms of all sizes have decreased 9 percent in constant dollars, according to federal tax filings. Solo practitioners have been struggling for much longer. Since 1988 earnings for standalone attorneys, of which there are about 354,000 nationally, have declined 31 percent. The legal industry has shed more than 50,000 jobs in the past eight years. The decline began decades ago. Solo practitioners began floundering in the late 1980s. Their average income, adjusted for inflation, was $71,000 in 1988; it was $49,000 in 2012.

Former Hungarian Prime Minister weighs in on surging refugee tide.

Today no one dares to say that immigration is not a cultural but an ethnic problem. Namely, millions arrive in Europe whose languages and skin colors are different from those of Europeans. It is important to note that they don’t just come from different cultures but their psychic apparatus, their biological and genetic endowments are different. It is a well-known fact that in Western Europe third-generation immigrants oppose the nations that took them in.

Trail Running and Tenkara Fishing: A New Way to Explore the Backcountry

My trail-running partner Jeff, 45, of Boise, Idaho, and I had run seven miles upstream over a broken-granite trail pinched between vertical canyon walls and the North Fork of the Boise River in southwest Idaho, scouting along the way for large pools that would sustain a wild trout population. Eschewing the heavy tackle of western-style fishing, we each carried a tenkara rod, a 12-foot telescoping rod that collapses down to 12 inches and weighs a scant three ounces.

Archeologist Beheaded by ISIS After Refusing to Lead Them to Valuable Artifacts