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Best poker book i've ever read
  rnbsalsa88, Mar 19 2009

What is Blink about?

1. What is "Blink" about?

It's a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, "Blink" is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.

You could also say that it's a book about intuition, except that I don't like that word. In fact it never appears in "Blink." Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings--thoughts and impressions that don't seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with "thinking." In "Blink" I'm trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?

2. How can thinking that takes place so quickly be at all useful? Don't we make the best decisions when we take the time to carefully evaluate all available and relevant information?

Certainly that's what we've always been told. We live in a society dedicated to the idea that we're always better off gathering as much information and spending as much time as possible in deliberation. As children, this lesson is drummed into us again and again: haste makes waste, look before you leap, stop and think. But I don't think this is true. There are lots of situations--particularly at times of high pressure and stress--when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impressions offer a much better means of making sense of the world.

One of the stories I tell in "Blink" is about the Emergency Room doctors at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. That's the big public hospital in Chicago, and a few years ago they changed the way they diagnosed heart attacks. They instructed their doctors to gather less information on their patients: they encouraged them to zero in on just a few critical pieces of information about patients suffering from chest pain--like blood pressure and the ECG--while ignoring everything else, like the patient's age and weight and medical history. And what happened? Cook County is now one of the best places in the United States at diagnosing chest pain.

Not surprisingly, it was really hard to convince the physicians at Cook County to go along with the plan, because, like all of us, they were committed to the idea that more information is always better. But I describe lots of cases in "Blink" where that simply isn't true. There's a wonderful phrase in psychology--"the power of thin slicing"--which says that as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience. I have an entire chapter in "Blink" on how unbelievably powerful our thin-slicing skills are. I have to say that I still find some of the examples in that chapter hard to believe.

3. Where did you get the idea for "Blink"?

Believe it or not, it's because I decided, a few years ago, to grow my hair long. If you look at the author photo on my last book, "The Tipping Point," you'll see that it used to be cut very short and conservatively. But, on a whim, I let it grow wild, as it had been when I was teenager. Immediately, in very small but significant ways, my life changed. I started getting speeding tickets all the time--and I had never gotten any before. I started getting pulled out of airport security lines for special attention. And one day, while walking along 14th Street in downtown Manhattan, a police van pulled up on the sidewalk, and three officers jumped out. They were looking, it turned out, for a rapist, and the rapist, they said, looked a lot like me. They pulled out the sketch and the description. I looked at it, and pointed out to them as nicely as I could that in fact the rapist looked nothing at all like me. He was much taller, and much heavier, and about fifteen years younger (and, I added, in a largely futile attempt at humor, not nearly as good-looking.) All we had in common was a large head of curly hair. After twenty minutes or so, the officers finally agreed with me, and let me go. On a scale of things, I realize this was a trivial misunderstanding. African-Americans in the United State suffer indignities far worse than this all the time. But what struck me was how even more subtle and absurd the stereotyping was in my case: this wasn't about something really obvious like skin color, or age, or height, or weight. It was just about hair. Something about the first impression created by my hair derailed every other consideration in the hunt for the rapist, and the impression formed in those first two seconds exerted a powerful hold over the officers' thinking over the next twenty minutes. That episode on the street got me thinking about the weird power of first impressions.

4. But that's an example of a bad case of thin-slicing. The police officers jumped to a conclusion about you that was wrong. Does "Blink" talk about when rapid cognition goes awry?

Yes. That's a big part of the book as well. I'm very interested in figuring out those kinds of situations where we need to be careful with our powers of rapid cognition. For instance, I have a chapter where I talk a lot about what it means for a man to be tall. I called up several hundred of the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and asked them how tall their CEOs were. And the answer is that they are almost all tall. Now that's weird. There is no correlation between height and intelligence, or height and judgment, or height and the ability to motivate and lead people. But for some reason corporations overwhelmingly choose tall people for leadership roles. I think that's an example of bad rapid cognition: there is something going on in the first few seconds of meeting a tall person which makes us predisposed toward thinking of that person as an effective leader, the same way that the police looked at my hair and decided I resembled a criminal. I call this the "Warren Harding Error" (you'll have to read "Blink" to figure out why), and I think we make Warren Harding Errors in all kind of situations-- particularly when it comes to hiring. With "Blink," I'm trying to help people distinguish their good rapid cognition from their bad rapid cognition.

5. What kind of a book is "Blink"?

I used to get that question all the time with "The Tipping Point," and I never really had a good answer. The best I could come up with was to say that it was an intellectual adventure story. I would describe "Blink" the same way. There is a lot of psychology in this book. In fact, the core of the book is research from a very new and quite extraordinary field in psychology that hasn't really been written about yet for a general audience. But those ideas are illustrated using stories from literally every corner of society. In just the first four chapters, I discuss, among other things: marriage, World War Two code-breaking, ancient Greek sculpture, New Jersey's best car dealer, Tom Hanks, speed-dating, medical malpractice, how to hit a topspin forehand, and what you can learn from someone by looking around their bedroom. So what does that make "Blink?" Fun, I hope.

