Open Thread: New Year's Resolutions
Happy New Year, everyone! As I may have mentioned in the past, I like the tradition of making New Year's resolutions: it's an entirely secular holiday whose point is self-improvement, which is something any atheist ought to be able to get behind. In that spirit, this post is dedicated to New Year's resolutions: whether you kept the ones from last year, and what you resolve to do in the year ahead.
I'll go first: As I mentioned last year, I resolved to keep a food journal in 2011. This one went pretty well - I used MyFitnessPal for Android - and ended up losing about ten pounds, which was what I was aiming at.
I also resolved to be able to run a 5K flat-out, without resting or walking, and I wasn't as successful at that one. My times and top speed have improved a lot, but I still can't do it without stopping to walk at least a little. I think I may be more of a sprinter than an endurance runner, genetically speaking.
And lastly, I resolved to get my book published. I couldn't keep that one in 2011, I admit - but I just might have an announcement to make on that front fairly soon. I'll keep you posted!
As for new resolutions for 2012, I have a couple: I intend to go to the gym at least 144 times (my record for this year was 136), and to increase the maximum weight I can lift in overhead press to 200 pounds (currently at 165) and my bench press to 250 pounds (currently at 200). I'm reassessing the 5K goal and I'm aiming to be able to consistently run one in 30 minutes, which is the single best time I've gotten.
Now it's your turn. What are your resolutions for 2012? And if you made resolutions for 2011, did you keep them?
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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