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Four short links: 9 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 9, 2014

textql — execute SQL against structured text like CSV or TSV. Social Network Structure of Fake Friends — author bought 4,000 Twitter followers and studied their relationships. Hidden Biases in Big Data — with every big data set, we need …

Four short links: 8 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 8, 2014

Next Five Years for Robots — plausible summary of the near future progression, taken from Helen Greiner’s DEMOlabs talk. Raspberry Pi Compute Module — a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit on a SODIMM with onboard memory, whose connectors you …

Four short links: 15 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 14, 2013

BF Skinner’s Baby Make Project (BoingBoing) — I got to read some of Skinner’s original writing on the Air-Crib recently and couple of things stuck out to me. First, it cracked me up. The article, published in 1959 in Cumulative …

Four short links: 29 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 29, 2013

Quick Reads of Notable New Zealanders — notable for two reasons: (a) CC-NC-BY licensed, and (b) gorgeous gorgeous web design. Not what one normally associates with Government web sites! svg.js — Javascript library for making and munging SVG images. (via …

Four short links: 27 March 2013

By Nat Torkington
March 27, 2013

The Effect of Group Attachment and Social Position on Prosocial Behavior (PLoSone) — notable, in my mind, for We conducted lab-in-the-field experiments involving 2,597 members of producer organizations in rural Uganda. cf the recently reported “rich are more selfish than …

Four short links: 26 March 2013

By Nat Torkington
March 26, 2013

Patent on Medical Trial Design to Reduce Placebo Effect — drug companies say these failures are happening not because their drugs are ineffective, but because placebos have recently become more effective in clinical trials. [...] The whole idea that placebo …

Four short links: 6 December 2012

By Nat Torkington
December 6, 2012

You’re Saving Time — can you explain what you do, as well as this? Love the clarity of thought, as well as elegance of expression. Related Content, by Wordnik — branching out by offering a widget for websites which recommends …

Four short links: 5 November 2012

By Nat Torkington
November 5, 2012

The Psychology of Everything (YouTube) — illustrating some of the most fundamental elements of human nature through case studies about compassion, racism, and sex. (via Mind Hacks) Reports of Exempt Organizations (Public Resource) — This service provides bulk access to …

Four short links: 29 October 2012

By Nat Torkington
October 29, 2012

Inside BJ Fogg’s Behavior Design Bootcamp — see also Day 2 and Day 3. Recollect — archive your social media existence. Very easy to use and I wish I’d been using it longer. (via Tom Cotes) Duplicating House Keys on …

Four short links: 17 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 17, 2012

What’s Next for Newspapers? — three approaches: Farm it [...] Milk it [...] Feed it. (via Stijn Debrouwere) Why The Fundamental Attribution Error Exists (MindHacks) — assuming causation, rather than luck or invisible effects, is how we learn. Stuff Makes …

Four short links: 26 September 2011

By Nat Torkington
September 26, 2011

BERG London Week 328 -- we're a design company, with a design culture built over 6 years, yet we're having to cultivate a new engineering culture that sits within it and alongside it, and the two have different crystal grains. It's good that they do—engineering through a design process can feel harried and for some projects that does not...

Four short links: 1 September 2011

By Nat Torkington
September 1, 2011

A Chart Engine -- Android charting engine. The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight -- we are driven to create and form groups and then believe others are wrong just because they are others. Urban Mapping API -- add rich geographic data to web and non-web applications. Tell Us A Story, Victoria -- a university science story-telling contest....

Four short links: 15 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 15, 2011

Illusion Contest -- every year they run an open contest for optical illusions. Every year new perceptual illusions are discovered, exploiting hitherto unresearched areas of our brain's functioning. Citizen Science Alliance -- the team behind GalaxyZoo, who help other researchers in need of crowdsourcing support. Ancient Lives -- crowdsourced translation and reconstruction of ancient papyri from Oxyrhyncus, already found...

