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Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Rollins describes the seminal moment when he decided to leave his job as manager of Haagen Dazs to become the lead singer of Black Flag. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd http://bigthink.com/
Views: 3347788 Big Think
Dan Harris: Hack Your Brain's Default Mode with Meditation
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Dan Harris explains the neuroscience behind meditation, but reminds us that the ancient practice isn't magic and likely won't send one floating into the cosmic ooze. He predicts that the exercise will soon become regularly scheduled maintenance, as commonplace as brushing your teeth or eating your veggies. Harris, an ABC News correspondent, was turned on to mediation after a live, on-air panic attack. His latest book is 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story (http://goo.gl/wfSX4E). Don't miss new Big Think videos!  Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Transcript - There’s no way a fidgety and skeptical news anchor would ever have started meditating were it not for the science. The science is really compelling. It shows that meditation can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, help you deal with problems ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to psoriasis. And the neuroscience is where it really gets sci-fi. There was a study out of Harvard that shows that short daily doses of meditation can literally grow the gray matter in key areas of your brain having to do with self-awareness and compassion and shrink the gray matter in the area associated with stress. There was also a study out of Yale that looked at what’s called the default mode network of the brain. It’s a connected series of brain regions that are active during most of our waking hours when we’re doing that thing that human beings do all the time which is obsessing about ourselves, thinking about the past, thinking about the future, doing anything but being focused on what’s happening right now. Meditators not only turn off the default mode network of their brain while they’re meditating but even when they’re not meditating. In other words, meditators are setting a new default mode. And what’s that default mode? They’re focused on what’s happening right now. In sports this is called being in the zone. It’s nothing mystical. It’s not magical. You’re not floating off into cosmic ooze. You are just being where you are – big cliché in self-help circles is being in the now. You can use that term if you want but because it’s accurate. It’s slightly annoying but it’s accurate. It’s more just being focused on what you’re doing. And the benefits of that are enormous. And this is why you’re seeing these unlikely meditators now, why you’re seeing the U.S. Marines adopting it, the U.S. Army, corporate executives from the head of Ford to the founders of Twitter. Athletes from Phil Jackson to many, many Olympians. Scientists, doctors, lawyers, school children. There’s this sort of elite subculture of high achievers who are adopting this because they know it can help you be more focused on what you’re doing and it can stop you from being yanked around by the voice in your head. My powers of prognostication are not great. I bought a lot of stock in a company that made Palm Pilot back in 2000 and that didn’t go so well for me. But having said that I’m going to make a prediction. I think we’re looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution. In the 1940s if you told people that you went running they would say, who’s chasing you. Right now if you tell people you meditate – and I have a lot of experience with telling people this, they’re going to look at you like you’re a little weird most of the time. That’s going to change. Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you. These are all things that if you don’t do you feel guilty about. And that is where I think we’re heading with meditation because the science is so strongly suggestive that meditation can do really, really great things for your brain and for your body. The common assumption that we have, and it may be subconscious, is that our happiness really depends on external factors – how was our childhood, have we won the lottery recently, did we marry well, did we marry at all. But, in fact, meditation suggests that happiness is actually a skill, something you can train just the way you can train your body in the gym. It’s a self-generated thing. And that’s a really radical notion. It doesn’t mean that external circumstances aren’t going to impact your happiness. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be subject to the vagaries of an impermanent, entropic universe. It just means you are going to be able to navigate this with a little bit more ease. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton
Views: 1287778 Big Think
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson claims the title "scientist" above all other "ists." And yet, he says he is "constantly claimed by atheists." So where does he stand? "Neil deGrasse, widely claimed by atheists, is actually an agnostic." Neil deGrasse Tyson: I'm often asked -- and occasionally in an accusatory way -- "Are you atheist?"  And it's like, you know, the only "ist" I am is a scientist, all right?  I don't associate with movements.  I'm not an "ism."  I just  - I think for myself.  The moment when someone attaches to a philosophy or a movement, then they assign all the baggage and all the rest of the philosophy that goes with it to you, and when you want to have a conversation they will assert that they already know everything important there is to know about you because of that association.  And that's not the way to have a conversation.  I'm sorry.  It's not.  I'd rather we explore each other's ideas in real time rather than assign a label to it and assert, you know, what's going to happen in advance. So what people are really after is, what is my stance on religion or spirituality or God?  And I would say, if I find a word that came closest it would be agnostic.  Agnostic -- the word dates from the 19th century -- Huxley -- to refer to someone who doesn't know but hasn't yet really seen evidence for it but is prepared to embrace the evidence if it's there but if it's not won't be forced to have to think something that is not otherwise supported. There are many atheists who say, "Well, all agnostics are atheists."  Okay.  I'm constantly claimed by atheists.  I find this intriguing.  In fact, on my Wiki page -- I didn't create the Wiki page, others did, and I'm flattered that people cared enough about my life to assemble it -- and it said, "Neil deGrasse is an atheist."  I said, "Well that's not really true."  I said, "Neil deGrasse is an agnostic."  I went back a week later.  It said, "Neil deGrasse is an atheist." -- again within a week -- and I said, "What's up with that?" and I said, "I have to word it a little differently."  So I said, okay, "Neil deGrasse, widely claimed by atheists, is actually an agnostic."  And some will say, well, that's -- "You're not being fair to the fact that they're actually the same thing."  No, they're not the same thing, and I'll tell you why.  Atheists I know who proudly wear the badge are active atheists.  They're like in your face atheist and they want to change policies and they're having debates.  I don't have the time, the interest, the energy to do any of that.  I'm a scientist.  I'm an educator.  My goal is to get people thinking straight in the first place, just get you to be curious about the natural world.  That's what I'm about.  I'm not about any of the rest of this.   And it's odd that the word atheist even exists.  I don't play golf.  Is there a word for non-golf players?  Do non-golf players gather and strategize?  Do non-skiers have a word and come together and talk about the fact that they don't ski?  I don't—I can't do that.  I can't gather around and talk about how much everybody in the room doesn't believe in God.  I just don't—I don't have the energy for that, and so I . . . Agnostic separates me from the conduct of atheists whether or not there is strong overlap between the two categories, and at the end of the day I'd rather not be any category at all.  Directed / Produced byJonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 3077350 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Why Einstein Gets the Last Laugh
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 The physicist scoffed at the idea of quantum entanglement, calling it "spooky action at a distance." And while it has in fact been proven to exist, this entanglement can't be used to transmit any usable information.
Views: 860545 Big Think
Michio Kaku: The Multiverse Has 11 Dimensions
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 The physicist explains why other universes in the mulitverse could have many more dimensions—and could comprise Einstein's "Mind of God." Question: Are there only three dimensions in other universes or could there be more? (Submitted by Andre Lapiere)Michio Kaku:  Andre, we believe, though we cannot yet prove, that our multiverse of universes is 11-dimensional. So think of this 11-dimensional arena and in this arena there are bubbles, bubbles that float and the skin of the bubble represents an entire universe, so we're like flies trapped on fly paper.  We're on the skin of a bubble.  It's a three dimensional bubble.  The three dimensional bubble is expanding and that is called the Big Bang theory and sometimes these bubbles can bump into each other, sometimes they can split apart and that we think is the Big Bang. So we even have a theory of the Big Bang itself.  Now you ask a question what about the dimensions of each bubble.  Well in string theory—which is what I do for a living; that's my day job—In string theory we can have bubbles of different dimensions.  The highest dimension is 11.  You cannot go beyond 11 because universes become unstable beyond 11.  If I write down the theory of a 13-, 15-dimensional universe it's unstable and it collapses down to an 11-dimensional universe. But within 11 dimensions you can have bubbles that are 3 dimensional, 4-dimensional, 5-dimensional.  These are membranes, so for short we call them brains. So these brains can exist in different dimensions and let's say P represents the dimension of each bubble, so we call them p-brains.  So a p-brain is a universe in different dimensions floating in a much larger arena, and this larger arena is the hyperspace that I talked about originally.  Also remember that each bubble vibrates, and each bubble vibrating creates music.  The music of these membranes is the subatomic particles.  Each subatomic particle represents a note on a vibrating string or vibrating membranes. So, believe it or not, we now have a candidate for the "Mind of God" that Albert Einstein wrote about for the last 30 years of his life.  The "Mind of God" in this picture would be cosmic music resonating throughout 11-dimensional hyperspace. Recorded September 29, 2010Interviewed by Paul Hoffman Question: Are there only three dimensions in other universes or could there be more? (Submitted by Andre Lapiere)Michio Kaku:  Andre, we believe, though we cannot yet prove, that our multiverse of universes is 11-dimensional. So think of this 11-dimensional arena and in this arena there are bubbles, bubbles that float and the skin of the bubble represents an entire universe, so we're like flies trapped on fly paper.  We're on the skin of a bubble.  It's a three dimensional bubble.  The three dimensional bubble is expanding and that is called the Big Bang theory and sometimes these bubbles can bump into each other, sometimes they can split apart and that we think is the Big Bang. So we even have a theory of the Big Bang itself.  Now you ask a question what about the dimensions of each bubble.  Well in string theory—which is what I do for a living; that's my day job—In string theory we can have bubbles of different dimensions.  The highest dimension is 11.  You cannot go beyond 11 because universes become unstable beyond 11.  If I write down the theory of a 13-, 15-dimensional universe it's unstable and it collapses down to an 11-dimensional universe. But within 11 dimensions you can have bubbles that are 3 dimensional, 4-dimensional, 5-dimensional.  These are membranes, so for short we call them brains. So these brains can exist in different dimensions and let's say P represents the dimension of each bubble, so we call them p-brains.  So a p-brain is a universe in different dimensions floating in a much larger arena, and this larger arena is the hyperspace that I talked about originally.  Also remember that each bubble vibrates, and each bubble vibrating creates music.  The music of these membranes is the subatomic particles.  Each subatomic particle represents a note on a vibrating string or vibrating membranes. So, believe it or not, we now have a candidate for the "Mind of God" that Albert Einstein wrote about for the last 30 years of his life.  The "Mind of God" in this picture would be cosmic music resonating throughout 11-dimensional hyperspace. Recorded September 29, 2010Interviewed by Paul Hoffman
Views: 1312078 Big Think
Michio Kaku: How to Program a Quantum Computer
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Quantum computing already exists, but on a truly miniscule scale. We'll probably have molecular computers before true quantum ones, says the physicist.
Views: 1088928 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Can We Resurrect the Dinosaurs? Neanderthal Man?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Dr. Kaku answers the question of whether it is possible to resurrect the dinosaurs by "turning on" their ancient genes? Moreover, now that we have also sequenced the genes of the Neanderthal man, at some point in the future it may be possible to bring him back. And then of course, if a young Neanderthal boy is born then the question is where do you put the boy, in a zoo or at Harvard? Transcript-- Michio Kaku: We have taken cells from the carcass of an animal that died decades ago and brought them back to life and so it is possible using today's technology to take bodies, carcasses of animals that died decades ago and resurrect them in the form of clones.  Now we have also sequenced the genes of the Neanderthal man, meaning that at some point in the future it may be possible to bring back the Neanderthal man.  In fact, at Harvard University one professor even made a proposal as to how much it would cost to reassemble the genome of the Neanderthal man. And then of course, if a young Neanderthal boy is born then the question is where do you put the boy, in a zoo or at Harvard? This is a question that we're going to be facing in the coming decades because it is possible that we might be able to bring back the mammoths.  We're talking about creatures that walked the surface of the earth tens of thousands of years ago and we have their genome and it's a serious proposal now that we're closing in on sequencing all the genes of a mammoth to bring the mammoth - by inserting a fertilized egg inside the womb of an elephant and having an elephant give birth to a mammoth. Now dinosaurs are much more difficult.  They perished 65 million years ago, not tens of thousands of years ago.  However, something has happened that I thought would not happen in my lifetime and that is we have soft tissue from the dinosaurs.  I never thought it would be possible in my lifetime.  If you take a hadrosaur and crack open the thigh bones, bingo.  You find soft tissue right there in the bone marrow.  Who would have thought?  T-Rex's too and scientists have analyzed not the DNA, but the proteins inside the soft tissue.  Not surprisingly, we find the proteins of chickens and also frogs and reptiles, which means of course that dinosaurs we can now show biochemically are very closely related to birds.  In fact, we think birds are dinosaurs that survived the cataclysm of 65 million years ago. Now there is another proposal to use what is called epigenetics.  Nature does not simply throw away good genes.  Nature simply turns them off.  For example, we have the genes in our own body that would put hair all over our body and you can actually turn that gene and create, quote, unquote, a werewolf.  In fact, in Mexico City there are two young boys with hair all over their bodies that are acrobats in a circus and scientists have sequenced the genes and yes, it is a very ancient gene that they have. With chickens we can actually see the genes for chickens that were turned off because of epigenetics, genes that give webbing between the toes of a chicken because a long time ago chickens had webbed feet and also teeth.  You can actually bring back teeth inside chickens.  So then the question is, is it possible to make the next big leap to use epigenetics, to use gene therapy, to use all the different kinds of therapies we have, mix all these things up in the memory of a computer and have the computer give the best fit for a reptile that is like a dinosaur, insert that perhaps, into the womb of maybe an alligator or a whatever and perhaps give birth to an egg, which will hatch something resembling a dinosaur. Well that's not possible today, but it's not out of the question.  It's not out of the question that at some point in the future we'll use a computer to take all these bits of DNA from living lizards, from the—extracting information from the proteins of soft tissue from hadrosaurs and assemble the best mathematical approximation to a dinosaur and have it give birth to an egg. Directed / Produced by Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler
Views: 989785 Big Think
Michio Kaku: What If Einstein Is Wrong?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 We'll have to recalibrate everything -- the age of the universe, the age of stars, the distance to the stars, the basic structure of modern electronics, the GPS, nuclear weapons -- all of that would have to be recalibrated and rethought ...
