Ray Anon

A student, a thinker, a scientist.
Dresden, Germany

About Ray

Edit profile

Languages

English, German

Areas of Expertise

Statistics, Philosophy, Epistemology, psychology

I'm passionate about

Science!

My TED story

I wish I still remembered how I stumbled upon TED. Maybe it was exactly via the Firefox-Addon "StumbleUpon"? Anyway, my first video was "What adults can learn from kids" by Adora Svitak http://www.ted.com/talks/adora_svitak.html , and it simply blew me away. I let TED rest for quite a while after that, but it didn't let me go since I have never encountered anything comparable, and a few months ago I finally registered as an online member.

I have yet hundreds of talks to watch, and I have hardly explored the website so far. So my TED story has just begun :)

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted about 1 year ago
Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0
You have a fair point, André. And I usually reject the hijacking of clear simple terms for the purpose of adding one-sided ideological content. But in this case, I would not focus too much on the label "Atheism 2.0", especially since it was surely meant as a joke anyway. If it goes the way of religions, there will be countless self-labeled movements anyway who will be eager to distinguish themselves from the others.
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted over 1 year ago
Steven Addis: A father-daughter bond, one photo at a time
I love the girl's clothing, especially from age 5 to 10. So versatile and beautiful! Feels just like watching a fashion show ;) But of course the pictures would only be half as pretty without her charming smile. Today I also stumbled upon a study affirming "the hypothesis that past-event conversations during early childhood have long-lasting effects on autobiographical memory": http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19467006 . Mothers who had detailed and often conversations with their two-year-olds strongly increased their later ability to retrieve early childhood memories. If that is correct, then that shows a way to make this wonderful ritual an even more precious memory.
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted over 1 year ago
Philip Zimbardo: The demise of guys?
Gender research suffers under the same problem as race research: It is victim to socialization. In fact, the situation is even worse: There are actual laws ensuring gender apartheid in certain areas and different legal standing, so we are further in the race question than in the gender question. I am not claiming that there were no biologically favored average gender differences - or race differences, for that matter. However, I claim that it makes little sense to postulate such differences as long as there are massive legal differences. So let us come up with a system first where at least legal sexism and racism is abolished - in other words, where your gender and race do not change your legal rights and duties. That shall be a system where scientists can examine reality instead of being obliged to support ideologies. And it does not matter whether those ideologies preach unbridgeable gender/race differences or whether they flatly deny even the possibility of their existence. Both dogmas put their beliefs over searching the truth. Until we have such a society, I put little trust in according "studies" and "findings". Politics and Science simply do not mix.
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted over 1 year ago
Philip Zimbardo: The demise of guys?
(2/2) Third, I am tired of old people preaching how the internet destroys our civilization. Humanity had to put up with hysteria against new technologies and deviant art since - well, forever. The printing press, the theater, abstract paintings, jazz music...or as far as I had to endure their paranoia, role-playing games and first-person shooters. The problem are not these innovations and leisure activities. The problem are the elder ones who cannot handle how progress is no respecter of their mortality. They will die in a different world than the one where they grew up, and instead of accepting the inevitable, they are making life miserable for everyone by trying to keep society the way they are accustomed to. I am very open to discuss the power and risks of modern technologies, since I want to harness their opportunities and shield myself from their dangers. I am also highly interested in the long-term consequences of various influences during childhood and puberty, so I can take appropriate measures when raising my own children. I know the difference between statistics and anecdotal evidence, so I will not be offended if reliable data should show that web porn or gaming is in average counterproductive in its effects. And I am certainly the last person who would claim that the internet were "insignificant" in its effects on individuals and society! On the contrary, since many years I call it nothing less than revolutionary. However, I want to do all that on the basis of hard facts, even in a fuzzy field like social sciences. Maybe I am treating Philip Zimbardo unfairly, but in those five minutes I did not get the impression that he was summarizing even plausible speculation.
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted over 1 year ago
Philip Zimbardo: The demise of guys?
(1/2) I have great respect for Philip Zimbardo, but I am having difficulties with this talk. First, the most obvious cause for differences between sexes is actual sexism. I am not talking about ominous complains of abstract "oppression", I am talking about clearly preferring one sex despite equal or even inferior qualification. We have institutionalized sexism in favor of women - while I can only speak for Germany, many other industrialized countries follow the same policy. And as long as that is the case, we do not even have to *consider* other explanations. When we finally come to judge people for their qualification and find ourselves still left with differences between men and women, we can start talking about the influence of socialization. But until then, the massive factor of official sexism overshadows everything else. Second, I warn against judging the ability to socialize by looking at how much someone whores around. Do we really want to use the amount of sex and varying girlfriends as a measurement for social success? Maybe staying out of relationships is a sign of independence and high standards? Personally, I think harmonious relationships are wonderful, but I need to emphasize that one should use empirical criteria after having chosen them carefully. Now Philip Zimbardo refers to self-reported shyness, but in my opinion that might be easily explained with changing gender roles. If you hold a door open for a girl, in the past you were clearly a gentleman, whereas today you can be called a chauvinist pig. Of course an increase of mixed reactions means an increase of insecurity about the "correct" behavior!
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted over 1 year ago
Hannah Fry: Is life really that complex?
The claim that a riot "needs" to happen is highly questionable. Do you believe that rapes "need" to happen or serial killings "need" to happen as well? Sure, there are causes for these crimes, and some would be avoidable by smart politics. But that does not excuse or justify them. If there were algorithms to promptly end rape and murder using police force, I would definitely want them. Regardless of those who argue that those crimes are "necessary".
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted over 1 year ago
Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies
A comment to the statistics at 1:10 - take note that they only include societies that already have a life expectancy between 76 and 82 years. And at some point it does not really matter how rich you are because unless we invent a super-expensive treatment that pushes death decades or centuries away, there is only little time you can buy with money. In fact, the most important factor is not even the medical technology, but the hygiene standards. The gain you get simply by switching to clean water is much bigger than trillions of dollars invested in medicine. I am not saying we should stop those investments, just that one should keep them in the right perspective. It also means that certain approaches will work much better than others. One health problem that massively correlates with income is obesity. The solution to that is of course not to decrease income, but rather set incentives for a healthy lifestyle. How would the stats look like if the USA had a lower obesity rate than Japan? A smart long-term diet is a massively underestimated factor related to life expectancy. And the presented stats are highly misleading here because it is not the inequality that *causes* obesity. Instead, a high income is needed to live a lifestyle of high food consumption and little energy usage. So while becoming obese is really bad, the *opportunity* to become obese is wonderful, because it presupposes wealth. Considering inequality as an influence among many is perfectly justified, especially since human happiness seems to strongly rely on your well-being relative to the that of others - as opposed to absolute criteria. Even the official term of poverty is usually used in a relative meaning instead of an absolute threshold regarding your basic needs for clothes, food, medical care and shelter. But reducing income disparity it is not the magical wand to wave, especially if the society in question is not driven by envy, but rather by admiration for successful and wealthy people.
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted almost 2 years ago
Megan Kamerick: Women should represent women in media
JM, people who reject Racism and Sexism for scientific reasons are not driven by "willful ignorance" as you wrongfully claim - the exact opposite is the case. Solid knowledge about genetics and statistics make it impossible to miss the blatant flaws of such primitive prejudices. If you refuse the understanding and character strength necessary to give up those ideologies, then that is your decision. Rest assured that I will not lose a night's sleep over it - I leave it to Natural Selection to reward or punish you for your attitude :)
Ed2daba4742d6786fa68e2ca7b619aa5b2ca5585 50x50
Ray Anon
Posted almost 2 years ago
Megan Kamerick: Women should represent women in media
Upbringing, Social Norms, Institutionalized Disadvantaging...the same reasons that shape race distributions in job occupations and crime statistics. Genetics might play a role as well, but personally I believe that this factor is highly overestimated. Some Fantasy and Science Fiction works imagine a world where your type of genitals are completely irrelevant in public life. When we finally reach that level of maturity as a society one day, people will be astounded how humanity could have ever considered sex apartheid sensible, justified, necessary.