September 26th, 2010


No Free Locavore Lunch

" Michael Pollan, the best-selling author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and a leading advocate of buying locally grown food, recently upset many of his fans by daring to put numbers on his oft-repeated prescription to "pay more, eat less." Eight dollars for a dozen eggs? $3.90 for a pound of peaches?

Those figures were way too specific and way, way too high to go unnoticed. The humanistic foe of industrialized eating suddenly sounded like a privileged elitist, and the local-food cause seemed insensitive to cash-strapped shoppers.

But Mr. Pollan was only being honest. Patronizing local farmers who produce in small batches tends to cost more. You may find some peak-season bargains at the farmers' market, but there's no such thing as a free locavore lunch. Getting fruits and vegetables only from local farms necessarily limits variety—few crops are available everywhere all the time—and it doesn't come cheap. Economies of scale apply even to produce."

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Anormal on Vimeo

"Music Video for the brazilian pop band Pato Fu.

We scanned all the instruments and props on an big X-ray machine, and then modeled and rendered everything with CG.

Since we couldn't put the musicians in the machine (the career of the band would end abruptly), we filmed everyone on green screen, at the same time capturing their movements with a motion capture system. We then genereted CG skeletons, and applied over the footage.

Shot with Sony HDR-FX1 on Green Screen. "

Via dudecraft.

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Psychologist shows why we 'choke' and how to avoid it

"A star golfer misses a critical putt; a brilliant student fails to ace a test; a savvy salesperson blows a key presentation. Each of these people has suffered the same bump in mental processing: They have just choked under pressure.
See Also:
Mind & Brain

* Educational Psychology
* Memory
* Intelligence
* Racial Issues
* Neuroscience
* Psychology


* Illusion of control
* Panic attack
* Passive-aggressive behavior
* Thought

It's tempting to dismiss such failures as "just nerves." But to University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock, they are preventable results of information logjams in the brain. By studying how the brain works when we are doing our best -- and when we choke -- Beilock has formulated practical ideas about how to overcome performance lapses at critical moments.

"Choking is suboptimal performance, not just poor performance. It's a performance that is inferior to what you can do and have done in the past and occurs when you feel pressure to get everything right," said Beilock, an associate professor in psychology."

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Why Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do

"One of my all-time favorites among all the scientific papers that I have ever read in my life is “Why your friends have more friends than you do,” published in the American Journal of Sociology in 1991 by my old sociology friend Scott L. Feld, who is now Professor of Sociology at Purdue University.

The title of Feld’s paper says it all, and here’s a little demonstration you can do to confirm his conclusion. List all of your friends. Then ask each of your friends how many friends they have. No matter who you are, whether you are a man or a woman, where you live, how many (or few) friends you have, and who your friends are, you will very likely discover that your friends on average have more friends than you do.

But how can this be? Friendships are bilateral (unless you are a stalker): If X is friends with Y, then Y is friends with X. How can Y and other friends of X have more friends than X does?
If you think about it for a moment, you’ll figure out the source of this seeming paradox (although this simple insight did not occur to anyone before Feld published his paper in 1991). You are more likely to be friends with someone who has more friends than with someone who has fewer friends. There are 12 people who have a friend who has 12 friends, but there is only one person who has a friend who has only one friend. And, of course, there is no one who has a friend who doesn’t have any friend. Yet there is actually only one person who has 12 friends. So “12” gets counted only once when you compute the average number of friends that people have, but it gets counted 12 times when you compute the average number of friends that their friends have. Hence the seeming paradox that your friends have more friends than you do.

This, incidentally, is the reason why a man often gets depressed after he has sex with a woman for the first time and then she tells him how many lovers she has had because she has had more lovers than he has. A mating version of Feld’s discovery may be termed “Why your lover has had more lovers than you have.” And the reason is the same. There are 12 men who have had a lover who has had (or will have had) 12 lovers, but there is only one man who has had a lover who has had only one lover. But you should be grateful. The reason you got to be her lover in the first place is because she has had (and will likely have) many lovers. You are 12 times as likely to have sex with a woman who has had 12 lovers as you are to have sex with a woman who has had only one lover. Quite paradoxically, if your lover only had one lover, you are probably not him. And if your lover has never had a lover, you are definitely not him."

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The main obstacle to becoming a seducer...

"The main obstacle to becoming a seducer is this foolish prejudice we have of seeing love and romance as some kind of sacred, magical realm where things just fall into place, if they are meant to. This might seem romantic and quaint, but it is really just a cover for our laziness. What will seduce a person is the effort we expend on their behalf, showing how much we care, how much they are worth. Leaving things to chance is a recipe for disaster, and reveals that we do not take love and romance very seriously."

-- Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction.

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