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0 Views · 17 days ago

Why should anyone care about the metaverse? Expert Matthew Ball explains what it is, what it isn’t, and why it matters.

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By the end of the decade, the Metaverse could be worth between $6 trillion and $13 trillion. But what is it?

The Metaverse is not simply immersive virtual reality or a really cool video game. It's a combination of technologies that allows an unlimited number of users to experience real-time rendered, 3D virtual worlds synchronously and persistently.

It is difficult to predict how the Metaverse will evolve, just as it was nearly impossible to predict the emergence of Facebook during the era of Windows 95. The Metaverse will not replace the internet, but will build upon and extend it.

Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/series/th....e-big-think-intervie

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Chapters
00:00 - Intro
01:22 - What the Metaverse is not
02:30 - 10-part definition of the Metaverse
02:56 - Part 1: Massively-scaled
03:23 - Part 2: Virtual worlds
03:51 - Part 3: 3D
04:26 - Part 4: Interoperable network
05:41 - Part 5: Real-time rendering
06:14 - Part 6: Synchronous
06:45 - Part 7: Persistent
08:00 - Parts 8 & 9: Unlimited users with individual sense of presence
08:22 - Part 10: Continuity of data
08:55 - Technological eras are bundles
09:17 - 7 subcategories of the Metaverse
09:27 - Subcategory 1: Hardware
09:45 - Subcategory 2: Networking
09:57 - Subcategory 3: Computer powers
10:13 - Subcategory 4: Virtual platforms
10:45 - Subcategory 5: Interoperability standards
11:05 - Subcategory 6: Payment rails
11:18 - Subcategory 7: CAIS
11:46 - 5 stunning Metaverse examples
13:08 - Why do we need to learn about it now?

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About Matthew Ball:
Matthew Ball is the CEO of Epyllion, a diversified holding company which makes angel investments, provides advisory services, and produces television, films, and video games.

Ball is also a Venture Partner at Makers Fund, Senior Advisor to KKR, Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company, and sits on the board of numerous start-ups. His first book, “The Metaverse and How it Will Revolutionize Everything”, was published in July 2022 and became an instant national and international bestseller. Ball is also an “Occasional Contributor” to The Economist, holds bylines at Bloomberg, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and wrote the August 8, 2022 cover story for Time Magazine.

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Read more of our stories on the metaverse:
Is a lack of creativity already ruining the metaverse?
https://bigthink.com/the-futur....e/metaverse-inequali
Why the metaverse can’t exist without a blockchain
https://bigthink.com/the-futur....e/metaverse-blockcha
There are two kinds of Metaverse. Only one will inherit the Earth
https://bigthink.com/the-futur....e/metaverse-augmente

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adelinepegues4
0 Views · 17 days ago

8 Intelligences: Are You a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One?
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What does it mean when someone calls you smart or intelligent? According to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, it could mean one of eight things. In this video interview, Dr. Gardner addresses his eight classifications for intelligence: writing, mathematics, music, spatial, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.
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HOWARD GARDNER:

Howard Gardner is a developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He holds positions as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. In 1990, he was the first American to receive the University of Louisville's Grawemeyer Award in Education and in 2000 he received a Fellowship from the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2005 and again in 2008 he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. He has received honorary degrees from twenty-two colleges and universities, including institutions in Ireland, Italy, Israel, and Chile.

The author of over twenty books translated into twenty-seven languages, and several hundred articles, Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments. During the past twenty five years, he and colleagues at Project Zero have been working on the design of performance-based assessments, education for understanding, and the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction, and assessment. In the middle 1990s, Gardner and his colleagues launched The GoodWork Project. "GoodWork" is work that is excellent in quality, personally engaging, and exhibits a sense of responsibility with respect to implications and applications. Researchers have examined how individuals who wish to carry out good work succeed in doing so during a time when conditions are changing very quickly, market forces are very powerful, and our sense of time and space is being radically altered by technologies, such as the web. Gardner and colleagues have also studied curricula. Gardner's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages. Among his books are The Disciplined Mind: Beyond Facts and Standardized Tests, The K-12 Education that Every Child Deserves (Penguin Putnam, 2000) Intelligence Reframed (Basic Books, 2000), Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (Basic Books, 2001), Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People's Minds (Harvard Business School Press, 2004), and Making Good: How Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at Work (Harvard University Press, 2004; with Wendy Fischman, Becca Solomon, and Deborah Greenspan). These books are available through the Project Zero eBookstore.

Currently Gardner continues to direct the GoodWork project, which is concentrating on issues of ethics with secondary and college students. In addition, he co-directs the GoodPlay and Trust projects; a major current interest is the way in which ethics are being affected by the new digital media.

In 2006 Gardner published Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons, The Development and Education of the Mind, and Howard Gardner Under Fire. In Howard Gardner Under Fire, Gardner's work is examined critically; the book includes a lengthy autobiography and a complete biography. In the spring of 2007, Five Minds for the Future was published by Harvard Business School Press. Responsibility at Work, which Gardner edited, was published in the summer of 2007.
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TRANSCRIPT:

Howard Gardner: Currently I think there are eight intelligences that I’m very confident about and a few more that I’ve been thinking about. I’ll share that with our audience. The first two intelligences are the ones which IQ tests and other kind of standardized tests valorize and as long as we know there are only two out of eight, it’s perfectly fine to look at them. Linguistic intelligence is how well you’re able to use language. It’s a kind of skill that poets have, other kinds of writers; journalists tend to have linguistic intelligence, orators. The second intelligence is logical mathematical intelligence. As the name implies logicians, mathematicians...

Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/ho....ward-gardner-on-the-

adelinepegues4
4 Views · 17 days ago

Sam Harris describes the properties of consciousness and how mindfulness practices of all stripes can be used to transcend one's ego.
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Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction.

