Dancing with the algorithms


Dancing with the algorithms, yielding results random but time-saving. How else are we to discover all these gems in a sea of content?

From Spotify to Gmail, we accept the recommendations to curate and speak for us. Playlists generate themselves, email answers itself.

Predictive life is human, stung with errors.

The computers and their code are often over their heads, impractical and sometimes stupid.

But in combination with human neurons, the computer gets closer to the truth: that we just need help deciding.

What appears random at first is the marriage of a happy accident.

Watch Volcano Calbuco Erupt in Chile 🌋


This is a timelapse of the Volcano Calbuco in Chile that erupted 3 times in 8 days between April 22–23, 2015.

One of the eruptions lasted 90 minutes, sending a plume of ash 6 miles into the sky.

While climate change deniers might point the finger at mother nature for these CO2 emissions, as one Facebooker notes in the comment section, “volcanic eruptions only make up about 1-2 % of the C02 emitted into the atmosphere. they also have a cooling effect on the climate from the Sulphur dioxide emitted.”

How complaining affects the brain


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The positive brain versus the negative brain

“Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses, just do the best you can do,” said UCLA coach John Wooden.

It turns out coach was on to something.

Recent studies show that complaining every day changes the structure of the brain.

Harmful behaviors such as complaining, if allowed to loop within the brain continually, will inevitably alter thought processes. Altered thoughts lead to altered beliefs which leads to a change in behavior.

Our brain possesses a something called the negativity bias. In simple terms, negativity bias is the brain’s tendency to focus more on negative circumstances than positive.

Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuroscientist and author of Buddha’s Brain, explains negativity bias:

“Negative stimuli produce more neural activity than do equally intensive positive ones. They are also perceived more easily and quickly.”

Fortunately, the brain is plastic, which means it can allow more positive emotions to work alongside more negative ones. Writes Alex Korb, author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time:

“In depression, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the brain. It’s simply that the particular tuning of neural circuits creates the tendency toward a pattern of depression. It has to do with the way the brain deals with stress, planning, habits, decision making and a dozen other things — the dynamic interaction of all those circuits. And once a pattern starts to form, it causes dozens of tiny changes throughout the brain that create a downward spiral.”

Your hopes and fears may be in your genes, but that doesn’t spell doom. One of the most practical things we can do to counter negative thinking is practicing meditation. “Neurons that fire together, wire together,” said neuroplasticity pioneer Donald Hebb. 

If forcing positive thinking feels inauthentic, try watching your thoughts instead. Being a neutral observer will help you rise above the whole notion of emotional sidedness. As with any self-improvement mechanism, daily practice and momentum is the key to long-term success.

You can redesign your brain


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gif via GE

“Who you are depends on what your neurons are up to, moment by moment,” writes David Eagleman in his book The Brain: The Story of You.

The classical textbook tells you that you’re immutable after a certain point, that in fact, you can no longer change. After your teens, your neurocognitive code is set in place.

But today’s neuroscience studies show that the mind is elastic. Staying challenged and interested in new experiences, you can plant even more brain cells and make even more connections. Writes Sharon Begley in Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain:

William James, the father of experimental psychology in the United States, first introduced the word plasticity to the science of the brain, positing in 1890 that “organic matter, especially nervous tissue, seems endowed with a very extraordinary degree of plasticity.”

It’s therefore vital that the information you choose to digest and the pathway you decide to take enhance the brain’s flexibility rather than deteriorate it.

You may be born with a set number of preconditions, but that will never account what you can gain from trial and error. Neuroplasticity ensures that you can redesign your brain if you so wish.

‘Short sleep predicts a shorter life’


I never sleep/because sleep is the cousin of death.

Nas, ‘New York State of Mind’

Everyone knows sleep is critical few people prioritize it. Some folks think it’s a badge of honor to get five hours a night. But your brain literally eats itself when you don’t sleep. 

Sleep is a ‘non-negotiable biological necessity.’

And why not get a few extra 💤? We’re all geniuses when we dream.

Nectar Summer Sale

Human plus machine 🤖


It’s inevitable. In technology, nothing stands still.

