Filed under Claws or Affect?: Liberal brains are good for thinking about a problem; conservative brains are good for acting on a problem. A larger anterior cingulate cortex, found in people who identify themselves as liberals, understands complexity and is tolerant of conflict. A larger amygdala, found in people who identify themselves as conservatives, is a reptilian area good for seeking and destroying threats. Key point buried in the article: It’s unclear if these differences are the cause of political viewpoints or are the result of them. My hunch is it is the result of environmental factors: Growing up isolated (rural), poorish (survival-minded), and under consistent threat of eternal damnation (religious) creates a highly developed threat center; education (and if done right, religion) can help develop less of a sense of other-as-enemy, but threat assessment andunderstanding how to handle it is weakened. Thus we have our current Congressional situation: sissy weakling Democrats paralyzed by wanting to understand and compromise with a freshman class of GOP who’d rather just kill them and move on with other misdirected assinations, i.e., NPR instead of Defense, which of course the amygdala thinks needs $800 billion annually in case aliens or demons attack. If there’s anything the philosophical left brain can learn from the heat-seeking right brain, it’s how to visualize and attack rather than visualize and wonder how.
Filed under Creepy Art: Banana sculptures hold no appeal for me, but are cool in a looks-like-its-face-is-melting kind of way.
Filed under Maybe There’s Hope After All: By Vadim Lavrusik’s estimation, social media can help save quality journalism. His reason: even though people secretly search out the smut (celebrity gossip, political polemics) for themselves, they’re too embarrassed or polite to share the smut with others. Instead, they tend to share the good stuff, the informative investigative, hard news stuff. David Wheeler points out that CBS News has the youngest network evening news audience, with an average age of 60, which means younger generations are going elsewhere, most likely the Internet, most likely to social networks. The fear has been, as 20th century journalism and media complete the last items on their bucket lists, that media would devolve into fragmented, underfunded, poorly researched, and low quality wars of ideology and culture. But maybe—oh, just maybe—always-on social networks will bring out the best in audiences and news sources. Get thee behind me, Cynic!
Filed under As If I Needed Another Reason to Lose Weight: Being fat affects your memory. What was I saying? Oh, it was that if I have to subsist on celery and water, I’d rather not remember lunch. It’s a vicious cycle,too, because other studies show too much thinking can make you fat—well, they show that brain-work and mind-intensive tasks rely on the brain’s glucose energy sources, thereby increasing carbohydrate cravings and chances of overeating. Sigh. My mom often wonders to herself (unjustifiably), “Don’t know if I’m fat because I’m lazy or lazy because I’m fat.” But my complaint is: Thinking makes you fat, and fat makes it so you can’t think anymore—you’d think not thinking would cause you to lose weight. Judging by the current obesity rates in the US and subsequent pandemic lack of thinking, that’s obviously untrue.
Filed under Royal Mind Bleep and Being Aware of the Time Warp Means You Can’t Do the Time Warp: In general, time moves only forward, but if light enters a state of zen and perfect unawareness, it might be able to move in time circles, but it won’t know that’s what it’s doing, and the moment it starts to perceive anything, it can only perceive moving forward in time. Hey man, this is science! Erm, maybe.
Filed under Eventually Misappropriated Military Technology: Though this fabric was developed for protection against noxious gases, how long you think before it’s sold to the general public as anti-fart technology?