Posts Tagged ‘society’

Italian donkey: What time is it?

The current weather makes me want to just lie down in the sun and do literally nothing. I wouldn’t move a bit. Neither does this guy…

Privacy Off: You are now a data point in the Facebook Graph…


… not just a statistic! The new search graph function in Facebook is more than just a convenient way to find more people of specific interest to become friends with. Maybe Facebook wants you to believe it is for your own benefit but besides the obvious real goal of advertisers to target very specific people, it can serve as a tool to find individuals with opinions that might be ‘conflicting’ in some countries or societies. This should alarm you and make you even more careful what you share on Facebook, because now you are not just one entry in the cloud that nobody finds if they don’t specifically look up your name – you are a real data point in the statistic that will be found! And this information can be used against you…

Here are some example search phrase (taken from the tumblr below) that just by reading them should make you aware of the problem:

  • Mothers of Catholics who live in Italy who like Durex
  • Islamic men who like men who live in Teheran, Iran (and places where they worked)
  • Current employers of people who like Racism

You get the picture. I for one can very well imagine that there are people out there who would be very interested to know who belongs to these types of groups… I don’t want to imagine for what they would like to get their hands on them…




Stephen Colbert interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson makes astrophysics accessible to the average people by his enthusiastic and entertaining way of telling stuff and Stephen Colbert’s fun way of leading the interview is a quality bonus to this video. If you are only slightly interested in the questions why we should raise our scientific literacy and what makes astrophysics valuable to everyone, you should really watch this entertaining talk:

YouTube Preview Image

Athene’s Theory of Everything

Are you in the mood to think about how we see ourselves, why we believe in the things we believe and how we act upon those believes? Then you should consider watching this clip of ‘Athene’s Theory of Everything’, which is trying to explain and to unify all of our current philosophical questions with up-to-date scientific facts.

Don’t watch it, if you are stressed or not open minded for philosophical thoughts! You will be advised in the beginning of the clip, that the matter is complicated and multiple viewings might be required. But it is worth your attention and turns out to be very interesting, even when watching it for the the first time and when you might not be able to follow many of the details. Just play it again another day.

Among physics and biology, it even mentions the Mirror Neurons – a topic of the talk i have been putting up here in my previous post. I can’t stress enough that you should be advised to take some time to let all the ideas sink in, since it is quite condensed – especially if you are new to thinking about the ideas on how the world and we as human beings operate. However, it is presented in a very clear and calm way. In my opinion it is definitely something to take into consideration when discussing how ‘everything’ works…

YouTube Preview Image


The Empathic Civilization

Like I promised in my previous post, here comes another clip from RSA Animate, presenting a speed paint to a talk by Jeremy Rifkin called ‘The Empathic Civilization’. It is about the question of how we (and apparently also other mammals) feel empathy for something that can be observed happening to others. Like when we watch a movie, the same neurons fire in our brain processing what we see as if we would experience it ourselves. Scientists call this function in our brains the mirror neurons.

It is a remarkable discovery and he is talking about how it might have evolved from the bond that our ancestors in the cave had with their tribe (viewing other tribes as aliens), to religious groups believing to belong to each other up to the bond we feel towards the people of our same nation (and in many cases being hostile towards people of other countries). He then poses the very interesting question, if this evolution could extend over the whole planet to make us feel connected to one another as a whole ecosystem.

This is especially interesting to those who are working on ways how to convince people that we are not so different from one another. We should really stop treating people from other countries, religions and families as aliens. This is a very outdated concept in many parts of the world. The idea that, with our technology advances, it could be some day possible to overcome the differences between all of us and create what he calls the empathic civilization – where we act as a family of beings and not individuals. Think of the possibilities in sustainability and social equality that arise if we could just trigger these mirror neurons in each and every one of those who still live by the imaginary boundaries of nations, blood ties and religions.

YouTube Preview Image

Smile or Die

If you are fed up with all the people who do not seem to realize, that some things are going wrong, maybe those might just not feel they would be allowed to say what they think. We live in a society where realism is not always appreciated. Even so far as to distort reality into a point of view where we are not making any changes, even when they might be absolutely necessary. The constant “everything is ok” and willful ignorance that is going on especially in the corporate world and politics does not contribute to our progress as a society at all. It is harmful in just the same way as the constant fear and depression that we perceive most of the time through the media. In fact, people might start to feel powerless with the constant good mood in the same way as they would with the constant negativity they are confronted with – especially if they don’t believe it. The solution? Just acknowledge the facts that you have at hand and act accordingly! Smile or complain whenever you think it’s appropriate but never stop acting upon what you think is right or wrong!

RSA Animate published a fantastic talk on this topic by Barbara Ehrenreich on positive thinking accompanied by a kind of speed paint to what the talker is saying. I really love all of their videos (and I will post some more here later). This clip unfortunately has some pretty bad audio, but the message is clear…

And while you are at it, you might also want to check out my previous post ‘Everything is OK‘.

YouTube Preview Image

Return top