Weekly Wisdom Roundup #199 June 10th

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw


-Via – This Is Indexed

New York Times Explores The Greatest Inventions in Human History – via NYT #Innovation

Mary Meeker’s Latest Internet Trends Report via AllThingsD – Meeker, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner, highlights growth of Internet usage and other activities on mobile devices and updates that now infamous gap between mobile internet usage and mobile monetization.But there are many new additions. Among them are the rise of wearable tech as perhaps the next big tech cycle of the coming decade and a look at how Americans’ online sharing habits compare to the rest of the world. #Tech & Innovation

NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection programvia The Washington Post – Through a top-secret program authorized by federal judges working under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the U.S. intelligence community can gain access to the servers of nine Internet companies for a wide range of digital data. Documents describing the previously undisclosed program, obtained by The Washington Post, show the breadth of U.S. electronic surveillance capabilities in the wake of a widely publicized controversy over warrantless wiretapping of U.S. domestic telephone communications in 2005. These slides, annotated by The Washington Post, represent a selection from the overall document, and certain portions are redacted. #Current Affairs

The Domestic Surveillance Boom, From Bush to Obamavia Mother Jones – Recent reports have detailed how the National Security Agency (NSA) has been vacuuming up millions of Americans’ phone data, online communications and files, and credit card transaction details. How did we get here? #Current Affairs

Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’ – The Chronicle Reviewvia The Chronicle of Higher Education – The nothing-to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. The data-security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the “most common retort against privacy advocates.” The legal scholar Geoffrey Stone refers to it as an “all-too-common refrain.” In its most compelling form, it is an argument that the privacy interest is generally minimal, thus making the contest with security concerns a foreordained victory for security. #Current Affairs

How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating?via Quora – How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating? #Questions

Neurocinematics: The Neuroscience of Filmvia FORA.tv – Uri Hasson, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, reveals neurocinematics, the neuroscience of film. #Biology

BBC Documentary – Horizon: The Creative Brain How Insight Worksvia YouTube – It is a feeling we all know – the moment when a light goes on in your head. In a sudden flash of inspiration, a new idea is born. Today, scientists are using some unusual techniques to try to work out how these moments of creativity – whether big, small or life-changing – come about. They have devised a series of puzzles and brainteasers to draw out our creative behaviour, while the very latest neuroimaging technology means researchers can actually peer inside our brains and witness the creative spark as it happens. What they are discovering could have the power to make every one of us more creative. #Creativity

Homeless-By-Choice Entrepreneur Is Launching His Startup From The Woodsvia Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation – All an Internet entrepreneur really needs to get started is a laptop, batteries, and decent Wi-Fi. Swedish developer Thomas Backlund is trying to make his startup dreams come true from a tent. #Minimalism , Tech, & Innovation

How To Survive A Mass Extinction via www.npr.org – In her new book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction writer Annalee Newitz looks back at Earth’s previous mass extinctions to see what lessons might be learned, and how earthlings might prepare themselves to survive a future planet-wide catastrophe. #Risk Mgmt

Martin Villeneuve: How I made an impossible filmvia Video on TED.com – Filmmaker Martin Villeneuve talks about Mars et Avril, the Canadian sci-fi spectacular he made with virtually no money. In a charming talk, he explains the various ways he overcame financial and logistical constraints to produce his inventive vision of the future. #Creativity & Innovation


On the Unraveling of Scriptsvia www.ribbonfarm.com – I’ll define scripts as collections of learned patterns of behavior that reliably supply both psychological and material resources for survival. These lend meaning and sustenance to power the script, respectively. Both are necessary, and any loss on one front, if not quickly reversed, usually leads to loss on the other, triggering a vicious cycle of increasingly severe script breakdown. #Behavioral Sciences

You vs. Corporationsvia BillMoyers.com – What would happen if an individual tried some of the same legal-ish tricks that Apple and other corporations use to avoid taxes? #Current Affairs

