Topic Jams invite people to question, debate and riff on an idea.
Think of them as a writing wall (like, Commonplace Books), where lots of people can contribute their thoughts and insights. This encourages a collision of ideas, allowing serendipity to bring new patterns and connections into focus.
Topics can be about anything. Generally, the more provocative, the better. Although, they might be used simply to flesh out the germ of an idea.
Topic Jams are used by Story Message Jams. Therefore, you should create/or/contribute to a Topic Jam that you want to use later, yourself, in a Story Message Jam.
Topic Jams contain Fruit. Click on a Topic Jam (below) to contribute, or click the button to start a new conversation of your own.
The US imprisons more people than the rest of the world. Roughly, 3.5 million - that’s half a million more than China, despite the huge population differential between the two nations. According to Marc Mauer, author of “Race to Incarcerate”, no other society in history has ever imprisoned so many of its citizens for the purpose of crime control. . . .
While pundits worry about a future explosion in Artificial Intelligence, some are beginning to worry about the creation of artificial life-forms within the laboratory. These new life-forms could mutate into their own intelligent systems, creating new opportunities and causing problems for our existing ecosystem.
Unlike genetically modified . . .
"We have all the time in the world."
That was probably a positive notion once-upon-a-time. Nowadays, nobody feels like they have enough time.
Kids complain of being bored, but as we grow older boredom seems like a luxury of youth. When you have kids, you begin to wonder what you did with all the time you used to have. Where did it all go?
As . . .
Eugene Jarecki's documentary, "The House I Live In", connects the dots between the War on Drugs in America and the slow, institutionalised genecide of the poor.
Here is the situation. Since the 70's, the US has spent over $1 trillion dollars on their War on Drugs, yet drug use is the same as it's always been. In fact, drugs are cheaper, purer, and . . .
"No pain, no gain" - was a motto I heard a lot of as a youth. Nowadays, I don't hear it very much anymore, because people are quick to avoid pain of any kind.
Addiction to prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, kills around 17,000 Americans a year - a fourfold increase over the past decade. In 2009, 257m painkiller subscriptions were . . .
The symptoms of love are very much like a sickness. Sweaty palms, elevated heart rate, the inability to get someone out of your mind, depression from rejection...
Turns out, love follows a predictable chemical course. It can even be “manufactured” by using the right chemical cocktail.
Better Living through Chemistry
Pairie voles mate for life. When . . .
We are not born alone. But, over time, we perceive our differences, our uniqueness, and, sometimes, our own isolation.
Human beings are tribal. Individuals create communities for mutual benefit - benefits for themselves and for the community as a whole. It can be a virtuous circle.
Of course, there is a cruel side to this. Communities distinguish . . .
"What is the Meaning of Life?"
The answer is that Life is whatever you make it. There is no meaning, unless you give it purpose. You can either lead a life of fulfilment, or one that is empty and devoid of meaning. The choice is yours.
The impetus to give Life it's meaning, though, is Death. Without death, we would not be motivated to ask the . . .
Can anybody ever really escape their destiny?
Geneticists say that you are 50% of your parents. Of the remaining 50% that isn’t, your genes predispose you to think, feel, and behave a certain way.
Can a person every really change themselves? We are told that the first 5-7 years of our lives are formative ones in terms of psychological development. . . .
Polygamy is more efficient than Nuclear Family
I’ve seen several articles lately in which two families have agreed to share the same household in order to pool financial resources and spread the burden of childcare without having to hire a nanny.
As the poverty gap widens, people will increasingly look for alternatives to the nuclear family, which . . .
The rights of the group are more important than the individual
You can’t have a society without a group of people. As groups become larger and more diverse, they become socially more complex. Maintaining civil order, security, safety and liberty for all members of the society requires rules, traditions and other social controls for the benefit of . . .
I heard doctor Peter Attia put forth a theory that diabetes could be a pre-cursor to obesity and not the other way around. In particular, he posited that obesity could be a self-defence mechanism of the body to store toxins rather than be forced to ‘process’ them and harm other organs.
This got me thinking, “Could over-indulgence be a form of . . .
“Unconditional Love”, like many ideals that we strive for, is just that - an ideal. Striving for it may help us become better people, but achieving it makes us inhuman.
Love always comes with conditions. If someone abuses you, there is no nobility in welcoming their abuse, or in refusing to acknowledge it.
Loving unconditionally - no matter what - . . .
We are secretly happy when friends don’t succeed
Your best friend calls you excitedly. They’ve just won the $80m lottery jackpot.
How do you feel? Can you honestly say that you are as elated as they are? If so, that’s great. You’re one in a million -probably the same odds as winning that lottery.
Let’s be honest. Jealousy is a natural reaction, . . .
In our more enlightened society, we accept the importance of diversity. Every faith, religion, race, creed and credence should be acknowledged and accepted. For example, we want handicapped people to have the same access as non-handicapped people when it comes to our public buildings and toilets.
Why is it, then, we don’t do the same for our . . .
We're all familiar with "Analysis, Paralysis". What may come as a surprise is that we are now paralysed by choice in our everyday lives. As a consequence of this, we are less happy than we were before we had such abundance of choice.
In "The Paradox of Choice", Barry Schwartz eloquently explains why this is the case. It begins with the assumption . . .
You should never marry someone like yourself.
It might sound like a good idea. You'll never argue. You'll be used to one another's idiosyncrasies, so they won't be annoying. Lots of harmony ahead. But, that's just the problem. This stability, this comfort... this inevitability... will prevent you from growing and evolving. You'll simply become more . . .
We have been warned of the dangers of overpopulation to the environment, the habitat and ecology of other species, urban migration, disease, etc. We can see our weather and landscapes changing rapidly to compensate. As people flock to cities, consumption patterns change. The increasing appetite for meat and staples has led to a boom in industrial . . .
Common sense can't be taught, but what about Positive Failure?
Its high time we no longer fish for our children and teach them to catch them on their own.
What do I mean by that? We need to be proactive in the constant reforming of the No Child Left Behind Act. Get involved. This is targeted at all educators, i.e. parents, teachers, counselors, . . .
Who doesn't want to live forever?
We invent mythical beings to live out our fantasies in literature and entertainment. Science and technology promises us that someday our dreams will come true.
But, is immortality a good thing? Has evolution planned built-in obsolescence of a reason?
Would life be any better if it went on forever? If you have a . . .
As we take on more responsibilities in life, our loyalties become divided.
First, we are asked to be respectful children and to show filial piety. Then, we are asked to give our loyalty to our community, to our nation, and, possibly, to our faith (religious piety). Also, loyalty to our spouse (until death do us part), to our children, to our . . .
We are in the midst of a narcissism epidemic. This is not meant to be taken lightly. Psychologists are weighing in with evidence that this is a serious social and psychological problem.
The meaning of narcissism is an inflated view of the self, coupled with relative indifference to others. Those who suffer from this, fail to help others, unless . . .
While it is said that the rich are getting poorer than they were a hundred years ago, it isn't by much. The top 10% in Europe and America still own 60-70% of the total wealth in their respective area. Wealth has become even more concentrated within the rich - the top 1% owns 25% of everything - to the detriment of the shrinking . . .
First, let's establish some definitions:
Duty - a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility; a task or action that is required by one's job.
Honour - the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right; high respect; great esteem.
Loyalty - a strong feeling of support or allegiance.
Loyalty is worth considering in this context, because we . . .
Laws around the world vary - even within countries - when it comes to surrogate motherhood. Suffice to say, it's prohibited in many parts of the first world, which has led to a boom in third world services, particularly in India.
Made in India
Womb Outsourcing in India is big business. Some estimate the "Reproductive Tourism" market to be worth . . .
Never mind what they say about the "Hedonistic Treadmill" or "Miswanting", or that "Materialism makes us sad" - happiness is relative and having more than the other people around you confers a feeling of accomplishment, better-ness, and security. Do you think that the one percenters are any less happy, because they are so rich? No. It pays . . .
"The Hedonic Treadmill" - sometimes, referred to as "Hedonic Adaptation" - is a term coined by Phillip Brickman, Dan Coates, and Ronnie Janoff-Bullman.
It describes how people rapidly adjust and grow accustomed to change in their lives such that they cannot be satiated.
"The more you have, the less you appreciate what you have, and the more it . . .
We all know what happens to liars and cheaters. They always get their comeuppance. At least, they do in fiction, anyways.
In real life, however, all of us lie - apparently, many times a day. We're not talking about the real whoppers, necessarily. These might be what we'd call, "White Lies".
"Do I look fat in this?"
A lie is a lie, no matter what . . .
We admire principled people. They have discipline and demonstrate heroism when they stand up for what they believe in, no matter what the consequences. Pop culture recycles stories of protagonists who fight against impossible odds to preserve their ideals and protect the deserving.
What about you? Could you do the same under similar . . .
It seems every nation of the world is experiencing an obesity epidemic. In 2009 a Newsweek article estimated that obesity was costing businesses $45b annually in medical expenses and lost productivity.
Amounts of food consumption and exercise are believed to be the main determinants of weight control, but this may be too simplistic a view.
In . . .
Before the Internet, we needed to be adept at figuring out how to solve problems. Now, all we need to know is where to search to find the solution.
We rely upon our tools to organise our lives - computers, smartphones, apps, Websites, etc. If these were to disappear tomorrow, there would be chaos and we would be lost.
Furthermore, most of our daily . . .
How much of our privacy must we sacrifice for own security? Can freedom exist without liberty?
The intelligence community wants full transparency on their own terms. They promise not to misuse the information, but won't accept oversight. They believe that freedom should accept for a loss of liberty.
The corporate community, meanwhile, has much of . . .
I first came across the phrase, "Prosthetic Memory", in an interview with William Gibson. In short, he is grateful that he can outsource his memories to the public collective (i.e. the Internet), so that he can use his brain power for other, more important things.
I'm not sure, however, if this is entirely a good thing. There have been numerous . . .