Two Watchmakers [...]

There once were two watchmakers, named Hora and Tempus, who made very fine watches. The phones in their workshops rang frequently and new customers were constantly calling them. However, Hora prospered while Tempus became poorer and poorer. In the end, Tempus lost his shop. What was the reason behind this?

The watches consisted of about 1000 parts each. The watches that Tempus made were designed such that, when he had to put down a partly assembled watch, it immediately fell into pieces and had to be reassembled from the basic elements. Hora had designed his watches so that he could put together sub-assemblies of about ten components each, and each sub-assembly could be put down without falling apart. Ten of these subassemblies could be put together to make a larger sub-assembly, and ten of the larger sub-assemblies constituted the whole watch. [3] (Source)

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Prohibition Was Racialized [...]

No single moment in American history has had more impact on the beer business than Prohibition. As it turns out, the 18th Amendment carried some grim racial undertones.

Temperance found its way into the Constitution thanks in part to the Anti-Saloon League, which trafficked in racially loaded propaganda to cast alcohol as a dangerous pandemic. “Saloons became code for not only drinking and debauchery, but also code for where immigrants and brown people hang out,” explained J. Nikol Beckham, an assistant professor of communication studies at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Prohibition movement was “always racialized,” she said, pointing to political cartoons like this one, in which faceless blacks are portrayed as willing minions of a Germanic beer baroness.
In 1933, Prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment, but the beer business quickly developed — or even cultivated — race problems of its own. “[The post-Prohibition] consolidation of most beer brewing in the US into very large corporations probably hurt all sorts of minorities who would have potentially owned breweries,” said Allison McKim, an assistant professor of sociology at Bard College. (Source)

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Settings:: Footer [...]

Original content licensed CC-BY-SA. Articles may contain material under different licenses, check the links, history, and other attribution.

Site proudly powered by WordPress.

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The Banality of Silicon Valley Evil [...]

It is not enough, then, to mock Silicon Valley. The whole enterprise distracts. If the conmen in the Valley can convince you that they are a new and exceptional kind of evil, you will spend time thinking up new and exceptional ways to fight back, intimidated and a little bit in awe of their bravado. It isn’t necessary.

The rigged contracts, the job insecurity, the abusive management, the racism, the harassment, the investment scamming and hardball, the criminal reaction to dissent — these are old monsters, to be slain with old weapons. They are the same weapons needed across the whole of the economy: regulation, labor laws, newly robust unions, a political apparatus dedicated to questions beyond the fairest way to grow GDP.

If there is to be a rhetorical component, wagging to be done and a book to be written, so be it. Dedicate the wagging and the book to the proposition that there are interests not only outside of but contradictory to the pursuit of wealth, the fastest possible growth of the market. If we have to call it a disruption, fine, but don’t let the cult-talk and the frat parties and the mystique of these new assholes fool you. We’ve beaten them before. We know how. (Source)

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Face to face is mediated [...]

Face to face and mediated may be a distinction that conceals too much. F2F is mediated communication, framed by semiotic codes of pleasure, closeness, et al. Perhaps the salient difference is that mediated communication creates (semiotic) artifacts that can be further worked with.

One way to think about this is that Language is the Unmediated System and mode (writing, voice, print) is the medium. This means that any specific occasion of language will be mediated.

Here’s Nathan Jurgenson on the quality of screens

Digital dualism allows Turkle to write as though she is championing humanity, conversation, and empathy when ultimately she is merely privileging geography. Again, this can feel intuitive, because this fetishization of contiguity has a long tradition and is echoed in our everyday language: Each time we say “IRL,” “face-to-face,” or “in person” to mean connection without screens, we frame what is “real” or who is a person in terms of their geographic proximity rather than other aspects of closeness — variables like attention, empathy, affect, erotics, all of which can be experienced at a distance. We should not conceptually preclude or discount all the ways intimacy, passion, love, joy, pleasure, closeness, pain, suffering, evil and all the visceral actualities of existence pass through the screen. “Face to face” should mean more than breathing the same air. (Source)

skype dual portrait

The significant difference here is is not distance but the presence of mediation by interface. Our sense of face to face tends to set aside mediation. Mediation is still there in the interfaces of spoken words, touch, the semiotics of gesture and pose, but we set it aside for a sense of the real.  The mediation comes to the surface when we encounter a glitch: the CD jams, the lights go out, the conversation is interrupted with a phone call or the man from Porlock.

Digital mediation creates artifacts, so that the interaction means reading artifacts (blog post, image) created by the real interaction and working in a different semiotic frame than that of face to face.  Those artifacts are created on the fly and so can be further mediated and worked with on the fly.  Imagine a Skype connection tinkered with by filters on both sending and receiving ends. Imagine how receiving a text message might translate similes into emoticons.


A review / critique of Reclaiming Conversation, by Sherry Turkle – Fear of Screens NATHAN JURGENSON

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Theranos Delusion [...]

Running large batteries of medical tests on people is not an undisputed public good. False positives abound, and without a clear idea as to why we want the test information and what we plan to do with it, bad outcomes can result.

Professor Norman Paradis of the Dartmouth College medical school has also questioned not just the claim that Theranos can produce cheaper, faster, less scary blood tests, but also the assumption that succeeding in this quest would improve public health.

In a piece titled, The Rise and Fall of Theranos, which ran in Scientific American and the online magazine The Conversation, he questioned the value of the Theranos promise to run dozens of tests on a small amount of blood. “From a clinical perspective, this was always concerning, as such a shotgun approach to medical testing is actually very bad medicine.”

It’s not that he’s against blood tests in the right context. “I’m very big on ordering tests,” he said. “But I don’t immediately say we need to start treatments.” What’s needed for better preventive medicine isn’t just more tests, but more accurate tests, and a better understanding of what to do with the results.

If any good comes out of all this, said pathologist Master, it would be a better understanding of the need for thoughtful interpretation followed by careful decision making. “Medicine,” he said, “is more than getting a number out of a box.” (Source)

Testing (and resulting personalization of treatment) must be embedded in a context. In medicine, that testing is usually undertaken to confirm or deny hypotheses, and to look for generally expected problems that occur across populations (e.g. cholesterol testing).

When testing becomes cheaper, there is often an idea that we can now test before we detect or suspect problems. But as a basic familiarity with the Base Rate Fallacy will show you, increasing the variety of things we test for dramatically decreases the specificity of the results. See Sensitivity vs. Specificity

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Autopilot Confusion [...]

This isn’t just a theoretical problem — it’s something that has cropped up with the autopilot feature on airplanes. As a 2014 New Yorker article pointed out, a number of crashes have occurred because pilots simply weren’t paying close enough attention as the plan largely flew itself. That caused them to make crucial mistakes when they were forced to take over control.

One study found that with higher levels of automation, “pilots’ ability to make complex cognitive decisions suffered a palpable hit. They were less able to visualize their plane’s position, to decide what navigational step should come next, and to diagnose abnormal situations.”

With the plane doing most of the driving, pilots had more trouble concentrating on the task in front of them. Their minds tended to wander That made them less well-prepared when an emergency required them to exercise good judgment and quick thinking.

Car companies are just starting to introduce partially self-driving cars onto the market, so we don’t yet know if the same kind of problem will crop up on our roads. But it provides a powerful argument for advocates of allowing fully autonomous driving. (Source)

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Girl, 12, runs half-marathon by mistake [...]

A 12-year-old girl in New York has mistakenly run a half-marathon after she confused the start of the race with a five kilometre course she was supposed to be running.

