We may recall that Socrates and Plato maintained that in a sense the good person is necessarily happy, whereas Aristotle, holding a more realistic and commonsensical view, acknowledged the possibility that even the most virtuous person can be unhappy due to various misfortunes, i.e., virtue fails to guarantee happiness

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According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, negative feelings are rising around the world—and the United States is particularly hard hit with an “epidemic of addictions.” Tellingly, the report also shows a widening happiness gap, with some people reporting much more well-being and others showing much less within each country. […]

Negative feelings—worry, sadness, and anger—have been rising around the world, up by 27 percent from 2010 to 2018. […]

“The U.S. is suffering an epidemic of addictions.” This includes an addiction to technology, which researcher Jean Twenge largely blames for the worrying mental health trends among U.S. adolescents. In her chapter of the report, she argues that screen time is displacing activities that are key to our happiness, like in-person social contact. Forty-five percent of adolescents are online “almost constantly,” and the average high school senior spends six hours a day texting, on social media or on the internet.

But we’re hooked on more than just technology. According to researcher Steve Sussman, around half of Americans suffer from at least one addiction. Some of the most prevalent are alcohol, food, and work—which each affect around 10 percent of adults—as well as drugs, gambling, exercise, shopping, and sex.

There’s another possible explanation for unhappiness, though: Governments are losing their way. […] According to survey results since 2005, people across the globe are more satisfied with life when their governments are more effective, enforce the rule of law, have better regulation, control corruption, and spend in certain ways—more on health care and less on military.

{ Yes | Continue reading }

The human technologies of utopia

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New York may be a notoriously difficult place to build, but for cathedrals everywhere, delays are par for the course. In The Gothic Enterprise, author Robert Scott conducted a survey of project timelines. Construction at Canterbury Cathedral lasted 343 years. Construction at French cathedrals Amiens, Beauvais, Bourges, Evreux, Lyon, and Rouen each lasted more than three centuries. Bristol Cathedral started in 1218 and was not finished until 1905 – 688 years. Across 217 church and abbey projects in England, construction took an average of 250–300 years. And St. John the Divine is not alone among the ranks of unfinished cathedrals. Perhaps most famously, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882. […]

Why do cathedrals take so long to build? […]

Cathedrals are distinct from typical megaprojects in a very important way: an unfinished Cathedral is by no means a failure. […] Because the finish line is besides the point. Cathedrals are so compelling because they make visible the continued commitment that every building, city, and institution requires of their participants if they are to survive. Cathedral building ritualizes construction; they are compelling because they are never finished.

{ The Prepared | Continue reading }

wood, steel, and bamboo { Archi-Union Architects, Philip F. Yuan, “In Bamboo” Cultural Exchange Center, Daoming, Sichuan Province, China, 2017 }

is there a role for interoception in self-other distinction?

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In this study, we examine whether perceived loneliness is greater among the Baby Boomers—individuals born 1948–1965—relative to those born 1920–1947, and whether older adults have become lonelier over the past decade (2005–2016). […]

Overall, loneliness decreases with age through the early 70s, after which it increases. We find no evidence that loneliness is substantially higher among the Baby Boomers or that it has increased over the past decade.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

quote { Going at the heart of social cognition: is there a role for interoception in self-other distinction? }

Direct Replication of the Predictive Validity of the Suicide-Implicit Association Test

 

CRISPRs have been used to cut five to 62 genes at once

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{ Felice Beato, The Chattar Manzil Palace and the King of Oudh’s boat in the shape of a fish, Lucknow, 1858 }

The Ondt, that true and perfect host, a spiter aspinne

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“What happens if you can actually automate all human intellectual labor?” said Greg Brockman, chairman of OpenAI, a company backed by several Silicon Valley billionaires. Such thinking computers might be able to diagnose diseases better than doctors by drawing on superhuman amounts of clinical research, said Brockman, 30. They could displace a large number of office jobs. Eventually, he said, the job shortages would force the government to pay people to pursue their passions or simply live. Only Andrew Yang, a long-shot presidential candidate and tech entrepreneur, supported the idea of government paying citizens a regular income. But the idea of a “universal basic income” was discussed regularly in the valley. […]

“Once we have meat substitutes as good as the real thing, my expectation is that we’re going to look back at eating meat as this terrible, immoral thing,” he said. The same could be true of work in a future in an era of advanced artificial intelligence. “We’ll look back and say, ‘Wow, that was so crazy and almost immoral that people were forced to go and labor in order to be able to survive,’ ” he said.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

29.jpgI just boarded an international @JetBlue flight. Instead of scanning my boarding pass or handing over my passport, I looked into a camera before being allowed down the jet bridge. Did facial recognition replace boarding passes, unbeknownst to me? Did I consent to this? You’re able to opt out of this procedure, MacKenzie. Sorry if this made you feel uncomfortable.

Hair detection in images is useful for many applications, such as face and gender recognition, video surveillance, and hair modelling

The French government has developed its own end-to-end encrypted instant messenger (IM) app to replace government employee use of Telegram, WhatsApp, and other third-party IM clients.

TikTok, the video-sharing app by the Chinese-owned Bytedance (the world’s most valuable startup), has a younger audience than Facebook, an algorithm that learns you, and different ideas about free speech

West Virginia Will Use Blockchain Voting in the 2020 Presidential Election

An Argument that Cybersecurity Is Basically Okay

Dozens of medical professionals in seven states were charged Wednesday with participating in the illegal prescribing of more than 32 million pain pills, including doctors who prosecutors said traded sex for prescriptions and a dentist who unnecessarily pulled teeth from patients to justify giving them opioids. [Washington Post]

dentistry’s struggle to embrace scientific inquiry has left dentists with considerable latitude to advise unnecessary procedures—whether intentionally or not

women with unexplained recurrent miscarriage had less oral sex

subjects, who despite their inability to use smell in daily life, consider themselves healthy

How superstitions spread

Cultural evolution of emotional expression in 50 years of song lyrics

Botanically, hemp and marijuana are from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa,1 but from different varieties or cultivars. Defining Hemp: A Fact Sheet (CRS report Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress)

“Her overall scheme has been to claim to be a wealthy German heiress with approximately $60 million in funds being held abroad”

Shakespeare home in London, where he wrote ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ found by historian

no one can be creative or productive all the time. (Even Beethoven had a 10-year gap between his eighth and ninth symphonies.)

If You Score Above 30 on This Test, You Might Be a Psychopath

Exciting New App Allows Users To Be Pawns In 26-Year-Old CEO’s Little Game [Thanks Tim]

Shoes made for someone with three feet by a master shoemaker in Berlin

“”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”-w”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"

Wanna short synthetic credit volatility?

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Software from Amenity Analytics promises to automate this process by spotting when chief executive officers try to duck tough questions. The software, its makers say, can even pick up on the signs of potential deception that CIA and FBI interrogators look for—including stalling and the use of qualifiers—and can gauge the sentiment of what is said on calls and reported in public filings, issuing a positive or negative numeric score. The goal is to make it easier for investors to wade through information and quickly make trading decisions.

{ Bloomberg Businessweek | Continue reading }

previously { Former CIA Officer Will Teach You How to Spot a Lie }

photo { Laurie Simmons, Blonde/Pink Dress/Standing Corner, 2014 }

The “panopticon” refers to an experimental laboratory of power in which behaviour could be modified

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We’ve all been making some big choices, consciously or not, as advancing technology has transformed the real and virtual worlds. That phone in your pocket, the surveillance camera on the corner: You’ve traded away a bit of anonymity, of autonomy, for the usefulness of one, the protection of the other.

Many of these trade-offs were clearly worthwhile. But now the stakes are rising and the choices are growing more fraught. Is it O.K., for example, for an insurance company to ask you to wear a tracker to monitor whether you’re getting enough exercise, and set your rates accordingly? Would it concern you if police detectives felt free to collect your DNA from a discarded coffee cup, and to share your genetic code? What if your employer demanded access to all your digital activity, so that it could run that data through an algorithm to judge whether you’re trustworthy?

These sorts of things are already happening in the United States.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

ho, ho, ho, pimp

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Where Does Time Go When You Blink?

Retinal input is frequently lost because of eye blinks, yet humans rarely notice these gaps in visual input. […]

Here, we investigated whether the subjective sense of time is altered by spontaneous blinks. […]

The results point to a link between spontaneous blinks, previously demonstrated to induce activity suppression in the visual cortex, and a compression of subjective time.

{ bioRxiv | Continue reading }

photo { Helmut Newton, A cure for a black eye, Jerry Hall, 1974 }

The ball is round, the game is long

Two alternative hypotheses have been proposed to explain why grunting in tennis may impede opponents’ predictions, referred to as the distraction account (i.e., grunts capture attentional resources necessary for anticipation) and the multisensory integration account (i.e., auditory information from the grunt systematically influences ball trajectory prediction typically assumed to rely on visual information). […]

our findings provide strong support for the multisensory integration account by demonstrating that grunt intensity systematically influences judgments of ball trajectory.

{ PLoS One | Continue reading }

How you gonna do it if you really don’t want to dance, by standing on the wall?

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Loie Fuller (1862-1928) conquered Paris on her opening night at the Folies-Bergère on November 5, 1892. Manipulating with bamboo sticks an immense skirt made of over a hundred yards of translucent, iridescent silk, the dancer evoked organic forms –butterflies, flowers, and flames–in perpetual metamorphosis through a play of colored lights. Loie Fuller’s innovative lighting effects, some of which she patented, transformed her dances into enthralling syntheses of movement, color, and music, in which the dancer herself all but vanished. […]

Immensely popular, she had her own theater at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, promoted other women dancers including Isadora Duncan, directed experimental movies, and stopped performing only in 1925.

{ The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Continue reading }