Views: 4316138 Big Think
Michio Kaku: What Is Dark Matter?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Today, Dr. Kaku addresses a question posed by David Hernandez: If subatomic particles can be in two or more places at once, could parts of us be traveling back and forth between parallel universes and could these particles be dark matter? The answer to this question is at the cutting edge of science, but one theory states that dark matter is nothing but ordinary matter in another dimension hovering right above us. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/dr-kakus-universe/what-is-dark-matter Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Well there is a theory, David, about what dark matter is.  You talk about different universes and let's say that our universe is a sheet of paper.  We live our entire life on this sheet of paper, but directly above us there could be a parallel universe, hovering right over us, perhaps inches, centimeters away and objects in this parallel universe would be invisible.  Light travels beneath the universe, so we never see this other galaxy. But gravity, gravity goes between universes because gravity is nothing but the bending of space, so if the space between two sheets of paper is bent slightly gravity then moves across. So think about it.  This other galaxy in another universe would be invisible, yet it would have mass.  That's exactly what dark matter is.  Dark matter is massive—it has gravity—but it's invisible.  It has no interactions with light or the electromagnetic force, so there is a theory that says that perhaps dark matter is nothing but matter, ordinary matter in another dimension hovering right above us.  We should also point out, however, that there are other theories too.  Dark matter is the cutting edge of science.  Some people think that maybe it is a higher vibration of the string.  All the atoms of our body represent the lowest octave of a tiny rubber band vibrating all over our body, and the rubber band could have a higher octave.  That next octave could be dark matter. So that's yet another explanation for what dark matter might be. So the bottom line is this.  There is a shelf full of Nobel Prizes waiting for you, waiting for anyone who can come up with a convincing and experimentally verified explanation of the origin of dark matter.
Views: 549673 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Will Mankind Destroy Itself?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 The physicist sees two major trends in the world today: the first is toward a multicultural, scientific, tolerant society; the other, as evidenced by terrorism, is fundamentalist and monocultural. Whichever one wins out will determine the fate of mankind.
Views: 2290115 Big Think
Michio Kaku: What's the Fate of the Universe? It's in the Dark Matter
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Why should you bother to wake up tomorrow knowing that we're all going to die billions and billions of years from now when the universe turns to absolute zero, when the stars blink out, when we have nothing but neutron stars and black holes? Dr. Kaku says that billions of years from now we may be able to move to a different universe. Transcript -- In cosmology we believe that the universe started off in a big bang 13.7 billion years ago. All alternatives have been pretty much ruled out. Steady state theories, other alternatives have been ruled out. However, how will the universe end? We have several possibilities. One possibility is a big crunch when the universe squashes together in a gigantic ball of flame and maybe bangs once again. Another possibility is the big freeze, that the universe expands and just keeps on going and we're all going to freeze to death and we're all going to die when the universe reaches near absolute zero. Then there is something called the big rip where the universe goes into an exponential expansion and expands so rapidly that the distant galaxies can no longer be seen because they travel faster than the speed of light, that even the distant galaxies break the light barrier, and that's called the big rip, meaning that the night sky will be totally black except for some of the nearby stars. Which of the three alternatives is the fate of the universe? Well, the short answer is we don't know. However, what we do know is that the universe is undergoing an exponential runaway expansion. The universe at the present time is careening out of control. Every astronomy textbook says that there was a big bang. The universe is expanding, but it's slowing down. It also says that the universe is mainly made out of atoms. Every textbook says that. The universe is made out of atoms. The universe is expanding, but slowing down. Both are wrong. We have to rewrite every single high school textbook on the planet earth. The universe is not mainly made out of atoms. Four percent of the universe is made out of atoms, just four percent. 23% is made out of dark matter. 73%, which makes up most of the universe, is dark energy, and unfortunately, we are clueless as to what dark energy is and what dark matter is. In fact, if you ever find out what dark energy and dark matter is, be sure to tell me first. Now why is that important? Because the amount of matter and energy in the universe determines the rate of expansion. We now know there is a lot more dark energy than we previously thought. Therefore, the universe is undergoing an inflationary exponential expansion. It is in a runaway mode, but here is the catch: we don't know how long that runaway mode is going to last. Some people say that it's temporary. We're in this huge expansion right now, exponential expansion, but it's going to reverse itself. Instead of a red shift, we'll have a blue shift as the universe collapses. At the present time we simply don't know. Why don't we know? Because we don't know what dark energy is. In fact, if you were to try to write down a theory of dark energy, your number would not correspond to the data by a mismatch of 10 to the 120. That is the largest mismatch in the history of science. There is no mismatch bigger than 10 to the 120. So this is a mystery. Until we solve the mystery of dark energy, we do not know the ultimate fate of the universe. My personal thoughts are that perhaps we will continue with this exponential expansion and perhaps go into a big rip mode and at that point all intelligent life in the universe will die. All the tears and all the struggles and all the heartbreak of humanity since we rose from the swamp, it's all for nothing. Why should you bother to wake up tomorrow knowing that we're all going to die billions and billions of years from now when the universe turns to absolute zero, when the stars blink out, when we have nothing but neutron stars and black holes? What does it all mean anyway, if we're all going to die in a big rip? Well, my personal attitude is that when the universe is about to die, why not leave the universe? Trillions of years from now, we will have the ability to bend space and time into a pretzel. We'll be able to tie space into knots. We'll be what is called a type three, maybe a type four civilization, a galactic civilization with the capability of harnessing galactic power. At that point, when the universe becomes so cold that all life is freezing to death, I say let us escape the universe, go into hyperspace and go to another universe. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 406947 Big Think
John Cleese:  Political Correctness Can Lead to an Orwellian Nightmare
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ The essence of comedy is being critical, says Cleese, and that means causing offense sometimes. But we shouldn't protect everyone from experiencing negative emotions by enforcing political correctness, he says. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/john-cleese-on-political-correctness Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: I'm offended every day. For example, the British newspapers every day offend me with their laziness, their nastiness and they're in accuracy, but I'm not going to expect someone to stop that happening I just simply speak out about it. Sometimes when people are offended they want - you can just come in and say right stop that to whoever it is offending them. And, of course, as a former chairman of the BBC one said, "There are some people who I wish to offend." And I think there's truth in that too. So the idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is what I absolutely do not subscribed to. And a fellow who I helped write two books about psychology and psychiatry was a renowned psychiatrist called Robert Skinner said something very interesting to me. He said, "If people can't control their own emotions then they have to start trying to control other people's behavior." And when you're around super sensitive people you cannot relax and be spontaneous because you have no idea what's going to upset them next. And that's why I've been warned recently don't to go to most university campuses because the political correctness has been taken from being a good idea, which is let's not be mean in particular to people who are not able to look after themselves very well, that's a good idea, to the point where any kind of criticism or any individual or group could be labeled cruel. And the whole point about humor, the whole point about comedy, and believe you me I thought about this, is that all comedy is critical. Even if you make a very inclusive joke like how would you make God laugh? Answer: tell him your plans. Now that's about the human condition; it's not excluding anyone. Saying we all have all these plans, which probably won't come and isn't it funny how we still believe they're going to happen. So that's a very inclusive joke. It's still critical. All humor is critical. If you start to say we mustn't, we mustn't criticize or offend them then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I'm concerned you're living in 1984.
Views: 591524 Big Think
Michio Kaku: How to Reverse Aging
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Enzymes like Telomerase and Resveratrol, though not the Fountain of Youth unto themselves, offer tantalizing clues to how we might someday soon unravel the aging process. Question: Do you think the enzyme Telomerase could be used to reverse the aging process in our lifetime? (Submitted by Paul Cellura) Michio Kaku: Paul, Telomerase hit the headlines; however, I think we have to put it into perspective. It is not the fountain of youth; however, it is a significant breakthrough. We have to put it into a much larger perspective. First of all, we know that DNA is sort of like a shoelace. It has plastic tips at the end. Every time a cell reproduces, the tips get shorter and shorter and shorter until finally they fray. And you know that your shoelace, without the plastic tips will simply fall apart. That's what happens inside a cell. A cell, for example, your skin cell, will divide about 60 times, that's called a Hayflick Limit. Then the cell goes into senescence and eventually dies. So in some sense, every cell has a biological clock. It is doomed to die after about 60 reproductions. However, Telomerase can eliminate some of the contraction of the chromosomes and the chromosomes can maintain their length. So at first you may say, "ah-ha! We can now defeat the biological clock." But not so fast, first of all, cancer cells also use Telomerase. Cancer cells are immortal. Cancer cells are immortal and that's precisely why they kill you. Why are cancer cells so dangerous? Because they are immortal. They grow and they grow and they grow until they take over huge chunks of your body, meaning that your bodily functions cannot be performed and you die. So we have to make sure that when you hit ordinary cells with Telomerase that you don't also trigger cancer in the process. Now, also you have to realize that genes are also very essential for the aging process. It turns out that we know what aging is. Aging is the buildup of error. That's all aging is. The build up of genetic and cellular error. And cells begin to age; they begin to get sluggish because genetic mistakes start to build up. Now cells; however, have a repair mechanism. They can repair damage to their cells; otherwise we would all basically rot very soon after birth. However, even the repair mechanisms eventually get gummed up and then the cell really starts to get old as a consequence. So then the question is, can you accelerate cell repair? That is another branch of gerontology which is being looked at using genes and using chemicals to accelerate the repair mechanisms. For example, if I take any organism on the planet Earth from yeast cells to spiders, insects, rabbits, dogs, and even monkeys now. And I reduce their caloric intake by 30%, they live 30% longer. In fact the only organism which has not yet been deliberately tested by scientists are homo sapiens. All the other species obey this basic rule. You starve them to death, they live longer. This is independent of Telomerase. This is a function of the wear and tear that we have on the cells. And this is the only known way of actually deliberately extending the lifespan of any organisms almost at will. Now, what we want is a genetic way of mimicking this mechanism without having to starve yourself because how many people do you know would be willing to starve themselves in order to live 30% longer? Not too many. So then the question is, are there genes that control this process. And the answer is apparently, yes. There's something called the Sirtuin genes, Sir2 being the most prominent of them. They in turn stimulate certain enzymes, among them Resveratrol, which is found in red wine, for example. So this does not mean that drinking red wine or taking Telomerase is the fountain of youth. I don't think that anyone has the fountain of youth yet. What I am saying is, we are now finding pieces of the fountain of youth, tantalizing clues that mean that perhaps in the coming decades, we might be able to actually unravel the aging process. We don't have it yet. Don't go out to the drug store and stock up on these kinds of chemicals and enzymes thinking you're going to live forever. However it is conceivable that in the coming decades we'll come very close to finding it.
Views: 1810690 Big Think
Michio Kaku on Alien Brains
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Michio Kaku on why Hollywood needs to make better aliens. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/the-alien-mind Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: I love to watch science fiction movies but I cringe – I cringe whenever I see a depiction of the aliens. First of all the aliens speak perfect English. Not just British English. They speak perfect American English. And obviously they’re a human inside some kind of monkey suit. I mean we have Hollywood special effects, right. So why can’t we get better aliens. And then the aliens think just like us. They’re territorial. They want to conquer. They want resources. They want – they see humans as inferior. But you see, that’s only a byproduct of our evolution. Look at other animals in the animal kingdom. Some animals are not territorial, okay. They don’t have to conquer. We have other paradigms in the animal kingdom which are totally different form the way our brain is constructed. But when we look at aliens in the movies we’re basically projecting our own consciousness in aliens. Our fears, our desires are projected and they are a mirror of who we are, not a mirror of who they really are. For example, if we take a look at a bat or a dog, the dog’s brain is mainly interested in smells. It’s swirling in a universe of smells while a bat’s brain mainly is concentrated on sonar, on detecting clicks and echoes. Same thing with the dolphin brain. Their consciousness is totally different from our consciousness because they see things differently than us because of their evolutionary history. For example when we see a cat and the cat comes up to us and tries to purr next to us, we say to ourselves, “Oh, nice cat. The cat is being affectionate.” No. The cat is not being affectionate. It’s simply rubbing his hormones on you and saying, “I own this human. This human is mine. I’m marking my territory. This human feeds me twice a day. I’ve trained him.” So a cat sees the universe totally different than we do and yet we impose our thinking on an alien. Now on the question of intelligence. If these aliens are more intelligent than us, how would they be more intelligent? In the book I say that one of the main ingredients of intelligence is to predict the future. The ability to simulate today so we see tomorrow. And that requires a high level of intelligence to be able to understand the laws of nature, the laws of people. What is the most likely outcome of a future event. That requires intelligence. If they are more intelligent than us they will see the future much better than us. They will see outcomes that we cannot foresee. They will simulate scenarios that we cannot even dream of. They can outwit us every time. Think of a safecracker. A safecracker may have a low IQ, may have dropped out of elementary school. But the safecracker can simulate the future much better than a cop can and that’s why he can rob banks and get away with it. And so in other words, the criminal mind is not necessarily stupid because it has low IQ. It’s quite well adapted for what it does. And what it does is to simulate the future of a crime. Now think about when we encounter intelligent life that is more intelligent than us. They may see the world totally differently. Their world may be a world of smells, a world of sounds rather than a world of eyesight like our brain is constructed. And most important, they may be able to see the outcome of future events much better than us. They’ll be able to actually run circles around us because they see the future. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Dillon Fitton
Views: 757646 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Is God a Mathematician?
 
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Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Michio Kaku says that God could be a mathematician: "The mind of God we believe is cosmic music, the music of strings resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace. That is the mind of God." Transcript-- Some people ask the question "Of what good is math?" What is the relationship between math and physics? Well, sometimes math leads. Sometimes physics leads. Sometimes they come together because, of course, there's a use for the mathematics. For example, in the 1600s Isaac Newton asked a simple question: if an apple falls then does the moon also fall? That is perhaps one of the greatest questions ever asked by a member of Homo sapiens since the six million years since we parted ways with the apes. If an apple falls, does the moon also fall? Isaac Newton said yes, the moon falls because of the Inverse Square Law. So does an apple. He had a unified theory of the heavens, but he didn't have the mathematics to solve the falling moon problem. So what did he do? He invented calculus. So calculus is a direct consequence of solving the falling moon problem. In fact, when you learn calculus for the first time, what is the first thing you do? The first thing you do with calculus is you calculate the motion of falling bodies, which is exactly how Newton calculated the falling moon, which opened up celestial mechanics. So here is a situation where math and physics were almost conjoined like Siamese twins, born together for a very practical question, how do you calculate the motion of celestial bodies? Then here comes Einstein asking a different question and that is, what is the nature and origin of gravity? Einstein said that gravity is nothing but the byproduct of curved space. So why am I sitting in this chair? A normal person would say I'm sitting in this chair because gravity pulls me to the ground, but Einstein said no, no, no, there is no such thing as gravitational pull; the earth has curved the space over my head and around my body, so space is pushing me into my chair. So to summarize Einstein's theory, gravity does not pull; space pushes. But, you see, the pushing of the fabric of space and time requires differential calculus. That is the language of curved surfaces, differential calculus, which you learn in fourth year calculus. So again, here is a situation where math and physics were very closely combined, but this time math came first. The theory of curved surfaces came first. Einstein took that theory of curved surfaces and then imported it into physics. Now we have string theory. It turns out that 100 years ago math and physics parted ways. In fact, when Einstein proposed special relativity in 1905, that was also around the time of the birth of topology, the topology of hyper-dimensional objects, spheres in 10, 11, 12, 26, whatever dimension you want, so physics and mathematics parted ways. Math went into hyperspace and mathematicians said to themselves, aha, finally we have found an area of mathematics that has no physical application whatsoever. Mathematicians pride themselves on being useless. They love being useless. It's a badge of courage being useless, and they said the most useless thing of all is a theory of differential topology and higher dimensions. Well, physics plotted along for many decades. We worked out atomic bombs. We worked out stars. We worked out laser beams, but recently we discovered string theory, and string theory exists in 10 and 11 dimensional hyperspace. Not only that, but these dimensions are super. They're super symmetric. A new kind of numbers that mathematicians never talked about evolved within string theory. That's how we call it "super string theory." Well, the mathematicians were floored. They were shocked because all of a sudden out of physics came new mathematics, super numbers, super topology, super differential geometry. All of a sudden we had super symmetric theories coming out of physics that then revolutionized mathematics, and so the goal of physics we believe is to find an equation perhaps no more than one inch long which will allow us to unify all the forces of nature and allow us to read the mind of God. And what is the key to that one inch equation? Super symmetry, a symmetry that comes out of physics, not mathematics, and has shocked the world of mathematics. But you see, all this is pure mathematics and so the final resolution could be that God is a mathematician. And when you read the mind of God, we actually have a candidate for the mind of God. The mind of God we believe is cosmic music, the music of strings resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace. That is the mind of God. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 3270874 Big Think
Michio Kaku Explains String Theory
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ In this excerpt from his Floating University/Great Big Ideas lecture, Dr. Michio Kaku explains that string theory begins where Einstein's framework breaks down. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/michio-kaku-explains-string-theory Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Full lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NbBjNiw4tk
Views: 787395 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Tweaking Moore's Law and the Computers of the Post-Silicon Era
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ What's beyond silicon? There have been a number of proposals: protein computers, DNA computers, optical computers, quantum computers, molecular computers.
Views: 399746 Big Think
Lawrence Krauss: Quantum Computing Explained
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Lawrence Krauss describes quantum computing and the technical obstacles we need to overcome to realize this Holy Grail of processing. Lawrence Krauss: Let me briefly describe the difference between a quantum computer and a regular computer, at some level. In a regular computer, you've got ones and zeros, which you store in binary form and you manipulate them and they do calculations. You can store them, for example, in a way that at least I can argue simply. Let's say you have an elementary particle that's spinning. If it's spinning, and we say it's spinning, it's pointing up or down depending upon whether it's spinning this way or this way, pointing up or down. And so, I could store the information by having lots of particles and some of them spinning up and some of them spinning down. Right? One's and zero's. But in the quantum world, it turns out that particles like electrons are actually spinning in all directions at the same time, one of the weird aspects of quantum mechanics. We may measure, by doing a measurement of an electron, find it's spinning this way. But before we did the measurement, it was spinning this way and this way and that way and that way all at the same time. Sounds crazy, but true. Now that means, if the electron's spinning in many different directions at the same time, if we don't actually measure it, it can be doing many computations at the same time. And so a quantum computer is based on manipulating the state of particles like electrons so that during the calculation, many different calculations are being performed at the same time, and only making a measurement at the end of the computation. So we exploit that fact of quantum mechanics that particles could do many things at the same time to do many computations at same time. And that's what would make a quantum computer so powerful. One of the reasons it's so difficult to make a quantum computer, and one of the reasons I'm a little skeptical at the moment, is that - the reason the quantum world seems so strange to us is that we don't behave quantum mechanically. I don't -- you know, you can - not me, but you could run towards the wall behind us from now 'til the end of the universe and bang your head in to it and you'd just get a tremendous headache. But if you're an electron, there's a probability if I throw it towards the wall that it will disappear and appear on the other side due to something called quantum tunneling, okay. Those weird quantum behaviors are manifest on small scales. We don't obey them - have those behaviors 'cause we're large classical objects and the laws of quantum mechanics tell us, in some sense, that when you have many particles interacting at some level those weird quantum mechanical correlations that produce all the strange phenomena wash away. And so in order to have a quantum mechanical state where you can distinctly utilize and exploit those weird quantum properties, in some sense you have to isolate that system from all of its environment because, if it interacts with the environment, the quantum mechanical weirdness sort of washes away. And that's the problem with a quantum computer. You want to make this macroscopic object, you want to keep it behaving quantum mechanically which means isolating it very carefully from, within itself, all the interactions and the outside world. And that's the hard part, Is isolating things enough to maintain this what's called quantum coherence. And that's the challenge and it's a huge challenge. But the potential is unbelievably great. Once you can engineer materials on a scale where quantum mechanical properties are important, a whole new world of phenomenon open up to you. And you might be able to say - as we say, if we created a quantum computer, and I'm not - I must admit I'm skeptical that we'll be able to do that in the near-term, but if we could, we'd be able to do computations in a finite time that would take longer than the age of the universe right now. We'd be able to do strange and wonderful things. And of course, if you ask me what's the next big breakthrough, I'll tell you what I always tell people, which is if I knew, I'd be doing it right now. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 361967 Big Think
Michio Kaku on the Science of Dreams
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Michio Kaku describes how our prefrontal cortex disengages as we dream, thus suppressing the fact-checking component of our consciousness. Dr. Kaku's latest book is The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (http://goo.gl/G06jvb). Read more at BigThink.com: http://goo.gl/odYmq4 Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: There’s a whole lore about dreaming. In fact, Sigmund Freud wrote a book called The Interpretation of Dreams which many people think is the foundation of psychoanalysis. Well scientists now have looked at Freudian psychology and the brain using all these modern techniques. And first of all we realize that perhaps Sigmund Freud wasn’t totally wrong. There are many textbooks which simply dismiss Freudian psychology calling it nuts. That is nothing but the sexual fantasies of a repressed Venetian scientist of the last century. But now we realize there’s more to it. First of all the unconscious mind. We can actually see the brain in motion and we realize that much of the activity is totally unconscious. Just like what Freud predicted. And Freud also said there is the ego, the id and the superego, that we are in a constant battle with our desires and our conscious. And we see that now with brain scans. The ego is basically your prefrontal cortex. That is who you are. When you wonder where am I anyway. Well, you’re right there. You are sitting right behind your forehead. And then your desires. We see the pleasure center right there at the center of the brain. That is the libido. We see where the pleasure center is located. And then your conscience is right behind your eyes. The orbital frontal cortex right behind your eyes is where your conscience is. And so we actually see that in motion. If you were to see a chocolate cake you would see these three parts of the brain going zippity back and forth like a ping pong ball because you’re constantly debating the pleasure of eating a chocolate cake versus how fat you’re gonna become and all the sugar and the calories that you don’t really need. So we see the beginnings of Freudian psychology coming out of brain scans. And now dreams. Freud had a whole collection of interpretation of dreams. Scientists have looked at and said, “Nonsense.” Now we understand the physiology of the dreaming process. And we realize that it comes at the back of the brain, the very primitive part of the brain and that certain parts of the brain are shut off when you dream. First of all your prefrontal cortex is basically shut off, it’s quiet. Your orbital frontal cortex that is your conscience is also shut off. But that part of the brain is your fact checker. The part of the brain that said, “Hmmm, that’s not right. Something’s wrong” is right behind your eyes. That’s shut off. What is active when you dream is your amygdala. Now what does your amygdala govern? Fear and emotions. And so right then you know that when you dream the active part of the brain is not the fact checker, not the rational brain – it’s the emotional brain, the fearful brain that is active when you dream. And then there’s some superstition called lucid dreaming where you can actually control the direction of the dream. Well that superstition last year became science fact. At the Max Planck Institute in Germany they were able to show once and for all that lucid dreaming is testable, reproducible – it is real. And here’s how they did it. They took a person who was about to go to sleep and told them that when you dream clench your right fist and then clench your left fist. Now when you dream you are paralyzed. You cannot move when you dream. Otherwise we’d be able to carry out all sorts of horrible things and destroy ourselves. So we are paralyzed when we dream. But when this person went into a dream state you can clearly see that the brain initiated orders to clench your right fist and your left fist. In other words, he was conscious while he was dreaming. There are many Buddhist texts, many texts hundreds of years old that give you the outlines of how to control dreams. Lucid dreaming. We now know that it’s not hogwash that you can actually do this. You can actually direct the course of your dream. And then one day we may be able to brain scan the brain as you dream and put it on a screen. In which case somebody will be able to see you dream and know the direction of the dream and you are conscious of the process. In other words, the movie Inception is not totally hogwash. Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Dillon Fitton
Views: 436116 Big Think
Michio Kaku: The Theory of Everything
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ http://bigthink.com Discovering the Theory of Everything would be the crowning achievement of modern science, allowing mankind to master time and space.
Views: 447534 Big Think
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Dark Matter, Dark Gravity, Ghost Particles, & the Essence of All Objects
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ There's something fundamental we all need to understand about dark matter—it may not actually be matter at all. Neil deGrasse Tyson has a bone to pick with this misnomer that is distracting physicists and the public from the real discoveries to be made. Scientists know very little about "dark matter", and in fact it can only be observed indirectly by its effect on other objects. Tyson has a few suggestions for its re-naming: how about "Fred", he jokes, which is a name devoid of any implied meaning—suitable for our current level of knowledge. But if you want it to sound sexy and be accurate, then the way to go is dark gravity, according to Tyson. Why? Because when you add up everything in the universe—the stars, moons, gas clouds, black holes, everything—85% of gravity is unaccounted for. That is so-called "dark matter". What makes it so interesting isn't the wild-goose-chase question of whether or not it exists, but why it doesn't interact with ordinary, known matter? On the way to explaining that dark matter "doesn't give a rats ass about us," Tyson explores ghost particles, the essence of objects, and why we haven't found any dark matter planets. Tyson's new book is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/neil-degrasse-tyson-dark-matter-is-a-misnomer Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink
Views: 498173 Big Think
Michio Kaku: The Future of Quantum Computing
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ http://bigthink.com Today's robots are less intelligent than cockroaches, but advances in quantum computing—transferring information using atoms rather than silicon—could revolutionize the field of AI.
Views: 262605 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Consciousness Can be Quantified
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Dr. Michio Kaku returns to Big Think studios to discuss his latest book, The Future of the Mind. Here, he explains how the quantifying approach common in physics can be used to model consciousness. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/consciousness-can-be-quantified Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: In the entire universe the two greatest scientific mysteries are first of all the origin of the universe itself. And second of all the origin of intelligence. Believe it or not, sitting on our shoulders is the most complex object that Mother Nature has created in the known universe. You have to go at least 24 trillion miles to the nearest star to find a planet that may have life and may have intelligence. And yet our brain only consumes about 20-30 watts of power and yet it performs calculations better than any large supercomputer. So it's a mystery. How is the brain wired up? And if we can figure that out what can we do with it to enhance our mental capabilities. When you look at the brain and all the parts of the brain they don't seem to make any sense at all. The visual part of the brain is way in the back, for example. Why is the brain constructed the way it is? Is this nothing but an accident of evolution? Well one way to look at it is through evolution. That is, the back of the brain is a so-called reptilian brain. The most ancient primitive part of the brain that governs balance, territoriality, mating. And so the very back of the brain is also the kind of brain that you find in reptiles. Now when I was a child I would go to the science museum and look at the snakes sometimes and they would stare back at me. And I would wonder, "What are they thinking about?" Well, I think now I know. What they're thinking about was, "Is this person lunch?" Then we have the center part of the brain going forward and that's a so-called monkey brain, the mammalian brain. The brain of emotions. The brain of social hierarchies. And then finally the front of the brain is the human brain, especially the prefrontal cortex. This is where rational thinking is. And when you ask yourself a question where am I anyway. The answer is right behind your forehead. That's where you really are. Well, I have a theory of consciousness which tries to wrap it all up together. There've been about 20,000 or so papers written about consciousness and no consensus. Never in the history of science have so many people devoted so much time to produce so little. Well, I'm a physicist and when we physicists look at a mysterious object the first thing we try to do is to create a model. A model of this object in space. And then we hit the play button and run it forward in time. This is how Newton was able to come up with the theory of gravity. This is how Einstein came up with relativity. So I tried to use this in terms of the human brain and evolution. So what I'm saying is I have a new theory of consciousness based on evolution. And that is consciousness is the number of feedback loops required to create a model of your position in space with relationship to other organisms and finally in relationship to time. So think of the consciousness of a thermostat. I believe that even a lowly thermostat has one unit of consciousness. That is, it senses the temperature around it. And then we have a flower. A flower has maybe, maybe ten units of consciousness. It has to understand the temperature, the weather, humidity, where gravity is pointing. And then finally we go to the reptilian brain which I call level 1 consciousness and reptiles basically have a very good understanding of their position in space, especially because they have to lunge out and grab prey. Then we have level 2 consciousness, the monkey consciousness. The consciousness of emotions, social hierarchies, where are we in relationship to the tribe. And then where are we as humans. As humans we are at level 3. We run simulations into the future. Animals apparently don't do this. They don't plan to hibernate. They don't plan the next day's agenda. They have no conception of tomorrow to the best of our ability. But that's what our brain does. Our brain is a prediction machine. And so when we look at the evolution from the reptilian brain to the mammalian brain to the prefrontal cortex, we realize that is the process of understanding our position in space with respect to others -- that is emotions -- and finally running simulations into the future.
Views: 587443 Big Think
How to Persuade Others with the Right Questions: Jedi Mind Tricks from Daniel H. Pink
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Sales guru and persuasion expert Daniel H. Pink explains how you can use motivational interviewing to influence others' thoughts and behaviors. Pink's latest book is To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/robby-berman/the-right-questions-get-others-to-convince-themselves-youre-right Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: So let me give you a hypothetical. Suppose that you're a parent and you have a daughter, say a teenage daughter, who's room is an absolute mess. It just looks like a bomb went off in there and you want your daughter to clean her room. You're trying to sell her on the idea of cleaning her room. What do you do? Well, you could try to bribe her and that might work in the short term. You could try to threaten her -- that might work in the short term. You can try to exhort her, you can try to, you know, tell her about the meaning of clean rooms. But there's actually a technique from actually the counseling literature really crystallized by a fellow named Mike Pantalon of Yale University called motivational interviewing. And what you can do more effectively is ask two irrational questions. So, let's say that you have a daughter named Maria and Maria has a messy room and you want Maria to clean her room. The two questions you could ask Maria are this. "Maria, on a scale of one to ten, one meaning I'm not ready at all; ten meaning I'm ready to do it right now. How ready are you, Maria, to clean your room." Now, Maria's room is a pig sty so she's not going to give you a ten or a nine or even a five. Maybe she'll give you a two. So she says, "Dad, I'm a two." Well here's where the second question comes in and it's a really interesting counterintuitive question. You say to Maria, "Okay, Maria. You're a two. Why didn't you pick a lower number?" Now our instincts as parents is to say -- as a parent of three kids I have this instinct very strongly. If my kid were to say to me I'm a two, I would say, "What, why are you a two? You should be a nine." But you say, "Why didn't you pick a lower number, Maria?" So here's what happens. Maria has to explain why she isn't a one. Okay. So she says, "Well, you know, I am 15 and I probably should get my act together. You know, if I had my room cleaner I'd be able to get to school on time, faster and maybe see my friends a little bit more. You know, you and mom never know where anything is anyway so I'm kind of wasting my time asking you to help me." What happens? With that second question why didn't you pick a lower number, Maria begins articulating her own reasons for doing something. And this is really axiomatic in sales and persuasion. When people have their own reasons for doing something -- not yours -- their own reasons for doing something they believe those reasons more deeply and adhere to the behavior more strongly. Now suppose Maria says, "Dad, on a scale of one to ten I'm a one." Okay. That makes things a little more complicated but it's actually really, really important to understand this. If you say to Maria -- if Maria says, "Dad, I'm a one." Here's what you say to Maria. "Maria, what can we do to make you a two." And what often that does is this. Maria will say, "Well maybe if you and mom help me for 15 minutes to get this started." "Maybe if you maybe not set the table and take out the trash tonight, that would free up some time for me." Because usually when people are a one, it's often because -- not because they're purely obstinate. It's because there's some kind of environmental obstacle in front of them. And if someone says they're a one, find out what that obstacle is, try to make them a two and that might give you some more momentum. Now the example I just gave had to do with parenting but you can use this more universally. Now you can't whip it out at every single persuasive encounter but you can use it to persuade your boss. You can use it maybe to persuade a reluctant prospect in an actual sales encounter. You can use it with someone -- your neighbor who's resisting moving his garbage cans or something like that. The key here -- and again you've got to go back to first principles here. The key here is that we tend to think that persuasion or motivation is something that one person does to another. And what the social science tells us very clearly is that it's really something that people do for themselves. And your job as a persuader, as a motivator, is to reset the context and surface people's own reasons for doing something. Because it works a lot better.
Views: 610494 Big Think
Kevin Mitnick: How to Troll the FBI
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ At the time of his arrest in 1995, Kevin Mitnick was the most wanted cyber criminal in the United States. The arrest marked the end of an intense two-and-a-half-year electronic manhunt, a game of cat and mouse that Mitnick likens to a video game. "I was a little bit insane," Mitnick admits. "Why I did this psychologically is I loved putting myself in dangerous situations and then trying to work my way out of them." To evade the FBI, Mitnick meticulously developed cover stories for himself. He worked in a law firm in Denver and a hospital in Seattle. "I was so into creating my cover it was almost like I was living another life," he says. This fantasy life was inspired by Hollywood. According to the Tsutomo Shimomura's book Takedown, "Early on, after seeing the 1975 Robert Redford movie Three Days of the Condor, [Mitnick] had adopted Condor as his nom de guerre. In the film Redford plays the role of a hunted CIA researcher who uses his experience as an Army signal corpsman to manipulate the phone system and avoid capture. Mitnick seemed to view himself as the same kind of daring man on the run from the law." Mitnik's ability to evade the authorities earned him considerable notoriety. He tells Big Think the story of how he toyed with the FBI when he figured out they were close to catching him. Transcript -- When the government was chasing me I wanted to get a sense of how close they were and to me this was a game. It was kind of like I was a little bit insane and I treated my fugitive status as a big video game. Unfortunately, it had real consequences and why I did this psychologically is I loved putting myself in dangerous situations and then trying to work my way out of them. I don't know why I liked doing this, but I did. So what I did is I hacked into the cellular provider in Los Angeles that serviced the FBI cell phone numbers of the agents that were chasing me, so to make a long story short I was able to get the cell phone numbers of the agents and then by hacking into the cellular provider I could monitor where they physically were, physically in Los Angeles. I could also monitor who they were calling and who was calling them. So based on my traffic analysis and my location data I was able to find out if the feds ever got close and one time they did. I had an early warning system set up in 1992 when I was working as a private investigator in Los Angeles and when the warning system was tripped off I found out that the FBI was actually at my apartment and I was a mile away in Calabasas, but I just drove in from the apartment to work, so obviously they weren't there to arrest me and I didn't think if they were still near my apartment that it was to surveil me, so the only logical thing is that they were there to conduct a search and that means to get a search warrant. They didn't have a search warrant yet. So in every criminal case when they have to get a search warrant from a judge they have to write down the precise description of the premises to be searched. It's the Fourth Amendment stuff and so I figured out that that was going on and so the very next day I cleaned up—well that evening I cleaned up everything from my apartment that the FBI may be interested in and then the very next day went out to Winchell's Donuts and got a big dozen assorted donuts and I labeled the box "FBI donuts" and I put it in the refrigerator. So when they were going to come search the only thing they would find is I had some donuts for them. They searched the next day. They didn't' find anything. I don't even know if they opened the refrigerator, but if they did they didn't help themselves to a donut for some reason. I don't know why. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton
Views: 306344 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Could We Transport Our Consciousness Into Robots?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ If we were able to move our brains, neuron-for-neuron, into a robot, would we still be the same person? Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/could-we-transport-our-consciousness-into-robots-2 Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Is consciousness imprinted in the brain, and will it be possible to transfer that via teleportation? (Submitted by Robin de Roover) Michio Kaku: Robin, you ask yet another very embarrassing question. Believe it or not even though tens of thousands of papers have been written about consciousness in the literature nobody has a suitable definition for "consciousness." What does it mean to be conscious and how do you encode it and what is the minimum amount of consciousness necessary to animate something else? This raises questions for artificial intelligence because some people in the field of AI believe that one day we will be immortal; we will live forever. But the question is what will live forever? The atoms that make up our body, that give us consciousness, that give rise to our personality and our fears and desires—that may die, but yet the essence of the neural circuits may survive. Now there are many ways to do this, so let’s break some of them down. The most ambitious has been proposed by people who believe that one day we will create a robot body that is perfect, a Superman, beautiful, elegant, super-powerful body with no brain. Then we will start to extract our brain tissue neuron-for-neuron and duplicate it with transistors. So for every neuron we take out of our brain we replace it with a transistor. Sooner or later chunks of our brain are removed and inserted transistor-for-transistor inside this robot body. Now we’re fully conscious during this process. Part of our brain computes here and part of our brain computes over there connected by wires. Well, after a few hours large portions of the brain are gutted and huge chunks of transistors are added to this robot of silicon and steel and when it’s finally finished you now have no brain in your head and here is a robot with a complete brain and a complete body. That is one of the most ambitious ways to transfer consciousness from our body to another body and then the question is: is that really you? Well there is another way to do it and that way was explored in "The Sixth Day" with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In that movie the bad guys get killed, but each bad guy was cloned, cloned. And somebody was able to somehow photograph all the memories of our brain and insert these memories into the clone. Now we don’t know how to do that, obviously. That is way beyond our technology, so don’t expect Arnold Schwarzenegger to come back fully-formed, with all his memories, as a clone. That is not going to happen anytime soon. However, the initial steps are once again being made at CalTech for example. They’ve been able to take a mouse brain and look at a certain part of the brain where memories are processed. Memories are processed at the very center of our brain and they’ve been able to duplicate the functions of that with a chip. So again, this does not mean that we can encode memories with a chip, but it does mean that we’ve been able to take the information storage of a mouse brain and have a silicon chip duplicate those functions. And so was mouse consciousness created in the process? I don’t know. I don’t know whether a mouse is conscious or not. But it does mean that at least in principle maybe it’s possible to transfer our consciousness and at some point maybe even become immortal.
Views: 635006 Big Think
Michio Kaku: How to Stop Robots From Killing Us
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Even if computer technology continues to double every 18 months—which is doubtful—we could put a chip in robots' brains to shut them off if they start to get murderous. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-stop-robots-from-killing-us-2 Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Do you believe in the coming singularity? Michio Kaku: There was a conference out of Sylmar that made headlines around the world. The brightest minds of artificial intelligence converged onto Sylmar and a reporter asked them a question" "When will this fabled singularity take place?  When will the machines take over?  When will machines become smarter than us?" Well the answer was quite interesting. Among the top people assembled in one place the answers were anything from 20 years in the future to 1,000 years in the future—with some AI experts saying never. Some people put it at 2029. They even give you an exact date.  2029, that's going to be the moment of truth that one day a robot will wake up, wake up in the laboratory, look around and say, "I am aware."  "I'm just as smart as you."  "In fact, I could be even smarter if I put a few more chips in my brain."  Other people say: "Not so fast, not so fast because Moore's law is going to break down." The reason why many people are so confident about this prediction of the so called singularity is because of Moore's law that computer power doubles every 18 months and it's a curve that has held sway for 50 years. If you go back 100 years back to the time of mechanical hand-crank computers, put that into Moore's law and you still get a nice fit, so believe it or not Moore's law has been in operation for about 100 years, going back to hand-crank calculators with computer power doubling every 18 months.  Well can this go on forever? And the answer is no because eventually physics takes over and that is physics says that silicon is unstable at the molecular level. Transistors get so small, so powerful and they generate so much heat that the silicon chip melts and electrons leak out because of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.  You don't know where the electron is anymore. Therefore, we physicists are looking for replacements for silicon. The post-silicon era will be about 10 to 15 years in the future.  Silicon Valley could become a rust belt.  Think about it, every Christmas your PCs, your computers, your gadgets will be just as powerful as they were the previous year and then the question is are you going to buy?  Are you going to buy any more computer products for Christmastime knowing that they're just as powerful as they were the previous year?  Probably not. Which means that the computer industry could begin to shake as a consequence. So we physicists are looking at optical computers, quantum computers, DNA computers, protein computers, all sorts of different kinds of architecture down to the molecular, down to the atomic, down to the microscopic realm, but none of them are ready for primetime yet. So my answer is I don't know. All I'm saying is there is vast uncertainties in projecting Moore's law into the future. However, I would say by end of the century it is definitely conceivable that if we work out the technical problems we might be able to create machines that are as smart as us. Right now our machines are as smart as insects. Eventually they'll be smart as mice. After that they'll be smart as dogs and cats. Probably by the end of the century, who knows, they'll be as smart as monkeys. At that point they could become potentially dangerous because monkeys can formulate their own plans. They don't have to listen to you. They can formulate their own strategies, their own goals and I would say therefore at that point let's put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they get murderous thoughts. Isaac Asimov advocated something like that with his "Three Laws." I say hey, put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they start to get murderous. Interviewed by Paul Hoffman.