Mr. Harris' writing has been published in over ten languages. He and his work have been discussed in Newsweek, TIME, The New York Times, Scientific American, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. His writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, Nature, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Mr. Harris is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and holds a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA, where he studied the neural basis of belief with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). He is also a Co-Founder and CEO of Project Reason.
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TRANSCRIPT

Sam Harris: What one of the problems we have in discussing consciousness scientifically is that consciousness is irreducibly subjective. This is a point that many philosophers have made – Thomas Nagel, John Searle, David Chalmers. While I don’t agree with everything they’ve said about consciousness I agree with them on this point that consciousness is what it’s like to be you. If there’s an experiential internal qualitative dimension to any physical system then that is consciousness. And we can’t reduce the experiential side to talk of information processing and neurotransmitters and states of the brain in our case because – and people want to do this. Someone like Francis Crick said famously you’re nothing but a pack of neurons. And that misses the fact that half of the reality we’re talking about is the qualitative experiential side. So when you’re trying to study human consciousness, for instance, by looking at states of the brain, all you can do is correlate experiential changes with changes in brain states. But no matter how tight these correlations become that never gives you license to throw out the first person experiential side. That would be analogous to saying that if you just flipped a coin long enough you would realize it had only one side. And now it’s true you can be committed to talking about just one side. You can say that heads being up is just a case of tails being down. But that doesn’t actually reduce one side of reality to the other.

And to give you a more precise example, we have very strong third person “objective measures” of things like anxiety and fear at this moment. You bring someone into the lab, they say they’re feeling fear. You can scan their brains with FMRI and see that their amygdala response is heightened. You can measure the sweat on their palms and see that there’s an increased galvanic skin response. You can check their blood cortisol and see that its spiking. So these now are considered objective third person measures of fear. But if half the people came into the lab tomorrow and said they were feeling fear and showed none of these signs and they said they were completely calm when their cortisol spiked and when their palms started to sweat, these objective measures would no longer be reliable measures of fear. So the cash value of a change in physiology is still a change in the first person conscious side of things. And we’re inevitably going to rely on people’s subjective reports to understand whether our correlations are accurate. So the hope that we are going to talk about consciousness shorn of any kind of qualitative internal experiential language, I think, is a false one. So we have to understand both sides of it subjective – classically subjective and objective.

I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about its metaphysics. What I am saying, however, is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. An experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion.

Transcript continued on: https://bigthink.com/videos/sa....m-harris-on-self-tra

adelinepegues4
1 Views · 17 days ago

A neuroscientist explains how to master your focus.

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Up Next ► Train your brain: Mindfulness meditation for anxiety, depression, ADD and PTSD https://youtu.be/NEMUDaLMWJ8

There is far more information in the environment than our brains can fully process.

Our ability to maintain "attention" allows the brain to prioritize those parts of the environment that are most relevant.

Attention is much more than just focusing. It fuels our ability to think, feel, and connect.

Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/series/ex....plain-it-like-im-sma

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About Amishi Jha:
Dr. Amishi Jha is a professor of psychology at the University of Miami. She serves as the Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, which she co-founded in 2010. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California–Davis and postdoctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University. Dr. Jha’s work has been featured at NATO, the World Economic Forum, and The Pentagon. She has received coverage in the The New York Times, NPR, TIME, Forbes and more.

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Read more of our stories on meditation and mindfulness:
What is walking meditation?
https://bigthink.com/neuropsyc....h/walking-meditation
How meditation can make you a better learner
https://bigthink.com/neuropsyc....h/meditation-learnin
Psilocybin ‘markedly’ boosts feelings of self-transcendence during meditation
► ​​https://bigthink.com/neuropsyc....h/psilocybin-meditat

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adelinepegues4
0 Views · 17 days ago

Engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla amassed over 300 patents during his career. However, the invention of alternating current, which served as the basis for cutting-edge technologies, is his most well-known achievement. Here are a few fascinating facts about the life of this eminent scientist.

Born in Smiljan, Croatia 10 July 1856 - January 7, 1943

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adelinepegues4
0 Views · 17 days ago

Sean Carroll: We might solve free will one day. But here’s why I doubt it.

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Debates about the existence of free will have traditionally been fought by two competing camps: those who believe in free will and those who don’t because they believe the Universe is deterministic.

Determinism is the thesis that every event — from when a volcano erupts to what cereal you buy at the supermarket — is a theoretically predictable result of the long chain of events that came before it. Free will, it was long thought, cannot exist in a world where all events are already causally determined.

But free will and determinism aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. As physicist Sean Carroll told Big Think, the compatibilist conception of free will argues that it makes sense to conceptualize ourselves as able to make free decisions, regardless of whether the Universe is deterministic or indeterministic.

Why? The main argument centers on the phenomenon of emergence.

0:00 Free will vs. determinism
0:27 Determinism
0:51 The biggest mistake in the free will debate
1:07 Libertarian free will
2:39 Compatibilist free will
4:01 Objection to compatibilism
5:06 The experience of free will

Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/series/de....vils-advocate/3-free


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About Sean Carroll:
Dr. Sean Carroll is Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy — in effect, a joint appointment between physics and philosophy — at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and fractal faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. Most of his career has been spent doing research on cosmology, field theory, and gravitation, looking at topics such as dark matter and dark energy, modified gravity, topological defects, extra dimensions, and violations of fundamental symmetries. These days, his focus has shifted to more foundational questions, both in quantum mechanics (origin of probability, emergence of space and time) and statistical mechanics (entropy and the arrow of time, emergence and causation, dynamics of complexity), bringing a more philosophical dimension to his work.

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Read more of our stories on free will:
Why free will is like whiskey
https://bigthink.com/thinking/....free-will-mixed-stra
Do the laws of physics and neuroscience disprove free will?
https://bigthink.com/13-8/phys....ics-neuroscience-fre
Superdeterminism: To better understand our Universe, ditch the idea of free will
https://bigthink.com/hard-scie....nce/superdeterminism

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The leading source of expert-driven, educational content. With thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, Big Think helps you get smarter, faster by exploring the big ideas and core skills that define knowledge in the 21st century.
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adelinepegues4
0 Views · 17 days ago

Peter Schwartz, the futurist behind Minority Report, explains 3 steps for predicting what comes next.

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It's very easy to imagine how things might go wrong, but it's much harder to imagine how things might go right.

"Futurists" are those who study the future so that the people alive today can make better decisions for tomorrow.

