(via xkcd: When You Assume)
Richtel points to work by Sevincer et al. that makes the counter-intuitive observation that optimistic language in newspaper articles and presidential addresses is a predictor of poor economic performance. This actually is consonant with research that has shown that fantasies not tempered by realistic assessment of challenges are less likely to yield results. (People who fantasize about the success of their with control program are less likely to loose pounds). Perhaps people who fantasize an imaged outcome imagine that obtaining it will be easy, and thus work less hard. More sober assessment yields better results. — Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Optimism correlates with poor results
No pain, possible gain -
Three years ago, Kayla Montgomery was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Faced with the prospect of being confined to a wheelchair someday, Montgomery, one of the slower runners on her high school cross country team, told her coach she was short on time and wanted to run faster. Now she’s one of…
(via xkcd: Hack)
NYC Dramatically Transformed Into A Self-Sustaining City - PSFK
Evolution in real time | Harvard Gazette
"For example, we had this song ‘Lock Down’ by the band 52 Metro," Salganik says. "In one world this song came in first; in another world it came in 40th out of 48th. And this was exactly the same song. It’s just in these different worlds, history evolved slightly different. There were differences in the beginnings, and then the process of social influence and cumulative advantage sort of magnified those small, random initial differences."
Now obviously there are many different things that have an impact on success and failure — money, race and a laundry list of other things — and after this work, which one person in the field described as a seminal paper, Salganik went on to do similar studies with parallel worlds that suggest that quality does have at least a limited role. It is hard to make things of very poor quality succeed — though after you meet a basic standard of quality, what becomes a huge hit and what doesn’t is essentially a matter of chance.
Chance is the thing.
Which makes you think — and not just about the role chance plays in what we consider great art, but also about success more generally in our lives. — Good Art Is Popular Because It’s Good. Right? : NPR
Popcorn: Common Snack Helped To Build Empires : NPR
Learning changes the way a fatty acid in the brain attaches to a protein called delta-catenin. — How New Ideas Change Your Brain Cells — PsyBlog