The race away from death

In a new book surveying that work, The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life (Random House), Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczyn­ski argue that fear of death drives our actions to a much greater extent than people realize. "The terror of death has guided the development of art, religion, language, economics, and science," they write. "It raised the pyramids in Egypt and razed the Twin Towers in Manhattan. It contributes to conflicts around the globe. At a more personal level, recognition of our mortality leads us to love fancy cars, tan ourselves to an unhealthy crisp, max out our credit cards, drive like lunatics, itch for a fight with a perceived enemy, and crave fame, however ephemeral, even if we have to drink yak urine on Survivor to get it." - chronicle.com
#psychology #death #racery 0 comments

We're all running away from death

One, that our awareness of death creates tremendous potential for anxiety or terror. Two, that we learn to manage that terror by embedding ourselves in a cultural worldview that imbues reality with order, meaning, and stability. Three, that we gain and maintain psychological security by sustaining faith in that worldview and living up to the values it conveys. - chronicle.com
#psychology #death #racery 0 comments

Motivational memes harm people?

To date, there is no research confirming fitspiration’s role in helping people maintain a healthy, sustainable level of physical activity. The closest we can come to a link between fitspo (the chummy abbreviation of fitspiration) and actual time spent exercising is the decades of research connecting exposure to thin and muscular ideals with body dissatisfaction, elevated risk of eating disordered behavior, and impaired mood. - psychologytoday.com
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Studying Dante

In the late nineteen-eighties, I spent a semester in Florence, where I sat in on a Dante course at the university. The entire term was devoted to the analysis of a single canto. As it happened, the canto was Inferno 19, which is devoted to simony. Dante reserves a special hole in the third sub-circle of the eighth circle of Hell for corrupt Popes; they are stuffed into it, one after another, headfirst. Their feet are then lit on fire. Among the issues the class discussed at length was how, exactly, new Popes could be accommodated. Had space been left open for all those that would come along? Or did each new arrival compress his predecessor into some kind of pontifical pesto? - newyorker.com
#education #literature #italy 0 comments

People with Similar Views Mirror Each Other’s Speech Patterns | Psych Central News

For example, during the experiment, participants heard phrases such as “Congress is giving too much money to welfare moochers.” Others heard the same ideologically-loaded idea, but  expressed in a different sentence structure: “Congress is giving welfare moochers too much money.” (Notice the order of the phrases “too much money” — which refers to the thing being given — and “welfare moochers” — the recipient.) Those who heard the first version, “Congress is giving too much money to welfare moochers” (the recipient is mentioned after the thing being given), for example, were more likely to describe a picture as “The waitress is giving a banana to the monk” rather than “The waitress is giving the monk a banana” when they agreed with the speaker’s views. Furthermore, participants who described themselves as compromising in conflict situations, showed even more linguistic alignment with the speaker. On the other hand, when listeners disagreed with the opinion expressed by the speaker, they aligned less or not at all. - psychcentral.com
#synchronize #language #rhetoric 0 comments

New research shows infections can make your IQ score drop by 10 points

“Our research shows a correlation between hospitalisation due to infection and impaired cognition corresponding to an IQ score of 1.76 lower than the average. People with five or more hospital contacts with infections had an IQ score of 9.44 lower than the average. The study thus shows a clear dose-response relationship between the number of infections, and the effect on cognitive ability increased with the temporal proximity of the last infection and with the severity of the infection. Infections in the brain affected the cognitive ability the most, but many other types of infections severe enough to require hospitalisation can also impair a patient’s cognitive ability. Moreover, it seems that the immune system itself can affect the brain to such an extent that the person’s cognitive ability measured by an IQ test will also be impaired many years after the infection has been cured,” explains MD and PhD Michael Eriksen Benrós, who is affiliated with the National Centre for Register-Based Research at Aarhus BSS and the Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen. - psypost.org
#health #IQ 0 comments

Pro-social bonuses FTW

We gave cash to some members of dodgeball teams in Canada and pharmaceutical sales teams in Belgium and asked them to spend on each other. When asked to give gifts to one another, team members reported indulging in a box of chocolate or bottle of wine, and one team even reported buying a piñata, which they gladly bashed together. Prosocial bonuses appeared to change the way team members thought of their interactions with one another, resulting in gifts that increased shared experiences. Most importantly, we found that teams that received prosocial bonuses performed better after receiving the bonuses than teams that received money to spend on themselves. Earlier, we mentioned that it is nearly impossible to measure the return on investment in corporate social responsibility. With prosocial bonuses, however, we were able to measure the dollar impact on the bottom line. On sports teams, every $10 spent prosocially led to an 11% increase in winning percentage compared to a two percent decrease in winning for teams where members spent on themselves. On sales teams, for every $10 spent prosocially, the firm gained $52. - hbr.org
#managing #money 0 comments

