The result: much of the Roman layer was destroyed.
Incentives work… sometimes, a little too well.
The result: much of the Roman layer was destroyed.
Incentives work… sometimes, a little too well.
Another story from the Robert McNamara archives.
Before becoming Secretary of State, he worked at Ford on car safety. He described their testing programme in The Fog Of War.
I said, “What about accidents? I hear a lot about accidents.”
“Oh yes, we’ll get you some data on that.” There were about forty odd thousand deaths per year from automobile accidents, and about a million, or a million two injuries.
I said, “Well, what causes it?”
“Well,” he said, “it’s obvious. It’s human error and mechanical failure.”
I said, “Hell, if it’s mechanical failure, we might be involved. Let’s dig into this.” I want to know, if it’s mechanical error, I want to stop it.
“Well”, they said, “There’s really very few statistics available.”
I said, “Dammit, find out what can we learn.”
They said, “Well, the only place we can find that knows anything about it is Cornell Aeronautical Labs.”
[Cornell] said, “The major problem is packaging.” They said, “You buy eggs and you know how eggs come in a carton?”
I said, “No, I don’t buy eggs. I never have — my wife does it.”
Well, they said, “You talk to her and ask her: when she puts that carton down on the drain board when she gets home, do the eggs break?”
And so I asked Marg and she said “No.”
So Cornell said, “They don’t break because they’re packaged properly. Now if we packaged people in cars the same way, we could reduce the breakage.”
We lacked lab facilities, so we dropped the human skulls in different packages down the stairwells of the dormitories at Cornell. Well, that sounds absurd, but that guy was absolutely right. It was packaging which could make the difference.
Testing and iteration by dropping skulls down stairs. Smashing!
From a conversation between John Naughton and Judy Wajcman:
The technology industry is actually rather small. And dysfunctional. And solves its own problems. But Silicon Valley has convinced us that the problems of a small set of socially-unusual people (who sleep at their desks and have no social life) are actually our own problems too, and that we need products and services that help to solve them.
In case proof of this were needed – here’s Elon Musk (PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla founder) on relationships:
I would like to allocate more time to dating. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to ten — how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.
Clearly a genius, but a rather strange one. The other side of the Valley.
You can relax! Our robot overlords already took control.
Three examples of their successful infiltration:
1. Ipswich Town’s PR teambots
Ipswich defender Tyrone Mings paid off all his mum’s debts. Wonderful news! A footballer with a conscience!
An Ipswich spokesman said it was:
A private matter between Tyrone and his mum.
THESE GUYS ARE ROBOTS
2. Verizon CEObot
Verizon spent $4,400,000,000 (that’s $4.4bn) on buying AOL. Blockbuster deal!
Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, said:
Verizon’s vision is to provide customers with a premium digital experience based on a global multiscreen network platform. This acquisition supports our strategy to provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience.
THIS GUY IS A ROBOT
3. Local councilbots
Water fountain dating back to 1853, adorned by Biblical quote. Historically interesting! And possibly significant!
ROBOTS ROBOTS ROBOTS
Game over, see you later. MAYBE.
How kind! Thanks very much to Ernesto Ramirez for that.
My next QS project is about health. Every day since 1 January, I’ve been tracking my body fat %, plus recording what exercise I’ve done, and noting down any ‘bad’ things I’ve eaten/drunk.
I want to find out:
It’s been two months so far, and patterns are starting to emerge. Full write-up coming either later this year or early next, depending on how long I keep up the measuring.
Stay tuned to find out what I learnt, how you cut down your body fat, and whether I am indeed mad enough to keep track of my own for a full 6-12 months.
To find out what happens, and what you can learn from my experiments in order to manage your body fat %, join the mailing list.
In 2014 I did 56 runs, averaged 1:00 hours per run, and covered nearly 400 miles – enough to get me from central London to Aberdeen, Galway, Limouges, Frankfurt, Bremen, or deep deep deep under the North Sea.
I’ve been digging into the data – first for 2014, then all the way back to April 2012 when I first started using the Nike+ app – to see what the patterns are.
Here’s a chart showing km per month (bars) and km per run (line). Orange bars are for months in which I did a proper race event. For imperialists: 10km = 6.2 miles, 21.1km = half marathon (13.1 miles), 42.2km = full marathon (26.2 miles).
So, what does this data show?
February 2014 is certainly an outlier. Doing 123km in a month meant an average run of 15km every 3 days. Just thinking about it makes my knees hurt.
What was my motivation for doing so much running that month?
