ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The Best of Core77: Our Favorites from 2008! – Amazing year-end roundup. Nice to see a couple of my posts (including the bathroom video I included in the All This ChittahChattah year-end roundup) as well as one of our client projects, HP's Halo teleconferencing system.
  • A study of the relationships between self-control and religion – Dr. McCullough’s advice is to try replicating some of the religious mechanisms that seem to improve self-control, like private meditation or public involvement with an organization that has strong ideals. Religious people, he said, are self-controlled not simply because they fear God’s wrath, but because they’ve absorbed the ideals of their religion into their own system of values, and have thereby given their personal goals an aura of sacredness. He suggested that nonbelievers try a secular version of that strategy.

    “Sacred values come prefabricated for religious believers,” Dr. McCullough said.

  • NYT on the meaning of Tokyo Tower, fifty years later – Indeed, the tower seems to have won a new place in the national imagination, this time as a monument to a sepia-toned past. The change comes at a time when Japan as a whole seems to have lost confidence in its future, or has even resigned itself to slow decline. The change also underscores a broader point: how the passage of time can shift the meaning of national symbols — even ones as large as Tokyo Tower.

    “Tokyo Tower stood for a dream of the future, but that dream is gone,” said Masanori Nakamura, a professor emeritus of history at Tokyo’s Hitotsubashi University. “Tokyo Tower offers no more dreams, just as Japan has no more dreams.”

    In the recent books and films, the tower often appears as a metaphor for what this graying nation feels it has lost in recent decades: the shared sense of purpose and youthful optimism that drove its economic miracle, or even the simpler lifestyles before Japan became an economic superpower.


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