What We Are Reading
October 23, 2011
Here are this week’s links to things we’re reading at QS:
- What can we learn from Soviet gamification? by Mark Nelson
- You Are Not Your Name and Photo: A Call to Re-Imagine Identity, from Wired – “It’s not only about who you’re sharing with, but how you represent yourself. It’s not who you share with, but who you share as. We’re all viewed through multiple lenses; we always represent ourselves through multiple personae; and this isn’t a strange aberration or attempt at deceit but a fact of being human.”
- The Collective Author, by Peter Galison (PDF) – Some theoretical reflection on scientific authorship by a historian of science whose work provides excellent background for quantified self topics.
- When Doing Nothing Is the Best Medicine – “In the stampede toward good numbers, individual patients can be harmed by the side effects of [some] treatments. Clinical inertia might actually act as a safeguard”
- The World as Laboratory by Rebecca Lemov (Book) – A fascinating, disturbing history of scientific efforts to produce deep changes in human behavior “by any means necessary.”
- Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health, from Nature – Global burden and research priorities are outlined for mental, neurological, and substance-use disorders. These disorders make up 13% of the total global burden of disease.
- What Social Science Does—and Doesn’t—Know, by Jim Manzi – Our scientific ignorance of the human condition remains profound.
- This one is from Bo Adler. “Here’s a slidedeck that I loved today: The Invisible Side of Design. I think this idea of ‘invisible design’ is one of the keys to technology making the world a better place. As a programmer I’m used to working with ‘functional’ stuff, but I recently reached the point where there are too many new things that are just a little too complicated: it took me 30min to figure out how to turn off a TV at a friend’s house! I used to be miffed that the world wasn’t a meritocracy, that looks matter so much to people – but grad school has made me realize that the presentation is *part* of the merit. Apple products look great, but there’s amazing technology underneath as well – they just didn’t stop at 90% like so many other products. The goal of a product (or research) isn’t to be technically great, it’s to be _useful_ to people. The way I see the world, *everything* is an interface and deserving of good design.”