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Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? - Magazine

Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? - Magazine
The diamond invention—the creation of the idea that diamonds are rare and valuable, and are essential signs of esteem—is a relatively recent development in the history of the diamond trade. Until the late nineteenth century, diamonds were found only in a few riverbeds in India and in the jungles of Brazil, and the entire world production of gem diamonds amounted to a few pounds a year. In 1870, however, huge diamond mines were discovered near the Orange River, in South Africa, where diamonds were soon being scooped out by the ton. Suddenly, the market was deluged with diamonds. The major investors in the diamond mines realized that they had no alternative but to merge their interests into a single entity that would be powerful enough to control production and perpetuate the illusion of scarcity of diamonds. De Beers proved to be the most successful cartel arrangement in the annals of modern commerce. In their subsequent investigation of the American diamond market, the staff of N. N. Related:  MiscellaneousArt, Culture, Aesthetics, and Pictures

Naomi Wolf on Why Porn Turns Men Off the Real Thing At a benefit the other night, I saw Andrea Dworkin, the anti-porn activist most famous in the eighties for her conviction that opening the floodgates of pornography would lead men to see real women in sexually debased ways. If we did not limit pornography, she argued—before Internet technology made that prospect a technical impossibility—most men would come to objectify women as they objectified porn stars, and treat them accordingly. In a kind of domino theory, she predicted, rape and other kinds of sexual mayhem would surely follow. The feminist warrior looked gentle and almost frail. She was right about the warning, wrong about the outcome. But the effect is not making men into raving beasts. Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They can’t compete, and they know it. For most of human history, erotic images have been reflections of, or celebrations of, or substitutes for, real naked women.

The Art of David Hidalgo, the Man of a Thousand Facelifts Was the Cowardly Lion Just Masturbating Too Much? {*style:<i><b><b>In his recent 5-minute TED talk, "The Demise of Guys", famous psychologist Phillip Zimbardo noted that "arousal addiction " (porn, video games) is a major factor in social anxiety. </b> </b></i>*} Has anyone reading this noticed a correlation between giving up porn and reduced social anxiety? Due to a search engine coincidence , I have been listening to the agonies and ecstasies of recovering porn addicts for several years. In , Philip J. Why might a porn addict be obliged to address his compulsion in order to form, or restore, real relationships? Interestingly, people whose habits cause continuous over-stimulation of their reward circuitry with high dopamine—drug users, for example—often feel anxious or depressed the rest of the time. Several studies show that social anxiety is associated with low dopamine or decreased sensitivity . addictions cause a decline in dopamine (D2) receptors , which is a major aspect of desensitization.

The Fine Art of Resilience: Lessons from Stanley Meltzoff Can entrepreneurs learn from artists? I have suggested in THE AMERICAN that Arthur Fellig, the photographer known as Weegee, is an inspiring example of creative response to the economic hardship of the Depression era, rising from unknown technician to author of one of the best-selling photography books of all time. Now an exhibition at the Society of Illustrators in New York sheds light on a master of the following generation—the painter and art historian Stanley Meltzoff (1917-2006)—and on artists’ challenge to respond originally to changing technology and fashion. The golden age of illustration into which Meltzoff was born extended from the 1880s through the 1930s. Advertising-supported magazines, lavishly illustrated children’s books, gorgeous calendars, pulp magazines, and other ephemeral genres made artists like Howard Pyle, N. Despite the rise of competing media, magazine illustration enjoyed an Indian summer in the 1950s, and Meltzoff was part of it.

What the science of human nature can teach us After the boom and bust, the mania and the meltdown, the Composure Class rose once again. Its members didn’t make their money through hedge-fund wizardry or by some big financial score. Theirs was a statelier ascent. They got good grades in school, established solid social connections, joined fine companies, medical practices, and law firms. Wealth settled down upon them gradually, like a gentle snow. You can see a paragon of the Composure Class having an al-fresco lunch at some bistro in Aspen or Jackson Hole. A few times a year, members of this class head to a mountain resort, carrying only a Council on Foreign Relations tote bag (when you have your own plane, you don’t need luggage that actually closes). Occasionally, you meet a young, rising member of this class at the gelato store, as he hovers indecisively over the cloudberry and ginger-pomegranate selections, and you notice that his superhuman equilibrium is marred by an anxiety. Help comes from the strangest places. Ms.

Adam Kirsch: Art Over Biology Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets By Brian Boyd (Harvard University Press, 227 pp., $25.95) Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind By Mark Pagel (W.W. The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present By Eric R. I. In associating art with loneliness, sorrow, and death, Mann was not presenting a new idea but perfecting an old tradition. Mann’s sense of the perverse glory of the artist’s unfitness is one of his legacies from Nietzsche, who wrote in Human, All Too Human, under the rubric “Art dangerous for the artist,” about the particular ill-suitedness of the artist to flourishing in a modern scientific age: The discovery of sexual selection solved the problem with brilliant economy. II. III.

Does meditation make people act more rationally? : Thoughts from Kansas Via USA Today, we learn about a study showing that people who meditate frequently behave in a more rational manner than non-meditators, and they do so because different parts of their brain take charge of certain kinds of decisions. The study was based around a common test of rational behavior called the Ultimatum Game. Two people sit at a table. One of them is given a sum of money ($20 in this case), and is told to split that however she wants with the other. Before she makes that decision, the other subject is told that if he rejects the share offered to him, neither player will get any money, but if he accepts his share, they both keep their share of the money. Experiments like this have been run for 30 years now, and consistently find that people are happy to accept a 50:50 split, but tend to reject the offer of free money when their share of the money drops below some threshold (usually around 70:30). That desire is rational in some contexts, but not in the Ultimatum Game.

