Insane and Dangerous Overreactions to Fictional Threats

Originally posted on WP Writers Group:

the-digital-reader-91EkRRhGseL._SL1500_1-102x150‘…A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace’s Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, according to news reports from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future…’

Top 10 Reasons for Article Rejection
‘We’ve created this handy infographic that outlines the 10 most popular reasons articles are rejected. To view the graphic in a new window, simply click the image below and then click the image again to zoom in or out…’

How I Kept a 373-Day Productivity Streak Unbroken

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How to decide when it’s time to decide

bigthink-confused_robot__Jennifer_M._Bean__SciFi_Fantasy_Art‘…I once made a snap decision to move to London, at a friend’s invitation one Sunday afternoon. The next day I handed in my notice at work and to my landlord, and the next month I was living in the capital. One of the best decisions I ever made.There’s nothing wrong with a quick decision, but decisions made in haste – i.e. rushed, and without considering your emotions as well as the logical pros and cons – can be dangerous. This is why the Vikings were reputed to make every important decision twice – once when sober, once when drunk…’
So how can you decide when it’s time to decide?

Do You Have to Be Rational to Run Your Own Life?
‘…Over the past couple of years, though, I’ve noticed loose talk about human mental incapacity being used to justify assaults on personal autonomy. If we can’t think straight, after all, it follows that we need “help.” And much of this “help” consists of taking choices away from human beings and giving them to organizations, machines or software.

‘Some examples: Once a human being called a boss would decide who would work which shifts at the local coffee shop. Today, Starbucks and many other retail chains are using algorithms to schedule workers, which is great for the bottom line (why pay more people than you need to if you can predict that traffic will be light this Thursday?). Medium, the hot new writing site, is paying some writers and editors according to the amount of time readers spend on their material. This makes for better metrics on the precise relationship between the content and the response. Or consider this technology, now being used in high school gyms in Dubuque, Iowa: It monitors students’ heart rates directly, via strapped-on monitors on each kid, to make sure they are exercising enough in class. Then there is this gizmo, described by my fellow-BigThink blogger Teodora Zareva, which delivers fines, electric shocks and social-media humiliations if you do not comply with your own goals. No doubt this is much more effective than just telling yourself you should get to the gym more often…’

Tiny neuronal chips helped form long term memories
‘Move over coffee, humanity may soon have a new favorite pick-me-up. Scientists are developing brain-tinkering technologies that can not only make us more alert but fundamentally alter how we think, feel and behave. In the next few years new devices could accelerate thinking skills, improve all manner of abilities and possibly even counteract negative behaviors…’

‘…At UCLA, researchers have embedded tiny neuronal chips in the brain that have helped form long term memories. This represents another potential boost in mental capabilities and possibly opens more doors toward finding treatments for degenerative brain ailments like Alzheimer’s. In the mean time, check out this Big Think interview which offers suggestions on how you and your loved ones can reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s…’

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Do You Need To Get Yourself a Pseudonym?

themindunleashed-biosss-1050x485‘…This may be useful to you even if you aren’t, like Ms. Donath, a public figure with a reputation to uphold. Potential bosses or suitors will be Googling you, you can be sure of that, and it may not be a great idea for your every comment on Big Think or the Huffington Post or the New York Times to be accessible to these people. Your politics might clash with the views of a possible employer, say, or that Amazon product review you wrote ten years ago might not represent your truest, deepest self.

‘Beyond personal reasons for keeping parts of your online presence separate from your real life, there is an important social and political role for using pseudonyms. And here we must distinguish between complete anonymity and pseudonymity, the state of being identified by an alias with a solid and enduring presence:…’

Turn Into A Tree After You Die
It doesn’t mean you won’t get to heaven
‘A revolution is upon us on Earth to move from a pollution and waste dependent society to one of sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives. Trees are the lungs of our planet. The more trees we plant, the cleaner our air for generations to come. We are very proud to now offer our audience the Bios Urn, a funerary urn made from biodegradable materials that will turn you into a tree after you die. Inside the urn there is a pine seed, which can be replaced by any other seed or plant, and will grow to remember your loved one. Bios Urn transforms death into life through nature…’

Why “do what you love” is bad advice
‘…I used to make comics for a living (these comics, right here), and I gave out similar advice and professed similar goals: If I just tried hard enough, I’d make it doing what I love, making comics for a living. If anyone was less successful than I was, well, they must not have been trying hard enough.

‘To an extent it worked! I won awards, had hordes of fan girls, a weekly syndicated web comic I got paid for (very well by comic industry standards, too). I thought I was doing great doing what I love.

‘And then it all ended. I needed surgery. And I didn’t have health insurance.

‘Almost overnight the series shut down. My fans and friends ran a Herculean donation effort for me, but it wasn’t enough. I quit comics and went into web development, something I’d enjoyed doing to support my web comics presence, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. Not then…’

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The LA School iPad Anomaly‘…The decision comes on the heels of an investigation by NPR member station KPCC, which obtained emails between Deasy and tech executives that bring into question whether the initial bidding process was fair. First, some context:

‘The goal of the expansion was simple yet ambitious: to equip every student in the nation’s second-largest school district with a tablet computer. The expected price tag for equipment, software and Wi-Fi upgrades to schools: $1.3 billion.

‘The project has been controversial from the outset. Critics argued that it was too expensive in a time of dramatic budget cuts. Some also worried that the rollout had been rushed, that the software wasn’t finished and had glitches, and that the district’s infrastructure, training and security procedures were insufficient for this kind of effort.

‘Then came the emails…’

Boy scolds mother for getting pregnant [Video]
If the boy has the gift of prophecy, he probably saw financial trouble. I just love this boy Tre’
‘When a mom tells her kids that she’s going to have another baby, their reactions run the gamut. Sometimes they’re thrilled, other times they’re traumatized — and once in a while, they pretty much lose it.

‘In the video above, watch as a little boy named Tré expresses his unreserved annoyance at the news that his mom is pregnant.

“‘What were you thinking?” he exclaims, his arms flailing in vexation as he gestures to himself and his baby sister.
‘”You just had two! This is exasperating.”

‘Yep, he said “exasperating.” This is all seriously driving him up a wall.’…’

This cable backs up your data while charging your smartphone
‘It’s always a good idea to backup your phone’s data every now and then because you never know what could happen. You could misplace it, drop it in the toilet, have it run over by a car, and etc., so always having a backup means that your data will always be up to date, or at least as close to up to date as possible. Backing up your phone is not hard as all you’d need to do is plug it to a computer, but what if you are on holiday and you don’t have access to a computer? It would suck to lose all your holiday photos in one go, wouldn’t it? Well that’s where the bleep smart charging cable comes in. The bleed smart charging cable is your standard micro USD charging cable, except that it also comes with built-in storage that can backup your data at the same time…’

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The Psychology of Writing and the Perfect Daily Routine

Originally posted on WP Writers Group:

brainpickings-showup‘…Reflecting on the ritualization of creativity, Bukowski famously scoffed that “air and light and time and space have nothing to do with.” Samuel Johnson similarly contended that “a man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.” And yet some of history’s most successful and prolific writers were women and men of religious daily routines and odd creative rituals. (Even Buk himself ended up sticking to a peculiar daily routine.)…’

Seeing Through the Otherness of Others
Will you admire repulsive persons in the future?
“Maria Popova: This particular book explores the rather common experience of seeing someone as both frightening and repulsive until we get to know them — one manifestation of our broader, fundamental fear of the unfamiliar. Did you have such an experience yourself, either with a teacher or with another figure in your life, that inspired the book?

Peter Brown: When…

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How Translation Amplifies Ideas

harpersbazaar-hbz-Geena-Rocero-promo-xln‘Shortly after model Geena Rocero gave the TED Talk “Why I must come out,” she was Skyping with an LGBTQ activist in Hong Kong. This activist mentioned how powerful it would be for Chinese speakers to be able to watch the talk. Rocero logged on to to find out how she could get her talk translated. To her surprise, she found that Chinese subtitles were already live—along with subtitles in Hebrew, Romanian, Thai, Vietnamese and Spanish.

