friday five 2.10.17
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH
This is brilliant. It's part of a Global Engagement Center initiative that uses personal data and very targeted messaging to communicate directly with young Muslim teenagers who have shown particular interest in jihadist cases, to discourage them from joining ISIS. This is how you use the power of advertising for a good cause. If it is effective, it could be a huge win for counterterrorism efforts.
It's actually alarming how much of an effect emotional health has on our mental well-being and our physical heath (psychosomatics is awesomely terrifying and if you ever want to talk to me about it, I still have a lot of thoughts on hysteria from my Body Language class). Loneliness not only causes addiction, but it's also the "strongest social risk factor," which I think is very underreported. But the fact that we've figured this out is insane. My mom and I always marvel at the human body because it's so precisely and delicately balanced; it was designed to work so perfectly and if just one thing upsets the rhythm, it can have catastrophic consequences.
I'm so sad that Crash Course Philosophy is ending, because it really does an excellent job of taking big moral and ethical dilemmas (tangent: did you know that there's a difference between morals and ethics? I didn't, until I Googled it) and packaging them into accessible, thought-provoking, and entertaining videos. This one is about the value of life, and is remarkably comprehensive, covering everything from abortion and bodily autonomy to physician-assisted suicide and what it means to value the quality of life. These are very complex questions, ones we don't necessarily have answers to, but I think it's good to think about them because it helps put your perspective in order. And what I love about this channel is that it presents you with all the necessary tools and information to construct your own opinions and decide for yourself what your own morals are.
I'd actually seen this article on the front page of The New York Times website, but I glossed over it because I assumed I knew the answer. Then my uncle sent it to me, saying he thought I'd find it interesting, and it didn't have anything to do with sports. As it turns out, this kind of rationalizing behavior is not exclusive to sports fans, but is actually a social grouping mechanism that applies to all humans. Fascinating. And also terrifying, because when taken to extremes, you get Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. Or it explains why, when presented with facts regarding misconduct, corruption, and authoritarianism, people continue to support, say, presidential candidates.
Ted Cruz is so universally hated, and it's very amusing, but you do also have to admit that he is the only Republican candidate that even held a tiny little birthday cake candle to our now-president during campaign season. This video discusses how his campaign used behavioral science, data analytics, and technology (not Twitter, though) to run a presidential campaign, which is actually quite amazing when it's broken down, to see the very tiny choices that made a significant difference in communicating Cruz's message to a mixed demographic.