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.”
Thanks to Bo for contributing to this week’s links! All readers, feel free to send us interesting things you’re reading and we’ll include them in our list.

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