LeeAdianez Rodriguez had registered for the 5km race that was part of last Sunday’s Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge. She thought she was arriving late at the starting line when the race started, so she began running with the rest of the runners.

She was supposed to run the Wegmans Family 5km, which starts on the same bridge 15 minutes after the distance runners set off.

It turned out she was running with the half-marathoners on the 13.1-mile course and not in the 5km, or 3.1 miles. Rodriguez says she realized about halfway through that she was in the wrong race but decided to finish.

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UX Iceberg [...]

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The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism (Crash Course) [...]

John Green talks about Federalism, the Constitution, and the origins of our system of government.


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Historicizing the Memex [...]

Daniel Punday (Computing as Writing, 2015) argues that V Bush conceptualized the Memex in a frame of scholarly work – as opposed to, say, the work of computing ballistic tables. Fine so far. But he also points out that the work the scholar took on with a Memex is not of writing new documents but of annotating and connecting existing documents. Annotations could be added to the Memex, as could trails. But not new work.

The work of annotating and gathering sources is a way to start a new document that would be then (later? by peer review? by federation?) added to the library of the Memex.

Which is to say that the cultural system that the Memex works in is similar to Englebart’s “trained operator”. The Memex is seen as a recording and memory device rather than a calculating device. But it also engages in the institutional systems of distribution that were in use at the time.

As Bush envisions it, distribution is handled outside the Memex. The worker created trails that were physically distributed to others. Distibution was handled as part of the Englebart’s NLS.

NLS doesn’t seem to distinguish between documents and annotations or notes (check this). Handwritten work is a mark of notes in the Memex.

The main form of work done with Memex materials were handwritten notes. Printing indicated that the materials had been vetted, edited, and published for large-scale distribution.

There are other implications to be explored.

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The Shill Rule of Political Communities [...]

Accusations of shilling have always been prohibited. I’m just reiterating that old-standing rule.  It’s fucking obnoxious old-timers are accused of being paid shills, and it’s fucking obnoxious when new users—the way we grow our movement—are accused of being shills. So zero tolerance.  (Source)

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Kos Says Worst [...]

With news that a pro-Clinton PAC is spending money to “push back against” online commenters attacking Hillary Clinton, this site has degenerated into the nastiest meta infighting I’ve ever seen. Worse than 2008’s Clinton v Obama battles, and (maybe) worse than 2004’s Dean v Clark v Kerry shitstorm.  (Source)

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Ten Friends [...]

Early on, Facebook noticed that to keep people coming back to the site they had to engage with at least 10 friends. By making this a proximal engagement goal they were able to drive broader site engagement.(Source)

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Bowling Pin Strategy [...]

Term from Moore on how to solve the chicken-and-egg problem of some products.

The idea is that people won’t use your product until other people are using it. Even for something like Microsoft Word, utility is tied to how many *other8 people have Word.

The solution is to find small, niche market segments where people are interconnected enough in a group small enough that broad adoption of a product is possible.


Network Effects presentation (Link)

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Leverage, But for Whom? [...]

The Mizzou protests devastated Mizzou’s financial position. But the loss of revenue came from people supporting both sides of the conflict.

In one instance, a retired professor wrote a prescient note to top university officials, cautioning that “serious backlash could result” and that “students making demands, protests, disrupting events or that kind of thing won’t sell well outstate.”

His prediction proved spot-on. The 7,400 pages of emails, reviewed exclusively by these two publications, reveal how Mizzou overwhelmingly lost the support of longtime sports fans, donors, and alumni. Parents and grandparents wrote in from around the country declaring that their family members wouldn’t be attending Mizzou after the highly publicized controversy. Some current students talked about leaving.

MORE: Emails show safety fears rampant on Mizzou campus

This passionate backlash doesn’t appear to have been a bluff. Already, freshman enrollment is down 25%, leaving a $32 million funding gap and forcing the closure of four dorms. The month after the protests, donations to the athletic department were a mere $191,000—down 72% over the same period a year earlier. Overall fundraising also took a big hit. (Source)

The rest of the article shows the conflicting signals — people not going to Mizzou both because:

  • Mizzou was racist
  • Mizzou was overly tolerant of the protests

Etc.

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Testing [...]

Right

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more testing [...]

moar

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Attention Accounts [...]

An idea from Andreas Bulling that UX should see user attention as a finite and valuable resource, and only “spend” attention at certain points:

The “pervasive attentive user interfaces” imagined by Bulling might utilize what he calls “attention accounts.” This is basically a running balance of available user attention. If I were to focus for a few minutes on this chat box in the next tab over, the result would be an attention withdrawal. The system would then know that I now have less attention—defined here as the act of concentrating on discrete units of information while ignoring other information—to give and so would adjust itself accordingly.

“Instead of interrupting the user whenever new information becomes available,” he explains, “future interfaces could trade information importance with users’ current interruptibility level and time the delivery of information appropriately—for example for a period of low cognitive load, free attentional capacity, or even boredom.” (Source)


The idea is somewhat related to Calm Tech and Tea Kettle Tech.

Conversations are based on small almost imperceptible pauses that serve as markers for interruption. See Conversational Gapping

Related ideas are found in Quadratic Voting

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16GB is a Bad User Experience [...]

The storage capacities of iPhones aren’t a side effect, they are a choice. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of discussion, research and thought that Apple has put into the capacities of their headline product. I’m sure bumping up the base model to 32GB would cost the company more and so by holding the line at 16GB for another year they will increase their profits. This near term benefit will surely help their balance sheet in their next earnings call but comes at the cost of the day-to-day experience of some of their customers.

In the end Apple has decided to continue offering a product that will almost inevitably fail their customer at some point, and potentially fail them at a moment of deep personal importance. That makes me sad, and as someone who makes my living riding their coattails, worried about the long term effects of this short term thinking. Maybe it is just sentimentality but those aren’t the priorities that I think Apple stands for. (Source)

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The New Stream [...]

In addition to more gardens, we desperately need better streams. Dan Grover takes a whack at what a better lifestream might look like:

Indeed, the cornerstone of whole experience is effectively a common, semi-hierarchical stream of messages, notifications, and news with a consistent set of controls for handling them. It’s no stretch to see WeChat and its ilk not as SMS replacements but as nascent visions of a mobile OS whose UI paradigm is, rather than rigidly app-centric, thread-centric (and not, strictly speaking, conversation-centric).

When you think about it this way, the things listed there in my inbox don’t need to be conversations per se. But everything there, most abstractly, is something that can send me updates and notifications, will change in position when it does so, retains a read/unread status, and most essentially, allows me, the user, the aforementioned modes of control.

And if we really run with this idea to its extreme, what actually might appear when I tap on a cell in the inbox doesn’t matter — I could see a conversation, a song or video, news headlines, a map showing me my route, a timer, or a sub-group of other such threads. Anything, really. Though I guess it’d be best when it’s at least something dynamic or based on a service (I certainly wouldn’t want to access my calculator or camera this way). (Source)

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Click’s Clashes [...]

That’s when Ms. Click heard some of them arguing with Mark Schierbecker, a senior majoring in history who was filming the protest. Ms. Click grabbed at his small hand-held camera, telling him: “You have to go!” To which he responded: “I actually don’t.” As Mr. Schierbecker recited his right to be in a public place, Ms. Click invoked her authority as a “communication faculty” and made the call for “muscle” to get him removed. All the while, Mr. Schierbecker was filming, capturing what to many seemed to be an out-of-control professor with flaming nostrils and unruly red hair inciting violence against a university student.

