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Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living

Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living
by Maria Popova Reflections on how to keep the center solid as you continue to evolve. UPDATE: The fine folks of Holstee have turned these seven learnings into a gorgeous letterpress poster inspired by mid-century children’s book illustration. On October 23, 2006, I sent a short email to a few friends at work — one of the four jobs I held while paying my way through college — with the subject line “brain pickings,” announcing my intention to start a weekly digest featuring five stimulating things to learn about each week, from a breakthrough in neuroscience to a timeless piece of poetry. Illustration by Maurice Sendak from 'I'll Be You and You Be Me' by Ruth Krauss, 1954. Illustration from 'Inside the Rainbow: Russian Children's Literature 1920-35.' Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. One of Maurice Sendak's vintage posters celebrating the joy of reading. Then, just for good measure, here are seven of my favorite pieces from the past seven years. Share on Tumblr

11 Things I Wish Every Parent Knew After 25 years practicing pediatrics, and caring for thousands of children, I’ve noticed some patterns that offer me a deeper vision of health. Here are some of those invaluable lessons: 1. Growth and development are not a race. These days we’re in such a rush to grow up. In our mechanized, post-industrialized world of speed and efficiency, we’ve forgotten that life is a process of ripening. 2. This takes time and practice. 3. There is a rhythm and pulse to each child’s life – sometimes fast and intense, sometimes slow and quiet. Growing in cycles means that we don’t get just one chance to learn something. 4. We are not in the business of raising little kings and queens. Encouragement means putting courage in your child, not doing things for him. There is spaciousness in encouragement. 5. You don’t need an expensive spiritual retreat to become enlightened. Children watch our every move when they’re little, studying our inconsistencies as they try to figure out this crazy world. 6. 7. 8.

David Foster Wallace on Writing, Death, and Redemption by Maria Popova “You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness … has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.” On May 21, 2005 David Foster Wallace took the podium at Kenyon College and delivered the now-legendary This Is Water, one of history’s greatest commencement addresses — his timeless meditation on the meaning of life and the grueling work required in order to stay awake to the world rather than enslaved by one’s own self-consuming intellect. It included this admonition: Think of the old cliché about “the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.” Three years later, on September 12, 2008, Wallace murdered his own terrible master — not by firearms, but by hanging himself. The reader walks away from real art heavier than she came to it. That was his whole thing. Donating = Loving Share on Tumblr

Information society An information society is a society where the creation, distribution, use, integration and manipulation of information is a significant economic, political, and cultural activity. The aim of the information society is to gain competitive advantage internationally, through using information technology (IT) in a creative and productive way. The knowledge economy is its economic counterpart, whereby wealth is created through the economic exploitation of understanding. People who have the means to partake in this form of society are sometimes called digital citizens. The markers of this rapid change may be technological, economic, occupational, spatial, cultural, or some combination of all of these.[2] Information society is seen as the successor to industrial society. Definition[edit] There is currently no universally accepted concept of what exactly can be termed information society and what shall rather not so be termed. The growth of information in society[edit] Economic transition[edit]

The most popular 20 TED Talks, as of now UPDATED: To see all these talks at one click, check out our updated Playlist: The 20 Most Popular Talks of All Time. As 2013 draws to a close, TED is deeply humbled to have posted 1600+ talks, each representing an idea worth spreading. So which ideas have had the most widespread impact? Some fascinating things to notice on this list, if you’d like to compare and contrast it to the most popular talks in 2012, and to the list we shared back in 2011: Amy Cuddy, Susan Cain, David Blaine and Pamela Meyer are all newcomers to the list, with Cuddy’s talk storming to spot #5 thanks to you sharing it. But what really makes this list so incredible is the fact that it spans so many areas of interest, from education to happiness, statistics to creativity, tech demos to illusions. UPDATED: To see all these talks at one click, check out our updated Playlist: The 20 Most Popular Talks of All Time.

The Art of Looking: What 11 Experts Teach Us about Seeing Our Familiar City Block with New Eyes by Maria Popova “Attention is an intentional, unapologetic discriminator. It asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.” “How we spend our days,” Annie Dillard wrote in her timelessly beautiful meditation on presence over productivity, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And nowhere do we fail at the art of presence most miserably and most tragically than in urban life — in the city, high on the cult of productivity, where we float past each other, past the buildings and trees and the little boy in the purple pants, past life itself, cut off from the breathing of the world by iPhone earbuds and solipsism. Horowitz begins by pointing our attention to the incompleteness of our experience of what we conveniently call “reality”: Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. The book was her answer to the disconnect, an effort to “attend to that inattention.” The perceptions of infants are remarkable.

