Planet Rationalist

July 26, 2014

Mind Hacks

Out on a limb too many

Two neuropsychologists have written a fascinating review article about the desire to amputate a perfectly healthy limb known variously as apotemnophilia, xenomelia or body integrity identity disorder

The article is published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment although some who have these desires would probably disagree that it is a disease or disorder and are more likely to compare it to transexualism.

The article also discusses the two main themes in the research literature: an association with sexual fetish for limb aputation (most associated with the use of the name apotemnophilia) and an alteration in body image linked to differences in the function of the parietal lobe in the brain (most associated with the use of the name xenomelia).

It’s a fascinating review of what we know about this under-recognised form of human experience but it also has an interesting snippet about how this desire first came to light not in the scientific literature, but in the letters page of Penthouse magazine:

A first description of this condition traces back to a ...

by vaughanbell at Sat, 26 Jul 2014 11:55 Instapaperify

Neurophilosophy | The Guardian

Robo rehab | Mo Costandi

Robot-assisted rehabilitation is gaining traction in hospital stroke units, but exoskeleton-type devices may actually discourage patients from performing their exercises.

Hundreds of millions of people tuned in to the World Cup Opening Ceremony in São Paulo last month, to watch artists such as Jennifer Lopez and Shakira perform before the first match kicked off. But the real highlight - which was apparently ignored by most of the media outlets covering the event - was a one-minute performance by Juliano Pinto, the 29-year-old paraplegic who kicked the official ball a short distance with the aid of a robotic exoskeleton controlled by a device plugged directly into his brain.

Exoskeletons and other robotic rehabilitation devices are the subject of my latest feature article, which was published recently in the journal Nature, as part of this Outlook supplement on stroke. Rehabilitation roboticists refer to exoskeletons as 'active' devices, because they contain moving parts that help the paralysed patient restore the function of their arms or legs. At the moment, they are still far too expensive to be used widely, and ...

by Mo Costandi at Sat, 26 Jul 2014 11:15 Instapaperify

Slate Star Codex

More Links For July 2014

The most embarassing part of the Slavoj Zizek plagiarism scandal isn’t that Zizek committed plagiarism. It isn’t even that he plagiarized a white supremacist website. It’s the way the plagiarism was discovered. Steve Sailer was reading a Zizek book and noticed that part of it actually made sense. He wrote:

A reader inclined toward deconstructionism might note that Žižek summarizes MacDonald’s controversial argument quite lucidly. In fact, the superstar professor achieves a higher degree of clarity while expounding MacDonald’s message than in any other passage I’ve read by Žižek. I’m guessing that the last two sentences are Žižek’s denunciation of the preceding argument he quite ably recounted. But it’s striking how much more opaque Žižek’s prose suddenly becomes when he switches to elucidating what are, presumably, his own ideas, such as they are.

… and the idea of Zizek being comprehensible for even a couple of sentences so surprised Steve’s commenters that they looked up the relevant passage to see if it was plagiarized, and ...

by Scott Alexander at Sat, 26 Jul 2014 02:30 Instapaperify


The Moon Landing: 45 Years Later

MOON-LANDING-1969Summertime takes me back to 1969, when -- despite national and international traumas that make today's seem petty -- the world did manage to come together over one topic... how glorious that humankind was forging forth into the Final Frontier.

Yet now, I share with millions of other boomers a head-scratching perplexity. Why don’t more of today’s youth care about outer space?

The easy answer would be to seize upon a simple nostrum -- about each era rejecting the obsessions of the one before it. But then, in that case, why is the very opposite true about popular music? Back in the hippie era, music divided the generations! But today? Well, my kids adore classic 60s and 70s Rock. In a surf shop or bike store, all I have to do is mention a few of the concerts that I snuck into, long ago, and the brash young fellers are at my feet, saying “tell us more, gramps!”

life2moonandbackSo why do they yawn, when we turn to the NASA Channel, or when we talk about ...

by David Brin at Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:08 Instapaperify

