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Topics - Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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I feel like this opportunity is not to be wasted.


- Invitation to submit text -

American artist Jenny Holzer and the office of Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State, seek text to be included in a permanent artwork for the new American Embassy in London. Students are invited to submit short, powerful writing on any topic relevant to British-American relations or statecraft. Cultural exchange is crucial, so students from both the US and UK are encouraged to participate. Selected texts will be carved into stone on highly visible walls around the Embassy, and collected on a web platform.

I hate alliteration. But I did it anyway, because I like being a dick, even if it's just to myself.

This is real old but I fucking love it anyway:

Researchers may have found the location of sense of humor in the brain, according to their presentation at the 86th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, Illinois.

Humor appreciation appears to be based in the lower frontal lobes of the brain, a location associated with social and emotional judgment and planning, according to imaging research. That might explain why people who have suffered strokes involving the lower frontal lobes of the brain may have alterations of personality which include loss of their sense of humor.

"A small part of the frontal lobes appears critical to our ability to recognize a joke," said Dean K. Shibata, MD, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York, and principal investigator of a study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map activity in the brain while it is registering humor. "Although the purpose of humor and laughter is still largely unknown despite 2,000 years of speculation, having a sense of humor is a key part of our personalities and it can play a powerful role in balancing negative emotions, such as fear.

Literate Chaotic / Just in time for Halloween!
« on: October 31, 2014, 10:51:19 pm »
So I happened upon this website, and this story in particular, and it's, um. Special. Really special. And it disturbed me a lot, although possibly not in the ways the author intended.

Please read it.





While this isn't entirely reflective of my experience, it does capture some elements.
I had a very interesting encounter today. I was sitting in the Malcolm X Lounge, a study room at the University of Texas that’s dedicated to African-American studies, but open to anyone. I was on a couch and had my feet up on a small table. When a girl came and sat down on the couch to my left, I jokingly made a big deal about moving my legs. She responded with, “Stop being so lazy, light-skin.”

I really wasn’t offended by the light-skin reference, but I was totally caught off guard by the way she used the term. See light-skinnededness (no that’s not a real word) has been the target of black humor for a while now, but usually people just say...

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / So did you know
« on: October 15, 2014, 11:43:29 pm »
...that your skin has odor receptors?

Your whole body is a nose.

You're welcome.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / I did this for you
« on: September 23, 2014, 12:18:22 am »
If someone gives someone a gift that they did not ask for and do not want, was the gift really for the recipient, or was it really for the giver?

...that in Portland, there is a store that sells frisbees.

JUST frisbees.


So here's a thought.

Many people seem convinced that the amenities and relative ease of modern life are going to make us -- or in fact, are already making us -- dumber as a species.

However, many social neuroscience researchers think that our high intelligence is a direct result not of overcoming hardships, but of our extremely large (compared to other species) social networks. 

Modern social networks are vastly larger and more complex, with many more tiers of interaction, than social networks have ever been at any time in the past. It stands to reason that people who are better able to manage these huge social networks, and thus manage the multitude of associations between people and contexts, will be more liked, will be able to exploit potentially lucrative connections, will be more successful and thrive better, and ultimately will be more numerous, than those who are less able.

Therefore, if the social network hypothesis of intelligence is correct, over time the relative ease of our lives and technology which allows us to expand our social networks may ultimately make our species significantly more intelligent.

In other words, Facebook might be making us smarter.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Kim Kierkegaardashian
« on: September 06, 2014, 03:19:23 am »
This shit is FUCKING FUNNY.

Aneristic Illusions / Fuck you, bitch
« on: September 06, 2014, 03:14:05 am »
I don't know if this really belongs in this sub, but it ties into some topics we've discussed here at length, and I thought the last sentence was particularly keen. I think it also stood out for me because earlier this week, a woman on Facebook went apeshit at me because I didn't think she was funny, and busted out "nigger bitch" and references to lynching a dozen or so times.

Thought I'd share here, because you guys are pretty fucking smart and I wondered what your take on it is.

I’m on an arbitrary crosswalk on an arbitrary Sunday in Chicago when it happens. He’s in his early 40′s, nicely dressed. As we head in opposite directions, elbows almost bumping, he leans into my space, face inches from mine and hisses, “Fuck you, bitch.” He keeps walking, and I stop dead in the middle of the street, hoping someone else just saw that.

It’s the “bitch” that kept swinging through the revolving door in my brain as I walked the half mile home. Why did he call me that? I didn’t do anything to him, I didn’t say anything to him, I didn’t even look at him. Was I supposed to smile? A random “fuck you” might just be the standard cost of living in a large city where you encounter the occasional unstable citizen, but the “bitch” added insult to injury.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Academia Ghetto Thread
« on: September 05, 2014, 04:51:06 pm »
I thought this could be a place where we have our geeky school-related conversations.

Related: I got all my books for school.

Two classes for my bio major, one class for my psych major, and one class for both.

Or Kill Me / Dispelling a few myths
« on: July 13, 2014, 07:46:06 am »
I'd really like to post this on Facebook, but that would be undiplomatic so I'll post it here instead.

1. I'm not underestimating myself. My worries about my ability to tackle a challenge to my own standards are based in a realistic assessment of the degree of difficulty of the challenge, my own abilities, and the other demands of my day-to-day life. If I'm worried about being able to pull off a task I've set for myself, it's because it's fucking hard.

2. Related to #1, I do not suffer from impostor syndrome. Bitch, please. I can't even. What are you talking about. However, I do frequently push the limits of my capabilities, because how the fuck else would I improve myself?

3. I don't have a poor body image. The fact that I'm aware that I'm 20 pounds overweight, far from Barbie-Doll looks, and not as pretty as I was when I was 25 doesn't mean I'm somehow unaware that I'm nonetheless blessed in the aesthetic department.

4. I don't give any fucks if you disagree. In fact, I secretly think you're just saying that because of your own insecurities. I won't try to appearance-shame you back, though, because I'm better than that. I also don't think that being fuckable is the best thing I have to offer the world, and it's not the best thing you have to offer the world, either. Even if you are kind of an idiot.

5. Which brings me to my last point, which is that if you are trying to exploit some kind of perceived weakness in my self-image regarding my competency or appearance, you're not only an asshole, you're an idiot. I'll probably forgive you, though, because stupid people are worthy of compassion and my one real, vulnerable insecurity is the fear that I am insufficiently compassionate.

I'm working on that, though.

It seemed to me that we could really use a thread like this. I'll go first:

Me: My housemate says his pants fell down at the gas station while he was holding a bottle of beer and a bottle of wine.
BF: Oh I like him already.
Me: Now he's in the kitchen with his guitar singing a song about sausages.

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