This week in comments: January 14th—January 21st, 2018

Another week, another wild round of comments from our Facebook audience. Some made us laugh. Some made us cry. Here's the best of the week. 


Slavoj Žižek: Political Correctness Is a More Dangerous Form of Totalitarianism

Jay YipIn the first world context, most human decisions that used to be driven by biology are already driven by non-biological frameworks - logic, economic confidence, etc. To tether humans to "a nature" is to deny our essence - being driven by the automated (not automatic) human impulse to transcend our biology. 

Vinicus Mueller: Zizek is very intelligent, but I have to challenge his idea that the digital era has opened up new freedoms while also creating new methods for curtailing that freedom. This is a contradictory statement that he makes. If a new medium of interaction creates the opportunity for control, any "freedom" therein must be an illusion. Indeed, Zizek needs to think more deeply about what is freedom. Freedom is not being able to think and choose from endless options to no avail. That is the illusion of freedom, like a knock-off Nike. Freedom is the ability to do what you ought to do in any given moment without having to choose to think about your options at all. If you have to think about it, if you have to choose - even if what you choose is "freedom" - you are already not free.

Getting More Sleep Curbs Sugar Cravings, Study Finds

Laura Dees: When you are asleep, you can’t eat cookies.

Brian Engh: Sleeping an extra 60-90 minutes per day will give you 60-90 fewer minutes for craving sugar.

How to Predict a Company Crisis: Uber, Lego, Marvel Comics

Chris Geo: Frank Zappa was talking about the state of the recording industry in the seventies and said much of the same but he also made a point of companies hiring people who "know what the people want". His point was that in the fifties and early sixties a bunch of old guys with not much of a clue were running the industry. However these old guys had one thing going for them. They knew that they were out of touch and when a band or composer came to them with new, experimental or just different music they would say "well i dont know if its good, i dont even know what it is but go make a few singles and we'll see what happens. So they did and it sold and the old guys then said well this is great but we still dont understand it, get a hippy in here. So they bring in a hippy and dont really give them any real responsibility except to get coffee and give an opinion on what the "kids like" the hippy gets all the coffee orders correct and eventually they give them a real job as an A&R man, producer and eventually they get to be the people in charge but instead of saying well i dont know what this is but lets try it they said no this wont sell because "i know what people want" that is why i got this job. So fast forward to the eighties and today and we have music that is over produced mass marketed garbage that draws on the failed notion that if a little something is good a lot of it is better. 

Trade, Diplomacy, Culture: How America Can Lead the World without Its Military

Pat CavanaughReinstate media coverage like we had in Vietnam, the blood and gore, the coffins... yes, Anericans have forgotten, and that is by design.

Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
  • Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
  • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
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Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
Surprising Science
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
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How to heal trauma with meaning: A case study in emotional evolution

As tempting as it may be to run away from emotionally-difficult situations, it's important we confront them head-on.

  • Impossible-sounding things are possible in hospitals — however, there are times when we hit dead ends. In these moments, it's important to not run away, but to confront what's happening head-on.
  • For a lot of us, one of the ways to give meaning to terrible moments is to see what you can learn from them.
  • Sometimes certain information can "flood" us in ways that aren't helpful, and it's important to figure out what types of data you are able to take in — process — at certain times.
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