Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 24 March 2016


Educating the Next Analytics "Bilinguals" • 5 January 2016

What's a Data Science and Analytics pro?—they are going to tell us. David Meer observes in this post that "As data analysis becomes a more prevalent and powerful lever for strategy and growth, organizations increasingly need bilinguals to form the bridge between the work of advanced data scientists and business decision makers…Obvious? Perhaps. But it isn't clear how to cultivate bilinguals. What skills and experiences do they need and what programs and curricula should colleges and universities develop to help them grow?"

It seems to me that this parallels the discussions in our domain about how to bring into the library the skill sets necessary to provide the emerging research information management and data stewardship services that are needed. In addition to wondering how we recruit and acculturate these "non-traditional" individuals we are having conversations (see this OCLC Research report or this one from Ithaka S+R) about exactly what skills we expect them to have. Most interesting to me was Meer's report that there is a group called the Business Higher-Education Forum (BHEF) taking this on. While they have not yet made curricular suggestions, they intend to do that. We should watch that space; these are the big dogs. (Michalko)



Albert Bandura to Receive National Medal of Science

Association for Psychological Research Observer Big Think • February 2016

"Albert Bandura, one of the most famous psychologists of all time, has just received the National Medal of Science. According to a 2002 study, Bandura is the most eminent living psychologist and the fourth most cited of all time.

His famous Bobo doll experiments in 1961 and 1963 are some of the most influential psychological studies ever, as their findings have been replicated by numerous studies since."

These are the experiments that confirmed his theory of social learning: that we learn through observing, imitating, and modeling. His later studies established that we have control over our reactions. We can self-regulate, choose and control. When we believe there are things we can control we feel empowered; when things are beyond control we feel helpless. This insight continues to inform much of the self-improvement and personnel management advice that swirls in the zeitgeist. See for instance, Why What Happens Every Day Means More Than Scoring A Big Success.

I just saw this very good post that makes the empowerment point to persuasive effect: Why It Is a Big Thing To Take Action On Small Things. It is a guest post on by Skip's friend and mentor Bruce Rhoades, who retired after having run several companies. He often helps Skip with strategy. (Michalko)

P.S. This is one of a number of foundational experiments done at the Bing Nursery School on the Stanford campus. You are probably familiar with the Stanford marshmallow experiments on delayed gratification. If you are curious about the school's interesting history and other experiments try "Bing Nursery School: Educating the World's Youngest Research Subjects" on the Priceonomics blog.

P.P.S. Bobo Or Bozo? Epic Legal Battle Fizzles At Fair.



All Those Office Perks? They're Ruining Creativity

Los Angeles Times Op-ed • 17 January 2016

Bean Bag chairs are bad for you on a lot of levels. Eric Weiner is the author of The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places From Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley. In this op-ed piece his thesis is that employers sometimes believe that they should "Give employees all the tools they need to innovate, make space for a little fun, then watch the sparks fly." He contends however that "The truth about creativity, however, is considerably less convenient. Discomfort, and even a degree of hardship, are what drive creativity, not bean bag chairs and ping pong tables."

I suspect he is not wrong. Having written his book after spending considerable time in Silicon Valley he likely knows of what he speaks. From my vantage point here in the Valley I see signs that the tide may have turned. Far fewer foosball (or as Wikipedia would have it—table soccer) and ping pong tables are in evidence. (Michalko)



"Misbehaving": When Psychology Meets Economics

Knowledge@wharton • 13 January 2016

If "homo economicus" actually existed they would be complete jerks. This is an interview with the father of behavioral economics, Richard Thaler, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, prompted by the release of his new book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. He speaks "about why he wrote the book, where behavioral economics has had the most impact, and which decision-making bias he would remove if he had a magic wand."

This is not a comprehensive interview that will substitute as an overview of behavioral economics but it reminds us how the concept of the rational economic being made some economic theory unrecognizable in the real world. Once again some of my favorite behavioral biases get called out and explained—confirmation bias and hindsight bias. He has an interesting suggestion about the latter—before making a big decision make everybody write stuff down. That way you'll "have it on record that nobody anticipated the fact that our competitor was going to introduce a better version of our great idea two months before the launch, and we had no way of knowing that was going to happen." (Michalko)

P.S. Dr. Thaler's cameo in The Big Short movie explaining synthetic collateralized debt obligations with Selena Gomez was pretty brilliant—like all the explanatory cameos.



Fleek, Found, Forces (kinetic)

Video: adding on fleek to Oxford Dictionaries
OxfordWords blog • 14 January 2016

Don't Forget Your Toothbrush (or Your Shetland Pony): The Strange Things Left Behind in Hotel Rooms
Economist • 13 January 2016

This 175-Step Rube Goldberg Device Might Be The World's Most Elaborate Soda Machine
Mental Floss • 18 January 2016

The first because it brings home how much the practice of lexicography has changed in the digital context (but it is also kind of funny).

The second because I have always been able to replace a misplaced charger for my electronic devices by asking to see the hotel's lost and found box (but I never thought to ask if they had a Chewbacca costume; see this Travelodge list).

The last because it is an astonishing investment of effort in something that will be seen by few (but it also brings to mind the more professional and intriguing videos of the pop group 'OK Go' and the granddaddy of all kinetic art installations The Way Things Go [video]) (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what will be facilitated by using identifiers to point to "things" rather than relying on text strings?

Get the answer.