For a change (like, the first time since I've been reading it), the New York Times "Room for Debate" section is actually any kind of interesting. For one, one of the respondents is professor Flynn. Y'know, of the flynn effect (which basically says "your IQ is higher than your parents and your kids' IQ will be higher than yours"). And the topic is "are people geting dumber?" And what is good about this one is that all the respondents have a slightly different take on it. Along with professor Flynn's reply I really enjoyed the replies by professors Gottfredson and Pinker. And Ritch Duncan also made a good point about what we see and what we pay attention to
This American Life link! Yay! We love these!
This week's episode was about kidnapping and being hostage, and the last act is astonishing. It's about a man who develops this weird disease where he has attacks where his muscles just... stop working. No one knows what causes it or how to cure it, but they've made the connection that it's the same signal from your brain to your muscles as while you are asleep and dreaming (your brain basically paralyses your body so that you won't act out your dream) - except to him it happens when he's awake. And the trigger to his attacks... Well, it's pretty much the worst possible thing you could imagine. So take a moment and think, something happens in your daily life and this will make you lose the ability to control your muscles and fall over, makes you have an attack... What could it be? The name of the act (which you will see when you cliquez on this link) will give a hint, and the whole bit is well worth listening to, it's only 10 minutes.
Three things that are totally unrelated
Research is really exciting. Altermodern and Mormon Renaissance go together like a... something that rhymes with renaissance. I wish time would stop and that eating and going to the bathroom were optional so that I wouldn't have to ever take breaks from looking into all these interesting things. :D (I probably need to go outside now...)
When I see my dog sleep really still and he's not moving at all, I always worry that he has died and have to go poke him to make sure he's still alive :(
I'm going to buy this book now:
Today's New York Times story tells us that America is Europe: http://www.nyt
It kind of helped me make sense of some of the notions that libertarians go on about government=evi
*feels like a bear with a small brain sometimes*
Guys. Nineteen nineties. http://www.buz
And the internet replaces the last reason there was to go outside (which was having your mind boggled by the night sky) : http://media.s
This guy might end up being the world's first Mormon head of state:
Did you hear that noise? It sounded like someone saying "Mitt Romney, eat your heart out"? o.O Weird.
At work I've been listening to some old New Yorker Out Loud podcasts, and the hilarious thing is that the phone I listen to them on plays them in alphabetical order. This was fine for Planet Money podcasts because all the filenames start with #233 or the likes, the number of the episode. So I listen to them in order. New Yorker Out Loud filenames begin with the name of the person, like "Adam Gopnik discusses the new cuisine movement Le Fooding". So first I heard all the interviews with Adam Gopnik, and then all the ones with Ariel Levy, and so on. It makes it really interesting because I kind of learn to get to know the person who writes for the New Yorker - but it's also hard because I have no idea what the time frame is. So at one point they were talking about the elections and the Obama's, and not until they said "so if Michelle Obama becomes first lady..." and I was like "...what? Don't you mean stays as first lady?" until I twigged - this podcast is four years old. >_> Should probably just delete all the ones that are that old - but some stories don't get old. Like I listened to one about the problem Florida has with burmese pythons and nile monitors (when people had them as pets and then released them into the wild and now they are a problem because there's so many and it's not their natural habitat etc...) So if I'm ever in Florida and see something that looks like a small Komodo dragon... I'll probably die of fright because these guys made it sound absolutely horrifying and there's no hope of survival, basically :P Yet another reason to never go to Florida.
And another story (and I want you Silvie to hear this some day) was about a woman who had an itch on her forehead and it never stopped itching and she kept scratching at it for years and years, and... she scratched through the bone of her skull and into her brain O_O Honestly, she really did. And they were discussing how the itch was probably something that the brain was making up (kinda like when people feel pain in an amputated limb) because that part of her head was already numb so it couldn't have been the nerves and stuff, and then they went ahead and actually severed the nerves that connected to that part of her, and no help, it still felt itchy to her. Anyway. Cool podcasts that have annoying filenames that makes my worknights just a little bit more interesting :P
I love reading about psychological experiments, especially ones performed on kids http://campaig
Long story time again (though this one might explain why all my stories are long):
I was listening to This American Life, last week's episode about playing roles, and they did a story about a man with Asberger's and how he is learning to behave more normal because he loves his wife and doesn't want to stress her out all the time what with being... well, Aspie. And the story starts with that they didn't know he had Asberger's for a really long time (and she works in the field of psychology). And she came across a quiz online about Asberger's, so she didn't tell him what it was, just asked the questions, and then before pressing submit she told him what it was and if he was ready. And the quiz indicated "yeah, Aspie" and so they went to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and hey presto, Asberger's. What caught my ear in the story was when she was talking she mentioned one of the questions and said "I thought it had a typo or something, the question says 'do you ever fantasise about making traps?'" and he said "yes, all the time :O" And I thought, what a strange question, I want to see all of these questions, sounds fascinating.
