Humans Excel at… Please Wait… Patience

first_imgHere’s another thing that distinguishes humans from animals: patience.  Current Biology usually has a “Quick Guide” feature on some aspect of biology.  In the latest issue, patience was the patient.  First of all, what is it?Humans and other animals often make decisions that trade off present and future benefits.  Should a monkey eat an unripe fruit or wait for it to ripen?  Should I purchase the iPhone at its debut or wait for the price to drop in a few months?  In these dilemmas, large gains often require long waits, so decision makers must choose between a smaller, sooner reward and a larger, later reward.Animals experience these tradeoffs all the time, particularly when foraging for food.  A Clark’s nutcracker (a Western bird) can, for instance, store 33,000 seeds for later consumption, “that is 33,000 decisions to delay gratification.”  But being impulsive can have its payoffs, too.  “He who hesitates is lost,” a proverb says.  If you don’t snatch at the seed in front of you, it could fall into the river.    Following several questions and answers about patience (how it is measured, how animals measure up, etc.) came the question of interest to the human animal: “Are humans uniquely patient?”The most extreme examples of nonhuman animal patience pale in comparison to the levels of patience seen in humans.  Rather than waiting for only seconds or minutes, humans will wait days, weeks, months or even years for gains.  Is this a true cognitive divide?  The answer is yes and no.  In one sense, comparing the human and nonhuman experimental work is like comparing apples and oranges because the methodologies differ so greatly.  Repeated choices with all real rewards and time delays may yield different results from one-shot choices with hypothetical rewards and delays.  When tested in a manner similar to other animals, human subjects look similar to (or sometimes even more impulsive than!) chimpanzees.    Thus, in certain situations humans show similar levels of patience as other primates.  Yet, clearly situations exist in which humans are much more patient than other animals.  It is difficult to imagine even chimpanzees investing in the future in a way comparable to depositing money into a retirement account 30-40 years before receiving a return.  Nonetheless, we know that, for instance, many species show impressive abilities for future planning.  Western scrub jays can plan for their breakfast in the morning.  Monkeys and apes, especially chimpanzees, strategically invest in relationships with group members to climb the political ladder of their dominance hierarchies.  Though these species lack the complex language and symbolic systems (such as money and legal contracts) that allow humans to work over vast temporal horizons, they do demonstrate a flexible means of dealing with the future.  Perhaps the recent surge in interest in animal patience will tell us whether long-term patience is a uniquely human virtue.In short, put your money into an IRA instead of investing in a Monkey Bank. 1.  Jeffrey R. Stevens and David W. Stephens, “Quick Guide: Patience,” Current Biology, Volume 18, Issue 1, 8 January 2008, Pages R11-R12.They missed the whole point.  Human patience is a virtue, not a trait.  The fact that animals (and humans) may have instincts that work in a raw-biological context tells us nothing about the rationality and virtue behind human patience.  If it were merely instinctive, it would not require training and education and conscious choice.  If it were a biological trait, we would not see so many exceptions.    Humans have the capacity for long-term gratification because we were made in the image of God.  That is the only explanation that makes sense for the ability to wait for payoff for decades, or a lifetime.  That is what explains parents denying their gratification for the sake of their children, so that they will be able to have opportunities they never had.  And that is what enables a soul to deny itself till death for a joy in a future life, following the example of Christ, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).    We are animals, but we are not mere animals.  All theists recognize we are rational animals; it’s not like they believe humans float above the ground.  We have stomachs and sex organs and biological urges like the rest of biology.  That curious blend of body and soul is what makes our lives so interesting and challenging.  We were made for an unseen reality that can override our natural urges.  That is why we have need of patience.  That is why we are admonished to “consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (v.3).    Having a biological propensity like the animals to weigh the costs and benefits of immediate vs delayed gratification does in no way diminish the unique capacity of humans for patience, nor does a listing of the misdeeds of impulsive or diseased individuals who act only according to their animal natures.  Indeed, try to imagine a chimpanzee investing in an IRA for 40 years.  Without a soul, with its rational capacity for language, choice and wisdom, such capabilities would be unexplainable.  Current biology demonstrates it.(Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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US could ban laptops on all flights to the US

