|||

highlights

All sections →
Elon Musk attempts to explain Twitter to normal people in court Dec 5, 2019 highlights & tech & twitter

Every part of this trial sounds made up. They should just air it in lieu of a Good Fight episode. Elizabeth Lopatto’s writeup is worth worshipping.

Spiro then coined the worst acronym I’ve heard in years, and I edit stories about aerospace so I know from bad acronyms. It is: JDART, for joking, deleted, apologized-for, responsive tweets.

Incredible.

But there’s at least one abstract takeaway that’s interesting to me:

At this point, Wood tried to enter an email exchange into evidence, resulting in a great deal of confusion on Judge Wilson’s part about how email reply chains work. (You read from the bottom.)

[…]

At this point, the pedo guy” Twitter thread was entered into evidence, and the befuddled court had to be told that the reply chains work the other way on Twitter — the first tweet is at the top, and the last tweet is at the bottom.

Yet another example of the ways in which the world’s accelerating faster than many institutions can keep up.

TED and YouTube launch global climate initiative Dec 5, 2019 highlights & change & systems & crowdsourcing

Anyone, anywhere can propose an idea. YouTube creators will help spread the word, and the best proposals could be put into motion with the help of businesses, policymakers, and and celebrities supporting the initiative.

The initiative will culminate in a summit in Bergen, Norway next October to share the solutions that came out of the effort. Countdown will work with a panel of experts and scientists to vet proposals, and the strongest will be turned into TED talks. The talks will be filmed at the summit in Norway, in front of a hand-picked audience capable of turning those ideas into action,” according to a press release.

An interesting partnership, and yet another example of crowdsolving”: trying to find solutions to wicked problems via the mobilizing power of the Internet.

I certainly expect to see some concepts from Drawdown on stage.

Embracing multilingualism to enhance complexity sensitive research Dec 2, 2019 highlights & research & complexity

In this research article, the authors point out that the cycles of translation from English to the language of the context and back again can be costly and inconvenient. But, they point out three benefits to investing in translation and multi-lingual research spaces.

First, the authors argue that disseminating the results of research in local languages not only makes your research accessible to stakeholders, but it also helps stakeholders value all research more. They write:

Translations are expensive and time-consuming, so a large part of our work stays in English unavailable to the local stakeholders, who may have participated in the research process. This is an issue not only because it reduces their possibilities to learn from the systematized outcomes of the processes in which they participate, but because it reduces their perception of the value of research. When stakeholders feel that researchers write exclusively for other foreign researchers, their readiness to support and fund research may decrease.

The second benefit:

Second, academics who don’t read English may find it difficult to continue building on knowledge published only in that language.

This takeaway is obvious. So many publications are translated to English, but the reverse is rare.

Third, and by no means least, naming complex issues or ideas only in English impoverishes other languages. When we forsake finding a word for a particular concept or idea in a given language, we impoverish that language.

This is quite insightful. Language is intrinsic to organizational learning. If the concepts advanced in our research are never introduced to the local language, then it may be impossible for that learning to take root.

The authors recognize a fascinating tension in this work. They demonstrated the possibility of multi-language research spaces via a virtual research commons for their project.

What we have learned from working with different languages and acknowledging them during the full research cycle, including the dissemination stage, is that they are time- consuming, costly and even a bit messy and uncomfortable. For example, in the case of the virtual space above, some participants complained that having to find their own language among texts written in other languages begs an extra effort from them and slows them down. However, the alternative is renouncing inclusion and plurality, which is at odds with the challenge faced by academia to address complex societal problems.

There is a cost to complexity, but solution spaces need to be more complex than the problems they’re resolving.1


  1. See Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety; http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/ASHBBOOK.html, p. 207

The ‘Amazon effect’ is flooding a struggling recycling system with cardboard Dec 2, 2019 highlights & change & systems

Chinaʼs 2017 decision to turn away Americaʼs trash has left the recycling industry reeling as it figures out what to do with all the packaging online shoppers leave behind.

Recycling is a funny thing. For me, it’s almost a guilt-free act. Sure, I’m using all of these boxes, but they’re recycled, so who cares?” But increasingly recycling and the trash bin seem like equivalent destinations. It’s even imaginable that recycling is worse, because recycled objects might travel farther before being dumped into a landfill anyway.

Itʼs very difficult for American material recovery facilities to satisfy that standard because Americans put plastic bags and chewing gum and bowling balls and dirty diapers and everything else you can imagine into the recycling containers,” Biderman says. The strict rules also apply to plastic and other recyclables, but cardboard and mixed paper have seen the sharpest drops in prices.

I’m tempted to blame people: It’s too bad we can’t be more considerate. Have you ever looked in the recycling bins in public receptacles?” Et cetera. But really, we should be designing systems that make this easy—or incentivize good behaviours somehow. Either way, the current situation is insufficient:

There has also been a noticeable shift in the source of the cardboard, says Coupland: itʼs coming from peoplesʼ homes instead of brick-and-mortar businesses. Thatʼs bad news, since retailers are less likely to generate cardboard thatʼs too filthy to be recycled. Consumersʼ cardboard boxes are often mixed with other, dirty recyclables like ketchup bottles or soda cans that spill their contents over the cardboard. On average, about 25 to 30 percent of the materials picked up by a recycling truck are too contaminated to go anywhere but a landfill or incinerator, Coupland says.

John Kerry, Arnold Schwarzenegger wage ‘World War Zero’ on climate change Dec 2, 2019 change & systems & activism & highlights

Today former Secretary of State John Kerry and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared war on climate change. The two led an all-star cast of lawmakers and celebrities to launch an initiative called World War Zero, which aims to get individuals, businesses, and governments to drastically slash greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative, for now, boasts a lot of glitzy names without many details on how it will achieve its goal. Its bipartisan founding members — which include Bill and Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson, Jimmy Fallon, Cindy McCain, and Al Sharpton, and more than 70 other notable names — plan to hold 10 million climate conversations” in 2020, The New York Times reported over the weekend.

Seems like an incredible effort. And it’s an excellent angle. War”—when declared by major public figures—certainly catches the public attention.

Kerry compared the urgency of climate change to the challenges facing America during World War II. When America was attacked in World War II we set aside our differences, united and mobilized to face down our common enemy,” Kerry said in a statement. We are launching World War Zero to bring that spirit of unity, common purpose, and urgency back to the world today to fight the great threat of our time.”

Of course, actually waging war doesn’t always garner the unity or have the results we aim for, especially when it’s a war against a social issue.

Combining semantic and term frequency similarities for text clustering Nov 30, 2019 highlights & automation

Existing options for algorithmic evaluation of the similarity of documents depend on shallow measures: does this word seem important? What words is it used with? How frequent are they? Which is why this is cool—in this paper, the authors compare the language in a given document with broader knowledge of words and their synonyms:

In this paper, the Frequency Google Tri-gram Measure is proposed to assess similarity between documents based on the frequencies of terms in the compared documents as well as the Google n-gram corpus as an additional semantic similarity source.

And it works!

The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed measure improves significantly the quality of document clustering, based on statistical tests. We further demonstrate that clustering results combining bag-of-words and semantic similarity are superior to those obtained with either approach independently

Bad RCS implementations are creating big vulnerabilities, security researchers claim Nov 30, 2019 highlights & tech & systems

Scary:

One issue identified on an unnamed carrierʼs implementation could allow any app on your phone to download your RCS configuration file, for example, giving the app your username and password and allowing it to access all your voice calls and text messages. In another case, the six-digit code a carrier uses to verify a userʼs identity was vulnerable to being guessed through brute force by a third-party. These problems were found after researchers analyzed a sample of SIM cards from several different carriers.

RCS is supposed to be a big deal. It’s fascinating how these system-wide policies can be messed up in microsystem implementations.

2019 Tech Trends Report — The Future Today Institute Nov 29, 2019 futures & highlights & change & tech

This report is intentionally broad and robust. We have included a list of adjacent uncertainties, a detailed analysis of 315 tech trends, a collection of weak signals for 2020, and more than four dozen scenarios describing plausible near futures.

Impressive work. I particularly like the CIPHER heuristic they use in analysis signals: contradictions, infections, practices, hacks, extremes, rarities.

Medical Crowdsourcing: Harnessing the “Wisdom of the Crowd” to Solve Medical Mysteries Nov 29, 2019 highlights & crowdsourcing & tech & change

Medical crowdsourcing offers hope to patients who suffer from complex health conditions that are difficult to diagnose. Such crowdsourcing platforms empower patients to harness the wisdom of the crowd” by providing access to a vast pool of diverse medical knowledge.

An interesting application of crowdsourcing. What’s the incentive for healthcare providers to participate, though? I’m not sure doctors can bill for participation in Figure 1. I think the main reason they engage at all is curiosity, and that would likely degrade if, as the authors of the linked study discuss, there was a lot of noise” from uninteresting posts by patients who aren’t medically literate.

Report Launch - OPSI Primer on AI for the Public Sector Nov 29, 2019 highlights & tech

Today, we’re excited to formally launch the final version of OPSIs AI primer: Hello, World: Artificial Intelligence and its Use in the Public Sector

Another interesting output from the OPSI. It seems usefully pragmatic:

The AI primer is broken up into four chapters that seek to achieve three key aims: (1) Background and technical explainer; (2) overview of the public sector landscape; (3) implications and guidance for governments.

“Level Up”: Leveraging Skill and Engagement to Maximize Player Gameplay Nov 29, 2019 highlights & tech & research & design

We find that high-, medium-, and low-engagement-state gamers respond differently to motivations, such as feelings of effectance and need for challenge. In the second stage, we use the results from the first stage to develop a matching algorithm that learns (infers) the gamer’s current engagement state on the fly” and exploits that learning to match the gamer to a round to maximize game-play. Our algorithm increases gamer game-play volume and frequency by 4%–8% conservatively, leading to economically significant revenue gains for the company.

As ever with this kind of mechanism, are we sure we want this to exist..? The potential is no doubt powerful. Imagine interactive TV shows that modulate what they’re presenting based on readings of the viewer… Hrm.

Beautiful is Good and Good is Reputable: Multiple-Attribute Charity Website Evaluation and Initial Perceptions of Reputation Under the Halo Effect Nov 29, 2019 highlights & research & psychology & design

The halo effect is essentially how positive—but irrelevant—traits influence our perception of what the thing with the halo actually says or does. These authors explored how charities manifest the halo effect on their websites, and find evidence for four varieties of halo effect.

this study employs charity websites as a multi-attribute donation channel consisting of three attributes of information content quality (mission information, financial information, and donation information) and four attributes of system quality (navigability, download speed, visual aesthetics, and security). Based on the proposed framework, this study proposes four types of halos that are relevant to charity website evaluation —collective halo (attribute-to-attribute), aesthetics halo (attribute-to- dimension), reciprocal-quality halo (dimension-to-dimension), and quality halo (dimension-to-dimension)

Piret Tõnurist & Systems Change: how to get started and keep going? Nov 29, 2019 highlights & systems & innovation & changemaking

This is a great talk from Piret Tönurist of the Observatory on Public Sector Innovation.

One of the core issues of the talk is innovation doubt—the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. To paraphrase Piret:

[…] why are we doing innovation at all? Maybe sometimes things are working fine, why do we think about innovation at all? We start off with four questions:

  1. Do you want to do things better?
  2. Do you have goals and purposes to fulfill?
  3. Do you want to address the needs of your stakeholders?
  4. Do you want to prepare for the risks and uncertainties that the future holds? If you answered yes” to at least one of those questions, then your job is to do innovation—your job is to be a changemaker.

Also, the talk includes a neat model for different varieties of innovation, image courtesy of this post by Adrian M. Senn over on Medium:

I came across this talk via a related panel discussion.

IBM expert Tamreem El Tohamy on bridging the skills gap in Africa Nov 28, 2019 highlights & innovation & education & skills & tech

In the next three years, as many as 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained or reskilled as a result of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent automation.

cf. Lee Se-Dol.

This is according to the latest IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study, titled The Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap.

Seems like an interesting guide. This metric surprised me:

In 2014, it took three days on average to close a capability gap through training in the enterprise. In 2018, it took 36 days.

I didn’t know this measure existed, but I can see the utility. As knowledge work grows ever more specialized, this time-to-capability can only grow.

The changing work of innovation for public value and social impact Nov 27, 2019 highlights & innovation & changemaking

In two senses, the work of innovation for public value and social impact is changing in Australia and around the world. What we expect public innovation to do and what we need it to achieve, and how that work should be done, are both changing. And they are changing together while they are changing each other.

It’s true. It’s hard to keep up with the discipline of changemaking, but it’s even harder to keep up with the change that needs to be made. Therefore Martin Stewart-Weeks calls for optimism:

Despite some of the uncomfortable and unsettled conditions, there is real energy in the search for more effective ways to solve the big problems we face in common — managing our complex cities, rewiring large and complex health and social care systems, tackling climate change, searching for better ways to integrate the human and technology capabilities of the digital age and making our communities healthy and resilient.

The speed, intensity and sheer connectedness of these and many other complex, public challenges are giving rise to new methods and tools that can help to tackle them with purpose and skill.

Former Go champion beaten by DeepMind retires after declaring AI invincible Nov 27, 2019 highlights & tech & change

The South Korean Go champion Lee Se-dol has retired from professional play, telling Yonhap news agency that his decision was motivated by the ascendancy of AI. With the debut of AI in Go games, Iʼve realized that Iʼm not at the top even if I become the number one through frantic efforts,” Lee told Yonhap. Even if I become the number one, there is an entity that cannot be defeated.”

Wow. Perhaps the first real example of AI took my job?”

What part of “viral” content makes platforms want to encourage its spread? Nov 22, 2019 twitter & systems & social & tech & highlights

The Twttr prototype app gave me another feedback form today. It’s been my habit to complain, at every opportunity, about the trends page you have to engage with whenever you go to the Search tab. I feel a little bad for the designers and developers, because the beta is really all about how conversations on Twitter look and feel. Still, this feedback form was no different. Here’s what I wrote in the Dislike” section:  I wish I could control the trends page.

It is the absolute worst part of my Twitter experience. It just feels… unhealthy. Like going through a grocery store magazine aisle. Sure, some of the headings are instructive or inspiring, but many are gross, irrelevant, or completely malignant gossip.

The experience is also invasive. Because trends are forced upon you when you intend on searching for something specific, and because they’re algorithmically-tunes to be as attention grabbing as possible, it’s easy to be distracted and forget why you even entered the search pane. I never explicitly consent to learning about celebrity gossip or US politics when I use Twitter. If I tap on some of those topics, it’s not because I want to. It’s because it’s malicious click bait. In turn, it’s corrupt to design an experience that drags the user through it repeatedly.

Sure, this content is viral. But shouldn’t we be inoculating against viruses, not encouraging them to spread?

MTA floods NYC subway entrance because ‘climate change is real’ Nov 22, 2019 highlights & change

An incredible story out of New York today, as reported by The Verge:

A flooded subway entrance stopped Brooklyn commuters in their tracks yesterday. For four hours on Wednesday, the staircase leading down to Broadway Station in Williamsburg was blocked off and completely submerged. The sight was even stranger since it hadnʼt rained in New York City that day.

The Transit Authority was testing adaptations they’d installed in case of real flooding. Still, I’m sure that the social/informational impact was felt, too.

Also, the MTAs sarcastic explanation is gold. From Twitter:

We’re pivoting to submarines. ^JLP

The Demon Haunted World Nov 21, 2019 highlights & science & systems & change

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

Carl Sagan, as quoted by @Andromeda321 in this interesting Reddit thread on the regretful trends of the 2010s.

The thread discusses the growth of anti-intellectualism and conspiracy theories. I’m reminded of this timeless Medium post about how hating Ross in Friends became a meme in and of itself, reinforcing the persecution of science in the 90s. From David Hopkins:

I want to discuss a popular TV show my wife and I have been binge-watching on Netflix. It’s the story of a family man, a man of science, a genius who fell in with the wrong crowd. He slowly descends into madness and desperation, led by his own egotism. With one mishap after another, he becomes a monster. I’m talking, of course, about Friends and its tragic hero, Ross Geller.

[…]

If you remember the 1990s and early 2000s, and you lived near a television set, then you remember Friends. Friends was the Thursday night primetime, must-see-TV” event that featured the most likable ensemble ever assembled by a casting agent: all young, all middle class, all white, all straight, all attractive (but approachable), all morally and politically bland, and all equipped with easily digestible personas. Joey is the goofball. Chandler is the sarcastic one. Monica is obsessive-compulsive. Phoebe is the hippie. Rachel, hell, I don’t know, Rachel likes to shop. Then there was Ross. Ross was the intellectual and the romantic.

Eventually, the Friends audience — roughly 52.5 million people — turned on Ross. But the characters of the show were pitted against him from the beginning (consider episode 1, when Joey says of Ross: This guy says hello, I wanna kill myself.”) In fact, any time Ross would say anything — about his interests, his studies, his ideas — whenever he was mid-sentence, one of his friends” was sure to groan and say how boring Ross was, how stupid it is to be smart, and that nobody cares. Cue the laughter of the live studio audience. This gag went on, pretty much every episode, for 10 seasons. Can you blame Ross for going crazy?

People in the Reddit thread point out that these seemingly recent trends have been taking root for a long time. While this is true, it’s also true that (just like seemingly everything else) these phenomena have been moving much faster and growing much larger in recent years. Which leads to a curious tangent: how do accelerated scales of change play on our biases? Does the interaction between these biases and our accelerated experiences change our perception of the world?

How to recognize AI snake oil Nov 20, 2019 highlights & tech & AI

The over- and misuse of AI is one of my biggest tech pet peeves. It truly is evil to tack the AI term onto the description of most products. It also damages the long-term potential of AI by corrupting what it means—especially for the everyday people who aren’t involved or invested in building these tools, but who will use them (or be used by them).

Arvind Narayanan on Twitter:

Much of what’s being sold as AI today is snake oil. It does not and cannot work. In a talk at MIT yesterday, I described why this happening, how we can recognize flawed AI claims, and push back. Here are my annotated slides: https://www.cs.princeton.edu/~arvindn/talks/MIT-STS-AI-snakeoil.pdf

Key point #1: AI is an umbrella term for a set of loosely related technologies. Some of those technologies have made genuine, remarkable, and widely-publicized progress recently. But companies exploit public confusion by slapping the AI label on whatever they’re selling.

Key point #2: Many dubious applications of AI involve predicting social outcomes: who will succeed at a job, which kids will drop out, etc. We can’t predict the future — that should be common sense. But we seem to have decided to suspend common sense when AI is involved.

Key point #3: transparent, manual scoring rules for risk prediction can be a good thing! Traffic violators get points on their licenses and those who accumulate too many points are deemed too risky to drive. In contrast, using AI to suspend people’s licenses would be dystopian. Harms of AI for predicting social outcomes

Check out the whole thread.

A Systemic View of Research Impact Nov 20, 2019 highlights & academy & impact & research

If academia ceases to have an impact it loses its raison d’être. Impact is what differentiates meaningful academic work from mere busywork. It makes the difference between signal and noise.

[…]

Ultimately, the questions that concerns us [are] what role research plays in society and how we can create a research system with impact at its core?

Indeed. We have to be asking (and answering!) questions that matter.

I like this project. Benedikt and Sascha say they’re taking a systemic approach to model the full complexity of academic impact:

academia struggles with creating/measuring/generating impact because it struggles to conceptualise and structurally anticipate it. We are missing a systemic perspective on impact that is grounded in the fact that different forms of meaningful academic work show very different forms of impact.

The work is supposedly semi-open. The authors ask anyone that reads each chapter, released incrementally on Google Docs, to contribute comments, and then they will work to incorporate these insights back into the final output.

Here’s a link to the first chapter.

Nobel Economics Prize Goes to Pioneers in Reducing Poverty Nov 20, 2019 highlights & research

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of M.I.T. and Michael Kremer of Harvard have devoted more than 20 years of economic research to developing new ways to study — and help — the world’s poor. On Monday, their experimental approach to alleviating poverty won them the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Dr. Duflo, 46, is the youngest economics laureate ever and the second woman to receive the prize in its half-century history.

Amazing news. Esther Duflo has been a research-hero of mine since Cal Newport profiled her as a story of purpose-finding.

Adam Savage on Lists, More Lists, and the Power of Checkboxes Nov 17, 2019 highlights & productivity & psychology

In this Wired article, Adam Savage provides a pragmatic description of how he breaks down complex projects using lists.

In my mind, a list is how I describe and understand the mass of a project, its overall size and the weight that it displaces in the world, but the checkbox can also describe the project’s momentum. And momentum is key to finishing anything.

Momentum isn’t just physical, though. It’s mental, and for me it’s also emotional. I gain so much energy from staring at a bunch of colored-in checkboxes on the left side of a list, that I’ve been known to add things I’ve already done to a list, just to have more checkboxes that are dark than are empty. That sense of forward progress keeps me enthusiastically plugging away at rudimentary, monotonous tasks as well as huge projects that seem like they might never end.

I love the physics metaphor here. There’s lots of other insights to be gained by thinking about how work follows physical principles. For instance, projects also have inertia, friction, and surface area:

  1. Inertia. The longer a project sits waiting for you—weighing on your mind—the harder it is to get it moving.
  2. Friction. Inertia is driven by initial friction. In parallel, of course, kinetic friction can make it hard to stop working on something. This is why multitasking doesn’t make sense with most projects.
  3. Surface area: It can be hard to attack a single, huge project idea, just like how a large ice cube melts slower than many little ones. List making is a key way of breaking up the surface of a project into smaller pieces, making it easier to handle. Increasing surface area also facilitates collaboration: it’s easier to hand off smaller pieces to others, and to put them back together again.

To return to momentum, though, Adam makes an excellent point: breaking down the work helps keep momentum going even when you put the work down.

That may be the greatest attribute of checkboxes and list making, in fact, because there are going to be easy projects and hard projects. With every project, there are going to be easy days and hard days. Every day, there are going to be problems that seem to solve themselves and problems that kick your ass down the stairs and take your lunch money. Progressing as a maker means always pushing yourself through those momentum-killers. A well-made list can be the wedge you need to get the ball rolling, and checkboxes are the footholds that give you the traction you need to keep pushing that ball, and to build momentum toward the finish.

Another point in the article that’s worth emphasizing:

[I]n a project with any amount of complexity, the early stages won’t look at all like the later stages, and [the manager] wanted to take the pressure off any members of the group who may have thought that quality was the goal in the early stages.

I’ve heard this discussed in the context of critique, or 10% feedback”. When sharing work with others, it’s important to disclose the stage the work is at. Typos should be caught at a project that’s basically ready to publish. They shouldn’t even be discussed when a work is being conceptualized. The focus on early stages should be the concepts themselves, and how they fit within the broader context.

Last thing. This is excellent:

There is a famous Haitian proverb about overcoming obstacles: Beyond mountains, more mountains.

🏔

Systems Practice, Abridged Nov 15, 2019 highlights & systems & kumu & tools & changemaking

For serious system mapping work, spending [significant] time studying, thinking about, and mapping your system helps ensure you are addressing root causes rather than instituting quick fixes. In the long term, the time and resources you invest in Systems Practice will pay dividends.

But what if youʼre not quite sold on the Systems Practice methodology yet? What if you havenʼt encountered systems thinking before and just want to dip your toes in? Or what if youʼre an expert or an educator with only a few hours to introduce Systems Practice to a fresh new group of systems thinkers?

I have been in the latter situation, and it’s a challenge. In my experience, people who are wholly new to systems thinking can take a lot of time to acclimate to the mindset. But! If, as a teacher, you can’t illustrate the benefits quickly, it’s easy to disengage.

So, I’m glad this exists. This is a wonderful new resource from Kumu’s Alex Vipond that helps walk you through systems and Kumu’s tools at the same time.

Fukushima reinvents itself with a $2.7 billion bet on renewables Nov 15, 2019 highlights & change & systems

Land that became too toxic for people to farm and live on after the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station will soon be dotted with windmills and solar panels.

The Fukushima disaster unfolded as an incredible story of systemic response to new scales of tragedy. Take, for instance, the Skilled Veterans Corps: a group of elderly volunteers who helped with cleanup, knowing that the damaging radiation would have less impact on their lives than it would on younger volunteers.

Now Fukushima’s next chapter is evolving as an example of systemic creative destruction, as new opportunities are unlocked by the collapse of the region’s previous energy strategy.

How Tesla’s first Gigafactory is changing Reno, Nevada Nov 13, 2019 highlights & tech & change

In the five years that weʼve had to asses the effect [the Gigafactory has] had on the workforce, on the community, I think there have been these ramifications that we talk about in the episode that nobody was really prepared for,” Damon said in an interview with The Verge. Like, we knew there was going to be an issue with housing, which other cities are experiencing, too. But thatʼs become super critical.”

Side-effects of growth are not a new problem, but the massive initiatives we’re seeing recently might spark new varieties of old issues.

“This is Sticking with Them:” Professor Explores Benefits of Model-Based Learning Nov 9, 2019 highlights & learning & university & systems

Through model-based learning, students use diagrams as a way to think about and reason with systems—and to think about how complex systems interact and change.

Model-based learning” seems like a reframing of classic teaching practices, but it’s nonetheless a powerful reframing. Emphasizing the model—and encourage students to test and iterate their models—is catchy. It’s also deliberately organizational—it requires students to organize and structure their thinking about a given system, often visually.

README.txt: Introducing Into the Dataverse, the article series Nov 8, 2019 highlights & data & tech & change

There is a significant gap in research about Canadian data collection activities on a granular scale. This lack of knowledge regarding data collection practices within Canada hinders the ability of policymakers, civil society organizations, and the private sector to respond appropriately to the challenges and harness unrealized benefits.

So true. This looks like an interesting series from the great team at Brookfield.

A ton of people received text messages overnight that were originally sent on Valentine’s Day Nov 7, 2019 highlights & tech & systems

Something strange is happening with text messages in the US right now. Overnight, a multitude of people received text messages that appear to have originally been sent on or around Valentine’s Day 2019. These people never received the text messages in the first place; the people who sent the messages had no idea that they had never been received, and they did nothing to attempt to resend them overnight.

It is incredible to think that this could happen on a scale big enough to hit headlines now, but it wasn’t noticeable on Valentine’s Day originally.

That’s one of the problems with our ever-more-complex technologies. We’re accommodating to the bugs. It gets easier and easier to dismiss weird tech events as glitches and move on without worrying. Unreliability is, itself, unreliable.

But there can be major consequences to seemingly innocent bugs:

… one person said they received a message from an ex-boyfriend who had died; another received messages from a best friend who is now dead. It was a punch in the gut. Honestly I thought I was dreaming and for a second I thought she was still here,” said one person, who goes by KuribHoe on Twitter, who received the message from their best friend who had died. The last few months haven’t been easy and just when I thought I was getting some type of closure this just ripped open a new hole.”

A ton of people received text messages overnight that were originally sent on Valentine’s Day Nov 7, 2019 highlights & tech & systems

Something strange is happening with text messages in the US right now. Overnight, a multitude of people received text messages that appear to have originally been sent on or around Valentine’s Day 2019. These people never received the text messages in the first place; the people who sent the messages had no idea that they had never been received, and they did nothing to attempt to resend them overnight.

It is incredible to think that this could happen on a scale big enough to hit headlines now, but it wasn’t noticeable on Valentine’s Day originally.

That’s one of the problems with our ever-more-complex technologies. We’re accommodating to the bugs. It gets easier and easier to dismiss weird tech events as glitches and move on without worrying. Unreliability is, itself, unreliable.

But there can be major consequences to seemingly innocent bugs:

… one person said they received a message from an ex-boyfriend who had died; another received messages from a best friend who is now dead. It was a punch in the gut. Honestly I thought I was dreaming and for a second I thought she was still here,” said one person, who goes by KuribHoe on Twitter, who received the message from their best friend who had died. The last few months haven’t been easy and just when I thought I was getting some type of closure this just ripped open a new hole.”

The Tyranny of Categorization Nov 7, 2019 highlights & data

Herein, then, lies the tyranny of classification: The borders we draw for ourselves create a prison of thought and collaboration, inhibiting movement, connectivity, and learning.

Dominic Hofstetter outlines the many benefits of categorization, too. We have to have both specialization and generalization—categories and loose files. The key is developing processes, protocols, and ways of working that elevate the benefits of both.

The Tyranny of Categorization Nov 7, 2019 highlights & data

Herein, then, lies the tyranny of classification: The borders we draw for ourselves create a prison of thought and collaboration, inhibiting movement, connectivity, and learning.

Dominic Hofstetter outlines the many benefits of categorization, too. We have to have both specialization and generalization—categories and loose files. The key is developing processes, protocols, and ways of working that elevate the benefits of both.

Paul Jarvis on Hurry Slowly: Small is Beautiful Nov 7, 2019 productivity & innovation & podcasts & highlights

The ever-refreshing Paul Jarvis shares some uncommon thoughts on productivity in Jocelyn K. Glei’s Hurry Slowly podcast.

In particular, Paul and Jocelyn discuss the importance of resilience. Citing research and his own experience, Paul points out that resilience is a more important factor in success than many others.

Obviously, though, enabling resilience is not as easy as simply pointing out how important it is. As they discuss, resilience isn’t something innate—which means that it can only be developed through experience. And this is where things get tricky: who gets to have resilience-building experiences?

In my research on innovation skills, I discovered that resilience was one of three key domains that wasn’t an important outcome for our public education systems. This means that resilience training isn’t necessarily a public good. Only if you’re lucky (or privileged) will you have the chance to build up your resilience muscle.

Paul Jarvis on Hurry Slowly: Small is Beautiful Nov 7, 2019 productivity & innovation & podcasts & highlights

The ever-refreshing Paul Jarvis shares some uncommon thoughts on productivity in Jocelyn K. Glei’s Hurry Slowly podcast.

In particular, Paul and Jocelyn discuss the importance of resilience. Citing research and his own experience, Paul points out that resilience is a more important factor in success than many others.

Obviously, though, enabling resilience is not as easy as simply pointing out how important it is. As they discuss, resilience isn’t something innate—which means that it can only be developed through experience. And this is where things get tricky: who gets to have resilience-building experiences?

In my research on innovation skills, I discovered that resilience was one of three key domains that wasn’t an important outcome for our public education systems. This means that resilience training isn’t necessarily a public good. Only if you’re lucky (or privileged) will you have the chance to build up your resilience muscle.

DeepMindʼs StarCraft 2 AI is now better than 99.8 percent of all human players Nov 1, 2019 highlights & technology & creativity

Incredible achievement, but it makes me wonder—what are the .2% of humans doing differently?

These stories of AI achievement are sure to proliferate in the coming years. By focusing on those people who are still able to think around machine learning strategies, we might learn something about how humans and machines can best complement each other.

Spotify is cracking down on family plan sharing — again. Sep 13, 2019 highlights
Pretty soon, whenever any traffic cop didn’t enter a license number when writing a ticket, it would automatically get assigned to Tartaro. Aug 14, 2019 highlights

Wired notes that doing this seemed to associate the Null” database entry with Tartaro’s details, after which all hell broke loose. Pretty soon, whenever any traffic cop didn’t enter a license number when writing a ticket, it would automatically get assigned to Tartaro. - https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2019/8/14/20805543/null-license-plate-california-parking-tickets-violations-void-programming-bug
Mail clients should allow remote images but load them anonymously, through a proxy server perhaps. Jul 23, 2019 highlights Mail clients should allow remote images but load them anonymously, through a proxy server perhaps. — https://daringfireball.net/2019/07/superhuman_and_email_privacy
The internet has given billions of people a way to amplify their voices, but the trade-offs have become tangible. Jul 12, 2019 highlights & people & social


Mastodon’s conundrum is a microcosm of a much larger conflict online. The internet has given billions of people a way to amplify their voices, but the trade-offs have become tangible. Abolishing gatekeepers can allow misinformation and hate to flourish. Uncensored online forums can become co-opted by bigots and harassers, silencing their less powerful targets. And in the face of violent supremacist movements targeting real people, openness—once an uncontroversial pillar of internet culture—can seem like a hopelessly abstract principle.”

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/12/20691957/mastodon-decentralized-social-network-gab-migration-fediverse-app-blocking
From the Future Today Institute’s recent release. Jun 9, 2019 highlights We no longer have an expectation of total privacy. At least not like we've known it before. Companies that rely on our data have new challenges ahead: how to store the vast quantities of data we're generating, how to safeguard it, how to ensure new datasets aren't encoded with bias and best practices for anonymizing it before sharing with third parties. —

From the Future Today Institute’s recent release.

The bias-on-capture issue is a particularly nuanced problem. How can we know if the capta is corrupt? Scrutiny of the capture source, perhaps?

How do you handle life’s inputs and prioritizing? May 31, 2019 highlights
This conflated design seems reasonable at first, but hinders efforts to classify a file in more flexible ways. May 19, 2019 highlights & design File names and paths in a hierarchical file system serve double duty: they tell the machine how to reach a file to in order to retrieve it, and they show the human how the file is classified. This conflated design seems reasonable at first, but hinders efforts to classify a file in more flexible ways. — https://www.nayuki.io/page/designing-better-file-organization-around-tags-not-hierarchies
These companies are trying to usurp the word podcast for one simple reason: people love podcasts. Apr 26, 2019 highlights & people These companies are trying to usurp the word podcast for one simple reason: people love podcasts. What I think and hope they are missing is that part of what people love about podcasts is the openness. It’s one of the last remaining areas of the internet that works exactly as the internet was intended to work. — https://daringfireball.net/2019/04/not_all_shows_are_podcasts
The findings add to a string of worrying revelations about what apps are doing with the health information we entrust to them. Apr 20, 2019 highlights


The findings add to a string of worrying revelations about what apps are doing with the health information we entrust to them. For instance, a Wall Street Journal investigation recently revealed the period tracking app Flo shared users’ period dates and pregnancy plans with Facebook. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/20/18508382/apps-mental-health-smoking-cessation-data-sharing-privacy-facebook-google-advertising
Problems with shared technology usually arise because (1) the formulas and protocols about how to use the applications are not well defined, and/or (2) not everyone plays appropriately, so the data is incomplete or unreliable. Apr 18, 2019 highlights Problems with shared technology usually arise because (1) the formulas and protocols about how to use the applications are not well defined, and/or (2) not everyone plays appropriately, so the data is incomplete or unreliable. This is particularly true with shared software for project status tracking. And if the system is not 100% trustworthy, it doesn’t serve you well or save you time. Same goes for the team and the organization. — https://gettingthingsdone.com/2019/04/technology-and-productivity/
I consider myself, not the computer, to be the artist,” he says Apr 12, 2019 highlights I consider myself, not the computer, to be the artist,” he says. But he also talks enthusiastically about the agency of his algorithms, saying that “Dio began by trying to recreate from memory every sculpture it saw” and that he asked the computer “to close its eyes and dream of a new form. — https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2019/4/12/18306090/ai-generated-sculpture-shredded-remains-ben-snell-dio
I choose not to describe matters of technique and implementation in more depth, because these subjects are inherently alienating,” Snell told The Verge over email Apr 12, 2019 highlights I choose not to describe matters of technique and implementation in more depth, because these subjects are inherently alienating,” Snell told The Verge over email. “My role is to communicate and contextualize Dio’s behavior in a familiar way. I believe its processes are very similar to ours: fundamentally different, but strikingly similar. My goal isn’t to make Dio more human; it is to help us recognize ourselves as computational. — https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2019/4/12/18306090/ai-generated-sculpture-shredded-remains-ben-snell-dio
The most impressive new feature is one that will solve whiteboard interactions in meetings with remote participants Mar 19, 2019 highlights The most impressive new feature is one that will solve whiteboard interactions in meetings with remote participants. Microsoft has developed a way to mask out someone drawing on a physical whiteboard, allowing remote meeting members to still see the physical whiteboard when it’s in use. This works by using any regular webcam, and it will even capture the physical whiteboard and import it digitally into Microsoft Teams so remote workers can participate in meetings or the contents of the whiteboard can be archived for future use. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18272357/microsoft-teams-video-background-customization-whiteboard-live-events-features
We introduce a metric called generality that is defined in order to evaluate the accessibility of each concept, considering the ontology like a strongly connected graph Mar 16, 2019 highlights We introduce a metric called generality that is defined in order to evaluate the accessibility of each concept, considering the ontology like a strongly connected graph. Unlike most previous approaches, the DIS-C algorithm computes similarity between concepts in ontologies that are not necessarily represented in a hierarchical or taxonomic structure. So, DIS-C is capable of incorporating a wide variety of relationships between concepts such as meronymy, antonymy, functionality and causality. — http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10115-018-1200-3
In light of Facebook’s long list of wrongdoings, a temporary service outage might not seem like a big deal Mar 14, 2019 highlights In light of Facebook’s long list of wrongdoings, a temporary service outage might not seem like a big deal. It’s even good material for jokes about Facebook. But what if we took Facebook seriously? What if, as an experiment, we charitably assumed all of the things Facebook says about itself are true? — https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/14/18266020/facebook-instagram-whatsapp-outage-statement-longest-server-configuration-change-mark-zuckerberg
Collectively, then, these are what Wei cheekily calls “status-as-a-service” businesses Mar 6, 2019 highlights & futures Collectively, then, these are what Wei cheekily calls “status-as-a-service” businesses. They don’t give away status: to the contrary, they require the user to perform some creative task that others find difficult. But if they present the right task — what Wei, borrowing from the language of cryptocurrencies, calls the “proof of work” — they can unlock an impressive store of value. — https://www.theverge.com/interface/2019/3/5/18250867/eugene-wei-status-service-facebook-future
Google says that it won’t pull Absher, a controversial government app from Saudi Arabia, from its app store, telling California representative Jackie Speier that it did not violate its policies, and that it would remain up, according to Business Insider Mar 4, 2019 highlights Google says that it won’t pull Absher, a controversial government app from Saudi Arabia, from its app store, telling California representative Jackie Speier that it did not violate its policies, and that it would remain up, according to Business Insider.
The app allows Saudi users to access government services, letting them apply for jobs or permits, pay fines, renew licenses, or to report crimes. However, it also allows Saudi men to track female dependents and control their movement.
A recent report from Insider outlined how Saudi men could use the app to control female dependents, as it can be used to revoke travel privileges, keep tabs on their location, and send SMS messages with updates about their whereabouts. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/3/18248956/google-absher-wont-pull-controversial-saudi-arabian-app-womens-rights
One popular criticism of Facebook and other tech platforms is that they never compensate users for their time, their data, or their contributions Jan 30, 2019 highlights One popular criticism of Facebook and other tech platforms is that they never compensate users for their time, their data, or their contributions. Facebook is one of the richest companies in the world because of the data we hand over to it for free, the argument goes. Why doesn’t it pay up?
Today we learned that Facebook has heard these criticisms — and if you’re aged 13 to 35, it would like to give you a $20 gift card.
In exchange, all you have to give up is total access to all data on your phone, and also maybe screenshot your Amazon purchases and fork that over too. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18202990/facebook-research-gift-cards-onavo-privacy
One popular criticism of Facebook and other tech platforms is that they never compensate users for their time, their data, or their contributions Jan 30, 2019 highlights One popular criticism of Facebook and other tech platforms is that they never compensate users for their time, their data, or their contributions. Facebook is one of the richest companies in the world because of the data we hand over to it for free, the argument goes. Why doesn’t it pay up?
Today we learned that Facebook has heard these criticisms — and if you’re aged 13 to 35, it would like to give you a $20 gift card. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18202990/facebook-research-gift-cards-onavo-privacy
We in Canada can learn a lot from these examples. Jan 25, 2019 highlights
HIATT: By all accounts, Square runs more smoothly than Twitter Jan 24, 2019 highlights & people HIATT: By all accounts, Square runs more smoothly than Twitter.
DORSEY: It has to, though. Yeah, you’re dealing with people’s money. I mean, it’s extremely emotional. If you lose 140 characters, people are like, “Eh.” If you lose $140 or even $1.40, it’s important. We knew the severity, and we knew how emotional this was to people. We’re impacting their livelihoods, so we had to get every single thing right. There’s a lot of regulation around payments. If you do something wrong, you go to jail. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/24/18195245/jack-dorsey-twitter-media-tour-2019
at the time I expressed frustration at interviews about tech platforms’ challenges that place the CEO at the center Jan 24, 2019 highlights at the time I expressed frustration at interviews about tech platforms’ challenges that place the CEO at the center. In some ways, I understand the inclination — the CEO is traditionally in the best position to enact change. But we have learned that once social networks grow to a certain scale, they begin to operate beyond their creators’ control. You can ask the CEOs what they plan to do about it. But the answers will always tell you less than you hope. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/24/18195245/jack-dorsey-twitter-media-tour-2019
design not for what we expect to see, but for what we actually believe we’re seeing Jan 17, 2019 highlights & design design not for what we expect to see, but for what we actually believe we’re seeing. — https://www.typography.com/blog/turning-type-sideways
think of the tech industry as being built on an ever-increasing number of assumptions: that you know what a computer is, that saying “enter your Wi-Fi password” means something to you, that you understand what an app is, that you have the desire to manage your Bluetooth device list, that you’ll figure out what USB-C dongles you need, and on and on Jan 6, 2019 highlights think of the tech industry as being built on an ever-increasing number of assumptions: that you know what a computer is, that saying “enter your Wi-Fi password” means something to you, that you understand what an app is, that you have the desire to manage your Bluetooth device list, that you’ll figure out what USB-C dongles you need, and on and on.
Lately, the tech industry is starting to make these assumptions faster than anyone can be expected to keep up. And after waves of privacy-related scandals in tech, the misconceptions and confusion about how things works are both greater and more reasonable than ever. — https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/6/18170272/everything-is-too-complicated-2019
The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook had begun working on a feature that would encourage users of opposing political beliefs to interact in a more positive way Dec 24, 2018 highlights The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook had begun working on a feature that would encourage users of opposing political beliefs to interact in a more positive way. But the project — known as “Common Ground” — was reportedly halted after Facebook’s global head of policy raised concerns that it could lead to accusations that the site was biased against conservatives.
Sources told the WSJ that the Common Ground project would have brought together several different projects “meant to minimize toxic content and encourage more civil discussion,” which included changes to how the News Feed was ranked, and to de-emphasize “hateful” comments. Kaplan — along with other executives — worried that conservative users would be disproportionately impacted by the changes, and noted that the term “‘common ground’ was patronizing.” — https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/23/18154111/facebook-common-grounds-feature-conservative-bias-concerns-shelved-joel-kaplan
Enter Elowan, a cybernetic plant unveiled this month by Sareen and his team Dec 17, 2018 highlights Enter Elowan, a cybernetic plant unveiled this month by Sareen and his team. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid moves in response to the plant’s light demands. When light shines on its leaves, the plant elicits bioelectrochemical signals, which the electrodes detect and transmit to the wheeled robot below. The robot then moves towards the light.
Elowan is more than just a plant on wheels. Sareen and his colleagues claim their project is an example of part-organic, part-artificial entities that may become more common in the future. Many of the functions we find in electronics — for example, the ability to sense surroundings and display data — first existed in nature. And they’re often more efficient and resilient in the natural world, less prone to wear, tear, and environmental damage. By identifying and interpreting the way plants function, the researchers hope to turn them into biohybrids that power, monitor, and converge with their technological surroundings.
This isn’t the first plant-robot partnership we’ve encountered. Vincross CEO Sun Tianqi created a robot tasked with keeping a succulent alive by monitoring its surrounding. But Elowan might be the most interesting. It takes the partnership one step further by directly connecting the plant with the machine. — https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/elowan-is-a-cyborg-plant-that-can-move-towards-the-light/
Amrute joins the institute’s leadership at the culmination of a strategic planning process to strengthen Data & Society’s unique dual focus on convention-challenging research and targeted field engagement Dec 7, 2018 highlights & leadership & society Amrute joins the institute’s leadership at the culmination of a strategic planning process to strengthen Data & Society’s unique dual focus on convention-challenging research and targeted field engagement. As Director of Research, Amrute will mentor Data & Society’s growing research team and determine pathways for critical engagement with interlocutor and collaborator networks.
“Sareeta brings exciting new talent to Data & Society,” enthused Data & Society Founder and President danah boyd. “Sareeta has extensive experience as a rigorous empirical scholar examining the complex ways in which technology and society intertwine. Through her leadership and mentorship, we can help grow the field of scholars whose insights can help address some of society’s greatest challenges.”
Amrute will work closely with boyd to continue to hone a broader vision for new knowledge that helps decision-makers grapple with complex societal challenges arising around data and automation. — https://datasociety.net/blog/2018/12/05/data-society-welcomes-sareeta-amrute/
That’s why, starting on January 14th, we’ll be publishing Better Worlds: 10 original fiction stories, five animated adaptations, and five audio adaptations by a diverse roster of science fiction authors who take a more optimistic view of what lies ahead in ways both large and small, fantastical and everyday Dec 5, 2018 highlights & science & social That’s why, starting on January 14th, we’ll be publishing Better Worlds: 10 original fiction stories, five animated adaptations, and five audio adaptations by a diverse roster of science fiction authors who take a more optimistic view of what lies ahead in ways both large and small, fantastical and everyday.
Growing up, I was surrounded by optimistic science fiction — not only the idealism of television shows like Star Trek, but also the pulpy, thrilling adventures of golden age science fiction comics. They imagined worlds where the lot of humanity had been improved by our innovations, both technological and social. Stories like these are more than just fantasy and fabulism; they are articulations of hope. We need only look at how many tech leaders were inspired to pursue careers in technology because of Star Trek to see the tangible effect of inspirational fiction. (Conversely, Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson once linked the increasing scarcity of optimistic science fiction to “innovation starvation.”)
Better Worlds is partly inspired by Stephenson’s fiction anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future as well as Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, a 2015 “visionary fiction” anthology that is written by a diverse array of social activists and edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown. Their premise was simple: whenever we imagine a more equitable, sustainable, or humane world, we are producing speculative fiction, and this creates a “vital space” that is essential to forward progress. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/5/18055980/better-worlds-science-fiction-short-stories-video
The point here is simple: if Canadian universities want to contribute to economic growth, they need to start actually paying attention to how their curriculum and pedagogy is improving skills. Dec 3, 2018 highlights
what are the scaling challenges tech companies have that do relate to post-secondary? Dec 3, 2018 highlights

what are the scaling challenges tech companies have that do relate to post-secondary? Here’s the key quote:

More assets than STEM skills are required for productivity growth. Additional skills such as business and management such as customer-facing skills (i.e. skills and marketing); higher order cognitive skills such as creative problem solving and critical thinking…there is a mismatch between what companies need and what local labour markets can offer. In particular, Canada is lacking a supply of business management or customer-facing talent, such as sales and marketing.”

Scientist He Jian Kui allegedly used the gene-editing tool CRISPR cas-9 to disable the CCR5 gene in 31 embryos with the goal of making children who were more resistant to HIV Nov 30, 2018 highlights & science Scientist He Jian Kui allegedly used the gene-editing tool CRISPR cas-9 to disable the CCR5 gene in 31 embryos with the goal of making children who were more resistant to HIV. He claims that two of the embryos were implanted, resulting in the female babies “Lulu” and “Nana.” (His work has since been halted by the Chinese government, reports The Associated Press.) — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/29/18116830/crispr-baby-he-jiankui-genetics-ethics-science-health-mutation
Zen practices refer to a “beginner’s mind Nov 30, 2018 highlights Zen practices refer to a “beginner’s mind.” The ready state for enlightenment is a consciousness devoid of preconceptions. Much of the training in the esoteric spiritual disciplines is concerned with de-conditioning the psyche, allowing the full experience and awareness of what’s fundamentally true in the present, without the illusory colorings brought on by interpretations from the past or projections into the future.
That’s the best place to come from—mentally, emotionally, and psychologically—if you’re developing the agenda for the staff meeting, formulating the best way to approach your boss about the delay in a major project, restructuring your board of directors, or planning the family vacation. — https://gettingthingsdone.com/2018/11/the-strategic-value-of-clear-space/
There’s an event, a problem, an opportunity coming toward me I can’t see yet Nov 30, 2018 highlights There’s an event, a problem, an opportunity coming toward me I can’t see yet. Something will emerge that I will need to focus and work on, coming from the outside or from my own inspiration. When that happens, I want to be ready. Things will get messy, but they will neither start nor end that way. — https://gettingthingsdone.com/2018/11/the-strategic-value-of-clear-space/
But if you’re already in a mess, you’re not free to make one Nov 29, 2018 highlights But if you’re already in a mess, you’re not free to make one. If you have a desk piled with unfinished, unclear work; if you’re trying to repair something in your garage with tools and incomplete projects strewn everywhere; if you’ve got thousands of unprocessed emails in your inbox; or if you’ve just got a lot of issues and situations in your life and work on your mind—you’re going to be laboring under a serious handicap.
That’s why, when I’m not doing anything else, I’m cleaning up. — https://gettingthingsdone.com/2018/11/the-strategic-value-of-clear-space/
How easily you can make a mess is how truly productive you can be Nov 29, 2018 highlights How easily you can make a mess is how truly productive you can be. — https://gettingthingsdone.com/2018/11/the-strategic-value-of-clear-space/
Facebook built Watch Party after finding that live videos encouraged more social interactions than prerecorded ones Nov 27, 2018 highlights & people & social Facebook built Watch Party after finding that live videos encouraged more social interactions than prerecorded ones. At the time of launch, Fidji Simo, vice president of product at Facebook, wrote: “As we think about video on Facebook, we’re focused on creating experiences that bring people closer together and inspire human connection instead of passive consumption.”
Encouraging people to tune into live viewing events could help people enjoy the platform more, or at least encourage positive interactions. The “creating experiences” idea also comes up with the company’s goal to get people to comment more on other peoples’ posts because it’s a healthier form of social networking. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/27/18113462/facebook-watch-party-roll-out-page-profile-group
The Fall Economic Statement also included a commitment of up to $755 million over the next ten years to establish a Social Finance Fund, and $50 million over the next two years for an Investment and Readiness stream aimed at building capacity in organizations wanting to explore social finance opportunities Nov 26, 2018 highlights & social The Fall Economic Statement also included a commitment of up to $755 million over the next ten years to establish a Social Finance Fund, and $50 million over the next two years for an Investment and Readiness stream aimed at building capacity in organizations wanting to explore social finance opportunities. The Economic Statement specifically cited the role of charities and nonprofits in social innovation, and the intent for them to benefit from the Social Finance Fund. These measures respond to recommendations made by the SISF Steering Group.
“We face a significant social deficit over the next decade– that is, the difference between the anticipated demand for charities’ and nonprofits’ services and the resources available to them through traditional funding mechanisms,” said MacDonald. “To the extent the Social Finance Fund helps organizations to avail themselves of new sources of revenue, it represents part of the solution. We hope to work closely with the government and with experts in the social finance realm as the details of the Fund are developed in the coming months.” — http://imaginecanada.ca/news-item/imagine-canada-pleased-fall-economic-statement-commitments
But what is it doing to us? I know my perception of time has been totally skewed; something that happened last week has flattened into things that happened in the past, a category that holds everything from that @horse_ebooks tweet to the screening of Black Panther I saw in February in Los Angeles Nov 26, 2018 highlights But what is it doing to us? I know my perception of time has been totally skewed; something that happened last week has flattened into things that happened in the past, a category that holds everything from that @horse_ebooks tweet to the screening of Black Panther I saw in February in Los Angeles. Flattening current events into a stream means living in a perpetual present, where events are disconnected from their antecedents and where history is counted in minutes and days rather than in months and years. It’s another way the rise of ambient, instant connectivity has warped our perceptions of the world — and indeed, our conception of what the world is. Push notifications have circumscribed the world.
This is also by design. Because social networks are built to maximize engagement, the global news economy — which has again moved to those same platforms — is just another product that boosts time spent online. The churn flattens and packages human lives and human misery into something that’s easy to parse and easy to become apathetic to. Time is different now, and so are we. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/25/18111179/facebook-twitter-global-news-engagement-perception-of-time
Last month, men in South Sudan engaged in a bidding war over a 17-year-old girl after they saw a post on Facebook advertising her for marriage Nov 24, 2018 highlights Last month, men in South Sudan engaged in a bidding war over a 17-year-old girl after they saw a post on Facebook advertising her for marriage. Just a few days after the post circulated online, she was purchased by a wealthy businessman to be his wife, according to Reuters.
It’s yet another example of how Facebook’s platform has been abused in developing countries in recent years. In Myanmar, over 700,000 members of the Rohingya community were forced to flee the country due to ethnic violence the UN has linked to racists posts spread on Facebook. Thousands more were killed. In Libya, Facebook has been used by rival militias to spread fake news and hate-filled messages which worked to multiply the violence in the country. Now, the platform has been used by people hoping to win big dowries by selling an underage girl. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/20/18104768/facebook-child-marriage-south-sudan-auction
I actually have a specific anomaly that I saw the other day, where I’m hiring a new data scientist in Denver Nov 23, 2018 highlights & science I actually have a specific anomaly that I saw the other day, where I’m hiring a new data scientist in Denver. Particularly wanted a senior data scientist in Denver, so I posted a job opening on LinkedIn for a Denver data scientist. I got something like 30 applications in a few days. 11 were from one company…. I ask some of my colleagues that are in Denver, saying “What’s wrong with company X? I just got 11 applications from data scientists from this company.” First of all I didn’t even know they had a lot of data scientists, and they said … because [they] are data scientists, and they [said] “Yeah, they’re job openings are all over the place. They hired a crazy number of … hundreds of data scientists over the past two years.” … now obviously they’re hemorrhaging, because they probably didn’t actually think about how to communicate. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
the biggest problem here about this lack of process around management, around data engineering, the communication between data engineering and data science, this lack of management, if you want to specialize, you want to have a data liaison…do you want to have a data engineer specialist, because the earliest data science project, like the smallest one, data scientist is doing the data engineering work too Nov 23, 2018 highlights & people & science the biggest problem here about this lack of process around management, around data engineering, the communication between data engineering and data science, this lack of management, if you want to specialize, you want to have a data liaison…do you want to have a data engineer specialist, because the earliest data science project, like the smallest one, data scientist is doing the data engineering work too. And probably the platform architecture work too, and the application development.
Once you start specializing, which is why we have data engineers and data scientists now, these two people need to have a process to communicate.
When you have an application developer, now they need a process to communicate and work together.
You have the platform architecture, you got management, you got the advisory liaison person, you got the rest of the business, all is about process and, honestly, I don’t think anybody really knows what they’re doing. I think the number one thing that’s holding us back in this industry, is building large data science teams and organization. The most successful data science teams I see right now are like three people… it could be a massive organization, but those three people are getting a lot of work done, and if they wanted to scale up to 20 people, 40 people, it’s not going to work. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
When queried to unpack the idea of a “data liaison” more and provide additional clarity and whether this person could be a “project manager”, Miner indicated “…in a consulting construct, that both myself and Niels [co-founder] provides in some of our larger projects Nov 22, 2018 highlights & science When queried to unpack the idea of a “data liaison” more and provide additional clarity and whether this person could be a “project manager”, Miner indicated
“…in a consulting construct, that both myself and Niels [co-founder] provides in some of our larger projects. And it’s a really necessary role and some of the other customers we work with, we’ve made this recommendation for them to do this, it’s actually two reasons. One is that, data science requires a lot of focus. When you’re working on data science problem and you’re fumbling with some machine learning thing, you’re messing with the data, an interruption can break down a house of cards in your head that you’ve been building for multiple hours and if you’re responsible for going around to random meetings to discuss use cases and things, you’re never going to get anything done…what you need to do, is you need to kind of pick somebody. I mean honestly, these are some personality types that are better than others, but really it needs to be somebody that could do it if they had to, that understands the real problems, that can represent the data scientists that are actually going to do the work in these meetings. But due to the focus requirement you kind of need to pick somebody to be the sacrificial person to do it, that’s okay going around and talking from experience so that the others can focus. It’s a really important role… in a large organization with a large team.” — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
I agree that in the beginning of the project it’s really good to get everybody in the room due to the amount of communication that needs to happen Nov 22, 2018 highlights I agree that in the beginning of the project it’s really good to get everybody in the room due to the amount of communication that needs to happen. But also, too, email feels almost too slow for these projects. Data scientists are kind of trickling in on insights, and data engineers too, are running into different problems in an ad hoc way as they’re actively working. So we use Slack a lot, I think a lot of people do right now and it’s been pretty successful, because you don’t have to bunch up a bunch of stuff to put into an email like, “Here’s my list of problems today.” Maybe you may have two data scientists talking about an issue and the data engineer is eavesdropping and saying, “Oh hey, by the way, this is how I designed it,” or like, “Oh hey, yeah I can fix that for you real quick. Not going to take me much time at all.” So this more real time communication is good, and I think also too, it’s almost better than in a physical office in some cases too. Even if you’re sitting at a desk, three desks away from the data engineer, you still have to get up and go bother that person. Here, I think I’m actually making the argument that I think Slack and other things like it, may actually be one of the best tools for this thing right now, as the project’s going on. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
something that we advise our clients on all the time, and is a major portion that I think takes people by surprise sometimes, is that most organizations is that their default is to treat their data science projects like software engineering projects that they’re currently running at the organization Nov 22, 2018 highlights & science something that we advise our clients on all the time, and is a major portion that I think takes people by surprise sometimes, is that most organizations is that their default is to treat their data science projects like software engineering projects that they’re currently running at the organization. So if they want their data scientists to be filling out Jira tickets and have Sprints. Not only the data scientists, but data engineering is not a similar task like that either. And the platform architecture too, is similar. They all share something in common. in data science, data engineering, and platform architecture, it’s one of those things where you can spend forever on something and it won’t be done. So, it’s all about, “When do I feel like stopping?” Or, “When do I run out of money?” Rather than, “Okay, this application is done. I’ll ship it, it’s in a box. It’s all good to go. We release it to the world and we sell it. It’s great.” On the data science side it’s hard to tell how long something’s going to take until you do it. So there’s this chicken and egg problem. I can’t write the Jira ticket it’s going to take two weeks, until I actually spend the two weeks to do it, and realize it’s actually going to take four weeks. And so when you try to apply these traditional software engineering project management things on these projects it doesn’t work. It actually causes harm in a lot of cases….there’s actually a new discipline that needs to arise. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
I’ve actually heard a project manager say, “You know, any line of code that my developers write to audit what they’re doing, to put stuff in a database, is a line of code that they’re not putting in developing the application Nov 21, 2018 highlights & data & science I’ve actually heard a project manager say, “You know, any line of code that my developers write to audit what they’re doing, to put stuff in a database, is a line of code that they’re not putting in developing the application.” And so they frequently encourage a huge technical debt as they’ve got this great application now, but when it comes time for phase two of the project, to do something interesting with the data that this application should have stored somewhere but didn’t, we’re kind of left holding the bag because the application developers were kind of short sighted. And to my mind this is the kind of short term thinking that hinders really good data science. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
[it] is a symptom of really bad project management Nov 21, 2018 highlights & science [it] is a symptom of really bad project management. It seems to me that the way to solve this problem is to have everybody in the room when the project is being designed … It’s sort of like life insurance. You know, you don’t really need it until you need it, but you’ve got to keep having it, even when you don’t need it. The projects that I’ve seen that have been most successful are the projects in which the data scientists, the data engineers, and… the application developers are all there in the room from the beginning, with the customer talking about what the problem is they want to solve, what a minimal product is, what the final solution should be, what the users expect out of this. And if you start from that place you’re much more likely to get empathy. …That’s the first thing. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
I don’t think that data scientists and data engineers at most organizations that I’m working with have figured out how to communicate with anybody Nov 21, 2018 highlights & design & science I don’t think that data scientists and data engineers at most organizations that I’m working with have figured out how to communicate with anybody. So, not even with each other, but how does a data scientist and a data engineer fit into, a modern one, that’s building some new systems, how are they interacting with different lines of business? How are they interacting with marketing, sales? How are they interacting with product design? ….even this at a fundamental level, there’s major problems in the industry. And how they’re interacting with each other? — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
in our consulting engagements, and also two other data science consulting companies that I know and work with, if we have a pure play data science project, meaning that the data engineering’s not in scope, the customer said that they were going to take care of it, we won’t start work until we have proof that the data’s been loaded Nov 20, 2018 highlights & science in our consulting engagements, and also two other data science consulting companies that I know and work with, if we have a pure play data science project, meaning that the data engineering’s not in scope, the customer said that they were going to take care of it, we won’t start work until we have proof that the data’s been loaded. We’ve been burned so many times by them saying like, “Oh, you know what? You guys can start on Monday. We’ll get the data loaded sometimes next week.” We’re not even going to start until that data’s there….that’s the other issue too with the data engineer. I actually ran into this issue….on the younger side of the data engineers, one of the issues that we run into is that they don’t have the seniority to stand up to some ancient Oracle DBA that’s not willing to play nice. …it’s a really hard role to fill because, you’re right,… the interpersonal skills, and the political navigation skills are really important for the data engineer. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
I’ve never heard of anybody having a data engineering undergrad class, but you’re starting to hear data science classes pop up Nov 20, 2018 highlights & science I’ve never heard of anybody having a data engineering undergrad class, but you’re starting to hear data science classes pop up. … I have some ideas about why that is, but I think where we’re at right now is data science is a pretty fairly well defined career path and profession. People generally know what that means.…there’s a lot of impact from hype still that’s starting to wear down a little bit. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
There is a seemingly myriad of terms to describe people who interact with models Nov 19, 2018 highlights & learning & science There is a seemingly myriad of terms to describe people who interact with models. Just a few terms that are currently in usage include researchers, data scientists, machine learning researchers, machine learning engineers, data engineers, infrastructure engineers, DataOps, DevOps, etc. Both Miner and Presser commented upon and agreed that before any assignment of any term, the work itself existed previously. Presser defines data engineering as embodying the skills to obtain data, build data stores, manage data flows including ETL, and provide the data to data scientists for analysis. Presser also indicated that data engineers at large enterprise organizations also have to be well versed in “cajoling” data from departments that may not, at first glance, provide it. Miner agreed and indicated that there is more thought leadership around the definition of data science versus data engineering which contributes to the ambiguity within the market. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
Over the past five years, we have heard many stories from data science teams about their successes and challenges when building, deploying, and monitoring models Nov 19, 2018 highlights & science Over the past five years, we have heard many stories from data science teams about their successes and challenges when building, deploying, and monitoring models. Unfortunately, we have also heard that many companies have internalized the model myth, or the misconception that data science should be treated like software development or data assets. This misconception is completely understandable. Data science involves code and data. Yet, people leverage data science to discover answers to previously unsolvable questions. As a result, data science work is more experimental, iterative, and exploratory than software development. Data science work involves computationally intensive algorithms that benefit from scalable compute and sometimes requires specialized hardware like GPUs. Data science work also requires data, a lot more data than typical software products require. All of these needs (and more) highlight how data science work differs from software development. These needs also highlight the vital importance of collaboration between data science and engineering, particularly for innovative model-driven companies seeking to maintain or grow their competitive advantage.
Yet, collaboration between data science and engineering is a known challenge. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
Over the past five years, we have heard many stories from data science teams about their successes and challenges when building, deploying, and monitoring models Nov 19, 2018 highlights & science Over the past five years, we have heard many stories from data science teams about their successes and challenges when building, deploying, and monitoring models. Unfortunately, we have also heard that many companies have internalized the model myth, or the misconception that data science should be treated like software development or data assets. This misconception is completely understandable. Data science involves code and data. Yet, people leverage data science to discover answers to previously unsolvable questions. As a result, data science work is more experimental, iterative, and exploratory than software development. Data science work involves computationally intensive algorithms that benefit from scalable compute and sometimes requires specialized hardware like GPUs. Data science work also requires data, a lot more data than typical software products require. All of these needs (and more) highlight how data science work differs from software development. These needs also highlight the vital importance of collaboration between data science and engineering, particularly for innovative model-driven companies seeking to maintain or grow their competitive advantage. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/collaboration-data-science-data-engineering-true-false/
The disparity in ways that file selection is presented or obstructed in apps is bewildering and frustrating. Nov 17, 2018 highlights The only way apps should be doing it currently is with iOS 11 style file APIs, but many apps have either legacy file solutions, bespoke (ie, confusingly different — and differently-abled) file pickers or would rather pull you into their own cloud platform. The disparity in ways that file selection is presented or obstructed in apps is bewildering and frustrating. It forces me to become the expert on file picker UI and capabilities from app to app — time consuming, pointless knowledge that should be learnt once at a platform level. Of the legacy methods; copying/sharing from iTunes is prehistoric, duplicating files between apps is barbaric, and sharing files between apps with WebDAV is soporific. If you have better options, use them. Many apps offer some specific integration with a cloud service — some to widen your options, others to steer you to their own eco-system.” —

https://medium.com/@pixelthing/fe-webdev-on-ipad-pro-2018-c55283f01e4c

Well put. Some file organizing difficulties are so obtuse that I wonder if developers use their own apps.

The other major announcement: an independent oversight body to review appeals for content removals Nov 16, 2018 highlights The other major announcement: an independent oversight body to review appeals for content removals. Zuckerberg first discussed the idea of a “Facebook Supreme Court” with Ezra Klein in April; I wrote about why such a body was necessary in this space in August, during the Alex Jones imbroglio. I asked Zuckerberg today whether he thought the body should publish its opinions, creating a kind of case law; he told me that he did. The body won’t be up and running until the end of 2019 at the earliest, but when it arrives we can expect a growing body of social network jurisprudence, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/16/18097833/facebook-definers-scandal-washington-recap
What struck me was the language Zuckerberg used to discuss this issue — it’s different than anything he has said before. Nov 16, 2018 highlights & people & social

What struck me was the language Zuckerberg used to discuss this issue — it’s different than anything he has said before. And it goes to the heart of social networks’ role in creating a polarized, destabilized electorate:

One of the biggest issues social networks face is that, when left unchecked, people will engage disproportionately with more sensationalist and provocative content. This is not a new phenomenon. It is widespread on cable news today and has been a staple of tabloids for more than a century. At scale it can undermine the quality of public discourse and lead to polarization. In our case, it can also degrade the quality of our services.
Our research suggests that no matter where we draw the lines for what is allowed, as a piece of content gets close to that line, people will engage with it more on average — even when they tell us afterwards they don’t like the content.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/16/18097833/facebook-definers-scandal-washington-recap
One point of discussion that researchers across many different strands of visualization researchers agreed upon was the visualization research is not as visible as it should be to the many people designing, critiquing, and otherwise using visualization in the world Nov 15, 2018 highlights One point of discussion that researchers across many different strands of visualization researchers agreed upon was the visualization research is not as visible as it should be to the many people designing, critiquing, and otherwise using visualization in the world. This includes data scientists, information designers, business analysts, researchers in other fields, and numerous others. Some aspects of this disconnect are institutional — our research is often buried behind paywalls. But we suspect that a large portion of it is also due to the way that visualization researchers, like many scientists, are not always motivated or skilled in communicating their research to a broader audience. — https://medium.com/multiple-views-visualization-research-explained/why-we-should-be-talking-about-visualization-research-4d28a2032de3?source=rss—-304d1be73000—4
There’s another thing I don’t like about these standard datasets, however, and that’s that they are missed opportunities Nov 15, 2018 highlights There’s another thing I don’t like about these standard datasets, however, and that’s that they are missed opportunities. If I’m displaying a new graph layout algorithm or a new visual analysis platform, it doesn’t really matter what data I use to illustrate it in the paper figures, so long as it’s sufficiently complex and “realistic” that it looks like my system does what it’s supposed to. That means that I have an opportunity to use that visual real estate to show something that I (and perhaps also you) care about. Why waste that space on something trivial? — https://medium.com/multiple-views-visualization-research-explained/doing-more-with-sample-datasets-d9ea622cecd7?source=rss—-304d1be73000—4
As impressive as the fruits of innovation have been, the pace of change seems relentless and, at times, almost mindlessly linear Nov 14, 2018 highlights & innovation As impressive as the fruits of innovation have been, the pace of change seems relentless and, at times, almost mindlessly linear. It suggests a possible disconnect between the products or services being rolled out to the market and whether a specifically identifiable business or consumer need actually exists in sufficient degree to justify the development and investment of resources involved. — https://jfsdigital.org/2018/11/12/the-limits-of-innovation-high-techs-diminishing-returns/
Networks have emerged as a transformational adaptation to a community service environment characterized by complex social and economic issues, and the needs of a diverse population. Nov 13, 2018 highlights
our review identifies several approaches that show some promise for improving the use of research in population health policy. Nov 13, 2018 highlights & health

our review identifies several approaches that show some promise for improving the use of research in population health policy. They include the following:

A system for commissioning rapid reviews
Tailored approaches to presenting research findings to policymakers
The involvement of policymakers in research teams and networks
Interactive seminars and conferencing technology for communicating evidence
Initiatives to build capability in people and across organisations
Funded institutional-level collaborations.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/11/12/less-than-5-of-papers-on-the-use-of-research-in-health-policymaking-tested-interventions-to-see-what-worked-but-those-studies-reveal-a-number-of-strategies-for-improvement/
One theme was the importance of ensuring that policymakers are provided with research syntheses and summaries that match their needs Nov 13, 2018 highlights & health One theme was the importance of ensuring that policymakers are provided with research syntheses and summaries that match their needs. This was the lesson from a study from Monash University, Australia, that interviewed 43 policymakers on a strategy aimed at supporting the use of systematic reviews in health policy. The policymakers in this study overwhelmingly agreed that research summaries were critical to increase the use of research. The study demonstrated a need for layered or “graded-entry” formats, ranging from short summaries all the way up to detailed reports. It showed the need for a mechanism to assess policymakers’ changing research needs so they could be targeted with a relevant synthesis.
This was also the message from a 2011 study from the US, which tested four different types of policy briefs on mammography screening with nearly 300 policymakers. The study authors found different types of policymakers tended to like different types of briefs, with staffers more likely to report a preference for story-focused briefs and legislators preferring data-focused briefs.
Another theme to emerge was the need for better collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and for the two to build closer relationships. One large study, involving nearly 1,000 policymakers, looked at an intervention where researchers presented their findings directly to policymakers in either traditional seminars or interactive roundtables. Policymakers agreed that such presentations stimulated their thinking, that the interactive roundtables were more relevant to their needs compared with traditional seminars, and that the new knowledge could be used in their work as policymakers.
Three of the studies under review focused on increasing organisational capacity to use research. A Canadian study looked at a scheme to improve implementation of best practice guidelines in health promotion programmes using a team of “organisational champions”, while a Dutch study explored the use of masterclasses for public health professionals and policymakers supporting a practice-based research project. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/11/12/less-than-5-of-papers-on-the-use-of-research-in-health-policymaking-tested-interventions-to-see-what-worked-but-those-studies-reveal-a-number-of-strategies-for-improvement/
This was also the message from a 2011 study from the US, which tested four different types of policy briefs on mammography screening with nearly 300 policymakers Nov 12, 2018 highlights & health This was also the message from a 2011 study from the US, which tested four different types of policy briefs on mammography screening with nearly 300 policymakers. The study authors found different types of policymakers tended to like different types of briefs, with staffers more likely to report a preference for story-focused briefs and legislators preferring data-focused briefs. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/11/12/less-than-5-of-papers-on-the-use-of-research-in-health-policymaking-tested-interventions-to-see-what-worked-but-those-studies-reveal-a-number-of-strategies-for-improvement/
The first thing to note is that, although we identified over 300 papers on the use of research in health policymaking, the vast majority of these were descriptive Nov 12, 2018 highlights & health The first thing to note is that, although we identified over 300 papers on the use of research in health policymaking, the vast majority of these were descriptive. Very few – in fact just 14 of 304 articles – actually concerned testing interventions to see whether they worked. There is a serious discrepancy, therefore, between surging interest in this area and the small number of studies actually testing strategies.
The 14 articles we did find (reporting on 13 intervention strategies) tended to be methodologically weak. Only one study used an experimental design, while one other used a pre/post-test design. The others used a range of approaches and were characterised by an absence of control groups, small sample sizes, and self-report data. Most measured outcomes related to factors that influence research use rather than actual research use. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/11/12/less-than-5-of-papers-on-the-use-of-research-in-health-policymaking-tested-interventions-to-see-what-worked-but-those-studies-reveal-a-number-of-strategies-for-improvement/
Population health policies stand a much better chance of succeeding if they’re informed by research evidence Nov 12, 2018 highlights Population health policies stand a much better chance of succeeding if they’re informed by research evidence. But what are the best ways of making sure this happens? Danielle Campbell and Gabriel Moore conducted a rapid review of the literature on the subject and found that very few studies actually concerned testing interventions to see whether they worked. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/11/12/less-than-5-of-papers-on-the-use-of-research-in-health-policymaking-tested-interventions-to-see-what-worked-but-those-studies-reveal-a-number-of-strategies-for-improvement/
BSR and the UN agree on one thing, and it’s an easy one: Facebook ought to provide country-specific data on hate speech and other violations of the company’s community standards in Myanmar Nov 11, 2018 highlights & social BSR and the UN agree on one thing, and it’s an easy one: Facebook ought to provide country-specific data on hate speech and other violations of the company’s community standards in Myanmar. We may not be able to say with certainty to what degree social networks contribute to ethnic violence — but we ought to be able to monitor flare-ups in hate speech on our largest social networks. Dehumanizing speech is so often the precursor to violence — and Facebook, if it took its role seriously, could help serve as an early-warning system. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/10/18080962/facebook-myanmar-report-bsr-united-nations-hate-speech
Facebook launched a country-specific version of Myanmar in 2015, and added it to its since-discontinued Free Basics program a year later Nov 10, 2018 highlights Facebook launched a country-specific version of Myanmar in 2015, and added it to its since-discontinued Free Basics program a year later. Soon, the company had 20 million users in the country — despite the fact that, due to peculiarities of the local language and Unicode, its non-Burmese speaking moderators had very little insight into what was happening on the platform. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/10/18080962/facebook-myanmar-report-bsr-united-nations-hate-speech
I began reading the report in the hopes that it would clarify the connection between hate speech posted on social media and real-world violence Nov 10, 2018 highlights I began reading the report in the hopes that it would clarify the connection between hate speech posted on social media and real-world violence. We are starving for knowledge about how unique platform mechanics such as share buttons and encryption contribute to lynch mobs. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/10/18080962/facebook-myanmar-report-bsr-united-nations-hate-speech
While a burgeoning number of data science bootcamps, undergrad programs, etc Nov 7, 2018 highlights While a burgeoning number of data science bootcamps, undergrad programs, etc. focus on nuances of developing different kinds of ML models, in daily practice, your data team probably spends its valuable time munging the aforementioned data: how to curate it, prep it, analyze it, monetize it, audit it, etc., plus creating data infrastructure to collect it, store it, make it available, query it, etc. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/themes-conferences-per-pacoid-episode-3/
You could say “Once you learn the jargon, you save precious time accessing and using it to communicate to (and having your ideas accepted by) others in the field, including your instructors. Nov 5, 2018 highlights
If you haven’t installed Unpaywall yet, try it Nov 1, 2018 highlights If you haven’t installed Unpaywall yet, try it. Unpaywall is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that does just one thing: links to a free copy of the research article you’re looking for somewhere on the web. It’s growing by more than 1,000 active users each week, through word of mouth; primarily, we think, because it makes the process of accessing the research literature simple, clean, and elegant. As a Canadian, it’s a little uncharacteristic of me to be so bold about something we’ve built, but seriously, try Unpaywall and see if you don’t agree that it presents an elegant solution to accessing the literature. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/10/28/unpaywall-a-beautiful-way-to-help-everyone-get-the-research/
The whole point of posting is to find other people like you, and the promise of the internet is that you’ll come to know the people who understand you better than anyone else Oct 31, 2018 highlights & people The whole point of posting is to find other people like you, and the promise of the internet is that you’ll come to know the people who understand you better than anyone else. What’s funny about the whole relatability thing is that nobody mentions it’s a racket; nothing does worse online than naked need. The gulf between what you feel and what you can safely post is itself alienating. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/27/18000792/alienation-is-the-most-powerful-online-brand
If the language of depression and anxiety rules the internet, relatability is its cause; relatable accounts and posts — which I’m defining as ideas that mirror your lived experience — tend to earn the most attention Oct 31, 2018 highlights If the language of depression and anxiety rules the internet, relatability is its cause; relatable accounts and posts — which I’m defining as ideas that mirror your lived experience — tend to earn the most attention. Attention begets followers, which in turn brings more lucrative forms of attention: ask any number of Twitter humorists who managed to parlay their observational skill into TV writing jobs and they’ll tell you the same thing. It’s an axiom of the web that happy people don’t make good posts. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/27/18000792/alienation-is-the-most-powerful-online-brand
In 1917 a Russian guy, Viktor Shklovsky, came up with a word for this: defamiliarization Oct 31, 2018 highlights In 1917 a Russian guy, Viktor Shklovsky, came up with a word for this: defamiliarization. His argument, essentially, was that poetic language works as art because it’s more difficult to understand than everyday prose, and that this difficulty in parsing meaning could make the normal unfamiliar and therefore consciously artistic. It forces you into seeing the unfamiliar thing and the language or experience that got you there as art. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/27/18000792/alienation-is-the-most-powerful-online-brand
Even very important things can be on cruise control and not on your mind Oct 30, 2018 highlights Even very important things can be on cruise control and not on your mind. If your attention is being grabbed, then there’s almost an inverse relationship there. The degree to which your attention is being grabbed is the degree to which you are not free to place your attention where and how you want to. So, if nothing else, it’s just a pure practical idea that, if you can get rid of the demons that are grabbing hold of your brain and shaking it around—whether that’s buy cat food or reconsidering your career—then it will give you a lot more freedom to be thinking about those things in more creative ways or not have to think about them at all. — https://gettingthingsdone.com/mindclear/
Even very important things can be on cruise control and not on your mind Oct 30, 2018 highlights Even very important things can be on cruise control and not on your mind. If your attention is being grabbed, then there’s almost an inverse relationship there. The degree to which your attention is being grabbed is the degree to which you are not free to place your attention where and how you want to. So, if nothing else, it’s just a pure practical idea that, if you can get rid of the demons that are grabbing hold of your brain and shaking it around—whether that’s buy cat food or reconsidering your career—then it will give you a lot more freedom to be thinking about those things in more creative ways or not have to think about them at all. — https://gettingthingsdone.com/mindclear/
About the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society  Oct 30, 2018 highlights & science & systems

Spanning all five schools at MIT, IDSS embraces the collision and synthesis of ideas and methods from analytical disciplines including statistics, data science, information theory and inference, systems and control theory, optimization, economics, human and social behavior, and network science.


