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What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity. | Sam Harris, Mark Epstein & more | Big Think What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity. | Sam Harris, Mark Epstein & more | Big Think
18 hours ago En
What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity. Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer. Trying to pin down what makes you depend on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity. In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience. Check Bruce Hood's latest book "The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity" at https://amzn.to/3izeFQy ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: GISH JEN: In the West, we feel that we must differentiate ourselves from others, endlessly. We have a model of self where the self is kind of like an avocado. We have a pit inside of us. The pit is our self, our essence, our identity. It is the thing to which we must above all be true. And of course, very importantly, we see that pit as unique. So that everything we do we want to show, to reflect that pit, to reflect that self. And we want it to be unique. In Asia, people frequently have a flexi-self, so it's a different kind of self. It is a self that's oriented more to duty than to rights, for instance. And very importantly, it is not, it does not have a cultural mandate to be different and to be unique. So if you ask, are they individuals? Of course they're individuals. Are they different? Of course they are different. But of course, for them, it's like, well of course I'm different, why would I make a big deal of that, right? The difference is, how much significance do we attach to that difference? In other words, do we think it's very important to differentiate ourselves from others? So one of the ways that we do that, of course, is through choice. Choice in the West is very, very important. Everyone is always making choices. And honestly, a lot of those choices make us a little anxious. If you do a study where you are just sitting in an empty room, and you're making a choice, and you come from a more individualistic culture, you actually show signs of a little anxiety. Every little choice that you make, even in private, because it's defining of who you are, is a little loaded. They feel like, they just choose. When they make those choices it doesn't have this overlay. And that's one of the reasons they feel that actually we are less free than they are. So they think that we are the ones who are kind of in this prison where, like I say, every moment we must define ourselves. Well, isn't that awful? And of course the way that we live, we feel that, we want to be freely electing to live the way that we live. And so even when we're doing things like taking care of the elderly, for example, we want to feel that it's an extension of our great love, and the nature of our being to be able to take care of the elderly. Well, the other day I was having dinner with somebody who said, I just don't feel that. And it's just very, very hard. So somebody from a more flexi-self, or interdependent culture, would say, it's just your duty. And so for them, it's like, they help their elderly parent. They just go take care of the elderly parent because that's their duty. For them, this is really liberating. You just go do it and you don't expect it to be an expression of yourself. It's just what people do. From their point of view, we have made things very, very hard for ourselves to demand that everything should be an expression of our inner nature. MICHAEL PUETT: We often like to think that the way to become a good person is to look within, find one's true self, the sort of natural self that we have. And once you've found that self, that natural thing that you are, the goal is to be sincere and authentic to that true self. So if we stick to what we naturally are meant to be, the gifts that we're naturally endowed with, that's how we can be a sincere, authentic person. Now, a lot of our Chinese philosophers would say, that sounds good, but is on the contrary extremely restraining—and constraining—to what we could do. The fact is, if we're messy creatures, as many of them would say, what we perhaps are in our daily lives are simply people whose emotions are being pulled out all the time, by people we encounter, interactions we have. And over time, those responses fall into kind of ruts and patterns that can just be repeated endlessly... To read the full transcript, please visit https://bigthink.com/videos/self-identity
4 lessons the US learned from the COVID-19 pandemic | Michael Dowling | Big Think 4 lessons the US learned from the COVID-19 pandemic | Michael Dowling | Big Think
3 days ago En
4 lessons the US learned from the COVID-19 pandemic Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the US commences its early stages of COVID-19 vaccinations, Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, argues that now is not the time to relax. "There are lessons to be learned by systems like ours based upon our experience," says Dowling, adding that "we know what these lessons are, and we're working on them." The four major takeaways that Dowling has identified are that the United States was unprepared and slow to react, that we need a domestic supply chain so that we aren't relying on other countries, that there needs to be more domestic and international cooperation, and that leadership roles in public health must be filled by public health experts. If and when another pandemic hits (in the hopefully distant future), the country—and by extension the world—will be in a much better place to deal with it. Learn more about Northwell's pandemic response here: https://www.northwell.edu/news/spotlight-on-lessons-learned-from-covid-19 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MICHAEL DOWLING: Michael J. Dowling is President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, more than 700 outpatient locations, $12 billion in annual revenue and 68,000+ employees. One of health care’s most-influential executives, Mr. Dowling has received numerous awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an honorary degree from the prestigious Queen’s University Belfast and his selection as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC. He also serves as chair of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Read Michael Dowling's latest book "Leading Through a Pandemic: The Inside Story of Humanity, Innovation, and Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Crisis" at http://amzn.to/3oXBArp ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MICHAEL DOWLING: My fear is that this dissipates, disappears, or quasi-disappears after a vaccine is put in place, and then people relax and say, "Woo, this is wonderful. We can kind of go back to normal." But we all know that there is no such thing as going back to the old normal. There is a new normal now. We had over 17,000 patients in our hospitals. We had over 3,500 in our hospitals on a daily basis. There are lessons to be learned by systems like ours based upon our experience. But we know what these lessons are, and we're working on them. There's a larger issue though, and that is what are the lessons we learned as a country, now? Well, one is that we were completely unprepared. We were slow to react. We didn't have the testing capability to test to find out whether or not people had it or didn't have it. We didn't have the supply chain. One lesson, as a result, is that we have to have domestic manufacturing of supplies. We should not have to be going around the world searching for what country can give us gloves and masks or shields. We should have that automatically being able to be developed here in the United States, so you're not completely reliant on a foreign country, especially the foreign country that got dramatically disrupted itself. The lesson about cooperation: You can't do this in isolation. You have to work with others to make sure that we work together to prepare for the future. The other lesson here is that, you know, we have to make sure that we give leadership roles to our public health experts. This is a public health issue. So, if we stand back from it, and you sit down, we know we have to invest and should be investing in the CDC more. We should be dramatically updating our stockpiles. We should be developing domestic production capability. And we should be working in tandem with other countries to make sure that we are prepared in the future. And we have to be forgetting those things that don't work anymore. And then, creating what the future should look like. How should we look like a decade from now? How should we look like five years from now? Let's imagine we have a humongous pandemic that's four times worse than this one. What do we do? You don't want to be sitting there when that happens and saying, "Oh my God, we should've prepared from the last one." Now is the time to ask that question and respond."
The incredible physics behind quantum computing | Brian Greene, Michio Kaku, & more | Big Think The incredible physics behind quantum computing | Brian Greene, Michio Kaku, & more | Big Think
1 week ago En
The incredible physics behind quantum computing Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- While today's computers—referred to as classical computers—continue to become more and more powerful, there is a ceiling to their advancement due to the physical limits of the materials used to make them. Quantum computing allows physicists and researchers to exponentially increase computation power, harnessing potential parallel realities to do so. Quantum computer chips are astoundingly small, about the size of a fingernail. Scientists have to not only build the computer itself but also the ultra-protected environment in which they operate. Total isolation is required to eliminate vibrations and other external influences on synchronized atoms; if the atoms become 'decoherent' the quantum computer cannot function. "You need to create a very quiet, clean, cold environment for these chips to work in," says quantum computing expert Vern Brownell. The coldest temperature possible in physics is -273.15 degrees C. The rooms required for quantum computing are -273.14 degrees C, which is 150 times colder than outer space. It is complex and mind-boggling work, but the potential for computation that harnesses the power of parallel universes is worth the chase. Check Chris Bernhardt's book "Quantum Computing for Everyone (MIT Press)" at http://amzn.to/3nSg5a8 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MICHIO KAKU: Years ago, we physicists predicted the end of Moore's Law, which says a computer power doubles every 18 months. But we also, on the other hand, proposed a positive program—perhaps molecular computers, quantum computers can take over when silicon power is exhausted. In fact, already we see a slowing down of Moore's Law. Computer power simply cannot maintain its rapid exponential rise using standard silicon technology. The two basic problems are heat and leakage. That's the reason why the age of silicon will eventually come to a close. No one knows when, but as I mentioned we already now can see the slowing down of Moore's Law, and in 10 years it could flatten out completely. So what's the problem? The problem is that a Pentium chip today has a layer almost down to 20 atoms across, 20 atoms across. When that layer gets down to about five atoms across, it's all over. You have two effects, heat. The heat generated will be so intense that the chip will melt. You can literally fry an egg on top of the chip, and the chip itself begins to disintegrate. And second of all, leakage. You don't know where the electron is anymore. The quantum theory takes over. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle says you don't know where that electron is anymore, meaning it could be outside the wire, outside the Pentium chip or inside the Pentium chip. So there is an ultimate limit set by the laws of thermodynamics and set by the laws of quantum mechanics, as to how much computing power you can do with silicon. VERN BROWNELL: I refer to today's computers as classical computers. They compute largely in the same way they have for the past 60 or 70 years, since John Von Neumann and others invented the first electronic computers back in the '40s. And we've had amazing progress over those years. Think of all the developments there've been on the hardware side and the software side over those 60 or 70 years and how much energy and development has been put into those areas. And we've achieved marvelous things with that classical computing environment, but it has its limits too, and people sometimes ask, "Why would we need any more powerful computers?" These applications, these problems that we're trying to solve, are incredibly hard problems and aren't well-suited for the architecture of classical computing. So I see quantum computing as another set of tools, another set of resources for scientists, researchers, computer scientists, programmers, to develop and enhance some of these capabilities to really change the world in a much better way than we're able to today with classical computers. BRIAN GREENE: A quantum computer is a device, a technological device that in principle would harness the full capacity of quantum mechanics, to undertake calculations that a standard computer would be absolutely unable to achieve. One way of thinking about it is this. There's an approach to quantum mechanics where one imagines that there are many, in some sense, parallel realities moving along in some larger environment, if you will, where, for instance, if I want to measure an electron, quantum theory says, well, there's a 50% chance it's there and a 50% chance it's over there, and then what does that mean? Well, one interpretation... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/quantum-computing-explained
Why governing AI is crucial to human survival | Allan Dafoe | Big Think Why governing AI is crucial to human survival | Allan Dafoe | Big Think
2 weeks ago En
Why governing AI is crucial to human survival Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The question of conscious artificial intelligence dominating future humanity is not the most pressing issue we face today, says Allan Dafoe of the Center for the Governance of AI at Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute. Dafoe argues that AI's power to generate wealth should make good governance our primary concern. With thoughtful systems and policies in place, humanity can unlock the full potential of AI with minimal negative consequences. Drafting an AI constitution will also provide the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of past structures to avoid future conflicts. Building a framework for governance will require us to get past sectarian differences and interests so that society as a whole can benefit from AI in ways that do the most good and the least harm. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ALLAN DAFOE: Allan Dafoe is an associate professor in the International Politics of AI and director of the Centre for the Governance of AI at the Future of Humanity Institute at University of Oxford. He specializes in AI governance, AI race dynamics, and AI international politics. Dafoe's prior work centered around examinations of the causes of The Liberal Peace, and the role of reputation and honor as motives for war. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: ALLAN DAFOE: AI is likely to be a profoundly transformative general purpose technology that changes virtually every aspect of society, the economy, politics, and the military. And this is just the beginning. The issue doesn't come down to consciousness or "Will AI want to dominate the world or will it not?" That's not the issue. The issue is: "Will AI be powerful and will it be able to generate wealth?" It's very likely that it will be able to do both. And so just given that, the governance of AI is the most important issue facing the world today and especially in the coming decades. My name is Allan Dafoe, I am the director of the Center for the Governance of AI at the Future of Humanity Institute at University of Oxford. The core part of my research is to think about the governance problem with respect to AI. So this is the problem of how the world can develop AI in a way that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the risks. NARRATOR: So why is it so important for us to govern artificial intelligence? Well, first, let's just consider how natural human intelligence has impacted the world on its own. DAFOE: In many ways it's incredible how far we've gone with human intelligence. This human brain, which had all sorts of energy constraints and physical constraints, has been able to build up this technological civilization, which has produced cellphones and buildings, education, penicillin, and flight. Virtually everything that we have to be thankful for is a product of human intelligence and human cooperation. With artificial intelligence, we can amplify that and eventually extend it beyond our imagination. And it's hard for us to know now what that will mean for the economy, for society, for the social impacts and the possibilities that it will bring. NARRATOR: AI isn't the first technology that our society has had to grapple with how to govern. In fact, many technologies like cars, guns, radio, the internet are all subject to governance. What sets AI apart is the kind of impact it can have on society and on every other technology it touches. DAFOE: So if we govern AI well, there's likely to be substantial advances in medicine, transportation, helping to reduce global poverty and [it will] help us address climate change. The problem is if we don't govern it well, it will also produce these negative externalities in society. Social media may make us more lonely, self-driving cars may cause congestion, autonomous weapons could cause risks of flash escalations and war or other kinds of military instability. So the first layer is to address these unintended consequences of the advances in AI that are emerging. Then there's this bigger challenge facing the governance of AI, which is really the question of where do we want to go? NARRATOR: The way we structure our governance of AI is crucial, possibly to the survival of our species. When we consider how impactful this technology can be, any system that governs its use must be carefully constructed. DAFOE: There are many examples where a society has stumbled into very harmful situations—World War I perhaps being one of the more illustrative ones—where no one leader really wanted to have this war but, nevertheless, they were... To read the full transcript, please visit https://bigthink.com/videos/ai-governance
Michio Kaku: 3 mind-blowing predictions about the future | Big Think Michio Kaku: 3 mind-blowing predictions about the future | Big Think
2 weeks ago En
Michio Kaku: 3 mind-blowing predictions about the future Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Carl Sagan believed humanity needed to become a multi-planet species as an insurance policy against the next huge catastrophe on Earth. Now, Elon Musk is working to see that mission through, starting with a colony of a million humans on Mars. Where will our species go next? Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku looks decades into the future and makes three bold predictions about human space travel, the potential of 'brain net', and our coming victory over cancer. "[I]n the future, the word 'tumor' will disappear from the English language," says Kaku. "We will have years of warning that there is a colony of cancer cells growing in our body. And our descendants will wonder: How could we fear cancer so much?" ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MICHIO KAKU: Dr. Michio Kaku is the co-founder of string field theory, and is one of the most widely recognized scientists in the world today. He has written 4 New York Times Best Sellers, is the science correspondent for CBS This Morning and has hosted numerous science specials for BBC-TV, the Discovery/Science Channel. His radio show broadcasts to 100 radio stations every week. Dr. Kaku holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics at the City College of New York (CUNY), where he has taught for over 25 years. He has also been a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study as well as New York University (NYU). Read Michio Kaku's latest book "The Future of Humanity: Our Destiny in the Universe" at http://amzn.to/2X9RRNE ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MICHIO KAKU: We are entering what I call the next golden era of space exploration. We have not just new energy and new financing and money coming from Silicon Valley, we also have a new vision emerging. For Elon Musk of SpaceX it's to create a multi-planet species. However, for Jeff Bezos of Amazon, he wants to make Earth into a park so that all the heavy industries, all the pollution, goes into outer space. And Jeff Bezos wants to set an Amazon-type delivery system connecting the earth to the moon. And so he wants to lift all the heavy industries off the planet Earth to make Earth a paradise and to put all the heavy industries in outer space. Now, I once talked to Carl Sagan and he said that because the earth is in the middle of a shooting gallery of asteroids and comets and meteors, it's inevitable that we will be hit with a planet buster. Something like what hit the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, we need an insurance policy. Now, he was clear to say that we're not talking about moving the population of the earth into outer space—that costs too much money. And we have problems of our own on the earth like global warming. We have to deal with those problems on the earth not flee to outer space. But as an insurance policy, we have to make sure that humans become a two-planet species. These are the words of Carl Sagan. And now, of course, Elon Musk has revived this vision by talking about a multi-planet species. He wants to put up to a million colonists on the planet Mars, sent to Mars by his rockets financed by a combination of public and private funding, including fusion rockets, ramjet fusion rockets, including anti-matter rockets. Some of these rockets, of course, their technologies won't be available till the next 100 years. However, the laws of physics make it possible to send postage-stamp-size chips to the nearby stars. So think of a chip, perhaps this big, on a parachute and have thousands of them sent into outer space energized by perhaps 800 megawatts of laser power. By shooting this gigantic bank of laser energy into outer space, by energizing all these mini-parachutes you could then begin to accelerate them to about 20% the speed of light. This is with doable technology today. It's just a question of engineering. It's a question of political will and economics but there's no physics, there's no law of physics preventing you from shooting these chips to 20% the speed of light. That means Proxima Centauri, part of the Alpha Centauri triple star system, could be within the range of such a device. Now think about that. That means that within 20 years, after 20 years of launch, we might be able to have the first starship go to a nearby planet. And it turns out that Proxima Centauri B is an Earth-like planet that circles around the closest star to the planet Earth—what a coincidence. So it means that we've already staked out our first destination for visitation by an interstellar starship. And that... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/prediction-michio-kaku
Habits: How to be successful every day | Dan Ariely, Gretchen Rubin & more | Big Think Habits: How to be successful every day | Dan Ariely, Gretchen Rubin & more | Big Think
3 weeks ago En
Habits: How to be successful every day Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Habits, both good and bad, are pre-made decisions that makeup around 40 percent of our day and require no real conscious thought. In order to regain control, resist environmental temptations, and reduce your bad habits, it helps to understand the three parts of a habit loop: the cue (or trigger), the behavior itself, and the reward. Gretchen Rubin, Dan Ariely, Charles Duhigg, Adam Alter, and others explain how you can successfully hack your habits by shifting away from goal-based achievement markers to system-based processes; learning the difference between rewards and treats; and thinking less about immediate gains and more about long-term benefits. Regardless of what some people might try to sell you, there is no "magic answer" when it comes to changing habits, says Rubin. You have to find what works best for you. Read Gretchen Rubin's latest book "Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness" at https://amzn.to/3rrMNlz ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: GRETCHEN RUBIN: The key thing about a habit really comes down to decision-making because sometimes people think about it's something that you do repeatedly, or you know, it unfolds over time. But really the key thing about a habit is that you're not making a decision. You're not deciding whether to brush your teeth. You're not deciding whether to use a seatbelt. You're not deciding whether to go to the gym first thing in the morning. You've already decided, and the advantage of a habit is that once something's on automatic pilot, then the brain doesn't have to use any energy, or willpower to make a decision. You've already made that decision. You're just moving forward. And so, it happens easily without any thought, without any willpower, without any effort. You're just on cruise control, and then you can do what you wanna get done. Habit is like the invisible architecture of everyday life. Research shows that something like 40% of what we do every day we do in pretty much the same way and in the same context. So it's easy to see that if you have habits that work for you, you're much more likely to be happier, healthy, and more productive. If you have habits that don't work for you, it's really gonna drag you down, because such a big part of our days is taken up by habits. CHARLES DUHIGG: And this gets to the way that habits work, which is that there's this thing called the habit loop. There's three parts to it. There's first a cue, which is a trigger for a behavior, and then the behavior itself, which we usually refer to as a routine, or scientists refer to as routine, and then there's the reward, and the reward is actually why the habit happens in the first place. It's how your brain sort of decides should I remember this pattern for the future or not? And the cue and the reward become neurologically intertwined until a sense of craving emerges that drives your behavior. And this actually explains so much of our lives, and not only our lives, but also how companies function. DAN ARIELY: So what happened is that the world around us is designed to tempt us. You know, one of the principles from behavioral economics is choice architecture, the idea that we, when we are placed in an environment, we make decisions as a function of the environment we're in. Think about the environment that we're in. What is it about? Is it about our long-term health? Or is it about the short-term profits of that environment? You walk down the street, there's a coffee shop. What does this coffee shop want? They want you to be healthy in 30 years from now, or do you want them to, they, do they want you to buy another coffee right now? Dunkin' Donuts, what is their optimization function? Are they trying to get you to be healthy in 20 years, or to buy another donut now? Your cell phone, what is it trying to do, to get you to be a productive citizen in two years, or to check your phone a couple of more times today? So what happened is that we are in an environment that tempts us all the time. These temptations are only increasing, and because of that, we fail. RUBIN: One of the mysteries of habits is why do we persist in having bad habits when we know they're not good for us, when they know they don't make us happy? But you know, there's usually multiple things going. Maybe it's what you want right this minute versus what you want on the long-term. Or maybe you want two things that are in conflict. JULIA GALEF: One example of rationality in action, just to give you a sense of what it looks like, and how it's relevant, back in... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-break-bad-habits
How ‘heat death’ will destroy the universe | Katie Mack | Big Think How ‘heat death’ will destroy the universe | Katie Mack | Big Think
4 weeks ago En
How ‘heat death’ will destroy the universe Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The expansion of the universe is accelerating as the force of dark energy wins out over the pull of all the universe's collective gravity. As every object in space moves farther and farther away from all other objects in space, the universe will reach a state of maximum entropy, and 'heat death' will ensue. As astrophysicist Dr. Katie Mack points out, heat death is not actually a hot phenomenon—it's also known as the "Big Freeze." Around 100 billion years from now, the universe will have expanded so much that distant galaxies won't be visible from Earth, even with high-powered telescopes. Stars will disappear in a trillion years and new stars will no longer form. The 'good' news is that humans probably won't be around to witness the machine as it breaks down and dies. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KATIE MACK: Dr Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist and assistant professor of physics at North Carolina State University. Her research has focused on dark matter, the early universe, galaxy formation, black holes, cosmic strings, and the ultimate fate of the cosmos. Dr. Mack's latest book, "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)" discusses five universe-ending possibilities proposed by cosmologists and what that grand finale would look like. You can read Dr. Mack's latest book "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)" at http://amzn.to/3aEwsUx ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: KATIE MACK: When we look out into the night sky, we see distant galaxies are moving away from us. They're also moving away from each other and that's just what happens when all of space is getting bigger. Everything is moving away from everything else. We can see the expansion carried out in the past—you know, it's carrying it out now—and we can extrapolate to the future and say it really looks like that expansion is going to continue forever. As that process continues, everything is decaying so much that all that's left is the waste heat of everything that ever existed in the universe. So, you end up with a universe that's just very cold, and dark, and empty, and expanding all the time. That's the most accepted theory for the end of the universe. My name is Katie Mack. I'm an assistant professor of physics at North Carolina State University and my book is called "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)." I thought it would be fun to talk about the far future of the universe. I find the fact that you can write down an equation and tweak a term and then the universe is destroyed... I find that delightful. I study cosmology, which is the study of the universe from beginning to end, from the largest to the smallest scales. Most of the time in cosmology and physics, everything changes on very short timescales; everything's very orderly. And there's something kind of amazing about the idea of just big, destructive forces. The main observation that we have that tells us about the future evolution of the universe is the expansion of the universe. When we look at the expansion of the universe, we see that the expansion of the universe is actually speeding up. And, this is very, very strange. It should be slowing down because there's that immediate kick of the Big Bang. And then all of the stuff in the universe has gravity; all that gravity's going to be pulling back. It should be putting the brakes on that cosmic expansion. In the late 1990s, astronomers measured the expansion of the universe and found, actually, it's not slowing down at all, it's speeding up. When that was discovered, we gave it a name. Something is making the universe expand faster. Whatever that something is, we're calling it dark energy. And one of the leading ideas for what dark energy is is actually an old idea from Albert Einstein which is called the cosmological constant. His idea was that there's just some inherent stretchiness in space, that space has this tendency to expand just built into it. The reason that would cause the expansion to accelerate is that, in the past, there was a lot of dense matter and not that much space because the universe was smaller in the past, but now there's so much empty space that this little bit of expansiveness in every piece of empty space is starting to win out over the pull of the gravity of everything. And so, the expansion is speeding up because now there's so much empty space that the cosmological constant is kind of taking over. If all we have in the... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/heat-death-universe
Finding aliens: Is there a ‘theory of everything’ for life? | Sara Walker | Big Think Finding aliens: Is there a ‘theory of everything’ for life? | Sara Walker | Big Think
1 month ago En
Finding aliens: Is there a ‘theory of everything’ for life? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video was produced in partnership with John Templeton Foundation. What, should it exist, is the universal law that connects all living things? To even dream of answering that question, and to one day find alien life elsewhere in the cosmos, humans must first reconcile the fact that our definition of life is inadequate. For astrobiologist Sara Walker, understanding the universe, its origin, and our place in it starts with a deep investigation into the chemistry of life. She argues that it is time to change our chemical perspective—detecting oxygen in an exoplanet's atmosphere is no longer sufficient enough evidence to suggest the presence of living organisms. "Because we don't know what life is, we don't know where to look for it," Walker says, adding that an unclear or too narrow focus could result in missed discoveries. Gaining new insights into what life on Earth is could shift our quest to find alien life in the universe. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SARA WALKER: Sara Walker is an astrobiologist and theoretical physicist interested in the origin of life and how to find life on other worlds. Walker is the deputy director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, associate director of the ASU-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems, and assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. She is also co-founder of the astrobiology-themed social website SAGANet.org. Read Sara Walker's book "From Matter to Life (Information and Causality)" at https://amzn.to/3pm9S7r ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: SARA WALKER: We have, through science over the last 400 years, come to have a really deep understanding of the natural world. But so far that deep understanding doesn't include us. It's really important in an age when we're being faced with existential threats on a regular basis to understand our place in the cosmos. And I think unless we actually really address the question of 'What is life?' we're not really gonna understand ourselves in the context of the systems that we live in. Because we don't know what life is, we don't know where in the universe to look for it. My biggest worry is that we might just completely miss discovering it because we actually don't really have an idea what we're looking for. And we're thinking about the definitions of life the wrong way. I'm Sara Walker and I'm an astrobiologist. What that means is that I'm really interested in understanding if there's life elsewhere in the universe, but I'm also really interested in just understanding ourselves. And so most of my work is really focused on understanding the origin of life on Earth. To do that, my group is building ensembles of thousands of organisms and thousands of ecosystems and looking at properties of their chemistry. NARRATOR: On Earth, we're surrounded by life, but we have no idea how common or rare living systems are in the universe. We have no idea how many different forms life can take, no notion of what limits there are to its size or the timescales it operates on. We might've encountered alien life already and not recognized it. WALKER: There's this assumption that we make that because we are alive, we actually recognize life when we see it, or we understand what life is, and I think that's actually a really flawed viewpoint. For a long time, it was thought if we see oxygen in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, that is a sign of life, and we will be able to claim victory that we have discovered aliens. But as scientists thought about it a little bit more, it turns out you can make atmospheric oxygen pretty easily with simple models that don't even contain life. We really need a more general definition for life that doesn't depend on the specific chemistry that life on Earth uses but is more characteristic of what life is as a process that organizes chemistry and does all of the wonderful things that we associate with living matter. So I, for example, have a very broad definition of life that includes things like technology. Part of the reason for that is if you found a phone on Mars, you might not think that you discovered life, but you certainly would think you discovered evidence of life. Because the likelihood of that phone being there is zero without a living process putting it there. Life is literally the physics of creativity. It's the creative process in the universe. It's not an individual in that process... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/john-templeton-foundation/alien-life?
