Smells Like ‘Preen’ Spirit

Does your sweetheart smell sexy? It might not be only their looks that make them hot… or not. Scent is one of the most basic ways animals exchange information, but many animals are thought to primarily use other modes of communication, like acoustic or visual signals, to indicate their status and quality as a mate. …

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Project Einstein

I met Jonathan Rothberg, a real pioneer in genetic sequencing technology, at Scifoo back in 2008 (see Gene machines). Jonathan’s foundation is now backing an effort similar to the BGI Cognitive Genomics project. He may not remember, but we had a long conversation about this topic on the bus from the hotel to the Googleplex. …

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Comida Auténtico

Some blogs back (actually it was 2012) I posted a particularly obscure blog about Jean-Paul Sartre’s waiter. Sooo concerned about playing the role of the waiter to a tee, he was, in Jean-Paul’s existential lingo, trying to be a thing. And in doing THAT he was denying his authentic self, which is to be in …

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The Movement Evolves

Possibilitator has authored a couple brief blogs “The False God of Profit” and “Evolution in Investing” on the divestment from fossil fuel companies in the past few months. Such movements, like any grassroots popular uprising are usually smugly discarded by the powers that be. This was true of the 40 hour work week, the end …

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Feedback in Systems

Systems use feedback of various kinds to recalibrate in adapting to circumstances. It’s part of evolution. it’s part of social systems. Without feedback systems can spin out of control and crash. Joseph Stiglitz was a Nobel awardee in economics for essentially saying the same thing – that markets work, but only if there is full …

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The Fate of Empires

(Click picture for video) John Bagot Glubb, a British soldier in the first and second world war, and British Commander of the Arab Legion during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, wrote a number of books including The Fate of Empires, which examines regularities in the rise and fall of 11 empires over 3000 years. The …

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New Publication: Defining the Public Health Threat of Dietary Supplement Fraud

If you thought Food Fraud prevention was challenging… take a look at Dietary Supplement Fraud (DSF)!  There are probably 100 times more products, 100 times more ingredients, and 100 times less regulation and enforcement.  As a purchaser or consumer, the same principles apply:  “know your supplier” and “trust but verify.”  Our new publication will be …

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Inspiring a Vision

A few years ago I was sitting in a meeting with my then-boss at the time. I remember telling her I was amazed at how she could manage so many personalities on our staff and all the “stuff”  — our family life, our concerns, wishes for a promotion, personal goals, etc. — each of us …

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Number sense and math ability

This is consistent with my experience as a parent and educator: my guess is that number sense is a cognitive module, at least somewhat distinct from general intelligence, and somewhat hardwired. Number sense in infancy predicts mathematical abilities in childhood (PNAS) Abstract: Human infants in the first year of life possess an intuitive sense of …

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Talkin’ About Sustainability

This week marks Campus Sustainability Week across the U.S. Many campuses are putting extra efforts into sharing the ideas and possibilities behind approaches that might make our present and future more habitable for all. The overwhelming emphasis on most campuses when talking about sustainability is environmental sustainability. Most often this is synonymous with greening or …

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GradHacker on Pinterest

GradHacker first discussed the social network Pinterest in April of 2012, and we are finally taking our own advice and setting up an account. As GradHacker Terry Brock described it in his post on the subject, “The tool itself is simple: when you find something you think is interesting,  you ‘pin’ it to a topical …

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On Lincoln and Logic

I read a tweet today from Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Based on comments from winning players, it’s remarkable how much time God spends to help athletes defeat their opponents.” I replied: “Sports is a lot like politics and war in that respect.” And that reminded me of Abraham Lincoln, and so I wrote: “Why Lincoln 2nd inaugural …

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Mixed Messages: Policing the Public/Private Boundaries of Cultural Production on the Nintendo DS

I’ll be speaking as part of a panel at the upcoming Association of Internet Researchers IR14 Conference in Denver, Colorado. That panel, Strategies and Tactics for Promoting Indie Game Design will be Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 9AM to 10:30AM. I’ll be trying to historicize “Indie” a bit, talking about homebrew game development and hobbyist …

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The Impact of Prevention Defines the Value of Enforcement and Prosecution

Reflections on my week here at the Interpol 2013 International Law Enforcement Intellectual Crime Conference, Dublin, Ireland Food Fraud is a focus of Interpol, and the next big food crime Operation Opson  already has 32 countries participating.  The increasing impact on public health is being felt, which is providing a significant opportunity to further understand food crime. …

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Playing a Broken Game: Digital Publics at Play in US Classrooms

In addition to my panel presentation, I’ll be speaking as part of a roundtable at the upcoming Association of Internet Researchers IR14 Conference in Denver, Colorado. That roundtable, titled, Producing Digital Publics from Gaming to Crowdsourcing, will have me discussing briefly recent ethnographic work surrounding serious games in US classrooms. ABSTRACT From the multiplayer classroom …

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Evolution in Investing

With the renewed interest in looking at investments from more than a short-term financial gain for shareholders, to the some of the costs of playing this rigged game, the Fossil Free movement, like the anti-Apartheid movement that preceded it has stirred the brou-ha-ha. For individual investors looking for fossil free funds to put their surplus …

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The Whole and the Parts

All excerpts from any longer work are unavoidably only pieces of a larger whole. The accelerated speed by which information flows in our modern world, thus make seeing the whole more difficult. Context is often lost. Even so, as I select passages from things I read, I am always hopeful that the message is that …

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Standards

I’m not sure who it was who said, “Standards! The young folks today just ain’t got no standards!” But the thrusts of today’s blog is to assert that in the world of food at least, people today have more standards than at any time in history. There are ‘fair trade’ standards, good agricultural practice (GAP) …

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Student Referrals: How and When

Many of us regularly refer students to different university services. Without batting an eye, I’ve encouraged students to visit the University Writing Center, to set up a meeting with a subject librarian, or to see a tutor in the English Language Center. These fantastic services can offer more specialized attention than I am able to give, …

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Creation, Myths and Twitter

Great article by Nick Bilton on the creation myth (and true story) behind Twitter. To see that luck plays an unimaginably huge role in life you just need to look carefully at the story behind any successful company or entrepreneur. NYTimes: … Soon, the question of a name came up. Williams jokingly suggested calling the …

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Bezos quotes

These quotes appear in an excerpt from a new biography by Brad Stone. Stone uncovers some new ground — tracking down Bezos’ long-lost biological father, who was unaware(!) that his son had become a billionaire e-commerce titan. I had always heard that Bezos has a vulcan or hyper-rational management style. It’s good to know he occasionally loses …

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