• How does the global internet compare to a single human brain?
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    So 200 trillion bytes per second, or 1.6 petabits per second should be roughly enough to transmit the complete state of a brain. (Not including the connection patterns. That’s a whole ‘nother envelope!)

    How much is that?

    It’s about 1 optical fiber. The maximum conceivable bandwidth of a single-mode optical fiber is set by the frequency range where it’s clear enough to transmit light without melting. That number is about 1 petabit (10^15)/s, depending on the transmission distance. Bit rates of about 10% of that have been achieved in the laboratory using “Space Division Multiplexing”, while the current generation of optical networking products use multiple channels of 100 Gigabit Ethernet to achieve as much as 10Tb/s on a fiber, about 1% of the theoretical limit. A petabit per second is a ways in the future, but so is our neuro-dust.) Even now, we could probably fit a brain dump on 16 of the laboratory fiber systems.

    So we can imagine putting the bandwidth of a brain onto a cable we can hold in our hands.

    But how much is THAT?

    Cisco puts out a report every year estimating the total traffic on the internet. This year, they’re estimating that the total IP traffic in the world is 62,476 petabytes per month. That’s about 190 terabits/second. So a brain readout would be about 8 times the internet’s total data rate.

    So, just in case you are suffering from the delusion that the human race is really a technologically advanced society, click the above link for a little article to pop that balloon…

    When I was in grad school, (Mid 90’s) one of my professors made the comment that, “Our current understanding of the human brain is roughly equivalent to turning a monkey loose in the space shuttle with a hammer and trying to figure out how it works from what stops working when he smashes things.”

    That self assessment may soon come to be seen as arrogant overconfidence…

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  • Why cheating happens.
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    Huffington Post

    Past research has suggested that infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce. But what drives a person to become unfaithful?

    Thanks to a new study published in Contemporary Family Therapy, we now have an inside look into why married women cheat.

    Researchers Michelle Jeanfreau, Anthony Jurich, and Michael Mong conducted case studies on four women aged 24 to 51 who cheated on their spouses and whose marriages subsequently ended in divorce. Through in-depth analysis, researchers discovered three common risk factors that contributed to the infidelity.

    First of all, an in-depth case study analysis of four people barely constitutes a study at all…

    That being said, it is refreshing to see the popular media finally making the politically incorrect admission we’ve only known was proven true since the 1940’s:

    It almost always takes two spouses to create an affair for one of them.

    No, that’s not license or open season.

    But, it does mean that the one who (Knowingly or otherwise) neglected the other and the one who suppressed his or her heart and built a spark of resentment into a firestorm of rage need to work together to fix it.

    It also means that the victim/perpetrator model so many therapists seem to see infidelity through really needs to die.

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  • Is sitting the new smoking?
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    Life Hacker

    While we’ve noted research before that points out the downsides of sitting too much, this graphic explains in detail how your body is affected. From organ damage and muscle degeneration to foggy brains and higher mortality risk, it’s not a pretty picture.

    Apparently I’m doomed — as are most people reading this — and not even working out 4X a week will save me… But, apparently stretching exercises will make me brand new — or at least cure me. 😉

    It’s a tactic politicians have been using for years: F.U.D.

    As long as you can keep any population in a state of Fear, Uncertainty and Despair, you can make them do whatever you want…

    The strange/sad thing is, it still works on people.

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  • Are you still defending yourself?
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    Tiny Buddha

    See, some kinds of conflict threaten our sense of self. The fact that another person seems to have the power to hurt us makes us feel weak, unstable, and unsafe.

    In order to defend this sense of self and feel stronger, we may attempt demonstrate our own power to hurt them back. Mature? No. Helpful? Definitely not. Kind of understandable? Yes.

    Personally, I hated how vulnerable I felt when my husband did something that hurt my feelings. I felt scared that he had the power to make me feel so upset.

