Weekly Wisdom Roundup #201 – July 8th 2013

Navigate: #Activism, #Behavior, #Creativity, #Data, #Eclectic, #Humor, #Music

#Music Mix

Here is a music mix put together by Miguel Barbosa for visitors who enjoy listening to music while reading.

Sounds/Genre: 80’s remixes, indie house, nudisco, & pop
1. Kolombo – My Own Business – soundcloud.com/kolombo/kolombo-my-own-business-ep
2. Viceroy – While We’re Alone – soundcloud.com/olivernelson/viceroy-feat-ghost-beach-while
3. Little Boots – Headphones – Dimitri From Paris Remix – soundcloud.com/dfp/little-boots-headphones
4. Social Disco Club – Good Times – soundcloud.com/social-disco-club/social-disco-club-good-times
5. My Donna – Into The Grove Dimitri From Paris Re-Edit – soundcloud.com/dfp/my-donna-into-the-grove
6. Daft Punk – Get Lucky – Greg Wilson Remix – youtube.com/watch?v=VOmvtL6fBK0


Via I Love Charts

#Eclectic Topics

A Massive Collection of Logical Fallaciesvia www.nizkor.org – A fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoning. This differs from a factual error, which is simply being wrong about the facts. To be more specific, a fallacy is an “argument” in which the premises given for the conclusion do not provide the needed degree of support. A deductive fallacy is a deductive argument that is invalid (it is such that it could have all true premises and still have a false conclusion). An inductive fallacy is less formal than a deductive fallacy. They are simply “arguments” which appear to be inductive arguments, but the premises do not provided enough support for the conclusion. In such cases, even if the premises were true, the conclusion would not be more likely to be true.

The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science via medium.com – “A man with conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger, in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. But it was too early for that—this was the 1950s—and Festinger was actually describing a famous case study in psychology.

Financial Bubble Alert: Tesla Motors Might Be OverPriced via Financial Crisis Observatory – The figure shows our Alarm Index Analysis on Tesla Motors Inc.It will be no surprise to see that the steep stock price rise over the last 2 months has been the result of a bubble. The alarm index confirms that there has been a feedback mechanism on the price resulting in a faster-than-exponential growth (the hallmark of a bubble). We are now in the regime shift. The alarm index dropped back to zero and the price shows high volatility. This is a critical situation. Since the Bernanke speech earlier this week, Global Markets are back in a risk-on mode (to say the least). Inflated high-tech stocks like Tesla (or LinkedIn) are particularly vulnerable during a global correction in stock markets

Learning About Meta Datavia guardian.co.uk – Metadata is information generated as you use technology, and its use has been the subject of controversy since NSA’s secret surveillance program was revealed. Examples include the date and time you called somebody or the location from which you last accessed your email. The data collected generally does not contain personal or content-specific details, but rather transactional information about the user, the device and activities taking place. In some cases you can limit the information that is collected – by turning off location services on your cell phone for instance – but many times you cannot. Below, explore some of the data collected through activities you do every day.

A history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook.via Slate Magazine – Worries about information overload are as old as information itself, with each generation reimagining the dangerous impacts of technology on mind and brain. From a historical perspective, what strikes home is not the evolution of these social concerns, but their similarity from one century to the next, to the point where they arrive anew with little having changed except the label.

Consciousness: An Outside Viewvia www.ribbonfarm.com – Today we will answer none of these questions. In fact, we won’t even address them. These questions probe what David Chalmers calls, for good reason, the “hard problem” of consciousness. It’s a notion so slippery that some have spent their whole careers misunderstanding it, while others flirt with denying its very existence. But ours is not to get mired in this debate. Instead, we’re going to do an end-run around the hard problem of consciousness by taking the “outside view.” Rather than asking about consciousness in the context of an individual mind, we’re going to step back and take a populations-eye view of it.

Life Advice: How should a 22-year-old invest time?via Quora – Life Advice: How should a 22-year-old invest time?

