links for 2010-09-07

  • awesome - It seems what people want is a satisfying story about their place in the universe. Since characters are the most important elements of a story, the main “place” that matters to people is their social place – who they relate to and how. People feel they understand their place when they have a story saying how they can relate well to important social entities. Central to any social relation is whether the related person supports or opposes you in your conflicts. In fact, it seems enough to give your life meaning to just know who are your main natural allies and enemies among the important actors around, and what you can do to keep your allies supporting you, to give you high enough status.
  • google searches, linkedin, zoominfo, company-site specific searches. also doing a whois search on their personal website sometimes works
  • And it seemed to be remarkably effective: a 2007 clinical study funded by Shaw’s company and conducted by the independent SGS Laboratories found the device prevented germs from being transferred to catheters nearly 100 percent of the time. Given these facts, you might expect that hospitals would be lining up to buy Shaw’s product. But that is not the case, even though his company is offering to match whatever price medical facilities are paying for their current, infection-prone IV catheter syringes. In fact, since the device hit the market two years ago, Retractable has sold fewer than 20,000 units, mostly to one New York hospital. Often, the company’s sales team can’t even get in the door to show their wares to purchasing agents. “The product does exactly what it is supposed to do,” Shaw says. “But it has one fatal flaw. Right there at the bottom of the handle it says Retractable Technologies.”
  • Our kids are all at that age and so its a regular family joke in the car ride home that the first to fall asleep gets a prize.  It sometimes even works.   But someone will fall asleep first, and once that happens the contest is over.  The other two have no incentives.  Also, in the first-to-fall game, each child has an incentive to keep the others awake. Not good for the parents. (And this second problem persists even if you add runner-up prizes.) So the new game in town is last-to-sleep gets a prize.  You would think that this keeps them up too long but it actually has some nice properties. Optimal play in this game has each child pretending to sleep, thereby tricking the others into thinking they can fall asleep and be the last. So there’s lots of quiet even before they fall asleep.  And there’s no better way to get a tired kid to fall asleep than to have him sit still, as if sleeping, in a quiet car.
  • In reality, people who are critically ill almost always look critically ill. It's not subtle. If you are in a lot of pain, or vomiting uncontrollably, or suddenly unable to move half of your body – by all means, come in. We don't expect or want people to diagnose themselves or their families. If it feels like an emergency, let us take a look at you. But if your sick child is feeling well enough to grab every toy in the toy bin and hurl it across the room, the chance they have anything that won't wait until their PCP can see them on Monday is between small and nonexistent. And if your symptoms would have led your mother to send you to bed and made you soup when you were six, it's probably safe to send yourself to bed when you're forty. And if you show up at the ED instead, I'm not going to run a battery of tests to figure out why you have a sore throat and a fever. I'm going to send you out on your mother's plan, the only difference being the terrifying bill that will follow after.
  • On a recent Wednesday morning, some Post editors were frustrated that the primary election results weren't garnering many hits -- despite the fact that John McCain had just won his party's nomination and Lisa Murkowski was on the verge of losing hers. What was hot, the traffic directors said, was Elin Nordegren telling People that her life had been "hell" since her husband's sex scandal, a photo of an alligator in the Chicago River, and a video posted on Gawker of a British woman throwing a feral cat into a dumpster.
  • most e-mailed on NYT today... vary study locations, don't study any one subject for too long (present material in a mixed background), test yourself frequently, repeat over time
  • In the past few years, Watts--a network-theory scientist who recently took a sabbatical from Columbia University and is now working for Yahoo --has performed a series of controversial, barn-burning experiments challenging the whole Influentials thesis. He has analyzed email patterns and found that highly connected people are not, in fact, crucial social hubs. He has written computer models of rumor spreading and found that your average slob is just as likely as a well-connected person to start a huge new trend. And last year, Watts demonstrated that even the breakout success of a hot new pop band might be nearly random. Any attempt to engineer success through Influentials, he argues, is almost certainly doomed to failure.
  • Somebody at a book-signing:  “I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  I could write a novel.” Me:  “Oh?  Why haven’t you?” Person:  “I just don’t have the time.” Me:  “Hmm.  Nobody gives me the time, either.  I have to make the time, set priorities, discipline myself to get my writing done each day, no matter how tired I am.  I worked a full-time regular job while I wrote my first novels, scraping out an hour here or there in evenings and weekends.  That’s how I’ve become a successful author.”
  • Even more striking is Exhibit C, the Edward Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake area, which was budgeted at $110 million until costs skyrocketed midway through construction when contractors discovered underground methane gas and a fault line. Eventual cost: $377 million. Mr. Rubin admits that the Roybal Center project was "a tremendous screw-up" that "should have been studied closer beforehand." The project was abandoned for several years, only to be recommenced when community activists demanded that the school be built at whatever cost necessary in order to show respect for the neighborhood's Latino children, many of whom were attending an overcrowded Belmont High School. The Roybal center now ranks in the bottom third of schools with similar demographics on state tests, while Belmont High ranks in the top third. But even though many Roybal kids can't read or do math, at least they have a dance studio with cushioned maple floors and a kitchen with a restaurant-quality pizza oven.
  • My next linguistical suggestion is more rigorous. It is to fight the "if-this-guy-wants-to-talk-to-that-guy" syndrome: never refer to parts of programs or pieces of equipment in an anthropomorphic terminology, nor allow your students to do so. This linguistical improvement is much harder to implement than you might think, and your department might consider the introduction of fines for violations, say a quarter for undergraduates, two quarters for graduate students, and five dollars for faculty members. The reason for this last suggestion is that the anthropomorphic metaphor —for whose introduction we can blame John von Neumann— is an enormous handicap for every computing community that has adopted it. I have now encountered programs wanting things, knowing things, expecting things, believing things, etc., and each time that gave rise to avoidable confusions. The analogy that underlies this personification is so shallow that it is not only misleading but also paralyzing.
  • It can be anything from cricket fans to stamp collectors. A social network that serves people with a shared interest is barely counts as a start-up idea at this stage. Naïvely a designer or developer starts one of these projects by gathering a feature set. How will our users communicate with each other? Will there be private communication too? Can they share details? What services will they want to integrate with? How can we get them connected as quickly as possible? Should they follow some users by default? Will we use OAuth to find their twitter friends? The list goes on.
  • The problem with Scott and his generation-- and this is most decidedly not Scott's fault but is the fault of his dad and grandfather's generations-- is that Scott just can't imagine playing without a net. "No, I'll just wait here, thank you, got myself an iced tea." This is what happens when you go through four years of college and don't at least read On The Road, let alone try it. "Start a business? From nothing? I don't know..." For him, debt should only be for a house, a school, and Polo shirts.

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2 thoughts on “links for 2010-09-07

  1. Pingback: Overcoming Bias : Stranger Than Fiction

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