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How Slack Harms Projects – Silas Reinagel
Because of the ability to quickly follow up messages with other messages, and the natural disposition towards short messages, the natural tendency of most information works is to message first, think later.

Got a half-formulated question? Send a group message.
Don’t want to Google something? Send a group message.
Unsure if the software is working correctly? Send a group message with a bunch of @ tags.
Want to ask someone specific about something? Say “Hello” and wait for a bit before stating the real purpose of a message.

Real-time messaging encourages little thinking, and brings many people to waste time while staring at the “XYZ is typing a message…” indicator in the bottom-corner.

Both Emails and Tickets are a much more professional business communication medium, since they encourage providing all the information BEFORE clicking send rather than after.

From the comments:
Are you familiar with Marshal McLuhan's idea that "The Medium is the Message"?

If you are, then you will understand that real-time chat systems are, by their very nature, communicating that what is recent is the most important thing, and what isn't recent is unimportant and hardly worth seeing.

While people can build effective strategies to minimize the impact of a given medium (like my father, a very successful electrical engineer, did with television, by having only a 5-inch black and white television, and keeping it under the sink, when I was growing up), that doesn't change the way a given medium generally impacts people.

The problem is the tool itself. The urgency is a partial by-product of the tool.

See also:
slack  chat  consideredharmful  workplace  productivity  collaboration  culture  immediacy  instantgratification  forthecomments 
october 2019 by kme
Re: We plan to transition from RT to GitHub -
It's interesting to hear people call out their beefs with GitHub, like:
I actually do want credit for my work; but I'm not going to have my (limited) web presence tied to a flashy, for-profit site.
github  opensource  culture  freedom  javascript 
august 2019 by kme
'Breakfast Food' Is a Lie - The Atlantic
In at least one sense, a college student waking after a night out and scarfing down two slices of unrefrigerated pizza rapidly aging in their delivery box is actually just participating in what breakfast has historically meant to billions of people.
breakfast  food  culture  america  history 
june 2019 by kme
Why parents are more paranoid than ever |
4. The child-safety industrial complex

If you can convince parents that their kid is in any kind of danger — physical, psychological, emotional — you can get them to buy almost anything to make that danger disappear. So it is just good business to frighten parents. This starts the second they bring their happy, healthy baby home from the hospital. Popular new monitors check the baby’s breathing, heart rate and blood-oxygen level — tests previously performed only in the neo-natal intensive-care unit. Somehow even healthy babies today are treated as if they are extremely fragile.

Then come all the crazy safety doodads like baby knee pads to keep kids “safe” when they crawl and baby spoons that change color if the food is too hot — as if parents couldn’t figure this out on their own. Entire aisles at Babies R Us are filled with safety devices somehow no one ever “needed” until now.

But once you have rewritten childhood as a minefield (even as child mortality rates reach historic lows), you can sell parents anything. They’ll pay any price for peace of mind — the peace that the products undermined to begin with.
fear  media  culture  parenting  safety 
april 2019 by kme
Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work? - The New York Times |
Aidan Harper, who created a European workweek-shrinkage campaign called 4 Day Week, argues that this is dehumanizing and toxic. “It creates the assumption that the only value we have as human beings is our productivity capability — our ability to work, rather than our humanity,” he told me.

Still, he’s realistic about his place in the rat race. “I try to keep in mind that if I dropped dead tomorrow, all of my acrylic workplace awards would be in the trash the next day,” he wrote, “and my job would be posted in the paper before my obituary.”
employment  hustle  burnout  capitalism  america  culture 
january 2019 by kme
Dispatch in Two Parts: The Arab Body Writes Itself In | Boston Review |
In a recent Guardian interview the Libyan-British writer Hisham Matar says, “International literature remains hugely underrated and, as a side effect, English books are often overrated. About 1.5% of books published in the UK and 3% of those published in the USA are works in translation. And the sales are often dismally modest. This impoverishes culture and nourishes narcissism. Put very simply, it is boring and dangerous.” Narcissim here can also be read as imperialism.
perspective  culture  colonialism  translation  language  poetry 
january 2019 by kme
I run a Silicon Valley startup – but I refuse to own a cellphone | Technology | The Guardian |
There are some practical issues of course. Without a phone, I can’t check things. People with phones seem to spend their life checking things: messages, email, the news, the weather, some random celebrity’s Instagram – I don’t know what it is exactly, but you all seem to be checking things the whole time. And I can’t do that, obviously. Tragically. Somehow, though, I cope.

But just in terms of our basic humanity, I find the idea that we should all be connected and contactable all the time not just bizarre but menacing. We used to think of electronic tags as a way of restricting criminals’ liberty – we can keep them out of jail but still keep track of them. It seems that now, everyone is acquiescent, through their phone, in electronically tagging themselves; incarcerating themselves in a digital jail where there is no such thing as true freedom or independence or solitude or privacy.
disconnect  minimalism  cellphones  siliconvalley  culture 
september 2018 by kme
The Babadook Is Now an Internet Gay Icon, Just in Time for Pride Month
As Susan Sontag writes in her 1964 essay “Notes on Camp,” “Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It's not a lamp, but a ‘lamp’; not a woman, but a ‘woman.’ To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater.” By this definition, the Babadook’s own mimicking of a dandy in a top hat when in actuality the Babadook is a horrific personification of a woman’s grief over her dead husband, fits into the camp concept quite nicely. Additionally, the creature’s own existence as an over-the-top manifestation of emotions falls in line with the whole point of drag performances: to mock expressions of gender and gender norms, particularly “overemotional” femininity, by exaggerating them to the point of ridiculousness.
horror  culture 
june 2018 by kme
I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators | Lindy West | Opinion | The Guardian []
One moment I was brains-deep in the usual way, half-heartedly arguing with strangers about whether or not it’s “OK” to suggest to Steve Martin that calling Carrie Fisher a “beautiful creature” who “turned out” to be “witty and bright as well” veered just a hair beyond Fisher’s stated boundaries regarding objectification (if you have opinions on this, don’t tweet me – oh, wait, you can’t); and the next moment the US president-elect was using the selfsame platform to taunt North Korea about the size and tumescence of its nuclear program. And I realised: eh, I’m done. I could be swimming right now. Or flossing. Or digging a big, pointless pit. Anything else.

Twitter, for the past five years, has been a machine where I put in unpaid work and tension headaches come out. I write jokes there for free. I post political commentary for free. I answer questions for free. I teach feminism 101 for free. Off Twitter, these are all things by which I make my living – in fact, they comprise the totality of my income. But on Twitter, I do them pro bono and, in return, I am micromanaged in real time by strangers; neo-Nazis mine my personal life for vulnerabilities to exploit; and men enjoy unfettered, direct access to my brain so they can inform me, for the thousandth time, that they would gladly rape me if I weren’t so fat.

On 29 December, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “What’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017?” One user responded: “Comprehensive plan for getting rid of the Nazis.”

“We’ve been working on our policies and controls,” Dorsey replied. “What’s the next most critical thing?” Oh, what’s our second-highest priority after Nazis? I’d say No 2 is also Nazis. And No 3. In fact, you can just go ahead and slide “Nazis” into the top 100 spots. Get back to me when your website isn’t a roiling rat-king of Nazis. Nazis are bad, you see?

Trump uses his Twitter account to set hate mobs on private citizens, attempt to silence journalists who write unfavourably about him, lie to the American people and bulldoze complex diplomatic relationships with other world powers. I quit Twitter because it feels unconscionable to be a part of it – to generate revenue for it, participate in its profoundly broken culture and lend my name to its legitimacy. Twitter is home to a wealth of fantastic anti-Trump organising, as well, but I’m personally weary of feeling hostage to a platform that has treated me and the people I care about so poorly. We can do good work elsewhere.
twitter  socialmedia  internet  culture  trolls  quitting 
november 2017 by kme
Contempt Culture - The Particular Finest
The best advice we give programmers is to leave things better than how they started. We do it with code, why don’t we do it with communities? Why don’t we do it with people, colleagues, friends?