Views: 742676 Big Think
Is time real or is it an illusion? | Michelle Thaller
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ - Time can change depending on how fast you're moving through space. Also, time can "flow" at different rates for different observers. - Light doesn't experience time — it exists outside of time. - We perceive space and time differently, but they may be woven together. For instance, they both balance each other out: If you are still, time goes by at a natural rate. However, if you move through space very fast, time begins to slow down. Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. She is Assistant Director of Science Communication at NASA. She went to college at Harvard University, completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif. then started working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Spitzer Space Telescope. After a hugely successful mission, she moved on to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in the Washington D.C. area. In her off-hours often puts on about 30lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances. For more information, visit NASA. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/is-time-real-or-is-it-an-illusion Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink
Views: 121043 Big Think
How Penn Jillette Lost over 100 Lbs and Still Eats Whatever He Wants
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ The story of the Penn Jilllette's weight loss is, as you might expect, quite extreme. In fact it was the radical nature of his diet that attracted him to it in the first place. Jillette's latest book is "Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales" (http://goo.gl/jJDkz1). Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/penn-jillette-on-losing-100lbs-of-weight Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: I lost over 100 pounds, a third of my weight. I was probably at my heaviest. You don’t ever weigh yourself at your heaviest but I was probably over 340, certainly around there. And now as I sit here in front of you I’m probably about 232. There’s a fluctuation of a couple of pounds, it goes back and forth. That’s a lot of weight. And I did not lose it for vanity. I was pretty happy with myself fat. I didn’t mind being fat. It wasn’t a big deal to me. I didn’t mind how I looked. But my health was getting bad. I didn’t even mind how I felt very much. I didn’t mind not being energetic and stuff. But I started having blood pressure that was stupid high like, you know, like English voltage, like 220 even on blood pressure medicine. And I have two young children. I’m an old dad. My daughter was born when I was 50. So I’m 61 now. And my life expectancy, the actuary tables were crashing down and the doctor said that I had to get a stomach sleeve. It was a wonderful moment because it then gave me the option to go crazy. If you’re going to surgically do something to me to stop me from swallowing that means I don’t have to worry about doing a sane diet. I can get nutty. And being given the option to be nutty was all I needed. I realized that not only am I not good at moderation, I also don’t respect moderation. Anyone I know who’s able to do moderation I don’t like them. The people I respect and love are people that go wild. I mean I don’t want to go into Kerouac here but the mad ones. No one brags about climbing a nice little slope. You brag about climbing Everest. So once my friend Ray Cronise who I can Cray Ray, once Cray Ray told me that I could lose the weight but it was going to be really hard, it got really easy. Once you make something a challenge, you make something I can brag about, I can do it. Read Full Transcript Here: https://goo.gl/X54URE.
Views: 1790910 Big Think
Bjarne Stroustrup: How to Code Like Bjarne Stroustrup
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ http://bigthink.com Stroustrup shares some secrets about his work habits. Question: What is your work setup like? Bjarne Stroustrup: I travel with a little laptop, the smallest real computer I can get.  So the 12-and-something screen and... but a decent processor speed.  And where I am, I plug it into a dock and I use two screens and such and then I network to any other resources I want.  If at all possible, I would like to make that machine smaller, but... or at least lighter.  Larger and lighter would be nice, but I don't get it and too light if you're stuck in a sardine-class seat on a plane, you still should be able to open up and write.  And you can't do that with one of those bodybuilder's editions.  So a smaller machine, convenient machine that you can carry with you and plug it into a bigger system network to more resources.  My laptop is a Windows.  People always ask that.  And they can't understand why it's not my Linux.  Well, my Linux happens to sit on my desk and it talks to a traditional Unix through it.  So I use both on a daily basis.  It just happened that it's easier to carry the Windows books around. Question: Do you prefer to work at night or during the day? Bjarne Stroustrup: Real thinking, real work goes on fairly early in the day. And then in the evening, no, not really sort of thought work, not creative work.  I can polish stuff.  I'm not a night bird like that.  I like to think when I'm fresh.   Question: Do you listen to music while writing code? Bjarne Stroustrup:  Quite often, yes.  I have a mixture of stuff on the computer; I just plug in the earphones and listen.  And there's a mixture, there's classical, there's a bit of rock, there's a bit of country.  It's quite surprising what I can actually work with and what I can't because it really does affect it.  There's music that sort of takes over and you think about the music, rather than the code.  That's no good.  And then there's music that you don't hear... that doesn't help either.  And well, so well I found something that works, probably just for me, but I like some music.   Recorded August 12, 2010 Interviewed by Max Miller
Views: 326364 Big Think
The Common Character Trait of Geniuses | James Gleick
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Geniuses like Isaac Newton and Richard Feynman both had the ability to concentrate with a sort of intensity that is hard for mortals to grasp. Transcript -- I'm tempted to say smart, creative people have no particularly different set of character traits than the rest of us except for being smart and creative, and those being character traits. Then, on the other hand, I wrote a biography of Richard Feynman and a biography of Isaac Newton. Now, there are two great scientific geniuses whose characters were in some superficial ways completely different. Isaac Newton was solitary, antisocial, I think unpleasant, bitter, fought with his friends as much as with his enemies. Richard Feynman was gregarious, funny, a great dancer, loved women. Isaac Newton, I believe, never had sex. Richard Feynman, I believe, had plenty. So you can't generalize there. On the other hand, they were both, as I tried to get in their heads, understand their minds, the nature of their genius, I sort of felt I was seeing things that they had in common, and they were things that had to do with aloneness. Newton was much more obviously alone than Feynman, but Feynman didn't particularly work well with others. He was known as a great teacher, but he wasn't a great teacher, I don't think, one on one. I think he was a great lecturer. I think he was a great communicator. But when it came time to make the great discoveries of science, he was alone in his head. Now, when I say he, I mean both Feynman and Newton, and this applies, also, I think, to the geniuses that I write about in The Information, Charles Babbage, Alan Turing, Ada Byron. They all had the ability to concentrate with a sort of intensity that is hard for mortals like me to grasp, a kind of passion for abstraction that doesn't lend itself to easy communication, I don't think. Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton
Views: 2203637 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Can Nanotechnology Create Utopia?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Dr. Kaku addresses the question of the possibility of utopia, the perfect society that people have tried to create throughout history. These dreams have not been realized because we have scarcity. However, now we have nanotechnology, and with nanotechnology, perhaps, says Dr. Michio Kaku, maybe in 100 years, we'll have something called the replicator, which will create enormous abundance. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/dr-kakus-universe/can-nanotechnology-create-utopia Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Throughout human history people have tried to create utopia, the perfect society. In fact, America, the American dream, in some sense was based on utopianism. Why do we have the Shaker movement? Why did we have the Quakers? Why did we have so many different kinds of religious movements that fled Europe looking to create a utopia here in the Americas? Well, we know the Shakers have disappeared and many of these colonies have also disappeared only to be found in footnotes in American textbooks, and the question is why? One reason why is scarcity because back then the industrial revolution was still young and societies had scarcity. Scarcity creates conflict and unless you have a way to resolve conflict, your colony falls apart. How do you allocate resources? Who gets access to food when there is a famine? Who gets shelter when there is a snowstorm and all of the sudden you've eaten up your seed corn? These are questions that faced the early American colonists, and that's the reason why we only see the ghost towns of these utopias. However, now we have nanotechnology, and with nanotechnology, perhaps, who knows, maybe in 100 years, we'll have something called the replicator. Now the replicator is something you see in Star Trek. It's called the molecular assembler and it takes ordinary raw materials, breaks them up at the atomic level and joins the joints in different ways to create new substances. If you have a molecular assembler, you can turn, for example, a glass into wood or vice versa. You would have the power of a magician, in fact, the power of a god, the ability to literally transform the atoms of one substance into another and we see it on Star Trek. It's also the most subversive device of all because if utopias fail because of scarcity then what happens when you have infinite abundance? What happens when you simply ask and it comes to you? One of my favorite episodes on Star Trek is when the Enterprise encounters a space capsule left over from the 20th century, the bad 20th century. People died of all these horrible diseases, and many people froze themselves knowing that in the 23rd century or so they'll be thawed out and their diseases will be cured. Well, sure enough, it's the 23rd century now. The Enterprise finds a space capsule and begins to revive all these people and cure them of cancer, cure them of incurable genetic diseases, and then one of these individuals, however, was a banker. He is revived and he says to himself, "My God, my gamble worked; I'm alive; I'm in the 23rd century," and he said, "Call my stock broker; call my banker; I am rich; I am rich; my investments, they have been sitting there in the bank for centuries; I must be a quadrillionaire!" And then the crew of the Enterprise looks at this man and says, "What is money; what is a bank; what is a stock broker? We don't have any of these in the 23rd century," and then they say, "If you want something, you simply ask for it and you get it." Now that's subversive. That's revolutionary because if all utopian societies vanished because of scarcity and conflict, what happens when there is no scarcity? What happens when you simply ask and you get what you want? This has enormous philosophical implications. For example, why bother to work? Why bother to go to work when you simply ask for things and it comes to you?
Views: 550693 Big Think
Alain de Botton: How Proust Can Change Your Life
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Alain de Botton sees literature as a series of lenses that can significantly change the way you view the world. Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1969 and now lives in London. He is a writer of essayistic books that have been described as a 'philosophy of everyday life.' He's written on love, travel, architecture and literature. His books have been bestsellers in 30 countries. Alain also started and helps to run a school in London called The School of Life, dedicated to a new vision of education. Alain's latest book is titled Religion for Atheists and is published in the Netherlands, Italy, Korea, Turkey and Brazil in 2011 and in the UK, US and other territories in 2012. Alain started writing at a young age. His first book, Essays in Love [titled On Love in the US], was published when he was twenty-three. Transcript-- I think the way to look at literature is as an instrument that sensitizes us to different things. We all know that if five different people are asked to describe one scene, they will all describe it differently. Some will describe the light, others will focus on what people's feet were doing, others will look at the, you know, material, shape of the room or whatever. A great writer picks up on those things that matter. It's almost like their radar is attuned to the most significant moments. What literature is about is a record of people with very sophisticated radars who are picking up on the really important stuff. The interesting thing is that, for me, that radar is not something we should simply passively accept while we read the book. It's something we should learn from. We should shut the book and then say, "Okay, I've read Jane Austin or Proust or Shakespeare and now I'm going to see my mother or I'm going to have a chat with my aunt or I'm going to go and, you know, talk to some friends in a coffee shop, and rather than just doing it the normal way, I'm going to look at them and I'm going to ask myself that basic question, 'how would Jane Austin see them? How would Proust see them? How would Shakespeare see them?'" In other words, I'm not just going to look at the world of Shakespeare or Jane Austin through my eyes, I'm going to look at my world through their eyes. That is the benefit that is the intelligence giving power of great literature. We are sensitized by the books we read. And the more books we read and the deeper their lessons sink into us, the more pairs of glasses we have. And those glasses will enable us to see things that we would otherwise have missed. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd Alain de Botton:  I think the way to look at literature is as an instrument that sensitizes us to different things.  We all know that if five different people are asked to describe one scene, they will all describe it differently.  Some will describe the light, others will focus on what people's feet were doing, others will look at the, you know, material, shape of the room or whatever.  A great writer picks up on those things that matter.  It's almost like their radar is attuned to the most significant moments.   What literature is about is a record of people with very sophisticated radars who are picking up on the really important stuff.  The interesting thing is that, for me, that radar is not something we should simply passively accept while we read the book.  It's something we should learn from.  We should shut the book and then say, "Okay, I've read Jane Austin or Proust or Shakespeare and now I'm going to see my mother or I'm going to have a chat with my aunt or I'm going to go and, you know, talk to some friends in a coffee shop, and rather than just doing it the normal way, I'm going to look at them and I'm going to ask myself that basic question, 'how would Jane Austin see them?  How would Proust see them?  How would Shakespeare see them?'"   In other words, I'm not just going to look at the world of Shakespeare or Jane Austin through my eyes, I'm going to look at my world through their eyes.  That is the benefit that is the intelligence giving power of great literature.  We are sensitized by the books we read.  And the more books we read and the deeper their lessons sink into us, the more pairs of glasses we have.  And those glasses will enable us to see things that we would otherwise have missed.   Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 172228 Big Think
How psychedelics work: Fire the conductor, let the orchestra play | Michael Pollan
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Give yourself the gift of knowledge with a subscription to Big Think Edge. http://bit.ly/bigthinkedge Michael Pollan explains what goes on during the mental fireworks of a psychedelic experience. - If your ego had a "location" in the brain, it would be the default mode network, where much of your self-critical mind chatter happens. - Taking psychedelics down-regulates this brain network. Researchers describe the effect of psychedelics as "letting the brain off its leash", or firing the conductor to let the orchestra play. Without the default mode network acting as a dictator, areas of the brain that don't normally interact meet, producing phenomena like hallucinations and synesthesia. - An overactive ego may be what punishes those of us plagued with anxiety, addiction and mental health disorders. Psychedelics can have a beneficial effect by temporarily killing the ego, jogging the brain out of negative thinking patterns. Michael Pollan's latest book is How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence - (https://amzn.to/2R1PJn4) He has written seven previous books including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, which received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon.com. PBS premiered a two-hour special documentary based on The Botany of Desire in fall 2009. Read more at BigThink.com: https://bigthink.com/videos/psychedelics-in-the-brain-fire-the-conductor-let-the-orchestra-play Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink
Views: 133578 Big Think
The Secret to Kicking Procrastination: Reward Yourself | Dani Ariely
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Dan Ariely, the author of "Predictably Irrational," believes in associating undesirable tasks with pleasurable activities.
