29 July 2007

Unskilled & Unaware - the Kruger Dunning Model

Just read an article by Justin Kruger and David Dunning (1999) from Cornell University about the way that people who know less about a particular area overestimate their own skills and knowldge. Interesting also that further training helped people to perceive their limitations.

As Kruger and Dunning note in their abstract: "Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities."
Full text here

From Aide-mémoire

Reading - Vindication of the Rights of Women

Needed a break from reading Dante's Inferno (I can only take so much of hell in one go) so I decided to re-read Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

It is very easy for us women in the western world to forget that, not so long ago, our kind were mere chattels. Only a hundred years ago women were unable to hold property, vote or live independently of men.

The rights that have been achieved by women are worth fighting to keep and, as Wollstonecraft argues so fervently, education is an essential foundation.

28 July 2007

Quotation: Infringement of Human Freedom (Pitt the Younger)

Just came across an apt quotation for our times by William Pitt (the younger) from a speech in the House of Commons (November 18, 1783):

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."

Pitt made this statement at a time when Britain had been at war for many years (they had only just signed the Treaty of Paris with US in September 1783). Interesting to think that the UK and US were enemies once.

Speak LOLcat

At last a way to speak LOLcat more easily - a most excellent LOLcat translator (or in LOLcat: OH HAI AT LAST I FINDZ IT. I CAN TALK FLUENT LOLCAT NAO.)


Reading - The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Currently reading Dante's Inferno in the Everyman edition of the The Divine Comedy: Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso. It is one of those canonical classics that I've never bothered to read and is a fascinating journey through the circles of hell replete with rich language and classical allusions.

As I work my way through some DWM* classic reading material next on my reading list is Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Although it might be a while as the Divine Comedy is not small.

* Dead White Male

23 July 2007

Current reading: Blink - by Malcolm Gladwell

Currently reading Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. It is a bit scary to think that many of our decisions are made sub-rationally.

21 July 2007


I am just obsessed with LOLcats at the moment - they make me laugh. The site is described as "the number one place to find all of your funny cat macros, memes and all round lolcats in one place on the web". It really does have great lolcats (it's weird as I'm usually a dog person)

grasshoppers - ning v. facebook?

Chris Brogan has been experimenting with a new social network called 'grasshoppers' - people helping people. He has created it in two places: Ning and Facebook (although it did seem to migrate through Google groups quite quickly on the way to Ning).

It will be interesting to see which one is preferred. I like Ning better as I've been participating in other groups on that platform and it is very easy to use.

5 Worst Websites - TIME

the 5 top websites to avoid (according to Time) are:

Agree with them regarding Myspace & SecondLife, but eVite just looks like it needs a refresh! Meez is still kind of fun though.

16 July 2007

Women in ICT - Setup for Success Workshops

AIIA and ACS recently ran the SET Up for Success workshops in Australia. These are designed to help advance the careers of women in the ICT industry, with a one-day program covering topics such as the skills required to navigate a successful ICT career, succeed in a male-dominated working environment and maintain work/life balance. There are some good resources available on the website.

15 July 2007

US ruling makes server RAM a 'document'?

Sometimes I think that judges have not quite joined the 21st century! Suspect this one does not know what RAM actually is and how it is used? Talk about things that make you go hmmm ... here is an interesting ruling that was recently reported on ZDNET by Greg Sandoval, CNET News.com on 15 June 2007 10:15 AM:

"news analysis: A federal judge in Los Angeles last week ruled (PDF) that a computer server's RAM, or random-access memory, is a tangible document that can be stored and must be turned over in a lawsuit.

