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food-for-thoughtPrimates on Facebook

The “Dunbar number“, which is supposedly the maximum amount (150) of people an individual can interact without loosing his mind, keeps being consistent. Even in online social networks like Facebook, no matter how big the friend list is, the number of people they interact with stays pretty low. A study done by Cameron Marlow shows the pattern:

Thus an average man—one with 120 friends—generally responds to the postings of only seven of those friends by leaving comments on the posting individual’s photos, status messages or “wall”. An average woman is slightly more sociable, responding to ten. When it comes to two-way communication such as e-mails or chats, the average man interacts with only four people and the average woman with six. Among those Facebook users with 500 friends, these numbers are somewhat higher, but not hugely so. Men leave comments for 17 friends, women for 26. Men communicate with ten, women with 16.

Is Genius Born or Can it Be Learned?

If more thinkers stopped with the “nature vs nurture” debate and take another approach to studying the genius phenomenon, maybe we can start understanding it better. From the Time article:

For most of its history, the debate over what leads to genius has been dominated by a bitter, binary argument: is it nature or is it nurture — is genius genetically inherited, or are geniuses the products of stimulating and supportive homes? Simonton takes the reasonable position that geniuses are the result of both good genes and good surroundings. His middle-of-the-road stance sets him apart from more ideological proponents like Galton (the founder of eugenics) as well as revisionists like Gladwell who argue that dedication and practice, as opposed to raw intelligence, are the most crucial determinants of success.

How the Crash will Reshape America

This one is gargantuan, so I’m just pulling a random quote so you can keep on with your life. Bookmark it now, panic later. From the Atlantic article:

No place in the United States is likely to escape a long and deep recession. Nonetheless, as the crisis continues to spread outward from New York, through industrial centers like Detroit, and into the Sun Belt, it will undoubtedly settle much more heavily on some places than on others. Some cities and regions will eventually spring back stronger than before. Others may never come back at all. As the crisis deepens, it will permanently and profoundly alter the country’s economic landscape. I believe it marks the end of a chapter in American economic history, and indeed, the end of a whole way of life.