Is there life after death? | Sam Harris, Bill Nye, Michio Kaku, & more | Big Think Is there life after death? | Sam Harris, Bill Nye, Michio Kaku, & more | Big Think
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Is there life after death? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Death is inevitable for all known living things. However on the question of what, if anything, comes after life, the most honest answer is that no one knows. So far, there is no scientific evidence to prove or disprove what happens after we die. In this video, astronomer Michelle Thaller, neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, science educator Bill Nye, and others consider what an afterlife would look like, what the biblical concepts of 'eternal life' and 'hell' really mean, why so many people around the world choose to believe that death is not the end, and whether or not that belief is ultimately detrimental or beneficial to one's life. Life after death is also not relegated to discussions of religion. "Digital and genetic immortality are within reach," says theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. Kaku shares how, in the future, we may be able to physically talk to the dead thanks to hologram technology and the digitization of our online lives, memories, and connectome. Read Sam Harri's "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion" at https://amzn.to/3r9EevF ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MICHELLE THALLER: Einstein thought that the beginning of the universe, the Big Bang, created all of space and all of time at once in a big whole something. So every point in the past and every point in the future are just as real as the point of time you feel yourself in right now. Einstein believed that literally. One of his best friends died and he wrote a letter to this person's wife, talking about how his friend still exists. Time is a landscape and if you had the right perspective on the universe, you would see all of it laid out in front of you. All past, present, and future as a whole thing. And he said, "Your husband, my friend, is just over the next hill. He's still there. We can't see him where we are now, but we are on this landscape with him and he still exists just as much as he ever has." Einstein believed that you, right now, had been dead for trillions of years, that you haven't been born yet, that everything that's happened to you—if you could get the right perspective on the universe—you could see all at once. SAM HARRIS: Death is in some ways unacceptable. I mean, it's just an astonishing fact of our being here that we die. But I think, worse than that, is that if we live long enough we lose everyone we love in this world. I mean, the people die and disappear and we're left with this dark mystery. There's just the sheer not knowing what happened to them. And into this void, religion comes rushing with a very consoling story, saying nothing happened to them; they're in a better place and you're going to meet up with them after you die. You're going to get everything you want after you die. Death is an illusion. There's no question that, if you could believe it, that would pay emotional dividends. I mean, there's no other story you can tell somebody who's just lost her daughter to cancer, say, to make her feel good. It is consoling to believe that the daughter was just taken up with Jesus and everyone's going to be reunited in a few short years. There's no replacement for that. There doesn't need to be a replacement for that. I think we have to be... We have to just witness the cost of that. I mean, there are many obvious costs of that way of thinking. One is we just don't teach people how to grieve. Religion is the kind of the antithesis of teaching your children how to grieve. You tell your child that your grandma's in heaven and there's nothing to be sad about. That's religion. It would be better to equip your child for the reality of this life, which is, death is a fact and we don't know what happens after death. And I'm not pretending to know that you get a dial tone after death. I don't know what happens after the physical brain dies. I don't know what the relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. I don't think anyone does know. Now, I think there are many reasons to be doubtful of naive conceptions about the soul and about this idea that you could just migrate to a better place after death. But I simply don't know about what... I don't know what I believe about death. And I don't think it's necessary to know in order to live as sanely and ethically and happily as possible. MICHAEL SHERMER: There's hardly anything bigger than offering immortality or the afterlife, because, so here's the problem. We are all aware that death is real because we see it all around us. 100 billion people have lived before us. They're all gone. Not one of them has come... To read the full transcript, please go to https://bigthink.com/videos/is-there-life-after-death
Why moral people tolerate immoral behavior | Liane Young | Big Think Why moral people tolerate immoral behavior | Liane Young | Big Think
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Why moral people tolerate immoral behavior Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video was produced in partnership with John Templeton Foundation. The problem with having a compass as the symbolic representation of morality is that due north is not a fixed point. Liane Young, Boston College associate professor and director of the Morality Lab, explains how context, bias, and tribal affiliation influence us enormously when we pass moral judgments. Moral instinct is tainted by cognitive bias. Humans evolved to be more lenient to their in-groups—for example excusing a beloved politician who lines their pockets while lambasting a colleague for the exact same transgression—and to care more about harm done close to them than harm done farther away, for example, to people in another country. The challenge for humans in a globalized and polarized world is to become aware of our moral biases and learn to apply morality more objectively. How can we be more rational and less hypocritical about our morals? "I think that clarifying the value that you are consulting for a particular problem is really critical," says Young. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LIANE YOUNG: Liane Young is an associate professor of psychology at Boston College, where she is the director of the Morality Lab, which specializes in moral psychology. Dr. Young’s current research focuses on the role of theory of mind and emotions in moral judgment and moral behavior. To explore these topics, she uses the methods of social psychology and cognitive neuroscience, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and examination of patient populations with specific cognitive deficits. Dr. Young’s insight and findings have appeared in The New York Times, National Public Radio, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, ABC News, and CBS. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: LIANE YOUNG: What makes morality unique is that a lot of times people experience a moral judgment as a flash of intuition or feeling, good or bad. But underneath that feeling is complex moral psychological structure. NARRATOR: We think that our morals are steadfast, as if they were set in stone or inscribed in ink, but it turns out our morals are far more fluid than we'd like to believe. YOUNG: Studying moral psychology allows us access to other's perspectives, that others could have different values. And so just knowing that there is this complex space of moral psychology could help us to understand where other people are coming from. I'm Liane Young. I'm a psychology professor at Boston College. And in my lab, we study human moral decision-making. A key question in our lab right now is what the role of reasoning is for moral psychology. So, when do people and how do people think about different principles for making moral decisions? NARRATOR: Morality might seem like a compass needle, always guiding us north. But as we start to add information and context that trigger biases, the needle begins to spin. YOUNG: Moral cognition depends hugely on context. So, if I tell you about somebody who helped a stranger, you would say, they're much better than the person who helped their brother. But if I told you about a person who helped the stranger instead of the brother, you wouldn't think they're very good at all. And it turned out through the research that we did, it was really people's intuitions about familial obligation that structured people's moral intuitions across all of these different cases. NARRATOR: We may say adultery is wrong, but if it's a friend who we know well, who had a troubled marriage, maybe we're more forgiving. We say stealing is wrong, but we might be more understanding of our favorite politician when they're caught lining their pockets. We do this all the time. YOUNG: The point is that there are lots of different contextual influences that contribute to people's moral judgments. NARRATOR: Morality has evolved with our species because of human's practical and psychological need for social bonds, but even early human societies began codifying morality into laws and norms that were meant to be applied universally. YOUNG: Back in evolutionary time, people didn't interact with others across the world. We interacted with the people in our family, the people that we could see. It's because of that, moral psychology has developed these sorts of biases that have to do with social distance. So, we think that the harm that is being done up close and personal, right in front of us matters more than the harm that is being done to so... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/john-templeton-foundation/moral-psychology
Immortality: Can we upload human consciousness? | Michio Kaku, Michael Shermer & more | Big Think Immortality: Can we upload human consciousness? | Michio Kaku, Michael Shermer & more | Big Think
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Immortality: Can we upload human consciousness? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Technology has evolved to a point where humans have overridden natural selection. So what will our species become? Immortal interstellar travelers, perhaps. Scientists are currently mapping the human brain in an effort to understand the connections that produce consciousness. If we can re-create consciousness, your mind can live on forever. You could even laser-port your consciousness to different planets at the speed of light, download your mind into a local avatar and explore those worlds. But is this transhumanist vision of the future real or is it a pipedream? And if it is real, is it wise? Join theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, neuroscientist David Eagleman, human performance researcher Steven Kotler, skeptic Michael Shermer, cultural theorist Douglas Rushkoff and futurist Jason Silva. Read Michio Kaku's book "The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind" at https://amzn.to/3mjVGtA ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: JASON SILVA: Transhumanism is essentially the philosophical school of thought that says that human beings should use technology to transcend their limitations. That it's perfectly natural for us to use our tools to overcome our boundaries, to extend our minds, to extend our mindware using these technological scaffoldings. The craziness here is that we're finding more and more that our technological systems are mirroring some of the most advanced natural systems in nature. You know, the internet is wired like the neurons in our brain, which is wired like computer models of dark matter in the universe. They all share the same intertwingled filamental structure. What does this tell us? That there is no distinction between the born and the made. All of it is nature, all of it is us. So to be human is to be transhuman. But the reason we're at a pivotal point in history is because now we've decommissioned natural selection. You know, this notion that we are now the chief agents of evolution, right? We now get to decide who we become. We're talking about software that writes its own hardware, life itself, the new canvas for the artist. Nanotechnology patterning matter, programmable matter. The whole world becomes computable, life itself, programmable, upgradable. What does this say about what it means to be human? It means that what it is to be human is to transform and transcend; we've always done it. We're not the same species we were 100,000 years ago. We're not going to be the same species tomorrow. Craig Venter recently said we've got to understand that we are a software-driven species. Change the software, changed the species. And why shouldn't we? DAVID EAGLEMAN: All the pieces and parts of your brain, this vastly complicated network of neurons—almost 100 billion neurons, each of which has 10,000 connections to its neighbors. So we're talking a thousand trillion neurons. It's a system of such complexity that it bankrupts our language but, fundamentally, it's only three pounds and we've got it cornered and it's right there and it's a physical system. The computational hypothesis of brain function suggests that the physical wetware isn't the stuff that matters. It's what are the algorithms that are running on top of the wetware? In other words, what is the brain actually doing? What's it implementing, software-wise? Hypothetically, we should be able to take the physical stuff of the brain and reproduce what it's doing. In other words, reproduce its software on other substrates. So we could take your brain and reproduce it out of beer cans and tennis balls and it would still run just fine. And if we said, "Hey, how are you feeling in there?" This beer-can-tennis-ball machine would say, "Oh, I'm feeling fine, it's a little cold," or whatever. It's also hypothetically a possibility that we could copy your brain and reproduce it in silica, which means on a computer, in zeros and ones, actually run the simulation of your brain. MICHIO KAKU: The initial steps are once again being made. At Caltech, for example, they've been able to take a mouse brain and look at a certain part of the brain where memories are processed. Memories are processed at the very center of our brain and they've been able to duplicate the functions of that with a chip. So, again, this does not mean that we can encode memories with a chip, but it does mean that we've been able to take the information storage of a mouse brain and have a silicon chip duplicate those functions. And so was mouse consciousness created in the process? I don't know. I don't know... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/can-humans-be-immortal
Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs | Sam Harris, Michael Pollan & more Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs | Sam Harris, Michael Pollan & more
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Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Having been repressed in the 1960s for their ties to the counterculture, psychedelics are currently experiencing a scientific resurgence. In this video, Michael Pollan, Sam Harris, Jason Silva and Ben Goertzel discuss the history of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, acknowledge key figures including Timothy Leary and Albert Hoffman, share what the experience of therapeutic tripping can entail, and explain why these substances are important to the future of mental health. There is a stigma surrounding psychedelic drugs that some scientists and researchers argue is undeserved. Several experiments over the past decades have shown that, when used correctly, drugs like psilocybin and LSD can have positive effects on the lives of those take them. How they work is not completely understood, but the empirical evidence shows promise in the fields of curbing depression, anxiety, obsession, and even addiction to other substances. "There's a tremendous amount of insight that can be plumbed using these various substances. There's also a lot of risks there, as with most valuable things," says artificial intelligence researcher Ben Goertzel. He and others believe that by making psychedelics illegal, modern governments are getting in the way of meaningful research and the development of "cultural institutions to guide people in really productive use of these substances." Read Michael Pollen's book "How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence" at https://amzn.to/2IBvjS6 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MICHAEL POLLAN: How do these psychedelics work? Well, the honest answer is we don't entirely know, but we know a few things. One is they fit a certain receptor site: the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor. And they look a lot like serotonin if you look at the molecular models of them and, in fact, LSD fits that receptor site even better than serotonin does and it stays there longer. And that's why the LSD trip can last 12 hours. What happens after that we don't really know. It's an agonist to that receptor. So it increases its activity. And this, you know the neuroscientists say lead to a cascade of effects which is shorthand for don't really know what happens next. But one thing we do know, or we think we know, is that it appears that one particular brain network is deactivated or quieted. And that is the default mode network. This was discovered not very long ago by a researcher in England named Robin Carhart-Harris who was dosing people with psilocybin and LSD and then sliding them into an MRI machine, to take an FMRI a functional magnetic resonance image. The expectation I think was that people would see an excitation of many different networks in the brain. You know, that's what the kind of mental fireworks sort of foretold, but he was very surprised to discover that one particular network was down-regulated and that was this default mode network. So what is that? Well, it's a tightly linked set of structures connecting the prefrontal cortex to the posterior cingulate cortex, to the deeper older centers of emotion and memory. It appears to be involved in things like self-reflection, theory of mind, the ability to impute mental states to others, mental time travel, the ability to project forward in time and back, which is central to creating an identity, right? You don't have an identity without a memory and the so-called autobiographical memory, the function by which we construct the story of who we are by taking the things that happened to us and folding them into that narrative. And that appears to take place in the posterior cingulate cortex. So, you know, to the extent the ego can be said to have a location in the brain it appears to be this, the default mode network. It's active when you're doing nothing. When your mind is wandering. It can be very self-critical, it's where self-talk takes place. And that goes quiet. And when that goes quiet, the brain is sort of as one of the neuroscientists put it, let off the leash, because those ego functions, that self idea is a regulator of all mental activity and kind of, you know, the brain is a hierarchical system and the default mode network appears to be at the top. It's kind of the orchestra conductor or corporate executive. And you take that out of the picture, and suddenly you have this uprising from other parts of the brain and you have networks that don't ordinarily communicate with one another suddenly striking up... To read the full transcript, please go to https://bigthink.com/videos/how-do-psychedelics-work
How showing remorse can save your relationships | Amrisha Vaish | Big Think How showing remorse can save your relationships | Amrisha Vaish | Big Think
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How showing remorse can save your relationships Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video was produced in partnership with John Templeton Foundation. Forgiveness as a cultural act linked to religion and philosophy dates back centuries, but studies focused on the science of apologies, morality, and relationships are fairly new. As Amrisha Vaish explains, causing harm, showing remorse, and feeling concern for others are things children pay attention to, even in their first year of life. In a series of experiments, adults ripped children's artworks and either showed remorse or showed neutrality. They found that remorse really mattered. "Here we see what [the kids] really care about is that the transgressor shows their commitment to them, to the relationship," Vaish says. "And they will seek that person out over even an in-group member." As a highly social species, cooperation is vital to humans. Learning what factors make or break those social bonds can help communities, teams, and partners work together to meet challenges and survive. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AMRISHA VAISH: Amrisha Vaish is an associate professor of psychology at University of Virginia, and was formerly a Dilthey Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Her research focuses on the ontogenetic emergence of the moral emotions, cognitions, and behaviors that make children successful cooperators. Her other research interests include infant social referencing, children's understanding of others’ desires as an early form of theory of mind, and the development of the negativity bias. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: AMRISHA VAISH: There's no doubt that being social, being cooperative, being what some people have called ultra co-operative is in many ways our superpower. When those relationships are ruptured in some way, due perhaps to one person causing harm to another, it's really important that we are able to repair those relationships. Forgiveness is a really critical part of that repair. NARRATOR: Social ties are the basis of every community on Earth. But those relationships are also fragile. So how do we repair them when they're strained or broken? Philosophy and religion have espoused the virtues of forgiveness for millennia, but the scientific study of forgiveness is fairly new. VAISH: My name is Amrisha Vaish, and I study how children behave cooperatively towards others and learn to be moral individuals. Causing harm, apologizing, showing remorse, feeling concerned for someone who's been harmed, all of those are things that children pay attention to very, very early on. Really in the first year already. And I think that tells us something about who we are as a species. NARRATOR: Amrisha's research involves observing different interactions between a transgressor, someone who does something hurtful, and a victim, the person hurt by the transgressor. By observing these interactions, she has been able to see what actually matters to children when they choose their friends and collaborators. And how we as adults could re-examine our priorities when it comes to maintaining these social ties. In one study, two experimenters and one child all drew pictures. Then, the experimenters ripped the child's drawing. VAISH: And one of the transgressors now shows remorse to the child. So she says, "Oh, I've torn your picture. I didn't mean to do that. It's my fault." And the other transgressor is neutral. So she says, "Oh, I've torn your picture. Oh, well." And so what we now do is ask whom they prefer. Then what we found is that by five years of age, children clearly preferred the one who had shown remorse. NARRATOR: By apologizing to the child, the transgressor demonstrated a commitment to maintaining their positive relationship. That made the child want to maintain it too. But in real life, our interactions always have more background context, such as where we grew up, where we went to school, and what social groups we align ourselves with. So how do our group identities affect our ability to choose who we associate with? VAISH: In a more recent study, we placed children in a group, either a yellow group or a green group. And then the two experimenters who came in, one of them was in the same group as the child, and the second experimenter was the out-group member. And so we had now, the same thing, everyone drew a picture and both individuals accidentally tore the child's picture. And this time both of them showed remorse. And what we... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/john-templeton-foundation/relationship-forgiveness
Human sexual desire: Is monogamy natural? | Esther Perel, Chris Ryan & more | Big Think Human sexual desire: Is monogamy natural? | Esther Perel, Chris Ryan & more | Big Think
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Human sexual desire: Is monogamy natural? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Depending on who you ask, monogamy is either essential to a successful marriage or it is unrealistic and sets couples up for failure. In this video, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, psychologist Chris Ryan, former Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, and psychotherapist Esther Perel discuss the science and culture of monogamy, the role it plays in making or breaking relationships, and whether or not humans evolved to have one partner at a time. "The bottom line is, for millions of years, there were some reproductive payoffs not only to forming a pair bond but also to adultery," says Fisher, "leaving each one of us with a tremendous drive to fall in love and pair up, but also some susceptibility to cheating on the side." Read Helen Fisher's latest book "Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray" at https://amzn.to/2VGpJ3W ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: HELEN FISHER: Monogamy is natural. Adultery is natural too. Neither are part of the supernatural. But I don't think people really understand monogamy. Mono means one, and gamy means spouse, one spouse. Polygyny, poly means many, gyny means women, many women. We are an animal that forms pair bonds. We are basically mono-gamous, monogamous. We're also adulterous, I think we've evolved what I call a dual human reproductive strategy, and we tend to be an animal that, a creature that forms a pair bond for a period of time, breaks that pair bond and forms a new pair bond. Serial monogamy and clandestine adultery. I think we've evolved these three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction: sex drive, feelings of intense romantic love, and feelings of deep attachment. They're often connected to each other. You can fall in love with somebody, drives up the dopamine system, triggers the testosterone system and all of a sudden they're the sexiest person in the whole world. But they're not always well-connected, you can lie in bed at night and feel deep attachment for one person, and then swing wildly into feelings of intense romantic love for somebody else, and then swing wildly into feeling the sex drive for somebody who you've barely ever met. Which made me wonder whether millions of years ago there was something adaptive about having a partnership with one person and raising your babies and having extra relationships with other people. And it's actually relatively easy to explain—dial back a billion years, you got a man who has got a wife, a partnership and two children, and he occasionally goes over the hill and sleeps with another woman and has two children, extra children with her. He's doubled the amount of DNA he has spread into the next generation. Those children will live and pass on whatever it is in him, some of the genetics, some of the brain circuitry to be predisposed to adultery. But why would a woman be adulterous? A lot of people think that they're not as adulterous, but every time there's a man sleeping around, he's generally sleeping around with a woman, so you got to explain women too. What would a woman have gotten if she's had a partner a million years ago and two children, she slips over the hill and has sex with another man. Well, she'll get extra goods and resources, extra meat, extra protection. If her husband gets injured and dies, one of these extra lovers might come in and help her with her children, even think some of those children are his. It's an insurance policy, and she may even have an extra child and create more genetic variety in her lineage. So the bottom line is for millions of years, there were some reproductive payoffs, not only to forming a pair bond, but also to adultery, leaving each one of us with a tremendous drive to fall in love and pair up, but also some susceptibility to cheating on the side. CHRISTOPHER RYAN: We are designed by evolution to be titillated by erotic novelty, males and females. Given that evolutionary design, it's completely predictable that 10 years of the same thing, whether it's the same music or the same food or the same sex partner, is going to lead to resentment, discomfort, whatever. It's going to lead to a diminishment of passion, certainly. So we start with that, and then we add to that, the notion that we're taught that that shouldn't happen, that if it does happen, there's something wrong with you or something wrong with your relationship. And so people aren't expecting that to happen. And so they interpret that diminishment of passion as a failure. It's not your fault, it's not your partner's fault, it's the... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/is-monogamy-natural-evolution
