It Hurts!

The Milgram Experiment  of 1961 showed ordinary people were willing to inflict terrible pain on a stranger when ‘following orders’. Stanley Milgram, an American social psychologist, attempted to test social compliance. His inspiration was the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann’s defense for arranging the mass killing of Jews was that he was only ‘following orders’.

Derren Brown recreated the experiment in his 2006 documentary The Heist. His findings differed not the whole lot from the Milgram original most subjects would, indeed, harm others, following orders given by persons of authority.

Human nature, surely, must’ve changed in fifty years! We’ve become more independent, less subservient, more defiant, freer thinkers, less willing to obey the authority without questioning its motives. More humane! That’s it. Haven’t we become all of the above?  We must have! Well? What?

Yes. Human nature have changed.  If anything, it has got worse. 

This time, 80 participants were recruited, including women as well as men, and 90 per cent were willing to inflict the highest shock level of 450 volts to a complicit “learner” screaming in agony.

Social psychologist Dr Tomasz Grzyb, from the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland, said: “Upon learning about Milgram’s experiments, a vast majority of people claim that ‘I would never behave in such a manner’.

“Our study has, yet again, illustrated the tremendous power of the situation the subjects are confronted with and how easily they can agree to things which they find unpleasant.”

The participants, aged 18 to 69, were shown an electric generator which was demonstrated by administering a mild shock of 45 volts.

Volunteers were given a series of 10 levers to press, each appearing to send a successively higher shock to the learner – out of sight in a neighbouring room – via electrodes attached to the wrist.

In reality, no electric shocks were delivered, and, as in the original experiment, the learner was playing a role.

After pressing lever number two, “successive impulses of electricity ” resulted in screams of increasing pain from the learner,” the scientists wrote in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“These screams were recorded and played back at appropriate moments.”

The “teachers” were told they were taking part in research on memory and learning.

Just as in Milgram’s experiment, they were spurred on by prompts from the supervising scientist such as “the experiment requires that you continue”, “it is absolutely essential that you continue”, and “you have no other choice, you must go on”.

Mercy was more apparent when the learner was a woman. In this case, the number of participants refusing to carry out the orders of the experimenter was three times higher than when the person receiving the “shocks” was a man.

Dr Grzyb concluded: “Half a century after Milgram’s original research into obedience to authority, a striking majority of subjects are still willing to electrocute a helpless individual.” 

The above is a quote from the article in The Telegraph with a telling title, Nine in 10 people would electrocute others if ordered, rerun of infamous Milgram Experiment shows.

The article also mentions a recent study conducted at St Andrew’s University. The study suggests that people were happy to inflict pain on others if they believed it was for the greater good. The researchers looked back through records of the original experiment and found that those who took part were not unhappy with their choice.

So much for the humanity, human morals and its spirit, healthy and free. Makes you want to scream, “It hurts!”

Genres Of Idiot

Image result“I’m An Idiot” — news release.
“He Is An Idiot” — review.
“We Are Idiots” — news analysis.
“You Are Idiots” — column.
“They Are Idiots” — investigative journalism.
“Now You Know, They’re Idiots!”Ambush journalism,  special report.
“No, YOU Are An Idiot” — commentary.
“Tell Me The Truth, Are You An Idiot?” — interview.
“Perhaps, He Is An Idiot” — opinion column.
“Among Idiots” — report.
“Life Of An Idiot” — biography.
“Being An Idiot” — an autobiography.
“Long Live The Idiot!” — a pamphlet.
“Naked Idiot!” — yellow journalism.
“This Idiot Is A Moron!” — Solutions journalism
“Everyone Is An Idiot” — essay.
“Sex With An Idiot” — celebrity journalism.
“An Idiot And I”— Social news.
“The Stupidest Of Idiots” — rating,  Sensationalism.
“Kim Jong-un Is An Idiot” — political article.
“The Idiot” — a novel.

Sick Genius

  • CRISPR-Cas9 is a unique technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
  • It is currently the simplest, most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation and is therefore causing a buzz in the science world.