It is impossible to get all of the predictions right. The point of futurism, however, is to envision multiple scenarios in which we can test our decisions so that we are ready for whatever actually occurs.

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This video is part of The Progress Issue, a Big Think and Freethink special collaboration.

In this inaugural special issue we set out to explore progress — how it happens, how we nurture it and how we stifle it, and what changes are required in how we approach our most serious problems to ensure greater and more equitable progress for all.

It’s time for a return to optimism. Enjoy the full issue now ► https://bigthink.com/special-i....ssues/the-progress-i

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About Peter Schwartz:
Peter Schwartz is an internationally renowned futurist and business strategist, specializing in scenario planning and working with corporations, governments, and institutions to create alternative perspectives of the future and develop robust strategies for a changing and uncertain world. As Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for Salesforce, he manages the organization’s ongoing strategic conversation.
Peter was co-founder and chairman of Global Business Network. He is the author of several works. His first book, The Art of the Long View, is considered a seminal publication on scenario planning. Peter has also served as a script consultant on the films "The Minority Report," "Deep Impact," "Sneakers," and "War Games." He received a B.S. in aeronautical engineering and astronautics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

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Enjoy more of our stories from The Progress Issue:
What’s the role of optimism in creating the future?
https://bigthink.com/progress/....progress-special-edi
The great progression, 2025-2050
https://bigthink.com/progress/....the-great-progressio
What would a progress agenda look like? We asked the experts.
https://bigthink.com/progress/progress-agenda

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About Big Think | Smarter Faster™
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The leading source of expert-driven, educational content. With thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, Big Think helps you get smarter, faster by exploring the big ideas and core skills that define knowledge in the 21st century.
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adelinepegues4
1 Views · 17 days ago

“This is much deeper than just ‘let’s figure out how we can get both sides to get along.’”

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Up Next ► Malcolm Gladwell on the origins of modern war https://youtu.be/zox0WIFRJgQ

When Ukraine declared itself an independent state during the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, most Ukrainians celebrated the historic move. To Vladimir Putin, however, the formal separation of Ukraine from Russia represented the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.

Today, the two nations are locked in war. The inability to end the fighting in the foreseeable future will largely be driven by their shared history, about which Ukraine and Russia have starkly different views.

Another factor working against a swift end to the war is the inability of modern institutions to effectively prevent and handle crises like the Russia-Ukraine war, according to the political scientist and author Ian Bremmer. Still, amid this “geopolitical recession” lie opportunities to reinvigorate waning institutions and create new ones, hopefully rebalancing the global order for the better.

Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/series/th....e-big-think-intervie

00:00 - The roots of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict
01:34 - A brief history of the Soviet Union
03:43 - The fall of the Soviet Union
05:07 - The seeds of war
06:31 - The hubris of Putin
09:22 - The global consequences
11:05 - A geopolitical recession
12:28 - The rise of a new global order
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About Ian Bremmer:

Ian Bremmer is president and founder of Eurasia Group, the world’s leading global research and consulting firm, and GZERO Media, a company dedicated to providing intelligent and engaging coverage of international affairs. Ian is also a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, the BBC, Bloomberg, and many other television stations around the world. Ian has published ten books, including the New York Times bestseller Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism which examines the rise of populism across the world. He also serves as the foreign affairs columnist and editor at large for Time magazine. He currently teaches at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and previously was a professor at New York University.

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Read more of our stories on the war in Ukraine:
Ukraine: Made by Lenin, unmade by Putin?
https://bigthink.com/strange-m....aps/ukraine-lenin-pu
How Russian is Ukraine? Not as much as Putin insists
https://bigthink.com/the-prese....nt/how-russian-is-uk
What classic Russian literature can tell us about Putin’s war on Ukraine
https://bigthink.com/the-past/....russia-literature-uk

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About Big Think | Smarter Faster™
► Big Think
The leading source of expert-driven, educational content. With thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, Big Think helps you get smarter, faster by exploring the big ideas and core skills that define knowledge in the 21st century.
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adelinepegues4
1 Views · 17 days ago

6 ways to heal trauma without medication, from the author of “The Body Keeps the Score,” Bessel van der Kolk
Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/channe....l/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCo
Up next ►► How to heal trauma with meaning: A case study in emotional evolution | BJ Miller https://youtu.be/hQAqBkKJRbs

Conventional psychiatric practices tell us that if we feel bad, take this drug and it will go away. But after years of research with some of the top psychiatric practitioners in the world, we’ve found that drugs simply don’t work that well for many, and our conventional ways of healing trauma need to change.

In recent years, experts in the study of trauma have been experimenting with ‘new age’ healing mechanisms that are making massive waves for trauma patients. Some of these new healing methods include EDMR, yoga, theater and movement, neural feedback, and even psychedelics. Many of these methods have proven to be more effective than conventional pharmaceuticals.

But just like any other health regimen, what works for you might not work for your friend or neighbor. New age trauma therapy is all an experiment, and after enough experimenting, something can eventually work, healing your trauma in a unique and effective way.

Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/series/th....e-big-think-intervie
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About Bessel van der Kolk:
Bessel van der Kolk is a psychiatrist noted for his research in the area of post-traumatic stress since the 1970s. His work focuses on the interaction of attachment, neurobiology, and developmental aspects of trauma’s effects on people. His major publication, Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society, talks about how the role of trauma in psychiatric illness has changed over the past 20 years.

Dr. van der Kolk is past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, and Medical Director of the Trauma Center at JRI in Brookline, Massachusetts. He has taught at universities and hospitals across the United States and around the world, including Europe, Africa, Russia, Australia, Israel, and China.

Check out Bessel van der Kolk's latest book, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” at https://www.amazon.com/Body-Ke....eps-Score-Healing-Tr

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Read more of our stories on healing trauma:
How to Heal From Trauma ►► https://bigthink.com/personal-....growth/how-to-heal-f

How Childhood Trauma Can Make You A Sick Adult ►► https://bigthink.com/videos/vi....ncent-felitti-on-chi

How to heal trauma with meaning: A case study in emotional evolution
►► https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/bj-miller-trauma/

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About Big Think | Smarter Faster™
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The leading source of expert-driven, educational content. With thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, Big Think helps you get smarter, faster by exploring the big ideas and core skills that define knowledge in the 21st century.
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adelinepegues4
0 Views · 17 days ago

Neil deGrasse Tyson: 3 mind-blowing space facts
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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk about one of our favorite subjects: space.

