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posted by hubie on Friday February 02, @12:04PM   Printer-friendly

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-01-nature-attention.html

New research from University of Utah psychology researchers is helping prove what American authors John Muir and Henry David Thoreau tried to teach more than 150 years ago: Time spent in nature is good for the heart and soul.

Amy McDonnell and David Strayer are showing it is good for your brain, too. Their latest research, conducted at the university's Red Butte Garden, uses electroencephalography (EEG), which records electrical activity in the brain with small discs attached to the scalp, to measure participants' attentional capacity.

"A walk in nature enhances certain executive control processes in the brain above and beyond the benefits associated with exercise," concludes the study appearing in Scientific Reports. The paper contributes to the growing body of scientific literature on how natural settings contribute to a person's physical and mental health. The university itself has recently established a new research group, Nature and Human Health Utah, that explores these issues and proposes solutions for bridging the human-nature divide.

Many researchers suspect a primal need for nature is baked into humans' DNA, and diminishing access to nature is putting our health at risk.

"There's an idea called biophilia that basically says that our evolution over hundreds of thousands of years has got us to have more of a connection or a love of natural living things," said Strayer, a professor of psychology. "And our modern urban environment has become this dense urban jungle with cell phones and cars and computers and traffic, just the opposite of that kind of restorative environment."

Strayer's past research into multitasking and distracted driving associated with cellphone use has drawn national attention. For the past decade, his lab has focused on how nature affects cognition. The new research was part of McDonnell's dissertation as a grad student in Strayer's Applied Cognition Lab. She has since completed her Ph.D. and is continuing the attention research as a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Utah.

The study, conducted in 2022 between April and October, analyzed EEG data recorded on each of 92 participants immediately before and after they undertook a 40-minute walk. Half walked through Red Butte, the arboretum in the foothills just east of the university, and half through the nearby asphalt-laden medical campus.
...
"The participants that had walked in nature showed an improvement in their executive attention on that task, whereas the urban walkers did not, so then we know it's something unique about the environment that you're walking in," McDonnell said. "We know exercise benefits executive attention as well, so we want to make sure both groups have comparable amounts of exercise."

What sets this study apart from much of the existing research into the human-nature nexus is its reliance on EEG data as opposed to surveys and self-reporting, which do yield helpful information but can be highly subjective.

Journal Reference:
Amy S. McDonnell et al, Immersion in nature enhances neural indices of executive attention, Scientific Reports (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-024-52205-1


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday February 02, @01:05PM (9 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday February 02, @01:05PM (#1342777)

    Step 1: You notice the wolf, bear, or other large animal that could kill you pretty easily.
    Step 2: You are definitely paying attention now!

    Your brain is looking for 3 basic things in the natural environment:
    1. Can it kill me? Will it try?
    2. Can I consume it without being poisoned or sickened?
    3. Can I mate with it? Do I want to?

    Have fun!

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @01:39PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @01:39PM (#1342789)

      Ancillary to those "big three" areas of concern, the senses necessary to successfully competitively execute those "big three" functions are constantly exercised and honed in nature. You hear things, see things, smell things, feel things, and are constantly processing the complexity of the situation. Even walking an established trail is weak tea compared to the wild life that millions of generations of our ancestors experienced before about 10,000 years ago. Yes, travelling "off trail" through the woods is risky, but it's also challenging, and our ancestors were those most successful at surviving the challenges long enough to produce successful offspring.

      Sure, living in a stone castle with climate control, pest eradication, serfs growing and delivering food, taking away waste, cleaning the place, performing personal grooming, defending the surrounding village and fields from external threats is nice for those who have it, it's something that "life" has striven for for billions of years, but now that millions of us have it, it's pretty obvious that we're losing large and valuable parts of our evolved selves due to lack of need for them anymore. Many of those traits aren't fading away without a fight, in the forms of disease, depression, etc.

