Big Think Interview With Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh is an English writer and director of film and theater. He began his career in theater, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, acting with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and directing and writing for the stage. In 1971 he made the transition into film, directing his first feature film "Bleak Moments," but it would be 17 years until he directed another feature—"High Hopes" in 1998. In those intervening years, he focused on television plays, characterized by their gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. His most notable works are arguably "Naked" (1993) for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the BAFTA-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Palme d'Or winner "Secrets & Lies" (1996) and Golden Lion winner "Vera Drake" (2004). His most recent film is "Another Year" (2010).
Question: Why do you make films about ordinary people?
Mike Leigh: Well let me begin by quoting Alfred Hitchcock who memorably said: "A woman who spends all day washing and cooking and ironing doesn't want to go to the movies to watch a film about a woman who spends all day washing and cooking and ironing." And, in my experience, Mr. Hitchcock’s assertion is rubbish because I really think people are greatly stimulated and enriched by experiencing in film just as we can from novels and other art, experiencing things that resonate with what our lives are about. I think people really want to know... want to share, want to have the stimulus to think and care about the way they live their lives, the way they relate to other people, their aspirations, their hopes, et cetera. So, that is where I sit. And the fact that there is on a completely different planet from those of us in world cinema—because films are made all over the world all the time and only a thin slice of that product is Hollywood—but from the point of view of the rest of us it is all about using that movie camera to look at life, to capture it and to get to find ways of distilling the essence of it. But on this other planet which is called Hollywood there is this corporate, industrial, cynical process that makes films according to completely different criteria.
Question: Do you feel you're thumbing your nose at Hollywood by making a film about lonely, old people?
Mike Leigh: Well I mean you know I take no notice of the trends. I really... It doesn’t... It has never concerned me at all. I mean my job is to deal with what I want to deal with and reach an audience by doing so. Indeed my last film, "Happy-Go-Lucky," did on the whole focus on youngish people, people that were around 30. And I did decide that now was time to deal with, apart from the various other things, "Another Year" is about people of my own age—I’m 67 right now—our generation and the fact that life is moving on and all of those things.
I’m not so much cocking my snoot at trends or anything else. I’m not bothered about that. I trust that if I make a film which is about issues surrounding older people it will actually talk to an audience and it’s already become clear that young audiences are absolutely as fascinated and engaged by Another Year as older audiences. It crosses the age barriers and boundaries quite honestly. One must not forget and it’s obvious to say this I know, that trends and all of those things and formulae that calculate what audiences want to see and what audiences don’t want to see and various other demographic demarcations are the eccentric and ludicrous prerogative of Hollywood studios. But out there in the real world—by which I mean the rest of the world where we make truthful organic films, independent films unimpeded by interference—it’s not about all those sort of calculating what is commercial. It’s about wanting to say things and saying them in a way that will get through to people.
Question: Where do your films fall in the tradition of realist cinema?
Mike Leigh: So far as my own films are concerned, in the context of realism or indeed naturalism—although my films fall into the category of realism more than naturalism I would say. From my own point of view I grew up looking at... going to the movies a lot, as much as they’d let you. I grew up in Manchester in the north of England in the '40s and '50s. I saw a lot of movies. They were all Hollywood and British movies. I didn’t see a film that wasn’t in English until I was 17 when I went to London to be a student.
I used to sit in the cinema thinking wouldn’t it be great if you could have a film in which the characters were like real people instead of being like actors. Of course, what I didn’t know at that time is that it was going on. I mean you know the neo-realists were happening—De Sica, et cetera—when I was really quite tiny. And lots of things had happened before; I mean Renoir long before World War II was doing fascinating things that come under the heading of what we’re talking about. I was a student in the 1960s when there was the so called British new wave and simultaneously across the channel there was a Nouvelle Vague. Personally I was much more inspired by the Nouvelle Vague—Truffaut, Godard, et cetera—than I was by the British new wave—Tony Richardson, Carol Rice, Lindsay Anderson and others. Not that what was happening in the British, the new wave British cinema wasn’t important or significant. In fact, for me having grown up in the industrial North it was important that here were films that were about real life that did come out of a radical kind of tradition. But they were on the whole, in fact, virtually entirely all those films were adaptations of plays or films and the kind of movie that as it were paints onto the canvas, that is conceived and executed purely and exclusively in cinematic terms didn’t really come out of that school, whereas, what was happening across the channel in those films of Truffaut, etcetera were very much on the whole much more organic original cinema, not entirely. As we know "Jules and Jim" was an adaptation of a rather light roman, novel, but actually my inspiration is what I’m saying, came more from those films.
