Fridays with Manny


What Is Noise?

We are all surrounded by a lot of information and misinformation. As a result, many of us make decisions based on our gut feelings; which can lead to devastating results, as I found out in the book titled “Noise. A Flaw in Human Judgement”. The author, Daniel Kahneman who won the Nobel Prize in 2002 in Economics, and the 2013 President Medal of Freedom, joined forces with two brilliant researchers — Professor Oliver Sibony and Professor Cass R. Sunstein. 

They call “noise” the way people make errors in judgments. Among many examples, are decisions made by the judges, who for the same crime can send a person to prison for 3 years or 13 years. Their decisions seemed influenced by the day of the week and depended on if their sports team won or lost the game over the weekend. Or the time of day – before the lunch or after. 

When you read the book, you will learn that “noise” can have an effect on many aspects of our lives. Therefore, please be sure to check the validity of the sources of the information you are using. Sometimes “the noise” can be just shared gossip and not only among children.

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Fridays with Manny


Old and New

I visited a client recently, who owns a building that was built in 1904, and survived the 1906 earthquake. Originally it was built as two units, Edwardian style. There is a separate carriage house in the backyard, which was used for housing horses. Presently, the main building changed from the original design. It is divided into five units plus a rental unit in the back.

In San Francisco, many buildings’ original design has changed. Some of them are under historic preservation and cannot be demolished unless of course, the new building will preserve the façade of the old one. This is exactly what happened to four one-story buildings on Market Street, across from Zuni Café. When we went for dinner there recently, I noticed that the old buildings were gone, to be replaced by a huge new high-rise with the fake old façade. Progress is marching on. However, we do not have to forget about the past. Not all buildings can be destroyed.

During our recent trip to the Gold County, we encountered three buildings which were built about 170 years ago.

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Fridays with Manny


History Lessons

Through the years I’ve read and listened to quite a few books written by Bill Bryson; most of them about travel. Therefore, I was intrigued by the title, “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. After many hours of listening to the detailed accounts of how our world was created, based on his thorough review of every possible source, my feeling was how little “experts” really knew. 

For example, the age of our earth had many estimates through the years. From 75,000 years to the current estimate 4,543 billion, plus or minus about 50 million years. The same goes for the history of the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. In spite of many speculations, no one really knows how they disappeared. 

While listening, from time to time my thoughts were directed to the process of the account of Creation, as it appeared in the Torah. Tomorrow, Saturday, October 2nd starts a new cycle of reading Genesis, where it is written that the process took six periods called days. This corresponds to the evolutionary epochs, described by science. During many years, many large animals and birds have become extinct for various reasons, while small birds like hummingbirds survived, being around for about 42 million years. I was fortunate to capture three images of one bird in our neighborhood.

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Fridays with Manny


The Back Roads

During our recent trip to Arnold, CA (I wrote about it recently), we decided to explore the area. After all, Calaveras county is located in the heart of the Gold Country. Since we’ve been to this area before, we visited many towns where California started its history almost one hundred seventy years ago, after the beginning of the Gold Rush. But we never visited San Andreas, the county’s seat. 

To get there, we chose a country road, which was not paved for at least fifty years. It had an appropriate name, Sheep Ranch Road, and to say that we had a bumpy ride is an understatement. Nevertheless, it took us to the top of the ridge with its incredible view. 

We saw some sheep, but what was more interesting to encounter were goats with very unusual horns.

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Fridays with Manny


Practice Makes It Better

You might have heard the joke attributed to different personalities: “A pedestrian asked a musician, ‘How do you make it to Carnegie Hall?’ Without a pause the artist replied, ‘Practice’”.

I thought of this joke while looking down from the balcony of the house we were staying in at the Mountain Retreat, which I wrote about last week. It was located in front of the Driving Range, where people playing come to practice their swings before going (driving) to the golf course. 

It was interesting to observe how different players are. When I complimented a young man, whose ball regularly flew past the 100ft mark, he responded, “It is all in the grip.” I think this remark relates to any occupation. Find your grip and practice. This is exactly what I did at night; using the Driving Range to practice shooting (photographing) the stars.

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