Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

If Extinct Species Can Be Brought Back… Should We?

August 30th, 2012 08:57 admin View Comments


retroworks writes “Rebecca J. Rosen interviews experts in this edition of The Atlantic, to ask about the ethics and wisdom of using cloning, backbreeding, or genome editing. Over 90% of species ever to exist on earth are no more. The article ponders the moral and environmental challenges of humans reintroducing species which humans made extinct.”

Source: If Extinct Species Can Be Brought Back… Should We?

Are We Failing To Prepare Children For Leadership In the US?

June 25th, 2012 06:19 admin View Comments


Vulcan195 writes “Would you let your 3-yr play with a real saw? You would if you were a parent in Switzerland. Suzanne Lucas (a US mom residing in Switzerland) writes about the contrasts between the US and Swiss ways of instilling wisdom. She writes: ‘Every Friday, whether rain, shine, snow, or heat, my 3-yr old goes into the forest for four hours with 10 other school children. In addition to playing with saws and files, they roast their own hot dogs over an open fire. If a child drops a hot dog, the teacher picks it up, brushes the dirt off, and hands it back.’ She suggests that such kids grow up and lead the ones who were coddled (e.g. US kids) during their early years.”

Source: Are We Failing To Prepare Children For Leadership In the US?

Too Many Connections Weaken Networks

February 25th, 2012 02:30 admin View Comments


itwbennett writes “Conventional wisdom holds that more connections make networks more resilient, but a team of mathematicians at UC Davis have found that that is only true up to a point. The team built a model to determine the ideal number of cross-network connections. ‘There are some benefits to opening connections to another network. When your network is under stress, the neighboring network can help you out. But in some cases, the neighboring network can be volatile and make your problems worse. There is a trade-off,’ said researcher Charles Brummit. ‘We are trying to measure this trade-off and find what amount of interdependence among different networks would minimize the risk of large, spreading failures.’ Brummitt’s team published its work (abstract) in the Proceedings of The National Academies of Science.”

Source: Too Many Connections Weaken Networks

This App Tells You All About Your Facebook Friends, But Will It Make You Smarter?

February 10th, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments

homepage-ipad.jpgIn the two weeks I have been using Wisdom, an iPad and iPhone app that gives you detailed demographic data about your Facebook friends, the number of users has gone from just over 4 million to just under 6 million. Part of that rapid growth is most likely attributable to an extensive advertising campaign on the iPad version of the New York Times (which is where I first heard about it).

Wisdom’s marketing slogan promises “Get Wisdom and Get Wiser,” and gives us the option of not only analyzing our own social network, but the entire Wisdom network (yes, to Get Wisdom you also need to give Wisdom your information, but they have a clear-cut, succinctly-explained and explicitly-presented privacy policy. I wishe every online company and social network would use that bit of wisdom from the makers of Wisdom). “Best of all, the more people who get Wisdom, the smarter the application gets – and the smarter you become!” the apps Web site promises.

Well, maybe. Depending on your definition of “smarter.”

For example, does it make me smarter to know that New Engald Patriots fans on the Wisdom network like Narragansett Beer and New York Giants fans prefer Hennessy? Or that fans of both teams prefer Dunkin Donuts? And why is Wisdom still teasing its analysis of Super Bowl fans nearly a full-week after the game?

The U.S. Election breakdown is slightly more telling. Based on “likes” of candidates on Facebook in the last 12 months, it shows a handsome U.S. map showing which states favor which candidates, then shows the demographic makeup of each candidates followers (in other words, the same information found in almost any decent political poll).

You can also drill down and look at your friends — you can see who has posted on Facebook the most in the past 30 days, the average number of words they used in each post and other trivia.I now know that in the past 30 days Maya Angelou and David Sedaris were the most popular authors among my friends, and U2 and Johnny Cash were the most popular musicians. Nine of my friends have made a combined 27 trips to Fenway Park, and one of my friends has been to the same hospital six times (whoever it is, I hope everything is okay).

I can also look at who I interact with most. There’s loads of other data, but not as much as you’d think: I can generally check every chart and figure on Wisdom within five or 10 minutes. And even as the network increases in size, not much changes on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.

Among other things, Wisdom lets you check where your Facebook friends have been checking in to find places you may want to go to.

Wisdom gives you a chance to do some very limited number crunching of your own, but not much. The design is beautiful, and it seems somewhat addictive the first time you play around with it, but then you realize there’s not much you can do with the data aside from look at it.

And that’s the problem: Every time I finish scanning through Wisdom, I’m left with that “Now what?” feeling we get when we don’t really know what else to do with an app. The data is interesting, but there’s not much I can do with it: I can’t download it, I can’t even access it from my desktop, making it harder to crunch.

