Open Thread 8 NOV 23 ~ Tech / Psyche


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Uncertain : the wisdom and wonder of being unsure

written by Maggie Jackson

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A revolutionary guide to flourishing in times of flux and angst by harnessing the overlooked power of our uncertainty. In an era of terrifying unpredictability, we race to address complex crises with quick, sure algorithms, bullet points, and tweets. How could we find the clarity and vision so urgently needed today by being unsure? Uncertain is about the triumph of doing just that. A scientific adventure tale set on the front lines of a volatile era, this epiphany of a book by award-winning author Maggie Jackson shows us how to skillfully confront the unexpected and the unknown, and how to harness not-knowing in the service of wisdom, invention, mutual understanding, and resilience. Long neglected as a topic of study and widely treated as a shameful flaw, uncertainty is revealed to be a crucial gadfly of the mind, jolting us from the routine and the assumed into a space for exploring unseen meaning. Far from luring us into inertia, uncertainty is the mindset most needed in times of flux and a remarkable antidote to the narrow-mindedness of our day. In laboratories, political campaigns, and on the frontiers of artificial intelligence, Jackson meets the pioneers decoding the surprising gifts of being unsure. Each chapter examines a mode of uncertainty-in-action, from creative reverie to the dissent that spurs team success. Step by step, the art and science of uncertainty reveal being unsure as a skill set for incisive thinking and day-to-day flourishing.

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Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age

written by Maggie Jackson

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In this gripping expose of our cyber-centric, attention-deficient life, journalist Maggie Jackson argues that we are eroding our capacity for deep attention and mindfulness - the building blocks of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress. The implications for a healthy society are stark.Despite our wondrous technologies and scientific advances, we are nurturing a culture of diffusion and detachment. With our attention scattered among the beeps and pings of a push-button world, we are less and less able to pause, reflect, and deeply connect.In her sweeping quest to unravel the nature of attention and detail its losses, Jackson introduces us to scientists, cartographers, marketers, educators, wired teens, and even roboticists. She offers us a compelling wake-up call, an adventure story, and reasons for hope.As the author shows, neuroscience is just now decoding the workings of attention, with its three pillars of focus, awareness, and judgment, and revealing how these skills can be shaped and taught. This is exciting news for all of us living in an age of overload.Pull over, hit the pause button, and prepare for an eye-opening journey. More than ever, we cannot afford to let distraction become the marker of our time.

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Had the pleasure over the weekend to attend a presentation by a semi-local author to
introduce her new novel Uncertain at the library. She hit on many salient issues we
are facing today as a society. Her earlier work Distracted is also a
timely description of how our attentions are being misguided. A taste - 37 minutes:

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Any other suggestions of good books you are reading?

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Open thread so add anything on your minds.

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Not a big fan of personal devices. Somewhat of a digital dinosaur with my flip
phone. Most people rely on their portable electronic brains too much, IMO.

Feeling a bit under the weather today, will hope to *see* you later.

Q

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Sima's picture

@QMS
I use my digital phone for three things basically: messages, duolingo (languages) and solitaire games. Heh. Nothing else. My friends think I'm nuts, but, not gonna talk on the hand rectangle. Not gonna pay bills on it, not gonna 'surf' the web on it, not gonna. Just not gonna.

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

ruining young people's development. I am beginning to have difficulties with clients in their 20s and 30s. Not only is tech screwing with their ability to think and contemplate, but their social skills are horrible. They talk to each other as though they are going viral. I had one woman call my assistant a liar. She said she was not sent an email from the office. Well, she didn't check her email. I am withdrawing from representation. I have no tolerance for that behavior.
I bought a book in a gift shop and intend to take it on vacation next week. "Texas Hysterical Society: The Wacky Side of The Lone Star State". It should be packed with true stories!
Hope you get to feeling better, Q.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

@on the cusp

Quite sure a book of whacky could be written for each state.
The apparent demise of critical thinking skills, problem solving
and other cortex related functions seems to be accelerating.
Not just in the yunguns' but most all of the 'connected' folks.

If the goal of AI is to improve information tech, it leaves the
human aspect out. We stumble and doubt but creativity is
there to actually learn stuff.

Thanks for being here!

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dystopian's picture

@on the cusp Hi OtC,

Totally agree with your points about tech and the young minds. We have altered the course of human evolution with it. Where a lot of the chips are falling does not seem particularly promising. Access to any library or museum, and countless books, all over the world, and it is more time is spent on cat videos and making idiotic memes.

Yer book sounds great! When I moved here a couple decades ago, right off the bat a guy told me to meet him at the first hysterical marker south of town. That is what they call them here! Oh those Texans! Wink

Does the smart anything actually achieve that for its user? AI only seems smart to stupid people.

Be well, and have fun!

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

horse race polling news from the latest Times/Sienna poll in 6 battleground states showing RFK Jr pulling an average 24% in a 3-way race in those states. https://scri.siena.edu/2023/11/07/in-3-way-race-independent-robert-kenne...

This poll also shows him leading Biden and DJT among voters under-45 in those states.

It would appear his tough, too pro-Israel stance, which I do not agree with, is not hurting him among most voters, and the constant smears and misinformation from various anti-Kennedy quarters, which will only continue as he gains support, are not producing the intended impact.

