Because I Liked You

Hinterland

This poem by A E Housman is one of his romantic and melancholic poems made more poignant by the fact that the great love of his life was unrequited. Love is where it falls but the love he had for his friend from Oxford days caused more pain than pleasure.

Because I Liked You

Because I liked you better  
   Than suits a man to say,
It irked you, and I promised
   To throw the thought away.

To put the world between us
    We parted, stiff and dry;
‘Good-bye,’ said you, ‘forget me.’
   ‘I will, no fear’, said I.

If here, where clover whitens
    The dead man’s knoll, you pass,
And no tall flower to meet you
    Starts in the trefoiled grass,

Halt by the headstone naming
    The heart no longer stirred,
And say the lad that loved you

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Today I’m feeling satisfied. The Superintendent finally appreciated me. The managers must realise that there are two kinds of people: those who need the stick and others who need praise. None of the two will work if the reward at the end is changed.

How scientists make people laugh to study humor

ideas.ted.com

If you search on the Web of Science database for papers on the emotion of fear, you’ll get back 6,477 published papers. Search for papers on laughter and you’ll get a paltry 175. Why the disparity? Well, one reason might be that laughter, like other positive emotions, feels less important than negative emotions. Sometimes people think that laughter is a ridiculous, trite, pointless topic to research — and somehow not the sort of topic we should study with Science with a capital S.

I’m a cognitive neuroscientist who works on vocal communication, and I (perhaps unsurprisingly) disagree. I have started to look into laughter in more detail, and I think it’s a fascinating social behavior it is essential to study (here’s an article I wrote for The Psychologist, a paper for The Journal of Neuroscience, and another for Cerebral Cortex). However, there is another reason why it is extremely…

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