News Briefs 23-06-2010

Neva sat on the keyboard & typed /gbvfffffffffffff. Maybe Perceval can decode it.

Thanks Greg, Kat, & RPJ.

Quote of the Day:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.

~ Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  1. holy grail imitation
    The holy grail was in fact a cheap imitation sold by a small time crook, posing as an antiques dealer. Jesus was way overcharged for this item, he should have gotten his money back. The Knights Templar, as well as the rest of the crusaders, have not been able to settle the issue. The supposed antiques dealer was using a false name, and is still hiding some place in Jerusalem.

  2. The bright side of wrong
    To embrace the fallibility of human reasoning seems attractive. But the first problem I see is that this assumes all people are fully prepared of doing the task they are required to do. It leaves out possibilities like Nepotism, when some lucky bastards get to attain their position trough inheritance or special favors.

    Could you imagine if airline pilots had the right to inherit their job to their children? Well, let me tell you something: union school teachers in Mexico CAN do that.

    One social instance in which the acceptance of error is a given is videogames. And like the article proposes, a good videogame is designed on the basis that the player WILL fail the goal; so they need to find a way in which you can easily restart your last failed action, or ‘dumb down’ the difficulty to a more manageable level. If the reward system in the game is adequate enough, you end up realizing your skills have improved dramatically without consciously noticing —you can dispatch early-levels minibosses much more easily, etc.

    1. Dark side of wrong
      Part 1: The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is

      Our stupidity keeps us from being aware of our stupidity.

      Reading this reminded me of my latest ‘favorite tv show’, Holmes on Homes, in which Mike Holmes and his team are forever pointing out that most of the contractors who screw up the job before Holmes arrives on the scene spend more time and effort doing the job wrong, and/or covering up what they’ve done wrong, than it would take them to do the job right in the first place.

      The article linked above explains the problem: the screw-up contractors are so stupid, they don’t know they’re incompetent. They don’t know they’re doing it wrong, and/or they’re so stupid they don’t realize their corner-cutting is actually going to take more time and effort than doing it right.

      Which brings BP to mind.

      Part 2:
      The Illness of Doubt: Everyone Poisons Himself in His Own Way

      Part 3:

      Part 4:

      One more part yet to come.

      Comment 56 (out of the 486 comments so far):

      This is not new. There is an old Chinese proverb, “He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool- shun him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not is a child- teach him. He who knows, but knows not that he knows is asleep- wake him. He who knows, and knows that he knows is a genius- follow him.” As Dunning points out, the main problem with people in category 1 is that they believe they’re in category 4.

      I think Dunning is pointing out that, with respect to one thing or another in our lives, we all fall into category 1.

      1. Is ignorance bliss?
        Ok, so according to this guy, some people are so stupid they are not aware of their own incompetence.

        But, how about people like me: so aware of our own limitations and lack of expertise, we constantly avoid failure?

        Is it that most successful people didn’t waste enough time thinking about their chances to fail?

        1. ahhh, to err is…
          [quote=red pill junkie]Ok, so according to this guy, some people are so stupid they are not aware of their own incompetence.

          But, how about people like me: so aware of our own limitations and lack of expertise, we constantly avoid failure?

          Is it that most successful people didn’t waste enough time thinking about their chances to fail?[/quote]

          I believe the point of the aticle was that we should develop a system for accepting or taking the guilt/stigma off of our errors and therefor make sure we progress in the end. It’s not bad to learn from mistakes – in fact it is required – only problem is when one learns *only* from mistakes.

          1. Agreed. But…
            Let’s put an example here:

            When JFK threw the gauntlet and coaxed his nation to put a man on the Moon, was he absolutely 100% confident that they could accomplish it? Were his scientific advisers?

            There were a lot of “unknown uknowns” inside the space program. One of those became evident in the worst possible way, with the tragedy of Apollo 1.

            NASA had the wisdom to learn from that mistake and move forward, although I’m not sure things would have moved so swiftly without the political pressure to keep on schedule…

            My point is that, at some point, I suspect winners don’t give a lot of thought to the prospect of failure; they concentrate on staying on track. Maybe their difference with losers is not so much in the attitude —after all, losers dared to give it a try— but in their abilities and preparation.

            But yes, those were probably acquired through losing. So maybe winners are just incorrigibly stubborns 😉

          2. not binary
            Right, it is important to learn why something failed. Burning your hand on a hot stove doesn’t mean all stoves are evil and to be avoided, just don’t put your hands on hot ones. Staying close to hot stoves may save your life.

            At the same time, success in itself doesn’t mean that a complicated undertaking was well thought out. Many elections are like that – it is often not that the new candidate won, it is that the incumbent lost. That’s fine as long as the winner does not start believing that the voters love and support them.

  3. The force of denial
    I once read that the art of discovery is like anything else in this universe, in that it has an opposite and equal reactionary force; the devotion to antidiscovery.

    The article was written in an old science mag I picked up from a book sale… probably from circa 1950s.

    One example that was cited was in how Galileo had to fend off the church at the same time he was in the process of discovery. It went on to analogize that even today (of publish date), jet planes and rockets have to fight off the force of gravity in order to reach new altitudes.

    And it’s still a valid observation. We see this same force… the anti-discovery at work each and every time we read articles by debunkers and industrial skeptics. They are simply not in the business of blazing any new trails or bringing something hitherto unseen to the world.

    I still wonder sometimes how it is that one can believe that an invisible, omnipotent and benevolent spirit-being created the universe and all that is in it in six days… and no one will question your sanity.

    But the moment you mention things like the possibility of alien life forms visiting the Earth, or life after physical death, or even that some of human (civilization) history is still awaiting discovery… and you are shouted down and kicked to the curb.

    So much of us is still stoking a small fire in a dark cave…

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