Your weekend reading: The case against empathy, gorgeous photos from the NatGeo contest

Posted by: Thu-Huong Ha

If you can only digest six awesome pieces of Internet content this week (plus one congrats), look no further. Here’s a round-up of the best stories on the webs this week.

Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasurePaul Bloom: The origins of pleasure

TED speaker Paul Bloom makes a compelling case against empathy, arguing that empathy alone is not sufficient to uphold morality — and may even work against it. [The New Yorker]

42 truly stunning photos from the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. [The Atlantic]

Would you be friends with Humbert Humbert? Authors weigh in on whether fictional characters ought to be likable. [New Yorker blog]

Damon Horowitz: Philosophy in prisonDamon Horowitz: Philosophy in prison

The most popular way to spend time at Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center in Virginia is … reading Tolstoy? [The Washington Post] Watch a talk on philosophy in prisons »

Scientists show an electronic jolt to the brain can improve mental arithmetic skills in the long-term, and without negative side-effects. [New Scientist]

Chris Hadfield alights from space with another social media masterpiece, a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” along with a full-length music video. Shot in the International Space Station. [YouTube] Watch a TED Blog playlist we published to welcome him home »

Raghava KK: My 5 lives as an artistRaghava KK: My 5 lives as an artist

And a brief congrats to TED speaker Raghava KK, who was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer this week, and TED Fellows Skylar Tibbits and Marc Fornes, who were both awarded the 2013 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers.

Comments (1)

