Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Paul Zak on Trust, morality -- and oxytocin

Within our biology, we have both the yin and the yang of morality, oxytocin that connects us to others and makes us feel what they feel, and testosterone, that makes us want to punish people who behave immorally.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

2011 Dave deBronkart: Meet ePatient Dave

The most underutilized resource in healthcare is the patient, and it is time the healthcare system broke down the barriers between patients and their data, which ought to be made available to web-based healthcare tools like Google Body and Acor with the motto 'Let patients help!'

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 Alice Dreger: Is Anatomy Destiny?

The concept of anatomical commonality ("All men are created equal") being more important than anatomical difference ("Kings have 'royal blood' in their veins"), an idea which the American Founding Fathers are credited with, is a movement towards a naturalistic worldview and laid the ground for universalizing entitlement to human rights despite anatomical differences and anomalies.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2011 Leonard Susskind : My friend Richard Feynman

"We should honor Feynman by getting as much baloney out of our own sandwiches as we can!"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 David Brooks on The Social Animal

Recent neuroscience is challenging the classical view of humans as 'rational animals' which led to a dehumanizing bias in societies, and instead offering a view of humans as social animals deeply inter-penetrated within one another, a view which can have a humanizing influence urging to society to value previously under-cultivated traits such as Mindsight (adopting another's viewpoint), Equipoise (recognizing our own biases ), Metis (knack of gist-extraction), Sympathy (facility for better group communication), Blending (of once disparate concepts) and 'Limerence' ('losing oneself' in a creation or relationship). 

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 Deb Roy on The Birth of a Word

Datasets of 24x7 home-videos can be mined using novel analytics and visualization methods like 'space-time worms' and 'interaction threads' (activity traces of individuals/groups of interest) and 'word-scapes' (showing  'peaks' high usage of a given word in a context-space) can yield chronological records of language acquisition by infants, and can be applied to annotate TV content to reveal 'co-viewing cliques'.

Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Courtney Martin on Reinventing Feminism

The discourse of the feminist movement has undergone a generational shift and is no longer about 'patriarchy' but about 'intersectionality', and social action is defined no longer by 'protest marches' but by 'online organizing', notably feminist blogging which has been shown to drive real institutional shifts like pulling items of supermarket shelves and firing openly misogynistic clergypersons.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2011 Wael Ghonim Inside the Egyptian Revolution

Because of the Internet, truth prevailed and anonymous administrators through unplanned events were able to demonstrate that 'the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power' and pull off Revolution 2.0 where 'no-one was hero because everyone was hero' .

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 Martin Jacques on understanding the rise of China

To understand the rise of China to superpowerdom, the West must recognize that China is (i) a 'civilization state' unlike a nation-state in the Western model (and thus able to sustain 'one country-many systems') (ii) largely ethnically homogenous (unlike any nation of comparable population) and (iii) a society revering the State as a family patriarch, without the Western notion of minimal government.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 Thomas Goetz: It's time to redesign medical data

Healthcare delivery is not just about conveying information  to people, but convincing them to make  behavioral changes and aiding decision-making, for example by replacing illegible fine-print drug information sheets with a  compact 'Drug Facts' box in ads; and making lab reports more readable and actionable with full-colour graphic summaries, inbuilt glossaries and suggested followups.

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Elizabeth Lesser 'Take the Other to lunch'

All civil strife begins with negative 'other-izing' talk and one way to counter this is by taking the Other (eg. a Democrat if you are a Republican or vice versa) to lunch and asking 3 questions: Share some of your life experiences with me. What issues deeply concern you? What have you always wanted to ask someone from the other side?

2010 Barry Schwartz on using our practical wisdom

Introducing more rules and rewards under the pretext of making organizations more reliable, ends up demoralizing professional activity by addicting people to incentives, and Practical Wisdom is the will and skill to know how and when to bend the rules, but only in the service of the right aims, harming neither others nor ourselves in the process.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2010 Tom Chatfield on 7 ways games reward the brain

Games reward brains by 1) experience bars (real-time, not post-hoc measures of progress), 2) multiple short- and long-term aims (gets interest unsustainable by a single goal) 3) rewards for effort (even for trying) 4) feedback (to clearly link action with consequences) 5) an element of uncertainty (possibility of unknown rewards besides known ones) 6) windows of enhanced attention( that increase retention & risk appetite) and 7) collaboration opportunites.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 R A Mashelkar on breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products

'Gandhian Engineering' combines innovation, compassion and passion to 'get more from less for more' to generate not just value for money, but value for many, and is exemplified by ultra-low-cost products like the $2000 Tata Nano (cheaper than the $19700 Model T) and $28 Jaipur foot (usable on rougher terrain than $20000 prosthetic limbs!).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010 Tim Jackson's economic reality check

To respond to the dilemma of 'trash-the-system-or-crash-the-planet', we must replace the current economy's obsession with consumption-driven growth (forcing us to spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about), with a system that harnesses our altruism and innovation through enterprises with ecological and social goals like Ecosia.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2010 Steven Johnson on where good ideas come from

More breakthroughs happen at conference tables and weekly lab meetings than while poring over a microscope, and don't always arrive in a flash but are the result of slow hunches with people patiently allowing ideas to 'fade into view' unhindered by deadlines and hence it is advisable for organizations to adopt 'hunch cultivating mechanisms' like Google's 20% innovation time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 Nicholas Christakis on how social networks predict epidemics

Instead of blanket vaccination, targeted vaccination of people in the central nodes of a social network (found by a survey asking members to nominate other members with more friends than them) is more effective in achieving herd immunity and besides control of epidemics, availability of such data from social networks heralds the beginning of Computational Social Science as a valid discipline.

2010 Chris Anderson on how web video powers global innovation

Astonishingly rapid cycles of improvement in fields as diverse as experimental microbiology and unicycling  are now being driven by people watching web videos, which provide unprecedented visibility, a means to quickly spot-light top-performers and overcome the limitations of the written word by instead harnessing humankind's evolutionarily fine-tuned specialty of face-to-face conversation .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010 Ben Cameron on the true power of the performing arts

The Internet has democratized the means of artistic production and distribution in an unprecedented way, causing the emergence of new species of artists like 'pro-ams' (amateurs performing at a professional level) and 'professional hybrid artists' (voluntary performers for charitable causes) whose work is redefining the role of traditional cultural institutions as profoundly as the Reformation did the Church.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2010 Sugata Mitra on the child-driven education

Drawing on the successes of the Hole-in-the-Wall experiments, an illustration of which is the astonishing performance of a group of 26 twelve-year old Tamil-speaking students in a biotechnology class in English, Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs) offer a promising solution to our need of educating 1 billion children, with an investment of 180 billion dollars over 10 years.