Views: 228893 Big Think
Goal Setting Is a Hamster Wheel. Learn to Set Systems Instead. | Adam Alter
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ You've just achieved a goal you've been working towards for two years. You did it! Congratulations. Someone asks you: how does it feel? "Kind of anti-climactic, actually," you say. This scenario is quite common among those who have achieved even the highest benchmarks in business, athletics, or art, says Adam Alter, and it's because the goal setting process is broken. With long-term goals particularly, you spend the large majority of the time in a failure state, awaiting what could be a mere second of success down the track. This can be a hollow and unrewarding process. Alter suggests swapping quantitative goals (I will write 1,000 words of my novel per day. I will run 1km further every week) for qualitative systems—like writing every morning with no word target, or running in a new environment each week—that nourish you psychologically, and are independently rewarding each time you do them. Adam Alter is the author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/adam-alter-want-to-succeed-dont-set-goals-set-systems Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: Goal setting is fascinating because it's sort of a broken process in many respects. This is the way a goal works: You say to yourself, “When I achieve (whatever the thing is), that's how I'll know I'll have succeeded, and I'm going to do everything I can to get to that point as quickly as possible.” What that means is you exist in a failure state for a long time until you reach that goal, if it's a long-range goal. And so as you evaluate your process all you get is the negative feedback of not having achieved that goal. Perhaps as you move closer to it there's some positive feedback, but if the goal is really the end state that you're seeking out, there's a lot of failure before you get there. And now here's the thing: when you do get there it's a massive anti-climax. So there are people who achieve the highest highs; people who achieve the highest highs in athletics, in business, and if you talk to them and you ask them to describe what it's like to reach their goals they say things like, “I got there and it was an incredible anti-climax. The minute I got there I had to start something new, I had to find a new goal.” And that's partly because there's something really unsatisfying about the moment of reaching the goal. Unless it has its own benefits that come from reaching the goal, if it's just a sort of signpost; that doesn't do much for us, it doesn't nourish us psychologically. And what that ends up meaning is that we have to try to find something new. So really if you look at life as a series of goals, which for many of us it is, it's a period of being unsuccessful in achieving the goal, then hitting the goal, then feeling like you haven't really got much from that goal, going to the next one—and it's a sort of series of escalating goals. A really good example of this is, say, smart watches or Fitbits or exercise watches. People, when they get those watches, a lot of them hit on the number 10,000. “I want to walk 10,000 steps.” When you do that, the thing will beep; you'll feel pretty good about it for a minute but then that feels a little hollow and the goal escalates over time. People will describe going from 10 to 11 to 12 to 14,000 steps to the point where they're moving through injuries, through stress-related injuries, because the goal is there; they respond to the goal more than they do to their internal cues, and basically there's something really unfulfilling about that. The reason the goal keeps escalating and becoming more and more intense is because when they achieve the goal they don't actually get anything for that achievement, and so goals, generally I think, are in many ways broken processes. I think part of the problem with goals is that they don't tell you how to get to where you're going. A better thing to do is to use a system. So the idea behind a system rather than a goal is that a system is saying things like, “I’m a writer, my goal is to finish writing this book but I'm not going to think about it in that way. Eventually I'll have 100,000 words, but my system will be that for an hour every morning I will sit in front of my computer screen and I will type. It doesn't matter what that looks like. I'm not going to evaluate the number of words. I'm not going to set some benchmark, some artificial number or benchmark that I should reach, what I'm going to do is just say, 'Here's my system: an hour a day in front of the screen. I'll do what I can—bam.'”
Views: 525487 Big Think
Michio Kaku on the Evolution of Intelligence
 
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Dr. Michio Kaku returns to Big Think studios to discuss his latest book, The Future of the Mind (http://goo.gl/1mcGeb). Here he explains the evolution of human intelligence. Don't miss new Big Think videos!  Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Transcipt - Some people think that intelligence is the crowning achievement of evolution. Well if that's true there should be more intelligent creatures on the planet Earth. But to the best of our knowledge we're the only ones. The dinosaurs were on the Earth for roughly 200 million years and to the best of our knowledge not a single dinosaur became intelligent. We humans, modern humans, had been on the Earth for roughly a hundred thousand years. Only a tiny fraction of the 4.5 billion years that the Earth has been around. So you come to the rather astounding conclusion that intelligence is not really necessary. That Mother Nature has done perfectly well with non-intelligent creatures for millions of years and that we as intelligent creatures are the new kid on the block. And so then you begin to wonder how did we become intelligent? What separated us from the animals? Well there are basically three ingredients -- at least three that help to propel us to become intelligent. One is the opposable thumb. You need a tentacle, a claw, an opposable thumb in order to manipulate the environment. So that's one of the ingredients of intelligence -- to be able to change the world around you. Second is eyesight. But the eyesight of a predator. We have eyes to the front of our face, not to the side of our face and why? Animals with eyes to the front of their face are predators -- lions, tigers and foxes. Animals with eyes to the side of their face are prey and they are not as intelligent -- like a rabbit. We say dumb bunny and smart as a fox. And there's a reason for that. Because the fox is a predator. It has to learn how to ambush. It has to learn how to have stealth, camouflage. It has to psych out the enemy and anticipate the motion of the enemy that is its prey. If you're a dumb bunny all you have to do is run. And the third basic ingredient is language because you have to be able to communicate your knowledge to the next generation. And to the best of our knowledge animals do not communicate knowledge to their offspring other than by simply communicating certain primitive motions. There's no book. There's no language. There's no culture by which animals can communicate their knowledge to the next generation. And so we think that's how the brain evolved. We have an opposable thumb, we have a language of maybe five to ten thousand words. And we have eyesight that is stereo eyesight -- the eyesight of a predator. And predators seem to be smarter than prey. Then you ask another question. How many animals on the Earth satisfy these three basic ingredients. And then you come to the astounding conclusion -- the answer is almost none. So perhaps there's a reason why we became intelligent and the other animals did not. They did not have the basic ingredients that would one day propel us to become intelligent. Then the next question asked in Planet of the Apes and asked in any number of science fiction movies is can you accentuate intelligence. Can you take an ape and make the ape intelligent. Well, believe it or not the answer could be yes. We are 98.5 percent genetically equivalent to a chimpanzee. Only a handful of genes separate us from the chimps and yet we live twice as long and we have thousands of words in our vocabulary. Chimps can have maybe just a few hundred. And we've isolated many of those genes that separate us from the chimpanzees. For example the ASP gene governs the size of the crane, cranial capacity so that by monkeying with just one gene you can literally double the size of the brain case and the brain itself. And so in the future -- not today but in the future we may use gene therapy to begin the process of making perhaps a chimpanzee intelligent. We know the genes that'll increase the size of the brain. We've isolated now the genes that give you manual dexterity by which you can make tools. We have found the genes which give you the ability to articulate thousands of words. And so it may be possible to tinker with the genome of a chimpanzee so that they have a larger brain case, they have better manual dexterity and they have the ability to articulate a larger vocabulary. But then what do you get? You get a primate that looks very similar to a human. And so my personal attitude is why bother. We already have humans, just look outside the door. So why bother to manipulate a chimpanzee because as you make a chimpanzee more and more intelligent it becomes more and more humanlike with a vocabulary, with vocal chords, with manual dexterity, with a larger brain case and a spine to support a larger brain case. That's called a human. Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Dillon Fitton
Views: 663394 Big Think
Paul Ekman: Outsmart Evolution and Master Your Emotions
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Renowned psychologist and emotion-guru Paul Ekman describes how introducing conscious awareness to facial expressions can help one override and control their emotions. SUBSCRIBE to Big Think! http://goo.gl/cZlhxI Transcript-- One of the most amazing discoveries, it completely surprised me, and that's what I like most in research is when you learn something you didn't you were going to learn. That's very different from research where you prove something you think you already know. You have to do that too 'cause maybe you were wrong, but when you discover something you didn't expect, that's really exciting. And what we discovered, published this more than 20 years ago, made the front page of the New York Times. We didn't kill anybody. What it did was show that if you put on your face one of the universal expressions you will turn on the physiology of emotion. You will begin to experience that emotion. So the face is not simply a display system that tells you what's happening inside me. I can self generate any emotion by making the movements on my face. Now some of them are harder to make than others, and wouldn't you know it the one that's the hardest to make is the one that turns on enjoyment 'cause a smile alone won't do it. You have to be able to activate one of the muscles around the eyes and only about ten percent of the people we've tested can do it. We are just beginning to use this discovery of how you can self generate emotion to teach people how to become more aware of what they're feeling at the moment they feel it. Because it is my belief -- and I want to underline the word belief 'cause I can't prove this -- it's my belief that the way in which emotions evolved it was to deal with things like saber-toothed tigers. The current incarnation of which is the car that's suddenly lurching at your car at a high speed. You don't have time to think. You have to do and make very complex decisions, think of what you do to avoid that car you make split seconds estimates of speed and angle and what you need to do with your feet and your hands. And if you had to think about what you were doing, you'd be dead. So it's a system that evolved to deal with really important things without your thinking about it. So that means that sometimes you're going to be very inconsiderate, very thoughtless, sometimes your emotions aren't going to fit the situation and you're not even going to know it until someone says to you, "What are you getting so upset about?" And you think, "Oh, my God. That's right. I'm really afraid. I don't know why. Maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I misunderstood the situation." Well these exercises that we're giving people -- moving their facial muscles, concentrating on the sensations that they then experience to make them more aware of an emotion when it arises, so that they will feel it at the moment and then can say, "Did you really mean to ignore me when she put the toast on the table? No. That was just an accident. Or maybe I shouldn't jump to the conclusion that she doesn't care about me at all. And why doesn't she care about me?" That whole business, it takes the way in which we can improve our emotional life is to introduce conscious awareness into the process and that will take practice and nature did not want you to do that so you have to do it yourself. Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 304095 Big Think
Michio Kaku: A Black Hole in Our Own Backyard?
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ A wandering black hole may catch up with us one day and eat us for breakfast and it wouldn't even burp in the process.
Views: 293798 Big Think
3 Tips on Negotiations, with FBI Negotiator Chris Voss
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Our brains react subconsciously to what is said during business negotiations. To succeed, it's important to choose your words carefully and be aware of the tone of your voice. Chris Voss is the author of "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It" (http://goo.gl/04OgLC). Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/chris-voss-gives-language-tips-for-negotiations Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript - How you use your voice is really important and it's really driven by context more than anything else, and your tone of voice will immediately begin to impact somebody's mood and immediately how their brain functions. There's actually scientific data out there now that shows us that our brains will work up to 31 percent more effectively if we're in a good mood. So if I smile at you and you see it or you can hear a smile in someone's voice, if I automatically smile at you and you can hear that I like you, I will actually be able to reach into your brain, flip the positive the switch, it puts you in a better mood there are mirror neurons in our brain that we have no control over; they automatically respond. And if I intentionally put you in a good mood your brain will be working more effectively and that already begins to increase the chances that you're going to collaborate with me. You'll be smarter and you'll like me more at the same time. Now upward and downward inflexion, downward inflexion is often used to say this is the way it is; there's no other way. And I will say it exactly like that. If there is a term in a contract that there's no movement on and I want you to know it and feel it without me having to say there's no movement on this, which maybe you want to yell at somebody and that's ineffective because that triggers a different part of the brain and makes people angry and they want to fight. And I've done this in contract negotiations. I've said things like, "We don't do work for hire," just like that. It lets the other side know there's no movement whatsoever. I also may need to put you in a more collaborative frame of mind and if I want to ask you a question I'll say something like it seems like this is important to you and I'll inflect up. It's more driven by context. And I can use an upward inflection to encourage you and smile while I'm questioning you. And that will make you feel less attacked by being questioned because people are made to feel a little bit defensive when they're question anyway. So if I know if I have to question you, if I want you to think about a different option then I'm going to be as encouraging as possible while I may be very assertive at the same time. Read The Full Transcript Here: http://goo.gl/jGBM66.
