Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, October 06, 2021

At root, it’s an absurd world we live in. And if you want to hone your intellect, you’ll gladly wrap your mind around all that absurdness:

In a series of new papers, Dr. Proulx and Steven J. Heine, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, argue that these findings are variations on the same process: maintaining meaning, or coherence. The brain evolved to predict, and it does so by identifying patterns.

When those patterns break down — as when a hiker stumbles across an easy chair sitting deep in the woods, as if dropped from the sky — the brain gropes for something, anything that makes sense. It may retreat to a familiar ritual, like checking equipment. But it may also turn its attention outward, the researchers argue, and notice, say, a pattern in animal tracks that was previously hidden. The urge to find a coherent pattern makes it more likely that the brain will find one.

And the discernment of that pattern ushers in new kinds of learning. The brain rejects the irrational in favor of rational pursuits.

Toward that end, I’ll now consider the mission of this blog to be the serving up of steady doses of nonsense. Your noggin will thank you.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/06/2021 10:48 PM
Category: Creative, Science
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


Not long ago, in a little town in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, ordering an orange juice at a certain outdoor cafe would have gotten you, instead, an “Appletizer” and some candy:

At this cafe, you get what the person before you ordered. The next person gets what you ordered.

For the record, here are the rules of the Ogori cafe:

1. Let’s treat the next person. What to treat them with? It’s your choice.

2. Even if it’s a group of friends or a family, please form a single-file line. Also, you can’t buy twice in a row.

3. Please enjoy what you get, even if you hate it. (If you really, really hate it, let’s quietly give it to another while saying, “It’s my treat…”)

4. Let’s say “Thank You! (Gochihosama)” if you find the person with your Ogori cafe card.

5. We can’t issue a receipt.

Basically, the food service is purposely out of sync with the food delivery. (What happens if you’re the first one to place an order that day — do you come away empty-handed?) The element of surprise is key, I think. Knowing the deal ahead of time obviously affects what you’d order; the results are “purer” when someone truly doesn’t expect the time-shifted pre-order. It’s a little bit crowdsourcing, a little bit roulette, and a whole lot of Japanese-style weird. Although maybe it’s better summed up this way:

It forced one to “let go”, just for a brief moment, of the total control we’re so used to exerting through commerce. It led you to taste something new, that you might not normally have ordered. It was a delight.

Taking away that element of control, when we’re so accustomed to a “customer is always right” concept, is the kicker. If you can’t trust your everyday consumer routine, you get a jarring feeling.

It seems that the Ogori cafe was a limited-time experiment in social behavior, because it’s since closed shop. Or maybe it pissed off the wrong patron. I’d love to witness the mayhem triggered by a Stateside edition…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/06/2021 09:04 AM
Category: Business, Creative, Food, Society
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback