Showing posts from February 10, 2019

Cupid: A Mythological History

If you mention 'Cupid' to just about anybody, they'll tell you he is the Greek God of Love. but how much do we really know that is fact rather than fiction?

Who is Cupid? In Latin, Cupid goes by two names that have different origins, but whose meanings are both associated with love. One of Cupid’s Roman names is Cupido. This form means ‘desire.’ If we stop to think about it, regardless of our age, the people we love deeply are ones we enjoy and desire to be with as much as possible. Cupid’s other Latin name is ‘Amor’. For students enrolled in Latin I, this is one of the very first verbs (amo) that we learn to conjugate.
Two of the major planets in our solar system bear the names of Cupid's mother, Venus, and his father, Mars. Although Cupid is never seen, when the weather conditions are exactly right, both of these planets can be seen in the sky after dark or whenever a planetarium is open to visitors.
In Greek Mythology, Cupid was known as 'Eros' who was portr…

Harlow's Rhesus Monkeys, Love Experiments

The famous experiments that psychologist Harry Harlow conducted in the 1950's on maternal deprivation in rhesus monkeys were landmarks not only in primatology, but in the evolving science of attachment and loss. Harlow himself repeatedly compared his experimental subjects to children and press reports universally treated his findings as major statements about love and development in human beings. These monkey love experiments had powerful implications for any and all separations of mothers and infants, including adoption, as well as child-rearing in general.
In his University of Wisconsin laboratory, Harlow probed the nature of love, aiming to illuminate its first causes and mechanisms in the relationships formed between infants and mothers. First, he showed that mother love was emotional rather than physiological, substantiating the adoption-friendly theory that continuity of care—“nurture”—was a far more determining factor in healthy psychological development than “nature.” Seco…

Single People are the Real Problem on Valentine's Day

If you’re wondering why I’m addressing this aggressive headline to single people on Valentine’s Day rather than couples, you’re exactly who I’m targeting. 
Honestly, ask yourself, is it really the couples who are making February worse than it needs to be
No. Couples are awful all the time, not just once a year. But do you know who is absolutely out of control in the days leading up to February 14th?
Single people.
If I receive one more Facebook invitation to a Singles Awareness Day Party asking me to binge drink and numb the pain of being single on a random Thursday in February, I will implode.
Like a full moon to a werewolf, Valentine’s Day creates absolute monsters out of ordinary people. It’s like, once a person sees a coffee shop sign that reads “I Love You A Latte!” their eyes turn entirely black and they foam at the mouth and physically claw at fellow passers-by and whisper-scream: “Why am I alone?!?”
This one minuscule commercial holiday has morphed into a month-long existenti…

Learned Helplessness Experiment

In the 1960s, two University of Pennsylvania psychology graduate students discovered that when dogs received electrical shocks that they could not control, they later showed signs of anxiety and depression, but when dogs could end the shocks by pressing a lever, they didn't. What's more, the dogs that received the uncontrollable shocks in the first experiment didn't even try to escape shocks in a later experiment, even though all they needed to do was jump a low barrier.
The two researchers—Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD, and Steven F. Maier, PhD—termed their discovery "learned helplessness," and their findings are now a staple of introductory psychology textbooks. Seligman went on to further explore the finding, while Maier went in a different direction, retraining as a neuroscientist and studying the effects of stress on the immune system.
But 30 years after the experiment, Maier found himself thinking about that work and wondering if he could find a neural circuit…

What You Need To Know About Trump's "AI Initiative"

President Trump issued an executive order yesterday announcing what the White House calls an “American AI Initiative.” The order encourages research in the field of artificial intelligence in the United States.
The announcement is based on principles that touch on issues like AI and jobs, and the relationship between American artificial research and the international community. The first principle lays out the main idea: the U.S. should “drive technological breakthroughs in AI across the Federal Government, industry, and academia in order to promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security.”
In short, the executive order says to the federal government, academia, and private sector: Do more artificial intelligence.
The memo does not provide any new money for the initiative, although it does call for the White House Office of Management and Budget and the relevant agencies to prioritize funding artificial intelligence.

Why Now? “AI has become one of the hot…

D.B. Cooper

D.B. Cooper, also known as Dan Cooper, criminal who in 1971 hijacked a commercial plane traveling from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, and later parachuted out of the aircraft with the ransom money. An extensive manhunt ensued, but the hijacker was never identified or caught, resulting in one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in U.S history. The man used the alias Dan Cooper, but, in the subsequent news reporting, a reporter misheard the name as D.B. Cooper, which became widely used.
On November 24, 1971, the day before Thanksgiving, a "nondescript" man who appeared to be in his mid-40s and about 6 feet tall (1.83 metres) bought a $20 ticket for Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305. He gave his name as Dan Cooper, which later turned out to be fake. Shortly after takeoff from Portland, he handed a note to a flight attendant in which he claimed to have a bomb in his briefcase. He then proceeded to open the attaché case, which contained numerous wires, red sticks, a…

Living A Good Life Without Purpose

Have you ever felt guilty, restless, disappointed, or lost because you couldn’t define your life purpose? Everywhere I turn, I read or am told I must find my purpose. I have colluded with this dogma and told thousands of people the same thing — you need to find your purpose to be happy.
What if you can’t find your purpose? Or maybe you had to give up pursuing what you thought was your purpose to survive. Are you a failure?
For decades, children have been raised with the message that they are special and self-help books decry the need for finding your True North. Instead of helping us realize our best self, could this push us to feeling that our lives are never good enough or worse, we are never good enough? Are those of us who haven’t heard our calling doomed to an incessant pursuit of unrealized potential?
Can you focus your life without pinpointing a specific purpose or defining a vision of personal success?
To start, let me clarify what I mean by “life purpose.” I am talking about…