“Richtel points to work by Sevincer et al. that makes the counter-intuitive observation that optimistic language in newspaper articles and presidential addresses is a predictor of poor economic performance. This actually is consonant with research that has shown that fantasies not tempered by realistic assessment of challenges are less likely to yield results. (People who fantasize about the success of their with control program are less likely to loose pounds). Perhaps people who fantasize an imaged outcome imagine that obtaining it will be easy, and thus work less hard. More sober assessment yields better results.”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Optimism correlates with poor results
Three years ago, Kayla Montgomery was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Faced with the prospect of being confined to a wheelchair someday, Montgomery, one of the slower runners on her high school cross country team, told her coach she was short on time and wanted to run faster. Now she’s one of…
"For example, we had this song ‘Lock Down’ by the band 52 Metro," Salganik says. "In one world this song came in first; in another world it came in 40th out of 48th. And this was exactly the same song. It’s just in these different worlds, history evolved slightly different. There were differences in the beginnings, and then the process of social influence and cumulative advantage sort of magnified those small, random initial differences."
Now obviously there are many different things that have an impact on success and failure — money, race and a laundry list of other things — and after this work, which one person in the field described as a seminal paper, Salganik went on to do similar studies with parallel worlds that suggest that quality does have at least a limited role. It is hard to make things of very poor quality succeed — though after you meet a basic standard of quality, what becomes a huge hit and what doesn’t is essentially a matter of chance.
Chance is the thing.
Which makes you think — and not just about the role chance plays in what we consider great art, but also about success more generally in our lives.
The sheng is a free-reed wind instrument dating back to 1100 BCE in China. Using a modern sheng, Li-Jin Lee makes the ancient instrument sound remarkably like Super Mario Bros., including coin and power-up sounds.
And I know the Olympics are over and good riddance and all that, but this Mario Kart speedskating bit is great. Baby Park was one of my favorite tracks on Double Dash.
“Research explores the consequences of boosting self-esteem when it is not justified. When self-esteem is artificially boosted, it reduces performance and effort — as people seek to protect the fragile gain in self-esteem by withdrawing from effort and the risk of failure. When self-esteem is diminished without justification, people appear to work harder to retrieve lost feelings of self-worth. Share
9Comment”—What’s The Problem With Feeling On Top Of The World? : NPR
“A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says some of that bad air people breath in the American West is imported from China. A lot of the imported pollution has been specifically identified as coming from factories in eastern China that make goods purchased by Americans, which is raising fascinating questions about who is really to blame for the bad air.”—American pollution: Made in China | Marketplace.org
“Prominent theories highlight the importance of bodily perception for self-consciousness, but it is currently not known whether bodily perception is based on interoceptive or exteroceptive signals or on integrated signals from these anatomically distinct systems. In the research reported here, we combined both types of signals by surreptitiously providing participants with visual exteroceptive information about their heartbeat: A real-time video image of a periodically illuminated silhouette outlined participants’ (projected, “virtual”) bodies and flashed in synchrony with their heartbeats. We investigated whether these “cardio-visual” signals could modulate bodily self-consciousness and tactile perception. We report two main findings. First, synchronous cardio-visual signals increased self-identification with and self-location toward the virtual body, and second, they altered the perception of tactile stimuli applied to participants’ backs so that touch was mislocalized toward the virtual body. We argue that the integration of signals from the inside and the outside of the human body is a fundamental neurobiological process underlying self-consciousness.”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Signals from inside and outside our bodies in self consciousness
“Here’s the thing: The earliest drum machines were never intended to be studio recording devices. Take Wurlitzer’s 1959 Sideman, one of the first commercially available drum machines. It used vacuum tubes to create its percussive sound, and was intended for organ players who perhaps didn’t want to pay a drummer to join their lounge act.”—Gimme The Beat (Box): The Journey Of The Drum Machine : The Record : NPR
"Kids are much, much, much more likely to take desserts and are much less likely to take fruits and vegetables" when they use their debit cards, says Wansink. "In contrast to that, in schools where kids are paying cash, kids not only buy a lot more fruit but they also buy a lot less dessert."
Not only did three times as many kids buy vegetables when they were paying with cash over debit cards, but they also ate 10 percent fewer calories.
Wansink and his colleague David Just monitored more than 2,300 students at 287 schools across the country in grades one through 12. The findings appear in the journal Obesity.
Students select blueberries and rolls from the food line at Lincoln Elementary in Olympia, Wash., in 2004.
Fruit, Not Fries: Lunchroom Makeovers Nudge Kids Toward Better Choices
Using cash and credit cards is the same in terms of economics, but psychologically, they’re very different things. When you’re using a debit card or credit card, the financial consequences of your purchase are far off in the future.
That same sort of subconscious calculation, Wansink thinks, might be happening with the things you buy. Your attitude becomes, “What I put in my mouth doesn’t actually matter, because those consequences are also far off in the future.”
“Basically, if you arrive from Mars and design a food system, you probably couldn’t design a worse one than what we have today on Earth," Oxfam’s Max Lawson tells The Salt. "There is enough food overall in the world to feed everyone. But 900 million people still don’t have enough to eat, and 1 billion people are obese. It’s a crazy situation.”—Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating? : The Salt : NPR
From a presentation at SIGGRAPH Asia 2013, a demonstration of a program that learns how to walk by evolving the orientation of its muscles.
Love these kinds of things. I remember another video like this that went around a few months ago…but instead of bipeds, it was a a shambling collection of cubes that learned how to move around. Anyone have a link?
Using pictures to represent words dates back to Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese pictographs. But in the 1500s in France, a particular format of picture writing called the rebus was invented. A rebus is a word puzzle which uses pictures to represent words (or parts of words). The rebus…
“Regardless of which of these realities happens to be the case, the mere existence of legitimate fears of congressional surveillance by an executive-branch agency is a serious legal and separation-of-powers problem. Why? Because whether or not the surveillance is actually happening, the very real possibility that it even could be happening or has happened can unduly intimidate the legislative branch into abrogating its constitutional oversight responsibilities. In this particular case, it can scare congressional lawmakers away from voting to better regulate the NSA.”—NSA Spying On Congress | The Big Picture