FROM OUR FAMILY ~ TO YOURS ~ WISHING ALL A VERY ~ MERRY CHRISTMAS!
WHAT A HOOT! THANKS Z!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL MEMBERS. I AM SO BLESSED TO BE HERE.
When Free Choice Is an Illusion
Magicians and cognitive scientists know how to manipulate what we pick—or thought we picked
By Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen L. Macknik January 2017 Issue
We think we know what we want—but do we, really? In 2005 Lars Hall and Petter Johansson, both at Lund University in Sweden, ran an experiment that transformed how cognitive scientists think about choice. The experimental setup looked deceptively simple. A study participant and researcher faced each other across a table. The scientist offered two photographs of young women deemed equally attractive by an independent focus group. The subject then had to choose which portrait he or she found more appealing.
Next, the experimenter turned both pictures over, moved them toward the subjects and asked them to pick up the photo they just chose. Subjects complied, unaware that the researcher had just performed a swap using a sleight-of-hand technique known to conjurers as black art. Because your visual neurons are built to detect and enhance contrast, it is very hard to see black on black: a magician dressed in black against a black velvet backdrop can look like a floating head.
Hall and Johansson deliberately used a black tabletop in their experiment. The first photos their subjects saw all had black backs. Behind those, however, they hid a second picture of the opposite face with a red back. When the experimenter placed the first portrait face down on the table, he pushed the second photo toward the subject. When participants picked up the red-backed photos, the black-backed ones stayed hidden against the table's black surface—that is, until the experimenter could surreptitiously sweep them into his lap.
The first surprise was that the image switches often went undetected: Hall and Johansson reported that their subjects realized that the photo they picked up was not their actual choice only 26 percent of the time. Then came an even bigger shock. When the researchers asked the participants to explain their selection—remember, they chose the other picture—they did not falter: “She's radiant. I would rather have approached her at a bar than the other one. I like [her] earrings!” a subject said, even though the woman he actually chose had no earrings. Pants on fire.
Over and over, the participants made up just-so stories to account for their nonchoices. Instead of pondering their picks first and then acting on them, the study subjects appeared to act first and think later. Their improbable justifications indicate that we can use hindsight to determine our own motives—just as we might speculate about what drives someone else's behavior after the fact. In their now classic paper, Hall and Johansson dubbed this new illusion “choice blindness.”
Italian researchers have discovered what might be the oldest nativity scene ever found — 5,000-year-old rock art that depicts a star in the east, a newborn between parents and two animals.
The scene, painted in reddish-brown ochre, was found on the ceiling of a small cavity in the Egyptian Sahara desert, during an expedition to sites between the Nile valley and the Gilf Kebir Plateau.
"It's a very evocative scene which indeed resembles the Christmas nativity. But it predates it by some 3,000 years," geologist Marco Morelli, director of the Museum of Planetary Sciences in Prato, near Florence, Italy, told Seeker.
Morelli found the cave drawing in 2005, but only now his team has decided to reveal the amazing find.
"The discovery has several implications as it raises new questions on the iconography of one of the more powerful Christian symbols," Morelli said.
WE POST ~ YOU OPINE
GREAT SPIRITS ALWAYS ENCOUNTER THE MOST VIOLENT OPPOSITION FROM MEDIOCRE MINDS E=MC2
Re: Stuff and Nonsense Unleashed
« Reply #477 on: Dec 24th, 2016, 9:19pm »
A Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love, I would sleep, In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow. My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood his face weary and tight. A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold. Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here! Put down your pack; brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!" For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts, To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.""It's my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times. No one had to ask or beg or implore, I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before. My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December." Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas Gram always remembers."
"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ', And now it is my turn and so, here I am. I've not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures; he's sure got her smile." Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue... an American flag. "I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life for my sister or brother, Who stand at the front against any and all To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "Harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I'll be all right." "But isn't there something I can do, at the least? Give you money," I asked, "Or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you've done, for being away from your wife and your son." Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, that we mattered to you as you mattered to us."