If allowed to stand, the groundbreaking ruling may mean that anyone defending themselves in a civil suit could be required to turn over information in their computer's RAM hardware, which could force companies and individuals to store vast amounts of data, say technology experts. Roaming the Web anonymously was already nearly impossible. This ruling, which brings up serious privacy issues, could make it a lot harder." read more

14 July 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The BBC documentary the Great Global Warming Swindle went to air on the ABC TV in Australia last week and it gave rise to some vigorous debates in our office. It led to an interesting discussion about relativism and scientificity. Some people argued that, since the majority of the scientists agree that global warming is a problem we should listen to them. Others argued that the majority of scientists might be wrong. As I see it, even if the majority of scientists are wrong but we reduce our emissions and carbon footprint anyway there is no harm to the planet, only benefit. This is very similar to Y2K, we all fixed up our computer systems, which was a good thing, and the world was not made worse by doing so.

7 July 2007

Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

The World Society for the Protection of Animals is one of many animal care organisations that is campaigning for a universal declaration on animal welfare. Why is it important? Because recognized principles of animal welfare could help achieve:

  • Recognition of the importance of the welfare of sentient animals;
  • Improved practices for sustainable agriculture;
  • Lessened risk of transmissible diseases such as BSE, rabies, bird flu;
  • More productive relationships between people and the animals under their control including companion animals, working animals, and farm animals;
  • A more compassionate global attitude to animals and their welfare, including attitudes towards their needs and habitats;
  • Promote biodiversity and acknowledge the risks to animals caused by climate change, habitat loss, pollution and other environmental factors;
  • Provide a benchmark for those countries with little or no animal welfare standards.
Sign the petition for the declaration on animal welfare .

6 July 2007

Wyld Report - Government in the Era of Web 2.0

The Wyld Report, is worth a read. It is published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government, discusses the implications of web 2.0 for government. It also provides a good history of blogging and gives some case studies about government application.

3 July 2007

The good and bad Of Web 2.0 tools

itnews.com.au has an article discussing The good and bad Of Web 2.0 tools

Worth noting that there is more buzz about Enterprise 2.0 now. All this leads to the need to think about how IT departments will deal with user communities (who often have better tools at home than at work) and their desires for more easy to use functionality like that available online in web 2.0.

IT departments are focused on stability and order, while the user community just wants to get on with things.

What Your Sign-off is Really Saying

Interesting article at Entrpreneur.com about "What Your Sign-off is Really Saying - Find out what business etiquette experts have to say about the expressions we use to end work-related e-mails.

It makes you think - 'cheers' is my favoured casual sign-off , but 'regards' seems a bit more formal?

2 July 2007

"How not to suck at socializing"

Good piece over at Life Hack on 'how not to suck at socializing' - I am often lost for conversation at functions.

I especially liked their most important point:

"Don’t feel like you have to do anything. You’re out for your own reasons and want to do your own thing. Different things work for different people. For instance, you might never feel comfortable approaching strangers. Find your own groove and be yourself."

1 July 2007

Social Networking Generation Gap?

At dinner with some gen x and baby boomer friends the other night it became clear that there is a generation gap between gen x, baby boomers and gen y et al. This generation gap is different to that which existed between my parents and my grandparents. The old generation gap was revealed via music - that is, my parents listened to rock and roll while my grandparents listened to Bing Crosby and other crooners.

The generation gap is now revealed via use of technology. Everyone from grandparents to toddlers listens to a wide variety of modern music - eclectica reigns. However, it is in attitudes to technology and social networking that the modern generation gap is revealed.

While gen x is happy to use LinkedIn to keep track of contacts, they are must less interested in Twittering with their friends, and the baby boomers were utterly horrified by very notion of Twitter and other tumblelogs.

Several of the male baby boomers had only recently acquired mobile phones (2G not 3G) and only turned them on to make an outbound call (to the endless frustration of their gen x & y mates). Their gen x partners could not conceive of life without a mobile phone, but drew the line at text based communications like SMS and IM.

On the other hand my gen y friends (who did not attend this dinner) would have been bemused to discover that there were people who did not live by text & instant messaging.

As for me, in my usual eclectic way, I do all of the above depending on how I feel.