Ask why it’s okay to do these things in your community, and leave things better than when you started.
programming  culture  community  womenintech  php  java  sux 
june 2017 by kme
The Appeal of the Coachella Way of Life - The New Yorker
If Coachella does have one marker of identity, it is clothing. For women, this is a highly specific and much-derided uniform of cutoff denim shorts, long flowing dresses, and culturally insensitive headdresses. These aesthetic signifiers of bohemia have become so aligned with Coachella that retailers now use Coachella in product descriptions to stoke buying impulses. A search for “Coachella” on ASOS, the popular e-commerce site, pulls up a collection of fringed garments. H & M (a Coachella sponsor) has launched its own “Coachella collection”—marketed to festival attendees and non-attendees alike—also with many fringed pieces. On Etsy, a “Coachella” search surfaces more than twenty-four thousand results, the pages of which could serve as satire of a festival-wear guidebook: denim cutoffs, jangly ankle bracelets, crocheted cropped halter tops, aviator sunglasses with mini plastic daisies affixed to the rims, tie-dyed fanny packs, and an excess of flower crowns. Largely thanks to Coachella, flower crowns have become so ubiquitous that Courtney Love has written them off altogether: “Flower crowns are over. Fuck flower crowns,” she told in 2014. The Coachella audience seems undeterred. There’s even a flower-crown filter on Snapchat.
culture  la  music  festival  commercialism  cooptation 
april 2017 by kme
What facts about the United States do foreigners not believe until they come to America? - Quora
Strong ethics — everyone has a lot of integrity. If someone cannot submit their completed assignment in time, they will turn in the assignment incomplete rather than asking for answers at the last minute. People take pride in their hard work and usually do not cheat. This is different from students from India and China as well as back home in India, where many students collaborate to the extent that it can be categorized as cheating.

In the academic context, the lesser obsession with grades and more emphasis on learning what has been taught. Most courses in the university level are oriented around this theme and the professors actually take an interest in teaching and take pains to make sure the students have grasped the concepts.

It is also very surprising that how aloof and sheltered most americans are from the harsh realities prevailing over most countries in the world. One of my friend who was a TA for a Biology course told me that most students in his class had never heard of a disease named Malaria!

I lived in Seattle for five years and people in Ballard (where I lived) really don't have any opinions one way or another about people who live on Queen Anne hill. The wealthy, even in the extreme are largely not despised. People in Seattle don't compare themselves to people in Tacoma or Spokane. People from Washington don't compare themselves to people in Idaho or Oregon, and Americans as a whole don't compare themselves to other countries. It's charming in it's humility and acceptance, but it really kills a great deal of pub talk. What's an evening spent getting pissed good for if you can't unload on your neighbours?

Asian education emphasizes conformity and discipline, and people generally have a strong sense of duty and professionalism in the tasks that they are assigned whether they are the CEO or the janitor of a company. In Asia, I have rarely faced the frustration I have felt when dealing with service people in the US.

On the other hand, US education generally values individuality and free-thinking. People are less judgmental and are not scared of being different, and those that are motivated will grow up daring to dream and may even go on to achieving great things.
america  perspective  academics  academia  education  culture 
april 2017 by kme
Until we treat rapists as ordinary criminals we won’t stop them | Aeon Essays
What such studies discovered about the character of these men was less startling. Were rapists less empathetic than other men? Unsurprisingly, yes. Were rapists more self-centred and manipulative? To no one’s amazement, yes. Did rapists have negative attitudes towards women? Unastonishingly, also yes. On all these parameters, the difference between rapists and non-rapists was small but significant. The conclusion seemed to be that rapists weren’t monsters, totally distinct from normal men, but did tend to be (to use layman’s terms) misogynist arseholes. Again, this was not earth-shattering news.

