Archive for: September 2013

A review of ‘Blink’ written by Malcom Gladwell.

Blink- By Malcom Gladwell

What was the first thought that crossed your mind when you read the title? blink? Is it about an article that explains the bat of an eye? What if a split second was all it took your brain to generate a set of posit on what it would be? (Yes keep thinking, I might be talking about the birth of the first-impression-is-the-best-impression theory). The book blink- the power of thinking without thinking by Malcom Gladwell explains the de facto thinking within our heads as ‘the backstage process’ of the human brain. How we unknowingly frame our opinions and make concrete decisions.

Gladwell starts by directly introducing us to the concept of rapid cognition, where he writes about how fast the brain can jump to conclusions by processing data based on stored information of past experiences. He portrays instances which show us how and why intuitions can be fully trusted by explaining many case studies. Going deeper, he tells us about ‘Thin-slicing’, an activity of separating input into chunks, which help in processing information and make rapid decisions. Also shows us the importance of focusing on the right slices to use while making a decision that will be much easier to make with higher efficiency.

He feels that biased judging and the stereotype-the-thinking factor evolved through time plays a major role in decision making; which he explains to be the pull-down factor of this process. Backing up his Statement that the best decisions are made by little pieces of high-quality information, he also quotes instances where instantaneous decision making had failed because of the perception at the instant, which he proves by drawing similarities between autism and sudden adrenaline-generating actions. This, by carefully understanding the brain, can help us apply them in decision-based events
in our real life. Lastly he speaks about how vision can dominate our decisions by showing statistical
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Rathnakar Sundaresan
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Rathnakar Sundaresan

“Experts” Are High, Stupid or Scamming Us

Greetings Esteemed Reader,

I’m just going to keep going on with this flow I’m in these days. This is something I’ve noticed in TV commercials and got me thinking. I’m sure some really smart guy has already done a more correct study but I’m going to put down my flawed self observed theories

How does a dentist earn his bread and butter? He depends on people not taking care of their teeth and then having to treating them. (No sir, he doesn’t have a secondary motive of scaring the living daylights out of you!)
How does a medical practitioner earn his livelihood? Because of every sucker who got fooled into that stale Vada Paav (A.K.A. The Indian Burger).

Should I then really be comfortable when a dentist endorses a toothpaste brand on TV? When they say,”9 out of 10 dentists recommend this!”, isn’t the 10th one the smartest? Are these 9 tired of their dental practice? Do they all meet up at a cocktail party and go,”You know what would be cool? Lets endorse a product,  using which people will not have the need to pay for our services. We could all then go in search for the Chamber of Secrets!”

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Merwyn Dsouza
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Merwyn Dsouza

The Story Of The Missing Tanks..

If one must learn about fighting an environmentally friendly war, one must simply learn from the Americans. Given that they fight wars all around the world at practically all periods of time, they definitely have learnt a thing or two about cost-cutting and recycling in war.

We saw these instances beginning with the Iran-Contra affair. In 1979, Iranian students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took hostage all the staff in it. For the next 444 days, they were kept hostage till their timely release in 1980. While they were in captivity, the efforts taken up by the US government to release them from Iranian custody also included dealing under the table with the Iranians. The Islamic Revolution was still in its infancy and they were already facing threats from neighbouring Iraq. Saddam Hussein was never a fan of Ayatollah Khomeini and border clashes between the two were becoming quite frequent. The newly established Islamic Republic of Iran was bracing itself for war and it was looking to arm itself and get ready.

So this is how the deal worked out

The Americans would give TOW missiles and other weaponry to the Iranians in exchange for cash and the safe release and return of the hostages. Ironically enough, this would be brokered by none other than the State of Israel. To speed up the process, the Americans asked the Israelis to make the shipment from its own arsenal with the promise of America replacing Israeli stocks later. Even more funny was that Iran was under an arms embargo imposed by the Americans.

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Ashwath Komath
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Ashwath Komath