Archive for July 2010
The premise of this piece — stop using the acronym “IRL”! — is thin, but its substance resonates with the way I use (and love) the internet.
8. When you spend your online time on what really matters to you, you experience your time online as an authentic reflection of your values.
9. When you embrace online conversations as real, you imbue them with the power to change how you and others think and feel.
Troy Patterson pretty much nails what’s great about the best new show on American TV:
It is as if, beneath the anger that every good comedian must cultivate and cherish, he’s achieved a kind of philosophical peace. Having meditated on the world’s absurd injustices, he greets them with absurdity in kind. In all, the outlook qualifies him as a kind of existential hero.
Recent studies have found that conventional running shoe fittings yield more injuries than shoes assigned at random.
About half of the runners received shoes designated by the shoe companies as appropriate for their particular foot stance (underpronators were given cushiony shoes, overpronators motion-control shoes and so on). The rest received shoes at random. All of the women started a 13-week, half-marathon training program. By the end, about a third had missed training days due to pain, with a majority of the hurt runners wearing shoes specifically designed for their foot postures.
Plight of the Social Maladroit
I fear my off-handed comment about how good Colin Marshall is undersold his talent. I really mean it when I say this series of posts is the best thing I’ve read in a while, but I’d be remiss to mention that is in part because it’s kinda the story of my life (so far):
If, like those “talented” kids who grow up lazily shielding the dubious glory of their intelligence, you buy your own hype, you might come to believe some weird things. If other people bow before the awesome power of your brain, for instance, then what could you ever stand to gain from interacting with other people? They’re worshiping you, after all. You’re a god to them! The assumption that you only need your projects, your own brain and maybe the friendship of the 99th percentile most like-minded and demographically similar people in your region.
It comes in five parts:
Troubling article in last week’s Ideas section about how globalization has changed the way militaries take over and assert power against civilian governments.
Militaries today find it is easier to function as kingmakers rather than kings, while still maintaining the fiction that the armed forces are neutral in politics. The armed forces walk this fine line by using their influence, in the background, to keep governments in power or topple them. At other times, the military uses its expertise in handling dangerous security threats like drug trafficking or terrorism to build up its power again.
Rational arguments pretty much never persuade anyone of anything. Don’t waste your time arguing with True Believers. Don’t waste energy wishing someone else was acting differently. You can’t make anyone do anything. You can only choose your own actions.
Advice from others means absolutely nothing; fucking up is what teaches you something. Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t. Realize that most people older than you really don’t know any better. Figure out what your fears are and take steps to get over them.
Take a woman and her housekeeper, capture them removed from any recognizable context, and leave people wondering which is which. The linked PDF begins with an explanation (en Español) of the project, photos begin on page 23. Contexts.org provides some details for those of us better at English than Spanish.
Though this is undoubtedly a reason that people procrastinate, I can see how it applies to many things I’ve done in my life.
In sum, if you self-handicap (with alcohol or any other strategy known to undermine performance - ah, yes, procrastination) and you fail, you protect your sense of competence, because you can externalize the blame to the alcohol or procrastination (on the college campus, it could well be both!).
This is not to say that the peer review system is worthless. But it’s limited. Peer review doesn’t prove that a paper is right; it doesn’t even prove that the paper is any good (and it may serve as a gatekeeper that shuts out good, correct papers that don’t sit well with the field’s current establishment for one reason or another). All it proves is that the paper has passed the most basic hurdles required to get published — that it be potentially interesting, and not obviously false. This may commend it to our attention — but not to our instant belief.