DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

A Lefty Explains What the Election Is All About

25th October 2014

Read it.

Hint: Power and money.

Glenn Reynolds once commented on the seeming paradox of liberals who are terrified at the prospect that libertarians might take power and leave them alone. Actually, liberals probably do want to be left alone; they just don’t have any intention of leaving you alone. Liberals hunger for power so that they can enrich themselves, in many cases, but more generally, so they can remake the world according to their own preferences. This doesn’t mean that they will have to change, but it does mean that you will have to change. As long as liberals’ hunger for power is stronger than conservatives’ desire to be left in peace, the Left will continue to dominate our public life.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

10 ‘Insane Things’ Wall Street Really Believes

25th October 2014

Read it.

I rather suspect that Wall Street could come up with 100 insane things that NBC News believes, with not much effort.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Blue State Blues: I’m Tired of Watching Other Countries Spike the Football

24th October 2014

Joel Pollak is disappointed.

You had to feel just the slightest tinge of jealousy watching the members of the Canadian parliament give a lengthy standing ovation to Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, the 58-year-old who killed a terrorist and defended democracy on Wednesday. Imagine if we in the United States still had the self-confidence to celebrate our heroes. Imagine if we could, even for just a moment, cheer for them–and each other. For who and what we are.

When President Barack Obama announced in May 2011 that Osama bin Laden had been killed, there were no such celebrations–at least among the country’s leaders.

Sure, students gathered spontaneously in front of the White House, waving American flags and shouting “U-S-A!” Yes, the midshipmen ” target=”_blank”>whooped through the night.

But our politicians–even while taking political credit–would not celebrate America, lest someone take offense.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Civilization Kit

23rd October 2014

Read it.

Marcin Jakubowski, the owner of a small farm in northwestern Missouri, is an agrarian romantic for high-tech times. A forty-one-year-old Polish-American, he has spent the past five years building industrial machines from scratch, in a demonstration of radical self-sufficiency that he intends as a model for human society everywhere. He believes that freedom and prosperity lie within the reach of anyone willing to return to the land and make the tools necessary to erect civilization on top of it. His project, the Global Village Construction Set, has attracted a following, but among the obstacles he has faced is a dearth of skilled acolytes: the people who show up at his farm typically display more enthusiasm for his ideas than expertise with a lathe or a band saw.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Is African-American Studies a Front for Athletic Departments?

23rd October 2014

Steve Sailer asks an inconvenient question.

At Rice U., there used to be a jock-only major called Commerce. But, in a bout of post-Sixties idealism, the professors revolted and made Rice get rid of the phony, non-academic Commerce major. During my four years at Rice in the late 1970s, the football team won 7 games and lost 37. Cause and effect?

But what if instead of Commerce, jocks were channelled into, say, African-American Studies? What kind of vicious racist hater would complain about the academic worthiness of African-American Studies?

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Overlooked Engines of Re-urbanization

23rd October 2014

Steve Sailer looks at urban living.

One reason people moved in large numbers to the suburbs after WWII was because they were quieter for sleeping, especially in summer when you needed to keep your windows open. Lower density means less noise means more hours of sleep per night means happier, more productive days.

Before suburbanization, really rich families simply went some place cool for the entire summer. Affluent families sent the wife and kids away for the summer while the husband stayed home, as in The Seven Year Itch.

For example, in the 1920s, my father lived in Oak Park, Illinois, just west of Chicago. Oak Park is about as famously suburban as any place in America — the house next door was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and native son Ernest Hemingway derided Oak Park for its broad lawns and narrow minds.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Koch Industries Funds Legal Defense For the Poor

22nd October 2014

Read it.

The dastards.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Officials Want South Florida to Break Off Into Its Own State

22nd October 2014

Read it.

And why not?

“It’s very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean,” Stoddard said. “They’ve made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that.”

Sounds like a  plan.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Distributism and Moore’s Law

22nd October 2014

Jerry Pournelle has some thoughts.

We are ramping up on commands to the healthcare workers, coupled with a bit of information and possibly the distribution of some equipment for dealing with Ebola. Recall that all that equipment is subject to a 20% Federal Excise tax. All medical equipment from crutches to scalpels, hemostats and wheel chairs, splints and stethoscopes, all of it is subject to a 20% excise tax, presumably to help finance affordable health care although how making medical equipment more expensive is supposed to do that is not clear to me. This raises the cost of protective gear a considerable amount.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

School Doesn’t Have to Suck When You Teach Your Own Kids

21st October 2014

Read it.

Fortunately, my son is now homeschooled—or, technically, attends a private online school. He uses online lessons and offline texts and workbooks to learn, coached by his mother and me. The lessons are means to an end; he takes them as needed, and can take as much or little time as necessary, until he demonstrates his mastery of a topic in a unit assessment test. Then he moves on. Find your vocabulary set a breeze? Then skip the review lessons. Stumped by long division? Then spend a few hours working it out.

Funny how that works.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Thought for the Day

21st October 2014

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Why You Should Always Encrypt Your Smartphone

21st October 2014

Read it.

Last week, California’s Supreme Court reached a controversial 5-2 decision in People v. Diaz (PDF), holding that police officers may lawfully search mobile phones found on arrested individuals’ persons without first obtaining a search warrant. The court reasoned that mobile phones, like cigarette packs and wallets, fall under the search incident to arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

California’s opinion in Diaz is the latest of several recent court rulings upholding warrantless searches of mobile phones incident to arrest. While this precedent is troubling for civil liberties, it’s not a death knell for mobile phone privacy. If you follow a few basic guidelines, you can protect your mobile device from unreasonable search and seizure, even in the event of arrest. In this article, we will discuss the rationale for allowing police to conduct warrantless searches of arrestees, your right to remain silent during police interrogation, and the state of mobile phone security.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Michael Mosley: Should People Be Eating More Fat?

21st October 2014

Read it.

Everything bad is good for you.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

How Knights Fought in Their Heavy Plate Armor

19th October 2014

Read it. And watch the video.

Recently, a couple of re-enactors wit the Le Musée National du Moyen-Âge de Cluny shot a video to demonstrate just how an maneuverable armor-clad fighter could be. It’s an eye-opener, especially if you always assumed that an unhorsed and armored knight would be able to do little beyond shuffle and squeak toward his enemy. Take a look!

This, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone in the SCA. I remember an incident from the early 80s at Purdue University where Duke Moonwulf Starkadderson and his squires, responding to a challenge from the local Army ROTC unit, ran their Confidence Course in full armor (except helmets) in about the average time the cadets could do.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

‘Sorry, guys, we’re not all going to die of Ebola.’

19th October 2014

Sarah Hoyt breaks the news.

Which is a problem, because while we’re not all going to die of Ebola, Ebola has revealed how far gone we are in lack of civic trust.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

Watch ‘The Hobbit,’ as Told in 72 Seconds of Lego Stop-Motion Animation

18th October 2014

Read it.

If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers

17th October 2014

Read it.

Well, to start with, they don’t pretend that everybody and his dog needs to go to college.

The U.S. has its own tradition of apprenticeship going back many years. But like most kinds of vocational education, it fell out of fashion in recent decades—a victim of our obsession with college and concern to avoid anything that resembles tracking. Today in America, fewer than 5 percent of young people train as apprentices, the overwhelming majority in the construction trades. In Germany, the number is closer to 60 percent—in fields as diverse as advanced manufacturing, IT, banking, and hospitality. And in Europe, what’s often called “dual training” is a highly respected career path.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Gimmedat

17th October 2014

Read it.

When then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saw fit to ram the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (now affectionately known as ObamaCare) through Congress, the country engaged in a substantive debate over the duty and role of government.

Did I say substantive debate? What I really meant was childish rancor and outrageous demands.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Ex-Presidents and Class

17th October 2014

Read it.

Just about the entire Democratic Party is lining up to dump on Obama at the moment, including former President Jimmy Carter, who is obviously relieved that he’s no longer everyone’s go-to model for the worst president in modern memory.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

ISIS Puzzle

16th October 2014

Scott Adams connects the dots, which as a cartoonist he’s allowed to do.

I’ve described in this blog how my B.S. filter works. I look for two sources to be in agreement. For example, if the news reports match my common sense view, or my observations, or the first-hand accounts from witnesses, I tend to believe the news. But if the news conflicts with my common sense or my observations I raise an eyebrow and try to keep it that way.

