One night a security guard was passing through the African galleries in the basement and paused for a moment before the figure of a two-headed dog. The guard believed that this 19th-century wooden Congolese fetish, bristling with rough iron nails, possessed some mysterious power. On this particular night he felt an irresistible compulsion to point his finger at it. As he did so, the fire alarms in the gallery went off. A few days later the guard returned to the gallery with his brother, who also pointed at the two-headed dog. Again the alarms sounded.
“Araujo had a crazy idea, and he shared it with his friend Sebastián García Bolster. This was a few years after the botched Ramallo heist had lodged itself in Araujo’s brain. It would be crazy to rob a bank but not leave, he mentioned to Bolster. To disappear through a hole. Bolster had been friends with Araujo since high school, and he agreed: That did sound like a wild way to rob a bank. But he assumed it was just some lark; his pal Araujo smoked a lot of weed.”
I happened across an article tonight, entitled The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors. And ever since reading it, I’ve been unable to shake it. I know there’s a lot of Coronavirus news and articles out there, and I’m trying my best to keep a balance of being informed vs being alarmed. This article though, really shook me. And made me…
“Although lacking the romance of card sharps, or the freakish genius of card counters, slot cheats are uniquely innocuous, almost laudable characters. If you cheat at table games, you’re siphoning money from your fellow gamblers. But if you cheat at slots, it’s just you versus the casino. There’s a reason that slots are nicknamed ‘one-armed bandits’: we intuitively sense that their gains are ill-gotten.”
“Conan Doyle even helped in solving a case of a serial killer, after he spotted newspaper accounts in which two women had died in the same bizarre manner: the victims were recent brides, who had ‘accidentally’ drowned in their bathtubs.”
“There were different versions, depending on whom you spoke to. Some people said the Oudh family had been there since the British had annexed their kingdom, in 1856, and that the forest had grown up around the palace, engulfing it. Some said they were a family of jinns, the supernatural beings of Arabian folklore.”
“If he were chasing money, he would have been living on the East or West Coast by now and doing something for some company that we’d all heard of instead of a little service provider in the Midwest. But he’s one of those guys, he operates very heavily on principle.”
“A quarter of a million dollars gave him access to fly first class anywhere in the world on American for the rest of his life. He flew so much it paid for itself. Often he’d leave in the morning for a business trip, fly back, and I hadn’t even known he’d left. Other times, I remember calling his office to find out what country he was in.”
“A simple way to get started training this ability is to frequently expose yourself to boredom. If you instead always whip out your phone and bathe yourself in novel stimuli at the slightest hint of boredom, your brain will build a Pavlovian connection between boredom and stimuli, which means that when it comes time to think deeply about something (a boring task, at least in the sense that it lacks moment-to-moment novelty), your brain won’t tolerate it.”
The Cosmic Crisp is debuting on grocery stores after this fall’s harvest, and in the nervous lead-up to the launch, everyone from nursery operators to marketers wanted me to understand the crazy scope of the thing: the scale of the plantings, the speed with which mountains of commercially untested fruit would be arriving on the market, the size of the capital risk. People kept saying things like “unprecedented,” “on steroids,” “off the friggin’ charts,” and “the largest launch of a single produce item in American history.”
For some reason, I’ve been going over old articles I’ve flagged as “compelling reads” on here. They’ve come up either due to current events, or some passing topic of conversation… and thought I’d re-share some of these. Because they’re all worth reading again.
“The French explain it as L’Appel du Vide, or call of the void. Are they just French, or can the void really beckon you to kill yourself? New science on balance, fear, and cognition shows that the voice of the abyss is both real and powerful.”
With his wife, Carol, he scouted dozens of wheels at casinos around Europe, from Monte Carlo (Monaco), to Divonne-les-Bains (France), to Baden-Baden (Germany). The pair recruited a team of 8 ‘clockers’ who posted up at these venues, sometimes recording as many as 20,000 spins over a month-long period.
“By the time the calendar flips to 2000, by Breitwieser’s calculations, he’s nearing 200 separate thefts and 300 stolen objects. For six years, he’s averaged one theft every two weeks. One year, he is responsible for half of all paintings stolen from French museums.”
“For the past seven years, we have studied near misses in dozens of companies across industries from telecommunications to automobiles, at NASA, and in lab simulations. Our research reveals a pattern: Multiple near misses preceded (and foreshadowed) every disaster and business crisis we studied, and most of the misses were ignored or misread. Our work also shows that cognitive biases conspire to blind managers to the near misses.”