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robertogreco : relativity   8

The Equality Trust | Working to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality
[See also:
(book) "The Spirit Level"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level_(book)
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better[1] is a book by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett,[2] published in 2009 by Allen Lane. The book is published in the US by Bloomsbury Press (December, 2009) with the new sub-title: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.[3] It was then published in a paperback second edition (United Kingdom) in November 2010 by Penguin Books with the subtitle, Why Equality is Better for Everyone.[4]

The book argues that there are "pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption".[5] It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal countries, whether rich or poor.[1] The book contains graphs that are available online.[6]

In 2010, the authors published responses to questions about their analysis on the Equality Trust website.[7] As of September 2012, the book had sold more than 150,000 copies in English.[8] It is available in 23 foreign editions.

"The Spirit Level authors: why society is more unequal than ever"
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/09/society-unequal-the-spirit-level

[follow-up book] "The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Wellbeing"
https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/188607/the-inner-level/
Why is the incidence of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany? Why are Americans three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems? Why is child well-being so much worse in New Zealand than Japan? As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, the answer to all these hinges on inequality.

In The Spirit Level Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett put inequality at the centre of public debate by showing conclusively that less-equal societies fare worse than more equal ones across everything from education to life expectancy. The Inner Level now explains how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. It sets out the overwhelming evidence that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority. A deep well of data and analysis is drawn upon to empirically show, for example, that low social status is associated with elevated levels of stress, and how rates of anxiety and depression are intimately related to the inequality which makes that status paramount.

Wilkinson and Pickett describe how these responses to hierarchies evolved, and why the impacts of inequality on us are so severe. In doing so, they challenge the conception that humans are innately competitive and self-interested. They undermine, too, the idea that inequality is the product of 'natural' differences in individual ability. This book sheds new light on many of the most urgent problems facing societies today, but it is not just an index of our ills. It demonstrates that societies based on fundamental equalities, sharing and reciprocity generate much higher levels of well-being, and lays out the path towards them.

"Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?"
https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2018/06/14/does-inequality-cause-suicide-drug-abuse-and-mental-illness

"“The Inner Level” seeks to push that debate forward, by linking inequality to a crisis of mental health. This time the authors’ argument focuses on status anxiety: stress related to fears about individuals’ places in social hierarchies. Anxiety declines as incomes rise, they show, but is higher at all levels in more unequal countries—to the extent that the richest 10% of people in high-inequality countries are more socially anxious than all but the bottom 10% in low-inequality countries. Anxiety contributes to a variety of mental-health problems, including depression, narcissism and schizophrenia—rates of which are alarming in the West, the authors say, and rise with inequality.

Manifestations of mental illness, such as self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse and problem gambling, all seem to get worse with income dispersion, too. Such relationships seem to apply within countries as well as between them. Damaging drug use is higher in more unequal neighbourhoods of New York City, in more unequal American states and in more unequal countries. The authors emphasise that it is a person’s relative position rather than absolute income that matters most. A study of 30,000 Britons found that an individual’s place in the income hierarchy predicted the incidence of mental stress more accurately than absolute income did. And in America, relative income is more closely linked to depression than absolute income. It is not enough to lift all boats, their work suggests, if the poshest vessels are always buoyed up more than the humblest.

The fact that relative status matters so much is a result of human beings’ intrinsically social nature, Ms Pickett and Mr Wilkinson argue. Group interaction and co-operation have been an essential component of humanity’s evolutionary success; indeed, the authors say, its social nature helped drive the growth of human brains. Across primates, they write, the size of the neocortex—a part of the brain responsible for higher-level cognitive functions—varies with the typical group size of a species. Living in complex social groups is hard cognitive work. Survival requires an understanding of roles within the social hierarchy, and intuition of what others are thinking. Thus people are necessarily sensitive to their status within groups, and to social developments that threaten it.

Such hierarchies are found in all human societies. But as inequality rises, differences in status become harder to ignore. There is more to be gained or lost by moving from one rung on the ladder to another. And however much some maintain that disparities in pay-cheques do not correspond to differences in human worth, such well-meaning pieties feel hollow when high-rollers earn hundreds or thousands of times what ordinary folk take home. Money cannot buy everything, but it can buy most things. The steeper the income gradient, the less secure everyone becomes, in both their self-respect and their sense of the community’s esteem.

And so people compensate. They take pills, to steel their nerves or dull the pain. Some cut themselves. Some adopt a more submissive posture, avoiding contact with others. Yet such withdrawal can feed on itself, depriving recluses of the social interaction that is important to mental health, undermining relationships and careers and contributing to economic hardship.

