Tag Archives: Social networks

Mindless


By Adam Gopnik – It turns out that it’s very rare for any mental activity to be situated tidily in one network of neurons, much less one bit of the brain.

When you think you’ve located a function in one part of the brain, you will soon find that it has skipped town, like a bail jumper. And all of the neuro-skeptics argue for the plasticity of our neural networks.

We learn and shape our neurology as much as we inherit it. Our selves shape our brains at least as much as our brains our selves. more> http://tinyurl.com/mwfxlt3

Neuromarketing — You’re Doing It Wrong


By Douglas van Praet – By better understanding the real motives of our decisions we can facilitate a non-zero sum exchange, creating both powerful brands and satisfied customers.

As neuroscientist Read Montague explains, “Evolution has essentially bootstrapped our penchant for intellectual concepts to the same reward circuits that govern our animal appetites.

“The guy who’s on hunger strike for some political cause is still relying on his midbrain dopamine neurons, just like a monkey getting a sweet treat.” more> http://tinyurl.com/p59ffky

Take Away Harvard’s Nonprofit Status


By Annie Lowrey – There’s an old line about how the United States government is an insurance conglomerate protected by an army.

Harvard is a real-estate and hedge-fund concern that happens to have a college attached.

From a purely utilitarian perspective, there are causes that need that $350 million more. Groups like GiveWell are devoted to figuring out where a dollar does the most good. It recommends initiatives like deworming in very low-income countries.

Harvard, at the same time, is spending a billion dollars upgrading its coeds’ convenient, riverfront housing. If it wanted to maximize its $32 billion worth of utility, it could, say, admit more students, especially poor ones, reduce its focus on property development, and double down on its focus on research, which currently makes up $800 million of its $4.2 billion in annual operating expenses. more> http://tinyurl.com/lr6ldlt

How We Think


BOOK REVIEW

How We Think, Author: John Dewey.

By Maria Popova – What separates thinking, a basic human faculty we take for granted, from thinking well?

What it takes to train ourselves into mastering the art of thinking, and how we can channel our natural curiosity in a productive way when confronted with an overflow of information.

A subject urgently relevant today, in our age of snap judgments and instant opinions. more> http://tinyurl.com/knfc3fz

Don’t Be Rude, You Loser


By Noah Smith – In other words, civility gives an unfair advantage to bad arguments. Being polite to someone can easily be mistaken for taking their idea seriously — and many ideas simply don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

But there’s an important question that I think Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig fails to consider:

What if your own viewpoint is wrong? more> http://tinyurl.com/kzvs6ul

The Psychology of Our Willful Blindness and Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril


BOOK REVIEW

Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, Author: Margaret Heffernan.

How To Be a Nonconformist, Author: Elissa Jane Karg.

By Maria Popova – Our blindness grows out of the small, daily decisions that we make, which embed us more snugly inside our affirming thoughts and values.

And what’s most frightening about this process is that as we see less and less, we feel more comfort and greater certainty.

We think we see more — even as the landscape shrinks. more> http://tinyurl.com/p3nayrh

My Rural Broadband Journey


BOOK REVIEW

My Rural Broadband Journey: the one year trail to high-speed, Author: Claire Perez.

By Claire Perez – I wrote a blog about my quest for rural broadband and it is now a book.

I live ten miles from Cornell University and .6 miles from a wired connection to high-speed.  In 2011, wanting to utilize my recent Communications degree from the Park School at Ithaca College, I realized I was doomed without high-speed Internet.

I decided that I would drill down and find out what stood between our home and that wired connection, .6 miles down the road.  I thought a blog would be a good vehicle for recording my findings.

I began locally:  what did our local cable company really mean by a “survey to see how much we would have to pay for a connection? what was the franchise agreement with our local government? and why wasn’t the state and federal government helping me get connected under the rural broadband initiative?”

Day by day, I dug through the Internet and made phone calls to get the answers to these questions.  It wasn’t pretty:  a survey was a peek around the neighborhood by the cable company; the franchise agreement was drawn up in the 1980s before Al Gore and others made Internet a household word; and the state and federal government were sort of helping.

In detail, I recorded this information on my blog.  The blog itself did not see millions of hits but it got around and the hits increased over 100 percent in one years time.  It was tweeted in Great Britain and on Topsy once, a South African said I had guts.  I think there he was referring to all the things I explored and questions I asked.  

I researched and dug:  why did our cable company wire 50 miles in Maine for the same price as 12 miles in upstate?  why isn’t there a comprehensive  plan to connect the country?  and really what is the problem:  is it that we can’t put the collective brains in the US together to solve this problem or is that the invisible hand of the free market keeps pushing the heads of those trying under water as they keep rising to the surface to gasp for air.

In the end, I found assistance through the Tompkins County Legislature’s Special Committee on Broadband.  A group of people researched the issues and made applying for grants through government broadband initiatives doable.  But unless a community has the drive to do such work, the average citizen faces the daily hassles that I recorded in my blog. (The committee’s report is online and could be very useful to other communities seeking solutions to rural broadband.)

As the quest fur rural broadband goes forward, I think of a point one of my professors used to ask us repeatedly at Ithaca College: 

“Why, you’ve got to ask the questions?  And they have to be the right questions?”

more> ruralbroadbandgazette.com