Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of the Situationist news items of February 2009. (They are listed in alphabetical order by source.)
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From The Economist: “The kindness of crowds”
“According to a much-reported survey carried out in 2002, Britain then had 4.3m closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras—one for every 14 people in the country. That figure has since been questioned, but few doubt that Britons are closely scrutinised when they walk the streets. This scrutiny is supposed to deter and detect crime. Even the government’s statistics, though, suggest that the cameras have done little to reduce the worst sort of criminal activity, violence. That may, however, be about to change, and in an unexpected way. It is not that the cameras and their operators will become any more effective. Rather, they have accidentally gathered a huge body of data on how people behave, and particularly on how they behave in situations where violence is in the air. This means that hypotheses about violent behaviour which could not be tested experimentally for practical or ethical reasons, can now be examined in a scientific way. And it is that which may help violence to be controlled.” Read more . . .
From Miller McCune: “The Down Side of Self Control”
“Self-control is a limited resource, one we cannot go on exercising indefinitely any more than we can run 100 miles without rest and replenishment. A group of research psychologists has been proposing and refining that concept for more than a decade, and in a newly published paper, two of them report it has disturbing moral implications.” Read more . . .
From Science Daily: “Collective Religious Rituals, Not Religious Devotion, Spur Support For Suicide Attacks”
“ In a new study in Psychological Science, psychologists Jeremy Ginges and Ian Hansen from the New School for Social Research along with psychologist Ara Norenzayan from the University of British Columbia conducted a series of experiments investigating the relationship between religion and support for acts of parochial altruism, including suicide attacks. . . . The researchers found that the relationship between religion and support suicide attacks is real but is unrelated to devotion to particular religious beliefs or religious belief in general. Instead, collective religious ritual appears to facilitate parochial altruism in general and support for suicide attacks in particular.” Read more . . .
From Science Daily: “If Its Hard To Say, It Must Be Risky”
“Will it seem safer when its name is easy to pronounce? In a new study reported in Psychological Science psychologists Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz from the University of Michigan present evidence that we if have problems pronouncing something, we will consider it to be risky.” Read more . . .
From Science Daily: “Violent Media Numbs Viewers To The Pain Of Others”
“Violent video games and movies make people numb to the pain and suffering of others, according to a research report published in the March 2009 issue of Psychological Science.” Read more . . .
From Time: “Giving the Finger: This Hurts Me More Than You”
“No one knows whether Plato ever flipped anyone the bird — but he might have. People have been raising their middle finger to indicate something other than “Does this cuticle need trimming?” since the time of the ancient Greeks. Like democracy and feta cheese, it spread around the world.” Read more . . .