The Surprising Psychology of How Names Shape Our Thoughts via www.newyorker.com – Similar linguistic associations influence how we think and behave in other ways. For example, if I told you that I was driving north across hilly terrain tomorrow, would you expect that drive to be mostly uphill or mostly downhill? If you’re like most people, you associate northerly movement with going uphill, and southerly movement with going downhill. According to research by the psychologists Leif Nelson and Joseph Simmons, this association produces some strange biases: people believe that a bird will take longer to migrate between the same two points if it flies north than if it flies south; they expect a moving company to charge eighty per cent more to move furniture north rather than south; and, as a different study concluded, they assume that property is more valuable when it sits in the northern part of town. Apparently these quirks stem from the decision of early Greek mapmakers to plot the northern hemisphere above the southern hemisphere—a decision that frustrated, among others, an Australian named Stuart McArthur, who proposed a corrective map that reversed the projection. This may not be the sort of effect that Köhler envisaged, but it does suggest that arbitrary linguistic traits have an outsized influence on our thoughts and actions. #Behavioral Sciences

Charles Darwin The Gentleman Scientistvia Dublin Review of Books – He was also to draw on his knowledge of the industrial process and the specialisation or division of labour seen there to develop ideas about the specialisation of life forms that exploited new niches. His own era, the improving age, provided his theory with a central metaphor. His theory reflected the ethos of imperial capitalism: the economy of life was dynamic, and competition was not only inevitable but beneficial.It is characteristic of his personality that he embraced not only the theoretical world of high science but also the practical (and decidedly non-genteel) world of the dog breeder and pigeon fancier. The central analogy of the Origin is between artificial selection (which he researched at least in part by becoming a pigeon enthusiast himself) and natural selection. #Biography

Accidental rewildingvia www.aeonmagazine.com – In places once thick with farms and cities, human dispossession and war has cleared the ground for nature to return. #White Blackswans

It’s small world after allvia bookforum.com – A new book sheds light on how little of the world we see through our browsers. #Books

Alex Laskey: How behavioral science can lower your energy billvia Video on TED.com – What’s a proven way to lower your energy costs? Would you believe: learning what your neighbor pays. Alex Laskey shows how a quirk of human behavior can make us all better, wiser energy users, with lower bills to prove it. #Behavioral Sciences

Political Extremism Is Supported by an Illusion of Understanding
via pss.sagepub.com – People often hold extreme political attitudes about complex policies. We hypothesized that people typically know less about such policies than they think they do (the illusion of explanatory depth) and that polarized attitudes are enabled by simplistic causal models. Asking people to explain policies in detail both undermined the illusion of explanatory depth and led to attitudes that were more moderate (Experiments 1 and 2). Although these effects occurred when people were asked to generate a mechanistic explanation, they did not occur when people were instead asked to enumerate reasons for their policy preferences (Experiment 2). Finally, generating mechanistic explanations reduced donations to relevant political advocacy groups (Experiment 3). The evidence suggests that people’s mistaken sense that they understand the causal processes underlying policies contributes to political polarization # Behavioral Sciences

The Science Behind Conspiracy Theories via www.pointofinquiry.org – From 9-11, to the death of Osama bin Laden, to the Boston Bombings, there’s been a consistently bizarre and troubling reaction by some members of the public.We’re referring to the people—a minority, to be sure, but a surprisingly large one—who always seem to think there’s some kind of cover up. The U.S. government, they feel, was really behind the attacks on, uh, itself. And as for Bin Laden—well, he isn’t really dead. #Behavioral Sciences

Prepare For A Personalized, Preventative Health Care Revolutionvia Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation – The key point is that health care is no longer a specialists’ domain. The availability of cheap medical devices, like handheld ultrasounds and mobile eye exam machines, means citizens can take health into their own hands. Embedded sensors, on tattoos and subcutaneous chips, will soon transmit live updates to doctors’ tablets. #Innovation & Technology

A Story of Fake Data Checkingvia Andrew Gelman– Regarding academic vs political discourse, I agree completely that academics often seem to care more about short-term winning than about getting things right. My point in that blog post was not that academics are better or more honorable than politicians, but rather that the rules are different. We would like an academic to engage in open discourse and not use the truth as negotiation chits, and when they behave in political ways we are unhappy. In contrast, a politician is supposed to negotiate. If a politician makes concessions without getting anything in return, we respect him less. #Data Science Case Study

Hans Rosling explains population growth and climate changevia flowingdata.com – Because every day is a good day to listen to Hans Rosling talk numbers. In this short video, Rosling uses Lego bricks to explain population growth and the gaps in wealth and carbon footprint. # Dataviz

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10. June 2013 by Miguel Barbosa
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