What’s Shakin’, Bacon?
A heartwarming link to get us started into 2021!
An American big-brother named Noah Tingle has been wearing a different novelty costume to welcome his little-brother off the school bus each afternoon since August last year. It’s adorable.
"Knowing I’m going to college next year and won’t see him on a daily basis, I thought this would make things memorable and strengthen our bond as brothers," he said.
Unfortunately I’m unable to embed the videos into this newsletter but you can check out the article below to see some of his antics or alternatively follow the The Bus Brother Facebook Page.
A Discount Ticket to Everywhere
I do love a good ‘best of’ list, even without John Cusack delivering it. So here is Time Magazine’s 100 best books of 2020. I’ve read none of them.
The Important Potential of Winning Second Place in a Beauty Contest
I’m really enjoying Scott Young’s articles on improved thinking, and this recent one was a doozy. He talks about the importance of evaluating any decision probabilistically, but across all the potential outcomes and not simply the outcome you’re chasing. So, where there are multiple positive outcomes available, the reasons to justify doing the thing can be much greater. Whereas for binary outcomes (i.e. either success or failure) the probabilistic merits for proceeding are much more stark.
My little summary above is butchery and his article is wonderful - if you’re at all interested in mental models and better thinking you should take some time to read it.
There’s a certain, naive way of thinking about risky decisions that simply asks how likely it is that you’ll get what you want. When this is low, the effort is probably not worth it.
However, when we look at successful people, they’ve often taken many of these gambles and had it pay off. Thus, the world tends to be split between people who say that the successful are simply lucky, and the people who think that being successful requires believing in yourself and ignoring the odds. Both mindsets are wrong.
They Love a Crazy Wager
I tend to gamble twice a year. Once on AFL Grand Final day and then again on the Melbourne Cup. This year, however, I tried to place my first annual bet just before the first ever night-time Grand Final and found my usual betting app had been bought out by another betting app. I had to re-register my account before I could place my wager.
“Stuff that!”, I thought to myself and I never did any gambling that day.
Thank goodness I didn’t - because after the game was done I realised all the bets I wanted to place were losers. That stupid app saved me $50.
And because I’m lazy, I didn’t register a new account before the Melbourne Cup either. My laziness saved me another $50!
“Great story, Bennett” I imagine you saying. Yes, dear reader, it really was. With the benefit of hindsight, I can appreciate that my bets would have been bad and I avoided loss to my wallet and my pride.
But imagine if it had gone the other way. Imagine if I had known the outcome of the event I was betting on in advance, and yet still placed the bad bet anyways!
Well that’s exactly what a whole bunch of Americans did when they placed bets on Trump winning the election even after knowing the election result, and even after knowing that result had been ratified by the electoral college!
Those zany Americans - they love a crazy wager.
Late that night, Fox News called Arizona for Biden, and Nevada started looking good for him, too. Overnight, new batches of mail ballots made Biden the clear favorite in Wisconsin and Michigan and suggested he was on a good pace in Pennsylvania. By the morning, Biden was a heavy favorite all over the market. And by 2:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, two days after the vote, Biden was -1100 and Trump was +575 at Bovada.
Through it all, Morrow said a huge majority of the money bet at his site remained on Trump—including “3- or 4-to-1” on Trump after the election.
Seriously Though, Double You Tee Eff
As you no doubt know, yesterday thousands of Trump Supporters (many of whom will now need to be more accurately described as domestic terrorists) stormed the US Capitol with guns and pepper spray and pipe bombs and confederate flags. They raided the Senate Chamber, and I had thought also made it onto the Floor of the House of Representatives, although that seems unclear now. Sadly, three people died. This all happened after President Trump again claimed the 2020 election was being stolen from him, and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and ‘fight like hell’ and ‘take back our country’.
The question that’s sticking with me for right now is, how could seemingly thousands of people organise and coordinate themselves to raid such an important institution without a correlated defence effort happening on the other side to prevent it? How could those charged with defending the Capitol have been so under-prepared and blindsided? Obviously that’s not to say those defenders are the bad guys that should be blamed - I’m just really surprised this could happen, is all.
Here is the best article I’ve read on the whole affair so far.
But this probably sums things up best -
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