Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Category: Del.icio.us (page 1 of 32)

links for 2010-11-21

  • The Innovation and Organizational Sciences (IOS) program supports scientific research directed at advancing understanding of innovation and organizational phenomena. Levels of analysis may include (but are not limited to) individuals, groups and/or institutional arrangements. Disciplinary perspectives may include (but are not limited to) organization theory, organizational behavior, organizational sociology, social and industrial psychology, public administration, computer and information sciences, complexity sciences, decision and management sciences. Research methods may span a broad variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, including (but not limited to) archival analyses, surveys, simulation studies, experiments, comparative case studies, and network analyses. Research may involve industrial, educational, service, government, not-for-profits, voluntary organizations or interorganizational arrangements.
  • The Decision, Risk and Management Sciences program supports scientific research directed at increasing the understanding and effectiveness of decision making by individuals, groups, organizations, and society. Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, doctoral dissertation research, and workshops are funded in the areas of judgment and decision making; decision analysis and decision aids; risk analysis, perception, and communication; societal and public policy decision making; management science and organizational design.

links for 2010-11-20

  • "Pete and Alisha Arnold, both 30, both tech professionals, live in the Minneapolis suburb of Apple Valley and have been married for 10 years. Since September, they've blogged about their expected child at birthornot.com, posting health updates about the mother and the fetus (which will be 17 weeks-old tomorrow), and ultrasound pictures and video. But at the top of the blog is a poll hosted by PollDaddy.com. The question: "Should We Give Birth or Have an Abortion?" "Give Birth" has 46 percent of the vote at the moment, with "Have an Abortion" at 54 percent…. According to the couple, they've been unsure about whether they're ready to be parents and have concluded that the best way to proceed is to ask random people on the Internet if they should have the child."

links for 2010-11-18

  • Indigenous peoples respond in diverse ways to genome science projects depending on the particular questions being asked, and the methods and histories of those fields. Increasingly, they resist scientific inquiry that they view as in conflict with their values. In the U.S. and Canada, our research sites, indigenes are regulating research, making property claims on scientific data, and requiring certain benefits in return for granting researchers access to their communities. Native American tribes show interest in initiating/funding genomic research in order to directly bolster their intellectual and governance capacities. Tribes also emphasize and fund training in science and technology fields as a capacity-building strategy that they see as necessary for self-governance and community flourishing. Accordingly, Native Americans and Canadian First Nation individuals enter technoscientific fields in order to support indigenous self governance.
  • This project will make use of computer simulation techniques to understand how different ways that scientists make day to day choices might influence the ability of the community of scientists to succeed in learning about the world. Through decades of careful study, we now have a deeper understanding of the various factors that influence choices and beliefs of scientists. While we now understand the causes of scientists' behavior better, we do not have a very detailed understanding how science as a whole is influenced by the small scale choices of individual scientists. Here are some questions of that sort that need to be addressed. Does misconduct on the part of a few scientists have a effect on the reliability of science as a whole? If scientists are motivated by particular political ends, does this color the output of their research?
    (tags: science sts nsf)
  • This project will examine closely the interplay between the theoretical, experimental, and normative elements involved in the process of clarifying data for scientific modeling. Scientific models form the basis of scientific understanding and interaction with the world. Since the targets of scientific modeling activity are initially ill-defined phenomena, it is crucial to determine how phenomena are clarified and stabilized in a scientific inquiry. That process involves settling the distinction between genuine information and noise so as to identify intrinsic features and the relevant parameters that produce those features. It has received little philosophical attention in the literature, though it is a crucial stage of scientific activity
    (tags: science nsf)
  • High-resolution wall-size digital displays present significant new and different visual space to show and see imagery. The author… has noted some unique design considerations for creating effective visual images when they are spread across entire walls. The author suggests these "frameless" screens – where images are so large we need to look around to see the entire field – need different ways of thinking about image design and visualization. Presenting such things as scale and detail take on new meaning when they can be displayed life-size and not shown in the context of one or many small frames such as we see everywhere. These design ideas will be of use for pervasive computing, interface research and design, interactive design, control design, representations of massive data sets, and creating effective displays of data for research and education.

links for 2010-11-17

  • The RSA has a new strapline: 21st century enlightenment. This pays tribute to the 18th century founders of the Society and to the pioneering spirit which inspired them. It makes a statement about the role the RSA can play today, as an organisation established over 250 years ago but which believes its best days may yet be to come. At the heart of the RSA's contemporary mission and public debates about the future prospects for the human race is the question ‘can we go on like this?’ Will the ideas and values which transformed our world in the last two centuries be sufficient to find solutions to the challenges we now face or do we need new ways of thinking?
  • In the Unlibrary and on this site each member has a space to create their profile – here you can tell us what you want to about your work, business and life. There’s a notice board where members can post messages. And a café where people can sit and chat. We also hold events, online and at the Unlibrary on social media marketing, digital writing and publishing. Like a library we’re a place where people can find out more both about your immediate locality and about the wider culture; you can promote your activities and ideas to neighbours, and to the rest of the world.