Others respond in the opposite way, by behaving more aggressively and egotistically. Studies of narcissistic tendencies showed a steep increase between 1982 and 2006, the authors report; 30% more Americans displayed narcissistic characteristics at the end of the period than at the beginning. Scrutiny of successive American cohorts found a progressive rise in those listing wealth and fame as important goals (above fulfilment and community). Over time, more people cited money as the main motivation for attending college (rather than intellectual enrichment).

Domineering responses to anxiety are associated with loss of empathy and delusions of grandeur. Thus highly successful people often display narcissistic or even psychopathic behaviour. In surveys, the rich are generally less empathetic and more likely to think they deserve special treatment than others. Modern capitalism, the authors suggest, selects for assertiveness, for a lack of sentimentality in business and comfort in sacking underlings, and for showy displays of economic strength. From the top to the bottom of the income spectrum, people use conspicuous consumption and other means of enhancing their image to project status.

The least secure are often the most likely to exaggerate their qualities. For example, countries with lower average life-expectancy tend to do better on measures of self-reported health; 54% of Japanese say they are in good health compared with 80% of Americans, though the Japanese live five years longer on average. Whereas 70% of Swedes consider themselves to be above-average drivers, 90% of Americans do. Such figures cast declamations of America’s greatness, and the politicians who make them, in a new light."

"The Inner Level review – how more equal societies reduce stress and improve wellbeing"
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/20/the-inner-level-review ]

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmquJ7Ngvme/ ]
equality  inequality  society  trust  anxiety  well-being  stress  mentalhealth  uk  economics  community  socialmobility  class  education  drugs  drugabuse  health  violence  illness  consumption  hierarchy  horizontality  mentalillness  status  self-harm  gambling  depression  narcissism  schizophrenia  relativity  excess  cooperation  egotism  selfishness  empathy  dunning–krugereffect  greatness  politics  lifeexpectancy  japan  sweden  us  driving  capitalism  latecapitalism  fame  fulfillment  money  motivation  colleges  universities  exceptionalism  assertiveness  aggressiveness  richardwilkinson  katepickett  growth  erichfromm 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Eight Theses Regarding Social Media | L.M. Sacasas
"1. Social media are the fidget spinners of the soul.

2. Each social media platform is a drug we self-prescribe and consume in order to regulate our emotional life, and we are constantly experimenting with the cocktail.

3. Law of Digital Relativity: Perception of space and time is relative to the digital density of the observer’s experience.

4. Affect overload is a more serious problem than information overload. The product of both is moral apathy and mental exhaustion.

5. While text and image flourish online, the psycho-dynamics of digital culture are most akin to those of oral cultures (per Walter Ong).

6. Just as the consumer economy was boundless in its power to commodify, so the attention economy is boundless in its power to render reality standing reserve for the project of identity construction/performance. The two processes, of course, are not unrelated.

7. In the attention economy, strategic silence is power. But, because of the above, it is also a deeply demanding practice of self-denial.

8. Virtue is self-forgetting. The structures of social media make it impossible to forget yourself."
michaelsacasas  2017  lmsacasas  socialmedia  virtue  forgetting  attention  attentioneconomy  economics  power  silence  self-denial  walterong  figeting  addiction  emotions  digitalrelativity  relativity  space  time  perception  experience  online  internet  affectoverload  apathy  exhaustion  infooverload  secondaryorality  oralcultures  images  text  commodification  identity  performance 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Astronomers Watch a Supernova and See Reruns - NYTimes.com
"It’s “Groundhog Day” in the cosmos.

In the 1993 Bill Murray movie, a weatherman finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. Now astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope say they have been watching the same star blow itself to smithereens in a supernova explosion over and over again, thanks to a trick of Einsteinian optics.

The star exploded more than nine billion years ago on the other side of the universe, too far for even the Hubble to see without special help from the cosmos. In this case, however, light rays from the star have been bent and magnified by the gravity of an intervening cluster of galaxies so that multiple images of it appear.

Four of them are arranged in a tight formation known as an Einstein Cross surrounding one of the galaxies in the cluster. Since each light ray follows a different path from the star to here, each image in the cross represents a slightly different moment in the supernova explosion.

This is the first time astronomers have been able to see the same explosion over and over again, and its unique properties may help them better understand not only the nature of these spectacular phenomena but also cosmological mysteries like dark matter and how fast the universe is expanding.

“I was sort of astounded,” said Patrick Kelly of the University of California, Berkeley, who discovered the supernova images in data recorded by the space telescope in November. “I was not expecting anything like that at all.”

Dr. Kelly is lead author of a report describing the supernova published on Thursday in the journal Science.

Robert Kirshner, a supernova expert at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who was not involved in the work, said: “We’ve seen gravitational lenses before, and we’ve seen supernovae before. We’ve even seen lensed supernovae before. But this multiple image is what we have all been hoping to see.”

