1. Next week, Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene is slated to release a new book on behavioral morality, examining the everyday irrationalities and subconscious biases that Kahneman, Tversky and company have popularized over the last few decades (aside: are all titles/covers copying Malcolm Gladwell?). A common behavioral problem, the “trolley experiment”, asks people to make a hypothetical decision: if a train cannot brake and is about to run over five people, would you pull a lever that would divert it, but cause it to hit one other person? Many people answer ‘yes’. But take the same scenario, and now you have to…
After his election, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg famously undertook a great experiment in improving humanity through the use of new laws, banning outdoor smoking, trans fats, and, most controversially, Big Gulps. Since some of us have serious doubts about any law’s ability to change human behavior, we might be more tempted to find solace in Bloomberg’s latest initiative, which is focused on transforming hearts rather than actions: a campaign to improve the self-esteem and body image of young girls:
The $330,000 campaign, called the NYC Girls Project, kicked off Monday with bus and subway ads starring 21 amateur models of…
- Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It – Stars
- From Here On Out – The Killers
- Cry for Judas – The Mountain Goats
- Scared – Albert Hammond Jr.
- If You Gotta Break Another Heart – Albert Hammond Sr.
- If You Change Your Mind – The Raspberries
- Eddie Walker – Ben Folds Five
- Way Back Into Love – Hugh Grant and Haley Bennett
- My Diane – The Beach Boys
- February Seven – The Avett Brothers
- Around Every Corner – Derek Webb
- The Man I Didn’t Know – Scott Weiland
- The Moon Is Calling – Nada Surf
- Ashes to Ashes – Faith No More
- What Deaner Was Talkin’ About – Ween
- Black Tears – Ian Hunter and the Rant Band
- Pay in Blood – Bob Dylan
- There Is A Valley – Bill Fay
Another Week Ends: Crimson Despair, Teacher Expectations, MJ’s Bad, Improvement Narratives, Neil Young, Neurospeculation, The Master, and Conf Update
1. An incredibly moving account of “Depression and Despair at Harvard” in response to the suicide of a classmate by Jordan Monge on The Harvard Ichthus. With real vulnerability, Monge touches on the crushing power of expectation, the vicious circle of shame and fear, the grace of defeat, even the toxic and tragic way Christians revert to the Law, post-conversion. It’s a courageous testament to the reality that we are not saved us from pain, but in and through it, ht AZ:
Admitting my weakness feels like admitting that I am not good enough to bear my own name….
Another Week Ends: Zeitgeistlichkeit, Atheist Religiosity, Freakonomic Fathers, Ralph Erskine, MJ, Devo’s Paradox, Hunger Games, Deep Blue Sea, and Hoarders
1. A pair of terrific book reviews have appeared in The NY Times over the last couple weeks, the first being Generation X author Douglas Coupland‘s inspiring riff on Hari Kunzu’s opus, Gods Without Men, and the exciting new genre it epitomizes (“Translit”). Ironically enough, he makes a number of Twitter-ready observations:
[We are living in a] “state of possibly permanent atemporality given to us courtesy of the Internet. No particular era now dominates. We live in a post-era without forms of its own powerful enough to brand the times. The zeitgest of 2012 is that we have a lot of…
My wife and I were watching Saturday Night Live when NBC broke the news that Whitney Houston had died. Other than the time and place of her death, no other details were given. And, truthfully, we didn’t need any other details to have an inkling of what had happened. Just as with the announcement of Michael Jackson’s passing, we had all watched Whitney slide into her downward spiral.
I was in High School when “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” started airing on MTV. I’m sure everyone has seen it. Think about what we see there: one can’t help but see the…
In light of all of tonight’s zombie-trolling, cheerleaders-from-the-dead, and bloody celebrities, a short word on the nature of identity, and the only hope we’ve got. This Monday morning’s devotional comes from one of this weekend’s speakers, David Browder:
“So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the…
This past Saturday marked the second anniversary of Michael Jackon’s death, and we wouldn’t be the Mockingbirds that we are if we didn’t commemorate it somehow. Below you’ll find an excerpt of our friend Brent Kuhlman’s excellent paper “Justification: Forensically Speaking!” Pastor Kuhlman would be the first to admit that some of the inspiration for the material came from, well, yours truly. Needless to say, I’m very flattered. If you’ve never heard the sermon I preached the week of MJ’s passing, which I consider one of my proudest moments, I’ve embedded it at the bottom of the post. So without…
Another Week Ends: Online Echo Chambers, Deathbed Regrets, Dylan at the Cross, MJ’s Bad, Singing Spiderman, Penmanship Psychology & Seinfeld
1. A couple of articles that follow-up on the filter bubble phenomenon we posted on last week, both from The NY Times. The first is an editorial by Eli Pariser, “When The Internet Thinks It Knows You” and the second a slightly broader look at the issue, “The Trouble With The Echo Chamber Online.” While the issue is clearly an important one, the solutions being proposed – i.e. programmed diversity – strikes me as a tad shallow. That is, there’s clearly a resistance to the idea that we might actually be culpable in our selective listening/browsing in a way that…
It’s funny because it’s true. The Dreamworks formula is to get big name talent (Jack Black, Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, and Will Farrell to name a few) to inflate a less than stellar story, while Pixar just keeps putting out Oscar winning movies.
So today marks the release of Michael Jackson’s first “real” posthumous record, Michael, and the verdict is predictably mixed. It’s certainly not the tour-de-force he was rumored to be working on in the years leading up to his death (high profile collaborations, for example with will.i.am and Ne-Yo, are nowhere to be found), but it is also not without its charms. In fact, if you can overlook the god-awful opening “Hold My Hand” (really an Akon solo track with Michael as guest), you’ll find some near-prime MJ. Chief among them, “Behind the Mask,” a smoking collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto that…
A couple days late of the 30th anniversary of his death, but with added feeling:
1. Jealous Guy – The Faces. Rockin’ Rod and crew proved their impeccable taste in solo-Beatles when they followed up their brilliant cover of “Maybe I’m Amazed” with an equally brilliant version of “Jealous Guy”:
2&3. Come Together. One of my least favorite Lennon songs has inexplicably been given the deluxe treatment by not one but three of my heroes. Of special note is the fact that in 1994 it marked Axl’s final public appearance before disappearing for six years.
A few years before in the Moonwalker movie,…