These are actions and remarks that, by now, she has apologized for countless times — both formally and informally. Some, however, point out that Mr. Schierbecker wasn’t the only one Ms. Click clashed with on the quad. She told a geology professor that questions he directed to the black students were inappropriate, he says, and asked him to leave. And she told two other cameramen they weren’t welcome, flinging mocking comments at one (“Wow, you’re so scary”) and leading the students in a chant to banish the other (“Hey, hey, ho, ho, reporters have got to go!”). Exactly why, many have asked, was the assistant professor there that day taking on such a lead role? (Source)

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Created the Opening [...]

Some believe it was inaction of the administration which created the space for Mizzou to fire Melissa Click.

Michael Sykuta, an associate professor of agricultural and applied economics here, believes Ms. Click should have been punished for her actions. But he blames the university for creating an opening for the curators to act. “If the provost had impaneled a group to investigate, if there was a faculty process that could be pointed to, that would have taken away most of the political punch the curators had,” he says. “A big part of why the curators acted is that the university did nothing.” (Source)

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Dropbox as a True Git Server [...]

As far as I know, git-remote-dropbox is the only safe way to host a Git repository on Dropbox. Read about why here.

Once it’s installed, using Dropbox as a Git server is as simple as adding it as a remote: git remote add origin dropbox://path/to/repo. After that, it’s just the usual git pull and git push for interacting with the remote repo. (Source)

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Pacemaker DMCA [...]

That means that bugs in medical implants can be exploited over their wireless interfaces, too. For example: lethal shocks from implanted pacemakers and defibrillators. It was not for nothing that former VP Dick Cheney had the wireless interface on his pacemaker deactivated (future software updates for Mr Cheney’s heart-monitor will thus involve general anaesthesia, a scalpel, and a rib-spreader).

However you feel about copyright law, everyone should be able to agree that copyright shouldn’t get in the way of testing the software in your hearing aid, pacemaker, insulin pump, or prosthetic limb to look for safety risks (or privacy risks, for that matter). Implantees need to know the truth about the reliability of the technology they trust their lives to.

That’s why today, EFF asked the FDA to require manufacturers to promise never to use the DMCA to attack security research, as a condition of certifying their devices. This would go a long way to protecting patients from manufacturers who might otherwise use copyright law to suppress the truth about their devices’ shortcomings. What’s more, it’s an approach that other groups have signed up for, as part of the normal process of standardization. (Source)

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A Golden Age for Digital Media? [...]

Jim VandeHei talks about what he sees as a coming Golden Age.

You see this unfolding already: The New York Times mobile site offers a far more enjoyable and efficient way to read the news than its newspaper—and digital subs are rising. Vice hired one of the smarter minds in journalism, Josh Tyrangiel of Bloomberg, and is throwing 150 people at reinventing the nightly and weekly newscast for HBO.

Ken Lerer is right: This is the golden age for content creation.

In all likelihood, the revolutions in video and digital will merge into one: with a new generation of media companies producing content we watch at home, listen to in our car and read wherever on the go. And thanks to technology, all your devices will know what you want, where you are and how to serve up content the way you want to consume it at that very moment.

Just like the Web destroyed the newspaper world; mobile will destroy the desktop world and on-demand video will destroy the TV and cable world. But from the rubble will emerge a much better, more eclectic, more efficient way for all of us to watch, read and listen. It will be brimming with content we can be proud of—and happily pay for. (Source)

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Labor Market Fluidity [...]

The new paper, part of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, starts by laying out the trends in fluidity. Labor market fluidity can mean a number of things, including the rate at which workers move into and out of unemployment, switch jobs, and move across state lines. Molloy and her co-authors create a composite measure that combines these kinds of fluidities and find that overall fluidity in the U.S. labor market has fallen between 10 percent and 15 percent since the early 1980s. But for some of the individual flows, the decline has been as large as one-third.Why has that happened? Let’s look first at demographics. The U.S. population has changed quite a bit since the early 1980s as more women have entered the labor market and the labor force has gotten older, among other trends. These demographic changes could be responsible for less fluidity as, for example, older workers are less likely to switch jobs. The authors find, however, that while demographics can explain a decent amount of the decline in fluidity, it can’t explain the “bulk of the decline.” A full accounting needs to look at other potential causes. (Source)

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Iron Law of Wikipedia [...]

One of their most striking findings is that, even on Wikipedia, the so-called “Iron Law of Oligarchy”—a.k.a. rule by an elite few—holds sway. German sociologist Robert Michels coined the phrase in 1911, while studying Italian political parties, and it led him to conclude that democracy was doomed. “He ended up working for Mussolini,” said DeDeo, who naturally learned about Michels via Wikipedia.

“You start with a decentralized democratic system, but over time you get the emergence of a leadership class with privileged access to information and social networks,” DeDeo explained. “Their interests begin to diverge from the rest of the group. They no longer have the same needs and goals. So not only do they come to gain the most power within the system, but they may use it in ways that conflict with the needs of everybody else.”

He and Heaberlin found that the same is true of Wikipedia. The core norms governing the community were created by roughly 100 users—but the community now numbers about 30,000.

A January paper published in Physical Review E by physicists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology would seem to support that finding. That study found that a fairly small number of Wikipedia editors exert a major influence on the site. And just as DeDeo and Heaberlin’s analysis predicts, that editing inequality is increasing over time. It’s now quite rare for a newcomer to break into the upper echelons of so-called “super-editors.” (Source)

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Frozen Norms on Wikipedia [...]

DeDeo and Heaberlin identified four central “neighborhoods” loosely organized around article quality, content policy, collaboration, and administrators. All the core norms of Wikipedia users can be found within those groups—things like “Don’t type in all caps” (now associated with shouting), “Assume good faith,” or “Be neutral.”

Their analysis demonstrates that Wikipedia is actually quite conservative from an evolutionary standpoint: it preserves those aspects that worked early on. As the community added new members and grew rapidly, 89 percent of the core norms stayed the same. Nobody ever overthrows an existing norm, and nobody creates a new norm that becomes as dominant as the original core norms. If a particular norm was important in 2001, chances are it was still important in 2015. (Source)

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Wikipedia’s Core Decoupling [...]

First the core norms are established by the community’s founding members. Gradually, they become more abstract and universal—a way of rationalizing the institution. “They function less to regulate behavior and more to justify the system and give it a sense of legitimacy,” said DeDeo.

So instead of the pragmatic “Don’t type in all caps,” the norm becomes “Be civil.” Eventually these core norms achieve an almost myth-like status. And inevitably, they begin to conflict with each other.

Yet attempts to resolve such conflicts are rare: instead, you get the emergence of tribalism. For some Wikipedia users, the most important aspect of the community is collaboration and mutual respect. Others value providing verifiable neutral information, or view Wikipedia as kind of a “Noah’s ark” repository of information should civilization collapse. Those obsessed with content policy may think the most important aspect of Wikipedia is that it is open and shared freely.

That’s the opposite of what DeDeo expected when he and Heaberlin started the project. He thought that once the initial core norms were established, eventually everyone would come together as a society all at once—a social network nucleation event. Instead, “The early users laid down these seeds, everybody clustered around them, but the seeds were in different neighborhoods,” he said. “And over time, those seeds got pulled apart from each other.” (Source)

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Threats Against Ms. Click [...]

“I was in a space where even the chancellor was spending a lot of time,” she says. “There was no reason to think I was doing something that wasn’t sanctioned by the university.”

On the day Ms. Click clashed with Mr. Schierbecker, she arrived home to an email saying her tenure bid had cleared the next hurdle: approval by a college-level committee.

