Back to previous post: Op anger tale

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Kennedy

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

August 26, 2009

The General Lousiness of Everything, Account’d For
Posted by Patrick at 12:07 AM * 67 comments

Kieran Healy explains:

[A]s a famous paper by Kruger and Sunning showed, people who are bad at what they do are generally also incapable of understanding that they suck—and this directly contributes to inflated self-perception. So, incompetence tends to make people cocky and people prefer cocky judgements over demonstrated expertise, which is pretty much the worst of both worlds.
Comments on The General Lousiness of Everything, Account'd For:
#1 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 12:24 AM:

I wonder what I'm lousy at that I think I'm good at.

#2 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 12:30 AM:

So is Healy very confident that he knows how to spell David Dunning's last name?

#3 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 12:36 AM:

So, incompetence tends to make people cocky

I'm sure glad I'm nothing like those people!

#4 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:13 AM:

Bill Higgins @1
Everything that you don't already specifically know you're only "okay" at, from carefully studying it and discovering that you don't know as much as there is to know.

#5 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:15 AM:

s/Sunning/Dunning/

#6 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:29 AM:

The widening gyre produced by these effects in combination is probably the underpinning of the business of fraudulent editing and vanity publishing.

It's hard enough for a writer to know if she's good at what she does (there was a line in a Broom Hilda cartoon decades ago in which the vulture character declares that he has everything he needs to be a writer: A ream of typing paper and the delusion that I'm talented.) and those who are completely incompetent seem generally oblivious of that fact. A cocky "editor/agent" comes along and confidently asserts that the writer is fine but lacks expertise in the workings of the publishing business.

The writer admits a lack of competence in how publishing works and is pleased to find an "expert" on the publishing industry who also enthusiastically claims to enjoy the writer's work. The "author/agent" is cocky, confident, and clearly appreciates fine writing. Success, fame, and a more than adequate return on the investment which must be made to crack the market are clearly within reach!

#7 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:40 AM:

Actually, I think it explains an awful lot of why economics is the science it is. And perhaps why Rush Limbaugh is popular?

#8 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:52 AM:

I worked in the music business. It made me sad sometimes.

#9 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 02:46 AM:

Wait, you mean that lemon juice doesn't make you invisible to security cameras?

#10 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 02:49 AM:

I think an interesting question to ask is "How to prevent the failure mode, where people trust voluble, ignorant confidence?" Because, isn't this why people don't believe, for instance, Paul Krugman? One of the signs of real knowlege is usually less, clearer, and more direct expression. This describes Krugman But this--we know!--is not persuasive. Perhaps two people are needed, one to do the theorizing, and one to tell the story. And, perhaps one to bring them together?

#11 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 03:33 AM:

Perhaps two people are needed, one to do the theorizing, and one to tell the story. And, perhaps one to bring them together?

Heisenberg, Goedel and Chomsky walk into a bar...

#12 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 03:38 AM:

ps I repeated the joke over at Unfogged, whereupon someone immediately said, "Pauli was excluded from the joke?" and the next commenter replied "Possibly Schrödinger too."

#13 ::: Skip ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 07:37 AM:

And of course there's that lovely B Russell insight::

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

#14 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 08:10 AM:

Wait, you mean that lemon juice doesn't make you invisible to security cameras?

Of course it does! I've never been able to figure out how to get it inside the cameras, though.

#15 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 08:25 AM:

This is something I like to bring up whenever people start touting the virtues of educating kids to have better "self esteem."

I tend to say annoying things like, "Wouldn't it be better to teach them to be good at doing stuff?"

#16 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 08:57 AM:

Along with the bias for straightforward, confident-sounding statements (which selects for propagandists and true believers), we also have:

a. A bias for stuff that makes us feel smart/good, particularly stuff that agrees with our starting beliefs.

b. A tendency to fuzz out overly-complicated arguments and ignore them, because the mental energy and time to evaluate them is too high.

There are (imperfect) countermeasures. The most immediate one is to ask whether massive confidence is really possible to an informed, honest student of the subject. When someone tells me confidently of his certain-to-succeed way of getting peace in the Middle East, fixing US healthcare, or changing the US energy infrastructure to minimize global warming, I smell a rat--these are all really complex problems, with hundreds of niggling details and existing arrangements.

