Killed the Future

Politico Magazine • 15 January 2014

Sound familiar? Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff says he finds himself chasing "now" all the time, as "present shock" derails the ability to plan for the long-term. "There's no time for context, only for crisis management." Rushkoff's commentary focuses on politics, but the consequences of instant-everything trickle down to every organization.

This is about being present in the worst sense—where only the current gets attention or reflection and then only until the next "present" intrudes. Certainly we see this played out across the range of corporate settings where long-term thinking and value creation is often overwhelmed by near-term goals. Having been conceived for the long-term, will libraries within academic settings have an easier time? Refer here to the wonderful (but likely apocryphal) story of the Oxford oaks. (Michalko)

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Bias check. Statistical misrepresentation has become a common media ploy in fighting today's politically polarized media wars, and author Charles Wheelan (Naked Statistics) offers some timely suggestions on how to spot some of the more commonly exploited statistical biases.

I have long advised anybody who would listen that the course they should pay the most attention to is statistics. It will serve you well in almost every professional endeavor. And those who reported back on their experience heartily agreed. Boom. My own version of Healthy User Bias. Big problem in epidemiology. (I liked Charles Wheelan's ideas enough to want to follow his NakedEconomics blog. He hasn't yet got the hang of it.) (Michalko)

The People of the Book vs. The People of the Kindle

Tablet • 14 January 2014

Going spineless. Author Ann Marlowe observes that a surprising number of e-reader aficionados are now divesting themselves of their hardcopy libraries: "Still, it's odd that the trend toward getting rid of one's books co-exists with a valorization of collecting in almost every other sphere." Read on for Marlowe's musings about the tactile pleasures of personal libraries and what it means to be a collector.

This is a prickly and personalized apologia for devoting one-fifth of your dwelling to an un-used library. "Book purging is an essentially Protestant impulse . . . " Wow. Mine had to go to make room for my pink elephant collection. (Michalko)

For Innovation: Culture Trumps Office Design

Game-changer • 17 January 2014

Shake it up. Innovation strategist Jorge Barba says in his experience, using workplace design to boost innovation is only part of the equation: " . . . [U]nless there is [a] direct way to nudge those specific behaviors, in most cases, it's not going to work . . . No space, for instance, can change a culture that is risk-averse or that stifles experimenting, partnering, or sharing." Read on for Barba's suggestions on ways to kickstart corporate culture change.

You knew this but with all the spaces out there getting renovated and reconfigured it's good to be clear-eyed about what that effort will likely accomplish. (Michalko)

Period Piece

Weekly Standard • 13 January 2014

What?! Wordsmiths will enjoy this review of Keith Houston's Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and other Typographical Marks, which offers a concise history of punctuation marks, from their origins in ancient Greece to the evolution of the @ sign.

It's fun to see the shards of the past as they present in our evolved punctuation. I'm thinking of the pilcrow. And why don't other people pine for the interrobang‽ And if I'd known about these I'd pine for even more. (Michalko)

Feeling Mad? New Devices Can Sense Your Mood and Tell—or Even Text—Others

The Washington Post • 13 January 2014

Can you feel me now? Check out the latest on wearable sensors that can assess your mood, alert your friends and give tips on how to manage stress. The devices have been tested with autistic children and harried parents—but it's possible to imagine other uses, such as personal productivity enhancement or exercise motivation.

It never occurred to me that I might have a need for hackles in anything but a metaphorical sense. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, who are the most recent OCLC/ALISE Library and Information Science Research Grant recipients?

Get the answer.