For content related to psychology, how we learn, how we make decisions.


Submitted by admin on Tue, 03/09/2021 - 19:45
"A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator the smaller the fraction." 
~ Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) quote in Howard Eves, Return to Mathematical Circles

Responding to the 'but 99% survive' argument

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/03/2021 - 06:06
Among the many candidates for arguments against taking action to protect our families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, communities and country from COVID, none make me angrier than the "but 99% survive" gambit. This argument is numerically illiterate (Mark Twain said “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so”), racist, ableist, and inhumane. Let me explain.

My proposed treatment for our COVID-19 pandemic

Submitted by PeterElias on Mon, 03/23/2020 - 12:45

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across multiple spheres of American society is a novel event. Some have used the term black swan, Taleb's term for an event that can't be anticipated because it is outside the realm of experience. I prefer to think of it as a gray rhino, Michele Wucker's term for the big and obvious thing coming at you that you don't want to acknowledge. I think of this as a threat to our society writ large, not just as a threat to our economy or even just to public health. I think those narrow framings guarantee inadequate analysis and response.

Wetness and whiteness (continued)

Submitted by PeterElias on Mon, 09/02/2019 - 17:00

We Americans like to think (and boast) about our great experiment in Democracy: that we are a nation founded on the principle so famously expressed by Thomas Jefferson that all are created equal and endowed by God from birth with an unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As they say these days: not so much.

An Obsession with Metrics

Submitted by PeterElias on Sat, 02/16/2019 - 17:59

I precipitated a recent online discussion about healthcare’s obsession with measurement (quality metrics is the current buzz phrase) when I quoted two aphorisms that highlight some problems with metrics and targets:

Goodhart's Law: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure,"

Campbell's Law: "The more a metric is used, the more likely it is to "corrupt the process it is intended to monitor."

One comment rubbed me the wrong way because it implied that measurement reduces harm:

a total stranger...

Submitted by PeterElias on Thu, 03/01/2018 - 06:00

a total stranger one black day

(by edward estlin (e e ) cummings)

a total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me-- 

who found forgiveness hard because
my(as it happened)self he was 

-but now that fiend and i are such
immortal friends the other's each.