About Bias: Why we like people better when they look like us, or agree with us.

Lately, perhaps due to the politics of an impending Brexit revote, the ongoing political infighting in the United States, issues arising from the anti-VAX movement and the threats they impose to public health, and the anti-GMO movements making the rounds, perhaps a look at bias was due. Bias, in one sense, means that we tend …

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How the Evolutionary Left-overs of Intuition, Bias, and Instinct, Hinder us in the Technological Age.

The philosopher William James believes that there were two different parts of thinking; that he labeled these two parts associative thinking, and true reasoning. According to this dual process theory, associative thinking was based in large part on past experiences from which we drew comparisons or abstractions. While true reasoning was reserved for tasks like …

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What if you could live to be 500?

This morning, as I listened to the news, such as it is today; I heard part of a story that championed the significant advances in life and longevity due to the public health movement. While no one would even a tertiary understanding of public health could deny the enormous advances made in the past 125 …

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Why knowledge is the new commodity, and why your degree may ultimately be useless.

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote “New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with the richer we become.” But is that true of all knowledge, or just some? Look closely at developed nations, those with un-launched missiles and un-dropped bombs. Then look at those nations and cultures that do …

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The Eradication of Smallpox and the Helper T-Cells

In May of 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) pronounced, after two centuries, that the fight against smallpox had ended. This meant that there were no known cases of the disease anywhere on the planet. Many other infectious diseases have returned from the brink of extinction, but few have been so deadly as the only …

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The Willow, the Tortoise, and The Master: The Use of Symbolism in Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, and Self-Help

As Desdemona is preparing for bed on the night she will be murdered, she sings a song about a willow tree. In Hamlet we learn that the prince’s love, Ophelia, falls from a willow tree into a brook where she drowns. Shakespeare may have understood the willow as a symbol of loss and grief, and …

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Welcome to Flatland, Population: You?

In 1884, a schoolmaster by the name of Edwin Abbot wrote what he had considered a satire on both Victorian Culture and the Sciences titled Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions. The short novel is about the existence in a 2-dimensional world where the male inhabitants are geometric figures (depending on rank and status, from …

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