Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Face-to-Face Social Interaction

Mobile devices allow us to connect with the rest of the world, regardless of where we are. People can now be reached anywhere. If something goes wrong at my kids’ school, for example, a teacher can let me know immediately, even if I’m in the middle of a meeting. People can also access information from anywhere. Before ordering dinner at a new restaurant, I can look the most popular dishes up on Yelp right from the table.

Ironically, however, while mobile devices connect us with the greater world, they often disengage us with what is directly around us. I know I have been guilty of pushing my children away while I catch up on one last email that could have easily waited. Mobile devices are so disruptive that we create rules to regulate their use (“No phones at the dinner table!”) and make up games to keep us away from our phones.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Preparing for a 100 Mile Walk

Although Cale and I won't start our walk to Great Wolf until this summer, we have already begun preparing. Mostly this has involved a lot of walking, although in a fit of whimsy I also ordered us calling cards (pictured above).

Monday, January 13, 2014

Laser Cutting and Wire Splicing

The transition back to work after the holidays can be hard, with rigorous pseudoscience declaring the first Monday back the most depressing day of the year. Lucky for me, I got to spend Blue Monday (and the rest of the week) having fun laser cutters and LED pixels with Chris, Shelly, Ivan, and Melissa.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Related Work: Measuring the Crowd Within

Measuring the Crowd Within: Probabilistic Representations Within Individuals
By Edward Vul and Harold Pashler
Psychological Science, 19(7): 2008.

Crowdsourcing researchers are familiar with the idea of the wisdom-of-crowds, whereby information from multiple different people can be pooled to produce a better outcome than any individual could produce alone. Vul and Pashler’s paper provides some fun common examples of wisdom-of-crowds in action, including:
This paper builds on the notion of the wisdom-of-crowds to ask: Can information collected multiple times from the same individual can also improve the outcome? The authors study this by asking participants to answer questions like, “What percentage of the world’s airports are in the United States?” twice. They find that when they average both answers they get a more accurate response than if they were to look at either answer individually.