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(77) (PDF) "O, Boereplaas, Geboortegrond!" Afrikaner nostalgia and the romanticisation of the "platteland" in post-1994 South Africa, South African Journal for Cultural History November 2008 | Danelle van Zyl-Hermann -
In present-day South Africa, a sense of longing for life in the countryside (the
platteland) increasingly seems to be resonating among Afrikaners. This sentimental yearning is predicated upon the re-imagining of life on the platteland as being wholesome, simple and virtuous, and it seems that Afrikaners are longing for the values and security that they associate with the platteland. This has resulted in an unprecedented rural property boom, the development of agri-tourism and the deliberate marketing of small towns as these romantic notions draw urbanites to the platteland.

This article investigates different articulations of this nostalgic yearning within the context of the political, economic and cultural transformation with which Afrikaners have been trying to come to terms since the advent of democracy in 1994. These developments will be refracted through the prism of nostalgia as a particular kind of memory, and consequently connected to this group’s collective mentality. Theoretical insights regarding the nature of nostalgia will be applied to the phenomenon of Afrikaner nostalgia by analysing a miscellany of cultural texts. Rather than merely describing the nature of Afrikaner nostalgia, this article therefore seeks to explore its contextual function by identifying and laying bare the processes that underlie its developments.

This article does not suggest that other South Africans do not also have a
special affinity for the platteland, but does propose that other communities’ mentality and experiences of the platteland are qualitatively different from Afrikaners’. This article therefore restricts its focus to the role of the platteland in Afrikaner mentality. In so doing, it hopes to provide provocative insight into this group’s historical experiences and self-conception since the advent of democracy in South Africa.
Afrikaans  South-Africa  culture 
3 days ago by pierredv
BBC - Travel - Why the French love to say no - aug 2019
via Rita Tan

"Although the default answer to almost every question, request or suggestion is a disheartening ‘non’, a ‘oui’ is often hiding in the context of what is being said."

"Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau, co-authors of The Bonjour Effect, the Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed, agree with Giraud about non and its roots in the French obsession for protests. "

"Countries like the US and Australia are low-context cultures where people generally say what they mean and mean what they say. However, France, like Russia and Japan, tends to be a high-context culture, where “good communication is sophisticated, nuanced and layered. Messages are both spoken and read between the lines,” she writes."

"Meyer suspects one of the factors leading to this divide can be found in the numbers: according to her book, there are 500,000 words in the English language, but only 70,000 in French. This means that Anglophones are more likely to have the exact word to say what they want, whereas Francophones must often string together a series of words to communicate their message."
language  French  BBC  culture 
8 days ago by pierredv
Is religion good or bad for humanity? Epic analysis delivers an answer - Harvey Whitehouse | New Scientist issue 3224, April 2019
"A scientific review of 10,000 years of history is finally revealing the unexpected truth behind religion's role in human civilisation"

"Another popular hypothesis is that cooperation in complex societies is intimately connected with the invention of “Big Gods”: deities who demand that their moral code be observed by all, and who have supernatural powers of surveillance and enforcement. Most of today’s world religions have these moralising gods, but they are rare in small-scale societies, where supernatural beings tend to care only whether people discharge their obligations to the spirit world."

"Other researchers, including me, have examined the role that sacred rituals might have as social glue."

"Instead of helping foster cooperation as societies expanded, Big Gods appeared only after a society had passed a threshold in complexity corresponding to a population of around a million people. . . . The most parsimonious explanation is that something other than Big Gods allowed societies to grow."

