This is how to really get to know people

If you want people to really know you, weekly meetings don’t cut it. You need deep dives with them in high-intensity situations. When I talked with a crew of astronauts who went to the International Space Station together, I found out that NASA prepared them by sending them into the wilderness for 11 days together. Their guides promptly let them get lost, and they said they came out of that experience knowing each other better than colleagues they’d worked with for years. At Morning Star, a leading tomato-paste plant that has operated successfully for decades without a single boss, I was stunned to discover that the founder often interviews job applicants at their own homes for three to five hours.

Adam Grant writing in The Atlantic

Orange Buttons are the Best

An appeal to authority is a false claim that something must be true because an authority on the subject believes it to be true. It is possible for an expert to be wrong, we need to understand their reasoning or research before we appeal to their findings. In a design meeting you might hear something like this:

“Amazon is a successful website. Amazon has orange buttons. So orange buttons are the best.”

Feel free to switch out ‘Amazon’ and ‘orange buttons’ for anything you want; you get an equally week argument. We could argue back that Amazon is surviving on past success and that larger company are often hard to innovate so shouldn’t be used as a design influence. We could point out that Jeff Bezos has a reputation for micro-managing and ignoring the evidence provided by usability experts he has hired. As a result, we could point out that Amazon is possibly successful in spite of its design not because of it. But the words ‘often’, ‘reputation’ and ‘possibly’ make all these arguments equally week and full of fallacies.

When we counter any logical fallacy, we want to do it as cleanly as possible. In the above example, we only need to point out that many successful websites don’t have orange buttons and many unsuccessful sites do have orange buttons. Then we can move away from the matter entirely unless there is some research or reason available to explain the authorities decision.

Rob Sutcliffe writing in Prototypr

Articles of Interest - April 16


Vevo’s YouTube account hack hits popular music videos, causes biggest video ever to disappear  The Verge

Facebook is offering a $40,000 bounty if you find the next Cambridge Analytica  CNBC

The Book 'Videocracy' explores the power of YouTube  MSNBC

One Way to Fight Digital Distraction  Chronicle of Higher Ed

This Site Tracks How Wikipedia Is Being Edited in Real-Time  Fast Company

***PRIVACY redesign includes self-destructing emails  Ars Technica

Should Social Media Companies Pay Us For Our Data?  NPR

Facebook Crossed The Creepy Line And Can’t Go Back  BuzzFeed News

As Zuckerberg Smiles to Congress, Facebook Fights State Privacy Laws WIRED


The State of Video in 2018  Story Hunter

Everything You Need To Know About Video Production Costs  Story Hunter

5 Media Publishers to Watch in 2018  Story Hunter


YouTube and Facebook Are Losing Creators to Blockchain-Powered Rivals  Bloomberg

US says Russia targets internet routers for espionage  Associated Press

Supreme Court takes up internet sales tax case  NBC News


SenseTime: The billion-dollar, Alibaba-backed AI company that's quietly watching everyone in China  Quartz

Microsoft launches a phishing attack simulator and other security tools  TechCrunch


Why Modern Newsrooms Should Mind the Generational Gap  Hollywood Reporter   

How the Assad Regime Tracked and Killed Marie Colvin for Reporting on War Crimes in Syria  The Intercept 

Journalists Documented a Massacre. Their Prize: a Prison Cell  New York Times

The crisis in journalism has become a crisis of democracy  Washington Post

Beyond “Live at Five”: What’s Next for Local TV News?  Medium

The end of investigative journalism? Not yet  Columbia Journalism Review

Former ProPublica journalists are launching a newsroom to cover the impact of technology on society  Harvard’s Nieman Lab

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back  Columbia Journalism Review

Pulitzer Prize Winners  Associated Press


TV news employment surpasses newspapers  RTDNA

As a secretive hedge fund guts its newspapers, journalists are fighting back  Washington Post

Journalism can profit from the nonprofit model  OC Register

The staggering body count as California newspapers founder, and democracy loses  LA Times 


Missouri School of Journalism grapples with what to do about Sinclair Broadcasting  Missourian

It Matters a Lot Who Teaches Introductory Courses: Here's Why  Chronicle of Higher Ed


The Rise of the Crisis Actor Conspiracy Movement  VICE 

The bots beat: How not to get punked by automation  Columbia Journalism Review

Can “Extreme Transparency” Fight Fake News and Create More Trust With Readers?   Harvard’s Nieman Reports


Working for the algorithm Machines will help employers overcome bias  Economist

The secrets of China’s real economy are being revealed by fact-checking through satellite imagery and artificial intelligence  Quartz

The beginning of a global quantum internet?  "This quantum gold-rush will entice growing numbers of speculators..."  Economist 

Really Random Numbers thanks to Quantum Physics  NPR

Artificial intelligence in the supermarket produce aisles  Tech Crunch

Automatic generation of data visualizations using sequence-to-sequence recurrent neural networks  Toward Data Science

A dozen major big data analytics tools grouped by storage, cleaning, mining, visualization  Datamation


Building a Text Editor for a Digital-First Newsroom: An inside look at the inner workings of a technology you may take for granted  New York Times

Best coding games and toys for kids 2018  Tech Advisor


This Optical Illusion Where Colors Disappear When You Stare At Them Is Breaking Our Brains  Digg

Helvetica Is Now An Encryption Device  Fast Company


What Makes This Song Great? Ep. 1

Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize  New York Times


Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes Following Rule Change  Variety


Radio isn't dead yet, but its future isn’t exactly healthy  cnet


The Search for Unintended Consequences  Becoming (my blog)


Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years  The Atlantic

Did the CIA fund creative writing in America?  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Much Ado About ‘Ado’  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Disappearing Languages  Interactive

Duolingo Suddenly Has Over Twice As Much Language Learning Material  Fast Company 


5 Classic Literature Books You Need to Give Another Chance  Study Breaks

A poetry professor Deals with a Racial Slur  Washington Post


How #MeToo is inspiring a new era of feminist literature  Standard

Ever wonder why you've never seen a woman making sushi? This female sushi chef explains why  Mashable


Please Don’t Answer This 2020 Census Survey  The New Yorker


Most College Presidents Worry That Speech Issues Could Trigger Violence  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Supreme Court won’t hear pastor’s challenge to noise law: He was arrested during protests outside a Planned Parenthood clinic  Press Herald


The monkey selfie lawsuit lives: PETA and the photographer settled last year, but the Ninth Circuit will be issuing a ruling anyway  The Verge


Hybels steps down from Willow Creek following allegations of misconduct  Chicago Tribune

Ken Ham Can’t Find Enough Creationist Employees, So He’s Loosening Restrictions  Patheos

Why this former religion television reporter is considering divorcing her evangelical family  Washington Post


North County pastor sentenced for molesting young relative  Fox-5

Ex-Dolphins cheerleader claims NFL discriminated against her because of her faith  CBS News

Houston Megachurch Pastor Pleading Not Guilty To Fraud Charges  Houston Public Media 

Man who cites opposition to abortion for not paying taxes wins Round 1 in court  Oregon Lives

Mormon growth continues to slow, especially in the U.S. (opinion)  Religion News 

Trial of U.S. pastor facing up to 35 years in prison set to start in Turkey  NBC News 


Two publishers suspend publication of books by megachurch pastor Hybels in wake of misconduct allegations  Chicago Tribune

Tyndale Sued by Boy Who Didn’t Come Back from Heaven  Christianity Today

Jimmy Carter, 93, talks about his new book: ‘Faith’  Religious News Service


Inside the White House Bible Study group  BBC

California Bill would Outlaw Gay Conversion ‘Therapy’  San Jose Inside

US vice-president Mike Pence meets Southern Baptist megachurch pastors  Christian Today

Who Is Reinhold Niebuhr And What Is His Connection To James Comey?  NPR

Colombia’s Next President Could Be an Evangelical Woman  Christianity Today


How Parkland student journalists covered the shooting they survived and friends they lost Washington Post

Legal Analysis: Getting the numbers on college censorship  Student Press Law Center

Liberty president censors student newspaper over critics  Richmond Free Press

University of Toledo newspaper in danger of closing  Toledo Blade


Schools like Harvard Shouldn’t be Investigating Itself (opinion)   The Crimson

Did These Women See #MeToo Coming  New York Times 

Head of Nobel literature prize panel quits over sex abuse scandal  The Guardian


Gaslighting for Beginners (satire)  Medium


Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change  Aeon 

The States Where People Die Young  The Atlantic

Too much sitting may thin the part of your brain that's important for memory, study suggests  LA Times