The mission of IDSS is to advance education and research in state-of-the-art analytical methods and to apply these methods to address complex societal challenges in a diverse set of areas such as finance, energy systems, urbanization, social networks, and health.


IDSS comprises a number of academic programs, including those offered by the Statistics and Data Science Center (SDSC), two online education programs, and the IDSS research entities Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) and Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC).

- https://www.prweb.com/releases/noted_mit_scientist_muncher_dahleh_joins_the_enterworks_executive_advisory_board_to_help_guide_company_s_vision_for_artificial_intelligence/prweb15872695.htm
Today’s interview is with Rie Nørregaard, a Managing Creative Director of SY Partners, a consultancy based in New York and San Francisco Oct 30, 2018 highlights & design Today’s interview is with Rie Nørregaard, a Managing Creative Director of SY Partners, a consultancy based in New York and San Francisco. For 20 years, they’ve helped business leaders, teams, and individuals pursue growth and greatness. Rie has recently started a podcast: Designing for Humanity, which aims to explore designing a future that’s made for all of us—and the best in us. They also say that design, at its heart, is an act of service and is the work of solving problems for the benefit of others. — http://customerthink.com/design-is-how-we-treat-each-other-interview-with-rie-norregaard/
To find out what one of our region’s universities thoughts are on innovation training, I spoke with Angel Cabrera, president of George Mason University Oct 29, 2018 highlights & innovation & people To find out what one of our region’s universities thoughts are on innovation training, I spoke with Angel Cabrera, president of George Mason University. He shared with me an emerging vision of putting innovation skill development on the learning path for all Mason students and to more actively use simulations to do that. He pointed to PatriotHacks, a weekend technology challenge held last weekend at Mason sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, CACI and Verizon as one example how the vision is coming together. The PatriotHacks innovation simulation involved 250 students, many of whom worked an entire weekend without sleep, to come up with solutions to specific challenges set by the sponsors. — https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2018/10/25/jonathan-aberman-can-you-teach-people-be.html
Watch OPSI’s Piret Tonurist discuss ‘Systems Approaches in Policy Practice’ and give real life examples, drawn from current OECD case studies. Oct 29, 2018 highlights
OPSI is developing a model for public sector innovation and we want your input. Oct 29, 2018 highlights & innovation
we have seen that universal approaches can sometimes deepen inequities—the political adage “a rising tide lifts all boats” only applies when all are equipped with adequate boats to begin with Oct 28, 2018 highlights we have seen that universal approaches can sometimes deepen inequities—the political adage “a rising tide lifts all boats” only applies when all are equipped with adequate boats to begin with. For instance, the post-World War II GI Bill was ostensibly created to benefit the general population. However, as banks generally wouldn’t make loans for mortgages in black neighborhoods, it ultimately exacerbated inequality by exclusively offering mortgage assistance to a specific group of Americans. — https://www.fsg.org/blog/creating-consensus-targeted-universalism
Targeted Universalism Oct 28, 2018 highlights Originally developed by professor and critical race scholar john a. powell, targeted universalism (TU) is an inclusive approach for implementing population-level interventions. It focuses on elevating the disparate experiences of marginalized populations as an essential step in the development of contextually relevant strategies for achieving universal goals. As such, it’s a middle ground between a targeted and a universalist approach. — https://www.fsg.org/blog/creating-consensus-targeted-universalism
A collaborative effort, driven by a diverse group of stakeholders united behind a common goal, can serve as a catalyst for addressing inequities at a systems level Oct 28, 2018 highlights A collaborative effort, driven by a diverse group of stakeholders united behind a common goal, can serve as a catalyst for addressing inequities at a systems level. But beneath the unity of purpose, initial disagreement can arise when stakeholders have to decide how to invest in those with the greatest need without sacrificing community-level goals or appearing to favor one group over another.When we recently faced this challenge within one community-based initiative, we turned to “targeted universalism,” an approach to change management that simultaneously aims for a universal goal while also addressing disparities in opportunities among sub-groups. — https://www.fsg.org/blog/creating-consensus-targeted-universalism
A meme is a social virus Oct 27, 2018 highlights A meme is a social virus. Each spreads through a population according to its peculiar viral dynamics — some ricochet through a population and then burn out, while others come and go with the seasons. Every meme is similarly mindlessly replicative. The point of a virus is to replicate, and the point of a meme is to convey a unit of meaning, one that can be easily remixed by anyone.
On the forums and message boards that cater to people who lean politically conservative, though, memes also function as metonyms: Pepe the Frog, a character created by the cartoonist Matt Furie, was claimed by 4chan and has, over the years, gradually morphed into a stand-in for “Trump supporter.” In these spaces, memes also indicate belonging. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/26/18029700/cesar-sayoc-democrat-bombs-trump-tank-meme-joke
American leaders have always been mythologized; throughout the country’s history, there’s been a concerted effort by supporters to whitewash political leaders — presidents especially — and minimize the worst actions they took in the course of their stewardship of the country Oct 27, 2018 highlights & leadership & people American leaders have always been mythologized; throughout the country’s history, there’s been a concerted effort by supporters to whitewash political leaders — presidents especially — and minimize the worst actions they took in the course of their stewardship of the country.
This goes back as far as George Washington, who is lionized more for winning the Revolutionary War than for his ownership of human beings, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose leadership through the Second World War overshadows his creation of internment camps for Japanese people living in America. Today, George W. Bush, the architect of the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which claimed the lives of millions of innocent people, is a jolly, elderly painter. On social media, he’s retweeted by liberals when he poses for pictures with Michelle Obama. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/26/18029700/cesar-sayoc-democrat-bombs-trump-tank-meme-joke
Without questions, the data rambles on and on and on… — https://flowingdata.com/2018/10/17/ask-the-question-visualize-the-answer/ Oct 18, 2018 highlights
By now, it should be easy to see how different questions about your data can lead to different visualization types. Oct 18, 2018 highlights

By now, it should be easy to see how different questions about your data can lead to different visualization types. This accomplishes a few things:

A question can give you a place to start when presented with a dataset, which can lead to more questions.
It provides focus, because a graphic is made to answer something specific.
Filters out what you do not need to show.

https://flowingdata.com/2018/10/17/ask-the-question-visualize-the-answer/
Paradoxically, the marginalized are largely missing from a conversation that uses them as a justification Oct 14, 2018 highlights Paradoxically, the marginalized are largely missing from a conversation that uses them as a justification. Thus far, the approach has been to gather experts to discuss and strategize ways to better implement inclusion in the AI ecosystem without consulting the so-called marginalized groups they seek to protect. In that sense, we must be wary of replicating the exclusionary practices in the international cooperation model and instead, move towards a paradigm that sees technology design, transfer, and debate as an act of solidarity.We need to guard against the creation of an artificial intelligentsia that discusses inclusion without including the other. — https://points.datasociety.net/lets-avoid-an-artificial-intelligentsia-inclusion-artificial-intelligence-and-human-rights-3905d708e7ed?source=rss—-2488f66d2e39—4
In the past five years, multiple spaces have emerged to facilitate discussions about AI, from new multi-stakeholder organizations like the Partnership for AI to research centers like AI Now and projects like the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative Oct 13, 2018 highlights & society In the past five years, multiple spaces have emerged to facilitate discussions about AI, from new multi-stakeholder organizations like the Partnership for AI to research centers like AI Now and projects like the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative. These diverse actors are researching how AI will impact society and exploring ways to reshape this ecosystem.Others are introducing public interest concerns into the conversation. Academics and public intellectuals like Virginia Eubanks and Cathy O’Neil have raised awareness around the role AI can play in the exacerbation of social inequalities. The work of these and other vanguards has had significant reach among academia and civil society, culminating in events like the AI for Good Global Summit and Data & Society’s Artificial Intelligence & Human Rights workshop. These debates have rapidly moved toward collective agreements and calls for governance like the participatory Toronto Declaration on “protecting the right to equality and non-discrimination in machine learning systems.” — https://points.datasociety.net/lets-avoid-an-artificial-intelligentsia-inclusion-artificial-intelligence-and-human-rights-3905d708e7ed?source=rss—-2488f66d2e39—4
Complex adaptive systems thinking is an exciting approach, and the popularity of the theory in the policy literature is testimony to this Oct 13, 2018 highlights & science & systems Complex adaptive systems thinking is an exciting approach, and the popularity of the theory in the policy literature is testimony to this. But a number of issues are yet to be resolved. There needs to be clearer indication of the practical changes that it implies (if any) for policy research and practice. What are we saying that is different from “we need to take the wider context into account”, and “it’s hard to predict all possible consequences of any given action”? A widely accepted definition of complexity in the context of policy would add weight to evidence found to support the theory. We also need to clarify whether there is good cause to apply a natural science theory to political science. Most importantly, we should be wary of accepting the approach first and then looking for evidence to support it, rather than following the normal social science method of evaluating whether there is evidence in favour or against a given hypothesis. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/10/12/what-are-the-implications-of-complex-systems-thinking-for-policymaking/
Frequent mention is made in the academic literature to the need to clarify the way that this approach can be put into practice empirically, or as Holmes and Noel put it, move from “systems thinking-talking to systems thinking-action” Oct 13, 2018 highlights & systems Frequent mention is made in the academic literature to the need to clarify the way that this approach can be put into practice empirically, or as Holmes and Noel put it, move from “systems thinking-talking to systems thinking-action”. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/10/12/what-are-the-implications-of-complex-systems-thinking-for-policymaking/
Klijn suggests that some elements of this approach, specifically non-linearity and behaviour that is not dependent on central control, can be found in existing policy theories Oct 12, 2018 highlights Klijn suggests that some elements of this approach, specifically non-linearity and behaviour that is not dependent on central control, can be found in existing policy theories. For example, the garbage can model (from 1972) conceives of organisations as organised anarchies where decisions are made by chaotically mixing problems and solutions together like rubbish in a bin, rather than being the result of a single rational decision-maker. Similarly, Kingdon’s multiple stream analysis (1984) suggests that decisions are made only when three “streams” – policy problems, solutions, and political events – happen to coincide, and when there is a “policy entrepreneur” on hand to take advantage of this. Lindblom’s advice from the late 1950s and early 1960s that, given the uncertainty of the policy environment (or non-linearity), changes are, and should always be, incremental, also seems to be a pragmatic response to some concerns raised by complexity theory. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/10/12/what-are-the-implications-of-complex-systems-thinking-for-policymaking/
Perhaps due to the variety of definitions of complex systems, there is a lot of variation amongst the claims made for their application to policy Oct 12, 2018 highlights & systems Perhaps due to the variety of definitions of complex systems, there is a lot of variation amongst the claims made for their application to policy. At one end of the spectrum, this approach is being offered as a “new scientific paradigm” for studying the social world. Others see it more as a “complementary analytical tool” to be used in conjunction with established policy concepts such as game theory. Links are also being made to wicked problems, and there is the suggestion that complex systems thinking might be the most appropriate way to approach these issues that seem to frustrate traditional policy methods. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/10/12/what-are-the-implications-of-complex-systems-thinking-for-policymaking/
Complex systems thinking is experiencing a moment of popularity within the worlds of policy research and practice Oct 12, 2018 highlights & systems Complex systems thinking is experiencing a moment of popularity within the worlds of policy research and practice. It’s an intuitively exciting approach that seems to capture some fundamental truth about our experience of policy: it suggests that policymaking takes place in a system that operates somewhere on the spectrum between “complicated” and “chaos”, making the results of policy interventions difficult to predict. Those who have attempted to study or shape policy might attest to this understanding. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/10/12/what-are-the-implications-of-complex-systems-thinking-for-policymaking/
Last week, Nicholson wrote a stem-winder of a piece for IRPP. Oct 9, 2018 highlights & innovation
For the sake of illustration, I will highlight a possible combination of social and policy labs, transformative scenario planning, deliberative polling, civic tech, and creativity techniques that together increase impact, convergence between stakeholders, and public acceptance of outcomes. Oct 9, 2018 highlights

For the sake of illustration, I will highlight a possible combination of social and policy labs, transformative scenario planning, deliberative polling, civic tech, and creativity techniques that together increase impact, convergence between stakeholders, and public acceptance of outcomes.
Imagine that, as a government official, you are required to define the policy and regulatory reforms required to address an issue with system-wide implications, complex ethical dilemmas, and long-term impacts (all characteristics that our current governance mechanisms struggle with). This challenge could be the transformation of healthcare through the digital and genomics revolutions, the repercussions on our economies and societies of autonomous vehicles, or the impact on jobs of artificial intelligence. We would recommend that someone in this position follow this sequence of actions:

You partner with other government departments to design a process, ensure their buy-in, and secure initial funding.
You then bring together 30-40 key players from industry, civil society, academia, and public administration with relevant expertise, the ability to act, and diverging viewpoints. You may want to leverage this diversity of perspectives to enroll additional funding. You ask this group to agree on the three or four likely scenarios for your issue for the medium term, that is, where it will be in 10-20 years, depending on the investment and regulatory choices that could be made today. They will not agree on what scenario they would like to see emerge, but they’ll concur that these three or four scenarios are highly plausible if certain decisions are made. Reos Partners has pioneered this approach with policy labs and Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP).
You then bring together a representative group of citizens to examine the 3-4 possible scenarios. Using the deliberative polling methodology, you survey the participants for their top-of-the-head” opinion on the topic before bringing them together to thoroughly examine the different scenarios. In the process, you elicit what scenario they favor, taking into account the options, trade-offs, and ethical dilemmas.
You may then want to leverage the diversity of views present to conduct ideation sessions for possible new policy/regulatory approaches to overcome some of the trade-offs the group identified.
At this point, you have convergence among the relevant stakeholders around the potential options, a rich set of data from citizens showing the direction of their preference, and practical ideas for implementing the vision that’s emerging. In this way, the approach provides a rich and practical template for more creative, effective, efficient, and timely policy-making.

Throughout the process, you can involve a wider set of players and citizens online, integrating their input with in-person discussions. Such an approach thus combines the breadth of perspectives that a variety of citizens and stakeholders bring (you can use deliberative polling and civic tech tools here), while allowing for the depth of expertise needed to ground the process in an informed consideration of options and trade-offs (TSP and Policy Labs are useful at this point). Importantly, you involve key people to make things happen with more people in order to enrich the vision of possible futures and legitimacy of the choices made to implement this vision.

http://reospartners.com/augmented-democracy/
Experiments in participatory and deliberative democracy, creativity, and collective intelligence show that high-quality deliberation requires at least the following seven ingredients: Oct 8, 2018 highlights

Experiments in participatory and deliberative democracy, creativity, and collective intelligence show that high-quality deliberation requires at least the following seven ingredients:

Participants should be engaged through a T-shaped” approach that combines deep technical expertise with a wide range of user perspectives.
Relevant public authorities should be closely involved and make a clear commitment as to how they treat the outputs of the process. The higher up they go on Sherry Arnstein’s participation ladder, the more likely they are to generate interest and a positive outcome.
Participants need to be given access to reasonably accurate information that they believe to be relevant to the issue.
Participants should represent the diversity of positions in the public. The benefits of cognitive diversity and the legitimacy of the process are best ensured by a sufficiently large — and, if possible, truly representative — sample of a given population.
Arguments offered by one side should be answered by considerations offered by those who hold other perspectives.
Participants should be allowed to sincerely weigh the merits of the arguments, and arguments offered by all participants should be considered on the merits, regardless of which participants offer them.
The process should be transparent, through the media and on- and offline interaction with a wider public, in order to increase the legitimacy of the solutions proposed and to tap into wider cognitive diversity.

http://reospartners.com/augmented-democracy/
Policy makers readily admit that they are not equipped to communicate with their constituents, as a recent survey of government communications leaders conducted by communications firm WPP revealed Oct 8, 2018 highlights Policy makers readily admit that they are not equipped to communicate with their constituents, as a recent survey of government communications leaders conducted by communications firm WPP revealed. Spanning 40 countries, it indicates that only half of respondents believe they have the right tools and resources to do their jobs. Only 14% have had any training in public engagement. — http://reospartners.com/augmented-democracy/
Such initiatives are welcome supplements in the diet of a poorly nourished political body Oct 8, 2018 highlights & people Such initiatives are welcome supplements in the diet of a poorly nourished political body. The good news is that by bringing people together, they strengthen civic education, engagement, and public conversation. But even as these efforts grow in importance, they remain relatively marginal. The conversation is too often unbalanced and ill informed, and the resulting decisions remain (or at least are perceived as) sub-optimal. Such initiatives are also insufficient in the face of growing challenges and opportunities: Demagogues prosper while people become more frustrated; new digital tools enhance citizens’ expectation to have more say but also unleash disinformation; and new social movements and innovative experiments continue to grow in number and impact.
To ensure more legitimate and effective policies, we need a structurally healthy diet of democracy that incorporates sustained dialogue. As Hélène Landemore comments, “For most political problems and under conditions conducive to proper deliberation and proper use of majority rule, a democratic decision procedure is likely to be a better decision procedure than any nondemocratic decision procedures.”
Fortunately, we know from many experiments the conditions that allow a group of diverse people to solve societal issues with creative, efficient, effective, and timely solutions. Building on such practices and insights, now is the time for what I call “Augmented Democracy.” — http://reospartners.com/augmented-democracy/
The good news is that by bringing people together, they strengthen civic education, engagement, and public conversation Oct 7, 2018 highlights & people The good news is that by bringing people together, they strengthen civic education, engagement, and public conversation. But even as these efforts grow in importance, they remain relatively marginal. The conversation is too often unbalanced and ill informed, and the resulting decisions remain (or at least are perceived as) sub-optimal. Such initiatives are also insufficient in the face of growing challenges and opportunities: Demagogues prosper while people become more frustrated; new digital tools enhance citizens’ expectation to have more say but also unleash disinformation; and new social movements and innovative experiments continue to grow in number and impact.
To ensure more legitimate and effective policies, we need a structurally healthy diet of democracy that incorporates sustained dialogue. As Hélène Landemore comments, “For most political problems and under conditions conducive to proper deliberation and proper use of majority rule, a democratic decision procedure is likely to be a better decision procedure than any nondemocratic decision procedures.” — http://reospartners.com/augmented-democracy/
Yet, in the past few years, deliberate experiments in new forms of public collaboration around the world have proven that such skepticism may be overblown Oct 7, 2018 highlights & people Yet, in the past few years, deliberate experiments in new forms of public collaboration around the world have proven that such skepticism may be overblown. National issues forums, democracy festivals, consensus conferences, participatory budgeting, and unusual approaches such as the Forum Theater are building a more fruitful relationship between citizens and public authorities. For example, in India, following the jan sunwai public hearings approach, officials and people that have been affected by a particular action or decision of the administration settle legal disputes in front of a public that laughs, applauds, or boos. In Grenoble and Charleroi in France, through Parlons-en events, people who are homeless are invited to discuss their difficulties with their fellow citizens. In Chile, the Consensus Table offers indigenous peoples a unique opportunity to talk with government agents. — http://reospartners.com/augmented-democracy/
Your key argument on the neuroscience side seems to be that we’re hardwired to have theory of mind — basically trying to read and guess other people’s emotions — and that makes narratives enjoyable even if they’re wrong or impossible to prove Oct 5, 2018 highlights & people
Your key argument on the neuroscience side seems to be that we’re hardwired to have theory of mind — basically trying to read and guess other people’s emotions — and that makes narratives enjoyable even if they’re wrong or impossible to prove. Can you tell us a little about theory of mind and how it works?

Theory of mind emerges from a much earlier mind-reading instinct that’s common to most mammals. It’s highly adaptive. It’s a quick and dirty solution to the problem we have of predicting the behavior of other Homo sapiens and potential predators and prey. It works well on the African savannah in environments of early adaptation, but only for people and other primates in our immediate vicinity in a very short space of time. It continues to work today in dealing with people face-to-face and hour-to-hour over limited periods. 

But when you start to generalize and apply theory of mind across time and the environmental space, it begins to be so crude and so imprecise that it becomes useless as a tool for controlling and collaborating with other people. But we’re still stuck with it as an explanation because it satisfies our curiosity. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/5/17940650/how-history-gets-things-wrong-alex-rosenberg-interview-neuroscience-stories
The problem is, these historical narratives seduce you into thinking you really understand what’s going on and why things happened, but most of it is guessing people’s motives and their inner thoughts Oct 5, 2018 highlights & people The problem is, these historical narratives seduce you into thinking you really understand what’s going on and why things happened, but most of it is guessing people’s motives and their inner thoughts. It allays your curiosity, and you’re satisfied psychologically by the narrative, and it connects the dots so you feel you’re in the shoes of the person whose narrative is being recorded. It has seduced you into a false account, and now you think you understand.
The second part is that it effectively prevents you from going on to try to find the right theory and correct account of events. And the third problem, which is the gravest, is that people use narratives because of their tremendous emotional impact to drive human actions, movements, political parties, religions, ideologies. And many movements, like nationalism and intolerant religions, are driven by narrative and are harmful and dangerous for humanity. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/5/17940650/how-history-gets-things-wrong-alex-rosenberg-interview-neuroscience-stories
At AI SF, Mehdi Miremadi from McKinsey Global Institute corroborated in “Have we reached peak human? Oct 5, 2018 highlights

At AI SF, Mehdi Miremadi from McKinsey Global Institute corroborated in Have we reached peak human? The impact of AI on the workforce”:

economic futures look bleak when based on current trends in labor supply
productivity growth” over the past five decades was based on large numbers of people entering the workforce
our ability to automate (up to 30% of many jobs) is how the story of AI will unfold

To wit, advanced analytics have near-term potential to unlock $11–13T in the economy (~15% of global GDP), with deep learning accounting for ~40%. Historical analogies exist, e.g., the era of early PC adoption created jobs despite dire warnings to the contrary.

https://blog.dominodatalab.com/themes-and-conferences-per-pacoid-episode-2/
Van Horn and Perona open with a brilliant one-liner: the world is long-tailed Oct 4, 2018 highlights & learning & global Van Horn and Perona open with a brilliant one-liner: the world is long-tailed. The diagram above shows analysis from Deep Learning Analytics, the #2 team placing in the iNaturalist 2018 competition. Part of that challenge was how many of the classes to be learned had few data points for training. That condition is much more “real world” than the famed ImageNet – with an average of ~500 instances per class – which helped make “deep learning” a popular phrase. The aforementioned sea change from Lange, Jonas, et al., addresses the problem of reducing data demands. I can make an educated guess that your enterprise ML use cases resemble iNaturalist more than ImageNet, and we need to find ways to produce effective models which don’t require enormous labeled data sets. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/themes-and-conferences-per-pacoid-episode-2/
These days with fast commodity networking, the economics of cloud services don’t resemble “commodity servers” circa early Hadoop at all Oct 4, 2018 highlights These days with fast commodity networking, the economics of cloud services don’t resemble “commodity servers” circa early Hadoop at all. The argument centers more on networks than servers, but anywho Eric Jonas and crew did tons of research about bottlenecks, throughput, failure rates, economics, etc. Instead of bringing your compute to the data, now bring your data to the compute. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/themes-and-conferences-per-pacoid-episode-2/
At AI SF, Danny Lange presented how to train puppies: “On the road to artificial general intelligence” — game simulations Unity3D plus reinforcement learning used to train virtual puppies to play “fetch” and other skills. Oct 4, 2018 highlights & learning

At AI SF, Danny Lange presented how to train puppies: On the road to artificial general intelligence” — game simulations Unity3D plus reinforcement learning used to train virtual puppies to play fetch” and other skills. Building on this, Danny described several forms of learning inspired by biology, which go beyond deep learning. He showed examples of virtual puppies for:

Imitation Learning: e.g., see https://bit.ly/2zvYH51 (start 0:15)
Curriculum Learning: start with an easy problem, then make learning challenges progressively harder
Curiosity-driven Exploration: gets beyond problems which random exploration would never reach, i.e., agents don’t get stuck in a room (saddle points) because they want to explore other rooms

https://blog.dominodatalab.com/themes-and-conferences-per-pacoid-episode-2/
Check out her Altimeter Group white paper, “The Customer Experience of AI: Five Principles to Foster Engagement, Innovation and Trust” Oct 3, 2018 highlights Check out her Altimeter Group white paper, “The Customer Experience of AI: Five Principles to Foster Engagement, Innovation and Trust”. One of Susan’s key takeways, reinforcing Maryam Jahanshahi’s points above, is that individuals make microdecisions based on their own biases (which everyone has) that cascade into microaggressions in aggregate. Again, this is related to how people do not naturally make good decisions in large groups. Even so, data science can help augment that baseline human condition, so that large organizations can collaborate to reach decisions objectively and ethically — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/themes-and-conferences-per-pacoid-episode-2/
A central theme in Amber’s work is about calm technology, the opposite of products which steal attention Oct 3, 2018 highlights A central theme in Amber’s work is about calm technology, the opposite of products which steal attention. This should inform how we build analytics and reporting. For example, how readily do decision-makers learn from the data visualizations and other interactive materials which we produce as data scientists? — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/themes-and-conferences-per-pacoid-episode-2/
Under the initiatives pillar, young people’s leadership, creativity and innovation skills will be harnessed to bolster their ability to be agents for positive change during the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the SDGs in 2020 Sep 27, 2018 highlights & people Under the initiatives pillar, young people’s leadership, creativity and innovation skills will be harnessed to bolster their ability to be agents for positive change during the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the SDGs in 2020.Adding to the existing “Young Leaders for the SDGs’ initiative, a “Youth Gateway” central knowledge hub on SDGs is planned, including a platform to map existing initiatives and provide opportunities for engagement, aimed at motivating more young people to take action. Tools will be developed to measure and track global indicators on youth development and well-being. — http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/article/544261/SAUDI-ARABIA/Misk-becomes-pioneering-partner-for-UN-youth-work
The EPCC and the wider university is working with partners in government, industry and other higher education centres to create a vibrant cluster of activity based on data science — the collecting, organising and interpreting of large sets of digital information Sep 25, 2018 highlights & innovation The EPCC and the wider university is working with partners in government, industry and other higher education centres to create a vibrant cluster of activity based on data science – the collecting, organising and interpreting of large sets of digital information. These tasks can be summed up as data-driven innovation, or DDI. — https://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/data-innovation-from-niche-concern-to-key-driver-1-4804849
Interpretability is needed when auxiliary criteria are not met and questions about bias, trust, safety, ethics, and mismatched objectives arise Sep 25, 2018 highlights & learning Interpretability is needed when auxiliary criteria are not met and questions about bias, trust, safety, ethics, and mismatched objectives arise. Kim and Doshi-Velez “argue that the need for interpretability stems from incompleteness in the problem formalizing, creating a fundamental barrier to optimization and evaluation” for example, “incompleteness that produces some kind of unquantified bias”. — https://blog.dominodatalab.com/make-machine-learning-interpretability-rigorous/
Youtube is failing its creators Sep 21, 2018 highlights Can a channel that uploads only once a month actually make a living off of that? Are the higher views on a returning week from vacation significant enough to make up for taking a break — and if not, how much of a hit should one expect to take? —

Youtube is failing its creators

This phenomenon is an indicator of broader future-of-work issues. If more people are making their primary income from distributed micro-work style projects, where does income security come from?

Instagram is built for people to project their best selves; the aspirational version of everyday life where a cozy, rainy day cup of coffee post removes the part where I forgot an umbrella, stepped in dog shit, and am currently in the middle of a wicked anxiety spell Sep 21, 2018 highlights Instagram is built for people to project their best selves; the aspirational version of everyday life where a cozy, rainy day cup of coffee post removes the part where I forgot an umbrella, stepped in dog shit, and am currently in the middle of a wicked anxiety spell. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/20/17883298/harimao-lee-instagram-fairy-lights-flight
Charisma Star, real name Charis Lincoln, has used the phrase “shining stars” to describe her viewers since the beginning of her career as a way to bring them closer Sep 18, 2018 highlights Charisma Star, real name Charis Lincoln, has used the phrase “shining stars” to describe her viewers since the beginning of her career as a way to bring them closer. “By naming my audience, I feel that I have a very close connection to them, almost like a sister or BFF,” she tells The Verge.
She’s been extraordinarily effective at building that connection. Most of Lincoln’s 932,000 followers have never and will never meet her. Yet their dedication to her is undeniable, and it’s a perfect representation of the ever-expanding social phenomenon of parasocial relationships, wherein individuals attach affections to celebrity figures. The concept is more accurate than ever today, and it’s crucial to understanding the complications of life as an influencer or creator in 2018. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/17/17832948/youtube-youtubers-influencer-creator-fans-subscribers-friends-celebrities
All these examples tell the same story: that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly Sep 18, 2018 highlights & global All these examples tell the same story: that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. This makes it possible to do many things that previously could not be done: spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on. Managed well, the data can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and hold governments to account.
But they are also creating a host of new problems. Despite the abundance of tools to capture, process and share all this information—sensors, computers, mobile phones and the like—it already exceeds the available storage space (see chart 1). Moreover, ensuring data security and protecting privacy is becoming harder as the information multiplies and is shared ever more widely around the world. — https://www.economist.com/special-report/2010/02/25/data-data-everywhere
Contemporary extremism is designed to increase polarization Sep 17, 2018 highlights & journalism Contemporary extremism is designed to increase polarization. One tactic is to twist frames. For example, “ideological diversity” has been deployed to suggest that people who hold conservative viewpoints experience a loss of opportunity similar to those who have faced systemic racism and sexism. But this isn’t about the history of economic inequality in the US. It’s a dogwhistle. It’s about using nominal conservatism as a cloak to promote toxic masculinity and white supremacy. It’s about extremists using conservatives. And it’s about intentionally twisting historical pressure to diversify newsrooms and Silicon Valley to open the Overton Window. Fundamentally, it’s a technique to grab power by gaslighting the public and making reality seem fuzzy. — https://points.datasociety.net/media-manipulation-strategic-amplification-and-responsible-journalism-95f4d611f462?source=rss—-2488f66d2e39—4
Last week, Facebook and Twitter were accused during a Congressional hearing of having conservative bias Sep 16, 2018 highlights & journalism & social Last week, Facebook and Twitter were accused during a Congressional hearing of having conservative bias. This should sound familiar to many of you in this room as you too have been accused for political purposes of being the “liberal media.” The core of this narrative is a stunt, architected by media manipulators, designed to trigger outrage among conservatives and pressure news and social media to react.It works. Over the last two years, both social media and news media organizations have desperately tried to prove that they aren’t biased. What’s at stake is not whether these organizations are restricting discussions concerning free-market economics or failing to allow conservative perspectives to be heard. What’s at stake is how fringe groups can pervert the logics of media to spread conspiratorial and hateful messages under their false flag of conservatism. — https://points.datasociety.net/media-manipulation-strategic-amplification-and-responsible-journalism-95f4d611f462?source=rss—-2488f66d2e39—4
Accusations of conservative bias are not evaluated through evidence because reality doesn’t matter to them Sep 16, 2018 highlights & journalism & people Accusations of conservative bias are not evaluated through evidence because reality doesn’t matter to them. This is what makes this stunt so effective. News organizations and tech companies have no way to “prove” their innocence. What makes conspiratorial messages work is how they pervert evidence. The simplest technique is to conflate correlation and causation. Conspiracy makers point to the data that suggests that both journalists and Silicon Valley engineers are more likely to vote for candidates from the Democratic party. Or that they have higher levels of education than the average American and are more likely to live in Blue states.As my colleague Francesca Tripodi points out, accusing tech of conservative bias also leverages and reinforces a misunderstanding of how search engines and social media work. As she notes, “People believe Google is weighing facts instead of rank-ordering results that match the entered keywords.” When the goal is to drive a wedge among the public, it’s not hard to encourage people to see bias. — https://points.datasociety.net/media-manipulation-strategic-amplification-and-responsible-journalism-95f4d611f462?source=rss—-2488f66d2e39—4
We’ve seen that some careers have had huge positive effects, and some have vastly more than others Sep 15, 2018 highlights & people We’ve seen that some careers have had huge positive effects, and some have vastly more than others.Some component of this is due to luck – the people mentioned above were in the right place at the right time, affording them the opportunity to have an impact that they might not have otherwise received. You can’t guarantee you’ll make an important medical discovery.But it wasn’t all luck: Landsteiner and Nalin chose to use their medical knowledge to solve some of the most harmful health problems of their day, and it was foreseeable that someone high up in the Soviet military could have a large impact by preventing conflict during the Cold War. So, what does this mean for you?People often wonder how they can “make a difference”, but if some careers can result in thousands of times more impact than others, this isn’t the right question. Two career options can both “make a difference”, but one could be dramatically better than the other.Instead, the key question is, “how can I make the most difference?” In other words: what can you do to give yourself a chance of having one of the highest-impact careers? Because the highest-impact careers achieve so much, a small increase in your chances means a great deal. — https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-much-difference-can-one-person-make/
This last point is illustrated by the chart below, which compares the impact of doctors in different countries Sep 15, 2018 highlights & people This last point is illustrated by the chart below, which compares the impact of doctors in different countries. The y-axis shows the amount of ill health in the population, measured in Disability-Adjusted Life Years (aka “DALYs”) per 100,000 people, where one DALY equals one year of life lost due to ill health. The x-axis shows the number of doctors per 100,000 people. DALYs per 100,000 people versus doctors per 100,000 people. We used WHO data from 2004. Line is the best fitting hyperbola determined by non-linear least square regression. Full explanation in this paper.You can see that the curve goes nearly flat once you have more than 150 doctors per 100,000 people. After this point (which almost all developed countries meet), additional doctors only achieve a small impact on average. — https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-much-difference-can-one-person-make/
Researchers largely agree that medicine has only increased average life expectancy by a few years Sep 14, 2018 highlights Researchers largely agree that medicine has only increased average life expectancy by a few years. Most gains in life expectancy over the last 100 years have instead occurred due to better nutrition, improved sanitation, increased wealth, and other factors.Doctors are only one part of the medical system, which also relies on nurses and hospital staff, as well as overhead and equipment. The impact of medical interventions is shared between all of these elements.Most importantly, there are already a lot of doctors in the developed world, so if you don’t become a doctor, someone else will be available to perform the most critical procedures. Additional doctors therefore only enable us to carry out procedures that deliver less significant and less certain results. — https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-much-difference-can-one-person-make/
Using a standard conversion rate (used by the World Bank among other institutions) of 30 extra years of healthy life to one “life saved,” 140 years of healthy life is equivalent to 5 lives saved Sep 14, 2018 highlights Using a standard conversion rate (used by the World Bank among other institutions) of 30 extra years of healthy life to one “life saved,” 140 years of healthy life is equivalent to 5 lives saved. This is clearly a significant impact, however it’s less of an impact than many people expect doctors to have. — https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-much-difference-can-one-person-make/
Many people who want to help others become doctors Sep 14, 2018 highlights Many people who want to help others become doctors. One of our early readers, Dr. Greg Lewis, did exactly that. “I want to study medicine because of a desire I have to help others,” he wrote on his university application, “and so the chance of spending a career doing something worthwhile I can’t resist.”So, we wondered: how much difference does becoming a doctor really make? In 2012, we teamed up with Greg to find out, and this work is now being reviewed for publication.Since a doctor’s main purpose is to improve health, we tried to figure out how much extra “health” one doctor actually adds to humanity. We found that, on average in the course of their career, a doctor in the UK will enable their patients to live an extra combined 140 years of healthy life, either by extending their lifespans or by improving their overall health. There is, of course, a huge amount of uncertainty in this figure, but the real figure is unlikely to be more than ten times higher than 140.1 — https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-much-difference-can-one-person-make/
one of the first questions we asked was “how much difference can one person really make?”We learned that while many common ways to do good, such as becoming a doctor, have less impact than you might first think; others have allowed certain people to achieve an extraordinary impact Sep 13, 2018 highlights one of the first questions we asked was “how much difference can one person really make?”We learned that while many common ways to do good, such as becoming a doctor, have less impact than you might first think; others have allowed certain people to achieve an extraordinary impact.In other words, one person can make a difference, but you might have to do something a little unconventional. — https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-much-difference-can-one-person-make/
There’s an argument to be made, from Apple’s perspective, that if most people aren’t using the audio dongle, putting one in the box with every iPhone is environmentally and economically wasteful Sep 13, 2018 highlights There’s an argument to be made, from Apple’s perspective, that if most people aren’t using the audio dongle, putting one in the box with every iPhone is environmentally and economically wasteful. Fair enough. So put a voucher code in the box for a free dongle, should the user actively want one. As a matter of fact, since so many iPhone buyers are repeat customers, Apple can also start doing the same with the charger. It’s not like the company ships a suitable fast charger in the box. While Apple advertises fast and wireless charging support with its new iPhones, you’ll have to buy separate accessories for both. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/13/17852184/iphone-xs-headphone-jack-adapter-apple-event-2018
We are cyborgs. Sep 12, 2018 highlights & people


On one hand, especially after last year’s price increase for the flagship model, the iPhone is a luxury item. People save up to buy it, and they measure their social and economic standing with it. In a sea of smartphones that do roughly the same thing, Apple’s particular smartphone commands a prestige premium. This is a familiar description for fashion or jewelry brands and products, but it finds few parallels in the tech industry.
The other side of the iPhone coin is that we keep replacing it like it’s a basic consumption good. If I buy a luxury watch for $1,000, I’d expect to have it for a decade or longer, whereas Apple somehow keeps enticing people to buy a pricey new iPhone every two or three years. It’s like the company is selling sneakers but charging the price of dress shoes.”

Vlad Savov has written an excellent reflection on our relationship with iPhones.

We are cyborgs.

If they want to convince people they are serious about WIL and not just go through the motions for a year or two to placate politicians who are temporarily hot for the idea because it’s the “new thing”, they need to do a lot more than write a letter. Sep 11, 2018 highlights
This is about where I start to get worried/skeptical about WIL. Sep 11, 2018 highlights
Azeem’s end note Sep 9, 2018 highlights

Azeem’s end note

I am spending a bit of time over the coming months thinking about data in the context of the new information age. I’m particularly curious about the full spectrum of issues from what personal rights around data usage should be, how those rights should be expressed and protected, especially in the context of derived attributes or characteristics the emerge from aggregated or population level data. I’m curious about collective data institutions like data exchanges, data trusts and data commons. I wonder about how business strategies might evolve beyond data network effects. And I’m intrigued by how data might be used in political & deliberative processes. And I want to understand better how we describe and unleash the economic value of data.

https://mailchi.mp/exponentialview/ev181
What if a society wants to embed bias in algorithms? Reportedly, Google plans to launch a censored search engine in China that will blacklist search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest Sep 9, 2018 highlights What if a society wants to embed bias in algorithms? Reportedly, Google plans to launch a censored search engine in China that will blacklist search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest. Google employees object. Would a code of ethics for data scientists help formalise the responsibility of those who create algorithms to think and act ethically? — https://mailchi.mp/exponentialview/ev181
Education is delivery; learning is discovery. Sep 8, 2018 highlights & education & learning
Meme warfare, a term coined by Andrew Boyd in 2002, is real, and it’s an important component of any great marketing or public relations campaign — even if not referred to in those specific terms Sep 8, 2018 highlights Meme warfare, a term coined by Andrew Boyd in 2002, is real, and it’s an important component of any great marketing or public relations campaign — even if not referred to in those specific terms. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/7/17832250/jack-dorsey-beard-jokes-tweets-memes-political-dissent
Natasha Noy, a research scientist at Google AI who helped created Dataset Search, says the aim is to unify the tens of thousands of different repositories for datasets online Sep 6, 2018 highlights Natasha Noy, a research scientist at Google AI who helped created Dataset Search, says the aim is to unify the tens of thousands of different repositories for datasets online. “We want to make that data discoverable, but keep it where it is,” says Noy. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/5/17822562/google-dataset-search-service-scholar-scientific-journal-open-data-access
Google’s goal has always been to organize the world’s information, and its first target was the commercial web Sep 6, 2018 highlights Google’s goal has always been to organize the world’s information, and its first target was the commercial web. Now, it wants to do the same for the scientific community with a new search engine for datasets.
The service, called Dataset Search, launches today — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/5/17822562/google-dataset-search-service-scholar-scientific-journal-open-data-access
Can you tell me a little bit about the qualities that you look for in coaches, what you think makes a good coach and what, their qualities are well? Nicolas: The 4 dimensions that we have in mind for an intrapreneurs’ coach profile correspond to the 4 activities previsously descrive: innovation skills, networking within Orange, human relationship abilities, and the being ready to work Sep 6, 2018 highlights Can you tell me a little bit about the qualities that you look for in coaches, what you think makes a good coach and what, their qualities are well?
Nicolas: The 4 dimensions that we have in mind for an intrapreneurs’ coach profile correspond to the 4 activities previsously descrive: innovation skills, networking within Orange, human relationship abilities, and the being ready to work. — http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2018/09/02/the-importance-of-coaching-intrapreneurs/
During the application stage, the intrapreneur fulfills 10 questions from an online file, and based on this file, we select some of them for what we call pre-coaching, where we help them to enrich their application. Sep 5, 2018 highlights & people

During the application stage, the intrapreneur fulfills 10 questions from an online file, and based on this file, we select some of them for what we call pre-coaching, where we help them to enrich their application. Basically we work with them on two aspects:

One is to help them to move from the solution to the user problem: identify who is their target, and how painful is the problem for the target;
And second element, we connect them with other entities within Orange. Orange is a huge company (150,000 employees over 30 countries), and very often there are people working on a similar aspect of the intrapreneur project or people who could be interested in commercializing, distributing the intrapreneurs idea. So we connect people and sometimes it’s a match, sometimes it doesn’t match, but it’s another way to make the application progress;

We start very often with online coaching where we connect by phone, and we exchange on the project: we share with them some contacts, and they make the appointments, meet the people, and enrich the project. For us it’s a very important way to test if the intrapreneur is able to be self-starter, to take initiative, and to iterate on his project . Iteration is really a key skill for the intrapreneur;
Besides, each intrapreneur has to find out a business unit sponsor for his project: this networking is a fine way to meet this sponsoring demand;
When the project goes to Qualification, and then to Incubation, he usually keeps the same coach.

http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2018/09/02/the-importance-of-coaching-intrapreneurs/
Evan Burton is a UX Designer, Usability Engineer, Data Science Enthusiast, finishing a master’s degree in Usability Engineering. Sep 5, 2018 highlights

Evan Burton is a UX Designer, Usability Engineer, Data Science Enthusiast, finishing a master’s degree in Usability Engineering.
He’s currently writing his masters thesis on corporate intrapreneurship and innovation, with a focus on corporate acceleration and incubation, and how to best support intrapreneurs in the process of defining and developing their ideas into products or services for their company.

Evan claims that one of his core research findings was that the role of coaching in these programs is very impactful. Research shows that coaches serve not only as an experienced guide, helping intrapreneurs to embrace a new way of working, but also as a crucial link to a network of experienced professionals both inside and outside the corporation.

http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2018/09/02/the-importance-of-coaching-intrapreneurs/
What silence looks like online is hard to describe, because it’s necessarily individual: I have a different threshold than you, for example, for dealing with Twitter trolls or rogue Instagram commenters Sep 5, 2018 highlights What silence looks like online is hard to describe, because it’s necessarily individual: I have a different threshold than you, for example, for dealing with Twitter trolls or rogue Instagram commenters. But I do think there are a few rules. First, quiet is found in considered spaces — think @everycolorbot or #cloudtwitter. Second, if silence is found through listening, then peaceful places online are more generative (like Glitch or Codecademy, or one of my favorites, Twine) and, generally, focused on maintaining small, healthy communities (like Metafilter). Silence pools like the tides. It’s hard to find at high tide, and immediately obvious where the pools are when the tide are out. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/2/17805138/finding-silence-online-is-difficult-but-the-pursuit-is-worthwhile
Learning how to live sustainably in an always-online society is mostly about learning where your limits are, and learning how much connection you can handle before it’s time to withdraw Sep 5, 2018 highlights & learning Learning how to live sustainably in an always-online society is mostly about learning where your limits are, and learning how much connection you can handle before it’s time to withdraw. Knowing when to log off is the main skill to master — and this applies IRL, too, because while it’s easy to understand why you feel drained after random accounts brigade your Twitter mentions, it’s harder to recognize when the people around you become draining themselves. But more often it’s simpler than that: the fact that there’s a society-wide expectation to be constantly available means there’s no escape from the insistent pings and buzzes that accompany human connection, from friends to enemies to lovers and everything in between. And now we have more — and more persistent — friendships than ever, mediated by Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, which means that the alerts come more frequently than ever. The human brain has not evolved as quickly as its technology has; we are not built for this much connection, though we have, by and large, adapted. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/2/17805138/finding-silence-online-is-difficult-but-the-pursuit-is-worthwhile
Despite the achievements of ubiquitous computing, this discipline is still overlooked in business process management Sep 4, 2018 highlights Despite the achievements of ubiquitous computing, this discipline is still overlooked in business process management. This is surprising, since many of today’s challenges, in this domain, can be addressed by methods and techniques from ubiquitous computing, for instance user context and dynamic aspects of resource locations. This paper takes a first step to integrate methods and techniques from ubiquitous computing in business process management. To do so, we propose discovering commute patterns via process mining. Through our proposition, we can deduce the users’ significant locations, routes, travel times and travel modes. This information can be a stepping-stone toward helping the business process management community embrace the latest achievements in ubiquitous computing, mainly in location-based service. — http://rd.springer.com/10.1007/s10115-018-1255-1
A senior official said that there was a slight distinction between research — which is crucial in the NIRF framework — and innovation: research produces new knowledge while innovation puts that knowledge to use Sep 4, 2018 highlights & innovation A senior official said that there was a slight distinction between research – which is crucial in the NIRF framework – and innovation: research produces new knowledge while innovation puts that knowledge to use.ARIIA – named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee – will focus on: budget expenses and revenues generated; facilitating access to advance centres; ideas of entrepreneurship; innovation ecosystems supported through teaching and learning; and innovative solutions to improve governance of the institution. — https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-ranking-based-on-innovation/article24823285.ece
A senior official said that there was a slight distinction between research — which is crucial in the NIRF framework — and innovation: research produces new knowledge while innovation puts that knowledge to use Sep 4, 2018 highlights & innovation A senior official said that there was a slight distinction between research – which is crucial in the NIRF framework – and innovation: research produces new knowledge while innovation puts that knowledge to use.ARIIA – named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee – will focus on: budget expenses and revenues generated; facilitating access to advance centres; ideas of entrepreneurship; innovation ecosystems supported through teaching and learning; and innovative solutions to improve governance of the institution. — https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-ranking-based-on-innovation/article24823285.ece
Litzsinger agrees: “To me, cyberpunk does feel inherently political in that its protagonists almost always operate on the fringes of the law, whether because of criminal activity or the inability for the law to keep up with technology Sep 3, 2018 highlights Litzsinger agrees: “To me, cyberpunk does feel inherently political in that its protagonists almost always operate on the fringes of the law, whether because of criminal activity or the inability for the law to keep up with technology. It can challenge us to think about the difference between something that is legal and something that is moral, and you will find a common thread of rebellion against ‘the system’ in a lot of cyberpunk narratives.” — https://www.polygon.com/features/2018/8/30/17796680/cyberpunk-2077-history-blade-runner-neuromancer
I personally think that any cyberpunk work worthy of the name needs to show that dehumanizing, unequal relationship of power and politics as part of its makeup,” says Pondsmith Sep 3, 2018 highlights I personally think that any cyberpunk work worthy of the name needs to show that dehumanizing, unequal relationship of power and politics as part of its makeup,” says Pondsmith. “You don’t raise hell in a future where things are a Star Trekkian Utopia — you raise hell when all the forces in power are arrayed against you personally, and you have to fight back. — https://www.polygon.com/features/2018/8/30/17796680/cyberpunk-2077-history-blade-runner-neuromancer
“Body modification is a great avenue for empowering stories for groups routinely denied bodily autonomy: disabled people, trans people, women as a whole, etc Sep 3, 2018 highlights & people “Body modification is a great avenue for empowering stories for groups routinely denied bodily autonomy: disabled people, trans people, women as a whole, etc.,” says Yawns. “The problem is that utopianism clashes with the impoverished lives cyberpunk depicts, immediately raising the question of who can afford these freedoms.
“Enabling bodily autonomy, alteration and restored function is a great thing but as things stand, access for the majority means debt or servitude to malicious corporate monopolies,” says Yawns. “Anyone who’s experienced tech industry practices of planned obsolescence and covert data collection on their phone can imagine what these companies might do given access your cybernetic limbs, let alone your whole nervous system.
“Liberating tech is often made into a yoke by its social context.”
That last part is the biomechanically-enhanced heart of cyberpunk. William Gibson has often summed it up in interviews: “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Cyberpunk worlds are about the gap between those who have access to their futuristic technologies and those who don’t — a gap that’s often expressed literally, in the verticality of its mega-cities. — https://www.polygon.com/features/2018/8/30/17796680/cyberpunk-2077-history-blade-runner-neuromancer
“It is a setting that is focused on the human experience, and how far we can push the limits of both technology and ourselves,” says Litzsinger Sep 2, 2018 highlights “It is a setting that is focused on the human experience, and how far we can push the limits of both technology and ourselves,” says Litzsinger.
The writers who laid the foundation of cyberpunk looked at the accelerating pace of change in the late 20th century, and understood that technology would forever be an inseparable part of the human experience. This is still what makes the genre stand apart from other branches of sci-fi: the way it considers the social impact of technology on everyday life. — https://www.polygon.com/features/2018/8/30/17796680/cyberpunk-2077-history-blade-runner-neuromancer
Certain central themes spring up repeatedly in cyberpunk Sep 2, 2018 highlights

Certain central themes spring up repeatedly in cyberpunk. The theme of body invasion: prosthetic limbs, implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, genetic alteration. The even more powerful theme of mind invasion: brain-computer interfaces, artificial intelligence, neurochemistry – techniques radically redefining the nature of humanity, the nature of the self.


Cyberpunk meshes these advanced technologies with more down-to-earth concerns like drugs, dive bars and desperation that turn people to crime. The ruling powers of cyberpunk worlds are almost always immense corporations who control access to technology. The protagonists tend to be outsiders — criminals and noir-style antiheroes — who exist on the margins of society. There’s an oft-quoted maxim by Sterling that sums it up nicely: Lowlife and high-tech.’”

design can be directly weaponised by the design team itself Sep 1, 2018 highlights & design design can be directly weaponised by the design team itself. — https://flowingdata.com/2018/08/30/weaponised-design/
there’s a lot of potential in collaborating to illuminate the systems that create data Sep 1, 2018 highlights & science & systems there’s a lot of potential in collaborating to illuminate the systems that create data. Part of that potential, I think, will be realized by leveraging the different epistemological assumptions behind our respective approaches. For example, there is unquestionable value in using statistical models as a lens to interpret and forecast sociocultural trends—both business value and value to growing knowledge more generally. But that value is entirely dependent on the quality of the alignment between the statistical model and the sociocultural system(s) it is built for. When there are misalignments and blind spots, the door is opened to validity issues and negative social consequences, such as those coming to light in the debates about fairness in machine learning. There are real disconnects between how data-intensive systems currently work, and what benefits societies. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
TYE: We touched on data provenance earlier, but I want to come back to it from the perspective of quantitative data Aug 31, 2018 highlights & science & systems TYE: We touched on data provenance earlier, but I want to come back to it from the perspective of quantitative data. In particular, I think it is critical to keep in mind that the systems that generate quantitative data are necessarily embedded in socio-technical systems. The technological elements of those systems (electronic sensors, software-based telemetry, etc.) are designed, manufactured, and maintained by sociocultural factors. So, a data scientist who is diligently trying to understand where their data comes from in order to interpret it, will sooner or later need to understand sociocultural phenomena that produced data, even if that understanding is more meta-data than data. It would make sense to co-develop rubrics for assessing the quality of data generated by socio-technical systems. Shining a bright light on the deepest lineage of data that impacts business or design decisions is important for everyone involved. Such assessments could lead to more cautious ways of using data, or be used in efforts to improve the explainability of technical systems. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
DAWN: I’m always curious about how data scientists measure the consistency or sensitivity of results from datasets Aug 31, 2018 highlights & science DAWN: I’m always curious about how data scientists measure the consistency or sensitivity of results from datasets. You have a notion of confidence intervals that communicates in a shorthand way “this is the size of grain of salt you have to take.” Ethnography doesn’t look at the world probabilistically, so we can never say, “9 of 10 times this will be the case.” But there are patterns, and those patterns can be relied upon for some purposes but not others. Even though we have messy complicated debates about how culture “scales” (which isn’t the same thing as reliability of results, but it’s related), we still don’t have clear ways to communicate to clients “this is the size of the grain of salt you need to take.” — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
https://www. Aug 31, 2018 highlights & science But a key difference is that ethnographic work critically assesses the role of the researchers as an explicit, expected part of the research process. If data science projects were truly determined by the data alone (sensor data, click data and so forth), then repeated analyses should yield identical results. They don't. More light has been shed on this recently and is captured by concepts like "p-hacking". Minimally, it's clear that data science processes could benefit from more documentation and critical reflection on the effect of the data scientist themselves. The ethnographer's ability to identify and explicate researcher biases and social pressures could be helpful. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
TYE: One thing I’ve observed about ethnography is that ethnographers often collect metadata simultaneously to collecting data—e Aug 31, 2018 highlights & science TYE: One thing I’ve observed about ethnography is that ethnographers often collect metadata simultaneously to collecting data—e.g., taking notes on why they might have made certain observations instead of others, how the observations align or conflict with their expectations, etc. Provenance is built-in. The equivalent metadata about provenance might be recorded post hoc for the data scientist, or she might have to create it by talking to the stakeholders who did the collection.
DAWN: We don’t make hard distinctions between metadata and data because you don’t know which is which until you do the analysis, but the provenance is definitely still there. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
the research process is somewhat similar, from what I have experienced. Aug 30, 2018 highlights & science

the research process is somewhat similar, from what I have experienced. The three main steps in the data science process are:

data sourcing—more than mere access, it’s also about understanding lineage and assessing quality and coverage;
data transformation—from filtering and simple arithmetic transformations to complex abductions like predictions and unsupervised clustering; and
results delivery—both socially and programmatically (i.e., as lines of code).

https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
While both areas have a core set of expectations, they both have to extend beyond their core in order to deal with data about social life—data which has very real social consequences Aug 30, 2018 highlights & science & social Dawn: … While both areas have a core set of expectations, they both have to extend beyond their core in order to deal with data about social life—data which has very real social consequences.