Is free will an illusion? | Uri Maoz | Big Think Is free will an illusion? | Uri Maoz | Big Think
1 month ago En
Is free will an illusion? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video was produced in partnership with John Templeton Foundation. The debate over whether or not humans have free will is centuries old and ongoing. While studies have confirmed that our brains perform many tasks without conscious effort, there remains the question of how much we control and when it matters. According to Dr. Uri Maoz, it comes down to what your definition of free will is and to learning more about how we make decisions versus when it is ok for our brain to subconsciously control our actions and movements. "If we understand the interplay between conscious and unconscious," says Maoz, "it might help us realize what we can control and what we can't." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- URI MAOZ: Dr. Uri Maoz is an assistant professor of computational neuroscience at Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Chapman University. His research lies at the intersection of volition, decision-making, and moral choice. Dr. Maoz also directs Neurophilosophy of Free Will, an international project comprising 17 neuroscientists and philosophers, who aim to understand how the brain enables conscious control of human decisions and actions. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: URI MAOZ: We all kind of go around with this feeling that we are the authors of our lives and we are in control, that I could've done otherwise. To what extent is the conscious we are we in control? NARRATOR: The subconscious is a force that looms large below the surface of our conscious minds, and it's controlling our lives much more than we're aware. MAOZ: Free will is at the basis of a lot of our social pillars. Our legal system presumes some kind of freedom. There are economic theories that assume that people are free to make their decisions. So for all those things, understanding how free we are, the limits of our freedom, how easy it is to manipulate our freedom and so on I think is important. If we understand the interplay between conscious and unconscious, it might help us realize what we can control and what we can't. My name is Uri Maoz, I study how the brain enables things like consciousness and free will. INTERVIEWER: Okay, Uri, what is free will? MAOZ: Sure, that's easy. Generally, humans have a sense that they control themselves and sometimes their environment more than they do. You don't try to control every contraction of every muscle in your hand. And if you did try (laughs) to control that, well good luck to you because if you try to concentrate exactly on how it is that you're walking, it's even hard to walk. So there are certain places in the brain that if you stimulate there a person begins to laugh. You ask them, "Wait, why are you laughing?" And they say, "Oh, I just remembered this really funny joke." The brain kind of puts together some reasons for something that you did while we think they are under our full conscious control they are not. There is a famous experiment made in the early '80s by Benjamin Libet. The idea is that a person is holding their hand and they're told whenever they have the urge to do so, you flex whenever you want. However at the same time, there is this rotating dot on the screen and your job is to look at the screen and say where the dot was when you first had the urge to move. So then you have this weird situation, only 200 milliseconds before you move do people say, "I'm aware that I've decided to move." But if you look into their brain, you can see something there a second before they do. So what happens in that interval? Some kind of nefarious neuroscientist that would an electrode on you would say, "Aha, you're about to move now." But you would not be conscious of it, and some people interpret the Libet experiment to suggest that all of these big important life decisions are maybe unconscious. NARRATOR: Libet's experiment proved controversial, but inspired subsequent tests. Dr. Maoz's own research attempted to observed the brain signals Libet measured in real time by directly monitoring the brain of epilepsy patients. MAOZ: We approach some of these patients and we say, "Would you please play something like a two choice version of rock, paper, scissors? At the go signal we each raise a hand and, let's say, if we raise the same hand, I win, if we raise different hands you win." We had a system that was processing the whole thing in real time, and just before we got the go signal, I got a beep in my earphones telling me which hand to raise so I would beat the subject. We could predict them about 80%... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/john-templeton-foundation/free-will
The neoliberal era is ending. What comes next? | Ganesh Sitaraman | Big Think The neoliberal era is ending. What comes next? | Ganesh Sitaraman | Big Think
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The neoliberal era is ending. What comes next? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The timeline of America post-WWII can be divided into two eras, according to author and law professor Ganesh Sitaraman: the liberal era which ran through the 1970s, and the current neoliberal era which began in the early 1980s. The latter promised a "more free society," but what we got instead was more inequality, less opportunity, and greater market consolidation. "We've lived through a neoliberal era for the last 40 years, and that era is coming to an end," Sitaraman says, adding that the ideas and policies that defined the period are being challenged on various levels. What comes next depends on if we take a proactive and democratic approach to shaping the economy, or if we simply react to and "deal with" market outcomes. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GANESH SITARAMAN: Ganesh Sitaraman is a Professor of Law and Director at Vanderbilt Law School. He is the author of The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America (Basic Books, 2019), His book, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution (Knopf, 2017), was named one of The New York Times' 100 notable books of 2017, and The Counterinsurgent‘s Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars (Oxford University Press, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Palmer Prize for Civil Liberties. Professor Sitaraman was on leave from Vanderbilt‘s faculty from 2011 to 2013, serving as Elizabeth Warren‘s policy director during her campaign for the Senate, and then as her senior counsel in the Senate. Check Ganesh Sitaraman's latest book The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America at https://amzn.to/30ZdaUu ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: GANESH SITARAMAN: I wrote this book, "The Great Democracy," because I think that we're on the edge of a new era in American history. I think it's really important for people to understand what's at stake in this moment right now. Since World War II, we've actually lived through two distinct eras in our history. The first was from the end of the war until the 1970s. And it's probably best described as a liberal era. It was an era of regulated capitalism that operated between the state control that we saw in the Soviet Union, and the laissez faire free market system that caused the Great Depression. It was an era in which big government, big business and big labor worked together to try to provide social goods for Americans. And in fact, even conservatives during this era were basically liberal. Eisenhower built the highway system. Nixon said, ""I am now a Keynesian in economics."" And then what happened was we went through a period of crisis in the 1970s. Wars, the oil shocks, stagflation. The end of this era was during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Democrats controlled government completely, but the party was increasingly fractured, and they couldn't actually accomplish many of their long held goals. The second era was an era defined by neoliberalism and it emerged with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan in the early 1980s. Now neoliberalism is a tough word for a lot of people. And I think it has a lot of meanings to different people. But really what it comes down to in policy are four things: deregulation, liberalization, privatization, and austerity. The basic idea of neoliberalism started to emerge in the mid-20th century. It was partly a reaction to the New Deal, and moves to create social democracy in the United States and other western countries. And under neoliberalism, the basic idea is that individuals would be on their own. They would be responsible for themselves. So instead of government, corporations, and unions balancing the interest of stakeholders, the primary regulator of social interests would be the marketplace. And the consequence of this it turned out, however, was actually not what many of the proponents claimed it would be to start, which was greater competition and a more free society. In fact, what we've seen over time is increasing inequality, a reduction in opportunity for many people, and increasing consolidation in markets. And in this period, the neoliberal area, even the liberals were neoliberal. It was Bill Clinton who said the era of big government is over, and deregulated Wall Street and Telecom. It was Tony Blair who transformed the Labour Party in England into New Labour. And again, we then faced crises. Wars, the great recession, massive levels of inequality, social fracturing. And the end of this area is the presidency of Donald Trump... To read the full transcript, please visit https://bigthink.com/videos/after-neoliberalism
Bruce Lee: How to live successfully in a world with no rules | Shannon Lee | Big Think Bruce Lee: How to live successfully in a world with no rules | Shannon Lee | Big Think
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Bruce Lee: How to live successfully in a world with no rules Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bruce Lee would have turned 80 years old on November 27, 2020. The legendary actor and martial artist's daughter, Shannon Lee, shares some of his wisdom and his philosophy on self-help in a new book titled "Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee." In this video, Shannon shares a story of the fight that led to her father beginning a deeper philosophical journey, and how that informed his unique expression of martial arts called Jeet Kune Do. One lesson passed down from Bruce Lee was his use and placement of physical symbols as a way to help "cement for yourself this new way of being, or this new lesson you've learned." By working on ourselves (with the right tools), we can develop the skills necessary to rise and conquer new challenges. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SHANNON LEE: As a child, Shannon lived in both Los Angeles and Hong Kong until settling back in the LA area in 1974. In 1987, Shannon moved to New Orleans where she attended Tulane University. Here she earned a B.F.A. in vocal performance, and appeared in numerous musicals, operas, and choral concerts. Currently, Shannon is the CEO of the Bruce Lee Family Companies and Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Bruce Lee Foundation (a California 501(c)(3) public charity). Shannon also writes, speaks on her father's philosophies, and still sings occasionally. Check Shannon Lee's latest book: Be Water, My Friend https://amzn.to/367GMC4 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: SHANNON LEE: My father believed that all help is self help. There is no other help than self help. He believed whole-heartedly in knowing yourself, fixing yourself, growing yourself. And truly as a martial artist, you have to do that. I remember my mom telling me this story about how my father was challenged to a fight at the end of 1964. He was living in Oakland, California, he had a school there. And he was teaching in very unorthodox ways. He was making some changes to some of the traditional moves, and then he was also teaching people from all different races and backgrounds, and women, and all sorts of stuff which was a no-no. And the Old Guard, the traditionalists in San Francisco China Town did not like this. So they challenged my father to a match. They said, "If we win, then you have to stop teaching. And if you win, then you can keep teaching." My father accepted the fight, and he said, "If we're fighting for real stakes, then we're having a real fight. There are no rules." They conferred for a minute, then said, "Okay, all right, fine. We agree." And then he just came out swinging. And they had this fight, and it lasted about three minutes. It was very unorthodox because there were no rules. And my father won. My mom came out to see my dad, and he was sitting on the curb outside his school, and he had his head in his hand, and he looked really upset. And she was like, "What's the matter? Why are you upset? Like, aren't you so happy you- you won this fight?" And he said, "You know I won, but I didn't perform how I would want to perform, and I was not prepared for a situation that had no rules." In that moment, he realized where his shortcomings were, and that his traditional training, like all of these rigid techniques that he had trained, they went out the door because it was not a traditional fight. That he was able to reflect in that way was actually one of the hugest revelations of his life. It opened the door for him to create his own martial art, and to go very deeply on this philosophical journey really trying to live his live in the most optimal way that he could. With Jeet Kune Do, which was my father's art, you know, he took it to a much deeper philosophical level. Jeet Kune Do translates to "the way of the intercepting fist." And I talk about this in my book, which is that if we can get to a place of enough skill where we can intercept the moment, we can meet each moment, then we as a human being are really in flow, we're really in a place where we're in full, immediate skilled response to the moments as they are unfolding. Practiced combat is a very apropos analogy for life, especially life under extreme pressure. You have to be able to make split decisions. We get to experience what happens internally whether we freak out, whether we get angry, whether we wanna run away and shut down, and then to put into practice the... To read the full transcript, please visit https://bigthink.com/videos/bruce-lee-lessons
The 3 keys to solving complex global problems | Olivia Leland | Big Think The 3 keys to solving complex global problems | Olivia Leland | Big Think
2 months ago En
The 3 keys to solving complex global problems Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video was produced in partnership with the Skoll Foundation. What does it actually take to drive large-scale change? Co-Impact founder and CEO Olivia Leland argues that it takes more than money, voting in elections, and supporting your favorite nonprofit. Solving complex global issues takes philanthropy in concert with community advocacy, support from businesses, innovation, an organized vision, and a plan to execute it. Leland has identified three areas that need to be addressed before real and meaningful change can happen. To effectively provide support, we must listen to the people who are already doing the work, rather than trying to start from scratch; make it easier for groups, government, and others to collaborate; and change our mindsets to think more long-term so that we can scale impact in ways that matter. Through supporting educational programs like Pratham and its Teaching at the Right Level model, Co-Impact has seen how these collaborative strategies can be employed to successfully tackle a complex problem like child literacy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OLIVIA LELAND: Olivia Leland is the founder of Co-Impact, a global philanthropic collaborative that sources and supports locally-rooted coalitions working to achieve impact at scale in the Global South, with a focus on gender equality. Olivia has extensive experience in working with governments to structure and support large-scale programs. Prior to Co-Impact, Olivia served as founding director of the Giving Pledge, an effort launched by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: OLIVIA LELAND: I think it's time to change the way that we think about solving the world's problems. We often think that it's who we vote for in a particular election, or supporting one particular nonprofit, or buying from ethical businesses. But what we know from every example across history of where we've really seen change in the longer term, it's required collaboration across sectors. Take polio, for example. Back in the 1940s and '50s, it paralyzed or killed nearly half a million people per year around the world. And in 2018, there were only 33 reported cases of polio. How did that happen? It happened through the innovation that was required to come up with the vaccine, to the advocacy from communities and businesses, to the different organizations ensuring that there was a vision and a plan. And then, finally, philanthropy played a key role around both the innovation around the vaccine and then also delivery of the vaccine. Based on this example and many others, I started to see the tremendous potential that philanthropy could have, not alone but in collaboration with others. I'm Olivia Leland, and I'm the founder and CEO of Co-Impact. I think the one constant throughout my entire life is that I always question everything. After college, I became really, really interested in this question of how can we have more impact in the world. Starting in 2015, I spoke with people around the world from philanthropists to social change leaders who were asking the question, ""What do we know about what drives more impact?"" One of the lessons that came out of this work is in fact that money is not everything. It's about so much more than that. Through my research, I found three main challenges. And I have some ideas about how to address each one of them. So, challenge number one: We're failing to listen. Our instinct is often to go and start something new. What we really need to do is find people in communities who are already working on these problems every day, listen to them, and then see what's possible through our support of it to reach millions of people. The second challenge is that we tend to work in silos. The reality is actually most social change leaders want to collaborate. What we really need to be doing is making it easier for organizations, government and others to come together and drive more impact in the world. The third challenge is that we're thinking too short term. We are so focused on what's possible in one year, two years, three years. And the reality is the issues that we're working on are enormously complex. We have to be looking at five years, 10 years and beyond to scale impact in a meaningful and long-term way. So, take for example Pratham and Teaching at the Right Level. They applied these lessons, and they're making a huge difference. They saw that even though kids were enrolled... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/skoll-foundation/how-to-solve-global-problems
Are humans evil? Rutger Bregman on 'veneer theory' | Big Think Are humans evil? Rutger Bregman on 'veneer theory' | Big Think
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Are humans evil? Rutger Bregman on 'veneer theory' Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How have humans managed to accomplish significantly more than any other species on the planet? Historian Rutger Bregman believes the quality that makes us special is that we "evolved to work together and to cooperate on a scale that no other species in the whole animal kingdom has been able to do." Pushing back against the millennia-old idea that humans are inherently evil beneath their civilized surface, which is known as 'veneer theory', Bregman says that it's humanity's cooperative spirit and sense of brotherhood that leads us to do cruel deeds. "Most atrocities are committed in the name of loyalty, and in the name of friendship, and in the name of helping your people," he tells Big Think. "That is what's so disturbing." The false assumption that people are evil or inherently selfish has an effect on the way we design various elements of our societies and structures. If we designed on the assumption that we are collaborative instead, we could avoid the "self-fulfilling prophecy" of selfishness. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RUTGER BREGMAN: Rutger Bregman is a historian and author. He has published five books on history, philosophy, and economics. His books Humankind (2020) and Utopia for Realists (2017) were both New York Times bestsellers and have been translated in more than 40 languages. Bregman has twice been nominated for the prestigious European Press Prize for his work at The Correspondent. He lives in Holland. Check his latest book Humankind: A Hopeful History at https://amzn.to/2HVX4nV ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: RUTGER BREGMAN: There's a really old theory in Western culture that scientists call veneer theory. The idea here is that our civilization is only a thin veneer, only a thin layer, and that below that veneer, sort of real raw human nature resides. And that when something small happens—or big, you know we're in a crisis or in a pandemic right now—that humans reveal who they really are, that deep down we're just selfish. We are beasts. We may even be monsters. But luckily, we have this civilization that is basically protecting us from what we really are. Now, this idea, this theory, veneer theory, is very old and very dominant in Western culture. It goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. You also find it within Christianity, Orthodox Christianity. Think about St. Augustine talking about the notion of original sin, that we're all born as sinners. And you also look at modern capitalism. And again, I think the central dogma of our current capitalist system is that people are selfish. So this veneer theory, it comes back again and again and again in our history. And I think the only problem with it is that it's simply wrong. So in the last 20-25 years, we've seen so much evidence accumulating from anthropology and from archaeology and from biology and from psychology and sociology with one main message which is that basically, deep down, most people are pretty decent and that this capacity for cooperation is actually our true superpower. Human beings have evolved to cooperate. If you ask the question, what makes us so special? Are we selfish? Are we very smart? Are we very violent or strong or powerful or whatever? What is the reason that we conquered the globe? Why not the bonobos or the chimpanzees? And I think the answer is that we have evolved to work together and to cooperate on a scale that no other species in the whole animal kingdom has been able to do. So, on the one hand, we're the friendliest species in the animal kingdom, but on the other hand, we're also the cruelest species, right? I've never heard of a penguin that says, ""Let's exterminate another group of penguins. Let's lock them up in prisons. Let's kill them all."" These are singularly human crimes. One of the disturbing things actually if you study the history of warfare and of genocides is that these things are often highly moral phenomena. It's not as if there are a lot of sadists thinking, ""Oh, we just enjoy killing other people."" You know, those people do exist, but they're very, very rare. Actually most atrocities are committed in the name of loyalty, and in the name of friendship, and in the name of helping your people. That is what's so disturbing. It's really the dark side of friendliness. If you study soldiers, German soldiers in the second world war, and you ask the question, why did they keep on fighting in 1944, in 1945, even though it was clear they were going to lose the war? Well, psychologists back... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/are-humans-inherently-evil
Is your company innovating? A Whole Foods case study. | John Mackey | Big Think Is your company innovating? A Whole Foods case study. | John Mackey | Big Think
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Is your company innovating? A Whole Foods case study. Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Individuals like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are often idolized as masters of ideas, but according to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, it usually takes many people iterating and taking chances for a company to be truly innovative. Using Whole Foods as a case study, Mackey shares a story of how a bar experiment at one of his California markets evolved into a successful feature and spread to other locations. By giving teams the freedom to try (and fail) without being micro-managed, organizations can create a culture that allows innovation to happen, not one that tries to force it to happen. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JOHN MACKEY: John Mackey is the CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market, co-founder of the nonprofit Conscious Capitalism, Inc., and co-author of Conscious Capitalism. He has devoted his life to selling natural and organic foods and building a better business model. John Mackey's latest book Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business: https://amzn.to/3f0aknX ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: JOHN MACKEY: It's kind of a myth that most innovations occur by some genius, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, that these guys are larger than life geniuses and all the innovations at Tesla came from Elon Musk and Steve Jobs personally invented the Macintosh and the iPod and iPhone and iPad and all that stuff. And certainly the entrepreneur is, it can be the media, elevates them to a higher standard, and they certainly are important in terms of providing leadership and hopefully conscious leadership to the team. But almost all the best innovations are done collaboratively. They're always part of a larger group that play off of each other. And I can tell you at Whole Foods that we've had a lot of innovative creative ideas. You know about 10 years ago or so we had a store in Santa Rosa, California. It opened the very first bar at Whole Foods Market. It opened in the middle of the wine section. They just took part of the wine section and they put in some taps and they put in some big screen TVs and they kinda set off the space, So we had this little beer wine bar in the middle of the store. And if they'd had to ask permission for that, they said, John, what do you think about this idea? I said, nobody's gonna go to a bar in a grocery store, it's a terrible idea, don't do it, waste of money. But they didn't have to ask permission, so they were able to try it, right. And guess what? It was hugely successful, and that bar started selling more beer every week than we were selling in seafood in the store for awhile. It was incredible. And then other stores would see what they were doing and they start copying it, only they wouldn't copy it exactly. They would iterate on it to make it different and better and some of those experiments didn't work by the way, and we had to throw them out, but the other ones did work. I'll give you an example how at Rift, the original beer and wine bar in that store was really set up for guys. It was mostly beer and less wine, but they had wine and it had sports on the big screen TVs, and it kinda had its' masculine attitude. So we kinda thought that was what it was about. But an interesting thing happened as this concept evolved and went to other stores. We started noticing that a huge amount of women would show up in the afternoons when they get off work and they meet their friends and they would drink white wine. And it was like, the women are showing up, why are they showing up here? We thought this was a guy thing. They were showing up because this was a really safe place. We don't have a bunch of creeps that might follow you out to your car. It's Whole Foods Market, it's a big market, it's very safe. You don't, and so they'd meet their friends and then of course when you have a lot of women showing up, then you start having more guys show up and you start to get a bit of a scene there. And the next thing you know, they're playing live music and would add more food to it. And so that is collaborative innovation in a food store with one store trying one thing and then it iterating in different, and learning as you go along and you learn what works. And one thing we learned is it won't work that well if you don't have food with it, people just won't come in to have a drink. They wanna have something to eat with it too. And you got to make it where if you have some, a little live music and you have, where you're located in the store is important... To read the full transcript, please visit https://bigthink.com/videos/innovative-companies
