html5 – the initial elements

Let’s start with a simple HTML page which will illustrate the HTML5 changes; I will use an example for the demand & supply curves, just displaying a table and a chart picture.

Every SGML document (from which the HTML format is extended) starts with a DOCTYPE declaration, which associates it with the appropriate Document Type Declaration (DTD).

An XHTML1.0 (the latest HTML standard before HTML5) page has a declaration like this:

<!--DOCTYPE html
          PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"

This is the HTML5 doctype:

<!--DOCTYPE html>

That’s it. Just 15 characters. Already a nice change.

Continue reading “html5 – the initial elements”

Demand & supply

The demand and supply analysis is one of the main tool available to see how a market (the grouping of buyers and sellers for a specific good or service) behaves.

The demand curve is the equation (and the related graph) depicting the relationship between the price of a certain good or service, and the amount of it that consumers are willing and able to purchase at that given price. Continue reading “Demand & supply”

[Link] The risks of committee thinking

Tim Harford writes about how to avoid the “groupthink risk”: the tendency of committees to congeal around a particular point of view, reassured by the fact that everybody agrees with everybody else, and nervous about expressing dissent (highlighted in 1972 by the psychologist Irving Janis in his famous analysis of the Bay of Pigs fiasco).

The risk of committee thinking is that – paradoxically – a group of people may end up considering fewer alternative points of view than a single person.

Irving Janis argued that someone should always play the role of devil’s advocate, and different people should play the role at different times (the Catholic church invented the idea in the late 16th century.)
Experiments showed that if there was a single dissenter in the room, the experimental subject was far more likely to resist social pressure and pick the correct pair of lines. This was true even if the dissenter himself was also wrong. What mattered was that he said something different.