Dick Burkhart, Seattle, Wash.
decisions based on three simple rules.
First, my coworker/neighbor/best
friend has it and they love it. Second,
it’s what I’ve always used and I see no
reason to change. Third, it was on sale.
Michael Ellison, Clayton, N.C.
Bruce Bower’s excellent article on
“Simple heresy” (SN: 6/4/11, p. 26)
showcases the blindness of mainstream
economics. Namely, economics is often
more like the weather than a game of
dice: chaotic — with catastrophes, cycles
and all manner of weird behavior. Yet
economists continue to use statistical
models that work “until they don’t.”
experience to read its contents at
each arrival. I sincerely have found a
far better understanding of “Science”
and “science” [see “Textbook science
defers to supremacy of Science,” SN:
6/4/11, p. 2]. Please continue your good
work helping the layperson to under-
stand his world.
Newton Quinn, via e-mail
So it is not surprising that investment
strategies that use simple heuristics
may do better than the pseudoscience
of economists. Meanwhile, real science
is not stymied by chaos, as climate
science is now demonstrating.
I have thought for years that economists and their ilk must live in some
parallel universe where all decisions
made by consumers are rational and
well-thought-out, with reams of diligent research to back every choice.
In my experience most people make
Social influence, minus the ads
Regarding Rachel Ehrenberg’s “A few
master switches can rule a network”
(SN: 6/4/11, p. 5): Cute article, but
everyone seems to have missed the
big point on online social networks.
Most material posted on these sites
is not read by anyone but the poster.
Go ahead, shove an ad onto Facebook
at the 20 percent most effective nodes
and it will be ignored by 99 percent of
Flo Muller-Reed, via e-mail
The rough representation of the
intersection of the Red Sea and Gulf
of Aden rifts in the map on Page 23
of “Death of a continent, birth of an
ocean” (SN: 7/2/11, p. 22) is not as
precise as current scientific maps of
the rift. A wealth of literature suggests
that the rifts avoid the strait between
Arabia and Africa and instead meet in
the Afar region.
Thanks from a new reader
I am new to Science News magazine.
I discovered your publication by
accident. It has been an enjoyable
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