#17 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 09:08 AM:

albatross @16

Yep. People who offer simple solutions to complex problems are lying. I'm confident in tha...

oh hell.

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 09:09 AM:

If you spent much of your life thinking you sucked at what you did, does this mean that, when you realize you do not suck, you really still suck? And how much would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

#19 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 09:22 AM:

'There's a simple answer to everything ...but usually it's wrong!'

IIRC, the study found there's a correllation in self-reporting -- those in the top third of whatever skill or ability is being tested tend to underestimate how good they are.

(I really wish more HR departments would pay attention to this study -- it seems to me the loud, boastful incompetents get more than their share of jobs and job interviews. But me, I'm just a competent and fruitless job seeker, so I may be speaking from frustration.)

#20 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 10:08 AM:

So if you think you're not very good at something, you probably are good at it? But if you know that correlation, then thinking you're not very good proves to you that you *are* good, so you no longer think you're not very good, so maybe you aren't so good?

My head hurts.

#21 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 10:22 AM:

What about skills where being confident makes you better (music, salesmanship)?

#22 ::: erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 10:27 AM:

See "85% of US Drivers think they are above average."

#23 ::: Sarah W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 10:48 AM:

Yeah, pride goeth, early and often.

Mine often goeths by hopping away on one foot, the other firmly lodged in its mandibles.

Now that's talent. . .

#24 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 10:54 AM:

Wikipedia has a pretty good writeup of The Dunning-Kruger Effect, illustrated with a screen cap of Stephen Colbert.

#25 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 11:04 AM:

Erik@22: They might be mostly right; that tail on the left of the bell curve is LONG! It's quite amazing how far over it reaches.

#26 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 11:08 AM:

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."

#27 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 11:18 AM:

You're no good,
You're no good,
You're no good.
Baby, you're no good.
I'm gonna say it again.
You're no good,
You're no good,
You're no good.
Baby, you're no good.

- Linda Ronstadt

#28 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 11:49 AM:

And you know something is happening, but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr Jones...

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 12:39 PM:

A knight of the Table Round should be invincible,
Suceed where a less fantastic man would fail.
Climb a wall no one else can climb,
Cleave a dragon in record time,
Swim a moat in a coat of heavy iron mail.
No matter the pain, he ought to be unwinceable,
Impossible deeds should be his daily fare.
But where in the world
Is there in the world
A man so *extraordinaire*?

C'est moi! C'est moi, I'm forced to admit.
'Tis I, I humbly reply.
That mortal who
These marvels can do,
C'est moi, c'est moi, 'tis I.
I've never lost
In battle or game;
I'm simply the best by far.

- Lancelot in Camelot

#30 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 12:46 PM:

It's not really a paradox that people who doubt whether they're right are right more often than people who don't. Humility about one's own knowledge is better suited to the acquisition of knowledge than absolute smug certainty.

However, most people find smug certainty more appealing in general, even when the smug and the certain have demonstrably failed to deliver as promised. In my opinion, this accounts for the ridiculously high vote totals the GOP continues to command, despite their utter failure to live in the real world and act accordingly.

Then again, I could be wrong.

#31 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Actually, "You're No Good" was written by Clint Ballard, Jr. And was first a hit for Betty Everett. Granted, Linda Rondstadt's version is superb.

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Patrick @ 31... Oops. Not only that, but I had misspelled Rondstadt's name.

#33 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 1... Well, you are accurately good at handling anti-matter otherwise you and I wouldn't have had that wonderful chat after the Hugos.

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 02:26 PM:

Bill Higgins, you're lousy at being a stupid jerk. Not that I've seen you try.

#35 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 02:28 PM:

And yet there's still the opposite effect, where self-confidence can actually make you perform better (by objective measures), and self-doubt can make you perform worse. Stereotype threat is one example of this.

The impostor phenomenon is where these two effects collide, I think. People who are really impostors -- in the sense that they're actually bad at their jobs and are fooling everybody -- are often full of confidence and cockiness.

People who feel like impostors are usually good at their jobs -- but could often be better and more successful if they realized their success and had better self-confidence. Sometimes they'll sabotage themselves out of fear of success, because if they succeed, then someone might start looking closer and "realize they're a fake." Sometimes they'll just refuse to take risks out of fear of failure, when those risks could pay off bigtime.

