"psychology" entries

Four short links: 30 July 2010

Four short links: 30 July 2010

Game Mechanics, Data Privacy, Wesabe Open Source, and Monkey Economics

  1. The No-Twinkie DatabaseThese are all the Twinkie Denial Conditions described in my “Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie!” Designer’s Notebook columns. Each one is an egregious design error, although many of them have appeared in otherwise great games. A collection of “don’t do this” for app designers. (via waxy)
  2. Cloud Privacy Heat Map (Forrester) — a map showing the degree of legal support for privacy and data protection across various jurisdictions. (via azaaza on Twitter)
  3. Wesabe on GitHub — Wesabe has closed, but is open sourcing its code.
  4. Laurie Santos TED Talk — monkeys make similar irrational decisions as we do. “The errors we make are predictable and immune to evidence.” Sound like you? Watch this excellent talk.
Four short links: 21 July 2010

Four short links: 21 July 2010

Health, Profit, Policy, and Semantic Web Software

  1. The Men Who Stare at Screens (NY Times) — What was unexpected was that many of the men who sat long hours and developed heart problems also exercised. Quite a few of them said they did so regularly and led active lifestyles. The men worked out, then sat in cars and in front of televisions for hours, and their risk of heart disease soared, despite the exercise. Their workouts did not counteract the ill effects of sitting. (via Andy Baio)
  2. Caring with Cash — describes a study where “pay however much you want” had high response rate but low average price, “half goes to charity” barely changed from the control (fixed price) response rate, but “half goes to charity and you can pay what you like” earned more money than either strategy.
  3. Behavioural Economics a Political Placebo? (NY Times) — As policymakers use it to devise programs, it’s becoming clear that behavioral economics is being asked to solve problems it wasn’t meant to address. Indeed, it seems in some cases that behavioral economics is being used as a political expedient, allowing policymakers to avoid painful but more effective solutions rooted in traditional economics. (via Mind Hacks)
  4. Protege — open source ontology editor and knowledge-base framework.
Four short links: 29 December 2009

Four short links: 29 December 2009

Historic Science, Troll Psych, Open Access, Programming Python Games

  1. Turning The Page Online — historic science books in high-resolution online. Hookes Micrografia was the first view of the microscopic world, and his astonishingly detailed and beautiful illustrations are there to view and print.
  2. Detailed Psychology of TrollsYou might be surprised to learn that Trolls readily engage in long debates with fellow Trolls – people, that is, whom they know to be perverse and cunning conversation hackers. Apparently, this does not detract them from wasting hours on fruitless debates that are blatantly rigged and full of sophistry. Few Trolls would be happy with debating only fellow Trolls (semi-literate teenagers and hard-boiled fundamentalists are so much tastier – even though they, too, might be trolling you). Yet most of them, every once in a while, enjoy having an absurd argument with another pig-head. Good on the “know your enemy” basis. (via MindHacks)
  3. Theme Issue — a Royal Society publication ran a special open access issue focusing on “personal perspectives of the life sciences”, where top scientists write about what they think is important. It’s good to see more toes dipped into open access, but I’d love to see more journals (particularly those of professions and associations) move to an entirely open access model. (via SciBlogs)
  4. Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python (2ed) — free ebook that teaches how to program in Python, using games as the motivating examples. Nominally for 10-12 year old children, but (naturally) accessible to adults too. I have not read it, but approve of the attempt.
Four short links: 10 December 2009