  • gai lun commented on Jun 3 2013

    An Appeal for Foundation of the International Language Organization

    To further the development of all human languages, I am constructing the International Language Organization (ILO). I appeal that any state willing to provide a residence for ILO may be the founding country which must afford the following: 1. a residence; 2. diplomatic privilege; 3. any necessary convenience and help.
    The development of the study of language as a whole set is far behind that of economics and sci-tech which should be applied to make linguistics progress. If there is a breakthrough in linguistics, human beings may evolve much better than before to enter a much higher historical stage, since language is symbolic of the virtue of humanity. However, any individual person or state is doomed to failure in the completion of such an enormous project of enhancing human languages to gain more insights, hence the emergence of ILO.
    ILO would converge all the strength in the world to create a new language termed as “Advanced Language (AL)” which may turn to another name in the future. It may benefit us from the following: 1. The system of human knowledge would be more organized to be easier for humans to master; 2. The human brain might be more advanced, thought stronger, the capacity of recognition more developed, which is beneficial to explore the secrets of cosmos; 3. In the future, a man may be a proficient user of two languages, namely, mother tongue and AL, so, the difficulty in supranational communication could be solved; that is, anybody at that time will be a bilingual of his or her mother tongue and the “Advanced Language”. When one is born, he or she first learns the mother tongue—which corresponds to the half completion of the acquisition of AL and then begins to learn the AL, which would be much easier. After that, the study of other languages may be unnecessary, in fact., which may conserve an abundance of time and materials. On that day, AL must be perfect and the amazingly easiest language to be learnt. AL does not contradict any other existing language and it can be used to promulgate various ethnic languages to understand them deeper to be in turn improved step by step during the process of the interplay between others, as well. AL is a representative of the whole development of human language and mere AL may be a candidate for lingua franca; 4. AL makes the system of Science more sensible and powerful; 5. AL is uploaded by advanced cultures which are collections of all excellent contents in the world to make all human beings progress and create more brilliant cultures; 6. AL will be an inducement for the emergence of more advanced social relations and life; 7. AL will exploit the potential of human life; 8. AL will raise human civilization up to a higher historical stage; 9. AL may provide humans with other advantages. Those benefits are not imaginable just as the fact that it would be impossible for ancient people who mainly relied on horse as a way of transportation to imagine what the aeroplane and spaceship were like.
    The founding country provides a residence—the building of headquarters for ILO, which is definitely affordable for any state. If so, the country may be benefited as follows: 1. The founding country would be a holy place toward the study of language all over the world. To any person, brain is the most important so is the language region in brain. To all humans, ILO corresponds to the language region in brain which is the most important. And this great progress does occur, first and foremost, in the founding country; 2. The citizens in the founding country will first of all be benefited when there is a breakthrough of the study of language made by ILO; 3. ILO may act a crucial role in the process of human development. The founding country which affords it a residence would be very much appreciated and the country would be predestined to receive the most admirable honors and awards as a model country because of its past contribution; 4. The status of the founding country of the unique ILO may be highly enhanced because of this vital international organization; 5. Increase inter-cultural communication to strengthen international friendship. ILO may be a newly important window toward the whole world and it can help the founding country to explore some innovative space at the same time. The headquarters and each research institute of ILO and its counterparts such as the World Language University, the Linguistics Award, Linguistics Fund Association, Language Forum and so on, may attract a great deal of attention. The scholars and media all over the world who take part in many activities organized by ILO may bring abundant information into the founding country and are in turn influenced by the country, as well. In addition, people may also go shopping when coming to the founding country. The Linguistics Award set up by ILO is the most authoritative award in the world for the study of linguistics. International linguists all would focus attention on it like they pay attention to the Nobel Prize. If ILO’s fund is enough, the amount of the award would be 1,000,000 dollars which corresponds to that of the Nobel Prize. The declaration, review, and ceremony of the Linguistics Award would attract all the people from all the states and during this process, the founding country would thus be more popular in a natural way; 6. As the enhancement of the popularity of the founding country, its enterprises, products, universities may also be more famous than before, which is beneficial for the companies in the country to explore its international market; As the founding country makes friends of others, its economy must be thriving. And for those who make great contribution to applying for a residence for ILO, their prominent status may help their companies to develop better and finally become world-famous; 7. Since ILO is in the founding country, it will implicitly or explicitly offer more opportunities to those who live in that country. They may work in ILO to become top linguists in the world to honor the country; 8. The history may remember the achievements of the founding country and its leaders. For the aforesaid cause, the sovereign who accepts the proposal of the founder of ILO will be awarded the lifelong honorary President.
    Any state that wants to be the founding country may just accept my appeal without considering attitudes of other countries. ILO aims to provide a place to enhance the study of human language, it doesn’t depend upon any other country; ILO invites participation from language scholars in the world to study linguistics together and encourage excellent researchers by grant, it doesn’t depend upon any other country; The academic results by ILO are to be shared by all the people in the world, it doesn’t depend upon any other country; ILO might apply its research results into the study of human evolution to gain insight into the nature of human, it doesn’t depend upon any other country; The importance of ILO in human history mainly lies in the contribution to furthering the development of human evolution, it doesn’t depend upon any other country; ILO may represent the scholarly ability– especially the study of language– of all human beings, it doesn’t depend upon any other country; ILO may be worshiped by a number of persons from different countries, it doesn’t depend upon any other country.
    The fundamental information of ILO is as following:
    1.The target of ILO: To further the development of linguistics; To further the development of humanity.
    2.The basic task of ILO: a. To provide a common place for the study of language; b. To make the development of humans progress by means of that of language; c. To solve various international linguistic problems.
    3.The working of ILO: There is a policy of membership which means that all the states in the world have the right to be a member of ILO. ILO would invite all the world-famous linguists, ammeter linguists, linguistics clubs, etc. to take part in the research organized by ILO.
    4.The components of ILO: membership meeting; council; executive council; chairman; secretary office; research departments and various institutes; linguistics fund association; linguistics awards council; world language university, language forum.
    5.The major features of ILO: To build international organizations between countries and manage the organizations by the power of member states; To award anyone by grant who is really dedicated to the study of linguistics; To further the development of scholarship only.
    6.The status of ILO: Determined by the in-house sates all rather than any single registration of an individual state. ILO is a “diplomat” to all the countries and it is not governed by any country. The founder of ILO may lay down all the rules and regulations on his or her own. The ultimate possession of ILO belongs to all humans, since the aim of ILO is to serve the world.
    7.The residence of ILO: Its status determines it is international so only a sovereign state (rather than a person or a group) has the right to afford it a residence and rights of diplomacy like the UN. If ILO is afforded a residence by any country in the world, it means its formal emergence.
    8.The research fees of ILO: Provided by member states and the money should be used to the study of language, mainly.
    The procedures of the foundation of ILO are as following:
    1.I now announce that I have founded the ILO; If there is any country that wants to provide a residence for ILO, then, the state will become the founding country which is the most efficient way, I suppose. Any country may take the initiative in becoming the founding country. However, after its pronouncement, the state must contact me to sign related files to obtain the power of management. I am now trying my best to deliver this message to every country. I very much hope that persons and media may help me to let more people know this event.
    2.Before the first membership convention, ILO is led by me to mainly carry out the following activities: a. to seek a residence; b. if gained a residence, to invite participation to construct the membership, organize the counterparts, and employ corresponding workers to begin every scholarly campaign.
    3.When the membership rises up to 50, the first membership convention will be held. In the convention, we will together elect a President and the Charter of International Language Organization may be made. Finally, the President may lead the ILO in accordance with the Charter.
    International Language Organization Founder