Four short links: 1 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 1, 2011

The Flashed Face Effect Video -- your brain is not perfect, and it reduces faces to key details. When they flash by in the periphery of your vision, you perceive them as gross and freakish. I like to start the week by reminding myself how fallible I am. Good preparation for the rest of the week... (via BERG London)...

Why don't they get it?

By Peter Bennett
July 15, 2011

If you comment on new technology, you should get to know as many of the quirks and biases of human behavior as you can. That's because you're modeling people first and technology second.

Four short links: 15 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 15, 2011

The Gender Question -- a clever solution to the vexed question of asking users for their gender. (via Luke Wroblewski) Katamari Damacy Creator Joins Glitch -- an amazing coup for Stewart Butterfield's new game. How Online Companies Get You to Spend More and Share More (Wired) -- Dan Ariely ("Predictably Irrational") tackles Amazon, Netflix, Groupon, etc. and shows how...

Four short links: 24 June 2011

By Nat Torkington
June 24, 2011

Eliza pt 3 -- delightful recapitulation of the reaction to Eliza and Weizenbaum's reaction to that reaction, including his despair over the students he taught at MIT. Weizenbaum wrote therein of his students at MIT, which was of course all about science and technology. He said that they "have already rejected all ways but the scientific to come to...

Four short links: 31 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 31, 2011

Debt: The First 5,000 Years -- Throughout its 5000 year history, debt has always involved institutions - whether Mesopotamian sacred kingship, Mosaic jubilees, Sharia or Canon Law - that place controls on debt's potentially catastrophic social consequences. It is only in the current era, writes anthropologist David Graeber, that we have begun to see the creation of the first...

Four short links: 3 November 2010

By Nat Torkington
November 3, 2010

Five Google Engineering Management Mistakes -- interesting to see informed criticism, because Google's style is often presented as a winning model. TLs [Tech Leads] were still evaluated as individual contributors. Leads to poor management practices: Grabbing all the sexy work for themselves; Providing negative evaluations for team members so they look good in comparison; Not paying attention to team...

Four short links: 19 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 19, 2010

YIMBY -- Swedish site for "Yes, In My Back Yard". Provides an opportunity for the net to aggregate positive desires ("please put a bus stop on my street", "we want wind power") rather than simply aggregating complaints. (via cityofsound on Twitter) Getting People in the Door -- a summary of some findings about people's approaches to the physical layout...

Four short links: 7 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 7, 2010

How to Manage Employees When They Make Mistakes -- sound advice on how to deal with employees who failed to meet expectations. Yet again, good parenting can make you a good adult. It’s strange to me that in the technology sector we have such a reputation for yellers. Maybe it’s business in general and not just tech. [...] People...

Four short links: 22 September 2010

By Nat Torkington
September 22, 2010

The Rise of Amazon Web Services -- Stephen O'Grady points out that Amazon has become an enterprise sales company but we don't treat it as such because we think of it as a retail company that's dabbling in technology. I think of Amazon as an automation company: they automate and optimize everything, and a data center is just a...

Behavioral Economics in Information Security

By Nitesh Dhanjani
September 12, 2010

In order to influence users to promote positive cultural change in security related behavior, the enforcers must comprehend additional variables such as the difference in the perspective of risk to the individual, psychological biases and simple behavioral economics.

Four short links: 11 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 11, 2010

10 Essential iPad Apps for Publication Designers -- a couple of interesting new suggestions here, including the New Zealand Herald (hated at home for including a bloated intro movie, but with interesting article presentation), and Paris Match (adding interactive features to almost every story). (via Simon St Laurent) Cooking in Silico: Heat Transfer in the Modern Kitchen (YouTube) --...

Four short links: 5 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 5, 2010

Delicious Links Clustered and Stacked (Matt Biddulph) -- six years of his delicious links, k-means clustered by tag and graphed. The clusters are interesting, but I wonder whether Matt can identify significant life/work events by the spikes in the graph. Open Data and the Voluntary Sector (OKFN) -- Open data will give charities new ways to find and share...

