Weekly Wisdom Roundup #202 – July 25th 2013
Here is a music mix put together by Miguel Barbosa for visitors who enjoy listening to music while reading.
Genre(s): NuDisco, House
Women making waves in the Muslim world – via The Center for Investigative Reporting – Malala Yousafzai gave a stirring speech at the U.N. last Friday, her first major appearance since being shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban in October for her efforts to promote girls’ education in the country.
Video: Meet global corruption’s hidden players – via Video on TED.com – When the son of the president of a desperately poor country starts buying mansions and sportscars on an official monthly salary of $7,000, Charmian Gooch suggests, corruption is probably somewhere in the picture. In a blistering, eye-opening talk (and through several specific examples), she details how global corruption trackers follow the money — to some surprisingly familiar faces. Global Witness co-founder Charmian Gooch exposes how a global architecture of corruption is woven into the extraction and exploitation of natural resources.
Global Ocean Heat & Salt Content – via NASA.gov – Data distribution figures for temperature and salinity observations, temperature and salinity anomaly fields for depths 0-2000m, heat content and steric sea level (thermosteric, halosteric, total). Temperature anomalies and heat content fields are detailed in World Ocean Heat Content and Thermosteric Sea Level change (0-2000 m), 955-2010. The same calculations have been extended to keep the fields current and include fields of salinity anomalies, and steric sea level components. Explanation of differences in heat content between published work and online values is outlined in the notes.
Atul Gawande: How Do Good Ideas Spread? – via www.newyorker.com – In our era of electronic communications, we’ve come to expect that important innovations will spread quickly. Plenty do: think of in-vitro fertilization, genomics, and communications technologies themselves. But there’s an equally long list of vital innovations that have failed to catch on. The puzzle is why.
The Republic of Choosing: Behavioral Economics In Government – via Boston Review – Cass Sunstein went to Washington with the aim of putting some theory into practice. As administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) during President Obama’s first term, he drew on the behavioral economics he helped develop as an academic. In his new book, Simpler, he reports on these efforts and elaborates a larger vision in which they exemplify “the future of government.”
Inside the Miscellaneous Folder – via www.tempobook.com – In any workflow taxonomy for classifying anything from individual to-d0 lists and desk drawers to countries and large corporations, there are things that require more trouble to classify than they are worth. If you’ve done your job right, you’ll achieve a 80-20 split, where 20% of the taxonomy captures 80% of the action in clean-edged ways, and the remaining 80% that contains the 20% of special cases, outliers, exceptions and so, can all be lumped together under something analogous to a folder marked “miscellaneous.”
Maps Show How Poverty Has Moved To The Suburbs, Become More Racially Diverse – via Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation – It’s not your imagination: cities are getting richer, and suburbs are getting poorer. As a recent Brookings Institute report pointed out, more poor inhabitants of the U.S. live in suburbs than in cities and rural areas. That’s evident from even a cursory look at the Urban Institute’s new maps that look at poverty and race in the U.S. between 1980 and 2010.
A new film shows how much we knew about Internet Surveillance – via Columbia Journalism Review – There was a moment in Terms and Conditions May Apply, a new documentary about the dangers of using the Internet, when I started feeling nervous about the iPhone in my bag. The sales rep for a security and surveillance company was in the middle of showing how the gadget he sells can suck data from smartphones, and he stopped for a second and noted that iPhones—to a degree unusual even among data-gathering devices—collects reams of information about their owners. After the movie, as I pulled out my phone to answer a text, find a wine store, and decide whether I should take the subway or a cab to the party I was late for, I felt apprehensive. What was the phone recording about me? What could it tell someone else? Did I have any choice, at this point, but to hand over these details to this sleek black slab?
Cutting Shapes – How House Music Really Hit The UK – via Greg Wilson – During recent times I’ve been intrigued to hear about the growing schism on the House scene here in the UK, brought about by the introduction, primarily by young black dancers, of ‘foot shuffling’ (aka ‘cutting shapes’), an increasingly popular style of dancing that has been met with much hostility in certain quarters, and, somewhat bizarrely, resulted in shufflers being banned from some clubs for dancing in this way. The accusation is that not only do they take up too much dancefloor space, but there’s a general ‘moodiness’ with regards to their attitude.
