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Author: Psycasm | Views: 472 | Comments: 9
Last by Will on Oct 26, 2010, 5:58pm
Welcome to Assassins' League.

The first rule of the Assassins' League is:

You know what, I don't have a punchy one-liner. But let me explain. Previously I've stated that I've adopted 'Be indispensable' as my personal motto. Well, this is part of the overall plan, but the story starts earlier than that.

I started studying psychology knowing I didn't like failure. As soon as I had a bit of knowledge under my, after my first semester (when I was technically a second-year), I began to network. I boot-strapped myself up by making sure I talked to all my lecturers and by getting to know other people who work hard. Fortuitously I met an acquaintance who was post-honours and working on campus who introduced me to a number of postgrads. I don't know how - but I managed to get to know and build rapport with them all (well, most) - after all, who am I? An undergrad with delusions of ambition?!*

With step 1 handled I moved on to step 2. I figured if I can make myself central to something, make myself indispensible to many people, to offer something that's hard to achieve alone, and make it easy for anyone to do the same as I did, I'd be in like Flynn. So I started the . . . More
Author: Psycasm | Views: 487 | Comments: 0
Just wanted to vent a little, mostly because I've been a bit silent on the blogging front lately.

Between dealing with the floods in my part of the world, I've been focusing a lot of energy into getting my podcast - Psychobabble - up and running. But as should be expected, there will be a delay of about a week, as I find someone who can screw with coding for me to increase my upload limit on my wordpress backend. Why the frick don't wordpress just have an option to incease it? I don't know, but you have to do a whole bunch of loop-jumping to increase it. Alternatively I need to look into paid-hosting options for podcast, such as Blubrry (sic) or podbean. I tried podbean yesterday, but it was a mess and difficult to use. Anyone, any thoughts?

Anywho, this afternoon I will endevour to write a real post and have it up for tomorrow (my time, so, ETA of 12 hours).

On an unrelated note, next weekend I'm going to the hospital to be involved in a drug trial. They are going to pay me lots of money. I don't really know what to expect, except they'll be taking my blood a lot. I think I'll probably be live tweeting the whole event (it's 3-day lock-in) - so if you're interested in what goes in (on the human end) of drug trials, stay tuned.

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Author: Psycasm | Views: 401 | Comments: 1
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Aug 22, 2011, 1:52pm
Last week I reported on a strange illusion I had in the middle of the night. Upon waking early in the morning I experienced a sensation where I felt as though I had been asleep for 5 or 6 hours, but had actually only been asleep for an hour and a half. The experience disappeared for about a week, and returned for a single night 8 or 9 days later. I'm pretty sure no-one was sneaking LSD into my milo, so I wanted to figure out what was going on.

I asked people what they thought in my last post. Commenter Beauness said that our timekeeping was regulated by our circadian rhythms. Commenter Kate pointed me in the direction of an article about the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (wiki link). The SCN plays a role in regulating the circadian rhythms.

Now every school kid knows we have Circadian Rhythms, and that they are basically our 'body clock'. But knowing that isn't very useful. What is a Circadian Rhythm? How does it work? and is it grounded in something beyond our biology?

In my last post I posed three questions that I thought would help illuminate my strange sensation. I'm addressing them here, briefly, as be . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 431 | Comments: 2
Last by Thomas Joseph on Jun 06, 2011, 8:04am
Came across the following blog entry at the Big League Stew. It is about a PSA from the SF Giants, combatting homophobia. It's targetted to LGBT teens to let them know that life does get better beyond the bullying and to not turn to suicide. It is done in conjunction with the It Gets Better Project.

I'm sure there is a small portion of society that has not been bullied, or bullied. However, I think the majority have either experienced the shame of being bullied, or witnessed that shame when in the act of bullying. If you've gone through bullying, you'll know that no one else should have to experience such pain (emotional and physical), and if you have bullied, hopefully you've matured to the point that you are ashamed of your actions and would also like to prevent others from having to go through the torment of being bullied.

