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  1. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed October 20, 2010 12:40 pm

    I’d be mildly curious as to exactly *how* they are generating the ‘random events’. True randomness is pretty hard to find…at least in a digital circuit.

    I am not gonna spend ~$200 to find out, tho. I can find all the BS I can stomach on the front page of the NYT.

    I suppose its easier than staring at goats.

  2. Dan Perkins
    Dan Perkins October 20, 2010 3:21 pm

    (Shameless steal from comments section on linked page because I couldn’t say it any better)

    Cool, a $189 mood ring!

  3. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal October 20, 2010 3:29 pm

    Supposedly that’s also why my computer acts like it has a consciousness and likes to screw with me.

  4. Ellendra
    Ellendra October 20, 2010 7:55 pm

    I think the lamp is bogus, but I’d love the chance to experiment with that REG.

    (The scientist in me is intrigued)

  5. -S
    -S October 21, 2010 4:40 am

    The actionable information is that “business insider” is an intellectual toxic waste dump and should be avoided. Anyone willing to print such credulous crap is a danger to themselves and to society.

  6. Claire
    Claire October 21, 2010 8:22 am

    -S — Really? All of Business Insider is worthless and to be avoided just because some of what it publishes is drivel? Or do you know something else about the site that makes it so toxic?

  7. Scott
    Scott October 21, 2010 9:07 am

    Complete BS, but intertaining BS-there are schematics galore for random number and event generators. Still, when they do drop to $9.95 WalMart items, one would make an interesting “giggle gift”. I believe some medical scanners can “read your mind” in a very vague sense(tell what color you’re looking at, tones heard,that sort of thing),under lab condtions,but this ain’t it.

  8. -S
    -S October 21, 2010 9:37 am

    I do have other information about “business insider,” consisting mostly of other examples of re-posting company press releases regarding products of extremely dubious value and utility. Go to to find essentially all of the text and graphics contained in this “article.” I took a few minutes to find more examples of BS in today’s edition, see the follow-up post.

    Note the complete lack of any skepticism or irony regarding a lamp that can read minds; this is passionless stegnography, not reporting. The writer is either ignorant or uncaring that the product violates fairly well established tenants of physics, but “likes” the product because the concept is fascinating. Not because it works, not because it’s pretty, the concept is all that is required.

    As for whether I tag ALL of BI for publishing BS, well, yes I do. What is the function of a site like BI, LRC, your blog, or any other news and commentary web site? I visit these sites to learn about things I might not have known, to encounter thoughtful, reasoned, well-informed opinion and commentary.

    A few, like CNN or WSJ, are useful to know what are the current lies the regime wants us to know, but even those mouthpieces have modestly effective screens against this sort of outrageous crap.

    Of course the internet is filled with BS, and it’s not what one knows that gets you in trouble, it is what you don’t know that isn’t so.

    Which brings us back to credulous repetition of the most obvious BS. False knowledge is dangerous, and takes a lot more effort to unlearn and forget than to take it in. How much poo will you tolerate in your food and drink? I’m pretty intolerant along those lines, once I find poo in my burger or dung in my wine, I’m extremely unlikely to ever again buy from the establishment or brand that provided it.

    Just so with sites that publish BS. It doesn’t take much before I put them on my ignore list. There are far too many sources of genuine information to tolerate this gross contamination.

  9. -S
    -S October 21, 2010 9:52 am

    A few examples from today’s BI of stuff that isn’t so:

    “You’re Thinking About QE2 Bass-Ackwards — Here’s What Actually Matters”

    So how much time shall we spend thinking about the conditions required so that creating money from thin air will make us more wealthy and prosperous? Or shall we ignore that particular memetic hazard and move on?

    “The Gold And Silver Selloff Is Gaining Steam”
    The dollar price of gold has gone up every single year for 10 straight years, but today the price has dropped to the level of – wait for it – Tuesday. I’m not making this up. Hey, if it gets really bad, the price might drop as low as it was two whole weeks ago! That’s some selloff! Look, a bird!

    Now that we’ve disposed of that 10-year bull market, let’s have some more mindless stegnography, this time quoting from Society Generale:
    ‘Investors worldwide are in pursuit of yield, and are willing to go anywhere to get it. And while China, India, and others may already seem tapped-out, investors may be able to get ahead of the curve on one emerging continent.


    Once again, no filtering, no skepticism, gold is tanking, so stuff your money in Africa! China’s tapped out? Amazing! I never knew!

    Now I need to go pour some bleach in my brain.


  10. Claire
    Claire October 21, 2010 9:56 am

    -S. I agree with you on BI’s frequent credulity and lack of filtering. I also find it hysterically funny that the very same writer (often Joe Weisenthal) will, on alternate days, scream that gold is tanking!!! and it’s time to get out!!! and that gold is taking off!!! Just like all those gold-bugs said!!!

    Still, I find BI a very useful place to get a super-quick glimpse of what’s going on on the world money scene. They often have links to more credible and well-researched articles. And I figure I’m bright enough to filter out the BS.

    In fact, one of the things I find useful about it is that it does present such a variety of different views. For every “QEII is GOOD!” article, there’s a “QEII will lead to hyperinflation article.” Um … fair and balanced?

  11. -S
    -S October 21, 2010 10:09 am

    You’re much more charitable than I. It’s not fair and balanced, it’s just a deluge of mostly misinformation. Some of it balances others precisely because there is no filter or attempt to make sense of any of it.

    XKCD happened to nail the mind lamp today:

    Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

  12. -S
    -S October 21, 2010 10:13 am

    You’re certainly bright enough to filter out the BS, so am I. But my filter isn’t perfect, and the more BS that hits it, the more leaks in, where the real damage gets done.

    Nobody is perfect. No site publishes pure truth all the time. Speaking strictly for me, I prefer to get my news from places were some of the most odious hogwash has been removed.

    It’s not really such a fine line between screening large bits of garbage and censoring and/or gatekeeping. The best sites can & do simple screening, but still manage to provide some value added to the stuff they link. BI, not so much.

  13. Samuel Adams
    Samuel Adams October 21, 2010 12:04 pm

    Well, why not a mind reading lamp? We’ve got congresscritters who claim they know what’s good for you better than you do. If they can do that, surely a mind reading lamp is trivial.

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