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… anecdotes aren’t science. Like coincidences, they’re by-products of our story-seeking minds, connections we make as we search for solace in a confusing world. And sometimes marketers use the anecdotes to make a sale and hurt the customer.

Via Seth Godin

Open Conspiracies

Open Conspiracies, Exhibit A: Whitewashing Sugar — Confessions of a Supply-Side Liberal:

Apparently, a large number of Americans and other people around the world believe in what I consider to be implausible secret conspiracies. A key thing that makes a conspiracy implausible is the number of people who are supposedly in on the secret and faithfully keeping that secret. Once the numbers get large, someone usually breaks ranks.

I wish those outside of law enforcement would pay less attention to the possibility of secret conspiracies and more attention to the certainty of open conspiracies: conspiracies that are not secret at all, that anyone can pierce who is motivated and properly equipped with the ability to read, digest and interpret technical material, or simply have the patience to wade through large amounts of text. Open conspiracies are still conspiracies because they aim to deceive those who are ill-equipped to interpret technical material or who don’t have time to wade through reams of documents—and who make a bad guess or bad judgment about who to trust to do that for them.

The truth in the above paragraphs is self-evident to me. I like the way it’s phrased here.

Read the article for the links to the journalism around the sugar industry, which is impressive all on its own.

Good advices

The young man of Baghdad solicits advice from a friend as his slave girl, who is adept at music, awaits, from a Tuti-nama (Tales of a Parrot): Forty-eighth Night
The Problem with Newsletter Advice — CJ Chilvers:

The good advice for business (and life) is boring and readily available.

  • Deliver value.
  • Save money automatically.
  • Diversify.
  • Strive for more agency in work and life.
  • Be kind.
  • Be generous.
  • Put family first.
  • Without your health, nothing else can happen.
  • And so on…

CJ talks about newsletters, but does a nice abstraction about the key elements of doing a successful one. Newsletters have been around for centuries.

Nothing has changed but the means of delivery. [edit mine]

Also true for life.

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Twelve Golden Rules to the Art of Conversation

Conversation in Autumn 講秋圖
The Art of Conversation: Twelve Golden Rules by Josephine Turck Baker (web | index)

  1. Avoid unnecessary details.
  2. Do not ask question No. 2 until No. 1 has been answered.
  3. Do not interrupt another while they are speaking.
  4. Do not contradict another, especially when the subject under discussion is of trivial importance.
  5. Do not do all the talking; give your tired listener a chance.
  6. Be not continually the hero of your own story; and, on the other hand, do not leave your story without a hero.
  7. Choose a subject of mutual interest.
  8. Be a good listener.
  9. Make your speech in harmony with your surroundings.
  10. Do not exaggerate.
  11. Indulge occasionally in a relevant quotation, but do not garble it.
  12. Cultivate tact.
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KR dating, contract tracing & Clubhouse

Somewhere between distance, intimacy: Love in the time of coronavirus:

Nearly 80 percent of singles aged between 25 and 49 stopped looking for romance since February last year, according to a May survey by the Korea Development Institute’s School of Public Policy and Management. About a third of them cited the coronavirus as the prime reason.

The pandemic has raised the stakes for falling in love. For one thing, it means risking one’s health.

On top of the threat of catching the disease, for Park [Sara], what prevented her from “putting herself out there” was the horror of her pre-diagnosis itinerary being alerted to all her close contacts should she get infected.

“Imagine having to explain to contact tracers you might have caught the coronavirus from a blind date or something,” she said. “I would be mortified.”

(Via Korea Herald)

Imagine, indeed. There is a different cultural dynamic in Korea, but I’m sure this would cause anxiety for singles in other places, assuming contract tracing is a prevalent as it is here.

All is not lost. Many singles are doing what I did (very successfully, I might add) last summer: hopping on dating apps. One big, surprising change to my approach:

As mingling in the real world is stunted by social distancing, virtual dating is booming, with Millennials and Gen Zers flocking from platform to platform in the hopes of finding new love. The hot app at the moment is Clubhouse [emphasis mine], according to Yeo Hyun-min, a developer in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in his mid-20s.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, the social audio app brims with blind date sessions where people “check each other out” and if things work out, eventually hang out offline. The chat’s moderator plays matchmaker and invites some of the listeners as speakers. They are given about 30 seconds to introduce themselves, including what they’re like as a romantic partner.

That is a great Clubhouse use case! I wrote about my indifference to the app and lamented the lack of a killer reason for it to remain. Maybe it transitions to dating?