"Piecing all this together, here is what we think happened. As societies grew by means of agricultural innovation, the infrequent, traumatic rituals that had kept people together as small foraging bands gave way to frequent, painless ones. These early doctrinal religions helped unite larger, heterogeneous populations just enough to overcome the free-riding problem and ensure compliance with new forms of governance. However, in doing so they rendered them vulnerable to a new problem: power-hungry rulers. These were the despotic god-kings who presided over archaic states. Granted the divine right to command vast populations, they exploited it to raise militias and priesthoods, shoring up their power through practices we nowadays regard as cruel, such as human sacrifice and slavery. But archaic states rarely grew beyond 100,000 people because they, in turn, became internally unstable and therefore less defensible against invasion.
"The societies that expanded to a million or more were those that found a new way to build cooperation – Big Gods. They demoted their rulers to the status of mortals, laid the seeds of democracy and the rule of law, and fostered a more egalitarian distribution of rights and obligations. To our modern eyes, “bad” religions gave way to “good” ones. In reality, religions were always “good” in the sense that they promoted cooperation. What changed was that societies began valuing social justice above deference to authority. In other words, they changed their ideas about what constituted “good” cooperative behaviours to ones that more closely align with our modern agenda."
NewScientist  religion  culture  rituals  gods 
9 days ago by pierredv
(1) Why “No Problem” Can Seem Rude: Phatic Expressions - YouTube
""Hello!" "Thank you!" "You're welcome!" These are all phatic expressions, and people can argue about them. "
Tom-Scott  language  culture  video  YouTube 
16 days ago by pierredv
KUOW - SPEEA engineer breaks silence on Boeing's MAX 737. Read this letter- Jul 2019
Via John Helm

"A senior member of the union representing Boeing’s engineers says Boeing’s cost-cutting culture is to blame for production problems with the 737 MAX and other planes."

"In an interview with KUOW, Sorscher said Boeing engineers receive clear cultural messages that identifying problems is thought of by management as making trouble."
KUOW  Boeing  culture  business 
4 weeks ago by pierredv
Imaginary (sociology) - Wikipedia
The imaginary (or social imaginary) is the set of values, institutions, laws, and symbols common to a particular social group and the corresponding society through which people imagine their social whole.
Wikipedia  sociology  culture 
11 weeks ago by pierredv
A Mythic Perspective of Commodification on the World Wide Web | Robinson | First Monday, Mar 2002
"The Internet, initially established by scholars and scientists to freely share information, is being transformed into a source of profit for entrepreneurs and corporations. Commodification, the process of developing things and concepts and even people into saleable products, calls for a representation of the foundational mythology on the Web and its manifestation as symbolic language. This study posits a textual analysis of Wired for the purpose of measuring this transformation on a mythic continuum (connectivity-location-being)."

Useful references in section on "Definition of Myth"
FirstMonday  mythology  internet  culture 
11 weeks ago by pierredv
An AI conference warns us why we need to mind our language | New Scientist issue 3212, Jan 2019
"We’re using the wrong words to talk about artificial intelligence."

"Language is at the heart of the problem. In his 2007 book, The Emotion Machine, computer scientist Marvin Minsky deplored (although even he couldn’t altogether avoid) the use of “suitcase words”: his phrase for words conveying specialist technical detail through simple metaphors. Think what we are doing when we say metal alloys “remember” their shape, or that a search engine offers “intelligent” answers to a query."

"Without metaphors and the human tendency to personify, we would never be able to converse, let alone explore technical subjects, but the price we pay for communication is a credulity when it comes to modelling how the world actually works. No wonder we are outraged when AI doesn’t behave intelligently. But it isn’t the program playing us false, rather the name we gave it."

"Earlier this year in a public forum [Turkish-born Memo Akten, based at Somerset House in London] threatened to strangle a kitten whenever anyone in the audience personified AI, by talking about “the AI”, for instance."
NewScientist  language  quotes  metaphor  thinking  cognition  AI  anthropomorphism  culture 
11 weeks ago by pierredv
A Secular Age - Wikipedia
Via Roberto Calasso, The Unnameable Present, p. 44

"In recent years, secularism has become an important topic in the humanities and social sciences. Although there continue to be important disagreements among scholars, many begin with the premise that secularism is not simply the absence of religion, but rather an intellectual and political category that itself needs to be understood as a historical construction. In this book, Taylor looks at the change in Western society from a condition in which it is almost impossible not to believe in God, to one in which believing in God is simply one option of many. "
Wikipedia  culture  religion  society 
may 2019 by pierredv
The Ruin of the Digital Town Square - The New Atlantis - Spring 2019
"Across the political spectrum, a consensus has arisen that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other digital platforms are laying ruin to public discourse. They trade on snarkiness, trolling, outrage, and conspiracy theories, and encourage tribalism, information bubbles, and social discord. How did we get here, and how can we get out? The essays in this symposium seek answers to the crisis of “digital discourse” beyond privacy policies, corporate exposés, and smarter algorithms."
TheNewAtlantis  internet  socialmedia  politics  Facebook  culture 
may 2019 by pierredv
Modernity’s Spell - The New Atlantis, Clare Coffey, Winter 2019
Review of "Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism " by Emily Ogden