Understanding Mastery as a Life Long Relationshipvia fivesensus.blogspot.com – When you attempt to master a skill, you are essentially committing yourself to a life long relationship with that skill. And just like a personal relationship, mastery relationships come packed with a wide range of feelings and emotions; from passion and excitement to longing and dissatisfaction.

Happiness vs. Meaningvia www.overcomingbias.com – The strong academic emphasis on happiness over meaning suggests that we tend to think of happiness as more what people really want; meaning is more what people pretend to want in far present-a-good-image mode. Of course the crusaders who talk the most about trying to increase the world’s happiness are mostly talking in far mode, and they mainly use that cause to create meaning, not happiness, in their own lives.

A Study of Early human dietsvia National Academy of Sciences – Cerling and his colleagues use diamond-tipped high-speed drills to extract samples from teeth millions of years old collected by fossil-hunting teams in Kenya for nearly 50 years. These samples include specimens from Homo, the human lineage; Australopithecus, the likely immediate ancestral genus of Homo; Paranthropus, whose massive jaw and huge molars have earned it the mistaken nickname of “Nutcracker Man”; and Theropithecus, baboon-like primates that have long lived beside hominins in East and South Africa.

Archetypes: Left and Right Brain User Personasvia Melting Asphalt – Today: How an understanding of brain lateralization can help us design better software.First let’s clear the air. There’s been a lot of cringe-worthy popular science written about the divided brain. The most nauseating are the articles that ask: Are you a left-brained ‘logical’ person or a right-brained ‘creative’ person?

What we look for in students via Hacker School – One of the surprising things we’ve learned while running Hacker School is that many of our students almost didn’t apply because they thought they wouldn’t get in. This includes people who are exceptional Hacker Schoolers, and who are exactly the type of people we look for.

Is oversharing unethical?via Brainiac – In a paper published earlier this year in the Alabama Law Review, Allen, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, works through the ethical implications of sharing details from your private life over social media. You might think that what you share with whom is matter of personal preference, but Allen appeals to some of western civilization’s most influential philosophers to argue that oversharing might just be unethical.

Nassim Taleb Replies to Brian Eno on Anti-Fragilityvia Longplayer Letters – I would like to reply to Brian Eno’s important letter by proposing a methodology to deal with risks to our planet, and I chose you because of your Long Now mission.First let us put forward the Principle of Fragility As Nonlinear (Concave) Response as a central idea that touches about anything.


#Activism, Ethical Issues/Dilemmas

Inequality.Is A Tool for Exploring — Income inequalityvia flowingdata.com – The Inequality.is website brings clarity to the national dialogue on wage and income inequality, using interactive tools and videos to tell the story of how we arrived at the state of inequality we find today and what can be done to reverse course and ensure workers get their fair share.

Mexico’s Female Crime Journalists – Via Youtube- We went to Ciudad Juarez to meet the journalists who cover politics and crime for the Diario de Juarez. All of them are women and they have covered more crimes than anyone we can think of. They are also some of the bravest women we’ve ever met. We followed them around the city as they covered political rallies of the ruling party, PAN, and to crime scenes, to try to understand what happened there over the past few years and why the candidates were not fully addressing the most glaring issue in Mexican politics right now.

Getting serious about the new realities of global climate changevia bos.sagepub.com – For two decades, the central challenge facing climate-change policy makers involved efforts to control emissions of carbon dioxide. While diplomats looked at many different global-warming pollutants, they designed rules that mostly focused on carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, those efforts have largely failed, which has created yet another difficult challenge for the global community: how to manage the severe impacts of a warming world. New diplomatic strategies are needed. Diplomats must work harder on pollutants other than carbon dioxide—such as soot—that will be easier to regulate and can help build credibility in the international diplomatic regime. New science shows that soot and short-lived climate pollutants actually cause almost half of current global warming—much more than thought just a few years ago. Fortuitously, these pollutants are also relatively easy to manage, and success on this front will help catalyze the political support needed for the much more difficult, yet essential, task of making deep cuts in carbon dioxide. At the same time, the authors write, new thinking will be needed on how to help societies adapt, such as building networks of experts and local officials who are on the front lines of adaptation.

