Epicurus and the atheist's guide to happiness

Seek pleasure and avoid pain. Why make it more complicated?

Credit: Antonio Masiello via Getty Images
  • The Epicureans were some of the world's first materialists and argued that there is neither God, nor gods, nor spirits, but only atoms and the physical world.
  • They believed that life was about finding pleasure and avoiding pain and that both were achieved by minimizing our desires for things.
  • The Epicurean Four Step Remedy is advice on how we can face the world, achieve happiness, and not worry as much as we do.
Keep reading Show less

Are we in an AI summer or AI winter?

Neither. We are entering an AI autumn.

Credit: Jesse Chan via Unsplash
  • The history of AI shows boom periods (AI summers) followed by busts (AI winters).
  • The cyclical nature of AI funding is due to hype and promises not fulfilling expectations.
  • This time, we might enter something resembling an AI autumn rather than an AI winter, but fundamental questions remain if true AI is even possible.
Keep reading Show less

How WallStreetBets “hype” spreads among investors like a virus

A new study explores how investors' behavior is affected by participating in online communities, like Reddit's WallStreetBets.

WallStreetBets reddit page

Rafael Henrique via Adobe Stock
  • The study found evidence that "hype" over assets is psychologically contagious among investors in online communities.
  • This hype is self-perpetuating: A small group of investors hypes an asset, bringing in new investors, until growth becomes unsteady and a price crash ensues.
  • The researchers suggested that these new kinds of self-organized, social media-driven investment behaviors are unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
Keep reading Show less

Why professional soccer players choke during penalty kicks

A new study used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure brain activity as inexperienced and experienced soccer players took penalty kicks.

PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 09: Diego Valeri #8 of Portland Timbers reacts after missing a penalty kick in the second half against the Seattle Sounders at Providence Park on May 09, 2021 in Portland, Oregon.

Abbie Parr via Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • The new study is the first to use in-the-field imaging technology to measure brain activity as people delivered penalty kicks.
  • Participants were asked to kick a total of 15 penalty shots under three different scenarios, each designed to be increasingly stressful.
  • Kickers who missed shots showed higher activity in brain areas that were irrelevant to kicking a soccer ball, suggesting they were overthinking.
Keep reading Show less

Changing a brain to save a life: how far should rehabilitation go?

What's the difference between brainwashing and rehabilitation?

Credit: Roy Rochlin via Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • The book and movie, A Clockwork Orange, powerfully asks us to consider the murky lines between rehabilitation, brainwashing, and dehumanization.
  • There are a variety of ways, from hormonal treatment to surgical lobotomies, to force a person to be more law abiding, calm, or moral.
  • Is a world with less free will but also with less suffering one in which we would want to live?
Keep reading Show less

Why kids take board games so seriously

How morally developed are you?

Credit: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
Personal Growth
  • Lawrence Kohlberg's experiments gave children a series of moral dilemmas to test how they differed in their responses across various ages.
  • He identified three separate stages of moral development from the egoist to the principled person.
  • Some people do not progress through all the stages of moral development, which means they will remain "morally undeveloped."
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast