Joshua Reynolds Quotes

Joshua Reynolds Quotes

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Unattractive Real Estate Agents Achieve Quicker Sales | Dollars and Sex | Big Think

Unattractive Real Estate Agents Achieve Quicker Sales | Dollars and Sex | Big Think

I am trying to sell my house at the moment in a particularly hot local housing market. The market isn’t the only thing that is hot. So is my agent. It turns out that her attractiveness could be very good news in terms of the price the house is sold for, but bad news in terms of how long it is on the market.

Research published last month finds that the personal characteristics of real estate agents matter to house prices and the length of time a house is on the market, even after controlling for the quality of the house.

In their analysis the researchers control for age of the property, size of the house, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, location of the home and, as controls for quality, whether or not the house has hardwood flooring, brick siding and granite countertops.

It turns out having a male agent is bad for the selling price of a house. Both male listing agents (those acting on behalf of the seller) and male selling agents (those acting on behalf of the buyer) are associated with lower house prices than their female counterparts. The gender of the agent, however, has no effect on how long a house is on the market.

Being attractive, for both listing and selling agents, is associated with higher final sale price for a house, with the effect on house prices of having an attractive listing agent is about twice as large as that of an attractive selling agent.

Where homeowners lose out on having an attractive listing agent, however, is in having their house on the market for longer. The attractiveness of the selling agent has no effect on length of time on the market (which makes sense since, presumably, the characteristics of the buyer’s agent only matter when the house is finally sold).

Attractive agents don’t necessarily earn more annually than less attractive agents. The houses they sell go for a higher price, but they sell fewer houses than do less attractive agents (presumably because each house is on the market for longer).

The study also finds that non-white listing agents are associated with lower final prices and both non-white listing agents and selling agents are associated with longer times on the market.

The authors argue that this evidence of higher house prices and longer time on market for attractive agents is suggestive of two theories. Either attractive agents use their physical beauty to compensate for low productivity (i.e., they don’t actually work that hard to sell the house because their attractiveness helps get a higher price). Or they use their beauty to attract better listings that command higher prices but are no better (or worse) at selling them than other agents.

The authors of this paper side with the second explanation – that agents don’t actually use their beauty to sell properties more successfully, but rather are better at attracting listings that they can sell for higher prices.

If my agent read this piece I suspect that she would think to herself: I wonder if anyone has every done a study on the relationship between having an economist as a client and the length of time a house spends on the market? I have to admit to feeling a bit badly about how analytical I have been about the whole thing. The good news is, though, that the combination of being patient (which I am) and being attractive (which she is) appears to be a winner. Here’s hoping!


Sean P. Salter, Franklin G. Mixon Jr & Ernest W. King (2012). “Broker beauty and boon: a study of physical attractiveness and its effect on real estate brokers’ income and productivity.” Applied Financial Economics, vol. 22(10): p.p. 811-825

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a ..... - Personal quotes by Albert Einstein

Personal quotes by Albert Einstein

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.

Albert Einstein

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Albert Einstein

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation and is but a reflection of human frailty

Albert Einstein


Mark Twain - Worthless Second-Hand Beliefs

Mark Twain on Worthless Second-Hand Beliefs

"In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."

—Mark Twain, Autobiography


Hitler - His dark charisma - BBC News - Viewpoint

BBC News - Viewpoint: His dark charisma

Montage of Adolf Hitler images




Viewpoint: His dark charisma

Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader but he still formed a connection with millions of German people, generating a level of charismatic attraction that was almost without parallel. It is a stark warning for the modern day, says historian Laurence Rees.

At the heart of the story of Adolf Hitler is one gigantic, mysterious question: how was it possible that a character as strange and personally inadequate as Hitler ever gained power in a sophisticated country at the heart of Europe, and was then loved by millions of people?

The answer to this vital question is to be found not just in the historical circumstances of the time - in particular the defeat of Germany in World War I and the depression of the early 1930s - but in the nature of Hitler's leadership.

It's this aspect of the story that makes this history particularly relevant to our lives today.