These Maps Show the Average Cost of Childcare in Each State

It Takes 90 Hours to Make a New Friend  Life Hacker

California museum exhibit of awkward family photos  Awkward Family Photos


Lights, cameras, science: Using video to engage broader audiences  The Research Whisperer 

Physicists set new record for quantum entanglement  Univeristat Unnsbruck 


This strange syndrome causes people to think their loved ones have been replaced by identical impostors  Washington Post


10 Hidden URLs to Help You Rule the Web  Field Guide


The ethics of scientific publishing  Chemistry World

Researchers who actively push their papers on social media gain more citations, study finds  Times Higher Ed


College plays a powerful role in achieving the American dream (opinion)  The Hill

Justice Department Investigating How Colleges Use Early-Decision Admissions  NPR


Can tech save the humanities?  Boston Globe

Dear Humanities Profs: We Are the Problem  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Are 'Learning Styles' Real?  The Atlantic

Forgetting makes us smarter. Use these tricks to remember what you need to  NBC News


How Much Did Professors Earn This Year? Barely Enough to Beat Inflation Chronicle of Higher Ed


Student Loan Reform (opinion)  New York Times

More colleges are saying yes to dogs and cats in dorms  Washington Post

4 in 10 millennials don't know 6 million Jews were killed in Holocaust, study shows  CBS News

Modest Advice for New Graduate Students  Medium

First-generation students are disproportionately more unlikely to finish college  National Center for Education Statistics

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force  Pew Research Center

Duke protesters disrupt president's speech to alumni  News Observer




The Search for Unintended Consequences

Any idiot can build a system. Any amateur can make it perform. Professionals think about how a system will fail.  It’s very common for people to think about how a system will work if it is used the way they imagine. But they don’t think about how that system might work if it were used by a bad actor or a perfectly ordinary person who is just a little different from what the person designing it is like.

Companies need to be thinking about how each product could actually be used in the real world. If you build a product that works great for men and is going to lead to harassment of women, you have a problem. If you build a product that makes everyone’s address books 5 percent more efficient and then gets three people killed because it their personal information to their stalkers, that’s a problem.

What you need is a very diverse working group that can recognize a wide range of problems, that knows which questions to ask and has support inside the company and in the broader community to surface these issues and make sure they are taken seriously. If they’re in there from day one it makes a huge difference.

Former Google engineer Yonatan Zunger in an interview with NPR

Most tech doesn’t come from startups

Only about 15% of programmers work at startups, and in many big tech companies, most of the staff aren’t even programmers anyway. So the focus on defining tech by the habits or culture of programmers that work at big-name startups deeply distorts the way that tech is seen in society. Instead, we should consider that the majority of people who create technology work in organizations or institutions that we don’t think of as “tech” at all.

What’s more, there are lots of independent tech companieslittle indie shops or mom-and-pop businesses that make websites, apps, or custom software, and a lot of the most talented programmers prefer the culture or challenges of those organizations over the more famous tech titans. We shouldn’t erase the fact that startups are only a tiny part of tech, and we shouldn’t let the extreme culture of many startups distort the way we think about technology overall.

Anil Dash writing in Medium

Writing for the Scholarly Elite or Spreading Ideas to the Masses?

In college and graduate school, I studied cognitive science, philosophy, and politics. I formed a conviction that I wanted to try to change the world for the better. Initially, my plan was to be an academic and public intellectual. At the time, I got bored easily (still do), which made me distractible and not great at making the trains run on time. Academia seemed like an environment that would keep me perpetually stimulated as I would think and write on the value of compassion, self-development, and the pursuit of wisdom. I would hopefully inspire others to implement these ideas to form a nobler society.

But graduate school, while stimulating, turned out to be grounded in a culture and incentive scheme that promoted hyperspecialization; I discovered that academics end up writing for a scholarly elite of typically about fifty people. It turned out there was not much support for academics who would attempt to spread ideas to the masses. So my aspiration to have a broad impact on potentially millions of people clashed with the market realities of academia.

I adopted my career orientation. My new aim was to try to promote the workings of a good society via entrepreneurship and technology.

Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha, The Start-up of You

Articles of interest - April 9, 2018


How to Check if Cambridge Analytica Could Access Your Facebook Data  WIRED

An estimated two-thirds of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated accounts – not human beings  Pew Research

How Twitter Bots Help Fuel Political Feuds  Scientific American

Zuckerberg is Getting training on how to testify before Congress  The New York Times

Facebook Imposes New Restrictions on Ads and Popular Pages  WIRED

‘You Are the Product’: Targeted by Cambridge Analytica on Facebook  New York Times


Financial Analyst Says Most Consumers Don't Realize How Their Data Is Used  NPR


You Are The Media You Eat  Medium 

How to Balance Your Media Diet  Medium


US suspects cellphone spying devices in DC   Associated Press

A Long-Awaited IoT Crisis Is Here, and Many Devices Aren't Ready  WIRED


Some data sets for teaching data science  Simply Statistics


Best Mobile Browsers: Microsoft Edge, Firefox Focus, Google Chrome, and More  WIRED


Apple to release a Final Cut Pro X update video recording codec and advanced Closed Captioning April 9th  Engadget

True Crime, Fake Homicide: The Onion's 'A Very Fatal Murder' Podcast  NPR 

The Cohort: 'Pick the part of the media world you think most needs to exist and start making it'  Poynter

Switching Every 19 Seconds: How Our Brains Multitask With New Media  Forbes


TV reporter prompts 911 call of ‘crazy lady’ talking to self  Seattle Times

Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers  Big Law Business

Trump's feud with Amazon is really about the Washington Post's success  The Guardian

Push Notifications at the NYT  New York Times

Unpaid internships and a culture of privilege are ruining journalism (opinion)  The Guardian

How Trump thrives in ‘news deserts’  POLITICO

This Is What It Was Like Learning To Report Before Fake News Was The Biggest Problem In The World  BuzzFeed


A Startup Media Site Says AI Can Take Bias Out of News  Motherboard

Automated fact-checking has come a long way. But it still faces significant challenges  Poynter 

Twitter, Facebook, Slack: Using Every Tool to Hear What Readers Think  The New York Times


KVAL co-anchors refuse to read controversial script  Register Guard 

I Quit Working For Sinclair And They Sued Me. Here's Why I'm Fighting Back Huffington Post

SPJ disappointed by Sinclair chairman's comments about print journalists  Society of Professional Journalists 

Sinclair Rescinds Donation Pledge to NPPA for Legal Advocacy  NPPA

Sinclair is hiring for hundreds of open positions, amid ‘must-run’ script scandal   ThinkProgress

Journalism-school Deans Send Letter to Sinclair: the company has "crossed a line"  The Hill


Local TV is doing way better than you’d think, a new report suggests  Nieman Lab

Denver Post Finds Out Why Laying Off A Third Of Your Newsroom Is A Bad Idea  Digg

Mapping the future of local news, together  Poynter

Why do reporters take the risk to start a media business? These answers might surprise you  Medium

Tariffs on Canadian Newsprint threatens American Newspapers (opinion)  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Lobby State lawmakers to pass a bill barring non-compete clauses for broadcast journalists (opinion)  Providence Journal


A new study suggests fake news might have won Donald Trump the 2016 election  Washington Post

How A Teacher In France Is Trying To Help Her Students Spot Fake News  NPR

A guide to the (many, similarly named) new efforts fighting for journalism  Nieman Lab

The Man Who Spent $100K To Remove A Lie From Google  NPR

Critics of Dan Rather’s tips about fake news brought up his past. But the points are still solid  Washington Post

The Era of Fake Video Begins  The Atlantic

Weaponized ‘fake news’ claims are now doing real damage  RTDNA

Can “Extreme Transparency” Fight Fake News and Create More Trust With Readers?   Nieman Reports 


‘It Has to Be Perfect’: Putting Out a Yearbook After the Parkland Shooting  The New York Times  

SMU to take control of student newspaper  Dallas News

WSU president approves cut to student newspaper, but offers other university funding  The Wichita Eagle

A 21-year-old dropped out of college to rate dogs on the internet — and now he's making six figures  Business Insider

Concern, condemnation after SFCC student newspaper reports on Pitcher scandal disappear  Spokesman


Sharing photos may subtly change how we remember  Becoming (my blog)

Why We Like Things That Are Bad For Us  Medium

7-Year Follow-Up Shows Lasting Cognitive Gains From Meditation  UC Davis

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death  The New Yorker


Expand Your Writing Potential with a Smart Notebook and Pen  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Can You Identify a Lower Case G? “An intriguing way of looking at questions about the importance of writing for reading”   Scholarly Kitchen


