Tyler Cowen is an economics professor and chairman / general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Since April 2015, he has been hosting "Conversations with Tyler", lengthy, one-on-one podcast interviews with "thought leaders from across the spectrum — economists, entrepreneurs, authors and innovators. All have one thing in common — they are making an impact on the world because of their ideas." His latest is with Steven Pinker. [more inside]
From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." [more inside]
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
In a Slate Article by David Rosenberg, side-by-side images and descriptions illustrate the "dual lives" of those coping with mental illness.
"Without external props, even our personal identity fades and goes out of focus. The self is a fragile construction of the mind."
The Melancholy of Subculture Society, an essay on the rise of multiple subcultures, the idea of “opting out” of the mainstream culture and the social and psychological benefits of the existence of alternative status hierarchies. [more inside]
If perception of sound depends on our state of mind, then conversely a state of mind can hardly exist without an external world with which it is in relation and that conditions it — either our immediate present environment, or something that happened in the past and that now echoes or goes on happening in our minds. There is never any state of mind that is not in some part, however small, in relation to the sounds around it — the bird singing and a television overheard as I write this now, for example. [more inside]
Too much information: Our instincts for privacy evolved in tribal societies where walls didn't exist. No wonder we are hopeless oversharers. [Via]
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
"... bitterness, instead of a form of disillusionment, is really the refusal to give up your childhood illusions of importance" - Brian Jay Stanley
A chronic public health disaster. Complex trauma and toxic stress puts children into a state of reflexive fight, flight, or freeze responses to a perpetually threatening world. The traditional authoritative response only serves to reinforce those behaviours and, perhaps worse, has long-term health consequences:
With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.One doctor describes it as “a chronic public health disaster”. Remediating this problem is going to require listening, kindness, and parachutes.
Life after Capitalism - Beyond capitalism, it seems, stretches a vista of... capitalism: [more inside]
Twenty-somethings today don't quite fit the definition of adolescence or adulthood. This has thrown the human development gurus for a loop. [more inside]
Homeless man Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax was stabbed several times in the chest while saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker in New York City. He then bled to death while dozens of people walked by -- one stopping to snap a picture of the dying man with his cameraphone before leaving the scene. [more inside]
A new US study, recently published in Social Science Quarterly, has shown that the more uncommon or feminine a boy's first name is, the greater the likelihood that he will end up in prison. [more inside]
A New State of Mind. "New research is linking dopamine to complex social phenomena and changing neuroscience in the process."
Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence. If this 1975 article from the The Bulletin of The Atomic Sciences were written today, the "Body Pleasure" bit would have probably been left out. But that doesn't mean this article isn't worth the time to read. Also see this cite of James W. Prescott's work in Carl Sagan's bestselling book and PBS series in chapter 13: Who Speaks for Earth?
In favour of the death penalty? Don't worry, it's in the genes