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Mon, 19 May 2008 00:03:09 GMT
Improve Your Decision-Making
Evolution has gifted us the most complicated entity yet found on Earth: our minds. But in many ways the mind is also a clumsy, cobbled together contraption with many predictable flaws.
In his new book Professor Gary Marcus of New York University likens the mind to a ''kluge'' - an engineering term meaning a clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem.
To combat the ''klugey'' nature of our minds, Professor Marcus provides 13 quick techniques based on psychological research to help us combat its inherent flaws in decision-making.
1. Whenever possible, consider alternatives
Our brains are not good at evaluating evidence dispassionately. Force yourself to generate alternatives. Research has demonstrated the value of counter-factual thinking: thinking about the opposite helps us make better decisions.
2. Reframe the question
Our memories are highly contextual so the background to any issue we consider has a huge impact on how we view it. Politicians, advertisers and other influencers use framing extensively to persuade us of their point of view. You can fight back by reframing their propositions.
3. Correlation doesn''t equal causation
An oldie but a goldie. There''s a clear correlation between foot size and being richer, owning your own house and having a better education. On the other hand people with smaller feet are often still struggling with potty training. Guessed it yet? People with small feet are usually children, so of course they have less money, don''t own their own houses and, haven''t been to school yet. Correlation doesn''t equal causation.
4. Never forget the sample size
When we think about someone and a few seconds later they call us, is that evidence of ESP? Consider the sample size. How many times have you thought about that person in the past year? How many times have they called you in the last year? What first seems like a freak occurrence soon starts to look inevitable. Sample sizes are easy to forget.
5. Anticipate your impulsivity
The best of intentions often break down in the face of vicious temptation. People find it difficult to predict just how far off course their emotions can pull them (e.g. .
» Kluge is released in the UK on the 5 June, you can pre-order from Amazon.co.uk.Labels: Decision-making
Posted by: Jerry Read more Source
Sat, 17 May 2008 02:18:14 GMT
"The 20th anniversary of the publication of [Roger] Ebert''s Two Weeks in the Midday Sun: A Cannes Notebook - perhaps the best book ever written about experiencing the Cannes Film Festival - gives us an excellent occasion to revisit this classic and consider just how the Cannes of today has changed, or failed to change, since the 1980s," writes Kenneth T Rivers in a timely piece for the new issue of Bright Lights Film Journal (in which editor Gary Morris suggests that something big and, above all, bright is in the works, details of which are to be divulged shortly).
"The harshest thing the French have to say about themselves is that they aren''t serious," writes Alan Vanneman in a close reading - and reconsideration - of a classic that no longer bowls him over. "The Revolution, after all, which many French still like to believe was the most important event in human history, which was supposed to change everything, actually changed nothing. If the Revolution didn''t matter, how can anything matter? In The Rules of the Game, Renoir satirizes this languor, but ultimately doesn''t escape it."
Posted by: dwhudson Read more Source
Fri, 09 May 2008 01:35:13 GMT
Son of Rambow
"A likable, lightly sticky valentine to childhood, the 1980s and the dawning of movie love, Son of Rambow was written and directed by Garth Jennings and produced by Nick Goldsmith, the duo behind the underappreciated fantasy The Hitchhiker''s Guide to the Galaxy," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "Like that film, this one involves a snug community of oddballs and outcasts whose eccentricities, pluck and fundamental good cheer have long been durable staples of British screen comedy."
"Mr Jennings starts out gangbusters, only to turn disappointingly unimaginative," writes Nicolas Rapold in the New York Sun. "The second half of Son of Rambow has the feel of a hack sequel to the first half, losing a loony-but-credible touch for childhood and friendship in order to go through the motions (quirky though they may be) and wrap things up. Still, on the whole it''s better than most studio comedies."
Updated through 5/8.
Posted by: dwhudson Read more Source
Wed, 23 Apr 2008 23:23:55 GMT
Wine Glossary: Enomatic
Popular throughout Europe for years, at wine bars and stores such as Paris' Lavinia wine store, an enomatic is a self-serve wine dispenser. Patrons purchase a wine card (similar to a debit card) and insert the card into the machine for a wine pour.
The enomatic just came to my area, the first such machine in Ohio is located at 87 West 2 wine bar in Westlake Ohio's Crocker Park, just west of Cleveland.
I asked the establishment's owner, Tom Lutz why a wine bar patron would prefer to use the enomatic instead of having a server bring their wine. He explained that the enomatic takes the stress and mystique out of ordering wine. There's no embarassment about not knowing what the server is talking about or worry that you are being sold a wine that's not to your taste or budget.
I tried the enomatic on Thursday night and I have to say it's an intriguing gadget. Look for one in your neighborhood.
(photo © C. Sully/courtesy of 87 West 2)
Posted by: Sandy Mitchell Read more Source
Thu, 10 Apr 2008 02:21:07 GMT
When we were last at Roundrock and took our obligatory hike around the almost full lake, we saw several spheres like the one you see above. I’m sure it’s obvious to you what the sphere is, but at the time I didn’t realize it.
I recalled spherical algae colonies I’d seen in the salty water of the Caribbean, and I understand there is a freshwater version of them that is common in Missouri waters. Still, it seemed too brisk for such an ambitious building project, but I’m willing to believe anything positive about my lake.
What you see is a cleaned up version of what I showed in this earlier post. The farther we walked around the lake, the more of these we saw. I soon understood what I was looking at, and I’m glad I did all of my initial speculation inside my head.
- Serviceberry begins to bloom in woods.
