ideas

‘Pittacus said that half was more than the whole.’ —Diogenes Laërtius

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The idea that unconscious thought is sometimes more powerful than conscious thought is attractive, and echoes ideas popularized by books such as writer Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling Blink.

But within the scientific community, ‘unconscious-thought advantage’ (UTA) has been controversial. Now Dutch psychologists have carried out the most rigorous study yet of UTA—and find no evidence for it. […] The report adds to broader concerns about the quality of psychology studies and to an ongoing controversy about the extent to which unconscious thought in general can influence behaviour.

{ Scientific American | Continue reading }

art { Bronzino, Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi, 1545 }

‘You’re blind baby, you’re blind from the facts on who you are, cause you’re watching that garbage.’ –Public Enemy

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The philosopher Socrates remains, as he was in his lifetime (469–399 B.C.E.), an enigma, an inscrutable individual who, despite having written nothing, is considered one of the handful of philosophers who forever changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived. […]

The extant sources agree that Socrates was profoundly ugly, resembling a satyr more than a man—and resembling not at all the statues that turned up later in ancient times and now grace Internet sites and the covers of books. He had wide-set, bulging eyes that darted sideways and enabled him, like a crab, to see not only what was straight ahead, but what was beside him as well; a flat, upturned nose with flaring nostrils; and large fleshy lips like an ass. Socrates let his hair grow long, Spartan-style (even while Athens and Sparta were at war), and went about barefoot and unwashed, carrying a stick and looking arrogant. […] Something was peculiar about his gait as well, sometimes described as a swagger so intimidating that enemy soldiers kept their distance. He was impervious to the effects of alcohol and cold, but this made him an object of suspicion to his fellow soldiers on campaign. […]

What seemed strange about Socrates is that he neither labored to earn a living, nor participated voluntarily in affairs of state. Rather, he embraced poverty and, although youths of the city kept company with him and imitated him, Socrates adamantly insisted he was not a teacher and refused all his life to take money for what he did. […] Because Socrates was no transmitter of information that others were passively to receive, he resists the comparison to teachers. Rather, he helped others recognize on their own what is real, true, and good—a new, and thus suspect, approach to education. He was known for confusing, stinging and stunning his conversation partners into the unpleasant experience of realizing their own ignorance, a state sometimes superseded by genuine intellectual curiosity. […] Socrates was usually to be found in the marketplace and other public areas, conversing with a variety of different people—young and old, male and female, slave and free, rich and poor—that is, with virtually anyone he could persuade to join with him in his question-and-answer mode of probing serious matters. […]

It did not help matters that Socrates seemed to have a higher opinion of women than most of his companions had, speaking of “men and women,” “priests and priestesses,” and naming foreign women as his teachers: Socrates claimed to have learned rhetoric from Aspasia of Miletus, the lover of Pericles; and to have learned erotics from the priestess Diotima of Mantinea. […]

Athenian citizen males of the upper social classes did not marry until they were at least thirty, and Athenian females were poorly educated and kept sequestered until puberty, when they were given in marriage by their fathers. Thus the socialization and education of males often involved a relationship for which the English word ‘pederasty’ (though often used) is misleading, in which a youth approaching manhood, fifteen to seventeen, became the beloved of a male lover a few years older, under whose tutelage and through whose influence and gifts, the younger man would be guided and improved. It was assumed among Athenians that mature men would find youths sexually attractive, and such relationships were conventionally viewed as beneficial to both parties by family and friends alike. A degree of hypocrisy (or denial), however, was implied by the arrangement: “officially” it did not involve sexual relations between the lovers and, if it did, then the beloved was not supposed to derive pleasure from the act—but ancient evidence (comedies, vase paintings, et al.) shows that both restrictions were often violated. What was odd about Socrates is that, although he was no exception to the rule of finding youths attractive, he refused the physical advances of even his favorite.

{ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy | Continue reading }

Allo, non mais allo quoi

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The weather impacts not only upon our mood but also our voice. An international research team has analysed the influence of humidity on the evolution of languages.

Their study has revealed that languages with a wide range of tone pitches are more prevalent in regions with high humidity levels. In contrast, languages with simpler tone pitches are mainly found in drier regions. This is explained by the fact that the vocal folds require a humid environment to produce the right tone.

The tone pitch is a key element of communication in all languages, but more so in some than others. German or English, for example, still remain comprehensible even if all words are intonated evenly by a robot. In Mandarin Chinese, however, the pitch tone can completely change the meaning of a word.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

‘Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.’ —Nietzsche

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[TheJosh]
If I go every other day I will be at the gym 4-5 times a week, is that over training?
I typically work out for 60-90 minutes, I push my self and raise the weight each week.

