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An Italian economist says his flight was delayed after a fellow passenger saw him working on a differential equation and alerted the cabin crew. Guido Menzio was taken off and questioned by agents who did not identify themselves, after the woman next to him said she felt ill.
 stupidity superficial mathematics superstition terrorism
Joshua Bell is one of the world's greatest violinists. His instrument of choice is a multimillion-dollar Stradivarius. If he played it for spare change, incognito, outside a bustling Metro stop in Washington, would anyone notice? ... This one I loved and talked about it with many friends. It resonates with one of my older ideas - that what is cheered by people is not necessarily the admirable. So many things need also be considered, such...

2007-04-08

 culture taste recognition psychology advertisement marketing art music violin busking philosophy superficial
There's danger as well as genius in the ease with which people construct graceful narrative arcs from any two things that grab their attention, like tennis on telly and the business bottom line. ... Which is why I prefer stats to politics. Doing good stats means exercising a pathological interest in the story that might have been missed. Doing politics can seem to mean a near pathological interest in telling us why your story was...

2011-07-07

 statistics narrative manipulation explanation superficial politics causality
It requires almost no intellectual effort whatsoever to bandy around an off-the-peg, identikit image of the monster - wicked from his clothes to his very core. It's harder to think about the nuances of tyranny. And it's particularly hard to face the uncomfortable fact that very few of these loathed tyrants are as wholly bad as it suits us to assume...

2011-11-04

 Muammar Gaddafi Libya tyrant emperor ancient Rome stereotype superficial