Delayed gratification and the quest to bridge the person-situation debate

Are we born with self-control? Or does context change our behavior?

  • Are behaviors innate, or are they shaped by our surroundings?
  • David Epstein poses this question as he examines the person-situation debate through the lens of the famed marshmallow test, an experiment in the self-control of children.
  • Simple strategies can be taught to help delay gratification, which suggests our personality traits can undergo change depending on context.

Tyranny comes home: How the 'boomerang effect' impacts civilian life in the U.S.

When it comes to foreign intervention, we often overlook the practices that creep into life back home.

Videos
  • Methods used in foreign intervention often resurface domestically, whether that's in the form of skills or technology.
  • University of Tampa professor Abigail Blanco calls this the boomerang effect. It's a consequence not often thought about when we discuss foreign intervention.
  • The three channels to consider when examining the boomerang effect include human capital in the form of skills, administrative dynamics, and physical capital in the form of tools and technology.
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The value of owning more books than you can read

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.

(Photo from Wikimedia)
Personal Growth
  • Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
  • Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
  • The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
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Listen: Scientists recreate voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy

Scientists used CT scanning and 3D-printing technology to recreate the voice of Nesyamun, an ancient Egyptian priest.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists printed a 3D replica of the vocal tract of Nesyamun, an Egyptian priest whose mummified corpse has been on display in the UK for two centuries.
  • With the help of an electronic device, the reproduced voice is able to "speak" a vowel noise.
  • The team behind the "Voices of the Past" project suggest reproducing ancient voices could make museum experiences more dynamic.
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