Monday, October 03, 2005

The Science of Happiness

It's appropriate for today's topic that I started out my day so well with the draw for tickets for the UT v. Colorado game next Saturday yielding seats for me in section 19 (the horseshoe section)! The day was sobered later with some conflict over the Apple Company Night next week, but it was counteracted by my passing Unit 9 for EE 316 so everything is alright again. Why do I mention all this? Because the Times Online has an amazing article exploring the psychology of experiencing joy and makes a lot of provocative observations. In fact, I'd recommend that you sit down and read all three pages if you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare. One of the better questions it poses is what underlies our bias towards pessimistic thinking, and it appears that negative thought comes from older parts of the brains (suggesting that it's related to fear and survival instincts). And by the biological nature of our brains we are designed to always crave but never achieve lasting happiness. Isn't that ironic? We get caught in cycles of desires and ambitions. Did you know that liking and desiring are connected with different chemicals? There's a lot that most of us don't know about ourselves and may never fully figure out, but I guess things may be a little more intricate than the Dalai Lama suggested just a couple of weeks ago.

It should come as no shock that Yahoo is following up on Google's library project with one of their own to digitize older, out-of-print titles and they plan on paying for them. It's a pretty smart move on their part in that it makes Google look pretty bad and them much better by comparison. GamerGod has a really good rebuttal to the Michigan law that threatens harsh penalties for the sale of rated M video games to minors, and he brings in some great points and important parallels. It would be like if a 16 year-old was fined $5,000 for buying Donnie Darko at Best Buy; it's just out of line and unnecessary. Lastly, if you feel worried by the recent hurricanes and you're in a possible hurricane area then you may want to check out this article detailing the most important things to preserve in case of a natural disaster (mainly financial and medical records).

Click to enlarge Laura DuttaThe lovely lady to your right, Laura Dutta, is set to be a part of Indiana Jones 4 and is a Houstonian. Her role is small, but at least it's another Indian on the big screen and the first casting news we have from the hotly anticipated movie. There's also an Indian dude on Casino Royale as the main villain and he's named Gulshan Grover! He's not all that popular, but maybe he will be very soon. If you want to see a little more from Domino you can check out a new clip over at IGN. If you'd rather see humorous movie trailers then you've gotta check this out. A couple of people handy at video editing have changed up the trailers for The Shining, Titanic, and and West Side Story to have totally opposite connotations than the movies actually have (like the Titanic as a horror flick).

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. What's on your computer desk?
An Ikea lamp, some candy from Goldman Sachs, pencil/pen mug, a cup from Road Trip with a noisemaker, a couple of bills, some CDs, a neat toy yoyo thing from VMWare, my monitor, my keyboard, my mouse and mousepad (I use it for the gel wrist wrest), a couzie (that thing you put soft drinks in to keep them cool), and my speakers.

2. What does your computer desktop background look like?
A great picture of Ms. Jessica Alba.

3. What's on your agenda for the upcoming week?
Too much to list here, but it includes flyering for the Apple Company Night, a couple of EE tests, studying for my CS 336 test, and a few things for the Ice Cream Social I'm planning.

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