Random, Assorted, Miscellaneous, Etc. II

Time for another round of links to some interesting items from the last few days.

First, from the NY Times op-ed pages.  In “From Students, Less Kindness for Strangers?”, Pamela Paul reports on a recent study that claims the current college-age crowd is significantly less empathetic than their counterparts ten years ago.  The causes?

“We don’t actually know what the causes are at this point,” Dr. Konrath said. But the authors speculate a millennial mixture of video games, social media, reality TV and hyper-competition have left young people self-involved, shallow and unfettered in their individualism and ambition.

Not a surprising list of culprits, but here it just sounds like knee-jerk generalization.  Also, remember what happens to “the latest study” as it goes through the news  cycle.

Also in the NY Times, “But will it make you happy?” by Stephanie Rosenbloom explores recent data on consumption and happiness.  Bottom line:  stuff is out, experiences are in.  But money still can’t buy you love, and that, not surprisingly, is what contributes most significantly to enduring happiness.  Well, meaningful relationships in general anyway.

At NPR, you can read or listen to the latest installment from their ongoing series The Human Edge, “When Did We Become Mentally Modern?” The answer:  When we developed the capacity for symbolic thought.  Interestingly, this was a point novelist Walker Percy dwelt on at length in his writings on semiotics.

If you are at all intrigued by issues of online privacy (and we all should be, at least a little) The Wall Street Journal has brought a lot of helpful information together at their What They Know page.  Judging from this interactive feature, they know a lot.

Lastly, I’m going to be playing with the Tags and Categories again in the next few days and in the past this has triggered the republishing of older posts.  For the happy few who have added this lovely blog to their readers or those who subscribe by email, my apologies in advance if that occurs.

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