Hello! It’s been a while. I’ve had things I wanted to write about, but then they got sucked into the whirlpool of dishes and childcare and GDPR compliance.
I’ll try to remember a few things and write about them quickly. I have about fourteen minutes.
Today we were supposed to have a snowstorm. The forecast changed every hour or so, but as of yesterday they were predicting 8-10 inches. Old Kid confidently predicted there would be half an inch of snow and school would be open. Steve showed him a projection saying there was a 5% chance that it would snow less than 2 inches. He had Old Kid get out the 20-sided die, randomly pick a number (17), and then roll. What did he roll on the first try? 17. And sure enough, it snowed half an inch. Steve cried, “I wanted to teach you about probability!” And I replied, “You did.” I think it’s important to remember that small percentages doesn’t mean something will not happen.
Podcast episodes I’ve listened to recently:
99% Invisible – “Fordlandia”
I happened to listen to these back to back and they had incredibly similar themes. The Nod’s episode was about Josephine Baker and her quest to create a racial utopia in her own home. She adopted a dozen children of different nationalities (and when she couldn’t resist a second Japanese baby, she told everyone he was Korean), installed the family in a French castle, and invited the public in to observe their racial harmony. She encouraged them to be representatives of their countries and have stereotypical clothing, hobbies, and careers from their countries. Eventually she went bankrupt and the grown children went their separate ways. The 99pi episode was about how Henry Ford recreated one of his Midwest plants in the Brazilian jungle, right down to the company town that would have been right at home in Michigan and the cafeteria serving only American food. He refused to listen to botanical experts, so his rubber trees became diseased and a lot of the workers died of scorpion bites.
Both of these episodes feature rich, powerful people who were convinced that they could master something they had never tried before, who imposed their will on a group of people despite others telling them they were crazy, and who displayed incredible hubris. In Baker’s case, maybe it worked out OK. It’s hard to say. The story only interviewed one of her children and didn’t mention what the rest were doing. In Ford’s case, it was a disaster — the workers rioted and tore the place apart, and he continued to pour money in for another decade.
Also, two episodes of This American Life:
Five Women – amazing episode that talks with five women who all had #MeToo stories about the same boss, but tells their entire story — not just the story of their harassment, but their history with relationships and what their families taught them that they could expect from men.
20 Acts in 60 Minutes – fun idea, but many of the stories were more like anecdotes. I listen to TAL for insight into people’s lives and it was disappointing to just hear cute or funny stories that I might hear someone tell at a party.
14 minutes are up. Back to real life. Bye!