links for 2010-11-16

  • "[T]ime “between things” is being colonised. We walk less and less and our transit time, whether on foot, public transport or in a private vehicle, is increasingly mediated by our personal media. This time has become “entertainment time” or “productive time”–creating both benefits and costs…. Because our phones are with us everywhere all the time, and because competition is fierce for the lucrative markets it generates, the portable telephone’s capabilities and sophistication have developed rapidly…. In addition, for example, to the standard audio and video telephony, camera, GPS, Internet connectivity, instant messaging, movie and music player and games console, some phones include a torch. This convergence of technologies into one small and ubiquitous device is enabling new relationships between the individual mobile phone user and her physical, historical and social environment."
  • The Exploding The Frame article covers my first view of frameless filmmaking, which has now expanded from IMAX screens to include all viewing screens where there is high resolution, wide field views, and viewers standing or sitting closer than the width of the screen. The overview has held strong over the years, even as digital wall size displays, digital dome screens, and expansive desktop screens have come on the scene. The newer screens, like the huge IMAX canvas, require a new way of designing imagery and image sequences and are part of this new expansive cinematic language.
  • Despite the widespread use of social media by students and its increased use by instructors, very little empirical evidence is available concerning the impact of social media use on student learning and engagement. This paper describes our semester-long experimental study to determine if using Twitter… for educationally relevant purposes can impact college student engagement and grades…. [Twitter users] had a significantly greater increase in engagement than the [non-Tweeting] control group, as well as higher semester grade point averages. Analyses of Twitter communications showed that students and faculty were both highly engaged in the learning process in ways that transcended traditional classroom activities. This study provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilize faculty into a more active and participatory role.
  • Students chatting on Twitter both inside and outside the classroom got higher grades than their nontweeting peers in a recent experiment conducted at a medium-size public institution in the Midwest. At the end of the semester, the tweeters had grade-point averages half a point higher, on average, than did their nontweeting counterparts. And students who tweeted were more engaged. Twitter users scored higher than those who didn’t use the tool on a 19-question student-engagement survey over the course of the semester—using parameters like how frequently students contributed to classroom discussion, and how often they interacted with their instructor about course material…. Twitter may be able to improve grades because it incorporates a feature into academic study that many students already use in their everyday lives—the “status update” that’s a part of Facebook.

links for 2010-11-12

  • On Tuesday, 42% of registered voters took time out of their day to travel to their assigned polling location, wait in line, exchange niceties with a grumpy volunteer, and fill in some bubbles with a Sharpie. What did they receive in return?: a sticker and a 0% chance of changing the results of the election…. Americans vastly overestimate the chances that their vote will make a difference…. However, this dramatic overestimation does not explain the prevalence of turnout, because those who actually vote know that this probability is low. Over 40% of regular voters know that the chances of a pivotal vote are less than 1 in a million. Amazingly, turnout is negatively correlated with the perceived chances that one vote will make a difference—meaning the less likely you are to think your vote will actually matter, the more likely you are to vote.
  • In English, attention is something we are asked to pay, as if it were a scarce resource, like money. ‘Pay attention!’ is also a negative injunction, like paying your taxes. But attention is not really scarce, and when practised, rather than paid, it is positive and rewarding. As positive psychologist, Czikzsentmihalyi once said: ‘Where attention goes, energy flows.’

    The challenge is that we live in an increasingly distracting world, and need a method to make our attention, the touchstone of consciousness, more readily available to us. The challenge is that the speed of the world and the nature of our technology makes it difficult to make best use of this precious resource, which is a core component of mindfulness. John Teasdale captured the centrality of this point as follows: “Mindfulness is a habit, it’s something the more one does, the more likely one is to be in that mode with less and less effort… it’s a skill that can be learned. It’s accessing something we already have."