[…]

steviekm3
That makes no sense. There are only 7 days in a week. If you go every other day that is 3.5 times a week.

TheJosh
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. That is 4 days.
How do you go 3.5 times? Do a half workout or something? lol

Justin-27
7x in 2 weeks = 3.5 times a week, genius.
And yeah, 3x a week, full body workouts are good.

TheJosh
I never said anything about going exactly 7 times, like I said, if I go every other day, that is 4 DAYS A WEEK. How hard is that to comprehend?
Week 1 - Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Week 2 - Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
8 DAYS IN 2 WEEKS
In your terms,
8x in 2 weeks = 4 times a week, genius.
All Muscle and No Brains? lol

steviekm3
You double counted Sunday - that is 2 weeks plus 1 day.
Did you fail grade 2 math ?
PLUS your old post said 4 or 5 times a week. Now you just neglect to mention the 5.
Grow up and admit when you are wrong. Believe me you will get a a lot further in life this way.

TheJosh
Are you retarded?
Maybe you should look at a calander, I didn’t double count sunday, my two weeks started and ended on sunday, exactly 14 days.
What don’t you understand?
EDIT - Here is a Calender, I made little dots for each day so you could comprehend.

Justin-27
Dude THAT IS 15 DAYS!!!!!! You can’t have a week go Sun-Sat, then Sun-Sun. Look at the damn pic you posted, count the days what do they equal?!?!?! FIFTEEN!
I was right, 3.5 x a week, and so was the first guy to post it, and you my bright friend are el wrongo.

[…]

TheJosh
There is 7 days in a week, if you workout every other day, you work out 4 days a week, how hard is that to ****ing comprehend?!
Ill do it out in 4 weeks for you, maybe it will make more sense?
Week 1 - Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Week 2 - Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
Week 3 - Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Monday
Week 4 - Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday
Week 5 - Thursday, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday
Week 6 - Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday
No matter how you look at it, if you workout every other day, you work out 4 times a week.
[…]
A week is sunday-sunday.
I think you just don’t know how to count, it’s alright, I won’t tell anyone. lol
Sunday-Saturday is only 6 days, do you have 6 days weeks where you live?

Justin-27
Yes, you workout 4x the first week, then 3 the next.
I’m right, you’re a effing moron.
[…]
Sun-Sat is only 6 days?!
Sunday ONE
Monday TWO
Tuesday THREE
Wednesday FOUR
Thursday FIVE
Friday SIX
Saturday SEVEN
Arizona public schools=FAIL

{ Bodybuilding.com | Continue reading }

‘We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.’ —Saul Bellow

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DNA is generally regarded as the basic building block of life itself. In the most fundamental sense, DNA is nothing more than a chemical compound, albeit a very complex and peculiar one. DNA is an information-carrying molecule. The specific sequence of base pairs contained in a DNA molecule carries with it genetic information, and encodes for the creation of particular proteins. When taken as a whole, the DNA contained in a single human cell is a complete blueprint and instruction manual for the creation of that human being.

In this article we discuss myriad current and developing ways in which people are utilizing DNA to store or convey information of all kinds. For example, researchers have encoded the contents of a whole book in DNA, demonstrating the potential of DNA as a way of storing and transmitting information. In a different vein, some artists have begun to create living organisms with altered DNA as works of art. Hence, DNA is a medium for the communication of ideas. Because of the ability of DNA to store and convey information, its regulation must necessarily raise concerns associated with the First Amendment’s prohibition against the abridgment of freedom of speech.

New and developing technologies, and the contemporary and future social practices they will engender, necessitate the renewal of an approach towards First Amendment coverage that takes into account the purposes and values incarnated in the Free Speech Clause of the Constitution.

{ Charleston School of Law | Continue reading }

photo { Bruce Davidson }

‘Anaxagoras agrees with Leucippus and Democritus that the elements are infinite.’ –Aristotle

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New theories suggest the big bang was not the beginning, and that we may live in the past of a parallel universe.

[…]

Time’s arrow may in a sense move in two directions, although any observer can only see and experience one.

{ Scientific American | Continue reading }

photo { Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven }

‘Ivan Ilych’s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.’ —Tolstoy

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When I started life Hegelianism was the basis of everything: it was in the air, found expression in magazine and newspaper articles, in novels and essays, in art, in histories, in sermons, and in conversation. A man unacquainted with Hegel had no right to speak: he who wished to know the truth studied Hegel. Everything rested on him; and suddenly forty years have gone by and there is nothing left of him, he is not even mentioned - as though he had never existed. And what is most remarkable is that, like pseudo-Christianity, Hegelianism fell not because anyone refuted it, but because it suddenly became evident that neither the one nor the other was needed by our learned, educated world.

