Big Think

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Big Think is the leading source of expert-driven, actionable, educational content -- with thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, we help you get smarter, faster. We aim to help you explore the big ideas and core skills that define knowledge in the 21st century, so you can apply them to the questions and challenges in your own life.

Bryan Cranston's Unusual Method for Choosing His Next Role

How did Bryan Cranston get to where he is? Luck, talent, and a personal numerical system he uses to pick his roles. The system — which he calls CAPS, or Cranston Assessment of Projects — is a little tongue-in-cheek in name but has allowed Bryan to go from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad to his latest project, Richard Linklater's veteran drama Last Flag Flying. While most actors might pick their roles based on the paycheck or how high it might raise their profile, Bryan has been able to pick his roles based on story and how happy the project might make him feel. It's a great lesson about good decision making. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a better teacher than Bryan, a man who's gone from "Party Boy #2" to the Hollywood A-list. Bryan Cranston's new book is the spectacular memoir A Life in Parts. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/bryan-cranston-bryan-cranston-the-journey-from-party-boy-2-to-movie-star Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink

15 horas atrás

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”: How Juries Get It Wrong | Richard Dawkins

Evolutionary biologist and former Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University Richard Dawkins has a bone to pick with the U.S. judicial system. Specifically, the phrase "beyond reasonable doubt". He argues that it doesn't mean what it says it means — that two different juries would come to two different verdicts (or perhaps the same verdict but in a different way). Therefore, the phrase loses its power. It's semantics, sure, but when people's lives hang in the balance, Richard argues that we should perhaps take a second look at the phrase. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/richard-dawkins-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt-how-juries-get-it-wrong Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink In Science in the Soul I have a chapter on reasonable doubt and it’s about, of course, the phrase. “Reasonable doubt” comes up in courts of law where juries are told that they must convict somebody, say a murder, only if it’s beyond reasonable doubt that they are guilty. And that sounds all very good, it should be beyond reasonable doubt, but when you think about the fact that—I think about courtroom dramas, which are so popular on television, for example, and I suspect that this accurately portrays something like what goes on real courtrooms, and I’ve certainly been on three juries myself, there is a note of suspense in the court when the jury comes back, which way will it go? Will it be guilty or not guilty? And then if they say “not guilty,” certain people heave a great sigh of relief. If they say guilty other people do. So there is a lot of doubt in the courtroom among people who have sat through the entire trial, the judge for example, the lawyers, the audience sat through the entire trial, as the jury has. So if the jury comes in and brings in a verdict that is beyond reasonable doubt, everybody in the court should know that. If it’s beyond reasonable doubt there can be no doubt at which way the jury will jump. And yet when the jury do give their verdict, how can that be if it’s beyond reasonable doubt? Imagine the following experiment: suppose that you had two juries listening to the same evidence and the two juries are not allowed to talk to each other, they're sent off onto separate jury rooms and they come up with their own separate verdicts, who would bet on the juries coming back with the same verdict every single time? Virtually nobody would. If you think about the O.J. Simpson trial, for example, would anybody bet on another jury coming up with the same verdict? And yet unless you can bet, unless you can say “yes, they would come up with the same verdict,” you cannot really take the phrase beyond reasonable doubt seriously. Now I'm not suggesting that we should have two juries in every trial, I'm just pointing out that the phrase beyond reasonable doubt doesn't actually mean what it says.

1 dia atrás

Mind Fitness: How Meditation Boosts Your Focus, Resilience, and Brain | Daniel Goleman

Meditation is like a gym for your brain. If you follow through and exercise (in this case, your brain) every single day... pretty soon you'll see results. Psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman posits that meditation truly leads you to an "altered state" similar to psychotropic drugs, albeit in a much more lasting and positive way that Goleman calls an "altered trait". Meditation is the opposite of stress in that with meditation we can unlearn stress; consider stress junk food for your brain and meditation as the gym that can repair and reshape you after years of a bad brain diet! Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/daniel-goleman-mind-fitness-how-meditation-boosts-your-focus-resilience-and-brain Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Altered states refers to a mode of consciousness or awareness that takes us out of our ordinary everyday sense of the world, sense of ourselves. We can enter altered states when we get intensely focused on something—deep concentration will bring you into an altered state, sometimes people like to talk how athletes get “into the zone” or they “get into flow”, those are everyday altered states, but they come from being intensely focused on some activity or in the moment itself. And of course altered states can come from drugs or from being in an unusual physiological state. A fever can bring on an altered state. And of course, the ‘60s and ‘70s saw a huge upsurge of people interested in exploring altered states through psychedelics. So altered states are temporary conditions, and when whatever it was that brought on the special state of awareness leaves, then the state fades. So if you get into a flow state rock climbing, when you come down from the mountain, it’s gone—or whatever may have caused it: your temperature might have gone up, and put you into maybe not a pleasant altered state, but still an altered state. The temperature goes down, it’s gone. Altered traits on the other hand are lasting changes or transformations of being, and they come classically through having cultivated an altered state through meditation, which then has a consequence for how you are day-to-day—and that’s different than how you were before you tried the meditation. And what we find in our research, as we say in the book Altered Traits, is that the more you meditate, the more lifetime hours you put into it, the stronger the lasting traits become. When we surveyed more than 6000 peer reviewed articles published to date on meditation we used very strict rigorous methodological standards and we whittled them down to about 60, so maybe one percent of all those articles were really well done. And they document very strongly that altered traits are a lasting consequences of regular meditation and it’s not that it’s the altered states that’s the point. If you look at the classic traditions from which meditation comes to us in the West all of them talk about the quality of being, the person you’ve become. And we see it in the data in many ways. We see it in cognitive changes, we see in behavioral changes and most importantly we see it in neurological changes the neuroscience of meditation is really getting stronger and stronger. It’s pretty spectacular and it shows that brain function and perhaps even structure in the long-term meditators becomes different and becomes different in ways that are actually predicted in classic meditation texts. The good news is that there’s a dose response relationship in meditation. Apparently from what we can tell the longer you do it the more benefits you get. So for example, right from the beginning there are intentional benefits, there are stress benefits, you’re more resilient under stress, but we see this even more strikingly in people who have been longer-term meditators, people who have done meditation daily for say several years. There you see in terms of attention things that don’t show up with the beginner so much you see that, for example, they’re more present. There’s a strict test of this in cognitive science called the intentional blink. The intentional blink means you get lost in one thought and you don’t notice what’s happening the next moment. And this happens, of course, to all of us ordinarily, but longer-term meditators seem to have this less, it means they’re more present to the moment. Longer-term meditators are able to better focus in the midst of distractions. This is kind of common sense because meditation in essence is training in attention.

