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- A former clandestine operative reveals a CIA method for reading an adversary's mind.
- Game theory exposes the two best tactics for winning a negotiation.
- If you're not a subscriber yet, join Big Think Edge today. Boost your analytical intelligence with our 7-day free trial.
This week, Big Think Edge is releasing three videos about getting inside the heads of people you need to understand better. Jamie Notter clears up what many people don't understand about millennials, Amaryllis Fox shares a great CIA technique for predicting an adversary's behavior, and Kevin Zollman puts you on top in negotiations.
Preparing for the millennial takeover: Understand the four trends that shaped a generation, with Jamie Notter
Maybe you're a millennial. Maybe you've been baffled by them. In either case, there's no denying the friction that often arises in the workplace between millennials and those who came before them. The insights of Jamie Notter, author of When Millennials Take Over, should resolve confusion and friction on all sides. Why are millennials the way they are? Notter's astute, eye-opening analysis of the world millennials know explains everything.
Available September 3 in Become a Better Manager
Win with red teaming: A case study in strategic empathy from inside the CIA, with Amaryllis Fox
To win in a conflict, it's imperative to see your adversary clearly. It's not always easy to do, especially when dealing with entrenched opposing mindsets, and in the 1980s the CIA developed "red teaming" to address this. Former clandestine CIA operative Amaryllis Fox explains how a "red cell" of CIA operatives were charged with getting inside the minds of Soviet leadership as deeply as possible, non-judgmentally assuming both their tactical and emotional perspectives. It proved to be an invaluable means of predicting their behavior. Stepping outside yourself to spend some time in an opponent's skin, explains Fox, is not only a great way to accomplish your goals — it's also a powerful personal-growth experience. Learn how to do it this week, at Big Think Edge.
"THE TRUTH IS, YOU ACTUALLY ARE FAR BETTER EQUIPPED TO GO AFTER THE PRAGMATIC, STRATEGIC WIN WHEN YOU KNOW HOW TO EXERCISE EMPATHY, AND CLIMB INTO THE PERSPECTIVE OF ANOTHER PERSON, PARTICULARLY YOUR ADVERSARY."
– AMARYLLIS FOX
Available September 4 in Boost Your Emotional Intelligence
The science of strategic thinking: Improve negotiation outcomes with 2 central principles from game theory, with Kevin Zollman
Game theorist and author of The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting Kevin Zollman talks about how game theory tries to explain negotiations. It identifies simple principles that underlie what seems on the surface to be complex interaction. Two of these principles just happen to be the ones that typically determine whether you or the other person is going to win. Hint: They both involve positioning yourself to seem like the person who has the least to lose. Time to level-up your negotiating skills. Start your 7-day free trial of Big Think Edge to watch this lesson.
Available September 4 in Boost Your Analytical Intelligence
Big Think Edge releases Deep Dives!
This week marks a brand-new offering on the Big Think Edge platform: Deep Dives! Big Think Edge Deep Dives are four-step educational experiences that are made up of articles, videos, and activities. We'll be releasing three Deep Dives every week so there's more than ever to learn on Big Think Edge.
Our first three Deep Dives explain why Donald Trump, the "Disruptor in Chief", might be onto something when it comes to so-called dark emotional intelligence in negotiations; we look at how to welcome Gen Z into your strong intergenerational team; and you'll also learn how to use practical framework for making life's toughest decisions.
Philosophers have been asking the question for hundreds of years. Now neuroscientists are joining the quest to find out.
- The debate over whether or not humans have free will is centuries old and ongoing. While studies have confirmed that our brains perform many tasks without conscious effort, there remains the question of how much we control and when it matters.
- According to Dr. Uri Maoz, it comes down to what your definition of free will is and to learning more about how we make decisions versus when it is ok for our brain to subconsciously control our actions and movements.
- "If we understand the interplay between conscious and unconscious," says Maoz, "it might help us realize what we can control and what we can't."
Puerto Rico's iconic telescope facilitated important scientific discoveries while inspiring young scientists and the public imagination.
- The Arecibo Observatory's main telescope collapsed on Tuesday morning.
- Although officials had been planning to demolish the telescope, the accident marked an unceremonious end to a beloved astronomical tool.
- The Arecibo radio telescope has facilitated many discoveries in astronomy, including the mapping of near-Earth asteroids and the detection of exoplanets.
Bradley Rivera via twitter.com<p>In 1963, the concave dish was built into a natural sinkhole on the northern coast of Puerto Rico. The location was <a href="https://www.space.com/20984-arecibo-observatory.html" target="_blank">picked because it was near the equator,</a> providing scientists a clear view of planets passing overhead, and also of the ionosphere, which is the uniquely reactive layer of Earth's upper atmosphere where the northern lights form.</p><p>Since its construction, scientists have used the Arecibo telescope to map near-Earth asteroids, detect gravitational waves, study pulsars, detect exoplanets and <a href="https://www.seti.org/goodbye-arecibo" target="_blank">search for alien civilizations</a>, among other projects. Here's a brief look at some of the discoveries and accomplishments made using the Arecibo telescope:</p><ul><li>1964: Astronomer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Pettengill" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gordon Pettengill</a> discover that Mercury's rotation period is 59 days, significantly shorter than the previous prediction of 88 days.</li><li>1974: Physicists Russell Alan Hulse and Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr. discover the first first binary pulsar, for which they won a Nobel Prize in Physics.</li><li>1974: Scientists use the telescope to transmit the "Arecibo message" to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Globular_Cluster_in_Hercules" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">globular star cluster M13</a>. The message, when translated into image form, contains basic information about humanity and human knowledge: the numbers one to 10, a map of our solar system, an illustration of a human being and the atomic numbers of certain elements.</li><li>1989: Scientists use the telescope to image an asteroid for the first time.</li><li>1992: Astronomers Alex Wolszczan and Dale Frail become the first to discover exoplanets.</li></ul>
The recent AstraZeneca offers a cautionary tale.
- AstraZeneca's press release about its recent vaccine trials was filled with erroneous data.
- A manufacturing error meant that some participants only received half of the intended dosage.
- In the rush to produce a vaccine, science by press release is of growing concern.
AstraZeneca Vaccine Trial Likely Needs a Restart: Johns Hopkins<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2913149af137b447f306b83ee2808ced"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YsfvESm84PQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Science has always been and will continue to be complicated. In regards to the pandemic, more surprises await, like the fact that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/17/chemicals-found-in-everyday-products-could-hinder-covid-19-vaccine" target="_blank">PFAS could negatively impact</a> the efficacy of <em>any</em> COVID-19 vaccine. This is of particular importance to Americans, as this acid is used in many common products in this country. <br></p><p>There's little comfort that an adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health says we "have to cross our fingers and hope for the best" in regards to the possibility that the chemicals in non-stick pans and waterproof clothing might thwart our chance of successful vaccination. Discovering this possibility isn't a conspiracy; it's indicative of science working as intended, even if we don't like the results. </p><p>Chemistry matters; so does patience. Weill Cornell Medicine vaccine researcher John Moore <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/11/after-dosing-mix-latest-covid-19-vaccine-success-comes-big-question-mark" target="_blank">phrased it best</a> when calling AstraZeneca's head-scratching announcement "the worst aspect of science by press release." In the rush to deliver good news during a challenging year, we overlook the fact that science is a slow process governed by consensus. Rushing out half-baked data does no one any good. </p><p>AstraZeneca's rush to break news is especially perilous given the <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2020/09/17/u-s-public-now-divided-over-whether-to-get-covid-19-vaccine/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">growing influence</a> of vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaxxers. Misinformation is like a dry forest floor after a hot summer. Vaccine science needs to be evidence-based. Fear-mongering thrives when the focus is a headline instead of clinical efficacy.</p>
Photo: Raquel / Adobe Stock<p>As Jonathan Berman writes in his recent book, <em>Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement</em>,<br></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Vaccination occupies a unique space as one of the most effective technologies ever developed to fight disease, as well as the only technology to ever eliminate a disease entirely. Vaccination conveys both individual and collective benefits, and carries very modest individual and collective risks." </p><p>Perhaps because this is the first global pandemic in generations we've forgotten how deadly diseases can be. In the 18th century, more humans died from communicable diseases than today's biggest killers, like heart disease and cancer; roughly 300 million people died from smallpox in the 20th century. COVID-19 isn't nearly as deadly, yet that doesn't dampen the real problems we face around vaccine disinformation. </p><p>In some ways, even the botched press release isn't new. Conceptually, vaccines are thousands of years old. Louis Pasteur, building on Edward Jenner's work on cowpox, was as much publicist as scientist when his <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/resources/history/index.html" target="_blank">anthrax trial</a> helped usher in the modern age of medicine. He made sure to invite plenty of journalists to observe his trial, which is how word of this medical advancement spread widely. </p><p>Expediency often sacrifices integrity. Fortunately, Pasteur's scientific literacy was as dependable as his love of fawning writers. As Victorian-era statistician Francis Galton presciently commented, "In science credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not the man to whom the idea first occurs." </p><p>We have to wield the power responsibly. Vaccine development by press release does not serve anyone. There are too many variables in medicine and humans are impatient animals. Good science relies on the input of many researchers and tens of thousands of volunteers. </p><p>That great strides have been made in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine should comfort us—a little—but also serve as a reminder that little arrives as quickly as we desire. That's just not how science works. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His new book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
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