No updates for two weeks and then I return with a Weekend (not so) Reading instead of a “real” post, the third of such in a row – unavoidable and disappointing, but thankfully temporary. Friday was my last day of classes and the past month has been crazy at school as all my classes went into overdrive to make up for all their lax pace all year. Now that school is out and the pressure is off, I can finally decompress and move on with my life, which will hopefully mean more regular (possibly M/F) updates.
I only have five links today (even though it includes the past two weeks), because less time for writing also means less time for reading and web-surfing. ):
BEST OF THE WEEK – Psychology: The Total Perspective Vortex (Damn Interesting)
If you’re familiar with the actual Total Perspective Vortex from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, the message of this article isn’t much different. It’s a really intriguing – and I think very true – idea: depressed people are arguably more sane than the rest. The average person is highly optimistic about life to the point of being delusional, whereas the depressed person is more realistic about life. This delusion is a good thing, though – it keeps us from going insane.
Philosophy/Various: The Best Thought Experiments (Wired)
A list of the most famous thought experiments of all time with thorough explanations. All the classics are here: Schrodinger’s Cat, Borel’s Monkeys (infinite number of monkeys on typewriters + infinite amount of time = Shakespeare), Einstein’s light beam, etc etc.
Literature/Society: Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted (LA Weekly)
Everything they taught you in English class is wrong. Ray Bradbury recently told the press that his iconic novel Fahrenheit 451 is not about censorship. Actually, he said, it was about the television killing literature by becoming the new pastime. It would be interesting to reread the book with this theme in mind rather than censorship.
Gender: Sick Children, Working Moms
This one makes me sad. The article tackles the issue of moms (usually single ones) who sometimes have to chose between showing up to work and keeping their job or staying home to take care of their sick kids. It also takes the perspective of the kids as well, because kids can know more about their home situations than they let on.
Psychology: Unskilled and Unaware of It (Damn Interesting)
Another great article out of Damn Interesting that summarizes a Cornell study (link to the pdf) about competence. This study showed that, not only are the incompetent completely unaware of their ignorance (some subjects at the 10th percentile for certain traits would rate themselves somewhere in the mid-60 percentiles), but they can’t recognize others’ competence in that field, either. Also, while the subjects in the bottom quartile rated themselves much higher than they actually performed, the subjects in the top quartile ranked themselves much lower than they actually performed… so the ignorant think they know everything, and the smart don’t think they know anything.
That’s it for the links of the last two weeks – and my next post will hopefully be one with actual content!