Sunday, March 15, 2009

Age, narcissism, and fish

MacArthur genius Robert Sapolsky is interviewed on NPR about "Does Age Quash our Spirit of Adventure" and how a 20-year-younger assistant's musical listening habits drive him crazy. That prompted him to figure out how radio stations target audiences: the heuristic is that what you listen to when you are about 14 determines what you listen to for the rest of your life, and that by age 35 most people don't care about new music "but you can sell Billy Joel to those people for the rest of their lives". Same kind of results for food and body piercing :)

Hmm, that upcoming Styx, REO Speedwagon, and 38 Special concert is lookin' real good to some of you right now, admit it.

Is this related? A Slashdot article about "Narcissistic College Graduates in the Workplace". Maybe it is all the fault of Mr. Rogers (who actually did live in my neighborhood when I was sabbaticalling at SEI).

What about fish? Yes, Sapolsky talks about Nebraskan sushi-eaters in the interview I mentioned above, but what I am thinking about is an article about the Nature Conservancy teaming up with Morro Bay fisherpeople to figure out how to bring back the fish. Pretty amazing quote:
Things didn’t work out for other Morro Bay fishermen, either. Once an active port with a thriving industry for groundfish — including rockfish and sablefish — by the 1990s the fishery was dying a very public death. Most of the fish processors blew town. The boatyard and boat mechanics left. Between 1990 and 2006, the amount of seafood that annually crossed the docks at Morro Bay and neighboring Port San Luis plummeted from 14 million pounds to 1.2 million.

Trivia: one of Sapolsky's MacArthur award colleagues that year was David Rumelhart, of PDP/neural network/connectionist fame.

Bonus: I still can't figure out if Juan Enriquez's TED talk makes sense. Even if it doesn't make sense it is amusing and some of his visual are funny, especially the one where the people in the swimming pool have a power strip floating in the middle of the water. Yikes.