(You can tell where my particular neurosis lies, can't you?)

#36 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 02:36 PM:

PNH @ #31: Correct writing credits for "You're No Good"

Serge @ #27: Correct spelling of "Ronstadt"

OK, drive-by nit-pick over. Carry on.

#37 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 02:37 PM:

#31 Patrick:

I absolutely, smugly -- dare I say "cockily"? -- sure that you are wrong on this; and I can say this lacking any expertise on the matter (indeed, I've never heard of the song before) simply because I'm so great.

(...never able to avoid the obvious joke. Oh well. I can do them fabulously! Everyone always laughs at them! Because I'm so great! (&c))

#38 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 02:42 PM:

The whole thing puts me in mind of Keillor's Lake Woebegone, where "all of the children are above average."

#39 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 03:14 PM:

Connie H. @ 19 said: (I really wish more HR departments would pay attention to this study -- it seems to me the loud, boastful incompetents get more than their share of jobs and job interviews. But me, I'm just a competent and fruitless job seeker, so I may be speaking from frustration.)

Oh yes. And then they GET the jobs, and because the people who hired them either don't see the bad or can't admit they made a mistake, their behavior is rewarded and amplified. Meanwhile everyone they work with gets bitter and cynical. See _The No Asshole Rule_ by Robert I Sutton. (Yes, you can tell where I am today -- NOT on sabbatical anymore, obviously!)

#40 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 04:12 PM:

Rob T @ #36, you beat me to both. As a confirmed Ronstadt fan of very long standing, I'm confident she'd have been first to say "Hey, I didn't write that, Clint Ballard did!"

Ronstadt hasn't performed a whole lot of her own songs, but the ones she has tend to be good. See "Winter Light" and "Try Me Again."

#41 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 05:09 PM:

Summer Storms, I've often thought that it is possible for *most* of the kids to be above average, depending upon how the test is normed, and where the outliers on the low side are. Assuming you're talking about the mean, not the median.

And Serge? Not to nitpick, again, but the lyrics to Camelot were written by Alan J. Lerner. (The music was written by Frederic Loewe.)

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 05:25 PM:

pat greene @ 41... True, but I thought it was more important, for comprehension's sake, to identify the character saying those lines.

#43 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Serge/pat: It's quite possible for all the people in a given locality to be, "above average" if the pool from which average is taken is larger than the locality.

I've seen schools which try to make this seem the case (USC Occupational Therapy, for example; where a C average is a course failing aggregate, and a course grade of D = a fail, so the class must be made up).

#44 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 04:31 AM:

Sarah @15: self-esteem and objective evaluation of one's ability are not incompatible. In fact, it is only when you decouple self-esteem from the need to receive external validation that you can get both confident people and people who can evaluate sensibly their abilities.

I think.

#45 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 10:20 AM:

Connie H#19: "IIRC, the study found there's a correllation in self-reporting - those in the top third of whatever skill or ability is being tested tend to underestimate how good they are."

That boils down to everyone, clever or stupid, thinking that other people are more like them than they (we) really are. So if true we all think we are normaller than we are.

Which implies that if I am really normal than I am less normal than I think I am. And I am less good at the things I am bad at that I realise but better at the things I am good at. But the only way I can tell them apart is if someone else tells me I am good at something, based on a statistical comparison with large numbers of others. Suddenly I am in favour of exams. Thank you London University, I now know I am really really good at genetics and ecology and bioinformatics.

Where can I go to take a sense-of-humour exam?

Actually I'm a little dubious about the paper linked here.

The grammar test was based on a very small sample. Also us devotees of Language Log know that American Standard Written English is full of Bad Things that Good Writers Don't Do. (Their latest riff on it is that following the rules of Strunk and White rots your brain - literally. Well, maybe, they only speculate on causality. There is a claim that people - Nuns - who used more complex sentences with more qualifiers in their 20s were less likely to get Alzheimers later in life. So I'm alright, I thought. And then remembered Terry Pratchett who I suppose is the exception that proves)

And quantifying sense of humour sounds like hard thng to do. They say they used the correlation between the test subject's assessment of jokes and some professional comedians. But that isn't measuring how "good" your sense of humour is, its measuring how much it is like everyone else's (assuming that pros know what works)

#46 ::: Teemu Kalvas ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 10:49 AM:

Anna @44: "decoupl[ing] self-esteem from the need to receive external validation" is the best definition for "growing up" I have ever heard.