It’s also not good news. If relatively common levels of callousness, selfishness and sexism can turn a man into a rapist, the problem seems insoluble. We might conceivably end sexism, but people have been trying to root out callousness and selfishness for thousands of years with no noticeable success.

If there really is such a thing as rape culture, it follows that we should see large variations in rates of sexual violence from country to country, depending on the degree to which it is condoned or punished. To cut to the chase, we do. We might remember that 6 to 14.9 per cent of male college students in the US confessed to rape. This statistic seems terrible until you learn that, according to a study published in The Lancet, the percentage of men who self-identify as rapists in China is just under 23 per cent, and in Papua New Guinea, it’s a brutally depressing 60.7 per cent.
rapeculture  psychology  crime  rape  culture 
april 2017 by kme
Yak Shaving
You see, yak shaving is what you are doing when you're doing some
stupid, fiddly little task that bears no obvious relationship to what
you're supposed to be working on, but yet a chain of twelve causal
relations links what you're doing to the original meta-task.

"I was working on my thesis and realized I needed a reference. I'd
seen a post on comp.arch recently that cited a paper, so I fired up
gnus. While I was searching the for the post, I came across another
post whose MIME encoding screwed up my ancient version of gnus, so I
stopped and downloaded the latest version of gnus.

"Unfortunately, the new version of gnus didn't work with emacs 18, so
I downloaded and built emacs 20. Of course, then I had to install
updated versions of a half-dozen other packages to keep other users
from hurting me. When I finally tried to use the new gnus, it kept
crapping out on my old configuration. And that's why I'm deep in the
gnus info pages and my .emacs file -- and yet it's all part of working
on my thesis."
hacker  culture  language  idiom  dependencyhell 
january 2017 by kme
Python Humor |
Subject: Re: pass copy of list to function
From: "Gordon McMillan" <>
To: Timo Schmitt <>,
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 09:13:59 -0500

Timo asked:

> how do i pass a copy of a list of a function?

Use the Paranoia emoticon.

list = ['blah', 'blah']


This passes the "here's my desert, where's everyone elses?" slice.

Fredrik Lundh writes:
> In fact, Python already supports block delimiters:
> if foo: #{
> foo1();
> foo2();
> foo3();
> #}
> Inspired by Larry Wall, Guido also made sure that the ending
> delimiter could be written in various other ways, such as #end
> if. Anything to empower the newbies, you know. But real
> Python programmers tend to omit both semicolons and curly
> braces, of course.

Subject: Re: Why We Chose Perl (and What You Can Do About It)
From: (Roy Smith)
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 16:11:21 -0500
X-Copyright: Copyright 1997 Roy Smith

Paul F Dubois <> wrote:
> Stereotyping Fortran programmers as somehow less likely than anyone else
> to learn something new is unlikely to produce any insight.

python  vs  perl  hacker  programming  humor  culture 
january 2017 by kme
The job-to-job transition rate: An obscure statistic that offers a clue to the rise of Donald Trump — Quartz
“States with larger declines in the fraction of people who think that strangers are trustworthy have also experienced larger declines in labor market fluidity,” according to the research. People with smaller social networks have to rely on more costly, formal methods to find new jobs, while a lack of trust also makes employers more risk averse in the hiring process.

