Summary of “Reality Is Nothing But a Hallucination: A Mind-Bending Crash Course on the Neuroscience of Consciousness”

If you’ve been accused of living in “a world of your own,” get ready for some validation.
As cognitive scientist Anil Seth argues in “Your Brain Hallucinates Your Conscious Reality,” the TED Talk above, everyone lives in a world of their own – at least if by “Everyone” you mean “Every brain,” by “World” you mean “Entire reality,” and by “Of their own” you mean “That it has created for itself.” With all the signals it receives from our senses and all the prior experiences it has organized into expectations, each of our brains constructs a coherent image of reality – a “Multisensory, panoramic 3D, fully, immersive inner movie” – for us to perceive.
“Perception has to be a process of ‘informed guesswork,'” says the TED Blog’s accompanying notes, “In which sensory signals are combined with prior expectations about the way the world is, to form the brain’s best guess of the causes of these signals.”
Seth uses optical illusions and classic experiments to underscore the point that “We don’t just passively perceive the world; we actively generate it. The world we experience comes as much from the inside-out as the outside-in,” in a process hardly different from that which we casually call hallucination.
“It’s just that when we agree about our hallucinations, that’s what we call ‘reality.'” And as for what, exactly, constitutes the “We,” our brains do a good deal of work to construct that too.
Seventeen minutes only allows Dash to go so far down the rabbit hole of the neuroscience of consciousness, but he’ll galvanize the curiosity of anyone with even a mild interest in this mind-mending subject.
He leaves us with a few implications of his and others’ research to consider: first, “Just as we can misperceive the world, we can misperceive ourselves”; second, “What it means to be me cannot be reduced to – or uploaded to – a software program running on an advanced robot, however sophisticated”; third, “Our individual inner universe is just one way of being conscious, and even human consciousness generally is a tiny region in a vast space of possible consciousnesses.” As we’ve learned, in a sense, from every TED Talk, no matter how busy a brain may be constructing both reality and the self, it can always come up with a few big takeaways for the audience.
He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Japan’s Rural Aging Population”

Japan is slowly becoming something like one big city-state, with the majority of the population centered in an urban belt that runs through the cluster of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, all located relatively near each other, along the route of Japan’s bullet train.
In 1950, 53 percent of Japan’s population lived in urban regions; by 2014, 93 percent did.
Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs says that now, around 15,000 of Japan’s 65,000 or so communities have more than half of their population over the age of 65.
Overall, Japan’s population is expected to shrink from a peak of 128 million in 2010 to 97 million by 2050.
The disappearance of towns and cities across rural Japan is not necessarily a problem in itself.
The reasons that Japan’s rural population is shrinking and aging mirror those in the United States and other developed countries.
There’s another reason that rural areas in Japan have a faster-growing share of elderly people than those in the rest of the world: the country’s falling fertility rate.
The problem is not necessarily that Japan will run out of money to care for its growing elderly population.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Thanks to Amazon, Seattle is now America’s biggest company town”

Amazon’s extraordinary growth has turned Seattle into the biggest company town in America.
Amazon now occupies a mind-boggling 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, the most for any employer in a major U.S. city, according to a new analysis conducted for The Seattle Times.
Amazon’s footprint in Seattle is more than twice as large as any other company in any other big U.S. city, and the e-commerce giant’s expansion here is just getting started.
That’s only the beginning: Amazon’s Seattle footprint of 8.1 million square feet is expected to soar to more than 12 million square feet within five years.
When Schoettler, the Amazon real-estate executive, joined the company in 2001, it had 630,000 square feet in Seattle.
Altogether, Amazon occupies or plans to be in about three dozen office buildings in Seattle.
Amazon recently leased 400,000 square feet in Bellevue, and various real-estate sources said the company is interested in taking over the entire office portion of a forthcoming 58-story downtown Seattle skyscraper at Rainier Square, scheduled to open in 2019.
The world’s largest e-commerce company, has been long criticized for destroying Main Street retail jobs, in Seattle’s case the influx of Amazon jobs has been accompanied by a boom in local retail.

The orginal article.

Summary of “100 trips everyone should take in their lifetime according to the world’s top travel experts”

Business Insider UK asked 20 top travel bloggers and writers/editors from the likes of Lonely Planet, Suitcase, and Airbnb for the top five destinations they’ve ever visited – or the ones that are at the top of their bucket list.
Based on their advice, we’ve compiled a list of must-see places across the globe that everyone should visit in their lifetime.
From off-the-beaten-track hidden gems to well-recognised yet stunning locations, prepare to get hit with some serious travel envy as you scroll on to see the 100 destinations everyone should visit in their lifetime – along with why everyone should experience each trip.
Take a road trip around Louisiana, USA. As a travel writer and journalist, Inside The Travel Lab owner Abi King knows a thing or two about destinations.
Kiersten Rich, owner of travel blog and Instagram account The Blonde Abroad, told Business Insider: “Situated in the protected Bazaruto National Park, the Bazaruto Archipelago is one of the best places I’ve ever been scuba diving, and is one of the more memorable and naturally beautiful places I’ve traveled.
“From the big-little-city of Cape Town to the delicious food and wine of the Stellenbosch Winelands [and] the game reserves helping to conserve and protect the Big Five , South Africa is a magical place that everyone should experience,” Rich said.
Srin Madipalli, CEO and Co-Founder of travel website Accomable which specializes in disabled travel, told Business Insider: “Before I started Accomable I was working as a City lawyer and took six months out to go traveling.
Pauline Egge, journalist, photographer, and owner of the travel blog Petite Passport, told Business Insider: “You’re staying at old fishermen’s huts transformed by one of the best architects from Lisbon into a designer place to stay.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Richard Florida Is Sorry”

To make his case for the creative class, Florida subjected it to strange quantifications.
Florida reassures readers that all human beings are fundamentally creative animals, but only a third of us can make a living that way.
The creative classes – to which you may, unknowingly, belong – include journalists, college professors, tech workers, graphic designers, and artists of any kind: basically anyone not working in the repetitious and decidedly uncreative manufacturing or service sectors.
The “Creative classes” both diagnosed the present state of cities and offered recommendations for future action.
Setting aside the rhetoric of innovation, economic growth, and entrepreneurship, we can locate something ironically Marxist about Florida’s ideas: human beings are fundamentally creative, which is the source of economic value, and people become alienated when they cannot control the fruits of their creativity.
After fifteen years of development plans tailored to the creative classes, Florida surveys an urban landscape in ruins.
The “Creative class” were just the rich all along, or at least the college-educated children of the rich.
As early as 2005 he described the “Externalities” of the rise of the creative classes – namely, they brought dizzying levels of income inequality into every city that they’ve inhabited.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Electric-Bike Conundrum”

We were in the midst of saying goodbye on the small island between the bike lane and the avenue when a bike whooshed by, soundless and very fast.
Like most of the guys you see with electric bikes in New York, he was a food-delivery guy.
Their bikes are so conspicuously something other than a bike, for one thing.
“It’s just a much cheaper and faster way of getting to work than a car. So they use an electric bike.”
On a bike, you know where the hills are, you know how to time the lights, you calibrate for the movement of cars in traffic, other bikes, pedestrians.
The electric bike was a new velocity on the streets.
The most important factor for bike safety, more than bikes lanes or helmets or lights, is the number of cyclists on the streets.
The more people who ride bikes, the safer the conditions for everyone on a bike.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Richard Florida Is Sorry”

