It’s easy to pick on wine critics, as I certainly have in the past. Wine is a complex and intoxicating substance, and the tongue is a crude sensory muscle. While I’ve argued that the consistent inconsistency of oenophiles teaches us something interesting about the mind - expectations warp reality - they are merely part of a larger category of experts vastly overselling their predictive powers.
Look, for instance, at mutual fund managers. They take absurdly huge fees from our retirement savings, but theAvast majority of mutual funds in any given year willunderperform the S&P 500 and other passive benchmarks. (Between 1982 and 2003, there have only been three years in which more than 50 percent of mutual funds beat the market.) Even those funds that do manage to outperform the market rarely do so for long. Their models work haphazardly; their success is inconsistent.
Or look at political experts. In the early 1980s, Philip Tetlock at UC Berkeley picked two hundred and eighty-four people who made their living "commenting or offering advice on political and economic trends" and began asking them to make predictions about future events. He had a long list of pertinent questions. Would George Bush be re-elected? Would there be a peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa? Would Quebec secede from Canada? Would the dot-com bubble burst? In each case, the pundits were asked to rate the probability of several possible outcomes. Tetlock then interrogated the pundits about their thought process, so that he could better understand how they made up their minds. By the end of the study, Tetlock had quantified 82,361 different predictions.
The prospect of building a one sheet kayak, as presented in the original Prism section, has aroused some interest. The original "maximum volume" kayak Prism would not be suitable for a kayaking beginner, however, unless he or she was equipped with excellent balancing abilitites. This design is an attempt to overcome the balancing difficulties inherent in the original "maximum volume" design. The design has been modified, using the righting moment calculator from the Stability section as an aid, to give an acceptable compromise between stability, volume and looks. ANow this is the result. I think "looks" is the winner, whereas "volume" is the loser. The predicted feeboard with myself onboard is about 3.5″ (9 cm), so strictly for calm waters, if undecked.
"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then give up. There’s no use in being a damn fool about it"Avia
Teach your children the story of Ali Baba: how he managed to convince the NSA that he knew where Waldo was without disclosing his location, how later he joined him for a dinner with other fellow cryptographers, how they discovered their banquet was already been paid by someone who wanted to stay anonymous, and how they figured out a way to assess if the Amphitryon was among the table companions or was the NSA itself - and other variations around advanced concepts in cryptography.
The crux of this theory is that the key to success in any field is simply a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000-hours.AI believe the same thing exists for startups, albeit on a more concentrated level. Gladwell might suggest that to be successful in a startup you need to have 10,000-hours of startup experience (or domain experience) under your belt. That I don’t deny. It seems quite matter-of-fact.
Earth is truly beautiful whenAviewed from space. But add some false color produced by satellite sensors, and the result is stunning.
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new selection of particularly interesting images from the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites. These space craft have been prolific sources of data for earth scientist, but the new shots were chosen solely based on aesthetics.
We’ve selected our favorites from the USGS’AEarth as Art collection in this gallery, which will take you on a tour of the world from the glaciers of Antarctica to the deserts of Algeria.
Images and captions courtesy USGS.