Saturday, May 08, 2021

How Imagination Drives Answers


Saudi Arabia’s $15 Billion Scheme To Create A Global Cultural Capital Almost From Scratch

The site for the project is AlUla, a historical site with ancient rock-hewn buildings similar to those in Petra, Jordan. The plan is for five different cultural districts connected by a tram running along 12-mile greenway; attractions are to include museums and galleries, an archaeology and conservation center, an outdoor amphitheater, a nature park, and, of course, luxury hotels. The goal is to attract two million visitors annually. – Artnet

How Imagination Drives Answers

The sense of wonder we get when looking at a star-studded sky is a powerful one, even today an intense and even emotional experience, connecting us perhaps with an echo of that ancient amazement shared by thousands of generations before us. But perhaps too this feeling is not enough to understand the origin of this deep-seated, urgent, primordial, almost innate need to seek an answer to the big questions. – Nautilus

Actors On One Of Germany’s Most Popular TV Shows Made Sarcastic Videos About The COVID Lockdown. Bad Idea.

“A website called #allesdichtmachen(‘close it all down’) was launched on Thursday night, featuring 53 to-camera clips in which high-profile actors [from the long-running series Tatort] sarcastically boast of the lengths they have gone to restrict their social contacts and appeal to the government to lock down the country even harder.” Mein Gott, did they get dragged. One television host who’s been working as a paramedic summed up the general reaction, tweeting that the stars can “shove their irony up their ventilators.” – The Guardian

Eli Broad, Philanthropic Cautionary Tale

Broad’s style — his power plays, his demands for control and fealty, and his determination to go it alone — meant that controversy and ill-feeling dogged many of his big projects. He fell out with the architects; he crossed swords with directors such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Michael Govan; and his behavior stirred up resentments among fellow cultural philanthropists, many of whom refused to give to projects that had Broad’s name on them. – Washington Post

How Your Movie Theatre Experience Will Likely Change

To survive beyond the pandemic, theaters must persuade moviegoers not just to come back, but to come back more frequently than they did—to start thinking of their local cinema as akin to their favorite coffee shop. Because a return to pre-pandemic habits isn’t enough, industry executives told me they’ve been spending this past year rethinking the role of theaters in the first place. – The Atlantic

Genetics of Psychic Ability

My jaw just about hit the floor when I read this paper.

It is commonly believed that psychic ability, like many mental and physical traits, runs in families. This suggests the presence of a genetic component. If such a component were found, it would constitute a biological marker of psychic ability and inform environmental or pharmacologic means of enhancing or suppressing this ability.

On the one hand, almost every human trait has some genetic component. On the other hand, shouldn’t you demonstrate that a trait exists before searching for its genetic correlates? The combination of science and nonsense in this paper–seemingly without irony–is disconcerting, like discovering that Newton spent a huge amount of his time trying to discern hidden codes in the Bible.

On finding psychics and matched case-controls, “individuals with indications of psychotic or delusional tendencies were excluded from further consideration.” Ok, then.

Oh, in case you are wondering:

…none of the protein-coding sequences (i.e., exons) showed any variation that discriminated between cases and controls. However, a difference was observed in the intron (i.e., non-protein-coding region) adjacent to an exon in the TNRC18 gene (Trinucleotide Repeat-Containing Gene 18 Protein) on chromosome 7. This variation, an alteration of GG to GA, was found in 7 of 9 controls and was absent from all psychic cases.

The most conservative interpretation of these results is that they result from random population sampling. However, when the results are considered in relation to other lines of evidence, the results are more provocative. Further research is justified to replicate and extend these findings.

Disappointing really.

Hat tip: Jonatan Pallesen.