Tuesday, June 15, 2004

From Glen Whitman: the Two Things.

A few years ago, I was chatting with a stranger in a bar. When I told him I was an economist, he said, “Ah. So… what are the Two Things about economics?”

“Huh?” I cleverly replied.

“You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, here are the Two Things about economics. One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Ever since that evening, I’ve been playing the Two Things game. Whenever I meet someone who belongs to a different profession (i.e., a profession I haven’t played this game with), or who knows something about a subject I'm unfamiliar with, I pose the Two Things question. (read the rest, including a long list of Two Things for various professions ...)


I don't normally quote so extensively, but i love how the Two Things game gets to the heart of what a field is all about. Even if you're not as clever as Glen's contributors (i'm not), it can really help to think at this most basic level.

My contribution -- The Two Things about Church:

  1. The purpose of the church is to express God's love to humanity (including members of the church itself)
  2. The church is like a body, with Christ as the Head

10:13:03 PM #  Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.  comment []  trackback []

I'm an easy mark for a good visualization, and interested in words, so how could i not love this geographic display of generic names for soft drinks?

It doesn't show the term that must be hiding behind some of the Other answers from New England: "tonic". Despite living there for 13 years, it always made me think of drinking medicine.


9:52:41 PM #  Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.  comment []  trackback []

There's a new page of favelets at the ESV web site, including mine from this earlier post. I especially like the one that opens a search box on the side (IE; Netscape). I guess you have to be a bit of a geek to like these (or even appreciate them), but i like the way they transform complex URLs into simple one-click operations. Isn't that what computers are supposed to do?


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