2 dias atrás

How to Tell If Someone’s Bluffing: Body Language Lessons from a Poker Pro | Liv Boeree

A good poker face can win you a fortune or help you sell a difficult lie, but that term might be leading us all astray. For poker champ Liv Boeree, calling someone's bluff isn't about their face at all, it's often much more about their body as a whole—and one part in particular. "The feet are often the most reliable thing to look at on your opponent because they might be completely stoic in their face but their feet are bouncing around," she says. We're all hyper aware of our faces as a primary point of communication, but our bodies are speaking more loudly than we may realize. Typically, "the lower down on the body that you're looking at, the more reliable the information," she says. Keep in mind, reading body language is an art not a science, but thanks to Boeree's years of experience at the poker table she highlights some classic behaviors of bluffers, and reliable strategies for those who want to call them out. Find more from Liv Boeree at http://www.livboeree.com. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/lliv-boeree-how-to-read-body-language-like-a-poker-player Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: When it comes to body language, it's never an exact art. The things I'm going to suggest, they're all guidelines. But that said there are some certain things that as a poker player I'll look for. And the most important thing is, first of all, to get a baseline of somebody. It's impossible to tell whether the behavior someone is showing is meaningful or not if you don't know how they naturally behave. So the first thing I'll do when I sit down at the table is look at what my opponents are doing when they're not in a hand: are they naturally quite gregarious, are they confident when they interact with the waitress, or are they naturally quite quiet and shy? How do they sit? Are they naturally closed off? Are they very languishing”—that kind of thing? And once I've got an idea of their baseline outside of a hand then I look to see how they deviate from that when they're actually in the middle of playing or in a tense situation. In general what you want to look for in both poker—but also when you're trying to figure out if someone is lying—is their comfort level, if they seem authentic. As a rule of thumb, humans are actually quite good at picking up authenticity or if someone is being disingenuous. So that's the thing to look out for, and there are some like classic behaviors that I've noticed people do at the table where—if you see them suddenly making a point of making themselves bigger, where they're naturally sitting like this and now they're sort of puffing up, that's more often than not a false confidence that they're trying to show. Most people do try to stay very constant. So you really do notice a behavior, particularly against someone who seems to play quite regularly, the chances are that they're aware of their behavior, so they're probably trying to mislead you. But another rule of thumb that I like to follow is: the first thing you learn as a kid, usually, when you lie is “liars won't look you in the eye,” so what do kids do to overcompensate? They'll look you in the eye. And similarly people are very aware of their faces, this part of their body, if they're trying to be dishonest, but what they're not thinking about is the rest of their body. So the lower down on the body that you're looking at, the more reliable the information is. So if you think about when you're excited about something, generally speaking you'll bounce around and you can't keep still, and we call it “happy feet” in poker. The feet are often the most reliable thing to look at on your opponent because they might be completely stoic in their face but their feet are bouncing around—it's usually a sign that they have a really strong hand. But similarly if they're sort of smiling and chatty but their feet all of a sudden tuck themselves around the table or around the chair legs, something's up there. So as a rule of thumb, look for the rest of someone else's body more than their face if you're trying to figure out if they're telling you the truth or not.

4 dias atrás

How Comic Books Can Make Kids (and Adults) Smarter | Gene Luen Yang

Can comic books make you smarter? It seems too good to be true, but as graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang explains, they've come a long, long way. Imagine this: in the early days of comics, a caption would read: "Superman punches Lex Luthor," and it would be accompanied by a drawing of—drumroll!—Superman punching Lex Luthor. Basic, right? "That contributed to this idea that comics were meant for the mentally deficient. If you weren't smart enough to understand those words, then you could at least read the picture," says Luen Yang. Since then, graphic novelists have shaken things up, and the relationship between the words and pictures is more complex, with narrative responsibility going back and forth and occasionally shooting off into ambiguity. So why does Luen Yang think modern comics have a place in every classroom? Because our brains are not computers: "The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor," as social psychologist Jonathan Haidt wrote. We depend on narratives to help make sense of our world—whether that's algebra, history, or chemistry. Educational comics are turning out to be powerful tools that help kids learn at their own pace. Gene Luen Yang's most recent book is Paths & Portals. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/gene-luen-yang-how-comic-books-can-make-kids-and-adults-smarter Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink

5 dias atrás

Hits and Misses: How Neuroscience Can Boost Your Creativity | David Eagleman

"All ideas have a genealogy," says David Eagleman. A writer, neuroscientist, and adjunct professor at Stanford University, he's definitely clued in to what makes ideas click. He posits that the brain craves something new so much that if you give someone the same thing over and over that after a certain amount of time you'll begin to see diminished returns in excitement. But sometimes "new" isn't necessarily new at all. He points out that although the iPhone is a revolutionary product it bears heavy similarity to an invention from IBM... from two decades ago. New ideas tend to be built upon similar ones, David Eagleman says, because "what we’re doing is building on the foundations of what has come before us." Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/david-eagleman-hits-and-misses-how-neuroscience-can-boost-your-creativity Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink David Eagleman: The interesting part about how the brain works is that it loves novelty. And so if you present something over and over—the same thing—to the brain it quickly starts showing a smaller response. This is called repetition suppression. In other words the brain really cares the first time, then cares a little less the second time. By the third and fourth and fifth time the brain cares a lot less. So what this means is that we’re always leaning into the future. We care about novelty. But the interesting part is we don’t want too much novelty, because that’s disorienting. So you might want to go to Burning Man for five days, but you don’t want to live there all year. And so we’re always caught in this ground between familiarity and novelty. And this is where creativity lives, because brains are looking for this balance and you can see this in lots of ways. Just as an example take skeuomorphs. So skeuomorphs are these digital objects that have a relationship to a physical object. So when you’re saving something on your computer you press the little floppy disk, which we haven’t used for a couple of decades now. Or you make a phone call by pressing a handset, which is the old type of handset that kids nowadays don’t even know what that is! Or you send an email by pressing an enveloped letter, or you throw away your zeros and ones in a trash can, and so on. So these are all illustrations of the way that we like to have one hand on the past. When we make new leaps we don’t want them to be completely unfamiliar. Just as an example when the iPad came out with digital books, it was on a wooden bookshelf and they were books that sat on this wooden bookshelf. So the point is that we’re always keeping one hand on the past and then one hand on the future, and that’s where we are comfortable with innovation. When it comes to repetition suppression you can measure this in the brain. You just show something to the brain and you see a big response. And then you show it again and you see less of a response. And then again you see less of a response, and so on. By about the twelfth presentation you’re getting very little response because the brain just doesn’t care. So we’re always leaning into the future because we’re always looking for the next thing. What’s interesting: when companies put out their new and improved product it has to have some relationship to the old one. I mean if a cell phone company decided to put out a triangular cell phone or something weird like that it wouldn’t necessarily catch on.

