Mashable: British etiquette manual tells you how to behave in the 21st century.
Pacific Standard: We Are All Confident Idiots.
“The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise.” Sticking people in front of a camera requires folks to multi-task - even those who know better can begin babbling in order to portray themselves in a way they feel is ‘good’. I don’t think it’s a fair test of ‘ignorance’. Certainly not a scholarly study of the phenom.
Mental Contrasting – Effectiveness, Uses, and Precautions.
Saw a related article on the NY Times, but couldn’t link because of the paywall. Hopefully this will be of interest.
DiscoverMag: Most Autistic People Have Normal Brain Anatomy.
Hinted: “Calm breeds calm.” How to handle #stress.
“If you’re always running around with your hair on fire, I promise you’re stressing those around you out and diminishing performance.” Perhaps. After many years in the workforce, I’ve noticed there is a particular kind of person who cannot — will not — calm down until you get as unhinged as they do. If you don’t, they feel you’re not recognizing the severity of the situation and you become a target for their rancor. There’s naught you can do but feign a freakout, and then de-escalate them slowly using the same calmness you would have had otherwise.
Self-absorbed Instagrammer defaces National Parks.
This makes me livid. Most know I spent over half a year working in Big Bend National Park in between years of college. We spent a great deal of our time trying to preserve things for future generations. I cannot even begin to express how impenetrably self-absorbed this young lady is.
I say put her on the Park Service’s lowest payscale job. She works as long as it takes to pay for the remediation of the damage she caused, plus a generous fine. Lives in park housing, eats park meals.
Normally, I’d say she needs to visit a psychologist, but I find hard work often smooths out such narcissism. Working in a park, she’ll learn to appreciate it ... make her work with the public, she’ll learn how obtuse the average park visitor can be. She will experience her behavior as in a mirror, and have to deal with the repercussions. Every. Single. Day.
She must be an example, a deterrent. Otherwise more will follow. More will follow anyway, but a proper balanced punishment will go far to prevent this behavior from spreading.
Guardian.UK: The half-life of disaster.
“As long as disaster capitalism reigns – which no doubt will be as long as capitalism itself reigns – the world will be caught in a vicious circle: that of responding by increasingly draconian and ill-advised means to a threat environment whose dangers the response only contributes to intensifying.” Via wood s lot.
ArtDaily: Japan toymaker unveils tiny talking, singing humanoid.
“When asked to sing a song, the robot will answer, ‘Okay. Then let’s sing along together’ or ‘No. Ask me later because I am busy’, depending on ‘its mood’.” Just what I want to buy ... a moody robot. If you want torture, go talk to Eliza.
NY Times: Does Everything Happen for a Reason?
“If there is such a thing as divine justice or karmic retribution, the world we live in is not the place to find it. Instead, the events of human life unfold in a fair and just manner only when individuals and society work hard to make this happen. We should resist our natural urge to think otherwise.” My italic emphasis.
OpenCulture: Night on Bald Mountain: An Eery, Avant-Garde Pinscreen Animation.
What a difference seven years makes.
Nice Marmot: Blogging like it’s 1999.
Later: Dr Vornov says, “With our symbolic tools of language that abstract the maps into notes, conversations and blog posts, we can get out of our heads and team up with other minds to improve the usefulness of our internal maps, even to the point of knowing things that are beyond any ability to experience.”
This post has been simmering in the back of my head as I’ve been running around town today, and I wanted to expand on it. I think of how fellow bloggers, my readers and others have shaped my perception of reality, my interpretation of events, my interpretations of groups of facts over the years. It’s been invaluable. However, after near fifteen years of blogging, I have to face my own … sluggishness? … to change the mental maps of late. I wasn’t so slow to change in ’99. Today? Glacial by comparison. Is it age? Is it exposure to poor quality articles? Is it comfort in an attractive rut? Is it a reflection of the knee-jerk post-9/11 fear-and-panic in our culture? I know it’s not media-driven - I don’t watch television! Not even Jon Stewart (though he served me drinks at City Gardens in Trenton eons ago). That seems to shock people.
I circle back to something the Barrett boys [Cam and Damien] underlined for me. Weblogs are best when they’re about stories. A good story is from the heart, from the soul. “I lived this.” A good story changes my mental map, because it is a convincing direct experience I can feel. It’s the direct experience I don’t have, but when I hear it from a person I trust, it bends my opinion to the bloggers’ experience. My mental map extends beyond my direct ken.
