Faking Death, Multiple Sclerosis, Wallace Stevens, Crazy Eddie, Cognitive Bias

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So You Think You Can Fake Your Own Death?

Elizabeth Greenwood | LinkedIn | 10th September 2016

Don’t Google yourself after your “death”. Don’t stage a drowning to explain the absence of a body: “Death by water raises red flags. Ninety-nine percent of faked deaths are water accidents. In most drownings, the body is recovered. So why was this body not recovered? Hiking is the way to go. People disappear hiking all the time, legitimately”. Don’t try to fake a new identity unless you really have to, because that is fraud, whereas it’s no crime simply to disappear (1,080 words)


Maria Bustillos | Longreads | 14th September 2016

When her daughter is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the writer finds that the offered treatments are all drugs with some likelihood of delaying or mitigating the effects of the disease. But there is also respectable evidence that a vegan diet can, in itself, stop MS in its tracks. Why is this option not recommended by doctors? The attempt to answer that question evolves into a highly subjective, but also highly interesting, exploration of what constitutes medical science (10,500 words)

Snap Among The Witherlings

Michael Hofmann | London Review Of Books | 15th September 2016

Wallace Stevens lived an “anecdote-proof life”. All of his experiments and adventures happened on the page. His poetry was not present in the rest of his life, and biographers who try to treat Stevens the poet and Stevens the insurance executive as one person are making a category error. “To think about Stevens’s life, or Stevens from the perspective of his life, is to be told that your bird of paradise, your parrot or your quetzal, is actually a pigeon or a Farmer Matthews turkey” (4,700 words)

His Life Was Insane

Steven Malanga | City Journal | 14th September 2016

Affectionate remembrance of “Crazy Eddie” Antar, the hi-fi huckster who rewrote the rules of retailing, cooked the books, and went to jail. “He kicked off a discounting frenzy that proved a boon for consumers but didn’t translate well on Wall Street. Eddie failed to build anything permanent out of the rubble he helped create. Whether that was because he lacked the vision, or because he was simply a crook, I was never able to tell. Eddie will be remembered, but he won’t be missed” (1,100 words)

Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet

Buster Benson | Better Humans | 1st September 2016

The canon of cognitive biases grouped by the problems they address. We have too much information, so we filter aggressively. We need meaning, so we fill in gaps when don’t have a complete picture. We fear to miss an opportunity, so we jump to conclusions. We cannot remember everything, so we make snap decisions about what’s important. “Every bias is there for a reason. If you look at them by the problem they’re trying to solve, it becomes easier to understand why they exist” (2,700 words)

Video of the day: Cartoon Physics

What to expect:

The plasticity of money. A simple but effective thought experiment. By Alan Warburton (1’52”)

Thought for the day

We have to change truth a little in order to remember it
George Santayana

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