How does it work? That’s how. Amazing stuff, really. However… Editing genes to eliminate cancer or Schizophrenia could stop the rise of geniuses, scientist warns.

 If you haven’t followed the link, the article sums up the following: Dr. James Kozubek, the author of ‘Modern Prometheus: Editing the Human Genome with Crispr-Cas9’ suggests that the gene-editing technology Crispr-Cas9 — which is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer — is not completely a positive.

In 'Modern Prometheus,' Kozubek says the gene-editing technology Crispr-Cas9 ¿ which is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer ¿ is not  completely a positive thing‘Before we begin modifying our genes with gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9, we’d be smart to recall that genetic variants that contribute to psychiatric conditions may even be beneficial depending on the environment or genetic background.’

In a word, while gene modification technique is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer and it may also erase depression or Schizophrenia, it could eliminate geniuses — as high intelligence are often associated with such disorders.

  • Writers are 10 times more likely to have Bipolar Disorder.
  • Poets are diagnosed with it 40 times more often than the general population.
  • Thomas Edison was ‘addled’ and kicked out of school.
  • Tennessee Williams, as a teenager on the boulevards of Paris felt afraid of the process of thought and came within a hairsbreadth of going quite mad.
  • Scientists tend to think of variations in life as problems to be solved, deviations and abnormalities outside of a normal curve.
  • In reality, Darwin showed us that evolution does not progress toward an ideal concept or model, but rather is a work of tinkering toward adaptation in local niches.

Go and figure…

Rooms With A View

 

Banksy.jpgBETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian guest house packed with artwork by the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy unveiled itself Friday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, with a sneak peek of what the owner called the “hotel with the worst view in the world.”

Banksy has made previous forays into the Palestinian territories. In one secret visit, he drew a painting of a girl pulled upward by balloons on the barrier facing his current project. Last year, he is believed to have sneaked into Gaza to draw four street murals, including one on a metal door that depicted the Greek goddess Niobe cowering against the rubble of a destroyed house. The painting, titled “Bomb Damage,” was drawn on the last remaining part of a two-story house that was destroyed in the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

banksy1Wisam Salsaa, 42, said the nine-room Walled Off Hotel will officially open on Mar. 11, but he offered a handful of reporters a tour. The hotel looks directly out at the West Bank separation barrier erected by Israel to ward off potential Palestinian attackers. The barrier, which Palestinians consider to be a land grab that stifles their movement, is heavily decorated by artists, and Banksy has previously painted several murals on a walled segment of it.banksy2The hotel  has the markings of a gentleman’s club from the English colonial period. One small niche accommodates a life-size figure of Arthur James Balfour signing the 1917 letter that came to be known as the Balfour declaration — the basis for the international push for the creation of Israel. banksyThe cheapest room, $30 a night, is a dormitory-style room with bunkbeds.

The whole project took 14 months to complete and was kept under complete secrecy, in accordance with Banksy’s request to protect his anonymity. 

 An Israeli security watch tower is seen from one of the roomsSalsaa said the entire interior was personally overseen by Banksy, to the very last details. The hotel is the largest new body of the artist’s work in years, according to a press release distributed by representatives who attended Friday’s tour.The hotel, several of whose rooms look onto an Israeli security watchtower, is awash in the trademark satirical work of the mysterious artist. The highlight is Room 3, where guests sleep in a king-size bed underneath Banksy’s artwork showing a Palestinian and an Israeli in a pillow fight.

The artist’s satirical stencils — rats, kissing policemen, riot police with yellow smiley faces — first appeared on walls in Bristol before spreading to London and then around the world. His artwork comments on war, child poverty and the environment. His identity remains a mystery, but his works have fetched as much as $1.8 million at auctions. (From the article by NEBI QENA, AP News).

Articles on Banksy’s newest endeavor appeared in The Telegraph (The Walled Off Hotel: Banksy opens dystopian tourist attraction in Bethlehem) and many other publications and internet sources.

