Category Archives: stories

Malcolm Gladwell Transcends Spaghetti Sauce

The dude is not perfect. More than once, his analyses have been found wanting. At the same time, there is no denying that Malcolm Gladwell is one of the great storytellers of our era. Here he is telling the story of why our reliance on machines to solve our problems may be misplaced.

Enjoy!

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Will the Humans Revolt?

My ex-wife suggested the other day that Donald Trump won the election because America is now dominated by squat, nasty aliens. The slender, tall, and rather friendly ones departed, at least for the time being, and this has created quite a problem.

She may be onto something. How else can one explain the rather truculent mood that is brewing stateside? Or is it due to tech?

Catherine Shoard writes

… evidence mounts that we are all reacting against the effects of tech – even as our addiction to the technologies themselves persists.

In other words, we are caught in an interface that we don’t like. I would take this a step further. Humans need to be the hero of their own stories. And tech has made this more difficult to visualize. We are Bertie Wooster when we want to be Jeeves. What holds us back? It cannot be ourselves, and so it must be tech! And so we get a bit grumpy, just as the slaves did before Sparticus egged them on. which started the so called “Third Servile War“.

Is it logical? Of course not. Tech is just an assemblage of tools that we create for our own convenience. These tools are not imposed on us … errr … except at work. And they do not dominate us … errr … except when the Sixers are playing. Our reaction is entirely emotional, which of course, makes things much worse. We are not only morons, we are out of control morons. And  perhaps this is why, as Catherine writes, we get our emotional jolts from nostalgia and fantasy. Not reality. Reality is either too boring or ugly to conjure such enthusiasms.

Ah yes, I could read The Lord of the Rings, over and over again, couldn’t you? Hmmm …  I wonder if the trilogy was actually written by those tall, friendly aliens. Hopefully, they will produce more.

What do you think?

Famous Things Famous People Never said

This is not a story about the infamous Donald Trump.  It is true that he takes great pleasure in over-simplifying issues and bombastically promising amazing solutions. And it is true that this  can be annoying. But we might pause for a moment and consider that what Trump is doing is part of a larger story.

It may be that we are not overly fond of the truth. We prefer a simplified version of it that is consistent with what we are told by people whom we would like to believe.

Don’t believe me? Check out this post by Greg Satell on famous stories that we get wrong.

And Now, Dear Readers, it is time for a Good Story!

Errr … shit! I don’t know how to do this!

Fortunately, Greg Satell has a few pointers. Greg thinks all great stories have 4 characteristics. Greg’s advice boils down to this

  • stories are more than just content (And perhaps content is the most overused word in media today)
  • Great stories don’t start out great. They start out like … errr … content. And they get nurtured until they turn into War and Peace
  • Great stories have a consistent tone and lots of surprising twists. Tone steady. Plot not steady. Got that?
  • Great stories obsess over ambiguous and evil characters. There has to be a bad buy or there is no dramatic tension.

Right. So now that you got that, go for it! You too, Donald!

Badass Cops Wear Bikinis too.

This story comes to us from Stockholm. Normally it is a peaceful place. But apparently not always. Here is the picture that gets our attention

In this photo provided by Jenny Kitsune Adolffson, off-duty police officer Mikaela Kellner pins a man to the ground who was suspected to have stolen a friend's mobile phone, in Stockholm on July 27, 2016.

The lady in the bikini is an off duty sunbathing cop. And she nailed her pick pocketing suspect. Here is the story.

Go get ’em!

Meanwhile, this story emerges from Sweden as well

Swedish tabloids have reported that Swedes are having less sex than before, and now the government wants to investigate if this is true.

I am confident that the two stories have no connection. Aren’t  you?

D. B Cooper, Can I borrow a few grand?

It is pretty amazing that we still talk about D.B. Cooper.  Here is why (from Forbes)

In the late afternoon of November 24, 1971, an unknown man – only identified by the pseudonym Dan Cooper or D.B. Cooper – hijacked a Boeing 727 on its way from Portland to Seattle. He asked for a ransom of $200,000 in a knapsack and four parachutes.

The story gets better

After Flight 305 landed in Seattle, the passengers were allowed to leave the airplane and the requested items together with the ransom in 20-dollar bills was brought on board. Cooper demanded that the airplane returned back to Portland. Strangely, he also asked that the airplane fly at an altitude of 10,000 feet with lowered landing gear and wing flaps to reduce the plane’s velocity. Alone in the passenger’s room, he lowered the aft airstair in the back of the 727. He then strapped on one of the parachutes, using another to secure the knapsack with the money. Finally, he jumped from the airplane, somewhere between Ariel and Portland.

And D.B. Cooper disappeared. He was never found. And we do not know to this day if he survived the jump, if he survived the landing, and if he made his way out of the rugged terrain.

But there is now an interesting tidbit. We now have a wad of bills that are traced back to the money given to Cooper.

Read the story for more!