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Go live in China

“Everyone should live In China at least once”, writes Andrea Xu:

And when you return to the States, or wherever you are from, you’re going to be a different person. You will have stories. Stories of rickshaw drivers, of baijiu, of tonal mishaps, of being ripped off, of babies defecating on the street, of those euphoric moments where living in China for this brief period was worth it. You won’t regret it.

Everyone should live in China at least once.

I couldn’t agree more.

You don't know shit

You flush the toilet and two hours later the water is back in the system. But what happens to the shit? Fred Kaufman investigates.

How maximizers and satisficers make decisions

Elizabeth Bernstein’s article explains how we make decisions:

Psychology researchers have studied how people make decisions and concluded there are two basic styles. “Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing. “Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”). […]

“The maximizer is kicking himself because he can’t examine every option and at some point had to just pick something,” Dr. Schwartz says. “Maximizers make good decisions and end up feeling bad about them. Satisficers make good decisions and end up feeling good.”

I’m a maximizer. Because I know that I can’t examine every option I try to find the minimum problem set that needs a decision at the moment.

Torturing iPhones

Josh Lowensohn visited Apple:

A few blocks away from Apple’s bustling campus in Cupertino is a rather nondescript building. Inside is absolutely the last place on earth you’d want to be if you were an iPhone. It’s here where Apple subjects its newest models to the kinds of things they might run into in the real world: drops, pressure, twisting, tapping. Basically all the things that could turn your shiny gadget into a small pile of metal and glass.

The interesting thing is, that inside Apple, away from the glamorous marketing world, there are the same laboratories as everywhere else.

50 pounds of clay

Chanpory Rith cites a parable from Art and Fear:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot”albeit a perfect one”to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work”and learning from their mistakes”the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Selling the Experience

Former Apple CEO John Sculley explains how Apple isn’t selling products but experiences.

Japanese Elisabeth

I like to listen to the Japanese version of “Elisabeth” (without understanding a single word). This video gives a great overview over the best songs.

Check out this playlist if you want to listen to more.

OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars Technica Review

John Siracusa has published a new one of his exhaustive OS X reviews. Great read.

Carrot

Carrot is designed with you in mind. It’s a seamless experience, meticulously crafted, from beginning to end. It’s not just a vegetable, it’s what a vegetable should be.

;-)

Enjoy life

Charley has died of bowel cancer. In her last blog post she writes:

And so I leave a gaping, unjust, cruel and pointless hole, not just in Halliford Road, but in all the homes, thoughts and memories of other loved ones, friends and families. For that I am sorry. I would love to still be with you, laughing, eating my weird and latest miracle food, chatting rubbish ‘Charleyisms’. I have so much life I still want to live, but know I won’t have that. I want to be there for my friends as they move with their lives, see my children grow up and become old and grumpy with Rich. All these things are to be denied of me.

But, they are not to be denied of you. So, in my absence, please, please, enjoy life. Take it by both hands, grab it, shake it and believe in every second of it. Adore your children. You have literally no idea how blessed you are to shout at them in the morning to hurry up and clean their teeth. Embrace your loved one and if they cannot embrace you back, find someone who will. Everyone deserved to love and be loved in return. Don’t settle for less. Find a job you enjoy, but don’t become a slave to it. You will not have ‘I wish I’d worked more’ on your headstone. Dance, laugh and eat with your friends. True, honest, strong friendships are an utter blessing and a choice we get to make, rather than have to share a loyalty with because there happens to be link through blood. Choose wisely then treasure them with all the love you can muster. Surround yourself with beautiful things. Life has a lot of grey and sadness – look for that rainbow and frame it. There is beauty in everything, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to see it.

Japanese car names

That’s how to pronounce them.

1.5 million balloons

Viral Forest:

In 1986, organizers with United Way of Cleveland thought they had the perfect idea to generate a little publicity and create a beautiful spectacle in the process. With a crowd of volunteers working all hours, they filled 1.5 million helium balloons, and released them all at once. Unfortunately, they had no idea the terrible consequences they would unleash by doing so, and their tragic mistake led to the deaths of two people and millions of dollars in damages through lawsuits.

Check the article for some great photos.

Delayed adulthood

Psychology professor Laurence Steinberg looks into delayed adulthood and comes across marriage:

For many, after its initial novelty has worn off, marriage fosters a lifestyle that is more routine and predictable than being single does. Husbands and wives both report a sharp drop in marital satisfaction during the first few years after their wedding, in part because life becomes repetitive. A longer period of dating, with all the unpredictability and change that come with a cast of new partners, may be better for your brain than marriage.

Computer generated rooms

60 to 75 percent of all IKEA product images and 35 percent of all non-product images are computer generated. Kirsty Parkin looks into how it all works.

Superintelligence

In his article “Will Superintelligent Machines Destroy Humanity?” Ronald Bailey reviews Nick Bostrom’s book “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies”:

Bostrom argues that it is important to figure out how to control an AI before turning it on, because it will resist attempts to change its final goals once it begins operating. In that case, we’ll get only one chance to give the AI the right values and aims. […]

An example of the first approach would be to try to confine the AI to a “box” from which it has no direct access to the outside world. Its handlers would then treat it as an oracle, posing questions to it such as how can we might exceed the speed of light or cure cancer. But Bostrom thinks the AI would eventually get out of the box, noting that “Human beings are not secure systems, especially when pitched against a super intelligent schemer and persuader.”

Fascinating read. Another book for my to do list.

Munich puking

What Oktoberfest is really like.

Raping women

A new, broader definition of rape – often called “sexual assault” – led to a surprising result. The same number of men and women report of having been raped.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds concludes:

If, in light of the data, women exhibit a similar predilection for sexual misbehavior to men, then surely the colleges should be punishing roughly as many women as men for such conduct. If they are not, the only possible explanation is some form of institutional sexism.

Chinese, on the inside

New York Times:

Catie and Kimberly were adopted from China by a couple from Maine, who attempt to pass on a culture they’ve never known firsthand.

3D manipulation in a 2D image

Photo-editing software restricts the control of objects in a photograph to the 2D image plane. We present a method that enables users to perform the full range of 3D manipulations, including scaling, rotation, translation, and nonrigid deformations, to an object in a photograph.

This is absolutely fascinating. I’m dreaming of a way to recreate entire 3D scenes from 2D photographs. This is getting us a step closer.

Numbers

Nick and Mia meets [sic] for the first time. They know nothing about each other and seem to know everything about everyone else. But sometimes the less you know, the better…

I love Korean movies.