from the world's big
Is Information Technology a Threat to Equality?
James Taranto is a Wall Street Journal writer now internationally famous as a self-important jerk because of this tweet yesterday about the Aurora killings: "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice." Like most people who saw it, I thought this was an appalling sentiment. But why, exactly, does it feel so gratingly wrong? I think it's because Taranto was violating one of modern Americans' most sacred values: the notion that all of us are perfectly equal (especially when we need others' help).
Moral and legal equality is vital to the way modern societies run. If you appear in the emergency room, the doctor's duty is to treat you, not to decide that you cut your thumb with that power saw because you were drunk, and therefore you go to the end of the line. If a six-year-old child who lives in the school district shows up on the first day of class, we presume the school must take him in—rather than saying, well, you aren't that smart, so come back in a year. If your house is blown away by a tornado, the government doesn't evaluate how well you built it before giving you aid.
The other day I saw a bus stop to pick up a person in a wheelchair. In New York City this entails a slight delay as the bus is lowered, and its steps folded down, to accommodate the chair. Traffic was backing up. Maybe someone in one of those stopped cars, or on the bus, had a thought like: Why do we all have to wait for you? Why is it so important for you to be able to get on this bus? But woe betide anyone who said such a thing. The prevailing norm (and the law of the land) is that anyone ought to be able to take the bus, and each passenger's reason is as good as the next's.
Now, it may be that this norm flows from the innate decency and goodness of the American people. But Taranto's boorish tweet got me to wondering if perhaps this isn't true. Perhaps, rather, we consider everyone equal simply because we lack the information to rank them.
After all, the notion that all of us are equal in value is shared everywhere in the world. Indeed, it's pretty rare in human history. Much more common is the notion that some people are innately better than others. After a battle in any Shakespeare play, for example, the casualty report consists of nobles who are named and then everyone else (in Henry V, when the king asks who died in battle against the French, the answer is "Edward the Duke of York, the Earl of Suffolk, Sir Richard Ketly, Davy Gam, esquire, none else of name." Just 25 other guys who aren't worth more thought.)
Now, if equality is not a norm born of deep moral conviction, but rather a consequence of inadequate information, then the norm may be in trouble. Not because of a change in moral reasoning, but because of advances in technology.
As private life becomes more exposed on line, and we get used to seamless exchanges of information on ubiquitous computing devices, it will become possible to make judgments about who is more worthy than whom—to get a seat on the bus, to get out of the traffic jam first, to get credit, to see the doctor first and for the lowest fee.
Abundant data is already eroding what had once been a presumption of equality. Example 1: It used to be that the way to stay in good graces with a credit card issuer was to pay their bills on time and not go over their credit limit. Today, it's routine for your interest rate and credit limit to be altered because of your behavior with other bills. Example 2: Not long ago, employees on a company health plan paid roughly the same rate per head. Today, some companies require smokers and overweight people to pay more. In both these examples, equality has given way to a hierarchy of worthiness—a hierarchy based on data.
As the sphere of private life shrinks, those data-based opportunities for ranking people multiply. It is hard to argue with the logic: If you choose to smoke, you're likely to cost the health care system more money. If you're late with a lot of bills, you might be late with the mortgage some day, even if you never were before. But if it's possible to judge all of us all the time on everything, then, inevitably, some people will be judged more worthy than others. And with that judgment goes the decent, democratic and respectful presumption that we're all equally worthy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Follow me on Twitter: @davidberreby
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.