Monday, May 12, 2008

Reasons I Still Haven't Written the Paper

1- I listened to Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking on tape. I thought it was very interesting and had lots of cool stories about how our brain has evolved to be able to do cool stuff without our consciously thinking about it, but I think the idea's a little oversold. The intro says that we could use this idea "to create a new and better world," or something presumptuous like that. It was interesting how certain hospitals now diagnose heart attacks way more accurately than others using only 3 readings, how some tennis coach can 100% tell when someone's going to double fault, how market research thought the Herman Miller Aeron chair was fugly and wouldn't sell and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and All in the Family weren't funny, why police shoot unarmed people, or how well-trained scientists can predict with accuracy whether a couple will stay together based on a 3-minute conversation, but they're certainly not all good things your brain makes you do, and sometimes instincts seem completely unrelated to the story and it just seems like statistics or "scientific research" is what's necessary to answer important questions (imagine that). So yes, it's interesting that sometimes your instincts are great, then you screw it up by thinking about it, but then if you become a pro at it and actually study it a lot you can be amazing, but I don't think we're foolishly sitting on this vast fountain of knowledge that's just waiting for us to tap it so we can learn to fly and have Jedi mind-control and rid the world of all diseases.

2- My friend Wildflower sent me her video from the CDT. Here's a low-res trailer. Part of the reason I love it when people make hiking videos is that their soundtracks usually expose me to good bluegrass, folk, or indy music that I haven't heard before. This time it was The Marshall Tucker Band's Fire on the Mountain and Brandi Carlile's Have You Ever.

3- I alternate between loving This American Life for interesting stories and hating it for its frou-frou metrosexual striped-shirtedness, but I thought this one was a very good explanation of the credit crisis with a few personal touches to keep it interesting.


  1. i love those chairs.

  2. yeh, I've heard the ad for them on NPR for several months and I've always wondered what sort of chair was so popular it gets its own ad. turns out I've been sitting on them in the law school all along.

  3. schnapp8:28 AM

    yeah, that's about where I am right now too.