Views: 554778 Big Think
Richard Branson: Advice for Entrepreneurs
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Since Branson founded Virgin in 1970, the company has grown from a small record outlet to a global powerhouse. Can the brand continue its success without him? Question: What is your advice for entrepreneurs? Richard Branson:  I think the most important thing about running a company is to remember all the time what a company is.  A company is simply a group of people. And as a leader of people you have to be a great listener and you have to be a great motivator.  You have to be very good at praising and looking for the best in people.  People are no different from flowers.  If you water flowers they flourish, if you praise people they flourish. And that is a critical attribute of a leader. Question: What has been the most difficult part about running Virgin?Richard Branson:  There is a very thin dividing line between success and failure.  Most people who set off in business without financial backing they fail at some times in their lives. I've only just stayed at the right side of that dividing line.  For instance, just after...  You know we had a record company.  I was fed up flying on other people's airlines.  I felt that the experience of flying on other people's airlines was an unpleasant one and I decided to set up an airline.  Well our bank went into a complete panic attack and when I came back from doing the inaugural flight of Virgin Atlantic's very, very first flight from London to New York I came back to find the bank manager sitting on my doorstep and informing me that they were going to close Virgin down on the Monday and this was the Friday and that I had two days to effectively pay them off the monies that they'd loaned us and I remember pushing the bank manager out of my house, telling him he wasn't welcome, which is a dangerous thing to do to your bank manager and then spending the weekend ringing around the world to all of the distributors of our music asking if they could give us a temporary loan to get us through the following week, which they were good enough to do and by the end of the week we had changed banks and we actually managed to find a bank that was willing to lend us 30 times the overdraft facility that our bank had lent us and we managed to survive. And I think the moral of that story is actually don't think of your bank as somebody that you're beholden to.  I mean don't...  You know people just don't move from one bank to another.  Sometimes you need to be willing to step up and move your banks in the same way that you should step up and move your doctor on occasions and anyway, I learned from that lesson. Question: Can Virgin continue to be successful without you?Richard Branson: Virgin does work very well without me.  I mean I use myself to build the brand, to build the sort of three or four hundred companies around the world, but I also learned the art of delegation.  I have a fantastic team of people who run the Virgin companies, give them a lot of freedom to run the companies as if they were their own companies.  I give them the freedom to make mistakes and the Virgin brand is now maybe one of the top 20 brands in the world, well respected. And when my balloon bursts Virgin will continue to flourish. And maybe I add the icing on the cake on occasions, maybe they'll have to spend a bit more money on marketing, but fortunately Virgin is in a state where it can live on healthily without me. Recorded September 22, 2010 Interviewed by Victoria Brown
Views: 1930925 Big Think
Tricks for Combatting Procrastination | Tim Ferriss
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Tim Ferriss shares a bounty of strategies to help you really and truly overcome procrastination. And if it doesn't do it for you, hey, at least you just killed 10 minutes. Ferriss's latest book is "Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers" (https://goo.gl/BZTial). Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/tim-ferriss-on-procrastination-and-how-to-overcome-it Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript - Procrastination. Let's talk about it. It's a big topic. And by the way we all face it. It is a ever present evergreen issue for a reason and even the people you see on magazine covers, most of them, there are a few mutants, but they all have things they put off. And there are a few different tactics, approaches that I found very helpful that I've borrowed from, whether it's guests on the Tim Ferris Show or people I interviewed for Tools of Titans my newest book, here we go. So down the list. So one is break it down into the smallest action conceivable. And there are a few different types here. So if you have a macro goal, which is double the number of podcast downloads per episode. All right. I'm just giving that as an example. Well, we need to modify that to make it really actionable. So the first is making it hyper, hyper specific so we need a timeline at the very least. So let's say within six months doubling, and this is a real example for me, doubling the number of podcast downloads. Well, downloads are ongoing so by what point in time? All right, I want to double the number of podcast downloads per episode by week six after publication and I want to accomplish that within six months. All right. And then we can borrow from David Allen and just ask what are some of the prerequisites, the component pieces of doing that? Let's break it out into say content and organic. You could have it paid acquisition, you make a long list of these potential buckets of activities. From there you would look at next physical actions, and this is directly from getting things done. And you could apply that to any number of these, let's just say it's ten buckets but you would ask yourself, this is a question I ask myself very often when I'm procrastinating because there is indecision, and this is a particular breed of procrastination. In other words if I have ten things on my to do list or ten potential products I could pursue what to do in that situation? And what I ask myself is which one of these if done will make the rest the relevant or easier? This is a key question I ask all the time, which one of these will make all the rest easier to do if done first, or all the rest irrelevant, don't even need to do them. That is how I will hone in on one piece of the puzzle. Read Full Transcript Here: https://goo.gl/A7WnoM.
Views: 552648 Big Think
John Waters: Coming Out Is So Square
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ http://bigthink.com John Waters knew he was gay the moment he saw Elvis Presley, but people rarely asked him about his sexuality because they feared it was something "worse" than homosexuality. "They were afraid to hear the answer," he says. Question: How did you come out?John Waters: Coming out! It's just so square to me.  I mean, I always was gay.  I knew I was gay the moment I saw Elvis Presley, when I was probably about 10 years old.  I thought, what the hell is that?  But I know it's important to some people, but I just... no one, I never just came out and made it a ceremony or an announcement.  Like when people say, "Are you a bottom or a top?"  What is it, a political party?  It depends.  It's amazing to me the seriousness with these questions we're asked about.  To me, most of the gay people I know sort of just always were, but they didn't only hang around with gay people, they hung around with straight people that... I'm for mix.  I'm against separatism of any kind.  I don't like men that call women fish and I hate that.  I hate separate lesbians that hate men.  I like them better though.  But I know it's important to people.  No one ever asked me if I was gay because they thought something was worse than that.  They were afraid to hear the answer.  I was on the cover of the Advocate and it said, "The World's Most Out Director," but they never asked me if I was gay.  They never asked me a gay question.  I was waiting.  And my father once said, "Do you have to say it in USA Today?" so I didn't.  I thought that was fair, you know.  He doesn't care if I'm on the cover of Out because his friends don't see that.  So I thought it was a funny question.  I honored that, sure.  USA Today would never ask you that question anyway.  So I'm for it, but I kind of just always felt like I always was.  I mean, I was on the cover of a gay magazine in like 1972, something called Gay Times and it wasn't because I was brave, just nobody else wanted to put me on the cover.  Really.  So, and my films have... I've always said that my audiences, even gay people that don't get along with other gay people, black people that don't get along with other black people.  Minorities that can't stand even the rules of their own minority.  And I'm one of them.  Too much gaily correctness makes me crazy too.  You now, that GlAAD came out against this tranny movie?  Oh please, we have more enemies than that.  It was like, what, are gay people losing their sense of humor they have to be perfect now?  I'm for gay villains.  I think it's healthy to admit there's bad gay movies.  Gay's not enough, it's a good start. Question: As gay culture has entered the mainstream has it become more homogeneous?John Waters: I think, yeah.  I don't understand what gay people want to be like everybody else.  To me, we were outlaws, we used our wit for fighting words, you know, act up, act bad I wanted.  But I understand that people... straight, gay, people want to get married, they want to have children.  I'm for that, I'm all for that.  I'm for like, why would anyone be against gay adoption?  I can't understand it, or when celebrities get babies.  Madonna's child won the lottery, if you ask me.  The one she just got in Africa.  I'm for anybody getting any kid, if they can love it.  And I'm for abortion.  If you can't love your kid, don't have it because it will grow up and kill us. Recorded September 10, 2010 Interviewed by Max Miller
Views: 172608 Big Think
Genius Is Not about Excelling at Something—It's about Doing Things Differently | Eric Weinstein
 
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We want our surgeons to be excellent. We wants our classical music performers to be excellent. But do we really want excellence everywhere? This is the provocative line of thought economist and mathematician Eric Weinstein is currently chasing. We've figured out how to reliably teach excellence, which is useful — but there is a trade-off. Individuals and education institutions become hyper-focused on cutting variant individuals to a certain shape, pushing them into a mold so they can passably imitate the "excellent" population, but not really perform. "The key question is: who are these high-variance individuals? Why are our schools filled with dyslexics? Why are there so many kids diagnosed with ADHD? My claim is these are giant underserved populations who are not meant for the excellence model." To that end, Weinstein suggests that the label of 'learning disabled' is severely misguided. Perhaps we should call this phenomenon what it more accurately is: a teaching disability. How much genius is squandered by muting the strengths of these populations? Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/eric-weinstein-our-cult-of-achievement-is-crushing-the-genius-out-of-people Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink I think that very few people see the words 'excellence' or 'consensus' as anything other than the most positive of words. These are the habits that most people seek to cultivate. They wish to be part of the consensus. They wish to be excellent in both their behavior and hope for excellent outcomes. I think the problem is that, we didn’t realize that excellence so far as it goes is fine but it’s involved in a trade-off. And that trade-off has to do with the fact that excellence is really about quality control. It’s about the fact that if I’m going to go for, let’s say, a classical music concert, I want to assume that the piece will be played flawlessly and I will concentrate only on the interpretive aspects of the piece above that. But, in fact, quality control can be deadly. For example, if in a jazz date where an improviser takes few risks the music may be pleasant enough as background music but it’s scarcely the sort of thing that would have animated the bebop generation who played live dates under open-mic conditions never knowing what would happen next. Perhaps the most famous jazz album of all time was Miles Davis’ 'Kind of Blue', and if you look at the sheet music for that date almost nothing was written down. It was just a question of bringing the most amazing minds together. And you can even hear a few flaws on that album which make it so exciting. So I think that the problem is that, we have to realize that excellence is about hill climbing. It’s about the fabled 10,000 hours. It’s about practice making perfect. And this is something that, to the credit of excellence, it’s something we do know how to teach. Perhaps we don’t know how to teach everyone how to achieve it but there’s always a class of people who through dedicated repetition will be able to bring their variance under extraordinary pressure so that they are reliable members of our society. We want this in our surgeons, often. We want this in our classical music performers. But the question is: do we want it everywhere? And because we do know how to teach excellence we’ve blinded ourselves to the role that a different thought process is involved in, which I would associate with genius. The key question is: who are these high-variance individuals? Why are our schools filled with dyslexics? Why are there so many kids diagnosed with ADHD? My claim is these are giant underserved populations who are not meant for the excellence model. They are meant to be the innovators, the people who bring us new forms of music that others will seek to perfect and hone in their performance. And, in fact, the problem is, is that we don’t realize that genius is really about adaptive valley crossing. It’s about taking on risk, taking on cost, doing things that make almost no sense to anyone else and can only be shown to have been sensible after the fact because, in fact, and I think, you know, Jim Watson said this beautifully, he said if you’re really going to do anything big you are by definition unqualified to do it. So the entire culture of credentialism, of professionalism, is really a culture of excellence. But, in fact, society is run by power laws. The very thick tails of these distributions suggest that life isn’t normally distributed but distributed by power laws. And we need a special class of people to play those tails, to get us the returns, to power us forward and advance society. And so what I’m really interested in is not being blinded by excellence to the prospects for other modalities, in particular genius.
Views: 182615 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Mankind Has Stopped Evolving
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 There are no more evolutionary pressures driving gross human evolution, but that doesn't mean we won't be able to genetically re-engineer ourselves in the future.
