Frans de Waal on low frequency audio as a social instrument: “The host, Larry King, would adjust his timbre to that of high-ranking guests, like Mike Wallace or Elizabeth Taylor. Low-ranking guests, on the other hand, would adjust their timbre to that of King. The clearest adjustment to King’s voice, indicating lack of confidence, came from former Vice President Dan Quayle.” (via mr)
Interview with Frans de Waal about his work with primate behavior and politics. “I call the human species the most bipolar ape, meaning that we go beyond chimps in our violence, which is systematic and often results in thousands of dead, and we go beyond the bonobo in our empathy and love for others, so that human altruism is truly remarkable.”
I’ll write more in-depth about a few of the speakers here, but for now, here are some soundbites (my comments in brackets):
- Andrew Zolli: All societies have an image of the future. Those that have optimistic images have better outcomes than those with pessimistic images. [The US right now seems optimistic overall, but getting a bit more pessimistic. At PopTech this year and last, about 1/2 the speakers said during their talks something to the effect of “we’re screwed”.]
- Malcolm Gladwell talking about a chapter from Blink:
One of the many ways in which asking someone what they think isn’t necessarily the best way to find out what they want: people move away from the more sophisticated idea and they go for the simpler choice because they don’t have the necessary “vocabulary” to explain their real feelings. [You may prefer The Hours to Goldeneye, but when asked to justify that choice, you may find yourself favoring the Bond flick more than you would if you didn’t have to justify it.]
- Frans de Waal studies primate behavior to gain insight into human behavior. One of his findings: aggression does not disperse, it brings primates together more often than normal. [Destruction is creative. Creativity is destructive. Or something.]
- Bruce Mau: Not all countries have embraced democracy, but most have embraced traffic (individual transportation). [There are many different ways in which openness can be introduced into a culture.]
- Thomas Barnett: China is 30% Marxist Communist, 70% The Sopranos.
- Phillip Longman: Secular societies that cannot reproduce will be replaced by fundamentalist countries where children are an economic asset and a gift from God. And in Brazil, television viewing time predicts birth rate…the more TV a woman watches, the less likely she is to have children.