But by that evening, the video had taken off. When the footage of Ms. Click screaming and pointing made national news, friends emailed and called to see if she was OK.

Mixed in with her university email were death threats, and at home, notes appeared about rape. Ms. Click checked in with her department chair, who initially reassured her that the commotion would die down. (Source)


Melissa Click’s inbox. (Link)

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Five Biggest Reading Mistakes [...]

  • You read every text in the same way: journal article, seminal book, original source, further reading and tables of data

  • You don’t want to miss anything out

  • You want to remember it all

  • You think skim-reading is cheating

  • You believe speed-reading is the same as close reading, just faster
    (Source)

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Five Biggest Reading Mistakes [...]

  • You read every text in the same way: journal article, seminal book, original source, further reading and tables of data

  • You don’t want to miss anything out

  • You want to remember it all

  • You think skim-reading is cheating

  • You believe speed-reading is the same as close reading, just faster
    (Source)

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Underinvesting in New Ideas [...]

Evaluators systematically misconstrued ideas that were outside their established paradigms,” he said. This “bounded rationality” was the most convincing reason for why assessors failed to appreciate highly novel plans, according to the paper, “Looking across and looking beyond the knowledge frontier: intellectual distance, novelty, and resource allocation in science”, published in Management Science.

Novelty was measured using keywords in each proposal. If two keywords rarely appeared together in the existing literature, an idea was considered novel.

The findings have implications well beyond academia, Professor Riedl said.

“We think that the findings generalise to…pretty much any field where we evaluate how to allocate our money,” including companies looking to develop new products, start-ups looking for investment or publishers reading manuscripts of new books, he argued.

The current economy is “systematically underinvesting in new ideas”, he said. (Source)

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Underinvesting in New Ideas [...]

Evaluators systematically misconstrued ideas that were outside their established paradigms,” he said. This “bounded rationality” was the most convincing reason for why assessors failed to appreciate highly novel plans, according to the paper, “Looking across and looking beyond the knowledge frontier: intellectual distance, novelty, and resource allocation in science”, published in Management Science.

Novelty was measured using keywords in each proposal. If two keywords rarely appeared together in the existing literature, an idea was considered novel.

The findings have implications well beyond academia, Professor Riedl said.

“We think that the findings generalise to…pretty much any field where we evaluate how to allocate our money,” including companies looking to develop new products, start-ups looking for investment or publishers reading manuscripts of new books, he argued.

The current economy is “systematically underinvesting in new ideas”, he said. (Source)

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Black Lives and Local Matters [...]

The trouble for Mckesson—and for other activists who seek to become part of the government they’ve protested—is that he earned tremendous relational currency through his work alongside Black Lives Matter and as a co-founder of Campaign Zero, an effort to eradicate police violence, but he hasn’t been able to cash in that currency on a local level. The overwhelming majority of Mckesson’s online followers across the country won’t be able to cast a ballot for him tomorrow. Those who can vote have shown they want someone they feel has a more intimate and lasting relationship with Baltimore.

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Wikipedia’s Core Decoupling [...]

First the core norms are established by the community’s founding members. Gradually, they become more abstract and universal—a way of rationalizing the institution. “They function less to regulate behavior and more to justify the system and give it a sense of legitimacy,” said DeDeo.

So instead of the pragmatic “Don’t type in all caps,” the norm becomes “Be civil.” Eventually these core norms achieve an almost myth-like status. And inevitably, they begin to conflict with each other.

Yet attempts to resolve such conflicts are rare: instead, you get the emergence of tribalism. For some Wikipedia users, the most important aspect of the community is collaboration and mutual respect. Others value providing verifiable neutral information, or view Wikipedia as kind of a “Noah’s ark” repository of information should civilization collapse. Those obsessed with content policy may think the most important aspect of Wikipedia is that it is open and shared freely.

That’s the opposite of what DeDeo expected when he and Heaberlin started the project. He thought that once the initial core norms were established, eventually everyone would come together as a society all at once—a social network nucleation event. Instead, “The early users laid down these seeds, everybody clustered around them, but the seeds were in different neighborhoods,” he said. “And over time, those seeds got pulled apart from each other.” (Source)

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Frozen Norms on Wikipedia [...]

DeDeo and Heaberlin identified four central “neighborhoods” loosely organized around article quality, content policy, collaboration, and administrators. All the core norms of Wikipedia users can be found within those groups—things like “Don’t type in all caps” (now associated with shouting), “Assume good faith,” or “Be neutral.”

Their analysis demonstrates that Wikipedia is actually quite conservative from an evolutionary standpoint: it preserves those aspects that worked early on. As the community added new members and grew rapidly, 89 percent of the core norms stayed the same. Nobody ever overthrows an existing norm, and nobody creates a new norm that becomes as dominant as the original core norms. If a particular norm was important in 2001, chances are it was still important in 2015. (Source)

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Iron Law of Wikipedia [...]

One of their most striking findings is that, even on Wikipedia, the so-called “Iron Law of Oligarchy”—a.k.a. rule by an elite few—holds sway. German sociologist Robert Michels coined the phrase in 1911, while studying Italian political parties, and it led him to conclude that democracy was doomed. “He ended up working for Mussolini,” said DeDeo, who naturally learned about Michels via Wikipedia.

“You start with a decentralized democratic system, but over time you get the emergence of a leadership class with privileged access to information and social networks,” DeDeo explained. “Their interests begin to diverge from the rest of the group. They no longer have the same needs and goals. So not only do they come to gain the most power within the system, but they may use it in ways that conflict with the needs of everybody else.”

He and Heaberlin found that the same is true of Wikipedia. The core norms governing the community were created by roughly 100 users—but the community now numbers about 30,000.

A January paper published in Physical Review E by physicists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology would seem to support that finding. That study found that a fairly small number of Wikipedia editors exert a major influence on the site. And just as DeDeo and Heaberlin’s analysis predicts, that editing inequality is increasing over time. It’s now quite rare for a newcomer to break into the upper echelons of so-called “super-editors.” (Source)

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Created the Opening [...]

Some believe it was inaction of the administration which created the space for Mizzou to fire Melissa Click.

Michael Sykuta, an associate professor of agricultural and applied economics here, believes Ms. Click should have been punished for her actions. But he blames the university for creating an opening for the curators to act. “If the provost had impaneled a group to investigate, if there was a faculty process that could be pointed to, that would have taken away most of the political punch the curators had,” he says. “A big part of why the curators acted is that the university did nothing.” (Source)

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Threats Against Ms. Click [...]

“I was in a space where even the chancellor was spending a lot of time,” she says. “There was no reason to think I was doing something that wasn’t sanctioned by the university.”

On the day Ms. Click clashed with Mr. Schierbecker, she arrived home to an email saying her tenure bid had cleared the next hurdle: approval by a college-level committee.

But by that evening, the video had taken off. When the footage of Ms. Click screaming and pointing made national news, friends emailed and called to see if she was OK.

Mixed in with her university email were death threats, and at home, notes appeared about rape. Ms. Click checked in with her department chair, who initially reassured her that the commotion would die down. (Source)


Melissa Click’s inbox. (Link)

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Click’s Clashes [...]

That’s when Ms. Click heard some of them arguing with Mark Schierbecker, a senior majoring in history who was filming the protest. Ms. Click grabbed at his small hand-held camera, telling him: “You have to go!” To which he responded: “I actually don’t.” As Mr. Schierbecker recited his right to be in a public place, Ms. Click invoked her authority as a “communication faculty” and made the call for “muscle” to get him removed. All the while, Mr. Schierbecker was filming, capturing what to many seemed to be an out-of-control professor with flaming nostrils and unruly red hair inciting violence against a university student.

