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Moral Dilemma of Self-Driving Cars: Which Lives to Save in a Crash

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Would you ride in a self-driving car that has been programmed to sacrifice its passengers to save the lives of others, in the event of a serious accident?

New research has found that people generally approve of autonomous vehicles (AV) governed by so-called utilitarian ethics, which would seek to minimize the total number of deaths in a crash, even if it means harming people in the vehicle. But it gets more complicated than that. The study, based on surveys of U.S. residents, found that most respondents would not want to ride in these vehicles themselves, and were not in favor of regulations enforcing utilitarian algorithms on driverless cars. Continue reading

Creativity Boost: How to Tap into Right-Brain Thinking

We’ve all heard that we need to tap into our creative right brains.

But how? Martha Beck offers a few fruitful ways to branch out.

by Martha Beck


This morning I sat down to write about how we can all learn to better use the right hemispheres of our brains. For 30 minutes, I tapped restlessly at a laptop. Nothing much happened, idea-wise. Flat beer.

Finally I resorted to a strategy I call the Kitchen Sink. I read bits of eight books: four accounts of brain research, one novel about India, one study of bat behavior, one biography of Theodore Roosevelt, and one memoir of motherhood. Next I drove to my favorite Rollerblading location, listening en route to a stand-up comic, a mystery novel, and an Eckhart Tolle lecture. I yanked on my Rollerblades and skated around, squinting slack-jawed into the middle distance. After a while, a tiny light bulb went on. “Well,” I thought, “I could write about this.”

Duh.

The Kitchen Sink, you see, is one way to activate your brain’s creative right hemisphere. Every writer I’ve ever met uses some version of it, as do Web designers, cartoonists, TV producers—all “content creators” who regularly face the terrifying thought, “Well, I’ve gotta come up with something.”

If you’re not a content creator, wait a while. The 21st century is to content creators what the Industrial Revolution was to factory workers: In a world where information is superabundant, unique and creative ideas are hot-ticket advantages both personally and professionally. More and more people are finding more and more ways to parent, make money, find friends, and generally live well by relying on creativity. I’ve seen this shift among my life-coaching clients. For instance: Michaela develops financial-planning strategies for stay-at-home moms. Mary runs a long-distance mother’s support group via Skype. Alyssa’s innovative T-shirt designs keep selling, recession or no recession. The demand for creative thinking is both a challenge and an opportunity. It requires us to use more than the logical left-brain skills we learned in school. These days, we all need to get back into our right minds. Continue reading

Break Through Creative Blocks with this Unconventional Drawing Technique



Clarity of thought, creative breakthroughs and inner peace whilst having a vacation from your overactive mind?

Sound good?

You need to sharpen your pencils.

An all-too-familiar creative roadblock

If you’ve ever had a tight deadline for a project or been trying to finish that latest article that seems to never end, you’ll appreciate the desperation that can start to creep into your thinking.

You’ve been working for what seems like days, thinking and re-thinking, writing and rewriting, trying to unleash that one idea, that one genius brushstroke to finish the piece. But it keeps eluding you and you start to feel… slightly hysterical!

Logically you know there must be a simple solution, but if the answer doesn’t come easy, avoidance tactics creep in and you ask yourself a couple of dangerous questions:

Would checking my email help?

Would Google know the answer?

It can become increasingly difficult to break the cycle of the same idea milling around in your head. What we need is a fast track to creative clarity. Continue reading

You Are a Genius: 5 Steps to Creative Freedom

By Mark Matousek


You are a genius but probably don’t know it. Each of is born with a specific gift that exists nowhere else in all of creation. In ancient Rome, it was well understood that everyone had his or her own genius, a spirit whose sole purpose is to inspire our lives and guide us to our destiny. But we have forgotten this wisdom.

We’re told that genius is miraculously rare, instead — think Leonardo da Vinci or Stephen Hawking — and based on bizarrely high IQs. But genius, in truth, has more to do with desire, courage, passion and focus than it has with psychological testing. Genius informs the voice of your deepest self — the still small voice within — that guides you forward in mysterious ways having little to do with conscious will and much to do with learning to listen.

What gifts are you here to offer the world? No one else can do it for you. “There is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique,” as Martha Graham knew. “If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.” Continue reading

What’s Holding You Back?

If traditional methods aren’t working for you, change your perception.

I noticed the training wheels on my son’s bike were no longer touching the ground. He was riding without them. “Let’s take those off,” I said.

“No Daddy, I’m not ready.”

“Sure you are; let’s give it a try.”

After I removed them, he got on the bike, but couldn’t get enough momentum to stay up and fell right over.

“See Daddy, I can’t do it. Put them back on.”

