from the world's big
The Vulnerability of Power
To reduce or undo someone else’s power, observe carefully those who have it and how you’re helping them keep it. Then consider how to alter that pattern with the person in question.
Who at some time hasn’t been shocked to see a sports team of seemingly unimpeachable power lose to a much weaker team? Did they overestimate their prowess or underestimate their opponent? Did they slack off at practice? Or did they lose focus because in their eyes the outcome had already been determined?
One problem with power – and the likeliest hope for those oppressed by it – is that rarely is it permanent. Yet, people with power often take it for granted or misuse it.
Research on abusive supervision shows how, by lording it over others, people in power often “cut off their nose to spite their face.” Job and life dissatisfaction and the accompanying emotional and physical exhaustion, psychological distress, absenteeism, reduced performance and poor morale typically result among the people they target. None of these outcomes reflect well on the person in charge. But nevertheless, some people in power tend to assume it will last forever.
That assumption can provide a real opportunity if you work for a power abuser. People generally act in predictable ways -- and most of them are unaware of it. Combine these conditions and you have vulnerability -- power in jeopardy.
To reduce or undo someone else’s power, observe carefully those who have it and how you’re helping them keep it. Then consider how to alter that pattern with the person in question. I knew a young woman who took regular insults from a supervisor; no matter what she said at meetings, he ignored or insulted her. But one day when he went too far, she gathered her things, stood up and walked out of the meeting. This isn’t usually advisable, but the way she saw it, the relationship had hit rock bottom. Since her words had not worked in the past, she had little to lose -- so she walked out, ending the pattern in the process. Her supervisor ran after her, apologized and the situation never occurred again.
A response needn’t be quite so emphatic in order to make an impact. Once you recognize that power is vulnerable and that things you do can strengthen or diminish another person’s power over you, change is possible. The key is to observe how those with power use it, and how skillful others respond effectively. If your action or inaction contributes to abusiveness, then plan a way to say or do something differently. Don't feed the monster. Try diminishing abusive power over you merely by refusing to remain predictably defensive, silenced or embarrassed.
We usually think of those without power as vulnerable, but power players are vulnerable to the extent that they’re predictable. If more people watched for those patterns and responded in ways that ended rather than extended them, there’d be a whole lot less misery in our world.
photo: Kheng Guen Toh/Shuttertock.com
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
If machines develop consciousness, or if we manage to give it to them, the human-robot dynamic will forever be different.
- Does AI—and, more specifically, conscious AI—deserve moral rights? In this thought exploration, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ethics and tech professor Joanna Bryson, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider, physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher Peter Singer, and bioethicist Glenn Cohen all weigh in on the question of AI rights.
- Given the grave tragedy of slavery throughout human history, philosophers and technologists must answer this question ahead of technological development to avoid humanity creating a slave class of conscious beings.
- One potential safeguard against that? Regulation. Once we define the context in which AI requires rights, the simplest solution may be to not build that thing.
Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.
- Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
- The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
- The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.