links for 2010-08-15

  • reference, to send to people who ask. 3. Learn some art-history. You don't have to learn very much, but the more your learn, the more you'll have a grounding in what has been seen/done/discussed/etc. Most importantly, you will be able to be eloquent about form/aesthetics that you like. It is hard to talk about visual things, so in this way, it is imperative to have a good set of words when talking about form. A few great books: Robert Hughes' The Shock of the New, Reyner Banham's Theory & Design in the First Machine Age, Rosalind Krauss' Passages in Modern Sculpture.
  • good writing from paul carr - the more we learn about people the less interesting they seem
  • Flip the ball into the air then volley it. You can get under the ball, way more dip.
  • good series. I wish they'd focused more on the data. Use of short videos is interesting, they're engaging but anything longer than 30 seconds and you lose the audience. Backs up everything DFW said about the vast gap between the pros and amateurs. Consistency is way underrated
  • Interesting how you can succeed if you're willing to be bored in training: "The Premier League side who probably best maintained their shape last season was Fulham, their progress to the final of the Europa League finally gaining Roy Hodgson proper recognition in England. The key to their achievement was long, hard, not particularly interesting work on the training field, working on positional play, and the key to whether Hodgson can enjoy similar success at Liverpool – which is probably the most interesting tactical issue at any Premier League club — is whether he can persuade a higher grade of player similarly to submit to what pretty much every Fulham player admitted was a punishingly boring training regime."
  • The important stuff in the common design pattern has been tested to death - everyone who matters is using clicktracking, a/b/x testing and deep user analytics. The reason they all look the same is the same reason that all infomercials or porn sites use the same basic structure - that's what testing indicates will convert best. Some people know this empirically, some are just blindly aping the fashion, but there is wads of data backing it. Lots of whitespace improves readability, as does the use of a sans serif font. Deviate from either and a lot of people will hit the back button because they can't easily read your text. A clear call to action massively improves conversion. The rectangular button in a dominant colour will increase signups by 10-20%.
  • I think the typical view of politics from inside a partisan mindset is to see politics as a battle of the good guys versus the bad guys. Maybe the good guys are on the left, maybe the good guys are on the right, but it’s this Manichean struggle and the way to get progress is for the good side to win and impose their will. Mill sees through that and sees that, in fact, politics is a dialectical process. At any given time truth is partly on one side and partly on the other. It’s more a battle of half-truths and incomplete truths than of good versus bad. The excesses of each side ultimately create opportunities for the other to come in and correct those excesses. Liberalism, in Mill’s view and in mine, provides the basic motive force of political change and progress. It will go astray, it will have excesses, it will make terrible mistakes – and a conservatism that is focused on preserving good things that exist now will be a necessary counterweight to that liberalism.
  • moe tkacik story about two daughters of a billionaire that get hooked by a cult. large parts profile the cult leader, who started in multi-level marketing and worked his way up. I am fascinated by guys like this, who build power and status and money from nothing, just their own words. Surely if God created humans He would not have let them fall prey to people like this as easily as they do
  • "I have this very abstract idea in my head," he confides. "I wouldn't even want to call it stand-up, because stand-up conjures in one's mind a comedian with a microphone standing onstage under a spotlight telling jokes to an audience." That kind of comedy is fine, he says, but for him it's in the past. Shandling is striving to exist—and thus to be funny—completely in the moment. "The direction I'm going in is eventually you won't know if it's a joke or not," he explains, describing his new act, which he has been quietly testing in clubs where his name never appears on the marquee. "What I want to happen is that I talk for an hour and the audience doesn't realize it is funny until they're driving home."
  • on running barefoot, eating vegetables only, not getting injuries Tarahumara men have a taste for corn snacks and beer, for instance. They're hard workers, but come downtime, they party like a rap star's roadies. According to one of the few outsiders to witness a tesguinada -- a full-on Tarahumara rave -- women were ripping the tops off each other in a bare-breasted wrestling match, while their husbands watched in glassy-eyed, drunken paralysis. Tarahumara men love sports, booze, and gambling so much, they'll stay up all night to watch a game, down enough beer in a year to spend every third day buzzed or recovering, and support their teams by literally betting the shirts on their backs. Sound familiar? But here's where American and Tarahumara men part company: Many of us will be killed by heart disease, stroke, and gastrointestinal cancers. Almost none of them will.
  • the one asking for your email address only - to show to people who want to collect tons of data from customers, which reduces their sign up rate 50% or more

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