Mischievous persons

Hey, at least it dropped in April :)

Curious Minds… What’s the deal with April Fools Day?

Scrolling through Instagram during a couple minute brain rest, I came upon a story about an arrest that was made at an Ikea. A consumer purportedly placed fake arrows in the store leading to nowhere. I chuckled and then thought…wait a minute, I have chuckled at this story before… years ago… when it was fake!

Sure enough, a quick dig in the google-a-tron and there it was, the original story from 2018 written by a humor news site. This 2021 version was apparently in Chicago while the original was based in Atlanta.

The story, although fake, reminded me of many April Fool’s day pranks I played when I was younger and the voluminous amount of laughter captured during those great prank days.

Then I began to wonder… where did April Fool’s day even come from???

Like other days celebrated, there is some mystery and possible truths.

The first possible link for April Fools dates back to the change in calendars from Julian to Gregorian in 1563. Apparently the Julian calendar began the new year around April 1st while the Gregorian calendar supported the New Year on January 1st.

As it goes, since the internet was many years off from being invented, the ability to actually relay this change was not the swiftest. Thus many still celebrated the new year on April 1st but ended up being mocked via jokes called April fools.

Another possible link connects the start of Spring (the vernal equinox) with April fools. The story goes (and is certainly true in Colorado) that Spring is notorious for having very unpredictable weather thus fooling people. This avenue doesn’t involve pasting paper fish on people’s backs though, which sounds like a practice we should bring back.

2022 will be the year of the April Fish! (Poisson d’avirl)

Now, my budget and scope were limited in college, but I did have some enjoyable pranks (some not limited to April Fool’s day). Most enjoyable was probably gluing quarters to the ground outside of Tower Hall, as intoxicated youths strove in vain to pickup said quarters.

Additionally, many dorm rooms were filled with balloons on more than one occasion. Beef bullion cubes in the community shower heads was another gift that kept giving.

History provides some other excellent pranks, a favorite:

John Partridge, an astrologer in the 1700’s was known to sell fake predictions. Johnathan Swift played a excellent prank, predicting Partridge’s death of a raging fever and then on the prediction night published an elegy of Partridge’s death. (Reminds me of Hackers with Chris O’Donnell)

Except wait.. hold the phone. I was apparently this many years old when I learned that it IS NOT Chris O’Donnell who plays the lead in Hackers but Jonny Lee Miller. WTH! I have been lying to people for years apparently. Interesting note, Jonny Lee Miller would go on to play Sherlock Holmes on the TV show Elementary…

Any pranks you want to share?

Leave a comment

Lies, Damned Lies, & Statistics

What is confirmation bias? It is the psychological tendency where people tend to remember and interpret information that supports preexisting ideas or beliefs they hold.

Really it’s a fancy way of saying that people prefer information that supports them being correct and tend to ignore information that differs from their opinion. A pretty nifty way of our subconscious brain making our conscious brain feel good about itself by reinforcing opinions we’ve already come to a conclusion on.

Objectivity is for suckas.

Unfortunately, people tend to be impressively poor at being objective. That’s bad. People tend to be extremely poor at being objective when there are divisive topics in the news and media.

Would it surprise you to know that when discussing or “critically” thinking about political statements, the human brain uses the orbital frontal cortex and ventral striatum. For those reading who aren’t PhD’s in neural anatomy (or don’t want to google it), the frontal orbital cortex is involved in processing… emotions. The ventral striatum involves reward and pleasure.

Essentially, we process political information using a part of the brain tied to emotions and then when we have resolved any “conflict” in the statement our reward centers activate. As George Carlin would say, “Pretty neat deal”.

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with reason, oddly quiet during thoughts around political topics.

Consider these two circumstances and potential confirmation bias you may have had.

During the Presidential Run of 2020, then President Trump was lambasted over a Russian Taliban Bounty program. Trump stated it was “fake news” a popular term he used and that it was disinformation. The Washington Post rated his statement about it as 4 Pinocchios. Then candidate Biden attacked Trump significantly for not standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last week it was announced, albeit quietly, that the US intelligence community has low confidence this program actually ever existed. It likely appears to be a misinformation campaign most media bought into.

Second, during the Presidential Run of 2020, Fox News ran many supporting stories around the notion that there was widespread voter fraud due to issues with the Dominion Voting Systems. Liberal media touted these as baseless while conservative media supported these claims.

