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photogallery

Are you posting photos online? You may be sharing more information than you want to…Read More…

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Filmmaker Werner Herzog has created a short documentary that captures the devastating effects of driving while texting. This is transparency at its most brutal. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but everybody should. Especially those who insist on fiddling with their phones while they drive.Read More…

528px-Punishment_sisyph

So here’s the deal.  A psychology professor at the University of New Mexico sent out the following fat-shaming tweet: Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth. This statement is absurd as it is obnoxious. Even if you buy into the idea that obesity represents a character flaw, that anyone who is obese must have become so out of a lack of “willpower,” there are too many successful obese people in the world for this to be remotely true. Plenty of fat people have written dissertations. #truth. So this guy is a jerk, stipulated. Still, I’m not sure that even I would be ready to lay on him the battery of punishments he is being subjected. He is being required to: Not serve on any committee involving the admission of graduate students to the…

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hafid

Back when I first started this blog I write a piece about how difficult a bell can be to un-ring in the digital age because of the magnificent infrastructure we have created which enables information to persist. But transparency takes many forms, and it isn’t always the information itself that persists, so much as it is the infrastructure for capturing and relaying it. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the case of the young woman whose iPhone was stolen from her on a beach in Spain. The thief has been making good use of her phone ever since, which she has been able to track because all of the photos taken on the phone are still going straight to her drop-box (oops.) Not one to waste this wonderful digital content that is coming her way, the phone’s original owner has started a unique blog over on Tumblr: Life of…

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pentaxme

Science fiction writer Charlie Stross, contemplating the world that the new-born English prince will grow up in, makes a very interesting observation:  Right now we’re living through the Photography Singularity; 10% of all photos ever taken were taken in the past 12 months, and the exponential up-slope is continuing. My high school graduation gift was a 35 mm camera, a highly sophisticated (for its time) Pentax ME. I took a lot of pictures with that camera, more than with any camera I owned before or since — until I got my iPhone. I would estimate that, of all the photos I have taken in my life, 50% of those have been in the past four years. So I am ahead of the singularity*, but probably in part because I have three children age four and under. Some of you may have seen this photo, which brilliantly captures what Stross is…

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murdermyhusband

There is a lot to be learned from this hidden-camera video of a woman trying to hire a hit man (actually an undercover cop) to murder her husband. I’ve compiled a few tips for the would-be solicitor of a spouse-assassin: 1. Be Flexible At first she says it needs to be on Thursday, but then she re-thinks. Friday might work. Even Saturday is a possibility. And yes, she would much prefer that the killer do his deed outside of her home to avoid the mess (giggle.) But if it has to be done in her house, so be it. 2. Be Nice One of the sweetest moments in this video has to be where she explains how much easier this plan is than divorce because, among other things, she doesn’t want to break her husband’s heart. I’m sure I speak for all married men when I say yes, she has…

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treyvon

For some keen insights into human nature, a great place to visit is the If You Can’t Afford to Tip, You Can’t Afford to Go Out and Eat blog. Some of the reasons people give for not leaving a tip are…unexpected, to say the least. Can’t tip — having twins And then sometimes people are just mean: I “forgot” to leave the tip By and large, reasons for not tipping fall into two categories. 1) Some issue with the food, the service, the ambiance, whatever. 2) I personally have a problem and now it’s your problem. Seeing as there is arguably some justification for not leaving a tip (or for discounting the tip) in category number 1, and seeing as it will often come down to a he said / she said between a potentially incompetent food server and  a potentially obnoxious restaurant patron, let’s focus just on category number 2….

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Thumbs-down-icon

While most of us probably use them as some kind of guide when making an online purchase decision, there are already plenty of reasons no to trust online product reviews: the reviewer may have some agenda, the reviewer may be an idiot, etc. And now some fascinating research gives a new and somewhat unexpected reason to distrust anonymous reviews: a certain number of them come from people who have probably never bought the product they are writing about. Because these  made-up reviews tend to be very negative (significantly more negative than reviews coming from those who actually have used the product) there is a natural tendency to suspect that they are coming from competitors. But the research says: probably not. Mysteriously, these reviews come from people who are devoted customers of the retailer whose products they are bad-mouthing. How’s that, you might well ask? This is hard to wrap your…

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purelove

[Oddly enough, this post contains some very out-of-date Game of Thrones spoilers. Just saying.] This is funny and it kind of makes you think: 23 Pictures that Prove Society Is Doomed So the joke here is that we’re missing out on the most significant experiences of our lives while staring at smart phones. I very much doubt that any of the photos depict the life-altering moments described in the captions, but you get the point. We’re throwing our lives away. A few years ago the gag would have been around showing people sitting at desktop computers. When I was a kid, someone from the older generation was always going on about how much more fun and real childhood was before TV. It’s all the same message. And I’m calling bullshit. Before TV (and computers, smartphones, and video games), kids used to play outside. Kids still play outside. Today they do…

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happiness

Owen Sanders at the Frontier Neuropschology blog presents a highly readable summary of what the field of positive psychology has to tell us about human happiness. The findings aren’t terribly surprising (at least they weren’t to me) but it is handy having everything compiled together in one place like this. First and perhaps most importantly, we need to come to terms with what doesn’t cause happiness. Genetics has something to do with it, accounting for perhaps as much as half of our happiness, but then again, maybe less than a quarter of it. Meanwhile the factor we tend to think of as most closely associated with happiness — life circumstances — accounts for a lot less than we think. It turns out that when really bad (or really good) things happen to us, the long-term impact on our happiness — after the initial shock wears off — is about a 10% bounce…

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