Comedian Aisha Tyler Talks About Flipping Off Failure : Code Switch : NPR – via www.npr.org – “I felt like if I was going to have people sit down and give me a week of their life, it shouldn’t be a waste of their time.” The take-away is to be your authentic self, follow your dreams, and don’t let failure and humiliation hold you back. Tyler tells 33 stories of her own humiliations and failures as proof that you can and will survive, and says she has enough left over to write another book.
How superficial details influence perceptions of what is scientific – via Wiley Online Library – Previous research indicates that superficial details can influence judgments about science. The current research investigated whether the content of research influences judgments about whether research is scientific. In Experiment 1, participants judged topics and equipment associated with natural science to be more scientific than topics and equipment associated with behavioral science. Experiment 2 found that natural science topics combined with natural science equipment were rated as more scientific than all other combinations. Experiment 3 replicated these findings and found that research using natural science topics and natural science equipment was also judged to be more important. Thus, although science is defined by its method, the topic being investigated and the equipment being used influence judgments about what is scientific.
Neuromarketing Hype – via mindhacks.com – Slate has got a great article that takes on the newly fashionable field of ‘neuromarketing’ and calls it out as an empty promise.
How do we change behaviour? Make it simple – via EconPolicyBlog – This new report from the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute includes a set of interviews with leading figures from behavioural science and discussions of ongoing work examining the ways that social psychology and behavioural economics can contribute to understanding behaviour change in areas such as health, energy usage, and savings.
I can take the risk, but you should be safe and other diff in situations involving risk and decision making – via SJDM – Prior research on self-other differences involving risk have found that individuals make riskier decisions for others than for the self in situations where risk taking is valued. We expand this research by examining whether the direction of self-other differences reverses when risk aversion is valued, as predicted by social values theory (Stone and Allgaier, 2008). Two studies tested for self-other differences in physical safety scenarios, a domain where risk aversion is valued. In Study 1, participants read physical safety and romantic relationship scenarios and selected what they would decide for themselves, what they would decide for a friend, or what they would predict their friend would decide. In Study 2, participants read public health scenarios and either decided or predicted for themselves and for a friend. In keeping with social values theory, participants made more risk-averse decisions for others than for themselves in situations where risk aversion is valued (physical safety scenarios) but more risk-taking decisions for others than for themselves in situations where risk taking is valued (relationship scenarios). Further, we show that these self-other differences in decision making do not arise from incorrectly predicting others’ behaviors, as participants predicted that others’ decisions regarding physical safety scenarios would be either similar (Experiment 1) or more risk taking (Experiment 2) than their own decisions.
Was America’s Economic Prosperity Just a Historical Accident? – via nymag.com – What if everything we’ve come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? And what if that coincidence has run its course?
Why Everybody Loves Tesla – via Businessweek – That the company has come this far is no small achievement. But the next phase of Tesla’s growth is going to be exponentially more challenging. Tesla’s ambition isn’t merely to win the title of hottest car in Silicon Valley, it’s to simultaneously become the next Ford Motor (F) and ExxonMobil (XOM)—to be a profitable, mass-scale manufacturer and fuel distribution network. Not even Henry Ford tried to pull all that off.
Art as Alternative Investment Creates Storage Business Tax Haven – via SPIEGEL ONLINE – To avoid paying taxes, the rich are emptying their bank accounts in Switzerland and investing in art. This has spawned a new business of storing such works tax- and duty-free in warehouses across the world.
High Noon for film incentives – via www.cjr.org – The reason filmmakers shot much of Lone Ranger in New Mexico and then dropped in some favorite Utah red rock backdrops, Salt Lake Tribune film critic Seans Means explained recently, is money—specifically, financial incentives, including tax rebates, offered by state governments. In short, New Mexico gave The Lone Ranger a better deal.
Google Databoard for Research Insights – via VizThinker – Google has entered the custom infographic creation game. They’re new product, Databoard for Research Insights, lets you choose a set of data, select from a set of info nuggets and place them into an infographic. As with most new Google products, they’ve got a short explainer video to introduce it.
WebDev Summer Reading List – via alistapart.com – Presenting the second annual ALA Summer Reading Issue—a deep pool of editor’s picks from the recent archives of A List Apart, sprinkled with some of our favorite outside links. We’ve become keenly aware the web has moved beyond the desktop: to screens large and small, to data connections both strong and weak. Has our understanding of web design moved along with it? The following articles brilliantly sidestep the dogma—app vs. native! responsive vs. device-centric!—and speak to the why of our new, multi-device discipline.