{ Leon Tolstoy, What then must we do?, 1886 | PDF }

The time is out of joint

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O’Brian oversees America’s master clock. It’s one of the most accurate clocks on the planet: an atomic clock that uses oscillations in the element cesium to count out 0.0000000000000001 second at a time. If the clock had been started 300 million years ago, before the age of dinosaurs began, it would still be keeping time — down to the second. […]

At the nearby University of Colorado Boulder is a clock even more precise than the one O’Brian watches over. […] This new clock can keep perfect time for 5 billion years.”It’s about the whole, entire age of the earth,” says Jun Ye, the scientist here at JILA who built this clock. […]

But this new clock has run into a big problem: This thing we call time doesn’t tick at the same rate everywhere in the universe. Or even on our planet.

Right now, on the top of Mount Everest, time is passing just a little bit faster than it is in Death Valley. That’s because speed at which time passes depends on the strength of gravity. Einstein himself discovered this dependence as part of his theory of relativity, and it is a very real effect.

The relative nature of time isn’t just something seen in the extreme. If you take a clock off the floor, and hang it on the wall, Ye says, “the time will speed up by about one part in 1016.” […] Time itself is flowing more quickly on the wall than on the floor. These differences didn’t really matter until now. But this new clock is so sensitive, little changes in height throw it way off. Lift it just a couple of centimeters, Ye says, “and you will start to see that difference.” […]

The world’s current time is coordinated between atomic clocks all over the planet. But that can’t happen with the new one.

{ NPR | Continue reading }

photo { Petra Collins }

‘Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn’t do any good if you lose.’ –Dick Cheney

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Crimes such as bribery require the cooperation of two or more criminals for mutual gain. Instead of deterring these crimes, the state should disrupt them by creating distrust among criminals so they cannot cooperate. In a cooperative crime with two criminals, the state should offer amnesty and a bounty to the criminal who first secures punishment of the other criminal. When the bounty exceeds the bribe, a bribed official gains less from keeping the bribe than from confessing and receiving the bounty. Consequently the person who pays the bribe cannot trust the person who takes it. The game’s unique equilibrium is non-cooperative and bribes disappear.

{ Review of Law & Economics }

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

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Findings from two experiments suggest that priming the passage of time through the sound of a ticking clock influenced various aspects of women’s (but not men’s) reproductive timing. Moreover, consistent with recent research from the domain of life history theory, those effects depended on women’s childhood socioeconomic status (SES). The subtle sound of a ticking clock led low (but not high) SES women to reduce the age at which they sought to get married and have their first child (Study 1), as well as the priority they placed on the social status and long-term earning potential of potential romantic partners (Study 2).

{ Human Nature | Continue reading }

photo { Aaron McElroy }

‘If you’re critical, you’re already out of the game.’ —Jeff Koons

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This paper considers when a firm’s freely chosen name can signal meaningful information about its quality, and examines a setting in which it does.

Plumbing firms with names beginning with an “A” or a number receive five times more service complaints, on average. In addition, firms use names beginning with an “A” or a number more often in larger markets, and those that do have higher prices.

These results reflect consumers’ search decisions and extend to online position auctions: plumbing firms that advertise on Google receive more complaints, which contradicts prior theoretical predictions but fits the setting considered here.

{ Ryan C. McDevitt | PDF }

First principle, Clarice. Simplicity.

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There seems to be wide support for the idea that we are living in an “age of complexity,” which implies that the world has never been more intricate. This idea is based on the rapid pace of technological changes, and the vast amount of information that we are generating (the two are related). Yet consider that philosophers like Leibniz (17th century) and Diderot (18th century) were already complaining about information overload. The “horrible mass of books” they referred to may have represented only a tiny portion of what we know today, but much of what we know today will be equally insignificant to future generations.

In any event, the relative complexity of different eras is of little matter to the person who is simply struggling to cope with it in everyday life. So perhaps the right question is not “Is this era more complex?” but “Why are some people more able to manage complexity?” Although complexity is context-dependent, it is also determined by a person’s disposition. In particular, there are three key psychological qualities that enhance our ability to manage complexity:

1. […] higher levels of IQ enable people to learn and solve novel problems faster […]

2. […] individuals with higher EQ [emotional quotient] are less susceptible to stress and anxiety […]

3. […] People with higher CQ [curiosity quotient] are more inquisitive and open to new experiences […] they are generally more tolerant of ambiguity.
 
{ Harvard Business Review | Continue reading }

photo { Never before seen Corinne Day shots }