The burden of rudeness

I very often get calls at home, from people trying to sell me either new windows for my house or some low-cost mobile phone service.

I used to hang up on those calls, but not anymore!

Now I put them on speakerphone... and give the receiver to my four-year-old. He's very excited that someone wants to speak to him, and starts talking about his day right away.

This has transformed a very annoying experience into a great form of entertainment for the whole family.

And, it "shifts the burden of rudeness" to the caller... how do they dare hanging up on my son!!!?!

Wed, 04 Jun 2014 • permalink

The Duhem effect

From the best blog series ever (part III) comes this gem:

Popperian falsification is known in logic as modus tollens.

  • M: If A, then Y.
  • m: But not-Y
  • /.: not-A

But there is never just one A, so what we always have is:

  • M: If A and B, then Y.
  • m: But not-Y
  • /.: Either not-A or not-B

Thus, it is never evident on the face of it which of the prior assumptions -- and there will be more than two! -- has been falsified when Y fails of observation. The problem is, it's hard to know what unspoken assumptions you are assuming. The lack of stellar parallax was thought to falsify A (Earth goes round the sun) but it actually falsified B (the stars are millions of miles away). In fact, they are billions of miles away and the parallax is too small for eyesight to detect even with a 20x telescope. The stellar distance was believed to be fact, based on the brightness and diameter of stellar disks. But it turned out (in the 19th cent.!) that the "disks" were optical illusions caused by aberration, and the stars differed in intrinsic brightness.

In other words: we usually, literally don't know what we're talking about.

Fri, 11 Oct 2013 • permalink

Vasyenmetro gets noticed

Vasyenmetro, our interactive Paris metro map has just been featured on the Google Geo Developers Blog.

This week we are featuring a sample app by the French web development house Medusis. They have put together a custom directions application that guides you between Paris metro stations. It is a beautiful app that uses several interesting features of the Maps API (...)

This is a great demonstration piece on using the Google Maps API to show custom data. Well done Medusis.

This comes after two mentions on Google Maps Mania, once for the inital French version and then when we developed an interface in English

Ultimately, of course, what's important is serving users well; but getting the word out is a necessary step, and peer recognition is always nice.

So thanks!

Sun, 18 Aug 2013 • permalink