Four short links: 10 December 2009

Open Source CMS and OPAC, Timely SQL, A Bid Secret, Basic Research

  1. Scriblio — open source CMS and catalogue built on WordPress, with faceted search and browse. (via titine on Delicious)
  2. Useful Temporal Functions and Queries — SQL tricksies for those working with timeseries data. (via mbiddulph on Delicious)
  3. Optimal Starting Prices for Negotiations and Auctions –Mind Hacks discussion of a research paper on whether high or low initial prices lead to higher price outcomes in negotiations and online auctions. Many negotiation books recommend waiting for the other side to offer first. However, existing empirical research contradicts this conventional wisdom: The final outcome in single and multi-issue negotiations, both in the United States and Thailand, often depends on whether the buyer or the seller makes the first offer. Indeed, the final price tends to be higher when a seller (who wants a higher price and thus sets a high first offer) makes the first offer than when the buyer (who offers a low first offer to achieve a low final price) goes first.
  4. WiFi Science History — Australian scientist studies black holes in the 70s, has to develop a way of piecing together signals that have been distorted as they travel through space. Realizes, when he starts playing with networked computers in the late 80s, that this same technique would let you “cut the wires”. A decade later it emerged as a critical part of wireless networking. As Aaron Small says, it shows the value of basic research, where you don’t have immediate applications in mind and can’t show short-term deliverables or an application to a current high-value problem.
Four short links: 19 August 2009

Four short links: 19 August 2009

Survivor Bias, Algorithmic Trading, S3 Tools, DIY GSM

  1. Business Advice Plagued by Survivor Bias“Burying the other evidence: […] Doesn’t most business advice suffer from this fallacy? Harvard Business School’s famous case studies include only success stories. To paraphrase Peter, what if twenty other coffee shops had the same ideas, same product, and same dedication as Starbucks, but failed? How does that affect what we can learn from Starbucks’s success? (via Hacker News)
  2. A Bestiary of Algorithmic Trading Strategies — insight into the algorithms used by quant traders. Statistical arbitrageurs are a sort of squishy area, similar to arbs, but distinct from them. They find “pieces” of securities which are theoretically equivalent. For example, they may notice a drift between prices of oil companies which should revert to a mean value. This mean reversion should happen if the drift doesn’t have anything to do with actual corporate differences, like one company’s wells catching on fire. What you’re doing here is buying and selling the idea of an oil company, or in other words, a sort of oil company market spread risk. You’re assuming these two companies are statistically the same, and so they’ll revert to some kind of mean when one of the prices move. (via Hacker News)
  3. s3cmd — commandline tool for moving files into and out of Amazon S3.
  4. DIY GSM Network — wow. How to build your own GSM network. Bit by bit, the telcos are getting pressured by the hobbyists. This barbarian is looking forward to the day when the walled gardens are sacked. (via Slashdot)
Four short links: 15 July 2009

Four short links: 15 July 2009

A collection inspired by Science Foo Camp attendees

  1. Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor (PNAS) — We found that a trader’s morning testosterone level predicts his day’s profitability. We also found that a trader’s cortisol rises with both the variance of his trading results and the volatility of the market. Our results suggest that higher testosterone may contribute to economic return, whereas cortisol is increased by risk. Our results point to a further possibility: testosterone and cortisol are known to have cognitive and behavioral effects, so if the acutely elevated steroids we observed were to persist or increase as volatility rises, they may shift risk preferences and even affect a trader’s ability to engage in rational choice.
  2. The Origin of Universal Scaling Laws in Biology — eye-opening paper that blew my mind. Highlight of Sci Foo was meeting the author and shaking his hand. Relates metabolic rate, size, heart rate, and lifespan by applying physics to biology.
  3. Ushahidi — open source software for managing disasters. The Ushahidi Engine is a platform that allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or timeline. Our goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.
  4. Dissecting the Canon: Visual Subject Co-Popularity Networks in Art ResearchIn this paper we analyze a classic da-
    taset of art research, which collects ancient art and architecture and their Western
    Renaissance documentation since 1947. [T]here is clearly a long tail of monument
Four short links: 14 July 2009

Four short links: 14 July 2009

Twenty Questions, CC Pix, INSERT INTO WEB, and Wash Your Hands!