How Benjamin Franklin tried—and failed—to form a union | Richard Kreitner | Big Think How Benjamin Franklin tried—and failed—to form a union | Richard Kreitner | Big Think
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How Benjamin Franklin tried—and failed—to form a union Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Most people know the basics of American history and may even be able to name all 13 colonies, but where exactly did the idea to form a union comes from? Political writer and essayist Richard Kreitner explains how Benjamin Franklin learned the concept from the Iroquois Confederation. When he tried to introduce it to the colonists, however, they "thought it was essentially equivalent to tyranny." The idea eventually caught on, but not without land disputes and issues of representation, which explains why the US House of Representatives has 435 voting seats while the Senate has just two seats per state, equal for all states regardless of population size—it was a compromise. Kreitner argues that this imbalance may one day rupture the US political system. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RICHARD KREITNER: Richard Kreitner was born in Queens, New York, grew up in Wayne, New Jersey, and graduated from McGill University in Montreal. A frequent contributor to The Nation magazine, he has also published articles and essays on history, politics, and culture for Slate, Salon, The Boston Globe, The Baffler, Raritan, and elsewhere. He is the author of Booked: A Traveler's Guide to Literary Locations Around the World (Black Dog & Leventhal) and of a forthcoming history of American disunion (Little, Brown and Company). He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Find Richard Kreitner's latest book Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America's Imperfect Union at https://amzn.to/35tglWM ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: RICHARD KREITNER: One of the things I was interested in about the colonial era is, ""Where did the colonists get the idea of union from?"" It took them, I think we don't really realize this very often, it took them a century and a half to actually join together. And that was not because nobody really thought of it. That was because they didn't want to. They didn't want to form a union. But the first people who did have the idea of a union, was the Iroquois Confederation. Which was an upstate in New York founded, you know scholars disagree, but many think the middle of the fifteenth century. And the colonists were constantly coming into contact with the Iroquois, because they have this very sophisticated political organization and a really ambitious imperial project, on their own, where they took advantage of a vacuum that formed with the decline of many neighboring tribes. And they often played the English and the French off against one another. So the Iroquois have this league of the five nations, and eventually a sixth nation came up from North Carolina and joined. And that was essentially what we would call today a union or a confederacy, where each nation, the Cayuga, the Seneca, and Oneida, sent a certain number of delegates to a tribal council that met near present day Syracuse, where they adjudicated all their differences that they had with one another, and in that way they were able to prevent wars from breaking out with one another. Benjamin Franklin learned about this, because one of his jobs as a printer was publishing the treaties from different Indian conferences, that the colonists and their officials had to coordinate disputes that they had between Indians and colonists. And one of those, in one of those treaties that Franklin printed, he saw a speech from Iroquois leader named Canasatego, who gave the speech in Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, saying that ""we the Iroquois figured out union, ""it's time for you the colonists to do so also."" Because he had noticed that different colonists from different colonies were constantly quarreling with one another, and fighting. This is what Franklin was inspired by, to draw up what he called, The Albany Plan of Union, which was presented in 1754. And was the first really full fledged plan to get the colonists to unite. You know, we barely remember these events. But if we remember anything at all, it's the cartoon that Franklin drew up and published in his Philadelphia newspaper to try to convince the colonists to join together, and said ""Join, or Die."" But they rejected his plan. They wanted no part of it. They thought it was essentially equivalent to tyranny. And they threw it out. And Franklin became, you know, very unpopular for a while, and that's when he moved to London. Now ultimately the colonists did take Canasatego's advice and formed a Union. But it was at the Iroquois' expense. The major issues that were dividing the Americans right when... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/benjamin-franklin-plan-of-union
Should parents de-emphasize gender norms? | Lisa Selin Davis | Big Think Should parents de-emphasize gender norms? | Lisa Selin Davis | Big Think
2 months ago En
Should parents de-emphasize gender norms? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The idea that blue is for boys and pink is for girls plays out in gender reveals and in the toy aisle, but where does it come from and what limits is it potentially placing on children? Lisa Selin Davis traces the gendering of toys and other objects back to the 1920s and explains how, over time, these marketing strategies were falsely conflated with biological traits. The "pink-blue divide" affects boys and girls on a psychological level. For example, psychologists discovered that when girls exit their intense 'pink princess' phase between ages 3-6 and move into a tomboy 'I hate pink' phase at age 6-8 ""that is actually a moment of girls realizing that what's marked as feminine is devalued and so they're distancing themselves from it to prop themselves up higher on the ladder," says Selin Davis. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LISA SELIN DAVIS: Lisa Selin Davis is an essayist, novelist, and journalist who has written for major publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Time, Yahoo, and Salon, among many others. She lives with her family in New York. Davis continues to write for major publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Women's Day, Salon, Yahoo, Time Out, and her articles often open the door to both debate and celebration. Check Lisa Selin Davis's latest book Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to Be Different at https://amzn.to/2IdpLNh ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: LISA SELIN DAVIS: A lot of people who grew up in the 70s and 80s and then had children looked around at their kids' clothes and toys and said, 'I don't remember the pink Big Wheel thing. I feel like I just had the same Big Wheel as my brother. Or we shared one. And when did this happen that we divided everything into pink and blue?' In the 19th and early 20th century, kids were often playing with the same things. But as the fields of psychology and sexology expand, the idea that you can make a kid gay, a boy gay, by letting him access what's seen as feminine starts taking hold and there becomes an idea that parents should raise their little boys to be men, to be straight men and teach them early how to be men. And we see that in the toys. And so in the 1920s as this idea is taking hold in our society, you start getting, like Erector sets for boys and they're marketed specifically to boys that are saying, 'This will teach little Johnny how to be good at building things.' And you start getting sets of toy brooms and mops for girls that'll say, 'Every girl wants to be a housewife and if you buy this toy for her, she can learn early how to do it.' And it's very outright and very specific about here's a toy that will teach you your gender role. And what happens over the next hundred years is we start believing that all that is biological and that boys really want those construction sets and girls really want the toy brooms. But we no longer have a culture in which we treat them equitably or we mark things as gender neutral, so we don't have any way of knowing what kids would want if there was no stigma attached. So dividing the toys up like that and then saying, oh my kid just wanted that, when everywhere those kids have seen the messages about what they should and shouldn't want, really reinforces not only the divisions of who gets to develop what skill, but also our ideas that this is somehow natural and biological. A great example of how masculinity is valued in both boys and girls and femininity is devalued in both boys and girls is what some psychologists call the PFD to tomboy phase, which is 'pink frilly dress' to tomboy phase. And they find that these girls often go through an intense princess phase from ages three to six, and then between six and eight you start hearing a lot of girls saying, 'I hate pink, I don't want to wear dresses anymore,' and a lot of parents celebrate that. Yay, the princess phase is so gross, I'm so happy we're out of it. But what they've discovered, what these psychologists discovered was that that is actually a moment of girls realizing that what's marked as feminine is devalued and so they're distancing themselves from it to prop themselves up higher on the ladder. And boys don't go through a phase like that where they turn six and they start saying... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/gender-norms
Smart parenting: 2 exercises that build confidence in girls | Marisa Porges | Big Think Smart parenting: 2 exercises that build confidence in girls | Marisa Porges | Big Think
2 months ago En
Smart parenting: 2 exercises that build confidence in girls Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the head of an all-girls school in Pennsylvania, Marisa Porges has dedicated her life to educating young women and preparing them for the future. Two things that parents can do at home to build confidence and nurture girls' ability to speak up according to Porges are to have them practice ordering for the family, and to encourage them to develop a pitch when making a request. Providing feedback on the pitch becomes more meaningful and memorable than simply saying yes or no. While this advice is great for parents of boys and girls, it is especially important for parents of young women. A recent study showed that 75 percent of high-performing women executives say they have felt imposter syndrome at some point in their careers. The ability to speak up, ask for what they want, and to use their voices confidently will be valuable skills for these future entrepreneurs and CEOs. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARISA PORGES: Marisa Porges PhD is the Head of School for The Baldwin School, a 130-year-old all girls school outside of Philadelphia, renowned for academic excellence and for preparing girls to be leaders and change-makers. Dr. Porges served in the Obama White House; was a visiting fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and the Council on Foreign Relations, where her research focused on worldwide counterterrorism efforts; and served in the U.S. Navy as one of eight female aviators in an air wing of two hundred. Her latest book What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women at https://amzn.to/2I7mWgG ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MARISA PORGES: One thing that I always get asked is how to help nurture young women's voice and their ability to ask and speak up. And it's something that is so critical for our girls to learn, and it's a skill that will help them in school of course, but any place they head next. And I think it's so important to think about easy ways we can build this into everyday life for parents. And so one great idea I have from the girls at my school is how to help them practice speaking up and asking in everyday life. What does this look like? It looks like the next time you go to order pizza or Chinese food, or you're out at a restaurant when we finally get to go out or at the amusement park, or in a museum. It's about putting your girl, yes when she's young, when she might be an introvert, when she's gonna be nervous, putting her front and center coaching her, but then having her speak on behalf of the family. It's something that parents often overlook. It seems silly, it seems unnecessary, it seems like it'll likely take a few minutes longer to get the answer you want. But girls remember that moment, and then they practice, and they build the muscle memory they need later on to count on when it becomes more important that they can speak out. When it comes to asking, a great idea for parents is to build the practice of asking into everyday life, what does that mean? That means the next time your child comes to you and says, I want something, right? The endless asks, no matter what your answer will be, and you might have already decided have her take a few minutes, send her off for 30 minutes, maybe an hour, buys yourself some time, and have her come back after a set period and pitch you. Make sure she has three reasons explain to her that data often works best, send her off to do some research, and then have her come back and explain three reasons why perhaps presenting the downsides too that she wants whatever new toy, new app, new opportunity for a weeknight sleepover, whatever it might be. And again, the answer doesn't matter. Maybe you probably know already what you wanted to do, but it's the practice of asking, the practice of showing her how important it is and then giving her feedback to say, huh, I liked that you showed me a bit of research, that you spent time drawing a picture that you explained why it was so important to you. Those moments stick out particularly for young women, and years later they'll look back and thank you for you making sure they're gonna be the best pitching person on their team, the best person with a pitch, the best entrepreneur that's out there on the market. So something to remember for every parent. For more info, visit https://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-build-confidence-in-girls
Are humans wired for conflict? Lord of the Flies vs. Charles Darwin | Rutger Bregman | Big Think Are humans wired for conflict? Lord of the Flies vs. Charles Darwin | Rutger Bregman | Big Think
2 months ago En
Are humans wired for conflict? Lord of the Flies vs. Charles Darwin Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The iconic novel "Lord of the Flies" paints a picture of human beings as naturally selfish and prone to conflict, but that is not the most accurate depiction of humanity, argues historian Rutger Bregman. Bregman shares a true story from his research about a group of Tongan students who survived on an island together for 15 months in 1965, not through brutal alliances, but by working together and forming a functional community. Darwin's observation of domestication syndrome is apparent in humans, argues Bregman; our evolution into friendlier animals can be seen in our biological features and responses. Evolutionarily speaking, being "soft" is actually very smart, and we evolved to cooperate with one another for mutual gain. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RUTGER BREHMAN: Rutger Bregman is a historian and author. He has published five books on history, philosophy, and economics. His books Humankind (2020) and Utopia for Realists (2017) were both New York Times bestsellers and have been translated in more than 40 languages. Bregman has twice been nominated for the prestigious European Press Prize for his work at The Correspondent. He lives in Holland. Rutger Bregman's latest book Humankind: A Hopeful History https://amzn.to/2HVX4nV ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: RUTGER BREGMAN: One of the most famous examples of this theory that people are fundamentally selfish in literature is the book "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding. So many people have read it, right? Millions of kids around the globe were basically forced to read it in school. I read it when I was 16 years old, or 17, and I remember feeling quite depressed and cynical afterwards, and thinking, "Well, no more Harry Potter for me." But it was while I was researching this book that I thought hmm, has it ever happened that real kids shipwrecked on a real island, and how would they behave if something like that would happen? And so I went on this journey that started on an obscure blog where someone wrote that this actually happened near Tonga in the '60s. Tonga is an island group in the Pacific Ocean, and yeah, after a couple of months, I managed to track them down. So I found a guy named Peter Warner, who is an Australian captain, who was fishing the vicinity of an island called 'Ata, a small island, basically a rock that sticks out of the ocean in 1966, when suddenly he heard screaming, and he was looking through his binoculars and he saw these six kids, long hair, pretty wild appearance. You know, what happens if you live on an island for a long time. Then these kids came and said, 'You know what? We're part of this school in Tonga, we've been living here for 15 months. Can you bring us home?' Now, Peter didn't believe it, so he called with the school and they said yeah, actually funerals have already been held. These are the real kids. So I spoke to Peter, the captain, and he put me in contact with his best friend, Mano Totau, who's one of the original "Lord of the Flies" kids. And so 50 years had passed since then, but they could still describe to me in vivid detail what happened and how these kids survived on this island for 15 months. Well, by working together, by cooperating. So they worked in teams of two. Two to be on the lookout, two to tend to the fire, two to tend to the garden. And yeah, sometimes they did end up in fights. So then one of the boys would go to one side of the island, the other would go to the other side of the island, would cool off a little bit, come back and say sorry. You know, that's how they kept going for months. So it wasn't easy, but they made it. And I think that can give us hope. And the thing is if it would be a Hollywood story, a Hollywood movie, then people would say, well, this is very naive. That's not how kids would behave. It's very sentimental. But it's the real "Lord of the Flies." The real "Lord of the Flies" is a story of friendship, of hope, of working together. It's pretty much the opposite of what we've always heard. Now, I'm not saying it's a scientific experiment. It's obviously just an anecdote, but we humans tend to become the stories that we tell ourselves. And for decades, we've been telling ourselves this pretty cynical story of kids turning on one another. And I mean, what are kids supposed to learn from that? It's not a very happy message, is it? So I think that whenever any teacher says to the kids, well, you need to read... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/conflict-human-evolution-cooperation
Why the US must break the grip of huge monopolies | Ganesh Sitaraman | Big Think Why the US must break the grip of huge monopolies | Ganesh Sitaraman | Big Think
2 months ago En
Why the US must break the grip of huge monopolies Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- According to Vanderbilt law professor and author Ganesh Sitaraman, America has a monopoly problem—a problem that is almost universally acknowledged as such, yet little is done about it. Sitaraman explains how monopolies of today share DNA with trusts of the 19th century, and how the increased concentration and consolidation of these corporations translate to increased power both economically and politically. "We need to think about reinvigorating our anti-trust laws and the principles of anti-monopoly that gave spirit to those laws and to lots of other regulations," he argues. Restoring faith in government and the economy starts with dismantling the things that make people question its allegiances and priorities. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GANESH SITARAMAN: Ganesh Sitaraman is a Professor of Law and Director at Vanderbilt Law School. He is the author of The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America (Basic Books, 2019), His book, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution (Knopf, 2017), was named one of The New York Times' 100 notable books of 2017, and The Counterinsurgent‘s Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars (Oxford University Press, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Palmer Prize for Civil Liberties. Professor Sitaraman was on leave from Vanderbilt‘s faculty from 2011 to 2013, serving as Elizabeth Warren‘s policy director during her campaign for the Senate, and then as her senior counsel in the Senate. Ganesh Sitaraman's latest book The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America at https://amzn.to/30ZdaUu ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: GANESH SITARAMAN: So I think one of the things that we've seen in the last decade or so is increasing concentration in sector after sector in the economy. And it's a problem for a few reasons. First, it's an economic problem. When you have massive concentration into a small number of monopolists you often get higher prices, less innovation, because there's less competition. And you have a political problem, which is that a small number of companies can lobby Washington to try to pass policies or support regulations that benefit themselves at the expense of others. So we have this problem that's both economic and political, that comes from concentration and consolidation. What's really striking is that we have anti-trust laws, and throughout our history have really had an anti-trust, an anti-monopoly movement that was very concerned about this kind of consolidation, both for economic reasons and for constitutional and democratic reasons. And it goes way back to the first Gilded Age, in the late 19th century, and the Industrial Revolution. Back in that time period, there were, there was massive concentration of companies into a smaller and smaller number, they called them the trusts back then. And the trusts wielded great power economically over society, and politically over government. They were often depicted in writings as an octopus with their tentacles all over American society. And so what people of the Progressive Era did, is they passed anti-trust laws. The Sherman Act in 1890, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Act. And the goal of these laws was to try to breakup these consolidations of economic power, and in other laws, to try to regulate economic power in places where there were natural monopolies, to create them to be more like public utilities. And in either case, the idea was that democracy should be able to control significant economic power, rather than economic power controlling democracy. And that was the idea of these laws in the Progressive Era, and it really continued for most of the 20th century. And then starting in the 1970s, there was a real shift. And this shift was to say that anti-trust wasn't really about power and concentration and distribution of power, it was really about economic efficiency, about a kind of idea that all that really mattered was consumer prices, and lowering prices. And this idea started to expand, starting in the 1970s, and it became more and more powerful, and over time really took over much of the anti-trust profession, to the point that we're now in a place where the anti-trust laws have not been significantly enforced in the way that they might have been in early generations. And what we're seeing is greater and greater consolidation... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/monopolies-in-the-us
Learn the Netflix model of high-performing teams | Erin Meyer | Big Think Learn the Netflix model of high-performing teams | Erin Meyer | Big Think
2 months ago En
Learn the Netflix model of high-performing teams | Erin Meyer | Big Think Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are numerous strategies for building and maintaining a high-performing team, but unfortunately, they are not plug-and-play. What works for some companies will not necessarily work for others. Erin Meyer, co-author of No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, shares one alternative employed by one of the largest tech and media services companies in the world. Instead of the 'Rank and Yank' method once used by GE, Meyer explains how Netflix managers use the 'keeper test' to determine if employees are crucial pieces of the larger team and are worth fighting to keep. "An individual performance problem is a systemic problem that impacts the entire team," she says. This is a valuable lesson that could determine whether the team fails or whether an organization advances to the next level. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ERIN MEYER: Erin Meyer is the author of The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business, and co-author of No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention. She is also a professor at INSEAD, one of the world's leading international business schools. Her work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and Forbes.com. In 2019, Meyer was selected by the Thinkers50 as one of the fifty most influential business thinkers in the world. She received an MBA from INSEAD in 2004, and she currently lives in Paris, France. In 1994 and 1995 Meyer also served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer teacher in southern Africa. Visit erinmeyer.com for more information. His latest book No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention https://amzn.to/3mt3QQG ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: ERIN MEYER: When Reed started Netflix, he had this question, this experiment in his mind, which was: Would it be possible, if he created an organization that was made up entirely of top performers? Would it be possible to give them an incredible level of freedom without having to worry about the organization descending into chaos? Because, of course, in most companies, most of the rules and process are put in place in order to deal with employees who are underperforming, or who are maybe not the best employees of the batch, right? So that led him to this idea, this idea of talent density, of creating a high performing team that had very little rules and process tying it down. And the idea is specifically not just that we're any other team, but we're a high performing Olympic team. And I think that's actually an interesting image, because we can all think about top athletic performers, that they recognize that if they want a spot on that top Olympic team, that they're going to have to fight hard to get that spot. Meaning they're going to have to really be performing at their highest level. And when they get there, they know every year they kind of have to try out again. It's not like they're going to be in that spot for life. So, I think that that's an atmosphere that is very attractive to some of the younger generations today that aren't thinking about employment for life, but instead are thinking about opportunities that can allow each of us to shine to our full potential. And then, when that opportunity is done, we can move on to another opportunity. Of course, that also means that Netflix, I would say, is a rather high adrenaline place to work. Just like being on an Olympic team may be high adrenaline. And what I found is that people are both excited and delighted and a little bit exhausted. So, you have to be a person who really is looking for that level of freedom and opportunity, knowing that it may be a position that is also going to use every inch of your neurons while you're working there. So of course, saying that you want to have a team of all high performers is easy enough, but figuring out how to do that is not so easy. Historically, companies like GE and Microsoft have dealt with this idea of trying to get all top performers by using these processes, which are sometimes called things like ""Rank and Yank,"" where you rank your employees from top to bottom. And for example, with GE, for a period of time, managers were then asked to fire the bottom 10 percent. But since been shown to not be a great management tool, because it creates a lot of internal competition and even backstabbing. Plus, because Netflix is so anti-process, that wouldn't work there anyhow. But instead, what they do at Netflix, which I think is actually a very interesting... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/high-performing-teams
What stops people from changing their minds? | Jonah Berger | Big Think What stops people from changing their minds? | Jonah Berger | Big Think
3 months ago En
What stops people from changing their minds? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When you want someone to see things differently and to abandon their previous stance, sometimes persistence is not key. "Too often we think change is about pushing," says Jonah Berger, author of the book The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind, and a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. "We think if we just come up with one more way people will eventually come around." Through speaking with people who have successfully changed minds of others, Berger identified five common barriers and created the REDUCE framework for finding the catalysts needed to break through: reactants, endowment, distance, uncertainty, and corroborating evidence. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JONAH BERGER: Dr. Jonah Berger is a world-renowned expert on change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. He has published over 50 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches Wharton's highest rated online course, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. He's keynoted hundreds of events, and often consults for organizations like Google, Apple, Nike, and the Gates Foundation. His latest book The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind https://amzn.to/3m1espU ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: JONAH BERGER: Often when we think about changing someone's mind, whether it's in our personal lives or professional lives, we think the answer is pushing. If it's trying to change our spouse's mind, we think about listing more reasons. We think about changing the boss's mind, we think about making one more PowerPoint presentation. And it's clear why we think that'll work. If you think about the physical world, take a chair for example, and we think about moving a chair, pushing is often a great way to get a chair to go. But when it comes to applying that same intuition to people there's a challenge, which is, when we push chairs, chairs go. When we push people they don't necessarily go, they often push back. Often, you know, we push, and we prod, and we add more reasons, or more facts, or more figures, and nothing happens. Change is really hard. And so, if pushing isn't the answer, well, well what is? And it turns out there's this interesting analogy in chemistry. Chemical change is really hard. It often takes thousands if not millions of years for carbon to turn into diamonds, and plant matter to turn into oil. And so chemists often add temperature and pressure to make change happen faster. But it turns out, there's a special set of substances chemists often use to make change happen faster and easier. These substances are called catalysts. And what catalysts neatly do, in the chemical world, is they make change happen faster with less energy. They reduce, essentially, the barrier to change. And in the social world, we tend to think about catalysts as just people that catalyze change, that cause change to happen. But really, in this book, I'm borrowing on that same notion from chemistry. Too often we think change is about pushing. We think if we just come up with one more way people will eventually come around. Rarely though, do we take a step back and say, ""Well, hold on, why hasn't that person changed already? What's stopping them? What's the thing getting in the way—that barrier or that obstacle that's getting in the way—and how can I mitigate it?"" I've talked to everyone, from startup founders, and people who changed their boss's mind, to folks that got their kids to do what they wanted their kids to do, or change their spouse's behavior. But also more interesting types of individuals that changed things in the almost most difficult of circumstances. I talked to people that have gotten folks to come from one political side to the other. I've talked to hostage negotiators that got people to come out with their hands up. And I've talked to people like substance abuse counselors, who've gotten people to quit even when quitting hadn't worked in the past. Again and again, I saw the same five barriers come up, and so I put them in the framework: reactants, endowment, distance, uncertainty, and corroborating evidence, together spell the word reduce, which is exactly what great catalysts do. The basic idea of reactants is when we push people, they push back, they don't just go along with what we want them to do, they push back. And so, we need to... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-change-someones-mind
Is the US actually a democracy? | Ganesh Sitaraman | Big Think Is the US actually a democracy? | Ganesh Sitaraman | Big Think
3 months ago En
Is the US actually a democracy? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Three essential components of democracy are economic equality, social unity, and a government that acts in the interest of the people. America lacks all three of those components, says Vanderbilt University Law School Professor Ganesh Sitaraman. "In study after study, political scientists have shown that our government is responsive primarily to the wealthy and interest groups, not to ordinary people," says Sitaraman. "A system of government that is mostly unresponsive to the people is not a democracy at all." Sitaraman argues that the neoliberal era is what divided America and continues to prevent the country from realizing a true democracy. In this video, he explains the problem with neoliberalism and how a new agenda could create far better opportunities. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GANESH SITARAMAN: Ganesh Sitaraman is a Professor of Law and Director at Vanderbilt Law School. He is the author of The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America (Basic Books, 2019), His book, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution (Knopf, 2017), was named one of The New York Times' 100 notable books of 2017, and The Counterinsurgent‘s Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars (Oxford University Press, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Palmer Prize for Civil Liberties. Professor Sitaraman was on leave from Vanderbilt‘s faculty from 2011 to 2013, serving as Elizabeth Warren‘s policy director during her campaign for the Senate, and then as her senior counsel in the Senate. Ganesh Sitaraman's latest book is The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America https://amzn.to/30ZdaUu ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: GANESH SITARAMAN: Part of the reason that we're in this moment of crisis for democracy is that we've largely misunderstood what democracy is. Democracy isn't just about voting in elections, even though that's important. And it's not just about constitutional norms and institutions, even though that's important too. Democracy has always required much, much more. Since the ancient Greeks and Romans, philosophers and statesmen recognized that democracy could not persist in a society that had too much economic inequality. They thought that either the rich would oppress the poor, creating an oligarchy; or the masses would overthrow the rich with a demagogue leading the way. Either way, you would lose democracy if you had economic inequality. So what was essential to democracy was an economic democracy; a measure of economic equality, no one having too much economic power. Similarly, when a society becomes deeply divided by race, religion, clan, tribe, or ideology, democracy also becomes difficult to sustain. And the reason why is that democracy requires us to determine our own destiny together, but when we're so divided that we aim to oppose futures, democracy can't succeed. Lincoln said that "A house divided against itself cannot stand." And this is why social solidarity, a united democracy, bringing people together across differences, across race, across the barriers that seem to be between us, that is so important to democracy. At the same time, neither economic democracy nor social solidarity is going to be possible without having an actual political democracy; a government that is responsive and representative of the people. But, we don't have that today, either. In study after study, political scientists have shown that our government is responsive, primarily, to the wealthy and interest groups, not to ordinary people. A system of government that is mostly unresponsive to the people is not a democracy at all. The core challenge today is that we've never actually and truly achieved what democracy requires. Democracy was severely restricted before the liberal era in the mid-20th century, but the people of that era reined-in economic power during the New Deal. They expanded economic opportunity through the GI Bill and investments in the New Frontier. They fought a war on poverty to promote economic equality and build a great society. And in the midst of all those reforms, they struggled fiercely to end Jim Crow, integrate the nation racially, and promote equal rights for women and people of color because they knew that segregation could never mean equality, let alone solidarity. These efforts, of course, caused massive upheaval. Real democracy was visible on the horizon—but what happened then is that the late ’60s and the ’70s brought warfare and economic and social and... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/is-us-actually-a-democracy
The fastest drummer in the world is a cyborg | Big Think x Freethink The fastest drummer in the world is a cyborg | Big Think x Freethink
3 months ago En
The fastest drummer in the world is a cyborg Big Think x Freethink At Big Think, we share actionable lessons from the world’s greatest thinkers and doers. This week, we’re partnering with Freethink to bring you amazing stories of the people and technologies that are shaping our future, from neuroscience breakthroughs to bionics and justice. Catch Freethink’s documentary-style videos right here on our channel all this week. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Meet the world's first bionic drummer. Rock musician Jason Barnes lost his arm in a terrible accident... and then he became the fastest drummer in the world. With the help of Gil Weinberg, a Georgia Tech professor and inventor of musical robots, the pair utilized electromyography and ultrasound technology to break musical records. Weinberg and Barnes hope to perfect the technology so that it can one day be used to help other people with disabilities realize that "they're not only not disabled, they're actually super-able." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GIL WEINBERG: Gil Weinberg is a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Music and the founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, where he leads the Robotic Musicianship group. His research focuses on developing artificial creativity and musical expression for robots and augmented humans. His music has been performed with orchestras such as Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the National Irish Symphony Orchestra, and the Scottish BBC Symphony while his research has been disseminated through numerous journal articles and patents. Weinberg received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and his B.A. from the interdisciplinary program for fostering excellence in Tel Aviv University. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JASON BARNES: Jason Barnes is known as the "Bionic Drummer." Barnes began drumming at age 14, but lost his arm in an electrocution accident in 2011. After learning that he could tape a drumstick to his stump, Barnes continued to pursue his passion and eventually met and began collaborating with Gil Weinberg, a researcher and professor at Georgia Tech's School of Music. Barnes holds the world record for most drumbeats in one minute (2400) using a drumstick prosthetic. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: NARRATOR: This is the world's first bionic drummer. He's the fastest drummer in the world. He's also a pioneer of prosthetics. He's trying to control these robotic fingers with his mind. JASON BARNES: Come on, dude. (beep) you. ZACH: You're not doing that. I am. BARNES: Come on, Zach. ZACH: I'm working on it, man. BARNES: What's going on, dude? ZACH: I'm working on it. NARRATOR: That dude helping is Zach, a grad student at Georgia Tech. BARNES: It's working now. NARRATOR: The goal of all this? To close the gap between man and machine. That is pretty cool. NARRATOR: For Jason Barnes, music is life. BARNES: What music does for me, I guess, is what drugs do for the everyday person. It's kind of an escape and a release for me. I've been a musician from a young age. I grew up watching my dad play guitar. Ever since then, drums have been my passion. Unfortunately, when I was 22, I was involved in an electrical accident at work. NARRATOR: A transformer exploded and shocked him with 22,000 volts of electricity, burning him badly. He and his doctors made the tough decision to amputate his arm. BARNES: I felt at the time that I had lost everything I have, as far as being a musician goes. It's completely devastating, especially when that is your whole life and it's taken from you. Something like that could potentially be the end of your world. NARRATOR: But in a way, Jason was just getting started. BARNES: I drug my drum kit out of the garage and taped the drum stick to my stump. Still had bandages on it and everything, and proceeded to start playing the drums. That moment right there was a push point for me to accept what had happened and try and do something with it. NARRATOR: He was on his way to becoming a bionic musician, so the next thing Jason did was build a custom prosthetic to play the drums. And they worked pretty well, but then he found out about this. This robot musician is actually improvising. It's listening and responding in real time, just like a human. GIL WEINBERG: I've always been excited about creating something new, that will inspire and surprise me. NARRATOR: That's the robot's creator, Gil Weinberg. WEINBERG: I'm trying to create robots that will actually make you cry, that will blow your mind, send shivers down your spine. NARRATOR: Gil heard about Jason. WEINBERG: I received... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/bionic-prosthetics-drummer
Catching serial killers with an algorithm | Big Think x Freethink Catching serial killers with an algorithm | Big Think x Freethink
3 months ago En
Catching serial killers with an algorithm Big Think x Freethink At Big Think, we share actionable lessons from the world’s greatest thinkers and doers. This week, we’re partnering with Freethink to bring you amazing stories of the people and technologies that are shaping our future, from neuroscience breakthroughs to bionics and justice. Catch Freethink’s documentary-style videos right here on our channel all this week. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are over 250,000 unsolved murder cases in the United States. Thomas Hargrove, cofounder of Murder Accountability Project, wants that number to be as close to zero as possible, and he has just the tool to help. Hargrove developed an algorithm that, through cluster analysis, is capable of finding connections in murder data that human investigators tend to miss. The technology exists, but a considerable roadblock that the project faces is getting support and cooperation from law enforcement offices. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THOMAS HARGROVE: Thomas Hargrove is a retired investigative journalist and former White House correspondent. He founded the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project in 2015 to track unsolved homicides nationwide. While working as a national correspondent for the Scripps Howard News Service, Hargrove developed an algorithm that uses FBI homicide data to identify clusters of murders with an elevated probability of containing serial killings. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: THOMAS HARGROVE: Whenever I see data, I tend to think in terms of patterns. The real world is following a rather simple mathematical formula. And it's that way with murder. Most people don't realize that we're far less likely to solve a murder today than we were 50 years ago. My name is Thomas Hargrove and I am the founder and chairman of the Murder Accountability Project. I'm not a police officer. Quite frankly, I am just a nerd. I really know very little about serial killers. I do know what they look like in data. For 37 years I was a newspaper reporter and it was just the best job there is in the universe. Increasingly, I became known as the numbers guy in the newsroom. We wanted to study why murders go unsolved and why a growing number of murders go unsolved. And the first time I saw the supplementary homicide report by the FBI, my first thought was, I wonder if we could teach a computer to spot serial killers in these data. And the answer is yes. Years before I had learned of a phenomenon called linkage blindness. The only way the murders are linked to a common offender is if the two investigators get together by the water cooler and talk about their cases and discover commonalities. We contacted the FBI and got every year's worth of reporting back to 1980. I opened it up and looked at row after row of individual murders. It had the victim's age, race, sex, how the victim was killed. We turned that into a nine-digit number, essentially a Dewey decimal system of death. During the months that I was working on the algorithm, I had over my desk a picture of Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway. He killed 48 women in Seattle in the '80s and '90s. He was looking at me for months and months while I was trying to make an algorithm work. The only way we would know that an algorithm was successful is if it was identifying known serial killers. What worked was a technique called cluster analysis. And we told the computer to cluster the data. Seattle came up clear as day, something awful had happened, and the algorithm was producing dozens and dozens of other clusters that look just as bad as Seattle that were not known, like Gary, Indiana. There were actually 15 unsolved strangulations of women in the area, including 13 in Gary itself. I contacted the Gary Police Department and gave them my usual spiel. I'm Tom Hargrove. We have a method to identify serial killers. There have been too many unsolved strangulations. What do you know about it? Absolute radio silence. They would not talk about the possibility there was a serial killer active. In 2014, just next door to Gary, Hammond Police were summoned to a Motel 6. Dead woman in the bathtub. They make an arrest very quickly. Darren Vann started confessing that he had been at this for decades, going back to the '90s. In all, seven women died after we had tried repeatedly for months to get them to consider the possibility that they had a serial killer. This was without question, the most frustrating experience in my professional life. I have absolutely no doubt that many of the unsolved strangulation murders of women in Gary, Indiana are Mr. Vann's handiwork. We have more than 220,000 unsolved murders in the United States. We've gathered records... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/catching-serial-killers-with-an-algorithm
1 in 5 vegetative patients is conscious. This neuroscientist finds them. | Big Think x Freethink 1 in 5 vegetative patients is conscious. This neuroscientist finds them. | Big Think x Freethink
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Big Think x Freethink At Big Think, we share actionable lessons from the world’s greatest thinkers and doers. This week, we’re partnering with Freethink to bring you amazing stories of the people and technologies that are shaping our future, from neuroscience breakthroughs to bionics and justice. Catch Freethink’s documentary-style videos right here on our channel this Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What if vegetative patients are conscious? Neuroscientist Adrian Owen, author of Into The Gray Zone and a professor at Western University in Canada, is using fMRI technology to try to reach the people who may still be aware of their surroundings. Consciousness has traditionally been assessed by asking patients to respond to verbal commands. Through brain imaging, Dr Owen and his team were able to prove that these tests are inadequate, and it's estimated that 20 percent of vegetative patients are conscious but are physically incapable of communicating it. "Communication is the thing that really makes us human," says Dr. Owen. "If we can give these patients back the ability to make decisions, I think we can give them back a little piece of their humanity." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DR ADRIAN OWEN: Dr Adrian Owen is a Professor at The Brain and Mind Institute, Western University, Canada and the former Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging. His research combines neuroimaging (MRI and EEG), with cognitive studies in brain-injured patients and healthy participants. He has spent the last twenty years pioneering breakthroughs in cognitive neuroscience. Find out more at OwenLab.uwo.ca. Check his latest book Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Mysteries of the Brain and the Border Between Life and Death at https://amzn.to/3le2QPX ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: DR. ADRIAN OWEN: Imagine this scenario. You've unfortunately had a terrible accident. You're lying in a hospital bed and you're aware—you're aware but you're unable to respond, but the doctors and your relatives don't know that. You have to lie there, listening to them deciding whether to let you live or die. I can think of nothing more terrifying. I'm Dr. Adrian Owen. I'm the author of ‘Into the Gray Zone’, a neuroscientist explores the border between life and death. Communication is at the very heart of what makes us human. It's the basis of everything. What we're doing is we're returning the ability to communicate to some patients who seem to have lost that forever. The vegetative state is often referred to as a state of wakefulness without awareness. Patients open their eyes, they'll just gaze around the room. They'll have sleeping and waking cycles, but they never show any evidence of having any awareness. So, typically, the way that we assess consciousness is through command following. We ask somebody to do something, say, squeeze our hand, and if they do it, you know that they’re conscious. The problem in the vegetative state is that these patients by definition can produce no movements. And the question I asked is, well, could somebody command follow with their brain? It was that idea that pushed us into a new realm of understanding this patient population. When a part of your brain is involved in generating a thought or performing an action, it burns energy in the form of glucose, and it's replenished through blood flow. As blood flows to that part of the brain, we're able to see that with the fMRI scanner. I think one of the key insights was the realization that we could simply get somebody to lie in the scanner and imagine something and, based on the pattern of brain activity, we will be able to work out what it is they were thinking. We had to find something that produces really a quite distinct pattern of activity that was more or less the same for everybody. So, we came up with two tasks. One task, imagine playing tennis, produces activity in the premotor cortex in almost every healthy person we tried this in. A different task, thinking about moving from room to room in your house, produces an entirely different pattern of brain activity; particularly, it involves a part of the brain known as the parahippocampal gyrus. And again, it's very consistent across different people. So, we realized that we could use this as a simple mechanism for asking yes or no questions. We could say, well, I'm going to ask you a question. If the answer is yes, imagine playing tennis. If the answer is no, imagine thinking about moving through the rooms of your home. I can still remember exactly what it felt like the first time we saw a patient that we thought was in a vegetative state activate their brain... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/neuroscience-vegetative-consciousness
How does gravity bend spacetime? | Konstatin Batygin | Big Think How does gravity bend spacetime? | Konstatin Batygin | Big Think
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How does gravity bend spacetime? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We typically think of events as happening in space and in time. "In reality, space and time are strongly intertwined things and the union of them is called spacetime," explains Konstantin Batygin. The force that we understand as gravity, according to Batygin, is the result of the spacetime continuum being curved by Earth's gravitational field. Depending on how close you are to the source of gravity, time will pass at different rates. Traveling backward in time is not possible. Traveling forward through time without aging, however, would require going to the center of the planet where the effects of that gravitational field can't be experienced. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KONSTANTIN BATYGIN: Forbes named professor Konstantin Batygin the “next physics rock star” in its 2015 list of “30 Under 30: Young Scientists Who Are Changing the World.” He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008, before pursuing graduate studies at California Institute of Technology. To date, Batygin has authored over seventy scientific publications, and his research has been featured on the pages of Nature as well as the front cover of Scientific American. In 2016, Batygin sparked international headlines with the announcement of the existence of an as-yet-unobserved ninth planet in the solar system. This discovery, conducted with research partner Mike Brown, fueled a worldwide race among astronomers to locate "Planet Nine.” Prior to joining the faculty at California Institute of Technology in 2014, Batygin was a postdoctoral scholar at Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in Nice, France, and Harvard University. When not doing science, he moonlights as the lead singer and guitarist in the rock band, The Seventh Season. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: KONSTANTIN BATYGIN: In our daily experience we are used to thinking of events as being separated in space and separated in time and there's a true kind of sense of simultaneity, where two things that are separated in space happen in the same time, and we're okay with that. As it turns out, that's only an approximate view of what's really happening. In reality, space and time are strongly intertwined things and the union of them is called spacetime. Now spacetime is the grid, if you will, of this world. It is the coordinate system on which everything happens. And gravity tends to bend that coordinate system. And so indeed, gravity, what we experience as falling, for example, if we jump off a little hill or something like that, that is nothing. That is just a manifestation of the fact that the spacetime continuum itself is being curved by the gravitational field of the Earth. What does this mean? What does this curving mean? It means that depending on how close you are to the source of gravity, time will pass at different rates. That said, biologically you will not experience it differently one way or another. The only thing that this is useful for is if you wanted to build a time machine. So a time machine can never go backwards in time, but you can make a time machine that goes forward in time. Suppose you are a fan of some Netflix series and you want to watch the whole thing and you don't want to wait for different seasons to come out one year apart. You just want to binge watch the whole thing now. Then what you do is you build a planet and then you put yourself in the center so that you are experiencing no gravitational field because you are weightless in the center of the planet. You drill a hole and then you put a TV outside of the planet, submerge the TV in the gravitational field so that time passes more rapidly for the TV and then you watch. So, as a biological being you will not experience aging any differently at least due to gravity. You will not experience aging any differently if you live on a mountain or on the surface of the Earth.
