danger + opportunity ≠ crisis
> There is a widespread public misperception, particularly among the New Age sector, that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of elements that signify “danger” and “opportunity.” I first encountered this curious specimen of alleged oriental wisdom about ten years ago at an altitude of 35,000 feet sitting next to an American executive. He was intently studying a bound volume that had adopted this notorious formulation as the basic premise of its method for making increased profits even when the market is falling. At that moment, I didn’t have the heart to disappoint my gullible neighbor who was blissfully imbibing what he assumed were the gems of Far Eastern sagacity enshrined within the pages of his workbook. Now, however, the damage from this kind of pseudo-profundity has reached such gross proportions that I feel obliged, as a responsible Sinologist, to take counteraction.
2019 Illusion of the Year Finalists
10 short optical illusion videos.
How to Explain What Words Mean
> It pains me to admit it, but this one even confuses me.
How to Reassure Someone
> You’re asking me if something I didn’t see looks like something you’ve never seen.
> It’s a simple yes or no question.
Also: red light cameras.
Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them
Penn Jillette Talks About His 2nd Appearance On "Late Night w/ David Letterman" & The Actual Segment
> Penn told this story and it provided a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the difference between recollection/a story VS the real event as there was video of the event.
I liked this a lot. It’s a pretty good story, first of all. Penn’s version is believable and essentially accurate, but suffers from a few discrepancies.
Doing Things The Wrong Way
> Rules have a time and place, and “doing things wrong” is just a matter of your opinion, man.
Visual Information Theory
> Information theory gives us precise language for describing a lot of things. How uncertain am I? How much does knowing the answer to question A tell me about the answer to question B? How similar is one set of beliefs to another? I’ve had informal versions of these ideas since I was a young child, but information theory crystallizes them into precise, powerful ideas. These ideas have an enormous variety of applications, from the compression of data, to quantum physics, to machine learning, and vast fields in between.
> Unfortunately, information theory can seem kind of intimidating. I don’t think there’s any reason it should be. In fact, many core ideas can be explained completely visually!
In Memoriam: J. C. R. Licklider
Two papers. Man-Computer Symbiosis and The Computer as a Communication Device.
The first argues for interactive systems. The computer can’t be an extension of our mind if it’s not responsive.
The second is a vision for networked communications. It sounds a lot like today, but more optimistic. Where did we go wrong?
The Only Way to Win Is Not to Play the Game
> When I became a math and science writer, I had no idea that one of the most common requests I would get would be to weigh in on order of operations problems that somehow go viral in some segment of the internet.
> The real answer, the one I believe any mathematician, physicist, engineer, other number-cruncher would tell you is to make sure your expressions aren’t ambiguous.
Another take: https://danso.ca/blog/order-of-operations/
> So one way of extending political time horizons and increasing is to age-weight votes. The idea is that younger people would get more heavily weighted votes than older people, very roughly in proportion with life expectancy.
I suspect this has very little chance of becoming reality.
The Resulting Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions
> In it, Duke parlays her experience with cards into general lessons about decision making that are relevant for all of us. If a well-reasoned decision leads to a negative outcome, was it the wrong decision? How do we distinguish between luck and skill? And how do we move beyond our cognitive biases?
> Probably because of something my ancestors did.
> You’re pointing to Waldo on a page
Trump Consultant Is Trolling Democrats With Biden Site That Isn’t Biden’s
> For much of the last three months, the most popular Joseph R. Biden Jr. website has been a slick little piece of disinformation that is designed to look like the former vice president’s official campaign page, yet is most definitely not pro-Biden.
> The website’s success was not accidental. Mr. Mauldin put it up well before Mr. Biden’s official website and aggressively pushed it out on Reddit, getting clicks and links and exposure. It had a big boost in May when a handful of media outlets — The Daily Caller and CNET, among others — wrote stories about the fake page beating Mr. Biden’s and linked to it. Links from established media websites are weighted heavily by search engines.
Hey everybody, look at this thing we don’t want people to see!
How to Share Your Knowledge
> The Pepper’s Ghost illusion was originally used by charlatans to make people think they were looking at the dead, brought back as ghosts, which don’t exist. Now charlatans use the Pepper’s Ghost illusion to make people think they’re looking at the dead, brought back as 3D holographic projections, WHICH ALSO DON’T EXIST!
FUCT in the brain
> Scientists have found that swearing most likely originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, and within that half, in the “primitive” part of the brain, the limbic system. The right half of the brain [which] is responsible for nonpropositional or automatic speech, which includes greetings, conventional expressions such as ‘not at all,’ counting, song lyrics, and swearwords. Propositional speech—words strung together in syntactically correct forms to create an original meaning—occurs in the left hemisphere.
> But the evidence for this conclusion is weak, in my opinion.
Sex and Psychological Operations
> Warning! These historical wartime images are sexually explicit.
> Would it surprise you to know that all the major combatants involved in World War II used pornography as part of their psychological operations (PSYOP) strategy?
The end of political cartoons at The New York Times
> In April 2019, a Netanyahu caricature from syndication reprinted in the international editions triggered widespread outrage, a Times apology and the termination of syndicated cartoons. Weeks later, my employers tell me they’re ending political cartoons altogether by July. I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh: that’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon - not even mine - that should never have run in the best newspaper of the world.
> I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general. We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow. This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions. Twitter is a place for furor, not debate. The most outraged voices tend to define the conversation, and the angry crowd follows in.