These cultural factors can stoke fears about lost opportunities, as much as an actual decline in social mobility might. That’s why some voters may have been drawn to Donald Trump, who blames immigrants and free-trade deals for taking locals’ jobs and, by extension, impeding their social mobility. But to some extent what people are experiencing is a lack of movement in the labor market, with non-economic factors playing a role.
socialmobility  culture  fear  economics  presidenttrump 
november 2016 by kme
Andrew Sullivan: My Distraction Sickness — and Yours
I haven’t given up, even as, each day, at various moments, I find myself giving in. There are books to be read; landscapes to be walked; friends to be with; life to be fully lived. And I realize that this is, in some ways, just another tale in the vast book of human frailty. But this new epidemic of distraction is our civilization’s specific weakness. And its threat is not so much to our minds, even as they shape-shift under the pressure. The threat is to our souls. At this rate, if the noise does not relent, we might even forget we have any.
technology  culture  internet  distraction  socialmedia  life  addiction  quiet 
september 2016 by kme
The real reason why women drink — Quartz
That’s the summer I realize that everyone around me is tanked. But it also dawns on me that the women are super double tanked — that to be a modern, urbane woman means to be a serious drinker. This isn’t a new idea — just ask the Sex and the City girls (or the flappers). A woman with a single malt scotch is bold and discerning and might fire you from her life if you fuck with her. A woman with a PBR is a Cool Girl who will not be shamed for belching. A woman drinking MommyJuice wine is saying she’s more than the unpaid labor she gave birth to. The things women drink are signifiers for free time and self-care and conversation — you know, luxuries we can’t afford. How did you not see this before? I ask myself. You were too hammered, I answer back. That summer I see, though. I see that booze is the oil in our motors, the thing that keeps us purring when we should be making other kinds of noise.

Have I mentioned that it’s morning when this happens? On a weekday? This isn’t one of those nightclub farmer’s markets. And the women aren’t the kind of beleaguered, downtrodden creatures you imagine drinking to get through the day. They’re pretty cool chicks, the kind people ridicule for having First World Problems. Why do they need to drink?
Well, maybe because even cool chicks are still women. And there’s no easy way to be a woman, because, as you may have noticed, there’s no acceptable way to be a woman. And if there’s no acceptable way to be the thing you are, then maybe you drink a little. Or a lot.

I don’t say she’ll have to work around interruptions and invisibility and micro-aggressions and a scarcity of role models and a lifetime of her own conditioning. My job on this panel is to make this place sound good, so I leave some stuff out. Particularly the fact that I’m drinking at least one bottle of wine a night to dissolve the day off of me.

What’s a girl to do when a bunch of dudes have just told her, in front of an audience, that she’s wrong about what it’s like to be herself? I could talk to them, one by one, and tell them how it felt. I could tell the panel organizers this is why you never have just one of us up there. I could buy myself a superhero costume and devote the rest of my life to vengeance on mansplainers everywhere.

Do you remember the Enjoli perfume commercial from the 1970s? The chick who could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man?
I blame that bitch for a lot. For spreading the notion that women should have a career, keep house, and fuck their husbands, when the only sane thing to do is pick two and outsource the third. For making it seem glamorous. For suggesting it was going to be fun. And for the tagline she dragged around: “The 8-Hour Perfume for the 24-Hour Woman.” Just in case you thought you could get one fucking hour off the clock.

But knives and booze, yoga and booze, 13 mile runs and booze? What’s next to be liquored up: CPR training? Puppy ballet class? (Not really a thing, but someone should get on it.) Is there nothing so inherently absorbing or high-stakes or pleasurable that we won’t try to alter our natural response to it? Maybe women are so busy faking it — to be more like a man at work, more like a porn star in bed, more like 30 at 50 — that we don’t trust our natural responses anymore. Maybe all that wine is an Instagram filter for our own lives, so we don’t see how sallow and cracked they’ve become.
drinking  culture  alcohol  gender  mansplaining 
august 2016 by kme
How monotheists modelled god on a harem-keeping alpha male | Aeon Essays
Stretches the analogy to the breaking point, but makes some interesting connections.
It seems likely that the human brain – for all its wonders – also contains a mammalian component that has evolved in an environment of male-dominated polygyny, along with more subtle, female-oriented polyandry – something I haven’t described here, but that also warrants attention. As a consequence, we are predisposed not only to overt polygyny plus covert infidelity, but also to a familiarity with and inclination to participate in systems of social deference and followership associated with an alpha-male polygynist. Not a pretty picture, but as Charles Darwin noted in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), ‘we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it’.
polygyny  anthropology  culture  religion  beinghuman 
july 2016 by kme
How disgust made humans cooperate to build civilisations | Aeon Essays
However, being squeamish by temperament might have significant, long-lasting effects on your attitudes and beliefs. Pizarro and others have found that the readily revolted are more likely to hold stable political views at the conservative end of the spectrum. They tend to be hard on crime; against casual sex, abortion and gay rights; and authoritarian in orientation. They’re more inclined to think children should obey their elders without question, and they place greater emphasis on social cohesion and following convention. Though the evidence is not as strong, there are even hints that those prone to disgust are more likely to be fiscally conservative (against taxation and government spending programmes).

