Article Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8346058.stm
Article Title: Babies 'cry in mother's tongue'
This short article on BBC news is about babies crying in their mother’s accents, as an attempt to form stronger bonds with them. So, my advice to all soon-to-be mothers is: Speak in the most pleasant language you can think of, otherwise your baby’s cries will be even more unbearable. What if a fetus grows with no external sound, though? What if the mother is mute and everyone she knows is mute as well? Will the baby cry in sign language? Well, of course not, but would you get a truly neutral accented baby in this unlikely and wild hypothetical scenario? And while we are on the topic of weird babies with accents, can I just mention how adorable Scottish babies must sound? Goo goo ga ga aye! Also, does this study have any relation to the common pregnant woman legend that playing classical music to unborn children makes them smarter? This article raises more question than it answers, but I think it should be a more complex article, explaining the research with more precision. It does, however, raise an important point: language is important for out lives, even before we are born.
I will force myself to adopt a Scottish accent whilst pregnant. You can come to hear my baby cry when it is born.
Article: Why people act out of line with their beliefs
This article is about another one of those glitches that happen inside our brain similar to the 12 cognitive biases. The author explains through a scientific experiment how people change their beliefs to fit their actions instead of the other way around. For instance, according to the experiment, men were paid different amounts ($1, $20) to perform two extremely boring tasks. Then, they were asked to lie to encourage other people to perform the other tasks. The ones who were paid $1 were more enthusiastic than the ones who were paid $20. The reason for this is that $1 does not seem like enough money to waste such time so they convince themselves that it wasn't that bad so that they don't feel as if they have been cheated or wronged. I thought the results of this experiment were very interesting and illuminating. Even though, their belief that the experiment was boring, was, in fact, valid, they change that belief to suit their actions. Humans are always trying to rationalize actions once they have done it, in order to minimize guilt or feel intelligent and justified. An interesting insight that was drawn from the experiment was its application to famous long books (or even movies). It posits that people who read thousand-page novels are likely to approve of it instead of thinking it as a waste of time and money. I can personally relate to that after reading The Man in The Iron Mask by Dumas. While reading it, I didn't think it was particularly interesting or amusing but once I was done I kept telling people I loved it. Duh, no one wants to feel as if they have wasted their valuable time so it is much easier to just commend it. Otherwise, the article is very interesting in how it shows the occasional fickleness of the human brain.
10 of the Weirdest Futurist Scenarios for the Evolution of Humanity
Reading through out this article I came to consider this scenarios aren’t that impossible at all, but obviously they are one more probable than other statistically, maybe not only one will happen but this scenarios could fusion, or also they could never happen or happen partially. This is something will only be known once we are there in the future were we would look back and look at the imagined possibilities we created. As an opinion some of the listed possibilities are already partially happening such as: the voluntary devolution, where people as the Amish and Mennonites don’t like in the prehistoric era but decide to live in a simpler way where they try not to harm anything. The voluntary human extinction, is partially happening because it is a question being made daily by society about other living creatures and if the would be better without the human race; also they are already some starters of this idea. The rise eco-humans, every day the amount of people concerned about the ecology and the planet seem to grow. The transgenic humans together with the Out of control morphological arms races are partially in development while the scientist are already researching on how to eliminate defective DNA and they are some parent that try to pre-determine the characteristics of their babies; in both of this theories humans want to be improved. The Post gendered humans, may already be naturally evolving as the number of transgender people is increasing everyday also with the biological evidence of hermaphrodites. The uploads theory may also be on its way of existing since everyday technology advances, as seen that it is possible to control technology with our eye movement and cloning is being researched to duplicate humans. They are many possibilities being discussed and developed as analyzing each theory but in fact it is impossible to predict our future towards our own evolution as specie.
The future that I depict is similar to the tenth suggestions, the one leaning towards uploads and the human consciousness in to a supercomputer. This suggestion focuses a lot on copying the person, however the future I thought of is humanity reaching a point, not that they can't interact with the outside environment, but one in which they don't want to. Humans will have their comprehension, conscious, awareness, and all physiological traits in a computer where they can have anything they want. Humanity will reach a point that they will not need to have any interaction with the society around them. There will be no more future searches for intelligent life off of earth, on a fear that something will happen to destroy the utopia which humanity has created for itself.
