Random: But the ceiling of the bus I caught today was particularly colourful and the inside walls of it were packed with advertising. /I won't tell you what was being advertised though, I don't work for free
It's that time of the week!... Apparently. Subject of the week; comedy and it's epic power to change people's minds. Little known fact: Laughter releases endorphins which counters against one's natural defensiveness of their own ideas/beliefs.
Therefore, laughter might as well be the ultimate means of persuasion.
"Idealists are the real realists." ... I love this quote. Are you cynical? Don't be. People conform to perceptions of themselves and society. If we keep thinking the worst of people, we will incite the worst of them.
A realistic view of humans, isn't so negative.
Enjoy this black and white TED talk that's less than five minutes.
Okay I'll admit I had second thoughts on posting this one. Namely, because I thought it's highly unlikely anyone would watch it. But I liked it too much to ignore it, so I'll post it with a small warning.
This talk goes for 37 minutes. It isn't exactly the shortest of talks
This was a graduation day speech, to the students of Stanford University, that I found thoroughly intriguing. Have you ever wondered what makes us unique? This talk looks at what does, and compares it to our intuitions of what we think makes us unique. Humans are truly fascinating creatures aren't they?
What if I told you, that there was a way to save money, protect the environment, and be happier all at once? The answer's actually more straight forward than you could care to imagine.
Have. Less. Stuff.
Do we need all the things we tend to have in the modern age? Hell no, a lot of it doesn't even make us happy. So we should keep the things that make us really, really happy and discard the rest. If you by something that lasts a long time, do it in such a way that you either need it. Or it'll keep you happy for a really long time.
Oh also, Ted talks now have these cool quote summaries on them that I'll be sure to include... the first of which is:
"We’ve got to cut the extraneous out of our lives, and we’ve got to learn to stem the inflow. We need to think before we buy. Ask ourselves, ‘Is that really going to make me happier? Truly?’” (Graham Hill)
This is a talk by Ken Robinson, one of my all time favourite speakers on TED.
Are we as a society educating our children right? In this talk, an argument is made against this, and that not only are we not educating people properly we are also responsible for the stifling important traits such as creativity.
Should we treat all disciplines equally? Does our current hierarchy of subjects make much sense? (Science and maths, above humanities and the arts)
Platonist : Ethics isn't merely opinion. There is a true form of ethics, a true justice. Ethics is like maths, and can be solved.
Aristoteian: "We should seek only so much precision in a subject, as that subject allows". Ethics is not like maths, and it's defined by opinion.
Utilitarianism: Ethics is about creating the greatest happiness and the lowest suffering. That's it, maximising pleasure and minimizing pain. This model looks at the consequences of an action.
Kantian: It's not simply about pleasure and pain. Some things are intrinsically wrong, like violating privacy, lying, committing acts of violence. We should use our reason to decide a set of rules, and it is our duty to follow those rules.
This talk, carries a simple but powerful message. We need to think more about ethics, in fact it's essential not to do so if we hope to not abuse the vast power over the world we now possess.
But this talk isn't about what I consume, rather it's about what school children, and many other people both in America and around the world have to consume every single day, thanks to their schools, parents and cultures.
People really need to eat right, otherwise they won't grow up big and strong like me.
“Neither your opinion of what users should think, nor my opinion of what users should think, matters as much as what users actually do think. Be a scientist, not a priest.” -- Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and SABDFL (Self appointed benelovent dictatory for life)
At first I thought, that it was obvious "they're little kids, of course they're idiots" and that the solution was simply to not allow little humans make decisions on what to eat by themselves.
However, then I remembered things from behavioural economics, and how adults too make many mistakes in decision making which generally favour short term pleasure over long term well being.
What I'm wondering is if education would help. What would happen if we taught kids in schools things like 'health' or 'lifestyle' with the same magnitude as science, english or maths? Would they shrug it off (like how a lot of kids dislike maths) ? Or would it make a positive difference to their future decision making?
RESHARE: That feeling when something you've believed for a long time, just might not be true after all. #HighSchoolPhysics
Reshared text: Fun fact: The speed of light in a vacuum is not constant.
