Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Science.

Four Ethics Links:
July 5, 2010

Four ethics links is a review of recent stories in applied ethics. This week: Business Ethics for Recent College Grads, Twitter and Corporate Ethics Agreements, The Ethics of Criticism, and Ethics in Chinese Science.

1. Workplace Ethics: The High Cost of Compromise

Kirk O. Hansen recently made some interesting observations about the ethical challenges that will face new college graduates. Facing the current, difficult economy, Hansen claims, will "make ethical decisions even tougher."

Because it has been difficult this year to land any job, new graduates will be less likely to resist, less likely to put their new position at risk in order to do the right thing. And that threatens to undermine the ethical character of this year's graduates at the outset of their careers.

John Constable: Detail from 'Seascape Study with Rain Cloud'
John Constable, Detail from Seascape Study with Rain Cloud (c.1824)
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
PaulJul 5, 2010
 

Four Ethics Links: March 22, 2010

You know and love Four Design Links; now say hello to Four Ethics Links, a review of recent stories in applied ethics.

Beware of corporate consulting firms offering awards for corporate ethics - Slate

Sometime in the next week or so, something called the Ethisphere Institute is scheduled to announce this year's list of the "World's Most Ethical Companies." If past years are any indication, the winners will have their press releases ready to go, and news outlets across the country will eat it up. There's just one hitch: These ethics awards—let's call them the Ethies—may have ethics issues of their own.

Read all about it here.

Vermeer: A Girl Asleep
Vermeer, A Girl Asleep
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
PaulMar 22, 2010
 

A two-dimensional tomato

Go read Matt Webb's Scope 2009 presentation. It's really pretty damn good.

Matt Webb's presentation at this year's Reboot conference is one of the better things I've read on a design website in a long while. It's about the power of your time and the importance of choosing what to spend it on. It's about design. I'm going to just quote it at length below and recommend again that you go read it.

Congressman Fulton and other Members of House Committee on Science and Astronautics Visited MSFC
Members of House Committee on Science and Astronautics Visited MSFC

This is Congressman Fulton, in 1959, and so this is two years before even Kennedy makes his speech -- his speech in 1961 -- that sets the goal of putting a man on the moon eight years later. Okay, 1959, and there's a committee in congress investigating food in space and they're interviewing a witness from the Department of Agriculture.

And Fulton is getting frustrated with their lack of vision and imagination. And he's a politician remember, not a designer, but he comes out with this just incredible statement, this incredible macroscope actually, and, well, let me read it to you.

"Possibly in space the approach to vegetables might be different." This is Fulton speaking by the way, asking a question. "Did that ever strike you--because we are thinking of three-dimensional vegetables, maybe in space, where you have a lot of sunlight, you might get a two-dimensional tomato."

Get this, listen to what he says...

"It might be one million miles long and as thin as a sheet of paper, aimed towards the sun -- a tomato."

And apparently there's just total silence. Everyone is totally stunned. And the witness just says, "It is an interesting thought," and they all move on.

A tomato: a million miles long and as thin as a sheet of paper
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
PaulJul 20, 2009
 
Tagged with: Congress, Design, Science, Space, Zen

Four Design Links: the Science of Persuasion

Check out the following links and consider the many ways designers use psychology to influence our daily decision-making. Are these practices ethical? We'll examine that question in a future post.

1. Menus that Make You Spend More

Recently, I found a couple of interesting articles on the science of influencing customers' choices through graphic design. Experts in this area claim that a menu redesign can increase a restaurant's profits substantially.

The way prices are listed is very important. "This is the No. 1 thing that most restaurants get wrong"... "If all the prices are aligned on the right, then I can look down the list and order the cheapest thing." It's better to have the digits and dollar signs discreetly tagged on at the end of each food description. That way, the customer's appetite for honey-glazed pork will be whetted before he sees its cost.

--Time Magazine: The Menu Magician

2. 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

Alex Moskalyuk reprises all 50 chapters of the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, many of which have marketing implications.

For instance:

Asking for little goes a long way. Researchers went door-to-door asking for American Cancer Society donations. Group A just asked for a donation, group B ended their spiel with “even a penny would help”. Results? 28.6% response rate for Group A vs. 50% response for Group B.

3. Why You've Gotta Catch'em All

Why are people so addicted to games like Pokemon, Mafia Wars, and World of Warcraft? Gamasutra considers the appeal of item collecting and achievement hoarding.

4. The Psychology of Being Scammed

What makes people fall for scams? Mind Hacks blog discussed a recent report which lists some obvious factors: perception of scarcity, appeals to trust and authority, inducing behavioral committment, etc.-- tactics one often sees in marketing.

Even more interesting are the findings that are counter-intuitive:

  1. many people who are scammed know a great deal about the subject of the scam (say, financial investing)
  2. they tend to put more cognitive effort into investigating the scam than non-victims.

So, it's not just the ignorant or the careless who can be manipulated!

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickJul 9, 2009
 

World Question Center

It's become something of a New Year's tradition for me to spend some of my day reading the responses to the Edge Foundation's annual World Question. Its an experience that leaves me thinking about the year ahead and the future beyond.

What are you optimistic about?

Each year, a collection of some of the worlds greatest scientists and thinkers attempt to answer an open-ended question posed by the foundation. For example: "What is your most dangerous idea?", "What are you optimistic about", and "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?". The answers are collected and edited into books, but you can read through them all on the website.

This year's question is "What will change everything?". (Hint: If you were thinking "economic collapse", you'll be disappointed)

The responses are almost always thought-provoking and/or challenging. Reading through the answers, I find myself constantly learning about something new or relearning something I thought I knew due to the latest advances in our understanding. It's an ultra-concentrated intellectual experience. Highly recommended.

Happy New Year!

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickJan 1, 2009
 

You Can’t Sell the Sizzle From a Rotten Steak

Why is Microsoft using junk science to shill Vista?

Vista has problems. Paul doesn’t like it; Apple grabs market share while making fun of it. So what does Microsoft do? Fight back with science!

Microsoft recently conducted its own study where they showed users a new Windows operating system called “Mojave”. Subjects reported that they liked the new OS better than their current one (presumably XP). The catch is that it wasn’t a new operating system, it was Vista.

It reminds me of when the tobacco industry published its own research back in the 50’s. Suspicious? You bet.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickAug 5, 2008