To make his case for the creative class, Florida subjected it to strange quantifications.
Florida reassures readers that all human beings are fundamentally creative animals, but only a third of us can make a living that way.
The creative classes – to which you may, unknowingly, belong – include journalists, college professors, tech workers, graphic designers, and artists of any kind: basically anyone not working in the repetitious and decidedly uncreative manufacturing or service sectors.
The “Creative classes” both diagnosed the present state of cities and offered recommendations for future action.
Setting aside the rhetoric of innovation, economic growth, and entrepreneurship, we can locate something ironically Marxist about Florida’s ideas: human beings are fundamentally creative, which is the source of economic value, and people become alienated when they cannot control the fruits of their creativity.
After fifteen years of development plans tailored to the creative classes, Florida surveys an urban landscape in ruins.
The “Creative class” were just the rich all along, or at least the college-educated children of the rich.
As early as 2005 he described the “Externalities” of the rise of the creative classes – namely, they brought dizzying levels of income inequality into every city that they’ve inhabited.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Letter From Abuja: The Fading Sheen of Nigeria’s Capital City – Common Edge”

The city of Abuja, often touted as Africa’s fastest growing city, was conceived in 1976 in response to the growing chaos and inefficiency of Lagos, Nigeria’s old capital city.
Forty years after its designation as Nigeria’s new capital city, Abuja has grown from a band of sparsely-populated villages, into one of West Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities.
The capital, with its impressive architecture, extensive roads, large parks and green areas, and idiosyncratic master plan, prides itself as a contemporary African model city, thus attracting people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
According to a 2010 Euro monitor special report, the city’s population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, making it the fastest growing city in the world during that period.
The city’s light rail project, which will eventually connect the neighborhoods with its suburban districts, is finally nearing completion, ten years after the city first broke ground on it.
Although almost every home within the city today has a running tap, most residents in the newer districts aren’t connected to the city’s main system.
In addition to all the developmental challenges, the city has also experienced protests from the original inhabitants of Abuja, a group made up all the indigenous tribes that had hitherto occupied the lands around the capital city and its territories.
The city also needs to focus on completing all of its on-going transportation projects, and embark on new ones until every part of the city is seamlessly-and equitably-connected.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Even the Hyperloop Probably Wouldn’t Change Your Commute Time”

Philadelphia and Washington could become linked the way Manhattan and Brooklyn are today, if the travel costs are comparable.
High-speed rail in parts of Europe and Japan has already begun to have such effects.
Luis Bettencourt, who heads the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation at the University of Chicago, said cities could start to specialize even more than they do today.
That’s a little faster than the fastest operating speed for a train in the world today, the Shanghai maglev.
They may give commuters greater speed – even without higher speed limits – by reducing congestion and car wrecks, or with vehicle platooning and synchronized traffic lights.
They could wholly upend Mr. Marchetti’s theories: If a car becomes a traveling office, will people even mentally measure their commutes as “Travel time”?
He and Mr. Ausubel even developed ideas for maglevs that traveled in low-pressure tubes.
Before today’s hyperloop slogans, Mr. Marchetti mused about Casablanca-to-Paris in just 20 minutes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Forced Into the City After 9,000 Years in the Jungle”

With him are his wife and toddler and infant sons, four of the roughly 500 indigenous Warao people of Venezuela seeking refuge in the Brazilian city of Manaus.
There is no refugee flow quite like that of the Warao to Manaus.
To regain them, in December 2016, the first Warao embarked on a thousand-mile journey, passing south through midsize Venezuelan cities and Brazilian border towns to reach a true metropolis: Manaus.
By April, 318 Warao had made their way to the city, and government agencies and charities rallied to care for them.
Some of the Warao found treatment in a small, air-conditioned room near the city center, often using two translators-one for Warao to Spanish, and another for Spanish to Portuguese.
City doctors, who’ve instructed the Warao on hygiene and how to take medicine, have administered more than 1,000 examinations.
The Warao may be getting a relatively friendly reception because many Manaus residents are descended from the refugees of the economic and climatic disasters of previous eras.
Among the Warao now living in the city, Quiñonez finds his connections to his homeland fraying.

The orginal article.