"Whatever beliefs the mesmerist professed, on the mesmeric stage his craft depended on performing the technique of mesmerism with seriousness and intent. With subjects selected for their predisposition to belief, mesmerist and subject constituted what Daniel O’Keefe, in Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic (1982), calls an “act-as-if group”: a social interaction that temporarily redraws the accepted borders of reality by mutual agreement.

O’Keefe believes that the act-as-if groups are the basis for magic. Mutual agreement overvalues a temporary subjective state, giving it new meaning, creating a framework around it. The agreement then allows the subjective state to be sustained. So, by Ogden’s account, you have an odd tension. By one light, the mesmerists who identified imagination as the active agent stand for greater enlightenment than those who believed in the non-existent magnetic fluid. And yet their attempts to control imagination in others hinged on encouraging and ritualizing false beliefs — exactly what some sociologists say magicians do."

"Ogden describes the process by which the debunking of mesmerism produced successor generations in terms of the “idol function” played by false beliefs. The destruction of an idol, the thinking goes, is not a closed and final process. When you destroy an idol, you must supply some account of the undeniable effect the idol had on the lives of its followers. Christians hewing down a tree sacred to the pagans, for example, might say that the boons received by worshippers of the tree were really the gifts of demons. In exploding the existence of animal magnetism — ostensibly a physical substance producing foreseeable effects — the debunkers imbued their subjects with much more powerful, protean, and elusive forces: credulity, credenciveness, imagination."

"Ogden’s animating insight — that irrational beliefs, at least in others, help one to build up a rational self — is probably true as individual psychology, unprovable as a universal law, and extremely plausible as a process of secularism in particular."

"Identifying primitive belief and calling it “enchantment” — the term for that state of the world before modernity when one is in awe but in error, like Max Weber’s propitiating savage — is a defining aspect of modern secular culture. Enchantment is a periodizing word, that is: The world used to be enchanted, and now it is not. In this way, enchantment and modernity are not opposing forces but belong together."
TheNewAtlantis  books  reviews  history  culture  magic  belief 
may 2019 by pierredv
China's Boss Criticizes 'Slackers' as Company Makes Cuts | Top News | US News Apr 2019
" Richard Liu, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Inc, has weighed in on an ongoing debate about the Chinese tech industry's grueling overtime work culture, lamenting that years of growth had increased the number of "slackers" in his firm who are not his "brothers.""
China  employment  culture 
april 2019 by pierredv
The deep roots of America’s rural-urban political divide - Dec 2018
"Perhaps the problem is that too many social and cultural aspects of personal identity are becoming aligned with politics and geography. Rural voters are predominantly white Christian Republicans. Urban voters tend to be minorities, or more-educated whites, and on the whole younger and Democratic."
CSMonitor  politics  US  culture  society 
april 2019 by pierredv - The New Atlantis, Adam White, Spring 2018
"Google exists to answer our small questions. But how will we answer larger questions about Google itself? Is it a monopoly? Does it exert too much power over our lives? Should the government regulate it as a public utility — or even break it up?"

"Rather, the ultimate source of the special bond between Google and the Obama White House — and modern progressive government more broadly — has been their common ethos. Both view society’s challenges today as social-engineering problems, whose resolutions depend mainly on facts and objective reasoning. Both view information as being at once ruthlessly value-free and yet, when properly grasped, a powerful force for ideological and social reform. And so both aspire to reshape Americans’ informational context, ensuring that we make choices based only upon what they consider the right kinds of facts — while denying that there would be any values or politics embedded in the effort."

"This approach, if Google were to accept it, could be immensely consequential. As we will see, during the Obama years, Google became aligned with progressive politics on a number of issues — net neutrality, intellectual property, payday loans, and others. If Google were to think of itself as a genuine public good in a manner calling upon it to give users not only the results they want but the results that Google thinks they need, the results that informed consumers and democratic citizens ought to have, then it will become an indispensable adjunct to progressive government. The future might not be U.S. v. Google but"

"Google’s awkward moral dance with China offers a case study in what happens when its two core missions — providing objective searches of all the world’s information and Not Being Evil — come into conflict. It suggests an important and paradoxical lesson: Google is willing to compromise the neutrality of its search results, and itself, for the sake of what it deems the broader public good, a goal that is plainly morally driven to begin with."

"Nor does a vast gulf separate Google’s increasingly confident goal of answering questions you haven’t asked and Obama’s 2007 sketch of the American people as full of untapped common sense yet often ignorant, so that what they need is a president to give them the facts from the bully pulpit. The common theme is that we make wrong decisions not because the world is inherently complex but because most people are self-interested and dumb — except for the self-anointed enlighteners, that is."

This Obama comment is naive, because it's about the structure of the conversation not the curated content the conversation is based on: "He noted his belief that informational tools such as social media are a “hugely powerful potential force for good.” But, he added, they are merely tools, and so can also be used for evil. Tech companies such as Google “are shaping our culture in powerful ways. And the most powerful way in which that culture is being shaped right now is the balkanization of our public conversation.”"

"For search results are supposed to be objective in no small part because they’re based on massive amounts of data about what other people have actually looked for and clicked on. Google seems to have it backward: The vexing problem is that people are increasingly getting offensive, misleading search results because that’s increasingly what people are looking for."
TheNewAtlantis  Google  politics  regulation  culture  Adam-White 
january 2019 by pierredv
Economic shocks and clinging - Michael Strain & Stan Veuger, AEI, Jan 2019

During his first campaign for president, Barack Obama was criticized when he argued that residents of towns with poor local labor markets “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration.” We test empirically whether this is the case by examining the effect on social attitudes, as measured in the General Social Survey, of a local labor market’s exposure to import competition brought about by “the China shock,” from 1990 to 2007. We find that the economic effects of globalization do indeed change the attitudes of whites towards immigrants, minorities, religion and guns. More specifically, we find evidence of significant hardening of existing attitudes — that is, the impact of these import shocks appears concentrated in the tails of the distribution over attitudes.
AEI  economics  politics  culture  immigration  gun-control  Trade  globalization  religion 
january 2019 by pierredv
Countrywide corruption breeds individual dishonesty, economists suggest | Ars Technica
Story ABOUT,
Intrinsic honesty and the prevalence of rule violations across societies
simon Gächter & Jonathan F. Schulz
Nature, volume 531, pages 496–499 (24 March 2016)

"Two economists at the University of Nottingham, Simon Gächter and Jonathan Schulz, have published an intriguing suggestion about the roots of dishonesty: they suggest that a corrupt social environment, rife with political corruption and tax evasion, can trickle down to the individual level and make people in such a country more likely to be dishonest in some contexts. Based on data gathering and behavioral experiments done in 23 countries, they found that people in more corrupt countries were more likely to cheat during an experiment."

"The question was why—do national tendencies push the population toward more or less honesty, or do individuals drive the national tendency?"

"Overall, there was a correlation between a country’s PRV level and the amount of money its citizens claimed, with people from low-honesty countries claiming more money. Other results backed up the finding, like more reports of rolling a six (probably honest, because this resulted in no payment) in high-honesty countries."

"Whatever direction the effect runs in, the correlations are robust. There's a link between dishonesty at the individual and national levels"
ArsTechnica  economics  dishonesty  lying  culture 
october 2018 by pierredv
BBC - Travel - How the Finnish survive without small talk, Oct 2018
“The Finnish don’t believe in talking bullshit.”