1 semana atrás

How to Win with Game Theory & Defeat Smart Opponents | Kevin Zollman

If you want to win, it's best to think crazy like a fox. Nobody knows this better than Kevin Zollman — a nationally recognized expert in game theory and associate professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University — who suggests that perhaps the best way to get ahead of your opponent is to think completely counterintuitively. This works especially well in poker, where breaking the flow (say, bluffing when you have nothing) can keep your foes from guessing your next move. A little dose of crazy goes a long way. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/kevin-zollman-how-to-outfox-someone-whos-smarter-than-you Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink When one is confronted with a situation that’s truly zero sum where one party is going to win and the other party is going to lose, a situation is very complicated and sometimes difficult to analyze. Game theory spent much of its early days analyzing zero sum games and trying to figure out what’s the best strategy. It’s a little complicated because it depends critically on how sophisticated you think the other party is. If they’re very, very, very smart, the chances that you’re going to outthink them are not very high. In such a situation often times the best strategy is very counterintuitive, because it involves flipping a coin or rolling a dice or doing something random. Professional poker players know this and they often times advocate in poker strategy books that one should occasionally do something completely counterintuitive in order to keep your opponents off guard. And in fact game theory has shown that this is good, solid, mathematically well-founded advice, that often times what you want to do is engage in a kind of random strategy—game theorists call this a mixed strategy—in order to make sure that your opponent can’t get the leg up on you. The nice thing about these random strategies is that they ensure that your opponent can never outthink you. So even if you think your opponent is a little smarter than you or a little bit more sophisticated than you or has a little bit more information than you do, the fact that you’re being random to a certain extent means that they can’t outthink you. Now how do you figure out how to be random? I’m not saying just flip a coin all the time or whatever. What game theorists have figured out is that in zero sum games the best strategy to pursue when you’re against a sophisticated opponent is to adopt the strategy which minimizes your maximum loss. This is sometimes called the mini max strategy. So the idea is you think: what’s the worst case scenario for me? What could my opponent do that would make me worse off? And then you figure out what’s the best strategy against that, so you’re minimizing your maximum loss. Game theorists prove that if you use this way of thinking, minimizing your maximum loss, you ensure that no matter how sophisticated your opponent is you’ve guarded against the worst case scenario. And not only that but in zero sum games you’ve done the best you can possibly do. That’s not true in games that aren’t zero sum, so one has to be very careful about employing this strategy, because if you’re mistaken and you’re not in a zero sum interaction you could end up ruining it for everybody. But if you’re truly in a zero sum interaction this is one of the strategies that you can use.

1 semana atrás

Decoding Popularity: What Best Sellers and Box Office Hits Tell Us about Success | Kevin Zollman

Senior Editor of The Atlantic, Derek Thompson, boils down the science of popularity. He suggests that the best way to reach as many people as possible is to appeal to their inherent outsider nature. Since the cultural mainstream is so fractured, you have to understand that - at best - you're going to reach perhaps 3% to 5% of people. Because out of 240 million Americans, just 4% of that is 9.6 million people. Derek posits that perhaps creators shouldn't appeal to the masses. Instead, he suggests, they should appeal to the niche. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/derek-thompson-decoding-popularity-why-successful-people-dont-try-appealing-to-everyones-tastes Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink I think that we have a terrible misconception about popularity. I think that often we define popularity in a majoritarian way. We say that in order for something to be popular most people have to like it, a majority of the population has to like it. But think about this: if a book sells one million copies in a year, it is a “runaway bestseller” that by definition 99.5 percent of Americans did not buy. The biggest movie of 2016, Rogue One, the Star Wars film, made enough money for about 35 to 40 percent of American adults to have bought a ticket and seen it. That means the vast majority of Americans did not see the most popular movie. You could say the same for television. You could say the same for music: that lots of things that we consider popular are not “majoritarily” popular at all—they aren’t mainstream by this old-fashioned definition—instead they are cults, that culture itself is cults from top to bottom. It is increasingly in this moment now where the mainstream has been completely shattered and has been totally niche-ified that culture is cults all the way down. And I think that in thinking about this from a marketing standpoint and you’re thinking about your total addressable market, your total addressable market is not America, it’s not the world, it’s not any enormous group of people, your total addressable market is probably really, really small. And rather than go big with the general message that you hope is going to embrace everybody, rather embrace the idea that the mainstream is dead, that it’s all cults and that you have to find your cult and hit them very, very clearly with the message that is cultish that says “you are special because the mainstream is wrong.” Remember, that is the definition of what cultish thinking is—it’s a positive rebellion against an illegitimate mainstream.

1 semana atrás

Can We Digitize the Voting System? Blockchain, Corruption, and Hacking | Brian Behlendorf

Anyone who's walked into a voting booth and scratched their preference onto a piece of paper knows the same thing: the voting process suffers from a dire lack of technology. Humanity put a man on the moon in 1969--why are we still voting on paper? Going digital isn't just a matter of convenience, but one of accountability—citizens the world over are increasingly losing trust in the democratic system, from miscounted votes, to denying eligible people the right to vote at all. So just how much can we digitize the act of voting? Perhaps blockchain—a public ledger technology where information is irreversibly recorded—can build a better system. Here, Internet pioneer Brian Behlendorf considers two aspects where blockchain can help, and one where it absolutely can't. Better tech can end voter discrimination at polling stations, and falsely reported totals at the state and national levels, but will we ever be able to vote on our mobile devices from the comfort of a blanket fort? Don't get your hopes up. Brian Behlendorf is the executive director of Hyperledger; for more info, visit http://www.hyperledger.org. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/brian-behlendorf-can-blockchain-build-a-better-voting-system Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Many people have asked: can blockchain technology help provide answers to challenges that typically have suffered from lack of technology, or that has suffered from poor technology applications. One of those being the way that voting works in the United States. I think of this in three distinct phases. There’s the phase before voting where keeping track of who is registered to vote and where they’re allowed to vote, it’s been harder than it should have been. We have a lot of examples of people showing up at polling places and being denied the right to vote and it seems like paperwork goes missing and people get removed from voting roles, that sort of thing. A public ledger that tracked who was registered to vote where and allowed people to look at that from their home machine and then confirm that when they showed up at the poll, would do a lot to reestablish trust in the process of registering to vote and validating that everybody who is entitled to vote is able to do that, providing an independent verification of that. There’s a second phase I’ll get to in a bit, but there’s a third phase, which is after the vote, when you’re taking the totals that come from a polling place, that come from vote by mail for example in Oregon. We have to kind of trust that the system works. We have to hope that everything is counted correctly at the local level and then it’s totaled up correctly at the state level and then reported nationally et cetera. And we’re fortunately at a point where the basis of that trust hasn’t been violated yet, but in many countries it is. In many countries there’s not a lot of confidence that the total from a polling place is accurately summed up. So using a distributed ledger not to track the individual votes but to track the totals from each of the polling places would be a way to allow the public to understand: 'Okay the local polling place I went and voted at is reporting a thousand votes, 500 for candidate X, 500 for candidate Y, that seems about right. I don’t know if my vote specifically counted, but I know that at least the polling place I was at counted appropriately and they didn’t try to pretend they were 100,000 votes.' So at the beginning of that process and the tail end of that process using a public distributed ledger to record that makes a lot of sense. But in the middle, the actual act of walking into a booth and registering a vote, or a lot of people want to do voting by mobile device or by computer; I’m very worried about the digitization of that. Our computers fail us all the time and malware and other threats could really step in and make it so that I think I’m voting for one candidate but it gets recorded for another. And we have to think, in the United States, we care quite a bit about the confidentiality of our vote even to the point where I get no receipt, I can’t go to a bar and prove that I voted for somebody and get a discount for it—that would be considered bribery. So we can’t simply come up with a system that puts all the original votes into a public ledger and provides proof that somebody voted a certain way or that becomes a corruptive process. So I think we still need voter-verified paper ballots as a path to auditing, but with the registration at the beginning and the summing at the end conducted by a public ledger I think we would do a tremendous amount to reestablish confidence in the voting system.

