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Topics - ergophobe

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Water Cooler / Slaves in a data factory
« on: June 19, 2019, 09:24:28 PM »
Listening to a Cal Newport interview and he tossed out this label to describe us and particularly teenagers who are coming awake to the fact that that is the role carved out for them by the big media companies

He says the thing that makes him happy lately is that more and more saying “I’m not on social media” is cool and counterculture for teens. It’s this generation’s punk rock.

Hardware & Technology / Deep fakes used by spies on LinkedIn
« on: June 15, 2019, 07:23:13 PM »
Experts: Spy used AI-generated face to connect with targets

Web Development / UX design fail
« on: May 29, 2019, 09:57:53 PM »
Quick quiz: the status of the user in this record is
A. Active
B. Inactive

Water Cooler / Epic Snow Day!
« on: May 27, 2019, 01:40:35 AM »
This isn't the latest I've seen it snow (that was June 12, two years ago), but this was the Perfect Storm
- Memorial Day Weekend Crowds
- Ill-prepared people without chains
- Lots of seasonal staff who don't know what to do in a snow storm

In short, total sh## storm. I was doing my civic duty driving the neighborhood snow plow... people were simply parked all over the road. Numerous multi-vehicle accidents, some with injuries. Radio traffic was very interesting.

The best one... I was listening to the radio and one of the traffic people called for law enforcement. "Any Victor unit, we have a grey Ford Flex trying to run the road closure by the old dam... They're trying to run down my colleague now! They're trying to run down my colleague! Grey Ford Flex, California license Bravo 2 4 Tango 8 7 just ran the road closure." A few minutes later, one of the law enforcement rangers comes on reporting that the driver is in custody and asking if the traffic ranger can come make a witness statement.

I heard "mandatory citation" a handful of times. A summer holiday weekend is always crazy. A summer holiday weekend with five inches of snow in about three hours was pretty much off the charts.

Water Cooler / Greta, 3.5% and news that isn't all bad
« on: May 23, 2019, 05:03:03 AM »
Littleman, you said you were avoiding bad news. These were the two stories from the week that gave me the most hope and they go together quite well....

It turns out that non-violent movements are more often successful than violent movements and that 3.5% active participation is the level at which a movement always succeeds.

This according to a researcher who looked at a few dozen protest movements after finding out that nobody had asked those two questions, i.e.
 - how does effectiveness compare between violent and non-violent?
 - what is the threshold participation for success?
The theory is that nonviolent movements succeed for several reasons
 - violent movements typically draw a small pool of fit, young males, whereas non-violent movements draw on much larger pools
 - easier to talk about both socially and because of less repression in repressive regimes

The 3.5% seems to be a point at which soldiers start to worry that friends and family might be in the crowd (that's just conjecture as far as I can tell).
Then there's Greta. Nine months ago, Greta Thunberg was holding silent vigil alone outside the Swedish Parliament. On March 15, 1.6 million people, mostly students inspired by Thunberg, walked out of school in protest. The next strike is planned for May 24.

Clearly, that's well short of the 3.5% needed... but the growth rate would make most startups salivate.

Sorry... in French

Basic idea: Swiss sperm viability has fallen 32% between 1989 and 2005 from 99 million per ml to 47 million per ml. The big thing with this study is that Switzerland still has universal conscription, allowing the first ever country-wide study. The result correlates well with smaller studies around the developed world which could often be dismissed because of selection bias.

The Danes are at 41 million/ml and the Norwegians at 42, but lots of other studies are in the same range.

Below 40 million/ml and the WHO says that it becomes significantly harder to make babies. 60% of young Swiss men are now below the threshold set by the WHO.

Water Cooler / The Myth of "Learning Styles"
« on: May 20, 2019, 05:18:38 PM »
Add the "learning styles" (visual, auditory, etc) to Myers-Briggs as "stuff we know to be true that was actually invented out of thin air by people sitting around a kitchen table with no research whatsoever to back it up." (well, you could have added it to that list in 2018 if I had read this earlier).

Despite knowing their own, self-reported learning preferences, nearly 70% of students failed to employ study techniques that supported those preferences. Most visual learners did not rely heavily on visual strategies (e.g., diagrams, graphics), nor did most reading/writing learners rely predominantly on reading strategies (e.g., review of notes or textbook), and so on. Given the prevailing belief that learning styles matter, and the fact many students blame poor academic performance on the lack of a match between their learning style and teachers’ instructional methods, one might expect students to rely on techniques that support their personal learning preferences when working on their own.

Perhaps the best students do. Nearly a third of the students in the study did choose strategies that were consistent with their reported learning style. Did that pay off? In a word, no. Students whose study strategies aligned with their VARK scores performed no better in either the lecture or lab component of the course.

Economics & Investing / Mark Cuban on Uber: They Waited Too Long
« on: May 14, 2019, 11:57:31 PM »
“They just waited too long. There’s nothing exciting about it,” Cuban added. “I don’t think you could have expected anything different ... the reality is you’re nine years in and you’re still having to buy your revenue. That’s not a good sign.”

I'm sure everyone here is shocked, I mean SHOCKED, that Cuban thinks that burning $1b/year nine years in is somehow a bad thing.


These test questions were just made up, and tragically, incomprehensibly, kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the so-called correct answer to made up questions.

Then I went online and searched Holbrook/MIDNIGHT/Texas and the results were terrifying. Dozens of districts, all dissecting this poem based on poorly formatted test prep materials.


“The Board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA.”


Of course, study based on college students, so...

But this comes on the heels of better research that shows rich people (or in some studies, drivers of very expensive cars) are less generous, more willing to lie and less likely to yield to a pedestrian in a legal crosswalk. So it's of a piece

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