To stick with the English or British side of the thing, there is of course, in any case, in English culture a long tradition of social realism, of looking at working class people, of looking at life in an unflinching, heightened, realistic way. It goes back to Dickens. It goes back to Hogarth and you could argue it goes back via things you’ll find in Shakespeare, all the way back to Chaucer and it is not insignificant that England—London in particular—was one of the great homes of, over many decades, from the end of the 18th century through into the 20th and even the 21st century, of caricature at its most interesting.
I was slightly generationally behind the revolutionary thing that happened in England in the mid- to late-1960s, which was the work of Ken Loach and his producer Tony Garnett in BBC Television, who took the rather staid and boring traditions of television drama and completely shook it, and said, "Okay, well people are out there with lightweight movie cameras making documentaries and shooting the news. Let’s make drama in this mode." I was lucky enough to join as a freelance to come into that work at the BBC and over a period of time I actually took part in it and there was a great tradition then of telling stories about working-class people with social issues and so on and so forth. Personally, though that is an aspect of my work without any shadow of doubt, nevertheless, what I do isn’t strictly just social realism or just a kind of as it were message cinema because I think I am more concerned to get to the essence of things.
Question: Do all films need to entertain?
Mike Leigh: If a film is not entertaining, forget it. It’s a failure. I am unashamedly in the entertainment business. I think I would make that statement on two levels. On the primary level, I would say if a film or any piece of work doesn’t entertain, it fails—and that is using the word entertain literally, meaning it holds you there and you become absorbed by it so that you don’t walk away and get bored and so on. But over and above that, I mean, sure I make films that are about real life, sure they are realistic and I go to great lengths to achieve that, sure they resonate with people's real experiences, sure they’re emotional, sure they’re properly psychologically motivated, sure the characters are rooted in society. You absolutely can recognize and know that we’re dealing with a substance of the real world in terms of the texture of the thing, but at the same time my films are funny. They are heightened. They are all kinds of… There are all kinds of juxtapositions, which are not simply life un-distilled as its hewn from the seam... and what at the most basic level are my influences.
Question: Should entertainment challenge us, or play to our most basic instincts?
Mike Leigh: Look, the thing is, again, you know I’m reluctant to proclaim about what entertainment should or shouldn’t do. You talk about reality shows and all of that, which are basically, if you think about it, just simply the modern equivalent to Victorian freak shows, where people with anomalous growths and things and—you know ladies with beards and whatever it was, people with three feet—would be put on exhibition for the public.
There have always been and there always will be the peripheral sideline activities which are a form of entertainment, which is to say you pay a couple of cents and you see something freakish. Well that is what reality TV is and I don’t think, with all due respect, that really belongs in the conversation that we’re having. Because what we’re actually talking about is art. We’re talking about work that in some way, however it does it, wants to get to some kind of truth and therefore have something substantial to offer an audience. So entertainment is an essential... that the thing be entertaining is an essential ingredient, as I’ve said. And I think we should dismiss and tolerate and in fact, keep our sense of humor about peripheral crackpot activities because they don’t really come into the job of the proper artist or the job of the committed audience, which is to say the audience that really wants to be stimulated.
Question: Do you judge your characters?
Mike Leigh: I don’t. For me, I make films because I am endlessly fascinated by people. I want to know about you. I want to know about this guy who is sitting next to me who is operating the technology in this studio. I’m fascinated immediately to know about the lives that are going on around me. That is... you know it’s a compulsive disorder on my part. That is what drives me. And that is because everybody matters, everybody is there to be cared about, everybody is interesting and everybody is the potential central character in a story.So judging people is not acceptable.
Of course if you look through my films you will find different ways in which people are presented and sometimes they are presented in... certainly in some of my earlier films, in a way that relates to how they’re actually behaving towards other people, but to me it’s about celebrating what it is to be a human being.
Question: Is Mary to blame for her loneliness?