I'm not going to go so far as to claim that every day is a grown-up day for me, though. But it is best to try, both for the sake of yourself, and for others'.

#47 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 11:00 AM:

Accuracy in self-reporting:

The lower end of ability are often clueless, and this extends to their self-assessment on the skill in question.

The higher end of ability tend to underestimate themselves because of a problem with "reference group". They often know lots of people whose skills and knowledge are higher than their own. For example, if I assess my knowledge of SFF literature by comparing it to the fluorosphere, instead of the general public, I will rate myself much lower.

#48 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Ken Brown @45: There is a claim that people - Nuns - who used more complex sentences with more qualifiers in their 20s were less likely to get Alzheimers later in life. So I'm alright, I thought. And then remembered Terry Pratchett who I suppose is the exception that proves.

But then, Terry Pratchett is not a nun.

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 11:47 AM:

Teemu: By that standard I'm not very grown up at all. And neither are most people in the arts, especially the performing arts.

Come to think of it...that sounds about right, really.

I make chocolates. If I could never watch anyone eat them again, or receive any kind of praise for them, I would stop making them. It's too much effort to do just for myself; the enjoyment of the people eating them is what I live on, what makes it worthwhile to spend hours fussing over ganaches.

I guess maybe that's NOT very grown up. But I respectfully submit that the world would be a poorer place without some people who need that external validation.

#50 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 11:49 AM:

When I was a drama teacher (don't ask) I was trying to persuade one of my less able students that it might be a good idea to, you know, go to another class or two, maybe pick up a couple of qualifications, so he had a back up plan *just in case* he didn't become a star. He argued passionately that this was a counsel of defeat and that there was NO QUESTION that he was going to make it, and allowing himself to be distracted by mere qualifications was insulting his art.

He made it as far as the chorus line of a West End musical or two so maybe he was right. What do I know?

#51 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 01:23 PM:

"It's called a confidence game. Why? Because you give me your confidence? No. Because I give you mine." -- David Mamet, House of Games

#52 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 01:33 PM:

Xopher @ #49--I submit there are plenty of things where you make decisions and take actions without thought of external validation--because you have decided it's the right thing to do, no matter what anyone else says, or how loudly they say it. I consider the confectionary to be an item under the "I do this for the joy it brings others, because it gives me joy to see their happiness", which means you are engaging in a sort of altruistic chocolateering, and altruism is a very grown-up thing, chocolate-based or not.

#53 ::: Teemu Kalvas ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 02:12 PM:

Xopher @49: I confess I was overextending my argument in the heat of the moment. It is only a part (but a significant part) of adulthood.

Like fidelio@52 opines, the altruistic motive is a separate issue. I don't think many performance artists (whether writers or musicians or something else entirely) who I think are any good actually care whether I think they are any good. Audience is important to them, but they must have some internal way of separating good and bad art. It rarely seems to be maximizing the audience.

Hopefully this is sufficiently confused that the hundreds of working artists reading will be sufficiently irritated to explain what actually makes them produce art. In all likelihood I really, really suck at knowing the reason. I mean, I thought I knew, so Messieurs Dunning and Kruger say I suck.

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 02:17 PM:

Who needs external validation when one has friends?

#55 ::: Terry ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 03:18 PM:

This all makes me think about the current controversy in Washington over Obama's selection of the Federal Government's new CTO and CIO, two career civil servants who appear to have inflated credentials on their resumes and little to no practical experience in Information Technology. They toured Silicon Valley recently, meeting with all the real movers and shakers of the industry, and dazzled a lot of influential executives (some of whom praised Aneesh Chopra for his dynamic charisma, but ignored the fact that he's never had a job in the private sector in his life).

I've seen them spout lots of buzzwords on a few podcasts as if they are really plugged into the Web 2.0 mindspace, but they really don't seem to say anything concrete.

Some Valley pundits are now taking a second look at what they are saying, and finding very little of substance. In my experience with government civil servants, I've always seen the Peter Principle at work, and this seems to reinforce that old adage.

#56 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 05:03 PM:

One of the interesting facets of Dunning and Kruger's study is that the top-third people who underrate their own work will self-correct that opinion after being exposed to a representative sample of the range of others' work.

