Thursday, February 18, 2016

Skills of Observation Can be Tested: How Good are Yours?

Observation skills can be tested. How good are yours?

Go to the video found at the article at and count the number of basketball passes made by the players in white t-shirts only. 

Do not read that article until
you have counted the basketball passes by the players in white t-shirts in that video there.
You are on your honor!

Watch those players in white t-shirts intensely, they are quick!

Watch the video now. How many passes?

The video tells you how many passes were made at the end. Were your right?

Then read that article.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How Much Do Experts Really Know? As Knowledge Increases, so do Overclaims of What is Actually Known

You Don't Know as Much as You Think: False Expertise is the title of an article by Jessica Schmerler at Scientific American reporting on a study by researchers at Cornell University and Tulane University published in Psychological Science.

The study found that people with a self-perceived "knowledge" of a subject tend to "overclaim" their actual knowledge in that subject. The more they know or think to know, the more they overclaim what they actually do know.

That research explains a phenomenon we have encountered repeatedly in our own research work, which is the vast overclaiming of knowledge in archaeological disciplines and related historical fields by so-called mainstream "experts". After all, who can check them for things that happened in the past?

One can see this overclaiming demonstrated particularly in so-called historical TV "documentaries", where much of the material presented often consists of nothing more than pure guesses and unsubstantiated suppositions and "overclaims" of knowledge. Things are presented as if they were "true", whereas much of what is communicated is simply the fantasy of the experts.

Given the findings of the Cornell study, one might conclude that this phenomenon of overclaiming applies to all fields of human knowledge and activity. We see this particularly among "Presidential candidates".

The "free" Abstract of the study by Stav Atir, Emily Rosenzweig and David Dunning is titled "When Knowledge Knows No Bounds: Self-Perceived Expertise Predicts Claims of Impossible Knowledge" and is found at Sage Journals at

The price to download the full article ($35) seems to be "anti-knowledge". The next step from a study of "overclaiming" might be a study of "overpricing", and whether the same human psychology is at work in both cases.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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