Dove has another clever ad campaign that does a nice attack on some of the terrible images of women in most other ad campaigns in their niche:
I’ve seen some complaints that the ad is still subtly reinforcing that beauty is one of a woman’s most important characteristics, but the video does include people’s non-physical impressions of beauty (akin to Darcy’s comment about ‘fine eyes’).
And speaking of unexpectedly beautiful things, scientists have found a better way to attach skin grafts by aping the way parasitic worms latch on to their hosts! I would include pictures, but I suspect many of you prefer they be left behind the link.
Want more unsettling beauty? Try this animation of Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s “Der Erlkönig,” in which a father flees with his sick child with Death in close pursuit, and all of them, plus a narrator get to sing. (h/t to my gentleman caller).
Sometimes, of course, our love of strange beauty can lead us astray:
Oh the heck with it. Let’s succumb and watch this video about what happens if you cry in zero gravity:
Oh, and meanwhile, at the CFAR blog, I’ve got a post up on the virtues of betting.
Sometimes hilarity ensues (as when one participant wanted to set up a hedge against the bad bets he was afraid he’d make and asked me to create a market on whether the majority of his bets would have been wrong). But we include bet-making because we think it helps promote good rationality habits (the amusing stories are a positive externality)…
[I]n order to find out who’s right, you need to come up with a way to test your prediction, which forces you to think a little more concretely about the consequences of your predictions. More than once, two participants at a workshop have started setting up a bet but have had to scuttle the whole thing as it became clear they were anticipating the same result but framing it differently.
Since I’m the arbiter of what bets can be created during a workshop, people frequently try to come up with sneaky paradoxical bets or markets where the first person to bet will have a tremendous advantage. But, as I warn all the participants, although I am bribable, the only currency I accept is whimsy.
And while you appreciate all these created things, you may be interested in the way Kenneth Goldsmith (MoMA’s poet laureate) tries to train a curatorial impulse in his writing students:
You teach a course called “Uncreative Writing” at University of Pennsylvania, where you encourage students to turn off their creative instincts, retype phone books and menus, and plagiarize other writer’s work as their own content. Some students call your class brilliant; some faculty at the school have publicly denounced your pro-plagiarism stance as irresponsible. How is all this helping the next generations of writers and journalists?
The students that take my class know how to write. I can hone their skills further but instead I choose to challenge them to think in new and different ways. Many of them know how to plagiarize but they always do it on the sly, hoping not to get caught. In my class, they must plagiarize or they will be penalized. They are not allowed to be original or creative. So it becomes a very different game, one in which they’re forced to defend choices that they are making about what they’re plagiarizing and why. And when you start to dig down, you’ll find that those choices are as original and as unique as when they express themselves in more traditional types of writing, but they’ve never been trained to think about it in this way.
You see, we are faced with a situation in which the managing of information has become more important than creating new and original information. Take Boing Boing, for instance. They’re one of the most powerful blogs on the web, but they don’t create anything, rather they filter the morass of information and pull up the best stuff. The fact of Boing Boing linking to something far outweighs the thing that they’re linking to. The new creativity is pointing, not making. Likewise, in the future, the best writers will be the best information managers.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!