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Steve Leckie

Steve Leckie's Public Library

  • But even the most talented Realist artists capture only a tiny slice of reality. Rembrandt’s self-portraits, as real as they appear, omit nearly all the biological and mental processes going on in Rembrandt’s body and mind. Suppose, for example, we could zoom in on his face, seeing it at 10 times magnification, then 100, then 1,000, and so on. At each level of magnification a new world would be revealed, of pores and cells and microbes. And there is so much structure to understand in each of these worlds, from the incredibly complex ecology of microbes on the skin, to the inner workings of cells. Consider this video simulating the inside of a cell:
  • In Post-realism, art isn’t about directly representing an objective, independent reality. Instead, it’s about creating new types of relationship between the art piece and the human mind.
Apr 16, 15

"And what it comes down to is basically this: humans are afraid of death. That fear, encompassing as it is, compels us to think of ourselves as being different from the other animals — even though, really, we aren’t — and as a way of expressing that difference, we treat them like… well, animals. Or, worse than that, like “spare parts, commodities and property,” further disguising the similarities between us all." 

  • Could infection be the key to stimulating spontaneous remission more generally? Analyses of the recent evidence certainly make a compelling case for exploring the idea. Rashidi and Fisher’s study found that 90% of the patients recovering from leukaemia had suffered another illness such as pneumonia shortly before the cancer disappeared. Other papers have noted tumours vanishing after diphtheria, gonorrhoea, hepatitis, influenza, malaria, measles, smallpox and syphilis. What doesn’t kill you really can make you stronger in these strange circumstances.
  • It’s not the microbes, per se, that bring about the healing; rather, the infection is thought to trigger an immune response that is inhospitable to the tumour. The heat of the fever, for instance, may itself render the tumour cells more vulnerable, and trigger cell suicide. Or perhaps it’s significant that when we are fighting bacteria or viruses, our blood is awash with inflammatory molecules that are a call to arms for the body’s macrophages, turning these immune cells into warriors that kill and engulf microbes – and potentially the cancer too.

  • recent report in the journal Nature is proposing the year 1610 as the beginning of what has become known as the Anthropocene
  • Disease brought by those Europeans killed roughly 50 million native Americans, who were mostly farmers. Their abandoned farmland was taken over by forest and jungle in such a growth spurt, it sucked carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, a dip that can be seen today in ice cores. So, it was global trade that marks the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch.
Nov 22, 14

Comment: Google the "Hawthorne Effect."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect

Efficiencies studies were done at a factory in 1924-1932 to see if brighter lights increased productivity. They did. So the researchers kept making the lights brighter, and productivity went up even more. Finally, they tried making the lights dimmer, and productivity went up.

Industrial psychologists eventually suspected that people liked being paid attention to, and thus tended to respond positively to whatever stimulus the folks in labcoats with clipboards dreamed up.

  • By the 1970s, Langer had become convinced that not only are most people led astray by their biases, but they are also spectacularly inattentive to what’s going on around them. “They’re just not there,” as she puts it. When you’re not there, Langer reasoned, you’re very likely to end up where you’re led. She set up a number of studies to show how people’s thinking and behavior can easily be manipulated with subtle primes.
  • In one, she and her colleagues found that office workers were far more likely to comply with a ridiculous interdepartmental memo if it looked like other official memos.
  • Langer’s technique of achieving a state of mindfulness is different from the one often utilized in Eastern “mindfulness meditation” — nonjudgmental awareness of the thoughts and feelings drifting through your mind — that is everywhere today. Her emphasis is on noticing moment-to-moment changes around you, from the differences in the face of your spouse across the breakfast table to the variability of your asthma symptoms. When we are “actively making new distinctions, rather than relying on habitual” categorizations, we’re alive; and when we’re alive, we can improve. Indeed, “well-being and enhanced performance”

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  • 45 per cent of American jobs could be taken by computers within two decades. 
  • the current robotic revolution is that change is actually happening at an exponential rate.
  • the agricultural revolution that drove people off the land and into the cities, where they found a new kind of work. They say the same thing will happen this time.

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Sep 24, 14

Martin Ford, author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future, worries that we are on the way to a world where robots do most of the work, driving up unemployment to levels never seen before.

"How do we get an income into people's hands so that they can survive, so that they are not on the street?" Ford asks.

He says an economy needs more than the invention and manufacture of products. Someone has to buy them. And those buyers perform the important function of selecting which technologies are most workable and effective. 

"The market, where people go out and make purchasing decisions, [is] very important to driving our economy," says Ford.

  • my job was to live as if I had only 6 months left to live. I was in perfect health and in the middle of a ten-year round the world trip, so this interruption was unexpected and strange. I've told the full story of that curious mission on the very first episode of This American Life, the public radio storytelling hit, 10 years ago, so I won't go into further detail because you can hear my account  on this streaming audio file from the NPR site.
  • My friend Stewart Brand, who is now 69, has been arranging his life in blocks of 5 years. Five years is what he says any project worth doing will take. From moment of inception to the last good-riddance, a book, a campaign, a new job, a start-up will take 5 years to play through. So, he asks himself, how many 5 years do I have left? He can count them on one hand even if he is lucky. So this clarifies his choices. If he has less than 5 big things he can do, what will they be?
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