"New Math" doesn't work.
Organic produce doesn't contain more or better nutrients than normal produce.
Planes hit the Twin Towers and were the cause of their collapse.
"Big Suppla" is far worse than "Big Pharma", and it's crazy how people are so willing to trust it more.
So what set me off just now was a conversation elsewhere about raw milk, but last night the wifing unit was distraught because she saw a friend repost some conspiracy theory link about flu vaccines and she was worried that her friend was descending the spiral staircase of scientific illiteracy that can only end with your children dying of whooping cough while you give them honey enemas to realign their chakrapani. Which doesn't make sense, because chakrapani is an epithet for Vishnu (literal rendering would be "he in whose hand is the discus" - friggin' stilted, but that's the way they gloss these things).
Speaking of which, is it inappropriate to ask somebody with that name if they played any sports, if they threw discus in school? Or to otherwise ask things about Indian people if you know the etymology of their names and it's appropriate?
Why don't people believe in Science anymore? I don't mean in a "scientism" kind of way, of course, because I really hate scientism, but, in the last few years it has become fashionable to doubt the utility of vaccination or to consider It's always been fashionable to believe in all sorts of alternative remedies (vitamin C for the common cold, fad diets for weight loss...), probably because almost any intervention is going to work just as well (ie, not at all, unfortunately).
On to other stuff:
Markov chains are definitely a lot better than tooling around with generating functions. I hate those things. I think one guy in the class has figured out that I'm pretty bright. Drat, cover blown.
Chess: I've been sucking the past couple days (more than usual!). Looking at Dan Heisman's Looking for Trouble, which is a pretty great book, apparently. It teaches you to explicitly look at the threats your opponent is making and make sure your move meets or otherwise deals with those threats (without necessarily giving up the initiative). That sounds like it should be obvious, and it is, but it's one of the hardest things for people at lower levels to get the hang of, because you have to do it on every single move of the game. It's one thing if you're doing it and suck at it, another if you're not doing it all the time. Because, you know, if you drop a piece, is it because you didn't even check to see whether what you were doing dropped a piece, or was it because you looked and just couldn't see it? If the former, you need to learn to think, and if the latter, you need to learn more tactics. The book is good practice for both, but explicit practice for the former. I like it. I do this in my games, but it's good to make it explicit and explicitly train it. He also has another book, The Improving Chess Thinker, which might be worth checking out. Most people don't write about the thought process very well, but it's one thing holding a lot of amateurs back.
But, seriously, every time I hear somebody go on about some odd conspiracy theory, I want to ask where the international Jewry fits in... Disclaimer: I guess I work for a company that people insert into conspiracy theories these days.
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