Weekly Choice: on Ideas, Atheism and Absurd Strangers

The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine

IdeaMachine-Post“The way to have good ideas is to get close to killing yourself. It’s  like weightlifting. When you lift slightly more than you can handle, you  get stronger. When you cut yourself open, you bleed ideas. If you’re broke and close to death, you have to start coming up with ideas. (…) The problem is  this: you’re NOT in a state of panic most of the time. States of panic  are special and have to be revered. Think about the times in your life that you remember – it’s exactly those moments when you hit bottom and  were forced to come up with ideas, to get stronger, to connect with some  inner force inside you with the outer force. (…) IDEAS ARE THE CURRENCY OF LIFE. Not money. Money gets depleted until you go broke.  But good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you  better experiences, buy you more time, save your life. Financial wealth  is a side effect of the “runner’s high” of your idea muscle.

Read the rest at:

http://www.jamesaltucher.com/

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TED’s Best Of The Week! Richard Dawkins On Militant Atheism!

 A fiery, funny, powerful talk.

Description=Richard Dawkins Photograph: Jeremy Young 05-12-2006

Richard Dawkins urges all atheists to openly state their position — and to fight the incursion of the church into politics and science. Dawkins is known for his work as a biologist even since his best selling book “The Selfish Gene”. Since, he is combating what he sees as danger in the education system, which is religious studies, particularly, Creationism. In this talk, he raise some interesting points to reflect upon.

“In my view, not only is science corrosive to religion; religion is corrosive to science. It teaches people to be satisfied with trivial, supernatural non-explanations and blinds them to the wonderful real explanations that we have within our grasp. It teaches them to accept authority, revelation and faith instead of always insisting on evidence.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_militant_atheism#

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How to Take Notes You Will Remember

Laptop versus hand-written notes: what the difference reveals about memory

“Two psychologists were inspired to carry out the research after noticing a problem with recalling notes taken on a laptop. Pam Mueller, a psychologist at Princeton University, found that switching back to a pen and paper from a laptop had been beneficial.

They set out to test this hunch scientifically by having 65 college students watch TED talks and then have them answer questions about what they’d learnt (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014).

The questions, which were asked 30 minutes after watching the video, fell into two categories:

  • Factual-recall: for example, “Approximately how many years ago did the Indus civilization exist?”
  • Conceptual-application: for example, “How do Japan and Sweden differ in their approaches to equality within their societies?”

note on rockWhat they found was little difference in factual recall: people could remember about the same proportion of facts in both groups. The big difference came in what people had understood conceptually from the lecture. Here it turned out that the paper-and-pen note-takers had retained a significantly larger proportion of conceptual information. The reason for this difference comes down to the mental processes involved in laptop versus hand-written notes.”

http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/05/how-to-take-notes-you-will-remember.php

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Book Of The Week! The Stranger, by Albert Camus!

The Stranger (French: L’Étranger) is a novel by Albert Camus a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher, published in 1942. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism.

Albert Camus seeks for answer of eternal questions. How to live if life is tragic and futile?  How to live in a world where man is a stranger to himself and to the world around him? Meursault is faced with madness of the world, its’ absurdity and inhumanity. He defends rationality and truth, but in the world devoid of illusions and light, he feels like stranger and lives meaningless life. To the life and world that surrounds him, he is indifferent.

In January 1955, Camus said, “I summarized The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.”

“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.”

― Albert Camus, The Stranger

On the link below you can watch Italian movie based on this novel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqfzFmpoTvQ

Weekly choice, by peers

Hey Congress! 4 ways to break a stalemate!

Converse. Convince. Compromise. Cooperate

“Partnership is not easy but it requires the continual application of we can call the four C’s – conversing, convincing, compromising, and cooperating. These practices are fundamental to the biggest “c” word in management – communication – open, honest and mutual.

Mutual benefit requires mutual consent.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2013/10/08/hey-congress-4-ways-to-break-a-stalemate/

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Richard Dawkins answers the question: what makes us human? | BBC Radio 2

evolutionProfessor Richard Dawkins reflects on the qualities he thinks make us human, and discusses his influential theories with Jeremy Vine.

“Darwin would be fascinated if he could come back and see what is now known. We are very, very unique species. Make the point that other species are unique too. But we are unique in a very special way, in our ability to think, in our ability to place ourselves in universe, understand where we came from. No other species comes close to that.”

http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/11/28/richard-dawkins-answers-the-question-what-makes-us-human-bbc-radio-2

Here’s another link about some of the many talks by Dawkins:

http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_militant_atheism.html

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Can Long Distance Relationships Work?

About three million Americans have long-distance relationships

“…our culture emphasizes being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly stand against all these values. People don’t have to be so pessimistic about long-distance romance. The long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.”

None of this research, though, tells us anything about which types of people can cope with long distance relationships. While some people may naturally have the skills required, others may not.

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/12/can-long-distance-relationships-work.php

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Ted’s best of the week!

iO Tillet Wright thanks to her parents for not asking her to define herself as a child. Her experience of growing up without check boxes like “female”, “male”, “gay” or “straight” thoroughly infuses her art.

“Sometimes just the question ‘what do you do?’ can feel like somebody’s opening a tiny little box and asking you to squeeze yourself inside of it.”

“There are just as many jerks and sweethearts and Democrats and Republicans and jocks and queens and every other polarization you can possibly think of within the LGBT community as there are within the human race.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/io_tillett_wright_fifty_shades_of_gay.html

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Person of the week! Homage a symbol of a century: Nelson Mandela

Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013) was born in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu. Mandela was the person that brought peace to one of the most problematic regions in the XXth century. The first black president of South Africa united people, identities of different race, color and culture. All under the same roof and vision. This great man’s funeral will be held on Sunday, December 15, after the emotional 10 days farewell.

“Our family was deeply moved by our visit to Madiba’s former cell on Robben Island during our recent trip to South Africa, and we will forever draw strength and inspiration from his extraordinary example of moral courage, kindness, and humility,” Obama said in a statement.

Mandela ground breaking work was mainly political and social to end the South African apartheid regime. He was most known for his policy and attitude of forgiveness, fostering racial reconciliation while avoiding a failure in empty retaliation out of anger and vengeance. Thus this Rolihlahla (“troublemaker” in colloquial Xhosa) became the most appreciated peacemaker this modern world has even seen.

A short biography:

http://www.biography.com/people/nelson-mandela-9397017

p.s. – Why Nelson?

“No one in my family had ever attended school […] On the first day of school my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why this particular name I have no idea.”

— Mandela, 1994