To the man who called me an assh*le the other day in the doorway of Clear Flour,

English: Darien monument to firefighters, Dari...

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.


Stop badmouthing sharks that bite people

English: Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, ...

“I believe the time is right for science to reconsider its use of the phrase “shark attack” on humans. Such language creates a one-dimensional perception of these events and makes protecting threatened shark species more difficult. After all, why care about an animal that wants to eat us?

…The argument for change is compelling. Modern research has shown that bites by sharks are often investigatory or defensive, taking place in cloudy water and out of curiosity.” (via New Scientist).


Banishing consciousness

Consciousness Awakening on Vimeo by Ralph Buckley

The mystery of anaesthesia: ‘The development of general anaesthesia has transformed surgery from a horrific ordeal into a gentle slumber. It is one of the commonest medical procedures in the world, yet we still don’t know how the drugs work. Perhaps this isn’t surprising: we still don’t understand consciousness, so how can we comprehend its disappearance?

That is starting to change, however, with the development of new techniques for imaging the brain or recording its electrical activity during anaesthesia. “In the past five years there has been an explosion of studies, both in terms of consciousness, but also how anaesthetics might interrupt consciousness and what they teach us about it,” says George Mashour, an anaesthetist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “We’re at the dawn of a golden era.” ‘ (via New Scientist)


Digital Narcotics: the Future of Drugs

A field of opium poppies in Burma.
Opium poppy field, Burma

“Technologists will become the next drug dealers, administering narcotics through brain stimulation, according to Rohit Talwar, the founder of Fast Future Research, speaking at Intelligence Squared’s If conference.

Talwar was charged by the government to investigate the drugs landscape over the next 20 years, exploring scenarios going beyond the traditional model of gangs producing and shipping drugs around the world.

He described how the world of genomic sequencing and services such as 23 and Me open up possibilities for tailoring drugs to the individual, delivering effects based on your physiology — which could  pply just as effectively to narcotics as it could medicines.”  (via Wired Science).


The Cognitive Benefits Of Chewing Gum


Jonah Lehrer: “Chewing without eating seems like such a ridiculous habit, the oral equivalent of running on a treadmill. And yet, people have been chewing gum for thousands of years, ever since the ancient Greeks began popping wads of mastic tree resin in their mouth to sweeten the breath. Socrates probably chewed gum.

It turns out there’s an excellent rationale for this long-standing cultural habit: Gum is an effective booster of mental performance, conferring all sorts of benefits without any side effects. The latest investigation of gum chewing comes from a team of psychologists at St. Lawrence University…” (via The Loom, Wired Science).