July 25, 2014


If You Can't Decide Between Buying Two Things, Consider Neither

If You Can't Decide Between Buying Two Things, Consider Neither

When you're trying to be a careful shopper, comparing two similar products is a given. Sometimes, though, if you're having a tough time deciding which one you actually want, the best decision might be to just save your money.


by Patrick Allan at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:00 Instapaperify


A War Against Expertise

== The real war is against reality ==

WAR-EXPERTISEAll right, I keep returning to this recurring theme, but it needs to be hammered... it's about the War on Science… and against all smartypants professions

Forty-three years ago, when Richard Nixon was president, almost forty percent of scientists and twenty-six percent of U.S. journalists (the people in society who interview and question the widest samplings of Americans) called themselves Republicans, only slightly fewer than called themselves Democrats.

scientist-republicansToday, just 7% of U.S. journalists so identify and less than 6% of U.S. scientists. (The latter figure is in free fall and includes folks like me, who have kept their GOP registration for tactical reasons.)

What's changed? Similar steep declines are seen in nearly all of the professions that require extensive knowledge and skill, from teaching and medicine to economics, law, law-enforcement and civil service to university professors in almost every field, even to the U.S. military officer corps.

When I ask my GOP friends (and I remain a registered Republican) to explain this ...

by David Brin at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:32 Instapaperify


Weekend Reads: Should We Only Work 4 Days a Week?

Calendar designed by Phil Goodwin from the Noun Project

Calendar designed by Phil Goodwin from the Noun Project

As we do every Friday, we’ve collected our best stuff from the past week for your weekend reading pleasure.

What We’re Reading

The 2nd richest man in the world thinks you should only work 3-4 days a week (and his employees are testing it out for us).

How creative hobbies make us better at, well, basically everything.

If we constantly think “failure is good” what does that make the CEO who cuts over 10,000 jobs?

From 99U

In the “Information Age” everything gets measured. So how can we stay sane? “The real work,” Brain Pickings founder Maria Popova says, “is how not to hang your self-worth, your sense of success and merits, the fullness of your heart, and the stability of your soul on numbers.” Read the rest of our conversation with the internet’s hardest working curator.

Post-its made for your phone, a Stay Home Club tee, and the best headphones for those 12-hour days. Every now and then we round up ...

by behanceteam at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:22 Instapaperify

Less Wrong

New LW Meetup: Perth

Submitted by FrankAdamek • 1 votes • 0 comments
New meetups (or meetups with a hiatus of more than a year) are happening in:
Irregularly scheduled Less Wrong meetups are taking place in:

The remaining meetups take place in cities with regular scheduling, but involve a change in time or location, special meeting content, or simply a helpful reminder about the meetup:

Locations with regularly scheduled meetups: Austin, Berkeley, Berlin, Boston, Brussels, Buffalo, Cambridge UK, Canberra, Columbus, London, Madison WI, Melbourne, Mountain View, New York, Philadelphia, Research Triangle NC, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Sydney, Toronto, Vienna, Washington DC, Waterloo, and West Los Angeles. There's also a 24/7 online study hall for coworking LWers.

If you'd like to talk with other LW-ers ...

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:08 Instapaperify

The Bulletproof Executive

The Disease Delusion with Dr. Jeffrey Bland – Podcast #139

Dr. Jeffrey Bland has been an internationally recognized leader in the nutritional medicine field for over 35 years and is known for his ability to synthesize complex scientific concepts in a manner that is both personable and accessible. Jeffrey is on Bulletproof Radio discussing the disease delusion in America and his sought-after book by the […]

by Dave Asprey at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:08 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

New clues to how synapses in the brain are programmed

Cerebellar granule cells, parallel fibers, and flattened dendritic trees of Purkinje cells (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Washington University School of Medicine researchers have identified a group of proteins that program synapses in the brain, controlling neural development and learning, with implications for conditions such as autism.

In a study of the cerebellum (which plays a central role in controlling the coordination of movement and is essential for “procedural motor learning”) of mice, published in the journal Neuron, they found that a complex of proteins known as NuRD (nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase) plays an important role in development of the cerebellum.