You likely have heard that the speed of light (in a vacuum) is always the same, regardless of your frame of reference (essentially your vantage point). But this is only true if there aren't any large masses around like the sun. It turns out the gravitational field of the sun affects the speed of light near it, therefore light passing near the sun actually slows down a little bit. That means light from a planet on the other side of the solar system from earth reaches us a tiny bit later than we would otherwise expect.
The first measurement of this time delay was in the late 1960s, when radio signals were bounced off Venus from Earth when the two planets were almost on opposite sides of the sun. The measured delay of the signals' round trip was about 200 microseconds, just as predicted by general relativity.
In short it says that the "ills" of the world aren't because people are bad, but rather that systems make it difficult for people to do good. Apathy and cynicism arise simply 'cause people are stuck and don't know how to contribute positive change.
Or rather we have placed some rather arbitrary barriers toward input.
This talk is about the mistakes we make in decision making, and why we make them. As it turns out, there's a simple equation we can attribute to all our decisions to act in the best possible way at any time... and that equation goes something like this:
'Odds of gain' x 'value of gain' = 'Expected value of decision'
Only problem here is that even without a layer of subjectivity it's difficult to reliably determine the two variables in most situations.
But in short what I think it says is: "Humans are short sighted losers that don't know a thing about decision making... so let's all be less human!"
I'm not sure if there's a better way to start the day than a pleasure filled talk. Of course, I mean this literally. How exactly do pleasure and pain work? This talk doesn't quite explain that, but does have something interesting to say about them.
There is a correlation between an objects history, and the pleasure that can stem from it. #informationAboutHumanIrrationality
" 'So, how does he saw the woman in half like that?' 'He doesn't, he only makes you think that saws the woman in half.' 'Yeah, and how does he do that?' 'Sorry, that's not my department. ' - walks away - " --Dan Dennett
I'm probably a narrow minded person. I'm not very open to very different beliefs and ways of thinking, and perhaps even go to the extent of judging people based on their beliefs...
However I believe this is the way we should think, to an extent. We shouldn't be too tolerant and accepting of different of other beliefs... well particularly when such beliefs pose a profound threat to the well being of others.
Sometimes I think we should reject opinions and beliefs as wrong, or invalid and not be infinitely "open-minded", tolerant and accepting to beliefs that are a clear detriment to human (and animal) well being. (please don't reject this opinion/belief or mark it as invalid)
Instead of dwelling on thoughts such as "perhaps genocide, (or something of the equivalent) is right from a certain point of view", we should work on what isn't so ambiguous "but even so it was definitely wrong from a great deal more points of view".
Rant-like introduction aside, this is a talk on... an objective morality on a scientific foundation. (read, not a religious one)
That is, without religion and only with scientific reasoning, we can say "this is right and this is wrong, and it's not just my opinion". Which may seem radical, but I feel is very well justified.
Of course, I think things such as right and wrong, and good and bad can only exist in the context of a goal and the assumed goal based on observations of the way our mirror neurons work, is "a higher well being of all conscious creatures".
(I think that a goal in of itself can't properly be argued as rational unless in the context of another goal, but if that assumed goal isn't a good thing I don't know what is... )
"Every time you read it or say it, you make another copy in your brain... Every time you read it or say it, you make another copy in your brain... Every time you read it or say it, you make another copy in your brain..." --Dan Dennet
This is one by one of my favourite speakers, a behavioural economist Dan Ariely. In this he questions our ability to make decisions based on our free will, as they are often heavily influenced by direct social factors. (that is, we want what we're told to want, in a way).
Why, why , why? One of my favourite TED talks. #pleaseWatch #unlessYouHaveExamsOrSomething
If tl;dw , long story short, here are a few pointers to attaining happiness (from video):
1. Accrue wealth, power and prestige... then lose it. 2. Spend as much of your life in prison as you possibly can (preferably being wrongly accused of something) 3. Make someone else really, really rich 4. Never ever join the Beatles