Open Thread: Complaints & Grievances

Just a quick note: In the past few days, I've had several complaints about the auto-playing video ads on the right sidebar. Rest assured, I find them just as annoying as you all do. I've written to the management at Big Think, and I've had assurances that they've already been changed so that the sound is muted by default. If you find that this isn't the case, please let me know.


On a somewhat related note, if you've been following the saga of Edwina Rogers, you'll probably want to read Greta Christina's latest post, summing up her personal thoughts on her two interviews with Rogers and with Roy Speckhardt of the SCA board. Let's just say you don't want to incur Greta's displeasure! Personally, I'd like most of all to see an official response to this controversy from the SCA board; their silence so far has been stark.

Consider this an open thread. What else has been bothering you that you'd like to complain, gripe, grouse, vent spleen, or otherwise raise well-founded objections to?

Image credit: Tony Werman, released under CC BY 2.0 license

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Mind & Brain

  • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
  • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
  • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
Keep reading Show less
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

Keep reading Show less