Stanford graduates get schooled on how to solve Silicon Valley’s sexism and racism problem


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Facts (and Minds) are Stubborn Things


Above the Market

When making his defense of some British soldiers during the Boston Massacre trials in December of 1770, John Adams (later the second President of the United States) offered a famous insight. “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  Legal Papers of John Adams, 3:269. In a similar vein, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said that “[e]veryone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

I have often warned about our proclivity to and preference for stories to the exclusion of data (for example, here, here and here). Because stories are so powerful, we want the facts to be neatly packaged into a compelling narrative. Take a look at John Boswell‘s delightful send-up of this technique in the TED context below.


We crave “wonder, insight [and] ideas.” Facts?

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Why is Sociology Valuable?


Social Health

3ATY4m1Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has made several public comments suggesting that sociology is irrelevant to matters of crime. Last year he used the humorous phrase, “now is not the time to commit sociology.” This year, his anti-sociological sentiment was revealed once again in his comment stating that crime against aboriginal women is not a sociological phenomenon.

The Prime Minister suggests that the police and the criminal justice system are the appropriate response, rather than investigating crime sociologically. His reason is that these are individual criminal acts, not symptoms of problematic social structures.

Harpers comments are not necessarily anti-intellectual. Rather, they are just anti-sociological, As suggested by Jakeet Singh in The Star, his comments are the result of a neo-liberal ideology of individualism:

Harper received a degree in economics and supports the merits of a global free-market, giving him a valid reason why he holds an anti-sociological…

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How Humans Spend Their Time Has Changed


Technopreneurph

How Humans Spend Their Time Has Changed image Hours of Work Per Week

Over the last 150 years, how humans spend their time has changed quite drastically.  As the chart above shows, the amount of time humans spend working has been on a steady decline over the last century and a half.  by In most countries, the typical work week has dropped by approximately 30 hours over the last 150 years.

On average, humans live 75 years.  That?s about 3,900 weeks. Or 27,000 days. Or 648,000 hours. We spend about a third of that time sleeping, and that number hasn?t changed over the last century.  What has changed drastically is how we spend our time when we are awake.

There are 168 hours in a week and we spend 56 hours of the week sleeping.  This leaves 112 hours for everything else.  If you go back 150 years, humans spent 70 hours of the 112 working.  However, how humans spend their time has…

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Facebook Using Social Sciences


CreepTicker

A few months ago, Bonnie Tsui wrote a piece over at Pacific Standarad on Facebook’s Compassion Research Day. 

According to Tsui, the social media giant has brought together social scientists from across the Ivy League to help it better understand how people interact online. 

Specifically, Facebook was concerned about anti-social social networking behaviour. How can users better communicate their dissatisfaction with unflattering pictures? How can we help teens cope with bullying? 

On one level this is all great: Facebook fine tunes its tools so that users are better able to voice their concerns. However, I notice that the newly developed solutions usually involve deeper investment in Facebook: sending messages to other users, opening up conversations with other user. 

“The changes have more than tripled the rate at which people send a message directly to another user asking for a photo to be removed. And of those requests, 85 percent of the…

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The Meaning of Happiness Changes Over Your Lifetime


Center for Advanced Hindsight

Swinging Happiness for BlogThe following is a scientific and personal article written by CAH member Troy Campbell about happiness.

One lovely afternoon, I began chatting to my grandpa. I was completely unaware he was about to say something that would change my view of happiness forever.

In the middle of our conversation, I felt a lull so I pulled out the classic question. “If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?” I couldn’t wait to talk about my long list of dead presidents, dead Beatles, dead scientists, and a really cute living movie star. But I was also really eager to hear what he’d say.

Then he simply answered, “My wife.”

I immediately assured him it’s not necessary for him to answer like that. We all knew he loves his wife, whom he eats dinner with every night and was currently over in the other room…

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