Critical Section

Archive: May 16, 2008

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from Toledo

Friday,  05/16/08  02:27 PM

Sorry for the gap; I've been traveling in Europe and have had an amazingly hectic week: Monday, Amsterdam, Tuesday, Eindhoven and Groningen, Wednesday, Berlin, Thursday, Madrid, and Friday, Toledo.  I know, a reason is no excuse, but, well, that's my reason.  I must tell you I am having a great time and have had some productive meetings, and now that I'm in Toledo I'm attending the European Congress on Telepathology which has been very useful.  I am running down a bit; the travel, weird food, and need to speak in tongues are taking a toll...  but in the meantime, it's all happening...

Josh Kopelman: How to ask for the order.  "The way you ask is just as important as asking. If you focus on reducing friction in a transaction -- and ask for the order in the right way -- you might find that you improve both your odds of success and the time needed to get a deal done."  A great post.  This resonates strongly for me because of our learnings at PayPal; we found that removing one question from the signup page increased signups dramatically.

in the airMalcom Gladwell: In the AirWho says big ideas are rare?  I've reached the point with Gladwell where I read everything he writes, but while this is interesting it isn't his most insightful work.  Check it out and see what you think.

Fake Steve Jobs: Why Dell will not bounce back.  "The other reason Dell won't rebound is that the company is yoked to Microsoft. Vista has hurt them tremendously. Don't doubt it."  I don't.

Albert Einstein or Marilyn Monroe?This is a little too weird, Adam Curry asks Albert Einstein or Marilyn Monroe?  Check out the picture at right; if you think you know the answer, get up and view it from across the room...

Here's an important study: Music affects wine taste.  "New research suggests that the type of music one listens to while drinking wine can dramatically affect the taste."  I would not doubt it.  Furthermore I've noticed music has more of an effect on me than many other people, so it would probably affect the taste of wine more, too.  Personal research on this issue seems indicated!

More important work: the Science of Orgasm.  "Brain scans seem to show that orgasms aren't just about heightened arousal but also the silencing of the brain's 'center of vigilance' to lose all inhibitions."  Again, personal research seems indicated :)  In fact as I think about it, I wonder if music affects orgasms.  Or wine.  Or both in combination?  The need for extensive research in this area is apparent :)

Today's example of a semi-useful feature masquerading as a company:; a service that monitors websites for spelling errors.  You honestly cannot make this stuff up, it defies parody.

Finally, here's today's picture of the week.  Wow. 
Beautiful, amazing, and awe-inspiring, all at once. 

lightning storm!
(click to enlarge)


don't ask - (New Yorker, 5/12/08)

Friday,  05/16/08  02:32 PM

don't ask



going Dutch

Friday,  05/16/08  02:40 PM

going DutchApropos my post one of their kind, the Economist's Charlemagne writes about Going Dutch, how the Netherlands fell out of love with Europe.

Over the past 60 years the Netherlands has been one of Europe's biggest success stories. The Dutch are among the richest (and tallest) people on earth. Their social tolerance is widely admired. Yet immigration and the rise of Islam have triggered a backlash. Rotterdam may soon become the EU's first big Muslim-majority city. The meteoric political career of Pim Fortuyn, a populist who was assassinated in 2002, followed two years later by the murder of Theo van Gogh, a film-maker, by a (Dutch-born) Islamist radical has left scars on a society that once took pride in its embrace of multiculturalism. The Netherlands is a place that is now palpably fretful about its future.

This is so true.  The idyllic symbiosis between the people and their culture is under threat, and all feel it.


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Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
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Emergent Properties
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Moving Mount Fuji
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IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
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Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
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estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained