Sunday, October 31, 2010
(also i highly recommend clicking on the orc to see some more detail, and matt lemme know what you think about this coloring style)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
* By Jonah Lehrer Email Author
* October 19, 2010 |
* 9:47 am |
* Categories: Frontal Cortex, Science Blogs
For thousands of years, people have speculated that there’s some correlation between sadness and creativity, so that people who are a little bit miserable (think Van Gogh, or Dylan in 1965, or Virginia Woolf) are also the most innovative. Aristotle was there first, stating in the 4th century B.C.E. “that all men who have attained excellence in philosophy, in poetry, in art and in politics, even Socrates and Plato, had a melancholic habitus; indeed some suffered even from melancholic disease.” This belief was revived during the Renaissance, leading Milton to exclaim, in his poem Il Penseroso: “Hail, divinest melancholy/whose saintly visage is too bright/to hit the sense of human sight.” The romantic poets took the veneration of sadness to its logical extreme, and described suffering as a prerequisite for the literary life. As Keats wrote, “Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
Well, it turns out the cliché might be true after all: Angst has creative perks. That, at least, is the conclusion of Modupe Akinola, a professor at Columbia Business School, in her paper “The Dark Side of Creativity: Biological Vulnerability and Negative Emotions Lead to Greater Artistic Creativity.” The experiment was simple: She asked subjects to give a short speech about their dream job. The students were randomly assigned to either a positive or negative feedback condition, in which their speech was greeted with smiles and vertical nods (positive) or frowns and horizontal shakes (negative). After the speech was over, the subjects were given glue, paper and colored felt and told to create a collage using the materials. Professional artists then evaluated each collage for creativity.
In addition, Akinola also measured DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone), an endogenous hormone that blunts the effects of stress hormones like cortisol. (As I’ve written about before, depression is closely entangled with chronic stress.) Given this chemical power, it’s not surprising that low levels of DHEAS have been associated with susceptibility to volatile mood swings and downward spirals of sadness. Finally, subjects were also asked to self-report their moods, giving the scientists a subjective and objective measurement of how they were feeling, and how the feedback to the speech had shifted their emotional state.
Not surprisingly, positive feedback cheered us up: Participants who received smiles and nods during their speeches reported feeling better than before. Negative feedback had the opposite effect – it’s no fun having our dreams trampled on.
Here’s where things get interesting: People who received negative feedback created better collages, at least when compared to those who received positive feedback or no feedback at all. Furthermore, those with low baselines of DHEAS proved particularly vulnerable to the external effects of frowns, so that they proved to be the most creative of all.
What’s driving this correlation? Why does a melancholy mood turn us into a better artist? The answer returns us to the intertwined nature of emotion and cognition. It turns out that states of sadness make us more attentive and detail oriented, more focused on the felt collage. Joe Forgas, a social psychologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, has spent the last decade investigating the surprising benefits of negative moods. According to Forgas, angst and sadness promote “information-processing strategies best suited to dealing with more-demanding situations.” This helps explain why test subjects who are melancholy — Forgas induces the mood with a short film about death and cancer — are better at judging the accuracy of rumors and recalling past events; they’re also much less likely to stereotype strangers and make fewer arithmetic mistakes.
Last year, Forgas ventured beyond the lab and began conducting studies in a small stationery store in suburban Sydney, Australia. Forgas placed a variety of trinkets, like toy soldiers, plastic animals and miniature cars, near the checkout counter. As shoppers exited, Forgas tested their memory, asking them to list as many of the items as possible. To control for the effect of mood, Forgas conducted the survey on gray, rainy days — he accentuated the weather by playing Verdi’s Requiem — and on sunny days, using a soundtrack of Gilbert and Sullivan. The results were clear: shoppers in the “low mood” condition remembered nearly four times as many of the trinkets. The wet weather made them sad, and their sadness made them more aware and attentive.
There are two important lessons of this research. The first is that our fleeting feelings can change the way we think. While sadness makes us more focused and diligent – the spotlight of attention is sharpened – happiness seems to have the opposite effect, so that good moods make us 20 percent more likely to have a moment of insight. The second takeaway is that many of our creative challenges involve tasks that require diligence, persistence and focus. It’s not easy making a collage or writing a poem or solving a hard technical problem, which is why sometimes being a little miserable can improve our creative performance.
In a recent article in The New York Times Magazine on a speculative evolutionary explanation for depression, I touched on some of these ideas:
In a survey led by the neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen, several dozen writers from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop were interviewed about their mental history. Eighty percent of the writers met the formal diagnostic criteria for some form of depression. A similar theme emerged from biographical studies of British writers and artists by Kay Redfield Jamison, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, who found that successful individuals were eight times as likely as people in the general population to suffer from major depressive illness.
