Month: March 2017

An Intellectual Terrorist’s Manifesto: A Guide to Non-Violent Conflict in the Age of Social Media

For the last decade, I have been trying to solve a problem most people don’t even realize exists. If you’re a non-scientist you probably believe that if scientists had found a solution to a problem that it would be implemented. After all, if there was a cure to cancer, wouldn’t drug companies jump all over it? Of course, they would. There’s money to be made there. However, for those of us who have wandered around within science, a different problem becomes clear: the answers exist but not in a form that most people can appreciate. Not even scientists. In 2016,...

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The Netherlands: The Country of Polders, Directness and Pragmatism

A while ago, my home country – the Netherlands – held its general elections. With a turnout of 82%, the Dutch have chosen a total of thirteen parties to represent them in the House of Representatives for the next several years, none of which received more than 22% of the votes. In the next several months, some of these parties will have to sit down in a closed room, and negotiate an agreement that will allow them to form a majority government for the foreseeable future. Only after this lengthy process will the Dutch people know who their Prime Minister...

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Ep235 – The Art of Charm: Really Mean It

Recently, I appeared on Chris Ryan’s Tangentially Speaking podcast and afterwards had a conversation with Euan Grant in the Mixed Mental Arts Facebook Group. Euan said something really interesting: “Have started listening to Hunter Maats on Tangentially Speaking and like the thought of podcast hosts being on the MMA pod, those that have interviewed many experts, what have they ‘the common person’ learnt? Like when Hunter does a review show with Bryan.” I liked Euan’s idea a lot and, fortunately, I had an interview already scheduled with Jordan Harbinger of the Art of Charm podcast. And so, off we...

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How many best friends can you imagine having? Two? Three? Maybe even five if you’re really social, but probably not fifteen. And definitely not 1,000. There’s a reason they don’t make B/F/F necklaces with that many splits. There are limits to our ability to maintain meaningful relationships with people. That limit is popularly referred to as the Dunbar Number and it hovers around 150. Professor Dunbar explains it as, “the number of people you wouldn’t feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar.” Anyone beyond that number IDFWU. The Dunbar Number also refers to the maximum number of people possible to maintain a stable group. Whether it’s the Hutterites, Gore-Tex, or military companies that number again hovers around 150. Dunbar’s Number comes from the theory that primates create monkeyspheres for protection within the physical groups they live. The number of primates in these monkeyspheres or cliques, as the kids say, is limited by the size of their brains. That number is—you guessed it—150. But hold on. Now that you’re convinced 150 is the magic number you can forget it because Dunbar actually describes a scale of numbers that vary depending on the situation. For instance, you can probably imagine inviting 150 people to your wedding, but you wouldn’t consider them all your best friends. “Yes, the mailman is going to...

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Psst, I’m Secretly Swedish!

For a lot of Americans, our understanding of culture comes down to the holidays we celebrate. Friday was St. Patrick’s Day and with a name like Cate Fogarty it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed a fair amount of corned beef and cabbage, Thin Lizzy, and a few shots of Jameson. But while I may look like a Fogarty, and have definitely been known to drink like one, I am actually way more Swedish than anything else. My maternal grandmother was 100% Swedish and used to say you could get papers on her like a purebred puppy. The Swedes are known for many great things: affordable furniture, meatballs, and social programs to name a few. But as with everything there is also the bad. Jante Law, an informal set of Scandinavian societal rules that discourages individuality and pride in success has given rise to the so-called Swedish Jealousy. At 15, when I dyed my hair hot pink, my mother lost her mind because she’d spent her entire life trying to blend in by wearing beiges and browns. “I don’t understand why you want to stand out?” she asked incredulously. She was raised in a small Wisconsin town surrounded by other Scandinavian-descended Americans who attended Lutheran churches decorated in the same plain brown and beige hues that dominated my mother’s wardrobe. Even modest Catholic churches seem downright gaudy...

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