These twin observations might have direct bearing on a well-documented finding in political science: conservatives typically view the world to be a more threatening place than liberals. That, in turn, could influence their position on issues relevant to foreign policy. In addition to being more distrustful of foreigners, they might be more willing to use force. Next to liberals, conservatives certainly are more outspoken in their support of patriotism, a strong military, and the virtue of serving in the armed forces.

These and related studies raise an obvious question: how have parasites managed to insinuate themselves into our moral code? The wiring scheme of the brain, some scientists believe, holds the key to this mystery. Visceral disgust – that part of you that wants to scream ‘Yuck!’ when you see an overflowing toilet or think about eating cockroaches – typically engages the anterior insula, an ancient part of the brain that governs the vomiting response. Yet the very same part of the brain also fires up in revulsion when subjects are outraged by the cruel or unjust treatment of others. That’s not to say that visceral and moral disgust perfectly overlap in the brain, but they use enough of the same circuitry that the feelings they evoke may sometimes bleed together, warping judgment.

These kinds of studies have led neuroscientists to characterise the anterior insula as a fountainhead of prosocial emotions. It is credited for giving rise to compassion, generosity and reciprocity or – if an individual harms others – remorse, shame and atonement. By no means, however, is the insula the only neural area involved in processing both visceral and moral disgust. Some scientists think that the greatest overlap in the two types of revulsion can occur in the amygdala, another ancient part of the brain.

Psychopaths are notorious for their lack of empathy, and typically have smaller than normal amygdalae and insulae, along with other areas involved in the processing of emotion. They are also less bothered than most by foul odours, faeces and bodily fluids, tolerating them – as one scientific article put it –‘with equanimity.’

Charles Darwin thought our species’ social values might be driven by an obsession with ‘the praise and blame of our fellow man’. Indeed, we care more about our reputations than whether we’re really in the right or not. The face of contempt, which, Darwin noted, is identical to that of disgust, is a powerful deterrent. In prehistoric times, being excluded from the group for antisocial behaviour would have been tantamount to a death sentence. It is very hard to survive in the wild by your skills, fortitude and wit alone. Natural selection would have favoured cooperators, people who played by the rules and reciprocated in kind.

t was exactly at this critical juncture that our forefathers went from being not particularly spiritual to embracing religion – and not just passing fads, but some of the most widely followed faiths in the world today, whose gods promised to reward the good and punish the evil. One of the oldest of these belief systems is Judaism, whose most hallowed prophet, Moses, is equally revered in Christianity and in Islam (in the Quran, he goes by the name Musa and is referred to more times than Muhammad). Half the world’s population follows religions derived from Mosaic Law – that is, God’s commandments as communicated to Moses.

The Torah contains much more medical wisdom – not merely its famous admonishments to avoid eating pork (a source of trichinosis, a parasitic disease caused by a roundworm) and shellfish (filter feeders that concentrate contaminants), and to circumcise sons (bacteria can collect under the foreskin flap). Jews were instructed to bathe on the Sabbath (every Saturday); cover their wells (which kept out vermin and insects); engage in cleansing rituals if exposed to bodily fluids; quarantine people with leprosy and other skin diseases and, if infection persisted, burn that person’s clothes; bury the dead quickly before corpses decomposed; submerge dishes and eating utensils in boiling water after use; never consume the flesh of an animal that had died of natural causes (as it might have been felled by illness) or eat meat more than two days old (likely on the verge of turning rancid).