No link found between saturated fat and heart disease

The team, whose results appear in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, conducted a "meta-analysis" of data from 72 studies involving more than 600,000 participants from 18 countries. A key finding was that total saturated fat, whether measured in the diet or the bloodstream, showed no association with heart disease. In addition, levels of "healthy" polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3 and omega 6 had no general effect on heart disease risk. - telegraph.co.uk
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Congressman: 'synagogues open, all is well is Hungary'

Chairman Rohrabacher got many of his facts wrong, and many dangerously so, but, since he controlled the chair, no witness could challenge them.For example, he denied all evidence of officially stoked anti-Semitism in Hungary, following the Hungarian government’s line that it is open-minded and tolerant while only the far-right Jobbik party is anti-Semitic. In response to an attempt by witness Tad Stahnke from Human Rights First to explain that the Hungarian government is rewriting Hungarian history through monuments, textbooks and museums to say that the Germans alone were responsible for the Holocaust in Hungary, Rohrabacher mocked the witness and pointed to the existence of open synagogues as the only evidence that was necessary to show that charges of anti-Semitism are baseless. - hungarianspectrum.org
#Hungary #central-europe 0 comments

Orban: GLBT community has a right not to 'provoke' straight Hungary

Hungary is a serious country. It is fundamentally based on traditional values. Hungary is a tolerant nation. Tolerance, however, does not mean that we would apply the same rules for people whose life style is different from our own. We differentiate between them and us. Tolerance means patience, tolerance means an ability to coexist, this is the basis of the Hungarian Constitution which clearly differentiates between a marital relationship between a man and a woman and other, different forms of cohabitation. We are going to keep this. By the way, I am grateful to the Hungarian homosexual community for not exhibiting the provocative behavior against which numerous European nations are struggling and which results in an outcome that is the exact opposite of what they want to achieve. I believe that in Hungary, even though the constitution clearly differentiates between marriage and other forms of cohabitation, the people with lifestyles different from our own outlook on life are safe, they are given the respect of basic human dignity that they deserve. I believe that . . . foreigners don’t feel that in this respect Budapest is a dangerous city. This is good, this is how we can live together. If we … make more stringent regulations or the community of homosexuals starts being more provocative, I think that the current peaceful, calm equilibrium will be no more. No one would benefit from this. Everyone benefits from being able to coexist. I believe that as we now are, we can live together. - hungarianspectrum.org
#Hungary #europe #GLBT 0 comments

Hypocrisy and the Duggars

Or in the case of the Duggars and LGBT folks, telling them they couldn’t have any. With 19 biological kids of their own, the Duggars should have been way too tired for that level of homophobic activism, but they made time for it. And yes, a staple of their screechy preaching has been that LGBT people…wait for it…molest children. Stellar mom Michelle Duggar made a robocall pushing the repeal of a local anti-discrimination ordinance, arguing that it would allow “child predators” to threaten “the safety and innocence of a child.” Maybe she had a guilty conscience. - salon.com
#USAUSA #hypocrisy 0 comments

Jeb Bush sums up high school

His first year at Andover, Bush re-did the ninth grade — even so, he has admitted, he barely passed. […]Andover was much harder than the private school he had been going to in Houston. He adjusted reluctantly to its rigors and pressures. He was apathetic and apolitical and smoked marijuana, as did many others around him; some, although not all, remember him as a bully. “I was a cynical little turd in a cynical school,” he once said. - politico.com
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More writers who run

Thompson is a 2:40 marathoner, Gladwell is a former cross country runner, and Peter Hessler, another New Yorker staff writer, has a 2:38 marathon PR. - psmag.com
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Who are the chosen ones? The use of historical names in today's Hungary - Hungarian Spectrum

When we thought that at last the frenzy of street name changes had died down, the Christian Democrats, who don’t seem to have enough on their plate, realized that there are still some buildings that were named after the wrong people. After weeks of wrangling, it was decided that the famous Ságvári Gymnasium in Szeged must change its name. As a student, Endre Ságvári (1913-1944) became interested in Marxism. First he was a member of the Hungarian Social Democratic Party, and later, in 1940, he joined the illegal communist party. During the war he organized anti-war rallies, and after the German occupation he was one of the few who tried to organize a resistance movement against the Germans. He was tracked down by the authorities, and on July 27 he was surrounded by four gendarmes, on whom he pulled a gun. He wounded three of them. After throwing his gun away, he ran out of the building but was mortally wounded by one of the gendarmes. One of the four gendarmes also died later in the hospital. - hungarianspectrum.org
#Hungary #maps #names 0 comments

