Archive for September 2009

#  The Cognitive Importance of Metaphor →

September 30th, 2009 at 11:18 // In Worth Considering 

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.

#  Pepsi Stops Advertising →

September 29th, 2009 at 17:19 // In Worth Reading 

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)

#  iSnack 2.0 →

September 29th, 2009 at 14:05 // In Worth Distraction 

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)

#  World’s Most Beautiful Bookstore →

September 28th, 2009 at 18:42 // In Worth Seeing 

I don’t think anything could top this one. Modern fixtures dropped inside a 13th century Dominican church in the Netherlands. A Google Image search has the biggest pictures I can find, and a review from the Guardian is available.

(title link via Boing Boing)

#  Letters of Note →

September 23rd, 2009 at 13:44 // In Worth Seeing 

A truly awesome tribute to the lost art of letter writing, history, and all the cool stuff we can gather with the technologies available to us today. Yesterday’s is great.

(via Yewknee, who points to some more historical examples)

#  Google Chrome Frame →

September 23rd, 2009 at 9:23 // In Worth Considering 

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?

UPDATE (9/23/09): Roy Tanck hashes out the problem a bit better, while jimray tells you most everything you might be wondering about how it works.

#  BDFL →

September 22nd, 2009 at 12:49 // In Worth Distraction 

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.

#  Mapping Matchups’ Perceived Popularity →

September 16th, 2009 at 20:36 // In Worth Seeing 

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.

(via kottke)

#  A Buddhist’s Guide to Life →

September 15th, 2009 at 19:57 // In Worth Reading 

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)

#  The Dearth of Primary Care →

September 14th, 2009 at 12:41 // In Worth Knowing 

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.