Why “-ISH” is OK and Culture is Worth a Little Risk

Whenever I tell people my favorite book, they are shocked. Not many people have heard of The Executioner’s Song. Not even many Norman Mailer fans know much about it. The 1980 Pulitzer Prize winning “true-life story” uses a lean Capote-ish “non-fiction novel” style. Like In Cold Blood, it moves beyond a conventional novelistic approach. Which brings me to my point,…

”The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” & Being Persuasive is Important

We’re always so preoccupied with how dangerous the world is around us– often vastly overestimating the odds of murder, terrorost attacks and the like, but in his latest 800-ebook-page heavyweight, author Stephen Pinker (professor of psychology in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT) tells us violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living…

Now Google is Saving Lives?

Seems they have all the right answers at Google. Last week, Google began offering suicide prevention hotline information to people who were searching suicide-related terms. ‘Ways to commit suicide’ and ‘suicidal thoughts’ trigger this response, however, a query like ‘I want to end my life’ fails to elicit the suicide hotline information. Semantics can kill. This feature aligns…

Texting Sharks warn Life Guards? OMG…WTF?

I’m not sure if sharks are participating willingly, but apparently some beaches in Australia have outfitted sharks with SMS enabled devices that text life guards to warn them when they get too close to land. If something doesn’t seem right here, it’s not. This is technology inserting itself into the circle of life. But I must admit,…

Did Avatar avoid the Uncanny Valley?

With all of these 3D movies bombarding us, it’s no wonder that animated humans are starting to freak us out a bit. It’s well known that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. Called the Uncanny Valley, the “valley”…