“An artist of any sort… you must not put down the man before you. It’s like putting down the guy who built the ladder you’re standing on. Without him, you’re standing on the floor. With him, naturally you’re above him, because he’s holding you on his shoulders. You devour his stuff. You eat it up. And then you move one step higher. A lot of cartoonists, I’ll take all the originality they’ve got, and all their ideas, and swallow them, and then I’ll try to move one step further. That doesn’t mean I could’ve done it without their influence or their help. Because, eventually, some guy’s going to be standing on my shoulders…”
“There is a place you are supposed to go and a place you are not supposed to go and a bright-red railing to distinguish between them. Mitchell ducks under it, and I follow him, and we go and sit with our backs to the lighthouse and our faces to the sea.”
“How did creativity transform from a way of being to a way of doing? The answer, essentially, is that it became a scientific subject, rather than a philosophical one. In 1950, a psychologist named J. P. Guilford kickstarted that transition with an influential speech to the American Psychological Association. Guilford’s specialty was psychometrics: during the Second World War, he helped the Air Force design tests to identify which recruits had the kinds of intelligence necessary to fly airplanes. Unsurprisingly, when it came to identifying creative people, Guilford found that you couldn’t measure the auxiliary light of the soul. You had to measure something more concrete, like the production of ideas.”
The Borowitz Report: Nation Debates Extremely Complex Issue of Children Firing Military Weapons
“Much like the long-running national debates about jumping off a roof, licking electrical sockets, and gargling with thumbtacks, the vexing question of whether children should fire military weapons does not appear headed for a swift resolution.”
Read more: http://nyr.kr/YYouxn
Photograph by SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty
Aftershocks and memories made good.
The Aftershocks. David Wolman on what it’s like to have children killed in an earthquake — and to be charged with manslaughter for not predicting it. At Matter.
The trial was consumed by testimony from injured victims and the bereaved. People spoke of relatives who stashed blankets and cookies by the door to grab before exiting in the event of a tremor, but had chosen to stay inside after seeing the TV interview. There was the man whose family had long since believed that tremors are followed by larger subterranean “replies”—and used the experts’ assessment to convince his pregnant wife there was no need to go outside that night. All of them, including their infant son, died when the couple’s home collapsed. There was the university student who was crushed to death, even though his friends had inquired about their dormitory’s seismic stability just a week before. Local officials had told them not to worry.
Scientists Turn Bad Memories Into Good. For mice, anyway. By Greg Miller at Wired. This is one hell of a study.
To try to switch a memory from bad to good, the researchers reactivated the neurons in the hippocampus that encoded the “where” component of a shock memory in a male mouse while he got a more positive stimulus—in this case, getting to spend some quality time with two female mice.…
Prior to the memory altering procedure, when the researchers put the mouse in the enclosure where he’d received the shock and used a pulse of laser light to reactivate the memory in his brain, the mouse avoided the area where he’d gotten zapped. But when they did this after the memory altering procedure, the mouse spent more time in that area and even sniffed around a bit, as if looking for his lady friends. His memory of this place, it seems, had changed from bad to good.
Two of five links from my almost-daily newsletter. Read Two of These And Call Me In The Morning.
“I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the antarctic—with its vast fossil-hunt and its wholesale boring and melting of the ancient ice-cap—and I am the more reluctant because my warning may be in vain.”