1 semana atrás

4 Keys to Telling Stories Everyone Will Love, from Cave Paintings to Star Wars | Joe Lazauskas

"There’s actually a science to why stories matter. So when we hear a good story as human beings our brain lights up. It illuminates the city of our minds," says Contently's Editor-in-Chief Joe Lazauskas. "It makes us care. It builds relationships. And that’s why storytelling has been such a fundamental part of being human since early times." Lazauskas then defines the four key elements that all compelling stories share, from cave paintings to the Bible—even Star Wars. If you can incorporate them all into a single narrative, you may have mastered storytelling. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/joe-lazauskas-storytelling-science-how-to-tell-tales-everyone-will-love Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: There’s actually a science to why stories matter. So when we hear a good story as human beings our brain lights up. It illuminates the city of our minds. The neural activity in our brains increases fivefold and in addition we basically get given a drug. It’s called an empathy drug called oxytocin that gets released when we hear really good stories. And this combination of all of these neurons firing at five times the capacity otherwise when we hear a story, plus this really awesome drug seeping into our brain that makes us feel good makes us remember things. It makes us care. It builds relationships. And that’s why storytelling has been such a fundamental part of being human since early times. When we were sitting around campfires and chasing wooly mammoths and trying to rub sticks together and like figure out how to make more fire and starting to build tribes we didn’t have written language. But the way that we passed down stories told our next of kin that, you know, "stay away from the tigers over there and don’t eat these berries," was through stories. Because we saw that it allowed us to store information and remember and be captivated in such a different way. So the first element of great storytelling is relatability. And if you think back to Star Wars, right. What makes Star Wars so good? It isn’t necessarily the technology. It isn’t just the amazing graphics. The thing that makes Star Wars so good is that it was based on nostalgia for 1950s Americana. So if you look at the original Star Wars the spaceships kind of look like old hot rods from the 50s. A lot of the fashion evokes the 1950s. A lot of the shots evoke the great movies from 1950s Americana. And George Lucas was obsessed with 1950s Americana in this way. So it gave this sense of relatability that allowed viewers to be transported to this bizarre, crazy, alternate universe where these weird looking aliens were getting drunk and fighting in a space bar and there was a giant Wookie who’s a dude’s best friend. But they’re grounded in all of that nostalgia from their life that they had just had in an era where American in the 1970s was really nostalgic to that 1950s Americana and allowed it to click. This actually ties in with the second key to great storytelling, the great element which is novelty. So relatability isn’t very good if it’s all boring, it’s generic, it’s the same thing that we’ve seen over and over again, right. Our brains also light up when we see something that’s new. It was a survival mechanism from prehistoric times when we saw something new. It was a potential threat to our lives. We had to be on high alert. We had to be wired to pay attention to it right away. And so when we see something new our brains light up, the city of our brain is illuminated. It’s going like crazy. But if something is too novel, it becomes confusing to our brains. If there’s too much novelty, we either get scared or disinterested and our brain starts to shut off and go into a survival mechanism. So in storytelling amongst those first two elements there’s this great Venn diagram between relatability and novelty and that sweet spot where it’s relatable enough that we feel comfortable being transported into that world. But it’s novel enough that it keeps our interest, but it doesn’t go too much in either direction. And the third element of great storytelling is tension. This should be pretty obvious, right, on that tension is something that carries a great story along. As Aristotle said, the job of storyteller is to create a gap between what should be and what is, and then continue to string the reader along closing that gap between what should be and what is, and reopening it over and over again until that gap is closed and the tale ends. So in any good story you need that conflict. You need that tension that’s going to keep the reader or the viewer on high alert, always on the edge of their seat, teasing them that this tension gap is going to be closed before reopening it again and again and again. And that’s what keeps us captivated in a story.

1 semana atrás

How Game Theory Solves Tough Negotiations: Corporate Tax Cuts, Nuclear War, and Parenting