About Adolf Hitler

Hitler at a Nazi rally
  • Hitler was born 20 April 1889 in Braunau-am-Inn
  • Left school at 16 with no qualifications and struggled to make a living as a painter in Vienna
  • Enlisted in the German army during WWI, where he was wounded and decorated
  • Joined the fascist German Workers' Party in 1919
  • By 1921 was the leader of what was now the Nazi Party
  • In the 1932 elections the Nazis became the largest party in the German parliament
  • Invasion of Poland in September 1939 began WWII
  • Committed suicide in Berlin on 30 April 1945
Source: BBC History
Hitler was the archetypal "charismatic leader". He was not a "normal" politician - someone who promises policies like lower taxes and better health care - but a quasi-religious leader who offered almost spiritual goals of redemption and salvation. He was driven forward by a sense of personal destiny he called "providence".

Before WWI he was a nobody, an oddball who could not form intimate relationships, was unable to debate intellectually and was filled with hatred and prejudice.

But when Hitler spoke in the Munich beer halls in the aftermath of Germany's defeat in WWI, suddenly his weaknesses were perceived as strengths.

His hatred chimed with the feelings of thousands of Germans who felt humiliated by the terms of the Versailles treaty and sought a scapegoat for the loss of the war. His inability to debate was taken as strength of character and his refusal to make small talk was considered the mark of a "great man" who lived apart from the crowd.

More than anything, it was the fact that Hitler found that he could make a connection with his audience that was the basis of all his future success. And many called this connection "charisma".

"The man gave off such a charisma that people believed whatever he said," says Emil Klein, who heard Hitler speak in the 1920s.

But Hitler did not "hypnotise" his audience. Not everyone felt this charismatic connection, you had to be predisposed to believe what Hitler was saying to experience it. Many people who heard Hitler speak at this time thought he was an idiot.

"I immediately disliked him because of his scratchy voice," says Herbert Richter, a German veteran of WWI who encountered Hitler in Munich in the early 1920s.

Hitler inspecting his troops

"He shouted out really, really simple political ideas. I thought he wasn't quite normal."
In the good economic times, during the mid-to-late twenties in Germany, Hitler was thought charismatic by only a bunch of fanatics. So much so that in the 1928 election the Nazis polled only 2.6% of the vote.

Yet less than five years later Hitler was chancellor of Germany and leader of the most popular political party in the country.

Find out more

What changed was the economic situation. In the wake of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 there was mass unemployment in Germany and banks crashed. 

"The people were really hungry," says Jutta Ruediger, who started to support the Nazis around this time. "It was very, very hard. And in that context, Hitler with his statements seemed to be the bringer of salvation."

She looked at Hitler and suddenly felt a connection with him.

"I myself had the feeling that here was a man who did not think about himself and his own advantage, but solely about the good of the German people."

Hitler told millions of Germans that they were Aryans and therefore "special" and racially "better" people than everyone else, something that helped cement the charismatic connection between leader and led.

Hitler walking through a guard of honour

He did not hide his hatred, his contempt for democracy or his belief in the use of violence to further political ends from the electorate. But, crucially, he spoke out only against carefully defined enemies like Communists and Jews.

Since the majority of ordinary Germans were not in these groups, as long as they embraced the new world of Nazism, they were relatively free from persecution - at least until the war started to go badly for the Germans.

Anti-government graffiti in Greece
“Start Quote - Unemployment was 30% in Germany when Hitler took power, it is 25.1% and rising in Greece”
Paul Mason Economics editor, Newsnight
This history matters to us today. Not because history offers "lessons" - how can it since the past can never repeat itself exactly? But because history can contain warnings. 

In an economic crisis millions of people suddenly decided to turn to an unconventional leader they thought had "charisma" because he connected with their fears, hopes and latent desire to blame others for their predicament. And the end result was disastrous for tens of millions of people.

It's bleakly ironic that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was greeted in Athens recently with swastika banners carried by angry Greeks protesting at what they see as German interference in their country.

Ironic because it is in Greece itself - amid terrible economic crisis - that we see the sudden rise of a political movement like the Golden Dawn that glories in its intolerance and desire to persecute minorities.

And it is led by a man who has claimed there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz. Can there be a bigger warning than that?

Laurence Rees is a former creative director of history programmes for the BBC and the author of six books on World War II.


Book review of The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.

The Sociopath Next Door: Summary and book reviews of The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.

The Sociopath Next Door

The Sociopath Next Door
The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us
by Martha Stout
Hardcover: Feb 2005,
256 pages.
Paperback: Mar 2006,
256 pages.

