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I'm a psychologist turned technologist, with 16+ years' experience in management consulting.
Interests: Economic psychology and behavioral economics, mapping, historical maps, demographics, genealogy, graphic design, mythology, anything to do with technology, reading (fiction, non-fiction and anything in between), movies, travel, international affairs, music (tastes range from classical to hip-hop), satire, yoga, and swimming.
Recent Activity
Dear Diary. This incredibly difficult and challenging for all the right reasons... It is so rich; The research is so broad, deep, and well-done; The opportunity, and the need, are so great. But I am doing it on my own. I need interlocutors and I have none. That makes it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2023 at EAGER
Possible find! The problem with the internet: An affordance-based approach for psychological research on networked technologies ....A call for good attention to an area that desperately needs it but is unaware of its need. Brown, O., Smith, L. G. E., Davidson, B. I., & Ellis, D. A. (2022). The problem... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2023 at EAGER
dimensions of soceity is the butterfly effect real. nature (field) intensity breadth what is/was the inception is there a theory of the case maybe no overarching theory what’s the theory what are the measures (sociology) Dunbar's (?) premise about 150 people communities (geographic) SCALE issue Weather undertheorized & fb is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2022 at EAGER
how communication is the same how it’s different public and private. propaganda profiling vs. commercial profiling. innate social process that the Internet makes easier/ link sharing social processes do liberals have a different harnessing user-created content le vent du nord hypotheses ------------ variation in time / curves in usage web... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2022 at EAGER
Transcript of Last Conversation, Sara & David [David D Clark] 11:27:32 I want to really Yeah, I have played with a tool called Otter O. T. [Sara Wedeman] 11:27:40 E. R. which is a mobile app, not a desktop. [Sara Wedeman] 11:27:44 App, but it claims to be able to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2022 at EAGER
Advanced computing is terrific, but I object to the grandiose and misleading language exemplified by the terms "neural network" and "artificial intelligence" in this context. Computing, increasingly, has given us (e.g., humans) powerful tools for processing data in quantities and at speeds heretofore unimaginable, but it is neither comparable nor a substitute for human cognition. I refer you to Yariv Adnan's superb essay, Do neural networks really work like neurons? Just because a the structure of a computing process mimics the known structure of a cognitive process, this does not imply that it is comparable. Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2019 at BECG theblog
... Pour tous les citoyens du monde! Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2019 at BECG theblog
'Tis true: I have 'jumped the thread,' skipping from item 1 to item 7. I have every intention of completing thread items #2-6 with 10 months' worth of insights gained while pursuing my Professional Data Science Certification from IBM-Coursera. In the mean time, however, I have an assignment to complete. See below - second week, item number #2, last bullet point. In the interest of completing my course of study, I am hereby producing a blog post containing the deliverables for my final capstone project. When I have cleared that hurdle, I'll come back and fill in the blanks. Coursera Capstone Project This is the final project for my Coursera-IBM Professional Data Science certificate program. Here's the assignment. (Quoted directly from the Class Web site): Now that you have been equipped with the skills and the tools to use location data to explore a geographical location, over the course of two weeks, you will have the opportunity to be as creative as you want and come up with an idea to leverage the Foursquare location data to explore or compare neighborhoods or cities of your choice or to come up with a problem that you can use the Foursquare location data to solve. If you cannot think of an idea or a problem, here are some ideas to get you started: In Module 3, we explored New York City and the city of Toronto and segmented and clustered their neighborhoods. Both cities are very diverse and are the financial capitals of their respective countries. One interesting idea would be to compare the neighborhoods of the two cities and determine how similar or dissimilar they are. Is New York City more like Toronto or Paris or some other multicultural city? I will leave it to you to refine this idea. In a city of your choice, if someone is looking to open a restaurant, where would you recommend that they open it? Similarly, if a contractor is trying to start their own business, where would you recommend that they setup their office? These are just a couple of many ideas and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2019 at BECG theblog
When I finished graduate school, the MBA was all the rage. Thinking back to my earliest days working in Banking, I remember being met with skepticism: how could a background in psychology, research, and statistics possibly be relevant to business of investing, of developing products, or of selling them? Now, it appears, the world has changed... And I, for one am happy about it. For 20+ years, I quietly built a career based on the knowledge that money was invented by humans, and that economic behavior is a subset of human behavior. In so doing, I learned that: Research is a powerful tool for understanding behavior; that Ethically designed, well-executed, data yielding large amounts of data, Subsequently subjected to rigorous, quantitative analysis ... constitutes a powerful tool for determining which path to follow. Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2019 at BECG theblog
