Assorted links

by on February 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 prior_approval February 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm

6. Ooops – I guess Bezos did make a mistake, then.

2 chuck martel February 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm

“Reading is inherently time consuming because your eyes have to move from word to word and line to line. Traditional reading also consumes huge amounts of physical space on a page or screen, which limits reading effectiveness on small displays.”

When time is consumed, where does it go? If time was not consumed, what would happen to it? Would there be piles of time, like dust bunnies under your bed, scattered around the house? When someone says, “I didn’t have time.”, what do they really mean? Those huge amounts of physical space, would they be used for something else, like grazing llamas or playing rugby? These people are nuts.

3 Nikki February 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm

As one blogger put it, “some people are more willing than others to admit that they are doing what they want to do, while others maintain the illusion they wish they were doing something else.”

I also question Spritz creators’ basic understanding of how reading works. Not one word at a time, that is.

4 Mark Thorson February 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

In German, they use very long compound words and don’t think twice about making up ad hoc new ones. Maybe in Germany people read a word at a time. And note that the inventors of their core technology are Germans.

5 Just another MR Commentor February 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Do you know what Spritz means in German?

6 Jens Fiederer February 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm

“Spritz” means squirt, such as in squirt guns (for children) and the end of movies (for adults).

7 Nikki February 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

This calls for prior_approval’s expertise.

8 Guest February 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Shhhh – he is sleeping

9 GiT February 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

In German, you also commonly put your verbs at the end of sentences, often requiring reading a whole sentence in order to figure out what’s going on within it…

10 Marie February 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

When kids learn to read you look for them to move from letter to letter reading to word to word, then on to phrases and sometimes larger chunks.

It seems like you could really set someone back training them with a program like this.

Thirty seconds of demo made my eyeballs wiggle.

11 john personna February 26, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Does anyone’s eyes move from word to word and line to line? I think we all skim, and the skill rewarded in an information glut is to skim accurately.

Re. time consumed, I hear people say they don’t have enough time, and then a little bit later they recount some BS television show.

12 RM February 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I took a quick look at Spritz’s website (using my old fashioned reading technique) and literally don’t understand what they propose to do. Anybody?

13 John February 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm

You might have skimmed over the part at the top where it says “Click above to learn how to spritz,” heh. Basically they spit words at you one at a time, aligned based on one of the middle letters (according to them, chosen based on the “optimum” position for word recognition).

14 prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 4:46 am

‘Does anyone’s eyes move from word to word and line to line?’

Copy editors come to mind, along with translators.

Programmers also come to mind, though that is a much more complex subject – programmers spend a lot more time typing code than actually reading it with the sort of precision that is expected of copy editors, and depending on the language, the debugging tools tend to pick up most mistakes which would require such detailed text reading skills.

15 David M March 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I can tell that you aren’t a programmer.

The reverse is true. We spend MUCH more time reading code than writing it. Both others’ code and our own. Great precision and attention to detail are definitely often essential in code-reading, but we often do the equivalent of “skimming” as well, and there is usually a lot of jumping around in anything other than something that is written in a very antiquated style.

Something like Spritz would be laughably useless for code.

16 Chris S February 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I dunno, I took the demo and was enjoying 500 wpm. Unfortunately I couldn’t move up past then. I am interested to try more and see where it goes.

17 AndrewL February 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I read books by reading only even numbered pages. If at some point I get confused, I’ll go back and read the odd page.

50% of the time, it works every time.

18 Alexei Sadeski February 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm



19 Matt February 26, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I was more surprised by Venezuela and Argentina . .

20 Alexei Sadeski February 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm


But neither Venezuela nor Argentina are all that high on the list. TURKEY!?!?!?!?! is right at the top.

21 Just another MR Commentor February 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm

#6 Marc Andreessen is also VERY bullish on Bitcoin and it’s not hard to see why BItcoin keeps going up and up, Facebook is going up, the Bay area is just booming and that’s great for America – this country is basically at full employment and output keeps surging higher. The ONLY limit is the broken immigration system which needs to be reformed ASAP.

22 Guest February 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm

JAMRC – what about #4?!?!?!? A 50% increase in reading speed! These guys have the potential to save the world millions or even billions of hours we currently waste by reading too slowly. The value in being able to read 50% more material in the same amount of time cannot be quantified! My heart is pounding like a jackhammer – each day brings us that much closer to the singularity and mountains of economic treasures!

23 Just another MR Commentor February 26, 2014 at 1:12 pm

As I said the economic value being created in the tech sector today is just unparalleled with any period of human history. Glittering prizes await for those able to make optimal use of this new technology.

Stocks keep going up

24 XVO February 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Are you two being sarcastic?

25 XVO February 26, 2014 at 6:21 pm

ahem, I actually didn’t bother to even read the headline… bullish on the news media, what a derp. Some gems:

“You are going to see it grow 10X to 100X”

“We can have the best of all worlds, with both accuracy rising, and stories that hew closer to truth.”

“If you extrapolate from the number of smartphones globally, the total addressable market for news by 2020 is around 5 billion people worldwide.”


“The practice of gathering all sides of an issue, and keeping an editorial voice out of it is still relevant for some”

26 albert magnus February 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm

#4 I would not be surprised if the “serial entrepeneurs” behind this product didn’t read many actual books..

27 Ray Lopez February 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Indeed, speed reading by reading one word at a time won’t work. I read 600 wpm by chunking entire paragraphs. Hit the keywords and let your mind fill in the blanks. And I get 91% reading comprehension. Once in a while I do make a mistake but it’s only 9% of the time. BTW ‘slow readers’ have been found to have a _lower_ reading comprehension score than speed readers. And of course TC can read even faster than me.

28 Guest February 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Is there anything you cannot do?

29 Just another MR Commentor February 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Put an upper bound on the value of Bitcoin or Facebook, because that’s not possible.

30 Hoover February 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I wonder what 91% reading comprehension means.

31 Noumenon February 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I wonder what “I wonder what 91% reading means” means? Oh well, I’ll understand the next sentence. Mostly.

32 Marie February 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I had to read that three times to get the whole joke. Worth it.

33 Hoover February 26, 2014 at 5:13 pm

I only got 91% of that joke.

34 msgkings February 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Reminds me of a great joke from ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”:

when someone says ‘Charlie, you’re no help, you’re completely illiterate’ and he scoffs back ‘Illiterate….pfft….what does that even mean?’

35 Brian Donohue February 26, 2014 at 8:28 pm

War and Peace: It’s about Russia.

36 Turkey Vulture February 26, 2014 at 9:00 pm

There was a lot of dancing.

37 Phill February 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Worth noting that north american sports leagues are structured different from european football leagues.

Doesn’t the NFL have explicit profit share amongst all franchises?, and both the NBA and the NHL have salary caps. Not to mention the draft system that redistributes top talent to poorly ranked teams.

It’s been years and years since I played Championship Manager, but Europe on the other hand more or less lets the winner-take-all model dominate. The labour market is more fluid – or at least, exchanging players seems more common – and the only way to lock in great young talent is to typically run top-notch youth training academies yourself.

It’s weird. Clearly, professional sports are these totally bizarre oligarchic structures with tons of carved out law exceptions.

Traditionally, I’ve felt that the european model was more “egalitarian”; in principle, your local club *could* go all the way from the Terza Categoria or a Counties League or a Divisione Regional to the top league even if in practice all the sponsorship money gets collected by the top three or four clubs.

And the whole practice of the draft system – with the expectation that players stick to their drafted teams for most of their careers, to boot – always struck me as bizarre. Alongside the recent concessions to salary caps.

On the other hand, redistributing resources per that link does seem to lead to more exciting league play.

38 Evan Van Ness February 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm


Thanks for the reply. You are right: US pro sports is on a different model than the rest of the world. We have drafts and no relegation. In fact, US pro sports are designed to work for the benefit of the franchise owners. Not so in the rest of the world, where things evolved more organically through actual clubs.

And yes, the NFL equally distributes all TV money between franchises. I once heard Les Alexander (Houston Rockets owner) call that “socialism,” somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

I love the relegation system. The relegation fight at the end of the year is arguably more interesting than who wins the championship.

39 Saliency February 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm


Once upon a time I analyzed the advantages of the written and spoken word. I found written words killer feature to be the adaptivenes in speed of consumption. The ability to read one paragraph at 600 WPM and the next harder one at 100 WPM is something not really possible with other media forms. This occurs rather naturally for readers but until we have real time brain scanners which can measure listening comprehension and adjust playback speed written word will have this advantage. Spritz has the same problem as audio in this respect.

40 Chris S February 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Agreed, very difficult to glance away or preview the structure of a chunk of text (dense pgraphs, short ones, dialog, technical outlines) to prepare how one should receive it.

41 Shane M February 27, 2014 at 12:04 am

At the 500 wpm level I’d miss words just by blinking. I’d guess there’s a pause button?

42 farmer February 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I think the football inequality is tackling the question the entirely wrong way. Football, to me, is WAY more equal than American Football. Sure, sure, there’s only a few winners, but very few teams are perpetual losers, either. It really is true that, on a good day if everything is going well, the little guy can beat the big guy. Celtic can beat Barca. Porto can beat Man U in the champion’s league. There are NFL teams that will ALWAYS beat inferior rivals, every time.

43 Nate February 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Not too familiar with the phrase, “Any given Sunday”, eh?

44 Alexei Sadeski February 26, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Most misguided comment of the week?

45 Urso February 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm

He may be thinking about mismatches in the NCAA, ie, Alabama will always beat Alabama-Birmingham. But that’s a little different. The metric equivalent of a game between an SEC team and a Sun Belt team would be a game between Premier League Team and a third-division team.

46 Finch February 26, 2014 at 3:03 pm

How much of this is just a consequence of low scoring, with a lot of the outcome turning on a very small number of plays?

