Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Reviews: on the metaphysical limitations of neuroscience

2/28/11. Raymond Tallis reviews, "Soul Dust:  The Magic of Consciousness" by Nicholas Humphrey, and "Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, by Antonio Damascio.

Monday Quotations


“Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.”

--- H. G. Wells (1866 – 1946)

“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject and who manages to avoid them.”

--- Werner Heisenberg (1901 – 1976)

“Analogies decide nothing, that is true, but they can make one feel more at home.”

--- Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Economic Experts' Predictions Fail?

By Michael Shermer
February 22, 2011

Michael Shermer:
"In December 2010 I appeared on John Stossel’s television special on skepticism on Fox Business News, during which I debunked numerous pseudoscientific beliefs. Stossel added his own skepticism of possible financial pseudoscience in the form of active investment fund managers who claim that they can consistently beat the market. In a dramatic visual demonstration, Stossel threw 30 darts into a page of stocks and compared their performance since January 1, 2010, with stock picks of the 10 largest managed funds. Results: Dartboard, a 31 percent increase; managed funds, a 9.5 percent increase..."

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Pain of Schizophrenia

2/21/11. A father and a daughter express the pain and anguish of living with a schizophrenic family member.

Monday Quotations


"Our existence is but a brief crack of light
between two eternities of darkness."

--- Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

"Men and women do behave wisely, once all
other alternatives have been exhausted."

Abba Eban (1915 - 2002)

"The best is the enemy of the good."

--- Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Quotations


"Visions rest ultimately on some sense of the nature of man --- not simply his existing practices but his ultimate potential and ultimate limitations. Those who see the potentialities of human nature extending far beyond what is currently manifested have a social vision quite different from those who see human beings as tragically limited creatures whose selfish and dangerous impulses can be contained only by social contrivances which themselves produce unhappy side effects."

--- Thomas Sowell
      (1930 -   )

"The fatal conceit:  the idea that the ability to acquire skills stems from reason."

 --- F.A. Hayek
     (1899 1992)

"With few exceptions, women writers build their stories on a predictable list of generic complaints. They are:
  • Bad men treat women badly.
  • Good men treat women badly.
  • Men do not understand that all women are creatures of fine intelligence, character, and sensitivity.
  • Life in any society debases women and fails to support their physical and emotional needs and desires.
  • Men impose themselves on women's bodies and inflict abuse and pain..
One or a combination of these grievances is the tension and the reason for every romance novel and for most  of the of the novels from the finer women writers. They are also the basic grievances of the feminists."

 --- Helen Hazan

Book Review: "The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart"

2/14/11. An ode to that fabulous muscle in our chest reviewed by psychiatrist Paul McHugh.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Marketers Discreetly Retool for Aging Boomers

Book Review: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts to Answer


"Can a retired 16th-century French provincial magistrate teach us how to live today? Sarah Bakewell’s engaging and idiosyncratic biography of the great essayist Michel de Montaigne suggests that the answer, in some quite subtle and interesting ways, is that he can. To judge by the enthusiastic reviews and healthy sales for Bakewell’s book since it was published in Britain early last year and this past October in the United States, many critics and readers would seem to agree."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Quotations


"So live that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip."

--- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

"If you wish women to love you, be original. I know a man who used to wear fur hats summer and winter and women fell in love with him."

--- Anton Chekhov (1860 1904)

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'"

--- G. K Chesterton (1874 - 1936)

25 Best Novels for Psychology Buffs

Edge Questions

2/7/11. Thirteen years of questions about science, technology, and the future --- with answers from a distinguished roster of scientists.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Key Lesson of Adulthood: The Need to Unlearn"


"Nothing endures," said Heraclitus, "but change."

It is not just arteries and veins that become clogged during adulthood.

Beliefs and ideas get clogged  that have been overturned by new scientific findings.

We tell ourselves stories to get to the truth. We must constantly revise our stories to fit the ever-changing world of discoveries.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Virus of Hysteria

2/2/11. More on the anti-vaccination movement and its deadly consequences.

PTSD's Diagnostic Trap

2/2/11. Psychiatrist Sally Satel on the history of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, some misguided efforts to treat PTSD, and how to think clearly about the psychological ravages of war and PTSD.