These are actions and remarks that, by now, she has apologized for countless times — both formally and informally. Some, however, point out that Mr. Schierbecker wasn’t the only one Ms. Click clashed with on the quad. She told a geology professor that questions he directed to the black students were inappropriate, he says, and asked him to leave. And she told two other cameramen they weren’t welcome, flinging mocking comments at one (“Wow, you’re so scary”) and leading the students in a chant to banish the other (“Hey, hey, ho, ho, reporters have got to go!”). Exactly why, many have asked, was the assistant professor there that day taking on such a lead role? (Source)

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Transit Method at Takeoff [...]

Why do lights on the ground seem to flicker when taking off in an airplane at night? I first noticed it when reading an excellent book by David Grinspoon called Lonely Planets.

I read it years ago and don’t have the book handy so I hope I got it right. In the book Grinspoon made the observation that the flickering you mentioned was only noticeable to him when he was taking off or landing at airports in the Northeast like in NYC or DC, but not at airports in the Southwest like in Arizona or Texas.

He realized that the flickering is probably due to the fact that there are more trees around in those areas, and while the chance of a particular streetlight being obscured by a tree branch is pretty low, when you look at blocks and blocks worth of streetlights you are bound to have quite a few of them being blocked by branches at any given moment giving the flickering effect you mentioned.

I believe he was making the analogy to try and explain the transit method of discovering exoplanets. (Source)

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Transit Method at Takeoff [...]

Why do lights on the ground seem to flicker when taking off in an airplane at night? I first noticed it when reading an excellent book by David Grinspoon called Lonely Planets.

I read it years ago and don’t have the book handy so I hope I got it right. In the book Grinspoon made the observation that the flickering you mentioned was only noticeable to him when he was taking off or landing at airports in the Northeast like in NYC or DC, but not at airports in the Southwest like in Arizona or Texas.

He realized that the flickering is probably due to the fact that there are more trees around in those areas, and while the chance of a particular streetlight being obscured by a tree branch is pretty low, when you look at blocks and blocks worth of streetlights you are bound to have quite a few of them being blocked by branches at any given moment giving the flickering effect you mentioned.

I believe he was making the analogy to try and explain the transit method of discovering exoplanets. (Source)

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Labor Market Fluidity [...]

The new paper, part of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, starts by laying out the trends in fluidity. Labor market fluidity can mean a number of things, including the rate at which workers move into and out of unemployment, switch jobs, and move across state lines. Molloy and her co-authors create a composite measure that combines these kinds of fluidities and find that overall fluidity in the U.S. labor market has fallen between 10 percent and 15 percent since the early 1980s. But for some of the individual flows, the decline has been as large as one-third.Why has that happened? Let’s look first at demographics. The U.S. population has changed quite a bit since the early 1980s as more women have entered the labor market and the labor force has gotten older, among other trends. These demographic changes could be responsible for less fluidity as, for example, older workers are less likely to switch jobs. The authors find, however, that while demographics can explain a decent amount of the decline in fluidity, it can’t explain the “bulk of the decline.” A full accounting needs to look at other potential causes. (Source)

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A Golden Age for Digital Media? [...]

Jim VandeHei talks about what he sees as a coming Golden Age.

You see this unfolding already: The New York Times mobile site offers a far more enjoyable and efficient way to read the news than its newspaper—and digital subs are rising. Vice hired one of the smarter minds in journalism, Josh Tyrangiel of Bloomberg, and is throwing 150 people at reinventing the nightly and weekly newscast for HBO.

Ken Lerer is right: This is the golden age for content creation.

In all likelihood, the revolutions in video and digital will merge into one: with a new generation of media companies producing content we watch at home, listen to in our car and read wherever on the go. And thanks to technology, all your devices will know what you want, where you are and how to serve up content the way you want to consume it at that very moment.

Just like the Web destroyed the newspaper world; mobile will destroy the desktop world and on-demand video will destroy the TV and cable world. But from the rubble will emerge a much better, more eclectic, more efficient way for all of us to watch, read and listen. It will be brimming with content we can be proud of—and happily pay for. (Source)

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Pacemaker DMCA [...]

That means that bugs in medical implants can be exploited over their wireless interfaces, too. For example: lethal shocks from implanted pacemakers and defibrillators. It was not for nothing that former VP Dick Cheney had the wireless interface on his pacemaker deactivated (future software updates for Mr Cheney’s heart-monitor will thus involve general anaesthesia, a scalpel, and a rib-spreader).

However you feel about copyright law, everyone should be able to agree that copyright shouldn’t get in the way of testing the software in your hearing aid, pacemaker, insulin pump, or prosthetic limb to look for safety risks (or privacy risks, for that matter). Implantees need to know the truth about the reliability of the technology they trust their lives to.

That’s why today, EFF asked the FDA to require manufacturers to promise never to use the DMCA to attack security research, as a condition of certifying their devices. This would go a long way to protecting patients from manufacturers who might otherwise use copyright law to suppress the truth about their devices’ shortcomings. What’s more, it’s an approach that other groups have signed up for, as part of the normal process of standardization. (Source)

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Dropbox as a True Git Server [...]

As far as I know, git-remote-dropbox is the only safe way to host a Git repository on Dropbox. Read about why here.

Once it’s installed, using Dropbox as a Git server is as simple as adding it as a remote: git remote add origin dropbox://path/to/repo. After that, it’s just the usual git pull and git push for interacting with the remote repo. (Source)

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Greenland Contagion [...]

Sometimes, suicides can start chain reactions. Psychologists call it the contagion effect or suicidal transmission — after a close family member or friend kills himself, people who are already having suicidal thoughts are at greater risk for suicide. For that reason, suicide clusters or waves are especially likely in small, isolated communities where everyone knows each other. In one study from Greenland, 60 percent of young people who killed themselves did so within four months of another suicide in the same district. (Source)

Behind the Greenland Suicides [...]

Her observations are in line with something psychologists and sociologists think is fundamental to the causes of suicide in Greenland. When communities are disrupted, like Kangeq was, families start to collapse. There’s an increase in alcoholism, child neglect and physical abuse, all of which are risk factors for suicide. Later, people who didn’t get the love and support they needed as children find it difficult to cope with the routine heartbreak of dating, and a breakup becomes the final insult in a lifetime of hurt.

“There are a lot of negative consequences to rapid modernization,” says Greenlandic sociologist Steven Arnfjord. “We’re still dealing with a lot of aftermath from policies of the ’70s and ’80s.”

There’s also something broader — a loss of identity that happens when a culture, in this case Inuit culture, is demonized and broken down. When a culture is largely erased over less than a generation, as it was in Greenland, a lot of young people feel cut off from the older generations, but not really part of the new one. It’s especially difficult for young men, whose fathers and grandfathers were hunters, and who struggle to understand what it means to be an urban Inuit man. Without strong families and communities to help them cope, some of them are so overwhelmed and lost, they take their own lives. (Source)

Greenland Suicide Rate [...]

There was one problem: There were no clear answers to any of Anda’s questions about why people were killing themselves or how to prevent it. Like native people all around the Arctic — and all over the world — Greenlanders were seeing the deadly effects of rapid modernization and unprecedented cultural interference. American Indians and Alaska Natives (many of whom share Inuit roots with Greenlanders) had already seen many of their communities buckle under the same pressures.In Greenland, the problem was only getting worse. Between 1970 and 1980, the suicide rate there quadrupled to about seven times the U.S. rate (it’s still about six times higher). The suicide rate was, and still is, so high that it’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone in Greenland knows someone who has killed himself. Many people I spoke with struggled to explain what that felt like, to live in a place where suicide is so pervasive, and most of them settled uncomfortably on the same word: normal. (Source)

Stream of Consciousness on Tortilla Chip App [...]

