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The Hero Workshop
I’m Matt Langdon, creator of the Hero Workshop program...
I started the Hero Workshop in 2006 with the goal of using the skills I’d developed through living the camp life of “learn everything, just in case”. At camp I worked with people aged from five to “don’t ask” in sometimes wildly different circumstances and environments. They helped me realise what a real hero is.
heroism  children  education  learning  weblog-group 
may 2009
TPM: The Philosophers’ Magazine | Review: Providence Lost by Genevieve Lloyd
Providence Lost by Genevieve Lloyd
(Harvard University Press)
"Corresponding to these two views of providence are two very different views on freedom and the good life. Associated with Personal Providence is the view that the essence of freedom lies in the imitation of the unconstrained, undetermined divine will. The less constrained by external necessity our wills are, the freer we are – and the better our lives. Each of us is a little god squirming under necessity’s thumb
book  review  philosophy  providence  chance  fate 
may 2009
Stumbling and Mumbling: Doubts about democracy
There’s a conflict between liberty and democracy.
The problem here, though, is that the public’s preferences might be systematically irrational
politics  bias  cognition  liberty  freedom  democracy 
may 2009
Hullabaloo - Tough Love
I have been wondering why I'm so out of step on this... But the way they are deployed most often is simply to give a jolt of horrible, mind bending pain so that people will instantly turn docile and cooperative --- at the sole discretion of the authority who wields it. Where does this eager subservience on the part of allegedly freedom loving Americans come from, that the population so willingly accepts that the police have right to make any of them feel "a hard punch in the stomach with the added trauma of electricity running through your body" whenever they feel the need? I can't wrap my mind around that.
torture  america  punishment  freedom  police  taser 
may 2009
America's Tough Love Habit | Mother Jones
For decades, Americans have tolerated "tough love" treatment not just for terrorists, but for vulnerable youth.
torture  punishment  children  teenager  youth  terrorism  america 
may 2009
Joe Bageant: In firelight and in darkness
Part of ongoing series about abiding and leaving.
experience  age  localism 
may 2009
Joe Bageant: Abiders and leavers
Part of an ongoing series of letters about staying and leaving, abiding and going.
experience  age  localism  past  cosmopolitanism  mobility  generation  perception  country(Norway) 
may 2009
Joe Bageant: Spake the geezer to the stripling youth
This letter from a reader is in response to Joe's short essay "On Native Ground".
experience  age  cosmopolitanism  mobility  generation 
may 2009
Joe Bageant: On Native Ground
essay on staying put where you grew up
experience  age  localism  past 
may 2009
Douglas Rushkoff » Life Inc: Introduction
, but people of all social classes making choices that go against their better judgment because they believe it’s really the only sensible way to act under the circumstances. It’s as if the world itself were tilted, pushing us toward self- interested, short- term decisions, made more in the manner of corporate share-holders than members of a society. The more decisions we make in
this way, the more we contribute to the very conditions leading to this awfully sloped landscape. In a dehumanizing and self-denying cycle, we make too many choices that—all things being equal—we’d prefer not to make.
corporatism  gloom-and-doom  capitalism  ideology 
may 2009
Should Creative Workers Use Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs? | Open The Future | Fast Company
For those of you who haven't been watching this trend, the dilemma is that certain pharmaceuticals intended to treat cognitive and neurological disorders--primarily, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy--and, when used by people without these disorders, provide a kind of cognitive boost. This usually means increased focus and concentration, but it can also mean better spatial reasoning, greater alertness, and improved "clarity" of thinking. As a result, it's apparently becoming increasingly common for people in "knowledge work" professions to take these drugs as a way of improving their performance.
drugs  health  mental  brain  neurology  cognitive-enhancement 
may 2009
'Columbine,' by Dave Cullen -- New York Magazine Book Review
But what the book captures better than any other reporting is the confusion and fear that come from an inability to make sense of something that has no reason, no cause, no source—confusion and fear that can lead to damaging misinformation and lasting fictions. Despite all of the coverage, we still don’t know what motivated Eric and Dylan. The best we can do—what the book is arguing for—is to stop trying to guess.
book  review  violence  columbine  guns  school 
may 2009
What's Your Story? The Psychological Science of Life History Research: Scientific American
To put it starkly, McAdams has found there are basically two types of people in this world. First, there are those who view life-altering experiences during young adulthood (such as death, crime, addiction, abuse, relationship woes, loss, failure and other abysmal yet often unavoidable plights of the human saga) as “contaminative episodes” in their life stories, where prior to the event everything is seen, retrospectively, through rose-tined glasses and the event as a type of toxic incident that corrodes into the present and ruins the rest of the life course. In a contamination sequence, an emotionally positive event suddenly goes bad. And then there are those who view such dramatic events as “redemptive episodes” in their self-narratives, who, like Katherine Ann Power or Jean Valjean, eventually transform or redeem bad scenes into good outcomes, by becoming better people and benefiting society.
