Summer Post #22: You Are Not So Smart

After reading this Brainpickings post “YOU ARE NOT SO SMART: A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BRAIN’S GUILE”, I was convinced I have to buy the book. It floated into my mailbox yesterday via Amazon and I can’t wait to devour it.


Check out the kinetic typography book trailer on the “PROCRASTINATION” part (towards the end of summer break I bet we are all thinking a bit about that).




“You must be adept at thinking about thinking…”

This next trailer is based on the chapter in the book called “The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy”



“When you desire meaning, when you want things to line up…you see patterns everywhere…”


I discovered that the author, David McRaney, has put together a lovely companion site with podcasts and videos about some of the concepts in his book- many of which are applicable to our upcoming Ways of Knowing unit on Reasoning.

Here’s the link:

Check out this sample about CONFIRMATION BIAS


The Misconception: Your opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis.

The Truth: Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions.




Mrs. B’s Summer Post #1

Hi all,

Just found this hilarious and cheeky exploration of what TOK is. It was made by a student and very appropos. Definitely worth a look.


Liar Liar Cheat


Pam Myer is using Sense Perception and Reasoning to “know” or “tell” is someone is telling a lie.


Why do we think it’s OK to cheat?

Liar Card Game- Questions

The point of this exercise was to examine the nature, extent, acceptability of various kinds of deception. 

1. Which cards did your group find easiest to place? Which did you find most difficult?

2. How similar or different was your order from that of other groups? Were there any surprises?

3. Were there cases where you’d need more information about the context before placing it?

4. How many of these forms of deception have you engaged in – be honest :)?

5. How widespread do you think deception is in the population at large?

6. How do you define a “lie” – which of these cards would you classify as “not a lie” and why?

7. Under what circumstances, if any, is it acceptable to mislead or deceive other people? Should we tell the truth at any cost, or are other things, such as happiness, more important?

– adapted from Richard van de Lagemaat


Read this Q & A with Ben Goldacre to find out more about distortions of science in the media.

The New Meritocracy: Color-Coded Student ID Cards

Wow, is this full of knowledge issues!

(Video at KTLA, in case the embed doesn’t work)


So what do you think? It’s interesting how the colors were chosen as well, since “black” equals the best, most positive, and “white” has the negative connotations.

Is this segregation or motivation? Can you analyze the different persepctives of all parties involved?

Is this a violation of students’ privacy, or should your job performance as a student be recognized?

Also, what are the implications of knowledge of one’s academic performance? Certainly, in this case, students who achieve at higher levels reap the benefits, if only shorter lunch lines and free football games.


Read some more about the case in these two articles and PLEASE check out viewer comments:

EdWeek Teacher: Color-Coded ID cards Sort by Test Performance

OC Register: Student IDs that reveal Test Scores Deemed Illegal

OC Register: Principal Defends Student ID Cards


Even their binders were color-coded.



Assignment: Write a brief reflection of your own thoughts on this issue after reading through the materials and discussion perspectives with your peers. Try to tease out some knowledge questions/ issues related to the topic.