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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Links and Miscellany – September 24

Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government One reason democracy is so difficult. In this study, the “Science Comprehension Thesis”, which identifies defects in the public’s knowledge and reasoning capacities as the source of such controversies was refuted, while the “Identity-protective Cognition Thesis”, which treats cultural conflict as disabling the faculties that members of the public use to make sense of decision-relevant science, was supported. When confronted with scientific data that are at odds with their political biases, even highly numerate persons reject the data and retain their biases.

Gun retailers strongly support expanded criteria for denying gun purchases, UC Davis survey finds "The survey is believed to be the first of its kind to gather the views of federally licensed firearms dealers and pawnbrokers on important social issues and the firearms business itself."

No detectable association between frequency of marijuana use and health or healthcare utilization "Researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found frequency of marijuana use was not significantly associated with health services utilization or health status. These findings currently appear online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine."

Online time can hobble brain’s important work "Erik Fransén, whose research focuses on short-term memory and ways to treat diseased neurons, says that a brain exposed to a typical session of social media browsing can easily become hobbled by information overload. The result is that less information gets filed away in your memory."

The Pursuit of Hopefulness in Entertainment Media "Participants were assigned to one of three media groups - underdog narrative, comedy, and nature scenes - or a no-media control group. Those in the media groups were assigned to view one 5-minute video clip per day for five consecutive days. Following this period, those in the underdog narrative group felt more hopeful and reported greater motivation to pursue their own goals than those in other conditions. And, partially consistent with Prestin’s second hypothesis, the emotional experience of hope was durable, with hopefulness remaining at elevated levels up to three days after the final media exposure."

A new index of happiness based on migratory flows and not on subjective answers to surveys "The first places in this ranking are occupied by countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, Israel, South Korea, Sweden, Canada and Australia. Bolivia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Africa and China are at the bottom of the list."

Why humans are musical: Self-generated sounds of locomotion and ventilation and the evolution of human rhythmic abilities Maybe...

Covert operations: Your brain digitally remastered for clarity of thought Using fMRI biofeedback to retrain one's own brain.

Mysterious, beautiful, achingly poignant short from experimental filmmaker Nick Abrahams set to music by Icelandic ambient rockers Sigur Rós:

This three-part documentary on the life and work of Carl Jung is full of rich information, not least of which is the exposure of science and technology as the central myth of modern life, and its new religion.

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