In the three-chaptered video, Tyson speaks about the search for alien life inside and outside of the Goldilocks Zone, why the term "dark matter" should really be called "dark gravity," and how the rotation of the Earth may have been the deciding factor in a football game.

These fascinating space facts, as well as others shared in Tyson's books, make it easier for everyone to grasp complex ideas that are literally out of this world.
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NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:

Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. He is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. His professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way. Tyson obtains his data from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and in the Andes Mountains of Chile.Tyson is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid "13123 Tyson".

Tyson's new book is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, you can check it at https://amzn.to/2zOnXX5
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TRANSCRIPT:

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: When we think of places you might find life we typically think of the Goldilocks Zone around the star where water would be liquid in its natural state. And if you get a little too close to the star, heat would evaporate the water and you don't have it anymore. It's gone. Too far away it would freeze and neither of those states of H2O are useful to life as we know it. We need liquid water. So you can establish this Green Zone, this habitable zone, this Goldilocks Zone, where if you find a planet orbiting there hey, good chance it could have liquid water. Let's look there first for life as we know it.

Now it turns out that this source of heat, of course is traceable to the sun and if you go farther out everything water should be frozen, all other things being equal. But Europa, a moon of Jupiter sitting well outside of the Goldilocks Zone is kept warm not from energy sources traceable to the Sun, but from what we call the tidal forces of Jupiter itself. So, Jupiter and surrounding moons are actually pumping energy into Europa. And how does it do that? As Europa orbits Jupiter its shape changes. It's not fundamentally different from tides rising and falling on Earth. The shape of the water system of the Earth is responding to tidal forces of the moon. And when you do that to a solid object, the solid object is stressing. And because of this, a consequence of this is that you are pumping energy into the object. It is no different from when you say to anyone who's familiar with racquet sports, indoor racquet sports. It could be racquetball or squash. You say let's arm up the ball before we start playing.

You want to hit it around a few times. You are literally warming up the ball. It's not just simply let's get loose. You are literally warming up the ball. How? You are distorting it every time you smack it and then the resilience of the ball pops it back into shape and every time you do that, every smack, you're pumping energy into the ball. It's not fundamentally different from what's going on in orbit around Jupiter. So, you have this frozen world, Europa, completely frozen on its surface but you look at the surface and there are cracks in the ice. There are ridges in the ice where there's a crack and it shifted and then refroze. So this ridge has a discontinuity in the crack and it continues in another place. So what this tells you is that Europe cannot be completely frozen because if it were nothing would be moving. You look at the surface of Europa, the frozen surface, there are like ice chunks that are shifted and refrozen and shifted again. It looks just like if you fly over the Arctic Ocean.

Fly over the Arctic Ocean in the winter...

Read the full transcript on https://bigthink.com/videos/ne....il-degrasse-tyson-sp

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Build Mental Models to Enhance Your Focus
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We all get the same amount of hours in a day. Some people definitely seem to have more. Writers like Steven King and James Patterson, performers like Beyoncé, filmmakers who release a new blockbuster or shoe-gazing comedy every year, and world leaders who are across all of humanity’s problems. Even some humble ordinary folks seem to get more done than appears possible, but 24 hours is the contract our planet signed with the sun so there it is, cut and dried.
In these distracted and competitive times, there is an overwhelming thirst for knowledge on productivity and life hacks to beat procrastination. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg finds it incredibly problematic that even though we have more tools and digital assistance than ever in achieving our goals, that same luxury interrupts us more often and makes it so much harder to focus.
In researching his latest book Smarter Faster Better Duhigg spent an inordinate amount of time (well-structured time, we assume) talking to over 400 people about productivity, collecting several hundred tips and hacks, many of which contradicted one another. So what reliably and consistently sets ultra-productive people and organizations apart?
One of the key commonalities he found was the ability of some people to selectively focus. It turns out the most efficient among us are constantly prioritizing and asking themselves: what are the goals that I should be chasing after right now? According Duhigg, this process starts with mental imagery, what he calls building a ‘mental model’ in your head at the start of each day, something Duhigg now dedicates his morning commute time to. He advises that we spend that time picturing what our day will look like – what do you need to get done? What are the events you can expect? How will you go about doing them? We are surrounded by the needs of others all day long, whether it’s a boss, colleagues, family or friends, email requests or social notifications, and it’s our natural impulse to react immediately when called upon. A notification 'ding!' is tragically pavlovian. Many of us will get a text while we’re busy and send a quick reply that we later regret, or blurt out an unsatisfactory answer to a boss who puts us on the spot. People with a mental model in their minds, on the other hand, already know what to focus on, and have the ability to say or ‘Can we discuss that at a later time?’ or simply leave a text or email to sit for a while. "The more that I have thought through what’s about to occur, the more that I have a strong vision in my mind of what I should expect and anticipate, the more my subconscious is going to be able to decide this is what you should focus on." Instead of reacting immediately, your time is actually much better spent taking a couple of minutes to make a better decision about where your focus should go.
Charles Duhigg's most recent book is Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.
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CHARLES DUHIGG:
Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter for The New York Times and the author of The Power of Habit. He is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
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TRANSCRIPT:
Charles Duhigg: Nowadays it’s incredibly hard to stay focused. There’s so many distractions around us at any given moment. Your pocket vibrates at any given moment because you’re getting ten new emails and on social media there’s all these new notifications and the phone is ringing and your kids need help and your colleagues are coming up because you are working in an open office plan and they’re asking you to chime in on some memo. Maintaining focus nowadays is harder than ever before. But it’s way more critical too. One of the things that we know about the most productive people and the most productive companies is that they create ways to enhance their focus. They manage their mind in such a way that they’re able to focus on what’s important and ignore distractions much better. And the way that they do this is by what’s known as building mental models.
Essentially telling themselves stories about what they expect to see, engaging in this kind of inner dialogue about what they think should be happening...
Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/ch....arles-duhigg-on-trai

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This interview is an episode from The Well, our new publication about ideas that inspire a life well-lived, created with the John Templeton Foundation.