    Giving him the cold shoulder felt like a way to hide this “weakness,? and assert my own power to hurt him. It also was a way to protect my ego, because by not talking things out I could avoid challenging my current belief system, thus maintaining the belief that I was right and he was wrong.

    So even though I had all the hard-earned communication and conflict resolution skills I needed to work through the problem, create increased communication, and build understanding, I wasn’t going to use them; creating increased understanding and connection wasn’t my intention. My intention was to defend myself. So that’s exactly what I did.

    The problem was that by focusing on defending myself, I was basically putting all my energy into avoiding what I didn’t want—pain and suffering—instead of into creating what I actually did want. Deep down, I wanted way more than simply not getting hurt, but I wasn’t working toward it.

    What I desired was a relationship of trust, honesty, and openness; one where we each had the courage to share what we were really feeling, and would listen to one another with an intent to understand rather than judge. One where we would have compassion for each other’s failings and work to strengthen one another (even when we were upset) rather than tear each other down.

    This was the future I really wanted for us, and I knew that my current responses to our conflicts, while easy and comfortable, weren’t going to get us there.

    Sometimes we find brilliance in the strangest places…

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  • So, do you think your diet is working?
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    Nerd Fitness

    Today I wanted to highlight the biggest/most successfully marketed programs out there, and give my humble thoughts on what I think is right and wrong with them, and how they could be better.

    Not that they’re asking for my help, it seems like they’re doing quite well! But for the other few hundred people a week, let’s clear up what works and what doesn’t.

    I wish I could claim this guy was wrong — but I can’t. If anything, he’s too generous to these outfits — some of them can’t even pass a common-sense test.

    I also wish I could name one person any of them worked for long term. But, so many people have come through my office spending hundreds and thousands on this stuff — they all end up worse off, poorer and many actually gain weight. Somehow, the makers of all of these things can’t even seem to grasp even the most foundational point: If it’s not as God made it, don’t eat it.

    It’s all downhill from there…

    And, I wish there was an easier way then the method he is promoting as well — but there isn’t. (Some have made the exact same thing a bit more fun — or at least easier to understand — and some of the disruption based diets change up the order of the same in ways that also work for some people but the core is still essentially identical…)

    That being said though, medical, hormonal, SSRI side effects and bowel disease related conditions definitely shouldn’t be ignored as a cause of a sudden change in weight either…

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  • How safe is your workplace?
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    Psych Central

    …here are five ways to start claiming back your power:

    Express your feelings instead of reacting to them. First, it’s essential that you have a daily self-reflective practice that allows you to work through feelings; I describe an effective method in this article. Then find a therapist who can help you work through intense feelings; a good one is worth every penny. She knows how to be compassionate as well as maintain good boundaries so as not to absorb your negative feelings. You can also bounce ideas off friends. Just make sure you are mindful of your impact on them and don’t wear out their ears.

    When back at work, don’t explain, don’t complain. Be a verbal miser. Don’t give away information and certainly don’t put anything in writing that could entrap and incriminate you.

    Take the time to step back and see a larger perspective. This requires you to be cool, which means relaxed. From that higher place, what outcome do you want to achieve? It could take you a long time to work that out, but allow it. Impatience is not your friend.

    Observe and gather information (often indiscriminately shared) so that you can use it in service to your higher purpose. Find out where the cracks are so that you can open them even further to let in the light of truth. There’s nothing more threatening to a bully-prone organization than the truth. If you have that on your side, then you have the power of moral authority, and there’s nothing stronger than that.

    When you reach out to someone to help you, be very clear about what you want and make a direct request. Acknowledge your impact on the other person. Be friendly, calm and polite and you will almost always receive a favorable response.

    The full article is far from exhaustive on the subject — but what it does, it does well.

    Knowledge is power — knowledge of tactics is even more so.

    When you are faced with an organization and an bully that is implicitly (or worse) supported by such, parking your right to explode emotionally and doing some serious planning is an absolutely essential prerequisite if you don’t want to be facing a united front gunning to treat you as the problem — and remove you.