psychology  personality  story-telling  narrative  autobiography 
may 2009
Why Can’t You? « Easily Distracted
if academic cultural critics understand expressive culture so expertly, why can’t they create it? Wouldn’t it be better to always have experience in creating the cultural forms that you study?
art  criticism  talent  creativity  teaching 
may 2009
naked capitalism: Richardson and Roubini Call for Bank Resolution, Diss Stress Tests
Having companies look viable as the result of massive, and seeming open ended subsidies does not say much about how they'd be faring ex life support. And even worse are the distortions. We've seen that large scale banking with score based credit paradigms has fared badly. Yet these companies are being subsidized to the detriment of smaller regional and local players who are closer to their communities and can incorporate local knowledge into their credit decisions. But no, just as old style computer jockeys had trouble accepting that big iron might be inferior to PC and distributed processing, so to the powers that be seem unduly fond of very large banks when the superiority of that model is in question.
banking  economics  stress-test 
may 2009
Overcoming Bias: Toward Honest Ideals
I'm tempted to say that honesty demands we should similarly call a spade a spade, and admit that we humans are not so much "distracted" from achieving our ideals, as that we are designed in great detail to only care about our ideals to the extent that they help others to like us enough to pay for idealism's costs.
idealism  psychology 
may 2009
Stumbling and Mumbling: The "evil poor" problem
In not raising this question, he’s perpetuating one of the great hypocrisies of the right. On the one hand, they exaggerate the extent to which people respond to incentives - hence the claim that the 50p tax rate will do huge damage. But on the other hand, when the poor respond to incentives by turning to crime, they demand not that incentives be changed - except, of course, to cut welfare benefits - but moralise about “evil.”
poverty  evil  behavior  attribution  bias  psychology  fundamental-attribution-error 
may 2009
Bryce Kuhlman, Inc. : Home
links to a number of magician websites, and magic projects online, including my lovely assistant
magic  web  projects 
may 2009
Sergio Franzese - The Ethics of Energy: William James's Moral Philosophy in Focus - Reviewed by Kenneth W. Stikkers, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale - Philosophical Reviews - University of Notre Dame
Franzese's interpretation of James's ethics as an "ethics of energy" is definitely original. It offers much promise, especially because it provides a new avenue by which James can be brought into new, productive dialogue with other thinkers of his time who, like James, sought to rethink the modern West's general approach to ethics as an imposed rule of reason. For this reason Franzese's is a valuable contribution to James scholarship and should be of interest not only to James scholars but also to continental, "postmodern" ethicists, following, for example, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, or Foucault, and who previously might not have entertained any interest in James.
about(WilliamJames)  ethics  philosophy  energy  psychology  book  review 
may 2009 » Sharing the Work, Spreading the Wealth
essay by Janet Hively
To create a commons-based society, people need more than exposure to new ideas. They need tangible ways of practicing and living out these bright possibilities. Old habits about how we organize and pay for work maintain the sharp divisions between rich and poor and tie us to the consumer values of the market-based society. At this time when unemployment due to layoffs is growing, we should try out some new ways to share the work and spread the wealth.
commons  work  labor  sharing  experiments  alternative  wealth  jobs  economics 
may 2009
She Did It Her Way « Easily Distracted
In a way, the Susan Boyle story is a reminder that liberalism actually has heartfelt, emotionally rich stories that are intimately familiar to many people in many societies. Chief among them is the insistence that individuals contain within them talents, character, particularities which are poorly described by stereotypes or collective identities and poorly managed or appreciated by social institutions and conventions.
about(SusanBoyle)  talent  liberalism  exploitation  reality  television 
may 2009
ongoing · Less Like Oration
The world is distracting, and particularly when you’re open to distraction. But then, it always has been.
internet  distraction  continuous-partial-attention  culture  attention  reading 
may 2009
The Magna Carta Manifesto : Peter Linebaugh
This remarkable book shines a fierce light on the current state of liberty and shows how longstanding restraints against tyranny—and the rights of habeas corpus, trial by jury, and due process of law, and the prohibition of torture—are being abridged. In providing a sweeping history of Magna Carta, the source of these protections since 1215, this powerful book demonstrates how these ancient rights are repeatedly laid aside when the greed of privatization, the lust for power, and the ambition of empire seize a state. Peter Linebaugh draws on primary sources to construct a wholly original history of the Great Charter and its scarcely-known companion, the Charter of the Forest, which was created at the same time to protect the subsistence rights of the poor.
history  commons  magna-carta  european 
may 2009 » "The Commons is About 'Commoning'”
The commons, said Wolcher, citing Linebaugh, is not simply a conflict over property rights. It is about “people expressing a form of life to support their autonomy and subsistence needs.” The commons is a verb — “commoning.” It’s about “taking one’s life into one’s own hands, and not waiting for crumbs to drop from the King’s table.”
commons  law  lecture 
may 2009
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