Why conspiratorial thinking is peaking in America

The internet has given us the opportunity to stay informed better than ever. It's also given us the ability to misinform ourselves — delude ourselves — beyond belief.

  • The internet has allowed fringe groups founded on paranoid thinking to merge in ways we've never seen before.
  • Part of modern political polarization in American is that we're becoming a people who believes in different realities, some of which are based on fears rather than facts. Many of these conspiracy theories are targeted on groups that we believe are plotting against us.
  • There is a romanticization that we're going to somehow solve all of life's unknowns, Da Vinci Code-style. However, this ironically may put us at a disadvantage in terms of breaking puzzles — we look for the familiar in vague stimuli, a pheonmenon known as pareidolia, which only further confounds us.
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Elon Musk reveals Tesla has designs for a submarine car

The Tesla Motors CEO has plans for a James Bond-like car that drives on and under water.

United Artists
  • Elon Musk said at a shareholder meeting that Tesla has designed a car that drives under water.
  • The design was inspired by a James Bond movie.
  • There are no immediate plans for the car's production.

You knew that sooner or later, Elon Musk, the closest person we have to a James Bond villain or Tony Stark, would attempt to build some new, next-level gadgetry straight from the movies. Not one to disappoint when it comes to making outlandish ideas become reality, Musk revealed that Tesla Motors has designs for a submarine car.

Yes, this car will be able to drive on roads, but also on and under the water. At least that's what Tesla CEO Musk said at an annual shareholders meeting in California. When asked by a shareholder whether Tesla thought about building a submarine car, Musk answered in the affirmative. Not only that, his company actually has designs for just such a vehicle (electric, of course).

Musk was inspired by the 1977 James Bond film "The Spy Who Love Me," saying that he thought the car in that movie (inspired by Lotus Esprit) "was like the coolest thing." In fact, he loved it so much that he bought it for £616,000 (close to $800K).

When can you get such a fantastic vehicle? Not so fast, said Musk. He thinks it's technically feasible but the market for such a car isn't quite robust enough yet.

"I think the market for this would be small—small, but enthusiastic," Musk explained.

Who knows maybe the expression of our collective enthusiasm upon reading such articles will make this car a reality.

Check out the submarine car sequence from the “Spy Who Loved Me” here:

Is acting hazardous? On the risks of immersing oneself in a role.

It's easy to imagine why people link Heath Ledger's death to his treacherous penultimate role.

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  • In 2008, actor Heath Ledger accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills and died, aged 28.
  • One myth that attached itself to Ledger's death was that it was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker.
  • New research suggest that fully immersed actors "forget themselves" in the sense that they actively ignore facts about who they are, temporarily subordinating their own thoughts and feelings to those of their character.
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Remembering George Dantzig: The real Will Hunting

How the story of a statistics student being late to class became the inspiration for the protagonist of Good Will Hunting.

Photo credit: oman Mager on Unsplash
  • One of the iconic scenes from Good Will Hunting shows Matt Damon's character anonymously solving a nigh-impossible math problem on a blackboard at the university where he works as a janitor.
  • This story, while modified for the purposes of the film, actually happened.
  • George Dantzig, who would later become a famous mathematician, was late to his graduate statistics class one day when he saw two statistical problems on a blackboard that he mistook for homework.
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14 movies for your next pagan holiday

In your Ostara bonnet…

  • 14 pagan-flavored movies to consider for your next holiday get-together.
  • Filmmakers just can't stay way from the pagan love of nature and magic.
  • Pagan-themed movies can be excellent training for wee environmentalists.
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