background preloader

Yes, Your Opinion Can Be Wrong

Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 6 a.m. I have had so many conversations or email exchanges with students in the last few years wherein I anger them by indicating that simply saying, "This is my opinion" does not preclude a connected statement from being dead wrong. It still baffles me that some feel those four words somehow give them carte blanche to spout batshit oratory or prose. And it really scares me that some of those students think education that challenges their ideas is equivalent to an attack on their beliefs. -Mick Cullen I spend far more time arguing on the Internet than can possibly be healthy, and the word I’ve come to loath more than any other is “opinion”. There’s a common conception that an opinion cannot be wrong. 1. 2. I’ll help you with the first part. There’s nothing wrong with an opinion on those things. To quote John Oliver, who on his show Last Week Tonight referenced a Gallup poll showing one in four Americans believe climate change isn’t real: Who gives a shit?

Related:  Estimating BlogsTo readThought-provoking

Improving decision-making in projects (and in life) An irony of organisational life is that the most important decisions on projects (or any other initiatives) have to be made at the start, when ambiguity is at its highest and information availability lowest. I recently gave a talk at the Pune office of BMC Software on improving decision-making in such situations. The talk was recorded and simulcast to a couple of locations in India. Don’t Look At Her Face And Raping Your Wife Is Just Awesome, Says Christian Website Sometimes, right-wing Christians wonder why the rest of us think that they are horrible people. Unfortunately, those same people ask “why” as they are in the midst of fighting against a woman’s access to healthcare options, denying women the right to choose what is right for their bodies, or just outright saying that raping one’s wife when she doesn’t want to have sex is exactly what God wants, because in the eyes of Jesus, there’s “no such thing as marital rape.” Biblical Gender Roles, a Christian online publication that offers frustrated Christian men solutions to their wives’ “sexual immorality” if the women in their life refuse to touch them, has offered a number of bits of top-notch advice for Christian men in the past. If a man’s wife refuses to have sex with him, he should complain about it in front of his congregation or in front of the pastor and his wife privately, stop doing nice things for her until she eventually yields, and even take all of her money.

The man who swears by popular science - Times Online What words ought one to use to describe Steven Pinker, the language guru, cognitive scientist and bestselling author, judged by Time magazine to be one of the world’s 100 most influential people? Rock god? Sitting in a hip London boutique hotel, with his blue eyes, taut jaw and an exuberance of grey curly hair, the 54-year-old academic looks more like the frontman of a hell-raising 1980s rock band than a scientist. He is in London to promote his latest book, The Stuff of Thought, about how words relate to thoughts and what this tells us about ourselves. Somehow Pinker has become, along with Richard Dawkins, one of the antichrists for the American Religious Right. Pinker’s belief is that evolution – a dangerous word to use in America – has shaped the brain and helps to explain how it works today.

Goading the IT Geek: ...And the battle rages on? It's 8am here in the UK and I am still simmering over a twitter storm from about 3am my time. I made the mistake of looking at my phone after going to the bathroom (I washed my hands) and noticed more on the #NoEstimates conversation. It all centred around the heated discussion the other day on #NoEstimates, except this time it got personal, with a few members of the discussion choosing to do the tabloid headline thing of taking one part of some of my material out of context and then basically making libellous inferences. The smell of old books analysed by scientists Matija Strlic, a chemist at University College London, and lead author of the study, and her team note that the well-known musty smell of an old book, as readers leaf through the pages, is the result of hundreds of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air from the paper. "It is the result of the several hundred VOCs off-gassing from paper and the object in general. "The particular blend of compounds is a result of a network of degradation pathways and is dependent on the original composition of the object including paper substrate, applied media, and binding." She said those substances hold clues to the paper's condition.

6 Things I Wish I Had Never Told My Children  My oldest son just graduated high school and is now embarking on the next leg of his journey that will bring him closer to real life. I have come to realize that there are so many things that I wish I could un-tell him. I hope he knows that all of these empowering, yet misleading little statements that I (or others with the best intentions in mind) might have spoken into his nearly grown-up ears are not exactly true... 1. You don’t owe anyone anything.

Why I hate and love #noestimates I was watching a No Estimates video that someone tweeted recently and I was reminded why I hate and love No Estimates at the same time. The video in question is a No Estimates presentation by Allen Holub. You can find the video here. Scatterbrained People Are Basically Geniuses Another idea? Your big brain just got even bigger. There's a lot of truth to the stereotype of the absent-minded professor. You know, the scatterbrained academic who can't find his glasses (they're usually on top of his head). Or the creative type, who's so busy dreaming up new ideas that she misses her stop entirely on the subway. It turns out that someone who's disorganized, forgetful, and seemingly lacking in the concentration department is actually a genius.