Author Information


award image
Who is the devil you know?

Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband?
Your sadistic high school gym teacher?
Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?
The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own?

In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He's a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too.

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They're more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others' suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.

It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.

9 Great Freethinkers and Religious Dissenters in History | Daylight Atheism | Big Think

9 Great Freethinkers and Religious Dissenters in History | Daylight Atheism | Big Think

9 Great Freethinkers and Religious Dissenters in History

This article was originally published on AlterNet.

What kind of world would we have if a majority of the human race was atheist?
To hear religious apologists tell it, the triumph of atheism would mean a swift descent into selfishness and chaos. The defenders of the faith argue that atheism inevitably leads to selfishness and nihilism, and that only religion can justify charity or compassion, bind people together in community, or inspire a lively and flourishing culture. But this assertion can only be sustained by ignoring the accomplishments of famous nonreligious people throughout history, of which there have been many.

To dispel the myth that nonbelievers have never contributed anything of worth or value to human civilization, I want to highlight some who've left their mark in the arts, the sciences, or the humanities. Demonstrating that the godless count distinguished members of the human race among our numbers is a way to fight back against this prejudice and to demonstrate that we, too, have a historical legacy we can be proud of.

Not all of the people profiled here were strict atheists, but all of them were freethinkers, a broader umbrella term that embraces a rainbow of unorthodoxy, religious dissent, skepticism, and unconventional thinking. It's no surprise that so many influential thinkers and creative types have come from the ranks of these intellectual revolutionaries. Organized religion tends to reward people not for thinking creatively or critically, but for reciting and defending the dogmas of the previous generation. Throughout human history, it's consistently been true that hidebound theocracies have been mired in poverty, backwardness and intellectual stagnation, whereas the most dramatic advances have come about in times and places where people had the freedom to think for themselves, to freely question and debate. The lives of all the men and women to be recounted here bear testimony to this.

Albert Einstein. The archetypal scientific genius, Einstein inaugurated a revolution in physics that bears fruit to this day. His theories and equations undergird the 20th century: technologies from nuclear power to GPS satellites only exist because of his discoveries. But beyond his impressive scientific contributions, he was known as a peacemaker and civil-rights advocate: he was one of the first to warn the world of the dangers of Nazism, joined anti-lynching campaigns, publicly opposed McCarthyism, and called for nuclear disarmament worldwide. Later in life, he was offered the presidency of Israel but turned it down, saying that he was unqualified.

Einstein famously made statements like "God does not play dice with the universe" that have inspired religious apologists to try to claim him as their own, but on other occasions, he made it clear that this was nothing but poetic metaphor. He made his views known in letters, writing, for example: "I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." On another occasion, he wrote, "the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

Robert Ingersoll. One of the most famous Americans that most people today have never heard of, Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll, known in his lifetime as the "Great Agnostic," once commanded national fame and renown. In an era before television and radio, public oratory was the leading form of entertainment, and Ingersoll set the gold standard. He was one of the most sought-after speakers in the country; he drew crowds of thousands, and on one occasion, after hearing him speak, Mark Twain observed, "What an organ is human speech when it is employed by a master!"

He was a staunch abolitionist who served honorably for the Union in the Civil War, and went on to advocate progressive causes like free speech, women's rights, anti-racism and the abolition of corporal punishment. Though politicians repeatedly sought his endorsement and his rhetorical talents, the highest position that Ingersoll himself ever held was the attorney general of Illinois - due, no doubt, to his willingness to eloquently express his freethought views. In a eulogy, the New York Times observed that only his outspoken irreligious views kept him from taking "that place in the... public life of his country to which by his talents he would otherwise have been eminently entitled." Not that Ingersoll himself would have wanted it any other way: as he declared, a truly spiritual man "attacks what he believes to be wrong, though defended by the many, and he is willing to stand for the right against the world."

W.E.B. DuBois. Contrary to popular impression, the black community in America has a long tradition of involvement with freethought and secularism, as exemplified by one of its most influential racial-justice activists, W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois was the first black man to get a Ph.D. from Harvard, one of the founders of the NAACP, and a prolific and critically praised writer, educator and historian.