47 ISBW February 26, 2014 at 3:32 pm

There is a lot more turnover in gridiron football than you seem to think. The Chiefs this year along went from one of the worst teams in the league last year to a very serious contender this year. Seattle and San Francisco have also done very well recently, while Baltimore went from champion to middle of the pack. In fact, a number of sports writers bemoaned what they saw as excessive parity this season, and wished for more separation between the best and the mediocre in the league.

48 ISBW February 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

* this year alone

49 Chris S February 26, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Tell that to a Lions fan.

50 Turkey Vulture February 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Bills fans – last playoff game: January 2000 loss to the Tennessee Titans thanks to the Music City Miracle.

51 chuck martel February 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

There’s bound to be parity when there’s parity scheduling.

52 Brian February 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Scheduling really isn’t a large factor in the overall parity of the NFL. Of the 16 regular season games each team plays, only two games are affected by the team’s previous season record. The other 14 opponents are not only fixed years in advance, they are the same 14 opponents faced by every team in a given division.

53 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly February 26, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Um, even the Browns make the playoffs once every decade or so.

54 Evan Van Ness February 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm

In the modern NFL, you don’t really see win probabilities over ~80%. There’s just too much randomness in the game. I’d refer you to Brian Burke’s site: where I’ve been a reader since he started.

55 CPV February 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Andreesen’s vision of digital media participants as entrepreneurial gladiator/litigants in the court of interweb opinion is interesting. It has the advantage that self-interested wealthy parties can fund their own participation as Hearst et al. did. Perhaps the sans culottes digerati can crowdfund trendy artisanal efforts as well. It’s at least an honest model, whereas the E. Klein model of Bayesian updates on body of proclaimed objective content seems disingenuous and is also scarier as it implies a received PC wisdom.

56 Tyler Fan February 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I’ve always been curious about Tyler’s reading speed. Has he ever explained if he consciously uses any speed reading techniques or if it’s simply the way his brain works?

57 Kwan February 26, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I’ve looked before for answers to this very question and I didn’t uncover much. If TC is willing to provide some insight I’m sure a lot of us would gladly listen. I’m curious about what age he was when it became obvious to him that he reads much faster than most others can.

58 Christine February 26, 2014 at 9:00 pm

He makes reading a high priority, and he only reads things he’s really interested in. He doesn’t ever continue reading a book that isn’t interesting, he just chucks it and picks up something better.

59 prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 4:48 am

While still sharing the Amazon affiliate link.

60 Cliff February 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm

#3: neither

61 Finch February 26, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Anybody know if there’s a control for IQ?

62 XVO February 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Of course not, IQ doesn’t exist. And education is certainly not a proxy for IQ, anyone can get any educational degree if they just work hard enough. Apparently they are also working the weight off.

63 john personna February 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Kinda funny to see no takers on “satisfaction” in the first 4 hours. It is complicated, obviously, but I think it’s fair to say that we in the US have room for improvement.

(My mountain bike ride just now let me know in uncertain terms that 6 months of slacking off take their toll. I now have less life satisfaction, in a way not directly tied to GDP.)

64 XVO February 26, 2014 at 6:06 pm

It seems like where the economy has been improving people are satisfied and where the economy has been getting worse or stagnating people are less satisfied. The link doesn’t tell the method just links to pews website so depending on when in 2013 the data was gathered this explains things pretty well.

I’d say the USA is stagnating economically for a lot of people and that explains the low satisfaction. You can see in China people are very satisfied, constant economic growth has left most people better off. People adapt to their baseline and are always looking to be gainful, if you feel like you are doing worse than you were 10 years ago or you are struggling you would be unsatisfied.

65 chuck martel February 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm

France is dissatisfied that there’s been no real replacement for Jerry Lewis. Canada is ecstatic over an Olympic hockey gold medal. Like nobody would have guessed that was going to happen.

66 Locke February 26, 2014 at 7:20 pm

#4 Didn’t geocities invent this sort of seizure-inducing flashing text back in the early days of teh interwebz?

67 Chris S February 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm

That was the same words flashing. This is different words flashing, one at a time in order.

68 Turkey Vulture February 26, 2014 at 9:06 pm

5. It’s not the staring point that matters but the direction and rate of change.

69 Shane M February 27, 2014 at 12:13 am

#3. Isn’t an alternative that education correlates with income and eating more healthily is more expensive?

70 ian February 27, 2014 at 4:42 am

#3 marshmallow test. Deferred gratification. Submission to authority. Conscientiousness. Low discount rate. Lots in common between being healthy and getting an education. Probably far outweighs direct causal links from education to thinness or vice versa.

71 Marie February 27, 2014 at 8:31 pm

They redid the marshmellow test, fyi.

72 nike air max 95 March 13, 2014 at 4:17 am

Migrant workers are mostly farmers who shuttle between their rural homes and cities looking for work. They usually take the least-paid and most laborious jobs in cities. According to Liu, who herself is a migrant worker, older migrant workers are more likely to be victims to rights abuses due to age issues and poor educational background.

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