When the researchers blocked the NuRD complex, cells in the cerebellum called granule cells (the most numerous neurons in the brain) failed to form connections with Purkinje neurons. These circuits are important for the cerebellum’s control of movement coordination and learning.

Programming gene activity in synapses

They found that NuRD exerts influence at the epigenetic level, which means factors other than DNA that affect gene activity. For example, NuRD affects the configurations of molecules that ...

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:08 Instapaperify


Headphones Are Shortening Your Career

Headphones designed by Emily Haasch from the Noun Project

Headphones designed by Emily Haasch from the Noun Project

It’s said that the average “prime” of a creative career is just 10 years. After that, the ideas dry up and with them the motivation to work outside the box. How can we extend our creative potential to last 20, 30, or even 50 years? Over at Wired UK, John Hegarty shares his insights on the matter:

Remove the headphones. Inspiration is everywhere — you just have to see it. If you accept that creative people are “transmitters” — they absorb all kinds of stimuli, thoughts and ideas and they reinterpret them and send them back to the world as pieces of inspiration — then it’s obvious that the more you see, connect and juxtapose, the more interesting your work will be.

The more you stay connected and stimulated, the greater the relevance of your work. By walking around in a digital cocoon you push the world away; great creative people constantly embrace it. You need to nourish your soul and your imagination.

Headphones—whether metaphorical or ...

by Tanner Christensen at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:00 Instapaperify

h+ Magazine

Video Friday: Max Tegmark — Humanism in a Cosmic Perspective

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.24.02 AM

Max Tegmark’s keynote speech from the 2014 AHA Conference 2014

I found Max’s presentation here to be inspirational and optimistic. It’s vast far future vision that presents a science based alternative to the notion that humans are unimportant in the scheme of the universe.

We humans have again and again underestimated not only the size of the cosmos—a planet, a solar system, a galaxy, a universe, maybe a hierarchy of parallel universes—but we’ve also repeatedly underestimated the power of the human mind to understand our cosmos. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.28.50 AM


See also and

by Peter Rothman at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:33 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

“An Experience with a Registered Replication Project”

Anne Pier Salverda writes:

I came across this blog entry, “An Experience with a Registered Replication Project,” and thought that you would find this interesting.

It’s written by Simone Schnall, a social psychologist who is the first author of an oft-cited Psych Science(!) paper (“Cleanliness reduces the severity of moral judgments”) that a group of researchers from Michigan State failed to replicate as part of a big replication project.

Schnall writes about her experience as the subject of a “failed recplication”. I like the tone of her blog entry. She discusses some issues that she has with how the replication of her work, and the publication of that work in a special issue of a journal was handled. A lot of what she writes is very reasonable.

Schnall believes that her finding did not replicate because there were ceiling effects in a lot of the items in the (direct) replication of her study. So far so good; people can mistakes in analyzing data from replication studies too. But then she writes the following:

It ...

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:52 Instapaperify


NeuroLogica Blog

Mike Adams is a Dangerous Loon

Where do I even begin? Mike Adams, the self-proclaimed “healthranger” who runs the crank alt-med site naturalnews, has sunk to a new low, even though he was already scraping bottom.

Adams combines the worst CAM propaganda with a blend of conspiracy theories from across the spectrum, while selling supplements and other nonsense. He portrays himself as someone who is engaged in a righteous battle against the forces of evil – so hardly someone who is engaged in rational discourse.

In a recent rant, however, he has become a parody even of himself. This time he is raving about Monsanto and GMOs, writing:

Monsanto is widely recognize (sic) as the most hated and most evil corporation on the planet. Even so, several internet-based media websites are now marching to Monsanto’s orders, promoting GMOs and pursuing defamatory character assassination tactics against anyone who opposes GMOs, hoping to silence their important voices.

