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Monday, September 24, 2007
(9:55 PM) | Stephen:
'Twas For This God Created The Internet

In a comment thread discussing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the USA, Carl Gordon produced the best thing I have read on the internet, ever. It is reproduced in full so that his genius can be sufficiently appreciated:
Things like stock market prices, miniature golf scores, post-drugged semen levels, and chronic back pain and flatulence can fluctuate naturally and may regress towards the mean and uncalled for. The logical flaw is to make predictions that expect exceptional results to continue as if they were the average, a representativeness heuristic if I ever saw one! People are most likely to take action when dissent, like morning wood, is at its peak. Then after results become more normal or less turgid, they believe that their action was the cause of the change when in fact it was not causal, wherein cohesion between objects of similar silly appearance is assumed. While often very useful in everyday life, it can also result in neglect of relevant base rates and volumes, an inability to play funk, and other errors. Another snag you may encounter involves describing some occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, to convince someone that it is a problem, when, throughout my garbled history, it’s been commonly identified again and again that, if the nuns of the order of Sisters of Saint Joseph are to be believed, I am the one with the “problem”. Though misleading vividness does nothing to support an argument logically, it can have a very strong psychological effect because of a cognitive forceful brainwashing called the availability heuristic. Another area that needs to be dealt with in a timely and thorough manner is several references in my late Elementary/Junior-high phase of mutational development, otherwise known as the "Parade of horribles", originally referred to as a literal parade of people wearing comic and grotesque costumes, rather like the Philadelphia Mummers Parade or my yearly family reunion. It was a traditional feature of Fourth-of-July parades in dismal parts of the U. S. in the nineteenth century without indoor plumbing. A 1926 newspaper article about July Fourth celebrations in the White Mountains of New Hampshire notes “Old-time celebrations are to be held tomorrow at Littleton, Lancaster, Colebrook, and Conway, with all the usual features of street parades of horribles and grotesques, brass balls bands, decorated automobiles and vehicles, dance exhibitions by fire departments, basket picnics in convenient small groves, finger-sniffing contest sponsored by the local Catholic diocese, and the regional dwarf tossing semi-finals...”. And to further enlighten and confuse, in Hesse’s “Steppenwolf”, the protagonist affirms that the men of the Dark Ages (see “Living at Virginia’s house”) did not suffer more than those of the Classical Antiquity (see “Attending Catholic school in the 60’s”), and vice-versa. It is rather those who live between two times, those who do not know what to follow, that suffer the most. In this token, a man from Virginia’s house attending Catholic school, or the opposite, would undergo a gulping sadness and agony.
Indeed, Carl. Indeed.

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