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There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process mail that had illegible addresses. One day, a letter came addressed in shaky handwriting to God, but with no actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about.

The letter read:

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Why do you believe the things that you believe? We like to think that our beliefs are our own, formed from our unique, individual experiences, informed by our own logic, devoid of outside bias. But "confirmation bias" is one factor that quietly pushes us to one side of the fence or the other. In short, people agree with things they already agree with.

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Humans have what is called a “negativity bias” because we’ve evolved to react to threats. Like Google, we’re pattern discovery machines; when something stands out, like a threat, our minds highlight it. The negativity bias is leveraged by the media to increase profits. The fact is, bad news gets more attention, more clicks, and leads more revenue for the publication. Google also reacts to this pattern by giving people what they seemingly want - more bad news.

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When people are performing a search online for a product or service, they rarely do so in a linear fashion. The path they take often seems random to an outside observer, and when mapped can look like a bowl of cooked noodles. This path seems far more like a scavenger hunt than anything else, because when a consumer begins their search they are in many ways ignorant of what they really need. The process of search is one of discovery and self-education. In spite of the confusion, there is a method to the apparent madness.

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Summary

On May 30th, 2003 it was reported that Barbra Streisand sued a man claiming an invasion of her privacy because he shared aerial pictures of her Malibu home. Streisand inadvertently attracted more attention to her home by trying to suppress the images. The Streisand Effect is when the action of suppressing something to reduce or remove visibility it causes the opposite to happen. Similar terms include blowback and astroturfing. 

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