Learning to consider prior prejudice

Together, all of these studies support the theory of “motivated reasoning”: The idea that our prior beliefs, commitments, and emotions drive our responses to new information, such that when we are faced with facts that deeply challenge these commitments, we fight back against them to defend our identities. So next time you feel the urge to argue back against some idiot on the internet … pause, take a deep breath, and realize not only that arguing might not do any good, but that in fact, it might very well backfire.

From the unfortunately titled yet both provocative and intriguing “Here are 5 examples of facts making people dumber” article on Grist.

(via @photomatt)

Plugin: Cloudup oEmbeds

I wrote an itsy-bitsy plugin this afternoon to add oEmbed support for Cloudup, a fabulous service I use on a daily basis which was recently acquired by Automattic.

This was a fun exercise for me, inspired not only by my switch from CloudApp, but also this trac ticket, and a desire to develop my understanding1 of the plugin creation and submission process to assist my editing of the Plugin Developer Handbook2 .

I imagine the audience for this is fairly small, the service isn’t yet open to the public (although many, myself included have invites should anyone need one), and I suspect it’ll be in Jetpack before too long.

It’s up in the plugin repository, and as such can be downloaded here.

That was a fun afternoon, and I’m so excited to have written my first WordPress.org plugin, even if it is ridiculously small and after so many years. Baby steps, baby steps.

  1. which, as of this morning, was non-existent []
  2. OK, I admit I’m also procrastinating a tad on some masters paperwork I’ve got to sort out this week []

Which Siobhan is it anyway? – Siobhan McKeown

I stand by use of the word crass to describe a more than unfortunate exchange in #wordpress earlier this week. Siobhan has written an exceedingly eloquent explanation of the flaws in the way in which women involved in technology are often viewed or evaluated. If you’re involved in any community, take a look. Which Siobhan is it anyway? – Siobhan McKeown.

I was raising serious questions about the whole basis of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, and I actually went through considerable detail as to what I thought was wrong about it. Nothing I’ve seen in reality has changed it. I’m not denying that monopolies are terrible things, but I am denying that it is readily easy to resolve them through legislation of that nature.

Alan Greenspan

“When we have déjà vu, we don’t act on it,” Moulin says. “But these people refused to watch television, they stopped reading the newspaper.” The patients were what cognitive scientists call “anosagnosic” — unaware of their condition. They also found situations to be more than just familiar; they believed that they were really recalling them, so much so that they invented memories to justify that belief. They were, to use Tulving’s phrase, time traveling to a reality that had never existed.

Déjà Vu, Again and Again, a fascinating NYT article from 2006 (via).

A moment of unabashed Boris-fuelled pride, patriotism, and typically British hope.

A truly maginficent Boris masterpiece, encapsulating everything that makes Boris, well.. Boris. Blunt, hilarious, often painful, yet written in such a way as to demonstrate à la fois his unrivalled mastery of the English language, and something of the cultivated carefree “throw everything P.C out the window with gay abandon” attitude he has used to his advantage throughout his career, life, etc. Some tantalising snippets, illustrating the aforementioned… glorious approach to writing:

.. In any case, the Queen has made her first cinematic appearance – in the Bond movie segment – and deepened the admiration in which she is held in Britain and around the world. James Bond and the Monarchy – not to mention The Eton Boating Song… How can anyone call that Lefty propaganda?

We certainly didn’t spend the Beijing-style sums on fireworks – since the Chinese blew roughly the same amount as the British defence budget – but we unquestionably had the same global éclat.

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, made a truly excellent speech, in which he paid tribute to the role of Britain in either inventing or codifying the sports we celebrate at the Olympics. Only a small proportion of his speech was in French.

As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers.

This is the blatant hurrah! Brits! Olympics! No real disasters, flag confusion, stadium key losing, lack of gold aside, patriotic glorious pride type moment. Raising my glass of Pimmm’s wistfully, from Bordeaux airport, soon to fly over aforementioned festivities on the way to SF! Go Team GB!

(source: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London (that still seems surreal over four years later), in his weekly Daily Telegraph column: London Olympics 2012: here’s 20 jolly good reasons to feel cheerful about the Games – Telegraph.)

…The real problem is that so many people have thought the internet would be an unalloyed good; in part that’s because it has had plenty of cheerleaders, especially companies that stand to benefit from it – especially companies that stand to benefit from its growth. And nobody likes to be the one saying “hold on” as everyone’s rushing to the door. But we don’t have to break the internet to improve it – just make people more aware that we’re social animals first and internet users second…

– Charles Arthur, The Guardian’s Technology Editor writing in The internet’s two-sided freedom.

A tale of three iPhone 4s, two untimely ends, and differing box sizes across the world

Whilst tidying came across the boxes for my three iPhone 4s (yes, three, only one of which is still alive today, I am suitably mortified1…) and noticed a few differences resulting from their differing origins: one British, one French, and one American.

Continue reading “A tale of three iPhone 4s, two untimely ends, and differing box sizes across the world”

  1. I hasten to add that I’ve owned each generation of iPhone, and only one of each until the iPhone 4. I’m not sure whether this says something about the solidity of the iPhone 4 versus the previous models, or just my increasing clumsiness. []
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