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Showing posts from August, 2013

People Predisposed to Hate or Love

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It's a base assumption in our society that we all have freedom of choice to love or hate, whether people, products or anything else.  New research shows that you and I are actually following a script, that when we each love or hate, we're simply are doing what we are predisposed to do.

Freedom of choice apparently doesn't exist, at least according to this research.  Here's an edited version of the press release, parsed according to my predispositions and not my freedom of choice.

Why Do Haters Have to Hate? Newly Identified Personality Trait Holds Clues
New research has uncovered the reason why some people seem to dislike everything while others seem to like everything. Apparently, it's all part of our individual personality -- a dimension that researchers have coined "dispositional attitude."

People with a positive dispositional attitude have a strong tendency to like things, whereas people with a negative dispositional attitude have a strong tendency to dis…

Intelligence Is Not a Remedy for Racism

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Smart people are just as racist as their less intelligent peers -- they're just better at concealing their prejudice, according to a University of Michigan study.

"High-ability whites are less likely to report prejudiced attitudes and more likely to say they support racial integration in principle," said Geoffrey Wodtke, a doctoral candidate in sociology. "But they are no more likely than lower-ability whites to support open housing laws and are less likely to support school busing and affirmative action programs."

He analyzed data on the racial attitudes of more than 20,000 white respondents from the nationally representative General Social Survey. He examined how their cognitive ability, as measured by a widely used test of verbal intelligence, was linked with their attitudes about African-Americans, and about different policies designed to redress racial segregation and discrimination.

Respondents were about 47 years old at the time of the interview, on ave…

SciFi in Real Life: Steerable Needles in Your Brain

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I remember the 1966 movie, "Fantastic Voyage", starring Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O'Brien, and Donald Pleasence.  The idea was to shrink a submarine and crew to microscopic size so they could save the life of some politico.  The main image I retain is Raquel Welch (left) in a skin-tight suit that is stripped down to the minimum by rampaging and probably sexist, male white blood cells. 

The rest of the story remains a blank.

Well, the concept has come true in a way with a new image-guided surgical system under development at Vanderbilt University. It employs steerable needles about the size of those used for biopsies to penetrate the brain with minimal damage and suction away the blood clot that has formed.

The story goes on to describe this as a high-tech method to remove blood clots from a patient's brain after they suffer a life threatening embolism. 

Now, instead of suction tubes, how about electrodes or a tip that can freeze a microscopic portion of a brai…

Fiction, Global Warming, and the Writer

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Any writer worth his or her syntax how should be considering how global warming and the resulting change in our climate impacts the story and plot.

This includes the positions taken by deniers and the political debate that swirls around the topic.

I'm not going to take a stand on this other than to say that researchers have determined that the less a person knows about global warming and climate change, the more likely they are to deny the science behind the phenomenon. They are something like the old 19th Century "Know-nothing" political party in the U.S. which took the position toward slavery and their rapidly changing economy, "If I keep my head in the sand, maybe it will go away."  It didn't, as you know.

Unfortunately, it looks we're just at the beginning of the impacts.  Consider these three releases from August 1st of this year, and think of how these results can impact your characters and your story lines.
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Climate Change Occurring Ten T…

"Write drunk, edit sober."

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A often cited quote from Ernest Hemingway, known for his drinking.

Why have so many writers been alcoholics and addicts?

A new book, The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink, by Olivia Laing, just published in England by Canongate and to be published in America in December by Picador, explores the lives of many well known authors.

To order The Trip to Echo Springs from Powells Books, the world's largest single site new and used bookstore, click on the image below:

Trip To Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink
by Olivia Laing