Three Men Make a Tiger – 7 Takeaways No. 134

Three Men Make a Tiger - (Image: Midjourney)
Three Men Make a Tiger – (Image: Midjourney) (See note.)

(If you’re having difficulty viewing this in email, visit in your browser. If a link to a source below leads to you a paywall or is otherwise inaccessible, please read my note on the topic: Paywalls.)

1. “Memory is not indelible”

What Are Flashbulb Memories? – Fergus Craik and Larry Jacoby – (MIT Press Reader)

Well, this took a turn, and is causing me to question some of what I consider my longest lasting memories.

I was expecting a discussion of how those memories of significant events are created, and how they differ from our normal memories. While that’s covered, the “turn” is this:

the consistency of reported flashbulb memories declined over a 10-year period, but the participants’ confidence in their accuracy remained high, whereas the confidence for details of event memories declined

In other words, our memories of specific major events might not be as accurate as we think. And yet, I remember how I learned of JFK’s assassination (I was in first grade). I remember the morning of 9/11 (one of the first major news stories I learned of on the internet and then watched via satellite TV).

Or do I?

Do this: Question everything, especially yourself.

2. “What would Taylor Swift do?”

Taylor Swift Has Rocked My Psychiatric Practice – Dr. Suzanne Garfinkle-Crowell – (New York Times)

Taylor Swift fascinates me. She’s a rare combination of pop singer and entrepreneur who’s amazingly successful at both. Every time I’ve seen her interviewed, she impresses me not only with her intelligence, but her apparently approachable style.

I found it interesting, then, to run across this opinion piece by a psychiatrist working with teens relating how frequently Taylor Swift comes up in both conversation and, for lack of a better term, therapy.

Many of my patients are adolescent girls and young women, and they have leaned on Taylor Swift as a kind of big sister through the daily agonies of being a teenage girl: unsteady friendships, the 24-hour firing squad of the internet and, of course, the endless longing to feel seen and valued. At the end of a session exploring these struggles, I’ve appreciated having her to keep my patients company the rest of the week.

Coincidentally, another of my sources mentioned being “open eared” to music that you might not normally listen to. I’ve certainly listened to, and enjoyed, Ms. Swift’s music from time to time, but the coincidence struck me, and I’m listening to a lengthy playlist as I type. (I’m also amazed at the size of her catalog.)

Do this: Be “open eared”.

3. “We are all born terminal.”

Some Things Are More Precious Because They Don’t Last Long – John P. Weiss – (Blog)

For a variety of reasons, this hits close to home this week. Weiss examines the inevitable shortness of … well, everything, but particularly life itself.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”—Oscar Wilde


Do this: Live.

4. “Three Men Make a Tiger”

100 Little Ideas – Morgan Housel – (Collab Fund Blog)

A list of ideas, in no particular order and from different fields, that help explain how the world works

Me and lists again, but this lengthy list fascinates me. Of course some I’ve heard before (Hanlon’s Razor, anyone?), but there are so many others that Just Make Sense.

And some are eye opening. “Anscombe’s Quartet” is one example (numbers can represent much less than we often infer). And some are depressing. “Planck’s Principle” applies to much more than just science, I fear. The “McNamara Fallacy” played a huge role in the Challenger disaster.

Do this: The next time you’re on social media, review “The 90-9-1 Rule”.

5. “An explosion of nonsense”

Google Isn’t Grad School – Arthur C. Brooks – (How to Build a Life, at The Atlantic)

For me this is the intersection of Impostor Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This, very true, comment chills me to my bones:

Practically everywhere you look on the web, you can find technical information of dubious accuracy.

My imposter syndrome feels seen. Fortunately, more rational corners of my mind, as well as reader feedback, push the panic down to more manageable levels.

But still.

Do this: “No matter whom you are taking advice from, think for yourself and never entirely suspend your skepticism. No one has perfect knowledge or insight; everyone has biases and blind spots.” (Once again, I feel seen.)

6. “My dad was still my dad”

My Dad Had Dementia. He Also Had Facebook – Angie Mazakis – (The Atlantic)

This doesn’t take you where you might assume from the headline.

So we just let him continue to use social media, assuming that people would eventually ignore his posts.
But that’s not what happened. Instead, people seemed to recognize that he wasn’t well. And instead of disappearing, they were mostly just concerned, and loving, and glad to still be connected to him.

Social media is many things, and not all of them are good. But the connection it offers is, perhaps, its biggest saving grace. The author paints a picture of friends and family simply being there for her father as his decline became publicly evident. In other words, continued connection for someone clearly struggling.

Do this: Connect.

7. “Let yourself get confused!”

Let The Internet Be Grimy – Ernie Smith – (Tedium)

A discussion of the internet’s messy roots, and how people unwilling to cope with a little mess are doing themselves (and the rest of us) a disservice. The messiness here are those rough, incomplete, less-than-trivial to figure out collection of sites, apps, and services. And yet ultimately we all figure out and are better for it.

You are going to have to deal with janky interfaces, built by people who love and care about what they’re doing, but who don’t have the money or research capabilities of your favorite local billionaire. If we are going to protect the good, interesting, chaotic parts of the internet, we need to be willing to tell people to suck it up and experience some jank.

As one example, Mastodon isn’t “immediately intuitive” to many, so they bail. Yet it has the potential to be what many are looking for: something outside the control of billionaires and corporations. We’re willing to complain, but we’re not willing to suck it up and learn. Thus, we get what we get, and possibly what we deserve.

Do this: Suck it up. ( for those so inclined.)

More random links & thoughts


Arthur C. Brooks – (How to Build a Life, at The Atlantic) – Honestly, this has justified my subscription to The Atlantic several times over. (Though even without, I’m finding it a valuable publication.) You may also recognize Brooks from a book I sometimes reference: “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life”. Brooks is the source for takeaway #5, “An explosion of nonsense”.

I’m building and keeping a list on the sources page.


I thought you might be interested in my adventures with Midjourney to generate this week’s image. The prompt used was: “photorealistic image of three men collaborating to create a drawing of a tiger”. Midjourney insisted on making the tiger part of the action, and had occasional difficulty counting to three. Here’s an example of another run:

Example of Midjourney results.
Click for full-sized image. (Image: Midjourney)

At least the fingers look more-or-less natural (a longstanding issue with AI generated art).

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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