  1. Twenty Questions about GPLv3 (Jacob Kaplan-Moss) — twenty very challenging questions about the GPLv3. foo.js is a JavaScript library released under the GPLv3. bar.js is a library with all rights reserved. For performance reasons, I would like to minimize all my site’s JavaScript into a single compressed file called foobar.js. If I distribute this file, must I also distribute bar.js under the GPL?
  2. CC Searching within Google Image Search — what it seems. (via waxy)
  3. YQL INSERT INTOinsert into {table} (status,username,password) values ("new tweet from YQL", "twitterusernamehere","twitterpasswordhere"). That’s too cool. (via Simon Willison)
  4. CleanWell — very low-cost recyclable enviro-friendly antimicrobials to battle third-world disease. Met the founder at Sci Foo. He said women wash hands more than men, because women enter bathrooms in pairs. Single easiest way to increase handwashing compliance is to put sinks and basins outside the room, in public view.
Four short links: 9 July 2009

Four short links: 9 July 2009

  1. Ten Rules That Govern Groups — valuable lessons for all who would create or use social software, each backed up with pointers to the social science study about that lesson. Groups breed competition: While co-operation within group members is generally not so much of a problem, co-operation between groups can be hellish. People may be individually co-operative, but once put in a ‘them-and-us’ situation, rapidly become remarkably adversarial. (via Mind Hacks)
  2. Yahoo! TrafficServer Proposal — Yahoo! want to open source their TrafficServer product, an HTTP/1.1 caching proxy server. Alpha geeks who worked with it are excited at the prospect. It has a plugin architecture that means it can cache NNTP, RTSP, and other non-HTTP protocols.
  3. App Engine ConclusionsI’ve reluctantly concluded that I don’t like it. I want to like it, since it’s a great poster child for Python. And there are some bright spots, like the dirt-simple integration with google accounts. But it’s so very very primitive in so many ways. Not just the missing features, or the “you can use any web framework you like, as long as it’s django” attitude, but primarily a lot of the existing API is just so very primitive.
  4. Microsoft HohmSign up with Hohm and we’ll provide you with a home energy report and energy-saving recommendations tailored to your home. Wesabe for power at the moment, with interesting possibilities ahead should Microsoft partner with smartmetering utility companies the way Google Powermeter does. This is notable because this is a web app launched by Microsoft, with no connection to Windows or other Microsoft properties beyond requiring a “Live ID” to login. For commentary, see Microsoft Hohm Gets Green Light for Launch and PC Mag. (via Freaklabs)
Four short links: 7 July 2009

Four short links: 7 July 2009

Motivation, R, Games, and Open Source Medicine

  1. Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish themTests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen. Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed. I have noticed this myself. It must be balanced against the other finding that public commitment increases probability of followthrough, which might work in sales but seems to fail miserably in getting me to do anything productive. (via migurski on Delicious)
  2. Rseek — search engine for info on R. Necessary because of the non-unique project name. (via Benjamin Mako Hill)
  3. Treasure World (Offworld) — Nintendo DS game that turns wifi spots into collectible treasure. You have to explore the real world as you play the game, another of these games that mix the online and offline worlds. (via waxy)
  4. 50 Successful Open Source Projects That Are Changing Medicine — notice the large number of electronic health record (EHR) suites. What are the chances of any of them getting a slice of Obama’s EHR money that the ex-RedHatters behind The Axial Project are going for? (via timoreilly on Twitter)
Four short links: 2 June 2009

Four short links: 2 June 2009

Fonts, Medicine, Healthcare, Project Natal

  1. TypeKit — Jeff Veen’s new startup, making typography on the web fail to suck. Every major browser is about to support the ability to link to a font. That means you can write a bit of CSS, include a URL to a font file, and have your page display with the typography you expect. While it’s technically quite easy to link to fonts, it’s legally more nuanced. We’ve been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.
  2. Talking With Jamie Heywood About PatientsLikeMe (Jon Udell) — the creator of patientslikeme, a site that provides people with serious conditions a chance to report on the efficacy of their treatment, their unique symptoms, and (if they wish) to connect with the researchers in the drug companies who made the treatments. It’s a new closure for the feedback loop of medical research.
  3. The Cost Conundrum:
    What a Texas town can teach us about health care.
    (New Yorker) — the lesson is that you tolerate bad ethics, bad business, bad behaviour at your own risk because the rogue you tolerate may become the anchor tenant for a mall of villainy you’ll find very hard to dismiss.
  4. Microsoft Announces Project Natal — full-body motion capture for XBox 360, as game controller. I’m keen to see whether having nothing in your hand is as satisfying as having something to hold. Kudos to MSFT for bringing research to market as mainstream entertainment.