He doesn’t stop there, he goes full Godwin – right for the Nazi analogies, which he repeats throughout his article, complete with pictures of the Holocaust ...

by Steven Novella at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:14 Instapaperify


Nerding out: RSA on an iPython Notebook

Yesterday was a day filled with secrets and codes. In the morning, at The Platform, we had guest speaker Columbia history professor Matthew Connelly, who came and talked to us about his work with declassified documents. Two big and slightly depressing take-aways for me were the following:

  • As records have become digitized, it has gotten easy for people to get rid of archival records in large quantities. Just press delete.
  • As records have become digitized, it has become easy to trace the access of records, and in particular the leaks. Connelly explained that, to some extent, Obama’s harsh approach to leakers and whistleblowers might be explained as simply “letting the system work.” Yet another way that technology informs the way we approach human interactions.

After class we had section, in which we discussed the Computer Science classes some of the students are taking next semester (there’s a list here) and then I talked to them about prime numbers and the RSA crypto system.

I got really into it and wrote up an iPython ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:59 Instapaperify

Overcoming Bias

Conflicting Abstractions

My last post seems an example of an interesting general situation: when abstractions from different fields conflict on certain topics. In the case of my last post, the topic was the relative growth rate feasible for a small project hoping to create superintelligence, and the abstractions that seem to conflict are the ones I use, mostly from economics, and abstractions drawn from computer practice and elsewhere used by Bostrom, Yudkowsky, and many other futurists.

What typically happens when it seems that abstractions from field A suggests X, while abstraction from field B suggests not X? Well first, since both X and not X can’t be true, each field would likely see this as a threat to their good reputation. If they were forced to accept the existence of the conflict, then they’d likely try to denigrate the other field. If one field is higher status, the other field would expect to lose a reputation fight, and so they’d be especially eager to reject the claim that a conflict exists.

And in fact ...

by Robin Hanson at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:45 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

Why People Continue to use SCAMs

Rodin's The Thinker
I remain curious as to why people use, and continue to use, useless pseudo-medicines. I read the literature, but I find the papers unsatisfactory. They seem incomplete, and I suspect there are as many reasons people choose a pseudo-medicine as those use them.

There are numerous surveys on what SCAMs people use. Designing and offering these surveys to every possible medical condition is a growth industry: the old, the young, cancer patients, AIDS patients. All need be asked which SCAM they use. It seems to be a ready way to get a quick entry in your CV, but which SCAM is used does not speak to the why a particular SCAM is being used. Why try acupunctures, say, instead of reflexology?

There are numerous reasons suggested for why people partake of SCAMS as a general concept: dissatisfaction with standard medical care is a common one but is not always supported in the literature. Gullibility, ignorance, and stupidity are often credited, none of them are particularly valid. Dr. Novella covered the topic in 2012. There is ...

by Mark Crislip at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:33 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Cognitive Computing Forum

In recent years, numerous technological advancements have combined to give machines a greater ability to understand information, and to learn, to reason, and act upon it. These advancements have reached such sophistication that in some cases machines may even appear to think. As a result, the broad term used to describe this emerging capability is Cognitive Computing.


August 20

Cognitive Computing and the Future

Chris Welty

Research Scientist, IBM

At WWW 2011, soon after the notable performance of Watson on Jeopardy, I laid out the skeleton of a new computing paradigm, which IBM has since dubbed “Cognitive Computing”. Over the three years since then, cognitive computing is indeed proving to be a radical shift in software and information technology, that disrupts previously understood terms like “performance”, “feature”, “debugging”, and even “truth”. In this talk I will give a personal perspective on how cognitive computing has progressed, and is re-shaping the software solution business and ecosystem, and our very expectations of what computers are capable of.


Machine Learning Platforms

Joshua Bloom ...

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:43 Instapaperify

The Psy-Fi Blog

Z is for Zero Risk Bias

Zero-risk bias is a preference for options that completely eliminate some risk even where alternative, often cheaper, options will reduce the overall risk by more, proportionately.We often prefer the absolute certainty of a smaller benefit to a larger benefit of less certainty.


Let's rewind to 2007/2008 when the world, for investors, had become a very uncertain place. Although, to be frank, it had always been very uncertain, it's just that investors, being myopic creatures, hadn't realized it. Anyway, suddenly the world was full of uncertainty and investors wanted to eliminate it all, at almost any price. The result was a stampede into government bonds, driving bond yields to multi-generational lows, whilst ignoring the astonishingly low prices of some of the world's greatest corporations.