How The NSA Targeted Germany and EU Buildingsvia SPIEGEL ONLINE – Top secret documents detail the mass scope of efforts by the United States to spy on Germany and Europe. Each month, the NSA monitors a half a billion communications and EU buildings are bugged. The scandal poses a threat to trans-Atlantic relations.

James Hansen: Taking heat for decadesvia bos.sagepub.com – n this interview, outspoken climatologist James E. Hansen reflects on his 30-plus years of studying climate change and warning the public about its dangers. He talks about the most recent developments in climate science and the questions still to be answered. Hansen endorses a gradually rising fee on carbon—with all proceeds refunded to the public—as the most expedient way to stabilize Earth’s climate by the end of the century. A carbon fee would, he says, spur innovation in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency. Hansen talks about the continued constraints on scientific communication under the Obama administration and explains why the Keystone XL pipeline remains a focal point for protesters. Although recently retired as NASA’s top climate scientist, Hansen intends to continue with both his science and his activism. He explains why efforts at geoengineering may soon become inevitable. He shares his concerns about the irreversible effects of continued climate change and the growing fears among many climate experts that it may already be too late to turn things around.

Rupert Murdoch knew about his papers’ bribes culture via www.cjr.org – In a blockbuster report, the UK site ExaroNews obtained a secret recording of Murdoch’s visit to his beleaguered paper at the height of the police investigation into wrongdoing there. It’s fair to say Murdoch is going to have some major headaches from this one.This outs Murdoch lying that he didn’t know about his newspapers bribing public officials for news until an internal investigation in the wake of the Milly Dowling Dowler scandal uncovered it. That’s not shocking. What’s truly stunning is that he would say it to a room full of journalists—each of whom has recording equipment at the ready.

The Drone Strike Push Notifications Apple Doesn’t Want You To Seevia Co.Exist– “We found that your app contains content that many audiences would find objectionable,” Apple wrote Josh Begley in August of 2012. The NYU grad student had designed an iPhone app that would send push notifications after a drone strike killed people overseas, and this was his third rejection notice from Apple. The first two were on technical grounds. The third, not so much.

Conspiracy Theory Visualization: The Bilderberg Group’s Connection To Everything In The World -The Bilderberg Group is 120-140 powerful people who meet each year to discuss policy. The meetings are closed to the public.This graph we found on Facebook shows the members’ connections to a ton of corporations, charities, policy groups and media. Everyone from Eric Schmidt to George Soros is a member. There are tons of conspiracy theories about the group, including that they control the world economy.We took the findings with a grain of salt–after all, it’s easy to trace an individual to a corporation and the graph doesn’t specify what influence the member wielded.

#Behavioral Sciences, Decision Making, Economics, & Psychology

Cartoon: The Scientific Method Vs Creationist Method

Influence of self-esteem, locus of control, and organizational climate on psychological empowerment in a sample of Chinese teachersvia Wiley Online Library – This study examined the effects of locus of control, self-esteem, and organizational climate on psychological empowerment in a sample of Chinese teachers. Participants were 1,272 Chinese teachers (460 men and 821 women) residing in six provinces in China. Results indicated that self-esteem was a positive predictor of psychological empowerment. Several dimensions of organizational climate, namely professional communication, decision-making, appraisal and recognition, supportive leadership, and professional growth, were also positive predictors of teachers’ psychological empowerment. Locus of control, although related to psychological empowerment, had no predictive effects when other factors related to empowerment were considered.

Do you really expect me to apologize? The impact of status and gender on the effectiveness of an apology in the workplace via Wiley Online Library – We examine the effectiveness of apology following a workplace offense, as influenced by the achieved or ascribed status (i.e., professional status or gender) of the parties involved. A total of 780 undergraduates participated in a scenario experiment. The results demonstrate that apologizing is more effective than not apologizing. Yet apology is most effective when the apologizer is a male, a manager or is a male apologizing to a female. Moreover, apology expectancy mediates the relationships between the apologizer’s status and the apology’s effectiveness: Apologies are less expected from managers and males than from subordinates and females, and the less expected they are, the greater their effectiveness. Apology expectancy has a unique effect unrelated to the apologizer’s sincerity and perceived motive.