By DuBois' own account, he was raised religious and attended an orthodox missionary college, but his doubts on religion blossomed while studying in Europe. When he returned to America, he taught at a black Methodist college, Wilberforce University, but drew the wrath of school administrators for refusing to lead students in prayer. As Susan Jacoby quotes him in her book Freethinkers, "I flatly refused again to join any church or sign any church creed. From my 30th year on I have increasingly regarded the church as an institution which defended such evils as slavery, color caste, exploitation of labor and war." He also said that he wanted "to make the Negro church a place where colored men and women of education and energy can work for the best things regardless of their belief or disbelief in unimportant dogmas and ancient and outworn creeds."

Zora Neale Hurston. Like DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston was an influential black freethinker and an acclaimed author of the early 20th century. She attended Columbia University on a scholarship, and while living in Manhattan at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, met scholars and artists like Margaret Mead and Langston Hughes. She herself wrote both fiction and anthropological works about the black community. Her masterwork, the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, was judged one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

In her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Hurston makes her freethought views clear and denies that the prospect of nonexistence after death holds any fear for her:
Prayer seems to me a cry of weakness, and an attempt to avoid, by trickery, the rules of the game as laid down. I do not choose to admit weakness. I accept the challenge of responsibility. Life, as it is, does not frighten me, since I have made my peace with the universe as I find it, and bow to its laws... It seems to me that organized creeds are collections of words around a wish. I feel no need for such.
I know that nothing is destructible; things merely change forms. When the consciousness we know as life ceases, I know that I shall still be part and parcel of the world. I was a part before the sun rolled into shape and burst forth in the glory of change. I was, when the earth was hurled out from its fiery rim. I shall return with the earth to Father Sun, and still exist in substance when the sun has lost its fire, and disintegrated into infinity to perhaps become a part of the whirling rubble of space. Why fear? The stuff of my being is matter, ever changing, ever moving, but never lost; so what need of denominations and creeds to deny myself the comfort of all my fellow men?

Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Although no one person deserves sole credit for laying the groundwork for the Nineteenth Amendment, Elizabeth Cady Stanton comes close. One of the pivotal early events in the suffrage movement, the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, was organized and shepherded in large part by Stanton, and she played a key role in issuing the famous Declaration of Sentiments that first called for women's suffrage (against the wishes of other attendees, some of whom felt that demanding the vote was too radical even for them).
Despite a lifetime of organizing and lobbying for women's suffrage, Stanton was often shunted aside by her own movement for her controversial, outspoken freethought views and her attacks on religion as a major justification for the continued oppression of women, including her scathing The Woman's Bible. On one occasion, she wrote, "I have endeavoured to dissipate these religious superstitions from the minds of women, and base their faith on science and reason, where I found for myself at least that peace and comfort I could never find in the Bible and the church."

Some of Sanger's spiritual descendants in the feminist movement had similarly irreligious views. One of the most famous was Margaret Sanger, one of the founders of Planned Parenthood and a fearless crusader in the fight to make birth control available and legal to American women. Sanger's motto was "No Gods, No Masters," and her newsletter had the memorable title The Woman Rebel.

Asa Philip Randolph. The 20th-century American civil rights movement is often identified with Christianity, which is almost single-handedly due to the influence of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But there were secular humanists who played almost as important a role, one of whom was Asa Philip Randolph, a trailblazing labor organizer whose career spanned the 20th century and who was one of the pioneers of the strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Randolph entered the civil-rights movement by way of the labor movement, beginning by organizing mainly black railroad workers. But he soon set its sights higher, especially as the country was drawn into World War II and the defense industry was booming. He took the lead in organizing civil-rights marches that convinced Presidents Roosevelt and Truman to issue executive orders ending segregation in defense contractors and the armed services. As his star rose, he served as vice president of the AFL-CIO and helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King's "I have a dream" speech was delivered.
In addition to all this, Randolph was a lifelong freethinker. He was the founder of a literary magazine, The Messenger, whose masthead declared that "Prayer is not one of our remedies... We consider prayer as nothing more than a fervent wish." He was also one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto in 1970.

Robert Frost. New England's most famous poet is justly immortalized for his poetic tributes to nature and rural life, but his religious skepticism is lesser known. Frost's views on God are complex: for much of his life, he grappled with a deep-seated superstitious fear he could never fully shake off. But after twenty years of marriage, his wife said that he was an atheist, and he didn't deny it.