The ISIS story doesn’t pass my B.S. filter because it violates common sense that such a competent fighting force could suddenly emerge and bitch-slap professionally trained (or even poorly trained) military forces with such consistency. I have worked in large organizations and I know that the logistics involved – the planning, training, and resupplying are huge challenges even for organized armies. Did ISIS really figure out all of that while their communications are presumably monitored by the enemy?

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Long and Ugly Tradition of Treating Africa as a Dirty, Diseased Place

16th October 2014

Read it.

I’d be more concerned if Africans didn’t seem so determined to convince us that it is.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Here’s What We Should Learn From Nigeria’s Incredible Effort to Shut Down Ebola

16th October 2014

Read it.

Nigeria is much closer to the West Africa outbreak than the US is, yet even after Ebola entered the country in the most terrifying way possible — via a visibly sick passenger on a commercial flight — officials successfully shut down the disease and prevented widespread transmission.

Usually Business Insider is Just Another Oxymoronically Named Lefty Rag, but they may actually be growing up into real journalists.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Michael Mosley: Should People Be Eating More Fat?

15th October 2014

Read it.

It really is the sort of news that made me want to weep into my skinny cappuccino and then pour it down the sink. After years of being told, and telling others, that saturated fat clogs your arteries and makes you fat, there is now mounting evidence that eating some saturated fats may actually help you lose weight and be good for the heart.

Everything bad is good for you. Michelle, put a sock in it.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Rock-Star Capitalism

14th October 2014

Read it.

What does it tell you when the leader of the world’s best known rock band has a better grasp of modern tax policy than those responsible for making it?

The front man for the rock band U2 got some people’s Irish up after he defended the low taxes of his homeland. “Tax competitiveness has brought our country the only prosperity we’ve known,” said the singer about the Emerald Isle. He’s absolutely right.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Why the Kitchen Computing Dream of the 80s Never Caught On

14th October 2014

Read it.

But Computer Programs for the Kitchen seems to be written for an audience that has zero knowledge of either cooking or computers; a curious alien, perhaps. In addition to building a recipe storage program, Chapter 5 outlines the structural features of a menu, in case the reader has never eaten a meal, and offers “proven menus” sure to impress your boss or other important dinner guests (Oysters Rockefeller, anyone?). There are dinner party preparation flowcharts (p 142), figures detailing the many kinds of pots found in a kitchen (p 149), and a table that lists the “mother” sauces that can be modified to make a range of different sauces.

The final chapter is a guide to becoming an insufferable 80s wine snob—it is titled “Is Wine Important?” and offers advice like, “The following list of French wines should be programmed into your computer…”

Only someone who does not need to make dinner right now with a toddler attached to their leg has the luxury of turning it into a weekend-tinkering pursuit.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Why Flunking Exams Is Actually a Good Thing

10th October 2014

Read it.

First, of course, you have to pick the right exam.

Across a variety of experiments, psychologists have found that, in some circumstances, wrong answers on a pretest aren’t merely useless guesses. Rather, the attempts themselves change how we think about and store the information contained in the questions. On some kinds of tests, particularly multiple-choice, we benefit from answering incorrectly by, in effect, priming our brain for what’s coming later.

That is: The (bombed) pretest drives home the information in a way that studying as usual does not. We fail, but we fail forward.

Often our study “aids” simply create fluency illusions — including, yes, highlighting — as do chapter outlines provided by a teacher or a textbook. Such fluency misperceptions are automatic; they form subconsciously and render us extremely poor judges of what we need to restudy or practice again. “We know that if you study something twice, in spaced sessions, it’s harder to process the material the second time, and so people think it’s counterproductive,” Nate Kornell, a psychologist at Williams College, said. “But the opposite is true: You learn more, even though it feels harder. Fluency is playing a trick on judgment.”

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

NASA: Biggest Cap of Antarctic Sea Ice Since 1979

9th October 2014

Read it.

How about that Global Warming, huh?

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Why Academics Stink at Writing

9th October 2014

Steven Pinker turns over a rock.

Together with wearing earth tones, driving Priuses, and having a foreign policy, the most conspicuous trait of the American professoriate may be the prose style called academese.