Of course, any corporation comes with some residual risk, but in the final analysis if the world's great firms go bust it's unlikely that the tax revenues that sustain government debt will be far behind. But back then such was the value ascribed ...

by timarr at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:54 Instapaperify - Program Feed Founder Ben Rattray: Tech for Good Founder Ben Rattray: Tech for Good
Injustice has come face to face with technology's modern-day picket sign. is a website with 60 million users which allows individuals and organizations to create and sign online petitions for anything from human rights to sustainable food. Notable successful petitions include the South African parliament launching a national task team to end "corrective" rape and the overturn of the Boy Scouts of America’s refusal to acknowledge high schooler Ryan Andresen as an Eagle Scout after he came out as gay in 2011. Ben Rattray was named to 2012 Time 100 List of the World’s Most Influential People and was listed as one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 Rising young business leaders of 2012. Join us as we award him with INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award, and hear more about his mission to leverage technology to change the world.

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:30:00 -0800
Location: San Francisco, California, Commonwealth Club of California, Commonwealth Club
Program and discussion ...

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:11 Instapaperify

July 24, 2014

Slate Star Codex

Some Antibiotic Stagnation

In the past week I’ve written about antibiotics and the rate of technological progress. So when a graph about using antibiotics to measure the rate of scientific progress starts going around the Internet, I take note.

Unfortunately, it’s inexcusably terrible. Whoever wrote it either had zero knowledge of medicine, or was pursuing some weird agenda I can’t figure out.

For example, several of the drugs listed are not antibiotics at all. Tacrolimus and cyclosporin are both immunosuppressants (please don’t take tacrolimus because you have a bacterial infection). Lovastatin lowers cholesterol. Bialafos is a herbicide with as far as I can tell no medical uses.

“Cephalosporin” is not the name of a drug. It is the name of a class of drugs, of which there are over sixty. In other words, the number of antibiotics covered by that one word “cephalosporin” is greater than the total number of antibiotics listed on the chart.

If I wanted to be charitable, I would say maybe they are counting similar medications together in order to ...

by Scott Alexander at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:26 Instapaperify - Program Feed

La recuperación mundial necesita políticas de respaldo

La recuperación mundial necesita políticas de respaldo
Según la actualización del informe Perspectivas de la economía mundial, la recuperación mundial ha seguido su curso, pero a ritmo desigual, y persisten los riesgos. Es necesario mantener políticas de respaldo para lograr una recuperación más sólida.
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , International Monetary Fund
Program and discussion:

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:10 Instapaperify

Concerted Efforts Needed to Boost US Economy

Concerted Efforts Needed to Boost US Economy
In its latest assessment of the U.S. economy, the IMF says that the U.S. recovery is gathering steam but managing the exit from zero interest rates and boosting potential growth remain top priorities.
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , International Monetary Fund
Program and discussion:

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:07 Instapaperify

Director Q&A: Valerie Veatch on 'Love Child'

Director Q&A: Valerie Veatch on 'Love Child'
NEW YORK, July 15, 2014 - Director Valerie Veatch discusses her new documentary, Love Child, with Touré, co-host of MSNBC's The Cycle, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere, the film's executive producer. Love Child, which premieres on HBO on Monday, July 28, explores the growing issue of internet addiction in South Korea.
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: New York, NY, , Asia Society
Program and discussion:

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:43 Instapaperify


Overcoming Bias

I Still Don’t Get Foom

Back in 2008 my ex-co-blogger Eliezer Yudkowsky and I discussed his “AI foom” concept, a discussion that we recently spun off into a book. I’ve heard for a while that Nick Bostrom was working on a book elaborating related ideas, and this week his Superintelligence was finally available to me to read, via Kindle. I’ve read it now, along with a few dozen reviews I’ve found online. Alas, only the two reviews on GoodReads even mention the big problem I have with one of his main premises, the same problem I’ve had with Yudkowsky’s views. Bostrom hardly mentions the issue in his 300 pages (he’s focused on control issues).