MIT Is Making A Road Frustration Index To Measure Stresses Of Driving – via Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation – Getting in the car can be a real hassle. The scientists at MIT are using elements of a lie detector hooked up to drivers to figure exactly how stressful it really is, and which places are the most stressful to drive.
Video: DJ decks made of… paper – via Video on TED.com – “I love paper, and I love technology,” says physicist and former sheep herder Kate Stone, who’s spent the past decade working to unite the two. Her experiments combine regular paper with conductive inks and tiny circuit boards to offer a unique, magical experience. To date, applications include a newspaper embedded with audio and video, posters that display energy usage in real time, and the extremely nifty paper drumkit and set of DJ decks she demonstrates onstage.
Visualizing uncertainty still unsolved problem – via flowingdata.com – Data from an experiment may appear rock solid. Upon further examination, the data may morph into something much less firm. A knee-jerk reaction to this conundrum may be to try and hide uncertain scientific results, which are unloved fellow travelers of science. After all, words can afford ambiguity, but with visuals, “we are damned to be concrete,” says Bang Wong, who is the creative director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The alternative is to face the ambiguity head-on through visual means.
NewBook: Big Data– via Information Society – Covering everything that’s happening today with information technology in one book is a monumental challenge. As if to acknowledge that difficulty, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier, authors of Big Data, begin by describing the data’s magnitude. They note, for instance, that the amount of data now stored around the world is an estimated 1,200 exabytes (itself an already dated and debatable number), which can be expressed as an equally incomprehensible 1.2 zettabytes. “If it were all printed in books, they would cover the entire surface of the United States some 52 layers thick.”
The Joy Of Illustrated Maps In The Era Of Google Earth – via Smashing Magazine – In my career as a freelance illustrator, map-making has become a favorite specialty of mine. With each map assignment, I virtually travel across the globe, visiting places I’ve never been. Most recent was a “trip” to New Zealand for a sampling of local Wellington beer for Draft Magazine. My maps are designed to appear next to magazine stories about trips to faraway places, or about the best restaurants in a nearby neighborhood
Tutorial: Making Choropleth Maps in QGIS – via xocas.com – Geographic information systems, GIS, let you analyze and present geographic data. And visualizing and providing context for geographic patterns is an essential skill for a Graphics Editor. This is the tutorial we run thru in class: the exercise was to make a choropleth map of unemployment rates by county, tho I may have overcomplicated it a bit at the end, trying to make a value-by-alpha map.
Data Viz- Startup Universe – Mapping Connections Between Startup Companies, Founders and Investors – via VizWorld.com – Infothestics points us to a new tool from the folks at visual.ly called “Start Up Universe“. It’s an interactive visualization of the large Crunchbase database, showing the various connections between startups, founders, and venture capital companies that fund them.
Infographic: Pay for doctors is supposed to depend on the time – via Washington Post Graphics – Pay for doctors is supposed to depend on the time and intensity of the procedures they perform. But the estimated duration of medical procedures used by the American Medical Association and the government are so exaggerated that many doctors averaged more than 24 hours of work in a single day. Records show that 340 doctors at outpatient surgical clinics in Florida performed at least 16 hours of procedures per day, even though most clinics are open for about 10 hours
DataViz- The Incredible Rise of Migrants’ Remittances – via worldbank.tumblr.com – Migrants send more than 500 billion dollars to their home countries. After 2000, those remittances have rapidly overtaken official development aid. Explore the trends in this interactive map.
Tips From Leading Design Entrepreneurs – via Co.Design: business + innovation + design – For the modern-era business to succeed, design has to be built in from the ground up. It’s a tall order for designers, who now–more than ever–need to nourish their inner CEO. Graphic designers Jessica Karle Heltzel and Tim Hoover set out to anthologize exactly how today’s designers can navigate startup and business culture. The consensus? A textbook understanding of the designer’s role might stifle good work. By embracing the unknown–boardrooms, the language of the Internet, or even tawdry television–along with the principles of graphic or industrial design, designers can create the pathbreaking products with the potential to define an era.
‘Embryo’, a treehouse which helps people reconnect with nature – via Design Taxi