I want something from you. You want something from me. How will we act out those agendas in a strategic situation? Unravelling and understanding this scenario is how game theorists make a living. Economist Roger Myerson, who co-won the Nobel Prize for his foundational work on game theory, defines it as "the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers," and while the theory was born in the field of economics, it by no means stayed there. Today, game theory can be applied to everything from biology and international relations, to interpersonal relations like friendship and parenting. Here, philosopher and game theorist Kevin Zollman applies the science of strategic thinking to three questions: how can a parent get a kid to clean their room, how can we reduce the number of nuclear warheads in the world, and most pertinently in America at this moment: How would a game theorist respond to the Trump administration's corporate tax cuts? Kevin Zollman and Paul Raeburn are the authors of The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting: How the Science of Strategic Thinking Can Help You Deal with the Toughest Negotiators You Know--Your Kids . Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/kevin-zollman-how-to-solve-tough-negotiations-with-game-theory Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: So game theory is the science of strategic thinking. The idea here is that any time that you’re interacting with another person who has their own interests and is trying to achieve their own ends, they are trying to do the best they can given what they want, you’re trying to do the best you can given what you want, and so you’re interacting in a strategic situation. One of you is trying to achieve what you want, the other is trying to achieve what they want. Game theory is a mathematical theory that attempts to make sense of how it is that people interact in these strategic situations. It was originally developed in economics in order to try to understand economic behavior like why people buy certain things or why they’re willing to work for certain wages, but later on it was expanded and applied to a variety of different situations including biology, international relations, and even interpersonal relations like friendships and parenting and family relations. So one of the big problems that parents constantly confront when they’re raising two kids is that the kids will sometimes compete with one another in order to get out of doing family chores, leaving them to the siblings. But the problem is, of course, the other kid, the sibling or friend, is going to figure that out too and so will try and shirk as well. In the end the parents are left for a messy room, the kids are upset with one another, and nobody is happy. One of the things that game theory has tried to deal with are these types of situations—they’re sometimes called social dilemmas or prisoner’s dilemmas. These are situations where each individual has a private incentive to do something, but when both of them follow their private incentives the group or the two siblings are worse off than if they had ignored their private incentives and just worked together. One of the seminal discoveries in this area is that by teaching kids or countries, or anyone for that matter, that you can break up that interaction into a bunch of little, small interactions where you can cooperate with the other one—but just on condition that the other one cooperated with you before. You can change a bad social dilemma into a positive interaction. This was put to its biggest use during the Cold War. Reagan and Gorbachev negotiated the START treaty with one another, and one of the big problems that they had is: how can you be sure that while you’re eliminating nuclear weapons your adversary is also eliminating nuclear weapons? So rather than saying, “We’re just going to get rid of some large percentage of our nuclear weapons and hope that the USSR would do so as well,” they broke up the interaction into a bunch of little, tiny ones. So the USSR would eliminate just a few nuclear weapons, then the U.S. would eliminate just a few nuclear weapons. They would check, and then they would go onto the next stage, and then each would eliminate a few more, and they would go onto the next stage. This process of taking a big interaction and breaking it down into little, small parts is one that we can use all over our lives, including in parenting. So rather than Mom or Dad coming into the room and saying to the kids, “Clean up the room,” and then leaving, Mom and Dad can come up and say, “Here’s the deal: each of you take turns putting away one toy, and you make a deal with one another: ‘If you put away your toy I’ll put away mine.’”

1 semana atrás

From 300lbs to a Navy SEAL: How to Gain Control of Your Mind and Life | David Goggins

People always ask David Goggins: how did you get so tough? He is the only person to have completed Navy SEAL training (including two Hell Weeks), Air Force tactical air controller training, and U.S. Army Ranger School. Now that he has retired from his military career, he's an ultra-endurance athlete, committing feats of physical and mental resilience like the Badwater 135, which requires participants to run 135 miles in 24 hours in the peak heat of Death Valley. Not that he was always a super soldier: Goggins once weighed 300lbs and was by his own admission lazy and undisciplined. Here, Goggins explains how he transformed himself and won the war in his mind—from positive self-talk and building a 'cookie jar' of resilience, to the 40% rule, here's how you can learn to push past your own mind games. You can follow David on Twitter and Instagram @davidgoggins and Facebook. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/david-goggins-to-win-in-life-win-the-war-in-your-mind-navy-seal Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: So I’m all about acknowledging your shortcomings in life. A lot of people talk about “triple down on your strengths. Triple down on your strengths and don’t worry about your shortcomings.” That’s a whole new thing I’m hearing right now. Maybe it’s not new, but it’s new to me because I’m not out there really listening to all this stuff. That’s the quickest way to never grow. To never grow. If you sit there and have that mentality of “triple down on what you’re good at” you’re never going to grow. You’re always going to stay the same. Either you’re getting better or you’re getting worse. So one thing that helped me out a lot when I was growing up was people always ask me: how do you build mental toughness? Mental toughness—a lot of people have these classes out here. A class on mental toughness. Positive thinking. Visualization. All these different techniques. Mental toughness is a lifestyle. It’s something that you live every single day of your life. When I was growing up I was a lazy kid. I was a lazy kid, and everybody goes, “How did you get to where you’re at today? How did you get to where you’re running 200 miles at one time in 39 hours? Being so disciplined?” It started off, honestly, with recognizing that my bedroom was dirty. My bed wasn’t made. I lived a sloppy life. So I took very small increments in my life. I started making my bed. I started cleaning my room. There were dishes in the sink. It started off with doing small house chores. I saw that the yard needed to be mowed. So instead of being told it needed to be mowed, I would mow it. I started doing things, coming outside of my lazy ways to become better. And for a period of time your brain doesn’t like it, but it starts to realize: this is a new way of thinking. We are now doing things that we are uncomfortable doing. We are doing things that we don’t want to do. So the brain starts to slowly grow. And let’s say you don’t like to get up early in the morning to go run. I hated it. I still hate it. You do that. You live uncomfortably to gain growth. You have to have friction in your life to gain growth. And the only way to do that is to make yourself uncomfortable. And get to the point where instead of running from the things you don’t want to do, you actually face them and start to gain more and more growth in your life. So that’s how I approach all those things. Self-talk, for me, has been the biggest thing in my life. A lot of us have a dialogue that is crap. It’s a crappy dialogue. We live in a world right now that is very external. Everything is very on the surface. Superficial. Everything. And what we’re telling ourselves is what we see on TV. It’s what we see on Instagram. It’s what we see on Facebook. And we’re telling ourselves stuff that doesn’t really penetrate to our core, to the inside of our soul. So our self-talk is like: “What am I going to wear today? How am I going to look today? I need to act this way today because this way is cool.” My self-talk became something that actually made me better. And I had a whole bunch of negative things in my life. And to get to the self-talk portion of it first, you have to quiet all of the phones and social media and all the negativity of the world to get to even hear your own self have a self-talk. You can’t have self-talk if you’re hearing someone else’s dialogue and what they’re putting out on social media. How they want you to act. How they want you to dress. How they want you to talk. Everything out there is you trying to keep up with somebody. You’re not trying to find your own self.

1 semana atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #2. How Jean Paul Dejoria Overcame Homelessness Twice and Earned Billions

Jean Paul Dejoria overcame homelessness TWICE and became a billionaire. He even has a founding stake in the Patron tequila brand! Here more about his inspirational story and how now he wants to help give back by giving others the same chances he had in our #2 video of the year. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/john-paul-dejoria-how-i-overcame-homelessness-twice-to-become-a-billionaire Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink

2 semanas atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #3. Adam Alter on How Goal Setting is a Hamster Wheel. Set Systems Instead!