Article: These two psychological tricks will get people to do you favors
Honestly, after reading a scintillating title such as "These two psychological tricks will get people to do you favors" I was expecting some very useful and important information. It’s always great to get people to do you favors. Seriously, my expectations for this article were high, and I was severely disappointed. All the article did was state the obvious. It supposedly taught me to do things I have already been doing for years and years. The article by Esther Inglis-Arkell explains how to obtain a big favor and how to obtain a small favor. She says a big favor can only be asked after a series of small favors of a friendly nature. If one asks for a big favor having never asked for a favor before, one is much more likely to be rejected. With small favors, it is the opposite. One usually asks for a big favor first, that the other person usually rejects, then for the small favor one wanted all along. If one asks first for a big favor then a small favor, the small favor is much more probable of being accepted.
I say I am disappointed because we all know this. We all do this consciously or unconsciously. The article just stated the obvious. I am sure that my Mom knows more tricks than that. She is the master at asking favors from people (mainly me) without that person being able to really do it. She can have the most estranged people doing the most outrageous things for her as though it were the most normal thing in the world. She’ll never really order or command anyone to do anything, it’ll start off as “Can you do me a favor…?”, and the whole world seems to fall on their knees. It probably helps that she has a sweet voice and an adorable face. Refusing her would be akin to kicking a puppy. It’s simply not done. I planned on reading this article to counter some of her favors that I truly do not wish to do, but no. This article sucked.
Article: What do we mean by the "rights" of the nonhuman person?
I completely agree with the author’s opinions. Just because non-human creatures are not, well, human, it does not mean they should not have rights. Of course, just like humans have their essential rights for living, animals and such should as well, for they are living and thinking creatures. Now, insects for instance, I hope would not count as some of these non-human creatures in the case I find a very nasty one wandering around my house; I will most certainly kill it, and will sure not want to get sewed whatsoever for such an act. I also believe that, even though I do think non-human creatures should have rights, as I already explained, there should be some exceptions. As in example, if someone is driving a car, and a squirrel appears in the middle of the road, the human’s life should be considered more important, because trying to deviate can get the human and whoever is with them in the car, killed. If I ever came across this scenario, I am one hundred percent sure I would not have the guts to run over a little squirrel. Yet, experts say how dangerous it is to deviate, and how running over should be preferable, and I have to say that, even though it sounds extremely devilish, I agree. Aside from that, there really is nothing wrong with the rights the author has mentioned, that non-human creatures “should be immune from undue confinement, abuse, experimentation, illicit trafficking, and the threat of unnatural death” and I do not see why this topic is even questionable. If this because cosmetic and scientific industries are the opposition, I have to say, the world has become way over foolish. These industries are obviously biased and do not want to lose their guinea pigs (quite literally) for experiments that get so many poor creatures caged, intoxicated, killed and so on.
Tittle: Research to find effects on brain of bilingualism
Please, for whoever is reading this, don’t get offended by my comment: I did not like this article. I thought it to be too monotonous and factual. However, it does bring an interesting point that can be further analyzed through a different perspective. It’s a pity that the author did not explore examples of applying bilingual benefits to medical science and society. Instead, the article roughly states what the benefits are: being bilingual indulges communication between individuals from different cultures, and prevents the “brain from aging” as well as “accelerates the brain`s performance capacity " (Gathercole). However, the author does state briefly that there are medical beliefs that by being bilingual you can increase memory capacity. If you think about this a little bit further, could you consider knowing a second language the treatment to avoiding Alzheimer?
Think about it. If by being bilingual you can increase brain capacity, then maybe diseases connected to brain function or memory assimilation can be avoided or even cured. If we made “learning a second language in school” universally obligatory, probably this would lead to better communication amongst individuals, and in the increase of quality learning. Many specialists state that one of the biggest causes of conflicts amongst world politics; rely in the inability of leaders to understand each other. And I mean this in a metaphorical and literal manner. Because of the divergences and cultural aspects in which language has a great influence, sometimes it is hard to perceive another country’s point of view in “your native language”.