  • This, in turn, led to the great irony of Churchill's life. In resisting the Nazis, he produced some of the richest prose-poetry in defence of freedom and democracy ever written. It was a cheque he didn't want black or Asian people to cash – but they refused to accept that the Bank of Justice was empty. As the Ghanaian nationalist Kwame Nkrumah wrote: "All the fair, brave words spoken about freedom that had been broadcast to the four corners of the earth took seed and grew where they had not been intended." Churchill lived to see democrats across Britain's dominions and colonies – from nationalist leader Aung San in Burma to Jawarlal Nehru in India – use his own intoxicating words against him.

links for 2010-11-11

  • This, in turn, led to the great irony of Churchill's life. In resisting the Nazis, he produced some of the richest prose-poetry in defence of freedom and democracy ever written. It was a cheque he didn't want black or Asian people to cash – but they refused to accept that the Bank of Justice was empty. As the Ghanaian nationalist Kwame Nkrumah wrote: "All the fair, brave words spoken about freedom that had been broadcast to the four corners of the earth took seed and grew where they had not been intended." Churchill lived to see democrats across Britain's dominions and colonies – from nationalist leader Aung San in Burma to Jawarlal Nehru in India – use his own intoxicating words against him.

links for 2010-11-10

  • This, in turn, led to the great irony of Churchill's life. In resisting the Nazis, he produced some of the richest prose-poetry in defence of freedom and democracy ever written. It was a cheque he didn't want black or Asian people to cash – but they refused to accept that the Bank of Justice was empty. As the Ghanaian nationalist Kwame Nkrumah wrote: "All the fair, brave words spoken about freedom that had been broadcast to the four corners of the earth took seed and grew where they had not been intended." Churchill lived to see democrats across Britain's dominions and colonies – from nationalist leader Aung San in Burma to Jawarlal Nehru in India – use his own intoxicating words against him.

links for 2010-11-08

links for 2010-11-04

  • Some people find it more difficult to delay rewards than others. In three experiments, we tested a “future self-continuity” hypothesis that individual differences in the perception of one’s present self as continuous with a future self would be associated with measures of saving in the laboratory and everyday life. Higher future self-continuity (assessed by a novel index) predicted reduced discounting of future rewards in a laboratory task, more matches in adjectival descriptions of present and future selves, and greater lifetime accumulation of financial assets (even after controlling for age and education). In addition to demonstrating the reliability and validity of the future self-continuity index, these findings are consistent with the notion that increased future self-continuity might promote saving for the future.
  • An evolving approach to the science of pleasure suggests that each of us contains multiple selves—all with different desires, and all fighting for control. If this is right, the pursuit of happiness becomes even trickier. Can one self "bind" another self if the two want different things? Are you always better off when a Good Self wins? And should outsiders, such as employers and policy makers, get into the fray?
  • An editor from the Los Angeles Times called me recently with a very good question that went something like this: “If global warming is the devastating threat that Al Gore says it is, then why aren’t people freaking out about it? And don’t tell me that people just don’t care about the future because people do all sorts of things with the future in mind, such as quitting smoking and saving for retirement. But for some reason they don’t seem to get bent out of shape over global warming. What can psychology tell us about that?”

    I don’t know if I’d ever thought about this question consciously before, but I must have been thinking about it unconsciously for quite some time because once the question was posed, the answers came quickly. The resulting essay was published today in the Los Angeles Times, and I reproduce it for you here. I keep having the odd thought that I will someday look back on this and realize that it was the only important thing I ever wrote.

  • There is growing awareness that the profound changes in the environment (eg, in diet and other lifestyle conditions) that began with the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry ~10,000 years ago occurred too recently on an evolutionary time scale for the human genome to adjust. In conjunction with this discordance between our ancient, genetically determined biology and the nutritional, cultural, and activity patterns of contemporary Western populations, many of the so-called diseases of civilization have emerged. In particular, food staples and food-processing procedures introduced during the Neolithic and Industrial Periods have fundamentally altered 7 crucial nutritional characteristics of ancestral hominin diets…. The evolutionary collision of our ancient genome with the nutritional qualities of recently introduced foods may underlie many of the chronic diseases of Western civilization.

  • On the Arthur Devany evolutionary fitness diet. "My usual diet is simplicity itself: eat too little and lay off the booze. All other dietary schemes struck me as over-elaborations or, in many cases, cunning excuses to keep eating. Calories in, calories out was, I thought, the only rational basis on which to lose weight. The body is a bag that gets lighter if you take out more than you put in. This time, however, I had a more sophisticated plan – Arthur’s – and boy, did it work. I adopted the Arthur plan because the last time was in America I had encountered Nassim Nicholas Taleb… [who] couldn’t stop talking about the Arthur diet. Nassim embarked on his regime after someone told him he looked like the writer Umberto Eco, a fatty. He had lost 20lb in three months after getting hooked on Arthur via his website (arthurdevany.com ). Nassim still looks a bit like Umberto, but not fat.

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