So, no matter what direction you are coming from on this issue, here is your chance to make a differ . . . More
Author: Psycasm | Views: 423 | Comments: 14
Last by Evie on Oct 06, 2010, 3:00pm
What would I be doing if I wasn’t doing this? This question has two answers for me – one constrained by circumstance, the other by my imagination.

I’ll start with circumstance, because that’s where everything starts…

Three or Four years ago a finished a degree in Business with an extended Major in Advertising. I don’t have much evidence to support the following statement, but I think it was the truth - I was good in Advertising. In fact I maintain that I am no better in Psychology than I was in Advertising. The only difference is that this time round I’m doing a better job of reflecting it in my grades, reflecting it in the people I work with, the networks I make, and the goals I set.

Some part of me back then – the unmylenated adolescent, presumably – believed my raw talent would carry me over the line. These days I recognise what I thought of as ‘raw talent’ was in fact ego. At the very least, I think, I carried the Ego well.

And so I set out all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed into the world of advertising. Step by small step. I worked in an Agency for a while – but they were small and didn’t give me one iota of training, and when I inevitably made mistakes it reflected poorly and – to make a long story short – I . . . More
Author: Psycasm | Views: 406 | Comments: 2
Last by Psycasm on Apr 11, 2011, 7:46pm
I'm looking for someone to start a public dialogue with. Not necessarily a debate, nor a series of essays, just a conversation.

I tend to find myself spending a few hours researching, reading and writing every blog post I make. As a result I've found myself only being able to produce one a week and riding the comments for as long as possible thereafter. Thus, I feel my midweek could be spruced up with something interesting. Something a little less formal. Something a little more interactive. Maybe there could even be jokes...

I tend to write about behaviour, or cognition, or belief. I don't think I've ever really tackled any bigger questions like 'What is Cognition' or 'What is Behaviour'. But I feel this is fertile ground for investigation. And so I'd like to propose an open dialogue with someone on such issues - 'What is Mind?', 'Is there free-will?', 'What is the nature of thought?'.

As it stands I'm not sure anyone can give a definitive answer on such questions, but almost certainly we've got ideas, hypotheses and intuitions. A series of open dialogues might be just the way to foster some cross-disciplinary interactions. Ideally I'm looking Philosophy blogger, someone like me - an active blogger, engaged, eager and (ideally) an undergrad.
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Author: Psycasm | Views: 347 | Comments: 0
So I’ve taken the mind-map in the first ‘sceptical checklist’ and questionized it. For the most part its on a likert-type scale, where 1 = low and 7 = high. Now that it’s questionized it’s time to check how water-tight it is. In turning ideas into questions it has become apparent that it is very difficult to distinguish fact from fiction through introspection alone. At best one might be able to identify the processes we engage in that allow us to reach a conclusion, but even then our judgements will be coloured by the conclusions we’ve reached and a myriad other factors.

It seems that a scale of this nature, if it works, can only work on positive beliefs. That is, this scale may work for ‘Critical Thinking [on the validity of Homeopathy]’, but cannot work on ‘Critical Thinking [on the invalidity of Homeopathy]’. I can’t see how it would be possible to assess a negative belief (i.e. that something doesn’t exist / work).

As of writing this introduction I have not attempted to answer the questions, but only intuited how it works based on my process in constructing it. Here are my thoughts:

Some questions will be much better than others in sepa . . . More
Author: Psycasm | Views: 347 | Comments: 6
Last by Prabodh Kandala on Nov 24, 2010, 11:35pm
After months of blue-sky musings, and weeks of preparation I stand to make an announcement.

I am releasing a Psychology Themed Podcast.

Let me outline a bit of my reasoning:

I listen to a number of podcasts, as they're an excellent way to receive ongoing news and information, and are frequently accompanied by skilled dissection. I personally (and regularly) listen to Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, Astronomycast, Freakonomics, and Skeptically Speaking (as well as a number of others on a less regular basis).

