Archive for September 2009
Though Drake Bennet’s piece feels a little shallow — like he’s pointing to this really interesting thing and rather than explain it is merely puzzling at it beside you — he does a good job gathering a number of recent studies demonstrating the link between metaphorical and real concepts. You’ve probably heard at least one of these studies — people holding warm things think the people around them are nicer, people using a heavier clipboard think more seriously about the survey they’re filling out — but the idea that these results are not one-off flukes but the foundation of abstraction is eye-opening.
It’s also worth noting the sidebar to that article, which addresses the inverse possibility: that we subconsciously physicalize the metaphors we know.
I saw at least five links to this Onion story before I read a word of it. And when I finally did, I understood why it had at least five links. It dares to imagine a different, probably better, world:
“We know it’s good, and everyone’s pretty happy with the overall taste, so why spend all our time worrying about what other people think?” PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi told reporters during a press conference at the company’s corporate headquarters. “Frankly, it just feels sort of weird and desperate to put all this energy into telling people what to drink. If they don’t like it, then they don’t like it.”
… Nooyi told reporters the company’s $1.3 billion annual advertising budget would be put into Pepsi’s savings account, spread among various charitable organizations, and divvied up into generous bonuses for the company’s minimum-wage factory employees.
(J-Walk’s the one that finally made me pay attention)
This feels like it must be fake (or a publicity stunt), but AdAge reports that Kraft crowdsourced the name a new Vegemite and cream cheese concoction, “Vegemite iSnack 2.0” was the winner, and they’re actually planning on pushing the product to shelves labelled as such. (It’s been on shelves already, but with “Name Me” labels.)
(via The Awl)
It’s an enticing idea, shoehorning a standards-compliant browser into Internet Explorer, but I have to agree with Dan Nguyen:
How many of the IT departments that refuse to upgrade from IE6 allow their users to install some crazy Google plug-in?
Ever since I encountered the term a few months ago, my back of the brain aspiration has been to be made Benevolent Dictator for Life of something.
I think the most interesting thing about these maps showing which NFL games are shown where in the United States is seeing what teams and matchups get the greatest geographical distribution as the season unfolds. You can already see data from the last four(!) years for just such a study. At this point in my life, this interests me more than the actual games.
I’ve been (rather passively) looking for a book like this for the last few years. And here I have found it as a simple, unassuming webpage. There are some (to me) strange transliterations — kamma and Nibbana for karma and nirvana — but it’s an admirable introduction for anyone striving to be a good Buddhist or just curious about what that would entail.
A sample of its wisdom:
The best remedy for a lapse or transgression already committed is to decide never to repeat it; the best remedy for neglecting to do good is to do it without delay.
(via Dan Benjamin, I think)
You’ve probably heard about all the perverse incentives in American medicine, but I’d never heard of this one:
Doctors do a job—like placing a coronary artery stent, reading an EKG, or spending an hour examining and diagnosing a patient with a complex problem like insomnia—and earn something called “relative value units.” In 2009, according to Medicare, the stent guy scores about 24 units for his relatively quick procedure, the EKG person gets 0.5 units for the 10 seconds his job requires, and the poor internist gets only 2.5 units for his hour of time. Figuring a doctor’s total take per task is straightforward: Medicare adds up a doctor’s total RVUs, multiplies the total by a fixed amount (roughly $40 right now), and writes the check.
Medicare and all major insurers place far more relative value on fancy procedures like stents, EKGs, skin biopsies, CT scans, and bowel clean-outs than they do on actual face-to-face time with patients. Procedures, they have decreed, require more mental effort and skill than seeing actual people.
My most recent podcast discovery, and a very promising one at that. A “This American Life” for video games, seems to capture it about as well as anything else I’ve heard.
I thought about picking out a favorite from Lloyd’s post about recent life advice pieces, but every link is well chosen and worth perusing, You’re unlikely to regret the time.
The thought had never really occurred to me, but it turns most of those really cool pictures from space are Photoshopped (that word looks ugly any way you write it).
An object that would in real life comprise several indistinguishable shades of red might be represented to the public as the composite of three pictures in red, green, and blue. As a general rule, professional “visualizers” try to assign red to the image showing the longest wavelengths of light and blue to the one showing the shortest.
I’d not known this:
In 1884, when President Grover Cleveland signed the bill making Labor Day a national holiday on the first Monday in September, he and its sponsors intended it not as a celebration of leisure but as a promotion of the great American work ethic. Work, they believed, was the highest calling in life, and Labor Day was a reminder to get back to it. It was placed at the end of summer to declare an end to the season of indolence, and also to distance it from May Day, the spring event that had become a symbol of the radical labor movement.
There’s a great deal more that’s interesting in the piece about American’s attitudes toward work through history.