Podcast: Animal Mindsvia Lapham’s Quarterly – Talking parrots, empathetic primates, playing dogs, and dolphins who recognize themselves in the mirror. On this episode of the LQ podcast, we talk to scientists and writers who are exploring the frontiers of animals minds. With Jane Goodall, Marc Bekoff, Frans de Waal, Virginia Morell, Irene Pepperberg, and more.

The Man With A ‘Battery Operated Brain’ via www.npr.org – Andrew Johnson (also known as “Cyber AJ”) a few months ago was a young, 39 year old, early-onset Parkinsonian who tremored constantly. His hands shook. His neck crimped. His body was stiff. He had balance problems, voice problems, trouble speaking. He can make those problems disappear now by hitting a switch. It’s amazing to see. This video begins with him looking totally normal; he talks a bit, then, when he’s ready, he pushes the “off” button, and the disease comes roaring back. Instantly.

Effort Aversion: Job choice and compensation decisions overweight effortvia www.sciencedirect.com – The current research proposes that people avoid choosing effortful work even when they predict that it will provide them with a better working experience, a phenomenon we call Effort Aversion. In each of the studies, we presented a choice between an effortless but boring job and an effortful but enjoyable job. Study 1 found that participants were willing to accept lower wages to work at the effortless job, but they preferred the effortful job. This preference reversal is explained by the greater consideration wage setters gave to effort. Study 2 is a consequential lab experiment, in which participants were assigned to work at a job based on the wage they set. Those whose wage demands led them to be assigned to the effortless job experienced lower enjoyment than those who were assigned to the effortful job. Study 3 demonstrates that preference reversal was not attenuated by drawing attention to the hedonic experience afforded by work.


How to design breakthrough inventions via 60 Minutes – Global firm IDEO incorporates human behavior into product design — an innovative approach being taught at Stanford. Charlie Rose reports.

How To Launch Anythingvia Smashing Magazine – Launching a new product — especially your first — can be incredibly daunting. Even knowing where to turn for help can be hard. So many blog posts are full of free advice on how to successfully launch that I almost didn’t write another one. But many of the posts I read for my first product launch didn’t help me very much. The material was too fluffy, the marketing ideas were vague, or the advice didn’t apply to my tiny business.

How To Decide What Ideas To Prototypevia Co.Design: business + innovation + design – At the Google Ventures Design Studio, we have a five-day process for taking a product or feature from design through prototyping and testing. We call it a product design sprint. This is the fifth in a series of seven posts on running your own design sprint. Access pars 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

Malcolm Cowley on the Four Stages of Writing: Lessons from the First Five Years of The Paris Reviewvia Brain Pickings – Among his keen insights on the craft, synthesized from the interviews, is a theory of how the creative process works, outlining the four stages of writing:There would seem to be four stages in the composition of a story. First comes the germ of the story, then a period of more or less conscious meditation, then the first draft, and finally the revision, which may be simply ‘pencil work’ as John O’Hara calls it — that is, minor changes in wording — or may lead to writing several drafts and what amounts to a new work.

Gay Talese’s Daily Routine, Plus a Money-Saving Tip from the Godfather of Literary Journalismvia Brain Pickings – When I am writing, each morning at around eight o’clock I am at my desk with a tray of muffins and a thermos filled with hot coffee at my side, and I sit working for about four hours and then leave for a quick lunch at a coffee shop, followed perhaps by a set or two of tennis. By 4:00 p.m. I am back at my desk revising, discarding, or adding to what I had written earlier. At 8:00 p.m. I am contemplating the numbing predinner delight of a dry gin martini.