The problem with most apps is they have to give you enough information to justify the space and mental bandwidth they consume. People only keep and check apps that send them daily info, and delete the rest. Commentary after the quote.

The smartphone OS we use are still largely based on the assumption of my phone being a mini-desktop, rather than, well, an information nacho, if you will. Consequently, if you’re making one of these apps, your app must give me something new daily (or more), or else it has no reason to live. Its information would be better shown to me via another app I do check often, like a social news feed or a messaging app. The only recourse the OS affords these apps in avoiding such a fate is the rather blunt instrument of push notifications (and things like Today widgets or Android home screen gadgets). (Source)

If you think about this, this is exactly the problem with online pre-Internet. There were different BBS’s with different focuses, and even with a provider like CompuServe you were always locked into a particular package of content.

Usenet was the forgotten solution to this. You had a single interface through which you could interact with dozens of servers. A new group could form anywhere and propagate immediately without central approval and without people having to download yet another application or learn yet another server and login.

That was followed by the Web, which did the same thing for read-only docs. But of course the web never built a standard for identity or interaction into the system the way that Usenet did. That led to the rise of the mega-sites (Facebook being the winner here) which supplied these interactivity platforms, and now it’s happening for apps.

In other words “There’s an app for that!” turns out to be the definition of a massive infrastructure problem, not a solution. “There’s an app for that” is the exact wrong design for anyone that wants to do serious work on a phone.

Maybe people want want they’ve always wanted — a truly two-way web, one that has as robust a spec for interactivity as it does for content delivery. Of course, the way we’ve tended to go about this is have request for documents and media standardized, but everything else is hand coded and different for every server.

Even that’s broken, isn’t it? I have a server called “Hapgood.us”. You can ask it “Do you have a page (or response) at this location?” But without knowing that it’s running WordPress I can’t even send a request to the server and say “Do you have a document named ‘Mitra’s Brain Scans’?” Each server search engine using different params, etc.

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The New Stream [...]

In addition to more gardens, we desperately need better streams. Dan Grover takes a whack at what a better lifestream might look like:

Indeed, the cornerstone of whole experience is effectively a common, semi-hierarchical stream of messages, notifications, and news with a consistent set of controls for handling them. It’s no stretch to see WeChat and its ilk not as SMS replacements but as nascent visions of a mobile OS whose UI paradigm is, rather than rigidly app-centric, thread-centric (and not, strictly speaking, conversation-centric).

When you think about it this way, the things listed there in my inbox don’t need to be conversations per se. But everything there, most abstractly, is something that can send me updates and notifications, will change in position when it does so, retains a read/unread status, and most essentially, allows me, the user, the aforementioned modes of control.

And if we really run with this idea to its extreme, what actually might appear when I tap on a cell in the inbox doesn’t matter — I could see a conversation, a song or video, news headlines, a map showing me my route, a timer, or a sub-group of other such threads. Anything, really. Though I guess it’d be best when it’s at least something dynamic or based on a service (I certainly wouldn’t want to access my calculator or camera this way). (Source)

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16GB is a Bad User Experience [...]

The storage capacities of iPhones aren’t a side effect, they are a choice. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of discussion, research and thought that Apple has put into the capacities of their headline product. I’m sure bumping up the base model to 32GB would cost the company more and so by holding the line at 16GB for another year they will increase their profits. This near term benefit will surely help their balance sheet in their next earnings call but comes at the cost of the day-to-day experience of some of their customers.

In the end Apple has decided to continue offering a product that will almost inevitably fail their customer at some point, and potentially fail them at a moment of deep personal importance. That makes me sad, and as someone who makes my living riding their coattails, worried about the long term effects of this short term thinking. Maybe it is just sentimentality but those aren’t the priorities that I think Apple stands for. (Source)

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In Defense of QR Codes [...]

QR Codes — When I left the US, QR codes were a joke. Putting them on things was a way to tell people you’re a douche, like using lots of hashtags or wearing a Bluetooth headset. They were once this way in China, too, until WeChat doubled-down on them. Now, they’re used for people, group chats, brands, payments, login, and more. They’re in plenty of other apps as well. In a place where everyone has adopted them and knows how to scan them, they’ve become a wonderful, fast way to link the offline and online worlds that saves untold amounts of time. But they have a few downsides. One is that they look like robot barf. The other is that, at least here, if you scan a code in the wrong app, you’ll get a webpage telling you to go install the right app, if not something totally inscrutable. Something that was once defined as an open standard is now non-inoperable. I predict great things for Facebook and Snapchat’s de-uglified take on QR codes. Still, I wish my phone’s OS could scan any such code (or detect them in photos) and do the right thing, but it seems the window of opportunity has passed for this. (Source)

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The Origin Of The iChat UI [...]

Drawn in ClarisWorks, April 21, 1997. This was based on my experiences with MUDs and IRC, having a really hard time keeping track of many-way chats. I think the only IM app available then was ICQ, which I hadn’t heard of. (IIRC, AIM came out later that year, at least for non-AOL users.) This also predates Microsoft Comic Chat, which used speech balloons too, although in a very different UI: theirs was for novelty, mine was for usability. (Source)

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Risks of Boredom [...]

Does any of this matter? Research suggests that chronic boredom is responsible for a profusion of negative outcomes such as overeating, gambling, truancy, antisocial behaviour, drug use, accidents, risk taking and much more. We need less, not more, stimulation and novelty. (Source)

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Nearly All Diesel Cars Violate NOx Limits [...]

Ninety-seven percent of all modern diesel cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution on the road than the official limit, according to the most comprehensive set of data yet published, with a quarter producing at least six times more than the limit.

Experts said the new results show that clean diesel cars can be made but that virtually all manufacturers have failed to do so.

EA found that just one of 201 Euro 5 diesels, the EU standard from 2009, did not exceed the limit, while only seven of 62 Euro 6 diesels, the stricter standard since 2014, did so.

Diesel cars must meet an official EU limit for NOx but are only tested in a laboratory under fixed conditions. All vehicles sold pass this regulation but, when taken out on to real roads, almost all emit far more pollution. There is no suggestion that any of the cars tested broke the law on emissions limits or used any cheat devices.

Mayoral candidates in London, the city with the worst air quality in Britain, have seized on the DfT data to call for tighter controls on polluting traffic – including a ban on diesel cars. (Source)

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First-Night Effect [...]

When you sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, only half your brain is getting a good night’s rest.

“The left side seems to be more awake than the right side,” says Yuka Sasaki, an associate professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University.

The finding, reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology, helps explain why people tend to feel tired after sleeping in a new place. And it suggests people have something in common with birds and sea mammals, which frequently put half their brain to sleep while the other half remains on guard.

Sleep researchers discovered the “first-night effect” decades ago, when they began studying people in sleep labs. The first night in a lab, a person’s sleep is usually so bad that researchers simply toss out any data they collect. (Source)

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Hamburger Button [...]

The “hamburger button” is one of today’s more ubiquitous elements in UI design. It is also one of the more debated.

Windows

The hamburger button goes back a long way. See the Xerox Star Hamburger Button from 1981, for example.

Xerox Star

Or the Windows 1.0 Hamburger Button from 1985.

