It’s been a quiet year on Lone Gunman with only 76 posts published over the last 366 days: but the response has been as great as ever.
This year is a special one for Lone GunmanÂ as it was four years ago today–during the last leap day–that the first post was published. It’s been a great experience and the site has evolved a lot, as you can see if you take a look through my previous ‘in review’ posts (Year One, Year Two, Year Three).
And so the passing of another year can mean only one thingâ€¦ Lone Gunman is four, and this is Year Four in Review; a compilation of the best things I’ve read on the Internet over the last twelve months.
Items definitely not to miss are highlighted (probably not through an RSS feed reader). [LG] denotes my original post.
- A favourite of mine from this past year was when David Hayes (you’ll hear more from him later) shed light onÂ the advanÂtages of Internet-originating relaÂtionÂships and how friendÂship creÂation has evolved. [LG]
- It’s no surprise to most of you that I’m an introvert of sorts. This year’s addition to the ‘introversion’ tagÂ isÂ Carl King’s list of myths about introÂverts. [LG]
- On a larger scale, we delve into the research around Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping PointÂ theory and discoverÂ that ‘six degrees of sepÂaÂraÂtion’ is corÂrect, but there is no eviÂdence for super-connected ‘trend gateÂkeepÂers’ (such as Gladwellâ€™s ‘ConÂnecÂtors’). [LG]
- From society to the workplace, and I look at the winner of the 2010Â Ig Nobel PrizeÂ for ManÂageÂment:Â beating the Peter Principle by promoting at random.Â [LG]
- Vonnegut describes, like only he can,Â the narrative arcs in our stories and lives. Derek Sivers goes into more detail, explaining that this is why we creÂate unnecÂesÂsary and non-existent draÂmas in our lives.Â [LG]
- Finally, one that I can’t believe I’ve not posted about before:Â David FosÂter Wallace’s 2005 comÂmenceÂment address at Kenyon ColÂlege.Â [LG]
- A mix between this category and the one above, I was fascinated by the deviÂousÂ secret ways to effecÂtively conÂtrol trolls and other abuÂsive users on online communiÂtiesÂ (i.e. the hellÂban, slowÂban, and errorban). [LG]
- MotiÂvaÂtion, AbilÂity and TrigÂger are the three elements that are necessary to change a person’s behaviour, according to BJ Fogg’sÂ behaviour grid that explains the fifÂteen ways that behavÂiour can be changed. [LG]
- I loved the story behind SydÂney Frankâ€™s marketing/branding stratÂegy for Grey Goose vodka. The key? Narrative sells. [LG]
- Negotiating? We already know the optiÂmal startÂing prices for negoÂtiÂaÂtions and aucÂtions, but this year a researcher from that study goes into detail onÂ negoÂtiÂaÂtion tacÂtics and the reaÂsons why you should make the first offer.Â [LG]
- Common wisÂdom wouldÂ suggestÂ that the more cerÂtain a perÂson is on a subÂject, the more perÂsuaÂsive and credÂiÂble we perÂceive them to be. The opposite is sometimes true: for experts, uncerÂtainty has a positive impact on perÂsuaÂsiveÂness and credÂiÂbilÂity.Â [LG]
- Infomercial master Tim Hawthorne, in an interview on Mixergy, let us in onÂ the many infomerÂcial sales techÂniques that his data show are the most perÂsuaÂsive.Â [LG]
The Brain, Our Senses
- Let’s start at the beginning with this fascinating evolutionary hisÂtory of the brain.Â [LG]
- And now something very modern on the evolutionary scale: the neuroscience perspective on what’s happening when we read.Â [LG]
- Two photons on the retina? Three molecules up your nose? Almost hearing Brownian motion? It blew my mind when I discovered how senÂsiÂtive and amazÂing our senses really are. [LG]
- The brain, our senses, and a bit of psychology are all involved in a short extract from the bookÂ Art and the SensesÂ that sumÂmarisesÂ the varÂiÂous ways that our taste perÂcepÂtion can be altered by our other senses. [LG]
- The foods we eat every day has an effect on our brain (of course), and here’s a wonderful article where the author ofÂ Your Brain on Food brieflyÂ describesÂ how some ofÂ the chemÂiÂcals present in ‘drugs’ such as chocoÂlate, bananas, alcoÂhol and nutÂmeg affect us (with a bit of space travel included, just for fun). [LG]
- Following on from that last post, one of the most used ‘drugs’ is caffeine. Isn’t it time you learnÂt the optiÂmal way of conÂsumÂing caffeine, the world’s most-used stimÂuÂlant? [LG]