‘Today, Rocero’s talk is available in 28 languages. And as she travels the world speaking about LGBTQ issues with her organization Gender Proud, she sees the impact of that. “The places I’m going, there’s either no law at all about how you can change your name and gender marker on your legal documents, or a lot of steps before you can do it,” says Rocero. “People are becoming aware of the law that exists in the United States. Suddenly, they’re asking, ‘How come I can’t have that right?’ People are realizing that they can demand these rights.”…’ more


Discuss Photos at 500px

‘We are very excited to announce the launch of Groups and Discussions, currently in beta! Groups and Discussions are a way for like-minded members of the 500px community to contribute their thoughts and opinions around specific creative topics. With this beta launch, we are giving access to the following features:…’



‘If You’re Texting, You Ain’t Driving’ [Video]

Are you intexticated?

‘…According to CTV News Kitchener, drivers in Ontario could soon face much stiffer penalties for texting behind the wheel, as the governing Liberals are set to reintroduce a bill that would boost the maximum fine to $1,000.

‘Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said earlier this year that distracted driving was becoming the No. 1 killer on the roads; accounting for more deaths in 2013 than impaired or speed-related incidents in crashes they investigated.

‘Well, the warning goes for other countries, too, for sure; considering that the world has become ‘intexticated’, as reported in Online ‘In a survey by AT&T, almost half of adults admitted to texting while driving, compared to a slightly smaller number of teens who fessed up to the same thing…’ more

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A Great Way to Catch a Thief Online [Video]’s stolen watch ‘for sale’ online leads to arrest of suspect on airport theft
‘An OFW leaving for Dubai reportedly fell victim to an airport theft; his luggage were forcibly unzipped and his more than P300,000 worth of jewelry and expensive watches which were placed inside his luggage were nowhere to be found, as per reports on GMA News TV’s “Balitanghali” on Thursday.

‘On a hunch, the OFW have apparently browsed online selling sites and he chanced upon one site where he spotted one of his missing wristwatches.

‘He immediately communicated with his family in the Philippines; who acted in his behalf. His family sought the assistance of the NBI and an entrapment operation ensued which led to the arrest…’

Real ‘Amazon’ Women Looking for Husbands
Wanted bachelors: Town of beautiful women needs single men for husband. But this is not for chauvinists. They have rules you have to follow

‘More than 600 women live in the town of Noiva do Cordeiro, south-east Brazil. And most of them are aged between 20 and 35 years old.

‘Now they have extended an invitation to potential suitors. But don’t start packing your bags just yet – any men who go have to understand that this corner of the Brazilian countryside is very much a woman’s world.

‘Ms Fernandes said: ‘We’d like to get to know men who would leave their own lives and come to be a part of ours.

”’But first they need to agree to do what we say and live according to our rules.”…’
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Blatant Racists Aren’t the Problem—You Are
Nicholas Kristof says lots of people think they’re more enlightened than they actually are
‘Let’s start with what we don’t know: the precise circumstances under which a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., shot dead an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.

‘But here’s what evidence does strongly suggest: Young black men in America suffer from widespread racism and stereotyping, by all society — including African-Americans themselves.

‘Research in the last couple of decades suggests that the problem is not so much overt racists. Rather, the larger problem is a broad swath of people who consider themselves enlightened, who intellectually believe in racial equality, who deplore discrimination, yet who harbor unconscious attitudes that result in discriminatory policies and behavior…’

Real Racists are Only a Fraction of the Population
‘…In a 2001 USA Today article, journalist Tara McKelvey called Stormfront “the most visited white supremacist site on the net”. The number of registered users on the site rose from 5,000 in January 2002 to 52,566 in June 2005,[25] by which year it was the 338th largest internet forum, received more than 1,500 hits each weekday and ranked in the top one percent of internet sites in terms of use…’

In 2008, Stormfront got 2,000 new members the day after Obama was elected as President.

If only 2,000 was added in 3 years, the count would still be low today against the US population. Of course the estimate would probably be lower than the true count but still it is very low.

Does racism really exist?

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