What's interesting is that this comes through inadvertently in his poetry. When speaking of his fellow human beings and their relationships, Frost is warm, welcoming, thoroughly humanist. But when he turns to the subject of God, he more often than not becomes dark and terrifying, depicting the idea of a deity as a savage force of nature more than a worthy object of reverence. His famous poem "Design" calls the suffering and predation in nature a "design of darkness". The poem "Once by the Pacific," Frost's vision of the apocalypse, has the poet looking out at crashing ocean waves and envisioning them as a harbinger of doomsday. The poem "A Loose Mountain" envisions God as a cosmic destroyer waiting to hurl a meteor at the Earth, like a stone thrown from a sling, biding his time so that he can release it when it will cause the maximum amount of devastation.

Emma Lazarus. Like Robert Frost, Emma Lazarus was a poet whose words have become defining of the American experience. She may not have as many classics to her name, but her one crowning achievement may be even better-known than any of his: her poem "The New Colossus," best known as the words engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." The statue was originally a symbol of republicanism, but it was Lazarus' poem that recast it as a beacon for immigrants from all over the world. Even when America has fallen short of this ideal, it's these words which remind us that we can do better and inspire us to work for positive change.

Lazarus came from a Jewish background, but like the others profiled here, she was known as a freethinker. As the Jewish Virtual Library records, on one occasion she told a rabbi who asked her to contribute to a hymn book, "I shall always be loyal to my race, but I feel no religious fervor in my soul."

Yip Harburg. E.Y. "Yip" Harburg isn't a household name, but some of his works are. Harburg was the Broadway lyricist who wrote the words to some of America's most memorable and culturally significant songs, including "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?", "It's Only a Paper Moon", and all the music from The Wizard of Oz, including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Harburg was known as "Broadway's social conscience" for the progressive messages of his songs and musicals, including "Bloomer Girl" and "Hooray for What," which advocated feminism and anti-war themes respectively. At one point he was blacklisted by McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee, but kept working for the stage even as he was barred from television and film. He said in a biography, "The House of God never had much appeal for me. Anyhow, I found a substitute temple - the theater."

For more famous historical freethinkers, see my series "The Contributions of Freethinkers", Susan Jacoby's excellent book, "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism", or Jennifer Michael Hecht's "Doubt: A History".


Scott Flansburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scott Flansburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scott Flansburg is an American mental calculator. Dubbed "The Human Calculator" by Regis Philbin, in 2001 he was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for speed of mental calculation. He is the annual host and ambassador for World Maths Day, and is a math educator and media personality. Flansburg has appeared on shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Larry King Live, and Stan Lee's Superhumans, and has published the books Math Magic and Math Magic for Your Kids.[1]



Early life

Scott Flansburg has stated that he was nine years old when he first discovered his mental calculator abilities, after he was able to solve his teacher's math question without needing to write down the calculations. Afterwards he would keep a running tally of his family's groceries at the store, so his father could give the cashier an exact check before the bill had been rung up.[2] In his youth he also began noticing that the shape and number of angles in numbers are clues to their value, and began counting from 0 to 9 on his fingers instead of 1 to 10.[3]

Early career

Flansburg can subtract, add, multiply, divide, and find square and cube roots in his head almost instantly with calculator accuracy. Around 1990 he began using his ability in an entertainment and educational context.[4] He was dubbed "The Human Calculator" by Regis Philbin after appearing on Live with Regis and Kathy Lee.[2]
The Guinness Book of World Records listed him as "Fastest Human Calculator"[4] in 2001,[5] after he broke the record for adding the same number to itself more times in 15 seconds than someone could do with a calculator.[6] In 2002 Flansburg invented a 13 month alternative to the Gregorian calendar that he called "The Human Calendar."[5]
In 1998 he published the book Math Magic for Your Kids: Hundreds of Games and Exercises from the Human Calculator to Make Math Fun and Easy[7] on Harper Paperbacks. A revised edition of his book Math Magic: How to Master Everyday Math Problems was published in 2004.[3]

As an educator

Since about 1990[3] Flansburg has regularly given lectures and presentations at schools.[6] He has appeared as a presenter at institutions such as NASA, IBM, The Smithsonian Institute, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,[4] and the Mental Calculation World Cup. The latter has described Flansburg as "more an auditory than a visual [mental] calculator."[8]
According to Flansburg, one of his personal missions is to use education to elevate mathematical confidence and self-esteem in adults and children, stating "Why has it become so socially acceptable to be bad at math? If you were illiterate you wouldn’t say that on TV, but you can say that you are bad at math. We have to change the attitude." He is a proponent of students becoming comfortable with calculation methods instead of relying on table memorization.[3] Flansburg is the annual host and ambassador for World Maths Day.[9] He is also an official promoter of the American Math Challenge, a competition for students preparing for World Math Day.[6]

Media appearances

Flansburg has appeared on television shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Larry King Live. On April 26, 2009, while on the Japanese primetime show Asahi's Otona no Sonata, he broke his own world record with 37 answers in 15 seconds.[9] He was featured as The Human Calculator in the first episode of Stan Lee's Superhumans, which aired on The History Channel on August 5, 2010. Part of the episode analyzed his brain activity.[10] An fMRI scan while he was doing complex calculations revealed that his brain activity in the Brodmann area 44 region of the frontal cortex was absent. Instead he showed activity somewhat above area 44 losser and closer to the motor cortex.[11]

Personal life

Flansburg resides in San Diego, California.[10]


  • Math Magic for Your Kids (1998)[7]
  • Math Magic (2004)[12]


  1. ^ "Scott Flansburg". HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  2. ^ a b Smith, Jacqueline (August 17, 2009). "'Human calculator' looking for Kiwi mathletes". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  3. ^ a b c d "Scott Flansburg: The Math King". Children's Literature Network. March 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet Scott Flansburg". ScottFlansburg.com. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  5. ^ a b Noory, George (June 16, 2002). "Guests: Scott Flansburg". Coast to Coast AM. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  6. ^ a b c Reiter, Angela (October 22, 2010). "Woodlands Academy Mesmerized By The Human Calculator". Trib Local. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  7. ^ a b Scott, Flansburg (1998). Math Magic for Your Kids. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-06-097731-3.
  8. ^ Brain, Mr. (July 12, 2010). "Mental Calculation World Cup 2010". Mental Calculation World Cup. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  9. ^ a b "Scott Flansburg: The Human Calculator". ScottFlansburg.com. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  10. ^ a b "Featured Superhumans: The Human Calculator". History.com. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  11. ^ "Electro Man: Episode 101". Stan Lee's Superhumans. August 5, 2011.
  12. ^ Flansburg, Scott (1993). Math Magic. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-06-072635-5.

External links

Video appearances


Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight | Video on TED.com

Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight | Video on TED.com

Quotes by Jill Bolte Taylor

  • “I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is.” Watch this talk »
  • “I realized, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m having a stroke! I’m having a stroke!’ The next thing my brain says to me is, ‘Wow! This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?’” Watch this talk »
  • “In the course of four hours, I watched my brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process all information. On the morning of the hemorrhage, I could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of my life. I essentially became an infant in a woman’s body.” Watch this talk »
  • “Our right hemisphere, it thinks in pictures and it learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies. Information … explodes into this enormous collage of what this present moment looks like, smells like and tastes like, what it feels like and what it sounds like.” Watch this talk »
  • “Then it crosses my mind, ‘But I’m a very busy woman! I don’t have time for a stroke!’” Watch this talk »