TYE: This is all the more true in industry contexts, where we often have to make social decisions, or design decisions, regardless of expertise.

DAWN: One difference is that in many data science scenarios, the available data has already been collected, whereas most ethnographic projects include field research time to gather new data.

TYE: Although this tendency doesn’t hold true all the time, it is a common expectation, and that expectation results in a divergent initial perspective on projects: data scientists often think about working within the available datasets while ethnographers tend to begin their projects by thinking expansively about what dataset could be created, or should be created given the state of the art of the relevant discipline (anthropology, sociology and so forth). This difference in perspectives leads to different attribution models for the results. Data scientists will often describe their results as derived from the data (even if the derivation is complex and practically impossible to trace). Data scientists will readily recognize that they made decisions throughout the project that impacted the results, but will often characterize these decisions as being determined by the data (or by common and proven analyses of the data). You have a totally different way of dealing with that.

DAWN: Yes, for sure. It’s all coming from “the data” but ethnographers themselves are a part of the data. A crucial part. If you were an active part of its creation—if you were there, having conversations with people, looking them in the eye as they try to make sense of your presence—you just can’t see it any other way. It’s unavoidable. You’re also aware of all of the other contingent factors involved in the data you collected in that moment. So we have to be explicitly reflective and critical of how our social position influenced the results.

https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
Data science, across its variety of forms, is rooted in statistical calculations—involving both the technical knowledge and skill to assess the validity and applicability of these calculations, and the knowledge and skill to implement software or programming functions that execute the calculations Aug 29, 2018 highlights & science Data science, across its variety of forms, is rooted in statistical calculations—involving both the technical knowledge and skill to assess the validity and applicability of these calculations, and the knowledge and skill to implement software or programming functions that execute the calculations. Underpinning the application of statistical calculations are assumptions about systemic structures and their dynamics—e.g., whether or not entities or events operate independently from one another, whether the variability of measurements, relative to an assumed or imputed trend or structure, is “noise” adhering to a separate set of rules (or not), and so on. Historically, these skill sets and conceptions of reality have been most heavily utilized in scientific inquiry, in finance and insurance, and business operations research (e.g., supply chain management and resource allocation). More recently, data science has expanded into a much larger set of domains: marketing, medicine, entertainment, education, law, etc. This expansion has shifted a large portion of data scientists toward data about people—some of that data is directly generated, like emails and web searches, some of it is sensed, like location or physical activity. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
Ethnography is now used across anthropology, sociology, marketing, strategy, design, and other fields, but regardless of where it’s used, the core is about understanding people’s beliefs and behaviors and how these change over time Aug 29, 2018 highlights & people & science & systems Ethnography is now used across anthropology, sociology, marketing, strategy, design, and other fields, but regardless of where it’s used, the core is about understanding people’s beliefs and behaviors and how these change over time. Ethnography is a research skill that makes it possible to see what the world looks like from inside a particular context. If “man [sic] is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun" (Geertz), this skill involves systematically tracing out the logic of those webs, and examining how those webs structure what people do and think. Depending on the domain of study, these webs can be large scale or small, and in applied work they are often about people’s multidimensional roles as customers, users, employees, or citizens. Ethnographers look at the social world as dynamically evolving, emergent systems. They are emergent systems because people reflexively respond to the present and past, and this response shapes what they do in the future. Years of building ethnography from this core has generated both analytical techniques and a body of knowledge about sociocultural realities. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
Research combining quantitative and qualitative methods have been around for a while, of course Aug 29, 2018 highlights & science Research combining quantitative and qualitative methods have been around for a while, of course. There’s a clichéd logic to mixed methods research–“quant” + “qual”, “hard” + “soft”. EPIC people have broken down assumptions about the quant/qual divide and reframe the relationship between ethnography and big data, but the fact is, mixed methods research combining ethnographic and data science approaches is still rare.2 Some examples are Gray’s (et al.) study of Mechanical Turk workers, Haines’ multidimensional research design, and Hill and Mattu’s investigative journalism, and Bob Evans’ work on PACO — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
The work of data science is increasingly ubiquitous—computational systems are there “in the wild” when ethnographers go into the field, and have consequences for the human experience that is so central to ethnographic understanding Aug 29, 2018 highlights & science The work of data science is increasingly ubiquitous—computational systems are there “in the wild” when ethnographers go into the field, and have consequences for the human experience that is so central to ethnographic understanding. Data science also offers new opportunities for mixed methods research, for example to generate a multidimensional understanding of human experience both digital/online and offline.
For data scientists, meanwhile, ethnography can offer a richer understanding of data and its provenance, and the sociocultural implications of data science work. As Nate Silver has written, “Numbers have no way of speaking for themselves. We speak for them. We imbue them with meaning…. Before we demand more of our data, we need to demand more of our selves.” There is huge potential when we demand “more of ourselves”, but to realize that potential, people from both fields have to be in the room — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
The work of data science is increasingly ubiquitous—computational systems are there “in the wild” when ethnographers go into the field, and have consequences for the human experience that is so central to ethnographic understanding Aug 28, 2018 highlights & science The work of data science is increasingly ubiquitous—computational systems are there “in the wild” when ethnographers go into the field, and have consequences for the human experience that is so central to ethnographic understanding. Data science also offers new opportunities for mixed methods research, for example to generate a multidimensional understanding of human experience both digital/online and offline. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
We regularly see data science and ethnography conceptualized as polar ends of a research spectrum—one as a crunching of colossal data sets, the other as a slow simmer of experiential immersion Aug 28, 2018 highlights & science We regularly see data science and ethnography conceptualized as polar ends of a research spectrum—one as a crunching of colossal data sets, the other as a slow simmer of experiential immersion. Unfortunately, we also see occasional professional stereotyping. A naïve view of “crunching” can make it seem as if all numerical work was brute computational force, as if data scientists never took the time to understand the social context from which data comes. A naïve view of ethnography can make it seem as if ethnography were casual description, “anecdotal” rather than systematic research and analysis grounded in evidence. Neither discipline benefits from these misunderstandings, and in fact there is more common ground than is obvious at first glance. — https://www.epicpeople.org/data-science-and-ethnography/
“So,” wondered science journalist Caroline Williams, “if brain training isn’t the way to apply it, what should we be doing?” Williams is the author of My Plastic Brain: One Woman’s Yearlong Journey to Discover if Science Can Improve Her Mind Aug 23, 2018 highlights & science “So,” wondered science journalist Caroline Williams, “if brain training isn’t the way to apply it, what should we be doing?” Williams is the author of My Plastic Brain: One Woman’s Yearlong Journey to Discover if Science Can Improve Her Mind. She picked areas in which she wanted to improve — everything from attention to anxiety to creativity to navigation — and spent a year trying new techniques to see how much she would really pick up. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/22/17770652/caroline-williams-my-plastic-brain-neuroscience-self-improvement-interview
The inspiring project was done with coaching from The Spike Lab, whose mission is to help students develop their passions into “Spikes”, meaning unique achievements, that will help them stand out among the hundreds of thousands of university applicants each year Aug 22, 2018 highlights The inspiring project was done with coaching from The Spike Lab, whose mission is to help students develop their passions into “Spikes”, meaning unique achievements, that will help them stand out among the hundreds of thousands of university applicants each year. The Spike Lab specializes in both on-line, one-on-one coaching for developing Spikes, as well as providing whole support for students’ university applications. Coaches help senior year students create lists of colleges that fit them well based on their interests and personality, not just scores. — https://www.scmp.com/presented/news/hong-kong/topics/beyond-classroom/article/2160107/cultivating-entrepreneurial-mindset
The Spike Lab, set up in 2016 in New York by two Americans, has helped students enter top institutions by bringing into fruition their self-initiated projects, including publishing a book crowdsourced from high school writers from around the world, creating data visualizations to help small nonprofits become more efficient, and designing an experiential classical violin concert through a series of mini popup concerts Aug 22, 2018 highlights The Spike Lab, set up in 2016 in New York by two Americans, has helped students enter top institutions by bringing into fruition their self-initiated projects, including publishing a book crowdsourced from high school writers from around the world, creating data visualizations to help small nonprofits become more efficient, and designing an experiential classical violin concert through a series of mini popup concerts. — https://www.scmp.com/presented/news/hong-kong/topics/beyond-classroom/article/2160107/cultivating-entrepreneurial-mindset
“Losing Earth,” written by Nathaniel Rich, is also set to be the subject of an upcoming book Aug 22, 2018 highlights “Losing Earth,” written by Nathaniel Rich, is also set to be the subject of an upcoming book. The magazine article covers the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989, a decade when “humanity settled the science of climate change and came surprisingly close to finding a solution” but ultimately failed to act due to various political forces. — https://www.macrumors.com/2018/08/21/apple-losing-earth-climate-change-project/
Google calls this “solutions journalism,” and it is meant to spark dialogue about how to make things better, rather than wallowing in how everything is terrible Aug 21, 2018 highlights & journalism Google calls this “solutions journalism,” and it is meant to spark dialogue about how to make things better, rather than wallowing in how everything is terrible. For example, “good news” includes stories like how a university eliminated achievement gaps between white and black students, and how Iceland used unique tactics to curb underage drinking.
The undertaking is being spearheaded by Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that showcases potential methods of solving issues in the news items that it covers. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/21/17764046/google-assistant-solutions-tell-me-something-good-news
Three Modes of Creative Conversations: Webinar Recap Aug 19, 2018 highlights
Dorsey’s leadership style fosters caution, according to about a dozen people who’ve worked with him Aug 17, 2018 highlights & leadership Dorsey’s leadership style fosters caution, according to about a dozen people who’ve worked with him. He encourages debate among his employees and waits — and waits — for a consensus emerge. As a result, ideas are often debated “ad nauseum” and fail to come to fruition. “They need leadership that can make tough decisions and keep the ball rolling,” says a former employee who left last year. “There are a lot of times when Jack will instead wring his hands and punt on a decision that needs to be made quickly.”
This view closely tracks my own discussions with current and former employees. They’ve described for me the regular hack weeks that take place at Twitter, in which employees mock up a variety of useful new features, almost none of which ever ship in the core product. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/17/17706256/twitter-alex-jones-third-party-apps-hard-decisions
This view closely tracks my own discussions with current and former employees Aug 17, 2018 highlights This view closely tracks my own discussions with current and former employees. They’ve described for me the regular hack weeks that take place at Twitter, in which employees mock up a variety of useful new features, almost none of which ever ship in the core product. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/17/17706256/twitter-alex-jones-third-party-apps-hard-decisions
Dorsey’s leadership style fosters caution, according to about a dozen people who’ve worked with him Aug 17, 2018 highlights & leadership Dorsey’s leadership style fosters caution, according to about a dozen people who’ve worked with him. He encourages debate among his employees and waits — and waits — for a consensus emerge. As a result, ideas are often debated “ad nauseum” and fail to come to fruition. “They need leadership that can make tough decisions and keep the ball rolling,” says a former employee who left last year. “There are a lot of times when Jack will instead wring his hands and punt on a decision that needs to be made quickly.” — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/17/17706256/twitter-alex-jones-third-party-apps-hard-decisions
If used sensibly, these fairy tales can be used for children to be informed of the dangers that lurk around them, and how to deal with them Aug 16, 2018 highlights If used sensibly, these fairy tales can be used for children to be informed of the dangers that lurk around them, and how to deal with them. Given the universal reception of storytelling to children, we can use fairy tales to instill values in them that would both enable them to be good members of society as well as survive in a violent and uncertain world.
There is also a need to challenge the dominant discourse by reframing of inner stories, myths and metaphors and using fairy tales to address violence and colonial stereotypes. — http://jfsdigital.org/2018/08/16/on-rethinking-fairy-tales/
I imagine the Renaissance creative community would have been a fascinating thing to witness. Aug 15, 2018 highlights
NAF adopted the Success Factors platform which includes a robust learning management system to serve as their technological solution for myNAFTrack Aug 15, 2018 highlights & learning NAF adopted the Success Factors platform which includes a robust learning management system to serve as their technological solution for myNAFTrack. Like other platform networks New Tech Network and Summit Learning, NAF members will benefit from college and career ready modules, as well as networking opportunities through the platform’s search feature and groups. — https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomvanderark/2018/08/13/career-academy-giant-naf-gets-an-upgrade-expands-access-to-work-based-learning/
When everything was smaller, we all loved it more,” she said Aug 14, 2018 highlights When everything was smaller, we all loved it more,” she said. Though she could not define an absolute threshold, she said that once a group gets beyond, 1,000, 2,000 or even 5,000 members, “things start getting chaotic. — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/14/17686856/twitter-proud-boys-ban-alex-jones
Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communication, culture, and digital technologies at Syracuse University, said that “the takeaway for establishment journalists is stark, and starkly distressing: just by showing up for work and doing their jobs as assigned, journalists covering the far-right fringe… played directly into these groups’ public relations interests. Aug 12, 2018 highlights

Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communication, culture, and digital technologies at Syracuse University, said that the takeaway for establishment journalists is stark, and starkly distressing: just by showing up for work and doing their jobs as assigned, journalists covering the far-right fringe… played directly into these groups’ public relations interests. In the process, this coverage added not just oxygen, but rocket fuel to an already-smoldering fire.”

In an article in The Guardian, boyd and her colleague Joan Donovan discuss how hate groups throughout history not only sought the amplification of the media, but considered it one of their most essential recruitment tactics. In the 1969 autobiography of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, he noted that only by forcing the Jews to spread our message with their facilities could we have any hope of success in counteracting their left-wing, racemixing propaganda!”

The KKK — and many more groups of its ilk — have regularly used inflammatory rhetoric and behavior to bait journalists into giving them free press that would attract more people to their cause, both now and in history.

[…]

In response, many in the black, Jewish, and Catholic press promoted the idea of dignified silence” or selective silence,” or denying the hate group the oxygen that it so desperately wanted.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/10/17675232/twitter-alex-jones-jack-dorsey-free-speech
Makes sense, as long as @jack understands: principles enforced impartially will lead to an imbalanced result under conditions of asymmetric polarization, where one side is drifting toward the extreme at a faster rate than the other Aug 12, 2018 highlights Makes sense, as long as @jack understands: principles enforced impartially will lead to an imbalanced result under conditions of asymmetric polarization, where one side is drifting toward the extreme at a faster rate than the other. If you grasp that, then get ready for the heat. https://t.co/VEfJ1wXax5— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/10/17675232/twitter-alex-jones-jack-dorsey-free-speech
In a 2015 paper, MIT professor of political science Adam Berinsky found that rather than debunking rumors or conspiracy theories, presenting people with facts or corrections sometimes entrenched those ideas further Aug 12, 2018 highlights & people In a 2015 paper, MIT professor of political science Adam Berinsky found that rather than debunking rumors or conspiracy theories, presenting people with facts or corrections sometimes entrenched those ideas further.
Another study by Dartmouth researchers found that “if people counter-argue unwelcome information vigorously enough, they may end up with ‘more attitudinally congruent information in mind than before the debate,’ which in turn leads them to report opinions that are more extreme than they otherwise would have had.” — https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/10/17675232/twitter-alex-jones-jack-dorsey-free-speech
Who doesn’t want to think that the truth will always win in the end, that information not only wants to be free, but that this freedom will lead us toward a more just world — especially when it is your job to share information? Aug 12, 2018 highlights

Who doesn’t want to think that the truth will always win in the end, that information not only wants to be free, but that this freedom will lead us toward a more just world — especially when it is your job to share information?

But in our current moment, it is a dangerously naïve idea. While the internet has led to the promotion of important voices we might not have otherwise heard, the last decade has demonstrated with searing clarity that this idea has far more powerfully to the amplification of lies, manipulation, and an epistemological collapse that has deformed human discourse and undermined the very notion of truth.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/10/17675232/twitter-alex-jones-jack-dorsey-free-speech
In this midst of so much complexity, perhaps the best we can do is frame good questions Aug 11, 2018 highlights & innovation In this midst of so much complexity, perhaps the best we can do is frame good questions. I want to leave you with one: What is the biggest obstacle to your abilitly to innovate? I asked this question to Fast Company’s Robert Safain and he replied with a matter of fact grin, “The biggest obstacle to innovation is nostalgia.” — https://www.bbntimes.com/en/financial/nostalgia-the-biggest-obstacle-to-innovation-in-finance
Innovation is about people who recognize challenges and seek to implement creative solutions to overcome and improve Nov 11, 2017 highlights & innovation Innovation is about people who recognize challenges and seek to implement creative solutions to overcome and improve. Innovation is iterative. It is not born in a lab of white-coated PhDs, and it is not signalled by the shout of a scientist’s “eureka!” Innovation is a team sport; one that can be undertaken from the shop floor by an electrician, right up to the C-Suite offices and by marketing strategists. — https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/polytechnics-deserve-a-bigger-slice-of-the-federal-rd-pie/article36863704/
Fundamental research is absolutely necessary for Canada Nov 11, 2017 highlights & innovation Fundamental research is absolutely necessary for Canada. But it is insufficient as the only means to spur innovation and commercialization. Colleges and polytechnics are hotbeds of innovation in Canada and are currently neglected by the federal government’s research funding ecosystem. — https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/polytechnics-deserve-a-bigger-slice-of-the-federal-rd-pie/article36863704/
In his latest book, How We Can Win, Anthony Lacavera, founder of WIND Mobile, makes a similar point: “A lot of small business owners have very good ideas about ways to make their companies more productive,” Mr Nov 11, 2017 highlights In his latest book, How We Can Win, Anthony Lacavera, founder of WIND Mobile, makes a similar point: “A lot of small business owners have very good ideas about ways to make their companies more productive,” Mr. Lacavera said. “What they don’t have is the know-how, much less the time, to conduct R&D. They don’t need a tax credit to spur them on as much as they need actual hands-on assistance.” — https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/polytechnics-deserve-a-bigger-slice-of-the-federal-rd-pie/article36863704/
Since 1980, the planet has experienced a 50-fold increase in the number of places experiencing dangerous or extreme heat; a bigger increase is to come Jul 27, 2017 highlights Since 1980, the planet has experienced a 50-fold increase in the number of places experiencing dangerous or extreme heat; a bigger increase is to come. The five warmest summers in Europe since 1500 have all occurred since 2002, and soon, the IPCC warns, simply being outdoors that time of year will be unhealthy for much of the globe. — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
you probably read in your high-school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids Jul 26, 2017 highlights you probably read in your high-school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs were caused by climate change produced by greenhouse gas. The most notorious was 252 million years ago; it began when carbon warmed the planet by five degrees, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane in the Arctic, and ended with 97 percent of all life on Earth dead. — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
the geological record shows that temperature can shift as much as ten degrees or more in a single decade Jul 25, 2017 highlights the geological record shows that temperature can shift as much as ten degrees or more in a single decade. The last time the planet was even four degrees warmer, Peter Brannen points out in The Ends of the World, his new history of the planet’s major extinction events, the oceans were 260 feet higher, and the warming wiped out all but one species of European primates. — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
The U Jul 25, 2017 highlights The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues serial reports, often called the “gold standard” of climate research; the most recent one projects us to hit four degrees of warming by the beginning of the next century, should we stay the present course. But that’s just a median projection. — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade Jul 25, 2017 highlights Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade. — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination Jul 24, 2017 highlights yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many: the timid language of scientific probabilities, which the climatologist James Hansen once called “scientific reticence” in a paper chastising scientists for editing their own observations so conscientiously that they failed to communicate how dire the threat really was; the fact that the country is dominated by a group of technocrats who believe any problem can be solved and an opposing culture that doesn’t even see warming as a problem worth addressing; the way that climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings; the simple speed of change and, also, its slowness, such that we are only seeing effects now of warming from decades past; our uncertainty about uncertainty, which the climate writer Naomi Oreskes in particular has suggested stops us from preparing as though anything worse than a median outcome were even possible; the way we assume climate change will hit hardest elsewhere, not everywhere; the smallness (two degrees) and largeness (1.8 trillion tons) and abstractness (400 parts per million) of the numbers; the discomfort of considering a problem that is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve; the altogether incomprehensible scale of that problem, which amounts to the prospect of our own annihilation; simple fear. — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
In other words, we have, trapped in Arctic permafrost, twice as much carbon as is currently wrecking the atmosphere of the planet, all of it scheduled to be released at a date that keeps getting moved up, partially in the form of a gas that multiplies its warming power 86 times over Jul 24, 2017 highlights In other words, we have, trapped in Arctic permafrost, twice as much carbon as is currently wrecking the atmosphere of the planet, all of it scheduled to be released at a date that keeps getting moved up, partially in the form of a gas that multiplies its warming power 86 times over. — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
Norman said for people who want to take steps to reconciliation, the acknowledgement should lead to more questions about who the people listed in the acknowledgement are and how their land came to be possessed by settlers. Jul 24, 2017 highlights & people

Norman said for people who want to take steps to reconciliation, the acknowledgement should lead to more questions about who the people listed in the acknowledgement are and how their land came to be possessed by settlers.

It also needs to be personal,” she said. We have to ask, How am I benefitting by living on this land that is a traditional territory of Indigenous people?’”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/territorial-acknowledgements-indigenous-1.4175136
“When we talk about the newness of territorial acknowledgements, these aren’t new. Jul 23, 2017 highlights

When we talk about the newness of territorial acknowledgements, these aren’t new. Acknowledging relationships to space and place is an ancient Indigenous practice that flows into the future,” said Recollet.

What we see as concrete, what we see as the CN tower, as buildings, these are all places that have been prayed for, that have been gathering places for ceremonies and I think it is important to remember that.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/territorial-acknowledgements-indigenous-1.4175136
A lot of people are unaware of Canada’s actual history and this gets people talking and conversations starting,“ he said Jul 23, 2017 highlights & people A lot of people are unaware of Canada’s actual history and this gets people talking and conversations starting,“ he said. "Personally I feel like I can have a conversation about who I am, where I’m from and what I’m doing in the city — http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/territorial-acknowledgements-indigenous-1.4175136
It also explains why people in Silicon Valley who claim to be so obsessed with data are simply ignoring it when it comes to everything from the clear and well documented benefits of diverse teams to the diminishing returns on productivity and health if you work more than 50 hours a week Jul 22, 2017 highlights It also explains why people in Silicon Valley who claim to be so obsessed with data are simply ignoring it when it comes to everything from the clear and well documented benefits of diverse teams to the diminishing returns on productivity and health if you work more than 50 hours a week. It’s all about fragile male ego founder anxiety. — https://pando.com/2017/07/14/toxic-masculinity-bubble-has-burst/0d5efd5a53ecfa494d5ac08cc1fed87cd49226d1/
When companies are celebrated for breaking laws, founders are given total control, there’s no board oversight, and young men are told to “ask forgiveness, not permission” are we really surprised that predators like Justin Caldbeck thrive? That men exploit the power asymmetry to see what they can get away with? — https://pando.com/2017/07/14/toxic-masculinity-bubble-has-burst/0d5efd5a53ecfa494d5ac08cc1fed87cd49226d1/ Jul 21, 2017 highlights
The “real man” syndrome is a reflection of what psychologists call precarious manhood: the view that masculinity has to be earned over and over again Jul 21, 2017 highlights The “real man” syndrome is a reflection of what psychologists call precarious manhood: the view that masculinity has to be earned over and over again. Bro culture is often depicted jocularly, but the endless game of zero-sum one-upmanship is not only off-putting for most women; it’s also draining and humiliating for many men. — https://pando.com/2017/07/14/toxic-masculinity-bubble-has-burst/0d5efd5a53ecfa494d5ac08cc1fed87cd49226d1/
When sociology professor Michael Kimmel asked his students what it means to be a real man, responses included being authoritative, taking risks, and suppressing any kind of weakness Jul 21, 2017 highlights When sociology professor Michael Kimmel asked his students what it means to be a real man, responses included being authoritative, taking risks, and suppressing any kind of weakness. But when he asked students what it means to be a good man, they mentioned qualities associated with gender-neutral decency, like being honest and respectful of others. — https://pando.com/2017/07/14/toxic-masculinity-bubble-has-burst/0d5efd5a53ecfa494d5ac08cc1fed87cd49226d1/
This view chimes with other data presenting “Generation Z”, and which seem to suggest that while they are incredibly demanding, many are also very needy and much more reliant — perhaps on parents, teachers and lecturers — than previous generations Jul 20, 2017 highlights & demanding This view chimes with other data presenting “Generation Z”, and which seem to suggest that while they are incredibly demanding, many are also very needy and much more reliant – perhaps on parents, teachers and lecturers – than previous generations. And, of course, Google. — https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/google-it-students-are-needy-ill-prepared-and-reliant-search-engines
Asked to choose from a list of 15 different options which ones they thought impact on a student’s ability to thrive at university, almost nine in 10 (89 per cent) of university admissions officers cited “not being able to think and learn independently”. Jul 19, 2017 highlights

Asked to choose from a list of 15 different options which ones they thought impact on a student’s ability to thrive at university, almost nine in 10 (89 per cent) of university admissions officers cited not being able to think and learn independently”.

