Not the most captivating books form Malcolm. Hell I think my audiobook was not even complete and I didn’t care… so most of the summary is taken from elsewhere. Update: As I typed down the table of contents I realised it’s not a bad book. I just can’t use most of the info in my life.
– Paying extra for loreal because of the illusion of being worth it.
– Dropping 2 Alka-Seltzer instead of one in adverts and double sales.
– Scud missiles detection pictures and cancer diagnosis not done properly because of not well trained people mistaking trucks.
– Politics of sampling, copying. Intellectual property.
– Warnings and clues for 911 and Kenya bombing.
– Choking = thinking too much, panicking = thinking too little.
– Blacks fail in tests, whites can’t jump under stereotype threat.
PART 1 – Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius
– The Pitchman: Ron Popeil and the Conquest of the American Kitchen
– The Ketchup Conundrum: Mustard Now Comes in Dozens of Varieties Why Has Ketchup Stayed the Same?
– Blowing Up: How Nassim Taleb Turned the Inevitability of Disaster into an Investment Strategy
– True Colours: Hair Dye and the Hidden History of Postwar America
– John Rock’s Error: What the Inventor of the Birth Control Pill Didn’t Know About Women’s Health
– What the Dog Saw: Cesar Millan and the Movements of Mastery
PART2 – Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses
– Open Secrets: Enron, Intelligence, and the Perils of Too Much Information
– Million Dollar Murray: Why Problems like Homelessness May Be Easier to Solve Than to Manage
– The Picture Problem: Mammography, Air Power, and the Limits of Looking
– Something Borrowed: Should a Charge of Plagiarism Ruin Your Life?
– Connecting the Dots: The Paradoxes of Intelligence Reform
– The Art of Failure: Why Some People Choke and Others Panic
– Blowup: Who Can Be Blamed for a Disaster like the Challenger Explosion? No One, and We’d Better Get Used to It
PART 3 – Personality, Character, and Intelligence
– Late Bloomers: Why Do We Equate Genius with Precocity
– Most Likely to Succeed: How Do We Hire When We Can’t Tell Who’s Right for the Job?
– Dangerous Minds: Criminal Profiling Made Easy
– The Talen Myth: Are Smart People Overrated?
– The New-Boy Network: Do Job Interviews Really Tell Us?
– Troublemakers: What Pit Bulls Can Teach Us About Crime
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley
I was going to bitch about how the book keeps going in circles and mostly about animals until past half way. Then it gets into some decent juice about human psychology, gender differences and soooo much more.
– This concept, that all progress is relative, has come to be known in biology by the name of the Red Queen, after a chess piece that Alice meets in Through the Looking-Glass, who perpetually runs without getting very far because the landscape moves with her: It is an increasingly influential idea in evolutionary theory, and one that will recur throughout the book. The faster you run, the more the world moves with you and the less you make progress. Life is a chess tournament in which if you win a game, you start the next game with the handicap of a missing pawn.
– Every success contains the seeds of its own overthrow.
– Red Queen is that she runs but stays in the same place. The world keeps coming back to where it started; there is change but not progress.
– Viruses, bacteria, and fungi, the causes of most diseases.
– Why different sexes? Tragedy of the commons. Like communism didn’t work or when an exceptional athlete is stuck in a 2nd rate team.
– Males have many small while females have few larger gametes. Mobile creatures usually have genders. Sessile don’t, and are usually hermaphroditic.
– Parents in good condition probably have male-biased litters of young; parents in poor condition probably have female-biased litters because mothers in poor condition is likely to produce a feeble son who will fail to mate at all, whereas her daughters can join harems and reproduce even when not in top condition.
– I think it was Korea that found a way to track sperm by dyeing it with fluorescent ink and sort xy genes.
– Women more than men can “marry up,” into a higher social and economic caste, so daughters of poor people are more likely to do well than sons.
– We consciously decide whether to consider people, we fall in love despite ourselves, we entirely fail to fall in love with people who fall in love with us.
– Fishers vs good genes: The Fisher (sexy-son, good-taste) advocates are those who insist that the reason peahens prefer beautiful males is that they seek heritable beauty itself to pass on to their sons, so that those sons may in turn attract females. The Good-gene people follow Alfred Russel Wallace (though they do not know it) in arguing that arbitrary and foolish as it may seem for a female to choose a male because his tail is long or his song loud, there is method in her madness. The tail or the song tells each female exactly how good the genes are of each male. The fact that he can sing loudly or grow and look after a long tail proves that he can father healthy and vigorous daughters and sons just as surely as the fishing ability of a tern tells his mate that he can feed a growing family. Ornaments and displays are designed to reveal the quality of genes.
