Month: October 2009

  • Elderly Becoming Redundant

    If the elderly are mostly recognised and valued for their accumulated knowledge and skills (a contentious assumption in itself, granted), then technological advances are gradually making the older generations redundant, suggests Philip Greenspun. Let’s start by considering factual knowledge. An old person will know more than a young person, but can any person, young or…

  • Ten Internet Laws

    You’ve definitely heard of at least one of them and maybe even laughed, groaned or plain ignored a few others. To help along that process Tom Chivers presents¬†ten laws of the Internet: Godwin’s Law “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” [‚Ķ] It is closely…

  • What Makes Us Human: Tolerance and Cooperation

    In the 1950s, Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev ran a¬†selective breeding project to, by artificial selection, breed (incredibly cute)¬†domesticated silver foxes. The results of this multi-decade experiment were impressive, especially given that the foxes were selected¬†solely for their amicability toward humans: After only forty generations, the selected foxes began to display¬†changes you (and Darwin, too) might…

  • Want Happiness? Buy Memories, Not Objects

    In one of my very first posts, I wrote about an article that noted how “money will make you happier, up to a point. After that, it makes no difference. That point is the wonderfully quantitative ‘point of comfort‘. That is, once we have enough money to feed, clothe and house ourselves, extra money makes…

  • Overcoming Network Effects

    A¬†network effect is “the effect that one user of a¬†good or¬†service has on the¬†value of that product to other people”. When there is a positive network effect we say that the good or service in question increases in usefulness the more users there are, like the telephone or online social networks. Of course, being in…

  • More Psychology of Wine

    Most psychology studies focusing on my good friend, wine, rely on applying the scientific method to the tasting of different wines, and this is done in one, relatively simple way: blind tasting. Finance blogger at Reuters,¬†Felix Salmon, isn’t a fan of blind tasting, and after reading his eminently-quotable piece on the subject I tend to…

  • Cory Doctorow’s Experiment: Does Free Work?

    For his next collection of short stories to be published, titled¬†With a¬†Little Help, author and blogger-extraordinaire Cory Doctorow will be running an experiment so that he can see whether his strategy of offering his work for free is working. With prices to range from $0.00 to $10,000 for various packages, Doctorow is to track his…

  • Innovation of Innovation

    The costs of innovation have exceeded the benefits, says Umair Haque, and it’s time to move away from this “relic of the industrial era” towards something specifically “built for the 21st century”.¬†Haque has dubbed this the almost too hip Awesomeness Manifesto. The three problems with innovation as it stands, according to Haque: Innovation relies on…

  • Richard Dawkins and Hugh Hewitt Interview

    The former Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and founder of the Foundation for Reason and Science, Richard Dawkins, was recently invited to appear on¬†The Hugh Hewitt Show where the two discussed religion, Rome, evolution and much more. One particular exchange (the Okay, do you believe Jesus turned water into wine? incident) has…

  • Gladwell on Education, Hiring, Journalism

    I haven’t read (m)any of Malcolm Gladwell‘s articles in the past 6 months as they’re all, well, a bit homogeneous. Plus, if there are any fascinating revelations that I really should hear about I’ll undoubtedly discover them (in a much-condensed form) in many other places rehashing his content. This interview with Malcolm Gladwell‚ÄĒwhere he discusses…