Parent Directory 0410 tokyo has 32,450,000 people.html 0526 shorter of breath and one day closer to death.html 0920 these brains were made for thinking.html 0921 the left is weak.html 0922 matching a competitor's lower prices.html 0922 the best revenge.html 0924 the test as a tool.html 1003 the impotence of money.html 1004 eat your carrots.html 1004 how to order wine.html 1004 makeup, before and after.html 1004 more impotence of money.html 1004 the Revolution Has Started.html 1006 et toc.html 1011 a handsaw and a syringe.html 1013 better schools.html 1015 things aren't so bad.html 1019 electricity vs. gasoline.html 1020 responsibility.html 1024 harder is better.html 1025 a million watts.html 1108 mick on the stones.html 1110 where y'at.html 1216 the danger of interruption.html 1217 efficiency results in increased consumption II.html 1217 forget about the rich.html 1217 not inherently rational.html 1217 passwords you should never use.html 1217 this week I'm working out of the tokyo office.html 1222 they're not like you.html 1230 the schools are just fine.html
Interesting Posts from 2010 22 december, 2010 They're Not Like You Want to understand how Americans can regularly elect morons to public office? "If there are 310 million people in the country, then about 100 million aren't smart enough to enlist in the Army." Steve Sailer 17 december, 2010 Efficiency Results in Increased Consumption II "we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that swapping our current car for a Prius, or replacing our incandescent lights with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, will strike a meaningful blow against climate change" Bjørn Lomborg 16 december, 2010 The Danger of Interruption "You probably only have to interrupt someone a couple times a day before they're unable to work on hard problems at all." I have two kittens. They interrupt me a couple of times a minute. Paul Graham 8 november, 2010 Mick on the Stones Mick Jagger accidentally sent his real thoughts to a journalist. It's brutal reading -- not at all like a typical interview. "It is said of me that I act above the rest of the band and prefer the company of society swells. Would you rather have had a conversation with Warren Beatty, Andy Warhol, and Ahmet Ertegun... or Keith, his drug mule Tony, and the other surly nonverbal members of his merry junkie entourage? Keith actually seems not to understand why I would want my dressing room as far away as possible from that of someone who travels with a loaded gun." Source: Slate.com 24 october, 2010 Harder is Better I studied Russian in high school and college. I remembering struggling to read one of Chekhov's plays, and how beautiful it was when I finally got through it. I thought, at the time, that the fact that I had to fight to understand deepened my appreciation. I thought that it would be a good idea to print books in light yellow text. Science has now validated my idea: "Students given the harder-to-read materials scored higher in their classroom assessments than those in the control group. This was the case across a range of subjects -- from English, to Physics to History." Source: BBC.co.uk 20 october, 2010 Responsibility "People are responsible not only for their actions, but for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their actions." Source: FrumForum.com 11 october, 2010 A Handsaw and a Syringe How the movie Barfly got made: "He has been trying to make this movie for seven years," Bukowski said. "A few months ago, it looked like Cannon was about to cancel it. Barbet goes into the office of Menahem Golan, the president of Cannon, with an electric handsaw. He pulls out a syringe of Novocain and shoots it into his little finger. He says he will cut off his finger if Menahem doesn't make the movie, and that he will continue to cut off parts of his body and send them to Menahem until he agrees to make the movie. Menahem tells him to go to hell. Barbet plugs in the handsaw." Source: RogerEbert.SunTimes.com 24 september, 2010 The Test as a Tool "What they didn't appreciate, however, was the virtue of testing as a learning strategy in its own right. Students who studied the word pairs one time through and then took a quiz on them were better able, later on, to remember the pairs than students who simply studied them twice. But the students in the first group thought they performed worse than they would have had they been able to study the words again." It's obvious once you think about it, but it's quite a paradigm shift. Source: Miller-McCune.com 22 september, 2010 Matching a Competitor's Lower Prices James Surowiecki: "Consumers view these guarantees as conducive to lower prices. But in fact offering a price-matching guarantee should make it less likely that competitors will slash prices, since they know that any cuts they make will immediately be matched." NewYorker.com 20 september, 2010 These brains were made for thinking While I was driving a long distance on a country road last week, I started analyzing the behavior of other drivers. They were mostly really annoying. The road is mostly too narrow for passing, so there's a lot of waiting for slower drivers and cursing faster drivers. It's not news: some people drive too fast and take crazy chances, and some people drive too slow and make everyone else nuts. It reminds me of a joke: the definition of a crazy person? Someone who drives faster than you do. The definition of an idiot? Someone who drives slower. So I started thinking about how each driver has a system of ideas that explain/justify his behavior: - I have the right to drive slowly because I respect the rule of law. - I have the right to drive fast because speed limits are just indications, meant for trucks in the rain. - I have the right to do whatever I want because everybody else is doing whatever they want. And so on. Then I realized (and this is just the interim realization) that the reason driving is so annoying is that every driver has his own system, and they don't work well together. We have a set of laws governing driving and traffic, but they need a lot of interpretation. We all interpret them differently. If we could come up with some sort of consistent driving etiquette, we could all relax. Then (I had a lot of time on my hands) I thought: "you're overthinking this." And I had the (final) realization: our brains are made for finding order in chaos. Driving is inherently chaotic, and since you have free time to think, you automatically start trying to understand what the rules of the situation are, how the whole thing works. There are no rules, there is no way that it works. Other people drive erratically, and there's nothing you can do to understand or make sense of it. And life is like that a lot. We have too much free time and we (at least some of us) get really invested in understanding the various systems. We detest chaos. But chaos it is, and we're -- often, but not always -- wasting our time trying to find the order in it.
Related: the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy