Monday, July 12, 2010

Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it.

Have you ever wondered:
  • Why people prefer meat that is 80% lean to meat that is 20% fat?
  • Why you lose your car keys? Or your car?
  • Why folks will drive clear across town to save $25 on a $100 microwave, but will hardly cross the street for a "2.5% Off!" sale on a $1000 flat-screen TV?
  • Why it's so hard to stay on a diet, and so easy to procrastinate?
  • Why eyewitness testimony is about as reliable as a street vendor's "Rolex"?

People people left left.

What?

That was a perfectly grammatical sentence, and made total sense.* Can I help it if our language centers are built out of garage sale leftovers that make it hard to process sentences like that?

If this is the kind of stuff that you find fascinating, may I recommend the book Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind?

Witty and written in a conversational tone, it will have you saying "Huh!" and reading passages aloud to friends every few pages. The only thing that kept me from reading it at one sitting was the need to sleep. Pesky sleep.


*People who have been abandoned by other people have also departed.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan Ariely has two books that are related in topic: Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home.

I'm halfway through both and, sad to say, see myself in a lot of the irrational examples he lists.

Joe Allen said...

One of my favorites:

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Or; New York Bison intimidate New York bison.

Ed Skinner said...

Hunh? (My coffee must be broken this morning.)

Ed Rasimus said...

Why am I thinking Gallagher might have said those things before hauling out the groceries and the Sledge-o-Matic?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Daisy, Daisy, tell me your answer, do.

cj said...

Darn. I read it as "People who are good with people departed in the left direction."

Nathan said...

"Why it's so hard to stay on a diet, and so easy to procrastinate?"

Story of my life.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Here's another (keeping it clean "For the Children"): The F;;k;;g F;;k;r's F;;k;;g well F;;k;d. Inspired by Lennie Bruce.

Less said...

What is interesting is that a passage form the opening of the book (is Amazon "preview" AMAZING or what!?) hints at something that was posted at the NYT:

Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is

The article talks about how people might just be inattentive to even know if/when something is wrong...

The passage in the book is "What is really amazing, in hindsight, is that most people probably did not even realize it was possible to do better..."

I'll be reading this book!

og said...

"Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo"

No buffs outside of zoos in the USA.

Just a nitpick. back to your regular programming.

Darrell said...

Kluge/kludge. Kluge was/is a diecutting/embossing press that consists of several layers of rube goldberg crap piled atop each other. Supposedly where the word came from. Hey, I used to work on 'em. :P And yeah, they're still in business.

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Hmmm. I interpreted it the way cj did.

BTW, Tam - thought of you at lunch. The Philadelphia branch of Fogo de Chao. Lots and lots of fraldinha....

Joe Allen said...

"No buffs outside of zoos in the USA."

Huh? There are farms all over the country raising and selling buffalo for meat and breeding stock.

Dave said...

"The Illusion of Conscious Will" will blow your hair back.

brbiswrite said...

"That that is is that that is not is not." From seventh grade English, I believe. We also parsed/diagrammed sentences and did other useless stuff. It was fun.
BRB

Tam said...

Joe Allen,

"Huh? There are farms all over the country raising and selling buffalo for meat and breeding stock."

I think Og was pointing out that what we call "buffalo" are technically bison. ;)

LabRat said...

Joe- he's being a biology pedant, or a linguistic one. American "buffalo" are bison, genus Bison, water buffalo and cape buffalo are buffaloes, two other genus of bovids.

Ian Argent said...

Cape buffalo - the herbivores' revenge.

Joseph said...

The left-wing take on predictable irrationality is that it proves we can't trust human judgment and must trust their judgment instead.

So if you ever wondered if they're from another planet...

Anonymous said...

SCOTUS on McDonald: "right right; left left hanging."

AT