      A walk in the woods at least tickles the neural pathways that were essential in bringing you into existence. I'm not saying you should venture into bear country without a sidearm, but big parts of your evolutionary history manifested in your brain and body will be happier, and better functioning, if you give them the inputs and exercise they evolved to work with.
       

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @10:06AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @10:06AM (#1342938)

        A walk in an urban environment can also require those "big three" functions, there are vehicles and people who might kill/harm you.

        So is the "requirement" alone enough to generate a similar effect on the brain?

        If it's certain sights and sounds then will there be a similar effect with a VR helmet?

        If it's certain smells then maybe try doing a similar test in an urban style environment but with the scents + smells.

        All that said I don't doubt there could some psychological thing with "nature", after all scenery, aesthetics etc has an impact.

        What I do find interesting is the "Overview effect": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_effect [wikipedia.org]

        Barring "sci fi" style explanations, our ancestors couldn't have evolved such a thing before right? So is it an emergent?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday February 04, @12:52AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday February 04, @12:52AM (#1342988)

          >A walk in an urban environment can also require those "big three" functions, there are vehicles and people who might kill/harm you.

          True, and some of the stuff we crave in our urban environments substitutes for the things we look for in nature, but you've gotta admit: flat concrete isn't as stimulating as rough ground, vehicles are generally better behaved than wolves or even buffalo, and while the occasional person is dangerous, the ratio of safe to dangerous people is much higher in a city than in the middle of nowhere - and the sheer number of vehicles and people is something rare - not unheard of - but rarer in nature.

          >If it's certain sights and sounds then will there be a similar effect with a VR helmet?

          Probably a weak tea sort of better than a sensory deprivation chamber kind of effect.

          >the "Overview effect"

          For people who can "wrap their heads around it" without flipping into "moon landing was a Hollywood hoax" denial mode... yeah, that's a good one that sort of makes me think of "higher forces" at work: once you're advanced enough to see things from that perspective you should acquire the respect to protect that limited resource...

          As for evolving such a thing, the Simba speech already is an overview effect kind of terrestrial analog: "All the light touches will be your kingdom..."

          --
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    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday February 02, @03:34PM (2 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Friday February 02, @03:34PM (#1342804) Journal

      You just described the Survival game genre. #3 isn't usually part of the game, though.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Tork on Friday February 02, @09:29PM (1 child)

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @09:29PM (#1342868)
        Try playing online.
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday February 05, @04:25PM

          by Freeman (732) on Monday February 05, @04:25PM (#1343151) Journal

          Demolition Man taught me that virtual sex isn't as good as the real thing.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by DannyB on Friday February 02, @04:50PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @04:50PM (#1342824) Journal

      Your brain is looking for 3 basic things in the natural environment

      That, for some reason, reminded me of some wisdumb that I learned on Usenet in the early 1990s. Whether it is true or not, I do not know . . .

      The hypothalamus regulates what scientists refer to as "the four F's"
      1. Fighting
      2. Fleeing
      3. Feeding
      4. Mating

      Now I would observe that these all seem to apply even in a modern city environment. However item 3 may be mostly junk food. Items 1 and 2 may be more about gangs or thugs. Item 4 is done online in the cloud from mom's basement.

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    • (Score: 2) by Mojibake Tengu on Friday February 02, @07:52PM

      by Mojibake Tengu (8598) on Friday February 02, @07:52PM (#1342854) Journal

      Congratulations! Now you can play Starfield with success...

      --
      Respect Authorities. Know your social status. Woke responsibly.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @01:15AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @01:15AM (#1342884)

      > ... or other large animal that could kill you pretty easily.

      Around here its the deer ticks that can kill you (or greatly inconvenience you). Lyme disease has cut down greatly on my time in the wilderness...and I have access to 100 acres of wilderness in a family owned piece of undeveloped property, which borders on thousands of acres of state forest (mostly unused...except in fall hunting season).

