Monthly Archives: May 2013

Scientific Consensus and the Obvious Truth about Global Climate Change

You-control-climate-changeI often ask questions in my article titles, but the question “are we responsible for climate change?” is simply unnecessary. From the overwhelming evidence, we know the answer to this question; and the answer is “YES!” This is good news because we may have the power to change things, but bad news because we aren’t doing nearly enough, and we may pass the point of no return within the next few decades. Furthermore, with so many people fighting to argue against what almost all climatologists are saying, most people aren’t even trying to do something about it.

Posted in Biology & Evolution, Culture, Media, Psychology, Science, Skepticism, Social Psych, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Exorcism, the Human Stun Gun, and Suggestion

Pope Exorcism

When the world ended last year, I pointed out the there is a certain degree of relativism to the apocalypse. That is, you, the reader, must have been impervious to the apocalypse. Why? It’s simple – you never believed it. And therefore, it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, many people do believe in things for which there is no evidence, including the end of the world. In the Vatican City, new Pope Francis has nothing to say about the end of the world, but he may have just performed his first exorcism as Pope, which is yet another phenomenon for which there is no evidence. And it reminds me of the “Human Stun Gun.”

Posted in Abnormal & Clinical Psych, Biographical, Culture, Japan, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Psychological Science of Storytelling

Microphone with blurry audience BG

ResearchBlogging.orgIt hit me about two years ago, sometime after I started this blog. Somewhere between the comedy shows and alarming amount of documentaries I began watching, and the seemingly endless number of people I have met in the last few years, I realized that the social world spins on the axis of stories. It’s hard to believe this fact unless you’re actually in a position where you exploit it. For me, it has become a hard fact of life – if you’re a good storyteller, good things come to you, and people want to be around you. It seems like the most popular people are often the best storytellers, and if you’re a good storyteller, you’re probably good at other things too. But just how do stories have such amazing effects on our lives?

Posted in Culture, Neuroscience, Psychology, Science, Social Psych, TED | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Islamic Blasphemy and the “Freedom” to Choose your Own Religion

Hang the anti Islam written on street

In the last few weeks, Muslims from Bangladesh have been going crazy trying to fight back against the critical words of bloggers and other online heretics by violent riots that have so far led to the death of over 30 people. Over 100,000 rioters have been taking to the streets, and the Muslims have been arguing that things have to change for their allegedly secular government. Men must not “mix” with women, and the word of Allah must be brought into the nation’s constitution. And from there… the law against blasphemy can be brought to Western countries. Does that sound about right? It does to them.

Posted in Activism, Culture, Legal Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Inattentional Blindness and the Invisible Violinist

Anime violinist ao blue

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? It would be hard to prove if you weren’t there to notice it. But what if you were there… and you still didn’t notice it? This is something we experience every day. Even cavemen couldn’t possibly focus on all the stimuli around them at once – from the rustles in the bushes, to the winds blowing by, to the tribesmen hunting for food – so what chance do we have, in our world of constant advertisements vying for our attention? Our most natural coping mechanism is to (justifiably) unconsciously tune out most of the stimuli around us; but the case of the Invisible Violinist begs the question: What are we missing?

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Psychology, Science | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hamas-Israel Ceasefire Ends as Gaza Schools Drop Sports for Military Training

Hamas Children

I have been following the news regarding the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza that started in November of last year closely. The relationship between the two is incredibly tense, and the violent conflict that occurred then was thankfully over soon. The ceasefire was called, and both sides welcomed the truce, however temporary it may be. Despite the fact that Hamas actually broke the ceasefire by firing 12 rockets into Israel on Day 1 of the truce, it managed to officially hold for about half a year. The ceasefire, however, has certainly ended; and the militarization of the children of Gaza seems to be more determined than ever.

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