“Let’s try it again, this time I’ll push.” I grabbed the back of the seat and started pushing him. He was pedaling and riding perfectly, and I was having to run as fast as I could to continue holding the seat. “You’re doing it!” I cried. “I’m going to let go now.”

“No Daddy, don’t let go. I can’t do it.”

I let go, and he stopped pedaling. The bike rolled a few more feet, began to wobble, then fell over.

“I can’t do it. Daddy, please put the training wheels back on.”

He couldn’t see what I saw: that he was already riding without them. He was like a circus elephant tied to a stake in the ground. That elephant is strong enough to push over a tree, yet because she was tied to a stake as a baby – when she wasn’t strong enough to pull it up – she continues to believe it can’t be done. Continue reading

Mind Games: Sometimes a White Coat Isn’t Just a White Coat


If you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, your ability to pay attention increases sharply. But if you wear the same white coat believing it belongs to a painter, you will show no such improvement.

So scientists report after studying a phenomenon they call enclothed cognition: the effects of clothing on cognitive processes.

It is not enough to see a doctor’s coat hanging in your doorway, said Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, who led the study. The effect occurs only if you actually wear the coat and know its symbolic meaning — that physicians tend to be careful, rigorous and good at paying attention.

The findings, on the Web site of The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, are a twist on a growing scientific field called embodied cognition. We think not just with our brains but with our bodies, Dr. Galinsky said, and our thought processes are based on physical experiences that set off associated abstract concepts. Now it appears that those experiences include the clothes we wear. Continue reading

Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog


If you’re looking for the latest in home exercise equipment, you may want to consider something with four legs and a wagging tail.

Several studies now show that dogs can be powerful motivators to get people moving. Not only are dog owners more likely to take regular walks, but new research shows that dog walkers are more active overall than people who don’t have dogs.

One study even found that older people are more likely to take regular walks if the walking companion is canine rather than human.

“You need to walk, and so does your dog,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, director of the human-animal interaction research center at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s good for both ends of the leash.”

Just last week, researchers from Michigan State University reported that among dog owners who took their pets for regular walks, 60 percent met federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise. Nearly half of dog walkers exercised an average of 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. By comparison, only about a third of those without dogs got that much regular exercise. Continue reading

Life Skills You May Need to Relearn

Sometimes, new research inspires us to re-examine old know-how (think: shoelace-tying).

By Jena Pincott


To Handwrite

Sure, you don’t really need to pick up a pen again (one in three of us hasn’t used one in six months for anything but a signature). But know this: Handwriting switches on a cluster of brain cells, the reticular activating system that engages the brain more deeply than typing. A University of Washington study found that when kids wrote, their ideas flowed more freely with pencil-on-paper than with fingers-on-keyboards. (Writers Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling and Annie Proulx can attest—they write entire novels in longhand.) In another study, adult students recognized Mandarin words better, and retained them for longer, if they had written the strokes than if they typed them. Sharp point, sharper memory.

To Tie Your Shoes

Note: I have watched this video and can attest to the fact that tying the stronger knot on my sneaker laces has now saved me countless minutes of having to stop to re-tie my laces…

One tiny twist, literally, makes all the difference when tying shoelaces that don’t come undone. This TED Talks video shows us the little-known right way in three minutes. (Hint: Wrap the lace in the opposite direction than usual.) We may never trip over ourselves again.

http://www.ted.com/talks/terry_moore_how_to_tie_your_shoes.html

To Dish It Out Differently

We were all taught to “sandwich” criticism between big fluffy layers of compliments (you’re doing great—just one thing, but great). This is gentle, but recipients tend to take away the “bread” only, not the “meat,” finds a study at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Praise-heavy feedback was fine for novices: It encouraged them to improve. But it had the opposite effect on “experts,” people with advanced knowledge (in French or environmental awareness, for example). What works to motivate them—which may require some fine-tuning on your part—are negative feedback (albeit matter-of-fact and precise) and constructive suggestions (“what if”). More protein, fewer empty carbs. Continue reading

The Shadow Effect

by Debbie Ford


photograph by Richard Brocken

You can view his work…

http://www.saatchionline.com/richardbrocken

Whether you want to believe it or not, you have a dark side. When you start to ignore it or push it aside, it begins to make decisions for you and strips you of your conscious choices. Maybe for you it’s the foods you eat or the mean words you speak, but it’s there. In The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self, co-authors Debbie Ford, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson shed light on your shadow issues to help you deal with them with compassion, instead of fear.

The conflict between who we are and who we want to be is at the core of the human struggle. Duality, in fact, lies at the very center of the human experience. Life and death, good and evil, hope and resignation coexist in every person and exert their force in every facet of our lives. If we know courage, it is because we have also experienced fear; if we can recognize honesty, it is because we have encountered deceit. And yet most of us deny or ignore our dualistic nature. Continue reading

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