Alles wat Jan bezig houdt, interesseert en irriteert... en ook een beetje onzin...

dinsdag, januari 24, 2023

The Cabinet of Wikipedian Curiosities

There is still no convincing explanation for the spontaneous outbreaks of involuntarydancing from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

The vending machine was invented two thousand years ago.

The ancient Greeks had a primitive railroad for moving ships.

For more wikipedia gems like the above, check: 

Medium is the message. About "Stolen Focus" by Johann Hari.

Reality can only be understood sensibly by adopting the opposite messages to Twitter. The world is complex and requires steady focus to be understood; it needs to be thought about and comprehended slowly; and most important truths will be unpopular when they are first articulated. I realized that the times in my own life when I've been most successful on Twitter — in terms of followers and retweets — are the times when I have been least useful as a human being: when I've been attention - deprived, simplistic, vituperative. Of course there are occasional nuggets of insight on the site — but if this becomes your dominant mode of absorbing information, I believe the quality of your thinking will rapidly degrade.

Actually, Japan has changed a lot - by Noah Smith

Depreciating real estate is one of Japan's biggest strengths. Because Japanese people don't use their houses as their nest eggs, as they do in much of the West, there is not nearly as much NIMBYism in Japan — people don't fight tooth and nail to prevent any local development that they worry might reduce their property values, because their property values are going to zero anyway. 

As a result, Japanese cities like Tokyo have managed to build enough housing to make housing costs fall, even as people continued to stream from the countryside into the city

Who Predicted 2022?

The "wisdom of crowds" hypothesis says that averaging many ordinary people's predictions produces a "smoothed-out" prediction at least as good as experts. That proved true here. An aggregate created by averaging all 508 participants' guesses scored at the 84th percentile, equaling superforecaster performance.

maandag, januari 23, 2023

Medical history books | Locklin on science

Public health innovations, such as not drinking toilet water, anesthesia, doctors washing their hands, and making sure people have sufficient vitamins (the ones we know about): these are the past big ones that really moved the needle.

dinsdag, januari 17, 2023

East-West Migration to Siberia Found in 7,500-Year-Old DNA

In addition to its discovery of a new ancient Siberian people, the study by the German and Russian scientists also produced another remarkable result. Three of the 10 individuals whose DNA was studied during the project died only 500 years ago and were laid to rest along Siberia's Kamchatka River. While these people were related to modern-day residents of the Kamchatka region, they also carried DNA that could be directly traced to the indigenous people of North America. 

Based on the various genetic linkages detected, the German and Russian scientists concluded that the genetic makeup of the three individuals is best explained by genetic mixing events that occurred approximately 5,000 and 1,500 years ago. In other words, ancient Alaskans sailed across the Bering Sea in approximately 3,000 BC and again in 500 AD, and in both instances settled in Siberia and interbred with the people living there. 

vrijdag, januari 13, 2023

How a loving son killed his mother

A lesson about Fragility in big complex systems.

Why did the train derail and kill 66 passengers?

Because it was driving 5 mph faster than it should have!

Why is the train not allowed to go above 70 mph on this particular track?

Because there are often headwinds combined with a track that is quite winding. 

If the train were to go any faster on a very wet (slippery) and windy day, there is a slightly too big change of derailing.

So, Why did this train go faster then is allowed? 

Because the mother of the system planner complained to him on multiple occasions that she only has 3 minutes to get from the Platform 3 in Deventer to platform 6 to catch the train to Utrecht. 

So , her loving son devices a solution.

Change the wait time of the train to Utrecht from 3 to 8 minutes. And catch up those 5 missing minutes somewhere else.

Then, make that train that is slightly too late go slightly faster to catch up the lost time.

And voila! When examining the train schedules, the train will arrive on time and no one will be the wiser.

Except when a train derails.

Now the planner is in jail and even missed his mothers funeral.

The lesson here? Rules and guidelines are there for a reason. Don't ignore the rules. If you do the sin will go unnoticed for a while, but in the end the truth will come out.

maandag, januari 09, 2023

Why TV Lost - Paul Graham

In 2006, my parents who never watched much more than the evening news and maybe the Tour d'France, decided to stop watching TV altogether.  Well, actually, our local government decided to switch from analoge broadcasting to DVB-T.  Where we live, we couldn't get decent reception in this 'superior' format, so we still had a TV box in the prominent spot of our living room, but it was just a big black box now, that when turned on, showed the background noise of the Big Bang (or just snow, anyways). 

Around the same time we got our first "high speed internet", in the form of an ADSL connection that gave us a whopping 4mbps download. I was now able to watch the news again by downloading it first and then placing my laptop on the table for all of us to watch. This never caught on. We just didn't watch TV anymore.

About twenty years ago people noticed computers and TV were on a collision course and started to speculate about what they'd produce when they converged. We now know the answer: computers. It's clear now that even by using the word "convergence" we were giving TV too much credit. This won't be convergence so much as replacement. People may still watch things they call "TV shows," but they'll watch them mostly on computers.What decided the contest for computers? Four forces, three of which one could have predicted, and one that would have been harder to.One predictable cause of victory is that the Internet is an open platform. Anyone can build whatever they want on it, and the market picks the winners. So innovation happens at hacker speeds instead of big company speeds.

I still love watching movies and series, but nowadays I will watch them with friends on my beamer, or just on my iPad if I feel bored one evening. The helicon days of live TV broadcasting are indeed far behind us. 

Friends with kids inform me that kids these days don't really watch TV anymore either. Their attention span and time are robbed by smaller screens nowadays.

Happy Times 😊 

zondag, januari 08, 2023

Ruchir Sharma’s investor guide to 2023: from peak dollar to better TV | Financial Times

The dollar has been the world's dominant currency for 102 years, eight years longer than average for its five predecessors going back to the 15th century, including most recently the British pound. Decline is overdue. 

dinsdag, januari 03, 2023

Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke Tells Employees To Just Say No to Meetings - Bloomberg

"The best thing founders can do is subtraction," Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke, who co-founded the company, said in an emailed statement. "It's much easier to add things than to remove things. If you say yes to a thing, you actually say no to every other thing you could have done with that period of time. As people add things, the set of things that can be done becomes smaller. Then, you end up with more and more people just maintaining the status quo." 

Large, long and unproductive meetings have become a scourge of today's hybrid workplace, prompting companies to try and curtail them. Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., household product maker Clorox Co. and tech firm Twilio Inc. are among those that have instituted no-meeting days. Employees spend about 18 hours a week on average in meetings, according to a survey conducted last year, and they only decline 14% of invites even though they'd prefer to back out of 31% of them. Reluctantly going to noncritical meetings wastes about $100 million a year at big organizations, the survey found.

maandag, januari 02, 2023

The internet wants to be fragmented

"15 years ago, the internet was an escape from the real world. Now, the real world is an escape from the internet." 

That experiment failed. Humanity does not want to be a global hive mind. We are not rational Bayesian updaters who will eventually reach agreement; when we receive the same information, it tends to polarize us rather than unite us. Getting screamed at and insulted by people who disagree with you doesn't take you out of your filter bubble — it makes you retreat back inside your bubbleand reject the ideas of whoever is screaming at you. No one ever changed their mind from being dunked on; instead they all just doubled down and dunked harder. The hatred and toxicity of Twitter at times felt like the dying screams of human individuality, being crushed to death by the hive mind's constant demands for us to agree with more people than we ever evolved to agree with.

Conversation skills essentials

It feels like people have really lost their social skills over the past few years. I notice it all the time and am bewildered by how many people aren't even doing the basic things correctly. Once in a while I think that maybe I'm just too sensitive to social "errors", but then I'll have a conversation with someone with good social skills and it feels like being on a vacation.