Friday, January 23, 2015

This week in EID - Episode 38

OK, I was wrong.  One more short week.  I didn’t recognize that we would not be publishing on MLK Day.  I personally consider it just as important a holiday as most of the others we take off.  And it is a banking holiday.  And the garbage and recycling collections skip the day.  But I didn’t get the day off, so it slipped my mind.  Great example of lack of attention trumping the presence of memory.  Wow – that would make a good article title! 

The three posts this week cover the three basic dimensions that we cover at EID.  Tuesday was on innovation.  Wednesday was on psychology, and Thursday was on design.  Of course we have a lot of flavors of each of these topics – motor coordination, attention, learning, consumer electronics, workplace ergonomics, etc etc etc.  We have a wide variety of constituencies, which is why we cover so many topics.  And I try to write the articles so that they are interesting to everyone.  Comments suggest I do a reasonable job of this.  You can let me know if I am not.  The more feedback the better.

So Tuesday was about this really cool innovation I learned about how Mercedes and Brabus have collaborated to fight the Moscow rush hour traffic.  Apparently, the typical Moscow commute time is 3-4 hours. So half of your day’s productivity is wasted.  For what they refer to as mini-garchs, it is worth a company’s investment to customize one of the these.  Full oligarchs don’t actually go to the office, they work from their dachas.  And the bottom level just deal with the traffic.  I guess there are some socio-economic messages in there, but we focused on the innovation.  They have instrumented a commuting vehicle that is better than 95% of most offices.  Definitely better than mine. 

Wednesday was, as usual, my favorite topic of self-delusion.  In this case it was the example that when we embellish our stories, we start believing them ourselves – to the point where we don’t even notice the deception.  This happens will all self-delusion because of the neurochemical processes involved in reconsolidation (for example here).  But with social media posts it is more powerful because it is just words, so the images are not dissonant.  And every time someone comments, the embellished story hits us again by reappearing in our news feeds.

So then Thursday was a rant against the poor design of many classrooms.  Higher ed, but especially K-6.  General class topics, but especially STEM.  For all students, but especially minorities and women.  And even worse, there are some really low cost interventions that we are not using nearly enough.  Read the post and see what you can do, either as a teacher or as a parent.  Grassroots solutions work too.  You don’t need a school board vote.