The judicial fallout from this was that no suit put forward showed evidence worthy enough to bring a case to bare and late last month, Dominion Voting filed a 1.6 billion dollar defamation lawsuit.

Politically charged stories that likely had those ventral striatum going wild!

How’d you do?

Leave a comment

Let’s Get Visual

Minard’s Map

This is a pretty popular map out there and it has made the rounds in some different circles but never in the Am I or Are the Others Crazy realm.

This visual is a time constrained graph with temperature and army size components. I highly recommend using the original source link and blowing up the map to see it in all its glory. It is an amazing visual of Napoleons Russian campaign.

The fact that this visual was made in 1869 is absolutely mind blowing!


If you are a rabid reader of this publication and you live in New York, I have one question for you…

Governor Andrew Cuomo? Just… why?

April 19th, 2021. Just this past Monday, this guy made the statement: “New York’s success in dealing with COVID is inarguable,”.

I’m sorry, “huh?”. Studies suggest New York state failed WORST in the nation when accounting for health and employment consequences. WORST. Lost more jobs per capita than any state but Hawaii and saw the second most excess death behind Mississippi.

This guy wrote a book about his pandemic leadership and is now being investigated for forcing his state-paid staff to work on the book. Investigations because of improper situations with female staffers and funders. Hid Covid-19 data and lied to the United States Justice Department.

Garbage heap of a person. If you live in New York, PSA, your state is going to shit with this guy at the helm.

I’d rather have Mohammed Aisha (If you don’t know who that is, click on the link this story is WILD). Disagree?

Leave a comment

World of AI

One of the big topics in AI these days are neural networks. Now the nitty gritty of these can easily get into the weeds, but the digest version of neural networks is: a computer system modeled on the human brain. Basically a set of models or algorithms work to recognize patterns the way a human brain does.

To provide some context, the human brain is comprised of roughly 200 billion neurons. That’s a lot. These cells are connected to each other by hundreds of trillions of connections.

Now, computers are cool and they do some really neat stuff. My new Apple laptop for example has the Apple M1 chip and it has 8 cores for processing tasks.

There is a company called Cerebras Systems out of Silicon Valley that is working to make computer chips that are designed to run those neural network algorithms really fast. How fast?

Their new chip (pictured above) is the size of a dinner plate. It has 850,000 cores and 2.6 trillion transistors.

To run this big boy, a single chip requires 20,000 amps of current being fed into it!

We can do some AI damage with this bad boy. Agree?




I’ll be honest, part of me feels bad for LeBron. The guy will never be Jordan and that has got to stick in his craw something fierce. Also, the king cannot get out of his damn way. There should be a feature on twitter for people that when turned on, just sends their tweet to another person who has to approve it. Trump, AOC, Lebron, all examples of people who need this function.

Goes to show, you can be really good at basketball and still just a complete imbecile.

On Wednesday, Lebron posted a tweet: “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY” and a picture of a police officer involved in a shooting. Then he quickly deleted it, but not before it spread like wildfire. His explanation included this "“I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate”. He further went on to say that his anger is still there for what happened to the girl and may justice prevail.

What ole king James failed to mention is that the “lil girl” was attempting to STAB two other girls whose lives were saved by the officer. He failed to mention that his initial tweet was itself hate filled and stoked the flames of an already stressed situation in this country.

He also failed to take accountability for his stupid, uninformed initial post. You would think a net worth of 500 million dollars would allow him to buy a clue…

The TwitterPool is magical, for it continues to give, week after week.

Give the gift of this newsletter if you are in a giving mood.

Share Am I or Are the Others Crazy

Photo of the Week

March 2020, California.

Just south of Big Pine along the 395… You can almost see the 395 there on the flat plain between the sand & dirt and the mountain peaks.

Blowing sands, probably 40 MPH winds or so. Sand got everywhere…EVERYWHERE

Worth It! Want to Share?


Quote of the Week

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion ... draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises ... in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate

-Francis Bacon (Third most popular Bacon today, behind Bacon Bacon and Kevin Bacon

What a fun week! April fish was definitely a deviation but an interesting topic. Hopefully between that and giant dinner sized computer chips, you had some fun. As always, so excited to have you here, thanks for reading!

If you think someone would enjoy this newsletter, please pass it on.

Share Am I or Are the Others Crazy

Or if you are new and looking to see how you can get more.

Looking for more, excited to support this endeavor? Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram. Check out Your Data Story as well for more data science content!


IG: JasonWilcoxPhotography