6. What do you want people to take away from "Blink"?

I guess I just want to get people to take rapid cognition seriously. When it comes to something like dating, we all readily admit to the importance of what happens in the first instant when two people meet. But we won't admit to the importance of what happens in the first two seconds when we talk about what happens when someone encounters a new idea, or when we interview someone for a job, or when a military general has to make a decision in the heat of battle.

"The Tipping Point" was concerned with grand themes, with figuring out the rules by which social change happens. "Blink" is quite different. It is concerned with the smallest components of our everyday lives--with the content and origin of those instantaneous impressions and conclusions that bubble up whenever we meet a new person, or confront a complex situation, or have to make a decision under conditions of stress. I think its time we paid more attention to those fleeting moments. I think that if we did, it would change the way wars are fought, the kind of products we see on the shelves, the kinds of movies that get made, the way police officers are trained, the way couples are counseled, the way job interviews are conducted and on and on--and if you combine all those little changes together you end up with a different and happier world.

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Ben Greenwood wakeboard vid
  rnbsalsa88, Mar 08 2009

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San Francisco Knights
  rnbsalsa88, Mar 07 2009

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Quantum of Solace
  rnbsalsa88, Mar 06 2009

(pics wont paste)

Quantum of Solace is a shitpile.

If you don't have time to read this entire review, here's all you need to know about Quantum of Solace: the second-in-command to the super villain is named Elvis, and is played by this guy:

This summer, terror has a new name: Elvis.

Imagine finding out you got rejected from community college, then finding out that your alcoholic father got arrested for domestic abuse, you lost all your life savings in a Ponzi scheme, and all of this happens to you while you're on the space shuttle Challenger. Then you wake up and it's all a bad dream, except you realize that you're at work without clothes on, and work is NASA and you're really on the space shuttle Challenger. That's what this movie is like, only infinitely worse. Everything about this movie pissed me off, save for the lesbian finger bang scene. Except even that sucked because it wasn't in the movie.

Here's the premise:

Bolivia. That's what's at stake in the new James Bond movie. Except not the entire country, just the public utilities. And not all public utilities, just 60% of the water... Yes, if a certain evil villain gets his way, 60% of the water in Bolivia will cost more.


Only James Bond—the secret agent who foiled a plot to destroy London with nuclear missiles—can make water more affordable for Bolivians! This is easily the stupidest James Bond movie since the last one. I don't know what Hollywood's obsession is with making jerk-off movies where the bad guys are "realistic." You know what's another word for realistic? Boring. If I wanted realism, I'd walk down the street to get Mexican food, and maybe stop by a Borders and pick up some magazines. You know why they don't make movies about me shopping for magazines? That's because nobody gives a shit. And that's what Quantum of Solace is: me shopping for magazines, with no Mexican food. I don't see movies for realism, and if I did, I sure as hell wouldn't watch one made by some asshole who thinks "reality" can best be represented with the aid of 219 special effects artists. Which leads me to this movie's biggest problem:

Marc Forster is an idiot.

If Marc Forster was an X-man, his super power would be ruining brands. Question: what's the difference between Oscar winning director Marc Forster, and a first-year film-school student? Nothing apparently, because his movie is wrought with compromise and stupid film-school gimmicks. There was a scene in the movie shot in Siena where Forster agreed to conditions which forbade him from using helicopter shots or showing any violence "involving people or animals." That's why when a gunshot was fired into a crowd of thousands of people, you don't see a single limb explode. Emphasis on you and not me because I imagined a scene where the bullet not only kills people, but is sentient and kills every single person in the stadium, starting with grandmas and horses, then when the last person is killed, the bullet turns into a hot alien babe who then proceeds to make love to my junk, orally. Except my wiener is really a shotgun, and I blow her head off. Too bad, hottie!

As for the film-school gimmicks, Forster cram-packed this movie with symbolism. There's a scene where some chick gets inexplicably drowned in oil, and it's supposed to parallel an iconic scene from Goldfinger. There's another scene in an opera house that "pays homage" to the Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much, and a planefight that pays homage to yet another Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest. Then Forster made all the action sequences in the movie revolve around earth, water, air and fire. HOLY SHIT WE GET IT, YOU LIKE TO USE SYMBOLISM IN YOUR MOVIES:

Everyone always thinks that directors are super smart if they use symbolism, like somehow conveying something visually gives the movie some validity it wouldn't have had if the same message was conveyed through dialogue alone. But nobody ever asks: why? Why do pretentious artsy dipshits think symbolism is the holy grail of filmmaking? And yes, I know Forster was trying to say that oil is more precious than gold (it's not), and even if it was, that message has nothing to do with the movie because THIS MOVIE IS ABOUT WATER. Does anyone other than James Bond nerds care that some chick was arbitrarily made to look like some other chick from an old movie? If you took the symbolism out of the movie, would it make any difference? That's a rhetorical question, and the answer is my fist. Nobody cares about artsy gimmicks. Focus on making the movie not suck instead, assholes.

