passing thoughts

If there were no dogs in this world, what would man have to kick?

I make a living training rats to perform a behavior and studying their brain. If I am using simple stimuli and behaviors that rats can perform, a motivated rat will surprise most people with his intelligence. When I have a problem with training animals it is often because they are too smart, not because they are too dumb. Often smarter rats are harder to train because they think of strategies to game the system for a maximum reward with minimal effort, attempting to bypass the task for free food and/or water. The other day a rat chewed through a cable in his box that wasn’t secure, I had to put him up for the day (free food and water for him!.

When I find faculty or secretaries mosey in to work at 10, I think of them as “chewing the cable”. The same goes for graduate students.

For the sake of the English language and American productivity, instant messengers should be banned (even Google Chat).

Often it seems scientists have a low “eq”, or emotional intelligence, which makes it tough in many social situations to interact with others. Certainly I feel I am pretty low on the EQ. I think having ethics and morals automically handicaps your EQ (which is not to say scientists are any more ethical and moral than most). We can’t all just giggle through life like the Dalai Lama.

I recently saw two Kurosawa films recommended by Rothell: Red Beard and High & Low. Very interesting in that they are classic films which reinforce age old Japanese (and Asian) culture and traditions. What defines the American culture? If Christianity and the idea of self-governance are absent, what fills the vacuum? Commerce? Socialism? These days directors have to “challenge” traditions, especially in America.

Posted at 09:05 pm by Johnny B

Posted by Hemonster @ 05/05/2006 11:19 AM PDT
I am a Rat…

Most popular class in Harvard

A class on positive psychology, which basically is pop psychology. Like free therapy, twice a week, says one undergrad. Shahar, the teacher of this class, decided not to continue on the tenure track because publishing doesn’t make him happy. Kind of like when a guy likes a girl but can’t attract her, and then decides she is too snobby for him.

Some memorable quotes,
From a student:
“The work is about personal transformation and not a quantity of reading. It’s probably the one class that I feel I’m acheiving growth.”

From Shahar:
“What I’m calling for is nothing less than a happiness revolution.”

One of the few times I’ve yelled at the radio

Posted at 06:36 pm by Johnny B

Menstruation science

One of my least favorite sciences…at any rate, here is an interesting finding: Women’s spatial ability improves during menstruation DPA , HAMBURG, GERMANY Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005,Page 6 Through history women have been the butt of smirking male jokes about their alleged inability to give directions or to read road maps. Now, researchers at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, have discovered that a woman’s spatial ability, and hence her ability to read maps, actually increases during her menstrual period. During most of her monthly cycle, higher levels of the female hormone estrogen are present and these were linked to lower scores on such things as direction finding and map reading. But when levels of the male hormone testosterone were higher, as during their period, women did better.

Full Story

Posted at 09:08 pm by Johnny B

Friday, June 17, 2005 Human productivity I know…

Friday, June 17, 2005
Human productivity
I know this blog is mostly political, but this is a particularly interesting piece which transcends petty politics and explores human psychology, and sociology. The question debated is :Why doesn’t Ben Wallace wear the fro for every game?

I’ve been a big fan of the Pistons since they got Rasheed last year and seemingly turned his career around. I predicted they’d beat LA last year and predicted they’d win this year. After watching Team USA get creamed, we simply cannot allow a foreigner (Manu Ginobili) to win the NBA championship MVP. This is simply unacceptable. Every red-blooded american should be shooting free throws and blocking out. I’m talking screen and rolls, give and gos, and backdoor cuts. You gotta know when to come off your man and block that shot, but not too early or your man gets the layup. Also, there should be a federal law against slow double teams. I think this is something we all can agree on.

Posted at 01:42 pm by Johnny B