This is the superpower teachers need to flex | Kwame Alexander | Big Think This is the superpower teachers need to flex | Kwame Alexander | Big Think
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This is the superpower teachers need to flex Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Teachers have arguably the most important job on Earth. It's their responsibility to help shape who young people will become by inspiring them and connecting with them as human beings. Trust has to be earned before any meaningful learning can happen. The superpower that poet and children's fiction author Kwame Alexander learned from his mother is the ability to connect emotionally with his audience first so that they are open and interested in tackling heavier subjects and having challenging conversations. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KWAME ALEXANDER: Kwame Alexander is the Innovator-in-Residence at the American School of London, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 34 books, including Caldecott-Medal and Newbery-Honor winning picture book The Undefeated, How to Read a Book, Swing, Rebound, which was shortlisted for prestigious Carnegie Medal, and, his Newbery medal-winning middle grade novel, The Crossover. As the founding editor of Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, he aims to change the world one word at a time. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: KWAME ALEXANDER: I believe that if we feel a certain type of way, if we are inspired in a really profound way that connects with us emotionally then pretty much anything that comes after that is doable. So if I'll go into a school and speak to some high school students I'm not going to read from my book. Maybe if it's a 45 minute presentation I'm going to spend 30 minutes sharing stories about my writerly life, about saying yes to what's possible. I'm going to spend time interacting with them and then maybe the last five minutes I'll share a piece from one of my books. But the idea is that if you're going to learn something I think first you're going to have to know the importance and feel the importance of why that thing you need to learn matters. And I think that can only come from being inspired. My mother would come into my room as a kid and share an African folktale with me and I'd be on the edge of my bed trying to find out why do mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. And why didn't the little girl brush her teeth. I'd be wanting to hear these stories and she'd sing me songs and share a poem. And then afterwards she'd say now go make up your own. Go clean up your bed. Go cut the grass and I'd be like okay because I had been inspired in that moment to really find a connection with who I am as a human being. And that's what it all comes down to. So my number one ingredient is inspiration. The capacity to get people to feel something. To be able to move people. Teachers have a responsibility to help build and mold and shape beautiful human beings because the alternative is you can destroy them. And so if I'm going to be talking about these heavy weighty topics then at first I've got to let you know that we are a family. That you can trust me. That this is a safe space because this is going to be challenging but we're all going to grow from it. I think the capacity to be able to get you to emotionally open yourself up for these challenging conversations is a huge superpower. And I learned that, I mean I think I have it which is why I'm talking about it. And I think I learned that from my mother. How do you get people on your side. How do you allow people to feel safe as you for lack of a better word scold them or scold us because we've all got to do better. I think that's a huge human superpower to get people to be able to commit to acknowledging that we are all in the same boat. We're all human beings and yeah, I'm about to call you on some stuff but it's coming from a space of love.
Reality check for entrepreneurs in crisis | Anthony Scaramucci | Big Think Reality check for entrepreneurs in crisis | Anthony Scaramucci | Big Think
7 months ago En
Reality check for entrepreneurs in crisis Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anthony Scaramucci isn't afraid to admit his failures as an entrepreneur. The founder and managing partner of investment firm SkyBridge Capital says it's the journey that matters, and that being an entrepreneur means accepting that some things, including successes and failures, are out of your control. A hard but necessary question that entrepreneurs have to ask themselves is if they can live with the worst-case scenario. In a time of crisis, Scaramucci's advice is to clear your mind, accept all possible outcomes, and to dial down fear-based instincts so that you focus on being aggressive in business. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Anthony Scaramucci is the founder and current managing partner of investment firm SkyBridge Capital. Scaramucci published an autobiography, Goodbye, Gordon Gekko: How to Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul, in 2010, and made a brief appearance in Oliver Stone's Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. Scaramucci is also the author of The Little Book of Hedge Funds and his latest book Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole https://amzn.to/2AHqKS7 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: To speak with absolute veracity to future entrepreneurs, current entrepreneurs or potential ones, what you have to know about your life is if you're going to be an entrepreneur you have to accept that some of your success or failure is providential. There's only so many things that are inside your control. CHRISTINE ROMANS: The Coronavirus pandemic has tanked the global economy with unprecedented speed. Millions out of work, markets plunging, business slammed to a screeching halt VARIOUS SPEAKERS: U.S. markets tumbled Friday because of concerns of the outbreak…The Dow Jones Industrial average closed down nearly…Wall Street ending one of the worst weeks of trading since the financial crisis in 2008. ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: You can work hard, you can build a nice relationship network, you can sell good products but you have to have the right environment to work inside of and some of that's beyond your control. We can't predict terrorist attacks like 9/11 or debacles like the WorldCom accounting disaster, the Enron accounting disaster of '01 to '03. The 2008 global financial crisis. None of these things we can predict, and so you have to live your life recognizing that a sense of your life is out of control. That's hard for the average person but that's par for the course for the entrepreneur. ELON MUSK: The odds of coming into the rocket business not knowing anything about rockets, not having ever built anything, I mean I would have to be insane if I thought the odds were in my favor. ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Running a business the first thing you have to do is you have to drop your ego and your self-identity of whatever it is you think about yourself. And so there was great sadness that I had while my business was failing because my self-pity was, at a scale of one to ten, it was at a 16. And what was the self-pity? 'My god, I went to Harvard Law School. I should be doing way better than I'm doing and my business is failing and woe is me, woe is me.' So the first thing you have to do is you have to drop all of your self-pity and you have to accept your journey in life. The second thing you have to do is you have to stop comparing yourself to everybody else. I think that is a huge, dangerous thing that business leaders do and even competitive athletes do. And then once you're able to do both of those things then your mind clears up. And once your mind clears up and you start to accept that there are so many things about the next forward steps of your life that are uncertain no matter what you do. No matter how brilliant you are, you could still fail and you're comfortable with that then you finally have made it as an entrepreneur because at the end of the day Steve Jobs has his set of failures. People don't remember this about Bill Gates but his first operating system failed. He had to go to digital research in Seattle and buy that and change it from DR-DOS to MS-DOS, and so every great entrepreneur, if they are being honest with you, will tell you about disastrous things that happened to them. Michael Dell's notebooks, we're talking about this Galaxy 7 catching on fire. In 1993, Michael Dell's notebooks were catching on fire... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/entrepreneurs-in-crisis
What should schools teach? Now is the moment to ask. | Caroline Hill | Big Think What should schools teach? Now is the moment to ask. | Caroline Hill | Big Think
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What should schools teach? Now is the moment to ask. Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The coronavirus pandemic has left many at an interesting crossroads in terms of mapping out the future of their respective fields and industries. For schools, that may mean a total shift not only in how educators teach, but what they teach. One important strategy moving forward, thought leader Caroline Hill says, is to push back against the idea that getting ahead is more important than getting along. "The opportunity that education has in this moment to really push students and think about what is the right way to live, how do we do it and how do we do it in a way that doesn't hurt or rob the dignity of other people?" Hill also argues that now is the time for bigger swings and for removing the barriers that limit education. The online space is boundary free and provides educators with new opportunities to connect with students around the world. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CAROLINE HILL: Caroline Hill is a thought leader who lives, works, and designs at the intersection of education, innovation, and equity. Her work inspired the creation of equityXdesign, a powerful design framework that merges the values of equity work and innovation with the intentionality of design. Her latest venture, 228 Accelerator, catalyzes the redesign of the relationships that normalize mistreatment and oppression, builds bridges between the powerful and the powerless, and accelerates our journey to a more inclusive society. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: CAROLINE HILL: One of the things that I've been really thinking about is that if our school systems and our education system is supposed to feed our democracy or become a microcosm of it, then what is it that kids need to learn and be able to do? And I think explicit instruction around community and getting along more than getting ahead, or kind of figure out a way to pair them. I think there's some implicit silent stretch throughout our entire culture that says it's more important to get ahead than it is to get along. And I think we're smart enough and we have enough wisdom and knowledge and ingenuity to figure out how to do both so that the way that we live doesn't have to hurt other people. And I think those are lessons that I think school... and I think that's the opportunity that education has in this moment to really push students and think about what is the right way to live, how do we do it and how do we do it in a way that doesn't hurt or rob the dignity of other people? And then what do we need to learn about the natural world, about mathematics to make those things happen, to develop those new ways of working. In an online space there are no boundaries, there are only the boundaries and the walls that we erect and we are able to keep and we do work to keep them up. I was talking to a school leader the other day and I said you know, there's no stopping you from teaching kids in Mexico, Canada, in all 50 states if you think that way. We didn't have the technology 20 years ago, but we do now so what does a school community look like when we are able to blur the traditional lines that have kept us apart and intentionally figure out how do we cross lines of independent and public schools? How do we cross lines of parochial and public and independent so that we can actually practice learning together and respecting the differences that each one of us bring forth? I think that that's a moment we've never experienced before and I think having school leaders think about like your school community is your local community in which you lead, but there's an unbounded community that has kids in every country at this point, kids on every continent that you have the capacity to reach and connect with. How do we start thinking about our education in that way so that we could start to lower kind of like the provincial walls that separate us and think about ourselves as a global community? We have a kind of a cultural mantra that says you know then you do, but I think in this moment we should think about we do to know. Does that make sense? Like how do we start doing things on a small scale with reduced risk to learn and to know? I think that what I've seen is when the risk to fail or the permission... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/future-of-learning/what-should-schools-teach
What makes neutron stars so special? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think What makes neutron stars so special? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think
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What makes neutron stars so special? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Learn skills from the world's top minds at Big Think Edge: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Being outside of Earth's atmosphere while also being able to look down on the planet is both a challenge and a unique benefit for astronauts conducting important and innovative experiments aboard the International Space Station. NASA astrophysicist Michelle Thaller explains why one such project, known as NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer), is "one of the most amazing discoveries of the last year." Researchers used x-ray light data from NICER to map the surface of neutrons (the spinning remnants of dead stars 10-50 times the mass of our sun). Thaller explains how this data can be used to create a clock more accurate than any on Earth, as well as a GPS device that can be used anywhere in the galaxy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MICHELLE THALLER: Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. She is Assistant Director of Science Communication at NASA. She went to college at Harvard University, completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif. then started working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Spitzer Space Telescope. After a hugely successful mission, she moved on to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in the Washington D.C. area. In her off-hours often puts on about 30lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances. For more information, visit https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/people/1040/michelle-thaller/ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MICHELLE THALLER: I'm an astrophysicist and one of the things that I have been really impressed with with the International Space Station, some of the most amazing and innovating and strange experiments today are actually located on the space station. It's, of course, a wonderful platform to look at a lot of stuff because you're up above the atmosphere, you're up in space and you can both look out into space and you can also look back down at our home planet the Earth. One of the things that makes it a challenge to actually use it as, for example, an observatory with telescopes is that the space station swings around a lot so you have to be able to actually stabilize the image and what you're looking at, especially if you're working on the space station. But to me certainly one of the most amazing discoveries of the last year has come out of the space station experiment called NICER, that's the acronym. It stands for the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer so NICER. And NICER it's actually a camera that looks at x-ray light. So, this is very, very high energy light and luckily for us this light does not get through the atmosphere. There are x-rays coming from space all the time and they would be very harmful to us but they're absorbed by the air in the Earth's atmosphere. Of course that means if you want to study x-rays coming from space you need to get up above the atmosphere and the space station is. Now, NICER was specifically designed to look at a very interesting type of dead star called a neutron star. And a neutron star is the remnants when a very massive star, a star that might have been 10, 20, 50 times the mass of the sun violently dies and explodes. And incredibly the core of the star is usually still intact after that because the core became so compressed in that explosion that it holds together as a giant ball of atoms basically. Neutron stars are only about ten miles across. They have the density of one big atomic nucleus and that means that if you had a teaspoon full of this material, this neutronium, that teaspoonful would have about as much mass as Mount Everest. So, a ten mile ball every little bit of it is that dense and not only that these things spin hundreds of times a second. They are wonderful. They are real monsters. The gravity around them is so intense, it's not a black hole but it's sort of natures next best thing. The gravity is so intense that light is actually bent around these objects. And one of the most amazing things that we did with NICER recently is we used data coming in from x-rays from these hot dense little balls to actually map the surface and see where parts were hotter than others. And that was very challenging to do because when you actually took an image, and this wasn't a simple image it was constructed out of many... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/neutron-stars
Why we must teach students to solve big problems | Jaime Casap | Big Think Why we must teach students to solve big problems | Jaime Casap | Big Think
7 months ago En
Why we must teach students to solve big problems Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Asking kids 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' is a question that used to make sense, says Jaime Casap. But it not longer does; the nature of automation and artificial intelligence means future jobs are likely to shift and reform many times over. Instead, educators should foster a culture of problem-solving. Ask children: What problem do you want to solve? And what talents or passions do you have that can be the avenues by which you solve it? "[T]he future of education starts on Monday and then Tuesday and then Wednesday and it's constant and consistent and it's always growing, always improving, and if we create that culture I think that would bring us a long way," Casap says. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JAIME CASAP: Jaime Casap is the Chief Education Evangelist at Google. Jaime evangelizes the potential of digitalization as an enabling capability in pursuit of promoting inquiry-based learning models. Jaime collaborates with school systems, educational organizations, and leaders focused on building innovation into our education policies and practices. He speaks on education, digitalization, innovation, generation z, and the future of work at events around the world. You can follow and reach him on Twitter at @jcasap and watch his YouTube career advice videos at youtube.com/jaimecasap. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: "JAIME CASAP: This idea of 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' I've heard people ask my five-year-old. That question made sense when I was a kid. It doesn't make sense; jobs are shifting and changing. Look what's happening with jobs today. This whole push on automation, robotics and artificial intelligence is going to re-create or redo jobs completely. We see that coming, so the question that I ask students and again, every time I talk to students, I ask them 'What problem do you want to solve. What's the problem that spins in your head?' And it doesn't have to be a social problem, like social entrepreneurship as you mentioned, It could be how to make cars go faster. It could be anything. If you watch Shark Tank every person who walks into that tank is solving a problem. Sometimes they're solving problems you didn't know you had. So they're problem solving. What is the problem that you want to solve? So that's part one. If you don't know, what a great time to dive deep into that problem that you're interested and passionate about. How do you assess what's the problem that you're passionate about and interested in? The second question is just as important which is: How do you want to solve that problem? And that's an important question because there's a million ways to solve a problem, so if you as a student say 'I want to solve climate change', an adult, an administrator or a teacher or parent might say 'Oh, climate change. Wait. You need to study STEM. You need to go study science. You need to get a degree in global sustainable development' or whatever it be. Yes, there's multiple ways to solve the problem that way. But what if, during the—understanding how you want to solve the problem, understanding your gifts, your talents, your passions, you realize that you're an amazing photographer. You just have a way with photographing things and telling stories through pictures. Or you're an amazing writer. The way you can solve climate change is by going out and documenting climate change and photographing it or creating educational programs around climate change. So 'How do you want to solve that problem?' is important. And if you don't know there's some more time you can spend doing that. And then the third part of that—and this is where all of this comes in, so it's a great kind of question to put all this together—which is: What do you need to know to solve that problem? What are the knowledge, skills and abilities you need to have to solve that problem and how can you start developing those knowledge, skills and abilities in both angles of this: The climate change knowledge, skills and abilities and the photography knowledge, skills and abilities? What do you need to know? What information do you need? What lessons are out there? What classes can you take? What newsletters and blogs and who's solving this problem now in the way that you're trying to solve it? What do they know? How can you reach out to them? How do you track their career? And if you don't know, you can dive deep on that problem. So you know you... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/future-of-learning/problem-solving-skills
Neil deGrasse Tyson: 3 mind-blowing space facts | Big Think Neil deGrasse Tyson: 3 mind-blowing space facts | Big Think
7 months ago En
Neil deGrasse Tyson: 3 mind-blowing space facts Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk about one of our favorite subjects: space. In the three-chaptered video, Tyson speaks about the search for alien life inside and outside of the Goldilocks Zone, why the term "dark matter" should really be called "dark gravity," and how the rotation of the Earth may have been the deciding factor in a football game. These fascinating space facts, as well as others shared in Tyson's books, make it easier for everyone to grasp complex ideas that are literally out of this world. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. He is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. His professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way. Tyson obtains his data from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and in the Andes Mountains of Chile.Tyson is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid "13123 Tyson". Tyson's new book is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, you can check it at https://amzn.to/2zOnXX5 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: When we think of places you might find life we typically think of the Goldilocks Zone around the star where water would be liquid in its natural state. And if you get a little too close to the star, heat would evaporate the water and you don't have it anymore. It's gone. Too far away it would freeze and neither of those states of H2O are useful to life as we know it. We need liquid water. So you can establish this Green Zone, this habitable zone, this Goldilocks Zone, where if you find a planet orbiting there hey, good chance it could have liquid water. Let's look there first for life as we know it. Now it turns out that this source of heat, of course is traceable to the sun and if you go farther out everything water should be frozen, all other things being equal. But Europa, a moon of Jupiter sitting well outside of the Goldilocks Zone is kept warm not from energy sources traceable to the Sun, but from what we call the tidal forces of Jupiter itself. So, Jupiter and surrounding moons are actually pumping energy into Europa. And how does it do that? As Europa orbits Jupiter its shape changes. It's not fundamentally different from tides rising and falling on Earth. The shape of the water system of the Earth is responding to tidal forces of the moon. And when you do that to a solid object, the solid object is stressing. And because of this, a consequence of this is that you are pumping energy into the object. It is no different from when you say to anyone who's familiar with racquet sports, indoor racquet sports. It could be racquetball or squash. You say let's arm up the ball before we start playing. You want to hit it around a few times. You are literally warming up the ball. It's not just simply let's get loose. You are literally warming up the ball. How? You are distorting it every time you smack it and then the resilience of the ball pops it back into shape and every time you do that, every smack, you're pumping energy into the ball. It's not fundamentally different from what's going on in orbit around Jupiter. So, you have this frozen world, Europa, completely frozen on its surface but you look at the surface and there are cracks in the ice. There are ridges in the ice where there's a crack and it shifted and then refroze. So this ridge has a discontinuity in the crack and it continues in another place. So what this tells you is that Europe cannot be completely frozen because if it were nothing would be moving. You look at the surface of Europa, the frozen surface, there are like ice chunks that are shifted and refrozen and shifted again. It looks just like if you fly over the Arctic Ocean. Fly over the Arctic Ocean in the winter... Read the full transcript on https://bigthink.com/videos/neil-degrasse-tyson-space-facts
Learn a new language—super fast. Here’s how. | Steve Kaufmann | Big Think Learn a new language—super fast. Here’s how. | Steve Kaufmann | Big Think
7 months ago En