Subscribe to The Well on YouTube ► https://bit.ly/thewell-youtube
Watch Kathryn Paige Harden's next interview ► Nature vs. nurture, explained by a geneticist https://youtu.be/KqZp33DGDkQ

Conceiving a child is like playing the lottery. Given any two parents, there are 70 trillion possible genetic combinations that any one of their children could inherit.

This genetic diversity can make siblings really different from one another, for instance, in terms of their education, income, and lifespan.

Any attempt to study or address inequality in society must consider the impact of genetic inequality.

Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/the-well/genetic-lottery/

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About Kathryn Paige Harden:
Dr. Kathryn Paige Harden is a tenured professor in the Department of Psychology at UT, where she leads the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab and co-directs the Texas Twin Project. She is the author of The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality (Princeton). Dr. Harden received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia and completed her clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

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Read more from The Well:
I put a camera on a monkey. Here’s how it shook my understanding of humanity
https://bigthink.com/the-well/awe-ani...
Atheism is not as rare or as rational as you think
https://bigthink.com/the-well/atheism...
System 1 vs. System 2 thinking: Why it isn’t strategic to always be rational
https://bigthink.com/the-well/system-...

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About The Well
Do we inhabit a multiverse? Do we have free will? What is love? Is evolution directional? There are no simple answers to life’s biggest questions, and that’s why they’re the questions occupying the world’s brightest minds.

So what do they think?

How is the power of science advancing understanding? How are philosophers and theologians tackling these fascinating questions?

Let’s dive into The Well.

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adelinepegues4
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What are the common character traits of geniuses?
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OVERVIEW:

James Gleick, who wrote a biography of Isaac Newton, describes the reclusive scientist as "antisocial, unpleasant and bitter." Newton fought with his friends "as much as with his enemies," Gleick says. In contrast, Richard Feynman, the subject of another Gleick biography, was "gregarious, funny, a great dancer." The superficial differences between the men go on and on. "Isaac Newton, I believe, never had sex," Gleick says. "Richard Feynman, I believe, had plenty."

So what could these two men possibly have in common? According to Gleick, when it came to making the great discoveries of science, both men were alone in their heads. This also applies to great geniuses like Charles Babbage, Alan Turing and Ada Byron. "They all had the ability to concentrate with a sort of intensity that is hard for mortals like me to grasp," Gleick says, "a kind of passion for abstraction that doesn't lend itself to easy communication."
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JAMES GLEICK:

James Gleick was born in New York City in 1954. He graduated from Harvard College in 1976 and helped found Metropolis, an alternative weekly newspaper in Minneapolis. Then he worked for ten years as an editor and reporter for The New York Times.

His first book, Chaos, was a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist and a national bestseller. He collaborated with the photographer Eliot Porter on Nature's Chaos and with developers at Autodesk on Chaos: The Software. His next books include the best-selling biographies, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and Isaac Newton, both shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, as well as Faster and What Just Happened. They have been translated into twenty-five languages.

In 1989-90 he was the McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University. For some years he wrote the Fast Forward column in the New York Times Magazine.

With Uday Ivatury, he founded The Pipeline, a pioneering New York City-based Internet service in 1993, and was its chairman and chief executive officer until 1995. He was the first editor of the Best American Science Writing series. He is active on the boards of the Authors Guild and the Key West Literary Seminar.
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Other Frequent contributors include Michio Kaku & Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

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TRANSCRIPT:

James Gleick: I’m tempted to say smart, creative people have no particularly different set of character traits than the rest of us except for being smart and creative, and those being character traits...

Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/ja....mes-gleick-the-commo

adelinepegues4
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How America Got Divorced from Reality: Christian Utopias, Anti-Elitism, Media Circus
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Since a boat of religious fanatics with buckles on their hats hit the shores near Plymouth Rock and claimed that this was their utopia, America has always been a little bit crazy. It's this kind of wide-eyed "anything can happen if you believe" mentality that, at its best, can produce incredible art. But at its worst, it can be cruel and conspiratorial. We live in a country where people refuse to believe vaccination can help you and where a White House is spinning "alternative — but Kurt Andersen is here to say that this is nothing now. At the time of the Civil War, society had become split by two sides that refused to listen to each other. Back then, the political and social divide is stoked by a hyperbolic partisan media where anyone could publish whatever they wanted in a pamphlet without fact-checking. Sound familiar? It definitely should. Kurt's latest book is appropriately titled Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire.
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KURT ANDERSEN:

Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360 on NPR, is a journalist and the author of the novels Hey Day, Turn of the Century, The Real Thing, and his latest non-fiction book Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History. He has written and produced prime-time network television programs and pilots for NBC and ABC, and co-authored Loose Lips, an off-Broadway theatrical revue that had long runs in New York and Los Angeles. He is a regular columnist for New York Magazine, and contributes frequently to Vanity Fair. He is also a founder of Very Short List.

Andersen began his career in journalism at NBC's Today program and at Time, where he was an award-winning writer on politics and criminal justice and for eight years the magazine's architecture and design critic. Returning to Time in 1993 as editor-at-large, he wrote a weekly column on culture. And from 1996 through 1999 he was a staff writer and columnist for The New Yorker. He was a co-founder of Inside.com, editorial director of Colors magazine, and editor-in-chief of both New York and Spy magazines, the latter of which he also co-founded.

