Unwritten Rules

A while ago, a baseball player coworker and I had a conversation about the unwritten rules of baseball. These are expected sportsmanship behaviors. When players are perceived to violate these moral guidelines, the other team may result in retaliation. Teams can end up in brawls on the field over the escalations started by someone violating an unwritten rule.

Apparently I left the impression that baseball is the only sport with unwritten rules. He sent me the unwritten rules of the gym.

Soccer has them too. In futbol (soccer),

  1. If a player is injured, then the other team should put the ball out of play or give the ball back to the team with the injured player when it restarts.
  2. Players who score against a former team return to the center circle to restart without celebrating.
  3. Offer a hand to help an opponent stand up.

There are unwritten rules everywhere. And we are expected to abide by these social conventions or we are jerks who deserve to be snubbed or attacked for failing to be a decent person. This like…

  1. Let others out of an elevator or train before you get in.
  2. Leave a one urinal buffer zone.
  3. Texting in the presence of company.

The problem I have with unwritten rules is the passive-aggressive escalation and retaliation aspect. Rules exist to set the expectations of behavior. Writing them down ensures everyone knows what are the expectations of behavior. The authorities (referee, police, HR) can punish people for failing to abide by them. Leaving them unwritten just means one party can take advantage and the aggrieved party breaking written rules in retaliation to feel even more upset they got unjustly punished.

Paleo Sleep

Several people I know talk about having sleep issues. One of the highly cited things of late is that the blue light from our electronic devices messes with our brains to reset the Circadian rhythm making us fall asleep later. Even I use f.lux to change the light of my computer to a warmer tone just after dark.

From ‘Paleo’ sleep? Sorry, pre-modern people don’t get more Zzzzs than we do:

It’s tempting to believe that people these days aren’t getting enough sleep, living as we do in our well-lit houses with TVs blaring, cell phones buzzing, and a well-used coffee maker in every kitchen. But new evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 15 shows that three ancient groups of hunter-gatherers–living in different parts of the world without any of those trappings of modern life–don’t get any more sleep than we do.

The most interesting thing is temperature appears to be the key to their sleep. As the temperature falls, people went to sleep and slept through the coldest part. When it started to warm up again is when they woke. A warm room temperature makes it difficult for me to sleep.

I think maybe we will see programmable thermostats offer an option to achieve bedroom temperatures that mimic the above temperatures so people can achieve their Paleo Sleep.

Moral behavior in animals

TEDxPeachtree focuses on ideas worth spreading in myAJC mentions this video. By the way, TEDxPeachtree returns this Friday, November 8th.

This features Frans de Waal showing videos demonstrating animals cooperating on tasks, something we think of as human behavior. One I really liked was chimpanzees give the researcher a prosocial (feed both) or antisocial (feed chooser) token and how often they picked the prosocial was measured. Retaliation by the non-choosing chimpanzee reduced how much the choosing one picked the prosocial option.

TED Talk: How Kids Teach Themselves

Find it amazing children who have never been exposed English can learn it from a kiosk with just 1980-90s computer games made available to them. That the kids worked in groups appears to enhance the effect was also pretty interesting. One child would operate with 3 advising and all 4 would test the same, so they learn as much by watching as doing.

Speaking at LIFT 2007, Sugata Mitra talks about his Hole in the Wall project. Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own — and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves?

In 1999, Sugata Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

In the following years they replicated the experiment in other parts of India, urban and rural, with similar results, challenging some of the key assumptions of formal education. The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it “minimally invasive education.”

    “Education-as-usual assumes that kids are empty vessels who need to be sat down in a room and filled with curricular content. Dr. Mitra’s experiments prove that wrong.”
    Linux Journal

TED Talk: David Brooks: The social animal

Some quotes I liked from this talk.

“Emotions are not separate from reason. They are the foundation of reason as they show us what to value.”

“The first gift or talent is Mindsight: the ability to enter into other people’s minds and learn what they have to offer…. Babies are born to interpenetrate into Mom’s mind and download what they find.”