All of which makes it look like I’m the one with the problem; everyone else gets it. Even so, I’m gonna try to explain my problem again, in the hope that someone can explain where I’m going wrong. Here goes.

“Intelligence” just means an ability to do mental/calculation tasks, averaged over many tasks. I’ve always ...

by Robin Hanson at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:45 Instapaperify - Program Feed

Fresh Start: The Road to Financial Empowerment

Fresh Start: The Road to Financial Empowerment
RealClearPolitics will evaluate policies and programs that help survivors of domestic violence achieve financial independence and safer lives. The event will discuss the results of a new Rutgers study, highlight some best practices and identify gaps in the current system.
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:10:00 -0700
Location: Washington, DC, Columbus Club, RealClearPolitics
Program and discussion:

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:21 Instapaperify


Pixar: How to Create a Creative Culture


Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar, shared with Harvard Business Review how to create a work environment that encourages creativity in everyone. The interview is long, and well worth the read, but his three main takeaways are:

Anyone can talk to anyone: Individuals from every department should have the ability to speak with each other without having to ask for permission. Keep the communication lines open so people can learn and be inspired by each other.

Everyone has ideas: Learn to give and receive feedback in a positive way on unfinished work. Early criticism provides the freedom to try new things because it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. Ensure that every department, regardless of discipline, has the opportunity to comment.

Build subcultures: Break up formal departments by creating new ones. Pixar University offers classes for people to try a new discipline or something unrelated (like pilates or yoga). You never know what may come from a chance encounter with another department.

Barriers between people can easily spring up in any industry. Catmull ...

by Stephanie Kaptein at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:00 Instapaperify

The GiveWell Blog

Partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts

Throughout the post, “we” refers to GiveWell and Good Ventures, who work as partners on GiveWell Labs.

We have agreed to a major partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of our work on criminal justice reform. Good Ventures will provide $3 million to support and expand the work of Pew’s public safety performance project (PSPP), which aims “to advance data-driven, fiscally sound policies and practices in the criminal and juvenile justice systems that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs” through technical assistance to states, research and public education, and promotion of nontraditional alliances and collaboration around smart criminal justice policies.

We came into contact with Pew through our investigation on criminal justice reform. Our impression is that PSPP has been intensively involved in the criminal justice reform packages that have passed in over two dozen states since 2007. PSPP now seeks more funding to work in additional states, help states to cement existing reforms, explore the potential for reform at the federal level, and continue pursuing research and ...

by Holden at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:30 Instapaperify


Boost Gratitude and Happiness by Remembering All Good Things Must End

Boost Gratitude and Happiness by Remembering All Good Things Must End

Practicing gratitude is one of the surefire ways to increase your happiness . But just thinking grateful thoughts might not be enough. One study suggests we should focus on the imminent end of the things we're grateful for—to boost our happiness and enhance our gratitude.


by Melanie Pinola at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:30 Instapaperify


Living the Simple Life

‘A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.’ ~Henry David Thoreau

By Leo Babauta

For almost 9 years now, I’ve been learning to live a simple life.

A life uncluttered by most of the things people fill their lives with, and left with space for what really matters. A life that isn’t constant busy-ness and rushing, but contemplation and creation, connection with people I love and time for nature and activity.

That doesn’t mean I have zero clutter and zero complications: I’m a part of the world, not a secluded monk. I have possessions, electronics, distractions, and occasional busy-ness. I just have reduced it to make space.

Today I’ve been reflecting on this simple life, and thought I’d share some of those reflections.

Some things I’ve learned about living the simple life:

  • Decluttering your home and work space can lead to a less cluttered mind. These visual distractions pull on us in more ways than we realize.
  • A ...

by zenhabits at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:20 Instapaperify

h+ Magazine

Event: THE TWENTY-EIGHTH AAAI CONFERENCE (AAAI-14) — July 27-31 Quebec, Canada


July 27-31, 2014, Québec City, Québec, Canada

Collocated with CogSci 2014

The Twenty-Eighth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-13) will be held July 27–31, 2014 in Québec City, Québec, Canada. The purpose of this conference is to promote research in artificial intelligence (AI) and scientific exchange among AI researchers, practitioners, scientists, and engineers in affiliated disciplines. AAAI-14 will have a diverse technical track, student abstracts, poster sessions, invited speakers, tutorials, workshops, and exhibit/competition programs, all selected according to the highest reviewing standards. AAAI-14 welcomes submissions on mainstream AI topics as well as novel crosscutting work in related areas.