The clueless people who overrate their own work, OTOH, are immune to evidence.

#57 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 07:54 PM:

This afternoon NPR broadcast an interview with Po Bronson, an author who contends that it is counterproductive to give kids praise that is not for some real success, because in the end children will associate large amounts of general praise with parents and teachers being afraid that the child will fail. So, he says, the attempt to raise kids' self-esteem by lavishing them with praise is self-defeating.

I suspect that a lot of the people who are so sure of their own competence ("delusions of adequacy" as the saying goes) are the result of the self-esteem program that Bronson is arguing against. If you aren't required to actually do something to be praised, why would you learn to do something?

#58 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 08:54 PM:

Serge @54: Who needs external validation when one has friends?

So how many imaginary friends are we talking about?

#59 ::: myrthe ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 09:02 PM:

Erik @22 See "85% of US Drivers think they are above average."

They're not as wrong as we might at first think, due to a different phenomenon - The (hypothetical) survey only pretends to measure one objective thing. Where actually "good driver" means different things to each of us, and I value the things I'm good at.

So for me Good Driver might mean "quick at the lights", for you "good at navigating on the move", another person "Observant", "I Always signal/obey signs/drive speed limit", "knows the limits and rides them"... and so on.

In each criterion, the average will be half, yes. *I* might think you're a hopeless driver - But the survey is rating us against our own measure, not each others. Taken together, we can all be above average.

#60 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 09:26 PM:

Speaking as something of an artist (I've been an actor, and cellist, and singer; I am a pennywhistle player, and potter, and writer, and phtographer), the two sorts of validation are interdependent (which is why the HuffPo piece about all artists being John Galt, is so much fatuous nonsense).

I do the work, for me. I stand in the blazing sun, or squat in the snow, or just wait in the shade with a book, and a camera on a tripod, so I can take a picture I like.

That is gratifying. I write a poltical rant, because it pleases me to vent. That is gratifying. I center a lump of clay, and raise a pot because it feels good in my hands. That is gratifying.

As is said at Passover, "That would have been enough."

But I also share them. Because they please other people. Other people get to share in my joy. Sometimes they don't like what I have done. Sometimes they tell me what I have thought well of is, to them, "crap.". Other times they tell me that things I consider crap, are lovely.

If I didn't enjoy it, for it's own sake, I'd quit. The effort wouldn't be worth the candle. If I didn't get something out of sharing it, I'd lock it all away (as if I were an Emily Dickinson), and enjoy it in secret.

But I get the benefit of both. The considered opinions of others increases my focus. Finding out what they like in a piece I think is dreck, makes me look at how I take pictures, play the whistle, throw pots (oftimes against the wall, forcefully).

No one can be an island in everything.

#61 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:04 AM:

SpeakerToManagers @57 I suspect that a lot of the people who are so sure of their own competence ("delusions of adequacy" as the saying goes) are the result of the self-esteem program that Bronson is arguing against. If you aren't required to actually do something to be praised, why would you learn to do something?
I think of it as a failure in the feedback loop. To improve performance in darn near anything, you need accurate feedback. For some things, e.g. riding a bike, the feedback comes mainly in some objective form. For some things, as Terry Karney described @60, there's both a material and a social component. But for many things, the feedback comes from other people. And if it's absent, or all positive, or all negative, or inconsistent in ways that have nothing to do with you, it's very hard to tell what you're actually doing right.

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:41 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 58... Logically speaking, friends are external validation, but they are also inside one's heart.

#63 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 05:27 PM:

The best bits of the Dunning-Kruger experiment are that:

1) When told their actual results, competent subjects' estimation of their own abilities improved.

2) When told their actual results, incompetent subjects' estimation of their own abilities got WORSE - i.e. they assumed that however stupid they might be, everyone else must be worse.

*I think that bit's really important*

3) Practice improved everyone's competence on the tests AND their self-assessment.

*That's quite important too*

#64 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 07:01 PM:

Serge @62: Good save :)

#65 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 09:18 PM:

And, of course, this represents the "charitable view" of ShrubCo's exploits....

#66 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 12:58 AM:

Related quote, from William Gibson's twitter feed:

"The deeply sinful thrill of watching people who have no idea how much they don't know." --Ta-Nehesi Coates

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 01:11 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 64... Thanks.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.