From 2004 through 2008 he wrote a column called "The Imperial City" for New York (one of which is included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2008). In 2008 Forbes. com named him one of The 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media. Anderson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and is a member of the boards of trustees of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Pratt Institute, and is currently Visionary in Residence at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He lives with his family in New York City.
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TRANSCRIPT:

Kurt Andersen: Americans have always been magical thinkers and passionate believers in the untrue. We were started by the Puritans in New England who wanted to create and did create a Christian utopia and theocracy as they waited for the eminent second coming of Christ and the end of days. And in the south by a bunch of people who were convinced, absolutely convinced that this place they’d never been was full of gold just to be plucked from the dirt in Virginia and they stayed there looking and hoping for gold for 20 years before they finally faced the facts and the evidence and decided that they weren’t going to get rich overnight there. So that was the beginning. And then we’ve had centuries of buyer-beware charlatanism to an extreme degree and medical quackery to an extreme degree and increasingly exotic extravagant implausible religions over and over again from Mormonism to Christian Science to Scientology in the last century.

And we’ve had this antiestablishment "I’m not going to trust the experts, I’m not going to trust the elite" from our character from the beginning. Now all those things came together and were super-charged in the 1960s when you were entitled to your own truth and your own reality. Then a generation later when the Internet came along, giving each of those realities, no matter how false or magical or nutty they are, their own kind of media infrastructure. We had entertainment, again for the last couple hundred years, but especially in the last 50 years permeating all the rest of life, including Presidential politics from John F. Kennedy through Ronald Ragan to Bill Clinton. So the thing was set up for Donald Trump to exploit all these various American threads and astonishingly become president, but then you look at this history and it’s...

Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/ku....rt-andersen-magical-

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The great free will debate
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"What does it mean to have—or not have—free will? Were the actions of mass murderers pre-determined billions of years ago? Do brain processes trump personal responsibility? Can experiments prove that free will is an illusion?

Bill Nye, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Michio Kaku, Robert Sapolsky, and others approach the topic from their unique fields and illustrate how complex and layered the free will debate is.

From Newtonian determinism, to brain chemistry, to a Dennett thought experiment, explore the arguments that make up the free will landscape.
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TRANSCRIPT:

- Well, you ask one of the deepest philosophical questions of physics. The question of free will.

- For billions of years on this planet, there was life, but no free will. Physics hasn't changed, but now we have free will.

- The brains are automatic, but people are free.

- Our ability to choose is often confused.

- Human choices will not be predictable in any simple way.

- In reality, I don't think there's any free will at all.

DANIEL DENNETT: For billions of years on this planet there was life, but no free will. Physics hasn't changed, but now we have free will. The difference is not in physics. It has to do with, ultimately, with biology. Particularly evolutionary biology. What has happened over those billions of years, is that greater and greater competences have been designed and have evolved. And the competence of a dolphin, or of a chimpanzee, the cognitive competence, the sort of mental competence, is hugely superior to the competence of a lobster, or a starfish. But ours dwarfs the competence of a dolphin or a chimpanzee, perhaps to an even greater extent. And there's an entirely naturalistic story to say, to tell about how we came to have that competence, or those competences. And it's that, "Can do." It's that power that we have which is natural, but it's that power which sets us aside from every other species. And the key to it is that we don't just act for reasons. We represent our reasons to ourselves and to others. The business of asking somebody, "Why did you do that?" And the person being able to answer, it is the key to responsibility. And in fact, the word, "responsibility," sort of wears its meaning on its sleeve. We are responsible because we can respond to challenges to our reasons. Why? Because we don't just act for reasons, we act for reasons that we consciously represent to ourselves. And this is what gives us the power and the obligation to think ahead, to anticipate, to see the consequences of our action. To be able to evaluate those consequences in the light of what other people tell us. To share our wisdom with each other. No other species can do anything like it. And it's because we can share our wisdom that we have a special responsibility.

That's what makes us free in a way that no bird is free, for instance. There's a very sharp limit to the depth that we as conscious agents can probe our own activities. This sort of superficial access that we have to what's going on, that's what consciousness is. Now, when I say, who's this, "we," who's got this access? That's itself part of the illusion because there isn't a, sort of, boss part of the brain that's sitting there with this limited access. That itself is part of the illusion. What it is, is a bunch of different subsystems, which have varying access to varying things and that conspire in a sort of competitive way to execute whatever projects it is that they're, in their, sort of, mindless way executing.

STEVEN PINKER: I don't believe there's such a thing as free will in the sense of a ghost in the machine, a spirit, or soul that somehow reads the TV screen of the senses and pushes buttons and pulls levers of behavior. There's no sense that we can make of that. I think we are...our behavior is the product of physical processes in the brain. On the other hand, when you have a brain that consists of a hundred billion neurons, connected by a hundred trillion synapses, there is a vast amount of complexity. That means that human choices will not be predictable in any simple way from the stimuli that have impinged on it beforehand. We also know that that brain is set up so that there are at least two kinds of behavior. There's what happens when I shine a light in your eye and your iris contracts, or I hit your knee with a hammer and your leg jerks upward. We also know that there's a part of the brain that does things like choose what to have for dinner, whether to order chocolate, or vanilla ice cream. How to move the next chess piece...

Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/th....e-great-free-will-de

adelinepegues4
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The 10 tactics of fascism, with Jason Stanley
Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ►► https://www.youtube.com/c/bigthink
Up next ►►"Never Again?" How fascism hijacks democracies over and over https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye4jKSNHhms

Fascism is a cult of the leader, who promises national restoration in the face of supposed humiliation by immigrants, leftists, liberals, minorities, homosexuals, women, in the face of what the fascist leader says is a takeover of the country's media, cultural institutions, schools by these forces.

Fascist movements typically, though not invariably, rest on an urban/rural divide. The cities are where there's decadence, where the elites congregate, where there's immigrants, and where there's criminality.

Each of these individuals alone is not in and of itself fascist, but you have to worry when they're all grouped together, seeing the other as less than. Those moments are the times when societies need to worry about fascism.

Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/videos/what-is-fascism/

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About Jason Stanley:
Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; Knowledge and Practical Interests, which won the American Philosophical Association book prize; and How Propaganda Works, which won the PROSE Award for Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers. He writes about authoritarianism, propaganda, free speech, mass incarceration, and other topics for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Review, The Guardian, Project Syndicate and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications.

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Read more of our stories on fascism:
“Never Again?” How fascism hijacks democracies over and over
►► https://bigthink.com/videos/ro....b-riemen-never-again
Fascism and conspiracy theories: The symptoms of broken communication
►► https://bigthink.com/the-prese....nt/fascism-and-consp
What Fascism Really Is — And What It Isn’t
►► https://bigthink.com/politics-....current-affairs/for-

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Change Your Behavior with Adorable Rewards – and Pavlovian Shocks |

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Whether you're hatching "new-you" resolutions or need to end a bad habit, there's a world of transformative wellness tech at your fingertips. Though some of it may shock you – literally.Willow Group, a company that aims to leverage technology to bring people peace of mind, is led by CEO Nichol Bradford. She is the first to admit that nothing replaces human connection, but the other side of the coin is that we don’t live in an all-or-nothing world; there can be a suite of tools to help people cope in their lives. If your loved ones can support you in breaking a bad habit, for example, that’s excellent. You could meditate and read to expand your understanding of what’s beneath your bad habit. Or, another tool in the box is the Pavlock.

What’s that? The Pavlock is an example of transformative technology that are coming into the market to help improve people’s lives. It’s a bracelet or cuff you wear, you can select a bad habit you want to break, and when you engage in that bad habit, the Pavlock will… electric shock you. It sounds like a gimmick, but this device works on our reptilian brains, creating an aversion that becomes associated with the habit you want to quit. There’s also a toned-down vibration setting that can promote awareness and mindfulness without all the voltage.

The Pavlock is a great example of transformative tech because it has a counterpart that helps you reach the same goal by a very different road. If the Pavlock is disciplinary, the MOTI works on positive incentives. It’s a small device that sits on your desk or table, and every time you engage in a good behavior you’d like to do more of, you touch it and it blinks colors, vibrates and coos. That’s pretty strange, but it turns out that on a deep level, humans love it. If you’re going to bed early, going for a short run, cooking dinner instead of getting take out, you press it for reinforcement, and it accumulates rewards for your positive action.

In transformative tech, the limit is our imagination, and in remembering that you choose your level of involvement. Nothing beats human connection, but a few science-backed bots can be empowering in achieving your personal and professional goals.

Nichol Bradford is the author of The Sisterhood.
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NICHOL BRADFORD:

Nichol Bradford, CEO/Founder, Willow. Nichol Bradford is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived mental limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level. She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi.


Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience.

Nichol has an MBA from Wharton School of Business in Strategy, a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston, and is a graduate of Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program 2015. She is a fellow of the British American Project, currently serves on the board of the Project 375/Brandon Marshall Foundation for Mental Health, and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of The Sisterhood, and an amatuer boxer.
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TRANSCRIPT:

Nichol Bradford: People often ask me what I think the limitations are for transformative technology. And I would say that I don’t think anything replaces sitting down one-on-one with someone that you love or care about. There’s nothing that replaces that. But we don’t live in an only one thing world. I really believe in having a suite of tools that we use. And so when you can’t be one-on-one with your loved one and you are forced to be at distance then to have things that support you in that. And in terms of other limitations I think a lot of the limitations are really our imagination because it’s out of our imaginations that we develop products. It isn’t really a coincidence that the first flip phones look like the communicators on Star Trek.
Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/ni....chol-bradford-on-tra

adelinepegues4
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The science behind ‘us vs. them’
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From politics to every day life, humans have a tendency to form social groups that are defined in part by how they differ from other groups.

Neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky, author Dan Shapiro, and others explore the ways that tribalism functions in society, and discuss how—as social creatures—humans have evolved for bias.

But bias is not inherently bad. The key to seeing things differently, according to Beau Lotto, is to "embody the fact" that everything is grounded in assumptions, to identify those assumptions, and then to question them.
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TRANSCRIPT:

0:00 Intro
0:30 Robert Sapolsky on the hardwiring of social creatures and the “runaway trolley problem.
4:53 Alexander Todorov on typicality and how we perceive faces.
6:46 Dan Shapiro on when tribe loyalty supersedes logic.
8:00 Amy Chua on the importance of grouping our identities.
8:47 Dividing into groups is inevitable,says Sapolsky, but how we divide is fluid.
10:44 Beau Lotto and Todorov discuss how our brains evolved for assumptions and the psychological functions of first impressions.

Our brain evolved to take what is meaningless to make it meaningful. Everything you do right now is grounded in your assumptions. Not sometimes, but all the time.

We are kind of hardwired to figure out the intentions of other people.

We turn the world into us's and thems. And we don't like the thems very much and are often really awful to them.

That's the challenge of our tribalistic world that we're in right now.

ROBERT SAPOLSKY: When you look at some of the most appalling realms of our behavior, much of it has to do with the fact that social organisms are really, really hardwired to make a basic dichotomy about the social world, which is those organisms who count as us's and those who count as thems. And this is virtually universal among humans. And this is virtually universal among all sorts of social primates that have aspects of social structures built around separate social groupings, us's and thems. We turn the world into us's and thems and we don't like the thems very much and are often really awful to them. And the us's, we exaggerate how wonderful and how generous and how affiliative and how just like siblings they are to us. We divide the world into us and them. And one of the greatest ways of seeing just biologically how real this fault line is is there's this hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is officially the coolest, grooviest hormone on Earth because what everybody knows is it enhances mother infant bonding, and it enhances pair bonding in couples. And it makes you more trusting and empathic and emotionally expressive and better at reading expressions, more charitable. And it's obvious that if you just spritz the oxytocin up everyone's noses on this planet, it would be the Garden of Eden the next day. Oxytocin promotes prosocial behavior, until people look closely. And it turns out, oxytocin does all those wondrous things only for people who you think of as an us, as an in-group member. It improves in-group favoritism, in-group parochialism. What does it do to individuals who you consider a them? It makes you crappier to them. More preemptively, aggressive, less cooperative in an economic game. What oxytocin does is enhance this us and them divide. So that along with other findings, the classic lines of us versus them along the lines of race, of sex, of age, of socioeconomic class, your brain processes these us-them differences on a scale of milliseconds. A 20th of a second, your brain is already responding differently to an us versus them.