So they link to the quiz on the ThisAmLife website, so I went to look, and I filled it out - not thinking "amg, what if I'm an Aspie?" but more like... "hmm, I wonder what I would say if someone asked me this question?" And of course with online quizzes there's always the "none of the answers reflects my response right" problem, so did this but not a lot because when you have a question of "do you ever" or "have you done" or "do you often" and the answers are ? 0 1 and 2 (don't know, no, sometimes, yes) it's not that hard to find a balance, plus some I just left in ? mode.
So overall it's seems to be a very well thought-out quiz, it doesn't look fancy so that suggests it was done by proper scientists (:P) and the results it gives are astonishingly detailed, it gives like a 14-page PDF where it analyses every question, gives a neat graph where the traits of Aspies and Neurotypicals (aka people off the Autistic spectrum) are juxtaposed etc... So it was fascinating to go through your answers to the questions and compare them to what Aspies and NTs would reply to the same stuff.
The thing that made this a very strange experience was that with a lot of the questions my reaction upon reading it was "uhh, doesn't everybody?" Like "do you need to do things yourself in order to remember them?" or "do you need lists and schedules in order to get things done?"
I must admit that I have a bit of a problem with Asberger's as a disorder. Because it seems to me that it just makes you kind of strange and awkward, it doesn't mean you need to take some kind of pills to fix yourself, it doesn't mean you can't function - it just means you're "different" from "normal". Maybe it's not the person's fault that they have a hard time in society, maybe it's society's fault when we're all so quick to judge others. The whole diagnosis of Asberger's is basically comparing against some kind of "normalcy" and saying "whoops, you deviate from this standard of normal, therefore you must have a disorder." My other problem with Asberger's is that it's... kind of easy (sorry I know this is a horrible thing to say, please forgive me if you have Asberger's and really struggle because of it, I'm just an ignorant tit, what do I know!? But let's face it, being an Idiot Savant or having some stronger form of autism would be much harder). And the reason I resent the easiness of Asberger's while it is still a diagnosed disorder is Lars. >_> You don't need to know much about him, but he hid behind his Asberger's and refused to do something with himself and his life "because of my Asberger's y'know, I can't..." I had a lot of faith in him that he could, but either he used his Asberger's as an excuse, or (even worse) he himself was disabled by the diagnosis: I have a disorder, therefore I can't because somebody somewhere says I can't. Or he really actually couldn't. I'll never know. But it broke my heart. Anyway. That's all TMI... But maybe I'm an Aspie and can't help saying and typing awkward things. Yeah, my quiz result said "you are very likely an Aspie" and if I was living in an English-speaki
So if you survived this far, here's the quiz http://rdos.ne
Cool sci-fi short story http://mormona
Also on the table today: spring cleaning http://www.nyt
This last one is a little slow on the start, but the second page is fascinating reading (it's about the connections between distraction and creativity) http://www.nyt
There. I have nothing more to give you. I have worked hard this morning (we got another foot of snow >.< ) and I started a drawing yesterday that might turn into something, even though it's nothing in particular, but it would be nice to finish it since it's been a long time since I last finished anything :/ So I shall go have breakfast now, take the dog for a walk, and then come back and draw and listen to stuff.
Humm, I just made a diary entry this morning and now it is gone :O I hope it comes back... I wonder if I deleted it by accident or something :/
It had a link to http://thomasc
But I also want to link to this now http://thisisn
[Avaz] said something very interesting in <forum:Junk> today: 
"The world could more iippos."
In other news, winter has reached the point that I like to call the Narnia point. It's the point of eternal winter. The point where Christmas is so long gone that you've forgotten all about it, you have also forgotten all the time before winter, and spring is still such a distant thing that it really doesn't even exist. You have not seen ground or grass in a really long time, and you are used to the idea that the mass beneath your feet that you must walk upon cannot be trusted and falling over is imminent all the time. You have forgotten what it's like to not be cold, and really, you can see no possible way of ever being warm again. Warm and cold have thus lost their meanings. If the sun is out and you turn your face towards it and you feel no warmth.
And in two weeks or so I shall be walking in England's green and pleasant land :)
You know how I rave about This American Life and no one else does? Well, I'm turning another leaf in all things NPR: Planet Money! :O How awesome is their podcast?! Thanks to the Planet Money zen, I now understand a lot more about the European Debt Crisis. Heck, I even know what it indicates when they mention the interest on France's or Italy's ten year government bonds. I now understand the importance of rice to not only to the human beings living in Asia but also to all the economies of the Asian countries. I now understand what the heck is going on in The Dark Knight when Bruce Wayne tells Harvey Dent that he will throw him a fundraiser and what it implies and why Harvey would be a little bit nervous about that like he is (and then why he would be all-out afraid at the event itself).