Québec City, a UNESCO World Heritage Treasure, is North America’s most European city, filled with museums and other historic attractions. Québec’s beautiful Old Town (Vieux-Québec) is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist. The convention center and conference hotel are only steps away from the historic section of Québec. AAAI will be preceded by the CogSci2014 Conference, July 23–26, and plans ...

by Peter Rothman at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:00 Instapaperify

Event: London Futurists — The future of intelligence July 26 London UK

[Editor's note: this looks really great! Recommended!]

Saturday, July 26, 2014


BT Centre
81 Newgate Street, London. EC1A 7AJ , London (map)

How is intelligence likely to develop in the future? What are the most promising approaches to machine intelligence? What is the reality behind the claims made for “deep learning” and “big data”? Is forthcoming superintelligent AI something to be feared? Can improved intelligence be applied to improve personal and global health and longevity?These are just some of the topics being covered in the Computational Intelligence Unconference UK, which London Futurists is pleased to support.MeetUp:

To obtain a ticket for this conference, please visit the website for CIU UK. A number of free tickets are presently available.

That website also has full details of:

• The parallel streams of activities that are taking place that day

• The venue for the event

• What is meant by the phrase “Unconference”.

Note that RSVP’ing on this London Futurists webpage willnot ...

by Peter Rothman at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:30 Instapaperify


Get More from Your Day by Using 90 Minute Blocks

Tetris designed by Emily L from the Noun Project

Tetris designed by Emily L from the Noun Project

On photographer Chase Jarvis’ blog we get a look at how to best schedule our days in order to utilize what Tony Schwartz calls “strategic renewal.” It’s the concept of participating in short activities throughout the day in order to energize us both physically and mentally:

The theory boils down to the fact that we can’t increase the hours in the day, but we can increase the energy with which we make the most of those hours. Taking short, scheduled breaks throughout the day rejuvenates and restores us physically and mentally, helping us plow through those assignments and to-do lists in a third of the time.

Inspired by Schwarz and the studies he cited, I created a Daily Schedule that broke up my day into 90-minute Work Blocks, separated by 30 minute Breaks and, in the middle of my day, a 2-hour lunch. I know some of you just spit your coffee out. But you read that right.

While your Daily Schedule blocks may ...

by Tanner Christensen at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:00 Instapaperify


How to Stop Overthinking Everything and Find Peace of Mind

How to Stop Overthinking Everything and Find Peace of Mind

We all overthink aspects of our lives. Whether it's decisions, regrets, self-worth, or general worries about the future, we're so often stuck inside our own heads that it feels like there's no way out. Here's how to quit overthinking everything and move on.


by Thorin Klosowski at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:00 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

NFL players keep getting bigger and bigger

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 1.47.15 PM

Aleks points us to this beautiful dynamic graph by Noah Veltman showing the heights and weights of NFL players over time. The color is pretty but I think I’d prefer something simpler, just one dot per player (with some jittering to handle the discrete reporting of heights and weights). In any case, it’s a great graph. Click on the link to see it in action.

P.S. Even better, once we move to a dynamic scatterplot, would be to use different colors for different positions, and to allow the reader of the graph to highlight different positions. On the linked page, Veltman writes, “the blob separating into multiple groups in the 1990s . . . likely reflects increased specialization of body type by position.” But we should be able to see this directly, no need for speculation, right?

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:42 Instapaperify



3-sentence summary of what’s happening in Israel and Gaza

Hamas is trying to kill as many civilians as it can.

Israel is trying to kill as few civilians as it can.

Neither is succeeding very well.

by Scott at Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:04 Instapaperify