You've just achieved a goal you've been working towards for two years. You did it! Congratulations. Someone asks you: how does it feel? "Kind of anti-climactic, actually," you say. This scenario is quite common among those who have achieved even the highest benchmarks in business, athletics, or art, says Adam Alter, and it's because the goal setting process is broken. With long-term goals particularly, you spend the large majority of the time in a failure state, awaiting what could be a mere second of success down the track. Reject this unrewarding process by setting systems for success instead. It's our #3 video of the year! Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/adam-alter-want-to-succeed-dont-set-goals-set-systems Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Goal setting is fascinating because it's sort of a broken process in many respects. This is the way a goal works: You say to yourself, “When I achieve (whatever the thing is), that's how I'll know I'll have succeeded, and I'm going to do everything I can to get to that point as quickly as possible.” What that means is you exist in a failure state for a long time until you reach that goal, if it's a long-range goal. And so as you evaluate your process all you get is the negative feedback of not having achieved that goal. Perhaps as you move closer to it there's some positive feedback, but if the goal is really the end state that you're seeking out, there's a lot of failure before you get there. And now here's the thing: when you do get there it's a massive anti-climax. So there are people who achieve the highest highs; people who achieve the highest highs in athletics, in business, and if you talk to them and you ask them to describe what it's like to reach their goals they say things like, “I got there and it was an incredible anti-climax. The minute I got there I had to start something new, I had to find a new goal.” And that's partly because there's something really unsatisfying about the moment of reaching the goal. Unless it has its own benefits that come from reaching the goal, if it's just a sort of signpost; that doesn't do much for us, it doesn't nourish us psychologically. And what that ends up meaning is that we have to try to find something new. So really if you look at life as a series of goals, which for many of us it is, it's a period of being unsuccessful in achieving the goal, then hitting the goal, then feeling like you haven't really got much from that goal, going to the next one—and it's a sort of series of escalating goals. A really good example of this is, say, smart watches or Fitbits or exercise watches. People, when they get those watches, a lot of them hit on the number 10,000. “I want to walk 10,000 steps.” When you do that, the thing will beep; you'll feel pretty good about it for a minute but then that feels a little hollow and the goal escalates over time. People will describe going from 10 to 11 to 12 to 14,000 steps to the point where they're moving through injuries, through stress-related injuries, because the goal is there; they respond to the goal more than they do to their internal cues, and basically there's something really unfulfilling about that. The reason the goal keeps escalating and becoming more and more intense is because when they achieve the goal they don't actually get anything for that achievement, and so goals, generally I think, are in many ways broken processes. I think part of the problem with goals is that they don't tell you how to get to where you're going. A better thing to do is to use a system. So the idea behind a system rather than a goal is that a system is saying things like, “I’m a writer, my goal is to finish writing this book but I'm not going to think about it in that way. Eventually I'll have 100,000 words, but my system will be that for an hour every morning I will sit in front of my computer screen and I will type. It doesn't matter what that looks like. I'm not going to evaluate the number of words. I'm not going to set some benchmark, some artificial number or benchmark that I should reach, what I'm going to do is just say, 'Here's my system: an hour a day in front of the screen. I'll do what I can—bam.'” And the thing is, every time you set a system and you stick to it, you're achieving something. Instead of a goal that you're failing at, essentially, for long periods of time until you reach the goal, you're succeeding every day as long as you adhere to your system. And you end up getting to the same place but that framing is so much more effective. It gives you the kind of positive feedback you seek and the system is kind of geared towards psychological well-being: this is the thing I need to do to feel good about the way I’m moving through the world, towards whatever end state I'm looking for.

2 semanas atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #4. Po-Shen Loh on How Anyone Can Be a Math Person

Po-Shen Loh is a Hertz Foundation Fellow and Carnegie Mellon mathematics professor who thinks that history is a much harder subject than math. Do you agree? Well, your position on that might change before and after this video. Loh illuminates in our #4 video of the year the invisible ladders within the world of math, and shows that it isn't about memorizing formulas—it's about processing reason and logic. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/po-shen-loh-says-anyone-can-be-a-math-person-if-they-know-the-best-learning-techniques Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: I think that everyone in the world could be a math person if they wanted to. The keyword though, I want to say, is if they wanted to. That said, I do think that everyone in America could benefit from having that mathematical background in reasoning just to help everyone make very good decisions. And here I'm distinguishing already between math as people usually conceive of it, and decision making and analysis, which is actually what I think math is. So, for example, I don't think that being a math person means that you can recite the formulas between the sines, cosines, tangents and to use logarithms and exponentials interchangeably. That's not necessarily what I think everyone should try to concentrate to understand. The main things to concentrate to understand are the mathematical principles of reasoning. But let me go back to these sines, cosines and logarithms. Well actually they do have value. What they are is that they are ways to show you how these basic building blocks of reasoning can be used to deduce surprising things or difficult things. In some sense they're like the historical coverages of the triumphs of mathematics, so one cannot just talk abstractly about “yes let's talk about mathematical logic”, it's actually quite useful to have case studies or stories, which are these famous theorems. Now, I actually think that these are accessible to everyone. I think that actually one reason mathematics is difficult to understand is actually because of that network of prerequisites. You see, math is one of these strange subjects for which the concepts are chained in sequences of dependencies. When you have long chains there are very few starting points—very few things I need to memorize. I don't need to memorize, for example, all these things in history such as “when was the war of 1812?” Well actually I know that one, because that's a math fact—it was 1812—but I can't tell you a lot of other facts, which are just purely memorized. In mathematics you have very few that you memorize and the rest you deduce as you go through, and this chain of deductions is actually what's critical. Now, let me contrast that with other subjects like say history. History doesn't have this long chain, in fact if you fully understand the war of 1812 that's great, and it is true that that will influence perhaps your understanding later of the women's movement, but it won't to be as absolutely prerequisite. In the sense that if you think about the concepts I actually think that history has more concepts than mathematics; it's just that they're spread out broader and they don't depend on each other as strongly. So, for example, if you miss a week you will miss the understanding of one unit, but that won't stop you from understanding all of the rest of the components. So that's actually the difference between math and other subjects in my head. Math has fewer concepts but they're chained deeper. And because of the way that we usually learn when you had deep chains it's very fragile because you lose any one link—meaning if you miss a few concepts along the chain you can actually be completely lost. If, for example, you're sick for a week, or if your mind is somewhere else for a week, you might make a hole in your prerequisites. And the way that education often works where it's almost like riding a train from a beginning to an end, well it's such that if you have a hole somewhere in your track the train is not going to pass that hole. Now, I think that the way to help to address this is to provide a way for everyone to learn at their own pace and in fact to fill in the holes whenever they are sensed. And I actually feel like if everyone was able to pick up every one of those prerequisites as necessary, filling in any gap they have, mathematics would change from being the hardest subject to the easiest subject. I think everyone is a math person, and all that one has to do is to go through the chain and fill in all the gaps, and you will understand it better than all the other subjects actually.