      These days I mostly visit that wilderness property in my imagination, remembering the summer a group of friends camped there, and many other shorter trips.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Friday February 02, @01:07PM (11 children)

    by VLM (445) on Friday February 02, @01:07PM (#1342778)

    dense urban jungle with cell phones and cars and computers and traffic

    I would theorize rather than a stressful desktop windows 11 PC jumping into ones path while on a walk in the hood, the problem with urban areas is urbanites. Stress due to high crime, vandalism, crazy homeless people, poop on the sidewalks, needles and crack/meth pipes on the ground, advertisements everywhere. Versus a nice comfy enclosed security patrolled parklike empty area being lower stress.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @01:43PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @01:43PM (#1342790)

      I need to look up the statistics (unreliable as they may be) again, but depression and suicide is common among the wealthy and comfortable - particularly the too-comfortable.

      I think it's slightly more common in the "highly challenged" ranks of society who have no choice but to deal with urbanite problems, certainly in the forms of slow self-destruction like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, etc. but... the rich do that too.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @01:46PM (8 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @01:46PM (#1342791)

      Peter Gabriel put it this way on the "Shock the Monkey" album:

      The time I like is the rush hour, 'cause I like the rush
      The pushing of the people, I like it all so much
      Such a mass of motion, do not know where it goes
      I move with the movement and, I have the touch
      I'm waiting for ignition, I'm looking for a spark
      Any chance collision and I light up in the dark
      There you stand before me, all that fur and all that hair
      Oh, do I dare, I have the touch
      Wanting contact
      I'm wanting contact
      I'm wanting contact with you
      Shake those hands, shake those hands
      Give me the thing I understand
      Shake those hands, shake those hands
      Shake those hands, shake those hands
      Any social occasion, it's hello, how do you do
      All those introductions, I never miss my cue
      So before a question, so before a doubt
      My hand moves out and, I have the touch

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by nostyle on Friday February 02, @02:29PM (7 children)

        by nostyle (11497) on Friday February 02, @02:29PM (#1342796) Journal

        Well done, and let me compliment your style. Then there's ZZ Top's TLDR version:

        I ain't asking for much
        I said, Lord, take me downtown
        I'm just looking for some tush

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @04:27PM (6 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @04:27PM (#1342817)

          Downtown does seem exciting to adolescent humans "wanting contact / lookin' for some tush" but when you strip away the cognitive assault of all the printed words and flashing lights, it's actually a pretty dull place compared with an old growth forest, or even the open savannas before our ancestors extincted the megafauna. We spend 10-20 years in school learning to understand / interpret spoken and printed words and symbols, instead of spending that time "in the woods" learning all there is to know about the sights, sounds, smells, rhythms, relationships, etc. of the natural world like the millions of pre-urban generations before us did. We need that "school knowledge" to navigate modern society, but genetically we've got much deeper programming for navigation of natural spaces.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday February 02, @04:59PM (5 children)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @04:59PM (#1342828) Journal

            In the modern society we live longer and certainly more comfortably. Have a vast multitude of conveniences. Entertainment.

            We don't generally worry about nocturnal predators eating us when we lie down at night.

            Most children now survive past age ten.

            The modern world is not without its advantages.

            As for the 10-20 years spent getting an education, that has often been done for millennia, to some extent, before modern technology.

            The rise of technology and the modern world, from the first use of fire, spears, clubs and wheels to the intarweb tubes and space fright are just a continuous effort by humans to make their world easier and more comfortable. And on an academic level, to understand the world around us. That it surprisingly isn't flat. That electromagnetic principles can be useful and labor saving rather than simply a parlor trick.

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            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @05:22PM (4 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @05:22PM (#1342840)

              I'm not saying we should give up modern life, but to ignore the billion+ years of evolution that brought us to the point of being able to build the modern world would be foolish.

              Early Star Trek would occasionally poke fun at modernization of food (and maybe other things) with little concentrated colorful things to eat, then the aliens came along who only ate one super pill a day - Kirk points out "we prefer to continue to eat..."

              TNG brought in the holodeck, and while it was an infinitely variable environment, they most often used it to return to more natural / older settings.

              Keep school (fuck student loans), keep extending lifespans - but recognize when you've gone too far or forgotten what's important. End-stage MDs are particular whack-jobs, my Grandfather had circulation problems in his legs, he had a scare/hospitalization one year, then he had a good healthy lucid year after that with full awareness that the next time he would probably lose a leg. When that time came, the MD couldn't understand his decision to die rather than amputate (in his 70s). "If there's a chance to save life, you ALWAYS do that!" Granddad didn't see it that way, he saw life in his 70s without his leg as being an un-necessary burden to his wife and himself. Stacking our elders in "memory care" facilities to live out their days unable to interact with the world, in a pretty jail, going seven kinds of crazy while their offspring visit once or twice a year? Too far in my book. Even if they do get to walk in the gardens three days a week with a support nurse, when the weather is nice.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
              • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday February 02, @05:32PM (3 children)

                by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @05:32PM (#1342842) Journal

                It is good to recognize when you're going too far before you go there.

                Will we as a species, do that with AI, which seems to be the big scary thing these days?

                When end of life medical issues become too much it sure would be nice if it were possible for an individual to make a rational sane well informed choice to bring it to an end.

                I remember student loans. But they weren't that bad back in the day. The education I got in return allowed me to make a decent living right out of school. Within just over half a decade I got a major bump my salary and decided the slow repayment of the student loan wasn't worth the trouble of hand-writing checks and mailing (remember that?) and just paid it off while looking for a new car.

                It feels NOW like the world really is in trouble. (But the old people said that back when I was young?) The memories I have of a lifetime are that the time I lived in was about the best time to be born in to.

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                • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @06:05PM (1 child)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @06:05PM (#1342844)

                  My view on end of life is: if you wanna go, you should be able to go. I think something along the lines of a year long process with declaration of intent given to a counselor monthly should be enough. Life insurance policies should include a 90% refund of all premiums paid if you go the legal suicide route. Maybe if you get the consent of your legal spouse and all contactable living family, you could accelerate the process for compassionate reasons, but still there should be a legal option. The counselors should pry about your problems, put you in touch with resources that can help, etc. But otherwise, we get even more people flinging themselves from high places (as happened in my 12 story college dorm about once ever 2 years, not students, just people from the street who snuck in past security...)

                  If we "create" an AI that we can't control, I say we've gotten what we deserve. Much like the building of London over the centuries as a plague pit, fire trap, cess pool and every other kind of urban woe - difference being: an out of control AI will likely have global consequences, much like letting the oil industry run rampant for 80+ years...

                  I had an $8K student loan taken in 1985 - right at the beginning of the program. Tuition at my University more than doubled during my 4 undergrad years, from $10K to $20K in round numbers, my four years were $60K in round sum. Starting sophmore year they extended new scholarships that meant I got a full ride instead of half, but a few years later they spun down the extra aid as they calibrated for just how much they could charge without losing enrollment. The quality of education didn't noticeably improve, we did get a couple of new fountains on campus to have nice photo-op landmarks. Basically, the University started pumping up their endowment by getting their students to mortgage their future incomes to the school, payback guaranteed by Reagan's administration and its successors.

                  >the time I lived in was about the best time to be born in to

                  I wonder how much of that is a kind of evolved self-psychology... When you consider the "best time" it should really be the "best space-time" accounting for where, and to whom, you are born. The decades I have lived have presented life in the present-day US through rose tinted glasses to ourselves and the rest of the world. I don't have much to complain about, but then when I compare my single income to the median income in my zip code, county, state and country, my take home pay is well above median household income, so... by the numbers, most US citizens can't solve their problems with a credit card swipe the way my wife and I can. But, to look at popular media, we're ghetto in our barely 2000 square foot home with old cars on a not-so glamorous side of town...

                  My parent's generation certainly took a huge step up in quality of life compared to their parents... I'm on track to more or less match my parents opportunities and outcome, my brother 5 years younger not so much. My children 35ish years younger, not at all - unless my parents' generation cashes out and hands down their hoards before rising sea level crashes the value of their waterfront property, or they spend it all on whatever they need in their twilight years. My personal hoard is tracking to be about 50% of my mother's, after he divorced my father "married well" to a woman 10 years older than me so it's hard to guess how much, if any, of her sizeable recent inheritance will ever get to my children. My children, and most of their generation, are on track to die broke.

                  I could have been born on the same day in the same hospital to different parents and had a very different life. Most of the other babies born that day in that place didn't have even half my opportunities. Most of them also had black skin...

                  --
                  🌻🌻 [google.com]
                  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 04, @01:23AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 04, @01:23AM (#1342989)

                    But otherwise, we get even more people flinging themselves from high places (as happened in my 12 story college dorm about once ever 2 years, not students, just people from the street who snuck in past security...)

                    I always liked the description of how the arcology building in Niven and Pournelle's Oath of Fealty handled that. As the biggest building around, they got a lot of jumpers. When people got to the roof, there was an unclimbable fence all the way around - except for one small section where they had a diving board.

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @10:22PM

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @10:22PM (#1342872)

                  Just to hit student loans one more time... back in the day they weren't bad at all...

                  I took $8K in student loans freshman year, 8% interest but zero until I got out of school. I went for a Master's so I took 6.5 years. During those years you could get 5% interest in passbook savings, so instead of giving "the man" $8k up front, I took the loans, then paid them almost immediately upon getting out, earning over $2700 in interest on that $8K while I was in school. Now, I personally wasn't holding that $8k at the time, but my family was... That interest just about covered the car insurance my mom paid for me as long as I was in school...

                  Of course, sophomore year the bank - without telling me at all - put my loans into repayment status and of course since I didn't know they were in repayment status they ran up to 120 days past due before the bank noticed and took them out of repayment, again without telling me, but with putting that 30, 60, 90, 120 days past due on my credit report - which I didn't discover until trying to get a mortgage some years later...

                  --
                  🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Freeman on Friday February 02, @03:40PM

      by Freeman (732) on Friday February 02, @03:40PM (#1342806) Journal

      I mean, if there's security it's there for a reason. About the only place I actually like to have the "security" is in national parks with park rangers roaming about. In the event that you need to have a security force roaming about your "idealistic park", perhaps you should move. Yes, big cities have some advantages to little towns. Live 30 to 45 minutes outside of a big city and you'll actually start to see why living in a big city is generally awful. While being 30-45 minutes outside of the big city isn't "the country" by any means, those places are generally a lot nicer to live. You just have to be willing to commute to the big city, if your job is there. Better yet, find a work from home job.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @01:17PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @01:17PM (#1342782)

    Leave your fucking phone at home.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @02:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @02:05PM (#1342793)

      > Leave your fucking phone at home.

      Okay, but what about my other one?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @02:36PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @02:36PM (#1342797)

      To be honest, leaving the phone at home defeats the purpose of a mobile phone, which is to call for help in an emergency. I prefer to take the phone with me, powered off, and in a pocket. That's just me, though.

      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday February 02, @03:46PM

        by Freeman (732) on Friday February 02, @03:46PM (#1342808) Journal

        I prefer to use it as a camera and to have a battery bank + charge cord, so I don't run out of power.

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday February 02, @05:02PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @05:02PM (#1342830) Journal

      If I wanted to leave my phone at home, I wouldn't have bought a mobile phone in the first place.

      The entire reason to have it, is to have it available at all times in case it is needed. You don't have to let it run your life. It's purpose is to help you, not make you a slave to it. Rather than leave it at home, simply learn to control it. Silence it or turn it off.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @06:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @06:14PM (#1342845)

      OK to leave in car if you're on a trail used by a lot of people, but if you twist your ankle in the middle of somewhere you might be alone, you at least want a chance. A PLB is really the best thing for that, but most people don't have those.