When Seymour Hersh first pitched Bin Laden story to David Remnick

I tell him about the story, and his initial approach was to say do a blog item. Go fuck yourself! A blog? I have done a couple blogs when it is 1,000 words but this is worth more. - slate.com
#journalism #blogs #conspiracies 0 comments

The government IS able to keep big secrets

it is extraordinarily naive to think the government is incapable of keeping a large secret involving dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people. I am reminded of this passage from the memoirs of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who knows a thing or two about how government secrecy works. Not only is the idea that you can’t keep secrets in Washington “flatly false,” Ellsberg writes, but by repeating it you’re doing the government’s work for them. [Such sayings] are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn’t in a fully totalitarian society. But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public … The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders. [emphasis added] As a simple example, which Hersh himself stated in this fascinating On The Media interview, how many people knew about the Bush administration’s manipulation of intelligence before the Iraq war? Hundreds? Over a thousand? How many knew about the NSA’s mass phone metadata program aimed at Americans until Edward Snowden revealed it? A thousand? Ten thousand? It stayed secret for more than seven years until a single person—a contractor, not an NSA employee—exposed it. - cjr.org
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Is Hersh of his rocker... or are we gullible?

it is extraordinarily naive to think the government is incapable of keeping a large secret involving dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people. I am reminded of this passage from the memoirs of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who knows a thing or two about how government secrecy works. Not only is the idea that you can’t keep secrets in Washington “flatly false,” Ellsberg writes, but by repeating it you’re doing the government’s work for them. As a simple example, which Hersh himself stated in this fascinating On The Media interview, how many people knew about the Bush administration’s manipulation of intelligence before the Iraq war? Hundreds? Over a thousand? How many knew about the NSA’s mass phone metadata program aimed at Americans until Edward Snowden revealed it? A thousand? Ten thousand? It stayed secret for more than seven years until a single person—a contractor, not an NSA employee—exposed it. - getpocket.com
#USAUSA #conspiracies 0 comments

Hoola hooping pylons

The Vortex’s shape was developed computationally to ensure the spinning wind (vortices) occurs synchronously along the entirety of the mast. “The swirls have to work together to achieve good performance,” Villarreal explains. In its current prototype, the elongated cone is made from a composite of fiberglass and carbon fiber, which allows the mast to vibrate as much as possible (an increase in mass reduces natural frequency). At the base of the cone are two rings of repelling magnets, which act as a sort of nonelectrical motor. When the cone oscillates one way, the repelling magnets pull it in the other direction, like a slight nudge to boost the mast’s movement regardless of wind speed. This kinetic energy is then converted into electricity via an alternator that multiplies the frequency of the mast’s oscillation to improve the energy-gathering efficiency. - wired.com
#innovation #energy 0 comments

The consciousness a particle or a wave?

Recently, however, scientists have flipped this thinking on its head. We are exploring the possibility that brain rhythms are not merely a reflection of mental activity but a cause of it, helping shape perception, movement, memory and even consciousness itself. What this means is that the brain samples the world in rhythmic pulses, perhaps even discrete time chunks, much like the individual frames of a movie. From the brain’s perspective, experience is not continuous but quantized. - nytimes.com
#neurons 0 comments

Pizza FTW

Now, here are the particulars of Kuban’s pies: They are perfectly round and saturated with color like a particularly sweet memory, or a cartoon. Their structure, in profile, is lifting slightly away from the pan as if encouraging you to go ahead, pick us up. They are thin and crisp, but pliable enough to fold a little when hot. You’ll notice some extra weight along the perimeter where Kuban, who builds each pizza himself, has tapped the dough into the edge of the pan with his fingertips, then sprinkled over some extra cheese. This fuses in the hot oven, developing into a deep golden lace of caramelized cheese and pizza crust that mimics the best bits on a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s totally delicious. - bloomberg.com
#nyc #food #blogs 0 comments

