Archive for October, 2015

Breaking free of standard practices that no longer make sense

Building off my previous blog on “Why no one wants to monkey around with how things have always been done” I am passing along an insightful anecdote by David Morganstein, President of the American Statistical Association, about his wife’s standard practice to slice a quarter inch off of every ham and toss it in the trash. Read this amazing story and others like it in “The Slice of Ham, How Do You Know?”.

Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness.

– Marshall McLuhan, famed for predicting the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented.

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Are you a super-recognizer?

Every now and then I see someone in an airport or other public place who looks very familiar.  Now and then I’ve actually walked up to someone and greeted them by name and gotten a blank, off-putting look in return.  That is embarrassing!  However, I feel vindicated today after taking this 5 minute web test for facial recognition and passing it with a grade (11 out of 15) that makes me a potential “super recognizer.” 🙂 The researchers at University of Greenwich asked me to follow up by taking a 45 minute test to verify my superior abilities, but I am going to quit while I’m ahead.

If you flunk this facial recognition test, you suffer from “prosopagnosia”—that would not be good because it indicates a poorly developed “fusiform” in the back of your brain. 🙁

For those who do qualify in the UG web quiz and take the longer test, the payoff could be a job with the crack team of super-recognizers at Scotland Yard. Read about them in this fascinating National Geographic post with the Gory Details on “Face Finding Superpower for Fighting Crime”.

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