Testosterone Plays the Market

A team of researchers of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) determined that exaggerated risk-taking in financial and business endeavors is driven by… increased levels of testosterone.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair. (Wikipedia.)

This phenomenon creates a state-of-mind where stock brokers feel their luck is unstoppable and things go their way no matter what.  The rise in testosterone level after a successful investment causes the individual loose all care, to take risks with abandon, which, in turn, creates stock market price bubbles.

Female stock brokers, research shows, seem to be largely unaffected, presumably due to lack of testosterone.

Stock market ‘bubbles’ can be caused by soaring testosterone levels among traders.

Makes you wonder, isn’t it? 

The effect is driven by the rise in testosterone level that occurs from a successful investment, which in turn causes the individual to take risks and create price bubbles.

It was also only found to affect performance among men, not women.

Stock market ‘bubbles’ can be caused by soaring testosterone levels among traders.

 

Lonely And Unloved

konstantin-dverinCharities Relate and Relationships Scotland conducted an annual study on loneliness. Results are discouraging: loneliness is on the rise, with more than one in eight adults saying they do not have a close friend — a three per cent increase compared to the previous years results.

Almost seven million people in the UK do not have someone they can rely on. sad mood

The charity’s report, You’re Not Alone – The Quality of the UK’s Social Relationships, report that 13 per cent of respondents did not have someone they were close with, up from 10 per cent when the same question was asked in 2014 and 2015. Nearly half (45 per cent) of UK adults felt lonely at least some of the time and almost a fifth (18 per cent) felt lonely most if not all the time.

A survey of more than 5,000 people indicates that almost one in six (17 per cent) admit of never (5 per cent) or rarely (12 per cent) having felt loved.  Sad and disheartening.

The research raises concern that increased dependence on social media, lack of work/life balance and the pressures of bringing up children could be affecting people’s friendships.

Image result for lonely WITH COMPUTER IMAGES

Life can take over as we juggle careers with family life and it might seem as if our social media friend count is high but what is the quality of those friendships really like?

Meet The Artist: Sergey Kolesov

red-doorDigital art. Concept art. That’s about Sergey Kolesov.  He was born, brought up and educated in Ivanovo, Russian Federation.

I love drawing since childhood. I drew on desks, in notebooks and in textbooks. I drew comics, ninjas and Schwarzenegger.

Digital art world is global “by design.” Sergey worked for Half Life 2 and then spent two years living and working at Arkane Studios in Brno, Czech Republic.

Nowadays Mr. Kolesov hails from Lyon, France, where he is employed as staff concept artist by Arkane Studios.

See more of Sergey’s works here. He also shows his technique in a series of “sped up”videos on Vimeo. Although digital artwork does not involve waiting for oil paints to dry,  the “road” from one pixel to a complete product is a very, very tedious process. It takes tons of time and patience. And talent, of course, in addition to the expertise in using digital tools. And imagination. Lots of it. Have I mentioned talent?

Cheating Beautiful Bastards

DSC_8768Regal and beautiful birds, swans are admired by all. And how could it be otherwise? After all swan is symbol of  everlasting love, purity and fidelity. But it so?

Not according to the results of the recent study conducted by Australian ornithologists. Love and fidelity of swans, as it happens, is a myth now dispelled by scientists.DSC_8742“Swans have long been renowned as symbols of lifelong fidelity and devotion, but our recent work has shown that infidelity is rife among black swans,” said Raoul Mulder from the University of Melbourne’s zoology department.

He and colleagues tested the DNA of many cygnets and found that one in six (17%) is the product of an illicit encounter. (The Myth of Monogamous Swans.)DSC_8787Interesting that about a quarter of “married” black swan couples are formed by homosexual males. Often a couple of males temporarily teams up with a female and, after she lays eggs, they cruelly expel her from the nest.

In fairness it should be noted that while scientists have traced only for a type of black swans, so it is hoped that the white swans behaved more decently.