“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked — as I am surprisingly often — why I bother to get up in the mornings.”—Richard Dawkins, from Chpt 1 of his 1998 book Unweaving the Rainbow (via designtumblelog)
1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.
“Until the seventeenth century, hysteria was regarded as of uterine origin (from the Greek “hustera” = uterus) in the Western world. Hysteria referred to a medical condition, thought to be particular to women, caused by disturbances of the uterus. The term hysteria was coined by Hippocrates, who thought that suffocation and madness arose in women whose uteri had become too light and dry from lack of sexual intercourse and, as a result, wandered upward, compressing the heart, lungs, and diaphragm. The belief was that hysterical symptoms would emanate from the part of the body in which the wandering uterus lodged itself”
1. You will receive a body.
You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons.
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is a process of trial and error: experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”
4. A lesson is repeated until learned.
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end.
There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
6. “There” is no better than “here.”
When your “there” has become a “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
7. Others are merely mirrors of you.
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you.
You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Life is exactly what you think it is.
You create a life that matches your beliefs and expectations.
10. Your answers lie inside you.
The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
Over the next weeks and months, you’ll see the Best of the Web collection grow to include a large variety of great talks on technology, entertainment, design and all the other topics you can find on TED.com.
The office party is in full swing, you’ve knocked back a few glasses of bubbly and edged on to the sticky dancefloor where Fred from accounts is looking strangely attractive as he struts out some wild moves. Nearby, Ian from IT is boogieing like nobody’s watching. What makes them so confident while your feet are shyly shifting from side to side? According to Dr Peter Lovatt, principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, it’s to do with age, gender and genetic makeup.
Lovatt – who is known around campus as Dr Dance – has just completed a major piece of research into dance, analysing 13,700 people’s responses to an online video of him, a former professional dancer, strutting his stuff. Lovatt demonstrated various dance movements, then asked respondents to rate them. He also asked people to imagine they were dancing at a wedding or disco, and say how good they were compared with the average dancer.
The research was part of his investigation into “dance confidence” (DC) – the factor that makes the difference between you sitting glued to the bar seat and actually going for a boogie – and how it changes with age and gender. “First things first if deep down you think you’re a better dancer than most, you’re not alone,” Lovatt laughs. “The average DC level was significantly higher than expected, meaning most people thought they were better dancers than the average person of their own age and gender.”
The findings also show a significant difference between how women and men develop DC. The highest level was recorded in girls under 16. “At this stage, dancing is for fun. They do it on their own, with friends or in formal dance classes, and do so to enjoy it,” explains Lovatt. But once girls pass their 16th birthday, there is a big drop. “Teenagers are likely to start dancing publicly in front of members of the opposite sex, and as dance starts to play a part in the sexual selection process for the first time, that may contribute to a significant reduction in dance confidence.”
From then until 35, however, women’s DC levels increase steadily. “They are likely to be moving through the mate-selection and reproduction cycle, so they will be more confident in the behaviours which form part of this process, like recreational dancing,” says Lovatt. But that pattern reverses after 55. “From then on, DC drops steadily and significantly. That’s not surprising if perceptions of dance ability are related to fertility-based courtship displays, because this is a post-menopausal life stage.”
Rejection can dramatically reduce a person’s IQ and their ability to reason analytically, while increasing their aggression, according to new research.
“It’s been known for a long time that rejected kids tend to be more violent and aggressive,” says Roy Baumeister of the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, who led the work. “But we’ve found that randomly assigning students to rejection experiences can lower their IQ scores and make them aggressive.”
Baumeister’s team used two separate procedures to investigate the effects of rejection. In the first, a group of strangers met, got to know each other, and then separated. Each individual was asked to list which two other people they would like to work with on a task. They were then told they had been chosen by none or all of the others.
In the second, people taking a personality test were given false feedback, telling them they would end up alone in life or surrounded by friends and family.
Aggression scores increased in the rejected groups. But the IQ scores also immediately dropped by about 25 per cent, and their analytical reasoning scores dropped by 30 per cent.
“These are very big effects - the biggest I’ve got in 25 years of research,” says Baumeister. “This tells us a lot about human nature. People really seem designed to get along with others, and when you’re excluded, this has significant effects.”
Baumeister thinks rejection interferes with a person’s self-control. “To live in society, people have to have an inner mechanism that regulates their behaviour. Rejection defeats the purpose of this, and people become impulsive and self-destructive. You have to use self-control to analyse a problem in an IQ test, for example - and instead, you behave impulsively.”