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To the first approximation...

The success of the human race, and also some of its uglier deeds can be traced to our highly developed sense of what is true to the first approximation.

"to a first approximation" definition

1. to a first approximation - When one is doing certain numerical computations, an approximate solution may be computed by any of several heuristic methods, then refined to a final value. By using the starting point of a first approximation of the answer, one can write an algorithm that converges more quickly to the correct result.
2. to a first approximation - In jargon, a preface to any comment that indicates that the comment is only approximately true

Leaving aside the dark side of racism and bigotry this technique frees us from slow tedious calculations for every new situation we meet. For example simple rules about fungi or berries can save your life, and if you miss out on the delights of a rare delicacy then that is a small price to pay.

And in general life I find it increasingly useful to draw up such rules, and I want to hear yours, we need to build a common knowledge base.

My rules:

All timeshares are cons.
If you don't understand the deal, don't do it.
Nothing is too complicated to be explained on more than one side of one sheet of paper.
Americans can be trusted.
Politicians can't.
Anyone who claims to be a funny, crazy guy isn't.
Modern Jazz isn't worth listening to.
Old men in pubs are.
Young people's opinions aren't worth spit.
Young people should be listened to with respect and patience.
Nobody cooks breakfast like your mum did.
No bed is as comfortable as your own.
Trusting your first instincts is rarely wrong.
Stupid haircut equals stupid person.
Anyone one wearing stacks or a syrup can't be trusted.

So what have I missed?


Go on then, I'll ask it. What about American politicians? If Al Gore's mockumentary is representative of the standard of truth to be expected from American politicians then the answer would obviously be that they're no better than any other politician. On a trust scale of 0 to a trillion, politicians rate 0 with standard deviation of 0.

I once ran a small Hall of Residence. Of the foreign students, the most trustworthy was an American: the least trustworthy were an American couple. Fortunately, it was pretty obvious from the outset, and was according to stereotype. He was a Republican from the interior; they were Democrats fron the East Coast.

Old Engineering Adage:
If it LOOKS right, It'll BE right

What "everyone knows" is usually wrong.

This is precisely what I was looking for for this evening's theme in Focus. Theory of the way it is.

Anyone who tells you how hard they work is usually lying. (also how smart they are, how good they are, etc.)
Psychologists/psychiatrists generally have significant personality problems.
Ditto for grossly overweight people.
Ditto for people with a lot of tattoos/piercings.
Wearing your baseball cap backwards immediately lowers your IQ 50%.

Stacks or a syrup?

With respect to trusting Americans, I’m an American and you can trust me. Please send me $100,000 USD, and I’ll be happy to invest it for you over here for just a “small” commission.

How about

If the offer/deal appears to be too good to be true, then it is too good to be true

I go by "Live as though you're going to die tomorrow, but plan as though you'll live forever".

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