You'll notice none of the mentioned are Psychology themed... and that's a big problem I've noticed. There's a lot of Psychology-themed podcasts out there but they all suffer from a number of problems (in my opinion). Mostly they're a lecture series delivered by smart and (no doubt) interesting people, but not an interesting way.

I aim to do what Skeptics' Guide does for Skepticism and Science News, and what Astronomycast does for Astronomy - make a big all-encompassing topic digestible by those interested in the area, but not formally trained. For instance, I've always loved Astronomy, but if I were ever to pick up a book on the topic I would be swamped by jargon, hit with maths, and experience a general sense of being overwhelmed. Astronomy . . . More
Author: Psycasm | Views: 329 | Comments: 0
In honour of the arbitrary nature of our 10th podcast I'd like to provide a stream for anyone interested.

This episode covers the nature of Self-Deception and Self-Enhancement. Normally there would be four commentators on the show, but for various reasons only 3 were available.

Let me know what you think!

This is our official website, with some (as yet unpopulated) forums, shownotes and other features.

You can also subscribe to us on iTunes, by clicking here.

. . . More
Author: Psycasm | Views: 308 | Comments: 1
Last by yannisguerra on Sep 22, 2011, 9:14am
In my last post I asked you to take a brief survey. Many of you did, in fact, within about 13 hours I had nearly 150 responses. However, the survey host, Surveymonkey, only provides the first 100 responses. This is not really a big deal, and given that the survey itself was a bit rough-and-ready, it got the job done.

I asked 10 questions in total on four different topics. The topics themselves were arbitrary. They were simply accessible constructs which most people have an opinion about.

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Author: Psycasm | Views: 355 | Comments: 1
Last by yannisguerra on May 23, 2011, 9:37pm
Oh, the delicious irony that today is Draw Mohammed Day AND the end of the world. If you don't see the irony, try harder...

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Author: Psycasm | Views: 295 | Comments: 3
Last by Psycasm on Aug 09, 2011, 1:11am
Just a quick catch-up.

The Freewill series is currently on hold. Denise, one of the contributers, has had her computer stolen. It contained everything. So for both pragmatic and academic reasons, she has had to withdraw (temporarily) from the project.

As for my blogging, I'm a bit quiet this week due to some personal stuff. I've also been reconsidering the format of my blog. I've noticed my posts are getting longer and longer, and so I'm trying to figure out how I want to fix this (or even if it's such a bad thing). My personal thoughts are 'long posts are good' but I'm not sure this view is widely held. So I'm working on some topics and formats that bring the individual posts lengths down without sacrificing all the things I want to share. This may take a little bit of time, and input would be greatly appreciated. If you read any blogs with novel/interesting formatting and presentations styles I'd be very interested in reading them.

I should have a post up in the next few days (with lots of pictures, hopefully).

Until then.

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Author: Psycasm | Views: 274 | Comments: 3
Last by Jason Goldman on Oct 15, 2010, 11:10am
DonorsChoose, eh?

It's difficult for me to make a 'think of the children' plea, when I'm not the US, and others have better, more righteous arguments and I.

Instead let's imagine what the future would be like if kids just didn't learn science...

...It's 2021, science is no longer taught in class rooms, in place of more accepted disciplines like Homeopathy and Creationism. In universities country wide a degree in accounting makes you a bona fide mathematician. Why, after all, do people need to know how to model the universe in a computer? When we know that the world is flat and is the centre of all we see? Our houses are sustained by magic - 'lectricity' - some kind of fluid, liquid stuff that runs through wires but is so small we can't see it. And it's getting pretty hot, thanks to global warming, but in a way it's ok - since the average life expectancy has dropped because vaccines do more damage than good - smallpox, measels, polio have all returned and single out the weak. There's no-one left to cure cancer, or alzeihmers, because everyone who once might have had the capacity is busy trying to turn water into the oil - the holy grail of the alchemical processes...


Wow, that's not a future I like. Inspire kids towards science and keep the cu . . . More