29 February 2012


That was a running gag on The Arsenio Hall Show. back in the day.  It referred to something which made you stop and think ~ either a new idea, or more likely an incongruity that pointed out our capacity for self-delusion.  I'm about to introduce links to both varieties.

Optical Illusion - Reverse Mindwarp is a one-minute video which features the gradual addition of tiny white squares to the corners of large dark squares in a checkerboard pattern.  Before your eyes, straight lines seem to bend and spiral as our brains sub-consciously connect the dots ~ even though you can take a straight edge and prove to yourself that the lines remain straight.  Not unlike what happens to our brains when we fall in love?  Hmmm.

Upper Class People More Likely To Cheat ~ seven studies contrast the behavior of the wealthy and privileged to those us who are less so.  From paying taxes to behavior in traffic, from cheating at games to stealing and accepting bribes, the results reveal the shadowy ethics of the upper class in a time of rising economic tension.  Hmmm.

Why Are We So Afraid of Creativity? ~ psychologist Maria Konnikova explores our unconscious bias against novelty.  "Imagination is all about new possibilities, eventualities that don't exist, counterfactuals, a recombination of elements in new ways.  In other words, it is about the untested.  And the untested is uncertain.  It is frightening ~ even if we aren't aware of just how much it frightens us personally.  It is also potentially embarrassing (after all, there's never a guarantee of success).

"Consider a common paradox ~ organizations, institutions, and individual decision makers often reject creative ideas even as they state openly that creativity is, to them, an important and sometimes even central goal.  Or another one ~ teachers have repeatedly been found to dislike students who show curiosity and creative thought, even though creativity is held as an important goal of education."  Be sure to check out the entire article.  Hmmm.

Forget Generation Y.  18-to-34-Year-Olds Are now 'Generation C' ~ the 'C' standing for 'connected' in Zoe Fox's analysis of the digitally linked age cohort (see image above, click to enlarge).  She touches upon the implications for marketing, but does not address the larger question which occurs to me, i.e., the implications for face to face, personal connections.  Talking on cell phones or texting while driving, while walking, while conversing with live people in the same room?  Hmmm.

Margaret Cho Rightfully Loses Her S*** ~ in which the outspoken Korean-American actor and comedian defends her use of profanity as a way of asserting her integrity, in a life in which she has been "shamed and violated and abused" since childhood.  Her essay is a much-needed window into the experiences of those we too-easily categorize or overlook.  Hmmm.

Desperate Race To Save Horse Stuck Up To Neck In Mud ~ the problem?  It is at ocean's edge, and the tide is coming in.  The narration is gripping, and the photos are either gripping or tragic, depending on whether the horse is successfully freed.  Hmmm.

The Website That Triumphs Over the Internet and Time Itself is the florid description of a delightful discovery called Procatinator, "an online collection of 80 videos of cats that have been synced perfectly to popular music."  Could this be charming, or debasingly cute?  Hmmm.

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