Supernovas are among the most violent and rare events in the universe, occurring perhaps once per century in a typical galaxy. They outshine entire galaxies, spewing elemental particles like oxygen and gold out into space to form the foundations of new worlds, and leaving behind crushed remnants called neutron stars or black holes.

Because of the galaxy cluster standing between this star and the Hubble, “basically, we got to see the supernova four times,” Dr. Kelly said. And the explosion is expected to appear again in another part of the sky in the next 10 years. Timing the delays between its appearances, he explained, will allow astronomers to refine measurements of how fast the universe is expanding and to map the mysterious dark matter that supplies the bulk of the mass and gravitational oomph of the universe.

The heavens continue to light candles for Albert Einstein. On March 14 he would have been 136, and this year marks a century since his greatest achievement, the general theory of relativity that transformed our understanding of space, time and gravity. Dr. Kelly’s paper appears in a special issue of Science devoted to the anniversary of that theory.

Einstein proposed that matter and energy warp the geometry of space the way a heavy body sags a mattress, producing the effect we call gravity. One consequence of this was that even light rays would be bent by gravity and follow a curved path around massive objects like the sun, as dramatically confirmed during a solar eclipse in 1919.

In effect, space itself could become a telescope.

How this cosmic telescope works depends on how the stars are aligned. If a star and its intervening lens are slightly out of line, the distant light can appear as arcs. If they are exactly lined up, the more distant star can appear as a halo known as an Einstein ring, or as evenly separated images — the Einstein Cross.

Astronomers have learned how to use entire galaxies and galaxy clusters as telescopes to see fainter objects beyond them that would otherwise be lost in the fog of time.

Hubble scientists have recently been using this trick in a program known as Glass, or Grism Lens-Amplified Survey from Space, to explore around clusters of galaxies, the most massive and thus most powerful gravitational lenses in the universe. This has enabled them to extend Hubble’s already powerful vision deeper into the past, in one case to a galaxy that existed when the universe was only half a billion years old.

Dr. Kelly’s job was to inspect the images for distant supernovas. He was not expecting to see four versions of the same explosion at once.

They appeared in images recorded in November of a spiral galaxy roughly nine billion light-years from here. The light from this spiral has been bent and magnified both by the gravity of the intervening cluster, which is five billion light-years distant, and by one very massive galaxy in the cluster.

As a result, ghost images of the spiral appear throughout the cluster and in particular in an Einstein Cross around that one galaxy. Because the lensing effect gathers light that would not otherwise be sent to our eyes or a telescope, the image of the host galaxy is not split so much as multiplied, explained Adi Zitrin, a team member from the California Institute of Technology.

“We simply see more appearances than we would if the lens were not present,” he said.

So far the supernova, named after a Norwegian astrophysicist, Sjur Refsdal, has been detected in only the four images in the Einstein cross. Based on computer modeling of the cluster, Dr. Kelly and his colleagues suspect that Supernova Refsdal has appeared before, around 1964 and 1995, in other lensed images of the spiral galaxy.

It should appear again elsewhere in the same cluster within the next few years, Dr. Kelly’s team predicts. The exact timing of Supernova Refsdal’s reappearance depends on how the dark matter in the galaxy cluster is distributed, which will tell astronomers much about a part of the universe they cannot see any other way. The longer the path length or the stronger the gravitational field the light ray goes through, the longer the delay.

Because of the expansion of the universe, the star and its galaxy are receding from us so fast that, according to relativity, clocks there appear to run markedly more slowly than clocks here. As a result, two months from the point of view of the supernova corresponds to nearly six months on Earth.

From our point of view, Dr. Kelly said, “it’s going on in slow motion.”

A star might die only once, but with Einstein’s telescope, if you know where to look, you can watch it scream forever."
time  light  astronomy  astrophysics  relativity  2015  optics  alberteinstein  physics  science 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Poetry No. 88, Anne Carson
"INTERVIEWER: Most people are not aware that you’re a visual artist as well as a verbal artist. You make books—a single book that you make for one person or another. I remember when we were going through the Ontario countryside, and everything was white, and at one point you pointed off in the distance and said, “I used to live there,” I think it was Port Hope? I looked out and thought, Nobody used to live there. There was just nothing there. Then you handed me this white book that you’d made for your brother Michael.

CARSON: When I go on the train from here to Toronto I always dread that passing of Port Hope because it was a place we lived for six, seven years and my parents for about fifteen years and my brother intermittently, so the book, because it’s about him, is connected to that place in some ways. But it’s a place where everyone’s life fell apart. That’s too strong. It was a place where we all, my brother and I, met the end of our adolescence. So that’s a serious order."