2 semanas atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #5. Steven Kotler on Dopamine Addiction Through Social Media, and More

When you check your phone for a text, the uncertainty or “magic of maybe” in what the text might deliver results in a 400% spike in dopamine – roughly the same amount of dopamine as a person gets from cocaine. “We’re essentially putting highly addictive drugs into the hands of kids before they have any natural defenses against them,” says Steven Kotler in our #5 video of the year. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/steven-kotler-on-addictions-and-dopamine Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Peter Drucker famously said if I want to know what you believe I could ask you what you believe and maybe I’ll believe your answer. But show me your calendar and your bank statement and then I’ll really know what’s going on. And what we tried to calculate was the altered state economy. How much time and money do people spend trying to change the channel on normal waking consciousness and unlock these heightened states of information. We did a global calculation. We looked everywhere from elicit to licit drugs which is an obvious place to start but we also looked at things like pornography and social media where the neurochemical reward you’re getting from these experiences is very similar to the neurochemical reward you’re getting in these states. At the heart of a lot of this is the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a focusing drug. It’s a performance enhancing drug and it’s a pleasure drug. It is also incredibly, incredibly, incredibly addictive. Porn addiction is very much about dopamine, right. If you think about porn from an evolutionary point of view our sex drive is about procreation. We’re not getting any of that from porn. We’re not watching porn for what it makes us feel sexually. We’re watching porn for what it does to us mentally. It changes our state of consciousness. It gets us high and it’s the dopamine that is getting us high. It’s knocking outside of normal waking consciousness and it’s lifting us up to a heightened state. Unfortunately porn on demand tends to be very, very addictive and people get into a downstream cycle with it. We see the same thing with social media, right. Simon Sinek famously says if you wake up in the morning and you’re checking your phone before you’re saying hello to your spouse that’s an addictive behavior. And it’s dopamine that is driving that addiction. So what happens with social media is Robert Sapolsky who did the foundational research on this at Stanford calls it the magic of maybe. When you look at your phone and maybe there’s a text there and maybe there’s not and you don’t know. When it shows up that high you get, that’s dopamine. It’s the magic of maybe. Maybe it’ll be there, maybe it won’t. When it shows up you get a 400 percent spike in dopamine. That is roughly the same amount of dopamine as you’re getting from cocaine. It’s slightly less than an extremely addictive drug like cocaine. And that’s what’s happening. And it’s interesting because if you think about things that routinely produce a lot of dopamine – alcohol, for example. There’s a drinking age, right. We have a drinking age. Alcohol releases a whole lot of dopamine. It makes you feel really, really good. We say okay, you can have that but you’ve got to wait. You’ve got to be 21 years old. We don’t do that with online pornography. We might want to do it with online pornography. We don’t do that with social media. We’re essentially putting highly addictive drugs into the hands of kids before they have any natural defenses against them. And what you’re seeing with internet addiction, with social media addiction, with porn addiction is the same thing over and over. It’s people trying to change their state of consciousness with a device. Trying to get at the underlying neurochemistry and it’s very, very addictive.

2 semanas atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #6. Richard Dawkins on Why Not All Opinions Are Equal, and Elitism

No, not all opinions are equal, and the more we ignore expertise the worse off we'll be, says Richard Dawkins in our #6 video of the year. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/richard-dawkins-not-all-opinions-are-equal-elitism-lies-and-the-limits-of-democracy Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Among the reasons that I heard for people wanting to vote for Brexit were, 'Well, it’s nice to have a change,' and, 'Well, I preferred the old blue passport to the European purple passport.' These are the kinds of reasons people were giving for voting for Brexit. The day after the referendum, the most Goggled question in Britain was: What is the European Union? During the Brexit campaign one of the leading politicians favoring Brexit, Michael Gove, said to the British people, “You are the experts. Don’t trust experts, you are the expert now.” So ordinary people who have absolutely no knowledge of economics or politics or history decided on a 50 percent majority to vote to Britain out of the European market, out of the European community, which was a very, very complicated, detailed, ramified structure that has been built up over decades. And so in one stroke the British people, who had no knowledge, no expertise, were given the opportunity by a reckless David Cameron to vote us out and they did, by a very narrow margin. This cult of everybody being an expert, all opinions being equally valid is, I think, dangerous and most unfortunate. Of course I have been accused of being an elitist because of this. And yes, when you’re about to have an operation you want an elite surgeon to cut you open, you want an elite anesthetist to put you under. When you’re about to fly you want an elite pilot to fly you. When you’re about to leave a federation of states, which has been built up over decades, you want an elite economist or politician or historian to advise you on it. You don’t want to take the view of just any old man in the street or woman in the street. I pronounce myself profoundly ill-equipped to vote on the referendum about Brexit. I was ill-equipped and so was the vast majority of the British people ill-equipped. In that sense I think that elitist should stop being a dirty word and we should start to respect elites in whatever field we’re talking about. We want elite musicians to play in our orchestras, et cetera. I think it’s bad enough to ask non-experts like me to vote in direct referendums, but when we are also being fed false information, or it’s deliberately false information. The Trump administration is actually lying every day and more or less proud of it. In Britain the Brexit campaign had a bus—you may have read about this—they had a bus which had a great big slogan on the side, which said that every day or every week I think it was, some gigantic sum was being paid to the European Union, which if we left Europe would be available for the national health. Now that was an admitted lie, that’s quite simply false, and many people were probably swayed by that consideration to vote to leave the European Union. So no, I do think we need to stick to democracy as it is, but I think it’s a representative democracy that we have. In Britain we have a parliamentary democracy, normally we don’t vote on actual issues we vote members of Parliament. Members of Parliament then go to the House of Commons and then they vote on our behalf. And we have cabinet government where the cabinet gets advice from civil servants who are expert. So no I’m not advocating that people with PhDs should get two votes or anything like that; I don’t want to be elitist to quite that extent. So let’s go for representative democracy but not referendum democracy. I think it’s worth adding that the precedent for not everybody having the same weighted vote is already well-established in the United States. When you think about voting for the United States Senate, where every state gets two senators. What that means is that a citizen of Wyoming has, I think, the equivalent of 60 votes compared to a citizen of California because if you look at the actual relative population sizes of Wyoming and California. So in a way that pass has already been sold, that we already see gross inequality. I mean sixtyfold inequalities, and the Senate, of course, is very important because the Senate does not only take hugely important decisions but also ratifies presidential nominees for the Supreme Court and that could be the most important single thing that a president ever does, is appoint members to the Supreme Court because they go on and on for decades, in some cases, after the president is gone.