The many problems with Seymour Hersh's Osama bin Laden conspiracy theory - Vox

As time goes on, Hersh's stories seem to become more spectacular, more thinly sourced, and more difficult to square with reality as we know it. Perhaps one day they will all be vindicated: the Opus Dei special forces cabal, the terrorist training in Nevada, the American plan to nuke Iran, the Turkish false flag in Syria, even the American-Pakistani bin Laden ruse. Maybe there really is a vast shadow world of complex and diabolical conspiracies, executed brilliantly by international networks of government masterminds. And maybe Hersh and his handful of anonymous former senior officials really are alone in glimpsing this world and its terrifying secrets. Or maybe there's a simpler explanation. - vox.com
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Not the New York I knew in the 1980s

Parkgoers on Sunday were uneasy after learning about the attacks. “I’m totally shocked! I mean, any place, but especially here. I am really shocked,” said Upper West Side resident Gun Bauchmer. “In Central Park, a place like this? You don’t think that can happen, you know,” said Rachel Mitskaris, of Riverdale. “It’s scary. I’m feeling like I have to watch my stuff right now, you know?” - newyork.cbslocal.com
#nyc 0 comments

Psychology of Pricing: A Gigantic List of Strategies

Not only should you start with a high initial price, but you should also use a precise value. In one study, Janiszewski and Uy (2008) asked participants to estimate the actual price of a plasma TV based on the suggested retail price — either $4,998, $5,000, or $5,012. When participants were given precise values ($4,998 and $5,012), they estimated the TV’s actual price to be closer to that range. When the suggested price was rounded ($5,000), participants believed the actual price to be much lower. - nickkolenda.com
#psychology #pricing #sales 0 comments

How Many Words Do Eskimos Really Have for Snow?

The Inuit and Yupik languages are polysynthetic. Polysynthetic languages combine a limited set of roots and word endings to create an unlimited set of words. For instance from oqaq – the West Greenlandic root for "tongue" – you get oqaaseq (word), oqaasipiluuppaa (harangues him), oqaluppoq (speaks), oqaatiginerluppaa (speaks badly about him) and Oqaasileriffik (Greenlandic language secretariat). These can then be expanded with all sorts of other endings, so that a sentence like, "I hadn't planned to cause you to harangue him after all" would be expressed with one word. If these word-sentences count as words, then Eskimos don't just have thousands of words for snow, but for everything. Martin suggests that we instead ask how many roots Eskimos have for snow. In the case of West Greenlandic, the answer is two: qanik (snow in the air), and aput (snow on the ground). From these we can get derived words like qanipalaat (feathery clumps of falling snow) and apusiniq (snowdrift). There are also terms for snow that use different roots (for "covering," "floating" or other things snow does), but Pullum's essay notes a problem with the notion of counting words with other roots as "snow words": Do we count an Inuit word that can mean "snow for igloo making" as a snow word if it also just means building materials in general? To use another example, is "pack" a snow word in English, or a just a general term for tightly smushing things? In any case, there may be just as many snow words in English (sleet, slush, flurry, avalanche, etc.) as in "Eskimo" languages. - mentalfloss.com
#psychology #words 0 comments

Product-market fit

You can always feel when product/market fit isn’t happening. The customers aren’t quite getting value out of the product, word of mouth isn’t spreading, usage isn’t growing that fast, press reviews are kind of “blah”, the sales cycle takes too long, and lots of deals never close. And you can always feel product/market fit when it’s happening. The customers are buying the product just as fast as you can make it — or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers. Money from customers is piling up in your company checking account. You’re hiring sales and customer support staff as fast as you can. Reporters are calling because they’ve heard about your hot new thing and they want to talk to you about it. You start getting entrepreneur of the year awards from Harvard Business School. Investment bankers are staking out your house. You could eat free for a year at Buck’s. - jedchristiansen.com
#innovation #start-ups 0 comments

Impact of housing vouchers

After the Los Angeles riots in 1992 the federal government tried to copy this scheme in other cities. Until recently, the results were considered disappointing. Those who moved out of public housing in crime-ridden places showed lower rates of diabetes than those who remained, and mothers who moved showed an increase in happiness similar to the effects of Prozac, an antidepressant. However, children did no better after moving and their mothers did not get better jobs. In a paper published this month, however, Raj Chetty and colleagues at Harvard re-examined the numbers and found that the children who moved earned considerably more in their 20s. This was true only of children who moved before their 13th birthday: older children saw no benefit later on. More recently, Baltimore lost a public-housing case similar to the one in Chicago and, in 2005, provided vouchers for 7,000 families to move to other parts of Maryland. They are still there, and three-quarters of their children are attending much better schools, says Stefanie Deluca of Johns Hopkins. Yet since giving a golden ticket to every poor black family would cost about $30 billion a year, those stuck in highly segregated places will have to save in order to get out. - economist.com
#race #desegregation #poverty 0 comments