- So we know the varied ways that food can influence our bodies, but here’s a novel approach to a modern problem: recent research suggests that food can help us with avoiding jet lag (thanks to food-based cirÂcaÂdian rhythms).Â [LG]
- This past year saw the end of Mark Bittman’s wonderful NYT food column, The Minimalist. To round-up those thirteen years, here’s a list ofÂ Mark Bittman’s favourite twenty-five recipes from his MinÂiÂmalÂist years. [LG]
- Another drug, but a bit more dangerous than caffeine, is alcohol, right? Well the jury’s definitely still out and the research is fascinating but contradictory. The latest: abstainÂing from alcoÂhol appears toÂ increaseÂ your risk of dying preÂmaÂturely.Â [LG]
- And if you need another reason to get to the bar, it seems thatÂ alcoÂhol drinkers earn, on averÂage, 10% more than abstainÂersÂ (pdf). Drink up! [LG]
- Are the names MonoÂtype CorÂsiva, Comic Sans ItalÂiÂcized or Haettenschweiler enough to make you run for the hills? Maybe you should give them another chance, asÂ long-term learnÂing and retenÂtion improved when classÂroom mateÂrÂial was set in a hard-to-read font.Â [LG]
- One to be aware of if you find yourself around infants and want to instil a good image: if you’re “unreÂliÂable” infants will quickly learn not to learn from you, optÂing instead for adults that appear conÂfiÂdent and knowlÂedgeÂable.Â [LG]
- And what about when the children are not around you, but in front of the TV? Go for Sesame Street over Teletubbies:Â for a child’s cogÂniÂtiveÂ develÂopÂment, the medium (TV/games/books) doesn’t matÂter but the conÂtent is cruÂcial.Â [LG]
- Something that’s worth remembering and taking the time to consider is the realisation that when we first encounter inforÂmaÂtion we believe it immeÂdiÂately and withÂout thought, only to fully evalÂuÂate its truthÂfulÂness moments laterÂ proÂvided we are not disÂtracted. In other words: engineer a distraction-free environment when doing critical tasks. [LG]
- Think about the meaning behind a lot of the icons you see and use on a daily basis. If they’re well designed, they’ve found what Lukas Mathis, taking his cue from the excellent UnderÂstandÂing Comics,Â callsÂ the sweet spot between uniÂverÂsalÂity and realÂism that allows for optimum recognition.Â [LG]
- Negotiation, psychology and programming: three of the five most imporÂtant non-designer skills that every designer should master. [LG]
- Going for a coastal walk? Think about how you could estimate that distance, because that’s undoubtÂedly the best analÂogy for explainÂing the difÂfiÂculty in proÂvidÂing estiÂmates for softÂware projects. [LG]
- If you’ve got just one tweet, here’s how to comÂpress and encode the Mona Lisa (and other pieces of art) to fit within a 140 charÂacÂter text limit.Â [LG]
- So Amazon is destroying local bookstores and this is a Bad Thing, right? Maybe not. There’s an argument thatÂ AmaÂzon is actually doing your local community a favour by competing so strongly with local bookstores.Â [LG]
- If you want to improve your writing, stop reading ‘rules’ and other such bumf. Instead you need ‘tools’, and here’s Roy Peter Clark’s fifty writÂing tools to improve your writÂingÂ (Clark is the VP of The Poynter Institute). [LG]
- How did it all begin, how did we get here, and how will it all end? That’s what Ethan Siegel answers in hisÂ wonÂderÂfully accesÂsiÂble and enlightÂenÂing comÂplete hisÂtory of the uniÂverseÂ (with pictures!).Â [LG]
- Curiosity, relinquishment, simplicity, precision and The Void: five of Eliezer YudÂkowsky’s twelve virtues of ratioÂnalÂity. [LG]
- 1.4 cigarettes, 0.5 litres of wine, 2 days living in New York: these are all equivalent to 1 micromort. ‘Micromort’, you say? Yes: an underÂstandÂable scale and unit of risk, a microÂmort is equivalent to a one-in-a-million probability of death. Check out the entire list. [LG]
Finally, this year I’m extremely grateful to two friends for taking over Lone Gunman during a vacation. Their posts were excellent, and I recommend you go back and review them:
- david (b) hayes wrote a wonderful series called How to Internet. Check out David’s series of posts.
- Andrew Smith published three posts on entirely different topics: storytelling, foreclosure and your career. Check out Andrew’s posts, too.