The Psychology of What Makes a Great Story “Stories,” Neil Gaiman asserted in his wonderful lecture on what makes stories last, “are genuinely symbiotic organisms that we live with, that allow human beings to advance.” But what is the natural selection of these organisms — what makes the ones that endure fit for survival? What, in other words, makes a great story? That’s what the great Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner (October 1, 1915–June 6, 2016), who revolutionized cognitive psychology and pioneered the modern study of creativity in the 1960s, explores in his 1986 essay collection Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (public library). In an immensely insightful piece titled “Two Modes of Thought,” Bruner writes: There are two modes of cognitive functioning, two modes of thought, each providing distinctive ways of ordering experience, of constructing reality. Bruner calls these two contrasting modes the paradigmatic or logico-scientific, characterized by a mathematical framework of analysis and explanation, and the narrative.
India will spend $3 billion to clean up one of the world’s most polluted cities — Quartz When US president Barack Obama hosts prime minister Narendra Modi to a working lunch on June 7 at the White House, climate change and the ways the two nations can step up efforts to mitigate its worst effects are likely to figure prominently in their conversation. Although American business has a keen interest in India’s big plans to grow its nuclear and solar energy sectors that have the most immediate impact on global warming, there are a few contentious issues that the two leaders would look to smoothen for quicker action. A major announcement is expected on nuclear energy, which India sees as a cleaner option to burning fossil fuels. New York-listed Westinghouse has agreed to build six nuclear reactors in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, a breakthrough deal that is expected to be finalised during Modi’s June 6-8 visit. Solar squabbles On solar energy, things are not as bright. The WTO’s stance has been criticised by environmentalists.
Elegy for the Capital-I Internet We’ve long stopped referring to the Internet as “the information superhighway,” but there was a reason for the metaphor. Back in the 1990s, when the phrase gained popularity, it worked because a highway is fast, and online life offered access to information—and later shopping, services, and socialization—at previously unthinkable levels of speed and convenience. The irony of “information superhighway” as a nickname for the Internet is that freeways are anything but fast and efficient, at least in America. Not such a bad image for the Internet after all. Freeways still have something to teach us about life online—in particular, how language influences how we think and act in relation to things. I’ve always thought of the Southern Californian, definite article-bearing freeway as an honorific. Strange evolution often explains why language changes. Outdated though it might be, the metaphor of Internet as highway helps explain why we it made sense to capitalize the term.
Can Reading Make You Happier? Several years ago, I was given as a gift a remote session with a bibliotherapist at the London headquarters of the School of Life, which offers innovative courses to help people deal with the daily emotional challenges of existence. I have to admit that at first I didn’t really like the idea of being given a reading “prescription.” I’ve generally preferred to mimic Virginia Woolf’s passionate commitment to serendipity in my personal reading discoveries, delighting not only in the books themselves but in the randomly meaningful nature of how I came upon them (on the bus after a breakup, in a backpackers’ hostel in Damascus, or in the dark library stacks at graduate school, while browsing instead of studying). But the session was a gift, and I found myself unexpectedly enjoying the initial questionnaire about my reading habits that the bibliotherapist, Ella Berthoud, sent me. Bibliotherapy is a very broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect.
Blog Like my Cato colleague David Boaz, I am a bit peeved when American leftists refer to people like Nicolas Maduro and Raul Castro of Cuba as "Presidents," while referring to people like Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay and Augusto Pinochet of Chile as "Dictators." None of them were elected in free and fair elections, and they ought to be treated equally.More importantly, the causes of the human tragedy that is unfolding in Venezuela ought to be clearly identified and learned from. Predictably, CNN and The New York Times have laid the blame for Venezuela's economic meltdown at the door of the failing oil prices." Hugo Chavez, Maduro's predecessor as Venezuela's head of state, called his economic model, "21st century socialism." This article first appeared in Reason.
