Neuroscience, Motherhood, Korea, Reddit, Gibraltar, Repairwork

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Dick Passingham On Cognitive Neuroscience

Cal Flyn | Five Books | 3rd April 2017

Interview with experimental psychologist. Interesting throughout. “I did an experiment in which I had two lights — one on the left and one on the right, and the one on the left came on eight times out of ten, and the one on the right came on two times out of ten. I wanted to know if an animal which had a lesion in its frontal lobes would go to the more common light when the less common light came on? Would it be bad at controlling its impulses? That’s what happened, and I published it” (6,700 words)

SuperBabies Don’t Cry

Helen Kirn Lanier | Vela | 7th April 2017

On giving birth to a daughter with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a genetic condition affecting physical and intellectual development. “She was four pounds, twelve ounces. This was apparently an alarming size for a newborn. After a shift change, when a new nurse entered my room, she asked a question that felt like a slap: ‘Did you take drugs while pregnant?’ No, nurse, I wanted to say. I took superfoods. I took reiki. This is the moment when I realised perhaps I hadn’t made a SuperBaby after all” (5,800 words)

Korean Politics 1: The Lay Of The Land

Kim Hyung-Geun | Ask A Korean | 8th April 2017

Introduction to the fundamentals of (South) Korean politics. Race, immigration, religion, drugs and Islamist terrorism are not salient issues because none currently presents acute problems. There is broad consensus in favour of central economic planning, international trade, socialised healthcare, and environmentalism. The big divisive issues are relations with North Korea, regional chauvinism, attitudes towards the pre-1987 dictatorship, and relations with the United States (2,900 words)

When Pixels Collide

Sudoscript | 4th April 2017

Strangely gripping account of an online art project that mobilised thousands of Reddit users to produce not only a finished work of astonishing complexity but also a sociological experiment of almost mythic proportions. Contributors coalesced into groups that created, argued, destroyed, and finally co-operated. “There were battle plans. There were appeals to emotion. There were even false-flag attacks, where the followers of one colour placed pixels of the opposing side inside their own” (2,100 words)

Tea, Biscuits And Britishness

Siobhan Fenton | New Statesman | 8th April 2017

Gibraltar’s 32,000 residents live on two square miles of Mediterranean rock under British sovereignty in a near-parody of British life, with double-decker buses, red telephone boxes and the Daily Mail. “Even the public toilets bear logos of the British royal family on their walls.” But when Britain leaves the EU, so must Gibraltar, perhaps reverting to Spain; which is not a popular option locally. “I would rather this whole place goes up in a mushroom cloud than concede to the Spanish” (1,700 words)

When Your Toaster Is Toast

David Whitford | Fast Company | 7th April 2017

iFixit helps people fix things — especially Apple things — by publishing free manuals and selling toolkits online. It provides training, tools and updates to a network of 15,000 independent repair technicians across America. “We impact the economy in a far bigger way than we capture ourselves”. Which explains why Apple looks on with a baleful eye: iFixit has just $21 million in sales, but its model threatens Apple’s “stupendous repair revenues” worth around $6 billion (3,750 words)

Video of the day: Cirque Du Soleil BMX Workshop

What to expect:

Cirque du Soleil works with stunt bike riders to develop bicycle-based choreography (3’20”)

Thought for the day

The most certain way to hide from others the limits of our knowledge is not to go beyond them
Giacomo Leopardi

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