Links o’ Interest

Been a while since I did one of these. Random links from around the internet.

Lois Lane and Facebook


Paul McCartney, Beck, and Taylor Hawkins denied entry at rappers post-grammy party. “How VIP do we got to get?”

2016 Underwater Photography Winners (yes, this has been sitting around for a while…)

Lost film from Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. Not that great, but interesting.

These always crack me up

Elevator Weatherman

The original performance of Purple Rain. This is a live show, the performance was edited down to be the version we know.

Book Recommendations: Thinking Books

This post isn’t ready, but a friend was asking me, so… Here is a list of books that are vaguely about how we think and act. I covered a few of these back in 2009.

  • Thinking Fast and Slow: Daniel Kahneman basically invented behavioral economics. A bit long, but will consistently blow your mind. Many other books steal all these ideas, you might as well get it from the source.
  • Nudge:A classic by Cass Sunstein, who served in the Obama administration and still runs an excellent blog. The topic is about how to use simple aspects of human psychology to “nudge” people into better actions. For example, changing the default status on 401(k) contributions from opt-out to opt-in.
  • Blink: It’s Malcolm Gladwell. What else do you need to know.
  • Predictably Irrational: By Dan Aierly. Continuing the theme from Kahneman, some of the many ways in which we are not perfectly rational. We are irrational, but irrational in very predictable ways.
  • Rational Optimist, How Prosperity Evolves: by Matt Ridley. This may not belong on this list. This is essentially a history of our species seen through the lens of trade and reciprocity, and how things keep getting better and will continue to do so.
  • The Angels of Our Better Nature: by Steven Pinker. It is big and thick, but it will change the way you look at our species. The core thesis is very simple, that we are becoming a better more moral species/society/culture. It’s the strength of the argument that will convince you.
  • How we Decide, Jonah Lehrer
  • Influence and Pre-suasion, by Robert Cialdini. A bit like Malcolm Gladwell, with less anecdotes and more hard data.

Oh, I almost forgot. I published this early because a friend asked me about game theory books. Many of these books touch on game theory, particularly Kahneman, but I haven’t read many that are specifically devoted to game theory. The ones I have read are mostly mathematical, sort of the opposite of a Malcolm Gladwell book. A good one is The Strategy of Conflict by Thomas Schelling, which helped inform mutually assured destruction. Any others out there folks like?

Music Quiz #3

  1. How much do you mean now?
  2. Where do I get my kisses from?
  3. What do I want to do when I wake up?
  4. Why are people trying to put us down?
  5. Who Started the Fire?
  6. How does “Make Love, not War” sound to me?
  7. What is all we have to do now?
  8. You walk over to her door, you start pounding on your door, you say ‘open up the door’ — who are you?
Show Answers

Doctors Offices Are Just Awful

I hate going to the doctor. But not because of the medical stuff. It’s the administrative part. The processes and systems are terrible. So much arrogance, so much stupidity. Let’s skip the endless forms, that’ll be a post for some other day. (Sample stupidity to whet your appetite: Enter both your birthdate and your age. Let that sink in.) We’ll just go through the visit itself.


I sat in the waiting room for thirty minutes past my appointment time. At no time was there any indication that there was a problem, this was considered normal. Anytime they could announce, “our apologies we’re running a bit behind”. Since they already had my contact information, they could have texted me that before I left the house. Delta texts me when they are running late, Home Depot delivery texts me, my son’s tennis team texts me… this is easy proven technology.

As it so happens, I had to miss my daughter’s talent show performance to make this appointment. As it so happens, I could have made it since this office was running thirty minutes behind. As is so happens, since there was no communication, I missed it.

The weigh-in. I had been weighed in six days prior at my primary’s office, and I have agreed to share all my information with this office. I weigh myself every morning. Nope, they have to weigh you personally. Shoes on or off – they don’t care, so it is obviously so imprecise to be pointless.

On to the standard examination room. There is no second chair, so I have to perch on that padded examination table even to have a simple conversation. And even though everyone here will end up half-naked at some point, there is no place to put your clothes. It wouldn’t be hard to throw in a plastic bin, but nope. Throw your clothes in the corner. How hygenic.

Now more questions. The assistant goes through a checklist. The questions are literally the same questions on the forms I just filled out. They are also the same questions my primary care physician has asked many times over (which they have permission to access). When I ask the assistant why I just filled out the forms to have the same questions asked, she looks confused and starts flipping through her papers. We move on to a blood pressure check, even though this is also on my record.

It has now been almost an hour. There is no added value yet. Literally nothing has happened that has improved anyone’s understanding of my medical condition. This is a waste of my time, their time, and our taxpayer money.

Now another nurse assistant of some variety tags in and asks me the same questions that I had filled out all the forms. Why? “To verify what your primary care physician sent over.” The sheer stupidity of this statement likely doubled my blood pressure.

Now the doctor finally arrives. The next ten minutes are sensible. He is focused, professional, knowledgeable.

On my way out, it is fifteen minutes more to find and get handed some forms that could have been assembled before I ever came in.

bored doctor

Doctors have a captive audience – every visit may be a variant of this experience, but no one will switch doctors because of it. This is what happens in a system riddled with perverse hidden incentives. In total – just under two hours at the office. Useful time? Five minutes for another EKG, and ten minutes with the doctor. And a very disappointed daughter.