Is It O.K. to Be a Luddite? - Thomas Pynchon www.nettime.org Nettime mailing list archives [Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index] Is It O.K. to Be a Luddite? [The New York Times Book Review, 28 October 1984, pp. 1, 40-41.] As if being 1984 weren't enough, it's also the 25th anniversary this year of C. P. What Happens to All the Asian-American Overachievers When the Test-Taking Ends? Sometimes I’ll glimpse my reflection in a window and feel astonished by what I see. Jet-black hair. Slanted eyes. A pancake-flat surface of yellow-and-green-toned skin. Millions of Americans must feel estranged from their own faces. You could say that I am, in the gently derisive parlance of Asian-Americans, a banana or a Twinkie (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). Here is what I sometimes suspect my face signifies to other Americans: an invisible person, barely distinguishable from a mass of faces that resemble it. I’ve always been of two minds about this sequence of stereotypes. Let me summarize my feelings toward Asian values: Fuck filial piety. I understand the reasons Asian parents have raised a generation of children this way. Asian-American success is typically taken to ratify the American Dream and to prove that minorities can make it in this country without handouts.

Shading the New Aesthetic | Cluster Mag Feature image by Nathaniel Flagg What does the New Aesthetic look like outside of the ivory tower? Credit: SI Jones “HP Computers are Racist” is a 2009 YouTube video in which two electronics store employees demonstrate how face recognition and video tracking technology on Hewlett-Packard computers works more accurately for people of whiter skin tones. The company issued an apology after the clip went viral, suggesting that face-detection algorithms have more difficulty identifying the contrast that helps discern facial structure in low lighting. The politics of surveillance culture—both state-sponsored and self-generated—are central to this thing that’s come to be known as the New Aesthetic, and whether we’re aware of it or not, we’ve all been exposed to its central impulses and anxieties. Surveillance and “the gaze” Credit: Golan Levin Deep-fried iPad. GTA IV characters sashay to Rick Astley. A concluding slide from a PowerPoint presentation on NA. CV Dazzle in action. The chicken-vs.

Chinese Citizens on Tour in Europe For several millennia, ordinary people in China were discouraged from venturing beyond the Middle Kingdom, but before the recent New Year’s holiday—the Year of the Rabbit began on February 3rd—local newspapers were dense with international travel ads. It felt as if everyone was getting away, and I decided to join them. When the Chinese travel industry polls the public on its dream destinations, no place ranks higher than Europe. China’s travel agents compete by carving out tours that conform less to Western notions of a grand tour than to the likes and dislikes of their customers. I chose the “Classic European,” a popular bus tour that would traverse five countries in ten days. I was told to proceed to Door No. 25 of Terminal 2 at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, where I found a slim forty-three-year-old man in a gray tweed overcoat and rectangular glasses. We landed in Frankfurt in heavy fog and gathered in the terminal for the first time as a full group.

Paul Saffo | Machines of Loving Grace: Anticipating Advanced AI Most technologists are ruled by logic, facts, 1's and 0's, and they tend to see and describe things from an obviously biased perspective. At times, this tendency can be beneficial. However, when examining an uncertain conclusion, like the Singularity, their descriptions can become trapped and they can not see with a new perspective. In this session from the 2007 Singularity Summit, Paul Saffo provides a potentially fresh approach to advanced AGI and the Singularity. Saffo points out that the debate and discussion surrounding the Singularity is arriving at a turning point, where the inventors and the scientists hand-off the field to popular culture. To validate his prediction of a coming hand-off, Saffo makes a link between the science fiction classic "Nueromancer" written by William Gibson and the boom of the Internet during the 1990's.

Online Dating: Sex, Love, and Loneliness In the fall of 1964, on a visit to the World’s Fair, in Queens, Lewis Altfest, a twenty-five-year-old accountant, came upon an open-air display called the Parker Pen Pavilion, where a giant computer clicked and whirred at the job of selecting foreign pen pals for curious pavilion visitors. You filled out a questionnaire, fed it into the machine, and almost instantly received a card with the name and address of a like-minded participant in some far-flung locale—your ideal match. Altfest thought this was pretty nifty. He called up his friend Robert Ross, a programmer at I.B.M., and they began considering ways to adapt this approach to find matches closer to home. They’d heard about some students at Harvard who’d come up with a program called Operation Match, which used a computer to find dates for people. A year later, Altfest and Ross had a prototype, which they called Project TACT, an acronym for Technical Automated Compatibility Testing—New York City’s first computer-dating service.

Seeing the Future in Science Fiction Some of my earliest memories are of science fiction. Not of prose fiction, or of film, but of the cultural and industrial semiotics of the American nineteen-fifties: the interplanetarily themed chrome trim on my father’s Oldsmobile Rocket 88; the sturdy injection-molded styrene spacemen on the counter at Woolworth’s (their mode of manufacture more predictive than their subject, as it turned out); the gloriously baroque Atomic Disintegrator cap pistol (Etsy currently has one on offer, in “decent vintage” condition, for two hundred and fifty dollars); Chesley Bonestell’s moodily thrilling illustrations for Willy Ley’s book “The Conquest of Space.” They were all special to me, these things, and I remember my mother remarking on this to her friends. Not that I was very unusual in my obsession. When I was five, I was chastised for disagreeing with an Air Force man, a visitor to our home, who made mock of my Willy Ley book.

I would be surprised if people told me that they lived under the impression that Diamonds are somehow 'inherently' more valuable than our other possessions. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the value of this stone (or any stone for that matter) is what we make it out to be. Who is to say one stone is more beautiful than the other, without the widespread perception that it is, right? Hard to think that the allure of this magnificent stone is entirely a creation of Mad (ison avenue) Men. by divgrajan Oct 16

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