Music of the Spheres

An Exercise in Listening

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You speak English, a futured language, and what that means is that every time you discuss the future or any kind of a future event, grammatically, you’re forced to cleave that from the present and treat it as if it’s something viscerally different. Now suppose that that visceral difference makes you suddenly disassociate the future from the present every time you speak. If that’s true, and it makes the future feel like something more distant and more different from the present, that’s going to make it harder to save.

If, on the other hand, you speak a futureless language, the present and the future, you speak about them identically. If that suddenly nudges you to feel about them identically, that’s going to make it easier to save.

[…]

Futureless language speakers, even after this level of control, are 30 percent more likely to report having saved in any given year. Does this have cumulative effects? Yes. By the time they retire, futureless language speakers, holding constant their income, are going to retire with 25 percent more in savings.

Can we push this data even further? Yes. Think about smoking, for example. Smoking is, in some deep sense, negative savings, right. If savings is current pain in exchange for future pleasure, smoking is just the opposite. It’s current pleasure in exchange for future pain. What we should expect then is the opposite effect. And that’s exactly what we find. Futureless-language speakers are 20 to 24 percent less likely to be smoking at any given in time compared to identical families. And they’re going to be 13 to 70 percent less likely to be obese by the time they retire.

In a fascinating episode of NPR’s TED Radio Hour titled The Money Paradox, behavioral economist Keith Chen shares some absolutely astounding research on how the tenses in a language influence that culture’s attitudes about saving and spending money.

Complement with this excellent, albeit flawed by virtue of being written in the futured English language, read on how to worry less about money.

The full TED Radio Hour is well worth a listen.

(via explore-blog)

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ppicasso:

People look at the stage curtain entitled ‘the Minotaur’s body dressed as Harlequin’ painted by Picasso in 1936 for Romain Rolland’s play ‘Le 14 Juillet’ at the Abattoirs museum in Toulouse, south of France, on April 28, 2011. The museum will be hosting the ‘Modern and contempory masterpieces’ exhibition from April, 15 to August 21, 2011.

ppicasso:

People look at the stage curtain entitled ‘the Minotaur’s body dressed as Harlequin’ painted by Picasso in 1936 for Romain Rolland’s play ‘Le 14 Juillet’ at the Abattoirs museum in Toulouse, south of France, on April 28, 2011. The museum will be hosting the ‘Modern and contempory masterpieces’ exhibition from April, 15 to August 21, 2011.

(via blue-voids)

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The role of the investment banks in the financial crisis of 2007–2008 … is the most disturbing recent example of the economic and the unethical coming together with catastrophic consequences for the former. The trading teams at Goldman and the executives who presided over them were inhabiting an extreme variant of a closed world, where their reality was populated by the electronic images and databases of their systems. Their obsessive focus on these images, driven by an equal obsession for the bottom line, excluded the human realities tethered to the symbols.
Simon Head on how Goldman Sachs made money off your misery (via explore-blog)

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This whole notion of doing only work that you love has always affronted me but I’ve lacked the articulation to be able to explain my objections. Only the top levels of developed world society can really consider that as an option. Almost all of the world has to labor just to survive. It just has always seemed so snobbish to me to think that people should all aspire to having only rewarding work to do to support themselves.

I believe in the reward of doing honest work in an honest way—that’s satisfying to me, even if I can’t always say I enjoy it. My work is not significant or important on a global scale, and I know it. But I do it pretty well.

I’ve probably told you the story of my wonderful professor, Russ Kelly, in my first year of college. One day he brought in a newspaper article about the wage increase for garbage workers in San Francisco that had recently passed. He pointed out that someday, even if we did well in college, that we may end up doing something like that because it paid well and we needed the money. But he said that a liberal education is for the enrichment of your heart and your brain, and it’s meant to give you something to think about, and a way to think about it, for the rest of your life. And he said that if someday you work as a garbage collector, you can enjoy thinking about Plato.

That’s the kind of advice that was actually helpful.

My mom (who is clearly the best) in an email this morning. <3 (via slodwick)

(via justcleverorworse)

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abandonedography:

The Gleno Dam was completed in 1923 and failed within 40 days of being fully filled. A small impoundment reservoir was built in the shadow of the old works, which can be seen when viewed from upstream. (via)

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Wednesday’s decision, once again a five-to-four ruling, represented another significant step away from the antiquated principle of ‘one person, one vote’ toward the more modern, and utilitarian, notion of ‘one dollar, one vote.’
John Cassidy on the McCutcheon decision: http://nyr.kr/QGFDb2 (via newyorker)

(Source : newyorker.com, via newyorker)