“We are overconfidence machines [1]. Ninety-five percent of our professors say they are above average teachers. Ninety-six percent of college students say they have above average social skills. Time magazine asked Americans if they are in the top 1% of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans [say they] are in the top 1% of earners.”

Other abilities are Medis, picking out patterns to arrive gists, and Sympathy, work within groups, and Blending, synthesizing concepts, and Limerence, drive or motivation for moments of transcendence.

[1] In Why We Make Mistakes is a confidence test. The idea of the test is to give answers in a range where you are 90% confident the answer will be. The less certain, the wider the range. With ten questions, one can only get one wrong to pass. Managers given this test in their field got most

Tapping into the findings of his latest book, NYTimes columnist David Brooks unpacks new insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences — insights with massive implications for economics and politics as well as our own self-knowledge. In a talk full of humor, he shows how you can’t hope to understand humans as separate individuals making choices based on their conscious awareness.

TED Talk: When ideas have sex

I don’t think I of myself as very intelligent. I think I’ve managed to have great conversations chock full of fantastic ideas with very intelligent people and discussed those ideas with others who refined them.

It hadn’t occurred to me it was the exchange of objects leads to specialization which leads to improvement of both objects and ideas as individuals attain expertise. It also means we as a society are all working for each other. We all depend on each other as we have reached the point where no one knows how to make everything in every day items we use.

The fewer people in the social network, the less exchange, the less specialization so isolation leads to regressions. So as we get better at communicating world wide and having global conversations, technology will increase at an even faster pace.

How well we communicate is more important than our individual intelligence.

Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist.

IT Work Force Set to Grow

Science & Technology News:

Yahoo! News – Archaeologists Unearth Base of Egypt Queen Pyramid

Business

There could be 1.1 million jobs created over the next year. Yahoo! News – Information Technology Work Force Set to Grow

Really… these days notebooks are actually decent. You can do quite a bit of stuff of them. Yahoo! News – Notebooks clearing off the desktop

$250 for a hardcover sized reader. Or use my Handspring? Titles are still as much for a book as if I bought if from the store in hardback. Will find some free ones and take a look. Yahoo! News – Lighter Loads for Traveling Readers

World News:

I guess the U.S. is not interested in terrorists which do not make front page news by taking U.S. citizens? If it is not on the front page, then we don’t know anything about it. Columbia has its own little “War on Terrorism”. Yahoo! News – Colombia Death Toll Rises to 108 (Related: HoustonChronicle.com – Special Reports: Rebel Held)

Legal

Another article on Kellner… LawMeme: Legal Bricolage for a Technological Age – Top Ten New Copyright Crimes


Yes, sir… There has been talk of skipping work here. If others go, then I probably will too. Otherwise I will take a long lunch timed for 15 minutes before the box office opens and get tickets for the earliest show I can after work. A Star Wars sickout may cost economy – May. 6, 2002

Junk Mail Folder

Selected Hotmail subjects in my Junk Mail Folder:

  • Secrets of the Internet – Free Porn!! 19676
  • Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs – The REAL stor…
  • EXPLOITED TEENS – They came in to be models b…
  • US$31,000,000.00
  • We Run Background and Asset Searches!!!
  • Fabulous Business Opportunity!
  • Your Own Internet Business in 30 seconds FREE
  • Have tax problems? [4cljv]
  • SHY ABOUT YOUR PACAKGE? MAKE IT BIGGER!!!
  • Eat what you want, don’t worry about the fat!…
  • Please help.

Make it stop! Please?


Miss Cleo must have known that I would delete the email before even opening it. Wonder if there is a viable lawsuit in there? She knew that I would not be interested and sent it anyway.If only she were real and not a third rate actress?


This is actually kind of embarrassing… I am #1 of a Google search for “design portfolo”. Did you notice it was mispelled? The page it goes to was mispelled for about 72 hours before I noticed fixed it, but Google must have picked it up and has not updated the name. A hit is a hit, right?


Don’tcha like white guys who listen to whitewashed rap? Especially when they are wearing earphones and still you can hear it 15 feet away as loud as you normally listen to music? Just a little muffled…