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  • Wondering why the divorce rate is so high?
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    Thought Catalog

    12 Things You Must Say Goodbye To After You Get Married

    1. Getting blackout drunk.

    No one thinks a blackout drunk married woman is worth their trouble. No one. Not even their husbands.

    2. Sleepovers.

    Unless you’ve told your husband in advance, a spontaneous sleepover is out of the question.

    3. Texting people of the opposite sex.

    If you’re married and you text people of the opposite sex constantly, your husband/wife will think something is up. And I swear to you, if you put a lock on your phone, that’s going to end up in a huge fight.

    So, a married woman writes a post about what it means to just be a grown-up and be married — and not be a substance abuser. It’s sane, reasonably intelligent and, in and of itself, disturbing that she should even have to write something so obvious to begin with. Surely something so patently responsible and healthy should be well received???

    Or something…

    Here’s just a chunk of the start of the comment section — which basically goes on like this forever:

    Thank god I’m never getting married! The more my boyfriend and I hear about marriage, the worse it sounds!

    It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s whatever you make it.

    I mean… I get the idea, but I didn’t realize being married meant you automatically jump into super-responsible-adult immediately. If I got married to my boyfriend tomorrow, we’d still be doing the same shit, like buying things online instead of proper groceries, having our friends over for sleepovers, and I would certainly still be dressing like a mildly skanky college chick every so often. We’d just share a last name.

    And even sharing a last name is optional!

    I think you’re the one that shouldn’t be married. This is ridiculous. My husband and I do all of these, minus the nudes and maybe dressing like a”slut” because we’re grown adults and have a loving trusting relationship. And honestly, single people need to delete their nudes too. And you honey, quit giving marriage advice and maybe call a marriage counselor.

    I sincerely hope this article is a poor attempt at satire because it’s absolutely ridiculous.

    This paints a pretty negative picture of marriage and articles like this are what propagate this message even further.

    If you perceive marriage in this way, you probably shouldn’t be married.

    The author of the linked full article — she’s likely to be married for life. Why? Because she understands one of the basic foundations of marriage: Couplehood.

    She understands that marriage is about taking those two candles, (Or beakers of sand) lighting the large centre candle (entirely emptying them down the sand race) and then blowing the two smaller candles out.

    She gets that marriage is about we-ness, not I-ness and that it is an agreement to the lowest level of every sort of distance and autonomy any society has to offer.

    No one here is forced into it but, if you decide to get married, that’s what you are picking. Many societies have tried all sorts of other options — they’ve usually ended badly.

    Anything else is like committing to learn to swim — but refusing to move your arms.

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  • Are you forever worried someone is going to find out?
    1 Comment on Are you forever worried someone is going to find out?


    Sometimes I find myself waiting for the e-mail saying:

    “Sorry, we’ve made a huge mistake, you are fired.?

    Every success is a fluke. Each mistake is a disaster I play over and over again. I’ve convinced myself that one day it will all come crashing down.

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    When your life is dictated by an all encompassing fear that people will find out your secret that you don’t have what it takes, you’re going to have a bad time.

    Rewards make you feel bad, because you don’t believe you deserve them, and when you don’t receive accolades, you agree, because you know… you suck.

    “Rather than offering assurance, each new achievement and subsequent challenge only serves to intensify the fear of being found out.? —Susan Pinker

    To prevent others from finding out, people try to compensate for their ‘fraud’ in one of two ways:

    Overdoing: This occurs when people prepare to an almost obsessive level. They put in much more effort than is realistically needed in order to ensure they don’t fail.

    Underdoing: If you don’t really try you can’t really fail, right? People will under prepare or put off doing something until the last minute so they can blame any possible failures on a lack of readiness, as opposed to their actual ability.

    This is really well written — and a must read for every person on the planet who works with people in any way — because it describes all of us at least some days.

    I can really only add one other point to the full article. It’s the point Brennan Manning made in his book, ABBA’s Child.

