• "Study after study suggests that handwriting is important for brain development and cognition — helping kids hone fine motor skills and learn to express and generate ideas. Yet the time devoted to teaching penmanship in most grade schools has shrunk to just one hour a week. Is it time to break out the legal pad?" Why write by hand? "Writing by hand can get ideas out faster," "Writing increases neural activity," "Good handwriting makes you seem smarter," and other reasons.
  • In Future Babble, Dan Gardner asks "why are experts so consistently bad and, “why do the media and the public keep paying attention to them?”… Gardner locates answers in social psychology and pins our aversion to uncertainty as a core reason why predictions, especially catastrophically negative ones, continue to thrive. “Believing that something bad may happen may be more psychologically oppressive than knowing something bad will happen,” he says. What’s more, predictions which forecast hope and positive change “feel intuitively false because they don’t accord with your current circumstances.” While the gut-wrenching anxiety of personal uncertainty plagues our lives, Gardner is eager to avail his readers of the social and political ramifications of the collective debt of failed predictions. “Expert forecasts are most likely to be accurate when they’re least needed and more likely to be inaccurate when they’re most needed,” he says."
  • "Remember David Hefty? He's the guy who in May predicted that the Dow would collapse to 5,000 by the end of the year, and well, his prediction isn't looking so hot. He was back on CNBC this morning explaining his wrong call, except… he claims he's not wrong. He says he was just really early — which, truth be told — is pretty much the lamest excuse in the book. But why was he early? Basically because governments intervened to save the economy."
  • Individuals influence each others’ decisions about cultural products such as songs, books, and movies; but to what extent can the perception of success become a “self-fulfilling prophecy”? We have explored this question experimentally by artificially inverting the true popularity of songs in an online “music market,” in which 12,207 participants listened to and downloaded songs by unknown bands. We found that most songs experienced self-fulfilling prophecies, in which perceived—but initially false—popularity became real over time. We also found, however, that the inversion was not self-fulfilling for the market as a whole, in part because the very best songs recovered their popularity in the long run. Moreover, the distortion of market information reduced the correlation between appeal and popularity, and led to fewer overall downloads. These results, although partial and speculative, suggest a new approach to the study of cultural markets.
  • Why is Gibson allowed unsupervised visits with a baby after we've all heard the snarled, "I'll put you in a ******* rose garden … you understand that?"… It's an unintended consequence of gender-neutral family laws, enacted in many states in the second half of the 20th century.
  • They included "an extension of the area of the ocean over which governments have jurisdiction, from 3 miles to 12;" the growing popularity of mixed drinks and dinner parties; and NASCAR, which "emerged in the South after Prohibition ended, when all the former runners of liquor needed new uses for their driving skills and fast cars now that they could no longer make a profit smuggling booze."