Liz Selbst’s Top 10 Pieces of Unsolicited Advice She Wanted to Give in 2010 but Bit Her Tongue Instead

10. if you’ve spent more than an hour on the internet researching symptoms, it’s time to stop reading and make a doctor’s appointment.

9. you can use your smartphone’s accelerometer to collect data on your sleep cycles. check out “smart alarm clock” for android or “sleep cycle” for iphone.

8. if you want to break a bad habit, head to http://www.stickk.com. give them your credit card number and pick an “anti-charity” that will receive your donation if you don’t stick to your goal for 30 days.

7. it is much easier to dress appropriately for the weather than to complain all day about the sun/rain/wind/snow/cold/sand/etc.

6. a communication failure is almost always a two-way street.

5. spice up a powerpoint presentation by using the ‘b’ or ‘w’ keys to black out/white out the screen. surprisingly effective at snapping the audience back to attention.

4. refusing to admit you’ve made a mistake is usually worse than whatever the mistake was.

3. if you want to find out how something works, try to make it yourself. if you get too cocky, take apart something complicated and try to put it back together.

2. remove unnecessary information from your email signature.

1. think broadly and resist social self-sorting. befriend people who are different from you, talk about current events with those whose political views you do not share, and explain your research to people who work in different fields.

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December 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Crowdsourcing. 3 comments.

Jay Irwin’s Top 10 Memes of 2010

1. CAPTCHArt

[via invisibro‘s submission to CAPTCHArt]

2. Babby

[via invisibro]

3. Deal With It

[via Film Drunk]

4. Rage Guy derivatives (Forever Alone, Fuck Yea, Okay Face, Me Gusta)

[via The Kid’s Not My Son]

5. Sad Keanu

[via Know Your Meme]

6. Troll Physics

Problem?

[via Lol Byte]

7. Jessi Slaughter (Ya done goofed, backtraced, consequences will never be the same, etc)

[via Octavian Mihai]

8. Strutting Leo

[via Three Significant Chocolate Cobras]

9. X, X everywhere

[via Know Your Meme]

10. Y U No Guy

[via Wideyed Idiot]

Honorable Mention: Giga Puddi

December 18, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Crowdsourcing. 10 comments.

And I’m Proud to Be an American

Mostly because it’s a deeply weird place.

[via Brent Abousko]

December 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Funny. 1 comment.

Who Cares About Kanye West?

[image via the Bygone Bereau]

Passion of the Weiss is my favorite rap blog.  Last month their host of contributors held a roundtable discussion on Kanye West’s new album.  The idol worship you’ll find at Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and PopMatters is absent here.  Let’s get into it.

Floodwatch:

Kanye West and his music perfectly encapsulate everything that is fundamentally wrong with pop music and pop culture right now. It’s the reason why I occasionally gnash my teeth in my sleep, why I refuse to watch television anymore, and why my gaze never strays from my shopping cart when I’m standing in the checkout line at the market. It’s unwarranted and self-made celebrity; it’s endless, narcissistic self-isolation on a Facebook page. Its bloated, glitzy splendor is the equivalent of a gated subdivision full of vacant McMansions. It’s everything I’m trying to eliminate from my life in 2010: unnecessary noise and excess.

Jeff Weiss

For my wooden nickel, the best rap music is usually menacing and minimal. This has neither, but it succeeds because Kanye is the only person with enough vision to pull it off. As much as I enjoy this record, I’m loathe to consider the impact it will have on the next generation. […]

If this is the album that American culture deserves, it’s not what we should aspire to– no matter how tongue-in-cheek or self-aware our jokes are.

Aaron Matthews

The album is simultaneously layered and shallow. […]

But Kanye excels at excess. He makes the sprawling personal and compulsively listenable. He’s pulled the strange trick of becoming more relatable as he’s gotten more infamous. […]

Yeezy reupholstered my brain.

Doc Zeus

I’m pushing my entire stack of chips onto black at the roulette table and going to call this the finest album of his career. I’m going all in. No joke. I love this record.

Cleaning up the floor after spitting my most venomous bile on it (you happy now, Jeff?), I still find the record to be uniformly excellent.