Four short links: 30 July 2010

By Nat Torkington
July 30, 2010

The No-Twinkie Database -- These are all the Twinkie Denial Conditions described in my “Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie!” Designer’s Notebook columns. Each one is an egregious design error, although many of them have appeared in otherwise great games. A collection of "don't do this" for app designers. (via waxy) Cloud Privacy Heat Map (Forrester) -- a map showing...

Four short links: 21 July 2010

By Nat Torkington
July 21, 2010

The Men Who Stare at Screens (NY Times) -- What was unexpected was that many of the men who sat long hours and developed heart problems also exercised. Quite a few of them said they did so regularly and led active lifestyles. The men worked out, then sat in cars and in front of televisions for hours, and their...

Behavior Modification for Developers

By Amy Blankenship
June 15, 2010

Have you ever found yourself avoiding rolling your mouse over part of the screen, knowing that something was going to pop up under your cursor that would keep you from getting on with what you were trying to do? Conversely,...

Four short links: 29 December 2009

By Nat Torkington
December 29, 2009

Turning The Page Online -- historic science books in high-resolution online. Hookes Micrografia was the first view of the microscopic world, and his astonishingly detailed and beautiful illustrations are there to view and print. Detailed Psychology of Trolls -- You might be surprised to learn that Trolls readily engage in long debates with fellow Trolls - people, that is,...

Four short links: 10 December 2009

By Nat Torkington
December 10, 2009

Scriblio -- open source CMS and catalogue built on WordPress, with faceted search and browse. (via titine on Delicious) Useful Temporal Functions and Queries -- SQL tricksies for those working with timeseries data. (via mbiddulph on Delicious) Optimal Starting Prices for Negotiations and Auctions --Mind Hacks discussion of a research paper on whether high or low initial prices lead...

Four short links: 19 August 2009

By Nat Torkington
August 19, 2009

Business Advice Plagued by Survivor Bias -- "Burying the other evidence: [...] Doesn't most business advice suffer from this fallacy? Harvard Business School's famous case studies include only success stories. To paraphrase Peter, what if twenty other coffee shops had the same ideas, same product, and same dedication as Starbucks, but failed? How does that affect what we can...

Four short links: 15 July 2009

By Nat Torkington
July 14, 2009

Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor (PNAS) -- We found that a trader's morning testosterone level predicts his day's profitability. We also found that a trader's cortisol rises with both the variance of his trading results and the volatility of the market. Our results suggest that higher testosterone may contribute to economic return, whereas...

Four short links: 14 July 2009

By Nat Torkington
July 14, 2009

Twenty Questions about GPLv3 (Jacob Kaplan-Moss) -- twenty very challenging questions about the GPLv3. foo.js is a JavaScript library released under the GPLv3. bar.js is a library with all rights reserved. For performance reasons, I would like to minimize all my site’s JavaScript into a single compressed file called foobar.js. If I distribute this file, must I also distribute...

Four short links: 9 July 2009

By Nat Torkington
July 8, 2009

Ten Rules That Govern Groups -- valuable lessons for all who would create or use social software, each backed up with pointers to the social science study about that lesson. Groups breed competition: While co-operation within group members is generally not so much of a problem, co-operation between groups can be hellish. People may be individually co-operative, but once...

Four short links: 7 July 2009

By Nat Torkington
July 6, 2009

Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them -- Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen. Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed. I have noticed this myself. It must be balanced...

Four short links: 2 June 2009

By Nat Torkington
June 2, 2009

TypeKit -- Jeff Veen's new startup, making typography on the web fail to suck. Every major browser is about to support the ability to link to a font. That means you can write a bit of CSS, include a URL to a font file, and have your page display with the typography you expect. While it’s technically quite easy...


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