Why is mental illness so closely associated with creativity? Andreasen argues that depression is intertwined with a “cognitive style” that makes people more likely to produce successful works of art. In the creative process, Andreasen says, “one of the most important qualities is persistence.” Based on the Iowa sample, Andreasen found that “successful writers are like prizefighters who keep on getting hit but won’t go down. They’ll stick with it until it’s right.” While Andreasen acknowledges the burden of mental illness — she quotes Robert Lowell on depression not being a “gift of the Muse” and describes his reliance on lithium to escape the pain — she argues that many forms of creativity benefit from the relentless focus it makes possible. “Unfortunately, this type of thinking is often inseparable from the suffering,” she says. “If you’re at the cutting edge, then you’re going to bleed.”
P.S.: A big thank you to Eric Barker at Bakadesuyo for the tip!
Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/feeling-sad-makes-us-more-creative/#ixzz130VIRRlj
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Carl Paste was masturbating furiously into a small, glass fishbowl. He scanned the pictures arrayed out before him like a personal buffet of kink, halfheatedly grunting at the images of girls doubled over and filled with strange things that cause their stomachs to bulge in weird ways. It wasn’t really how Carl got down, but it was the first thing he had pulled up on the Google search, and he was in a hurry. He had to do this before good judgement- or worse yet, apathy- had set in. Straining to find even one of the images in any way erotic, he noticed the way one girl’s hair curled around her breast, hanging upward toward her shoulder as a result of lying at an awkward angle, the gleaming fuselage of a model airplane jutting horribly from her clenched genitals. Carl’s belly heaved at the sight and he relaxed, satisfied. For a few seconds, he watched the winding ropes of himself drift lazily in the lukewarm tapwater, but a cramp in his right calf snapped him from his reverie. He had tasked himself with an experiment bourne of boredom and desperation and he was bound by will to see it through. He reached for the tiny packet marked “INSTANT: SEA MONKEY EGGS!” and tore the top off of it with his teeth. Ever so carefully, he poured the dried ova into the clear water, smiling at what would no doubt soon be his only legacy.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Due to the truncated week, I'm going to declare this week's topic a
This week's topic will be haste.
In addition, I'm adding the restriction that you may not spend more than 30 minutes working on your project. I will not restrict the amount of time you may spend developing your idea, but the 30 minutes applies to anything that you would consider being part of production. Storyboarding, pre-sketching, marking out space, anything along these lines will count towards your limit.
Clock's ticking. Go.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Yeh, I need more sleep.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I went with a kinda duel opposite stance. Opposite stances that I don't quite agree with either side. Traditional views on marriage that are a little too traditional.
So now she tells me she wants to get a job.
A job! As if she didn't have enough to do already with keeping the house clean. I don't think it's too much to ask for a clean house and a hot meal after working for 12 hours straight. "But the water bill..." she whines. The water bill can wait until I have the money to pay it off. They won't turn off the water, there's people living here, they aren't allowed. This house is a disaster, if she can't keep it clean with 12 hours to work on it how the hell does she think she's gonna keep it clean with a job?
A job. As if she could get a job. Who's gonna hire her? What's she gonna do? I mean, I didn't argue when she wanted to baby sit for other people's kids, it wasn't like that really got in the way of her doing what she needed to do, and at that point our kids were still young and doing all the same things as the kids she sat for... But a real job? And what if they want her to work on my day off? Or her shift overlaps with mine? I'm supposed to come home to an almost empty house and no dinner and be fine with that?
A job. I work enough. She shouldn't. It's that simple. My job is to work and make money to pay for the things we want, and her job is to take care of our things and our kids and me.
All I want is to get a little part time job. Something where I can make enough money to pay the water bill. Maybe stock away enough to pay off some of his credit cards. He doesn't see how much he spends, how that affects things. He just buys whatever he sees that he wants, and then brings it home, and adds it to the clutter that is already here. It's impossible to keep this place clean, because every time he goes out he brings something new home. And then he complains. Well, stop bringing crap home with you! Spend the money on the things you should be spending it on - paying the bills, necessities.
Just a little job. In a small store or something. It doesn't have to conflict with his schedule. I'd even try to work around the kids' college classes, so I can still drive them to school and work when I need to. That's another thing he could spend the money on, the car. That piece of plastic over the window isn't going to keep out the snow come winter. It'd be nice not to worry that the car isn't going to make it when we drive down to see his mother. Heck, a second car so that the kids could drive themselves places would be great. How are we all supposed to get to work and school and home again with just one car.
I could get a little job, and save up, and get another car.
But he doesn't want me to.
So I won't.
Saturday, October 2, 2010