Archive for January 2010

#  How Psychological Cold Reading Works →

January 31st, 2010 at 15:26 // In Worth Knowing 

Lloyd does a great job explaining the way psychics and mediums seem to know you so well. The video that he mentions of Derron Brown running a Forer experiment is on YouTube, and he’s got a copy of the reading Brown used.

#  How the Blind Read →

January 30th, 2010 at 18:22 // In Worth Reading 

This shocked me:

A report released last year by the National Federation of the Blind, an advocacy group with 50,000 members, said that less than 10 percent of the 1.3 million legally blind Americans read Braille. Whereas roughly half of all blind children learned Braille in the 1950s, today that number is as low as 1 in 10, according to the report.

The rest of the piece is a worthy analysis of what that fact means.

#  As Health Reform Stands →

January 24th, 2010 at 9:42 // In Worth Reading 

It’s pieces like this that make me love David Brooks. Telling us what we don’t want to hear, but need to. The jumping off point:

Despite the Democratic triumph that month, [Galston and Kamarck] noted, public distrust of government remains intensely high. Historically, it has been nearly impossible to pass major domestic reforms in the face of that kind of distrust. Therefore, they counseled, the new administration should move cautiously to rebuild trust before beginning a transformational agenda.

#  Sports Fan No Longer →

January 13th, 2010 at 12:20 // In Worth Knowing 

I’d recently noticed that I’d almost completely stopped watching sports, so an article on the topic caught my eye. This was a large part of it for me:

You pretty much have to watch [sports] live. Sure, you can record a Sunday afternoon football game and watch it the next day, but the final score is harder to avoid than the twist in last night’s episode of Mad Men. Glimpse the back page of the local tabloid, and the game is spoiled. Even if your self-imposed media blackout does succeed, watching a day-old ballgame is like doing yesterday’s crossword. It just doesn’t have the same crackle. At the same time, other entertainment options are becoming easier to fit into my schedule. If I’m not in the mood for the TV shows I’ve DVR’d, I can always stream a movie on Netflix.

#  How GPS Works →

January 12th, 2010 at 19:17 // In Worth Knowing 

For every kid who ever asked, “But when will I ever use this?” when learning about an esoteric math or science concept.

The combination of these two relativitic effects means that the clocks on-board each satellite should tick faster than identical clocks on the ground by about 38 microseconds per day (45-7=38)! This sounds small, but the high-precision required of the GPS system requires nanosecond accuracy, and 38 microseconds is 38,000 nanoseconds. If these effects were not properly taken into account, a navigational fix based on the GPS constellation would be false after only 2 minutes, and errors in global positions would continue to accumulate at a rate of about 10 kilometers each day!

(via jimray)

#  What Long Tail? →

January 6th, 2010 at 17:13 // In Worth Reading 

The Economist makes (or made in November) an interesting point: it’s the middle of the road stuff, not the blockbusters, that are suffering a technology marches forward.

A study of the Australian market by Nielsen, a research firm, found that the number of titles bought each year (measured by ISBNs) has risen dramatically, from about 275,000 in 2004 to almost 450,000 in 2007. Niche titles selling fewer than 1,000 copies each accounted for nearly all the growth in variety. Yet their market share fell. In Britain, sales of the ten bestselling books increased from 3.4m to 6m between 1998 and 2008.

(via Marco, who pulled the quote that most likely explains the phenomona)