FlowingData: How You Will Die

Posted by on 19 Jan 2016

The 30 Most Anticipated TV Shows

19 Jan 2016 /
Thomas Jefferson

My fellow Americans —

I just saw a link to The 30 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2016. How many TV shows do you people have if thirty of them are the most anticipated?!

Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.

I’d like to see my countrymen raise themselves out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — But I might miss my TV programs, said the serfs and lackeys.

Thomas Jefferson


Tony Robbins’ Wealth-Building Tips Seem Pretty Useless

18 Jan 2016 /
Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins has 6 tips for Building Wealth Now. Let’s look at each of the tips and apply the “would anyone advise the opposite?” filter to assess the value of Robbins’ advice.

  1. Don’t lose money. I’m not kidding, that’s the first tip. Would anyone advise “Lose money”? No. So this “tip” is useless.
  2. Look for investments in which rewards far outweigh risks. Would anyone advise “Look for investments in which risks far outweigh rewards’? No. Robbins recommends using “the 5-to-1 rule,” in which the potential returns on an investment are 5 times greater than the potential losses. Why 5? Why not 10? Or 100? Where do you find these investments? I have no idea.
  3. Don’t overpay taxes. Would anyone advise “Overpay taxes”? No.
  4. Diversify. Would anyone advise “Don’t diversify”? Possibly. There’s a couple of schools of thought on diversification: 1) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; and 2) Put all your eggs in one basket, then watch that basket. So there’s a tip for you: Diversify.
  5. Watch out for mindless spending. Would anyone advise “Spend mindlessly”? No. Robbins says if you spend $40 a week on restaurant meals, consider inviting friends over for a low-cost dinner at home instead. “In a year, you’ll have saved $2,000. If you invest that $2,000 every year, in 40 years you’ll have half a million dollars.” No, in 40 years you’ll have $80,000. Maybe. Given some assumptions about your rate of return, you might have half a million dollars, but on the other hand, you might make some bad investments and wind up with nothing.
  6. Stop sabotaging yourself. Would anyone advise “Sabotage yourself”? No.

Hillary Clinton, Angry Landlady

17 Jan 2016 /
Hillary Clinton

[Hillary Clinton] is especially poor at the podium, where, when she wants to emphasize an applause line, her voice becomes loud, flat and harassing to the ear. She lately reminds me of the landlady yelling up the stairs that your kids left their bikes in the hall again. Literally that’s how it sounds: “And we won’t let them roll back the progress we’ve made. Your kids left their bikes in the hall.”


January 15, 1559: Elizabeth Crowned Queen of England

15 Jan 2016 /
Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait

Elizabeth I of England

We’re talking about Elizabeth I of course, not the current queen, Elizabeth II.

The reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), now remembered as the Elizabethan Era, coincided with the flowering of the English Renaissance and is considered the golden age of England. The reign of Elizabeth II, meanwhile, has coincided with the decline of England into irrelevance and is unlikely to remembered by name in a fond way.


Another Thing I Like About Donald Trump

15 Jan 2016 /

Democrats don’t like him and Republicans don’t like him either.

The overarching theme of American politics is Democrats vs. Republicans, Team Blue vs. Team Red. It’s a freakishly expensive clown show for which we pay trillions of dollars a year to watch the Red clowns and the Blue clowns throw pies in each other’s faces.

Nobody really cares about truth, substance or common sense, only whether their team is winning.

When Obama replaced Bush, Democrats didn’t care that Obama kept all the same wars going and started a few new ones, kept the torture programs going, kept Guantanamo open, ramped up drone warfare, cozied up to Wall Street, etc., etc., etc. All the things they hated when Bush was doing them were okay now because their team was winning.

Elect Hillary Clinton and we’ll get four to eight years of trench warfare against Republicans. Elect a Republican candidate (other than Trump) and we’ll get four to eight years of trench warfare against Democrats. At a cost of trillions of dollars per year.

This election offers a unique choice — Trump — the best chance we may ever have to blow up the system and start over, which is long overdue.


Angel From Montgomery

12 Jan 2016 /

Just give me one thing, Lord
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go


The Savvy Clinician

8 Jan 2016 /

It’s a little hard to read the subtitle on the book cover but — “Savvy”?! I don’t think I want to work with clinicians who consider themselves “savvy.”

Being “savvy” sounds like a poor substitute for actually knowing something. I’m not fully informed but I’m “savvy.” I’m “with it.” I’m “in the know.”


Self-Driving Cars

7 Jan 2016 /

A cartoon by Paul Noth. Find more cartoons from this week's issue here: http://nyer.cm/TUohcry

Posted by The New Yorker Cartoons on Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Even at this late hour, I set myself to be a better and simpler man . . .

Posted by on 6 Jan 2016

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become still more complicated. — Poul Anderson


January

5 Jan 2016 /
William Carlos Williams

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                                        Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                                        And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

— William Carlos Williams, “January”

Affinities Can Kill You

5 Jan 2016 /

Boy, 9, mauled to death by dogs in Yuba CountyThe Sacramento Bee

Lightning at the Dog Park

Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning!

This article says that a 9-year-old (in human years) boy was killed by 3 pit bulls that belonged to his older sister. It says that his sister has an affinity for pit bulls because she thinks that pit bulls are not dangerous even though a lot of people say they are dangerous and that is not fair to pit bulls.

I don’t what an affinity is but it must be something that can kill you or your little brother.

Wait — my owner says “affinity” means something you like, like he has an affinity for pugs and because he has an affinity for pugs, all of his family members are still alive.

If you own a pit bull, you also need to have a pug to keep the pit bull in check.

— Lightning paw


Happy New Year!

1 Jan 2016 /

Time marches on!! We are all dying!!! We are coming to the end of our lives!!! Happy New Year!!!

Tags: ,

2015: The Year in Books

30 Dec 2015 /

These are the books I read in 2015, roughly in the order listed. The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion.

Books of the Year: Hotel World by Ali Smith (fiction) and Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton (non-fiction).

Honorable Mention: Special Topics in Calamity Physics, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Disgrace, Lament for a Maker, Nothing.


A Problem Like Maria

30 Dec 2015 /
The Sound of Music

I’m an engineer. If you ask me to solve a problem like Maria, I’ll solve it.


Confess, ye miscreants, sight unseen, the truth of what I have proclaimed, or meet my vengeance in the field of battle!

Posted by on 30 Dec 2015

Lover of Life, Singer of Songs

27 Dec 2015 /
Singer

I know the lyrics to a lot of songs . . . not current hits so much but if we’re listening to an oldies type of radio station, which we, the Epps family, are doing in the car right now, I pretty much know every song they play.

“I should be a singer,” I announce. “I would have a tremendous repertoire of songs.”

“But you can’t sing,” my son says.

“Hmmm . . . that’s a legitimate point that I don’t really have an answer for.”


EppsNet Book Reviews: Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

22 Dec 2015 /

Carol Dweck’s research is part of a tradition in psychology that shows the power of people’s beliefs. These may be beliefs that we’re aware of or unaware of but they strongly affect what we want and whether we succeed in getting it. This tradition also shows how changing people’s beliefs can have profound effects.

Dweck’s insight into fixed mindset (bad) vs. growth mindset (good) is powerful but there’s really not enough to it to sustain a book-length exposition without a lot of repetition and illustrational anecdotes, the problem with which is 1) they tend to be overly simple tales of triumph and failure with clearly identified causes; and 2) they ignore the inevitability of regression.

For example, two of the people Dweck identifies as exemplars of the growth mindset are Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez. Mindset was published in 2006, after which Woods’s career imploded in the wake of extramarital affairs with 100 or so women, and Rodriguez was suspended from baseball for cheating.

Among the companies singled out as possessing a growth mindset is Circuit City, which announced in January 2009 that it was going out of business.

Don’t get me wrong here, I think Dweck’s work is insightful and illuminating, I just don’t think it works well as a book. For a shorter introduction, try, for example, “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids,” recently published in Scientific American.

Rating: 3-stars


Kidneys for Coders

22 Dec 2015 /

Cartoon


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