"In surfaces, perfection is less interesting. For instance, a page with a poem on it is less attractive than a page with a poem on it and some tea stains. Because the tea stains add a bit of history. It’s a historical attitude. After all, texts of ancient Greeks come to us in wreckage and I admire that, the combination of layers of time that you have when looking at a papyrus that was produced in the third century BC and then copied and then wrapped around a mummy for a couple hundred years and then discovered and put in a museum and pieced together by nine different gentlemen and put back in the museum and brought out again and photographed and put in a book. All those layers add up to more and more life. You can approximate that in your own life. Stains on clothing."



"… I remember in grade two when we had to draw pictures of a barnyard one day, and the teacher said we could put a story on it if we wanted to, to explain our barnyard. That was quite a breakthrough moment. Putting the story as well as the picture together. And when I did my first book of poems, Short Talks, when I first produced that as a manuscript to try to publish it, it was drawings. A set of drawings that had at first just titles, and then I expanded the titles a bit and then gradually realized nobody was interested in the drawings and I just took the titles off and then they were pellets of a lecture."



"… since then there’s been what people call a paradigm shift, which means now you can’t do anything wrong, but which really means people are offering equally blind judgments of the work. I don’t know why that happens. I guess people are just afraid to think. They like to have a category that’s ready so they can say: “Okay, now we know this is good, we can enjoy it.”"



"INTERVIEWER: So there’s this dense otherness that you just want to find out about. Whether it’s relevant is besides the point.

CARSON: One thing I do understand about the Greeks is that they, too, understood this and valued it. That is what the god Dionysus is as a principle—the principle of being up against something so other that it bounces you out of yourself to a place where, nonetheless, you are still in yourself; there’s a connection to yourself as another. It’s what they call "ecstasy." The Greeks invented this concept, but they also embody it for us, which may just be just our utilitarian approach to them. But who can say. We are always going to be looking at the Greeks and figuring out who they are in relation to what we are. We can’t get out and be in a third place and judge both of us."



"INTERVIEWER: I end up putting you and Alice Munro together. In each of you there’s an attachment to the physical world and the details of life—almost like you are reveling in them—whether they’re bad, good, painful, or whatever else. Does that seem right to you?

CARSON: I recognize that. Reveling is good. A good word for it. But she and I are very different. What we have in common is perhaps an attitude that however bad life is, the important thing is to make something interesting out of it. And that has a lot to do with the physical world, with looking at stuff, snow and light and the smell of your screen door and whatever constitutes your phenomenal existence from moment to moment. How consoling—that this stuff goes on and that you can keep thinking about it and making that into something on a page."
annecarson  poetry  interviews  2004  stains  imperfections  wabi-sabi  life  living  observation  alicemunro  paradigmshifts  perspective  otherness  relativity  willaitken 
december 2014 by robertogreco
a t l i n - who goes there
"take photos with cam I have at the time. write words with thoughts I got now. no saying what’s right or wrong. photos are what they are. got lots of words, but I try to keep those short too.

because since you began reading this, two colonies of ants in the suburb of montreuil in paris fought over a piece of a leaf. a little girl in mexico city let go of her blue balloon. a young man in the village of zitong in western china ate a pomegranate for the first time (it was delicious). a woman in lisbon lost her keys while at home. a plastic bag caught its handle on a fence post in kotzebue. an old man in northern India awoke from a deep sleep. these were remarkable and ordinary moments all at once. pretty nice, right? wouldn’t want to take you any farther away from it.

it’s worth noting that what may seem remarkable to an ant may not be remarkable to a balloon. so we must remember to respect relativity."  

-Atlin

“How are we suppouse to walk in that fogg?”
whatmatters  surroundings  local  attention  time  life  relativity  moments  remarkablemoments  ordinariness  ordinary  small  perspective  experience  photography  atlin 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Linguistic relativity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The linguistic relativity principle (also known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) is the idea that the varying cultural concepts and categories inherent in different languages affect the cognitive classification of the experienced world in such a way that speakers of different languages think and behave differently because of it.
sapir-whorf  culture  science  psychology  language  information  behavior  anthropology  linguistics  relativity  mind  cognition  cognitive  languages  bias  sapir-whorfhypothesis  whorfianism 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Wanna Learn About Statistics? Read A Comic | Geekdad from Wired.com
"Edu-Manga, welcome to America. This uniquely Japanese twist on education pairs the normal lessons one would find in a technical book with a manga graphic novel format. Of course it's more than just raw information presented as a comic. There's a plot! ... Following up The Manga Guide to Statistics is The Manga Guide to Databases, due out in December, and one teaching calculus (March '09). Further titles include physics, molecular biology, electricty and relativity, to be published by No Starch through the end of 2009."
manga  comics  education  learning  statistics  physics  science  databases  electricity  books  molecularbiology  biology  relativity 
october 2008 by robertogreco

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