links for 2010-05-10

10 May
  • the Hypothesis suggests that more intelligent individuals are more likely than less intelligent individuals to acquire and espouse evolutionarily novel preferences and values that did not exist in the ancestral environment and thus our ancestors did not have, but general intelligence has no effect on the acquisition and espousal of evolutionarily familiar preferences and values that existed in the ancestral environment.
  • There is thus no indication in any of the ethnographic evidence that any sustained nocturnal activities occur in traditional societies, other than occasional conversations and singing, in these tribes. It is therefore reasonable to infer that our ancestors must also have limited their daily activities to daylight, and sustained nocturnal activities are largely evolutionarily novel. The Hypothesis would therefore predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal than less intelligent individuals.
  • Concentrated, linear thought doesn't come naturally to us, and the Web, with its countless spinning, dancing, blinking, multicolored and goodie-filled margins, tempts us away from it. (E-mail, that constant influx of the social acknowledgment craved by our monkey brains, may pose an even more potent diversion.) "It's possible to think deeply while surfing the Net," Carr writes, "but that's not the type of thinking the technology encourages or rewards." Instead, it tends to transform us into "lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment."
  • We have displaced the library and replaced it with the bank at the centre of our societies. These positions are not unmovable; even though our notions of value are now mercantile, those can eventually be changed. If making a financial profit is your aim, then you will say, "How does reading make a financial profit?" And the answer is, “It doesn't." So reading gets relegated to an unessential corner in our society. It used to be that readers were relegated because they considered themselves far above society, and so the metaphor of the ivory tower developed. Now there's still this idea that the reader doesn't take part in the social game and in politics, the res publica, but for other reasons: he doesn't do it because he's not making any money.
  • Reading film-related books helped refine my thinking and writing about movies. I became influenced by…the ideal of "pure cinema" – looking at a film not as an adjunct to literature or as a straightforward recording of stories but as a form that has its own distinct grammar and its own way of achieving things: using shot composition or recurring visual motifs to comment on a character or an event, for example. I developed an especially high regard for the directors who did these things really well…But as I grew older I also came to appreciate that this wasn't the only way to make a great film.
    In my view, the defining quality of a true movie buff is an unconditional open-mindedness about what you're willing to watch and engage with…about different genres and approaches to movie-making. I get antsy when people draw a rigid line between movies that are "art" and movies that are "just good fun", or between the movies they personally love and the movies that belong to the Canon.
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Posted by on May 10, 2010 in Uncategorized


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