Learn a new language—super fast. Here’s how. | Steve Kaufmann Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann says there is indeed a fast track to learning a new language. It involves doubling down on your listening and reading. By taking the focus off grammar rules that are difficult to understand and even more difficult to remember, you can instead develop habits by greater exposure to the language. Kaufmann likens the learning process to a hockey stick. In the beginning you make major progress as you climb the steep hill of the hockey stick, whereas the long shaft of the stick is the difficult part. Because you're not seeing day-to-day changes, you might lose motivation. So, stay the course by consuming content that interests you. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- STEVE KAUFMANN: Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann speaks 20 languages and counting and believes that anyone can learn a new language. You just need to be motivated, willing to put in the time and have the right method. Steve has written books and maintains a popular YouTube channel and blog at thelinguist.com. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: STEVE KAUFMANN: Is there a trick to fast track new learning? Yes, there is. Start almost in the middle. Start almost in the middle. Not quite in the middle but start with, for example, what I do now because at LingQ we have what we call the mini stories, 60 stories with a lot of high-frequency verbs, a lot of conjunctions – because, although, on the other hand, however. I listen to these many, many times. Each story repeats the same vocabulary and the same structures about four or five times. And so I start right into everyday, common – I got up, had a cup of coffee, went to the store, whatever it might be, went to work. It's real situations. It's not going through customs like they like to have in language learning books. You just start into it, you do a lot of listening and reading, you let the language come at you, let the brain get a sense of the language, listen and then read the same content, look up the words. I always start on iPhone, iPad tutor so I can quickly look up words, save them for review and at first it's all noise, and eventually it becomes meaning because you're going over the same stuff over and over again. So that's I would say the initial three months to get a toehold in the language. And then you have to very quickly push yourself away from beginner content, learner content written for a language learner, and go after the real stuff – newspaper articles, Netflix movies. And there's all kinds of ways of doing that. I think the key is to get a toehold in the language with lots of repetition and not worry too much about trying to memorize the grammar because if you haven't had enough exposure to the language, enough experience with the language, the grammar explanations are difficult to understand, difficult to remember and almost impossible to apply. You can't be thinking of them as you're trying to speak. You have to develop habits. And that's best done through this massive exposure initially with a lot of repetition and then eventually as soon as possible moving on to things of genuine interest. When we start in a new language typically we're motivated. Now some people start and quit right away so those people were never really very motivated. But if you are motivated, the first two or three months is the honeymoon period. It's a steep climb because at first everything is noise, you know nothing. But in a very short period of time you actually know something. You understand something. You can say something. There's a great sense of achievement. And, of course, you're dealing with typically a lot of high frequency words so they come up all the time in the content you're listening to and you're listening to it more than once hopefully. And so I have a sense of achievement. Then you reach a point where frequency drops off very quickly in any language so very soon you're trying to learn words that don't show up that often, so that become a little frustrating. So you've gone up the steep part of the hockey stick, and how you're on the shaft of the hockey stick and it looks like you're not getting anywhere. You just feel that you're forever facing more and more new words. You're listening again and again and you don't understand. You have the sense that you're not making progress whereas in the first three months you're going from zero, climbing a steep hill of that hockey stick, but you have a sense that you're doing something. Whereas the long shaft of the hockey... Read the full transcript https://bigthink.com/videos/learn-language-fast
Planet Nine will be discovered in the next decade. Here’s why. | Konstantin Batygin | Big Think Planet Nine will be discovered in the next decade. Here’s why. | Konstantin Batygin | Big Think
8 months ago En
Planet Nine will be discovered in the next decade. Here’s why. Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Years ago, California Institute of Technology professor Konstantin Batygin was inspired to embark on a journey of discovering what lurked beyond Neptune. What he and his collaborator discovered was a strange field of debris. This field of debris exhibited a clustering of orbits, and something was keeping these orbits confined. The only plausible source would be the gravitational pull of an extra planet—Planet Nine. While Planet Nine hasn't been found directly, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. And Batygin is confident we'll return to a nine-planet solar system within the next decade. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KONSTANTIN BATYGIN: Forbes named professor Konstantin Batygin the “next physics rock star” in its 2015 list of “30 Under 30: Young Scientists Who Are Changing the World.” He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008, before pursuing graduate studies at California Institute of Technology. To date, Batygin has authored over seventy scientific publications, and his research has been featured on the pages of Nature as well as the front cover of Scientific American. In 2016, Batygin sparked international headlines with the announcement of the existence of an as-yet-unobserved ninth planet in the solar system. This discovery, conducted with research partner Mike Brown, fueled a worldwide race among astronomers to locate "Planet Nine.” Prior to joining the faculty at California Institute of Technology in 2014, Batygin was a postdoctoral scholar at Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in Nice, France, and Harvard University. When not doing science, he moonlights as the lead singer and guitarist in the rock band, The Seventh Season. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: KONSTANTIN BATYGIN: The whole story dates back to about 2014-2015 when we started, me and my close collaborator Mike Brown, started looking into this problem. We were inspired by the work of some other researchers, Chad Trujillo and Scott Sheppard, who pointed out that something weird was happening in the distant solar system. That there was this weird clustering of a particular orbital parameter of asteroids beyond Neptune called The Argument of Perihelion. We thought what's going on there. We started looking more closely into what's going on and pretty quickly we realized that the field of debris, the field of icy debris beyond Neptune which is called the Kuiper belt in its most distant realms exhibits a remarkable clustering of orbits. It's as if somebody took these orbits and carefully arranged them all to all lie in the same plane that's about 20 degrees off the usual plane of the solar system and they're all kind of pointing I the same direction. So we thought why is that? That's a strange, strange pattern. And through dynamical analysis basically by going to both the computer and writing down equations on the board we were able to demonstrate I think in a relatively straightforward manner that the only plausible explanation for why the distant solar system looks arranged is that there is a distant gravitational source, a distant gravitational pull which is keeping these orbits confined. And as far as we can see the only plausible source of such a gravitational pull is an extra planet. So that's kind of the beginnings of the Planet Nine hypothesis. Since that time we published our first paper back in 2016, so now four years ago. Since that time we've made additional progress and we've realized a number of interesting things that fit into this Planet Nine story that we didn't originally expect. For example, one of the things that theoretically should happen if Planet Nine is there is the distant orbits of the solar system, things that lie well beyond the orbit of Neptune should flip on their sides and then kind of pollute the inner solar system. By inner solar system I mean things interior to Neptune with objects that are highly, highly inclined. And it turns out such objects really are there. And so there have been other kind of intriguing pieces of the puzzle that have sort of fallen all together since the publication of the original paper. And the latest on this story is that we've redone the analysis last year entirely with an updated data set that's become available since 2016. And we realized that the planet that we are searching for is a little bit smaller than we originally thought... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/planet-nine
Hyper-innovation: COVID-19 can forever change the way we teach kids | Richard Culatta | Big Think Hyper-innovation: COVID-19 can forever change the way we teach kids | Richard Culatta | Big Think
8 months ago En
Hyper-innovation: COVID-19 can forever change the way we teach kids Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Long-held structures in the education system, like classroom confines and schedules, have held back innovation for a long time, says education leader Richard Culatta. In the coronavirus era, we have been able to shake some of those rigid structures loose, making way for creativity and, ultimately, a more open mindset. When creativity and technology combine, learning can become so much more than delivering content to a student. Culatta gives two stunning examples: one of a biotech class, and another involving a student discovering a star. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RICHARD CULATTA: Richard Culatta is an internationally recognized leader around uses of technology to accelerate innovative learning. Culatta was the first Chief Innovation Officer for the State of Rhode Island and was appointed by President Obama as the Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the Department of Education. Culatta is currently the CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and serves as a senior fellow at NYU’s GovLab and as a design resident for the San Francisco-based innovation and design firm IDEO. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: RICHARD CULATTA: There are some amazing things that are happening in schools today. Teachers are some of the most creative people I have ever met on the planet. But there are some structural elements of schools today that are holding us back. Rigid adherence to a schedule, thinking that we can only tap into expertise if they are in the physical walls of our school. Presenting more content to students than we do tools for them to become problem solvers. These are all the things that are actually holding back our creativity. And by the way, a lot of people like to talk about assessing and assessing learning and how we shouldn't be focused so much on assessing learning. That is not true at all. It is critical that we are assessing learning. We just need to do it in a way that works. Assessment isn't a problem. Bad assessment is a problem. So instead of multiple choice tests let's do authentic assessments where students can really show what they've learned and what they understand. When we take these sorts of elements—and technology can fuel all that if used correctly—when we take these elements we find that school is actually an incredibly innovative place. It's just being held back by some long-held structures, systems that we've been afraid to step away from. and frankly the coronavirus has forced us to step away from these. It's shown us where we have weak muscles and where we have abilities to grow and change. And so the silver lining out of all of this is that we now know some areas where we don't have to be so afraid to move away. We don't have to be afraid to move away from the schedule or our building or our traditional assessments. And if that is the silver lining that comes out of this it could be one of the most amazing things that's ever happened for learning. Just presenting content to a kid is the least interesting thing that we can do with learning in a virtual space. What I think is much more exciting is when we take advantage of the technology so that the world around us actually becomes part of the learning experience. A couple of years ago I was visiting a school in Arizona and I walked up and these two kids were standing outside in front of the school in front of a plant with their phone in front of their hands and it was the middle of the day. I said, 'Where are you supposed to be right now?' And they said 'Well, we're supposed to be in our biotech class.' I said, 'Maybe you should go there to your biotech class.' They said 'No, no, we are. We're there now. You see we are using this device to connect with a researcher from the University of Arizona and we are taking samples of the indigenous plants around our school and we're making a map of the genome structure of these plants that we're going to jointly publish in a scientific journal.' And I said, 'Okay, carry on.' Because that's the idea; online learning doesn't have to mean sitting in front of a computer clicking 'next' on slides. It can be taking advantage of these devices to engage with the world around us. To be part of and to make more meaning out of the world that we are all in. And those are the types of online learning experiences that we need way, way more of... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/future-of-learning/creative-teaching
Chemistry for kids: Make a DIY bubble snake! | Kate the Chemist | Big Think Chemistry for kids: Make a DIY bubble snake! | Kate the Chemist | Big Think
8 months ago En
Chemistry for kids: Make a DIY bubble snake! Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Most of us are staying home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, but that doesn't mean there isn't learning and fun to be had. It's important to take a break from screen time. Kate the Chemist, professor, science entertainer, and author of "The Big Book of Experiments," has just the activity: Creating a bubble snake using common household ingredients including dish soap, food coloring, rubber bands, a towel, and a small plastic bottle. In this step-by-step tutorial, Kate walks us through the simple process of building the apparatus and combining materials to bring the fun snakes to life. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Kate Biberdorf: Dr. Kate Biberdorf is a scientist, a science entertainer, and a professor at the University of Texas. Through her theatrical and hands-on approach to teaching, Dr. Biberdorf is breaking down the image of the stereotypical scientist, while reaching students who might otherwise be intimidated by science. Students' emotional responses, rather than rote memorization of facts, are key to Biberdorf's dynamic approach to her program, as well as science in general. Her exciting and engaging program leaves audiences with a positive, memorable impression of science—all while diminishing the stigma around women in science. She has appeared on The Today Show, Wendy Williams Show and Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Check her latest book Kate the Chemist: The Big Book of Experiments at https://amzn.to/3bQX6Yh ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: KATE THE CHEMIST: If you are at home and stuck with your kid you might as well do something fun and educational with them. What I've done here is put together a super, super fun science demonstration that is safe to do at home with your kids and hopefully all these ingredients you already have in your pantry or your craft drawer or something like that because I don't know about you, but I get maxed out on screen time so I think it's really fun to do something kinesthetic with your hands. And if you can learn something while you're doing it you might as well have fun too. Okay, this is called the bubble snake and I'm going to explain first the ingredients and then give you step-by-step instructions on how to do this. First things first is you need to get a small plastic soda bottle or a water bottle. I have these little ones in my garage because I use them when I breathe fire but the bigger soda bottles or water bottles work just as well because what you're going to do with it is actually just cut it off so you have the top part of it but I'll get there in just a second. So, any size bottle will do. You need food coloring. I prefer the reds and the pinks when I'm doing this outside but because of being on camera I'm going to use greens and blues for you. You're going to need a half cup of water, a quarter cup of dish soap, a bowl to mix your dish soap and water, a spoon, one rubber band and then an old rag. You can use a sock, you can use a rag, you can use a towel, a tee shirt. Anything will really work for this. You just don't want something that's super, super porous or super thick. The first thing you're going to do is you're going to take your plastic soda bottle or water bottle and you're going to cut off the bottom part. You only want the top portion of your soda bottle. So a perfect one is going to look like this. You're gong to see your top part here and then it's cut off right there at the edge. Then what you're going to do is take your old rag and you're going to wrap it around the edge of your soda bottle so that's where your rubber band comes into play. You're going to wrap the rubber band around your towel just like this. Two or three times should be absolutely plenty. You just want to make sure that towel sticks on here. I did this once and the rubber band snapped and the stuff went all over this actor's head because I was doing it on camera. It was an awesome day but the poor guy was covered in food coloring. Once you have this you're going to put it off to the side and we're going to build our little concoction over here. In your bowl you need to have a quarter cup of dish soap. Any bubbles will do. Bubble bath will work if you're keeping your dish soap around for quarantine time which I totally understand. Then you've got a half cup of water so you're going to add that into your dish soap... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/diy-science-experiments
How to shut down coronavirus conspiracy theories | Michael Shermer | Big Think How to shut down coronavirus conspiracy theories | Michael Shermer | Big Think
8 months ago En
How to shut down coronavirus conspiracy theories | Michael Shermer Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- During times of high anxiety, not unlike the situation we find ourselves in now, there is a rise in conspiracism. Conspiracy theories provide comfort where there is uncertainty. As author Michael Shermer points out, history has shown that this way of thinking is sometimes warranted, but not in the case of coronavirus. One factor that has helped recent coronavirus conspiracy theories grow, he says, is the shrinking political middle and an increased polarization to the far left and far right. "The further out you go in the extreme nature of a conspiracy theory the less likely the theory is to be true," says Shermer. Actual conspiracies happen on a more localized, more narrowly-focused level. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MICHAEL SHERMER: Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. Check his latest book Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist at https://amzn.to/3e7fDkp ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: MICHAEL SHERMER: Whenever there's a high level of anxiety and uncertainty in an environment, your personal life or society at large conspiracism goes up. That is to say people find comfort in attenuating the anxiety or uncertainty they're feeling by concocting some overarching plan. This is what's going on. Now I understand it. Now I don't have to feel so uncertain about the environment. So people concoct conspiracy theories for that main reason. Now, people differ on, different groups believe different conspiracy theories and so on but let's set that aside for the moment and just think about with the coronavirus this is, we know pandemics happen historically. We know about more recent ones like SARS and the avian flu and so on and what that causes. This appears to be at least that bad if not worse. In a way it's a real event that people should fear. We should have a certain amount of paranoia and anxiety about that and respond accordingly. So there it's only a small step to making a paranoid conspiracism claim that well, it was invented by the Chinese or in the case of the Chinese they say well, it was invented by the U.S. military. And we've all seen enough of the movies about bioterrorism that that's not completely crazy. It could happen. In this case there was just a paper published in Nature this last week about that it's not. There's evidence and genetics to show that it was derived from animal DNA, not manipulated in a lab with human DNA. Okay, so we can set aside that conspiracy theory. But finally, we know that governments do bad things on occasion, especially autocratic governments. But even our own, the U.S. government. If you look at the history of the things we've done to attempt to assassinate foreign leaders or manipulate elections in South American countries in the 1970s, for example, a lot of this has come out in the Pentagon Papers and the Wikileaks that our government was doing things that we didn't know they were doing. Congress didn't even know. So we know that happens. Again, my point is that I don't think this applies to the coronavirus example. I think those conspiracy theories are wrong. But worrying about that is not completely crazy because sometimes that sort of thing does happen. Another factor with conspiracy theories is politics. I mean we're very tribal and it's gotten worse since the 1990s. The left and right have become more polarized. The centric middle has shrunk as the two bimodal curves have gotten a larger on the far left and the far right. More people are identifying with extreme positions. So the moment something like a coronavirus conspiracy theory erupts the only question is who's going to accuse which side and it ends up both sides are accusing each other. You go to certain sites and Trump gets hammered all day long for his inadequacy in responding to coronavirus crisis. Then you go to another media source and it's just the opposite. It's the left that's failed this and Trump is going to save us. Then you have the really far out ones about the deep state and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the voice of reason here is actually just a pawn to destroy Trump. I mean the further out you go in the extreme nature of a conspiracy theory the less likely the theory is to be true. The more people that have to be involved in the conspiracy theory, the less likely it is to be true. The more elements that have to come together just at the right moment to make... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/coronavirus-conspiracy-theory?draft=1
What surprised you most in space? | Ask an Astronaut | Garrett Reisman | Big Think What surprised you most in space? | Ask an Astronaut | Garrett Reisman | Big Think
8 months ago En
What surprised you most in space? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Astronaut Garrett Reisman took in countless indescribably beautiful views while he lived in space. But most shocking, he says, was observing the thinness of Earth's atmosphere. You can compare the thickness of the atmosphere to the diameter of Earth to the skin on an apple, or the shell of an egg. It's incredibly thin and shows just how seemingly fragile our planet is. But to put this into perspective, whereas the atmosphere reaches a height of 300,000 feet from Earth's surface, the deepest part of the ocean only reaches 35,000 feet, ten times thinner than Earth's atmosphere. Everything we experience on Earth, from sea to sky, exists on just a tiny slice of precious surface coating. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GARRETT REISMAN: Dr. Reisman was selected by NASA in 1998. His first mission was aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, in 2008, with a 95 day mission aboard the International Space Station. His second mission was aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, in 2010. During these missions, Dr. Reisman performed 3 spacewalks, operated the Space Station Robot Arm and was a flight engineer aboard the Space Shuttle. He served as a technical consultant for the film Ad Astra and is currently a technical advisor for the TV Show For All Mankind. At present he is a Professor of Astronautical Engineering at USC, Motivational Speaker and Senior Advisor at SpaceX. Learn more at garrettreisman.com. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: GARRETT REISMAN: A transformative moment or reaction I had, other than many beautiful things I observed, especially like the views I saw during my spacewalks and things that were just indescribably wonderful. But I would say the thing that was probably the most impactful and surprising to me was when I looked at the horizon of the earth and I saw how thin the atmosphere was. That was actually really scary. It was shocking. When you look at the atmosphere from Earth orbit, it looks incredibly fragile. It's this little tiny thin blue line that separates the sunlit Earth from the black void of space. And compared to the diameter of the Earth it's tiny. I mean you could hold up your pinky and block the whole thing out very easily. I mean it looks terribly fragile. It looks like a gust of wind could come by and just strip the thing away. The next time, in fact if you're home right now at your computer please open up a browser, put this on pause and open up a browser and just Google Earth from space and then go to the images. Just look at any picture we took of the horizon of the earth from space and you'll see that thin blue line. Look for yourself at just how thin that is. When you compare the thickness of the atmosphere to the diameter of the earth it's like the same dimension or fraction or ratio I should say as the shell on an egg or the skin on an apple. It's incredibly thin and that gives you a real visceral impression of just how fragile this planet is. And by the way, this happened to me, I had this experience and then about a week later I was looking out the window and I was looking down at the Earth and I saw what you see most of the time, which is the ocean. When you look at the ocean I thought to myself well gee, how thick is that? I could see the atmosphere. I could see how thin that is. What about the ocean? How deep is it? And the answer is that the ocean is ten times less deep than the atmosphere is high. The atmosphere, we draw an arbitrary line at 100 kilometers. We call that the Karman line and we say okay, that's where the atmosphere ends and that's where space begins. And again, that's kind of made up but it's about where – the blue line you see in those photographs is probably about 80 kilometers, but let's say about 100 kilometers. That's a nice round number, that's about 300,000 feet. The deepest part of the ocean like the Marianas Trench challenger deep. The very deepest part that's about 35,000 feet deep. So that's ten times thinner than the atmosphere. So when you see that tiny thin blue line when you look at those photographs think for a moment that the ocean is ten times thinner than that. And then think about the fact as I talked about before about how this planet is perfect for us, how it provides everything we need. All the food we need, all the air we need to breathe, the water we need to drink. It's where all of our friends and family live. It's where all the animals are and the plants and rainbows and mountain ranges and whales in the ocean. All that stuff that makes this our home... Read the full transcript at
