Skip to content →

Sam Brinson Posts

A 90 Year-Old Cure for Unhappiness

In 1930 Bertrand Russell published a book that he hoped would “suggest a cure for the ordinary day-to-day unhappiness from which most people in civilized countries suffer.” Whether we still suffer in the same ways in 2018 is a matter for debate, but what is true is that ‘The Conquest of Happiness’ still offers some…

Leave a Comment

Where is Our Place in the Animal Kingdom?

We have a strained relationship with other animals. We’ve worshipped them, cooperated with them, molded them, and farmed them. While some are the subjects of our love and affection, others are subjected to horrendous treatment in the name of tasty meals, fashionable clothes, cosmetics, and science. Do we have the right to shove pigs and…

Leave a Comment

Is Overconfidence Tearing the World Apart?

Is it good to think you’re better than you are? By most accounts, confidence is a positive characteristic. It convinces people to trust you, motivates you towards big goals, and is for the most part a more positive experience than doubt or uncertainty. Low confidence suggests a lack of belief in oneself. It will likely…

One Comment

Your Future-Self is Better at Taking Risks

Confronted with risks and gambles, people often make irrational decisions. This is no surprise—but what makes many of these errors in rationality so interesting is that we make them systematically. We are, to steal Dan Ariely’s words, predictably irrational.  One well-researched phenomenon is loss-aversion. Simply put, we prefer to avoid losses more than we enjoy equivalent…

Leave a Comment

The Nourishing Relationship Between Nature and Your Brain

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau spent over two years in…

Leave a Comment

All Too Human

To pass the Turing test, a computer program must convince a human judge that it is a human by answering a series of questions the judge presents. “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.” —Alan Turing What does convincing the judge prove?…

Leave a Comment

Making the Transition From Biological to Mechanical Mind

“I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’” —Alan Turing If we can map the brain in all its fine detail and reproduce it on a computer, perhaps we can upload people. As data residing in the cloud, life could extend on forever, the world we experience could consist of any conception from within…

Leave a Comment

What Can We Share on a Mind-Melding Social Network?

We’re still in the early days of brain science. The most complex thing in the universe still constantly surprises and confuses us. But, that won’t stop us from connecting them. I know that because we already have. While the signals being sent back and forth are rudimentary words such as “hola,” we all know how…

Leave a Comment