How to eliminate doping in sports…

An interesting proposal at the Freakonomics blog. It does not sound perfect, but it sounds like a good attempt at trying. Especially for the sport of cycling, which appears to have a lot of doping issues.

Do book blurbs matter?

The Freakonomics Blog tackles the question. They did make a difference to me at least once. Due to the blurb on Stumbling Upon Happiness by one of the authors of Freakonomics, I decided to pick it up.

Calling it for Hillary

Well it appears Hillary Clinton is the winner of the New Hampshire primary, at least the AP and NBC are calling it for her right now. I spent the day up in New Hampshire canvassing for Barack Obama, and it was an experience. However even if at the end of the night Obama loses, it's not by a wide margin. What we end up with is an open race, and Obama can still take it. I think we might really have a Super Tuesday that is much more meaningful than ones in years past.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink is a look at the human subconscious and the how people use it to effectively make decisions in a split second that are just as reliable as decisions made after long periods of study. Gladwell actually makes the case that often these split second decisions are in fact superior to ones made after a long period of self-deliberation. He explains that this decision making process, he refers to as thin slicing, allows us to ignore extraneous information that might confuse us if we study something carefully. At the same time, he also touches upon the problems with blink decisions, and explores this through the election of Warren Harding and an unfortunate killing of an innocent man by police officers in the Bronx. Sometimes our blink decisions are wrong, and our subconscious needs to be trained before it will make the correct decisions.

The book manages to keep your attention through its series of short stories and characters that Gladwell follows to demonstrate his point. He starts off with small simple examples to convince you of his basic ideas, and then moves on to the more intricate examples that involve car salesmen, orchestra rehearsals, a hospital in Chicago, and war games put on by the United States in order to show how blink affects decision making in these diverse areas. Gladwell manages to be both insightful, and persuasive at the same time. This book is was well worth the read.

Larry Lessig on the Culture of Corruption

Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford Professor, gives an interesting and insightful lecture on corruption. Lessig has founded Creative Commons and has done a lot of work with technology policy.

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