The number of American college students studying foreign languages continues to fall  Quartz

Scientists Probe an Enduring Question: Can Language Shape Perception?  Undark

Trendy Suffixes, for Fun and Profit  Chronicle of Higher Ed

The ‘g’ in Google’s Old Logo Is Really Weird  The Atlantic

Think You Know a Word’s Origin? Think Again  Chronicle of Higher Ed


How Trump Is Shaking Up the Book Industry  POLITICO 

10 Satirical Covers for the Terrible Books You Can’t Get Away From: Imaginary cover designs for the worst clichés in publishing  Electric Literature

Copy Editing and Proofreading a Book: It Takes a Village  Chronicle of Higher Ed

25 Amazing Books by Women You Need to Read  Mental Floss

Why the literature of antiquity still matters  Washington Post


Court: Employers Can’t Pay Women Less Because of their Salary History  Washington Post

Female Medics Rushed to Help a Man Who Collapsed in a Sumo Ring. They Were Promptly Told to Leave  TIME

Women file to run for US House seats in record numbers  Associated Press

Feminist Health Guide 'Our Bodies, Ourselves' Will Stop Publishing  NPR

Men are Concerned about what #MeToo is doing to men at work  Washington Post


On Being Excluded: Testimonies by People of Color in Scholarly Publishing  The Scholarly Kitchen

The Billion-Dollar Romance Fiction Industry Has A Diversity Problem  NPR

Textbook Racism: How scholars sustained white supremacy  Chronicle of Higher Ed

It's time to re-examine diversity and inclusion programs to make real progress  The Hill


Has This Man Sued You? A "Copyright Troll" Takes on Hollywood  Hollywood Reporter

Music Copyright After 'Blurred Lines': Experts Speak Out  Rolling Stone

InfoWars sued by man Alex Jones falsely identified as Parkland gunman  The Guardian

So to Speak podcast: Have you been defamed?  The FIRE  

Judge Judy's $47 Million Salary Isn't Too Much, Rules Real Judge  Hollywood Reporter


Can religion solve El Salvador’s gang problem?  1843 magazine

Bibles pulled from online stores as China increases control of religion  CNN

Christian women in the U.S. more religious than their male counterparts  Pew Research Center

Witches, Frog-Gods, and the Deepening Schism of Internet Religions  WIRED 

The most religious regions in the US  Gallup  

California Lawmakers Consider How To Regulate Homeschools After Abuse Discovery  NPR

Texas pastor arrested for failing to report sexual assault  Star-Telegram

Billy Graham's regrets, in his own words  Christianity Today


The Inside Story of Reddit's Redesign  WIRED

Googles in the Gallary: Mass Art Museums Venture into Virtual Reality  The ARTery


'Just As True': Johnny Cash's Poems Set To Music For New Album  NPR

As Boomer Musicians Retire, Concert Industry Faces Uncertain Future  Rolling Stone


Great Movies About Faith Are Hard To Come By. Enter 'Blue Velvet'  Vox

What About “The Breakfast Club”? Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo  (by Molly Ringwald)  New Yorker


Hunger And Homelessness Are Widespread Among College Students, Study Finds : The Two-Way  NPR

Parkland highlights political potential of millennials. The question now is if they'll vote  LA Times

Food, Housing Insecurity May Be Keeping College Students From Graduating  NPR

What do students want most? To be treated with respect  The Guardian 

Why is the Drinking Age 21?  Mental Floss 


Dangerous, growing, yet unnoticed: the rise of America's white gangs  The Guaridan

Attack At YouTube Offices Brings Company's Content Policy Into Question  NPR

Why Pure Reason Won’t End American Tribalism  WIRED


Managing human resources is about to become easier: AI is changing the way firms screen, hire and manage their talent  Economist

2018 Airfare Study – The Best Time to Buy Flights, based on 917 million airfares  Cheap Air

Customer service could start living up to its name: How AI can make businesses look more caring  Economist

How Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers And Millennials Would Invest $10,000, Visualized   Digg


How To Play Video Games Without Messing Up Your Body  Kotaku

Huge trove of unknown viruses found in fish, frogs and reptiles  Nature

Fighting Bacterial Infection With…Viruses?  Daily Jstor

Food allergy is linked to skin exposure and genetics  Northwestern University 

There’s no such thing as an ‘opioid-addicted’ newborn  Washington Post


Dishwashing causes more relationship distress than any other household task The Atlantic