- Badgers bear young through early April.
- Ohio buckeyes begin leafing.
Today in Missouri history:
- Waltus Watkins buys the first 80 acres of his eventual 4600 acre plantation on which he would establish the largest woolen mill west of St. Louis. The land and structures are now a park northeast of Kansas City.
- In 1896 a tornado strikes St. Louis.
Posted by: Roundrockjournal Read more Source
Thu, 10 Apr 2008 02:05:13 GMT
Andy Warhol's Time Capsules
Andy Warhol, king of pop art, the factory, and his groupies, has a fantastic amount of goodies saved up. This late Marilyn Monroe painting, Campbell soup can sketching, white wig wearing artist & filmmaker amassed a collection of 570 cardboard boxes, or time capsules, which have now been opened and analyzed.
This collection is considered the largest of any artists' personal belongings, and allows those studying it to be surprised every time they crack open a box: from a signed photograph of Shirley Temple to a mummified foot, each box is a total trip and a history lesson in one.
Posted by: Meieli Sawyer Detoni Read more Source
Mon, 07 Apr 2008 00:36:31 GMT
What's Your Break Up Style
What's your break up style?
Do you drag things out? Try to be as nice as possible? Or just opt for a clean break like this columnist?
Remember that famous episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel "took a break" and Ross slept with the copy girl a few hours later. After that, he constantly shouted, "we were on a break!" every time the issue was brought up. Still, it remained an issue throughout the show.
Breaks don't work, in my opinion. I also know a lot of people that handle break ups by avoiding the whole thing. These folks actually stay with their partners because they keep hoping something "might change."
So let me ask you, what's the best way to break up?
Posted by: Cherie Burbach Read more Source
Sun, 30 Mar 2008 22:53:41 GMT
Water - H2O = Life
Water is a common chemical substance that is essential to all known forms of life. In typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and a gaseous state, water vapor. About 1,460 teratonnes of water covers 71% of the Earth''s surface, mostly in oceans and other large water bodies.
Employed by cultures around the world in rituals and ceremonies, water bathes us from birth to death. Water is essential to life as we know it.
Posted by: Gerard Read more Source
Thu, 27 Mar 2008 01:16:19 GMT
Kiki De Montparnasse: It's Sexy Time
Boy, oh boy, a new underwear brand has come to London town and its sexy. Kiki lingerie has my girlfriends (and their boyfriends) talking. I don''t blame them. Kiki De Montparnasse has some very exciting things on offer - they are chic, very hype, and very, very naughty and I don''t mean in an Ann Summers kind of way. Think Agent Provocateur but without the feathers and leather…I am talking sterling silver, 24K gold, pearls and some very interesting titanium pieces.
Posted by: Gabi Muller Read more Source
Wed, 19 Mar 2008 01:42:24 GMT
Yesterday I strapped on snowshoes for the first time this year — and possibly for the last (it’s in the 50s today). Unlike a lot of areas to the north of us, central Pennsylvania hasn’t gotten very much snow yet this year, so Saturday’s eight inches on top of the four to five inches already on the ground afforded our first real opportunity for snowshoeing.
There’s a special freedom you feel when walking on top of deep snow through woods where abundant fallen logs and other obstructions have mostly been buried. You get to thinking you can walk almost anywhere, albeit with great deliberation if you’re using heavy, clunky, white-ash-and-rawhide-type snowshoes. I went off-trail almost immediately, and soon found myself straying over the line onto the posted property of a neighbor with whom we don’t have very good relations. I figured what the heck — he’s not going to be up here today, and someone has to enjoy his woods in the off-season. I was after an unobstructed view of the valley, thinking I might take a few landscape photos. It was harder than I figured; there’s a lot of brushy growth in his recently logged woods.
Fortunately, scenic vistas were among the least interesting things I found. I admired several dense stands of Hercules’-club. These strange, thorny trees are among my favorites, but unfortunately the deer like them, too, and often kill them by stripping off their bark, thorns and all, during the hungriest time of the year — March and early April. And in fact, I did find three Hercules’-club stems that had just been stripped to a height of four and a half feet, their pale yellow nakedness looking especially pitiful against the snow.
The deer bed in the above photo was one of three clustered around a large oak tree on our side of the ridge — the local herd, post-hunting season. But over on our neighbor’s property, where hunting pressure is lower, I was dismayed to find another, much larger cluster of deer beds: eleven of them. All had fresh tracks leading out of them; there was no doubt they’d all been occupied the night before. I saw oak stump sprouts that were still struggling to get above deer browse height, ten years after the logging. The good news is that we won’t have to listen to our hunter friends complaining that aren’t enough deer next fall — the deer, unlike the humans, aren’t constrained by boundaries.
By far the coolest thing I found yesterday was this immense burl on a chestnut oak tree. I shot photos from all angles, including one with a view of the valley behind it: you can check out the slideshow here. It amused me to consider that the same grotesque protrusion which renders a tree unfit for regular lumber (and probably the reason why this one is still standing) can make it quite valuable in the right hands. By the same token, I suppose someone with a purely culinary interest in oysters would be annoyed to find a pearl. Liberate the pearl from the oyster, or the burl from its bark and tree, and suddenly the grotesque becomes sublime, like trading a distended abdomen for a newborn baby.
That’s entirely too many metaphors for me, though — I’m getting giddy! Confusing freedom with willfulness is always a risky proposition. Best to hike back onto more familiar ground, safe behind the ridge-top boundaries which also form our horizons here in Plummer’s Hollow.
Posted by: Vianegativa Read more Source
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