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The idea of this article from the NY Times is that in college, one meets a lot of people one wouldn’t otherwise, usually in your dorm or as a roommate. There’s value in this, as

David R. Harris…studied roommates and found…that white students who were assigned a roommate of a different race ended up more open-minded about race.

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Decision fatigue is a fascinating explanation of willpower and how decisions can mentally drain a person. What I like about this article is that it discusses several psychology studies as well as a fMRI study supporting the hypothesis, bringing together psychology and translational/clinical neuroscience in laymen’s terms.

It also gives an outsider’s view into the vagarities of research, as it gives the anecdote of a graduate student’s depressed summary of the failed experiment that started it all for Dr. Roy F Baumeister, his graduate supervisor.

I remember how exhausted I became when I tried to furnish my apartment in one day…. I guess my mistake was cutting sugar out of my coffee. So much for what I presumed was the healthier choice – for my body, perhaps, but not my brain.

A robot that flies like a bird.

An elegant study in biophysics and biomechanics, as well as a beautiful demonstration. It made me wish I was more engineering-inclined.

No, not precisely that kind of pleasure.

”¬†Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.”

The mind is a subjective, finicky thing indeed…

An intelligently entertaining talk in which Johnson delves into recent (and pretty ancient) history for case studies of how good ideas come about. He gives several examples and finishes with the birth of GPS.

What I take from this is that good ideas require four key ingredients: coffee, intelligent AND curious conversation, and time. (Hah, tea drinkers!)

August 2011
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