Stories From This Week

29th August 2020

This piece suggests that the ‘Art of Persuasion’ hasn’t changed in over two millennia. ‘More than 2,000 years ago Aristotle outlined a formula on how to master the art of persuasion in his work Rhetoric. Many great communicators have used it throughout the ages to deliver some of the most influential speeches, presentations, and share their ideas with the world.’

Amazon’s new wearable will judge your tone. ‘The “Tone” feature, which people must opt-in to, uses small mics on the band and machine learning to analyse your voice to predict how other people might perceive your tone. The technology takes into account pitch, intensity, tempo and rhythm, to create timestamps of your speech with labels such as “content” or “hesitant” as well as positivity and energy levels.

Warren Buffett on how money (now) works – ‘If you can have negative interest rates and pour out money, and incur more and more debt relative to productive capacity, you’d think the world would have discovered it in the first couple of thousand years rather than just coming on it now. We will see. It’s probably the most interesting question I’ve ever seen in economics.

Blessing in disguise? How the biggest live media events have embraced the change to virtual. Looks at events from WSJ, The Atlantic and Texas Tribune.

This Finnish firm has designed a machine learning system that is the first to blur profanity in text-editing software like Word or Outlook in a bid to combat cyberbullying. Does not currently work on social media.

From CNN. The Auschwitz Memorial has criticised a trend on TikTok in which young people are portraying themselves as victims of the Holocaust, saying the videos can be “hurtful and offensive.”

Nice visual article on how the jumbo jet revolutionised air travel. Farewell to the Boeing 747.

The Sound of Silence series, from (friend of The Filter) @stevexoh has concluded – A total of 100 episodes were recorded over a period of 2.5 years. The collected silent ‘interviews’ are now being turned into into an interactive physical gallery exhibit.

Chart from Statista. Global international tourism receipts from 2000-2019 and possible scenarios for 2020.

This also from Statista – a great place to go for infographics on the upcoming US election. Displayed here, the number of Democratic/Republican wins in US states in the past 10 presidential elections. 

Tim Harford on ‘Rats, mazes, and the power of self-fulfilling prophecies.’ ‘A vocal minority argues that Covid-19 is not much worse than the influenza we ignore every winter, so both mandatory lockdowns and voluntary precautions have been unnecessary. A glance at the data gives that argument a veneer of plausibility. The UK has suffered about 65,000 excess deaths during the first wave of the pandemic, and 25,000-30,000 excess deaths are attributed to flu in England alone during bad flu seasons. Is the disparity so great that the country needed to grind to a halt? The flaw in the argument is clear: Covid was “only” twice as bad as a bad flu season because we took extreme measures to contain it. The effectiveness of the lockdown is being used as an argument that the lockdown was unnecessary. It is frustrating, but that is the nature of a self-defeating prophecy in a politicised environment.

A further, interesting (video) piece involving Tim Harford looks at ‘bad number analogies’, and how to use “landmark numbers” to make the world add up – How many buses to the dinosaur? (16′:05″)

Charmingly done. CNN gets animated over its 2020 election coverage (15″)

There are only 37 possible stories, According to this 1919 manual for screenwriters

In Scotland, a sheep sells for £368,000.

The wonderful Kenneth Williams on Tomorrow’s World in 1981.Wouldn’t you just love it if he was your science teacher?