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perfection of means and confusion of goals
don't take us far, chatting is not talking
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The most shared article this week was Einstein on perfection of means and confusion of goals.
 

We also learned about:

We chat, except we don't actually talkIn our haste to solve a problem — from collaborating and getting on the same page, to becoming more efficient, from discovering new things and meeting people, to learning a new skill — we forget about the side effects of not talking with each other.
 
Cognitive psychology and the beauty premium. When 111 of the most renowned designers and theorists mobilize to explain the value of design to tech, we can learn. 1 billion is a large number.
 
What do we really need to know? At a time when answers may be just a short search or text away, we expend little to no effort in understanding how to use knowledge to extrapolate information that gives us actionable data.
 
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Last edition "making new things happen" included thoughts on why aren't we very interested in economics, making new things happen, the power of an open mind, and more. If you missed it, read it here.
Reading Notes
 
The Thin Book of Trust by Charles Feltman is a short read. The focus is to learn to build and maintain trust in the workplace. Feltman defines trust as choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.

Find a more complete list of what I'm reading here.

Seven things to think about:

1./  How the change makers are those who must think hard about the fundamentals. Innovation comes in different flavors. "Some say influences in the formative years have the greatest impact, as is evidenced by Picasso's unparalleled, technical mastery, but sometimes, late exposure has profound effects, jolting an artist into road-paving mode, whereas a well-trained genius takes technique and style for granted."

2. /  A conversation with theoretical physicist Brian Greene about Netflix's popular Stranger Things is a Sci-Fi horror series. The show utilizes some serious scientific theories, which peaked curiosity and interest for the conversation. Where conventional language is challenging to describe some of these concepts, we can use mathematics to describes what's going on. Greene is a master at explaining complex information visually.

3./  The "minority rules" phenomenon. Nassin Nicholas Taleb talks about the asymmetry of choices and complex systems. "We can say that markets aren’t the sum of market participants, but price changes reflect the activities of the most motivated buyer and seller. Yes, the most motivated rules."

4./  Beyond bias. "On the whole, biases are helpful and adaptive. They enable people to make quick, efficient judgments and decisions with minimal cognitive effort. But they can also blind a person to new information, or inhibit someone from considering valuable options when making an important decision."

5./  What is it like to understand advanced mathematics? "The biggest misconception that non-mathematicians have about how mathematicians work is that there is some mysterious mental faculty that is used to crack a research problem all at once." A break down of the many ways advanced mathematics works. See also how mathematicians are overselling the idea that "math is everywhere."

6./  The world is not falling apart. In fact, it's still in a more peaceful period than at any other time. "News is a misleading way to understand the world. It’s always about events that happened and not about things that didn’t happen." Pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, says psychologist and polymath Steven Pinker. Shall we pull a bus out of the mud?

7./ The best children's books on science. "It’s never too young to start learning about how the world around us in all ways. And that includes simple introductions to some of the principles about the everyday science that surrounds us."
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One more thing:

Being in the real world and experiencing it often is valuable for organizations and for us as individuals. We learn better when we include observation and feedback to test our hypotheses. Which is why it's time for scientists to also come out of their labs and into the real world.

A few salient points in this historically-grounded and excellent panoramic of where science originated and got its funding and how ti functions today.
  • Science has been important for technological development.
  • Much of today’s technological world exists because of DOD’s role in catalyzing and steering science and technology toward the solution of problems it wanted to solve
  • Which is how the war on cancer began by the waging of Major General Richard Travis, the Army’s research and development director
  • But, “At some point, you really have to save a life”
  • Science started reciprocating its contribution to technology with the German dye-making industry
  • But in reality technology sets the agenda for science, guiding it in its most productive directions and providing continual tests of its validity, progress, and value
  • We do have a problem with the validity of much of existing research in the fields related to health, biomedicine, and psychology. But the problems are likely to be as bad or worse in many other research areas
  • This is due to perverse incentives and a bias toward the new result
  • The bias exists because much of science is detached from the goals and agendas of the military-industrial innovation system, which long gave research its focus and discipline
  • In science (as in many other disciplines) quoting someone else provides credibility. the problem is that so much of what is out there is a product of the faulty system
  • Not all science deals with uncertainty. A combination of predictable behavior and invariant fundamental attributes makes the physical sciences valuable in contributing to technological advance
While technology keeps science honest, the complexity of human-related domains involves too many assumptions and much mediation. With so much at stake scientists have a hard time heeding to “selfless honesty.”

What we need is some accountability. “At some point, you really have to save a life.” Society is the customer.

 

With gratitude,
Valeria
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