Wisdom has some recommendations of how to use the app, including finding places to go when traveling and find out what’s popular. I have loads of other apps that do all of the things Wisdom claims to be able to do, and, since their focused (finding the best place to eat, keeping me up-to-date on news and trends), the information in those apps comes off as being far more manageable than the artfully-presented glut I get in Wisdom.

Source: This App Tells You All About Your Facebook Friends, But Will It Make You Smarter?

HP Rethinking Wisdom of Spinning Off PC Division

October 12th, 2011 10:25 admin View Comments


bdking writes “After signing off on former CEO Leo Apotheker’s proposal to spin off or sell HP’s personal computer unit, the company’s braintrust is reassessing the wisdom of dumping a division that contributes nearly 30% of revenue and holds together a valuable supply chain.” HP appears concerned not so much for the revenue generating by PC hardware, but instead by access to various distribution and supply channels. It seems that just announcing a spin-off has affected their access to retail distributors.

Source: HP Rethinking Wisdom of Spinning Off PC Division

Social Influence and the Wisdom of Crowd Effect

May 18th, 2011 05:30 admin View Comments

Social Networks

formfeed writes “A lot has been written lately on the crowd effect and the wisdom of crowds. But for those of us who are doubtful, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has published a study showing how masses can become dumber: social influence. While previous studies show how groups of people can come up with remarkably accurate results, it seems ‘even mild social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect in simple estimation tasks.’ Social influence ‘diminishes the diversity of the crowd without improvements of its collective error.’ In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden.”

Source: Social Influence and the Wisdom of Crowd Effect

What Monty Python Teaches Us About Computing

April 18th, 2011 04:06 admin View Comments


Esther Schindler writes “Does the computer industry seem just a little too strange? Never fear: Monty Python encapsulated several nuggets of wisdom years ago that summarize exactly what is behind the sometimes-tawdry behavior of vendors, the open source community, and marketing departments.”

Source: What Monty Python Teaches Us About Computing

Q: What Does It Say About The Wisdom Of The Crowd That “White People Stink” Has Been Trending On Twitter For Almost 24 Hours?

March 18th, 2011 03:05 admin View Comments

Open Source More Expensive Says MS Report

January 19th, 2011 01:32 admin View Comments

doperative writes “Much conventional wisdom about programs written by volunteers is wrong. The authors took money for research from Microsoft, long the arch- enemy of the open-source movement— although they assure readers that the funds came with no strings attached) Free programs are not always cheaper. To be sure, the upfront cost of proprietary software is higher (although open-source programs are not always free). But companies that use such programs spend more on such things as learning to use them and making them work with other software”

Source: Open Source More Expensive Says MS Report

Pew Report: 53% Of Internet Users Believe Social Media Affects Politics

January 18th, 2011 01:43 admin View Comments

Conventional wisdom holds that fans of the Internet are introverted losers with few discernable social skills who gain pleasure from being backward and apolitical. However, according to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, conventional wisdom is wrong.

The study, based on interviews with 2,303 adults aged 18 and older, found that 80% of Internet users are active in voluntary organization or real world groups compared to 56% of non-Internet users. Of these same Internet users, 53% felt that social media helped them get a candidate elected to office while 46% believe that the Internet plays a major role in getting the word out about a cause.

The Pew Report is focused on online groups and it says, in short, that social media involvement is helping people join groups, thereby negating some of Putnams “bowling alone” circa-2000 social estrangement theories. It seems that instead of joining the PTA and maybe participating in a pot-luck, Internet users ascribe far more power to their groups than earlier generations. In fact, 65% of the respondents replied that they believed that the Internet was an excellent source for learning about and attending rallies and meetings in the real world.

What does this all mean, on the aggregate, besides suggesting that given my Internet usage that I should be getting out more? Well, it seems that the Internet, contrary to popular opinion, is making us closer and more connected. This is good news but is also ascribes to the Internet a power over political and group events that it may or may not have. After all, the Internet is a medium of communication that simply reduces the cost of reaching thousands, if not millions, of people. Hosting a party or a political rally is easy when you can reach a few million folks, whether it’s electronically or through the printed page. Less popular groups, say the “Grannies Who Love Headbanging” group on Yahoo, however, will still remain unpopular. The Internet does not guarantee popularity but it does augment it.

I, for one, intend to attend some more physical meet-ups with other people. That is right after I upgrade my Mac Pro and maybe play a little Civ V.
Study Page

Source: Pew Report: 53% Of Internet Users Believe Social Media Affects Politics