Month: December 2016

Carrie Fisher: The Power of Being a Human Honey Badger and Selectively Not Giving a Fuck

As my friend Kevin Kelly put it, 2016 is hungry. It just wants more and more childhood icons. And now, it’s taken Carrie Fisher. For those of you who only know Carrie Fisher’s role as Princess Leia, I’d strongly recommend reading Carrie Fisher’s books. They’re hilarious and they will teach you something important. Carrie Fisher was a human honey badger. She just didn’t give a fuck.  If you doubt it, just check out this article where you’ll find such gems as this: She responded to the controversy over the Slave Leia outfit by explaining: “I think that’s stupid. The father who flipped out about it, ‘What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?’ Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.” Even when she’s brought onboard the Death Star, she still doesn’t give a fuck! The Death Star!!! In real life, Carrie Fisher didn’t give a fuck either because at a certain point when you’re a huge star and everyone is telling you what to do and what to think you get exhausted and then you cope with drugs and alcohol and then after rehab you discover something important: whatever can be very clever. Working with teenagers, you...

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Here’s How You Make 2017 The Year You Get Your Hoverboard: Unleash The Wisdom of the Crowds By Updating People’s Cultural Software

The hoverboard. It’s pretty much the symbol of everything we wanted out of the future that we never got. Sure. Sure. The iPhone is cool. And, yes, we’re grateful for what’s coming in virtual reality. But what we all really, really want is a hoverboard. And yet, we don’t have it. Why not? Well, a lot of it comes down to the fact that most of us still don’t understand how human intelligence works. If you don’t understand the brain well, then you can’t really use it to invent the stuff you want most. This is the graphic that is key to understanding human intelligence. At birth, a human toddler is only more intelligence than a chimp or an orangutan in one area: social intelligence. This social intelligence is what enables humans to learn from other humans. It’s how we upload culture from other humans. Over time, that culture faces evolutionary pressure and you end up with better and better culture. Just look at what has happened to human tools over time. We went from stone tools to bronze tools to iron tools. Actually, just compare what has happened to music players in the last few decades: The culture that has produced most of these technological marvels has certain core, cultural traits that set it up to innovate. They love science. They embrace mistakes, analyze them and use them to...

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How Do Humans Handle Fundamentalism in the 24th Century?

I know a lot of you’ve been wondering about what happened over the holidays on MixedMentalArts.Club. To many of you, it seemed like madness. Allow me to explain the method. There’s a fantastic episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called The Drumhead. In it, a Starfleet Admiral embarks on a witch hunt. Fortunately, Captain Jean-Luc Picard nips it in the bud before it gets to the mass tortures and executions. At the end, Mr. Worf who went along with the witch hunt because he believed in taking extraordinary measures in the name of security comes to see Captain Picard. Here’s the transcript: Lieutenant Worf: Am I bothering you, captain? Captain Picard: No, please Mr. Worf, come in. Lieutenant Worf: It is over. Admiral Henry has called an end to any more hearings on this matter. Captain Picard: That’s good. Lieutenant Worf: Admiral Satie has left the Enterprise. Captain Picard: We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, it’s all ancient history. And then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly it threatens to start all over again. Lieutenant Worf: I believed her. I-I HELPED her! I did not see what she was. Captain Picard: Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged. Lieutenant Worf: I think, after yesterday, people will not be so ready to trust...

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The 31 Flavors of Fundamentalism

In order to spot a pattern, you have to have seen enough variations on it. The challenge for most people today is that they haven’t had the privilege of moving between many cultures and so they’re often acting with only one or two data points. Within science, it’s known you can’t draw good conclusions from one or two data points. You have to gather a large and diverse data set. Then, you can spot the pattern. The quality, variety and clarity of the data set determines the quality of the conclusion. Darwin had to see a lot of different species to be able to see the simple pattern of evolution. However, in the Reluctant Mr. Darwin, David Quammen makes an interesting observation. Alfred Russel Wallace reached the same conclusions in a fraction of the time that Darwin did. The interesting question is why? Well, it turns out that a lot of it comes down to the nature of the data they gathered. Wallace paid his bills by collecting as many types of a species as possible. Then, he stuffed them, preserved them and sent them back to England where wealthy collectors would buy them. The result was that he was seeing a lot of variations within species. Darwin, on the other hand, was generally relying only on one member of each species. That all changed when for seven years...

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What Is The Sound of Raising Taxes On the Rich and Reducing Government Waste?

The great struggle for Americans (and Westerners more generally) is their crippling atomism. They struggle to manage the concept of both. I know this struggle. I’ve dealt with it. The struggle is real. Here’s the South African Trevor Noah on that: After ceding the spotlight to Larry Wilmore on Wednesday, Trevor Noah made the latest series of unarmed black men killed by police the centerpiece of The Daily Show Thursday night. He began with a plea for the two opposing sides in this conflict to find common ground. And this was before two snipers left at least four officers dead during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. “Did you guys see the shooting that happened two days ago?” Noah asked his audience at the top of the show, referring to the death of Alton Sterling. “Because don’t worry, if you missed it, there was another one yesterday,” he added of Philando Castile. “You know, the hardest part of having a conversation surrounding police shootings in America, it always feels like in America, it’s like if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else,” the host said. While he said he understands how someone can be a “cat person or a dog person” or like the Red Sox versus the Yankees. “But with police shootings, it shouldn’t have to work that way,” he continued. “For instance, if you’re pro Black Lives Matter you’re...

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