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The phenomenology of making art and doing math are pretty different, but the lifetime trajectories of our output in these areas might not be. In both fields, when we look in as outsiders to some particular body of work, we tend to see the semi-magical work of geniuses who we don't think we could ever be... but my experience brushing up against artists and mathematicians suggest that they both attain creative productivity through similar processes. Before producing really creative work, they have to get enough experience with their tools that they can say what they mean to without having to think much about it - they just paint, or just shuffle symbols on a page, and it gets them where they want to go. It makes sense that lots of people would only arrive at that kind of fluency later in life.

swearitwasntme  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The end of Big Twitter

Twitter takes the idea that "if the service is free, you're not the customer, you're the product" to the extreme. Where you might complain about reddit or facebook that they're time-wasters or that the content quality is not as good as you might like, their purpose for end users is clear enough on its own. There are Twitter users who seem to enjoy it without it occurring to them to constantly question its purpose though: they're the users who enjoy feeling plugged into... other users who want to feel plugged into users who feel plugged into... It's sort of the online informational equivalent of bland pop music and summer blockbusters that no one takes in for the artistic merit but that you can reliably make conversation about.

I'll bet there's a spectrum from reddit to facebook to twitter users that maps pretty directly to how much extraversion is a part of someone's personality. Reddit is there for those of us who want to hyper-rationally compartmentalize, analyze and dissect everything at length, while those of us that are more concenred about cultivating a presentable real-life persona can take in quick sound bites and easily stay plugged into whatever the mass media machine and popular sentiment thinks is hot on Twitter.

There's probably a kernel of human nature supporting this kind of behavior stretching into prehistory, but in the modern take on it, it's exactly what Big Data-based marketing is designed to support. If you've got a big enough database of consumer behavior to catch every trend that's too small or isolated ever to catch the eyes of the people in charge otherwise, you can have a computer do the search for you. Oh, look, RX7 exhausts and C-mags are hot right now. Maybe we can drop gaming blogs and move the company in that direction.

I feel the same way actually, and can corroborate it with some guy in the front row for the premiere of the X-Files movie that yelled "I LOVE YOU SCULLY" during the titles. Still had to post the article because it was an interpretation I hadn't thought about before.

Yeah, but if you look at it with a small enough sample size...

Agreed. I'm thinking maybe this was the wrong site to post this on. I'm a liberal and heavily in favor of policies that would help out the lowest earners, but I like to consider arguments that I think might convince the other side on their own terms, or at least address common objections. So I hope it wasn't too offensive to look at things from the hypothetical perspective that there could be something wrong with increasing minimum wage. I think your points about examining a the effects of raising minimum wage from a higher starting point would make for a good followup study, if one could tease out the effects of skill from differences in earnings in some other bracket.

Huh. I interpreted this in exactly the opposite direction: that because raising the minimum wage doesn't decrease employment much, "raising it will just cause less hiring" is not a valid excuse not to.

    who do I know to vote for at all levels of government if I don't follow US politics? How do I know what to do with my money if I don't follow world finance? How do I know where to vacation and where not to vacation if I don't follow world news? Those are fundamental questions (and yes, you might respond that I could just "ask an expert" -- but come on).

A more fundamental question is what really constitutes knowledge. Haven't you ever found yourself talking to someone and quoting a news article only to find that they've got personal experience that invalidates it? Following US politics doesn't tell you much about which campaign promises will turn out to be lies, world news won't tell you how not to get mugged in your own town, and hell, the best financial forecasting in the world is still pretty close to 50/50. I believe this to be the fundamental reason why reading the news is sometimes bad for you: it can lead to a false sense of certainty about the world and then distress when that illusion is shattered.

Even an understanding of the world that comes from direct experience is sort of a statistical inference that assumes that past behavior accurately represents what will happen in the future. Trusting other peoples' interpretations of interpretations of dispatches of firsthand accounts from across the world is just an aggregation and layering of somebody else's inferences. And on that topic:

    Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful - George E. P. Box

Life is easier with fewer expectations that you know exactly how things are going to play out.

swearitwasntme  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The Bridezilla Phenomenon

I agree that this involves some simplifications. Do you think, though, that the Bridezilla cliche or trope or stereotype or whatever you want to call it describes a real trend in our culture or just a label that someone slapped on something you could find in any group of people anywhere? It seems like a real thing from the few weddings I've been involved in - it can change people in the time leading up to the event. If it's real, what else do you think figures into it?

swearitwasntme  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The Divorce from Hell

I had to wonder if there was some tell going into this that it wasn't going to work out. Was it their materialism? If you had met these people and done an in-depth interview with them beforehand, could you have said that they might not be ready for marriage, or that if it did go bad they'd have it in them to drag it out like this? It's a subtle horror that the article leaves this totally unanswered.

swearitwasntme  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The Bridezilla Phenomenon

Did you end up developing any rules of thumb to help you figure that out?

I'm sure a lot of great unpublished sociological research is going on every day among restaurant staff.

swearitwasntme  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: 3D Printing Is Here

Right, and especially with the veneer of serendipity that you get from stumbling across (or upon ) a news article, it's easy to miss that there's a common set of beliefs behind most of it. They're not all that nefarious as hidden beliefs go, but you could still easily get the impression if all you read was these sites that you were doing everything a good democratic citizen should just by reading 8th grade reading level coverage that's designed not to scare off any advertisers. There's a huge unrealized potential for a more educated populace if we could collectively move past that.

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