Ted Talk: Anatomy of a New Yorker cartoon – Via Ted – The New Yorker receives around 1,000 cartoons each week; it only publishes about 17 of them. In this hilarious, fast-paced, and insightful talk, the magazine’s longstanding cartoon editor and self-proclaimed “humor analyst” Bob Mankoff dissects the comedy within just some of the “idea drawings” featured in the magazine, explaining what works, what doesn’t, and why.

#Data, Data Visualization, Infographics, Statistics

A Mega-list of Visualization tutorialsvia Compulsive Data – The tutorials below explain some of my favorites open-source technologies. I created some of them and used the others. I have rated them based on clarity of explanation to the intended audience. A low rating doesn’t necessarily indicate a bad tutorial, but rather how well the content is communicated to a beginner.

NYT Guide to Big Data via NYT – Collection of articles on big data.

Typical Information Visualization Process:

Via Ben Jones @ DataRemixed Slide from a presentation on Data Visualization

Map Stack: Designing a Map in Easy and Fun Waysvia information aesthetics – Map Stack [stamen.com] by Stamen Design aims to make it radically simpler for lay people to design completely unique, personalized maps.The online visual map design service provides easy access to the color, opacity and brightness of any map background, road, label, or satellite imagery. Users can also create custom-made image overlays and layer effects, or layers that are used as cut-out masks for other layers.

Mapping The Climate Change Deniers Making Our Lawsvia Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation – This map shows where climate-denying legislators come from–and how many weather-related disasters their states have faced in the past few years.

Infographic on Whale Hunting – via – AlvaroValino – This double-page spread infographic shows the rise and fall of whaling from 1900 to the present. On its second page, today´s captures are arranged by countries and conected to the number of each species caught. The graphic closes a feature article on the last viking whalers, a dying way of life in Norway.

The surprising seeds of a big-data revolution in healthcarevia Video on TED.com – Collecting global health data was an imperfect science: Workers tramped through villages to knock on doors and ask questions, wrote the answers on paper forms, then input the data — and from this gappy information, countries would make huge decisions. Data geek Joel Selanikio talks through the sea change in collecting health data in the past decade — starting with the Palm Pilot and Hotmail, and now moving into the cloud.

Mad scientist sees future where we sell our quantified selves on eBay via www.wired.co.uk – The much-publicised Scanadu Scout, which is slated to ship in the first quarter of 2014, is the result of his last two years of work. The puck-like device is a sleek vital-signs recorder — tracking everything from blood pressure, body temperature and heart rhythm via myriad sensors. The gizmo then beams your vital signs to an app loaded on your phone or tablet, where it’s yours to keep forever. De Brouwer designed the Scanadu Scout to be a DIY doctor’s office, minus the frustration, endless waiting, and lack of empowerment that’s often associated with the health care system.

Inside a Startup’s Plan to Turn a Swarm of DIY Satellites Into an All-Seeing Eye via Wired.com – Here is the soaring vision that Skybox’s founders have sold the Valley: that kids from Stanford, using inexpensive consumer hardware, can ring Earth with constellations of imaging satellites that are dramatically cheaper to build and maintain than the models currently aloft. By blanketing the exosphere with its cameras, Skybox will quickly shake up the stodgy business (estimated to grow to $4 billion a year by 2018) of commercial space imaging. Even with six small satellites orbiting Earth, Skybox could provide practically real-time images of the same spot twice a day at a fraction of the current cost.

Data Viz Research Paper on Plotting Symbolsvia www.nature.com – Choose distinct symbols that overlap without ambiguity and communicate relationships in data.

Mike Bostock’s beautiful visualization examplesvia www.thefunctionalart.com – I’ve never met Mike Bostock in person, but it seems to me that he belongs to this group. Bostock designed the D3 Javascript library, which is been widely used to create visualizations today. As I mentioned a week ago, I’m trying to learn how to use it myself. I’m relying mostly on Scott Murray’s Interactive Data Visualization for the Web, but the supporting documentation provided by Bostock himself (here, here) seems to be superb. Please watch his talk at Eyeo 2013 above, and read the related article in which you can explore all the examples he showed.

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08. July 2013 by Miguel Barbosa
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