Month: July 2012

  • Misunderstood Salt: The Facts About Limiting Intake

    For decades we have been told, with certainty, to limit our salt intake or risk heart disease and high blood pressureÔÇöbut is this advice based on sound scientific findings? The short answer is No. The evidence is inconsistent, inconclusive and contradictory, says prominent cardiologist Jeremiah Stamler (who used to be an advocate for the eat-less-salt…

  • Equipping for Emergencies: What Items Disappear First?

    As someone who lives in an economically, climatically and politically stable Western country, the chances are somewhat remote that I’ll ever encounter an emergency that requires forethought and careful planning1. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying this list of the 100 most in-demand goods during an emergency. This list apparently originates from someone called…

  • Mid-90s Quotes from Wired

    Kevin Kelly, editor of┬áWired, found an old file containing a selection of quotes from the first five years of Wired. This is a nice wander down memory lane, with Wired‘s trademark embracing of technology in the face of huge change quite evident (as well as some mid-90s prophesying, positivism, and–dare I say it–fear-mongering). Some of…

  • Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion and the Importance of Recognising “Enforced Compliance”

    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is Robert Cialdini’s 1984 book discussing what he calls the six fundamental psychological principles of compliance: consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity. The conclusion to Cialdini’s book points out why, in this increasingly complex world, resisting attempts at “enforced compliance” (deception) through these key principles is as important…

  • The Licensing Effect and the Unhealthy Habit of Vitamin Supplements

    The licensing effect is the phenomenon whereby positive actions or decisions taken now increase negative or unethical decisions taken later. I’ve written about this previously, before I was aware of a general effect: Just considering ordering a salad at a restaurant increases unhealthy orders. Purchasing ‘green’ products increases unethical behaviour such as cheating and stealing.…

  • Long Reads and the Stockholm Syndrome

    Since reading one of the┬álongest novels┬áI have shied away from other lengthy tomes despite thoroughly enjoying my 1000-page adventure. When considering this choice, I frame my decision as defending against a type of literary┬ápost-purchase rationalisation: after investing such an enormous amount of time in reading a book, will I be able to objectively consider both…