Dr. Aretoula Fullam

Mar 20 2008 This is absolutely amazing! Dr. Taylor in 18 minutes has expressed so eloquently and scientifically what the Silva Method has been teaching for 60 years now through the course in Dynamic Meditation, or Self-Mind Control, which opens communication between the two hemispheres through the Corpus Callosum, so that the two hemispheres communicate with each other under the control of the “I AM” thus, having whole brain functioning. People learn to control the Alpha waves and experience through Dynamic Meditation and Self-Mind Control this wonderful place of creativity, wholeness and Oneness with the Spirit and all creation. I am very joyful and grateful that I myself know this wonderful level of bliss, enthusiasm and interconnection through dynamic meditation, so I dedicated the rest of my life to teach people how they can experience themselves this Oneness, expanded awareness and magical reality of the Spirit within. For any information about the Course visit http://www.GuideMind.com Dr. Aretoula Fullam -----------------------------------------------------------------------
6 days ago: It's a very moving talk, but the comments are a bit confusing to me. People seem to be assigning a religious or spiritual bent to the talk as though there is some evidence in the talk of a higher power etc. That is just projection imho. She quite clearly explains the brain in laymen's terms, then proceeds to describe exactly how her particular stroke shut down aspects of one hemisphere. And the result is a first hand account of what it is like to have half a brain. I was moved because she describes something we can all relate to, the loss of ego, the loss of "baggage", becoming an infant, dropping our worries, and embracing how we feel, and the now, and the sense of being connected and vast. Yes, many of us crave that. It is also touching because she felt lost, and surrendered to her fate, and that is very moving. And what she is saying quite eloquently, and touchingly, is that under the layers, physically, we have access to two very different means of being. She is suggesting that we find a way, that we allow, that we focus on the fact that we can feel more connected, that we can try to focus on that other voice. That isn't god, that's your brain. It is the perception from a physical manifestation of a healthy human brain, not some insight into the reality of the universe. If she'd had a stroke in the other hemisphere this talk would be about how to get things done, proper planning, and logical order of things... In the end up her experience didn't change the reality of the world she lives in. It gave her a chance to see a new way of looking at life, one with more connection and more compassion and as she said so well, that is an idea worth sharing. wonderful talk.
2 days ago: I don't feel that she implies existence of a higher power but rather indicates the immense power of human consciousness to experience a vast terrain of awareness from alternate perspectives. Higher power is a given, everything is powered by some obviously unknowable source. What Higher Power means to the linear experiential self depends on the local conditioning of the individual identity. One could even say that culture itself if a higher power. I didn't hear her mention the word God at any point or make specific reference to religion. She does mention nirvana, which is a basically a Buddhist term for nothingness, or experience empty of all stimulation recognized as such when the experience of stimulation returns. In any case she beautifully relates her experience and knowledge without making claims of absolute truth.
2 days ago: @Eric you should become a school teacher. Well summarised. I try every now and again to live as expansive as I can by viewing everything as being part of the same source. As having pervasive intelligent energy and identity. Life stops to have meaning. The litter stops being litter but intelligent individuation of primal energy seeking expression and being.It blends naturally with the spot its on and looks beautiful. And I no longer want to disrupt that space, that arrangement by picking it up. People just seem dull, no longer alive, lacking in context, without definitions, no judgement from me, they become juxtapositioned bland pieces of canvass, without a story, uninteresting. I loose any urge to do anything. I'm just transfixed in time and all I can do is observe and intuit with awe and wonder. My mind stops analysing and judging and I feel light and at peace. I can go on describing other aspects but I am sure you get the point. Life either looses all meaning or takes on a new meaningless meaning (I will always judge from my norm I guess). When I return to the world of separation, of meaning, of plans and tasks and relationships I heave a sigh of exasperation. I'm still not certain which world I dislike more LOL. Just kidding. I love both worlds. Both great movies just different genres. My ambition is in a manner of speaking, to grow a bigger Corpus Callosum - a bridge - to help me blend both worlds in one reality.


Garrick Sitongia

Mar 20 2008
  The state of mind of euphoria and oneness with all, described by Dr. Taylor during ensuing brain damage due to stroke somewhat disturbs me. Imagine yourself as a person walking around in the right-brain only perceptual state, being attacked by robbers, hucksters who want money, or any type of opportunist seeking an advantage. In this state, one would simply give them whatever they wanted. One’s survival probability would be close to zero. Even if one dies happy, that is still death and therefore immoral. The method of cult religions is to make people into thought slaves by forcing victims into this same perceptual blindness in which one gives up the “self”. This facilitates turning the victim into a physical slave who does not complain and with behavior that is always compliant, even against the victim’s survival needs. Also, a person in this state is not likely to solve problems of the world such as disease no matter how willing one is because solving problems requires insight from realistic analysis of the past and prediction of consequences, a left brain skill. And how likely are people in this state to be motivated to do physical labor such as farming or building structures for shelter, unless they are forced by others who are not in a right-brained perception only state? While I greatly respect and admire Dr. Taylor’s presence of mind to explore and report publicly her experience, I also cringe at her conclusions about her experience. I fear that Dr. Taylor’s enthusiasm will invite misguided abuse, and may even result in psycho-surgery based religious cults that convert people using permanent brain damage, with or without consent, at a new level above today’s brainwashing or indoctrination techniques which are reversible.