'No One Meant To Be In My Office': A Divorce Lawyer's Tips On Staying Together  NPR


The Psychology Behind False Confessions  Daily Jstor

Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit  New York Times


New Brain Maps With Unmatched Detail May Change Neuroscience  WIRED


Nietzsche on Truth, Lies, the Power and Peril of Metaphor, and How We Use Language to Reveal and Conceal Reality  Brain Pickings

Frog and Toad Attend a Philosophy Class  Daily Jstor

Want to raise the next Socrates? Teaching children philosophy is easier than you think  Big Think


Is recycling Methods text from an old paper, to use in a new paper that applies the same techniques, efficient writing – or self-plagiarism?  Scientist Sees Squirrel 

NIH rejected study of alcohol advertising while pursuing industry funding  Stat News

The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete. Here's What's Next  The Atlantic

New study helps explain why so many results in animal studies don’t hold up in human trials  Science Mag


How Big Colleges Prey On Fan Loyalty To Fight Back Against Scandals   Deadspin

Trump’s Man on Campus  POLITICO 

With Changing Students and Times, Colleges are Facing a Gloomy Picture, Forcing an overhaul of campuses  New York Times


17 Colleges Fell Short On Campus Safety, But The Education Department Didn’t Tell The Schools   BuzzFeed

UT-Austin President: employees who commit off-campus crimes could be disciplined, even if there’s no threat to campus safety  Statesmen 

Current/Former faculty members say the Univ. of Chicago has historically has wielded deadly force against the community  Chicago Maroon


‘Gay on God’s Campus’  Inside Higher Ed

Christian colleges worry about losing federal funding due to policies affirming Biblical view of sexuality  Christianity Today

Adjunct Faculty Stage Walkout at Jesuit University  Washington Post

Liberty U’s Falwell ‘censors’ student newspaper coverage of event organized by critics  Religious News

Shane Claiborne Says Liberty University Threatened to Arrest Him for Organizing Prayer Meeting  Christian Headlines


Building Skills Outside the Classroom with New Ways of Learning  New York Times


News women blacklisted after speaking out about sexual harassment  Columbia Journalist Review

An Arc of Outrage: Despite the clamor, the real conversation about campus sexual assault has hardly begun  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Professor Whose Assault Case Prompted Policy Changes at U. of Texas Is Found Dead Fox-7

Piano Students at Utah State U. Endured Humiliation and Sexual Harassment, Report Says  Chronicle of Higher Ed

A Candid Legal Debate on Hollywood and #MeToo: "Did the Law Fail Us?"  Hollywood Reporter

Why Colleges Shouldn’t Be Handling Sexual-Assault Complaints  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Vonda dyer's statement re: Chicago tribune and bill hybels  Vonda Dyer’s Blog 


Professors Are Targets In Online Culture Wars; Some Fight Back  NPR

A Professor's Testimonial: I Lived out of My Car at College  Ozy

Departure of MassArt Professor Saul Levine Raises Academic Freedom Concerns  National Coalition Against Censorship  

Sharing photos may subtly change how we remember

When we’re hunting for the perfect Instagram shot, we’re not listening, we’re not smelling, we’re not always paying attention to the beautiful, complex minutiae that make up the moment. 

Powerful experiences in the real world are immersive and often engage all the senses. On your last vacation, can you remember what the wind felt like on your back? Do you remember what was going on internally: Were you thrilled, excited, or scared? When you look back on the Instagram photos from the trip, will you remember what a dinner tasted like, or just that it was pretty? 

Brian Resnick writing in Vox

The Freak out Test

If I were feeling really anxious what would I do? If we would pick up the phone and call six friends, one after another, with the aim of hearing their voices and reassuring ourselves that they still love us, we’re operating hierarchically.  We’re seeking the good opinion of others.

Here’s another test. Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?  If you are alone on a planet a hierarchical structure makes no sense.  There’s no one to impress.  So, if you’d still pursue that activity, congratulations.

If Arnold Schwarzenegger were the last man on earth, he’d still go to the gym.  Stevie Wonder would still pound the piano. The sustenance they get comes from the act itself, not from the impression it makes on others. 

Now: What about ourselves as artists?

If we were freaked out, would we go there first?  If we were the last person on earth, would we still show up at the studio, the rehearsal hall, the laboratory?

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art