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@wokkamile

of RFK losing his national organizing base?
Sounds like planted dis-info to me.

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@QMS at least one anti RFK tweeter.

According to a friend of Bobby, the "entire" field campaign consisted of the departure of at most 5 staffers, most of them connected to former CM Kucinich, none of whom leave with ill feelings. This was apparently in most cases a matter of getting more competent people into their positions, not out of policy differences over, say, I-P. Typical restructuring of a large national campaign, not much to see here.

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@wokkamile

Thanks!

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Sima's picture

@wokkamile
Very glad. Thanks for posting the info!

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

routine with comments like this.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-11-08/zelenskiy-says-kyi...

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine will be able to ensure that post-war reconstruction is free from corruption, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday.

Speaking in an interview by video link at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York, Zelenskiy also said that Kyiv had already shown significant progress in fighting graft.

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Sima's picture

@humphrey
being sidelined by the next great, totally awesome, have to pay attention to it, war.

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

enhydra lutris's picture

try to find time for the video, topic sounds really up my alley. Don't know how much to dive into today without viewing it. BUT ...

Uncertinty IS the human condition if by certainty one means apodictic certainty. Perfect absolute truth only exists as defined truth or revealed truth (and the latter is not demonstrable to others nor objectively arguable). A shorthand for this, viewed from the inverse is that tautologies cannot describe or inform about the actual, empirical world. They cannot apply to reality. In short, certainty is a feature of closed self-fulling truth systems, and not of the actual universe. Never the twain shall meet.

The above fact has caused great trauma to those reared and educated on the inviolable truths spewed forth by their religion and by centuries of cultural absolutism, including certain ideologies. The cognitive dissonance resulting from the discovery of the uncertainty inherent in empiricism is a source of a lot of angst and intellectual or psychological disorder, various obsessions and, in many, a retreat into messianic or other extreme religious denial of reality.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

thanks for dipping in the paddle

the discovery of the uncertainty inherent in empiricism

indeed!

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person who spends too much time on FB, X, and Instagram.
I represent her husband in their divorce. He simply can't talk to her, and she doesn't have an attorney. So she calls me. Over and over. My time is hers, don't I understand? She tells me "You need to tell your client how it is going to be." I hang up on her. I can't tell you how offended I get when anyone, much less a young, bratty woman with a GED, tells me how to do my job. I only hear this ill-mannered, socially inappropriate talk coming from people under the age of 40.
I watch videos, read texts, hear recorded phone calls, see pictures that are stupid and nasty, decide which ones I should offer into evidence. These people are proud when their stuff gets "likes".

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Sima's picture

@on the cusp
If I were in her position, I would be afraid to look at, never mind talk to, my soon-to-be ex husband's attorney. I would be especially afraid to talk AT my ex's attorney. Talk about making it very clear why he wants the divorce! I do think young people today do this more. I know the world is changing around me, and how people interact is changing some. I guess that's to be expected. Thing is, where were her parents when it was time to teach her manners? Weird!

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

@Sima representing herself. I can barely put up with it.
I watch these young people making videos of themselves, just vulgar, rude, nasty stuff, and they think they are so damn cool. Respect for elders, respect for where you are, how you are being viewed and judged by others...what happened? None of these ideas are taught or instilled in these young people.
According to Instagram, the nastier you are, the cooler you are.
Sima...PLEASE do not take a shower with your baby in the stall with you, rave about white people being crackers who need to die, and how much you need to fuck, put it on Instagram, when you are right in the middle of a custody of your child law suit. You will lose custody.
I can't make this shit up. I played that video in court during trial. All court personnel were white, and my client, the Dad, was black. He hung his head, could not watch his estranged wife do what she did. After the judge made the decision, several court personnel came to shake his hand, and escorted both of us to my office for our safety. That was another young woman representing herself pro se. Her calls were so bad, I threatened to have her arrested for telephone harassment.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Cassiodorus's picture

It appears that subscribers to Vote Blue No Matter Who history are invariably bound to screw up German history of the 1930s. And so, for instance, we have Hillary Clinton telling The View that Adolf Hitler was "duly elected":

Once again, no. Hitler was initially appointed. Here's the Wikipedia summary of the run-up to the March 1933 election which ultimately validated this initial appointment, cobbled together from well-documented sources:

The Nazi seizure of power commenced on 30 January, when President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor, who immediately urged the dissolution of the Reichstag and the calling of new elections. On his second day as Chancellor, Hitler opened his campaign with a nationwide radio address pledging to save the nation from the left-wing, which he castigated as "political nihilism."[3] In early February, the Nazis "unleashed a campaign of violence and terror that dwarfed anything seen so far".[4] Sturmabteilung stormtroopers began attacking trade union and Communist Party (KPD) offices and the homes of left-wingers.[1]: 317 

So, yes, Hillary Clinton is obliged to misrepresent history in order to demonize Donald Trump, a man with whom I have no sympathies, but who is basically a lazy asshole. I will shed no tears if they convict him. At any rate, this is the use-value of Vote Blue No Matter Who history: let's pretend Hitler was "duly elected" so we can make Trump into something he isn't. Where are Trump's stormtroopers? And why haven't they knocked on my door yet?

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"The West doesn't spend any time, or, our policymakers in Washington spend no time thinking about, like, what are the achievable goals here?" -- Tucker Carlson, on Project Ukraine