Neal Stephenson: Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation

By Orin Zebest via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Orin Zebest via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Slate:

For a big part of my life, I assumed that the scarce resource—the thing that was preventing me from getting to Mars, or having my own personal jetpack—was clever ideas. Since I see myself as an idea person, that was a pleasant thing to believe. It’s flattering to think that you are one of the special few who hold the keys to the future. In the last decade and a half, though, I’ve spent a lot of time working in idea factories of various types, and I’ve come to see how wrong I was. I had fallen for a 19th-century vision of how it all works: the lone inventor sitting in the lobby of the patent office with his better mousetrap on his lap, waiting for the world to beat a path to his door. My thinking along those lines led to a 2011 piece titled “Innovation Starvation.” This led in turn to a partnership with Arizona State University to create Project Hieroglyph, which asked science fiction writers to help imagine new futures.

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An Ancient Way to Heal The Mind Finds New Scientific Support

By daveynin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By daveynin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Sometimes, scientists like to research things that most of us already assume. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to have some proof and evidence to get us off the couch and into the woods.

via Psyblog:

Taking group walks in nature is associated with better mental well-being and lower stress and depression, a new large-scale study finds.

The study is one of the first to show that simply walking in nature doesn’t just benefit the body, but also the mind.

Sara Warber, one of the study’s authors, said:

“We hear people say they feel better after a walk or going outside but there haven’t been many studies of this large size to support the conclusion that these behaviors actually improve your mental health and well-being.”

The study evaluated a British program called ‘Walking for Health’ and it involved nearly 2,000 participants (Marselle et al., 2014).

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Brain Wave May Be Used to Detect What People Have Seen, Recognize

By Hubert Figuière via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By Hubert Figuière via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Thanks to Disinfonaut, Earth Star, this was brought to my attention. What do you think of this? Groundbreaking science aside, is this another step to having “thought police” in our society? This type of science could easily be abused and exploited, but it could also prove useful.

via Association for Psychological Science:

Brain activity can be used to tell whether someone recognizes details they encountered in normal, daily life, which may have implications for criminal investigations and use in courtrooms, new research shows.

The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that a particular brain wave, known as P300, could serve as a marker that identifies places, objects, or other details that a person has seen and recognizes from everyday life.

Research using EEG recordings of brain activity has shown that the P300 brain wave tends to be large when a person recognizes a meaningful item among a list of nonmeaningful items.

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Liberalism and Gentrification

By MsSaraKelly via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By MsSaraKelly via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Jacobin:

When I want to examine the limits of liberal ideology, I look for class struggle; when I want to find some class struggle, I simply step outside my door. You don’t have to live in Washington, DC, like I do, but it helps.

Like a lot of cities, Washington is really two cities in the same space. We’ve got “Washington,” the place of popular imagination, gleaming white marble monuments and Aaron Sorkin speechifiers, the mostly-from-out-of-town professional class keeping the rusty wheels of state administration turning.

We’ve also got “DC,” the city distinct from the operations of the federal government, made up of “residents,” who are mostly poor and mostly black. These two cities are locked in a one-sided war of attrition, with affluent “newcomers” and their local allies conducting clear-and-hold operations against their less well-heeled neighbors. I can watch from what Forbes magazine, that barometer of bohemianism, has labeled the sixth-hippest neighborhood in the US, where I live.

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World Has Lost More Than Half of Wildlife in 40 Years

Sumatraanse Tijger.jpg

Can you imagine the conspiracy theories that certain usual suspects would be broadcasting far and wide if the human population was halved in just 40 years? So why isn’t there more outcry over that happening to the Earth’s wildlife population? From BBC News:

The global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, the London Zoological Society (ZSL) says in its new Living Planet Index.

The report suggests populations have halved in 40 years, as new methodology gives more alarming results than in a report two years ago.

The report says populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%.

Populations of freshwater species have suffered an even worse fall of 76%.

Severe impact
Compiling a global average of species decline involves tricky statistics, often comparing disparate data sets – and some critics say the exercise is not statistically valid.

The team at the zoological society say they’ve improved their methodology since their last report two years ago – but the results are even more alarming.

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War Photographer Comes Back From Syria To Show You The Truth

In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to Benjamin Hiller who’s an German-American freelance journalist who recently came back from Ukraine and Syria. The two discuss what Benjamin saw in Syria and the stories that we are not being told.

Benjamin has opened a free art gallery in NYC that is currently open to the public and highlights his amazing work. To find out more go to http://material-evidence.com

The exhibit is open 10am to 8pm 9/21 to 10/11 at 540 West 21st Street NY NY.

Via We Are Change

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Okinawa: The Karate Challenge

Now that you’re all familiar with the Cult of CrossFit, check out German CrossFitter Felix as he visits Okinawa to learn the ancient art of Karate:

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Doomsday Deferred

By Dennis Skley via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Dennis Skley via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

via Providentia:

The history of religious movements seems filled with examples of religious figures proudly proclaiming the imminent coming of God, along with redemption for the faithful and punishment for unbelievers. Many of these religious figures even go so far as to give a specific date when these things would come to pass and instruct their followers to wrap up their affairs and get ready for what was to come. And, sure enough, many followers would do just that, even to the point of quitting jobs or selling houses to await the promised day. That this day of judgment has yet to materialize and previous promises have failed in the past seems not to matter so much to the believers. Except for the inevitable disappointment afterward and the crisis of faith that always seems to follow.

And so it proved for Wibur Glenn Voliva.

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Dracula’s dungeon discovered in Turkey

news-vlad

via Unexplained Mysteries:

The dungeon in which Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned by the Turks has been found at Tokat Castle.

Back at the beginning of the 15th century Wallachian Prince Vlad III, the real-life inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s character Dracula, was held captive by the Ottoman Turks for twelve years.

Now archaeologists believe that they have discovered the very prison in which he had been held captive deep beneath Tokat Castle in northern Turkey. The dungeons were found following the discovery of a secret tunnel that was unearthed while restoration works were being carried out on the building.

“The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious,” said archaeologist Ibrahim Çetin. “It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here.”

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Leaving Your Religion Can Damage Your Health

WARNING: Leaving your religion can damage your health (courtesy of The Atlantic):

…Americans are less religious than ever. A third of American adults under 30, and a fifth of all Americans don’t identify with any religion, according to a 2012 study by Pew Research (an increase from 15 percent in 2007). But though scientists have studied people who leave cults, research on the health effects of leaving religion is slim.

Minsk praying woman

The most mainstream research on this is a 2010 study out of Pennsylvania State University, which examined data from 1972 to 2006. The study showed that 20 percent of people who have left religion report being in excellent health, versus 40 percent of people currently part of strict religious groups (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Latter-Day Saints) and 25 percent of people who switched from a strict religion to a more lenient religion. “Strict” in this study was defined as “high-cost sectarian groups that are theologically and culturally exclusive.”

There are some studies comparing the health of religious and nonreligious people.

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