Assorted links

by on November 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Photos from inside a Colombian prison.

2. How to increase altruism in toddlers?

3. Soviet mathematics as pure status competition.

4. How people count money, across culture (video).

5. Real vs. placebo coffee: people don't know if it's decaf.

Cafadict November 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

It DOES matter (for performance) whether it’s decaf; but the consumers don’t notice that it’s decaf.

Marian Kechlibar November 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm

BTW As a studied mathematician: one of the advantages that the Soviet mathematicians had was that their work did not depend on expensive equipment. Most interesting mathematical problems do not require anything more than a pencil and a paper, plus books for reference.

When I studied mathematics in Prague in 1996-2001, the library was FULL of old, dusted but high-quality Russian mathematical books. Having studied azbuka only for 2 years, I had some trouble studying from them, but I still could. The younger generation is not able to read them at all, because azbuka is a complete stranger for them.

Sometimes I wonder how many unorthodox approaches and unconventional proofs are buried there in the dusty shelves, inaccessible to the Western world because of the language barrier.

Bartman November 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I drink coffee in the morning because if I don’t, I have a thundering headache by noon.

Random November 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm

with regards to the counting habits, i think the video they showed for afgahnsiation, pakistan is simply not true for what i have observed…its more like the one they showed for india,etc…

Jacqueline November 8, 2009 at 8:34 pm

“Real vs. placebo coffee: people don’t know if it’s decaf.”

I suspect if I substituted a placebo for my coworkers’ coffee, they would be collapsed and gasping in the hallway by noon. One drinks over 3 pots a day by himself!

US November 9, 2009 at 6:38 am

@Jacqueline:

Did you have this comic in mind, or is it just a pure coincidence that the scenarios are so alike:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQK3dbWHH04

Andrew November 9, 2009 at 8:45 am

Of course she would. Increasing altruism in people is awesome…as long as it isn’t you.

(Just kidding, but we might as well play along with all these commenters who go to their government jobs and work pro bono and actively eschew status)

Mo November 9, 2009 at 4:27 pm

So in college my roommate and his girlfriend drank coffee constantly. They raved about how they needed it to stay awake. He bought the huge tub of coffee.

So, I went and bought the exact same tub but in decaf. I switched out the Decaf for the real stuff. I had to leave the room every time they talked about how tired they were – time to brew another pot!

Thing is, I ended up telling him at the end of the year. he was really upset even though I had basically gotten him off coffee (which ex-ante he claimed he wanted).

Donna B. November 10, 2009 at 1:42 am

Dan’s right — monkey see, monkey do. However, I see the helpful behavior as happening more when they are nearer 24 mos rather than 18.

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