Malcolm Gladwell on the financial crisis

Yet another excellent speech from Malcolm Gladwell given at High Point University, see This time on

  1. Financial crisis of 2007–08
  2. Battle of Chancellorsville between General Lee and Joe Hooker during the American Civil War in 1863
  3. Overconfidence and miscalibration, results from Stuart Oskamp (Overconfidence in Case-Study Judgments)

His speech keeps the listener in suspense the whole time. He starts with the financial crisis, then he stashes this theme for a moment to start a story on the American Civil war, its protagonists, its setting, stash this once again, then talk on miscalibration. Now with this topic explained, he gets back to the civil war, and then to the financial crisis.

Here are some of the other characters, events, and phenomena he references:

  1. Military intelligence
  2. James Cayne, last CEO of Bear Stearns
  3. William D. Cohan‘s interview with Cayne

Some noteworthy quotes:

Miscalibration refers to the difference between how good you really are, and how good you think you are. (…) Miscalibration is how experts screw-up. (…) Incompetence are mistakes made by people who don’t know enough, but overconfidence are mistakes made by people who know a lot.

And one quote which can easily be remembered:

Incompetence is the disease of idiots, overconfidence is the disease of experts. (…) Incompetence annoys me, overconfidence terrifies me.

See also Malcolm Gladwell: Don’t go to Harvard, go to the Lousy Schools!, and Malcolm Gladwell on the importance of stubbornness.

Malcolm Gladwell on the importance of stubbornness

A very interesting speech of Malcolm Gladwell on stubbornness in below YouTube video.

He makes references to

Also see Malcolm Gladwell’s article on the Flynn effect: What I.Q. doesn’t tell you about race.

Importing Calendar Data to Google-Calendar

Importing calendar data to Google is still troublesome for a number of reasons. What seems to work goes like this:

  1. Force-stop calendar app in your Android phone
  2. Clear all calendar data in your Android phone
  3. Shut down your Android phone
  4. Log-off from all other Google accounts
  5. Shut down your browser (I am not sure whether this step is really necessary, but better safe)
  6. Fire up your browser once again and log-in to Google
  7. Import your data, see screenshot below (I use the iCalendar format)


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Two Free Invites for the OnePlus One, #2

I have two free invites for the OnePlus One. Below are the links:

  1. GLYP-ATVO-YQ8K-D969

Please do not click on the links if you do not want to actually buy the phone, because the invites are then reserved and cannot be used by others.

For a review of the phone see Review of the OnePlus One Smartphone.

Addendum 22-Mar-2015: Both invites unfortunately expired. So people clicked on it without actually wanting to buy a phone.

On Differential Forms

Abstract. This article will give a very simple definition of k-forms or differential forms. It just requires basic knowledge about matrices and determinants. Furthermore a very simple proof will be given for the proposition that the double outer differentiation of k-forms vanishes.

MSC 2010: 58A10

1. Basic definitions.

We denote the submatrix of A=(a_{ij})\in R^{m\times n} consisting of the rows i_1,\ldots,i_k and the columns j_1,\ldots,j_k with

\displaystyle{          [A]{\textstyle\!{\scriptstyle j_1\atop\scriptstyle i_1}          \!{\scriptstyle\ldots\atop\scriptstyle\ldots}          \!{\scriptstyle j_k\atop\scriptstyle i_k}} := \begin{pmatrix}                  a_{i_1j_1} & \ldots & a_{i_1j_k}\\                  \vdots     & \ddots & \vdots\\                  a_{i_kj_1} & \ldots & a_{i_kj_k}\\          \end{pmatrix}  }

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Testing file-size limits

For testing purposes you may want to provoke a file-size error. Here are the steps. Open a new bash/xterm. Set a file-size limit with ulimit, then write a file with dd.

ulimit -f 1
dd bs=1 iflag=count_bytes count=5000 if=/dev/zero of=yourFile

The resulting error is

File size limit exceeded (core dumped)

just as expected.

Average daily commuting time in Europe and the U.S.

Below chart is taken from Stress That Doesn’t Pay: The Commuting Paradox, August 2004, page 30. The data is per 2000/2001.


The above document links these numbers with reported satisfaction with life — longer commuting times means less happiness.

Numbers change over time. Five year later the U.S. halved their commuting time. This sparks some questions on the reliability of the data. See chart in Average Daily Commuting Time, European and North American Countries, 2005 (in minutes), data from OECD.

A breakdown according profession can be found in Which Professions Have the Longest Commutes?

Average Commute Time by Occupation Type

Data is from 2014.