Active Thinking Topic 48 - Random - Think Deeply About Simple Things

Monday 7 January 2022, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Any replies to the organizer -

Venue: Cafe Brunelli, 187 Rundle St, Adelaide CBD, South Australia

Talking Points

Key idea: a) Ask 'why?'; b) Ask 'What if ..'

1. Simple fact: World leaders, regardless of politics or ideology, all wind up in the same 5 star hotels => a) Why?; b) What if ... (e.g. What would happen if they all had bunk together in the same hostel dormitory? ... What would happen if they all had to ...

2. It is impossible to be happy all the time => a) Why?; b) What would happen if you were wired to be permanently happy?

3. Why do people back into parking spots? [Facebook meme] => deeper and deeper => Why do people quote Facebook memes? => What did they do before there were Facebook memes? => Have pub jokes gone into decline since there were Facebook memes?

4. People pay spend large amounts of money and time to listen to advice they will never take. It may be a preacher, or a talk show pundit, or an 'influencer', or Donald Trump, or Elon Musk or ... a) Why? b) What would happen if people actually tried to do what was suggested, given their personalities and limitations? => Examples ....

5. Food seems to be an almost universal human obsession. For some people food preparation and presentation is very elaborate. They are maximalists about food. Some other people though give minimum attention to food. What about you? Explain why about your food preferences. => During World War II, the British population was forced to survive on basic rations. Medical records show that this was the healthiest time for the British population => What would happen now if everyone was forced to live on government rations?

6. When is silence uncomfortable? => Sometimes this is only in particular situations (which ones?) => but some people need constant external noise (why?) => but some people are content with their own inner conversations (what kind of people?) => and why are some cultures much noisier than others? => Is this changing?

7. Why are all languages equally easy for a baby to learn? => How do kids learn language so fast? (A 6 year old speaks about 2000 words but can recognize about 20000 words) => How does adult language learning differ from child learning? => Are computer languages as easy to learn as natural languages?

8. What kind of people use supermarket self-checkouts, and what kind like to queque for a cashier? Could you select individuals like this for other scenarios ? => jobs?, partners?, teams?, soldiers?, a risky undertaking? ... think of more scenarios. Or watching them at the self-checkout, are there sub-types of the species?

9. It would be really, really hard for a foreign army to invade Australia. We are vulnerable to missile attack though. How can Australia minimize the risk of having electricity and other critical infrastructure destroyed? (Look at Ukraine ..).

10. Walking in socks without shoes is actually better for your feet, and the socks last surprisingly well (I've tried it). How much of what we do & say is the best practical solution, and how much is just to avoid mockery? Think of examples.

11. OK, what's your trivial idea that can be excavated at bit :) ?


Extra Reading

Eddie Woo (19 Jul 2014) "Think deeply about simple things". Youtube @  (9 minutes) [TM, comment: this is actually a (simple) maths demonstration, but the idea can be applied to whatever you fancy]

Lennox Morrison19th July 2017) "The subtle power of uncomfortable silences". BBC @ 

Catherine Douglas Moran (November 15 2022) " Self-checkout now comprises nearly 40% of grocery checkout options, study says". Grocery Dive @  [Quote: "Catalina found that the group of shoppers who used both methods includes a mix of demographics, with consumers tending to have a higher annual household income compared to shoppers who used one checkout type exclusively. .. Self-checkout-only tends to draw 19 to 24-year-olds and also people born between 1928 and 1945, known as the Silent Generation, the firm said. ... Meanwhile, 49% of consumers prefer only using manned lanes. That group mainly consists of baby boomers and Silent Generation consumers with household incomes under $100,000 and a high school education, Catalina’s research found".]

Lowri Dowthwaite-Walsh (January 10, 2018) "True happiness isn’t about being happy all the time". The Conversation @ 

Lone Frank (May 3 2018) "Can You Overdose on Happiness? The science and philosophy of deep brain stimulation". Nautilus @ utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits
[Quote: “How Happy Is Too Happy?” It is a good question, but I was a little surprised to see it as the title of a research paper in a medical journal. Yet there it was in a publication from 2012. The article was written by two Germans and an American, and they were grappling with the issue of how we should deal with the possibility of manipulating people’s moods and feeling of happiness through brain stimulation. If you have direct access to the reward system and can turn the feeling of euphoria up or down, who decides what the level should be? The doctors or the person whose brain is on the line?"]

Naja Ferjan Ramirez (April 15, 2016) "Why the baby brain can learn two languages at the same time". The Conversation @  [Quote: "Language learning depends on the processing of sounds. All the world’s languages put together comprise about 800 or so sounds. Each language uses only about 40 language sounds, or “phonemes,” which distinguish one language from another. At birth, the baby brain has an unusual gift: it can tell the difference between all 800 sounds. This means that at this stage infants can learn any language that they’re exposed to. Gradually babies figure out which sounds they are hearing the most. ...Our findings show that babies’ brains become tuned to whatever language or languages they hear from their caregivers. A monolingual brain becomes tuned to the sounds of one language, and a bilingual brain becomes tuned to the sounds of two languages. By 11 months of age, the activity in the baby brain reflects the language or languages that they have been exposed to. ...The good news is young children all around the world can and do acquire two languages simultaneously. In fact, in many parts of the world, being bilingual is the norm rather than an exception".]

Isabella (October 7, 2018) "Why You Should Stop Giving Advice, What to Do Instead, and A Surprising Reason Why You Should Give Advice". Reachingself blog @ 

Steve Glaveski (September 11, 2020) "5 Reasons Why Self-Help Books Don’t Work — and why you should read them". Blog @ 

Asha’ar Rehman (March 30, 2018) "Ideology is irrelevant". Dawn newspaper (Pakistan) @ 

Thor May (2014) "What will be the dominant ideologies of the 21st Century?" The Passionate Skeptic website @  [Quote: "The 20 th Century revolved politically around competing interpretations of Capitalism, Communism, Socialism and Fascism. These are all ways to organize the lives of people on a large scale. Are real alternatives or new interpretations likely to emerge in the challenging years ahead? What might they look like?"]

Wikipedia (2022) "Mockery". @  [Quote: "Mockery can be done in a lighthearted and gentle way, but can also be cruel and hateful ... Mockery appears to be unique to humans, and serves a number of psychological functions, such as reducing the perceived imbalance of power between authority figures and common people". ]

SAPN (2020) "Distributed Energy Transition Roadmap 2020-2025". South Australia Power Networks @ 

Sam Altman (16 December 2022) "It’s Time to Pay Attention to A.I. (ChatGPT and Beyond)". Cold Fusion Youtube channel @ 
[Quote: "Imagine being able to have a language conversation about anything with a computer. This is now possible and available to many people for the first time with ChatGPT"] => [Thor, comment: this works, I've tried it, and it the implications are scary .. ]



Think Deeply About Simple Things (c) Thor May 2023

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