Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Quote of the Day

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

- Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quote of the Day

From a social psychological standpoint, the selfie phenomenon seems to stem from two basic human motives. The first is to attract attention from other people. Because people’s positive social outcomes in life require that others know them, people are motivated to get and maintain social attention. By posting selfies, people can keep themselves in other people’s minds. In addition, like all photographs that are posted on line, selfies are used to convey a particular impression of oneself. Through the clothes one wears, one’s expression, staging of the physical setting, and the style of the photo, people can convey a particular public image of themselves, presumably one that they think will garner social rewards.

- Mark R. Leary

Monday, January 15, 2018

Quote of the Day

[T]he self “is not an unmitigated blessing,”6 writes Duke University psychologist Mark Leary in his aptly titled book, The Curse of the Self. “It is single-handedly responsible for many, if not most of the problems that human beings face as individuals and as a species . . . [and] conjures up a great deal of personal suffering in the form of depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, and other negative emotions.” When you think about the billion-dollar industries that underpin the Altered States Economy, isn’t this what they’re built for? To shut off the self. To give us a few moments of relief from the voice in our heads.

- Steven Kotler, Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quote of the Day

Yet there was, and remains, a maddening quality to their coƶperation, the official said. Pakistan’s intelligence service went “all-in” against certain terrorists, like Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, while continuing to support the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqanis, and anti-India jihadis. On at least two occasions, the former acting C.I.A. director Michael Morell flew to Pakistan with a list of militants the United States hoped Pakistan would apprehend or confront. Just last month, Defense Secretary James Mattis went there on a similar mission. “It’s frustrating. Our talking points have been identical for the last fifteen years: ‘You need to get tough on terrorism, and you need to close the sanctuaries,’ ” one former intelligence official told me.

The C.I.A.’s Maddening Relationship with Pakistan

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Arc Gene - Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

When Jason Shepherd first saw the structures under a microscope, he thought they looked like viruses. The problem was: he wasn’t studying viruses.

Shepherd studies a gene called Arc which is active in neurons, and plays a vital role in the brain. A mouse that’s born without Arc can’t learn or form new long-term memories. If it finds some cheese in a maze, it will have completely forgotten the right route the next day. “They can’t seem to respond or adapt to changes in their environment,” says Shepherd, who works at the University of Utah, and has been studying Arc for years. “Arc is really key to transducing the information from those experiences into changes in the brain.”

Despite its importance, Arc has been a very difficult gene to study. Scientists often work out what unusual genes do by comparing them to familiar ones with similar features—but Arc is one-of-a-kind. Other mammals have their own versions of Arc, as do birds, reptiles, and amphibians. But in each animal, Arc seems utterly unique—there’s no other gene quite like it. And Shepherd learned why when his team isolated the proteins that are made by Arc, and looked at them under a powerful microscope.

- More Here

Wisdom Of The Week

Lastly, many ‘arguments’ seem to occur where one person makes a true claim with a certain mood. A commenter disagrees with that mood, and makes a different true claim. A second commenter disagrees with THAT mood and makes a third true claim. This pattern of discussion is not always healthy. We should hold ourselves to a standard higher than saying things that true. We should say things that build useful generalizeable mental models. If we only say the counterintuitive hipster ‘facts’ we can in fact paint a misleading picture even though we share only facts that rigorously true. (Tyler, I love you and your work, but this is one of the ways that I think your writing can improve. Contrarian statements, even when true, can sometimes be less good than other true statements. I understand this is vague, but I hope you understand.)

- Comments on Marginal Revolution

Quote of the Day

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking...

- Leo Tolstoy