Mike Leigh: Well I dare say she is to some extent, but there is absolutely no doubt whatever as well, and very importantly, that she is a victim of life. And it is very much for anybody in this world it’s absolutely a function of your fortune, your luck. And some people have good luck, some people have bad luck. Sure, you can make it worse. Sure you can... some people can fight to overcome things and some of us have the ability to overcome, to make choices and make the right choices or overcome things or redress the balance, but a lot of people are vulnerable you know and it’s not so easy and I think Mary for a variety of reasons to do with the fact that she had a bad childhood, due to the fact that she is to some degree a victim of the problem of her being kind of sexy and where that leads—but at the same time not being able to deal with it with confidence—therefore she has been abused by men. You know for a whole complexity of reasons she is somebody that is not dealing with it and finally is resorting to alcohol, so I think it’s unacceptable ever to ascribe to anybody that all their problems are entirely of their own making and they’re to blame because we are all a product of our environment and of conditions and circumstances which are not necessarily within our control.
Question: Could you walk us through your process of conceiving and workshopping an idea for a film with your actors?
Mike Leigh: For me the journey of making a film is a journey of discovery as to what that film is. I mean what I do is what other artists do, painters, novelists, people that make music, poets, sculptors, you name it. It’s about starting out and working with the material and discovering through making, working with the material the artifact.
So I, at some level, depending on the film, there might be a specific idea. I had the idea for example, for over 40 years to make a film about an illegal backstreet abortionist set before the law was changed in England because I remember. I’m old enough to remember what it was like when abortions were illegal and people had unwanted pregnancies. I had some experiences, so that led to "Vera Drake."
But I’ve made a lot of films and that would include "Another Year" and "Naked" and "Happy-Go-Lucky" and quite a few others where it would be impossible to report an idea or a scheme and far less a plot or outline or characters. It’s more about a spirit, a sense of the thing. The conception is kind of more about a feeling than it is about a notion, so to speak. With that in mind I mean that is very, very important. I mean there are things going on in my head if you want to interpret that, but they’re not things that are so tangible as I could explain what they were necessarily. I then gather together a group of actors. I say to any actor that is going to be in it, “I can’t tell you what it is about. I can’t tell you what your character is because you and I are going to collaborate to make a character, to invent a character and also you will never know anything about this film except what your character knows at any stage of the proceedings.” And that of course makes it possible to explore relationships and to bring into existence a world where people, like real people in real life only know as much about other people as they would know, just like you and I know... I know less about you than you know about me, but part of what is motivating this conversation that we’re having is the nature of what... is our ignorance about each other so to speak. It’s part of the natural everyday tension of what is going on.
So I then work with each actor individually. I create a character and I gradually put together this whole world where we build up relationships, we build histories, people go and do research into all kinds of things to do with... would fill in the experience of the characters background, whatever it is. There is a great deal of discussion and then my job as director is to get... is to help them to, sort of, how to play the characters in an actual physical way. And we gradually build up this world and so that what comes into existence by my pulling it and pushing it and, if you like, manipulating it is the premise for a film. Then I will write a very simple structure and then we’ll go out on location sequence by sequence, scene by scene. We will build scenes. We rehearse. We write through rehearsal. I don’t go and write it all down separately and what we shoot is very precise and I wind up with… What I take to the cutting room are the ingredients of a coherent, well structured, well written, thoroughly finished film.
Question: Are you optimistic about the future?
Mike Leigh: I can’t really see how anybody could be particularly optimistic about the future in general because we are destroying the planet. I mean we have been having a conversation here for some half an hour or perhaps 40 minutes and in the time that we’ve been talking far more people have been born who will fit into this entire skyscraper in New York that we’re actually sitting in and they have to be fed and the world hasn’t got any bigger in that 40 minutes, so... And this is quite apart from... I mean, territory and food and resources are going to be fought over and that is quite apart from the additional burden of ridiculous religious fundamentalism of various kinds. So it’s quite hard to be optimistic about the future, but we battle on and you know we value life and we… some of us try and express some sense of hope through the work that we do, but we can’t just sit around being blindly optimistic because we are on serious disaster courses I would say, but that is not news.
Recorded on October 7, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
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We are likely to see the first humans walk on Mars this decade.
- Space agencies have successfully sent three spacecraft to Mars this year.
- The independent missions occurred at around the same time because Earth and Mars were particularly close to each other last summer, providing an opportune time to launch.
- SpaceX says it hopes to send a crewed mission to Mars by 2026, while the U.S. and China aim to land humans on the planet in the 2030s.
Spacecraft from three of the world's space agencies reached Mars this year.