Are we living in a simulation? | Bill Nye, Joscha Bach, Donald Hoffman | Big Think Are we living in a simulation? | Bill Nye, Joscha Bach, Donald Hoffman | Big Think
8 months ago En
Are we living in a simulation? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Elon Musk famously believes we're living in a simulation, that constant technological improvement means we could be trapped inside a video game console created by a more advanced civilization. In this video, Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, Joscha Bach and Donald Hoffman, both cognitive psychologists, all weigh in on whether this is base reality or a realistic fiction. What insight from these three thinkers gets your mind ticking? Let us know in the comments! We're stunned at the thought that, if this is a simulation, humans might not be the central purpose of it; we may be an accident of a larger experiment. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BILL NYE: Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life. In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate. While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children’s books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.” Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country. Bill’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens.” It’s about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There’s also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It’s fun for him; he’s an engineer with an energy conservation hobby. Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JOSCHA BACH: Dr. Joscha Bach (MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Program for Evolutionary Dynamics) is an AI researcher who works and writes about cognitive architectures, mental representation, emotion, social modeling, and multi-agent systems. He is founder of the MicroPsi project, in which virtual agents are constructed and used in a computer model to discover and describe the interactions of emotion, motivation, and cognition of situated agents. Bach’s mission to build a model of the mind is the bedrock research in the creation of Strong AI, i.e. cognition on par with that of a human being. He is especially interested in the philosophy of AI and in the augmentation of the human mind. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DONALD HOFFMAN: Donald Hoffman is professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. His writing has appeared in Scientific American and Edge, and his work has been featured in the Atlantic, Wired, and Quanta. He resides in Irvine, California. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: Bill Nye: Are we living in a video game? Are we actually part of a giant simulation? Joscha Bach: The question of whether we are living in a simulation is more related to something more narrow, that is: Is this computer program that we're living in intentionally created or is it just a natural occurrence? Bill Nye: It seems to me it's a hard question to resolve because it's easy to imagine a game designer, a simulation designer, making it so sophisticated that you can't tell. Joscha Bach: There is this argument that, for instance, Elon Musk made that we can build game consoles that create virtual worlds that look a lot like simulations to us... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/are-we-living-in-a-simulation
How should we reimagine society post-COVID-19? | Jacqueline Novogratz | Big Think How should we reimagine society post-COVID-19? | Jacqueline Novogratz | Big Think
8 months ago En
How should we reimagine society post-COVID-19? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There have been many lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis. According to Acumen founder and CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz, one of the primary lessons has been that humans are interdependent creatures in an interconnected world. "The coronavirus has laid bare the gaping wounds of our society that had grown too individualistic over the last 30-50 years and reinforced our interdependence in the most profound ways," Novogratz says, adding that the current situation has given us a chance to rethink and rebuild society from a new moral framework. Placing humanity and community at the center, focusing more on helping the poor and vulnerable, and engaging more in collaboration instead of competition is how our post-COVID-19 society will succeed. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ: Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen. She has been named one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy, one of the 25 Smartest People of the Decade by the Daily Beast, and one of the world’s 100 Greatest Living Business Minds by Forbes, which also honored her with the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Check Jacqueline Novogratz's latest book Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World at https://amzn.to/2yYILup ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ: In this moment of global pandemic our first instinct was to pull inward, protect ourselves, our families. Fully understandable. And then we started to look around to ask what is the meaning underneath this virus that has impacted the entire world. The first thing that coronavirus has taught us all is that in spite of all of the strength that we hold as humanity, so do we have a deep fragility and that both are connected to our interdependence. We're fooling ourselves if we think that we're separate from each other. Coronavirus has taught us that we are truly part of an interconnected web. We've gone in the course of my lifetime from a world where people could live in small tribes and communities where everyone looked the same, knew each other, practiced the same kinds of culture, traditions, rituals, to a world that became interconnected. Where we could see each other across the world. Where we grew to a place where there were more cell phones on the planet than human beings. And then we moved from being interconnected to interdependent. And intellectually we began to understand that no matter how high the walls might go, globally we still faced the same enormous issues. The coronavirus has laid bare the gaping wounds of our society that had grown too individualistic over the last 30-50 years and reinforced our interdependence in the most profound ways. And so has it opened the conversation for a rethink, a reset, a reimagining. How we built systems that go from putting money, power and fame at the center to systems that are shared humanity and the need to sustain the Earth at the center. It starts with a moral framework. As much as we need new technological solutions, new ways of thinking about the capital markets, new ways of redesigning every one of our systems, underneath it must be a moral framework. For most of my life I was told I was too idealistic. That people didn't want to hear words like moral or dignity or goodness. And yet if I have learned anything in 35 years it is that we as human beings yearn to be good. We yearn to be seen. That is as fundamental to us as the fear that makes us pull in and want to protect, want to compete. Coronavirus has taught us that if we do not build societies that protect the vulnerable and poor we will not succeed as a world, not in an interdependent world. Coronavirus has taught us that competition is not going to get us to a place where we have the vaccines and tests and systems that we need so that we can beat this one enemy that we all share. Coronavirus has taught us that our systems are fully interconnected. Even if we find a way to solve clinical health issues they are so connected to our education system, to our prison system, to our social safety net. Not only inside countries but across countries. And so coronavirus and this pandemic has offered us all the opportunity to reframe our society whose building blocks must sit on a moral framework, a moral compass if you will, that puts our humanity at the center, a belief in human dignity not just for this generation but for every generation that follows us. And that means we have to take care of the Earth as well... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/post-coronavirus-society
Why demonizing Trump supporters destroys democracy | Yanis Varoufakis | Big Think Why demonizing Trump supporters destroys democracy | Yanis Varoufakis | Big Think
8 months ago En
Why demonizing Trump supporters destroys democracy | Yanis Varoufakis Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When you have pre-conceived ideas about a group whose views oppose your own, you risk closing the door to meaningful discourse before it begins. "When you demonize those who voted against you then there's no chance of a democratic debate," argues Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister of Greece and founder of DiEM25. "You've lost it completely. Then you go into a state of civil war." Varoufakis says that there are two ways of approaching a difference of opinion: external and internal critiques. Focusing on internal critiques as the more fruitful method, Varoufakis explains how using logic to work through one's assumptions to see if they lead to the same conclusions can open up a pathway to conversation. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yanis Varoufakis is the former finance minister of Greece and the cofounder of an international grassroots movement, DiEM25, that is campaigning for the revival of democracy in Europe. He is the author of And the Weak Suffer What They Must? and The Global Minotaur. After teaching for many years in the United States, Britain, and Australia, he is currently a professor of economics at the University of Athens. His most recent books are Talking to My Daughter About the Economy and Adults in the Room. Find Yanis Varoufakis's latest book Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment at https://amzn.to/2UzNNo6 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: YANIS VAROUFAKIS: One of the aspects of the last couple of years here in the United States it gives me a lot of grief is the manner in which the democratic establishment has tried to demonize Trump supporters. I personally don't believe that people are born problematic or they are born with racist or anti-human predispositions. These are social after effects. The manner in which the democratic establishment has tried to blame Vladimir Putin, Facebook for the loss of the election – Hillary's loss. Painting those who voted for Trump as stooges of the KGB or of Facebook or Cambridge Analytica. I have no doubt that there was some influence there. But I'm appalled by this polarization. Because when you demonize those who voted against you then there's no chance of a democratic debate. You've lost it completely. Then you go into a state of civil war. There are two ways of approaching a difference of opinion. There are two ways of criticizing somebody else's world view. One is an internal critique and another one is an external critique. The external critique is to say to somebody your assumptions on which you base your whole analysis are wrong. That doesn't get you far. It's like saying to a Muslim that, you know, your belief in Islam is wrong. You may think that is wrong but the conversation ends there. So external critique is not a way to relate to people. It's not even a way to understand other people. So when I'm asked how do I approach differences of opinion and so on I say well, through internal critiquing. Internal critiquing means this: Let's take your assumptions for granted. Let's assume that the world is as you assume it to be. But now let's see whether we reach through a process of logic your conclusions given your assumptions. Because if I can convince you that your conclusions are not consistent with your own assumptions then there's a chance we can have a conversation. So when I was referring to the Greek debt crisis to Christine Lagarde who's representing, is the managing director of the international monetary fund, I would never walk into her office and say look, your understanding of the world sucks because capitalism is an unfair and ridiculous system. That would be the end of the conversation and would be equivalent to saying to a Muslim that Islam is a bad idea. So what my strategy was – and I believe there was value to this not just in order to gain some powers of persuasion but in order to help my own thinking evolve and mature. Say okay, let's take your liberal or neo-liberal view of capitalism for granted. Is what you're doing here today consistent with your own views about capitalism? And at that point you realize that there is room for agreement or at least for agreement of things that matter and which would have made a difference to your suffering people back in Greece. So I think that is fundamental. If I were in a room with somebody who had voted Trump I would first want to listen to their reasons for voting for Trump. Secondly try to... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/demonizing-trump-supporters-destroys-democracy
What is ESG investing? | John Fullerton | Big Think What is ESG investing? | John Fullerton | Big Think
8 months ago En
What is ESG investing? Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ESG in investing stands for environmental, social and governance. It is a set of criteria investors can use to understand the values and the future of an organization. Companies pour resources into disclosing their ESG because, as the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Or so has been the thought for many years. While ESG is undoubtedly good, says John Fullerton, mere transparency is not going to solve the world's sustainability issues. For that, public companies need to act more like private companies and be responsible to their owners. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JOHN FULLERTON: John Fullerton is the founder and president of Capital Institute, a non-partisan organization working to create a more just and sustainable way of living on earth through the implementation of a Regenerative Economy. After spending years immersed in the sustainability challenge of our age following his Wall Street career, John is now a globally-recognized thought leader in the New Economy space. The architect of the concept of Regenerative Capitalism, John is the author of Regenerative Capitalism: How Universal Principles and Patterns Will Shape the New Economy and the Future of Finance blog. John Fullerton's latest book A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life at https://amzn.to/2V3CK8a ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: JOHN FULLERTON: The idea of ESG in investing—which stands for environmental, social and governance—has been around probably for 20 years now. It sort of followed the SRI movement—socially responsible investing—and this was our attempt to think beyond shareholder value and what other values matter to the health of a corporation in the long run. So ESG: environmental, the company's environmental performance and behavior; social, the way it treats its employees, the way it treats its consumer, the way it behaves in its community, healthcare benefits that it gives that kind of thing; and G, governance, is the company well governed or not well governed? And they're sort of common sense recognition that those attributes and those values are also important. It's not just shareholder value, it's a broader set of values. And there's been probably billions of dollars invested in measuring and disclosing ESG factors by public corporations and of course more disclosure about these issues is definitely good. The old saying 'sunshine is the best disinfectant', so if companies are required to report on these things they're going to manage them and that will be a positive outcome. What that whole idea, though, failed to address is the thing I talked about earlier, which is that public companies that operate in public capital markets, whether they disclose everything perfectly or not, are sitting in a system where they've been separated, the relationship between their true owners has been separated by the capital markets or disintermediated by the capital markets. And their engagement with their direct owners may be once a year at the annual meeting in a proxy vote, but in a private company, for example, the owners of the company are on the boards of directors, their wealth is tied up in the company and they pay very close attention to the company. So I'd argue that we'll never solve the unsustainability crisis in business simply through more transparency, ESG and otherwise. We need to use that data to manage businesses, but we also need to reconnected them fundamentally with the owners of enterprise. And the thing about the principles of living systems is that they're not kind of a menu you can pick and choose from; healthy living systems operate in accordance with all of them all at the same time, or a system gets sick and dies. You get cancer when at a cellular level you're not communicating effectively. So ESG can be all well and good, but if we don't also deal with the right relationship point it goes for naught and I wouldn't at all suggest that the work in the ESG movement over the last 20 years has not been beneficial, but certainly even the most adamant champions of it had acknowledged that it hasn't achieved the outcomes that they'd hoped. And it's interesting that I now often get invited to an ESG conference because people in the ESG community recognize that there must be something more to it than the work that they're working on. And I used to say are you sure they're ready for my message because it's not consistent with their worldview and that's no longer a concern, people are hungry for fresh ways to think about things. So that's progress.
This is the paradigm shift that could stop racism | Robin DiAngelo | Big Think This is the paradigm shift that could stop racism | Robin DiAngelo | Big Think
8 months ago En
This is the paradigm shift that could stop racism Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You can't jump over the difficult personal work required to examine your role in racism's presence in our society, says writer and consultant Robin DiAngelo. Relying on easy answers from people around you won't solve the problem. DiAngelo compares this to your doctor delivering a diagnosis without an explanation. Wouldn't you take it upon yourself to learn about the ailment? Racism should be treated the same way. Receiving feedback with grace, reflecting on it, and seeking to change the behavior should be the modus operandi for all white people. This process should not be revolutionary. If you want to further your education on racism, you can access Robin DiAngelo's list of resources here: https://robindiangelo.com/resources/ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ROBIN DIANGELO: Dr. Robin DiAngelo is Affiliate Faculty at the University of Washington. She is a two-time winner of the Student's Choice Award for Educator of the Year from the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. Her scholarship is in White Racial Identity and Race Relations. In addition to her academic work, Robin has extensive experience as a workplace consultant in race relations and racial justice. Her book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism was released in June and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. Check her latest book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism at https://amzn.to/3ej4v41 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: ROBIN DIANGELO: The number one question I get when I give a talk is okay, okay, now what do I do? And that question has bothered me for a long time. One, to be really honest I think it's disingenuous. I don't think white people really want to know what to do unless it's the most simplistic thing which is just keeping friendly. That question tends to function as a way to jump over the hard, personal work and just get to the answer or get to the solution. It's a little bit arrogant for folks who have never in their life thought deeply about this. And after an hour they want to get the answer and go fix it. At the same time we can't wait until we have it all figured out. And so I will offer a challenging question back and then I will answer the what do we do. So what I, my reply to that question is: What about your life has allowed you to be a full functioning professional educated adult and not know what to do about racism? How have you managed not to know? Why is that your question? People of color have been telling us this for a very long time. So that question is meant to be a challenge. It's also sincere. Take out a piece of paper and start writing down why you don't know. Probably on the first of your list is going to be I wasn't educated on this. Step one. Two, I don't talk about race. Three, I don't really have relationships across race or not many. And when I do we don't talk about race. Five, I haven't cared enough. There's your map and when you get to five, I haven't cared enough, if you can look at yourself in the mirror and say that then carry on as you always have but do it with honesty. If you can't look at yourself in the mirror and say I don't really care, great. Use that motivation to get involved. There's so much good information out there. My website is filled with lists and resources. So, probably the number one thing we could do next is take the initiative and go look it up. I use this analogy sometimes. I use this analogy sometimes. If you went to the doctor and the doctor said you have an acoustic neuroma. And then the doctor was called out on an emergency and left the room and the meeting ended. What would you do? Go home and Google the shit out of acoustic neuromas. Would you not? Would you watch every video you could? Would you get on every blog? Would you get on every Listserv? Would you even get a different opinion than whatever the doctor had given you? Yes. Why? Because you cared. I think it says something really profound about white people that just taking the initiative to look it up is somewhat revolutionary for us. But it is. And I will never forget talking to a multiracial group and putting the question out to the people of color: "What would it be like if when white people ran their inevitable and often unaware racism, you could give us feedback on that and have us receive it with grace, reflect on the behavior, and seek to change it. What would that be like for you?"... Read the full transcript at
Mind hack: 7 secrets to learn any new language | Steve Kaufmann | Big Think Mind hack: 7 secrets to learn any new language | Steve Kaufmann | Big Think
8 months ago En
Mind hack: 7 secrets to learn any new language Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann has learned parts of 20 languages. He's come up with seven tips to help anyone attempting to learn a new language in their spare time. First, you must commit the time and keep motivated. If you don't enjoy the process of learning a language, you probably won't get very far. Maintaining a positive attitude is key. The sense of achievement in mastering a language is a profoundly positive experience. Focusing, at first, on vocabulary rather than grammar will help you in the long run. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- STEVE KAUFMANN: Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann speaks 20 languages and counting and believes that anyone can learn a new language. You just need to be motivated, willing to put in the time and have the right method. Steve has written books and maintains a popular YouTube channel and blog. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT: STEVE KAUFMANN: The sense of starting with something that is just noise, listening to it, it's just noise. Looking at a funny script if you're learning Persian or Arabic or Russian or Chinese, and then finding that a few months later you actually understand it. My name is Steve Kaufmann. I don't call myself a polyglot but I guess I am one. I have learned bits of 20 languages other than English, so I've developed some tips along the way so I tried to organize these. I came up with these seven tips, which I think are certainly some of the principles that I've learned from other people and I think they can be helpful. The brain learns. The brain is a learning machine. The brain cannot do otherwise than learn. The brain always learns given stimulus, given enough exposure, but it learns slowly. And one of the biggest factors in language learning is time. How many hours or how much time you spend a day, and how long are you going to stay with it? So we have to spend the time. The two fundamental factors in language learning are motivation and time. If you are doing what you like to do - you're motivated. If you don't like – as much as I like reading if someone doesn't like reading maybe they have to find some other way to learn. When you choose content to listen to and read, find content of interest, listen to people whose voice you enjoy. If you don't enjoy the voice or the subject matter, leave it and get on to something else. If you're doing things that you enjoy doing and if the process of language learning is enjoyable then you have a positive attitude and you're going to continue. Many things happen in a language and some of these things we notice and some of these things we don't notice. For example, I could be listening to Russian and not notice how the cases work. I may not notice. Or maybe because it's pointed out I start to notice. Typically I find in language learning the more we listen, the more things we notice. And we want to notice. Insofar as pronunciation, for example. My father was from Czechoslovakia, so he would read words in English based on how he thought they should be pronounced. In Canada there's a province called Nova Scotia, for example. We even have a Bank of Nova Scotia. And my father can make the sound or could make the sound shuh, but he would always pronounced it Nova Sco-te-a: to him tia is sco-te-a. He didn't notice. He didn't make the effort to notice that, in fact, it's pronounced ""sco-sha"". So, we have to be a little bit attentive to what's happening in the language so that gradually we can develop better habits. Every time we notice something – a word, a phrase, structure, we're helping to put that into our, helping the brain create these patterns so that eventually we get the proper language habits. To me language learning is a matter of acquiring words. Now, words and phrases, but phrases consist of words. You have to know what words mean. The larger your passive vocabulary, the more you understand. The more you understand, the more likely you are to be able to speak. Even if you only use a small subset of your passive vocabulary, the words that you understand. But... Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/learn-a-new-language
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