There were three reasons:
The first two reasons are easy to see in the overall numbers. 2014 was a big year: 1.5x more miles than 2013, and over 5x more than 2012. In 2014 I did my first marathon (Manchester, 6 April), and then the Monster Month – which comprised six half marathons on six consecutive weekends (1 training run, 4 half marathon races and 1 Tough Mudder, September-October).
Overall, since starting to track my running in 2012, I’ve done a total of 123 runs, covered 1,153km = 716 miles, and logged almost 100 hours on the road. That would get me to Barcelona, Bologna, or Oslo.
But while the running data is interesting, it’s not the full story. The charity element – reason number 3 for all that running back in February 2014 – is important too.
I combined the Nike+ data with the donations data. What is every mile on the road worth to Mind?
That is unbelievably generous, especially when you scale it up to >1,100 kilometres, >700 miles, and almost 100 hours of running over the past three years.
Total donations to date stand at £2,379.20. Incredible. Thank you so much!
Medium-difficulty sporting events like mine have become a very popular way of raising money for charity. So here are a couple of notes on what I’ve learnt about fundraising:
If you’re planning an adventure like this – good luck. Keep track of what you’re doing and you’ll be surprised what you can learn.
And yep – that’s blood coming from my nipples. Don’t forgot your tape!
And if you’re specifically interested in posts about running, the best one I’ve written so far is this: 10 Surprising Discoveries During My First Marathon.
I am a poure dyuel, and my name ys Tytyvyllus … I muste eche day … brynge my master a thousande pokes full of faylynges, and of neglygences in syllables and wordes.
This poor devil is Titivillus, the patron demon of scribes. He works on behalf of Satan, introducing errors into scribes’ manuscripts.
This must have kept him busy, for scribal errors took many forms:
Manuscripts copied by scribes were the main form of transmission of ancient works of literature and science. Errors were therefore a serious matter – a tonsured teenager might mangle the words of Sophocles or Eusebius.
No doubt I have made all of these errors (and invented some new ones) since starting this blog in 2011. But at this time of year I like to offer you, dear reader, a short list of the most popular posts published in the past 12 months.
2. 10 surprising discoveries during my first marathon (148 views)
4. Leaving West Ealing (119 views)
5. What is the highest circulation magazine in the world? (114 views)
So, posts written on the basis of hard-won experience and research triumphed… I suppose I should ditch my clickbait-listicle content strategy for 2015.
This is post #27 for the year, so I averaged one post every two weeks. In 2014 this blog had 6,789 views, which is +10% up on 2013. Thank you for reading! Do sign up for posts by email, or follow me on Twitter for new & old posts, plus a bunch of other nonsense.
And adieu to you, Titivillus – we shall meet again in 2015!
Yep, that’s right!
The Watchtower: Public Edition, which has been produced and distributed by Jehovah’s Witnesses since 1879, now has an average monthly print run of 53m copies. That’s about 1 for every 142 people on Earth.
The only verification I could find for the 53m number is from the publishers themselves. But I suspect that it really is the biggest because when I checked the monthly circulation figures for other big magazines, they’re much much smaller. Here’s the top five in the US:
|1||AARP The Magazine||22,274,096||1958||AARP|
|3||Costco Connection||8,654,464||?||Costco Wholesale|
|5||Better Homes And Gardens||7,615,581||1922||Meredith|
The Watchtower: Public Edition also appears to be much larger than anything outside the US. The biggest magazine in India (Mathrubhoomi) records a circulation of 800k. I couldn’t find any data for China – perhaps there is a huge magazine there of which I’m not aware (please let me know if so).
But top magazine circulation does not correspond to population size. For example: the Netherlands’ top magazine is AutoPrimeurs with 6m among a population of 16.8, whereas Cosmopolitan in Russia circulates 980k copies among a population of 144m.
Curiously, different magazine topics top the list in different countries:
In other countries, there are either more general, or organisation-specific magazines topping the list:
So, how did The Watchtower’s circulation get so big?
For sure there is a sense of mission – the subtitle of the magazine is ‘Announcing God’s Kingdom’.
Second, it’s free. Until 1990, The Watchtower carried a fee of $0.25 in the US. After a question was raised over the whether religious literature should be subject to taxation, the decision was made to make the magazine free, and now it is funded by voluntary donations from Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of the public.
Third, it’s efficient. Production of so many copies must be very expensive. But distribution is relatively cheap, since at local level it is carried out by unpaid volunteers.
I’m no Jehovah’s Witness, but I was struck by the scale and the reach of the magazine and the operation behind it. So next time you see someone offering a copy of The Watchtower, give a nod to that at least.