27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Great Lifespan Escape

At the time when the lines begin, in the mid-18th century, life expectancy in Europe and the Americas was around 35, where it had been parked for the 225 previous years for which we have data.3 Life expectancy for the world as a whole was 29. These numbers are in the range of expected life spans for most of human history. The life expectancy of hunter-gatherers is around 32.5, and it probably decreased among the peoples who first took up farming because of their starchy diet and the diseases ...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Enlightenment Needs Vigorous Defense

The ideals of the Enlightenment are products of human reason, but they always struggle with other strands of human nature: loyalty to tribe, deference to authority, magical thinking, the blaming of misfortune on evildoers. The second decade of the 21st century has seen the rise of political movements that depict their countries as being pulled into a hellish dystopia by malign factions that can be resisted only by a strong leader who wrenches the country backward to make it “great again.”...
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16 APR 2018 by ideonexus

 Pianos Make Music Accessible Like Computers Make Math Acc...

Though it has become a naturalized part of music-making since the first one was built in 1710, the pianoforte (its name means "soft-loud") was a technical marvel for its time, a machine that changed music in ways that are hard to imagine. Computer pioneer Alan Kay once observed that any technological advance is "technology only for people who are born before it was invented,' and in the case of the piano, this applies to no one alive today. Seymour Papert, the MIT researcher, concluded, "That...
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06 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 American Exceptionalism Prevents Americans from Recognizi...

Americans enjoy lower qualities of life on every single indicator that you can possibly think of. Life expectancy in France and Spain is 83 years, but in America it’s only 78 years — that’s half a decade of life, folks. The same is true for things like maternal mortality, stress, work and leisure, press freedom, quality of democracy — every single thing you can think of that impacts how well, happily, meaningfully, and sanely you live is worse in America, by a very long way. T...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Being Geek from Outcast to Success Story

More than just a hipster fashion statement where big glasses, tight suits, and high-water pants are the norm, the black geek phenomenon normalizes all things formally couched as geeky. Science lovers, space dreamers, comic book fans, techies, or anyone who relishes super-high-level analysis just for the fun of it could be a geek, according to conventional wisdom. Today, such interests are cool, functional, and often necessary—or at least there's a larger world where those of like minds can ...
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 Knowledge Replaced with Social Media

When it emerged towards the end of the 80s as a purely text-based medium, [the internet] was seen as a tool to pursue knowledge, not pleasure. Reason and thought were most valued in this garden—all derived from the project of Enlightenment. Universities around the world were among the first to connect to this new medium, which hosted discussion groups, informative personal or group blogs, electronic magazines, and academic mailing lists and forums. It was an intellectual project, not about ...
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25 APR 2017 by ideonexus

 Bit chin Society Emissary

And it clicked for me. He was a missionary—one of those fringe-dwellers who act as emissary from the Bitchun Society to the benighted corners of the world where, for whatever reasons, they want to die, starve, and choke on petrochem waste. It's amazing that these communities survive more than a generation; in the Bitchun Society proper, we usually outlive our detractors. The missionaries don't have such a high success rate—you have to be awfully convincing to get through to a culture that...
Folksonomies: technology progress ludism
Folksonomies: technology progress ludism
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09 NOV 2015 by ideonexus

 MySpace Destroyed History

MySpace, in a rush to relaunch and rebrand itself, made inaccessible the blogs of all of its users. There could be no movement to preserve this record of the past, as it happened so suddenly. Millions of contributions, critical records of events of a decade or so ago, lost in the blink of an eye. It’s similar to the destruction of something like Penn station: a website that was run by user-generated content, that was a central hub of Internet traffic, and that meant something to multiple mi...
Folksonomies: history internet history
Folksonomies: history internet history
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07 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 Resveratrol and SIRT1

For the last decade, the science of aging has increasingly focused on sirtuins, a group of genes that are believed to protect many organisms, including mammals, against diseases of aging. Mounting evidence has demonstrated that resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of grapes as well as in peanuts and berries, increases the activity of a specific sirtuin, SIRT1, that protects the body from diseases by revving up the mitochondria, a kind of cellular battery that slowly runs down as we age. ...
Folksonomies: longevity supplements
Folksonomies: longevity supplements
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08 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 College Tuition Becoming Unnaffordable

[Report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education] found, published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007 while median family income rose 147 percent. Student borrowing has more than doubled in the last decade, and students from lower-income families, on average, get smaller grants from the colleges they attend than students from more affluent families. [...] “The middle class has been financing it through debt,” he said. “The scenario ...
Folksonomies: academia debt tuition college
Folksonomies: academia debt tuition college
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