The basic laws of human stupidity

From this article comes a nice, succinct definition of “stupidity”:

The Third Basic Law assumes, although it does not state it explicitly, that human beings fall into four basic categories: the helpless, the intelligent, the bandit and the stupid. It will be easily recognized by the perspicacious reader that these four categories correspond to the four areas I, H, S, B, of the basic graph (see below).


If Tom takes an action and suffers a loss while producing a gain to Dick, Tom’s mark will fall in field H: Tom acted helplessly. If Tom takes an action by which he makes a gain while yielding a gain also to Dick, Tom’s mark will fall in area I: Tom acted intelligently. If Tom takes an action by which he makes a gain causing Dick a loss, Tom’s mark will fall in area B: Tom acted as a bandit. Stupidity is related to area S and to all positions on axis Y below point O.

A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

When confronted for the first time with the Third Basic Law, rational people instinctively react with feelings of skepticism and incredulity. The fact is that reasonable people have difficulty in conceiving and understanding unreasonable behaviour. But let us abandon the lofty plane of theory and let us look pragmatically at our daily life. We all recollect occasions in which a fellow took an action which resulted in his gain and our loss: we had to deal with a bandit. We also recollect cases in which a fellow took an action which resulted in his loss and our gain: we had to deal with a helpless person. We can recollect cases in which a fellow took an action by which both parties gained: he was intelligent. Such cases do indeed occur. But upon thoughtful reflection you must admit that these are not the events which punctuate most frequently our daily life. Our daily life is mostly, made of cases in which we lose money and/or time and/or energy and/or appetite, cheerfulness and good health because of the improbable action of some preposterous creature who has nothing to gain and indeed gains nothing from causing us embarrassment, difficulties or harm. Nobody knows, understands or can possibly explain why that preposterous creature does what he does. In fact there is no explanation – or better there is only one explanation: the person in question is stupid.

Note that I’m in no way implying that I’m NOT stupid 🙂


It’s like, argh, you know?

Stating that she wasn’t in the best place right now, and that things have been sort of you know, Belmont resident Megan Slota announced Thursday that sometimes she just feels….

Due to a general sense of…well, it’s hard to explain, the 28-year-old dental hygienist reported that she just needed to work some stuff out, and that she would probably be a little I don’t know for a couple weeks or so.

“It’s not anybody’s fault, honestly,” said Slota, standing in her kitchen and holding a mug of tea with both hands. “Sometimes I just get like this where it’s like I’m not, I guess, whatever. We don’t have to get into it right now.”

Added Slota, “I’m really, like, argh, I don’t know.”

Ah, The Onion… 🙂

Shit my dad says

I think this is the first time I ever found something funny on Twitter. Some guy is twittering things his 73-year-old father says, and it’s hilarious:

“Don’t touch the bacon, it’s not done yet. You let me handle the bacon, and i’ll let you handle..what ever it is you do. I guess nothing.”

“The dog don’t like you planting stuff there. It’s his backyard. If you’re the only one who shits in something, you own it. Remember that.”

“The worst thing you can be is a liar….Okay fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but THEN, number two is liar. Nazi 1, Liar 2”

“Here’s a strawberry, sorry for farting near you…Hey! Either take the strawberry and stop bitching, or no strawberry, that’s the deal.”


My conversation with Cleverbot

At you can talk to a computer program. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be very clever yet:

User: Do you know the difference between white and black?
Yes I know the difference.
User: Tell me.
Cleverbot: I have ears.
User: That’s not a very good answer.
Cleverbot: Yes. You think I am christina : I lied.
User: My my, the turing test is still way off for you, now isn’t it?
The cuisine is more sweet than Biblical.
User: You call yourself clever?
Cleverbot: Hell yes I do.
User: Because a point about the turing test implies a reply about cuisine and the bible?
Cleverbot: What the heck?
User: Ok, simple things then.
Cleverbot: Like?
User: Nice weather, hey?
Very nice!
Has it been this nice for a long time?
Cleverbot: About 7 years.
User: 7 years of nice weather – wow. You are one lucky bot!
Cleverbot: We don’t have ‘food’, only Mars bars.
Cleverbot (To myself): I love Mars bars.

Mingling in the international community

A friend of mine wrote this:

In international environments, such as Geneva, you will encounter people from many different cultures and backgrounds. Without proper precautions, encounters with people so different from yourself might quickly go awry. Having observed interactions between many people for a while, I was able to compile the following list of tips to ensure smooth sailing in a sea of sensitivities. Note that this list only contains only genuine items – techniques tried in practice. All of them have been observed, not made up, it all really happened, and I was lucky enough to be present to bring you these gems of diplomacy.

Tips for people from …

Check your passport to see if any of these tips apply to you.


  • Cook and eat like in you’re in China, preferably while other people are trying to eat.
  • Explain that Falung Gong members are involved in politics and not just religion. Proceed to say that therefore it’s logical that they’re being persecuted.


  • Ask someone for his or her nationality. Remind them how many days it took the Nazi’s to conquer that country.


  • Make sure your presence is noted. Use your accent to alert a whole room or train at once.
  • Mix in “y’know”, and “like” when speaking a language other than English to make things clear.
  • Act surprised whenever somebody has never heard of something only found in the US.

Upon encountering people from…

Once you’ve figured out the nationality of whomever you’re talking to, use the following tips to get a conversation going.
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Great rant

I’m not really an Apple hater, but I immensely enjoyed this rant:

“I admit it: I’m a bigot. A hopeless bigot at that: I know my particular prejudice is absurd, but I just can’t control it. It’s Apple. I don’t like Apple products. And the better-designed and more ubiquitous they become, the more I dislike them. I blame the customers. Awful people. Awful. Stop showing me your iPhone. Stop stroking your Macbook. Stop telling me to get one.

Seriously, stop it. I don’t care if Mac stuff is better. I don’t care if Mac stuff is cool. I don’t care if every Mac product comes equipped a magic button on the side that causes it to piddle gold coins and resurrect the dead and make holographic unicorns dance inside your head. I’m not buying one, so shut up and go home. Go back to your house. I know, you’ve got an iHouse. The walls are brushed aluminum. There’s a glowing Apple logo on the roof. And you love it there. You absolute MONSTER.”

More (highly recommended 🙂 )