04.20.11 (1)

posted Apr 20, 2011, 8:37 AM by Franklin Shaddy
  1. 10,000 hours of practice, put to the test: "On his 30th birthday, June 27, 2009, Dan had decided to quit his job to become a professional golfer. He had almost no experience and even less interest in the sport. What he really wanted to do was test the 10,000-hour theory he read about in the Malcolm Gladwell bestseller Outliers…The Dan Plan will take six hours a day, six days a week, for six years." 
  2. Dividing by 100,000,000 as one way to understand the fiscal debate: "We have a family that is spending $38,200 per year. The family’s income is $21,700 per year. The family adds $16,500 in credit card debt every year in order to pay its bills. After a long and difficult debate among family members, keeping in mind that it was not going to be possible to borrow $16,500 every year forever, the parents and children agreed that a $380/year premium cable subscription could be terminated. So now the family will have to borrow only $16,120 per year." (HT: Chris Blattman)
  3. Brains and beliefs: "In other words, when we think we're reasoning, we may instead be rationalizing. Or to use an analogy offered by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt: We may think we're being scientists, but we're actually being lawyers (PDF). Our "reasoning" is a means to a predetermined end—winning our "case"—and is shot through with biases."
  4. Brains and music: "Research is showing, for example, that our brains understand music not only as emotional diversion, but also as a form of motion and activity. The same areas of the brain that activate when we swing a golf club or sign our name also engage when we hear expressive moments in music. Brain regions associated with empathy are activated, too, even for listeners who are not musicians."