Links and Comments: Space Suite; Nice Guys Finish First; Debunking Myths; Is the US Crazy?

More links and comments from the past week or so, leading with the positive.

First, a ‘Space Suite’ video animation of the planets in our solar system. Very cool.

The AsapSCIENCE guys have this video about how “Nice Guys Finish First” — a corrective to the cliche that nice guys finish last, as if only bad, aggressive men win in the end.

It’s an explanation of the philosophical idea of the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” that reveals how cooperation works best in the long run – i.e. a core piece of what we think of as human morality, and a trait observed in other animal species as well, has an evolutionary reason for existing; you don’t need a holy rule book for most people to be altruistic and cooperate with others.

This notion aligns with EO Wilson’s ideas, as I’ve described in several previous posts, about ‘group selection’, the idea that cooperation among small societies or tribes has a survival advantage over tribes whose members are relatively selfish. Thus morality.

Via Paul Fidalgo’s Morning Heresy:

Real Clear Science: The Biggest Myth About Debunking Myths

To the human mind, facts are minutiae. What matters most is the overarching narrative. For a single fact or even a group of facts to topple a mindset is an immense task, like David facing off against Goliath… if Goliath was twice as tall and encased in graphene body armor.

And here is the most striking article from this past week — an example of an outsider viewpoint, challenging the US’s assumption of its superior status to every other nation in the world. (Traveling to other countries around the globe, even to Europe, quickly produces the same insight.)

Alternet: Is the U.S. Crazy?

To some extent, this article echoes themes I’ve described before — how the northern European countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, et al) have such higher standards of living, with better health care, lower infant mortality, and so on, compared to the US, despite or because of their ‘socialist’ societies that so many in the US violently reject.

The essay also provokes citizens of the US:

* Why can’t you Americans stop interfering with women’s health care?

* Why can’t you understand science?

* How can you still be so blind to the reality of climate change?

And many, many more.

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