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aries1988 : perception   13

Steven Pinker: The Disconnect Between Pessimism and Optimism | Time

It’s not that people are naturally glum. On the contrary, they tend to see their lives through rosetinted glasses: they say they are happy, their schools are good, their neighborhoods are safe and that they are less likely than the average person to become the victim of an accident, a disease, a layoff or crime.

But when people are asked about their countries, they switch from Pollyanna to Eeyore: everyone else is miserable, they insist, and the world is going to hell in a handcart.

Most positive developments are not camera-friendly, and they aren’t built in a day. You never see a headline about a country that is not at war, or a city that has not been attacked by terrorists–or the fact that since yesterday, 180,000 people have escaped extreme poverty.

A quantitative mind-set, despite its nerdy aura, is not just a smarter way to understand the world but the morally enlightened one. It treats every human life as equal, rather than privileging the people who are closest to us or most photogenic. And it holds out the hope that we might identify the causes of our problems and thereby implement the measures that are most likely to solve them.
optimism  pessimism  history  mindset  enlightenment  perception  society  mentality  people  idea  development 
february 2018 by aries1988
“Cat Person”
“It was a terrible kiss, shockingly bad; Margot had trouble believing that a grown man could possibly be so bad at kissing.”
love  sex  perception  story  movie  imagination 
february 2018 by aries1988
The red and green specialists: why human colour vision is so odd | Aeon Ideas
Most mammals rely on scent rather than sight. Look at a dog’s eyes, for example: they’re usually on the sides of its face, not close together and forward-facing like ours. Having eyes on the side is good for creating a broad field of vision, but b...
comparison  human  eye  color  perception  biology  insect  evolution  research  theory 
february 2018 by aries1988
A Sociology of the Smartphone

we count on them to fill the dead spaces, the still moments and silences that used to occupy so much of our lives.

Most obviously, the smartphone replaced conventional telephones, leading to the widespread disappearance from streetscapes everywhere of that icon of midcentury urbanity, the telephone booth, and all the etiquettes of negotiated waiting and deconfliction that attended it. Where phone booths remain, they now act mostly as a platform for other kinds of services—WiFi connectivity, or ads for sex workers.

As a result, it’s already difficult to contemplate objects like a phone booth, a Filofax or a Palm Pilot without experiencing a shock of either reminiscence or perplexity, depending on the degree of our past acquaintance.

a rechargeable lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery capable of sustaining roughly 1,500 charging cycles. This will yield just about four years of use, given the need to charge the phone daily, though experience suggests that few of us will retain a given handset that long.

the performance of everyday life as mediated by the smartphone depends on a vast and elaborate infrastructure that is ordinarily invisible to us.

according to Google, four out of every five consumers use the map application to make local searches, half of those who do so wind up visiting a store within twenty-four hours, and one out of every five of these searches results in a conversion, or sale.

The only way to hide from that knowledge is to decouple ourselves from the fabric of connections that gives us everything else we are. And that is something we clearly find hard to do, for practical reasons as much as psychic ones: network connectivity now underwrites the achievement of virtually every other need on the Maslovian pyramid, to the extent that refugees recently arriving from warzones have been known to ask for a smartphone before anything else, food and shelter not excluded.
idea  essay  device  smartphone  life  change  technology  perception  today  world  opinion 
july 2017 by aries1988
How Japan is preparing for a nuclear attack

One of the US’s biggest business groups, for example, polls its members each quarter about how company executives perceive geopolitical risks. Until very recently, a minute proportion of companies considered North Korea to be the most serious threat; instead, the dominant focus for concern was so-called Islamic State.

Yet the pattern is changing. In the most recent survey, compiled this month, North Korea is ranked as the number one threat, above Isis. But most voters still know little about the country, and few realise that American troops in Japan or California might be a target.

Confronting a possible missile threat looks scary but it’s not necessarily any more frightening than the knowledge that more than 33,000 people are killed by gunfire each year in the US. Cultural perceptions of danger vary.
story  japan  usa  korea  war  nuclear  perception  world 
may 2017 by aries1988
Trump's Tribalism and the New Typical Face - The Atlantic
For most of our evolutionary history, tribal humans acted on cues from appearances, drawing information about who to trust based on how people looked. Similarity was a cue to kinship, and kinship a cue to safety. We came to make these judgments very quickly, according to Alexander Todorov, a psychology professor who runs Princeton University’s Social Perception Lab. His work has shown that we make up our minds about others after seeing their faces for a fraction of a second. These snap judgments have been shown to predict economic, legal, and other decisions even today.

Societies have globalized, but instincts to demarcate self and other—and to rush to judgments accordingly—persist. As Obama told The New Yorker, “Your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. You should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish.”

“The idea is it’s not just about who looks like you, or your lifelong learning about— say, who looks masculine or feminine, and what that means,” Todorov said, “but it’s a lot about who you’ve been around in the very recent past. The positive finding that we can overcome biases by exposure more easily than once thought.”
face  perception  ethnic  racism 
november 2016 by aries1988
刘柠:我之喜欢日本,并没有到照单全收的程度——从一部电视纪录片扯起-墙外楼
“改革开放”初期引进的生产线早已被淘汰,北京的中日友好医院和中日青年交流中心已老旧不堪,位于首都机场高速入口处的松下彩色显像管有限公司(BMCC),曾经是中日经济合作的看板项目,数年前被某国有银行收购,改造成美术馆于去年开业。稍有点教育程度的国人都知道,我们的住房公积金制度是学新加坡,核电技术是从法国引进的,但却说不出哪些东西是来自日本。
opinion  media  japanese  china  japan  history  today  people  perception  comparison  1980s 
october 2016 by aries1988
对于“废柴”巴西的想象和误解:与其互黑,不如共情_文化课_澎湃新闻-The Paper
葡萄牙是在荷兰与法国明确表达出对那块肥沃殖民地的觊觎之后,才真正开始了殖民巴西。他们派出了军队,赶跑了荷兰人,确认了对巴西的绝对统治。我有不少中国知识界的朋友,对于荷兰没有成功占领巴西一事耿耿于怀,觉得如果宗主国不是葡萄牙这个天主教废柴,而是荷兰这个发达的新教国家,那么以巴西的先天条件,何愁不混个第一世界国家当当?他们深深地为巴西遗憾、委屈,就像许子东老师一样。

