Duncan Wilcock


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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Three Great Articles from my Trip

On my extended vacation in south-east Asia, I spent quite a bit of time reading long form articles using Instapaper.  Three of them stood out and I wanted to highlight each of them here:

This article is about chemicals that can help erase the emotions that make some memories painful.  It's fascinating in-and-of-itself, but the background explanations on the neuroscience of memory were really interesting - in particular the section that contained this conclusion:
... every time we think about the past we are delicately transforming its cellular representation in the brain, changing its underlying neural circuitry. It was a stunning discovery: Memories are not formed and then pristinely maintained, as neuroscientists thought; they are formed and then rebuilt every time they’re accessed.

This was an eye-opening expose on some pretty horrible working conditions at a big internet shopping company in the American mid-west.  Demoralizing, devoid of job security, and likely to cause long term injury, I had no idea that these jobs could be this unpleasant.

This was the most disturbing of the articles I read, but perhaps the most important. Here is the crux of it:
Crime has not fallen in the United States—it’s been shifted. ... The statistics touting the country’s crime-reduction miracle, when juxtaposed with those documenting the quantity of rape and assault that takes place each year within the correctional system, are exposed as not merely a lie, or even a damn lie—but as the single most shameful lie in American life.