Entries by Diane Benscoter

The Adolescent Brain

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies the adolescent brain. In a recent talk she gave at HeadCon 14 she said the following. “If adolescence is a sensitive period for brain development, that is a double-sided coin because although it represents a period of opportunity in which the brain is particularly susceptible to acquiring […]

Robin Williams

In 2009 I had the opportunity to meet Robin Williams.  I was attending the TED conference.  It was the evening before I would be speaking and I was nervous and excited. There was an evening event, a social with food and drinks.  It was opening night for TED 2009.  I had already met and talk […]

Gaza – Extreme, Violent Hatred of the “Other”

Talya Shilok Edry, who has more than one thousand Facebook followers, posted the following “status”: “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.”  Another quote “Sweet settlers, next time you kidnap an Arab boy, call me and let me torture […]

TED Weekends

I’ve been a huge fan of TED for many years, even before I spoke on the TED stage. I first discovered TED in 2001 after searching for “signs of intelligent life in the universe,” to quote Lili Tomlin. I became an immediate fan and set a life goal to attend TED. That goal became a […]

What is So Scary About the Word Atheist?

There is plenty to fear  when it comes to the word atheist.  It’s just not what most people think.  After all, it’s just a word.  It simply describes someone who denies the existence of a supreme being or deity.  Atheists don’t tend to be scary people.  Actual fear of physical harm from atheists isn’t what […]

I am NOT a Deprogrammer – Sorry…

I was deprogrammed from a religious cult.  This word, deprogramming,  implies my mind had been programmed, much like a computer, and that a process could be done to reverse that programming.  I see this as an analogy. Of course it is not as simple as working with computer code.  The complexity of the human mind […]

The Death Of Sun Myung Moon

Sun Myung Moon was an addict.  He was addicted to power and money.  He acquired a great deal of both in his lifetime.  The psychological elements he was able to exploit – to feed his addiction – are similar to those utilized by Hitler, Jim Jones, and leaders of Al Qaeda. Driven by his desire […]

“Us” versus “Them”

The concept of a memeplex is critical to a more peaceful and cooperative world.  I know that’s a strong statement, but I believe it to be true. This concept gives us a means to view, from an evolutionary perspective, how and why we have tended to  clump together into groups with highly polarized ideologies. We […]