Absolutely, it is easy for you to be more charismatic, though you will never be as appealing as I am.
According to Professor Richard Wiseman (I’m not sure what he’s a professor of, but he’s British and his last name is “wise” “man”, so he must be a reliable source), 50 percent of charisma is innate and 50 percent can be taught. For some of us, it’s more like 90/10.
The good professor says charismatic people have three key attributes:
they feel emotions themselves quite strongly;
they induce them in others;
and they are impervious to the influences of other charismatic people.
So, if you are naturally drawn to my finely chiseled face, and rendered speechless by my presence (as most of you are) then you are not impervious to the charisma of others.
However, you can train yourself to become inured to other magnetic personalities. Continue reading →
McCoy, Kirk and Spock are all about to die as their bodies are de-atomized over a period of several agonizing seconds.
Everyone in the original Star Trek was quite condescending to Bones whenever he got fretful about using the transporter.
Yet Dr. McCoy had solid, philosophical reasons for being freaked out by the device. Basically, the transporter disassembles all your molecules, and then reassembles them somewhere else. (Assuming something doesn’t go horribly wrong in the process, as it did in pretty much every other episode.)
It’s an existentialist nightmare.
So that means when you voluntarily use the transporter, you’re opting for death via de-atomization over a period of several agonizing seconds. Sure, a copy of you will go on, but who knows, maybe it will be the evil copy of you, or perhaps the machine will screw up, and you’ll end up with Mr. Spock’s wang protruding from your forehead. In either case, it doesn’t really matter, because the you that you are at this moment (which granted, is also an illusion of sorts, but that’s a subject for another time) is going to die. And presumably it hurts a bit to be de-atomized. Did anyone else ever think it took quite a long time for them to stop “sparkling”? It’s seconds at least. Now imagine what that feels like, having your atoms ripped apart over a period of several seconds. Having trouble? Pluck out a few nose hairs. Now imagine that in every molecule of your body for several seconds.
His crewmates should have cut Bones a little slack; let him take the shuttlecraft if he wanted. Besides, when you’re fighting Tiranglian Lizard people, or reprogramming a rogue computer, the doctor’s only going to be helpful in stitching you up afterwards. (Or whatever “non-barbaric” technology” Dr. McCoy used.)
If anything, McCoy was pretty stoic about the whole thing. If it had been me, there’s no way you’re getting me onto the transporter pad:
“Mr. Rayner, put on your red shirt and step onto the transporter pad, we’re going down to the surface,” Kirk ordered the pudgy and pale-looking ensign.
“Mr. Rayner, you’re going down to the surface with the rest of the landing party, where we’re all going to die. Well, you’re going to die. Bones and Spock and I will be fine.”
“We all die every time we use the transporter!” Ensign Rayner cries.
“Don’t make me beat you.”
“Frankly …” Mr. Rayner lifts shoulders. “I’d prefer that…” Mr. Rayner raises hands. “Jim.” Mr. Rayner thrusts hands forward.
Then Kirk decks him (ripping his shirt in the process).
Green-skinned dancing girls appear on the transporter pad and begin doing the Hippy Shake, while Spock raises an eyebrow.
Now, what other science fiction inventions would suck? High on my list would be the notion that “food in pill form” is a good idea. I definitely think that would be awful, though obviously not as much as soylent green. Also, artificial intelligence seems like a bad idea too. Am I missing any?
Alltop is also not a whiny bitch. Originally published May, 2009.
The irony is a spongy wad, so thick the fine edge of your keyboard or netbook would be enough to cut it.
I’m trying to write a review of Nicholas Carr’s new book, The Shallows, and all the while, I can’t seem to stop myself from checking TweetDeck every few minutes (there just did it again); or a quick dip in to my email, or to check my blog comments…
This is the welter of distractions we face every day, for those of us who are wired, reading, and working. Even if you’re disciplined, the distraction is there — it takes an act of will to resist it, and what happens to your brain in that instant while you’re deciding if you should click on that link, open up that Facebook app, or make a comment on the article you’ve been reading between tasks?
A lot. In fact, your brain is being rewired while we you read this, assuming, of course, you’ve made it this far in the review and you’re still reading.
This is why I believe everyone who has any interest at all in the Internet, the web and reading should study this book. If you’re intrigued by the ultimate the fate of the human species, and where this information age is taking us, you’ll want to have a look. Hell, probably anyone who uses the net should consider at least scanning it. (Yes, more irony.)
Carr’s writing and research is excellent, and his thesis is straightforward: we’re giving up part of our humanity in the headlong rush to absorb as much information as we can, as quickly as we can. The book discusses the history of media, and how our brains have changed before — first with the advent of writing, and then with the development of Guttenburg’s press; he carries the argument from current studies of the brain and consciousness to the flawed model of our brains as computers and our minds as software; he delves into how philosophers and other thinkers have meditated on this subject throughout history.
And it is exactly the discipline of meditation, and “deep reading” as he calls it, that we are starting to lose with the web. It’s changing our writing, our thinking, and ultimately, it’s changing our culture.
If nothing else, this book will help you be more aware of what is happening to you on a daily basis. I’ve already been aware of some of the effects he discusses — for example, when I’m writing a piece of long fiction, I always make sure my computer is disconnected from the net, and I don’t have any other programs except for my word processor (and iTunes) open. Now, I see that I need to give my brain at more of a break from the constant info-dump of the net than that.
We’re all altering human evolution with this experiment, and who knows where it will end? Carr is not optimistic, and he worries that when it is all over, we will no longer be homo sapiens, we will be homo informavore.
The average breeding season for rabbits is 9 months (10 in Newfoundland). Gestation time is 30 days. Each litter produces somewhere between 4 to 12 kits (baby rabbits). It takes 4 to 5 weeks to wean those bad boys (and girls), and then the mothers are ready to mate again. In six months the does (female rabbits) born in the first round of mating (which sadly only takes 30 seconds), will be ready to mate themselves. Each mating season, a doe could produce up to 800 children. [wiki]