For instance, in Quechua, there is no word for “thank you”. The ancient Incas, throughout years of civilization, believed that by having you do a favor to another person, meant that that person you helped was in debt with you. Since this was common knowledge, there was no such thing as “thanking”, since favors had a cost. By creating this idea, it was hard in the Incan society to have constant inner struggles. First because, they lived in a desert and they needed each other in order to survive. So everyone was always constantly in debt to everyone, since everybody had to ask for help from another acquaintance. And as the Incas conquered other tribes, they forced that these outsiders learned Quechua in order to blend in. Thus, they could adapt to their society better. Furthermore, these outsiders most times became slaves, and they did not question. As they learned Quechua, they came to believe that they had to return the Incans the favor of sparing their lives by not revolting against them. Smart huh?
Thus, if by being bilingual means to reduce conflicts amongst us, and sparing me having Alzheimer 60 years from now; why not make teaching a second language in school a universal law? And who knows, maybe learning another language can help in the reduction of other mental disease`s side effects, such as ADD (brain control will be more focused, not allowing the individual to distract himself so easily). Maybe the problem lies in how to apply these languages as a law, rather than seeing if these theories are true. If you stop to think, there are too many struggles amongst countries already, and some languages would not be accepted to being taught in some places. After all, it should be encouraged that rival countries learned each other`s languages, in order to see if tensions can be decreased; just like the Incas did with their rival neighbors. However, lets think about how likely would it be accepted to learn Hebrew in all Iraqi or Syrian schools. That would be something very interesting to see being discussed. HAHAHAHAHA
Article: 10 Words That Don't Translate Into English
In now days, tons of language has been recognized. The most recognized one, of course is the English, although some people may say its the Mandarin, since its China native language which has a population of 1.3 billion.
As I could search through a variety of sites, I could encounter interesting words that would not be encountered in the English dictionary. Some words and definitions are funny, although its still worth.
Chán (Mandarin) - The feeling of wanting to eat but not being hungry.
Swaffelen (Dutch) - To repeatedly hit something with a penis.
Saudade (Portuguese) - The noun, that indicates that you are missing someone/something.
Yaouter (French) - Speak or sing in a foreign language.
As much weird they sound, in the English language, they are all common words, used in their native language. Its only about getting a basic idea on what they really means, if you "translate" the definition into English.
Article: Why people act out of line with their beliefs?
Personal, I thought that the people being paid 20 dollars and the people being paid nothing
I personally think that beliefs is actually a delicated thing to talk about. People act the way they act because they think that is the right way. Every human have the right to believe in something, you can try to persuade others to have the same belief, but never judge different opinions. The article basically says that many beliefs can turn against the others and many of them generate conflicts in today’s world and the experiment was a test to test the others to take a look and analyze until when they could sustain what they believed in. Its actually kind of interesting the difference between the ones that were paid 20 dollars and the ones that were paid nothing over the experiment. I don’t know how my personal reaction would be over it, but I think that I would not feel good if I was paid only 1 dollar, it may sounds crazy but I think it looks like a waste of time. However if I was paid 20 dollars, the story changes.
Article: Should we eliminate the human ability to feel pain?
This article was particularly intriguing to say the least. Disregarding that the author is slightly bias it is a very informative and well written article. Now the concept of abolishing pain sounds wonderful but I'm not fully convinced that not feeling pain is a positive innovation to the world of biotechnology. Ideally people suffering from chronic pain should be able to rely on more than analgesics in order to live a pain-free life but the idea of using preimplantation genetic diagnosis in order to alter the genes of future generations is nonsense. Giving people the opportunity of being in charge of their own genetic destiny is a recipe for disaster. Scientists are always trying to defeat the odds, or prove that things that are real and exist for a reason are unnecessary as they are currently doing with pain. It seems to me that scientists now days are trying to create an utopia, a perfect human race if you will. Unfortunately I don't think that humans should alter their genetics. Once people start messing around with our genetic codes humanity will fall into desperation.