What she neglected to tell me, however, is that Finns think if there’s no important topic to discuss, there’s no conversation at all. In fact, one of their national sayings is ‘Silence is gold, talking is silver’.
BBC  Finland  culture  people  conversation 
october 2018 by pierredv
Culture clash: Why are some societies strict and others lax? | Ne, Apr 2018w Scientist
Article on tightness/looseness as a way of categorizing societies

"Starting in the 1960s, [Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede] developed a model for understanding cross-cultural differences based on six dimensions (see “Six degrees of separation”). Since then, one of his metrics, individualism/collectivism, has attracted considerable interest and proved useful in explaining cultural differences, especially those epitomised by typically Western or Eastern modes of thought. But [cultural psychologist Michele] Gelfand believes the focus has been too narrow, and that tightness/looseness is a neglected source of cultural variation that has a huge influence on our behaviour – “a Rosetta stone for human groups”, she says."

"[Gelfand] suspected that tightness is determined by the level of external threat to which a society was exposed historically – whether ecological, such as earthquakes or scarce natural resources, or human-made, such as war. “Tightness is about the need for coordination,” she says. “The idea is that if you are chronically faced with these kinds of threats, you develop strong rules in order to coordinate for survival.”"

"But it doesn’t end there. Gelfand and her colleagues found that the degree of tightness was reflected in all sorts of societal institutions and practices – even after taking national wealth into consideration. Tight societies tend to be more autocratic, with greater media censorship and fewer collective actions such as demonstrations. They are also more conformist and religious, and have more police, lower crime and divorce rates, and cleaner public spaces. ... Loose societies tend to be more disorganised, but also more creative, innovative and tolerant of diversity."
NewScientist  culture  psychology  morality  Geography 
june 2018 by pierredv
The inequality delusion: Why we've got the wealth gap all wrong | New Scientist, 31 Mar 2018; Mark Sheskin
"There are staggering levels of inequality in the world, and wide agreement that these should be reduced. But we should aspire to fair inequality, not unfair equality."
cognition  culture  NewScientist  equality  fairness  economics  morality  ethics 
june 2018 by pierredv
Time to talk about why so many postgrads have poor mental health - April 2018
Poor mental health is an issue for many of our readers. That fact is underscored by the response to a tweet sent by @NatureNews earlier this week, which highlighted that rates of depression and anxiety reported by postgraduate students are six times higher than in the general population (T. M. Evans et al. Nature Biotechnol. 36, 282–284; 2018), and asked what should be done to help. The figures are a shock, but it was the reaction that blew us away: more than 1,200 retweets and around 170 replies.
academia  psychology  culture  NatureJournal 
april 2018 by pierredv
The merits of revisiting Michael Young - Bagehot, Feb 2018
AFTER much searching, Bagehot has found a book that at last explains what is going on in British politics. This wonderful volume not only reveals the deeper reasons for all the bizarre convulsions. It also explains why things are not likely to get better any time soon. The book is Michael Young’s “The Rise of the Meritocracy”—and it was published 60 years ago this year.
TheEconomist  politics  meritocracy  books  culture  opinion  education 
february 2018 by pierredv
Why bad ideas refuse to die | Steven Poole | Science | The Guardian June 2016
"an idea will have a good chance of hanging around as a zombie if it benefits some influential group of people. The efficient markets hypothesis is financially beneficial for bankers who want to make deals unencumbered by regulation. "
"Few would argue that a commercial marketplace needs fraud and faulty products. But in the marketplace of ideas, zombies can actually be useful. Or if not, they can at least make us feel better. That, paradoxically, is what I think the flat-Earthers of today are really offering – comfort."
"It seems to me that the desire to believe such stuff stems from a deranged kind of optimism about the capabilities of human beings. It is a dark view of human nature, to be sure, but it is also rather awe-inspiring to think of secret agencies so single-minded and powerful that they really can fool the world’s population over something so enormous. "
"As the much more noxious example of Scientology also demonstrates, it is all too tempting to take science fiction for truth – because narratives always make more sense than reality."
ideas  TheGuardian  conspiracy  conspiracy-theories  culture 
september 2016 by pierredv
Where a man can smoke and relax and prank his buddies by Mark Teich, Aeon, Mar 2016
"Life can be a lonely journey. But at your local cigar bar, all the guys know your name – or give you a new one altogether"
smoking  cigars  men  culture  aeon 
march 2016 by pierredv
You are what you speak: How your mother tongue shapes you -- New Scientist 19/26 Dec 2015
great discussion of Sapir-Whorff (though they're not mentioned). Seem to make the argument that influence of language on individuals is through the concepts that social use of language validates/or not.
linguistics  language  culture  German  NewScientist 
february 2016 by pierredv
How one small Midwest town has turned immigration into positive change -
"In parts of the Midwest, floods of immigrants are reshaping the culture. The influx is presenting challenges, but some towns have made strides toward striking a balance between old and new."
CSMonitor  immigration  Latino  culture  Iowa  US  politics 
march 2015 by pierredv
"Naches" from our Machines - Samuel Arbesman -
"You have naches, or as is said in Yiddish, you shep naches, when your children graduate college or get married, or any other instance of vicarious pride. These aren't your own accomplishments, but you can still have a great deal of pride and joy in them. And the same thing is true with our machines. We might not understand their thoughts or discoveries or technological advances. But they are our machines and we can have naches from them."
AI  Yiddish  culture 
january 2015 by pierredv
Ghosting, the Irish goodbye, the French leave: stop saying goodbye at parties.
"Ghosting—aka the Irish goodbye, the French exit, and any number of other vaguely ethnophobic terms—refers to leaving a social gathering without saying your farewells. "
etiquette  sociology  Slate  culture  introverts 
october 2014 by pierredv
We must prepare for superintelligent computers - opinion - 08 July 2014 - New Scientist
based on his book "Superintelligence: Paths, dangers, strategies" - best outline analysis of the singularity that I've seen Distinguishes 3 forms of superintelligence: (1) speed (2) collective (3) quality. Bottom line: "We cannot hope to compete with such machine brains. We can only hope to design them so that their goals coincide with ours. Figuring out how to do that is a formidable problem. It is not clear whether we will succeed in solving that problem before somebody succeeds in building a superintelligence. But the fate of humanity may depend on solving these two problems in the correct order."
NewScientist  intelligence  AI  trends  culture  mind  singularity  *  **  books  Nick-Bostrom 
august 2014 by pierredv
YouTube's Biggest Star Is An Unknown Toy-Reviewing Toddler Whisperer
"Is it possible an unknown, one-woman toy-reviewing YouTuber called “Disney Collector” is making more money than most CEOs?" Via Peter Haynes
toys  youtube  culture  trends 
july 2014 by pierredv
Is There Anything Good About Men? Roy F. Baumeister
"This invited address was given at a meeting the American Psychological Association in San Francisco on August 24, 2007. The thinking it represents is part of a long-range project to understand human action and the relation of culture to behavior. Further information about Prof. Baumeister and his research can be found at the foot of this page. — Dennis Dutton"
gender  psychology  culture  evolution  ***  sex 
june 2014 by pierredv
A Taste of Comic-Con |
"The following excerpt from my book Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture captures the frenzied first moments as the doors of Comic-Con open to the public on preview night."
RobSalkowitz  conventions  writing  Comic-Con  comics  culture  sub-culture 
july 2013 by pierredv
Who's filling America's church pews -
"In Puritan New England, Protestant and Catholic churches are declining while evangelical and Pentecostal groups are rising. Why the nation's most secular region may hint at the future of religion." "•Between 2000 and 2010, the Catholic church has lost 28 percent of its members in New Hampshire and 33 percent in Maine. It has closed at least 69 parishes (25 percent) in greater Boston. •Over the same period, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) established 118 new churches in northern New England, according to the 2010 Religion Census. About 50 of them inhabit buildings once owned by mainline churches."
CSMonitor  trends  culture  USA  religion 
december 2012 by pierredv
Warmonger or idealist: the roots of human conflict - life - 25 September 2012 - New Scientist
"Homo sapiens is not a particularly violent species – we just have more worth fighting for than other animals" : "A deep commitment to defending group honour is an example of what psychologists call a sacred value. "These are values, usually shared across whole communities, that cannot be traded against material things like food or money," says Jeremy Ginges, a psychologist at The New School, New York. Sacred values are absolute, non-negotiable, and brook no compromise, which is why they loom large in many contemporary conflicts, says Atran." "Also in the Middle East, Atran and Ginges found that offering financial incentives to compromise on sacred values frequently backfires, leading to moral outrage and even stronger rejection of an offer. However, people were more willing to compromise if their opponents recognised their sacred values and made symbolic gestures to atone for past wrongs"
culture  conflict  NewScientist  war 
november 2012 by pierredv
Can anyone kill Gangnam Style? | Music | The Guardian
"For the time being, it is the cringe-proof meme, the zombie meme, the meme that knows no shame. Quite possibly, it will be danced by grannies at weddings in 2030 – the 21st-century equivalent of the conga line; the new macarena."
music  Korea  memes  culture  theguardian 
november 2012 by pierredv
Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942 - Boing Boing
"Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain is a fascinating and occasionally hilarious guide written for GIs headed to Britain—then half-ruined by war—in 1942. Subjects range from common-sense basics ("instead of railroads, automobiles, and radios, the British will talk about railways, motor-cars, and wireless") to subtle social pitfalls regarding race, sex and income. You can read it online for free; following are some choice excerpts."
via:stevencrowley  x:boingboing  war  history  culture 
november 2012 by pierredv
Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning : Shots - Health News : NPR
"I think that from very early ages we [in America] see struggle as an indicator that you're just not very smart," Stigler says. "It's a sign of low ability — people who are smart don't struggle, they just naturally get it, that's our folk theory. Whereas in Asian cultures they tend to see struggle more as an opportunity." In Eastern cultures, Stigler says, it's just assumed that struggle is a predictable part of the learning process. Everyone is expected to struggle in the process of learning, and so struggling becomes a chance to show that you, the student, have what it takes emotionally to resolve the problem by persisting through that struggle.
**  meditation  struggle  npr  China  USA  learning  culture  motivation  education 
november 2012 by pierredv
Lethal weapons and the evolution of civilisation - life - 19 October 2012 - New Scientist
"So, group living begat hunting, hunting spurred the development of weapons technology, and new weapons overthrew the alpha male and led to the emergence of cooperative tendencies. It's a neat story, but are lethal weapons really necessary to explain the transition from hierarchies based on brute strength to egalitarian living? " "Whatever allowed our ancestors to break free of hierarchical rule, egalitarianism proved remarkably successful, lasting for hundreds of thousands of years. Then, about 10,000 years ago, there was another massive political upheaval. The immediate catalyst was the invention of farming, and the increased trade it allowed. The result was a change in the way weapons were deployed. ... This led to a new kind of hierarchy dominated by a "Big Man" who did not need to be physically strong, just rich enough to pay a small cabal of armed and trusted subordinates to protect him." ... and then handguns led to democracy
NewScientist  war  evolution  culture 
november 2012 by pierredv
In a France suspicious of religion, evangelicalism's message strikes a chord -
In fact, French scholars say, evangelicalism is likely the fastest-growing religion in France – defying all stereotypes about Europe’s most secular nation.
culture  evangelicalism  CSMonitor  france  religion 
august 2012 by pierredv
Essentialist Explanations
"This page comprises a list of 1009 "essentialist explanations" of the form "Language X is essentially language Y under conditions Z"."
culture  via:gmsv  linguistics  humour  language 
august 2012 by pierredv
The Cultural Treasures in Google Ngram - IEEE Spectrum
"We now have the ability to run words through the threshing machine, thanks to a remarkable tool. We first reported on the Google Ngram database a couple of years ago in a “Techwise Conversation” with Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research. Since then, historians. linguists, sociologists, and psychologists have begun to see what riches the database can yield.

"My guest today is Jean-Baptiste Michel. He’s a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Harvard and coauthor of a paper, “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” published last year in the journal Science. "
x:IEEE  Google  culture  words  podcasts 
july 2012 by pierredv
Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant | Blogs | Vanity Fair
"Analyzing one of American corporate history’s greatest mysteries—the lost decade of Microsoft—two-time George Polk Award winner (and V.F.’s newest contributing editor) Kurt Eichenwald traces the “astonishingly foolish management decisions” at the company that “could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success.”"
culture  business  software  management  microsoft 
july 2012 by pierredv
The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks : Nature Climate Change : Nature Publishing Group
"Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change. Rather, they were the ones among whom cultural polarization was greatest. This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare."
climate  science  culture  NewScientist  NatureJournal 
june 2012 by pierredv
In Japan, fax machines find a final place to thrive - The Washington Post
"Japan’s continued fax devotion may be an endearing quirk, what with the country’s reputation as a high-tech playland, all bright lights and flawless trains and chirping micro-devices. But it may also represent a deeper sign of the nation’s inability to change and to accommodate global standards, even as it cedes economic ground to Asian rivals such as China and South Korea."
culture  technology  Japan  WashingtonPost 
june 2012 by pierredv
Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is – Whatever
"In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is."
satire  games  opinion  culture  humor 
may 2012 by pierredv
No More Angling for the Best Seat; More Meetings Are Stand-Up Jobs - Feb 2012
"Stand-up meetings are part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth."
work  culture  meetings  x:wsj 
february 2012 by pierredv
Religiously active people more likely to engage in civic life, Pew study finds - Dec 2011
Pew Report “Some analysts have been concerned that those who have active spiritual lives might not be as engaged with the secular world,” notes report author Jim Jansen on the website. “We see the opposite. Those who are religiously active are more likely to participate in all kinds of groups and more likely to feel good about their communities. Those who are active in religious groups seem to be joiners. They also are active users of technology,” he adds.
Pew  CSMonitor  religion  politics  culture  civics 
december 2011 by pierredv
Wireless substitution: cell-only households
Peter Haynes comments: Cellphone-only homes aren't techies / early adopters, they're poor: 47% of those living in poverty are cell only
cellular  culture  poverty  via:peterhaynes  statistics  usa 
december 2011 by pierredv
Censorship? - Imgur - Time magazine covers in US vs. RoW
As GMSV put it: "Does Time magazine think Americans are stupider than the rest of the world? Ummm, maybe. "
magazines  media  via:gmsv  USA  culture 
november 2011 by pierredv
The world of adolescence: The best days of their lives? | The Economist
Review of Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood. By Christian Smith, Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog "The book focuses on five areas: how young adults make ethical decisions; what role consumerism plays in their lives; why they drink so much; why they have sex so indiscriminately; and why ... they are in fact disengaged from civic and political life." Their ethics are disturbing "What is striking about the responses to a whole string of questions probing how these young people deal with moral issues is how few of them seem to grasp what is being asked. ... Very few seem to think that right and wrong are rooted in anything outside personal experience."
trends  books  USA  teens  morality  culture  aging  adolescence  TheEconomist 
november 2011 by pierredv
Millennial Generation challenges religion in America -
on p. 2: "In the immediate future, however, religious organizations will have to emphasize those aspects of their belief structures that most strongly mesh with Millennial values. On one level this means that America's denominations will at least have to recognize that Millennials are far less driven than older generations by traditional beliefs on the cultural issues – women's rights, homosexuality, and evolution – that have divided the nation since the 1960s. Millennials will also be drawn by appeals that emphasize service more than doctrine and ritual."
religions  culture  trends  csmonitor 
september 2011 by pierredv
An Architect's Dress Code | ArchDaily
An Architect’s attire should be minimal yet condescending at the same time.
fashion  via:gmsv  architecture  culture  satire 
september 2011 by pierredv
How to do well: Getting inside the mind | The Economist May 2011
Review of The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement. By David Brooks "David Brooks uses [the story of Walter Mischel's marshmallow experiment] to illustrate how the conscious mind learns to subdue the unconscious. This is not a question of iron will, but about developing habits and strategies that trigger helpful processes in the unconscious, rather than unproductive ones. What matters is to learn to perceive property, people or situations in ways that reduce the temptation to lie, to steal or behave in a self-destructive way."
psychology  culture  economist  books  habits 
march 2011 by pierredv
Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex | Video on
"At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It's not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is." Actually, to me, the more interesting point was that the driver was trade - and that you don't need to understand what the other person is doing or saying - cf. "I, pencil"
TED  creativity  innovation  evolution  culture  * 
february 2011 by pierredv
AdViews: A Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials
AdViews is a digital archive of thousands of vintage television commercials dating from the 1950s to the 1980s. These commercials were created or collected by the ad agency Benton & Bowles or its successor, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B).
commercials  advertising  tv  media  culture  via:ianf 
february 2011 by pierredv
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