We’ll know what we want to accomplish and we’ll do so with incredible pace and confidence.

The only thing that stands in our way is lack of belief in the brain and body’s flexibility.

Virtual or non-virtual reality, there will only be one continuous world. Everything else is information, waiting to be decoded.

The human part will transcend the robot, the robot part will bring new meaning to the brain’s neuroplasticity. We’ll be able to recall Instagrams before the tip of the tongue.

Through neuro-chip exertion, the mind will make ‘always-on’ an exaggeration of the past.

Sleep may be the nature’s last organic recharge.

Further reading:

Making magical machines
This professor describes the future educated person
Competence without imagination 🤖
Learning to think again

Looking ahead, seeing behind


Stuck in the moment, nostalgic for the past.

How do people run life at a dizzying pace while also wanting society to replicate the 1950s? 

Technology facilitates progress yet turns back the clock on thinking. Mobile phones allow anyone with an account to amplify misinformation and weaken the willpower to do good. Even the inactive can recharge into fully blown acolytes.

Reality TV is phony, but it can become all too real with astonishing rapidity.  It turns amateurs into professionals, laymen into experts. Evil spreads by way of stupidity, invading human brains the way viruses enter human bodies.

Instead, what we need are more ideas that redirect the running memes in our head and compel us to emerge from our cocoons. The bubble has already popped.

The world we inhabit is the one we think we make.

Like science, it is worth questioning everything that tries to demand certainty. Stuck in a state of ripeness, we are always opening up without ever falling behind.

Nature, man and woman


We fail so easily to see the difference between fear of the unknown and respect for the unknown, thinking that those who do not hasten in with bright lights and knives are deterred by a holy and superstitious fear. Respect for the unknown is the attitude of those who, instead of raping nature, woo her until she gives herself. But what she gives, even then, is not the cold clarity of the surface but the warm inwardness of the body—a mysteriousness which is not merely a negation, a blank absence of knowledge, but that positive substance which we call wonderful.

— Alan Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

Coffee made in sand


Fact: Turkey also built the first coffee houses in the 15th century.

Warm coffee ☕

Think of humans ‘as a little fish out of water’


There’s more than one theory of evolution, most notably Darwinian natural selection. But according to LSU biology professor Prosanta Chakrabarty, we’re still evolving.

We’re not the goal of evolution. Think of us all as young leaves on this ancient and gigantic tree of life — connected by invisible branches not just to each other, but to our extinct relatives and our evolutionary ancestors.

From pond scum to fish to humans

From fish to amphibians to reptiles to primates with big brains, every living thing today is the product of four billion years of evolution. The shared ancestry may appear linear (e.g. monkeys > chimpanzees > humans) but single cell organisms are still evolving to this day.

Meanwhile, ‘primitive’ bacteria and plants will be the ones that survive us all.

Earth stripped of water


Life as we know it can survive without sunlight and oxygen: witness the creatures that populate the sulfurous vicinity of submarine hydrothermal vents. Life as we know it cannot live without water, and where there is water, there is almost always life.“I discovered living creatures in rain, which had stood but a few days in a new tub,” Antonie van Leeuwenhoek observed in 1675 after peering through his invention, a new and better microscope. A grown man like Pablo Valencia can last three weeks without food; without water, at most several days.

Read Watermarks: Diving into the fathoms to find life’s fluency

Dozing off into the brief unconscious 😴


When the sleepy participants’ eyes closed in “microsleep,” a.k.a. dozing, the researchers saw reduced activity in the thalamus, the part of the brain responsible for relaying sensory and motor signals to other parts of the brain. The thalamus is also responsible for regulating sleep (and the same effect was found in the scans of rested participants) so this part isn’t very surprising.

But more surprisingly, the researchers saw increased activity in the parts of the brain associated with sensory processing, which could account for the vivid images that seem to spring up when you first drop off to sleep. The researchers also observed more activity in the frontal parietal lobe, responsible for helping you pay attention, likely as a result of the brain’s attempt (and failure) to obey the “stay awake” command.

Read Parts Of Your Brain Go Berzerk On Microsleep