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Your personality is a myth
Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from July 10, 2016. It's a collection of podcasts, videos, and other links for people who love to learn online and are fascinated by the world. Click here to get playlists emailed to you as they come out.
Invisibilia The Personality Myth, Jun 24, 57 min Learn about: how your idea of how stable your personality is and where it even comes from is probably way off. Hear from inmates, leading psychologists and other smart people who will make you question everything about yourself. Quote 1: "And so Walter Mischel wrote his book - 365 pages of tables and charts which argued that one of our most basic beliefs about personality, that our personalities are consistent, made up of traits that determine our behavior no matter where we go or what we do, that idea, might just be a mirage." Quote 2: "You know, the cells in your body are turning over quite often. So your red blood cells only last 120 days. Your hair gets turned over every few years. Your skin cells only last two or three weeks. The colon and the stomach - it's only four or five days before all those cells get replaced. Now, neurons, the cells in your brain, those don't die and get replaced. But the atoms that make them up are constantly turning over. So when you look at your friends and loved ones, atomically, they've completely turned over from when you last saw them, let's say, five years ago."
99 Percent Invisible Episode 219: Unpleasant Design & Hostile Urban Architecture, Jul 5, 16 min Learn about: the concept of what unpleasant design is and how – true to the name of the show – we barely think about it even though we've encountered it every time we go to the park or any other public space. Quote 1: “Unpleasant designs are meant to exert a kind of social control in public by targeting people who spend a lot of time in public spaces, especially the young, and the homeless. And the designs often end up pushing the so called undesirable people out of one space and into another." Quote 2: “The reason we need a critical theory of unpleasant design is so that we can recognize the coercion that is taking place in our public spaces. We need to know when we are replacing human interaction and nuance and empathy with hard, physical, non-negotiable solutions."
Freakonomics Radio Why Do We Really Follow the News?, Jun 15, 38 min Learn about: if following the news is important to be a functioning member of society or if it's simply one form of entertainment that doesn't really have that much of an impact on our lives. Quote: "Which means that even though we began this conversation talking about the news as a vehicle of surprise and suspense, it may be that a lot of us don’t really want any surprise or suspense. We want to be told a story that matches the story we are already telling ourselves, about ourselves."
Planet Money Episode 709: The Quiet Old Lady Who Whispers "Fair Use", Jul 1, 18 min Learn about: the four different criteria looked at when a court decides if something is "Fair Use" or if it infringes on a copyright. If, for example, you wanted to write a kids story about the squashed hopes and dreams of the quiet old lady from everyone's favorite bedtime story, Goodnight Moon, could you do it? Like the host, I also read this book to my son every night for over a year and found the premise to be a perfect and funny way to explore this issue. Quote: "I present to you the quiet, old lady. In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon and a quiet, old lady with a lot to say. I painted these pictures when I believed in art, when dreams of success filled my heart, when we were rich and could buy nice things - kittens and mittens and a little house. Before the curse of the little mouse, I was the cow jumping over the moon. I was the moon. Now I am nobody. I am mush.
Child, you are the stars. You are the air. You are the noises everywhere. Hush, hush, hush, hush, hush."
Seven-Minute Opinions Ep 2: Why a College Degree Isn't Worth What it Once Was, Jul 5, 7 min (duh) Learn about: why graduate degrees are the new undergraduate degrees. Well damn, I better get saving then. Quote: “Employers don’t pay people on the abstract principal that if you’re productive you deserve a better salary. They pay based on whether they can find someone to do the same job for less. In this world, a college degree is essentially a “fire-me-last” sign."
Surprisingly Awesome Extinct Hockey, Jun 14, 47 min Learn about: that there are extinct sports teams and how a non sports person like the hilarious John Hodgeman can come to enjoy the game in their own way. Quote 1: “It’s a weird thing to say, that my interest in hockey, of any kind, was inspired by good design. But in fact it was, literally good design, because the hero of my sport is the graphic designer Peter Good." Quote 2: "Suddenly I understand all the people who love sports. What they’ve been telling me over the years, it’s not just about the athleticism, it’s not just about the arbitrary team rivalries. It’s also about the stories, the stories of the individual players and what they’ve gone through and the stories of what the teams have gone through in conjunction with their cities. And suddenly I’m getting it. And I reach this profound moment of like oh my god, what if I like hockey?"
Vsauce Alzheimer's and the Brain, Jul 2, 15 min Learn about: how memory works and how Alzheimer's is so devastating to those suffering from it and to all their loved ones. Quote: "“It is incredible and exciting and a little scary to realize how much more we have to learn about the brain. We know more about the orbital mechanics of distant binary stars than we do about the very mechanisms we use to know about them in the first place. Inner space is as mysterious and deep as outer space."
The Conversation Freaks, geeks, norms and mores: why people use the status quo as a moral compass. Learn about: why academics think that someone's view on the rightness of the status quo is affected by how that person explains what is typical. Quote: "In particular, if people are given explanations they may not have considered initially, they may be less likely to assume “what is” equals “what ought to be.”
That's all for this week!