Disco Vietnam

Kanye West is a space cadet. I can’t relate to him. It’s unfortunate because my ability to relate to him was the very reason I’d first supported him. I found his passion endearing. I admired his self-assuredness; he seemed to know how to balance it with a sense of humor. […]

To hail it as perfection is beyond foolish, reckless. When the stakes are this high the critical community has a responsibility to be more judicious with its praise. Yes, this album is important; it’s also indulgent, exhausting, ponderous, all the things we tear less fashionable albums to shreds for being. […]

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy believes itself to be perfect; it’s shallow at best and at worst contrived. […]

This album is a triumph in every conceivable way but the one that matters most: is it an effective piece of art?

Sach O

So it’s officially Kanyemania out there today. Pitchfork gave the album a 10.0, Slate’s got it as album of the year and the mainstream press seems officially content to anoint Kanye as the superstar demigod he wants to be perceived as […]

I’d been avoiding getting caught up in the hype surrounding this thing in the goal to listen to it as a whole and to see how I feel about it as a complete album. Since dude thinks he’s a world-class artist making some genius shit, I figured I’d rate him to his desired standards: harshly and mercilessly based on the full record as he conceived it.

To be honest, I was ready to tear into My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but despite it’s masturbatory song-lengths, overcooked sense of self-importance and the fact that it’s made by a man who’s evolved into one of the most annoying celebrities of all time (of all time!)…This is a great album.

Douglas Martin

It’s almost like on this album, Kanye actually has enough money to cater to every impulse, and it’s not always pretty.

Though it ranks in the lower-half of Kanye’s catalog, one thing I can say about this record is that it’s the complete opposite of formulaic, which is downright heroic for a pop star. Although I agree that ambitious failures should not be placed higher in value than modest successes, I think both are commendable.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, even in its flaws, shows that Kanye really cares. Every note– all two-billion of them– seem carefully considered, and you can almost hear Kanye in the background of one of those choir breakdowns saying, “This would sound DOPE if I put a didgeridoo right here!” Pop music is supposed to be formulaic, disposable. Pop stars aren’t supposed to put this music thought, this much effort, into a pop album. Or maybe it’s not and they are, and it takes a record as ambitious as this one to show everyone what pop music could be like if everybody just tried harder.

Abe Beam

This album will age.

December 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

F___ You if You Don’t Like Christmas

[Drew Toothpaste via Rats Off!]

It’s always OK to dance.

[via Julia Segal]

December 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. 1 comment.

How to Pick Up Women.

Step 1:

Pick her up.

Step 2:

Get her back to your place.

[via Happle Tea & Suedehead Comic]

November 18, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Comics, Video. Leave a comment.

Roger of the Month

I used to like skateboarding videos.

I like skateboarding videos.

I will like skateboarding videos.

[via Kottke who has a misunderstanding about what parkour is and isn’t]

November 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. 5 comments.

Take Your Medicine with a Grain of Salt

[via Savage Chickens]

The subject of this article, Dr. John Ioannidis, is the medical establishment’s equivalent of an internal affairs investigative unit.  According to his meta-studies, the findings from approximately half of the top 50 cited papers of the past decade are, at best, highly dubious.

Medical research is not especially plagued with wrongness. Other meta-research experts have confirmed that similar issues distort research in all fields of science, from physics to economics (where the highly regarded economists J. Bradford DeLong and Kevin Lang once showed how a remarkably consistent paucity of strong evidence in published economics studies made it unlikely that any of them were right). And needless to say, things only get worse when it comes to the pop expertise that endlessly spews at us from diet, relationship, investment, and parenting gurus and pundits. But we expect more of scientists, and especially of medical scientists, given that we believe we are staking our lives on their results. The public hardly recognizes how bad a bet this is. The medical community itself might still be largely oblivious to the scope of the problem, if Ioannidis hadn’t forced a confrontation when he published his studies in 2005.