In February, the United Arab Emirates' Hope space probe entered the Martian orbit, where it is studying the planet's weather cycles. That same month, NASA's Perseverance rover touched down on Mars, where it will soon begin collecting rock samples that could contain signs of ancient life. And in May, China successfully landed its Zhurong rover on the Martian surface, becoming the second nation to ever do so.
All three missions launched in the summer of 2020. The timing was no coincidence: once every two years, Earth and Mars come especially close together because their orbits are "at opposition," which is when the Earth-Mars distance is smallest during the 780-day synodic period. It is an opportune window to send spacecraft to Mars.
The handful of spacecraft currently exploring the Martian surface and atmosphere are scheduled to conduct their experiments for periods ranging from months to years. Some even plan to collect materials to return to Earth. For example, NASA's Perseverance will store its rock samples in protective tubes and leave them behind for a smaller "fetch rover" to pick up on a future mission.
Photo of Martian surface taken by the Perseverance roverNASA/JPL-Caltech
If all goes well, an Airbus spacecraft dubbed the Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) will carry the samples back to Earth in 2031. It would be the first time a space mission has returned Martian matter to Earth. But before the decade's end, space agencies have some other missions that aim to study the Red Planet.
Europe & Russia
NASA is not the only space agency aiming to find evidence of life on the Red Planet. In 2023, Roscosmos and the European Space Agency plan to land their Rosalind Franklin rover on the Martian surface, where it will drill into rock and analyze soil composition for signs of past — or possibly present — alien life.
The joint mission is part of a long-term Mars project that began in 2016. This second phase was initially planned for 2020, but due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, the space agencies decided to postpone the launch to 2022.
"We want to make ourselves 100% sure of a successful mission. We cannot allow ourselves any margin of error. More verification activities will ensure a safe trip and the best scientific results on Mars," said ESA Director General Jan Wörner.
In 2022, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to send to Mars its TEREX lander, which will "precisely measure the amount of water molecules and oxygen molecules, and search for water resources and the possibility of life on Mars," JAXA wrote.
In 2024, JAXA also plans to launch a uniquely bold interplanetary mission that will involve sending a probe to orbit Mars, landing on the Martian moon Phobos, collecting surface samples, and then returning those samples to Earth in 2029. JAXA says the mission has two main objectives: (1) to investigate whether the Martian moons are captured asteroids or fragments that coalesced after a giant impact with Mars; and (2) to clarify the mechanisms controlling the surface evolution of the Martian moons and Mars.
Following the successful landing of its Zhurong rover this year, China released a roadmap of its plans for additional Mars voyages. The first is an uncrewed mission scheduled for 2030, with crewed missions planned for 2033, 2035, 2037, and 2041. As the International Space Station project is coming to a close, China is in the process of building its own space station; earlier this year it launched into orbit the first part of its station, which will take 10 more missions to assemble.
Elon Musk's California-based aerospace company has its sights on two Mars voyages: a cargo-only mission in 2022 and a human mission by 2026. The crewed mission would involve building a propellant depot and preparing a site for future crewed flights. Getting to Mars will first require an orbital test of SpaceX's Starship rocket, which the company hopes to conduct this year.
Regarding the long-term future of humans on the Red planet, Musk once told Ars Technica:
"I'll probably be long dead before Mars becomes self-sustaining. But I'd like to at least be around to see a bunch of ships land on Mars."
In 2014, the Indian Space Research Organization executed its first interplanetary trip with its Mars Orbiter Mission. It marked the first time an Asian nation reached Martian orbit and also the first time a nation successfully reached the Red planet on its maiden voyage. India has plans for a follow-up Mars Orbiter Mission 2, but it remains unclear when that will occur and what the mission will entail.
In February, the chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation said the nation would only launch a Mars mission after Chandrayaan-3, India's upcoming mission to the Moon, which is expected to launch in 2022.
A new episode of "Your Brain on Money" illuminates the strange world of consumer behavior and explores how brands can wreak havoc on our ability to make rational decisions.
- Effective branding can not only change how you feel about a company, it can actually change how your brain is wired.
- Our new series "Your Brain on Money," created in partnership with Million Stories, recently explored the surprising ways brands can affect our behavior.
- Brands aren't going away. But you can make smarter decisions by slowing down and asking yourself why you're making a particular purchase.
How Apple and Nike have branded your brain | Your Brain on Money | Big Think youtu.be
Brands can manipulate our brains in surprisingly profound ways. They can change how we conceptualize ourselves and how we broadcast our identities out to the social world. They can make us feel emotions that have nothing to do with the functions of their products. And they can even sort us into tribes.
To grasp the power of brands, look to Apple. In the 1990s, the company was struggling to compete with Microsoft over the personal computer market. Despite flirting with bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, Apple turned itself around to eventually become the most valuable company in the world.
That early-stage success wasn't due to superior products.
"People talk about technology, but Apple was a marketing company," John Sculley, a former Apple marketing executive, told The Guardian in 1997. "It was the marketing company of the decade."
So, how exactly does branding make people willing to wait hours in line to buy a $1,000 smartphone, or pay exorbitant prices for a pair of sneakers?
Branding and the brain
For more than a century, brands have capitalized on the fact that effective marketing is much more than simply touting the merits of a product. Some ads have nothing to do with the product at all. In 1871, for example, Pearl Tobacco started advertising their cigarettes through branded posters and trading cards that featured exposed women, a trend that continues to this day.
It's crude, sure. But research shows that it's also remarkably effective, even on monkeys. Why? The answer seems to center on how our brains pay special attention to information from the social world.
"In theory, ads that associate sex or status with specific brands or products activate the brain mechanisms that prioritize social information, and turning on this switch may bias us toward the product," wrote neuroscience professor Michael Platt for Scientific American.
Brands can burrow themselves deep into our subconscious. Through ad campaigns, brands can form a web of associations and memories in our brains. When these connections are robust and positive, it can change our behavior, nudging us to make "no-brainer" purchases when we encounter the brand at the store.
It's a marketing principle that's related to the work of Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and economist who won the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. In his book "Thinking Fast and Slow", Kahneman separates thinking into two broad categories, or systems:
- System 1 is fast and automatic, requiring little effort or voluntary control.
- System 2 is slow and requires subjective deliberation and logic.
Brands that tap into "system 1" are likely to dominate the competition. After all, it's far easier for us as consumers to automatically reach for a familiar brand than it is to analyze all of the available information and make an informed choice. Still, the most successful brands can have an even deeper impact on our psychology, one that causes us to conceptualize them as something like a family member.
A peculiar relationship with brands
Apple has one of the most loyal customer bases in the world, with its brand loyalty hitting an all-time high earlier this year, according to a SellCell survey of more than 5,000 U.S.-based smartphone users.
Qualitatively, how does that loyalty compare to Samsung users? To find out, Platt and his team conducted a study in which functional magnetic resonance imaging scanned the brains of Samsung and Apple users as they viewed positive, negative, and neutral news about each company. The results revealed stark differences between the two groups, as Platt wrote in "The Leader's Brain":
"Apple users showed empathy for their own brand: The reward-related areas of the brain were activated by good news about Apple, and the pain and negative feeling parts of the brain were activated by bad news. They were neutral about any kind of Samsung news. This is exactly what we see when people empathize with other people—particularly their family and friends—but don't feel the joy and pain of people they don't know."
Meanwhile, Samsung users didn't show any significant pain- or pleasure-related brain activity when they saw good or bad news about the company.
"Interestingly, though, the pain areas were activated by good news about Apple, and the reward areas were activated by bad news about the rival company—some serious schadenfreude, or "reverse empathy," Platt wrote.
The results suggest a fundamental difference between the brands: Apple has formed strong emotional and social connections with consumers, Samsung has not.
Brands and the self
Does having a strong connection with a brand justify paying higher prices for their products? Maybe. You could have a strong connection with Apple or Nike and simultaneously think the quality of their products justifies the price.
But beyond product quality lies identity. People have long used objects and clothing to express themselves and signal their affiliation with groups. From prehistoric seashell jewelry to Air Jordans, the things people wear and associate with signal a lot of information about how they conceptualize themselves.
Since the 1950s, researchers have examined the relationship between self-image and brand preferences. This body of research has generally found that consumers tend to prefer brands whose products fit well with their self-image, a concept known as self-image congruity.
By choosing brands that don't disrupt their self-image, consumers are able not only to express themselves personally, but also broadcast a specific version of themselves into the social world. That might sound self-involved. But on the other hand, humans are social creatures who use information from the social world to make decisions, so it's virtually impossible for us not to make inferences about people based on how they present themselves.
Americus Reed II, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told Big Think:
"When I make choices about different brands, I'm choosing to create an identity. When I put that shirt on, when I put that shirt on — those jeans, that hat — someone is going to form an impression about what I'm about. So, if I'm choosing Nike over Under Armour, I'm choosing a kind of different way to express affiliation with sport. The Nike thing is about performance. The Under Armour thing is about the underdog. I have to choose which of these different conceptual pathways is most consistent with where I am in my life."
Making smarter decisions
Brands may have some power over us when we're facing a purchasing decision. So, considering brands aren't going away, what can we do to make better choices? The best strategy might be to slow down and try to avoid making "automatic" purchasing decisions that are characteristic of Kahneman's fast "system 1" mode of thinking.
"I think it's important to always pause and think a little bit about, "Okay, why am I buying this product?" Platt said.
As for getting out of the brand game altogether? Good luck.
"I've heard lots of people push back and say, "I'm not into brands,"" Reed II said. "I take a very different view. In some senses, they're not doing anything different than what someone who affiliates with a brand is doing. They have a brand. It's just an anti-brand brand."
Geologists discover a rhythm to major geologic events.
- It appears that Earth has a geologic "pulse," with clusters of major events occurring every 27.5 million years.
- Working with the most accurate dating methods available, the authors of the study constructed a new history of the last 260 million years.
- Exactly why these cycles occur remains unknown, but there are some interesting theories.
Our hearts beat at a resting rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute. Lots of other things pulse, too. The colors we see and the pitches we hear, for example, are due to the different wave frequencies ("pulses") of light and sound waves.
Now, a study in the journal Geoscience Frontiers finds that Earth itself has a pulse, with one "beat" every 27.5 million years. That's the rate at which major geological events have been occurring as far back as geologists can tell.
A planetary calendar has 10 dates in red
Credit: Jagoush / Adobe Stock
According to lead author and geologist Michael Rampino of New York University's Department of Biology, "Many geologists believe that geological events are random over time. But our study provides statistical evidence for a common cycle, suggesting that these geologic events are correlated and not random."
The new study is not the first time that there's been a suggestion of a planetary geologic cycle, but it's only with recent refinements in radioisotopic dating techniques that there's evidence supporting the theory. The authors of the study collected the latest, best dating for 89 known geologic events over the last 260 million years:
- 29 sea level fluctuations
- 12 marine extinctions
- 9 land-based extinctions
- 10 periods of low ocean oxygenation
- 13 gigantic flood basalt volcanic eruptions
- 8 changes in the rate of seafloor spread
- 8 times there were global pulsations in interplate magmatism
The dates provided the scientists a new timetable of Earth's geologic history.
Tick, tick, boom
Credit: New York University
Putting all the events together, the scientists performed a series of statistical analyses that revealed that events tend to cluster around 10 different dates, with peak activity occurring every 27.5 million years. Between the ten busy periods, the number of events dropped sharply, approaching zero.
Perhaps the most fascinating question that remains unanswered for now is exactly why this is happening. The authors of the study suggest two possibilities:
"The correlations and cyclicity seen in the geologic episodes may be entirely a function of global internal Earth dynamics affecting global tectonics and climate, but similar cycles in the Earth's orbit in the Solar System and in the Galaxy might be pacing these events. Whatever the origins of these cyclical episodes, their occurrences support the case for a largely periodic, coordinated, and intermittently catastrophic geologic record, which is quite different from the views held by most geologists."
Assuming the researchers' calculations are at least roughly correct — the authors note that different statistical formulas may result in further refinement of their conclusions — there's no need to worry that we're about to be thumped by another planetary heartbeat. The last occurred some seven million years ago, meaning the next won't happen for about another 20 million years.
Powerful branding can not only change how you feel about a company, it can actually change how your brain is wired.
- Powerful branding can not only change how you feel about a company, it can actually change how your brain is wired.
- "We love to think of ourselves as rational. That's not how it works," says UPenn professor Americus Reed II about our habits (both conscious and subconscious) of paying more for items based primarily on the brand name. Effective marketing causes the consumer to link brands like Apple and Nike with their own identity, and that strong attachment goes deeper than receipts.
- Using MRI, professor and neuroscientist Michael Platt and his team were able to see this at play. When reacting to good or bad news about the brand, Samsung users didn't have positive or negative brain responses, yet they did have "reverse empathy" for bad news about Apple. Meanwhile, Apple users showed a "brain empathy response for Apple that was exactly what you'd see in the way you would respond to somebody in your family."