In general, when faced with a logistic problem, due to a combination of laziness and intransigent gear-headedness, I look for a tech solution. Like many in the tech community, I assume that just because something is possible in theory, it is possible in fact. This is, of course, a logical fallacy – but I am sticking with it. I just can’t accept that I should have to devote weeks - even months, grinding away at a task a computer could complete in minutes. Software developers, I am afraid, are no different. Absent optimism and willingness to challenge the status quo, there would be no technology industry. Marketers are even worse, since they are rarely attuned to the small-but-deadly factors that can render the plausible impossible (think: misplaced commas in a csv file of customer addresses). Unfortunately, too many of my searches verge on the quixotic – just as my victories verge on the Pyrrhic. In short, by the time I have found and that elusive tech solution, I could have finished the job five times over. The dilemma that has faced me for the past week is this: I have to upload nearly 500 emails, with attachments, to a client’s proprietary file sharing space. Knowing how to upload files is not a problem, but converting all those email threads into PDF’s, with attachments properly collated, had me completely stumped. I spent several days trying to figure it all out on my own, then another day or so searching the Web for instructions about how to implement a DIY solution. Laboring under a tight deadline, with plenty of other work to do, I was increasingly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Then, this afternoon, I discovered a company called cloudHQ, which – among other things – offers what they call “Gmail productivity tools” that are easy to use and free-to-reasonably priced. I simply added the company’s file extension (Save E-mails to PDF) to Google Chrome, and to my relieved amazement, it worked as intended. Then, I went back and looked at the rest of the cloudHQ’s product... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2018 at BECG theblog
Learn how Sara Wedeman, consulting wiz, uses Timeful to help her make the most of her day: @saraw1 Timeful MVP — Timeful (@timefulapp) January 23, 2015 Note: Timeful was acquired by Google in March 2015, primarily for its unique approach to integrating Machine Learning and Behavioral Economics into smarter scheduling. Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at BECG theblog
I had so much fun taking Dan Ariely's online course, entitled A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior, that I was inspired to create a playlist. It follows. BE principle - followed by link to the creative work that brings it to life: Time discounting: The Contours - First I Look at the Purse. Procrastination: Procrastination, the Musical. Loss Aversion: Eminem, Not Afraid to Lose Yourself. The beauty in irrationality: Phase: Irrational Funk. Complexity: Annette Moreno, Complicado. The "What the Hell" effect: The Grass Roots, Let's Live for Today. Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2014 at BECG theblog
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at BECG theblog
Wearable device policy template ready for download Wearables, such as Google Glass and the Pebble smartwatch, are gaining popularity with consumers and are beginning to make their way into the workplace and onto the corporate network. We've put together a downloadable policy template to help you ready your company for the coming wearable flood --Bill Detwiler, Managing Editor Dear Mr. Detwiler, I don't normally respond to advertising emails, but in this case I feel compelled. The subject header, "Wearable device policy template ready for download" really got my attention. You appear to be recommending that people start wearing downloadable templates - and not just any type of template, but policy templates in particular. The fashion implications of this suggestion strike me as reckless. Would it not cause the most innovative among your valued customers to dress in ways that are drab, dull, or worse? Digitally - transmitted policy templates are, IMHO, far too flimsy for a work environment and more appropriately worn in private. Then, I did a double take and read the email again. (Oops - never mind.) STILL, I'm not putting on a wearable policy template (or any other kind of template for that matter) until I can independently verify that it enhances my “look” and gets me promoted, not fired. Yours in sincere concern, Sara Wedeman Well I thought it was funny. Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2014 at BECG theblog
In light. In gratitude. Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2013 at BECG theblog