Ioannidis initially thought the community might come out fighting. Instead, it seemed relieved, as if it had been guiltily waiting for someone to blow the whistle, and eager to hear more. David Gorski, a surgeon and researcher at Detroit’s Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, noted in his prominent medical blog that when he presented Ioannidis’s paper on highly cited research at a professional meeting, “not a single one of my surgical colleagues was the least bit surprised or disturbed by its findings.” Ioannidis offers a theory for the relatively calm reception. “I think that people didn’t feel I was only trying to provoke them, because I showed that it was a community problem, instead of pointing fingers at individual examples of bad research,” he says. In a sense, he gave scientists an opportunity to cluck about the wrongness without having to acknowledge that they themselves succumb to it—it was something everyone else did.

To say that Ioannidis’s work has been embraced would be an understatement. His PLoS Medicine paper is the most downloaded in the journal’s history, and it’s not even Ioannidis’s most-cited work—that would be a paper he published in Nature Genetics on the problems with gene-link studies. Other researchers are eager to work with him: he has published papers with 1,328 different co-authors at 538 institutions in 43 countries, he says. Last year he received, by his estimate, invitations to speak at 1,000 conferences and institutions around the world, and he was accepting an average of about five invitations a month until a case last year of excessive-travel-induced vertigo led him to cut back. Even so, in the weeks before I visited him he had addressed an AIDS conference in San Francisco, the European Society for Clinical Investigation, Harvard’s School of Public Health, and the medical schools at Stanford and Tufts.

It comes down to terrible incentives that motivate researchers to overstate their findings coupled with unrealistic expectations from the public.

“If the drugs don’t work and we’re not sure how to treat something, why should we claim differently? Some fear that there may be less funding because we stop claiming we can prove we have miraculous treatments. But if we can’t really provide those miracles, how long will we be able to fool the public anyway? The scientific enterprise is probably the most fantastic achievement in human history, but that doesn’t mean we have a right to overstate what we’re accomplishing.”

We could solve much of the wrongness problem, Ioannidis says, if the world simply stopped expecting scientists to be right. That’s because being wrong in science is fine, and even necessary—as long as scientists recognize that they blew it, report their mistake openly instead of disguising it as a success, and then move on to the next thing, until they come up with the very occasional genuine breakthrough. But as long as careers remain contingent on producing a stream of research that’s dressed up to seem more right than it is, scientists will keep delivering exactly that.

“Science is a noble endeavor, but it’s also a low-yield endeavor,” he says. “I’m not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life. We should be very comfortable with that fact.”

[David H. Freedman @ the Atlantic via the Browser]

November 10, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

Hard Work Is Old-Fashioned

Not that this is a bad thing.

Case Study #1

Pete Kithas – Detroit barber since 1962.

“It’s an old-fashioned barber shop — no kids, no woman, just man,” the boisterous 79-year-old Kithas says in his still-thick Greek accent. “Lots of policemens.”

What probably reads as impolite will likely be forgiven as you learn more about him.

His personality, his life really, is best summed up by a story from his early days.In the mid-‘60s, the three floors above his shop were a flophouse hotel. One day, a man walked upstairs looking for a room but was so drunk the clerk at the front desk wouldn’t rent him one. The furious boozer stomped downstairs and threw a temper tantrum on the sidewalk that ended with him kicking in the barber shop’s glass door, shattering it.

Kithas was cutting a Detroit Police sergeant’s hair when this happened. As the cop heard the crashing glass he leaped out of the chair and ran outside to confront the large man, who took one swing and knocked the officer out cold on the pavement. Kithas saw this, put down his scissors and stormed outside. Then the drunk took a swing at him, too.

Big mistake.

Click through to Detroitblog to read the rest.

Case Study #2

[image via A Life Worth Eating]

Dom DeMarco – Crafts (arguably) the best pizza in New York.  Still works 12 hour days.

“The best pizza in New York is Di Fara and not only is it the best pizza in New York, I think it’s the best pizza in the world. It’s the best pizza I’ve ever had and I’d go as far as to say it’s the best thing that I’ve ever eaten.”

[via Kottke]

November 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading, Video. Leave a comment.

Refurbished Bicycles Make Good Gates

[Bike Guerilla via Dude Craft]

November 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Art. 2 comments.

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