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Michael Chiu (McKinsey Global Institute) on “Big Data”

Sources of “big data”: Transactional databases (e.g. financial, travel, energy, etc.) Social media Sales & logistics Audio/Video Internet of Things (M2M) Opportunities presented by Big Data: Radical transparency (data is widely available to divisions, customers and stakeholders alike) Test decisions: experiment with alternative strategies Create widespread customization: even personalization (A different product for each customer) … Continue reading

What causes people to Retweet?

The link between affect, defined as the capacity for sentimental arousal on the part of a message, and virality, defined as the probability that it be sent along, is of significant theoretical and practical importance, e.g. for┬áviral marketing. The basic measure of virality in Twitter is the probability of retweet and we are interested in … Continue reading

Curry: A Tale of Cooks & Conquerors – Lizzie Collingham

An informative, witty and fast moving culinary history of the South Asian subcontinent, Lizzie Collingham’s meticulously researched description of the cuisine of the region is a sumptuous and easily digested delight. Moving sprightly between Persia, Afghanistan, Portugal, the New World, East Africa and India, she teases out truth from fiction on the origin and evolution … Continue reading

Book Review: EM Forster – A Passage to India

Today EM Forster’s classic may seem quaint and even naive when compared with more contemporary tomes such as Mistry’s “A Fine Balance”, Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” or even Smith’s “White Teeth”, but I couldn’t help but be impressed with the timelessness of his considered prose and insightful dialog. Earnestly striving for fairness and balance, Forster’s tale … Continue reading

Science’s Most Beautiful Theories

In my view, Darwin’s GUT (Grand Unified Theory) on the origin and evolution of all life on earth win’s hands down, but I must admit, Einstein’s GTR (General Theory of Relativity) would come a close second… http://news.yahoo.com/sciences-most-beautiful-theories-171800904.html

Review: David Brooks – The Social Animal

I would give this book ten stars if I could! David Brooks has truly written a magnum opus – one that seamlessly weaves together decades of research in the neuroscience and psychology of the mind into a single coherent narrative that is both a literary and technological tour de force. Starting with an (admittedly slightly … Continue reading

Review: Look me in the eye – My life with Aspberger’s by John Elder Robison

A wry, comical and poignant view of what life is like for someone with Aspbergers. Robison (the elder brother of Augusten Burroughs), demonstrates brutally honesty as he describes growing up in a starkly dysfunctional family (graphically documented by his brother in his memoir “running with scissors”), with the additional burden of being an undiagnosed Aspie. … Continue reading

Review: Jennifer Egan – A Visit from the Goon Squad

In this witty, sophisticated, postmodern (more on that later) tale, Egan provides us with a cast of flawed yet lovable characters that span time and space, much like the music that ties the disparate threads of this novel together. Cleverly moving between past, present and (occasionally) future, and even while giving away what happens to … Continue reading

Eight weeks to rewire your brain

Mindfulness training (meditation and cognitive therapy) retires the brain within eight weeks: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144007.htm .Meditation group participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises, and their responses to a mindfulness questionnaire indicated significant improvements compared with pre-participation responses. The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were … Continue reading

The science of why we don’t believe in science

Excellent article on the latest research on how we form (and hang onto) beliefs even in the presence of overwhelming objective evidence that they are wrong: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney The theory of motivated reasoning builds on a key insight of modern neuroscience (PDF): Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion (or what researchers often call “affect”). Not only … Continue reading