“Hay formas de mantener la dignidad moral en circunstancias extremas” Tzvetan Todorov (Sofía, 1939) se instaló en París en 1963 tras dejar su Bulgaria natal. Aquella era una dictadura menos terrible que la URSS, pero lo que pasó en la Alemania nazi y en la Rusia de Stalin le provocó reflexiones que ahora desembocan en Insumisos (Galaxia Gutenberg), un libro en el que traza los perfiles de ocho personas que se opusieron a ambas barbaries del siglo XX y a otras dictaduras: Boris Pasternak y Alexander Solzhenitsyn, que se rebelaron contra el monstruo soviético; o la francesa Germaine Tillion y la holandesa Etty Hillesum, que trabajaron contra el odio que les produjo Hitler; o Nelson Mandela. Ellos son algunos de esos personajes que transitan bajo el manto de ignominia que trazan con sangre las dictaduras. Todorov, autor, entre otros ensayos, de La experiencia totalitaria, fue premio Príncipe de Asturias de Ciencias Sociales en 2008. Pregunta. Respuesta. P. R. P. R. P. R. P. R. P. R. P. R. ¿Cómo puede luchar la buena voluntad contra esta guerra de hoy?
Sacrificing One Species to Change the Color of Another Almost a century ago, bird breeders turned canaries red. They repeatedly hybridized the bright yellow birds with a striking Venezuelan finch called the red siskin, and so moved the gene responsible for the siskin’s vermillion plumage into the canaries. In the process, the canary became “the first organism to be manipulated by genetic technology.” I wrote about this story last month, after scientists finally identified the gene responsible for the birds’ red colors. What I didn’t mention was that the siskins gave more than their genes. They also gave their lives. To meet the insatiable demand for red canaries, bird-catchers captured red siskins by the thousands, shipping them out of Venezuela—to Germany at first, and then around the world. Then, an unexpected lifeline. In April 2000, geneticist Mike Braun from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and ornithologist Mark Robbins from the University of Kansas were surveying the birds of Guyana, Venezuela’s eastern neighbor.
Climate Change: Environmental Stress Can Tip Nations Into Catastrophe Venezuela was unraveling even before Hugo Chávez died in 2013. The situation has only gotten worse since. Despite having the world’s largest oil reserves, inflation has soared to 500 percent, the murder rate is the highest in the world, and chronic shortages of food, water, and medicine make daily life a struggle. A man was recently burned alive outside a supermarket in Caracas for stealing the equivalent of $5. Recently, it looked like it might be the weather. “You’ve got a mess, to put it mildly,” says political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon, associate director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. That’s not just true in Venezuela. Of course, social uprisings are complicated things, and Kelley reignited a debate on just how climate affects conflict. There’s abundant potential for such dislocation in Venezuela. “Powerful groups, especially in corrupt states, use their power to capture resources,” says Homer-Dixon. No one knows when Venezuela will finally implode.
Diccionario UB de la calle: desde "becerro" hasta "chigüire" En el amplio universo en donde se encuentra sumergida nuestra jerga local existe todo un imaginario verbal, de adjetivos y referentes de la vida cotidiana, asociadas a los animales. La lista de nombres y calificativos que usan los autóctonos citadinos no es nada corta Esta vez queremos compilar los significados de cada especie que, en boca de los habitantes del Valle de Caracas, su Área Metropolitana y – ¿por qué no? – el país completo, forman parte de nuestra oratoria histórica, post-colonial y “retro-malandra”. Nótese la forma -peyorativa- en la que muchos de estos conceptos funcionan, pero que también se incorporan al contexto amistoso e, incluso, fraternal, propio de nuestro gentilicio. Baboso/a: persona pegadiza y de mucho contacto físico. Bachaqueo: forma u oficio de hacerse con los productos regulados en escasez bajo un valor monetario más costoso en Venezuela, durante la administración de Nicolas Maduro. Bagre: se dice de la mujer que no posee ninguna gracia física.
This industry helps Chinese cheat their way into & through US colleges The Disadvantages of Being Stupid As recently as the 1950s, possessing only middling intelligence was not likely to severely limit your life’s trajectory. IQ wasn’t a big factor in whom you married, where you lived, or what others thought of you. The qualifications for a good job, whether on an assembly line or behind a desk, mostly revolved around integrity, work ethic, and a knack for getting along—bosses didn’t routinely expect college degrees, much less ask to see SAT scores. As one account of the era put it, hiring decisions were “based on a candidate having a critical skill or two and on soft factors such as eagerness, appearance, family background, and physical characteristics.” The 2010s, in contrast, are a terrible time to not be brainy. It’s popular entertainment, too. This gleeful derision seems especially cruel in view of the more serious abuse that modern life has heaped upon the less intellectually gifted. Yes, some careers do require smarts. What do we mean by intelligence?