Non-financial: July - September 2015 articles archive home
I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree. Indeed, unless the billboards fall I'll never see a tree at all. - Ogden Nash

Nothing can be more pitiful to see than the ruthless and stupid cutting down of noble trees all over the country …
Friday, September 25, 2015 ... more
Science in the media
While the increasing attention given to science by the media is a positive development — we want a scientifically-literate population, and research appearing only in obscure journals will not help in achieving this — we should be worried about the trend for at least two reasons. First, it is not clear that the best science is the science that gets known best ...
Friday, September 18, 2015 ... more
Bragging rights
Self-promoters may continue to brag because they fundamentally misjudge how other people perceive them, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science. "Most people don’t enjoy being on the receiving end of other people's self-promotion," says its co-author Irene Scopelliti, a behavioural scientist at the City University London. "But when we engage in self-promotion we tend to overestimate people's positive reactions, and underestimate their negative reactions."
Friday, September 11, 2015 ... more
William Poundstone is worried about a world in which everyone is only pretending to pay attention.“Our social lives are founded on a premise that has always been too obvious to need articulation: that people should attend to the people immediately around them," says Poundstone.
Friday, September 4, 2015 ... more
The dead
The first think that strikes you about the dead is just how many of them there are. The idea you hear bandied about that there are more people living now than have ever lived in the past is plain wrong – by a factor of thirteen. The number of homo sapiens that have ever lived, fought, loved, fussed, pottered and finally died over the last 100,000 years is around ninety billion.
Friday, August 28, 2015 ... more
More than one
Maybe we are just about exactly dumb/clever-enough in order to operate as the basic components of the thing that is really doing all the thinking and the innovating – the ‘culture’ made up of many humans all talking-to/teaching each other and recording their thoughts and discoveries over generations. If you took baby Einstein and raised him with no language and no culture there is no way he is ever going to come up with General Relativity.
Friday, August 21, 2015 ... more
One rung up
The thing about the Lexington International Bank ladder was that it was very long, and climbing it was very exhausting, and so Andrew Brown didn't have a lot of time to think about whether he really wanted to get to the top of it—and besides, since so many other people were climbing too, the view from the top must be worth it. So he kept going.
Friday, August 14, 2015 ... more
About half a billion years ago, life on earth experienced a short period of very rapid diversification called the “Cambrian Explosion.” Many theories have been proposed for the cause of the Cambrian Explosion, with one of the most provocative being the evolution of vision, which allowed animals to dramatically increase their ability to hunt and find mates.
Friday, August 7, 2015 ... more
Hair in soup
Someone in the world today goes bankrupt every four seconds and history is littered with extraordinary men and women who at first carried all before them but went to the grave unable to pay their own funeral expenses.
Friday, July 31, 2015 ... more
Smart decision
"Captain, I advise against this course of action. I have calculated the odds against our surviving such an action at three thousand, seven hundred and forty-five to one."

"Damn the odds, we've got to try... wait a second. Where, exactly, did you get that number from?"
Monday, July 27, 2015 ... more
As Emmel Fox put it, "Criticism is another form of self-boasting." By pointing out someone else’s error we are attempting to position ourselves as better than them. People with low self-esteem, who are unhappy in their lives are most susceptible to self-righteous indignation.
Friday, July 24, 2015 ... more
How wrong?
People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.
Friday, July 17, 2015 ... more
Hard work
Does the work get easier once you know what you are doing? Or will you still be beaten by people who spend their time working harder and learning things. Or will you stay poor?
Friday, July 10, 2015 ... more
Why worry
I’ve put a good deal more than work into my business, and I’ve drawn a good deal more than money out of it; but the only thing I’ve ever put into it which didn’t draw dividends in fun or dollars was worry.
Friday, July 3, 2015 ... more
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