Me at Nieman Lab: Hacking Consensus

For the past few years I’ve bent quite a few ears about how much better arguments could be online. The earliest of these ear-bendings (that I can remember) was in Q1 of 2008. Since then I’ve talked to policy wonks, developers, journalists and plenty of friends and family about how I think the basic op-ed …

Ping U: Bringing open courseware to your inbox

As someone who recently completed CodeAcademy’s brief Getting Started with Programming lessons, I couldn’t be more excited for CodeYear, CodeAcademy’s latest offering. Says the site: Make your New Year’s resolution learning to code. Sign up on Code Year to get a new interactive programming lesson sent to you each week and you’ll be building apps and web sites before you know …

How inequality harms

http://static.bloggingheads.tv/ramon/_live/players/player_v5.2-licensed.swf I try to avoid politics here on the blog, even though it’s something I read about and talk about quite a bit. But there’s a point about inequality that I’ve been startled to see conservatives either missing or ignoring. In the clip above, Rich Lowry makes what I believe is a very misguided statement, …

Fight bias with math

I just finished the chapter in Kahneman’s book on reasoning that dealt with “taming intuitive predictions.” Basically, we make predictions that are too extreme, ignoring regression to the mean, assuming the evidence to be stronger than it is, and ignoring other variables through a phenomenon called “intensity matching.”  Here’s an example (not from the book; …

Enough self-control not to need it

http://static.bloggingheads.tv/ramon/_live/players/player_v5.2-licensed.swf I just finished Willpower, the new book by psychologist Roy Baumeister and NYT columnist John Tierney. My overall take on the book is towards the end of this post. I first was introduced to the science of self-control via the Bloggingheads video above, which I highly recommend. The most fascinating bit to me was …

Review: The Penguin and the Leviathan

I have a review of Yochai Benkler’s new book up at The Atlantic today. Here’s the gist: Benkler had described and classified the possible motivations driving Wikipedians in his 2006 tome The Wealth of Networks, in which he analyzed the Internet’s impact on the economics of information. In his new book, The Penguin and the Leviathan, Benkler …

Different thinking on Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs implored us all to “Think Different.” And while I don’t claim that any of what follows is particularly original, I do think that the conventional wisdom on Jobs deserves some push back. Jobs was clearly a talented, passionate, and influential person and I’m sorry he’s dead. What follows is designed less as a …

Was I wrong about the NYT paywall?

In a nutshell: not yet. I wrote a post for The Atlantic back in March when the paywall first launched that called it “unsustainable.” And yet, as Felix Salmon has detailed here and here, the paper is on track to hit its goal of 300,000 digital subscribers. Was I wrong? I don’t think so; at …