The Brian Williams Memorial Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect Reading Room

Michael Crichton coined the term “Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” after his friend the Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Gell-Mann’s name was used to invoke the concept that we all may be experts in particular fields (his being physics). The amnesia effect is that you read a story in a publication on a subject you know about and find numerous errors. You then turn to the next story (on a subject you know less about) and, forgetting your earlier experience, assume it is any more accurate.

Here we can note stories so clearly wrong that they should bring into question anything you read from the writer or publication. They can’t be just typos. They should be thought-through stupidity or something else evidencing that the writer (or speaker) has no fundamental understanding of what should be a simple thing.

For example, we can consider Brian Williams-class innumeracy:


The latest innumeracy to hit my radar is:

From one commenter: “The Eurobike he was riding is priced at £240 or $310. The £30 referenced in the video was the cost of the train ride :-)”


Still, a really cheap bike.


The ChiComs really have tanked cheap bike prices over the last 15 years or so.

During the Reagan years, the Taiwanese had gotten into the department store bike market and were undercutting the Huffy/Murray/Columbia classes.

I assembled bikes in a rotation of toy and department stores. There was a Taiwanese $59.99 all-steel 26-inch ten-speed. I really learned something about labor costs and manufacture.

The Taiwanese bikes came much more assembled than the American counterparts (e.g., the cables were all strung and the handle bars were pre-taped). Basic assembly could be done in 10 minutes v. 45. But, the manufacture quality was so low that doing adjustments (e.g., straightening and centering brakes) added quite a bit.


I blame Bezos:

‘One day of war equals three days of demining’: The process of exploding Russian ordinances | Watch (


How does an “all-electric” car have a turbocharged 4.0-liter engine?


Volvo – as Swedish as a Dim Sum restaurant. Remember when Europeans used to complain about Americans buying up all their manufacturers?


Anybody heard of supply and demand?

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Was this before or after the bike fall?

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Do damage:

Then do stealth edit leaving semi-retraction* to the end:

  • No “Correction” noted in headline or at beginning of article.