Windows 1.01

Benefits of the hamburger include extensibility and a common presentation increasingly understood by users. The hamburger button also can reduce visual noise by hiding lesser used functions, or functions that require more labeling than the screen can accommodate. At least one well-circulated test seemed to indicate that use of the icon instead of links could help focus user attention and increase conversion rates. (Source)

borland

Some people suggest the button does more harm than good, specifically when used with left nav flyouts on mobile (a scheme called Side Drawer Navigation). The alternative proposed is the Tab Bar. (Source)

There is some evidence that use of Side Drawer Navigation reduces engagement, at least when engagement is measured as “time in app”. (Source)

However, time in app is a disputed measure of engagement in many types of applications..


Attention Accounts imagine user attention as a finite resource that is spent down.

Joel’s Two Observations on UI are pertinent here.

The Daily WTF on the history (Source)

@ftrain’s Borland tweet

Windows 1.01 Simulator here

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Test Two: “Quotes” in the Title [...]

This tests quotes in the title.

You must be able to fork it over to another site. Edit it. Then fork it back, maintaining history.

this is an edit.

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Test One: Simple Fork [...]

This tests a simple card.

You must be able to fork it over to another site. Edit it. Then fork it back, maintaining history.

You should be able to fork it over using the pathways function as well.

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Test One: Simple Fork [...]

This tests a simple card.

You must be able to fork it over to another site. Edit it. Then fork it back, maintaining history.

You should be able to fork it over using the pathways function as well.

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Test Two: “Quotes” in the Title [...]

This tests quotes in the title.

You must be able to fork it over to another site. Edit it. Then fork it back, maintaining history.

this is an edit.

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try [...]

this

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the [...]

the

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Losing Friends to Partners [...]

Starting in early adulthood, our number of friends starts to decrease steadily. Changes in friendships typically happen around life transitions: graduation, parenthood, job switches, divorce or death of a spouse. One study, published in 2015 in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, looked at 540 men and women and showed we lose an average of two friends when we gain a romantic partner.

“We are constantly shedding our friends,” says Irene S. Levine, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and author of “Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend.” “We grow in one direction, our friends grow in another, and there isn’t much in common anymore.” (Source)

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Christina Ramberg [...]

Christina Ramberg (1946–1995) was an American painter associated with the Chicago Imagists, a group of representational artists—such as Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, Roger Brown, and Ed Paschke—who attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1960s. “Taking cues from Surrealism, Pop, and West Coast underground comic illustration, Imagism at its heyday was enchanted with the abject status of sex in post-war America, particularly as writ on the female form.”[1] Ramberg was born in Kentucky in 1946 and died in Chicago in 1995 at the age of 49.[2] (Source)

pic

Ramberg died in 1995 of Pick’s Disease

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Path:: Recently Added [...]

Test Two: “Quotes” in the Title
Frozen Norms on Wikipedia
Test Two: “Quotes” in the Title
Underinvesting in New Ideas
Attention Accounts
The New Stream
16GB is a Bad User Experience
Frozen Norms on Wikipedia
Five Biggest Reading Mistakes
Five Biggest Reading Mistakes
Frozen Norms on Wikipedia
Frozen Norms on Wikipedia
Five Biggest Reading Mistakes
Threats Against Ms. Click
Five Biggest Reading Mistakes
Underinvesting in New Ideas
Frozen Norms on Wikipedia
Five Biggest Reading Mistakes
The New Stream
16GB is a Bad User Experience
Created the Opening
Click’s Clashes
Test Two: “Quotes” in the Title
Labor Market Fluidity
A Golden Age for Digital Media?
Pacemaker DMCA
Dropbox as a True Git Server
Wikipedia’s Core Decoupling
Frozen Norms on Wikipedia
Iron Law of Wikipedia
Five Biggest Reading Mistakes
Threats Against Ms. Click
Underinvesting in New Ideas
Underinvesting in New Ideas
Could not retrieve: http://rainystreets.wikity.cc/this-is-the-quote-problem/

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Pick’s Disease [...]

Pick’s disease, a type of frontotemporal dementia, is a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive destruction of nerve cells in the brain. Symptoms include dementia and loss of language (aphasia). While some of the symptoms can initially be alleviated, the disease progresses and patients often die within two to ten years.[1] A defining characteristic of the disease is build-up of tau proteins in neurons, accumulating into silver-staining, spherical aggregations known as “Pick bodies”.[2] (Source)

Differences from Alzheimer’s disease

In Alzheimer’s disease, all six isoforms of tau proteins are expressed. In addition, the presence of neurofibrillary tangles that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s can be stained with antibodies to basic fibroblast growth factor, amyloid P, and heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan.[12]

Another difference is that in Pick’s disease, a personality change occurs before any form of memory loss, unlike Alzheimer’s, where memory loss typically presents first. This is used clinically to determine whether a patient is suffering from Alzheimer’s or Pick’s.

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Christina Ramberg [...]

Christina Ramberg (1946–1995) was an American painter associated with the Chicago Imagists, a group of representational artists—such as Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, Roger Brown, and Ed Paschke—who attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1960s. “Taking cues from Surrealism, Pop, and West Coast underground comic illustration, Imagism at its heyday was enchanted with the abject status of sex in post-war America, particularly as writ on the female form.”[1] Ramberg was born in Kentucky in 1946 and died in Chicago in 1995 at the age of 49.[2] (Source)

pic

Ramberg died in 1995 of Pick’s Disease

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Houseboat Summit [...]

The Houseboat Summit was a roundtable discussion between Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, Alan Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder. A recording exists below.

The “houseboat” the event took place on was actually an old Portland, Oregon passenger ferry, rendered useless by the creation of the Steel Bridge.


One of the topics was Techno-Pastoralism

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Jim Nutt [...]

James T “Jim” Nutt (born November 28, 1938) is an American artist who was a founding member of the Chicago surrealist art movement known as the Chicago Imagists, or the Hairy Who. Though his work is inspired by the same pop culture that inspired Pop Art, journalist Web Behrens says Nutt’s “paintings, particularly his later works, are more accomplished than those of the more celebrated Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.”[1] According to Museum of Contemporary Art curator Lynne Warren, Nutt is “the premier artist of his generation”.[1] Nutt attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to fellow-artist and Hairy Who member Gladys Nilsson.[2] (Source)

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No Progress on Economic Diversity [...]

While diversity in American higher education has improved substantially in recent decades, wealthier students still earn the bulk of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in this country, according to new data from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and the University of Pennsylvania Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy.
A newly released study from the two groups found that the distribution of bachelor’s degree attainment between family levels has remained relatively constant since 1970. The top two family income quartiles accounted for 72 percent of the total number of bachelor’s degrees earned that year — and 77 percent of bachelor’s degrees earned in 2014. “The bottom two quartiles accounted for 28 percent in 1970 and 23 percent in 2014,” the study found, “a decline of five percentage points over this period.”

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Buzzfeed Puts It Everywhere [...]

Buzzfeed is one of the best known brands and destination sites on the net, but Buzzfeed does not post things centrally. Instead it puts them everywhere.

Buzzfeed

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Suicides at 30-Year High in U.S. [...]

Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday.

The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The rate rose by 2 percent a year starting in 2006, double the annual rise in the earlier period of the study. In all, 42,773 people died from suicide in 2014, compared with 29,199 in 1999. (Source)

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Increased Illicit Fentanyl, 2014 [...]

A note that increases in fentanyl abuse are part of the overdose wave.