Views: 1900688 Big Think
How to Squash a Paranormal Claim
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ The James Randi Educational Foundation has never met a "psychic" it couldn't discredit—easily. Still, Randi understands why such frauds appeal to people. Question: What does the JREF consider a legitimate test of paranormal claims? A test of any specific claim is going to depend entirely upon that claim.  If you say you can speak to dead people, I've got a whole load of questions I would like to ask certain dead people.  Answers to which I already have, and the dead people, since they are dead, I don't believe they've got the answers any longer, but if you want to call them up and ask them the questions and come up with the right answer, hey, you could win the million dollars.  Now, many people say they can read minds, they can predict the future, they can interpret dreams and such, well, it all depends on the specific claim they make.  All they have to do is say what they can do, under what circumstances, with what accuracy.  And some people have taken, literally, years.  One fellow, a PhD in California took four and a half years to answer those three questions, and finally when we got ready to enter into tests with him of "remote viewing," as he called it, and he actually gave courses in this at the university in California, he suddenly changed his email address and his telephone number.  We haven't been able to reach him since. Isn't that strange?  I guess he doesn't need the million dollars. Question: What has been the most difficult paranormal claim for the JREF to disprove?James Randi: I'd like to say that there has been one particularly difficult one, but no, they've all been so easy.  They've been so easy because they've been so transparent. I've been in this business for a long, long time and I've seen everything.  Recently, I got a nice contract to go to South Korea and do a TV series, which I did there, testing South Korean "psychics," so-called.  And they told me before I left, they said, "Oh, Mr. Randi, you signed the contract, so I guess we should tell, we've got psychics in South Korea that you've never seen before."  And I went off there with my assistant and we looked at them and turned to one another and said, "Wait a minute. This is the same thing that has been going on since the 1600s. It's in all the books. It's exactly the same thing. They're serving kimchee at lunch instead of macaroni, or whatever, but in any different culture, in any differen... the costume is different, the language is different, but the same stunts are being done again, and again, and again.  They haven't invented anything new since the early 1600s.   Question: Do you believe supernatural thinking is ingrained in human cognition?James Randi: Well, you'd have to ask a psychologist, and perhaps a few psychiatrists that question because technically I can't answer that question.  But I will tell you, I suspect strongly that people need to have some more romance in their lives.  After all, look at the average kid who is male or female who was raised by their parents who believe that he or she will have children and will have a wife or a husband and they will be absolutely ideal people and everything will go... you will be a doctor, or lawyer, or you'll be very wealthy, have a beautiful home.  It doesn't work out that way all the time.  In fact, it seldom works out that way.  And so they look around and say, "What have I done wrong?"  And them somebody runs an ad on television saying, "Oh, I can solve your problems.  I can give you guidance to the future, and I can look into the crystal ball, or read the tarot cards," or whatever.  They may tend to fall for that sort of thing because they say, "They wouldn't' say that if it weren't true."  Oh, yes, they would.  And there's a huge profit margin in this.  So people do fall for these things very, very easily.Recorded April 16, 2010Interviewed by Austin Allen
Views: 1069595 Big Think
Bjarne Stroustrup: Why I Created C++
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ In the late 1970s, Stroustrup applied the idea of "classes" to the C programming language to create a new language that allows for high level abstraction—but is efficient and close to the hardware. Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/why-i-created-c Follow Big Think here: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript: What inspired you to create C++? In the really old days, people had to write their code directly to work on the hardware. They wrote load and store instructions to get stuff in and out of memory and they played about with bits and bytes and stuff. You could do pretty good work with that, but it was very specialized. Then they figured out that you could build languages fit for humans for specific areas. Like they built FORTRAN for engineers and scientists and they built COBALT for businessmen. And then in the mid-'60s, a bunch of Norwegians, mostly Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard thought why can’t you get a language that sort of is fit for humans for all domains, not just linear algebra and business. And they built something called SIMULA. And that’s where they introduced the class as the thing you have in the program to represent a concept in your application world. So if you are a mathematician, a matrix will become a class, if you are a businessman, a personnel record might become a class, in telecommunications a dial buffer might become a class—you can represent just about anything as a class. And they went a little bit further and represented relationships between classes; any hierarchical relationship could be done as a bunch of classes. So you could say that a fire engine is a kind of a truck which is a kind of a car which is a kind of a vehicle and organize things like that. This became know as object-oriented programming or also in some variance of it as data abstraction. And my idea was very simple: to take the ideas from SIMULA for general abstraction for the benefit of sort of humans representing things... so humans could get it with low level stuff, which at that time was the best language for that was C, which was done at Bell Labs by Dennis Ritchie. And take those two ideas and bring them together so that you could do high-level abstraction, but efficiently enough and close enough to the hardware for really demanding computing tasks. And that is where I came in. And so C++ has classes like SIMULA but they run as fast as C code, so the combination becomes very useful. What makes C++ such a widely used language? If I have to characterize C++’s strength, it comes from the ability to have abstractions and have them so efficient that you can afford it in infrastructure. And you can access hardware directly as you often have to do with operating systems with real time control, little things like cell phones, and so the combination is something that is good for infrastructure in general. Another aspect that’s necessary for infrastructure is stability. When you build an infrastructure it could be sort of the lowest level of IBM mainframes talking to the hardware for the higher level of software, which is a place they use C++. Or a fuel injector for a large marine diesel engine or a browser, it has to be stable for a decade or so because you can’t afford to fiddle with the stuff all the time. You can’t afford to rewrite it, I mean taking one of those ships into harbor costs a lot of money. And so you need a language that’s not just good at what it’s doing, you have to be able to rely on it being available for decades on a variety of different hardware and to be used by programmers over a decade or two at least. C++ is not about three decades old. And if that’s not the case, you have to rewrite your code all the time. And that happens primarily with experimental languages and with proprietary commercial languages that change to finish—to meet fads. C++’s problem is the complexity part because we haven’t been able to clean it up. There’s still code written in the 80’s that are running and people don’t like their running codes to break. It could cost them millions or more. Interviewed by Max Miller
Views: 1409126 Big Think
Michio Kaku: Space Bubble Baths  and the Free Universe
 
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If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: https://www.executiveinterviews.biz/rightsholders/bigthink/ How can you create a universe from nothing? Well if you calculate the total matter of the universe it is positive. If you calculate the total energy of the universe it is negative because of gravity. Gravity has negative energy. When you add the two together what do you get? Zero, so it takes no energy to create a universe. Universes are for free. A universe is a free lunch. Michio Kaku -- We have found the Higgs boson. So then the next question is what's next? Well the Large Hadron Collider, this machine that is 27 miles in circumference, costing 10 billion dollars is big enough to create the next generation of particles. So the Higgs boson in some sense is the last hurrah for the old physics, the old physics of what is called the standard model, which gives us quarks and electrons. The new theory is going to take us into dark matter. Now we know dark matter exists. Dark matter is invisible, so if I held it in my hand you wouldn't see it. In fact, it would go right through my fingers, go right through the rock underneath my feet and go all the way to China. It would reverse direction and come back from China all the way here to New York City and go back and forth. So dark matter has gravitational attraction, but it is invisible and we are clueless as to what dark matter really is. The leading candidate for dark matter today is called the sparticle. The sparticle is the next octave of the string. Now look around you. Everything around you, we think, is nothing but the lowest vibration of a vibrating string, the lowest octave in some sense, but a string of course has higher octaves, higher notes. We think that dark matter could in fact be nothing but a higher vibration of the string. So we think that 23% of the universe, which is the dark matter's contribution to the universe, comes from a higher octave of the string. Now the standard model which we have ample verification of only represents four percent of the universe. So the universe of atoms, protons, neutrons, neutrinos - that universe only represents four percent of what there is. 23% is dark matter, which we think is the next vibration up of the string and then 73% of the universe is dark energy. Dark energy is the energy of nothing. It's the energy of the vacuum. Between two objects in outer space there is nothing, nothing except dark energy, dark energy, which is pushing the galaxies apart. So when people say if the universe is expanding they say two things, what's pushing the galaxies apart and what is the universe expanding into. Well what's pushing the galaxies apart is dark energy, the energy of nothing. Even vacuum has energy pushing the galaxies apart. And then what is the universe expanding into? Well if the universe is a sphere of some sort and we live on the skin of the sphere and the sphere is expanding what is the sphere expanding into? Well obviously a bubble, a balloon expands into the third dimension even though the people living on the balloon are two dimensional. So when our universe expands what does it expand into? Hyperspace, a dimension beyond what you can see and touch. In fact, string theory predicts that there are 11 dimensions of hyperspace, so we're nothing but a soap bubble floating in a bubble bath of soap bubbles and so in some sense the multiverse can be likened to a bubble bath. Our universe is nothing but one bubble, but there are other bubbles. When two bubbles collide that could merge into a bigger bubble, which could be the big bang. In fact, that is what probably the big bang is or perhaps a bubble fissioned in half and split off into two bubbles. That could be the big bang. Or perhaps the universe popped into existence out of nothing. That is also a possibility. And so the universe could essentially be nothingness, which was unstable and created a soap bubble Now you may say to yourself well that can't be right because that violates the conservation of matter and energy. How can you create a universe from nothing? Remainder of transcript - http://bigthink.com/ideas/49273 Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 375242 Big Think
How to Catch a Liar (Assuming We Want To)
 
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Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Paul Ekman's research on facial expression and body movement began in 1954, as the subject of his Master's thesis in 1955 and his first publication in 1957. In his early work, his approach to nonverbal behavior showed his training in personality. Over the next decade, a social psychological and cross-cultural emphasis characterized his work, with a growing interest in an evolutionary and semiotic frame of reference. In addition to his basic research on emotion and its expression, he has, for the last thirty years, also been studying deceit. Transcript-- There's no question from public opinion polls that people care a lot about the honesty of the person they're dealing with, whether that's their doctor or their political leader.  And yet it's more complex than that.  Often we don't want to know the truth.Do you want to find out that your spouse is cheating on you?  Do you want to find out the person that you recommended for a job in your company is embezzling?  Do you want to find out that your kids are using heroin?  These of course are all things that you want to know but you certainly don't want to know.So it's very complex as to whether or not we really want to catch a liar.  We think we do.  What if we find out that both of our presidential candidates are lying?  Then what do we do?  I'm not saying they are; I never comment on anyone in office or running for office.  Only after they're out that they're fair game. Clinton said, "I didn't have sex with that woman"  and then gave her name.  "That woman" is putting her at a distance from himself.Now there are many reasons why people lie and some are honorable.  I study the lies that society cares about, cares about catching, generally disapproves of. The most common reason why people lie is to avoid punishment for breaking a rule.  Usually some rules are broken accidentally.  You walk down the hallway too fast and you knock over a $2,000 jar that's on the stand.  You didn't mean to do that.  "Did you knock over that jar?"  Well, you're not going to -- "Yes, I did..."  "No, I don't know who knocked over that jar.  It wasn't knocked over when I walked by."  You don't want to get punished.  But there are many times where we make the decision -- I'm going to break a rule, I'm going to cheat, and I'm going to lie about it.  I'm not going to admit that I cheated; I don't want to get caught.  So the decision to lie is made at the same time as the decision to cheat.When we teach people, and we do in workshops teach people how to catch liars, it takes us 32 hours. Spotting a micro expression is the single most useful thing.  This is an expression that lasts about a 25th of a second.  We've tested over 15,000 people in all walks of life and over 99 percent of them don't see them, and yet with an hour's training on the Internet they can learn to see them.  However, that may only tell you that the person's concealing an emotion.  That's a lie -- they're not telling you how they really feel.  But it may not tell you that they're the perpetrator of a crime.  It's a terrible example, but I have to use it -- my wife is found dead.  I will be the first suspect because, regrettably, the person most likely to kill their wife is the husband. . . . "But I love my wife! I didn't kill her.  The police are wasting their time and they're insulting me!  Time is going by and they're not looking for the real person."  I could be furious at them and concealing my anger.  And so if you spot my concealed anger, it doesn't mean I killed my wife.  It only means that I'm concealing my anger.  Now if a lie is about how do you really feel, Paul, and you spot a micro expression, then you've got it. Second, realize that only the gestures of your cultural group are you going to recognize.  That's body specific language, but you already know them.  You can't -- if I asked you how many gestures are used in America today, you'd give me about 12, but there are actually 80.  And if I showed you every one of those 80, you'd know what they mean.Now the one that amazingly enough has had an enormous payoff is one of the most common ones we use, which is the headshake, yes and no.  I just did this.  This is actually "yes" and this is "no."  But it occurs in a micro fashion.  So I worked on the case of an embezzler who had embezzled over $100 million.  He was really big time until Bernie Madoff came along.  This embezzler had accused people in a number of banks of being in on the deal, which meant those banks would be vulnerable to having to pay for the embezzlement.  And when one of the people who he falsely accused, he is asked, "Did she help you steal the money?"  He said, "Yes.  Absolutely, she did."  Doing a slight headshake, no.  Even tinier than mine.So there's a gesture one.  There's a face one.   Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Views: 1149248 Big Think
Navy SEAL Has a '40 Percent Rule' And It's the Key to Overcoming Mental Barriers
 
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About 99 percent of the people who start marathons in the United States finish them. That's an astoundingly high number considering the pain and turmoil that every marathon runner faces. What each runner has in common, says author Jesse Itzler, is that they hit a wall where their mental resources are exhausted. At this point, sheer physical will maintains their strength — and this is the will that everyone has, but we seldom know how to tap into it. Itzler's way to break through his own mental barriers was to invite a Navy SEAL to live with him and his family for a month. First item on the agenda? Doing over 100 pull-ups. The lesson wasn't about physical fitness, but about mental fitness and how we each have an unused reservoir of strength and determination inside of us. Itzler is the author of Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet and/or his site Learn More: http://the100mileman.com/ Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/jesse-itzler-on-living-with-a-navy-seal Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink Transcript - I first met SEAL at a 100 mile run in San Diego and I was running this race as part of a six person relay team with friends and he was running the entire race by himself. And the run was unsupported so you have to bring your own supplies. So we had, you know, we overdid it a little bit. We had a tent and we had masseuses and food. I mean we were ready for like in case we had to stay there a week. And he had a folding chair, a bottle of water and a bag of crackers. And I just thought to myself like who is this guy. I’ve never seen anything like it. And during the race I kept an eye on him and around mile 70 he weighed probably 260 pounds which is quite large for an ultra runner. He had broken all the small bones in both of his feet and had kidney damage and he finished the race. So when it was done I Googled him. He had a fascinating life story and I decided literally to cold call him. And I flew out and met with him and after sitting with him for a couple of minutes I realized that I could learn so much from a guy like this that what makes him tick and various buckets in my life would be so much better if a little bit of what he had rubbed off on me. I asked him to come live with my family and I for a month. So at the time that I invited SEAL to come live with us I had an 18-month-old son. I was married, still am. Two more kids since. And I had sold a couple of businesses. I was in a great place professionally in my life but I was also in a routine. And routines are great but they can also be a rut. And I found that I just wasn’t getting better. I was doing the same thing every day like so many of us. Wake up, go to work, come home, you know, have dinner, repeat. And I just wanted to get off autopilot. And I thought that he would be a great way to get in good shape but also to just mix up my routine and get better. The first day that SEAL came to live with me he asked me to do – he said how many pullups can you do? And I’m not great at pullups. I did about eight. Just getting over the bar eight. And he said all right. Take 30 seconds and do it again. So 30 seconds later I got up on the bar and I did six, struggling. And he said all right, one more time. We waited 30 seconds and I barely got three or four and I was done. I mean couldn’t move my arms done. And he said all right. We’re not leaving here until you do 100 more. And I thought there’s no – well we’re going to be here for quite a long time because there’s no way that I could do 100. But I ended up doing it one at a time and he showed me, proved to me right there that there was so much more, we’re all capable of so much more than we think we are. And it was just a great lesson. It was actually the first thing that we did. It was just a great lesson that we have so much more in our reserve tank than we think we do. One of the things that SEAL said to me and it’s in the book and one thing that people have said that really resonated with them. He would say that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto if it doesn’t suck we don’t do it. And that was his way of every day forcing us to get uncomfortable to figure out what our baseline was and what our comfort level was and just turning it upside down. The 40 percent rule maybe it’s give or take a little but look at a marathon. Most people hit the wall in a marathon at mile anywhere from 16 t0 20. And, you know, 99 percent of the people in this country that run marathons finish and they all, predominantly all of them go through this hit the wall. So where does that extra 50 or 60 percent or whatever the number is come from? I mean it’s their brain saying I’m done, I don’t want to continue but their will saying you know what?
Views: 7852536 Big Think