Another Privacy Experiment, with Money

An old idea (2008) from the drafts folder that I’m posting now. A related post back in 2008. Two people are interviewed by a single person. During the interview the interviewer tells the subject a private piece of information about a third person, called X. Three conditions: shares information without comment, tells subject not to share information, pays subject small amount ($10-$20) to not share information. Then the subject is interviewed by another person, perhaps at a later date.

Ludicrous Ignorance of Each Other

A quotation: From the movie My Dinner with Andre ANDRE: Well, I think that’s right! You know, it may be, Wally, that one of the reasons that we don’t know what’s going on is that when we’re there at a party, we’re all too busy performing. WALLY: Un-hunh. ANDRE: You know, that was one of the reasons that Grotowski gave up the theater. He just felt that people in their lives now were performing so well that performance in the theater was sort of superfluous, and in a way obscene.

Organizations and Long-Term Design

I just want to juxtapose two recent readings by Charlie Stross and Timothy Burke on organizations and institutions. Burke sets up the problem as the key issue of the twenty-first century. but it really seems to me that the political problem of the 21st Century is not a problem of markets or capitalism, not of the state, not of ideologies or religions, but of institutions and organizations. Loosely speaking, what doesn’t work about government as a whole is also what doesn’t work about a local religious charity.

The New Networking

From an article on networking by John Seely Brown and John Hagel III at HBR. In the classical networking approach, the game is about presenting yourself in the most favorable light possible while flattering the other person into giving you their contact information. This approach quickly degenerates into a manipulative exchange where the real identities of both parties rapidly recede into the background, replaced by carefully staged presentations of an artificial self.

Brain Dissection - Live - On the Internet!

While reviewing my philosophy weblog news feeds I came across a link to the live webstream of a brain dissection on the internet. H.M., a famous neuroscience patient, died a year ago. He was famous in brain studies because a surgery to cure seizures resulted in his being unable to form new memories. “He loved to converse, for example, but within 15 minutes he would tell you the same story three times, with same words and intonation, without remembering that he’d just told it,” said Suzanne Corkin, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studied and followed Mr.

The Persistence of Decline

Last Saturday I met with some friends from the Minnesota Independent Scholar’s Forum to talk about Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History by Margaret MacMillan. The book is a short, well-written introduction to the many ways people use history for purposes other than understanding or getting to the truth. It parallels Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism by Benedict Anderson. Both MacMillan and Anderson discuss the often contentious moments when history becomes part of nation building and community definition.

Stages of Moral Development

In the spirit of answering my own questions from last weeks Kierkegaard discussion I noticed this interesting article on the cross-cultural similarities in moral development. Researchers have been conducting studies of moral development across cultures. The summary by Bruce Bower at Science News suggests that there are universal themes to moral development across cultures. This contradicts the arguments of some scholars that Eastern and Western cultures have different values about the role of individuals, family, institutions, women, etc.

True Crime - Columbine

It’s been ten years since Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris stormed Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, and killed thirteen people. Dave Cullen has just published the definitive book on the crime titled simply “Columbine”. I read through it in less than a day. Ten years after an event the key part of any retelling of a story is often a reevaluation of facts that we thought we knew: that Harris and Klebold were outsiders, that they targeted jocks and popular kids, that they were part of the trenchcoat mafia, that Cassie Bernall said she believed in God before being shot.

Just How Long Ago Was the Civil War?

I heard a story on All Things Considered this afternoon about a book that was returned to Washington and Lee University in Virginia, 145 years after it was stolen. Let’s see 2009-145 = 1864. That’s nearing the end of the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg took place July 1-3 of 1863. The South surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Washington and Lee University is located in Lexington, VA near the western border of Virginia.

Educational Responses to Stress - Emotion and Arts

I mentioned a recent study about stress and poverty earlier today. In summary, there appears to be a link between allostatic load (a psychological and physiological measure of stress) and average performance with working memory tests. So how could we respond to this? Drake Bennett has a story at the Boston Globe about teaching emotional intelligence. Since Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence in 1995 there has been a growing chorus of educational researchers and reformers calling for emotional education.