The Panic of 2020? Oh, I Made a Ton of Money—and So Did You
> Hindsight bias suggests that one day you’ll look back on all of this and... lie
> In a classic experiment in 1972, researchers asked people to estimate the likelihood that various positive and negative outcomes might result from President Richard Nixon’s upcoming trips to China and Russia that year. We now call those visits “historic” because they thawed decades of hostility between the U.S. and the communist powers. In advance, no one knew whether the trips would accomplish anything. About two weeks after Nixon’s visits, 71% of people recalled putting better odds on his success than they had at the time. Four months on, 81% remembered being more sure Nixon would succeed than they had said beforehand.
> In short, learning what did happen impedes you from retrieving what you thought would happen.
Quite a few studies in this area, all with the same result.
> In an effort to avoid the biannual clock switch in spring and fall, some well-intended critics of DST have made the mistake of suggesting that the abolition of DST—and a return to permanent standard time—would benefit society. In other words, the U.S. would never “spring forward” or “fall back.”
> They are wrong. DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime. Not surprisingly, then, politicians in Washington and Florida have now passed laws aimed at moving their states to DST year-round.
This is interesting. There are definitely costs to shifting clocks, but that still leaves the question of what the ideal daylight hours are.
I Add 3-25 Seconds of Latency to Every Page I Visit
> So if you can inject latency into sites artificially, you can reduce the actual impact of the addiction in a controllable way while not denying the enjoyment of the Internet to yourself.
> Hacker News with 100ms latency feels like liquor: Hacker News with 9000ms latency feels like small beer.
95%-ile isn't that good
> Reaching 95%-ile isn’t very impressive because it’s not that hard to do. I think this is one of my most ridiculable ideas. It doesn’t help that, when stated nakedly, that sounds elitist. But I think it’s just the opposite: most people can become (relatively) good at most things.
There are several sections here. Every time I thought I was nearing the end, more content showed up.
How to Get Someone to Take One for the Team
Nailed it: “There’s no I in team” says the guy saying someone needs to take one for the team.
I broke Giant’s handheld scanner system by only buying two things
> The employee interface verified that my cart contained two (2) items. She scanned both. It verified that those two items were ones I had scanned. And then it told her that she needed to scan five more items to complete the audit, because the audit requires seven items to be scanned.
Admit It: You Have a Box of Cords You’ll Never, Ever Use Again
> There’s a box that moved with Sarah Loveless and her husband from San Diego to Charleston, S.C., from Charleston to Dallas and from Dallas to Richland, Wash. The box, never unpacked, went into a closet or the garage each time. Contents: 20 to 30 electronics cords.
Farewell to Starbucks’s green straws
> In the long history of pipe-assisted drinking—beginning with the gold beer-sipping tubes of the Sumerians—Starbucks’s plastic straws knew they were a cut above the rest. Their tight white wrapping carried not only English words but a stylish French inscription, Pas recommandé pour utiliser dans les boissons chaudes. Released from that confinement, springing up ready, they stood straight, stiff and tall as a stalk of wheat, with no disfiguring articulations; for they never quailed or bent. And their colour was beautiful. It was darker than the leaves of spring, lighter than the Washington forests and the logo of the company, yet fresh, viridian, straight from the palette of a Monet or a Van Gogh. But despite all that they were doomed to disappear by 2020, for not being green enough.
How Crisco Made Americans Believers in Industrial Food
> Crisco’s main ingredient, cottonseed oil, had a bad rap. So marketers decided to focus on the ‘purity’ of factory food processing
In the modern commune, a case of beer is not welcome
> didn’t plan to move into a commune. But when The Economist sent me to San Francisco for two months to cover a gap in our Silicon Valley coverage, my housing options seemed unpalatable. I didn’t want to live in a soulless serviced apartment, and hotels and Airbnbs were horrifically expensive for long stays. So I found myself trawling Facebook groups with names like “San Francisco flatshare”. A stranger suggested I look at a spare room in a communal house he knew. I wrote an earnest email introducing myself to its occupants and asking whether they had a room for a month. A few hours later I was in.
> I felt like a Neanderthal, supping beer and interjecting to add that surely it was important to enjoy yourself now and again. This sat oddly with a group that was on a different path towards self-actualisation.
Wonders of the Internet
> There wasn’t any indication of what it had been part of, or what it was for, but it did have the marking PART 2198768 on the back, so I handed that to The Goog.
> And the result was instantaneous and unequivocal: it belongs to my refrigerator. Specifically, it goes in the back of the freezer compartment to keep food from falling down into the back and blocking the drainage path.
I tried to adjust the time on my alarm clock. I failed.
> For some reason, my alarm clock requires that I install an app on my phone. And the app required me to create an account.
> I’m going to repeat that: In order to set my alarm clock, I had to create an account with the clock manufacturer.
I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can Get Yours, Too.
> Little-known companies are amassing your data — like food orders and Airbnb messages — and selling the analysis to clients. Here’s how to get a copy of what they have on you.
> As of this summer, though, Sift does have a file on you, which it can produce upon request. I got mine, and I found it shocking: More than 400 pages long, it contained all the messages I’d ever sent to hosts on Airbnb; years of Yelp delivery orders; a log of every time I’d opened the Coinbase app on my iPhone. Many entries included detailed information about the device I used to do these things, including my IP address at the time.
Coffee is Hard
> Quest games started with a premise like “escape the wizard” or “escape the aliens” then forced you to do a series of banal and random tasks to avoid the many, many ways to die. Once you know the way, most of the games can be completed in under an hour. On the first go, it took my whole family weeks. Not the least of the horror was often having to do things several scenes before there’s any reason for having done them: in Space Quest I, the hero-janitor Roger has to refuse the first offer for his bike, so the guy will come back a little later and throw in a jetpack. Of course there’s no indication that he’ll come back with a jetpack, and no reason to think there’s a need for a jetpack until three days later when Roger exits his spaceship and floats into the void because he doesn’t have a jetpack. This leads to replaying most of the game a dozen times just looking for a jetpack, which is hidden not in a spaceship closet or a bar or a cavern, but behind a tough-but-not-too-tough bargaining strategy. It also took about ninety seconds to switch between screens, so exploration was grueling on a good day.
> After playing the first two, I realized I’d been programming for 17 years and could probably make my own, especially when all the art is 320 pixels wide and that’s about how many pixels I can work with before people give me a sideways look and ask if I really have a liberal arts degree. I decided to base the story loosely on my novel, for two reasons: first, if the game happens to get the kind of notoriety my novel has not, I might be able to boost sales by claiming the novel can serve as a hint book. Second, I spent nineteen years writing that stupid book, and this seemed like a good a way to manage the withdrawal symptoms. Three weeks later I’d built a rendering engine I’m quite proud of, a simple command and scene logic processor, and accidentally reinvented GIF compression.
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
Doing Things The Wrong Way
> Rules have a time and place, and “doing things wrong” is just a matter of your opinion, man.
It’s Scarily Easy To Track Someone Around A City Via Their Instagram Stories
> By cross-referencing just one hour of footage from public webcams with stories taken in Times Square, BuzzFeed News confirmed the full identities of a half dozen people.
The grandmaster diet: How to lose weight while barely moving
> Robert Sapolsky, who studies stress in primates at Stanford University, says a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories a day while playing in a tournament, three times what an average person consumes in a day. Based on breathing rates (which triple during competition), blood pressure (which elevates) and muscle contractions before, during and after major tournaments, Sapolsky suggests that grandmasters’ stress responses to chess are on par with what elite athletes experience.
> I would like to apologize.