I am grateful that you held the door open for me as I walked into the bakery. I am sorry that I was so preoccupied that I did not acknowledge your kindness quickly enough for your liking.
A great man once told me not to qualify my apologies with extenuation, but simply to take responsibility for my transgression. But, I’m sorry, I’m going to make an exception this time.
I am sorry that, for you, a benevolent act is ruined if it is not given proper recognition by the recipient. Pitiful.
Indeed, I am grateful that you have helped me identify that I am sometimes a pitiful assh*le. I don’t refer so much to times I fail to acknowledge a courtesy but, rather, to when I myself have muttered an epithet under my breath when someone else was not grateful enough for my egotistical kindness.
Sometimes, the contempt of the contemptible is akin to a compliment.
Pick up an object that’s close at hand. Throw it at something, or even someone (but gently, of course!) You’ve just reenacted what appears to be a pivotal stage in human evolution, when a propensity for projectiles shaped cognitive powers that later became language and symbolic thought.’ (via Wired Science).
An interesting way of quantifying the risks we take and their relationship to our life expectancy, with perhaps surprising implications for conceptualizing how fast we live our lives. (via Understanding Uncertainty).
Daniel Engber: “The dangers of using one lab animal to study every disease.” (via Slate Magazine).
“The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class’s venality.” — Naomi Wolf (via guardian.co.uk).
‘This article is a list of fictional diseases — nonexistent, named medical conditions which appear in fiction where they have a major plot or thematic importance. They may be fictional psychological disorders, magical, from mythological or fantasy settings, have evolved naturally, been engineered artificially (most often created as biological weapons), or be any illness that came forth from the (ab)use of technology.’ (via boing boing)
‘People with high IQs are more likely to smoke marijuana and take other illegal drugs, compared with those who score lower on intelligence tests, according to a new study from the U.K.’ (via TIME). This finding is universally referred to as ‘counterintuitive’, but I don’t think so. We are not talking about use of tobacco, and we are probably not talking about heroin addiction, but those with higher IQ are generally more open to novel experience, less credulous about anti-drug propaganda and less rigidly moralistic.
‘When our autobiographical memory lets us down, how do we reconstruct the lost chapters?’ (via BPS Research Digest).
“There’s definitely something to be said for first impressions. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests it can take just 20 seconds to detect whether a stranger is genetically inclined to being trustworthy, kind or compassionate. The findings reinforce that healthy humans are wired to recognize strangers who may help them out in a tough situation. They also pave the way for genetic therapies for people who are not innately sympathetic, researchers said.
…Two dozen couples participated in the UC Berkeley study, and each provided DNA samples. Researchers then documented the couples as they talked about times when they had suffered. Video was recorded only of the partners as they took turns listening. A separate group of observers who did not know the couples were shown 20-second video clips of the listeners and asked to rate which seemed most trustworthy, kind and compassionate, based on their facial expressions and body language.
The listeners who got the highest ratings for empathy, it turned out, possess a particular variation of the oxytocin receptor gene known as the GG genotype.” (via e! Science News).
Ummm, okay, so we can recognize people with a particular oxytocin gene variant. and we think they are more empathic. But is there any evidence that truly correlates with greater empathy? (I know there is some evidence that, at least in animals, oxytocin has a relationship with strength of social affiliation.)
This short film by Erroll Morris slaps conspiracy theory in the face, with reference to a famous controversy from the Kennedy assassination.
“A new experiment by CERN has reproduced findings to confirm discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos in a modified study they claim is more accurate.” (via Neon Tommy).
‘Members of the “super committee” charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in budget cuts are focused on how to announce failure to reach a deal, Democratic and Republican aides confirmed to CNN Sunday.
While aides said no final decision had been made, they acknowledged that — barring an unforeseen development — an announcement of an end to negotiations is the most likely scenario.’ (via CNN.com)
How to announce failure? Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-VT) said it well in June:
Everyone understands that over the long-term we have got to reduce the
deficit – a deficit that was caused mainly by Wall Street greed, tax
breaks for the rich, two wars, and a prescription drug program written
by the drug and insurance companies. It is absolutely imperative,
however, that as we go forward with deficit reduction we completely
reject the Republican approach that demands savage cuts in
desperately-needed programs for working families, the elderly, the sick,
our children and the poor, while not asking the wealthiest among us to
contribute one penny.”
Follow Me Here… is twelve today.
Public Health Expert Dies at 67: ‘His views provoked arguments. Within the politically contentious climate-change debate, it has been especially hard to prove direct links between climate events and the outbreak of disease.But Dr. Epstein’s prolific writing and his championing of others’ research broadened the terms of the debate — initially focused on long-term threats facing coastal populations and Arctic polar bears, for instance — to include questions about potentially sudden, unforeseeable public health catastrophes.
Former Vice President Al Gore, who tapped Dr. Epstein as a science adviser in conceiving the slide show about global warming that became the basis of the Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” praised him not only for his research but also for “his rare ability to communicate the subtleties and complexities of his field.” ‘ (NYTimes obituary).
I was proud to have been a friend and neighbor of Dr Epstein. He championed many other ‘inconvenient truths’ before turning his attention to climate change in the past decade. This interest was a natural outgrowth of his radicalism and determination to encompass the political dimension of public health issues and the public health dimension of political issues, e.g. poverty, colonialism and the nuclear threat.
‘The Dove (De Düva) is an Academy Award-nominated short parody of Ingmar Bergman’s films, made in 1968. They used to show this a lot in the early days of HBO. The short lampoons elements of Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, The Silence and Smiles of a Summer Night.
Professor Viktor Sundqvist (co-director George Coe) is being chauffeured to a lecture at a university, when a dove shits on the car’s windshield. He decides to make a visit to his childhood home ala Wild Strawberries .
In a flashback, Viktor and his sister challenge Death (screenwriter Sid Davis) to a game of badminton in exchange for Death sparing her life. A dove shits on Death and he loses the game.
The ridiculous fake Swedish is a mix of English, Yiddish and adding “ska” to certain words, as in “It will take a momentska” or “sooner or lateska.” ‘ (via Dangerous Minds)
I remember seeing this in the early ‘70’s at the late great Orson Welles Cinema in Cambridge, MA. Abut half an hour into the screening, someone jumped up in the front row, raised his arms in amazement and exclaimed, “My God! I’m so stoned I can understand Swedish!!”
‘An extreme surfer is set to earn a place in the record books after riding a 90-foot wave.
Garrett McNamara caught the monster wave during the ZON North Canyon Project in Praia do Norte, Nazare, Portugal.
The coastline is home to a deep water canyon which funnels large swells from the Atlantic Ocean, creating record-breaking waves such as the one McNamara rode.’ (via Mail Online).
Also: Watch the video (YouTube).
We won’t have another moment so elevenish for a hundred years (unless you don’t use military time and will observe it again tonight). Eleven is the first number which cannot be counted with a human’s eight fingers and two thumbs additively. In English, it is the smallest positive integer requiring three syllables and the largest prime number with a single-morpheme name. Numerologists believe there is something quite powerful about the time 11:11, having to do with synchronicity. Imagine what they will be thinking today.
As someone said: “Do you see (Washington Post) what happens (Reuters) when you vote? Let’s try it again next year, shall we?” (thanks, Hal)
Oh, how I wish I had been pointed to this last week. These are definitely people who know how to have fun with Hallowe’en. (via boing boing)