Former Basketball Player John Amaechi and Filmmaker Mike Leigh Interviewed by Big Think
Many of the guests who we interview at Big Think can be described as "giants" in their fields, but this week we actually hosted our tallest guest ever. John Amaechi, the 6'10" former basketball pro, made headlines in 2007 when he announced that he was gay—a first for the NBA. Amaechi is also one of a very small handful of basketball players with a Ph.D; he completed a graduate degree in psychology after retiring. During his interview, he spoke candidly about being gay in the NBA, about reconciling black identity and gay identity, and about the troubling lack of emotional illiteracy among adolescent males.
Mitch Horowitz, a scholar of all things esoteric, also came by the Big Think offices this week to regale us with stories of America's occult past. Because of its religious freedom, the United States became a laboratory for all sorts of religious and spiritual experiments, he told us. And that influence has reached as far as the White House: Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd are reported to have had more than one séance in the presidential abode, hoping to conjure the spirit of their dead son Willie. Horowitz also gave us an academic history of the Ouija board.
A new AI-produced commercial from Lexus shows how AI might be particularly suited for the advertising industry.
- The commercial was written by IBM's Watson. It was acted and directed by humans.
- Lexus says humans played a minimal part in influencing Watson, in terms of the writing.
- Advertising, with its clearly defined goals and troves of data, seems like one creative field in which AI would prove particularly useful.
A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.
- A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
- This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
- The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Then again, maybe the study is fake news too.
- Recent research challenged study participants to pick real news headlines from fake ones.
- The results showed that people prone to delusional thinking, religious fundamentalists, and dogmatists tended to believe all news, regardless of plausibility.
- What can you do to protect yourself and others from fake news?
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