– When a man wants to seduce a woman, he does not send her a copy of his bank statement but a pearl necklace. He does not send her his doctor ‘s report but lets slip that he runs twenty miles a week and never gets colds. He does not tell her what degree he got but instead dazzles her with wit: He does not display testaments to how thoughtful he is but sends her roses on her birthday. Each gesture has a message: I’m rich, I’m fit, I’m clever, I’m nice.
– This immune effect of testosterone is the reason that men are more susceptible to infectious diseases than women, a trend that occurs throughout the animal kingdom.
– Inca leaders had 1500 concubines and death to cheaters. Human history of harems, etc.
– Christians prevent sex because it was the reason for violence and trouble.
– Men whose wives have been with them all day ejaculate much smaller amounts than men whose wives have been absent all day. It is as if the males are subconsciously compensating for any opportunities for female infidelity that might be present.
– Of the many mental features that are claimed to be different between the sexes, four stand out as repeatable, real, and persistent in all psychological tests.
1st girls are better at verbal tasks.
2nd boys are better at mathematical tasks.
3rd boys are more aggressive.
4th boys are better at some visuo-spatial tasks and girls at others. (And, interestingly, gay men are more like women than heterosexual men in some of these respects.)
– Baby girls are more interested in smiling, communicating, and in people, boys in action and things.
– Shown cluttered pictures, boys select objects, girls people. Boys are instantly obsessed with dismantling, assembling, destroying, possessing, and coveting things. Girls are fascinated by people and treat their toys as surrogate people.
– A man who develops a preference for other men is a man who has a different gene that affects how his testicles develop or a different gene that affects how his brain responds to hormones or a different learning experience during the pubertal burst of testosterone—or some combination of these. A prenatal exposure to deficiency of testosterone increases the likelihood of a man becoming homosexual. Men with an extra X chromosome and men exposed in the womb to female hormones are more likely to be gay or effeminate, and effeminate boys do indeed grow up to be gay more often than other boys: Intriguingly, men who were conceived and born in periods of great stress, such as toward the end of World War II, are more often gay than men born at other times. Gays are also more often left-handed than heterosexuals. Studies show that homosexuality is heritable.
– Usual hip to waist ratio stuff that get mens attention.
Big up (kinda) to the PUAs that recommended this book.
1 – Human Nature
2 – The Enigma
3 – The Power of Parasites
4 – Genetic Mutiny and Gender
5 – The Peacock’s Tale
6 – Polygamy and the Nature of Men
7 – Monogamy and the Nature of Women
8 – Sexing the Mind
9 – The Uses of Beauty
10 – The Intellectual Chess Game
Epilogue – The Self-Domesticated Ape
They make an unlikely trio but Baloo the bear, Leo the lion and Shere Khan the tiger have forged an unusually strong bond.
Considering that they would be mortal enemies if they ever were to meet in the wild, it is stunning to see their unique and genuine friendship in these intimate pictures.
Rescued eight years ago during a police drugs raid in Atlanta, Georgia, the three friends were only cubs at the time at barely two months old.
They had been kept as status symbol pets by the drug barons.
Delivered to the Noah’s Ark Animal Rescue Centre in Locust Grove, Georgia, the decision was made to keep the youngsters together, because of their budding rapport.
‘We could have separated them, but since they came as a kind of family, the zoo decided to keep them together,’ said Diane Smith, assistant director of Noah’s Ark. To our knowledge, this is the only place where you’ll find this combination of animals together.’
Living with the zoo’s founders for the past eight years, Shere Khan, Baloo and Leo have now moved to a purpose-built habitat where the US public can now witness first hand their touching relationships.
‘We didn’t have the money to move them at first,’ said Diane.
‘Now their habitat is sorted and they have been moved away from the children’s zoo areas where the public couldn’t really get a good look.
‘It is possible to see Baloo, who is a 1000-lb bear, Shere Khan, a 350-lb tiger and Leo, who is also 350 lbs, messing around like brothers. They are totally oblivious to the fact that in any other circumstance they would not be friends.’
Handled by Charles and Jama Hedgecoth, the zoo’s owners and founders, the three friendly giants appear to have no comprehension of their animal differences.
‘Baloo and Shere Khan are very close,’ says Diane.
‘That is because they rise early, and as Leo is a lion, he likes to spend most of the day sleeping. It is wonderful and magical to see a giant American Black Bear put his arm around a Bengal and then to see the tiger nuzzle up to the bear like a domestic cat.When Leo wakes up the three of them mess around for most of the day before they settle down to some food.’
Surprisingly for three apex predators with the power to kill with a single bite or swipe of their paw, they are very relaxed around each other.
‘They eat, sleep and play together,’ said Jama.
‘As they treat each other as siblings they will lie on top of each other for heat and simply for affection.
At the moment they are getting used to their new habitat.
Shere Khan is being quite reticent about the move, but Baloo, the bear, is very good at leading him on and making him feel comfortable and safe.’
Explaining that the three ‘brothers’ have always seemed to share a unique bond, Charles said: ‘Noah’s Ark is their home and they could not possibly be separated from each other.
‘You just have to remember who you’re dealing with when you are with them, though. It’s when you forget that these fellows are wild animals that you get yourself in trouble.’
The trio’s new habitat had to be constructed carefully, in order to accommodate its occupants.
Jama said: ‘The clubhouse had to be very sturdy for the guys, because they all sleep in it together,’
She added: ‘We had to include a creek, because the tiger and the bear both like to be in water.’
Wars of the British Tree People
A picturesque and daring tale of British anti-road protest, told from 50m up a majestic pine tree!
We follow the tree-top struggle to stop the building of a new road around the English town of Newbury. Inside a giant treehouse, hammocks, ragged carpets and a stove create an air of cosy domesticity. The CB radio crackles with news of the day’s defeats. Protesters are frantically fortifying the camp and trees with barbed wire… The film gets close to the people behind the protest movement. Their arguments are candid and intelligent, rising above the stereotypical subculture reports. As spring sets in in Britain, the treetop battles get angrier and bloodier. In one attack protesters watch in horror as a tree falls onto one of the police climbers. The forest dwindles until the pine stands alone in a vast field of mud. One rainy morning a battalion of bulldozers appears. Men in fluorescent coats and riot helmets are lifted by roaring cranes to the top branches. Protesters throw paint and urine at them. It takes four cranes to get the protesters out of the pine. Finally the whirring chainsaws are ready to fell the tree.
Orbiting Over Earth (Time-Lapse) … from Sehnaz and Brit Kim
A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy.
Time lapse sequences of photographs taken by Ron Garan, Satoshi Furukawa and the crew of expeditions 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from August to October, 2011, who to my knowledge shot these pictures at an altitude of around 350 km. All credit goes to them. I intend to upload a FullHD-version presently.
HD, refurbished, smoothed, retimed, denoised, deflickered, cut, etc. All in all I tried to keep the looks of the material as original as possible, avoided adjusting the colors and the like, since in my opinion the original footage itself already has an almost surreal and aestethical visual nature.
Shooting locations in order of appearance:
1. Aurora Borealis Pass over the United States at Night
2. Aurora Borealis and eastern United States at Night
3. Aurora Australis from Madagascar to southwest of Australia
4. Aurora Australis south of Australia
5. Northwest coast of United States to Central South America at Night
6. Aurora Australis from the Southern to the Northern Pacific Ocean
7. Halfway around the World
8. Night Pass over Central Africa and the Middle East
9. Evening Pass over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East
10. Pass over Canada and Central United States at Night
11. Pass over Southern California to Hudson Bay
12. Islands in the Philippine Sea at Night
13. Pass over Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam
14. Views of the Mideast at Night
15. Night Pass over Mediterranean Sea
16. Aurora Borealis and the United States at Night
17. Aurora Australis over Indian Ocean
18. Eastern Europe to Southeastern Asia at Night
New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer by Bill Maher
This book has been the funniest I’ve come across in a long time. But it’s not only jokes, it really has new rules about life and especially politics. The rules start with a genius pun for headings and go alphabetically through the book. Note: If you get the audiobook you will miss out on the pictures but you get the benefit of listening to Bill saying the rules himself and I think if you just read the book without knowing how he speaks… you’re missing out a lot already.
Of of my favourite rules… New Rule: The big oil companies must stop running ads telling us how much they’re doing for the environment. We get it: You rape the Earth, but you cuddle afterward. It’s insulting – like a serial killer dumping a body by the roadside and then adopting a highway. If you folks at Shell really are serious about cleaning something up, start with your restrooms.
The rules are funny, the pictures are funny but they all make some good points. I just found out there is a DVD too… yay! Big up Navjit for the excellent recommendation.
Update: Just finished reading the sequel The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody but Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass. Same style, same topics and pretty much same funniness. (Audio book below)