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose (poisoning) deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin). CDC analyzed recent multiple cause-of-death mortality data to examine current trends and characteristics of drug overdose deaths, including the types of opioids associated with drug overdose deaths. During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, representing a 1-year increase of 6.5%, from 13.8 per 100,000 persons in 2013 to 14.7 per 100,000 persons in 2014. The rate of drug overdose deaths increased significantly for both sexes, persons aged 25–44 years and ≥55 years, non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, and in the Northeastern, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the United States. Rates of opioid overdose deaths also increased significantly, from 7.9 per 100,000 in 2013 to 9.0 per 100,000 in 2014, a 14% increase. Historically, CDC has programmatically characterized all opioid pain reliever deaths (natural and semisynthetic opioids, methadone, and other synthetic opioids) as “prescription” opioid overdoses (1). Between 2013 and 2014, the age-adjusted rate of death involving methadone remained unchanged; however, the age-adjusted rate of death involving natural and semisynthetic opioid pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, other than methadone (e.g., fentanyl) increased 9%, 26%, and 80%, respectively. The sharp increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids, other than methadone, in 2014 coincided with law enforcement reports of increased availability of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid; however, illicitly manufactured fentanyl cannot be distinguished from prescription fentanyl in death certificate data. These findings indicate that the opioid overdose epidemic is worsening. There is a need for continued action to prevent opioid abuse, dependence, and death, improve treatment capacity for opioid use disorders, and reduce the supply of illicit opioids, particularly heroin and illicit fentanyl. (Source)

“””””

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Increased Illicit Fentanyl, 2014 [...]

A note that increases in fentanyl abuse are part of the overdose wave.

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose (poisoning) deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin). CDC analyzed recent multiple cause-of-death mortality data to examine current trends and characteristics of drug overdose deaths, including the types of opioids associated with drug overdose deaths. During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, representing a 1-year increase of 6.5%, from 13.8 per 100,000 persons in 2013 to 14.7 per 100,000 persons in 2014. The rate of drug overdose deaths increased significantly for both sexes, persons aged 25–44 years and ≥55 years, non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, and in the Northeastern, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the United States. Rates of opioid overdose deaths also increased significantly, from 7.9 per 100,000 in 2013 to 9.0 per 100,000 in 2014, a 14% increase. Historically, CDC has programmatically characterized all opioid pain reliever deaths (natural and semisynthetic opioids, methadone, and other synthetic opioids) as “prescription” opioid overdoses (1). Between 2013 and 2014, the age-adjusted rate of death involving methadone remained unchanged; however, the age-adjusted rate of death involving natural and semisynthetic opioid pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, other than methadone (e.g., fentanyl) increased 9%, 26%, and 80%, respectively. The sharp increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids, other than methadone, in 2014 coincided with law enforcement reports of increased availability of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid; however, illicitly manufactured fentanyl cannot be distinguished from prescription fentanyl in death certificate data. These findings indicate that the opioid overdose epidemic is worsening. There is a need for continued action to prevent opioid abuse, dependence, and death, improve treatment capacity for opioid use disorders, and reduce the supply of illicit opioids, particularly heroin and illicit fentanyl. (Source)

“””””

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CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain [...]

This guideline provides recommendations for primary care clinicians who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. The guideline addresses 1) when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain; 2) opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and 3) assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use. CDC developed the guideline using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) framework, and recommendations are made on the basis of a systematic review of the scientific evidence while considering benefits and harms, values and preferences, and resource allocation. CDC obtained input from experts, stakeholders, the public, peer reviewers, and a federally chartered advisory committee. It is important that patients receive appropriate pain treatment with careful consideration of the benefits and risks of treatment options. This guideline is intended to improve communication between clinicians and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain, improve the safety and effectiveness of pain treatment, and reduce the risks associated with long-term opioid therapy, including opioid use disorder, overdose, and death. CDC has provided a checklist for prescribing opioids for chronic pain (http://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/38025) as well as a website (http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribingresources.html) with additional tools to guide clinicians in implementing the recommendations. (Source)

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Marriage Rates and Suicide [...]

Julie Phillips, a professor of sociology at Rutgers who has studied suicide among middle-aged Americans, said social changes could be raising the risks. Marriage rates have declined, particularly among less educated Americans, while divorce rates have risen, leading to increased social isolation, she said. She calculated that in 2005, unmarried middle-aged men were 3.5 times more likely than married men to die from suicide, and their female counterparts were as much as 2.8 times more likely to kill themselves. The divorce rate has doubled for middle-aged and older adults since the 1990s, she said. (Source)

Suicides at 30-Year High in U.S. [...]

Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday.

The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The rate rose by 2 percent a year starting in 2006, double the annual rise in the earlier period of the study. In all, 42,773 people died from suicide in 2014, compared with 29,199 in 1999. (Source)

Lonely Heart Attacks [...]

The scientists found that loneliness and social isolation increased the relative risk of having a heart attack, angina or a death from heart disease by 29 percent, and the risk of stroke by 32 percent. There were no differences between men and women.

“People have tended to focus from a policy point of view at targeting lonely people to make them more connected,” said the lead author, Nicole K. Valtorta, a research fellow at the University of York in England. “Our study shows that if this is a risk factor, then we should be trying to prevent the risk factor in the first place.” (Source)

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Price Ceilings (MRU) [...]

Explanation of why price ceilings don’t work, using Nixon’s policy as an example.

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Agnotology [...]

Agnotology is the study of wilful acts to spread confusion and deceit, usually to sell a product or win favour.

Proctor [who coined the word] found that ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue. In the case of ignorance about tobacco and climate change, a scientifically illiterate society will probably be more susceptible to the tactics used by those wishing to confuse and cloud the truth.

Another academic studying ignorance is David Dunning, from Cornell University. Dunning warns that the internet is helping propagate ignorance – it is a place where everyone has a chance to be their own expert, he says, which makes them prey for powerful interests wishing to deliberately spread ignorance.

“While some smart people will profit from all the information now just a click away, many will be misled into a false sense of expertise. My worry is not that we are losing the ability to make up our own minds, but that it’s becoming too easy to do so. We should consult with others much more than we imagine. Other people may be imperfect as well, but often their opinions go a long way toward correcting our own imperfections, as our own imperfect expertise helps to correct their errors,” warns Dunning. (Source)

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Notes on the Opioid Epidemic (Introduction) [...]

Back when I lived in New Hampshire I was introduced to the heroin problem. You started to see it in bars, in restrooms, even outside at the local swimming hole with your kid. People said it was a wave, a periodic thing, something that would settle down.

Except it didn’t. It kept getting worse. I now live in Portland, and have multiple acquaintances that have relatives hooked on some form of opioid. Both my wife and I have had, in our respective workplaces, a colleague’s child die from overdose in just the past month. (I am writing this at the end of April 2016).

About two years ago, I started to take notes when I came across anything that spoke to the question of how this epidemic happened and how we might get out of it. These notes are not organized to argue a point, though a story does emerge. I hope if you are looking for answers that they will help you in your own journey.


This is the introduction to a “pathway” through wiki content. If you do not see a “Next” button below, click here to jump into the pathway.

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Path:: Notes on the Opioid Epidemic [...]

Notes on the Opioid Epidemic (Introduction)
80% of Heroin Users Started with Painkillers
Opioids, Alcohol, Suicide
Big Data and OxyContin
Route to Heroin Abuse
A 2,000 Percent Increase
Improving the Quality of Pain Management Through Measurement and Action
The Opioid Epidemic Ground View
Perils of a Small Study, Opioid Edition
JCAHO and the Opioid Epidemic
Pain is the Fifth Vital Sign
JCAHO Newspaper Notice
Opioid Increase 1997-2002
Wong-Baker FACES Scale
Hyperalgesia

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