    Our impostors are us — and we need to make friends with them or we are forever fighting a war against ourselves and will never meet ourselves nor be stunned into silence by the dignity of ourselves. If we never see that dignity, we will continue to live in that deep sense of inadequacy and have even further grounds to continue the war against ourselves for being an impostor.

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  • Here’s why vacations and drugs DON’T mix…
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    There are a limited amount of places where one can do drugs. Of those places, drug users select a certain few places where they prefer to do drugs, and then do drugs most often at a select number of places that are convenient. Essentially, a regular drug user will often have a regular place to take their drugs. After they’ve done drugs regularly in the same place, the connection is made. A bathroom, a bedroom, a certain club, will always be associated with drug use. People trying to quit drugs often talk about how they have to avoid their old haunts, because they feel a rush of anticipation. That rush is not just mental.

    Scientists learned that putting a dog in a certain injection booth every day and injecting it with adrenaline produced a dog with bradycardia – a dangerously slow heartbeat – when they put the dog in the same booth but only injected it with a placebo. The dog’s body was compensating for the adrenaline it anticipated. It was trying to reduce the dangerous effects of the adrenaline by slowing down the dog’s heartbeat.

    A drug user’s body does the same. Over time people build up a tolerance for the drug, not just because the body manages to deal with the drug when it’s in their system, but because the body knows to prepare for the drug before it has been administered. When a person who has built up a tolerance for a drug in a certain place goes somewhere new, the body may not know what’s coming to it, and that tolerance is greatly reduced.

    In one experiment, scientists studied rats who had been given regular doses of heroin. Some of the rats were taken to a new area and given a larger dose of heroin. The others were injected with the larger dose, but kept in their regular environment. The mortality rate of the rats injected in a new environment was twice that of the rats injected in the familiar environment. No similar experiment of human drug users would be conscionable, but a survey of the survivors of heroin overdoses found that seven out of ten were in a new place when they overdosed.

    The full article simply stands on its own — in all it’s disturbing glory…

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  • A truly safe place for women (and children too.)
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    Washington Post

    But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better. That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners—factors that minimize the risk of violence. What’s more: women who are married are more likely to live in safer neighborhoods, to have a partner who is watching out for their physical safety, and—for obvious reasons—to spend less time in settings that increase their risk of rape, robbery, and assaults.

    To be sure, it doesn’t take a viewing of “The Burning Bed? or “Safe Haven?to realize that married men can and do abuse or assault their wives or daughters. Marriage is no panacea when it comes to male violence. But married fathers are much less likely to resort to violence than men who are not tied by marriage or biology to a female. And, most fundamentally, for the girls and women in their lives, married fathers provide direct protection by watching out for the physical welfare of their wives and daughters, and indirect protection by increasing the odds they live in safe homes and are not exposed to men likely to pose a threat.

    It almost goes without saying that the rage Wilcox and Wilson generated with the above linked piece is still reverberating across the internet. Problem with all that smoke and fury is, Wilcox and Wilson are right.

    Oh, none of their statistics in any way minimize the horror that so many women and children have experienced at the hands of the men they married and the fathers who gave them life. Yes, that is a huge problem and so much more needs to be done about it — even if only one women or child is still being abused.

    But that doesn’t change the hard cold validity of the statistics: As bad as marriage can be, the safest place for a woman and her children is still with the man she married and the father who gave those children life.

    It’s statistical realities such as the above that cause us to take a values oriented stance towards marriage that simply holds that, if two people stand at an alter and promise, “Until death do us part,” then, whenever possible, that needs to be taken seriously (especially when children are involved) and everything possible needs to be done to make that marriage a good place where everyone WANTS to be. (Preferably, that needs to start long before the couple ever stands at the alter — even before they get engaged if possible.)

    Obviously there are some marriages that NEED to be ended — but the cynical, selfish and mercenary attitudes our society holds regarding such hardly make up a definition of such.

    Why? Because, though the commitment itself matters — the reality of the safety marriage offers may even trump that.

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