Posts tagged “blogs”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • PETA (hopefully tongue-in-cheek) attempts to rebrand fish as "Sea Kittens" – Sorta reductio ad absurdum re: my latest interactions column, Poets, Priests, and Politicians
  • Rug company Nanimarquina brings global warming to your living room – "If there is an iconic image that represents the natural devastation of global warming, it is the lone polar bear stuck on a melting ice flow. Now eco rug company Nanimarquina has teamed up with NEL artists to create a beautiful ‘Global Warming Rug’ – complete with stranded polar bear floating in the middle of the sea – to represent the most pressing issue of our time. Rugs have been traditionally used throughout the ages to tell stories and communicate messages, and we think this is a lovely, poignant new take on a time-honored tradition." What effect does it have when an issue like global warming gets iconified and aestheticized like this? Does it drive home the seriousness of the situation, or make it more palatable?
  • Asch conformity experiments – (via Eliezer Yudkowsky) Asch asked people about similarity of height between several lines. Confederates answered incorrectly and this influenced the subject themselves to support this incorrect answer.
  • Confirmation bias: the tendency to seek out information that supports what we already believe – (via Eliezer Yudkowsky) The 2-4-6 problem presented subjects with 3 numbers. Subjects were told that the triple conforms to a particular rule. They were asked to discover the rule by generating their own triples, where the experimenter would indicate whether or not the triple conformed to the rule. While the actual rule was simply “any ascending sequence”, the subjects often proposed rules that were far more complex. Subjects seemed to test only “positive” examples—triples the subjects believed would conform to their rule and confirm their hypothesis. What they did not do was attempt to challenge or falsify their hypotheses by testing triples that they believed would not conform to their rule.
  • Overcoming Bias – Blog by Eliezer Yudkowsky and others about (overcoming) biases in perception, decisions, etc.
  • Hindsight bias: when people who know the answer vastly overestimate its predictability or obviousness, – (via Eliezer Yudkowsky)
    Sometimes called the I-knew-it-all-along effect.
    "…A third experimental group was told the outcome and also explicitly instructed to avoid hindsight bias, which made no difference."
  • Planning fallacy – the tendency to underestimate task-completion times – (via Eliezer Yudkowsky) Asking people what they did last time turns out to be more accurate than what they either hope for or expect to happen this time
  • Cognitive Biases in the Assessment of Risk – (via Eliezer Yudkowsky) Another example of extensional neglect is scope insensitivity, which you will find in the Global Catastrophic Risks book. Another version of the same thing is where people would only pay slightly more to save all the wetlands in Oregon than to save one protected wetland in Oregon, or people would pay the same amount to save two thousand, twenty thousand, or two hundred thousand oil-stroked birds from perishing in ponds. What is going on there is when you say, “How much would you donate to save 20,000 birds from perishing in oil ponds,” they will visualize one bird trapped, struggling to get free. That creates some level of emotional arousal, then the actual quantity gets thrown right out the window.

    [I am not sure that's the reason why; I think there could be other explanations for the flawed mental model that leads to those responses]

  • Conjunction fallacy – (via Eliezer Yudkowsky) A logical fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that specific conditions are more probable than a single general one. Example: Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

    Which is more probable?

    1. Linda is a bank teller.
    2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

    85% of those asked chose option 2 [2]. However, mathematically, the probability of two events occurring together (in "conjunction") will always be less than or equal to the probability of either one occurring alone.

Communication Arts props

Communication Arts offers up 50 Essential Bookmarks. Of course, they’ve got Core77 (where I sometimes blog and write) as well as a nice sidebar about Design Observer, that quotes me

Design Observer has reached beyond the world of design. Fast Company counts this blog as one of seven must-reads for design. “Though academic at times, this smart blog hosts a thriving community.” Marketing consultant Steve Portigal (a repeat visitor and author of his own blog All This ChittahChattah) posted this note after a heated online debate: “Thanks… for a great piece. This is what blogs excel at-a personal story, not too confessional…a relevant one, of course, mixed in with perspective, and analysis. Add in an articulate critique of colleagues whom are liked and respected (but not unequivocally supported in every single decision) and you’ve got real leadership.”

Marketing consultant? Not quite. And how’s about linking to this blog, not just mentioning it?
Well, anyway, all is not lost. Debbie Millman, in a separate sidebar (or popup; whatever) lists All This ChittahChattah as one of the “sites they consider to be vital to their work.” Thanks, Debbie!

Intelligent Design

Fast Company gives props to our blog at Core77, although they describe us as “A random group of industrial designers and design fans” (random? us?) but refer to the content as “The quick-hit, often photo-laden entries offer a comprehensive view of what’s hot and hip.” which frankly disappoints me because I think if you spend more than 30 seconds on the site, you’ll see it’s about something a little deeper.

Though I did find a lot of the content of the special issue on design to be rather glib, at least in tone, if not in fact (as this example is).

I read that somewhere

Here’s what I need – a good search engine for blogs (and technorati and blogdex are useless, so don’t even go there) – I have this happen all the time: I’m in a conversation or a meeting and an issue comes up where I know that I just saw a definitive article on the latest trends linked in someone’s blog. I have about 200 things in my RSS reader, with no good searching there or anywhere else. Maybe a better RSS reader would give better searching. If I go into Google I’m now going back years instead of days, and millions of blogs instead of 200. I want to search on a concept, not a keyword, and really, for this particular situation, it seems pretty hosed.



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