An engrossing discussion about what you'd have to do in order to succeed (or even stay alive) if you were somehow transported back to Europe in 1000 A.D.
Personally I agree with the pessimists among the commenters. Day-to-day life skills and language would be nearly impossible to master in the time you had before you starved or were knocked on the head or burned or drowned or run down by a galloping horse. Where do you go to the bathroom? What if you look the wrong person in the eye, or don't salute the right person? How long would you last if pressed into farm labor?
via Boing Boing
There's an interesting article at Wired about about a competitor for the Netflix algorithm prize who is using behavioral economics techniques instead of mathematics-based techniques. He doesn't reveal many specifics, except that he's using the concept of "anchoring," which is the idea that exposure to numbers will influence how a person makes choices (like whether to buy something, or, in this case, the how to rate a DVD).
The example given in the article is simple: if a person watches three movies in a row and gives them each 4 stars, then watches an even better movie, they would probably give that movie 5 stars, because it's one better, right? But if they watched 1-star movies in a row, then followed them by the same good movie, they would probably give it a lower score, like a 3 or a 4.
(Also worth reading: a recent article at the New Yorker on the subject of anchoring and why we make systematic irrational decisions.)