Author Archives: T.Z. Barry

How Meditation Works

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I’ve mentioned meditation and its benefits many times on this blog, but I’ve never devoted an entire post to explaining exactly what meditation is and how and why it works. So this is that. Continue reading

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Recommendation Algorithms Rule Your Life

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Cultural critics used to be essential curators of music, movies, books, and art. When there were only a couple of newspapers or radio stations or TV stations, the select few professional critics had enormous power in telling the public which art they should pay attention to. Then came the internet and everything changed. With blogs, message boards, and podcasts, anybody could become a critic. Both the creation and critique of art became more democratic. Traditional critics became less important. People preferred to take recommendations from like-minded people in their specific cultural niche. This gave real cultural power to bloggers and amateur critics on the internet who developed a following. Continue reading

The Power of Science Fiction

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There are essentially two types of science fiction: hard and soft. Soft science fiction is more like fantasy, not obeying the laws of physics (Star Wars) while hard science fiction aims to be scientifically accurate (2001: A Space Odyssey). I love Star Wars, but my real favorite genre is near-future hard science fiction such as Blade RunnerInterstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, and Her. I think those kinds of stories—built around accurate science and technological innovations that can conceivably happen in the near future—are perhaps the most important form of fiction. Continue reading

Exercise Anxiety Through Art

Anxiety is a product of imagination. We imagine potential scenarios in which all sorts of negative things might happen. This can manifest in various types of anxiety, such as a fear of flying: imagining all they ways a plane might crash. Or a fear of heights, spiders, confined places, etc. It’s the same with the type of fear I struggled with: social anxiety. Continue reading

Best Music of 2018

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As I said last year, I like to listen to music while writing. It helps me stay focused and tune out any background noise. But if I’m writing (or reading) words, I find other words distracting, so I usually listen to instrumental music (mainly electronic/ambient). I listened to a lot of older albums, and I’m always discovering new artists (and old artists new to me), but these were my favorite albums (released in 2018) to write to: Continue reading