rivkat: River Tam beats up everyone (rt beats up everyone)
( Apr. 10th, 2008 09:04 am)
I haven't given up on internet communication--at least, not by choice. It's just a rough semester. Some brief content:

1. Rewatch: I have such good childhood memories of Galactica 1980, and it is so, so bad. Kent McCord is one of the stars—Papa Crichton, if you don’t recognize the name—and it is extremely odd to hear that voice coming out of a younger man, saying much stupider things. I wonder what the actor thought of the difference between the two shows.

2. Department of I Know Exactly What You Mean, from Overheard in the Office: Frustrated lawyer on phone: I know they are [fangirls]! But I cannot draft a contract using only Venn diagrams, mathematic equations and animé references!

Content Policy folks, is this our new motto, Y/Y?

3. From the Straight Dope, a discussion of mithridatization: “Deliberately exposing yourself to incrementally greater doses of poison” – I must write a story with this title. Mithridates, he died old.

4. Awesome RPF of the Democratic convention, by a former West Wing writer.

5. Brutal review of Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat:
Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses….

God strike me dead if I'm joking about this….

His description of the early 90s:

The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been—but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.

How the fuck do you open a window in a fallen wall? More to the point, why would you open a window in a fallen wall? Or did the walls somehow fall in such a way that they left the windows floating in place to be opened?

Four hundred and 73 pages of this, folks. Is there no God?

6. Here, have a slightly less brutal review:
Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational: Clear if repetitive (to the point that I felt condescended to) introduction to the basics of behavioral economics. This is the study of systematic biases in our thinking that prevent us from making rational decisions and, more importantly, open us up to manipulation by marketers (and politicians). How does a retailer sell a $3000 TV? It offers a $3500 TV that’s not worth $500 more – it won’t sell many of those, but it’ll sell a lot more $3000 TVs. A $2.50 painkiller works better than a $0.10 painkiller, because we expect expensive things to work better. “Free” promotions exert too much influence on our decisions – the difference between one cent and “free” is hugely different than the difference between one and two cents, and marketers can use this to manipulate us. Knowing about these biases doesn’t eliminate them, but it at least opens your eyes. Especially useful if you haven't heard the term "behavioral economics" before, but contained enough research results new to me that I only begrudge the condescension, not the rest of the time spent on the audiobook.

7. Coming soon: a poll on which 6 icons I should keep. Not until I named this icon ("RT beats up everyone") did I realize what River Tam and I had in common. Other than being able to kill with our brains, of course.



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