first_imgTravellers in the US likely face additional delays and tighter scrutiny checks of hand luggage regardless of whether the Department of Homeland Security extends its controversial laptop ban to all flights into the US.The proposed US laptop ban was back in the spotlight over the weekend after DHS boss John Kelly told Fox News on Sunday that he could extend to all flights in and out of the US the ban preventing passengers from taking laptops and other large electronic devices into aircraft cabins.A ban has already been in place since March on direct flights from 10  Middle Eastern and North African destinations and the US recently caused a furore when it suggested the ban could be extended to Europe.Talks have since been underway between US and European officials without any news of a resolution.The DHS had previously played down suggestions of a global ban but Kelly reignited the issue Sunday when he told Fox News that this was a possibility.Asked if was going to ban laptops from the cabins of all international flights both “into and out of the US”, Kelly said; “I might’’.“There’s a real threat … there are numerous threats against aviation,’’ he said. “That’s really the thing they’re obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if its US carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly US folks.’’On the question of when a decision might be made, Kelly said the DHS was still “flowing the intelligence”.“The very, very good news again is that we are working incredibly close with friends and partners around the world … and in the process of defining this we’re going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation security much higher than it is now.’’“And there (are) new technologies down the road that we’ll rely on but it is a real, sophisticated threat and I’ll reserve that decision until we see where it’s going.’’The US Transportation Security Administration is testing tighter security requirements that require people bringing carry-on baggage to unpack it and separate out items such as food, paper and electronics.Pointing to airline policies to generate more revenue by charging people for checked baggage, Kelly said people trying to avoid fees to check bags were stuffing their carry-on bags to point where they could not get any more in.This meant that TSA personnel were unable to tell what was in the bags.Asked whether the tougher checks would be expanded nationwide, Kelly said: “We might and likely will.“What we’re doing now is working out the tactics, techniques and procedures if you will in a few airports to find out exactly how to do that with the least amount of inconvenience the traveller.’’last_img read more

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NAFTA renegotiation settled upon instead of withdrawal

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Trump administration decided to pursue renegotiation over withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement.“There are compelling reasons to update and reform NAFTA from agriculture’s perspective, including improvements on biotechnology, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and geographic indicators. As you know, overall, NAFTA has been overwhelmingly beneficial for farmers, ranchers and associated businesses all across the United States, Canada and Mexico for decades. Walking away from those gains would have been a severe blow to the agricultural sector and we appreciate the path that will allow for reform and enhancement, rather than abandonment of past achievements,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president in a letter to President Trump. “The NAFTA modernization effort should recognize and build upon the strong gains achieved by U.S. agriculture through tariff elimination, harmonization — or recognition of equivalency — of numerous regulatory issues, and development of integrated supply chains that have arisen due to the agreement. With NAFTA, U.S. farmers and ranchers across the nation have benefited from an increase in annual exports to Mexico and Canada, which have gone from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38 billion in 2016. We strongly caution against any actions that would lead to a re-imposition of tariffs or other barriers to agricultural trade with our NAFTA partners.”last_img read more

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Why Google and Other Humans Don’t Read Your Book Reviews

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Making the content discoverable by Google in turn makes it discoverable by humans.Tagging: It’s All About the MoneyCould it just be that book reviewers in major newspapers would get more page views if they did a better job tagging content? And then in turn, could it also be that if more people discovered clever and elegant reviews then more books would be sold? Even if you don’t think so, there is way too much risk of getting this one wrong. Related Posts Doing appropriate, standard tagging and markup of book reviews is cheap and simple and should be part of the daily publishing routine. Each media company needs to invest in standards and guidelines around content markup. This is not just a matter of being good citizen of the Web, it is a matter of making money.Photo credit: Ivan Petrov And this is not just an isolated problem with this book review from this particular newspaper. The issue is widespread across all major U.S. and international media outlets. Either due to lack of tools or lack of understanding how search engines and other software works, people notoriously don’t make their content discoverable.A Simple Way to Please GoogleSo how should be the book reviews tagged? alex iskold 1 For a computer to understand content, it needs to be described using a markup language. This is a broad and complex topic that has been a focus of the so-called Semantic Web andstructured data. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… This is where the book review come in. Every publicist and publisher’s dream is to land a positive review with an authoritative source. A good review in The New York Times or the L.A. Times used to be a pass to big figure sales. Sounds like it still should be, but it is not, because most book reviews are poorly formatted and cannot be recognized by Google and other software.The Book Review That Nobody SawLets take a look at this edgy review of the Manhood, by the L.A. Times. It is a pure joy to read – it is elegant, clever and gets to the heart of the issue. There is only one problem with it – nobody is going to read it, because Google can’t find it. Try running this very specific Google search – “Manhood” by Mels van Driel review – and you will not find the L.A. Times among the results – at least not within first three pages that humans would care to flip through. How come might you ask? Well the answer is simple – there is nothing whatsoever that tells Google that this post is a book review about this particular book. The right way of marking up content so that it can be understood by Google, other search engines and semantic technologies is by using a structured format such as ePub,hReview Microformat, abmeta or one of the other structured formats. Using a structured format removes the ambiguity and enables computer to “know” what the review is about. Tags:#Semantic Web#Structured Data#web Next, the post needs to be adorned with the right tags and keywords. L.A. Times’ reviews are certainly very clever, but again, Google does not get humor. A better tag would the title of the book, the name of the author and the non-conspicuous phrase “book review”.A Better Way to Please Google and Tim Berners-LeeThe tagging system described above is still error prone. A computer might not interpret it correctly and would miss this post in the search results. This is because that kind of description is not structured. Humans enjoy a wonderful ability to deal with fuzzy things; computers simply can’t do it. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… The book and media industries are going through interesting times, to put it mildly. As physical books prepare for their demise, the confusion around pricing of digital ones grows. Yet, whether physical or digital, to sell books you need marketing. People need to hear about a book before they buy it. To start with, the title needs to make it clear, that this is a book review. Of course humans may find a more subtle title more enticing, but for the sake of machine: Book Review: Manhood by Mels has to be present. It would be even better to mark up that this is a book review, and here is the book title and here is the author. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Donate to Charity with Each Credit Card Transaction with SwipeGood

first_imgThe charitable giving service SwipeGood is launching a new feature today called “SmartGiving” that will enable its users to donate to different charities based on their monthly spending patterns.SwipeGood’s goal, according to co-founder Steli Efti, is to build a “simple, elegant solution to giving.” By tying donations in to your regular spending habits, SwipeGood has certainly made it simple. The company rounds up to the nearest dollar on every credit card transaction you make, and then donates that lump sum to a charitable organization. That works out to a roughly $20 donation per person who’s joined the platform so far – spare change adds up.Since SwipeGood launched late last year, Efti says they’ve attracted different sorts of users. Some have a clear idea of which cause they’d like their donations to go toward. Others like the idea of giving back, but aren’t particularly passionate about one cause or another. These users often bail from the system, overwhelmed by the 300 plus charities to choose from and unsure about where best to target their donations.A new feature launching today with SwipeGood addresses that. “SmartGiving” allocates the donations based on users’ actual spending habits. Rather than selecting one charity, SmartGiving means that donations are directed to multiple charities. Based on how your spending is allocated – groceries, housing, travel, for example – SmartGiving will automatically direct funds to food-, housing-, and eco-related charities. audrey watters Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts The idea of simplifying charitable donations is a nice one, and on one hand I think people might be willing to turn over their “spare change” for this sort of endeavor. On the other, I’m not sure if people will balk at having their spending data analyzed for this sort of thing. Users’ financial data is kept private here – this isn’t quite a Blippy for charitable giving. Using the category data from card transactions, SwipeGood breaks down spending into 5 large categories – home, food, healthcare, education, and nature. Watching that allocation and how it plays out as a charitable contribution might prove interesting data for some folks to consider their lifestyle and purchase habits. Tags:#news#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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AT&T unleashes drones to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief

first_imgRelated Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Amanda Razani Follow the Puck AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storagecenter_img Tags:#AT&T#climate change#drones#featured#Hurricane Harvey#Internet of Things#IoT#natural disaster#Smart Cities#smart city#top As residents on or near the coast of Texas continue to try to pick up the pieces of devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey, the ability to communicate to the outside world has become more and more important. Yesterday, AT&T deployed a fleet of 46 drones to inspect areas in South Texas that have been impacted.The key goals for the deployment were to check out all the towers, determine the network impact and ensure that customers continue to be able to speak to their loved ones.  A total of 26 drones were sent the day before, prior to sending out the 46 drones yesterday.  AT&T has an additional 58 drones on standby if needed.See Also: Amazon’s drones will tell you when your house needs workIn natural disaster situations such as this one, drones can often be utilized to inspect areas that aren’t accessible to cars or trucks due to flooding. The use of drones allows for quicker access to these inaccessible areas that could not be inspected otherwise. They can also see parts of the towers that people can’t reach when climbing or see from observing from the ground level.  They also speed up the inspection process of towers overall, because more towers can be studied in a shorter amount of time, freeing up time for making repairs.AT&T said “Drones can take HD video and photos of a cell site, giving us a birds’ eye view of the tower. This offers high-quality visuals of equipment, components, and cabling so our engineers can remotely view cell sites safely from the ground – all in real time.”Further help in the worksIn addition to the two flights of drones, AT&T plans to deploy 2 Satellite Cell on Wheels (Sat COLTS) to Beaumont, TX.  These will be joining additional assets that are already in place.  AT&T is planning to send 12 more to assist customers and first responders located in that area, due to the second landfall of Tropical Storm Harvey.Customers who live in these impacted areas will be receiving credits for extra data, voice and text charges, and prepaid credits for extra voice and text charges from the company.Follow this link to see drone footage shared by AT&T:  https://ql.mediasilo.com/#ql/59a73367e4b0b55905b47c40/ec1edd79-9041-419b-a5a1-45a0d480164a A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

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Netanyahu discusses ways to improve farmers’ lives with Adityanath

first_imgThe visit to the Taj Mahal may have been the highlight of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s short visit to Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, but he also discussed some important issues with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.At a meeting in Agra, the two leaders discussed collaboration to improve the lives of farmers in India’s most populous state. Among the issues raised were the two centres of excellence for horticulture and food processing coming up in Basti and Kannauj districts with Israel’s support, drinking water management in urban areas and solid waste management, a government spokesperson said.The critical subjects of water conservation, water recharging and drip irrigation were also discussed in context of the depleting water table in the drought-prone Bundelkhand. Mr. Adityanath said the talks were “extremely positive”, and would pave the way for exchange of technical knowledge in future. Exudes confidence“I have faith that through the exchange of technology and in the interests of farmers in mind, the talks will move forward. We will try to bring a smile to the faces of farmers through the use of technology,” he said. The signs of new collaboration between the State government and Israel come months after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Jal Nigam of Uttar Pradesh and Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources on water utility reforms.last_img read more

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