Marc Forster: part-time director, full-time idiot.

Characters from foreign countries usually speak english in a foreign accent instead of their native tongue in movies, because subtitles don't sit well with audiences. It's sort of a cop out, but not a big deal because there's an unspoken agreement between audiences and directors that states: "we, the audience, don't want to read and in return, we promise not to make a big fuss about you dumbing down society and culture."

Well Marc Forster has done the seemingly impossible, and found an analogue to "english with an accent," only visually. Every time there's a location change in the movie, the name of the country flashes up on the screen, but instead of using plain type, Forster uses a different font for every country. So when there's a scene in Russia, they use a font that looks kind of Russian, but is still in english.

Not only is it unnecessary and condescending, but it shows just how much contempt Forster has for his audience. Hey Forster, you know why we don't need ethnic-looking fonts to illustrate the fact that we're in another country? Because letters placed in close proximity to each other spell words that represent the names of those countries. That, and the obvious change in scenery. Where's your artsy visual symbolism now, asshole? I mean, this is some Windows movie maker shit. Even my mom who's a total /b/tard and sucks at non-linear editing knows that using fancy fonts makes her a lameass.

Hey, guess who's still an idiot? Marc Forster.

The decision to set this movie in Bolivia was puzzling, because based on my knowledge of the geopolitical influence of Latin American countries, I posit the following: Bolivia doesn't matter. Extra-Stupid! In fact, none of the scenes in the movie were even shot in Bolivia (shot in Chile instead). But what makes this plot industrial-strength stupid is that it's based on a true story. Only they forgot to tell you that. What's it called when you borrow a story without giving credit? Oh yeah, theft. But to be fair, they did change the story by making it duller:

In 1999, Bechtel corporation signed a contract with the president of Bolivia to privatize the water supply in the 3rd-largest city, and shortly thereafter tripled the water rates (source - new window). Yeah, that's right, they tripled the rates in real life... so when the bad guy in James Bond threatens to double the rates, it's like the producers are challenging you to give less of a shit. They took a non-interesting real-life story and somehow made it less interesting than real life.

And finally, no review of Quantum of Solace can be complete without talking about how extraordinarily stupid the title is. I know people all over the world jumped all over it as soon as it was announced, but I don't think anyone truly realizes how literally the title is meant to be taken. So don't email crying about how I'm not the first person to point this out, because I am, and frankly I'm writing this as a gesture of charity by sharing my genius with the world, so shut your fat mouth.

Here's what each word of the subtitle means:

Quantum: Noun

1. A discrete amount of something that is analogous to the quantities in quantum theory.

Solace: Noun

1. The comfort you feel when consoled in times of sadness or misery.

So the title literally translates to "James Bond: A discrete amount of comfort felt when consoled during a time of sadness." In the final scene of the movie, James Bond finally catches some dude he was chasing for revenge, and then Bond (Daniel Craig) shows off his acting chops by showing the tiniest glimmer of a smirk, an almost infinitesimally small, but measurable amount of consolation. It's hard to describe how incomprehensibly stupid this scene was with mere words, so here's what it looked like:

A literal quantum of solace.

Man, this review is like 10 pages long already and I haven't even started talking about the stupid boat scene (basically there's a 2-hour long boat scene where Bond gets chased by 3 boats, and it ends when Bond just decides to drive off), or how Bond spies on the super villain by driving his motorcycle up to a chainlink fence on a sunny afternoon and just listens to them talk. Quantum of Solace is a shit pastry. Avoid:

I hope Transporter 3 doesn't suck!

570,891 people think Marc Forster is an idiot.

Back to how much I rule...

© 2008 by Maddox

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Get Down
  rnbsalsa88, Feb 12 2009

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Can I Kick It?
  rnbsalsa88, Feb 10 2009


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long term 5-10 and 10-20 graph
  rnbsalsa88, Feb 02 2009

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Biggest session ever :)
  rnbsalsa88, Jan 24 2009

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Running bad
  rnbsalsa88, Jan 22 2009

Down like 75K this month... its really gross.

Some redemption though

that link brings you there but you need to click all time most likely

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Tell Obama to support online poker
  rnbsalsa88, Jan 14 2009

Poker Players Alliance header art

Dear Russell,

President-elect Obama has asked the American people for input. He wants us to tell him what we would like to see him do over the next four years. To facilitate this, his transition team has set up an area on their website for input.

Tell President-elect Obama that you want your right to play online poker in a safe and legal environment respected and protected, please follow the simple instructions below.

Together, we can all let Obama know that we demand our rights!

1. Go to:

2. Create an account if you do not already have one:

3. After you complete your account you will be redirected to the front page. You are now logged in. Do a search for "UIGEA"

or go to:

4. Click the title "Boost America's Economy with Legal Online Poker"

5. Click the "Up Arrow" to vote and add a comment on the bottom of the page:

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