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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘human beings

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • Crooked Timber looks at how evolutionary psychology can be used to justify monarchy.
  • Far Outliers shares an excerpt describing how methamphetamine is used as a secondary currency in North Korea.
  • The Frailest Thing shares quotes examining the link between seeing something and liking it.</li
  • Language Hat talks about ways of voicing surprise.
  • Language Log looks at a linguistically mixed language of China.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues the recounts are far more likely to help Trump than Clinton.
  • Marginal Revolution points to an interesting book on the Cuban economy.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at the idea of a sanctuary city in the context of American federalism.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the complex legalities surrounding religion and disbelief in Russia.

[LINK] @elfsternberg: “There’s no such thing as “without emotion.””

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Elf Sternberg has written a smart essay about emotion, and what we are actually saying when we claim that we are unemotional, that we are beyond this and are purely rational.

When we say someone is “unemotional,” what we’re really saying is that they’re engaged in the privileged feelings of masculinity: pride, reserve, contentment. Act like it, because your peers already terrify you if you don’t.

Queer men like myself aren’t “more emotional;” we’re permitting ourselves a wider range of emotions than other men, because our status requires we either deal with the terror of stepping outside the box of performative masculinity, or surrender to the closet and its miseries. Black men aren’t “more emotional;” they’re acting outside of the emotional range white America would rather see from them (reserved and content with a lesser status), driven by a rage I can understand and with which I can empathize, if not feel as deeply as they do.

Consciousness is a quality we humans seem to possess in unique abundance. When we say, “I feel,” we’re expressing a conscious need at a conscious level, but we are feeling something all the time. Psychologists know this, advertisers know this. Politicians on the right know that making people fearful makes them want simple, authoritarian answers to their problems. It doesn’t even have to be a *political* fear; asking people to walk over a frightening bridge makes them more likely to favor authoritarian policies in a questionnaire administered later the same day!

All consciousness is driven by emotion. All of it, without fail. Jesse Lee Patterson’s man-shaped pack animals tearing into the weakling among them is pure, endocrinological emotion and nothing less. We are not thinking machines operating on pure rationality– and if we were, from where would our motives come? We are feeling machines that developed the capacity to think as our best tool, the one that put us at the top of the food chain, the one that keeps us there unless it leads to our crapping our own nest into an uninhabitable mess. Men who act “unemotional,” who claim their decisions aren’t driven by their feelings, are lying to you, and to themselves. What they’re really doing is performing a pantomime of fearlessness because they’re terrified of what would happen if they didn’t.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO notes that the CN Tower will appear on the new loonie.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the circumstellar disk of unusual star 48 Librae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes evidence that bonobos and chimpanzees have interbred a quarter=million years ago, like humans and Neanderthals.
  • Language Log remembers a Chinese man imprisoned for wearing a shirt insulting Xi Jinping.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is correct in arguing for an end to feral cat populations, on ecological grounds.
  • The LRB Blog looks at efforts to memorialize D.H. Lawrence in his home town in the north of England.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on a high-profile debate in China between two economists.
  • The Map Room Blog maps mortality in Switzerland and finds large differences between Latin and Germanic areas.
  • Strange Maps notes one British proposal in the 1780s with the United States that would have given all of inhabitable Canada to that country.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at problems with Russia’s new concept of a civic nation.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Antipope Charlie Stross wonders about the interactions between parasite loads and the intelligence of the inhabitants of off-world colonies.
  • Bad Astronomy shares a stunning mosaic of the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • blogTO notes the construction of a viewing platform for Toronto plane spotters.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog examines why we call other people stupid.
  • Imageo notes how Arctic sea ice is trending at record low levels.
  • Language Hat looks at the ways in which the English language is changing.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money and the Volokh Conspiracy consider whether the FBI announcement of the expansion of the Weiner E-mail search to target Hillary Clinton was legal.
  • Marginal Revolution reports that GM crops are apparently not increasing yields particularly.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell reports on the politics of bashing Darwin and evolution.
  • Spacing considers a recent election outcome for mayor in Saskatoon.
  • Torontoist reports on the Russell Hill subway crash of 1995.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the prospect of Russians turning against Putin and argue his regime’s fascist turn will be continuing.

[DM] “On the idea that the human life expectancy is limited to 115 years”

At Demography Matters, I blog about the idea that the human life expectancy might be limited to 115 years.

Even if this is the case for the foreseeable future, I argue that there’s still much that can be done to make sure we reach this limit and that life to this limit is as healthy as possible.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Beyond the Beyond quotes a Vladimir Putin statement on geopolitics.
  • blogTO shares photos from Yorkdale’s expansion.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at more evidence for Planet Nine.
  • Dead Things notes evidence that right-handedness has been predominant among hominins for some time.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the discovery of three hot Jupiters.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the Philippines’ shift towards China.
  • The Planetary Society Weblog looks at ExoMars’ mission and the failure of the Schiaparelli lander.
  • Torontoist notes that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has bought Constellation Wineries, making some Canadian wineries Canadian-owned again.
  • Towleroad reports on a Europe-wide census of LGBT identities.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi notes that Hillary Clinton is winning because she puts work into it.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Putin’s changing style of governance.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO shares the new face of the Broadview Hotel.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the joys of the unscreened life.
  • Dead Things reports on a study suggesting that although humans are violent by the standards of mammals, we are among the least violent primates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the discovery of five sizable planets orbiting HIP 41378.
  • Language Log reports on the perils of 7 and 9 in Cantonese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the usefulness of The Battle of Algiers.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reacts to the Elon Musk proposal for colonizing Mars.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer responds briefly to the question of what Mexico can do about Trump.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how the Russian invasion of Ukraine has spurred new arms purchases throughout the eastern half of Europe, even in Belarus.