2 semanas atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #7. Alan Alda on Why He Doesn't Like "Pro tips" and Teaching in Threes

Alan Alda doesn't want you to take "pro tips" from anyone—not even Alan Alda. When it comes to his area of expertise—public speaking and empathetic communication—there are no hacks or shortcuts; if you want to be a world-class public speaker, you have to earn those stripes through the process of deeply understanding what it is to talk, listen, and connect. Hear more about his process in our #7 video of the year. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/alan-alda-we-were-built-to-connect-with-other-people-heres-how-to-be-better-at-it Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: I don't really like tips; tips about communicating well, tips about writing. What I would prefer is a process that transforms you so the tips take place automatically. I mean for instance, very often a tip is given: “When you're speaking to a crowd, vary the pace of your speech, vary the volume.” Well, those are two good things, but if they happen mechanically it gets to be kind of boring. Some people are encouraged when they're coached: “At this point leave where you're standing and walk over there and take a pause.” Well, maybe that makes sense in terms of how it's written; at the end of that paragraph you want to make a space before the next paragraph, but it doesn't necessarily make sense in terms of how you're talking and relating to the people you're talking with. That—relating to them—should be the source of a pause, the source of moving, because it comes out of the thought process I'm going through and it comes out of the thought process I sense you're going through. Have you understood that last part? So now I'm thinking, if you have what's the next thing that I can tack onto that that will mean something to you? And if you haven't, should I clarify it a little more? So there's a dynamic relationship between us that leads to a change in pace, to a change in volume and that kind of thing. A tip is just an intellectualization of that, which might be okay to give somebody once they've got the grounding in the ability to connect, but it ought to come out of the connection. It shouldn't be a checkbox that you tick off. So I really don’t like tips. If I'm pressed really hard there are three tips that I do kind of follow. Probably it's a good idea to follow these tips after you get used to being connected to somebody, but there are three things that I like to do, I call it the three rules of three. So the first rule is, I try only to say three important things when I talk to people. No more than three. If it's one thing that's maybe even better, but usually there's a lot to say. When I make notes on what I want to talk about, if I see I'm going on past three to four and five I start eliminating them or seeing if I can fold them into the other things. Because three things are really all I can remember and I don't work from notes when I talk to people and I advise other people not to. I never read it because reading just excommunicates you; it's not communication it's excommunication, in my view. So I can't remember more than three things, and I don't think they can remember more than three things, so what's the point of telling them stuff they're not going to remember? So I stick to three. That's rule number one of the rule of three things. The second rule is, if I have a difficult thing to understand, if there's something I think is not going to be that easy to get, I try to say it in three different ways because I think if you come in from different angles you have a better chance of getting a three-dimensional view of this difficult idea, so I try to say it three different ways. And the third tip, which I always forget, is that if I have a difficult thing that's hard to get, I try to say it three times through the talk, so that the first time you hear it you start to get used to it, the second time it's familiar and the third time you say, “Oh yeah, right. Okay.” Now, I do follow those three tips, but I don't think I tell somebody: “You're going to get up to talk, here are three tips to remember.” It's a process. You've got to get transformed into being a better communicator. You've got to go through steps where it's like going to the gym, only it's a lot more fun than going to the gym because it involves connecting with another person and we're built to connect with another person. In spite of the fact that we often avoid it, it actually is fun when we get into that position. So if we could get ourselves transformed into liking connecting with the audience we're talking to or writing for, then these tips will happen automatically or finally we'll be able to put them to work in terms of that transformed way we have of connecting. It really feels good.

2 semanas atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #8. Kurt Anderson on the American Tradition of Delusional Thinking

At the time of the Civil War, society had become split by two sides that refused to listen to each other. Back then, the political and social divide is stoked by a hyperbolic partisan media where anyone could publish whatever they wanted in a pamphlet without fact-checking. Sound familiar? Americans reshaping reality to fit their needs is nothing new, explains Kurt Anderson in our #8 video of the year. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/kurt-andersen-magical-thinking-americas-most-enduring-quality Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Americans have always been magical thinkers and passionate believers in the untrue. We were started by the Puritans in New England who wanted to create and did create a Christian utopia and theocracy as they waited for the eminent second coming of Christ and the end of days. And in the south by a bunch of people who were convinced, absolutely convinced that this place they’d never been was full of gold just to be plucked from the dirt in Virginia and they stayed there looking and hoping for gold for 20 years before they finally faced the facts and the evidence and decided that they weren’t going to get rich overnight there. So that was the beginning. And then we’ve had centuries of buyer-beware charlatanism to an extreme degree and medical quackery to an extreme degree and increasingly exotic extravagant implausible religions over and over again from Mormonism to Christian Science to Scientology in the last century. And we’ve had this antiestablishment "I’m not going to trust the experts, I’m not going to trust the elite" from our character from the beginning. Now all those things came together and were super-charged in the 1960s when you were entitled to your own truth and your own reality. Then a generation later when the Internet came along, giving each of those realities, no matter how false or magical or nutty they are, their own kind of media infrastructure. We had entertainment, again for the last couple hundred years, but especially in the last 50 years permeating all the rest of life, including Presidential politics from John F. Kennedy through Ronald Ragan to Bill Clinton. So the thing was set up for Donald Trump to exploit all these various American threads and astonishingly become president, but then you look at this history and it’s like no we should have seen this coming. The idea of America from the beginning was that you could come here, reinvent yourself, be anybody you want, live any way you wanted, believe any thing you wanted. For the first few hundred years, like everywhere else in the world, celebrity and fame were a result of some kind of accomplishment or achievement, sometimes not a great accomplishment or achievement, but you did something in the world to earn renown. America really was the key place that invented the modern celebrity culture, which was, beginning a century ago, more and more not necessarily about having won a war or led a people or written a great book or painted a great painting, but about being famous, fame for its own sake. We created that, we created Hollywood, we created the whole culture industry and that then became what I call the fantasy industrial complex where, certainly in the last few decades more than ever more than anybody thought possible before, fame itself, however you’ve got it, was a primary goal for people. And again, as so many of the things I talk about in Fantasyland, not uniquely to America but more here than anywhere. And then you get reality television, which was this unholy hybrid of the fictional and the real for the last now generation where that blur between what’s real and what’s not is pumped into our media stream willy-nilly. There are now more reality shows on television than there were shows on television 20 years ago. And that’s another way for nobodies to become famous overnight. YouTube, another way for nobodies to become a famous overnight for doing almost nothing or nothing.

3 semanas atrás

Big Think 2017 Top Ten: #9. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Dark Matter

Don't believe the dark matter hype! Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down the fundamental thing we all need to understand about the most mysterious matter in the universe in our #9 video of the year. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/neil-degrasse-tyson-dark-matter-is-a-misnomer Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink

3 semanas atrás