crowding of wisdom



Sean, Tessa, Dana, Kelly, me, Scott, Mom, Michelle, Lindsay

Topics of dinner discussion:

1. Is North Carolina a swing state? Recent polls suggest maybe, but most of us didn’t believe it.

2. Is “Fahrenheit 9/11” sorta racist against Arabs? And if so, why are Sean’s in-laws so hellbent on not seeing it? Does it matter that Kerry is half Jewish?

3. The corn is local, and unbelievably delicious.

4. Is it a critic’s job mainly to say whether something is good or bad, or is it to just say what it is so that smart people can make their decision from there?

5. Take two exampled of “printed directions for artists”: a musical score, and a script for a play. In overall terms, which of the two give more total information? It was argued that a musical score gave an artist much more information than a play script.

6. What exactly is the difference that two different musicians can bring to a piece, you know, really? To most people, doesn’t Beethoven’s 5th sound the same no matter what orchestra is playing?

7. Jim Surowiecki’s awesome book The Wisdom of Crowds has cool examples about how humans are remarkably good at cooperating without rules.

Take this example: You have to meet somebody in New York City. You don’t know who they are, where they are from, nothing. All you know is that they are looking for you too, and they know nothing about you either.

Where in Manhattan do you go to meet them?

What time would you go there?

When you have formulated a response, click here to see what an overwhelming percentage of random Stanford law students said. Basically, it means that two random people trying to find each other in Manhattan have a pretty good chance of doing so, which is a nice thought.

Want another one? On a piece of paper, draw a cross like this:


Then put an “X” in the quadrant you think everyone else would pick as well. Remember, they are trying to guess which quadrant YOU would pick too.

Then click here to see which one was picked by a huge percentage of respondents. Fun, huh?

8. If Bush loses in November, it will be a colossal fuck-up by people who were supposed to be good at controlling everything.

9. Singing “California” by Joni Mitchell is fun, but really hard.

10. The pregnant person in the room is tired! Time for bed…

One thought on “crowding of wisdom

  1. CL

    I got both crowd things wrong. I guessed upper right quadrant (because that’s where people tend to look first, according to what I was taught in journalism classes) and
    I have the same question as Salem, especially after noticing the lack of salmon on the table.
    It’s a critic’s job to tell us WHY something is good or bad, and journalists’ jobs to tell us what and let us make up our own fool minds.

  2. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Um . . . hmmm. I feel like a complete voyeur at this point. . . but . . . who else is pregnant? If you are trying to tell your audience what I think you are trying to tell us. . . . Out with it!

  3. kent

    2. Fahrenheit 9/11 didn’t seem racist against Arabs. It was kinda hard on rich arabs.
    3. Our corn is better.
    4. A critic should be able to describe something so that a reader would know whether or not they would like it. A critic, secondarily, should be an entertaining writer. Or maybe primarily. Passing judgement on something is optional, but I appreciate eloquent subjectivity.
    5. Score, no doubt. One of the best thing about theatre and film, a script is only a mild constraint on the walk through a huge space defining all possible realizations of that script.
    6. Great musicians make whatever they’re playing a non-verbal soul-to-soul communication. I can’t really define how. A really great DJ gives you the feeling that he or she is speaking to you, and a DJ is just playing records.
    7. Have you ever gone to Grand Central at noon just to see who is hanging around under the clock?
    8. Being liberal doesn’t mean giving up critical thinking. There’s no secret cabal, no planning sessions at those executive retreats. It’s all birds flocking.
    9. California is worse than the national anthem, and even Joni Mitchell doesn’t sing it that well and gets by mostly on charm.
    10. Pregnant girls put yer feet up and drink some chamomile tea!

  4. Just Andrew

    I choose the top of the empire state building and top right on the grid
    just confirms that I’ve always been a lost cause.

  5. chip

    Edit above to say that North Carolina hasn’t gone Democratic since 1976. According to the Rasmussen Report it’s safely in the Bush column now. The manufacturing job loss has hit very hard in rural North Carolina, however, so if folks vote on their pocketbook it could help Kerry-Edwards.

  6. Ian

    Oh my god! No, I was using Dana as plural, like the “royal we.” Nobody else is pregnant as far as I am told, although my mom had no trouble getting five kids out, so you never know.
    I changed the blog to avoid confusion. Yikes!

  7. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Drats. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, thinking I had come upon a sly, little hint regarding a bun in the oven. How does it feel to have a blog audience that hangs on your every word!!! Sorry about that. . . I am truly embarrassed! I am really not an intrusive person by nature. In my defense, though, I was not the only one who noticed the “people” reference. Anyway, if in fact you do decide to add to your family in the future, do us a favor and post something subtle like a title stating “WE ARE HAVING A BABY” with a photo of the pregnancy test stick, or something to that effect. Sorry, Ian — hope I did not embarrass you. I was just thinking good thoughts for you and your friendly group of folks in the photo.

  8. Jennifer

    Just Andrew – I don’t know who you are or where you’re from, and you know nothing about me, either, but if we were searching for each other in NYC, we’d both find ourselves at the top of the Empire State building. That was the first place to pop in my head and I suspect it’s because I’ve watched “An Affair to Remember” too many times. I’d be there at noon and you could probably identify me as the nutcase whispering things like “winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.”
    My X was also in the upper right quadrant.

  9. kevin

    1) I wish NC were a swing state.. If Kerry/Edwards make NC a swing state, then Bush/Cheney are in trouble. I don’t know what it is about this state..we are very friendly to Democrats overall, but nearly always vote Republican in the presidential races.
    Most democrats i know do not have a favorable opinion of Edwards and his selection to the ticket may help Kerry in other southern states, but not in NC.
    Most people here think Edwards has been running for president since he was elected to the senate and feel that he has not been as faithful to his elected office as we would have liked. It does not help that the populace consider him somewhat of an ambulance chaser to boot. (undeserved) Perhaps over the coming months, NC democrats will put these feelings aside and realize the enormity of having a son in the executive branch. Of course, we would not want to let any rational thought get in the way of favored knee jerk reactions.

  10. jodyk

    Just toured today from Asheville to Rockingham through Mooresville, Statesville, Albemarle, et al. NC is not a swing state.

  11. Salem

    This whole, “gonna vote for Kerry thing” is really making it difficult to talk to most of the people I know. Today I was speaking to two employees, one age 17 and the other age 65. Apparently they were both aware of some conspiracy theory whereby Bill and Hillary had people killed to hide something. Every time I see a shining light, something reminds me that we might be doomed. By the way, I was just stirring up shit with the pregnant thing. I could totally hear your voice emphasizing Dana’s condition in the plural.


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