And then they tell me about awesome things like this http://www.you
*edit* Round 2! http://www.you
NPR (and PRI) has now officially entered my list of acronyms that mean cool and important public broadcasting work along with BBC and YLE.
In case you love movies more than Valentine's Day: http://vimeo.c
In honour of Valentine's Day, here's a lesson on what love is:
I am such a kid, but I love Sesame Street so much <3
So I've recently got into Brad Paisley (I know, it's pretty outrageous: the iippo officially likes country music now o.O ) but this one song "Online" is not one of my favourites (even though it has a really awesome moment using the Mac start up noise, it's win :P) but it's an serious earworm so I've actually been thinking about it a lot.
It's a pretty simple "hey aren't people ridiculous when they pretend to be something else on the internet" song, with a pretty catchy thing going with "I'm so much cooler online". The sad fact is of course that I think I'm so much cooler online, but not in the way that is implied in the song (aka I pretend to be cooler than I really am), but in the sense that I'm not as shy and reserved, and I communicate better in text than in speech, and I actually have a peer group online that is actually more like me and lets me relax and be myself (growing up in a small town and being a little bit... peculiar is no treat: you either conform and pretend to be something you're not, or you stick out like a sore thumb).
Something I've noticed with this rising interest in country that I have developed is that country music videos are way literal o.O It drove me crazy at first with Taylor Swift, but now I'm kind of liking the added dimension when the song and the video are actually about the same thing. And the strong points of the "Online" video are when you see Brad himself (instead of the geek playing the main role in the video) being the person who is cooler online. If they had not had the short, plump nerd in the main role there but the singer himself all the way through, the whole thing would have been so much cooler. 'Cause, y'know, Brad Paisley is cool, but even he is cooler online. At least it would have steered the video away from the social stigma of "this is what geeks look like and everyone on the internet is in reality a sad ugly person". Also he's written a number of songs that are a gentle mockery/social critique ("Celebrity" and "Alcohol") where he himself takes some of the stings along with the rest of us. Self irony is cool.
Ah well. The song is dated (MySpace? Pfft) and it shows, and that's okay. But yes, the thought behind all this was when the song was stuck in my head on the bikeride to work and I realised that the reverse is more of a concern in my life: I don't really have to worry about someone I know online to turn out to be something else than they said (being cooler online than in real life), but it's always such a drag to find out that someone you know and like isn't as cool online <_< Like they spell bad or use text-speak, or don't get the internet. And especially now with Facebook when everyone's online with their real name and...
Yeah, someone needs to make a Web 2.0 version of this song :P
The song itself, "Online"
Then a couple of the ones I really enjoy:
-Little Moments (ode to real in relationships) http://www.you
-He Didn't Have to Be (ode to step fathers) http://www.you
-Welcome to the Future http://www.you
-Whiskey Lullaby http://www.you
Buh! really trippy. I can just about imagine what kind of a head asplosion I would get if I saw that in reality.
Made me realise something very interesting about vision and its importance to me. So... thanks for messing with the universe like this, cool person?
What is the difference between secret and private?
OK Go + a car with pneumatic arms + a couple of thousand of instruments + a lot of space in a desert = incredible music.
The article says Russia and China take some of the blame for this. But there should be some kind of an international.
Hey, why doesn't the word "article" mean some kind of an oblong art? One that possibly develops over a long period of time? Or perhaps an oblong art making tool, like a pencil or a brush? Like, "Cause of death: stabbed with an article."
Some men just want to see the world burn. And some just want to wear cool socks.
Oh and the part about "girls notice"? Is true :)
Hi guys. So you know how I often rave about This American Life? Yeah, you just tuned out, right? But please come back and I'll tell you an awesome story of what happened at work today and it involves 140 Euros! Anyway, firs the bit about ThisAmLife, and this is not about the radio show, but their blog. Here's the link http://www.thi
So anyway, this morning at work I was late, it was past 6am in a straiwell, and I found that someone had dropped money in the stairs, two 50€ and two 20€. And in case your currency conversion's not up-to-date, I'll translate for you: that's kind of a lot of monnie. So much in fact that I left it there, hoping that the real owner would come along (hopefully having noticed that they dropped that much money and retracing their steps and discovering their money safely inside their apartment building) before someone more opportunistic did. It was kind of a strange encounter though, to all of a sudden be faced with kind of a lot of monnie like that. It's a strange feeling. Can't really go as far as say that it's an encounter with the sublime, but it's not far off, y'know.
Also discovered that while the Tate art symposia recordings/pod