No honest professor can deny that there’s something to the stereotype. When the late Denis Dutton (founder of the Chronicle-owned Arts & Letters Daily) ran an annual Bad Writing Contest to celebrate “the most stylistically lamentable passages found in scholarly books and articles,” he had no shortage of nominations, and he awarded the prizes to some of academe’s leading lights.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Lead Poisoning in Rome – The Skeletal Evidence

8th October 2014

Read it.

Did lead poisoning cause the fall of the Roman Empire?  Probably not.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Google Turned A Camel Into A Street View Car To Map The Liwa Desert

8th October 2014

Read it.

I am not making this up.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Council of Chalcedon

8th October 2014

Read it.

Memorandum that Orthodox Christians have been resisting Muslim aggression for 1400 years.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Bacon Boom Was Not an Accident

6th October 2014

Read it.

In the past decade, bacon has grown into an industry generating more than $4 billion in annual sales. It has moved from a breakfast meat to a food trend touching an incredible array of consumer goods, both edible and not, from bacon-heavy fast-food burgers and bacon-infused desserts at fine dining restaurants to bottles of bacon-distilled vodka and even a sexual lubricant formulated to smell (and taste) like bacon. More than cupcakes, ramen, or kale, bacon has become the defining food trend of a society obsessed with food trends.

Oh, more than just a trend, I think.

Bacon has been a staple of the American diet since the first European settlers, but until recently it was consumed in a predictable, seasonal pattern. The bulk of sales came from home consumers, diners, and pancake houses, which fried it up along with eggs for breakfast. “For a long time bacon was sold 80 percent at retail and only 20 percent in food service,” says Leathers, who worked selling and marketing pork to both supermarkets and restaurants over the decades. In summer, sales would spike along with the annual tomato crop—peak season for Cobb salads, BLTs, and club sandwiches. When the tomatoes ran out by October, bacon retreated to the breakfast table till the next summer. The pork belly futures contract was born at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 1961 as a result of this cycle: Farmers with an excess supply of pork bellies sold them to cold storage warehouses, thus locking in a price long before tomato season hit. Pork belly traders made money speculating on the spread between the price of bellies on those contracts and the price they got when they finally sold the frozen meat to a smokehouse, where it was made into bacon.

There is no time when bacon is inappropriate.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Freedom From Food

6th October 2014

More on Soylent from one of the chattering classes.

Posted in Think about it. | 3 Comments »

Machine Learning Is Teaching Us the Secret to Teaching

5th October 2014

Read it.

When Pyotr Stolyarsky died in 1944, he was considered Russia’ s greatest violin teacher. He counted among his pupils a coterie of stars, including David Oistrakh and Nathan Milstein, and a school for gifted musicians in his native Odessa was named after him in 1933. But Stolyarsky couldn’t play the violin anywhere near as well as his best students. What he could do was whisper metaphors into their ears. He might lean over and explain how his mother cooked Sabbath dinner. His advice gave no specific information on what angle the bow should describe, or how to move the fingers across the frets to create vibrato. Instead, it distilled his experience of the music into metaphors his students could understand.

 

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent

5th October 2014

Read it.

I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night.

Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.

I never asked Mr. Jobs what his children did instead of using the gadgets he built, so I reached out to Walter Isaacson, the author of “Steve Jobs,” who spent a lot of time at their home.

“Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” he said. “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”

Sometimes the old ways are best.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Robots Work Their Way Into Small Factories

5th October 2014

Read it.

At Panek Precision Inc., a Northbrook, Ill., machine shop, 21 shiny new robots hum as they place metal parts into cutting machines and remove the parts after they are done. It’s a tedious and oily task once handled by machine operators who earn about $16.50 an hour.

One new robot doubled the output from a machine that was previously operated by a worker “because robots work overnight and don’t take lunch breaks and they just keep going,” says Gregg Panek, the company’s president. In some cases, the robots, which are single articulated arms, can even hold a part while it’s getting cut since there is no danger of injury.

Raise that minimum wage! Get more robots in here!

One thing still holding back the trend is fear. Some managers worry that workers will view the machines as competitors for jobs and fight their installation.

No shit.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Reality Is Viciously Sexist

5th October 2014

Eric Raymond lays out some inconvenient truth.

Males have, on average, about a 150% advantage in upper-body strength over females. It takes an exceptionally strong woman to match the ability of even the average man to move a contact weapon with power and speed and precise control. At equivalent levels of training, with the weight of real weapons rather than boffers, that strength advantage will almost always tell.

Firearms changes all this, of course – some of the physiological differences that make them inferior with contact weapons are actual advantages at shooting (again I speak from experience, as I teach women to shoot). So much so that anyone who wants to suppress personal firearams is objectively anti-female and automatically oppressive of women.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Visual Latin

4th October 2014

Watch it.

Next to math and touch-typing, Latin has been the most useful thing I have ever studied. Better than half of the really interesting and useful words in the English language came from Latin. Go through a newspaper or magazine article and cross out the words that come from Latin, and you aren’t left with much.

(I remember my first day of Intensive Beginning Greek at Yale; the instructor went around the room and asked why we wanted to study Greek, all 12 of us. My snotty answer was “To be civilized.” He said, “No, you study Latin to be civilized. You study Greek to be educated.” And he was right. That’s your next step.)

Any language that is ridiculed by Eddy Izzard has to be good for something.

And, to get you started: An appropriate book.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

An Apple a Day Could Keep Obesity Away

4th October 2014

Read it.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, you weightist bigot.

The tart green Granny Smith apples benefit the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon due to their high content of non-digestible compounds, including dietary fiber and polyphenols, and low content of available carbohydrates.

Reason enough, I suggest, to avoid them. My wife favors Gala apples, about which I have not heard any vile rumors of healthful effect.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

In Spacebar, No One Can Hear You Scream

4th October 2014

Read it.

You’d expect people who use a keyboard throughout the day, for pretty much every working day of their lives, to have some faint understanding of what to call the big, flat buttons on the rectangular plastic hedgehog sitting in front of them. But no.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Forget Secession. Americans Want to Boot California From the Union.

3rd October 2014

Read it.

Almost a quarter of Americans think taking their state out of the union is a swell idea, a Reuters/Ipsos poll told us not long ago. But why go yourself if you can kick the other guy out? So Fox News hired Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research to ask 1,049 registered voters if they thought booting a state or two to the curb was just good sense.

Of the 17 percent who thought that was a fine idea, there was an overwhelming favorite for who gets tossed from the moving vehicle: California.

Now there’s a program I could get behind.

 

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

On the Pitfalls of Urban Food Production

3rd October 2014

Read it.

What today’s enthusiastic locavores ultimately fail to understand is that their “innovative” ideas are not only up against the Monsantos of this world, but also in a direct collision course with regional advantages for certain types of food production, economies of scale of various kinds in all lines of work and the fact that pretty much anything they can achieve in urban environments can be replicated at lower costs in the countryside. These basic realities defeated sophisticated local food production systems in the past and will do so again in the foreseeable future.

A lot of dreams disappear when you actually run the numbers.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Not Your Parents’ Dystopias

3rd October 2014

Read it.

The standing consensus of genre historians is that general readers are likely to turn to fantasy during times of anxiety and dissatisfaction, preferring to look away (the “it’s my high school, but with zombies/werewolves/vampires” direction of urban fantasy) or behind (the “it’s another time and another place, but it looks/sounds/smells like medieval Europe” direction of high fantasy) rather than ahead to what they perceive as an unwelcoming, problematic future. Fantasy doesn’t offer an alternate view of tomorrow. It provides an escape from it.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Top Three Reasons Why Liberals Hate Conservatives

2nd October 2014

Read it.

We could go on and on refuting fact after fact, but the facts are unimportant. The leftist is creating a narrative. As a marketing guru will tell you, Facts tell, but stories sell. It’s a lesson the leftist has learned well.

Even more disturbing, in recent years, this method of “argumentation” has increasingly become the first tool pulled out of the toolbox. No longer does the leftist feel as compelled to make real arguments. All he needs to do now is shout “Racist!” or “War on Women!” and his job is done. He walks away feeling smugly satisfied of his own politically correct superiority, and the untrained observer is left addled at best, and possibly even swayed by the narrative.

So why they are so vicious?  Why do people who self-describe as “compassionate” direct such vitriolic hate and assaults at their ideological opponents? How they can justify painting you as such a monster?

Simple: To them, you are a monster. You must be.

Posted in Think about it. | 2 Comments »

Eaters vs. Bakers

2nd October 2014

Read it.

Eaters:

– Live in a pie scarce world

– I don’t know or care how to bake

– Pie is magically handed down from above

– Pie may stop coming

– I must be constantly vigilant to ensure I get my pie

– If someone else is eating pie that’s pie I can’t have

– If someone takes pie from me I will just have less pie

– If someone else isn’t getting pie that’s okay because it means there is more pie for me

– I must be suspicious of others and guard my pie

– I should never freely give pie, as there may not be more pie coming later

– I must make sure that I get enough pie even if it costs others their pie

– If I get too much pie while others don’t have enough, that’s okay because it safeguards me against a future lack of pie

Bakers:

– Live in a pie abundant world

– I love baking pie, it makes me happy

– The more mouths there are eating my pie the better as it creates more opportunity for me to bake more pie

– There is always more pie available, because I can just bake it

– If someone starts helping me bake pie that is awesome as it allows me to make more new and interesting pies

– If someone else is better than me at baking pie that’s even better as now I have someone to learn from and grow my own pie baking skills

– If we run out of pie that just increases the importance of my pie baking skills and I should seek to find more bakers to help me fill this pie void

– If someone takes some of my pie, well that’s no problem because I know there is more pie coming tomorrow

Eaters read too much John Rawls in college (or equivalent). They tend to be Democrats, too, but you knew that.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

How to Lose a Fight So The Other Guy Goes to Jail

1st October 2014

Read it.

Don’t ever say we don’t have useful stuff here.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Spreadsheet

1st October 2014

Read it.

OKCupid discovered earlier than most what data could tell us. As data has become more entwined with our humanity, and vice versa, it’s easy to forget what the point of it all is. Having, say, a central repository of friends’ birthdays so we don’t have to keep them in a separate calendar seems to be about little more than convenience. But Rudder and OKTrends showed that Big Data had more to offer. With every decision we make online we leave a trace about our intentions, conscious or otherwise. When all those traces are gathered together into one central space, they form a reservoir of knowledge about who we are.

Gives new meaning to the phrase ‘do the math’.

After graduating, he followed friends to Texas, where he worked on a financial graphing tool (more Excel) and thought about becoming a baker. But the people he worked with at the bakery weren’t his style. “I just couldn’t handle the hippies. I never smoked pot or anything and I can’t deal with the searcher mindset, especially in a work environment where I was like, ‘I gotta get this done,’ and they were like, ‘Dude, man, we get paid by the hour.’”

I’ve had the same experience.

“There isn’t really, like, a thread. I’ve definitely never planned any of this stuff out,” Rudder said, looking back. Rice, though, does see a throughline. “I think there’s a method for thinking that he can bring to bear on any given task. Whatever dissimilarities there are between the various kinds of things that he’s doing, they’re definitely united in that they allow for a systematic approach.”

Living proof of Scott Adams’ principle that the best way to live is to have strategies rather than goals.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Buy a Brick, Help Build the Nikola Tesla Museum

30th September 2014

Read it.

Inman got Elon Musk to donate a million dollars to the cause. Now it’s time up to us to raise the rest. The goal of this campaign is to fund the removal of hazardous materials on the property and the renovation of the Stanford White building.

Donate $125 and your name (or whatever message you choose) will be engraved on a brick that will be used to build the Tesla museum. Pledge larger amounts and you’ll get bigger brick and some extra perks to book. You can check out the campaign on Indiegogo here.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Body Electric

30th September 2014

Read it.

Every year, more than 500 Americans will be struck by lightning—and roughly 90 percent of them will survive. Though they remain among the living, their minds and bodies will be instantly, fundamentally altered in ways that still leave scientists scratching their heads.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

Why Peak-Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True

30th September 2014

Read it.

For decades, it has been a doomsday scenario looming large in the popular imagination: The world’s oil production tops out and then starts an inexorable decline—sending costs soaring and forcing nations to lay down strict rationing programs and battle for shrinking reserves.

U.S. oil production did peak in the 1970s and sank for decades after, exactly as the theory predicted. But then it did something the theory didn’t predict: It started rising again in 2009, and hasn’t stopped, thanks to a leap forward in oil-field technology.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »