What makes Spinoza’s philosophy unsustainable in Goldstein’s view is the fact that “in its ruthless high-mindedness, it asks us to renounce so many passions. (Among the passions we must renounce is romantic love, which, Spinoza deduces, will almost always end badly…)” Any love that is dependent on something that must inevitably change and cannot truly be possessed — such as another person — Spinoza explains, is asking for trouble. [Salon | Continue reading]
Okay, if you want to know… Will my date have sex on the first date? Ask… Do you like the taste of beer? Because… Among all our casual topics, whether someone likes the taste of beer is the single best predictor of if he or she has sex on the first date. No matter their gender or orientation, beer-lovers are 60% more likely to be okay with sleeping with someone they’ve just met. [okcupid]
What goes on in our minds when we see someone naked? The more we see of a person’s body the less intelligent they seem.
Even though boys express a wider range of emotions than girls do as infants, boys are typically discouraged from showing their emotions as they grow older due to traditional ideas about masculinity and gender roles. Crying frequency between boys and girls shows little difference until the age of eleven or twelve when girls overtake boys. [Psychology Today | Continue reading]
6 Psychological Effects of Washing Your Hands.
“Recent studies show that when a person looks similar to ourselves, we automatically believe they are trustworthy. Here we show for the first time that the reverse is also true. When a person is shown to be more trustworthy, it can lead us to perceive that person as looking more similar to ourselves,” said researcher Harry Farmer. [EurekAlert]
Tim Geoghegan, Influence Deflection Helmet, 2013
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honey bees pollinate 80% of our flowering crops, and are thus essential for the production of 1/3 of our food. […] But for more than 2 million Americans, bees are a dangerous threat. Somewhere between 1% and 7% of human beings are allergic to insect venoms, with their symptoms ranging from mild overreactions to full-blown anaphylactic shock. For those with bee allergies, even the slightest sting can lead to a fight for life. Even more troubling is that, in half of all fatal sting allergy cases, victims had no previous major reactions to venom. Nearly 100 Americans die every year from bee stings. […] Allergies are defined as ‘hypersensitive immune responses’—or, in colloquial terms, odd moments when our immune systems flip out. Anaphylaxis is the whole-body manifestation of an allergy, which can range from something as minor as hives to sharp drops in blood pressure and even cardiac arrest. You don’t have an allergic reaction the first time you come in contact with an allergen; instead, like with viruses or other potential invaders, your body takes an immunological picture so it can remember the allergen later. This is what is known as the adaptive immune response, and it’s usually a good thing—when you get the chicken pox, for example, your adaptive immune system remembers what the disease looks like, and can find and kill it should you ever be re-exposed. But when it comes to allergies, the adaptive immune system goes too far. The next time it detects allergens, it sends out hordes of IgE antibodies to destroy them. These IgE antibodies wreak havoc in our bodies—through cascading immunological pathways, IgE antibodies cause the release of histamine and other inflammatory compounds and can lead to anaphylaxis. [Discover]
Guests at Paris restaurants are seated following a strict appearance policy. Owners would tell staff “where to seat ugly people.”
The Internet killed distance. Mobile computing brought it back. Here’s why location matters again in e-commerce.
The number of smartphones shipping with fingerprint sensors will rise from 46 million this year to 525 million by 2017, the report says. Only four companies of any scale operate in this industry.
George E. P. Box is famous for the quote: “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” […] In my experience, most models outside of physics are heuristic models. The models are designed as caricatures of reality, and built to be wrong while emphasizing or communicating some interesting point. Nobody intends these models to be better and better approximations of reality, but a toolbox of ideas. Although sometimes people fall for their favorite heuristic models, and start to talk about them as if they are reflecting reality, I think this is usually just a short lived egomania. As such, pointing out that these models are wrong is an obvious statement: nobody intended them to be not wrong. […] On the opposite end of the spectrum are abstractions, these sort of models are rigorous mathematical statements about specific types of structures. These models are right and true of their subjects in any reasonable definition of the words. They are as right or true as the statement that there are infinite number of primes; or that in Euclidean geometry, the tree angles of a triangle sum to two right angles. When somebody says that an abstraction is wrong, they mean one of two things: 1. It is mathematically false. […] 2. Or, the structure you are applying it to does not meet the requirements of the abstraction. For example, in general relativity, space is non-Euclidean, so triangles don’t sum to 180 degrees. [Theory, Evolution, and Game Groups]
Comment: I think you are missing out on some ideas on complexity. […] What makes you think that something mathematical is comprehensible? You already invoked one simple form of incomprehension: undecidability in computing. […] As to a belief that the universe is not “mathematical”: well, what else could it possibly be? Many mathematicians define mathematics as the sum-total of all possibility; to say that something isn’t mathematical is tantamount to saying it isn’t possible. Since there is nothing else that it could be, by law of excluded middle, it must be. [Linas Vepstas]
Hmmm, no edit-button to correct my post. Some footnotes, then: […] Box’s quote is kind-of the mirror image of Kolmogorov complexity, which states that a model is useful only if it is smaller than the thing being modelled, and, what’s more, that there are things that cannot be modeled. [Linas Vepstas]
Umberto Eco, The Narrative Structure of Ian Fleming, 1969 [PDF]
Increasingly, people expect to get all their social needs met by their spouse or partner. This is a prescription for disaster.
Gangster Party Line. [Thanks GG]
Five Reasons why Mermaids Can’t Physically Exist: 4: They would be constipated.