Digital citizen A digital citizen refers to a person utilizing/using information technology (IT) in order to engage in society, politics, and government participation. K. Mossberger, et al.[1] define digital citizens as "those who use the Internet regularly and effectively".[2][3] In qualifying as a digital citizen, a person generally must have extensive skills, knowledge, and access of using the Internet through computers, mobile phones, and web-ready devices to interact with private and public organizations. People characterizing themselves as digital citizens often use IT extensively, creating blogs, using social networks, and participating in web journalism sites.[4] Although digital citizenship potentially begins when any child, teen, and/or adult signs up for an email address, posts pictures online, uses e-commerce to buy merchandise online, and/or participates in any electronic function that is B2C or B2B, the process of becoming a digital citizen goes beyond simple Internet activity. Netizen

Psychedelics Don't Harm Mental Health; They Improve It Psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD not only don't cause mental health problems, they may actually improve mental health, say Norwegian researchers. Those are the findings by neuroscience researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, who reported that LSD, psilocybin and mescaline not only don't cause long-term mental health problems, but that in many cases the use of psychedelics is associated with a lower rate of mental health problems. The study pulled data from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health, observing 130,152 randomly-selected respondents from the adult population of the US. 13.4% of that group (21,967 individuals) reported lifetime use of psychedelics. Teri S. Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen, the Norwegian researchers, additionally noted that “psychedelic plants have been used for celebratory, religious or healing purposes for thousands of years” and that: Credits: Collective Evolution, Ultra Culture, Altering Perspectives

How to Do What You Love January 2006 To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We've got it down to four words: "Do what you love." But it's not enough just to tell people that. The very idea is foreign to what most of us learn as kids. And it did not seem to be an accident. The world then was divided into two groups, grownups and kids. Teachers in particular all seemed to believe implicitly that work was not fun. I'm not saying we should let little kids do whatever they want. Once, when I was about 9 or 10, my father told me I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up, so long as I enjoyed it. Jobs By high school, the prospect of an actual job was on the horizon. The main reason they all acted as if they enjoyed their work was presumably the upper-middle class convention that you're supposed to. Why is it conventional to pretend to like what you do? What a recipe for alienation. The most dangerous liars can be the kids' own parents. Bounds Unproductive pleasures pall eventually.

Sensory Deprivation Chamber: Would You Get Into One? First introduced by Neuro-psychiatrist John C. Lilly in 1954 A Sensory Deprivation Chamber is a light-less, soundproof enclosure, filled with salt water that is kept at skin temperature. In this chamber a person will float weightless on the water with their senses deprived (Hence the name Sensory Deprivation Chamber). They are unable to see or hear anything, all while because of the water being the same heat as your body, subjects have been noted to have said “it all just fades away” and all that’s left is the mind. In this pitch black pod, you float on the surface of a pool of water set at body temperature. Sight, sound and eventually touch are all muted so only your thoughts remain. It’s first use was in Neuro-physiology, to answer a question as to what keeps the brain going and the origin of its energy sources. From then on it has been used for various treatments such as Stress Therapy, Alternative Medicine, and Meditation. Source:

Are We Puppets in a Wired World? by Sue Halpern To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov PublicAffairs, 413 pp., $28.99 Hacking the Future: Privacy, Identity and Anonymity on the Web by Cole Stryker Overlook, 255 pp., $25.95 From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What You Really Need to Know About the Internet by John Naughton Quercus, 302 pp., $24.95 Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel Wiley, 302 pp., $28.00 Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 242 pp., $27.00 Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age by Alice E. Yale University Press, 368 pp., $27.50 Privacy and Big Data: The Players, Regulators and Stakeholders by Terence Craig and Mary E.

Sacred Economics | Charles Eisenstein Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme—but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being. This book is about how the money system will have to change—and is already changing—to embody this transition. A broadly integrated synthesis of theory, policy, and practice, Sacred Economics explores avant-garde concepts of the New Economics, including negative-interest currencies, local currencies, resource-based economics, gift economies, and the restoration of the commons. The print version is available on Amazon or from the publisher directly. You can also get the eBook from the publisher here. Order Now Books

ALCOHOL, WITHNAIL AND GARY KING BUT BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER LET HULK FIRST MAKE AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: IT'S REALLY HARD TO SIT HERE AND SPOUT OFF SOME BANAL PLATITUDES LIKE ABOVE. IT MAKES IT SEEM LIKE HULK IS JUST PICKING THEM OFF FROM SLOGAN-IZED SELF-HELP SECTIONS OR SOMETHING. SO PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THESE PLATITUDES COME MORE FROM A PLACE OF... WELL... COMING OUT OF THE INITIAL SCREENING HULK ACTUALLY HEARD A CRITIC SAY "Ugh, why did he want to go finish the pub crawl so bad? "You know I used to be sober. 8 tips to make your life more surprising — from a “Surprisologist” A closeup of Tania Luna, with glow stick. Photo: James Duncan Davidson In today’s talk, Tania Luna shares her experience of immigrating to the United States from Ukraine as a little girl. Perfectly happy with her family’s outhouse and with chewing a single piece of Bazooka gum for a week, Luna found herself blown away by the wonders of her new country. Commit to the mindset and process of surprise. Luna believes we can all be surprisologists. Tania Luna leads a TED audience in a glowstick dance, during a talk given a year prior to the one posted today.

A.I. Has Grown Up and Left Home - Issue 8: Home The history of Artificial Intelligence,” said my computer science professor on the first day of class, “is a history of failure.” This harsh judgment summed up 50 years of trying to get computers to think. Sure, they could crunch numbers a billion times faster in 2000 than they could in 1950, but computer science pioneer and genius Alan Turing had predicted in 1950 that machines would be thinking by 2000: Capable of human levels of creativity, problem solving, personality, and adaptive behavior. Our approach to thinking, from the early days of the computer era, focused on the question of how to represent the knowledge about which thoughts are thought, and the rules that operate on that knowledge. Literally translated, this reads as “there exists variable x and variable y such that x is a cat, y is a mat, and x is sitting on y.” This lack of context was also the Achilles heel of the final attempted moonshot of symbolic artificial intelligence. (implies (writtenBy Ulysses-Book ? (isa ?