The evidence for a flat earth is derived from many different facets of science and philosophy. The simplest is by relying on ones own senses to discern the true nature of the world around us. The world looks flat, the bottoms of clouds are flat, the movement of the sun; these are all examples of your senses telling you that we do not live on a spherical heliocentric world. […] People have been into space. How have they not discovered that the earth is flat? The most commonly accepted explanation of this is that the space agencies of the world are involved in a conspiracy faking space travel and exploration. [Flat Earth Society | More: The Flat Earth Society now has a podcast!]
Everyone would save a sibling, grandparent or close friend rather than a strange dog. But when people considered their own dog versus people less connected with them—a distant cousin or a hometown stranger—votes in favor of saving the dog came rolling in. And an astonishing 40% of respondents, including 46% of women, voted to save their dog over a foreign tourist.
As it turns out, high-functioning sociopaths are full of handy lifestyle tips. […] After being hired at an elite law firm, Ms Thomas exploited her company's "non-existent" vacation policy by taking long weekends and lengthy vacations abroad. "People were implicitly expected not to take vacations, but I had my own lifelong policy of following only explicit rules, and then only because they're easiest to prove against me," she explains. How to apply to your own life: Ignore "suggested donation" pleas at museums, always help yourself to more food and drinks at dinner parties and recline your seat all the way back when flying. […] Ms Thomas's opportunism applies to the social as much as the professional realm. "I have learned that it is important always to have a catalogue of at least five personal stories of varying length in order to avoid the impulse to shoehorn unrelated titbits into existing conversations," she writes. "Social-event management feels very much like classroom or jury management to me; it's all about allowing me to present myself to my own best advantage." […] One of Ms Thomas's favourite activities is attending academic conferences. Since she doesn't teach at a top-tier school, she captures her colleagues' attention by other means: "Everything about the way I present myself is extremely calculated," she writes. "I am careful to wear something that will draw attention, like jeans and cowboy boots while everyone else is wearing business attire." The goal, Ms Thomas says, is "to indicate that I'm not interested in being judged by the usual standards." [The Economist]
It has been conjectured that individuals may be left-brain dominant or right-brain dominant based on personality and cognitive style, but neuroimaging data has not provided clear evidence whether such phenotypic differences in the strength of left-dominant or right-dominant networks exist. [Thoughts on Thoughts]
"What makes somebody who they are?" In other words, what makes it right to say of somebody who occupied my body and went by my name last month that they are the same person as I am now? Anyway, don't we also want to say that I am not morally responsible for the actions that "I" performed as, say, a 4 year old? […] Some of the main (wrong) answers are: Physical Continuity (disproof: I do not have any of the same cells or matter that I did one year ago), Memory (disproof: I can remember being 10 but not 5, yet when I was 10 I could remember being 5), and Psychological Continuity (disproof: I am not the same person that went by my name as a child; I am not guilt-worthy and praise-worthy for his crimes and achievements, yet there is psychological continuity between us). [Big Think]
Researchers at the University of Kentucky were interested in the link between low glucose levels and aggressive behavior. […] When you go several hours without eating, your blood sugar drops. Once it falls below a certain point, glucose-sensing neurons in your ventromedial hypothalamus, a brain region involved in feeding, are notified and activated resulting in level fluctuations of several different hormones. Ghrelin, a hormone that increases expression when blood sugar gets low and stimulates appetite through actions of the hypothalamus, has been shown to block the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The serotonin system is incredibly complex and contributes to a number of different central nervous system functions. One of the many hats this neurotransmitter wears is modulation of emotional state, including aggression. […] If you have a predisposition to aggression, low serotonin levels circulating in your brain may lead to altered communications between brain regions that wrangle aggressive behavior. [Synaptic Scoop]
The economics of "happiness" shares a feature with behavioral economics that raises questions about its usefulness in public policy analysis. What happiness economists call "habituation" refers to the fact that people's reported well-being reverts to a base level, even after major life events such as a disabling injury or winning the lottery. What behavioral economists call "projection bias" refers to the fact that people systematically mistake current circumstances for permanence, buying too much food if shopping while hungry for example. Habituation means happiness does not react to long-term changes, and projection bias means happiness over-reacts to temporary changes. I demonstrate this outcome by combining responses to happiness questions with information about air quality and weather on the day and in the place where those questions were asked. The current day's air quality affects happiness while the local annual average does not. Interpreted literally, either the value of air quality is not measurable using the happiness approach or air quality has no value. Interpreted more generously, projection bias saves happiness economics from habituation, enabling its use in public policy. [National Bureau of Economic Research ]
Is it getting solipsistic in here, or is it just me? [...] Every word in this sentence is a gross misspelling of the word "tomato." --Doug Hofstadter [3quarksDaily]
High frequency trading. I won’t go into the details, but basically it has become an arms race of being a millionth of a second faster than the other guy. The exchanges (Nasdaq and NYSE) started offering co-location within their facilities and traders started fighting for the best physical real estate within the co-location center (ie. literally trying to be a few feet closer to the exchanges’ computers). Some of the high frequency traders complained about how ‘unfair’ it was to be a few feet farther away. The exchanges conceded and added ‘latency’, basically a few feet of cable, so everyone within the co-location center is equidistant. It baffles me financial progress is moving in this direction. [Quora]
Taxpayer money, building overpasses for bears? Is that really necessary? Would they even use the things? Researchers have been methodically studying the crossings since 1996 to answer this. And it turns out that, yes, animals deterred by fencing that now runs the full 70-kilometer length of the highway in the park actually cross the road an awful lot like a rational pedestrian would. It takes them a while, though, to adapt to the crossings after a new one is constructed: about four to five years for elk and deer, five to seven years for the large carnivores. [The Atlantic Cities]
Usually, the weather — often referred to as an “act of God” in a ticket contract — is a perfectly legitimate reason for a delay or a service interruption. How travelers can challenge the industry’s ‘act of God’ excuses.
And so the housing "recovery" comes to a screeching halt, which is not surprising as there never was a recovery to begin with. Moments ago cheerleaders of the second housing bubble were shocked to learn that in July a tiny 35K new houses were sold (with just 3K sold in the Northeast, and just 19K in the otherwise strong South), of which 13K houses were not even started. This translated into a puny 394K seasonally adjusted annualized sales, missing expectations of 487K by nearly a massive 100K, and in addition the June print was revised much lower from 497K to 455K (which back in July beat expectations of 484K and was trumpeted as the highest print since 2008 - so much for that). Yet one thing that did not change is that the median home sale price decline continued, and in July dropped to $257.2K down from $258.5. [Zero Hedge]
The biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much—too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of vergaderziekte, “meeting sickness”. However, a study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them. […] Creative people’s most important resource is their time—particularly big chunks of uninterrupted time—and their biggest enemies are those who try to nibble away at it with e-mails or meetings. Indeed, creative people may be at their most productive when, to the manager’s untutored eye, they appear to be doing nothing. [The Economist]
Ever had the feeling that your job might be made up? That the world would keep on turning if you weren’t doing that thing you do 9-5? David Graeber explored the phenomenon of bullshit jobs.
Ronen, I'm just going to jump in here, as someone who is not employed by PandoDaily, can't speak for PandoDaily but who has been BCC'd on the conversation so far. Fuck you Ronen, you condescending sack of shit.