So fabulous studies showing this, this double-edged quality to oxytocin. and this was a study done by a group in the Netherlands. And what they did was they took Dutch University student volunteers and they gave them classic philosophy problem, the runaway trolley problem, is it okay to sacrifice one person to save five? Runaway trolley. Can you push this big beefy guy onto the track who gets squashed by the trolley but that slows it down so that five people tied to the track... Standard problem in philosophy, utilitarianism, ends justifies means. All of that. So you give people the scenario and people have varying opinions. And now you give them the scenario where the person you push onto the track has a name. And either it's a standard name from Netherlands, Dirk. I think he was a Pieter, which, this is like a meat and potatoes Netherlandish name or a name from either of two groups that evoke lots of xenophobic hostility among people from the Netherlands. Someone with a typically...

Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/the-science-behind-us-vs-them

adelinepegues4
0 Views · 17 days ago

33% of people cheat, and 77% of people want to know about their partner’s infidelity. Would you tell your partner? Michael Slepian, an expert on secrecy, explains how.

Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ► https://www.youtube.com/channe....l/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCo
Up next, The psychology of keeping secrets inside ► https://youtu.be/gC7GMMAfBh0

About one-third of people have committed infidelity at some point in their lives. If you're one of them, should you confess it to your romantic partner?

One way to answer the question is to consider whether you would want to know if your partner had cheated on you: Surveys show that 77% of people would want to know, but that still leaves about a quarter of us who'd prefer ignorance. It's also worth questioning your own motives: Maybe you only want to get the secret off your chest to make yourself feel better.

It's a difficult dilemma with no one-size-fits-all solution. But fortunately, as psychologist Michael Slepian explained to Big Think, recent research has been revealing insights on the nature of secrets, what happens when we harbor them, and how and when we should consider getting them off our chest.

Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/series/gr....eat-question/confess

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About Michael Slepian:
Michael Slepian is the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School. He previously was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, and received his Ph.D. from Tufts University. He is an elected fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, has received the Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science, and received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

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Read more of our stories on secret keeping:
How many secrets are you holding from these 38 categories?
https://bigthink.com/neuropsyc....h/secret-life-of-sec
Why it’s time to confess your darkest secrets
https://bigthink.com/thinking/....confess-your-secrets
Creative cheating: the link between creativity and dishonesty
https://bigthink.com/articles/....creative-cheating-th


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adelinepegues4
0 Views · 17 days ago

How Apple and Nike have branded your brain
Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo
Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge
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Powerful branding can not only change how you feel about a company, it can actually change how your brain is wired.

"We love to think of ourselves as rational. That's not how it works," says UPenn professor Americus Reed II about our habits (both conscious and subconscious) of paying more for items based primarily on the brand name. Effective marketing causes the consumer to link brands like Apple and Nike with their own identity, and that strong attachment goes deeper than receipts.

Using MRI, professor and neuroscientist Michael Platt and his team were able to see this at play. When reacting to good or bad news about the brand, Samsung users didn't have positive or negative brain responses, yet they did have "reverse empathy" for bad news about Apple. Meanwhile, Apple users showed a "brain empathy response for Apple that was exactly what you'd see in the way you would respond to somebody in your family."
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TRANSCRIPT:

NARRATOR: Coke is just soda. Tylenol is just acetaminophen. And Levi's are just jeans. Yet consumers go out of their way to select these specific brands over others.

AMERICUS REED II: An economist would say,"How is this possible, that a rational consumer would be willing to pay more for exactly the same thing?" We love to think about ourselves as rational. That's not how it works.

A very famous study done by colleagues at Duke University flashed either the Apple logo or the IBM logo to two randomized groups of participants.

NARRATOR: The study found that after being subliminally exposed to the Apple logo, compared to when you'd been exposed to the IBM logo, participants performed better on creative tasks.

AMERICUS REED II: And the argument is that Apple has been telling you this story over and over again, that Apple is the brand for hip, cool, fun, creative people.

NARRATOR: This is the true power of brands. They can influence our behavior in ways that extend way beyond the point of sale. So to what degree can the influence of brands wreak havoc on our ability to make rational spending decisions? This is your brain on money.

This is Americus Reed. He studies identity and marketing at the University of Pennsylvania.

AMERICUS REED II: When I make choices about different brands, I'm choosing to create an identity. When I put that shirt on, when I put those shoes on, those jeans, that hat, someone is going to form an impression about what I'm about. So if I'm choosing Nike over Under Armour, I'm choosing a kind of different way to express affiliation with sport.

The Nike thing is about performance. The Under Armour thing is about the underdog. I have to choose which of these different conceptual pathways is most consistent with where I am in my life.

NARRATOR: And once a consumer makes that choice, their relationship with a brand can deepen to the point where they identify with that brand like family. And once you identify with a brand, it can shape the way you behave.

AMERICUS REED II: And it's really interesting because they will also, if someone talks bad about that product, brand, or service, they will be the first to go out and defend. Why? Because an attack on the brand is an attack on themselves.

NARRATOR: Michael Platt is a professor of neuroscience, marketing, and psychology whose research demonstrates how our perception of brands influences our decisions.

MICHAEL PLATT: There's an idea in marketing, which is that we relate to brands in the same way we relate to people. It's like, "I love this brand," or, "I hate this brand." Of course, what people say can often be different from what's really going on in their heads.

So we thought, "Well, why don't we just ask the brain directly?"

NARRATOR: Michael and his team observed the brains of iPhone users and Samsung Galaxy users with an MRI machine while they heard good, bad, and neutral news about Apple and Samsung.

MICHAEL PLATT: Apple customers showed a brain empathy response toward Apple that was exactly what you'd see in the way you would respond to somebody in your own family.

NARRATOR: Strangely, Samsung users didn't have any positive or negative responses when good or bad news was released about their brand. The only evidence that Samsung users showed was reverse empathy for Apple news. Meaning if the Apple headline was negative, their brain reflected a positive response.

MICHAEL PLATT: You know, it really shows us that Apple has completely defined the market here. Samsung customers, it seems, from their brain data, are only buying Samsung...

To read the full transcript, please visit https://bigthink.com/singleton..../how-apple-and-nike-

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