Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Improbable Sensation

The more unusual a phenomena is, the more sensational it can be. In other words, a common event is not sensational. Or at least it is difficult to describe in sensational terms.

The news media business depends on people being interested in the information they offer. Because sensational occurrences grab the attention of the observer more readily, they frequent news media in a much greater proportion than they do in the real world. In other words, improbable events fill the news.

Hence, if one were to assess the probability of occurrence for one of the many improbable events described in the news based on the frequency of those descriptions, they would end up with an assessment that is very far from accurate.

Oddly enough, the opposite is true about financial media. The financial media typically makes sensational descriptions of some of the most un-sensational news. That gives the reader the impression that everyday events are uncommon and more significant than they really are. I suppose that it's because most people are only interested in what they are invested in or the general economy at large. Hence, opportunity to grab the reader is limited to either stocks that a very large portion of the target audience is invested in, or something that reflects on the entire economy. Within those guidelines, they make it as sensational as they can.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Light Pollution

Light Pollution annoys many would be star-gazers by effectively cutting them off from the rest of the universe. Why should anybody be limited from catching a glimpse of what the universe looks like beyond our tiny planet's atmosphere? The simple answer is that public lighting benefits the general population much more than star-gazing does.

Nevertheless, I've speculated on a relatively easy way to see through light pollution. Much of the light pollution in the modern age is generated from sodium vapor lamps, or other types of fluorescent lamps. Because of the way fluorescent lamps work, many times their light is monochromatic or limited to a few frequencies and wavelengths. However, starlight isn't as limited. Hence, you could make a filter that would generate the highest ratio between starlight / light pollution by filtering out frequencies commonly used by fluorescent lamps, and letting in frequencies commonly emitted by the stars. This sort of filter is referenced in this article.

You could make goggles with filters, with with blinds that would block light from the side.

Goldsten's Law

Murphy's Law, and its variations are pessimistic. Why should anybody adopt such a negative adage as having truth, when really there is no reason why the opposite is any less true.

Anything that can go right will go right.

If something bad, wrong or problematic happens, it was inevitable. While being just as true as Murphy's, its not as funny as Murphy's, which reduces its usefulness significantly. I suppose it could have use as a motivational poster of some sort.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Easy to Believe.

Ever find yourself accidentally cutting people off when you have something you really want to say? Because you really want the other to finish speaking, you'll easily believe that he is actually done speaking when he makes a small pause. However, the duration of a pause that will convince you that he is done will be much smaller than when you aren't so eager to speak.

In general, the more you want something to be true, the easier it is for you to believe that it is.

That may also be why there are so many gamblers, smokers, and religions. That's also may be why crystal ball readers give positive readings more often than not.

ADD isn't ADD

One of the signs of ADD is being often distracted. However, "spacing out" is an activity that is popularly associated with persons with ADD.

However, really the two phenomena are indicative of opposite traits. Someone who is easily distract-able should be acutely aware of what is going on around him. However, hyper-focusing is a trait found in people with ADD.

How can it be that the two traits coincide?

I think that the answer is that part of ADD ( and there are different types of ADD ) is not so much the inability to focus, but a lack of control over that focus. That would explain how the same person who is easily distracted by what is going around him can super-focus on a topic of interest.

Hence, ADD really isn't necessarily "attention deficit" at all.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Non-Conventional Medicine & Science.

One of the problems with scientific medicine is that it becomes difficult to develop when the principles don't apply objectively.

For example, principles of proper diet tend to be subjective. Some people are allergic or sensitive to some things, while others are not. Hence, conventional medicine has little to say about diet besides problems that are almost objective such as weight gain, and toxic substances.

Because of that difficulty, scientific support for genuine medicinal facts in subjective areas can be retarded. This problem is aggravated, because FDA approval is dependent on scientific data.

Hence, it may be that alternative medicine fields have knowledge that the general medical community lacks.

In other words, not everything true can be proven.