Tina Brewer

May 26 2008
  This is very illustrative of the goal of meditation. If you can close down your left brain briefly, you can experieince the reality of the wholeness and absence of separation of “self” and “other”. This state can be achieved by regular and long practice of various types of meditation, including “moving meditations” such as yoga or T’ai Chi. Yoga literally means “union with” and T’ai Chi loosely translates tot the “Ultimate Supreme” (all things in balance, reality as it should exist for us). I have had this briwef experieince twice only. Once through T’ai Chi practice, another in a time of just waking during a time of extreme stress (the death of my father a few days before). I woke to not knowing what/who I was. for a brief moment. The fright of such an unusual realization literally killed the joy of the experience. BUt all of this is to say: THIS STATE IS VALID, and ACHIEVABLE through dedicated practice. And it is the reality underlying what our left brain organizes into reality for us, so that we can function within our bodies. It is the experieince we all should be seeking, because then we would all finally inderstand that we are all part of the same creation, we are all units of energy that have a “separate” consciousness. When we hurt, kill or pollute, we are actually doing it to our larger “Self”, the one body of energy that encompasses all of us.

james debar

Jun 18 2008 Ms. Taylor, Thank you for sharing. It is unfortunate that a stroke or heart attack provides direct “access” to one’s Soul. Fortunately the experience leaves an irrevocable and irreversible imprint on the Self. The world would be a very different place if we could all commune with our Souls. The insight would bring some harmony, within each of us which would then reflect to the other six and half billion. I would welcome all thoughts on such endeavor at: http://myselfmysoul.blogspot.com/

Denise Bem David

Feb 11 2009 JBTaylor is the most amazing and important talk I saw in many years. She described the neurophysiological basis of the Nirvana experience. I have been thinking a lot about the impact of her experience of an almost pure right-brain function, and meditation techniques, NLP techniques, and the perceptions one can achieve while practicing those. We do need a well functioning left hemisphere to be able to live. How can the balance be achieved? How can the perceptions obtained with the right brain be balanced with the practicalities of the left hemisphere function. Is the religious experience born of those right-hemiphere perceptions ?What is/exists beyond the balanced perceptions of a well functioning brain/mind, and that gives origin to it? Eckhart Tolle has some interesting insights about similar issues. I would be interested in knowing the comments of neuroscientists about her experice, and the mystical experience.

Steven Song

Jun 17 2009 Sometimes I have a shift in perspective. Nothing dramatic, but everything appears smaller, further, and more detached. I can force myself (sometimes it randomly happens) to see something as foreign (I.e. a face, words, anything *same feeling as you described for seeing your leg/arm during the stroke*). What would you call this?
1 day ago: Absolutely beautiful talk! Just in case this book hasn't been mentioned yet (it probably has been), I highly recommend "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. He explains the value of the present moment and teaches you how become one with it as well as how to use your newfound power to radically increase your quality of life (almost completely eliminate stress and anxiety) as well as making you a more vibrant, compassionate person. I don't mean to shove anything in anyones face, but the book has taught me so much and has helped me to have many of the same experiences Jill speaks of, so I almost feel obligated to make it known to anybody interested in the subject. Mental silence is, in my opinion, the most beautiful thing a human.


Jill Taylor's right hemisphere 'La-la land' depiction is reminiscent of the Near Death Experience stories. Could there be a link?

Most Near death experience (NDE) story tellers have one thing in common: they feel this immense peace and happiness as they travel towards the 'light'. I am wondering if this is a phenomenon of the left brain shutting down first when a person dies allowing the right 'nirvana' half to be fully experienced before the body completely shuts down. I wonder if the mystical experience they so vividly remember is nothing more than the brain slowly shutting down as they slip into death. I don't want to discredit any NDE since I have no clue what happens after you die. I am simply curious to see the scientific explanation to the phenomenon.

Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.

Why you should listen to her:

One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor's brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness ... Amazed to find herself alive, Taylor spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. She has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before. In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right. From her home base in Indiana, she now travels the country on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank as the "Singin' Scientist."
"How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I've gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career."
Jill Bolte Taylor