When it came time for divvying up the spoils of war, Jewish doctrine required any metal booty that could withstand intense heat – objects made of gold, silver, bronze or tin – to ‘be put through fire’ (sterilised by high temperatures). What could not endure fire was to be washed with ‘purifying water’: a mixture of water, ash and animal fat: an early soap recipe.

Equally prescient from the standpoint of modern disease control, Mosaic Law has numerous injunctions specifically related to sex. Parents were admonished not to allow their daughters to become prostitutes, and premarital sex, adultery, male homosexuality and bestiality were all discouraged, if not banned outright.

For that reason, some thinkers have come to view disgust as a sacred gift. Leon Kass, chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics under the administration of George W Bush, counselled that we should heed ‘the wisdom of repugnance’. This voice that wells up inside us warns when a moral boundary has been crossed, he argued. In an article for the New Republic in 2001, he called for people to listen to its outrage at acts such as human cloning, abortion, incest and bestiality. Repugnance, he wrote, ‘speaks up to defend the central core of our humanity. Shallow are the souls who have forgotten how to shudder.’

Compared with their less easily revolted counterparts, they were also more prone to harbouring an exaggerated sense of the prevalence of crime in their own neighbourhoods. A related study whose participants included law students, police cadets and forensic experts similarly showed that disgust sensitivity correlated with a tendency to judge crime more severely and punish the perpetrators with longer sentences – and this association held up even for veteran forensic experts who were accustomed to seeing gruesome evidence. To put it plainly, prosecutors benefit from having jurors with acute sensitivity to disgust, while defence attorneys (and the defendants) gain from having jurors with the reverse disposition.

‘I’ve been approached by people who do work for jury selection,’ said Pizarro, ‘and they wanted to know what to tell lawyers about this. It creeped me out because you really could use this emotion to your advantage, and I don’t want to be a part of that.’
psychology  suggestion  evolution  evolutionarypsychology  culture  sanitation  religion  morality 
june 2016 by kme
Choose Your Own Adventure books: How The Cave of Time taught us to love interactive entertainment. []
But the books will never again achieve the massive impact they once had. "These books were the gateway drugs of interactive entertainment," says Swinehart. "The Infocom people and the Choose Your Own Adventure people are hybrid folks. You don't often see people combining the hacker perspective with the literary perspective. You don't see typing and programming mix together that much." David Lebling agrees, "Computers push graphics, books push reading, but there was a brief shining moment when computers pushed reading." And, inversely, during that same time, the Choose Your Own Adventure books pushed programming.
"The most important thing is to get people reading," Montgomery says. "It's not the format. It's not even the writing. It's the reading. And the reading happened because kids were put in the driver's seat. They were the mountain climber, they were the doctor, they were the deep sea explorer. They made choices, and so they read." The Choose Your Own Adventure books were part of a cultural shift that saw entertainment become more interactive. It was a moment when entertainment became, in a way, more like real life. As the introduction to each of the books states:

"Remember—you cannot go back! Think carefully before you make a move! One mistake can be your last … or it may lead to fame and fortune.

"Good luck!"
books  interactivefiction  culture  thewaythingswere  forkids  gaming 
june 2016 by kme
Why Do Russians Never Smile? - The Atlantic
So why is this? Why do some societies not encourage casual smiling? I got my answer, or at least part of one, when I stumbled across a new paper by Kuba Krys, a psychologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences. In some countries, smiling might not be a sign of warmth or even respect. It’s evidence that you’re a fool—a tricky fool.

Krys focused on a cultural phenomenon called “uncertainty avoidance.” Cultures that are low on this scale tend to have social systems—courts, health-care systems, safety nets, and so forth—that are unstable. Therefore, people there view the future as unpredictable and uncontrollable.
psychology  culture  trust  bitchyrestingface  bodylanguage 
may 2016 by kme
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