在《巴西之根》中,他详细地对比了葡萄牙与荷兰人之间的差异。荷兰人打北方来,喜寒怕热,热爱秩序,到哪儿都要建个整洁干净的城市,给自己人住,特别不爱下乡,尤其不跟土著妇女乱搞。葡萄牙人从温暖的南欧来,对热带的气候比较适应,性格也不是那样龟毛,吊床上也能睡睡。葡萄牙本土等级制并不森严,再加上高门大户的都不来巴西,所以来巴西的这批人也没什么门户之见,跟土著妇女通婚也不是什么大事。这样,才能孕育出一个新的种族,成为了未来巴西的基础。

我也一点儿不觉得遗憾,因为如果荷兰真的占领了巴西,那么巴西今天就成了南非。现实如此打脸,我真不愿提醒那些善心人。

各种来源的文化要素,交融在一起,形成了多元共生的奇观。这当然是伟大的贡献,并不逊于希腊的光荣、罗马的成就、英伦的保守主义、法兰西的自由平等博爱,尤其是对于当下的世界。
essay  brazil  portugal  history  nation  zeitgeist  olympics  2016  comparison  chinese  perception  today  intelligentsia  netherlands  success  cliche 
august 2016 by aries1988
Hazard lines
Exposure to any potential hazard involves a certain risk. It’s where we draw the line between high risk and low risk that defines what is safe and what is not. This gives rise to an interesting set of questions. Would everyone draw that line in the same place? Would we draw the same line for ourselves as we would for others? And, would we allow others to draw the line for us?

it’s well-documented that people have difficulty conceptualising ratios and fractions because they focus on numerators to the detriment of denominators, there’s been little movement away from using ratio metrics when presenting risk to the public.
nuclear  safety  science  people  perception  history  regulation  law  future  self 
june 2016 by aries1988
How your unknown prejudices can dictate your actions in a crisis
The medial frontal cortex is also involved when we take another person’s perspective in order to understand their thoughts and motives. However, research reveals a reduction in this region’s pattern of activity when we think about people from lower status groups. Given that African Americans are viewed this way, this suggests they are seen more as objects than as people. These factors – stereotyping and dehumanisation – conspire to produce the impression that someone is dangerous and that their life is not particularly worthy.

You might think none of this applies to you, but you would be wrong. Virtually everyone has unconscious racial biases, in part because the mind has a natural tendency to categorise people and also because our culture exposes us to common caricatures about race.

Our research shows that even avowed egalitarians show bias in their behaviour when they have to make a snap judgement. These biases are also not limited to race but exist for almost any attribute, be it gender, nationality, sexual orientation or hair colour, and they constantly shape our judgements. Bias comes from our culture, it seeps into our brains, and unless we control it, it is expressed in our actions.
brain  perception  race  psychology  reflex  research  instapaper_favs 
january 2016 by aries1988
Can Racism Be Stopped in the Third Grade?
The program, which was also put in place this school year at Ethical Culture, Fieldston’s other elementary school, would boost self-esteem and a sense of belonging among minority kids while combating the racism, subtle or otherwise, that can permeate historically white environments. It would foster interracial empathy by encouraging children to recognize differences without disrespect while teaching kids strategies, and the language, for navigating racial conflict.

In 45-minute sessions, children would talk about what it was like to be a member of that race; they would discuss what they had in common with each other and how they were different, how other people perceived them, rightly or wrongly, based on appearance.

The much more intimate, idiosyncratic, lived experience of race — that is a harder discussion to have, especially when it probes reflexive reactions to difference (fear, disgust, mistrust, anxiety, curiosity, eagerness, attraction, admiration) that are sometimes heated, irrational, and not always pleasant.

This same parent who sends her children to Lower because she values diversity tends not to dwell on the fact that she has few close friends of color; that her neighborhood is almost entirely white; that her nanny or housecleaner or doorman has brown skin. The program at Lower was designed, and is supported in large part, by people who have spent their lives on the other side of that well-meaning silence and can testify that it’s no way to thrive.

by 4 they are already absorbing the lessons of a racist culture. All of them know reflexively which race it is preferable to be. Even today, almost three-quarters of a century since the Doll Test, made famous in Brown v. Board of Education, experiments by CNN and Margaret Beale Spencer have found that black and white children still show a bias toward people with lighter skin.

At 7 or 8, children become very concerned with fairness and responsive to lessons about prejudice. This is why the third, fourth, and fifth grades are good moments to teach about slavery and the Civil War, suffrage and the civil-rights movement. Kids at that age tend to be eager to wrestle with questions of inequality, and while they are just beginning to form a sense of racial identity (this happens around 7 for most children, though for some white kids it takes until middle school), it hasn’t yet acquired much tribal force. It’s the closest humans come to a racially uncomplicated self.
race  education  racism  children  groupe  debate  perception  discussion  experiment  school  instapaper_favs 
may 2015 by aries1988

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