Category Archives: Mind Hack

Our News Contributes To Ignorance

In 2011, I visited Scotland. While it was not my first time out of the US, it was my first time to Europe. There was so much that I fell in love with on that trip.

For example, I loved the European newspapers.

This may seem like an odd thing to “love” but when you are addicted to information, like I am, you tend to notice how different people interact with information and how the information is presented and what perspective is taken.

European newspapers, news channels, and general European conversations, while often featuring European issues (obviously), also discuss US politics and Middle Eastern happenings, and so on and so on. There was a certain amount of balance regarding the local happenings and the rest of the world.

It is as if there is more to the world than Europe!

By itself, this is an obvious statement. However, let’s look at American newspapers and news channels for a second.

While there IS world news in US channels and newspapers, there is a lot of weight on US happenings. The news is, shall we say, “filtered.”

This is not to say that there is NO filter on European news but the fact that I have to go to the European websites for information about the rest of the world says something about US news.

About two years ago, I started to notice something very odd on the Yahoo! home page. I was slowly seeing more and more world news. This is fine but I also wanted to look at news from the US and maybe something science-y.

When I would go to Yahoo! from any computer other than my own, I would see a lot of stories for celebrities but no world news or I would see a lot of advice pages but not US news.

There is an explanation for this.

The internet is becoming tailored for each user.

Now, I no longer go to Yahoo! for my news but it definitely showed me how I am slowly being put in a bubble without truly realizing it.

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Another Way To Think About Art

We’ve all heard it: the arts improve test scores. The arts are good for us because they improve our soul and because of blah blah blah.

We’ve all heard the advocacy and I am starting to wonder if we are becoming numb to it.

While I still think that advocacy is important, I would like to take another look at this topic and discuss another reason why the arts are important, especially in schools.

The arts help to prevent crime.

I am not saying that the arts completely eliminate crime or that those involved in the arts will not commit a crime ever. I am saying that the arts help to prevent crime.

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“In The Pale Moonlight”

Morality in Science Fiction

I mentioned this in a previous post, but I love Star Trek. I love science fiction in general but Star Trek will always have a special place in my heart. I grew up watching it. I was even named after one of the characters.

Growing up, my parents wanted me to watch smart TV. They were and are nerds.

Now that I’m older, I really do appreciate the writing that goes into most of the science fiction genre. Some science fiction is really cheesy and poorly written or produced but when science fiction gets it right, it really gets it right.

The episode I am going to discuss, “In The Pale Moonlight,” is one such example of “really getting it right.”

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Ever meet anyone that can taste shapes or words? Or someone that identifies letters and numbers with a color?

In my case, I hear sound in color.

I actually also associate letters and numbers and words with color as well as days of the week, and months of the year. All of these have a vivid color association but I identify most strongly with my color-hearing.

It is called synesthesia. It is a cross wiring of the brain where two (or more) senses interact or one sense triggers another at the same time. It is involuntary, so anyone that has this can not control it. It is not a disease or contagious. It is thought to have a genetic link and is more common in females.

It is quite wonderful to be honest and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

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Without the Humanities

Human History Without The Humanities

I frequently engage in this train of thought: what would the world and human history be like if the humanities had never existed?

A slightly related train of thought includes: what would our lives be like without humanities majors and degrees? Or what if the humanities in all the various forms were not taught at colleges and universities?

I began contemplating this line of inquiry more frequently after a wonderful conversation with one of my best friends. At the time of this post, she is a doctoral student at an Ivy League University where she is in a hard science field. At the time of our conversation, we were in the senior year of our undergraduate school and agonizing over which graduate school to attend.

The conversation turned to an intense but friendly debate: humanities vs hard science and their methodologies and contributions to society and all the subcategories one can think of within this debate.

Her job was to argue that the hard sciences are superior in importance and my job was to argue that they are equal in importance.

Now, before I continue, I would like to say that my friend is an accomplished poet and writer. She is also a lover of music, art, philosophy, and culture. She is truly a renaissance woman and while science is her career, the humanities are very, very important to her.

Quick note: while the humanities and education is my career, I do like to read about the hard sciences and keep up in the same way that she keeps up with current and past cultural happenings.

However, we engaged in this debate to see what would happen. It was easily one of the best conversations of my life.

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