Have you ever participated in a survey or research study? It's hard to imagine that anyone would not have. Survey results cover the pages of most newspapers, Web sites, and just about any other medium. Most of them make me sputter in horror. Why? No, they're not scary. They are merely scarily bad - meaning that there are fatal flaws in the design that render the results DOA. Alternatively, the data are "analyzed" by people who don't know the difference between good and bad quality data, or do not realize that there is more to data analysis than knowing how to do the math. Here's an example. In December 2011, a study was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, purporting to show that the sound made by valuable, old Stradivarius and Guarneri violins was no better than that produced by brand-new, stainless steel violins. Articles subsequently appeared first The New York Times ("In Classic vs. Modern Violins, Beauty Is in Ear of the Beholder") then in Ars Technica ("Old, million-dollar violins don't play better than the new models"). The story was picked up and featured everywhere from NPR to The DW Academie. There was just one small problem: the study was so badly done, and the math used so inappropriate for the tiny, non-random sample (21 people attending one conference), that there was no basis for drawing any conclusion(s) at all. As I wrote to Ars Technica at the time: .... the Big Mistake was to publish This Article under This Title (Old, million-dollar violins don't play better than the new models) without knowing anything about research design or inferential vs descriptive statistics. As a result, Ars Technica has shared with the public a piece of research that fails utterly to support the claim made in the title. To wit: The number of subjects in the study is: 21. This is too small a number of cases to merit computation of anything other than very simple descriptive statistics (e.g., "The number of people in the group is; their ages are," etc.). You may note that the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2013 at BECG theblog
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Jul 20, 2013
Watching tonight's news about the bizarre, scary posturing of North Korea's latest monarchical communist, I was struck by two enduring truths: No system that requires the deprivation of the many - to permit the gorging of the few - can survive. Saber rattling is akin to the 'death rattle:' a plea for help in the form of a threat. The economists in Washington and the defense-information-industrial complex may wish to take note: this is not just about North Korea. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2013 at BECG theblog
This morning's New York Times features a terrific article, Social Change's Age of Englightenment by David Bornstein. In the post, Bornstein shows how the growing realization that "we are not econs," combined with rigorous, disciplined collection/analysis/use of empirical data, can help us reframe intractible dilemmas in ways that allow breakthrough change. Worth reading! Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2012 at BECG theblog
Chuck Schumer: There are two tests in life, more important than any other test. Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2012 at BECG theblog
Le jour de la Bastille: the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, which dealt a death blow to feudalism in France (& to quite a few individuals as well). Yet, like a virus, the feudal spirit seems to be coming back in the form of "legal" economic bondage. Let's hope this time the revolution is a velvet one and that a Reign of Terror (la Terreur) does not arrive on its heels. People want to be connected, and they want to be genuinely free. It is always time for liberty, equality, and mutuality. Vive la France! Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2012 at BECG theblog
The light of hope lives in this world. عالي وعالي وعالي الصوت.الي حـ يهتف مش حيموت alee wa 3alee wa 3alee assawt.illee 7ayahtif mish haymoot: Raise, raise, raise, your voice. Those who cheer will never die. Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2012 at BECG theblog
Watching the State of the Union address Tuesday night, I sometimes felt the urge to shout at the TV set. Although the President seems to want to do right by people, his repeated mentions of "responsible homeowners" told me that he does not understand borrowers' motivations, nor does he 'get' what underlies most late- or non-payment of debt. The reality is: If people do not make their mortgage payments, it is rarely because they are irresponsible.' Obama is not alone in his lack of understanding. Both Robert Manning (2000) and David Graeber (2010) have noted that, in our society, to be in debt is to be judged morally wanting - even if that judgment has no basis in reality. Take a look at the facts - the main causes of consumer bankruptcy are: Shocks to income in the form of job loss, death of a wage earner, or divorce, and Shocks to expenses in the form of medical crises. Either one of these catastrophes would be bad enough to bring a famly down, but they are prone to co-occur since in the US, loss of employment typically translates into loss of health insurance. That these 'drive' non-payment, particularly for homeowners, was documented in As We Forgive Our Debtors (Sullivan, Warren & Westbrook, 2000) and has been corroborated by numerous rigorously-conducted studies by economists (see citations in the embedded links). Even a decade ago, the harbingers of today's debt crisis were lurking in plain view. On a systemic level, things are now much worse. Yet, there are many answers to be found. They lie neglected because so many people can't get beyond their counter-factual moral judgments. Ironically, it is the moral judgment that causes the harm, and it is they who would punish the suffering that carry the disease. Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2012 at BECG theblog
It is the 148th anniversary of the date upon which President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address:* Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. To me, this event - and these words - are sacred. Think about it: " we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Never have they been more relevant. * Hay version Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2011 at BECG theblog