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More than 80% of Americans think the U.S. would be better governed by people with business experience or women, according to results from a Gallup Poll published Monday.
Individuals and governments pour money into making commutes slightly more bearable by investing in everything from noise-canceling headphones to more spacious seating. But what if the research showed that we would improve our commutes more by investing in social capital — interacting with the strangers sitting all around us?

When Your Worst Enemy Lives Between Your Ears

I do not believe thought that perfectionism is the basis of a true champion’s way of thinking. Acceptance is. Acceptance to give your best, whatever your best means at a specific moment. Acceptance for who you are, what you do and believe, what you feel and express. Acceptance allows a more responsive than reactive attitude. This helps to cultivate perseverance, which is the secret weapon of success.

In Martinique, I had visited rustic and neglected rum-distilleries where the equipment and the methods used had not changed since the eighteenth century. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, in the factories of the company which enjoys a virtual monopoly over the whole of the sugar production, I was faced by a display of white enamel tanks and chromium piping. Yet the various kinds of Martinique rum, as I tasted them in front of ancient wooden vats thickly encrusted with waste matter, were mellow and scented, whereas those of Puerto Rico are coarse and harsh. We may suppose, then, that the subtlety of the Martinique rums is dependent on impurities the continuance of which is encouraged by the archaic method of production. To me, this contrast illustrates the paradox of civilization: its charms are due essentially to the various residues it carries along with it, although this does not absolve us of the obligation to purify the stream. By being doubly in the right, we are admitting our mistake. We are right to be rational and to try to increase our production and so keep manufacturing costs down. But we are also right to cherish those very imperfections we are endeavouring to eliminate. Social life consists in destroying that which gives it its savour.
Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques. The underlying philosophy of liberalism, and the consumer culture it generates, condensed into nine sentences. (via ayjay)

I feel so old right now

It turns out that cultures with a history of dairy farming and milk drinking have a much higher frequency of lactose tolerance – and its associated gene – than those who don’t. Drinking milk is just one of example of the way that traditions and cultural practices can influence the path of our evolution. Culture and genetics are traditionally thought of as two separate processes, but researchers are increasingly realizing that they are intimately connected, each influencing the natural progression of the other. Scientists call it “gene-culture co-evolution.” Why does it matter? If we can pin down how culture influences our genetic makeup – and how the same processes apply to other creatures too – then we can be better understand how the way we act as a society today could influence our future.
Today there’s no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you’re going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines.

U2 visits a gospel choir in Harlem.