Blatantly Biased Reporting

I know it’s an editorial, but what are they trying to imply?  That President Bush shouldn’t take vacations?  Is the middle of an article about the New Orleans disaster the right place to put this type of commentary?

or even to point out that it took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation.

New Orleans in Peril – New York Times

Go for Satisfaction, not Happiness

I read a really interesting article about Gregory Berns’s book, Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment, that says that humans really want satisfaction, not pleasure.  We want challenges and experiences that give us a feeling of satisfaction, not easy experiences that are just pleasurable.  It was interesting to think about.

If you do something at which you are highly practiced, then you have little opportunity to encounter something novel or unexpected, so dopamine and satisfaction may be low. But when you do something that takes you beyond what you have done before, you are in unknown territory and novel information will flow into your striatum, pumping out dopamine, which in turn forces you to act on the information. The release of dopamine in response to the novel information is the essence of a satisfying experience.

So what was his advice?

I would say stop pursuing happiness and pursue satisfaction. One should
be concentrating on things that give you a sense of commitment and
achievement. Seek new experiences.

That might explain why I like traveling, taking classes and trying different volunteer jobs!

False phone bill taxes

Ever wondered about all those taxes on your phone bill that you’ve never heard of? Turns out they are not taxes at all.

"Property tax allotment" charge, for instance, is nothing more than the property taxes that the carrier pays. The "carrier cost recovery fee" is a catch-all for many kinds of operating expenses; the "single bill fee" charges subscribers who want a single bill for wireless and landline phone service.

A Monthly Mystery – New York Times

Our Debt

This article,  Experts Warn Debt May Threaten Economy – Yahoo! News, did a good job of explaining our current debt situation and how our attitude and habits contribute to it.   I particularly resonated with this quote:

"I see people younger than me with comparable jobs that drive new vehicles and have a boat and mortgage and things," says Canelon, who responded to the AP/Ipsos poll. "And I just wonder about their debt."

We were camping at the lake a few weeks ago and even with our truck, camper, convertible and boat, we were way outdone by the young couples all around us.  They had brand new trucks, 5th wheels that cost as much as houses and boats.  We just kept saying, "they are in debt!"

Catching perverts online

A photo of an alleged flasher was posted on Flickr.  Now the New York City Flickr community can help identify him.  (This is similar to the story of a woman who didn’t pick up her dog’s poop in Asia and her photo was shown all over the internet.)  I think it’s a really cool idea to solicit help from all concerned citizens to catch criminals.  (And if he’s not a criminal, hopefully he can come forward and explain his part in the story.)  However, what really surprised me was some of the comments on the Flickr page.  Lots of comments were supportive but many were of the "what’s the problem" tone.  I didn’t have a problem with people questioning the authenticity of the post, but to say that masturbating in front of someone who doesn’t want to see it, in a public place, isn’t an issue …

pervert081805thumbnail on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Asians and Americans see different things in the same picture

Asians and Americans see different things in the same picture.  When shown a picture of fish swimming, Japanese subjects described the stream, the rocks and then the fish.  Americans described the fish first.  Americans looked at the fish first and spent more time looking at them.  Japanese looked at the whole scene and then the fish.

Interesting applications for all of life and in particular international business.

Asians, Americans Show Perceptual Divide – Yahoo! News.