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Five Things - 06-05-17

Posted on 3 mins read

This week brings some interesting ideas about how we look at the human civilisation, from where we come from, to how we can fix some of the mistakes we’ve made. Also one of the most important things I’ve included so far, in Believe, which explores how we evaluate ideas, and how we can try to accept truths we disagree with.


Believe—The Oatmeal

This week bought us another great comic from Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal, this time explaining the Backfire Effect, and how it stops us from accepting information that contradicts our strongly held beliefs. If you enjoy the comic and are interested in learning more about the backfire effect, I can also recommend the podcasts that inspired the creation of the comic, the You Are Not So Smart podcast (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

One Day, a Machine Will Smell Whether You’re Sick—The New York Times

This is going to be some fantastic technology when it is rolled out for mass usage, as it will cheaply and non-invasively allow for diagnoses. This would encourage screening, as the more it’s used the cheaper it would get, and if it’s just a matter of smelling, it’d be quick of the person being screened.

Turning Plastic to Oil, U.K. Startup Sees Money in Saving Oceans—Bloomberg

Since this article is in Bloomberg, this article is very much focused on the business implications, but this is overall a great thing for humanity, as oil is a decreasing resource, we need to figure out ways to reuse and recycle the products that are created with oil to be sustainable. It’s also good that Adrian Griffiths has come up with a financially viable way to make use of the plastic, as it provides incentives beyond the saving of the environment, ensuring a higher chance of adoption.

How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl—The Economist

A great read on how parking minimums (the requirement that developers must create a certain amount of car parks for the buildings that get but up) effect cities around the world.

A New History for Humanity – The Human Era—Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

An interesting argument about how the current calendar effects how we look at human history. As a society we primarily focus on what has happened in the last 2000 years, from 0 BCE to today. But the human civilisation has existed for way longer than that! Kurzgesagt argues that we should add 10,000 years to our calendar year to cover off the whole scale of our civilisation, making sure we look at how much things have changed.