Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Malcolm Gladwell tells me that we need to work at something 10,000 hours before we get really good at it.

Here's the sort of thing you can hope to accomplish after doing it every day for a few billion years:

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  1. I loved Outliers. Malcolm's stories inspire me, even tho I skeptically believe they need a solid regimen of fact checking.
    For instance, if I had a lot of money to give away, I'd give away chunks of it to psychology departments which agreed to rigorously and without bias replicate any of the experiments described in Blink. Ideally, multiple departments would try to replicate the same experiments. Especially the black/white connotations and effects on reflex time.
    If replicable, the experiments deserve wider dissemination. If not, they deserve debunking and a special category on Snopes.
    I do not accuse Malcolm of lying on purpose--or even lying at all, but I do think he's too willing to accept weak evidence that supports theories he'd like to believe. I'd like to believe them, too, but I'd also like stronger evidence.
    On the other hand, the story of Malcolm's parentage was worth reading Outliers in order to find at the end.

  2., bless their everlasting souls, did not run this story with a headline of MUSLIM TERRORISTS KIDNAP CHRISTIAN EVANGELISTS
    NAIROBI, Kenya -The United States government on Saturday said it was assessing possible responses after Somali pirates hijacked a yacht with four Americans on board in the Arabian sea off the coast of Somalia.

    Pirates hijacked the yacht Quest on Friday, two days after a Somali pirate was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a New York court for the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. That case ended in a spectacular rescue when Navy sharpshooters killed two pirates holding Capt. Richard Phillips.

    The Quest is the home of Jean and Scott Adam, a couple who has been sailing around the world since December 2004, according to a website the Adams keep.

    The Adams run a Bible ministry, according to their website, and have been distributing Bibles to schools and churches in remote villages in areas including the Fiji Islands, Alaska, New Zealand, Central America and French Polynesia.

    The couple are members of the Marina del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California, according to the website.