Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Quote of the Day

Trust none of what you hear, some of what you read, half of what you see goes an old trader adage. As a trader and quant/mathematical statistician, I have been taught to take data seriously, trust nobody’s numbers, and avoid people naive enough to engage in policy based on lurid but questionable pictures of destruction: the fake picture of a dying child is something nobody can question without appearing to be an asshole. As a citizen, I require that the designation “murderer” be determined in a court of law, not by Saudi-funded outlets — once someone is called a murderer or butcher, all bets are off. I cannot believe governments and bureaucrats could be so stupid. But they are.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Quote of the Day

Patience is a virtue, but there comes a moment when you must stop being patient and take the day by the throat and shake it. If it fights back; fine. I'd rather end up bloody at the end of the day, then unhurt with no progress made, no knowledge gained. I'd rather have a no, then nothing. I'd forgotten that about myself.

- Laurell K. Hamilton

Monday, December 5, 2016

Quote of the Day

Knowledge, then, can be dangerous because a rational mind may be compelled to use it in rational ways, allowing malevolent or careless speakers to commandeer our faculties against us. This makes the expressive power of language a mixed blessing: it lets us learn what we want to know, but it also lets us learn what we don't want to know. Language is not just a window into human nature but a fistula: an open wound through which our innards are exposed to an infectious world. It's not surprising that we expect people to sheathe their words in politeness and innuendo and other forms of doublespeak.

- Steven Pinker, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Arrival

I loved the movie !! Language affects our thoughts and at a higher level it also defines who we are and who we become. So be careful watching cable news, taking ideological political stance and seeing the world as my ideology vs. theirs.

Well, the movie doesn't cover any of the above except it defines how language affects our thoughts.

Memory is a strange thing.  We are bound by time.  By its order.

Are you dream in their language?



Quote of the Day

My reasons for refusing the prize concern neither the Swedish Academy nor the Nobel Prize in itself, as I explained in my letter to the Academy. In it, I alluded to two kinds of reasons: personal and objective.

The personal reasons are these: my refusal is not an impulsive gesture, I have always declined official honors. In 1945, after the war, when I was offered the Legion of Honor, I refused it, although I was sympathetic to the government. Similarly, I have never sought to enter the Coll├Ęge de France, as several of my friends suggested.

This attitude is based on my conception of the writer’s enterprise. A writer who adopts political, social, or literary positions must act only with the means that are his own—that is, the written word. All the honors he may receive expose his readers to a pressure I do not consider desirable. If I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre it is not the same thing as if I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prizewinner.

The writer who accepts an honor of this kind involves as well as himself the association or institution which has honored him. My sympathies for the Venezuelan revolutionists commit only myself, while if Jean-Paul Sartre the Nobel laureate champions the Venezuelan resistance, he also commits the entire Nobel Prize as an institution.

The writer must therefore refuse to let himself be transformed into an institution, even if this occurs under the most honorable circumstances, as in the present case.


- Jean-Paul Sartre explanation for his refusal to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wisdom Of The Week

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.
1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.
6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by V’aclav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.
12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.
19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.
Fighting authoritarianism: 20 lessons from the 20th century

Quote of the Day

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?

- Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What Neuroscience Can Learn From Buddhism

Recently, neuroscience has to concede, maybe grudgingly, that Buddhism was right all along when it comes to the concept of the changing mind. The Buddhists call it anicca, the concept that everything is impermanent and constantly changing. Thus, Buddhists believe that life is a continuous becoming.

This concept is liberating because it brings an awareness that a person is not defined by what they think or their perception of themselves. With this awareness, there is a sense of positivism because it gives the person hope that they are constantly evolving into something better. Moreover, it gives hope that the possibilities to change themselves are endless.

Armed with the same belief that life is like a river continuously flowing, Buddhists do not attach themselves to things because they believe that when they do, they are going against the forces of the universe by controlling something to become stable.

Neuroscience also holds the same belief but they put it in a more scientific and rather complicated way. They call this state of impermanence neuroplasticity, which shows that the brain is malleable and can be easily molded to change opening yourself to great possibilities for growth.

Neuroplasticity also shows that from the time we are born and until we die, our brains continue to rewire itself finding new neural pathways to adjust to our changing needs. This process is what allows people to adapt to the different experiences they have.


- More Here

Quote of the Day

They will envy you for your success, your wealth, for your intelligence, for your looks, for your status - but rarely for your wisdom.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms