Not as good as Letterman

Another top ten list – (If that link doesn’t work, you can use this one, but then you get it split into three inconvenient pages).

6. Your mind is not your own.

Freud might have been wrong in the details, but one of his main ideas—that a lot of our behaviors and beliefs and emotions are driven by factors we are unaware of—turns out to be correct. If you’re in a happy, optimistic, ambitious mood, check the weather. Sunny days make people happier and more helpful. In a taste test, you’re likely to have a strong preference for the first sample you taste—even if all of the samples are identical. The more often you see a person or an object, the more you’ll like it. Mating decisions are based partly on smell. Our cognitive failings are legion: we take a few anecdotes and make incorrect generalizations, we misinterpret information to support our preconceptions, and we’re easily distracted or swayed by irrelevant details. And what we think of as memories are merely stories we tell ourselves anew each time we recall an event. That’s true even for flashbulb memories, the ones that feel as though they’ve been burned into the brain:

I’m not sure how disturbing this is… I get a touch of vertigo when I think about it. I don’t like the tag-line. It isn’t that your mind isn’t your own. In my book, your mind is *you*. Or a big part there-of. The vertigo is that your mind isn’t what it feels like it is… not a happy servant of the ego, so to speak. Instead it is an unfathomable set of interactions between the environment and the molecular systems in your brain, some of which we experience as immediate consciousness, some of which we don’t. And that’s an oversimplification, too. But not as bad as “your mind is not your own”.

10. The universe is made of stuff we can barely begin to imagine.

Everything you probably think of when you think of the universe—planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, dust—makes up just 4 percent of whatever is out there. The rest comes in two flavors of “dark,” or unknown stuff: dark matter, at 23 percent of the universe, and dark energy, at a whopping 73 percent:

What’s your favorite?

Oh yeah… be sure to use that second / 3 page link to get a hoot at some of the comments there.

11 comments to Not as good as Letterman

  • Old Doctor Weasel

    My least favorite is #9, because it’s BS based on deliberate fraud. “The mechanics of climate change aren’t that complex” Oh really? The models used to predict future temperature can’t predict present temperature. The data was fudged. Phil Jones claimed year X was the hottest on record, then year X+1, then X+2, etc. Now he admits there has been no statistically significant warming in the past 15 years. That’s too much back-pedaling when “the science is settled”. The science obviously isn’t settled.

  • ODW – just for the record Phil Jones hasn’t done any backpedaling on the issue. His statement that the last 10 years haven’t, in isolation, shown statistically significant warming is a statement about statistical significance, not about the amount of warming. And yes, the mechanism is straightforward, even if the field of study is very complex and difficult. In other words, the mechanism by which your car heats up when you leave the windows up is straightforward, even though predicting what its temperature will be and what the effects are second-to-second are very difficult.

    So, yeah… it sounds like you’ve been reading some political blogs… I wouldn’t take them too seriously. If you subtract the political obfuscation, then the scientific picture becomes much clearer.

  • Things that taste good are bad for you.

    I could have told them that without any study whatsoever. If it tastes good you should not eat it. It really is that simple.

    Your mind is not your own.

    Reminded me of the old Einstein quote which was something like “a man can do what he wills but he does not will what he wills”. Or something like that.

    And if the universe is infinite how can it possibly have a center?

  • Schopenhauer. And the universe isn’t infinite… just expanding to infinity. And I don’t know if it has a center, but I think it does. I guess it was an oversight that the center isn’t me.

  • And the universe isn’t infinite… just expanding to infinity.

    So out into infinity I guess it is possible that there are tens of trillions of universes. Right?


    Just makin’ sure you were on your toes ;-)

  • Maybe possible. If it isn’t possible, we don’t know it isn’t.

  • RW

    And I don’t know if it has a center, but I think it does.

    Sure it does: Chuck Norris

  • 100 points for RW… I hope you don’t mind if I throw a link out there…

  • RW

    You can get it daily, I do:

    Best stuff on the internet (I’m married, so the pr0n doesn’t count) are the Chuck Norris fact pages. My 12 year old keels over in laughter when I repeat one to her.

  • My son-in-law is going to love the Chuck Norris link. He is crazy about that stuff.

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