Online dating is "an incredibly
unsatisfying experience," says Duke behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely, the author of "Predictably Irrational." In fact, his research has found that each date you set up using online services requires an average of six hours of searching for
people and emailing with them. "I mean, imagine that you basically
had to drive six hours, three hours each way to have coffee with
somebody, and, you know, coffee usually ends up with just coffee." Part of the problem, according to Ariely, is the search criteria that dating sites use. By giving us superficial attributes to request in a mate, the sites tend to exaggerate our superficial tendencies.
In his most recent Big Think interview, Ariely talks at length about the issues around dating and mating, also telling us about a recent study he did that determined that people find others attractive in part based on how they perceive of their own attractiveness. "If you're [an unattractive] woman, you start valuing short men who are bald with bad teeth," says Ariely. "I mean, you just say, 'These are really wonderful features: I like hairy chests, I like bald head.' You basically change what you like and that actually helps you adjust."
Ariely also talked about the "Ikea effect," whereby we tend to overvalue the things we ourselves make—and we tend to think others will value them highly as well. "You can think about kids like this," says Ariely. "I have two wonderful kids, I love them dearly, I think they’re amazing. When we go to a party and they dance or do something, I can’t believe that any of their parents would want to do anything but look in my kids, right? And that’s the issue, right? They are my kids, I think they are wonderful, but, not only that, I think that other people should see them as wonderful as I see them. And the same thing happened with origami or with everything we make, not only do we overvalue it, we think that everybody will share our perspective."
Trust and revenge also figure significantly into Ariely's research. He says that even though both are irrational, our society depends on them to keep an equilibrium. In fact, if everyone acted rationally all the time, our society would likely be a lot less pleasant to live in, he says. That said, if we were a little more rational we might stop doing things like smoking and texting-while-driving that aren't in our best long-term interests.
Ariely also talks about how businesses behave in ways that are irrational, pointing specifically to the over-reliance by marketers on focus groups. He also notes that executive bonuses don't necessarily translate into better work or higher productivity.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Elon Musk took issue with recent ideas for space exploration from Jeff Bezos.
- Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have sparred over space exploration previously.
- Musk wants to focus on Mars while Bezos has the moon and space colonies as goals.
- In a recent tweet, Musk called out Bezos's plans for space colonies as unrealistic.
If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.
- For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
- Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
- Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
- Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.
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