This was followed by unable to manage their own time or workloads” (88 per cent). Seven in 10 suggested that students do not appreciate what their course will involve, while 52 per cent felt they were unable to carry out extended writing”; and the same number unable to remember facts, possessing a Google It’ mentality”.

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/google-it-students-are-needy-ill-prepared-and-reliant-search-engines
The basic principle for any incentive scheme is this: can you measure everything that matters? If you can’t, then high-powered financial incentives will simply produce short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness or outright fraud Jul 19, 2017 highlights The basic principle for any incentive scheme is this: can you measure everything that matters? If you can’t, then high-powered financial incentives will simply produce short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness or outright fraud. If a job is complex, multifaceted and involves subtle trade-offs, the best approach is to hire good people, pay them the going rate and tell them to do the job to the best of their ability — https://svpow.com/2017/03/17/every-attempt-to-manage-academia-makes-it-worse/
And yet we persist in doing idiot things that can only possibly have this result: Jul 18, 2017 highlights

And yet we persist in doing idiot things that can only possibly have this result:

Assessing school-teachers on the improvement their kids show in tests between the start and end of the year (which obviously results in their doing all they can depress the start-of-year tests).
Assessing researchers by the number of their papers (which can only result in slicing into minimal publishable units).
Assessing them — heaven help us — on the impact factors of the journals their papers appear in (which feeds the brand-name fetish that is crippling scholarly communication).
Assessing researchers on whether their experiments are successful”, i.e. whether they find statistically significant results (which inevitably results in p-hacking and HARKing).

https://svpow.com/2017/03/17/every-attempt-to-manage-academia-makes-it-worse/
No one has ever asked for release from research. Jul 18, 2017 highlights & learning

In universities, this requires a rebalancing from the current emphasis on research to teaching. (A dean at one of Ontario’s more highly ranked universities told me recently that virtually every day there is a request to grant teaching release to a professor, yet no one has ever asked for release from research.)” — http://blog-en.heqco.ca/2017/07/harvey-p-weingarten-the-evolution-of-learning-outcomes-now-comes-the-exciting-part/

80/15/5 Jul 15, 2017 highlights 80/15/5. Spend 80% of your time on low-risk/reasonable-payoff work. Spend 15% of your time on related high-risk/high-payoff work. Spend 5% of your time on things that tickle you, regardless of payoff. Teach the next generation to do your 80% job. By the time someone is ready to take over, one of your 15% experiments (or, less frequently, one of your 5% experiments) will have paid off and will become your new 80%. Repeat — Mastering Programming
The theme here is scaling your brain Jul 12, 2017 highlights & learns The theme here is scaling your brain. The journeyman learns to solve bigger problems by solving more problems at once. The master learns to solve even bigger problems than that by solving fewer problems at once. Part of the wisdom is subdividing so that integrating the separate solutions will be a smaller problem than just solving them together. — Mastering Programming
The corollary to this is to never solve the problem at the wrong level Jul 12, 2017 highlights & design The corollary to this is to never solve the problem at the wrong level. It’s always a recipe for pain when you, say, have a data issue and you decide you’ll solve it with some clever code. Or perhaps you have a fundamental design problem, but maybe you can just tweak the data… — Mastering Programming | Hacker News
Here is one thing I gained from this Analysis. Jul 11, 2017 highlights & design

Here is one thing I gained from this Analysis. At times we encounter a Code problem’ partly caused by ′ a workflow problem’ and partly caused by a Design problem’ .

We may do a CODE patch fix for time being (ex. production bug), but having it documented as 40% Workflow problem, 60% Design problem’ will help to consolidate all these contributing percentages’ to come up with permanent fixes at a Later time.

Mastering Programming Hacker News
I would call this as The hierarchy of ‘Troubleshooting Software Problems’ ( as a parallel to Maslow’s hierarchy of NEEDS) Jul 11, 2017 highlights I would call this as The hierarchy of ‘Troubleshooting Software Problems’ ( as a parallel to Maslow’s hierarchy of NEEDS). In order to fix a problem at certain Level, you have to go to ‘Bottom Most’ layer which is ROOT cause of the problem. — Mastering Programming | Hacker News
innovation doesn’t happen in isolation. Jul 8, 2017 highlights & innovation

innovation doesn’t happen in isolation.

Great ideas come alive when groups of passionate people come together to inspire, support and collaborate. From Stockholm and Tel Aviv to Seoul and Berlin, and of course, Silicon Valley — we have seen, time and time again, the benefits that such rich ecosystems bring entrepreneurs.

Innovation must involve all Canadians to succeed
YOU ARE NOT SAFE May 30, 2017 highlights

YOU ARE NOT SAFE

I, Ryan Ray, released the MacMillan Utility source code. I acted alone. No one helped me, and no one told me to do it. I did this because security’ is a myth. Contrary to what you might have heard, my friends, you are not safe.

Safety is a story. It’s something we teach our children so they can sleep at night, but we know it’s not real.

Beware, baffled humans. Beware of false prophets who will sell you a fake future, of bad teachers, corrupt leaders and dirty corporations. Beware of cops and robbers… the kind that rob your dreams. But most of all, beware of each other, because everything’s about to change.

The world is going to crack wide open. There’s something on the horizon. A massive connectivity. The barriers between us will disappear, and we’re not ready.

We’ll hurt each other in new ways. We’ll sell and be sold. We’ll expose our most tender selves, only to be mocked and destroyed. We’ll be so vulnerable, and we’ll pay the price. We won’t be able to pretend that we can protect ourselves anymore.

It’s a huge danger, a gigantic risk, but it’s worth it. If only we can learn to take care of each other. Then this awesome, destructive new connection won’t isolate us. It won’t leave us in the end so… totally alone.

Thanks to Redditor VERYstuck for capturing this.
As theory, the stack remains mostly a speculative exercise: What if we imagined the whole world as software? And as a popular term, it risks becoming an empty buzzword, used to refer to any collection, pile or system of different things May 10, 2017 highlights As theory, the stack remains mostly a speculative exercise: What if we imagined the whole world as software? And as a popular term, it risks becoming an empty buzzword, used to refer to any collection, pile or system of different things. (What’s your dental care stack? Your spiritual stack?) But if tech start-ups continue to broaden their ambitions and challenge new industries — if, as the venture-capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz likes to say, “software is eating the world” — then the logic of the stack can’t be trailing far behind, ready to remake more and more of our economy and our culture in its image. It will also, of course, be subject to the warning with which Daugman ended his 1990 essay. “We should remember,” he wrote, “that the enthusiastically embraced metaphors of each ‘new era’ can become, like their predecessors, as much the prison house of thought as they first appeared to represent its liberation.” — New Technology Is Built on a Stack.’ Is That the Best Way to Understand Everything Else, Too?
In a 2016 book, “The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty,” the professor and design theorist Benjamin Bratton sets out to, in his words, propose a “specific model for the design of political geography tuned to this era of planetary-scale computation,” by drawing on the “multilayered structure of software, hardware and network ‘stacks’ that arrange different technologies vertically within a modular, interdependent order May 9, 2017 highlights & design In a 2016 book, “The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty,” the professor and design theorist Benjamin Bratton sets out to, in his words, propose a “specific model for the design of political geography tuned to this era of planetary-scale computation,” by drawing on the “multilayered structure of software, hardware and network ‘stacks’ that arrange different technologies vertically within a modular, interdependent order.” In other words, Bratton sees the world around us as one big emerging technological stack. In his telling, the six-layer stack we inhabit is complex, fluid and vertigo-inducing: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface and User. It is also, he suggests, extremely powerful, with the potential to undermine and replace our current conceptions of, among other things, the sovereign state — ushering us into a world blown apart and reassembled by software — New Technology Is Built on a Stack.’ Is That the Best Way to Understand Everything Else, Too?
Ten years before that, you wouldn’t have been asked about your stack at all — though an obnoxious time traveler from the Silicon Valley of 2017 might insist that a phone system, a parcel service and credit-card companies composed, more or less, a mail-order stack May 7, 2017 highlights Ten years before that, you wouldn’t have been asked about your stack at all — though an obnoxious time traveler from the Silicon Valley of 2017 might insist that a phone system, a parcel service and credit-card companies composed, more or less, a mail-order stack. — New Technology Is Built on a Stack.’ Is That the Best Way to Understand Everything Else, Too?
The stack isn’t just a handy concept for visualizing how technology works May 6, 2017 highlights The stack isn’t just a handy concept for visualizing how technology works. For many companies, the organizing logic of the software stack becomes inseparable from the logic of the business itself. The system that powers Snapchat, for instance, sits on top of App Engine, a service owned by Google; to the extent that Snapchat even exists as a service, it is as a stack of different elements. — New Technology Is Built on a Stack.’ Is That the Best Way to Understand Everything Else, Too?
In 1990, when computers were still merely in the process of taking over the world, John Daugman, a computer scientist and researcher at Harvard University, published an article titled “Brain Metaphor and Brain Theory,” noting a habit he had observed among his peers Apr 24, 2017 highlights In 1990, when computers were still merely in the process of taking over the world, John Daugman, a computer scientist and researcher at Harvard University, published an article titled “Brain Metaphor and Brain Theory,” noting a habit he had observed among his peers. “Invariably,” he wrote, “the explanatory metaphors of a given era incorporate the devices and the spectacles of the day.” In other words: We describe everything as if it were technology — New Technology Is Built on a Stack.’ Is That the Best Way to Understand Everything Else, Too?
Decision rules of this sort are fast, in that decisions can be made quickly, without a computer; frugal, in that they require only limited information to reach a decision; and clear, in that they expose the grounds on which decisions are made Apr 23, 2017 highlights
The huge triumph of [deep learning] has been figuring out that as long as you can pose a problem in a differentiable way and you can obtain a sufficient amount of data, you can efficiently tackle it with a function approximator that can be optimized with first order methods - from that, flows everything Jun 20, 2016 learning & highlights The huge triumph of [deep learning] has been figuring out that as long as you can pose a problem in a differentiable way and you can obtain a sufficient amount of data, you can efficiently tackle it with a function approximator that can be optimized with first order methods - from that, flows everything. — Great concise description of what deep learning actually is from Fede_V on Hacker News (e.g., not a catch-all big-data-will-save-the-world thing).
The urgency for action is clear and growing Apr 16, 2016 highlights The urgency for action is clear and growing. Over the past 18 months, the U.S. government has required that we maintain secrecy regarding 2,576 legal demands, effectively silencing Microsoft from speaking to customers about warrants or other legal process seeking their data. Notably and even surprisingly, 1,752 of these secrecy orders, or 68 percent of the total, contained no fixed end date at all. This means that we effectively are prohibited forever from telling our customers that the government has obtained their data. — Microsoft sues the US government for customers’ right to know – Keeping secrecy the exception, not the rule: An issue for both consumers and businesses”
We can build software to eat the world, or software to feed it Mar 21, 2016 design & science & systems & highlights We can build software to eat the world, or software to feed it. And if we are going to feed it, it will require a different approach to design, one which optimizes for a different type of growth, and one that draws upon – and rewards – the humility of the designers who participate within it. — Kevin Slavin, Design as Participation. MIT’s Journal of Design and Science.
When designers center around the user, where do the needs and desires of the other actors in the system go? Mar 20, 2016 design & systems & highlights

When designers center around the user, where do the needs and desires of the other actors in the system go? The lens of the user obscures the view of the ecosystems it affects.

[…] The experience for a Sprig customer is super convenient, almost magical; the experience for a chef or courier…? We don’t know. We don’t get to know. We’re just here to press the button.’

For users, this is what it means to be at the center: to be unaware of anything outside it. User-Centric Design means obscuring more than it surfaces.

— Kevin Slavin, Design as Participation. From the shiny new MIT Journal of Design and Science.
Twitter is a powerful publishing platform that has become the de facto official medium for famous people to make public statements about what is going on right now. Mar 8, 2016 social & highlights

Twitter is a powerful publishing platform that has become the de facto official medium for famous people to make public statements about what is going on right now.

The problem is, that’s not the description of a social network. It’s a description of a publishing platform. Twitter’s trouble is that it’s being viewed by investors as a social network.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball.

Cogent.

Warren Buffett manages to entertain and inform in his 2015 letter to shareholders. Feb 27, 2016 innovation & highlights (I'm not ready for Tinder, however.) —

Warren Buffett manages to entertain and inform in his 2015 letter to shareholders.

(This quote comes from Mr. Buffett’s discussion on the unpredictable but beneficial technologies that come from market-driven innovation.)

Loren Grush writing for The Verge on the potential impact of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)’s gravitational wave discovery on research and innovation in science. Feb 17, 2016 science & highlights If LIGO's measurements hold up, the collaboration could start its own ripple effect — one within the scientific community. —

Loren Grush writing for The Verge on the potential impact of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)’s gravitational wave discovery on research and innovation in science.

It’s the simple things in writing.

Umair Haque on one of the modern Web’s most important problems. Feb 16, 2016 social & highlights But today, the business of most businesses isn't just mass-manufacturing product (industrial age), plastering slightly slicker stickers on it (branding age), or even gleaning vital intelligence faster than rivals (information age). The business of most businesses is interaction. […] Today, we live in a world of strikingly dismally low-quality interactions. […] Here's the rule that we must remember: High quality interactions expand human potential. Low quality interactions reduce, diminish, and shrink it. Thus, learning to produce high versus settling for low quality interactions is one of the great challenges of competence for institutions today. —

Umair Haque on one of the modern Web’s most important problems.

I could’ve quoted many other sentences from this article. Great points, as always — and powerful parallels with Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception.

The residential university she hopes to create would differ radically from what’s been done traditionally. Jan 31, 2016 education & highlights

The residential university she hopes to create would differ radically from what’s been done traditionally. Project-based learning is the cornerstone of her vision.

I’m looking at a new model, where the whole sort of vocabulary is different,” she said. The distinction between undergrad and grad goes away.”

Dean for graduate education to take leave, start new university

So neat. I hope this project gets off the ground — the distinction between different levels of study in the post-secondary universe needs to be tested in the 21st century.

Luck is the residue of design Jan 28, 2016 design & highlights Luck is the residue of design. — Heard in Predestination (2015), but it appears to be a quote from Branch Rickey. The full context is worth reading: https://motivationalspeaker1.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/luck-is-the-residue-of-design/
[T]he widely used term “strategic planning” has become debased by association with the creation of deterministic, one-sheet 5- and 10- year plans: for us this suggests an unhelpful rigidity in thinking about the future. Jan 14, 2016 highlights
Your generation will set goals for what you want to become – like an engineer, health worker, writer or community leader. Dec 2, 2015 education & highlights

Your generation will set goals for what you want to become – like an engineer, health worker, writer or community leader. You’ll have technology that understands how you learn best and where you need to focus. You’ll advance quickly in subjects that interest you most, and get as much help as you need in your most challenging areas. You’ll explore topics that aren’t even offered in schools today. Your teachers will also have better tools and data to help you achieve your goals.

Even better, students around the world will be able to use personalized learning tools over the internet, even if they don’t live near good schools. Of course it will take more than technology to give everyone a fair start in life, but personalized learning can be one scalable way to give all children a better education and more equal opportunity.

It’ll be a while before they can read it, but the newborn Chan Zuckerberg child seems to be in pretty great hands.

Also: it’s worth pairing this optimistic worldview with Umair Haque’s critique of it.

Neuroscientists decode the brain activity of the worm Nov 2, 2015 highlights
A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value Oct 31, 2015 highlights A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. — Not sure of the source! Heard in a workshop on the business model canvas.
Such ideas can be ingenious, but they all suffer from the vanity of trying to impose a technological solution on what is a problem of poverty Oct 30, 2015 tech & highlights Such ideas can be ingenious, but they all suffer from the vanity of trying to impose a technological solution on what is a problem of poverty. — Jason Pontin, Why We Can’t Solve Big Problems.
This required the greatest peacetime mobilization in the nation’s history. Oct 29, 2015 tech & highlights

[John F. Kennedy’s] challenge disturbed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s original plan for a stepped, multi-generational strategy: Wernher von Braun, NASAs chief of rocketry, had thought the agency would first send men into Earth’s orbit, then build a space station, then fly to the moon, then build a lunar colony. A century hence, perhaps, humans would travel to Mars. Kennedy’s goal was also absurdly ambitious. A few weeks before his speech, NASA had strapped an astronaut into a tiny capsule atop a converted military rocket and shot him into space on a ballistic trajectory, as if he were a circus clown; but no American had orbited the planet. The agency didn’t really know if what the president asked could be done in the time he allowed, but it accepted the call.”

This required the greatest peacetime mobilization in the nation’s history.

— Jason Pontin.
Levchin, Thiel, and Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, had planned a book, to be titled The Blueprint, that would “explain where the world’s innovation has gone Oct 27, 2015 innovation & highlights Levchin, Thiel, and Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, had planned a book, to be titled The Blueprint, that would “explain where the world’s innovation has gone.” Originally intended to be released in March of this year, it has been indefinitely postponed, according to Levchin, because the authors could not agree on a set of prescriptions. — Why we can’t solve big problems.
The (further) verification that spooky physics has important implications for cryptography. Oct 26, 2015 highlights Though this experiment marks an end to hidden variables, Dr Hanson says it is also a beginning: that of unassailably secure, quantum-enabled cryptography. It was shown in 1991 that the very Bell tests used to probe hidden variables could also serve as a check on quantum cryptography. A loophole-free Bell test, then, could unfailingly reveal if a hacker had interfered with the fundamentally random, quantum business of generating a cryptographic key. So-called device-independent quantum ciphers would, Dr Hanson says, be secure from hackers "even if you don't trust your own equipment—even if it's been given to you by the NSA". —

The (further) verification that spooky physics has important implications for cryptography.

From http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21676733-one-weirdest-bits-physics-proved-beyond-doubt-almost-hidden-no-more

Self-awareness is the enemy of all creativity Oct 26, 2015 highlights Self-awareness is the enemy of all creativity. As soon as you start thinking about yourself and only yourself, you stop creating. That’s when your ego takes over. — Daniel Craig.
The most successful social platforms will be those that reverse the cycle of abuse that is a product of stagnation Oct 25, 2015 highlights The most successful social platforms will be those that reverse the cycle of abuse that is a product of stagnation. And help heal people’s emotional wounds in this age of broken dreams. Those wounds are deep. It was not a fall from grace that caused them. Nor was it a knife. It was a scalpel, sharper than sin, with a razor’s edge. And so the wounds will continue to bleed until they are healed. Not with bandages, nor with salves. But with grace, mercy, love, and meaning. — Umair Haque on abuse in social technology.
A profound change is sweeping across the entrepreneurial landscape. Oct 25, 2015 highlights

A profound change is sweeping across the entrepreneurial landscape. In the quest to improve lives or preserve the earth’s natural resources, today’s top minds are not only coming up with game-changing products and services. They are also reinventing systems and harnessing diverse tools — from cross-sector partnerships to capital markets — to meet their goals. Many of these innovative thinkers are young, coming of age in the aftermath of Sept. 11, amid the destruction of two protracted wars and the economic uncertainties ushered in by the Great Recession. They are digital experts, who, thanks to social media, smartphones and access to limitless information, have grown up with a sense of global community that transcends geographic boundaries. And they seem to have social consciousness embedded in their DNA. They are united in wanting to do more than acquire material riches. They measure success by their ability to transform the lives of others. Their question is not ’What do I want to be when I grow up?‘’ but ’How will the world be different because I lived in it?‘’

As a result, financial success and social impact are becoming ever more linked, with the lines blurring between the business and nonprofit sectors. Twenty years ago, businesses, nonprofits and government made up three distinct parts of society, with their own responsibilities, goals and strategies. In the 1990s, the conversation started to move from how to create the right organizations and programs to which approaches could — with different sectors working together — help solve some of the world’s most profound social problems. In the past couple of decades, there’s been a remarkable acceleration in the overlap between these different sectors.

What is unfolding is a blending of the goals and business models for traditional for-profit enterprises and nonprofit organizations. In the process, nonprofits with empathy-based, revenue-generating models have emerged at the same time as C.E.O.s and entrepreneurs who want to build companies that generate social value through their products and services.

From Laura Arrillaga-Andreessens New York Times article on new social entrepreneurs.

The article oddly lumps AirBnB and Palantir in with three other more definitively social enterprises, and not all of the founders profiled are as young as the initial first few paragraphs make them seem. Still, it’s an inspiring group of people to read about.

James Greyson on “precycling”. Oct 25, 2015 highlights Economic dependence on waste is perpetuated by managing waste primarily as an addiction to disposal, "how can we get rid of all this junk?" The 'waste hierarchy' (reduce, reuse, recycle, then dispose) that has been available since 1975 (European Union, 2008) is commonly quoted but in practice the bulk of effort and funding provides for continuing long-term disposal to ecosystems (by landfill, waste-burning and pollution). The waste hierarchy is being used backwards and no nation has yet attempted to create the incentives for an economy that grows from the work done to end waste dumping and implement circular economics. This is achievable with the concept of 'precycling' (O'Rorke, 1988) originally used for public waste education. Precycling is applicable throughout an economy (Greyson, 2007) and may be understood as action taken to prepare for current resources to become future resources. The 'pre' prefix emphasises that this cannot be arranged after something becomes waste; it must be done beforehand. The scope of action extends far beyond recycling, to creating the economic, social and ecological conditions for all resources to remain of use to people or nature. —

James Greyson on precycling”. An interesting concept — how have the products we use been prepared to be wasted? It strikes me that most products are designed with their use in mind, but rarely is the entire product lifecycle part of the design discussion.

Greyson published a paper on precycling insurance as an economic mechanism to facilitate this behaviour.

The view that negative impacts are an inevitable consequence of development has blinded us to the obvious Oct 24, 2015 systems & design & highlights The view that negative impacts are an inevitable consequence of development has blinded us to the obvious. We could design development to increase the size, health and resilience of natural systems, while improving human health and life quality. — Janis Birkeland, Positive Development: From Vicious Circles to Virtuous Cycles through Built Environment Design”. As quoted by James Greyson.
The data mindset is good for some questions, but completely inadequate for others. Oct 24, 2015 science & highlights

The data mindset is good for some questions, but completely inadequate for others. But try arguing that with someone who insists on seeing the numbers.

The promise is that enough data will give you insight. Retain data indefinitely, maybe waterboard it a little, and it will spill all its secrets.

There’s a little bit of a con going on here. On the data side, they tell you to collect all the data you can, because they have magic algorithms to help you make sense of it.

On the algorithms side, where I live, they tell us not to worry too much about our models, because they have magical data. We can train on it without caring how the process works.

The data collectors put their faith in the algorithms, and the programmers put their faith in the data.

At no point in this process is there any understanding, or wisdom. There’s not even domain knowledge. Data science is the universal answer, no matter the question.

From Maciej Cegłowski’s talk at the Strata+Hadoop 2015 conference in NYC.
In a world where everything is tracked and kept forever, like the world we’re for some reason building, you become hostage to the worst thing you’ve ever done. Oct 23, 2015 highlights

In a world where everything is tracked and kept forever, like the world we’re for some reason building, you become hostage to the worst thing you’ve ever done.

Whoever controls that data has power over you, whether or not they exercise it. And yet we treat this data with the utmost carelessness, as if it held no power at all.

Eric Schmidt of Google suggests that one way to solve the problem is to never do anything that you don’t want made public. But sometimes there’s no way to know ahead of time what is going to be bad.

In the forties, the Soviet Union was our ally. We were fighting Hitler together! It was fashionable in Hollywood to hang out with Communists and progressives and other lefty types.

Ten years later, any hint of Communist ties could put you on a blacklist and end your career. Some people went to jail for it. Imagine if we had had Instagram back then.

From Maciej Cegłowski’s talk at the Strata+Hadoop 2015 conference in NYC.
A more recent and less fictitious example is electronic logging devices on trucks. Oct 23, 2015 highlights

A more recent and less fictitious example is electronic logging devices on trucks. These are intended to limit the hours people drive, but what do you do if you’re caught ten miles from a motel?

The device logs only once a minute, so if you accelerate to 45 mph, and then make sure to slow down under the 10 mph threshold right at the minute mark, you can go as far as you want.

So we have these tired truckers staring at their phones, bunny-hopping down the freeway late at night.

Of course there’s an obvious technical countermeasure. You can start measuring once a second.

Notice what you’re doing, though. Now you’re in an adversarial arms race with another human being that has nothing to do with measurement. It’s become an issue of control, agency and power.

You thought observing the driver’s behavior would get you closer to reality, but instead you’ve put another layer between you and what’s really going on.

These kinds of arms races are a symptom of data disease. We’ve seen them reach the point of absurdity in the online advertising industry, which unfortunately is also the economic cornerstone of the web. Advertisers have built a huge surveillance apparatus in the dream of perfect knowledge, only to find themselves in a hall of mirrors, where they can’t tell who is real and who is fake.

Data disease”. What a term.

From Maciej Cegłowski’s talk at the Strata+Hadoop 2015 conference in NYC.

Kepler’s astronomers decided to found Planet Hunters, a program that asked “citizen scientists” to examine light patterns emitted by the stars, from the comfort of their own homes. Oct 22, 2015 science & highlights

Kepler’s astronomers decided to found Planet Hunters, a program that asked citizen scientists” to examine light patterns emitted by the stars, from the comfort of their own homes.

In 2011, several citizen scientists flagged one particular star as interesting” and bizarre.” The star was emitting a light pattern that looked stranger than any of the others Kepler was watching.

— Citizen scientists provide the backbone for the latest viral astronomical headline.
Acquiescence is a good word for this. Oct 21, 2015 education & highlights Success is measured by children's acquiescence in first 'swallowing' and then 'bringing up' facts and skills when probed with tests. —

Acquiescence is a good word for this.

From http://blindspot.org.uk/second-policy-switch/

Habits of creative thought cannot be cultivated by assuming that inquisitive young minds must be moulded into established patterns of thinking Oct 21, 2015 education & systems & highlights Habits of creative thought cannot be cultivated by assuming that inquisitive young minds must be moulded into established patterns of thinking. — James Greyson calling for a new emphasis on creating curiousity in education.
When the evidence is powerful, it can prompt action Oct 20, 2015 highlights When the evidence is powerful, it can prompt action. — Economist Esther Duflo in her 2010 TED Talk on evidence-based policies to fight global poverty.
[T]he anthropologist characteristically approaches such broader interpretations and more abstract analyses from the direction of exceedingly extended acquaintances with extremely small matters Oct 19, 2015 design & highlights [T]he anthropologist characteristically approaches such broader interpretations and more abstract analyses from the direction of exceedingly extended acquaintances with extremely small matters. They confront the same grand realities that others – historians, economists, political scientists, sociologists – confront in more fateful settings: Power, Change, Faith, Oppression, Work, Passion, Authority, Beauty, Violence, Love, Prestige; but they confront them in contexts obscure enough to take the capital letters off them. — Clifford Geertz on the microscopic perspective of ethnography.
[I]t is not necessary to know everything in order to understand something Oct 19, 2015 design & highlights [I]t is not necessary to know everything in order to understand something. — Clifford Geertz on the utility of ethnography.
Understanding a people’s culture exposes their normalness without reducing their particularity Oct 19, 2015 design & highlights Understanding a people’s culture exposes their normalness without reducing their particularity. … It renders them accessible: setting them in the frame of their own banalities, it dissolves their opacity. — Clifford Geertz on ethnography and thick description.
We are not, or at least I am not, seeking either to become natives (a compromised word in any case) or to mimic them Oct 18, 2015 highlights We are not, or at least I am not, seeking either to become natives (a compromised word in any case) or to mimic them. Only romantics or spies would seem to find point in that. We are seeking, in the widened sense of the term in which it encompasses very much more than talk, to converse with them, a matter a great deal more difficult, and not only with strangers, than is commonly recognized. — Clifford Geertz on ethnography.
Eclecticism is self-defeating not because there is only one direction in which it is useful to move, but because there are so many: it is necessary to choose Oct 18, 2015 highlights Eclecticism is self-defeating not because there is only one direction in which it is useful to move, but because there are so many: it is necessary to choose. — Clifford Geertz, Thick Description.
The money that has poured into the system has not made the startups any better Oct 17, 2015 highlights The money that has poured into the system has not made the startups any better. — Sam Altman on unicorn valuations.
Life is not a zero-sum game Oct 16, 2015 highlights Life is not a zero-sum game. — John Scalzi’s “best piece of advice” for Lifehacker’s How I Work series.
John Scalzi. Oct 16, 2015 highlights I have writer friends who swear by Scrivener but honestly I don't understand it; it's overly complicated for my own writing process. —

John Scalzi.

This makes me feel better. I’ve always thought I had to use Scrivener to be a serious writer. Phew.

Laszlo Bock, Google’s Head of People Operations, on how to manage Google’s talent. Oct 16, 2015 people & highlights The keys are to hire amazing people, give them more freedom than you're comfortable with, provide targeted real-­time coaching, and forgive failure as long as people learn. —

Laszlo Bock, Google’s Head of People Operations, on how to manage Google’s talent.

Laszlo seems like a really really nice fella.

Abuse is killing the social web, and hence it isn’t peripheral to internet business models — it’s central Oct 16, 2015 highlights Abuse is killing the social web, and hence it isn’t peripheral to internet business models — it’s central. It has significant chilling effects: given a tipping point, people will simply stop using a network, and walk away…and that appears to be what’s happening with Twitter. Abuse is just as central to tech that connects people as selling beef that isn’t contaminated with salmonella is to an industry that feeds people. — Umair Haque’s treatise on abuse as the insidious vector behind Twitter’s decline.
Sam Altman on the launch of Y Combinator’s new research lab. Oct 15, 2015 highlights We're doing this because funding and the environment for fundamental research keep getting worse. The government cuts science funding every year, academia is badly broken in many ways, and corporate research is not open enough, or too directed toward what that company needs. —

Sam Altman on the launch of Y Combinator’s new research lab.

This is noble but scary. It might provide an alternative to explicitly for-profit research in the face of decline in support for public research, but it is privatizing in its own right. This sort of effort might permit such decline even further…

Treat your blog as your drafts folder Oct 15, 2015 highlights Treat your blog as your drafts folder. — Jeremy Keith
Our reaction to these atrocities can cloud our judgment, biasing us in favor of war Oct 5, 2015 design & highlights Our reaction to these atrocities can cloud our judgment, biasing us in favor of war. The benefits of war—including avenging those who have suffered—are made vivid, but the costs of war remain abstract and statistical. We see this same bias reflected in our criminal-justice system. The outrage that comes from empathy drives some of our most powerful punitive desires. — http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/09/the-violence-of-empathy/407155/
In his book Healing Night (2006), the sleep psychologist Rubin Naiman tells of a game he played with his mother as a child Oct 3, 2015 highlights In his book Healing Night (2006), the sleep psychologist Rubin Naiman tells of a game he played with his mother as a child. She would ask: ‘What is the best thing in the world?’ Little Rubin would shout out guesses (Toys! Cartoons! Ice‑cream!) until she revealed the correct answer: ‘Night.’ Naiman’s mother had spent four years in a Nazi concentration camp; during that hellish sojourn, she had learned to cherish the hours of darkness as a promised land. ‘Night brought sleep,’ he writes, ‘a vital daily measure of peace. Sleep, in turn, served as a natural bridge to dreams. And dreaming opened a mysterious portal to a more malleable and compassionate reality.’ — Via Aeon.co.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe Sep 26, 2015 systems & design & highlights When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. — John Muir as quoted by Ecoliteracy.
Designers … seek to choose rather than predict the future Sep 25, 2015 systems & design & futures & highlights Designers … seek to choose rather than predict the future. — Jamshid Gharajedaghi, Systems Thinking.
Human prosperity, we are told, is an unalloyed perfect metal, forged in the crucible of the industrial revolution. Aug 27, 2015 highlights

Human prosperity, we are told, is an unalloyed perfect metal, forged in the crucible of the industrial revolution. The modern world was born in a revolution of steam and flame. Abundance, available endlessly in infinite quantities, poured forth from the workshops of creation. And now forevermore, thanks to the alchemical formula of technology, capital, and power, will the world get better.

Like all myths, our creation myth of abundance reveals the truth at the heart of the lie. The facts are these: the beggar’s prosperity of meta-modernity is not an unalloyed good, available endlessly in infinite abundance, forged nobly in a great and virtuous workshop. It was born in the rape of the earth, nurtured by war and holocaust, conceived in the workhouse and plantation. And it is ordered, today, by a creaking, buckling system of finance, barely contained volcanos of social upheaval, and armies of middle managers who desperately wish for better things to devote their one and only lives to than pillaging the earth and plundering the future in the noble quest for… new flavours of deodorant.

It is true that the world is getting better — in the narrowest of terms. But it is truer that it is precisely the unbridled pursuit of such a simplistic notion of progress which is, simultaneously, paradoxically, contradictorily, causing it to get worse in many real, and irreversible ways.

And so. It is confronting, untangling, and resolving exactly the paradoxes and contradictions of our Predator’s Bargain with prosperity that is the great challenge to which this generation of ours must rise. Not merely philosophically, but pragmatically, in the real world, here and now. Rise, or else surely fall from what little grace our forefathers earned for us.

Oh, wow.

Umair Haque.

[S]chools are designed based on the average Aug 22, 2015 education & design & systems & highlights [S]chools are designed based on the average. But the problem is that no student is average on every dimension, “Every student has a jagged learning profile.” [Todd] Rose said, “We blame kids, teachers, and parents, but it’s just bad design.” — Nobody is average, every student deserves personalized learning.
ewb: “A new chalkboard wall at national office makes it #fun and easy to share what we’ve been working on! Aug 17, 2015 highlights
Ten Hacks Towards World Class Evaluation - Social Labs Aug 16, 2015 highlights
i feel like the big game hunters should be forced to compete for our pleasure on a game show where they take on the animals Aug 15, 2015 highlights i feel like the big game hunters should be forced to compete for our pleasure on a game show where they take on the animals. without guns. — @umairh (http://twitter.com/umairh/status/626564879801913344).
An important argument for humility. Aug 15, 2015 highlights According to the researchers, the big takeaway from the study should be that many of us may actually stop learning about a subject when we start to consider ourselves experts. We’re so insecure about our self-proclaimed expertise that we’re afraid of being exposed to things we don’t yet know. —

An important argument for humility.

From the Cornell x Tulane study on overclaiming.

I’m collecting stories of “oh no this data project could go terribly wrong” - more here https://t.co/qGbwpVf3YO - ping me if you have any! — @zararah (I’m collecting stories of “oh no this data project could go terribly wrong” - more here https://t.co/qGbwpVf3YO - ping me if you have any!— Zara Rahman (@zararah) July 29, 2015 ). Aug 13, 2015 highlights
“concat() is actually spanish Aug 13, 2015 highlights “concat() is actually spanish. it means ‘with cats.’” – @DanielZarick — @benedictfritz ( ).
[T]he only luxury is time — the time you spend with your family Aug 11, 2015 highlights [T]he only luxury is time — the time you spend with your family. That’s the only luxury. [Any other] concept of luxury is improper to me. … but there’s people who still spend $5,000 on this or $10,000 on that to say ‘oh, we’re better than you.’ — Great rant from Kanye West on snobbery, classism, old money, and producing “luxury” in fashion.
auerswald: “Daniel Kahneman: “We think of our future as anticipated memories. Aug 10, 2015 highlights
Figuring out how to live forever is expensive. Aug 7, 2015 tech & highlights Google has reportedly poured up to $730 million into Calico thus far ($240 million for convertible shares, $490 for keeps). —

Figuring out how to live forever is expensive.

From Re/code’s story on Google’s partnership with Ancestry.com.

That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket Aug 6, 2015 highlights
Brain-based algorithms make for better networks Aug 6, 2015 highlights
Futuristic brain probe allows for wireless control of neurons Aug 6, 2015 highlights
upsetmagazine: “Interview: @ENTERSHIKARI: “A band can really stand for something” http://t. Aug 6, 2015 highlights
Accustom thyself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, be in the speaker’s mind Aug 5, 2015 highlights Accustom thyself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, be in the speaker’s mind. — @MAureliusQuote ( ).
Art is the inexplicable urge to manifest feeling, intent, or question as a specific experience outside the artist’s mind Aug 4, 2015 highlights Art is the inexplicable urge to manifest feeling, intent, or question as a specific experience outside the artist’s mind. — @johnmaeda ( ).
Visualizing RNA activity within the brain tissues of live mice for faster and more accurate discovery and development of novel drugs Aug 3, 2015 highlights
Higher education almost completely ignored Marshall McLuhan’s central insight: new modes of communication change what can be imagined and expressed Aug 1, 2015 tech & education & highlights Higher education almost completely ignored Marshall McLuhan’s central insight: new modes of communication change what can be imagined and expressed. “Any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes… . The ‘message’ of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.” Print is not advanced calligraphy. The web is not a more sophisticated telegraph. Yet higher education largely failed to empower the strong and effective imaginations that students need for creative citizenship in this new medium. The “progress” that higher education achieved with massive turnkey online systems, especially with the LMS, actually moved in the opposite direction. The “digital facelift” helped higher education deny both the needs and the opportunities emerging with this new medium. — Gardner Campbell on higher education’s lack of progress on digital fronts.
But almost all arguments about student privacy, whether those calling for more restrictions or fewer, fail to give students themselves a voice, let alone some assistance in deciding what to share online Jul 31, 2015 education & tech & highlights But almost all arguments about student privacy, whether those calling for more restrictions or fewer, fail to give students themselves a voice, let alone some assistance in deciding what to share online. Students have little agency when it comes to education technology — much like they have little agency in education itself. — From The Web We Need To Give Students by @audreywatters.
Organisations are essentially factories for making decisions Jul 27, 2015 highlights Organisations are essentially factories for making decisions. — Daniel Kahneman, interview in The Guardian.
“No one ever gave me a reason why they didn’t want the hologram to appear,” said Craze Fest promoter Malcolm Jones. Jul 27, 2015 highlights I know nothing about Chief Keef,” Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott told the Times. “All I’d heard was he has a lot of songs about gangs and shooting people — a history that’s anti-cop, pro-gang and pro-drug use. He’s been basically outlawed in Chicago, and we’re not going to let you circumvent Mayor Emanuel by going next door. —

No one ever gave me a reason why they didn’t want the hologram to appear,” said Craze Fest promoter Malcolm Jones. They didn’t have a real reason. They believed that it would start trouble, but the first thing Chief Keef said via hologram was: Chicago, we need to stop the violence. Let our kids live.’”

Why is an authority making decisions based on what he’d heard” about someone, especially when he knows nothing” about the person? Isn’t that essentially stereotyping, if not racism?

From Police shut down show by Chief Keef’s hologram by Sam Byford on The Verge.

Paul Saffo’s approach to forecasting. Jul 26, 2015 futures & highlights [M]y mantra for this process is "strong opinions, weakly held." Allow your intuition to guide you to a conclusion, no matter how imperfect — this is the "strong opinion" part. Then –and this is the "weakly held" part– prove yourself wrong. Engage in creative doubt. Look for information that doesn't fit, or indicators that pointing in an entirely different direction. Eventually your intuition will kick in and a new hypothesis will emerge out of the rubble, ready to be ruthlessly torn apart once again. —

Paul Saffo’s approach to forecasting.

Also, reading about Paul Saffo brought me to the Long Now Foundation — so neat!

Mike Monteiro, “Why you need design”. Jul 25, 2015 design & highlights I once worked with a designer who bought frames with photos of strangers at thrift stores. She stashed the photos in a box under her desk. When she started a project, she flipped through them until she found people she felt matched the users we were designing for. She kept those frames on her desk for the project's duration to remind her that she wasn't designing for herself. She was designing for them. —

Mike Monteiro, Why you need design”. (https://medium.com/@monteiro/why-you-need-design-77dce41e0e0c)

A little weird and very clever.

Mike Monteiro, “Why you need design”. Jul 25, 2015 design & highlights Designers aren't artists. Design isn't self-expression. —

Mike Monteiro, Why you need design”. (Again: https://medium.com/@monteiro/why-you-need-design-77dce41e0e0c)

I’m really interested in this dichotomy”. I like Mike’s emphasis on the non-art of design: to him, it is a practice.

A good designer behaves like a skilled professional with analytical, persuasive, creative, and social skills. You can count on them to solve problems, present good work in a timely manner, be accountable, and argue from an informed point of view.” - Mike Monteiro

And I agree with him wholeheartedly. Yet, working with artists and contemporary art at Eastern Edge over the last few weeks has led me to a great appreciation of contemporary art, and the capacity of art to do… well… something.

I guess that’s sometimes the point: art doesn’t necessarily achieve an intentional goal. Design does. Or rather, it should.

[Contemporary] Art can be designed.

However, art can be designed. But can design be contemporary art? What would that mean?

Off-the-cuff, it would mean that the design pushes contemporary boundaries. It would make you think about something you hadn’t thought you’d think about. Or, it would make you feel something you hadn’t felt before. Or that you feel a lot.

However, design still can’t be self-expression. By definition, it is intentionally the expression of something else—the expression of a solution to a problem, perhaps. Design can be art, but it shouldn’t necessarily try to be.

(Aside: I’m reminded of instantiation validity. A design is a version of a solution to a problem, but if it fails, we should remember that a design is distinct from the theoretical solution, and that the design can fail separate from the solution itself. This is convoluted, but it means we can try the same solution with a different design.)

Calling someone a creative doesn’t elevate Jul 25, 2015 design & highlights Calling someone a creative doesn’t elevate. It marginalizes. The label excludes designers from conversations about strategy, product definition, business goals, and metrics. It sets them apart from other employees as people who aren’t bound by the same expectations and requirements. It diminishes their opportunity to be seen as people capable of analytical, rigorous thought. — Mike Monteiro, “Why you need design”. (https://medium.com/@monteiro/why-you-need-design-77dce41e0e0c)
positive error messages Jul 24, 2015 highlights
Visualizing city densities Jul 24, 2015 highlights
Demographic changes, exponential technology, and scarce resources are all beautiful opportunities for public innovation labs @MindLabDK — @tprehn (http://twitter.com/tprehn/status/622068427700764672). Jul 24, 2015 highlights
Comparing a node in a neural network to a neuron, though, is at best like comparing a toaster to the space shuttle Jul 23, 2015 highlights Comparing a node in a neural network to a neuron, though, is at best like comparing a toaster to the space shuttle. — @clarecorthell ( ).
One sign of success: MindLab’s owners are now actively seeking the involvement and advice of MindLab when they plan and execute core strategic agendas Jul 21, 2015 innovation & highlights One sign of success: MindLab’s owners are now actively seeking the involvement and advice of MindLab when they plan and execute core strategic agendas. — Neat little history of the remarkable and world-changing MindLab in Denmark: https://prezi.com/ajadz_sm36fh/mindlab-journey/
Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. Jul 20, 2015 science & highlights

Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself very quickly, right, within a couple of weeks. So there you go. It’s our theory of addiction.

Bruce comes along in the 70s and said, Well, hang on a minute. We’re putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do. Let’s try this a little bit differently.” So Bruce built Rat Park, and Rat Park is like heaven for rats. Everything your rat about town could want, it’s got in Rat Park. It’s got lovely food. It’s got sex. It’s got loads of other rats to be friends with. It’s got loads of colored balls. Everything your rat could want. And they’ve got both the water bottles. They’ve got the drugged water and the normal water. But here’s the fascinating thing. In Rat Park, they don’t like the drugged water. They hardly use any of it. None of them ever overdose. None of them ever use in a way that looks like compulsion or addiction. There’s a really interesting human example I’ll tell you about in a minute, but what Bruce says is that shows that both the right-wing and left-wing theories of addiction are wrong. So the right-wing theory is it’s a moral failing, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard. The left-wing theory is it takes you over, your brain is hijacked. Bruce says it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain; it’s your cage. Addiction is largely an adaptation to your environment.

[…]

We’ve created a society where significant numbers of our fellow citizens cannot bear to be present in their lives without being drugged, right? We’ve created a hyperconsumerist, hyperindividualist, isolated world that is, for a lot of people, much more like that first cage than it is like the bonded, connected cages that we need.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. And our whole society, the engine of our society, is geared towards making us connect with things. If you are not a good consumer capitalist citizen, if you’re spending your time bonding with the people around you and not buying stuff—in fact, we are trained from a very young age to focus our hopes and our dreams and our ambitions on things we can buy and consume. And drug addiction is really a subset of that.

Johann Hari, Does Capitalism Drive Drug Addiction? (via bigfatsun).

Hm. A brief skim of some of the research done on Bruce Alexander’s Rat Park” in the last few decades and the Wikipedia article on the subject seems to indicate that the conclusion drawn here isn’t as straightforward as we’d like, but overall, it looks like this subject should be studied more. Disappointing that the SFU studies ran out of funding.

Still, it’s an interesting thought, and an important contrast to prevailing views on addiction (as Johann Hari suggests).

What worries me about the future of Silicon Valley, is that one-dimensionality, that it’s not a Renaissance culture, it’s an engineering culture Jul 19, 2015 tech & futures & highlights What worries me about the future of Silicon Valley, is that one-dimensionality, that it’s not a Renaissance culture, it’s an engineering culture. It’s an engineering culture that believes that it’s revolutionary, but it’s actually not that revolutionary. The Valley has, for a long time, mined a couple of big ideas. — John Markoff, The Next Wave.
The question is, how does this current bubble end? Not when, but how? What constitutes a bubble? For me, I can clearly see we’re in a bubble economy when relatively more money is chasing relatively few good ideas Jul 19, 2015 tech & futures & highlights The question is, how does this current bubble end? Not when, but how? What constitutes a bubble? For me, I can clearly see we’re in a bubble economy when relatively more money is chasing relatively few good ideas. When the conversation turns to Uber for “x,” you can tell there we’re out of ideas, that people are basically just trying to iterate and get lucky. — John Markoff, The Next Wave.
We’re at that stage, where our expectations have outrun the reality of the technology Jul 19, 2015 tech & futures & highlights We’re at that stage, where our expectations have outrun the reality of the technology. — John Markoff, The Next Wave
By championing “failing fast,” we kill great ideas prematurely, leaning into trends — not true innovation — to be successful Jul 19, 2015 highlights By championing “failing fast,” we kill great ideas prematurely, leaning into trends – not true innovation – to be successful. In doing so, the lifecycle for execution of a great idea has grown shorter, and “immediate success” or lack thereof is often evaluated unrealistically. — The Problem With Entrepreneurship’s Failure Fetish (via soxiam)
Fructose produces less rewarding sensations in the brain Jul 17, 2015 highlights
“True leaders lead people to an impossible destination. Jul 16, 2015 highlights
“Ever wanted the ability to get the attention of people in channel there and/or working? Jul 14, 2015 highlights
Another way of looking at iOS development is everyone is a “freelance contractor” working for Apple, just like drivers work for Uber Jul 13, 2015 highlights Another way of looking at iOS development is everyone is a “freelance contractor” working for Apple, just like drivers work for Uber. — @anildash ( ).
https://t. Jul 11, 2015 highlights I’d say algorithmic biases are much the same as the people who write them. Same problem, different legibility. https://t.co/lG4prHWzg1

- @umairh (http://twitter.com/umairh/status/618463980391145472).

Different scope, too – a biased algorithm can scale quite a bit more and quite a bit faster than a biased person.

Aside: isn’t a bias arguably an algorithm anyway? Bias as behavioural algorithm leads to a lack of design foresight which then leads to institutional bias in programmed algorithms. Hm.

“Chloe & April of @easternedge making their speech as they’re inducted into @FortisProp Arts Hall of Honour #nlarts http://t. Jul 10, 2015 highlights
123564152980 Jul 8, 2015 science & highlights Ageing rates vary widely, says study http://t.co/qoiVutPlk0

@BBCWorld (

).

In hindsight, this seems obvious to me. If the aging process is biological (which it obviously is) then there has to be differences in how it happens in people. Still, the implications are huge. I’m reminded of Google’s anti-aging startup, Calico. Maybe Calico can develop treatments for the people that age “quickly” as an early type of aging intervention… Hm.
123546780718 Jul 8, 2015 highlights
http://t. Jul 7, 2015 highlights Our analysis on evidence behind the party programmes. A better guide to voting than the views of newspaper owners. http://t.co/GCLjheV2r4

via http://twitter.com/geoffmulgan/status/596229250526642176.

An interesting example of the power of a strong independent media. I hope this had impact in the UK.
“Generalists change the world; specialists perfect it Jul 6, 2015 design & highlights “Generalists change the world; specialists perfect it.” — @RossFloate for Dear Design Student https://t.co/5YjlSL2sE1 — I like this sentiment. Looking forward to reading the article.
http://t. Jul 6, 2015 highlights Just learned about the Johari Window model from @redjotter. Good for (self-) awareness. http://t.co/yHDPt7nqze #UXScot —

via http://twitter.com/odannyboy/status/608948383991128064.

I love the Johari and Nohari window exercise–it can be very eye opening, and it’s much easier to do than many of the other tools out there that help you get feedback from your friends and enemies.

This is about six years old, but find my Johari window here and my Nohari window here.

http://pic. Jul 5, 2015 leadership & highlights Big thanks to @madamepeddle & Beaconsfield J. High to have us share some Advocacy knowledge with their cool Gr. 9ers http://pic.twitter.com/XIo8Uhs1gq

via http://twitter.com/Radhoc/status/606922855146778624.

Go team!

http://t. Jul 5, 2015 education & highlights What many people may not realize–America is facing a shortage of college graduates: http://t.co/G05iDPQT7Q http://pic.twitter.com/oYej3iFAxj

via http://twitter.com/BillGates/status/607199118197424129.

This is probably true in Canada, too.

http://pic. Jul 5, 2015 leadership & social & education & highlights @Radhoc learning about leadership and advocacy in the world. @madamepeddle #schum http://pic.twitter.com/oZTou3VzdY

via http://twitter.com/HillierNicholas/status/606789513445318656.

\m/
Start automating your business tasks with Slack Jul 4, 2015 tech & highlights
http://t. Jul 4, 2015 highlights "It's good enough" UI. http://t.co/MQagZ8I0TL

via http://twitter.com/jammiesblvd/status/617245765312737280.

I noticed this as well. Huge menus, especially for Apple! Plus, so much of the functionality is kinda… hidden. I hope people find it, because it’s worth it.
123167481342 Jul 4, 2015 social & innovation & design & highlights From @TimDraimin on Twitter: Hot-Off-Press: Frances Westley & San Laban (WISIR) publish Social Innovation Lab Guide #PSILab http://t.co/NM6fQEmRt7 #systemchange #SocInn —

via

Excited to read this guide as soon as possible.
In the north, we were strong and free. Feb 6, 2015 highlights
From Prophecy, one of the Canada 300 plays. Feb 6, 2015 highlights To teach is to learn twice. —

From Prophecy, one of the Canada 300 plays. Playwright: Yvette Nolan

http://canada300.ca/the-plays/

Nature already has design figured out Aug 13, 2014 highlights Nature already has design figured out. Constructal law is a universal phenomenon derived from physics to account for design generation and evolution in nature. Adrian Bejan states “For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it.” The distribution of imperfection over time generates geometry. If the flows stops, the system is dead. — From the pretty essay The future interface” on Medium.
Amy Webb, Pew Internet Digital Life in 2025 Aug 6, 2014 highlights The collar of the future is a hoodie. —

Amy Webb, Pew Internet Digital Life in 2025

(via stoweboyd)

Walking Backwards, Moving Forward Jul 26, 2014 highlights
Except… even dogs don’t eat each other. Jul 10, 2014 highlights


[Without wisdom, we have] a dog-eat-dog world. Except… even dogs don’t eat each other. — http://99u.com/videos/28741/tony-schwartz-to-solve-big-problems-change-your-process
…for the Romans, sensus communis meant common sense but also humanity and sensibility… Jan 14, 2014 highlights
future ages will scarce believe Jul 29, 2013 articles & highlights
memorialleadership: Feb 9, 2013 highlights & articles & leadership
The American dream is alive and well in China. Jan 9, 2013 highlights
This talk by professor Shimon Schocken was good for me. Oct 13, 2012 highlights