household gadgets
Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds
New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.

“As a rule, strong feelings about issues do not emerge from deep understanding,” Sloman and Fernbach write. And here our dependence on other minds reinforces the problem. If your position on, say, the Affordable Care Act is baseless and I rely on it, then my opinion is also baseless. When I talk to Tom and he decides he agrees with me, his opinion is also baseless, but now that the three of us concur we feel that much more smug about our views. If we all now dismiss as unconvincing any information that contradicts our opinion, you get, well, the Trump Administration.

“This is how a community of knowledge can become dangerous,” Sloman and Fernbach observe. The two have performed their own version of the toilet experiment, substituting public policy for household gadgets. In a study conducted in 2012, they asked people for their stance on questions like: Should there be a single-payer health-care system? Or merit-based pay for teachers? Participants were asked to rate their positions depending on how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the proposals. Next, they were instructed to explain, in as much detail as they could, the impacts of implementing each one. Most people at this point ran into trouble. Asked once again to rate their views, they ratcheted down the intensity, so that they either agreed or disagreed less vehemently.

Sloman and Fernbach see in this result a little candle for a dark world. If we—or our friends or the pundits on CNN—spent less time pontificating and more trying to work through the implications of policy proposals, we’d realize how clueless we are and moderate our views. This, they write, “may be the only form of thinking that will shatter the illusion of explanatory depth and change people’s attitudes.”

Thoroughly Modern Mary: A Case of Victorian Identity


Mary Sutherland has always been my favorite ACD female character. But aside from how I connect with her, I’ve been intrigued by Holmes’ interest in her as opposed to her problem. I think she may be the only client Holmes found more interesting than her plight. And in an effort to sort out why that might be, I’ve had to consider what she might represent to Holmes and the London in which she would have lived. 

Mary is a typist in a time when typewriters were a relative novelty. Having access to a typewriter in the 1880s-1890s would have been like having access to a personal computer in the 1970s to early 1980s. She’s making money from this cool new machine doing a job that’s decidedly non-domestic. She made a living that required fluent and rapid reading skills when almost 1/5 of England’s population was illiterate.  If we were to update her story to the present day (and not merely as a throwaway scene to show how clever Sherlock is, ahem), she might have a STEM-related career, perhaps at a small company rather light on eligible bachelors.

Women doing paid work isn’t new or even that unusual. When families need more cash than men can earn, women work for pay. But the Victorian era was a time when middle-class women were pressured to become the consumers of fancy new household gadgets and were barred from the new professions and the then-developing concept of a “career.” But Mary Sutherland comes from a family who has owned a successful business and made sound investments. She’s part of the middle class that looked to define taste and respectability, the latter including confining women to the domestic sphere. Her family isn’t in need of the money, and a woman earning money for her own enjoyment still holds hints of rebellion.

Her dress is described in lavish detail, and it’s the lavish touches that make it clear that she’s a modern young woman. I don’t know how well her color combinations would have worked for those with Victorian ideas about fashion, but it’s clear that she’s buying her clothing herself, getting the latest fashions, and probably buying ready-made when her grandmother might have never touched a dress not made by someone she knew personally. Mary Sutherland is fashion forward. 

Sherlock represents the push to form a better society through science. He seeks justice at the end of the microscope. Mary represents the promise and the perils of this better society. She’s a woman who can wield the newest gadgets but is lost when confronted with the ancient problem of evil. 

Gifts for The Zodiac Signs
  • Aries: Aries loves surprises!Something that's been thought out will be appreciated more than fancy gifts. They love being on trend so anything that's new and popular is the way to go.
  • Taurus: Taurus loves comfort and luxurious gifts. A plush blanket, anything that is soft and warm will warm Taurus' heart. If in doubt, a fresh batch of cookies will do them wonders.
  • Gemini: Gemini are very curious people, think of things they've expressed interest in and go from there. Something that a Gemini will always welcome as a gift is gadgets, whether it be phones, laptops, tablets.
  • Cancer: Cancer loves to see that you've put effort into their gift, even if some think you have gone above and beyond, they will praise you for it. A picnic, DIY's, and household gifts are the way to go.
  • Leo: Leo loves to give gifts more than receive, however, won't shy away when being made a fuss of. Dramatic gifts are the way to go, bling, clothing and tickets to their favourite band or singer.
  • Virgo: Virgo loves gifts that they can tell you've thought out, they hate gifts that have been chosen at random. They love practicality so how-to books, household appliances or gadgets are the way to go.
  • Libra: Libra's love to receive gifts, something wit beauty and interest is preferred. If searching for jewellery, think opals. If in doubt, get something that they can put on display in their home, whether it be knick knacks, art or a great wine.
  • Scorpio: Scorpio loves the mystery in receiving gifts. If you're considering buying clothing items, think dark colours like black and maroon. If in doubt, they would be happy to receive cash and shop for themselves.
  • Sagittarius: Sagittarius are adventurous and spontaneous people. When considering gifts think exotic, like tours or trips away. If this is a little too expensive than think unusual, art shows, adventuring parts of town you haven't seen before.
  • Capricorn: Capricorn appreciates practicality in gifts, sometimes they even prefer an errand being run rather than something in fancy wrapping. However, if this isn't what you want to give then look for comforting things. They appreciate gifts such as bath robes or books, anything that allows them time for relaxation.
  • Aquarius: Aquarius' love unusual out of the ordinary gifts that catch their eye. A unique piece of art, tickets to a runway show, new gadgets or new and upcoming trends.
  • Pisces: Pisces' love gifts that are sentimental and romantic. When searching for gifts, think creatively. A camera to snap memories, hampers or jewellery.

“look at all the stuff you can control with your phone. it’s phenomenal. … i can control the temperature from my car … even unlock your door remotely. it’s like having a personal assistant in your pocket. …as long as we look up from our damned screens once in a while, we can use these amazing advances to our advantage.”

 - jeremy renner on hi tech household gadgets