Monthly Archives: October 2011

World Population and the 7th Billion

Halloween is supposed to be scary for the costumes, haunted houses, and razor-blade laden candy, but this year is really special. Researchers have recently proclaimed that October 31 will be the first day that the world will have seven billion people. It’s a scary thought, but the world is rapidly shrinking – or at least its resources are, by the growing amount of people using them up. People are now starting to ask the question, how many people can we handle? The answer had better be high, because we’re expecting another few billion in the next half-century.

Posted in Biology & Evolution, Culture, Japan | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Sleepers, Whispers, and Amnesia – How You’re Influenced by What You Forget

According to a report that came out this week, scientologists are investigating possible criminal activity by the creators of South park, a popular cartoon seen on American TV. Don’t forget where you heard that information, though – here and now – because it might be important. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not just making that up. But excerpts like that may influence you without you realizing it. The psychology of influence gets interesting when you factor in memory, because the spell experts can put you under isn’t meant to work now, but months later.

Posted in Culture, Media, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Personal Trainer Becomes Overweight to Understand Clients

I recently learnt about a personal trainer who is doing something that almost nobody does. He is trying to understand his clients. I mean… really understand them. Starting on May 7th of this year, he vowed to gain 50 or 60 pounds (he actually gained 70 so far) and stop exercising, in order to “let himself go.” That means losing muscle, getting a huge belly, and spending a lot of time blogging. But that’s not the most important part. The fascinating thing is that after he gains all of this weight (which would not be a difficult thing for most people) he’s going to lose it all again within the same amount of time, and return to his fit shape.

Posted in Activism, Biographical | Leave a comment

The Domestic Abuse Double-Standard – Part 2: A Man’s Worth

In Part 1, we looked at how people thought female partners assaulting male partners was largely ignored or overlooked. In the video I showed, most people thought that such a scene was no big deal, no reason to step in, or even a good thing. In Part 2, you’ll see just how bad the double-standard of domestic abuse has gotten, and who we should be blaming for it.

Posted in Activism, Culture, Legal Issues, Media, Psychology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Domestic Abuse Double-Standard – Part 1: Are women always the victims?

What would you do if you were stuck in an abusive relationship? What would you do if asking for help was not only considered humiliating, but there was even a stigma attached to it? How would your life be different if you knew that the person you were involved with could not only get away with, but even sometimes be encouraged to do something to you that you would never – ever – be encouraged to do to them? This is what men have to face everywhere, because the world does not take seriously the idea that a man can be the victim of physical abuse by a female.

Posted in Activism, Culture, Legal Issues, Media, Psychology | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence: A Brief History

Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning classes have been online for the past week, and tens of thousands are watching the video lectures intently. Today marks the first homework assignment deadline, and the online message boards are ablaze with discussion. I’ve decided to summarize information in the textbook that is used or suggested for both classes, to which most online students probably do not have access. The foundations of artificial intelligence (AI) will be discussed here, spanning all the way back from the time of the Greek Philosophers.

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2011 Official Playboy Sex Survey

In 1983, Playboy Magazine did what only a small number of people had done – they surveyed the hell out of people about sex. Over the course of five issues, they reported results from a survey of 65,396 male and 14,928 of their readers. Earlier this year, the results of Playboy’s new 2011 edition were published, and while the number of respondents only surpass ten thousand this time, they likely still represent the greater population and serve as an important reference, as we’re living in the digital age. In collaboration, Harris Interactive also interviewed thousands of average Americans (not necessarily Playboy readers) and came up their own data. Some of these results will definitely surprise you.

Posted in Culture, Psychology, Sex and Sexuality, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

TED Gallery: On the Virtue of Being Wrong

I ran across another fantastic TED talk that gave me a great idea for an aggregation. The topic is about being wrong, and the videos are worth the watch. We’ll start with a guy who talks about how science has evolved as a result of learning from errors, then hear from a woman who spent the last 5 years studying the subject of being wrong, and end with a teacher who believes that the education system is totally off track with their teaching philosophy. These videos are about embracing our human fallibility.

Posted in Aggregators/lists/rankings, Psychology, Science, TED | Leave a comment

“Pure Evil” – Godwin’s Law, Before Hitler

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” This is “Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies,” or just “Godwin’s law,” for short. Mike Godwin had created this funny observation in 1990, and one that I have made a reference to before. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously – after all, you can erroneously chalk up an argument that hasn’t referred to Nazis as “not yet being long enough” – but it’s so prevalent that Godwin’s law really doesn’t only apply to internet forums anymore. Hitler is basically referred to as the pinnacle of evil, and we see him being brought up on TV just as much as the internet, just as he was a few days ago when American musician Hank Williams compared President Barach Obama to him (apparently to Williams, economic stimulus spending is the same thing as killing millions of people). Now, I’m not sure, but I imagine that before Hitler became a well-known figure, people had used other examples to make bad arguments. So this brought me to the question: Who was considered the embodiment of pure evil before Hitler?

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is Japanese the Fastest-Sounding Language?

When you hear a language that you don’t understand, it always sounds like it’s whizzing by you at a million words per minute. People are also generally ignorant of the way they themselves contract colloquialisms and make their natural speech slurred and hurried. This is all natural. But recent research has given some interesting information regarding the speed of several common languages, including which has the most information packed into the fewest amount of syllables, and which language has the most syllables. Where does your language stack up?

Posted in Japan, Psychology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments