Big Think Interview with Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz
Matthew\r\n Malin: [NYU's Stern School of Business] had approached us to use \r\nour business model as a thesis for one of their semesters and I had \r\nworked with them sort of on a weekly basis talking about our business \r\nand it was really interesting because we have a very, sort of, \r\nnon-traditional business model in terms of how we’ve gone after business\r\n from a niche perspective. And as an entrepreneur, you know, we didn’t \r\nset out in, I think, a manner from which many entrepreneurs do. It \r\nwasn’t this "Okay, well, we’re going to start a business and here it is \r\nand we know we’re going to do this." It really just was a very simple \r\nextension of things we already were doing and we knew and we loved and \r\nit felt good because…
Andrew Goetz: And that we were very\r\n passionate about and I think that was definitely … You have to really \r\nbe willing to roll up your sleeves and you become a jack-of-all-trades, \r\nso to speak. And in many ways that is a great education because even as \r\nyour business grows and you start delineating responsibility to other \r\nthings, you know how to do every single job in an organization.
Matthew\r\n Malin: But even in talking to MBA students, there is this sort of, \r\nwell, "When is there a time when you don’t need to get an MBA because \r\nyou have so much experience in your business that it doesn’t really \r\nmatter? It’s not going to take you to the next level." I think that the \r\ntime for starting this business was then, like we didn’t need to have in\r\n my opinion for what we were doing. We didn’t necessarily feel we needed\r\n to have the MBA to get us to be here. It was just really sort of \r\nnatural at that point, so experience for me... one of the things that I \r\nalways talk about is having that level of experience on so many \r\ndifferent directions was really what I think helped us be to get to \r\nwhere we are today.
Andrew Goetz: And you have to be \r\ntenacious. There is no question about it.
Question: \r\nHow is your business model untraditional?
Andrew Goetz: Well,\r\n first of all we’re partners in life. I mean although I guess that’s not\r\n totally untraditional. No, I mean families and couples have done that \r\ntogether.
Matthew Malin: But I mean more specifically the\r\n model itself, like having written a business plan, which we had had \r\nsome dear friends who had started quite a successful business in \r\nAustralia... I used their business model, their business plan to write a\r\n business plan, which took me probably about six months after I had left\r\n Prada and then another year in development from start to finish when we\r\n launched. And the business itself is sort of a nontraditional aspect of\r\n how to go after business and what we’ve done is we had setup sort of \r\nthis idea of a freestanding store sort of being everything for us. It \r\nwas the store. It was the showroom. It was our opportunity to create \r\nsales. It was our distribution center, everything to the brand, so we \r\nwere sort of sitting in the store waiting on customers, packing boxes \r\nthat were being shipped to London. It was everything, all encompassing, \r\nand it sort of grew organically from there. We didn’t take investors. We\r\n are self-funded. We have grown only organically. The business has been \r\nprofitable since its first year and it has been operational since its \r\nfirst day, so while we put in an initial capital investment to the \r\ncompany, we haven’t invested any more of our own money since then. We’ve\r\n only allowed it to grow naturally in its own direction.
Andrew\r\n Goetz: Yeah, I think that’s actually the thing that is the most \r\nuntraditional is that we haven’t had a very slick marketing world, that \r\neverything has grown organically and that we don’t actually go after \r\nbusiness in a traditional way. As a matter of fact we have never \r\nsolicited any of our accounts, so everything has sort of come to us and I\r\n think that’s unique.
Matthew Malin: But it’s left us \r\nvery exclusive and having had these backgrounds where we were taking \r\nexperience we had... I had many beauty editors who knew who I was and \r\nwhat I was doing and Andrew had design editors and so we already had \r\nsort of a built in platform with those. I had had experience doing \r\nretail distribution, so there were a certain number of retailers who \r\nalready knew me and would talk to us about our brand, so in all respects\r\n we had sort of set the stage in sort of a nontraditional manner with \r\nbasically no money.
Question: What’s the story behind \r\n(Malin+Goetz)?
Andrew Goetz: I was the ultimate \r\nminimalist. I washed my face, body, hair and shaved with a bar of \r\nNeutrogena. You know, a very clean rectangle square.
Matthew \r\nMalin: Yes, and I was a beauty buyer for Barney’s when it was a \r\nfamily-owned and -operated business, so I had thousands of things \r\navailable to me that I couldn’t use and I’d bring them home. We knew \r\neach other maybe for two years at this point and eventually Andrew \r\nstarted to see that something more than just a bar of Neutrogena soap \r\nmade a difference. And sometimes—when he would sort of vet the various \r\ndifferent items—I would be able then to try something as it was my job \r\nto evaluate in the first place that might in fact be appropriate for my \r\nparticular skin type.
Andrew Goetz: I think what I \r\nlearned is, or my evolution was that it doesn’t necessarily have to be \r\nmore expensive, but there are definitely differences in quality and you \r\nuse a better product, you have better results. But I also found from \r\njust a design perspective it was baroque out there. There were so many \r\nsteps. It was very intimidating and I’m a firm believer of less is more,\r\n not only in architecture and design, but also in your whole lifestyle \r\nthat you don’t need to do 150 different things just to get out the door.\r\n The fact of the matter is we live in New York and our customers live in\r\n urban centers. They don’t have time for ritualistic ten step programs, \r\nwhich aren’t even efficacious anyway.
Matthew Malin: But \r\nmost interestingly Andrew is quite oily and his skin is fairly \r\nresilient. Mine is dry and quite sensitive. I had suffered from several \r\ndifferent existing conditions and what we found through the years was \r\nthat in fact there were only a few things that were really effective for\r\n both of us and it wasn’t a complicated understanding of these expansive\r\n ideas of skincare. It was really a great cleanser and a great \r\nmoisturizer. And when you started to then look at Neutrogena as a \r\ncompany and you start to look at three-step Clinique and these very \r\nsimple ideas; if you can create sort of the best cleanser and the best \r\nmoisturizer, you’ve really established the core of what you need.
Andrew\r\n Goetz: Yeah, you don’t need a tertiary product if you already have \r\nthe best.
Matthew Malin: Yes, so those were the real \r\nvoids that we saw in the marketplace and I think that we’ve hit home in \r\nmost of them.
Andrew Goetz: Yeah and also there was a \r\nvoid... There were very few unisex brands, you know most people, so it \r\nwas an amazing opportunity to literally add 50 percent to your market by\r\n being unisex and the fact of the matter is whether you’re a man or \r\nwoman or whatever your ethnicity is, we’re all basically biologically \r\nthe same. So this whole idea of marketing that you’re from here, you’re \r\nfrom there and you’re masculine, you’re feminine... is sort of \r\nmarketing.
Matthew Malin: It really came down to the idea\r\n of how a modern couple could shop for and use products together. \r\nSomebody with oily, resilient skin, somebody with dry, sensitive skin \r\nand it didn’t matter what your sex was or your race or et cetera, et \r\ncetera, that you could share these products and that they would be \r\nreally effective and really great.
Andrew Goetz: And even\r\n your skin type, whether the pendulum skews one way or the other, most \r\npeople are somewhere in between and have a combination of different skin\r\n conditions on their face, which can change with hormones, with age, \r\nwith weather, with seasons. It’s always a moving target, so... and we \r\ntry to address all those things in a way that other companies haven’t \r\ndone.
Question: Did you notice a big difference after \r\nyou stopped using the Neutrogena bar?
Andrew Goetz: \r\nYeah. I did as a matter of fact.
Matthew Malin: Doesn’t \r\nhe look great? He is like 80 years old.
Andrew Goetz: \r\nAlmost, but not quite. Thank you very much. Sometimes I feel like I’m \r\n80, but yeah, no, you do notice it and you feel better.
Question:\r\n What’s the secret to a successful brand?
Matthew Malin:\r\n I think that there is a lot of passion behind the brand in terms of how\r\n it connects with the consumer. That it’s real. It’s not just another \r\ncorporation creating a brand for the sake of marketing. We really tried \r\nto do something that was special and unique and fill a void in the \r\nmarketplace and to do something from a family-owned and -operated \r\napproach, something that was local and interesting and specific to our \r\ncustomer base.
Andrew Goetz: And I think also what makes \r\nthe brand so strong is that we really put so much energy into creating \r\nreally superior or great products. And people, when they experience some\r\n that efficacious, they come back and they tell other people. So while \r\nwe’re not advertising and having great marketing campaigns, we have this\r\n great guerilla or word-of-mouth campaign because people use everything \r\nand they love it so much and we’re also really true to the brand. We \r\ndon’t develop things because the season is saying this is in vogue now \r\nor this is in vogue tomorrow. We develop products that we really believe\r\n the market needs or that we would actually use. I mean, most of the \r\nproducts were developed around our own lifestyle to a certain extent.
Matthew\r\n Malin: I was going to say the same. I was going to say the same. \r\nThat we in fact, in terms of filling voids, part of it was addressing \r\nour own specific lifestyle in terms of those particular voids, so most \r\nof the products and the brand itself really speaks to how we live our \r\nlives every single day. And those experiences from Andrew’s design \r\nbackground and those experiences from my beauty background, and how we \r\ncould create something really wonderful and unique and fill these sort \r\nof marketplace voids that made a difference in a way that we would use \r\nthem ourselves because we needed or we wanted them.
Question:\r\n How has beauty technology changed since you went into business?
Andrew\r\n Goetz: Like everything else, technology keeps on rolling on. \r\nSometimes there are benefits to new technology and sometimes there are \r\nthings that don’t work out so well. So for instance what we try to do is\r\n we always try to take the best of Mother Nature and combine it with the\r\n best of technology. We find that union works really, really well and we\r\n try to stay away from anything experimental or unproven and go back to \r\nbasics. Technology also is unfortunately faddish in the same way that \r\nsometimes we see this with food: no fat, low fat, high carbs, high \r\nprotein. You know it’s "What are you supposed to eat?" and people tend \r\nto jump on a bandwagon that is generated by the press, so one day an \r\ningredient, whether it could be a very efficacious good ingredient, but \r\nif it’s fallen out of favor out it goes and then the technology has to \r\nchange to compensate for that. But on the other hand you know technology\r\n does bring advances. You know there are advances in anti-aging and sun \r\nprotection, so things that are very legitimate, but the knife cuts both \r\nways, I guess.
Matthew Malin: Yeah, I can’t think of any \r\nreal specific technologies, like dramatically different technologies \r\nthat have come into play, maybe sunscreen since we’ve started our \r\nbusiness.
Andrew Goetz: Yeah, I mean the biggest thing \r\nwould be oil-free moisturizing, which would probably have been in the \r\nlast 20 years or something.
Matthew Malin: Well I think \r\nthere would be more fads like what you’re saying. Organic had become a \r\nreal big thing over the past few years and it’s sort of died down a lot \r\nlately. That was never a bandwagon we jumped on and as Andrew was \r\nsaying, we utilize gentle technologies that are tried, true and trusted \r\nalong with those natural ingredients, similarly tried, true and trusted \r\nin the most gentle, efficacious manner, so that you’re never finding \r\nirritation and hopefully getting the very best performance. So we’re not\r\n necessarily looking for what the newest technology is. If we can \r\nincorporate something that is trustful into the brand, it’s better.
Andrew\r\n Goetz: We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every single season and \r\nthen again we’re not against organic ingredients and the problem is that\r\n they’ve been so misrepresented to the customer saying "This is \r\norganic," But you look and then you read the ingredients and it’s one \r\ningredient, which is .02 percent of the product and then the customer \r\nfinally figures this out and is disappointed and then they have to ship \r\nthis organic ingredient halfway from around the world, so the carbon \r\nfootprint that it produces is so bad for the planet, so…
Matthew\r\n Malin: And was it really organic? Was it grown indoors? Was there \r\nacid rain?
Andrew Goetz: Right, so organic isn’t \r\nnecessarily better always. I mean what we try to do is always …
Matthew\r\n Malin: Or possible in many cases.
Andrew Goetz: … \r\nlocally and use natural when we can and organic if it’s available, but \r\nwe don’t use that as the litmus test because there are many more \r\nimportant things that go into the full formula.
Question: What’s the \r\nbiggest mistake you’ve made so far?
Andrew Goetz: We \r\nhired somebody to help us with the business that was just. You know when\r\n you say you should listen to your instincts? We were feeling like we \r\nwere, I don’t want to say overwhelmed, but we needed a consultant for \r\nsomething and knew we needed a consultant, but we weren’t really sure \r\nhow to address it. And somebody had recommended somebody and we both \r\nfelt... you know there was something off and then it turned out to be very,\r\n very off. I’ll look at it that it was a learning experience and it \r\ncould have been a lot worse and you know we caught it at the beginning \r\nand now it’s almost done, but…
Matthew Malin: It’s the \r\nnewest mistake. I guess maybe it is the biggest.
Andrew Goetz:\r\n I think it was the worst mistake.
Matthew Malin: I \r\nguess, maybe.
Andrew Goetz: Yeah, because he was toxic. I\r\n mean that was the worst. It was just someone who lied and cheated and... \r\nit happens. I mean, it’s human nature and …
Matthew Malin:\r\n We’ve made a lot of mistakes, but nothing big or bad.
Andrew\r\n Goetz: Yeah, I mean we usually catch them. The good news is when \r\nyou’re relatively small all your mistakes are relatively small as well, \r\nand when you’re big they can be colossal. And so as a young, very supple \r\ncompany we can recover from them. But everyone makes mistakes. I think \r\nthe real question is do you make the same mistake twice?
Question:\r\n What’s the secret to hiring?
Andrew Goetz: I think \r\nyour gut is important.
Matthew Malin: No, I don’t think \r\nso.
Andrew Goetz: I think we probably should have done \r\nmore due diligence. I think it was just we were the business was moving \r\nvery, very fast and frantically. We know we needed somebody and we were \r\nlike all right, "Let’s just do it."
Matthew Malin: We’ve \r\nhad hires that have been sort of gut responses, which have been great \r\nand others that have not. And we’ve had other hires that weren’t \r\nnecessarily a gut response, but they were hired nonetheless and again, \r\nterrific ones; where we weren’t necessarily it wasn’t the first choice.
Andrew\r\n Goetz: The lesson is after two, three weeks we probably should have\r\n reacted more quickly than we actually did.
Matthew Malin:\r\n For a company of our size the thing that I think is most crucial in \r\nterms of what we do is hiring somebody that culturally is a good fit and\r\n if they’re smart and they fill the position in a manner for which they \r\nhave experience or we feel is appropriate, et cetera, et cetera. Having \r\nthe cultural fit and the passion for the business is probably the \r\nbiggest hurdle because we’re only 20 people of which 10 of those are \r\nworking sort of right out of our office in New York City. I think that’s\r\n the most crucial aspect of where we are for this size today.
A conversation with the co-founders of (Malin+Goetz).
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How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.
- Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
- The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
- The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
An extremely active galaxy<p> <br> </p><p>Radio galaxies are galaxies with extremely active central regions, known as nuclei, which shine incredibly brightly in some part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are known for emitting large jets of ionized matter into intergalactic space at speeds approaching that of light. They are related to quasars and blazars. It is thought that supermassive black holes are the energy source that make these galaxies shine so brightly. </p><p>What makes these two galaxies (known as MGTC J095959.63+024608.6 and MGTC J100016.84+015133.0) so interesting is their size. Only 831 similar, "giant radio galaxies" are known to exist. As study co-author Dr. Matthew Prescott explains, these are particularly large even for <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2021/01/18/we-just-found-two-mysterious-galaxies-62-times-bigger-than-our-milky-way-say-scientists/?sh=76edf29c2892" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">giants</a>:</p><p>"These two galaxies are special because they are amongst the largest giants known, and in the top 10 percent of all giant radio galaxies. They are more than two mega-parsecs across, which is around 6.5 million light-years or about 62 times the size of the Milky Way. Yet they are fainter than others of the same size."</p><p>The smaller of the two is just over two megaparsecs across, roughly six and a half million light-years. The larger is almost another half megaparsec larger than <a href="http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/giant-radio-galaxies-09266.html" target="_blank">that</a>. <br></p><p>Exactly how these things get to be so massive remains a mystery. Some have proposed that they are ejecting matter into unusually empty space, allowing for the jet to expand further, though some evidence contradicts this. The most commonly suggested idea is that they are simply much, much older than the previously observed radio galaxies, allowing more time for expansion to occur.</p>
How does this change our understanding of the universe?<p> While exciting and impressive on their own, the findings also suggest that there are very many more of these giant galaxies than previously supposed. If you were going off the previous estimates for how typical these galaxies are, then the odds of finding these two would be 1 in 2.7×10<sup>6. </sup>This suggests that there must be more, given that the alternative is that the scientists were impossibly lucky. </p><p> In the study, the researchers also apply this reasoning to smaller versions of these galaxies, saying:</p><p> "While our analysis has considered only enormous (>2 Mpc) objects, if radio galaxies must grow to reach this size, then we may expect to similarly uncover in our data previously undetected GRGs with smaller sizes."</p><p> Exactly how common radio galaxies and turn out to be remains to be seen. Still, it will undoubtedly be an exciting time for radio astronomy as new telescopes are turned skywards to search for them.</p>
How did they find them?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/c1ZW3nVfe5A" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> The new galaxies were discovered by the amusingly named <a href="https://www.sarao.ac.za/gallery/meerkat/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">MeerKAT</a> radio telescope in South Africa during the creation of a new radio map of the sky. The MeerKAT is the first of what will soon be the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_Kilometre_Array" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Square Kilometre Array</a> of telescopes, which will span several countries in the southern hemisphere and make even more impressive discoveries in radio astronomy possible. </p>
Daydreaming can be a pleasant pastime, but people who suffer from maladaptive daydreamers are trapped by their fantasies.
Maladaptive daydreaming<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwMjgyMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0OTUxNzc3Nn0.yVIUGnZl6VnJhfevESkBpb1TEvwKrHcLtobwNJV55HI/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C63%2C0%2C63&height=700" id="713cf" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e2d24a66284b3aa58ad16b66c135dc9d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
One maladaptive dreamer spent hours a day dreaming he was a powerful man who could solve the world's problems.
(Photo: Pixabay)<p>Daydreaming is an indulgence of the mind and imagination, one provided courtesy of the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/default-mode-network#:~:text=The%20default%20mode%20network%20(DMN,and%20Exercise%20Psychology%20Research%2C%202016" target="_blank">default mode network</a>, a network of interacting brain regions that is active even when the conscious mind is not. But like so many of life's indulgences—wine, steak dinners, video games, and even <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-too-much-exercise-can-be-bad-042514" target="_blank">exercise</a>—too much daydreaming can be harmful to our well-being. When daydreaming crosses that threshold, it can be considered maladaptive.</p><p>This disorder was first identified by <a href="https://haifa.academia.edu/EliSomer" target="_blank">Eli Somer</a>, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Haifa, School of Social Work, in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1020597026919" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a 2002 paper</a>. That paper looked to six patients in a trauma center whose daydreaming habits replaced human interactions or interfered with their standard life functions, such as going to school or holding down a job. </p><p>Since then, other case studies have looked at <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/maladaptive-daydreaming#:~:text=Maladaptive%20daydreaming%20is%20a%20psychiatric,life%20events%20trigger%20day%20dreams." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">maladaptive daydreamers</a> and compiled a list of potential symptoms. These include vivid, richly-detailed daydreams; abnormally long daydreaming sessions; daydreams triggered by real-life events; daydreaming sessions that interrupt sleep; and repetitive motions or whisperings while daydreaming. On average, one study reported, maladaptive daydreamers spend <a href="https://bigthink.com/bps-research-digest/people-with-maladaptive-daydreaming-spend-an-average-of-four-hours-a-day-lost-in-their-imagination" target="_self">four hours a day</a> housed in their imaginations.</p><p>"This is not like rehearsing a conversation that you might have with a boss," <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/30/health/maladaptive-daydreaming-feature/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Somer told CNN</a>. "This is fanciful, weaving of stories. It produces an intense sense of presence."</p><p>While such symptoms are common, though not comprehensive or guaranteed, how maladaptive daydreams manifest are naturally individual to the dreamers. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6426361/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In one case study</a>, researchers analyzed the diary of a man codenamed "Peter." Peter described investing as many as 14 hours a day online. The news and images he happened upon would trigger related fantasies. For example, he may envision himself as a multimillionaire genius who could prevent bad news from occurring or self-insert himself into the power fantasies of superhero movies or police procedurals for hours at a time.</p><p>"When I felt this pain as a child, I started imagining how things could be different. I created stories which never happened. To suppress that pain I would hug my pillow or quilt, thinking I was being comforted by someone else," Peter wrote.</p><p>In an interview with CNN, Cordellia Rose described her maladaptive daydreaming like a drug and noted that her daydreams developed into intricate storylines that could last for years. These stories proved so distracted that she was unable to complete everyday tasks such as driving lessons.</p><p>"You get hooked on it, because it can be like an action movie in your head that's so gripping that you cannot turn off," Rose told CNN. "This [condition] needs to be public, because these are people suffering, and badly."</p><p>To be clear, maladaptive dreaming is not a <a href="https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/what-is-psychosis#1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">psychotic disorder</a> like schizophrenia. Daydreamers such as Peter and Rose are aware that their fantasies are as unreal as they may be unrealistic. Because of this, many maladaptive dreamers understand the difficulties they face and the real-life losses they have endured for the sake of their fantasies. </p>
More research needed<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6fdb8ca5dcc87c58b441d9c7cd766f35"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vI7b4_-MA8g?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Researchers don't have a <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319400" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">standard diagnosis or treatment for maladaptive daydreaming</a> because they aren't yet sure it's a unique psychological condition. Maladaptive daydreaming has not been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition—blessedly abbreviated as the DMS-5—the definitive book on mental disorders. To date, there isn't enough evidence to determine if maladaptive daydreaming is a separate condition or a manifestation of an already listed disorder.</p><p>Somer has developed a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053810015300611" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">14-point scale</a> to help people determine whether they are experiencing maladaptive-daydreaming symptoms, but the results only indicate whether an individual should seek help. They provide no formal diagnosis.</p><p>Also, maladaptive daydreaming is often expressed alongside other conditions, such as anxiety disorders, <a href="https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/anxiety/ptsd-trauma-and-stressor-related/high-prevalence-of-maladaptive-daydreaming-among-patients-with-dissociative-disorders/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">dissociative disorders</a>, attention deficit disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. And the researchers of Peter's case study noticed a striking similarity between his condition and those with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3164585/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">behavioral addition response</a>—including analogous responses with preoccupation, mood modification, tolerance, and withdrawal. It may be that maladaptive daydreaming is an expression of these, or other, disorders.</p><p>It's worth noting that similar empirical hurdles exist for other well-known, though not formalized, disorders. Orthorexia, sex addiction, misophonia, internet addiction, and parental alienation syndrome are all <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/whats-missing-from-the-dsm-4145344#:~:text=This%20diagnosis%20covered%20patients%20who,%22%20or%20%22unspecified%20disorder.%22" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">likewise absent from the DSM-5</a>. For maladaptive daydreaming and these other conditions, it's simply a case of more evidence and research needed before a determination can be made.</p>
A growing understanding of maladaptive daydreaming<p>The question of labeling is a tricky one—not only from a medical point-of-view but also a prosocial one. Some people find having a recognized condition validating; they feel it promotes social acceptance and makes seeking treatment easier. Others find such labels stigmatizing and restricting.</p><p>But the question of how to label something is an academic one. It isn't to say that the experience doesn't exist. It does, and whether maladaptive daydreaming ultimately enters the DSM-5 or not, awareness is growing. <a href="https://daydreamresearch.wixsite.com/md-research/links" target="_blank">Online communities</a> now exist to give support and spread awareness. And regardless of a condition's presence in the medical literature, if symptoms disrupt work, school, or social lives, help should be sought.</p><p>Thanks to the efforts of psychologists and the community, maladaptive daydreaming, unlike Thurber's literary creation, is no longer "inscrutable to the last." And those who suffer it are no longer relegated to a firing-squad of their own mind but can find they help the need.</p>
The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.
- A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
- It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
- The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
The ocean depths are home to many creatures that some consider to be unnatural.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU2NzY4My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTUwMzg0NX0.BTK3zVeXxoduyvXfsvp4QH40_9POsrgca_W5CQpjVtw/img.png?width=980" id="b6fb0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2739ec50d9f9a3bd0058f937b6d447ac" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1512" data-height="2224" />
What benefit does this find have for science? And is it as evil as it looks?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7XqcvwWp" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="8506fcd195866131efb93525ae42dec4"> <div id="botr_7XqcvwWp_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7XqcvwWp-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The discovery of a new species is always a cause for celebration in zoology. That this is the discovery of an animal that inhabits the deeps of the sea, one of the least explored areas humans can get to, is the icing on the cake.</p><p>Helen Wong of the National University of Singapore, who co-authored the species' description, explained the importance of the discovery:</p><p>"The identification of this new species is an indication of just how little we know about the oceans. There is certainly more for us to explore in terms of biodiversity in the deep sea of our region." </p><p>The animal's visual similarity to Darth Vader is a result of its compound eyes and the curious shape of its <a href="https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/research/sjades2018/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" style="">head</a>. However, given the location of its discovery, the bottom of the remote seas, it may be associated with all manner of horrifically evil Elder Things and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu" target="_blank" rel="dofollow">Great Old Ones</a>. <em></em></p>
Psychologists point to specific reasons that make it hard for us to admit our wrongdoing.
- Admitting mistakes can be very difficult for our ego and self-image, say psychologists.
- Refusing to own up to guilt boosts the ego and can feel more satisfying.
- Not acknowledging you are wrong can lead to psychological issues and ruined relationships.