Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’
University College London proudly displays the remains of one of its founders, the Father of Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham. They’re also anxious to display his works… but they comprise 60,000 manuscript folios– lots of handwriting to transcribe. The college has been at it since 1959, and the going has been slow– until relatively recently:
The genesis of Transcribe Bentham was in 2009, when the Co-Director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, Melissa Terras, was asked by the head of the Bentham Project, Professor Philip Schofield, for advice on procuring funding to digitise the 60,000 folios. “The days for getting funding for pure ‘scan and dump’ digitisation projects are over,” explains Terras, “and I wondered if we could do something more interesting.”
Around the same time, the MPs expenses scandal had broken in the UK, and Terras noticed something interesting: “The Guardian newspaper had built a platform to allow their readers to sift through the thousands of pages of MP’s receipts and I wondered — could we do the same? Could we ask people to read these manuscripts?”
The answer is a definite “yes.” Transcribe Bentham has been a certifiable success, and continues to grow in scale. With funding from the Mellon Foundation, the project has now expanded to encompass the British Library’s collection of 12,500 manuscript folios by Bentham…
[Read the whole story at Gizmodo.uk]
As the digitization has proceeded– in many cases, the first reading of Bentham’s scrawls– some interesting discoveries have been made; the exploration has shed new light, for instance of his stance on animal rights. But perhaps most surprisingly, volunteer readers have discovered a tranche of recipes (complete with the costs of their ingredients) from the great thinker. An excerpt from the manuscript page above:
The husks of ripe
walnuts at the time
They separate most
easily from the walnut
& before they begin
6 tb — 1d
Salt 1 tb 1
Pound the husks adding the salt when they are nearly bruised into an uniform mass so that it may be perfectly mixed. This & all other pickles must be kept in close vessels, casks headed down, jars with bladder tied over the mouth, or cloth or paper covered with melted pitch &c. When a stone vessel is opened it should be emptied into smaller ones, so that no more than sufficient for two or three weeks consumption may be put into each.
See Bentham’s other culinary creations– and the rest of his work– at Transcribe Bentham.
As we clear our palettes, we might send unorthodox birthday greetings to Otto Gross; he was born on this date in 1877. A psychoanalyst by training (he was an early disciple of Freud), Gross became a champion of an early form of anti-psychiatry (“depth psychology“) and sexual liberation, and an anarchist. His impact on psychology was limited (though Jung claimed that Gross “changed [his] entire worldview”); but he was an important influence on D. H. Lawrence, Franz Kafka, and other artists– including the founders of Berlin Dada.
Conventional wisdom has it that Monday is the dimmest of days. But recent research suggests that, in fact, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are equally loathed…
US investigators who looked at a poll of 340,000 people found moods were no worse on Mondays than other working days, bar Friday. People were happier as they approached the weekend, lending support for the concept of “that Friday feeling”. The report authors told the Journal of Positive Psychology that the concept of miserable Mondays should be ditched…
Read the whole story at The BBC…
As we remind ourselves that Dorothy Parker (whose birthday this is) would surely have had something witty to add, we might recall that this is the date ascribed by many to St. Columba’s meeting with “Nessie” in 565– the first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster. The date (not to mention the details) are a little fuzzy, provenance-wise, as the encounter was first reported in Adamnan’s The Life of Saint Columba nearly a century later…
The inimitable Robert Crumb predicted the world of Twitter, social media, and the always-on internet over 40 years ago in Zap Comix…
As we try on our Google Glasses, we might spare a (humble) thought for Alfred Adler; he died on this date in 1937. An Austrian doctor and psychotherapist, Adler was an early collaborator with Freud in founding the psychoanalytic movement; after parting ways with The Master, he founded the school of individual psychology. Indeed, we have Adler to thank for the “inferiority complex.”
click here for video
YouTube suggests that under 30% of its videos account for over 99% of it’s traffic. (The reigning champ: Justin Bieber’s “Baby, featuring Ludacris,” with 598,457,143 views… and counting…)
But what of the rest? Readers need no longer wonder. Dadabot “randomly finds the least viewed videos on YouTube (for better or worse).” Just click on over for selections that range from the poignant through the pointless to the putrid…
[TotH to Presurfer]
As we sit, transfixed, we might wish a responsive Happy Birthday to the Russian physiologist and psychologist Ivan Pavlov; he was born on this date in 1849. Pavlov’s experiments with animals (most famously, with dogs) led him to develop the concept of the conditioned (or conditional) reflex (a specific behavioral response to a specific stimulus), and laid the foundation for Behaviorism.
Pavlov’s 1904 Nobel Prize portrait (source)
Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia, Grandmaster and Women’s World Chess Champion (source)
We explore the relationship between attractiveness and risk taking in chess. We use a large international panel dataset on chess competitions which includes a control for the players’ skill in chess. This data is combined with results from a survey on an online labor market where participants were asked to rate the photos of 626 expert chess players according to attractiveness. Our results suggest that male chess players choose significantly riskier strategies when playing against an attractive female opponent, even though this does not improve their performance. Women’s strategies are not affected by the attractiveness of the opponent.
As we are reminded by headlines (today as everyday) that chess is a metaphor for life, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor CH, was elected to Parliament. She was the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.
Lady Astor, as painted ten years before her election by John Singer Sargeant (source)
Constance Georgine Markiewicz was actually the first woman elected to Parliament, one year earlier. But Countess Markiewicz was a staunch Irish patriot who refused to take her seat. Rather, along with other Sinn Féin TDs, she formed the first Dáil Éireann, and subsequently became one of the first women in the world to hold a national cabinet position (Minister of Labor).
Countess Markiewicz (source)