log (200910/09 to 2009/10/15)

On the previous entry there, a reader writes:

"Is the idea that in the voting booth someone is going to vote for a particular name just because they've seen it on the roadside alot?"




Which is basically a reminder that yes, we aren't really all that rational. Although the Wikipedia page there is somewhat ambiguous as to the direction of our irrationality. I wonder if the sign-placing persons know about this effect, have studied it in detail, or just put up roadsigns because people similarly situated have always put up roadsigns?

And the only other thing I'm going to write down here tonight is this set of pointers to amusing revisionist movie trailers:

Fun! *8)

I think this is my favorite kind of weather. It's crisp and clear and sunny, and generally gorgeous.

I had to go out of town on business the day after my birthday, so I sort of took my birthday itself half-off, both getting things ready for the trip and being nice to myself, which wasn't entirely optimal, but wasn't awful either. I walked up our local small mountain and sat there at the top being peaceful (and unwired, and not virtual) for awhile, and that was very very nice. Then on the weekend after, M and the little boy and I went out to our local Fancy Early American Restaurant and had fancy food, and that was very very nice also.

And now I am old!

Although I don't feel very old; I think my self-image stopped aging maybe junior year in college or so. *8) The other day at work I mentioned something about the kids, and someone asked me how old they were, and when I said fifteen and nineteen he was amazed, and said he'd thought I was like in my mid to late thirties. When was highly gratifying! I think.

Although I hope he also thought I was surprisingly wise and experienced for my youth!

So I've been playing The Sims 3 a bit (M got it for me for my b'day, to go with the fancy new computer mentioned last time). It is fun, and graphically pretty. Not radically different from The Sims 2, really. And still somewhat glitchy; the main family I've been playing are now in a state where about three minutes after I start up the lot they begin to mysteriously disappear and be more or less inaccessible unless and until they decide to reappear again. So I'm waiting for a fix to appear on the Sims 3 forums, and playing The Sims 2 in the meantime, which is good fun.

Lots of new stuff has happened, and I've even taken pictures of lots of it, and I should spend hours and hours updating the Sims Stories collection. But who has time?

(Oh, speaking of The Sims 3, I recommend taking a look at Alice and Kev; a very well done TS3 story-with-pictures. It's relatively short and self-contained and even sort of ends at the end.)

I've also been spending the usual hours an' hours in Second Life, and posting to the secret SL weblog and my flickr stream with various SL pictures and thoughts.

I've been paying a little bit of attention to Blue Mars still, but gradually declining, as there really isn't much going on. A few people doing a little rah-rah about how great it's going to be in the forums, but no significant updates to the actual existing beta environment, and none of the much-hyped content from content developers has actually appeared; so my interest is dying down.

In current events, one notes that the Daily Mail are complete sleazebags, which is sort of too bad. (They rant against a cervical cancer vaccine in England, where the government is providing it, but in Ireland where the government isn't providing it they rant in exactly the opposite way.)

On that same general subject, I've been in a number of somewhat fun and somewhat disheartening discussions online lately, where I've run up against what seems to be the same sort of disregard for the truth in debate. I know, this should come as no huge surprise to me by now *8) but it still does.

A long debate about sexism in the Blue Mars beta, a minor flamewar over some racist comments on Plurk, foolishly attempting to rationally debate a Birther on Twitter and in an SL group chat, all remind me of the extent to which people engage in debate more to make themselves feel good than to actually come closer to the truth, or even to convince others that they are right. I probably do it myself, although I try not to. I wonder if that is a bug, or a feature. Maybe the rush of "winning" a debate is the main thing that fools us into having adversarial discussions at all, and otherwise we'd all just huddle with those of like mind around our campfires.

Have to wonder, though, if evolution couldn't have arranged things so that we enjoy actually finding out the truth at least as much as we do winning a debate by any means necessary.

And speaking of any means necessary *8) it's getting to be Election Season, which means that the roadsides and utility poles are littered with signs full of red white and blue and stars and stripes, saying "[name] for [position]", or just "[name] [position]", or in the extreme case just "[name]".

I don't understand these; do you?

Is the idea that in the voting booth someone is going to vote for a particular name just because they've seen it on the roadside alot? Because they will suddenly realize they know nothing about the race, and push the lever over the most familiar-looking name? Or because they will think "well, alot of people who put up roadside signs like this person, so they must be good"? Or that people will see the signs and think "hm, I should find out more about this person [name]", and then do so and find that they like them?

I suppose the last one is almost rational, but still. You'd think that now and then there would be, I don't know, an actually hint of the person's positon on some issue or something?

Very odd.

Also, I made pumpkin muffins! *8) Tx to M for finding the recipe somewhere. They were yummy.

I need to bake more this Coldness Season!