Why are today’s stories not changing my maps? Why are stories less compelling than they were? I think it’s because there’s a difference between a fellow blogger, posting as a virtual friend, and a stranger posting a story to Medium or other venue. Stories are told at an arm’s length now - even worse, when they’re on sites with no comment areas. There is no interaction. And historical storytelling has always been about adjustments for the audience as the story is being acted out. I think of the famous photo, the elder at the bonfire, spinning out stories to the next generations, animated look on his face. Our old blogger-banter served that need for interaction - that banter, that back-and-forth is largely gone today.
I suppose that’s why I mourn for the ‘old days’ of blogging. And I make a mental note (scribbled on my mental map margin) to tell more stories.
The New Yorker: The Limits of Friendship.
“With social media, we can easily keep up with the lives and interests of far more than a hundred and fifty people. But without investing the face-to-face time, we lack deeper connections to them, and the time we invest in superficial relationships comes at the expense of more profound ones.” Hmmm. ‘Profound’? I’d say ‘expense of more psychologically beneficial ones’.
PS Mag: Planning to Do Good Tomorrow Gives Us Permission to Be Bad.
SciAm: The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent.
The New Yorker: Actually, People Still Like to Think.
“This past July, Science published a paper with an alarming conclusion: most people would rather give themselves an electric shock than be alone with their thoughts.” A mentality I simply cannot grok. So many people seem to make themselves as busy as possible to run away from solitary contemplation. I’d die. As an introvert, I cannot function without ‘alone time’, ‘recharge time’.
Hollywood Reporter: John Cleese Quits Movies, Says He’s “Looking Forward” to Death.
“The key to understanding Python now is we have all driven off in completely different directions. Michael [Palin], as you know, makes those travel programs that I put on any time I can’t sleep. Eric Idle is very good at lyrics so he is writing songs. Terry Gilliam is off trying to raise money for one of his plotless extravaganzas. And [Terry] Jonesy is just insane – he writes children’s books and recently went to Lisbon and directed an opera about vacuum cleaners.” That’s something not often recognized - that you don’t necessarily have to like your team in order to do great work.
Paris Review: Inside the Offices of Therapists and Analysts.
Brilliant theme; quite revealing.
Vox: ‘Grit’ might be more important than IQ. Now schools need to learn to teach it.
Science of Us: Ebola Fears Are Triggering Mass Hypochondria.
“We tend to think of hypochondriacs as the irrational individuals who, after spending entirely too much time on WebMD, become convinced that a minor headache means a brain tumor, or that a lingering cough means lung cancer. But that anxiety and fear some of us are having over catching Ebola (a highly unlikely health outcome)? That’s hypochondria, too ...” The media is exacerbating this. Too much information can be worse than too little.
NiceMarmot: A Place for Everything.
Thought-provoking. What reading this brought to mind: what if Alzheimer’s is a loss of one’s mental map key ... no sense of scale, no ability to quantify the raw data within one’s mental map? We know the brain is very good at squirrelling stuff away in parts unknown. I wonder if the ‘key’ could ever be restored, post diagnosis. Just an amateur’s five second reflection.
Telegraph.UK: Can’t get into highbrow novels? Ditch them, says Nick Hornby.
Books that mean nothing at certain ages can take on whole new life at different points in your life-cycle. I’ve said this for years. Most of what they tried to force-feed us in school took on different meaning once I had significant life experience under my belt. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try - if one is subtle enough to pick up the wisdom in the prose, one can have a leg up on life.
Aeon: My adolescent daughter and the mirror of self.
“All of this rings true to me, especially the idea, central to adult development theory, that there is no single self, only multiple selves, or a succession of selves; that we keep changing, keep growing.” I agree with this. I seem to find new personalities within myself about every six to eight years. Like one of those nesting Russian dolls.
NY Times: How to Stop Time.
“By the mid-60s, passive-aggressive personality disorder had become a fairly common diagnosis and ‘procrastination’ remained listed as a symptom in several subsequent editions. ‘Dawdling’ was added to the list, after years of delay. While passive-aggressive personality disorder has been erased from the official portion of the manual, the stigma of slothfulness remains.” Gawd, I remember when ‘passive-aggressive’ was on every psych major’s lips. Glad it’s gone.
DesignYouTrust: Iris Grace, The Five-Year-Old Autistic Art Prodigy.
99U: Nobody Knows What The Hell They Are Doing.
“If you’re worried you don’t measure up, that could well be a sign that you do.” We all need to squash that little devil who sits on our shoulders, telling us we suck.