      A better piece of advice is to be judicious about the phone--quit taking it out every 5 minutes. It can definitely ruin the vibe.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by BlueCoffee on Friday February 02, @03:36PM (2 children)

    by BlueCoffee (18257) on Friday February 02, @03:36PM (#1342805)

    Doesn't everyone know that being in nature, even just a small city park or your back yard, is calming,relaxing, re-enertizing, and peaceful? Birds chirping, chipmunks munking around, crows cawing at each other from distant trees. Waves on a beach. Watching and hearing everyting wind down during sunsets. Watching and hearing the world wake up and come alive in the morning during sunrise.

    The best things in live are free.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Freeman on Friday February 02, @03:44PM

      by Freeman (732) on Friday February 02, @03:44PM (#1342807) Journal

      I mean, I would enjoy those things more, if I didn't need upwards of 4 different allergy medications to be somewhere near normal, functionally.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @05:03PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @05:03PM (#1342831)

      Even in the 1850s, Frederick Law Olmsted [centralparknyc.org] did.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday February 02, @05:12PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @05:12PM (#1342835) Journal

    Maybe I am alone in this. There is not any other time in history that I would like to be alive more than now in the modern world.

    I don't find any or very little appeal in movies set in ancient times past, even a different millennia, such as before about the 1980s when I was college age.

    Whatever it is that appeals to people about nature never seemed to take hold of me. I always found a "star trek" type of environment to be more appealing. Seriously.

    So maybe I'm just too much of a geek.

    I don't have a problem with, for example, going to the mountains in Colorado for a week family reunion hang out. It it s a lot more nature with all of the urban conveniences. Mostly the appeal there is catching up with everyone and having lots of long talks.

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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @06:21PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @06:21PM (#1342846)

      > I always found a "star trek" type of environment to be more appealing.

      Kirk and McCoy on the original 5 year mission... not so much, I didn't want to enroll in the nuclear submarine corps either.

      TNG - that was fantasy land for sure. Nearly unlimited cheap energy at the base of it all.

      Both lived in the fantasy of a world where all humans "got along" and worked together for common goals. Until we achieve that, reality is gonna continue to suck.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday February 02, @06:31PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @06:31PM (#1342849) Journal

        Yep. Humans are the problem in any utopia fantasy.

        Our tech is (mostly) great. But humans are the root of the problems we have. Greed. Lust. If only Dr. Morbius [wikipedia.org] could carefully hand out tech advancements as and when he thinks humanity is ready for them.

        I also recognized in TNG that their utopia was largely from unlimited cheap energy combined with technology like replicators. DS9 made that even more clear. At some point in DS9 some senior Federation people back on earth described the then modern earth as a paradise.

        "It is now safe to turn off your computer." -- HAL 9000

        --
        To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @06:46PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @06:46PM (#1342851)

          I thought it was a little sad that Roddenberry couldn't conceive of a United Earth without having bi-weekly interactions with common enemies like the Klingons (dark skinned warriors...) and Romulans (Russians, by any other name?)

          Of course "First Contact" had to be with a peaceful future ally, otherwise we'd have been blasted into the Flintstones within the year.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 2) by cereal_burpist on Saturday February 03, @04:47AM

    by cereal_burpist (35552) on Saturday February 03, @04:47AM (#1342899)

    "We start out by having participants do a really draining cognitive task in which they count backwards from 1,000 by sevens, which is really hard," McDonnell said. "No matter how good you are at mental math, it gets pretty draining after 10 minutes. And then right after that, we give them an attention task."

    So, more than 10 minutes of counting backwards.... Umm, can I switch to the Stanford prison experiment? Have mercy!

  • (Score: 2) by Lester on Monday February 05, @08:48AM

    by Lester (6231) on Monday February 05, @08:48AM (#1343074) Journal

    There is another theory: The desert theory.

    When you are in a city, there is no grass, no trees, no animals, no water at sight. Our instinct tell us we are in the desert, and we are in danger and we must reach place were life can be sustained. That is an unnoticed stress that is accumulative.

    Bullshit. All these are ad-hoc theories that can't be proved or refuted.

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