Why people act out of line with their beliefs
This article by Tom Stafford is really interesting because it enlightens the reader of a very common human action that isn`t brought up very often. I never heard about cognitive dissonance before reading this article and I was kind of shocked once I realized how often it is used. Stafford brilliantly explained cognitive dissonance by presenting real life examples like college initiation rituals. When you are a rookie and you go through the ritual it is obviously horrible. You probably question yourself why this is happening and how will it be beneficial. However, once you are through it and it is your turn to watch or manage the rituals, your view totally changes. Now you think of it as something that will provide school spirit to the new students and you suddenly accept it. The author also points out cognitive dissonance as the reason why many long books have good reputations. Maybe the book is really boring and could be reduced significantly, but after reading through its thousands of pages, the reader tends to believe it was worth it. After all, he or she can`t unread it. This makes me wonder what people actually think is enjoyable and not what they pretend to be. I believe that most of the time, people don`t want to admit that they wasted time because they don`t want to feel stupid. Cognitive dissonance is a natural thing and will always be part of the human species just like lies. However, people need to be more transparent with each other and think differently. You will never get the time you wasted back, but you can save someone else`s.
I find it extremely interesting that in the 21st Century there is a tribe in the Amazon that has had no contact to the outside world. This tribe's culture remains intact to the western influences, and haven't developed concepts to fit into the ones developed. It is intriguing to think how they measure time. How do they know how to harvest? Even if they call it the corn season or something, that is a concept of time. Time is, in fact, a man made measurement, which is measured based on the scientific development and establishment. Time is not only a western development, being that eastern cultures also have their ways of measuring it. The Chinese have developed different manners of measurements of time, and certain religions have different views when it comes to this as well.
Time, however, is a very puzzling with the western civilizations as well. Time is considered to be the 4th dimension of the universe, and being that it is relative, however there are not a lot of physical proof that time itself influences in happenings. Even though time is hard to understand, it is even harder to imagine not having a concept for time.
Article: Amondawa tribe lacks abstract idea of time
Why people act out of line with their beliefs
This is a very interesting article, that makes psychology look very attractive to me. This article brings up the Dissonance Theory which helps explain why people sometimes end up believing what they argue or changing their beliefs. According to the theory “in circumstances where some of our actions or our beliefs exist for reasons which are too complex, too shameful, or too nebulous to articulate, it can lead to us changing perfectly valid beliefs.” This is all proved through an experiment that made people that just performed two hours of boring repetitive activities argue to someone that it was actually super awesome. The amounts of money they were given ended up affecting the way they answered what their final thoughts about the experiment were. Just know that the highest paid hated the experiment and maintained their beliefs. The theory proved through the experiment helps explain why there are brutal initiation ceremonies and other stuff.
Would It Be Boring If We Could Live Forever?
It would seem that to live forever is a magnificent idea, but if you go ask other people, I’m sure the majority would disagree to that it would be a wonderful experience. The fact that it would be boring is at question since, as mentioned in the text, there isn’t anyone who has lived enough to tell us. I don’t get bored often, but I’m only 16, I haven’t “lived enough” to be saying life is boring, I am still discovering life, but it happens that sometimes I feel bored. When that happens I try to do things I like or I take time to reflect on my life. It may seem like nothings but sometimes it helps me think about better decisions to make. Sometimes I just make a very cute drawing, and that makes me happy. To be bored isn’t something necessarily bad, you can bring good things out of boredom, and it brings a good taste to life. The article mentioned that jobs could become very tiring, and if that happens why not just try another one, it’s not like you won’t have time to adapt or learn about it. There are so many different things you can do with life it is practically impossible to do them all and, on top of that, get bored with all of them. Lastly, it was mentioned that our life would be prolonged but that, nevertheless, we wouldn’t be free from accidents or traumatic deaths. Life is only prolonged, not infinite. Would it really be possible to live without having anything bad happen to us, who would get that privilege? It’s clearly impossible for humans to live an eternal life and boredom isn’t something that should prevent us from living.
Article: What is this thing we call science? Here's one definition …
I liked the definition proposed by the Science Council, even though I don’t know, like the article’s author, “who are the Science Council anyway?”. I agree with David Edgerton that defining science as a pursuit was appropriate since that is what I believe it is. Only because someone is still only researching and hasn’t yet discovered any ‘knowledge’, that doesn’t mean that person is not doing science. I definitively prefer the definition of the unknown Science Council then the one from dicitonary.com which says: “1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences. 2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”. Dictionary.com establishes as science only the knowledge and not its pursuit. I agreed with Edgerton’s first point, but disagree with him about the necessity of specifying the nature of the knowledge since one can apply science to all subjects. If one is investigating literature, but is doing it in a specific way that resembles how scientists work, then that person should also be considered to be doing science.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.