Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Talent vs. Luck

If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? Turns out it’s just chance.

The most successful people are not the most talented, just the luckiest, a new computer model of wealth creation confirms. Taking that into account can maximize return on many kinds of investment.

Emerging Technology from the arXiv | March 1, 2018 | MIT Technology Review

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March 31, 2018 Posted by | anthropology, business, economics, sociology | , , , | Leave a comment

How “us” and “them” leads to genocide

Interview with biologist Robert Sapolsky,  (link below), to point out at how the “us” and “them” attitude can lead to problems. IMHO, his book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, is a must-read eye-opener.

The Biology of the Modern Political Divide

Robert Sapolsky reveals the biological basis for our most unfortunate traits—and insists change is possible.

 

 

March 22, 2018 Posted by | anthropology, behaviour, brain, politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 ways to give to charity without even trying

Five ways to benefit charities without costing you a dime.

5 ways to give to charity without even trying

February 28, 2018 Posted by | lifehack | , | Leave a comment

Play game – fight fake news

Build your resistance to disinformation by playing the game Bad News, created by a team of experts.  Here is a review of it.

February 23, 2018 Posted by | fun, information, politics | , , | Leave a comment

How to Stop Being a Control Freak

Even though I didn’t think I was a control freak, this article was very helpful in both me coming to realize that I just might have a bit of control freak in me, and, most importantly, how I can deal with it.

How to Stop Being a Control Freak

The desire for control is a form of perfectionism, and we can alleviate it by learning to embrace uncertainty.

February 22, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, psychology | , | Leave a comment

Why we love tyrants

I’ve always wondered how some leaders can sway people to do things rational thought would exclude, for example how Hitler managed to convince ordinary Germans that Jews must be exterminated.  Would I fall for such a message?  Have I?

The article below looks at the psychology used in these type of speeches. It seems to boil down to three steps:

  1.  We are mightily suffering:  _____________,
  2.  and that is the fault of ____________, who is our enemy.
  3.  The magic solution to this is ___________.

It’s scary how something this simple can work so well.  And it’s even scarier how it is being used today.

Why we love tyrants

Psychoanalysis explains how authoritarians energise the hatred, self-pity and delusion while promising heaven on Earth

David Livingstone Smith | aeon | 

February 16, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, history, psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Good advice from Time Magazine. Might be worth getting the author’s book (Fitter Faster: The Smart Way to Get in Shape in Just Minutes a Day, by Robert J. Davis and Brad Kolowich, Jr.) to get into more details.

7 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

By ROBERT J. DAVIS | January 19, 2018

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February 8, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, fitness, health | , | Leave a comment

Swearing to reduce pain

It’s already well known that swearing reduces the amount of pain you feel, but so far we did not know why.  It turns out it has to do with aggression, hence playing a shoot’em-up video game works just as well. If you want to read more about how that works, check out Emma Byrne’s book  Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language.

You can find an illuminating excerpt here:

The Science of Why Swearing Physically Reduces Pain

Emma Byrne | 01.24.18 | Wired

 

January 28, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, brain, emotions, health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Depression Have an Evolutionary Purpose?

Interesting point of view: depression is a cry for help, just like the loud chirping of a hungry baby bird.  Worth reading if you, or someone you know, has battled depression or suicidal tendencies.

Does Depression Have an Evolutionary Purpose?

Some psychologists believe suicide and depression can be strategic.

Matthew Hutson | Feb 9, 2017 | Nautilus

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January 28, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, evolutionary psychology, psychology | , | Leave a comment

I can haz all ur votes

“…wealth of information creates a poverty of attention…”

— Herbert Simon, a noted economist, 1971

Start by checking out the chart in the middle of the article below, depicting increasing U.S. political polarization.  Then read the article to see how the internet led us there.

It’s a huge problem that is getting worse.

Once considered a boon to democracy, social media have started to look like its nemesis

An economy based on attention is easily gamed

Nov 4th 2017 |The Economist

 

January 27, 2018 Posted by | information, news, politics, sociology | , , , , , | Leave a comment