Can We Foresee the Future? Explaining and Predicting Cultural Change | SPSP (Varnum & Grossman)

Igor Grossmann, Michael E. W. Varnum in their roles as; editor of the blog of Society for Personality and Social Psychology) Can We Foresee the Future? Explaining and Predicting Cultural Change; In That Certain Blog; 2017-10-17.

tl;dr → Yes. Betteridge’s Law fails.
ahem → No. Betteridge’s Law holds. Surely no one can know the future, and anyone who says they can is either high or a fool, perhaps both. One can problematize quibble on the epistemology sense of the word “to know,” if you think you have time for that sort of thing.


Michael E. W. Varnum, Igor Grossmann. (2017). Cultural change: The how and the why. In Perspectives on Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/1745691617699971


The promotional build running up to the release of that certain sequel (2017) to the movie Blade Runner (1982) which is in turn based on a short novel by Philip K. Dick entitled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Doubleday 1968) [Answer: No (whereas Androids, after the Ice Cream Sandwich release, are functionally people too, being as they feel pain and love, as eloquently and forcefully testified by Rutger Hauer in a monologue performed so memorably on that dark & rainy night), again, Betteridge's Law holds, c.f. Jimi Wales' Wiki, Jimi Wales' Wiki].


A means & method for producing new predictions, which is better.

  • Uniqueness.
  • Rigorous
    • Theory-Driven [not Theory-Laden].
    • Testable [falsifiable]
  • Empirical.
    • Documentation
      Whereas sociology is either slow journalism [documentation] or activism [promotion] in service to personal ideals.
    • Repeatable
      Replicatability is not claimed. It’s a best practice for high fidelity journalism.

<quote>What is unique is a rigorous theory-driven attempt to not only document but to test explanations for patterns of societal change empirically </quote>

The enumerated [cultural] changes are features of the ecology [our ecologies].
<quote>This emerging work suggests <snide>asserts</snide> that among the most powerful contributors to cultural changes in areas like individualism, gender equality, and happiness are shifts in essential features of our ecologies.</quote>
This schema was shown in animal behavior; now it is replicated with people [our people].
<quote>The idea that variations in ecological dimensions and cues like scarcity or population density might be linked to behavioral adaptations has been widely explored in animal kingdom, and recently started to gain prominence as a way to explain variations in human behavior.</quote>

  • Ellis, Bianchi, Griskevicius, & Frankenhuis, 2017.
  • Sng, Neuberg, Varnum, & Kenrick, 2017.


  • It’s an “implications” paper:
    <quote>but also has fundamental implications for psychometric assumptions and replicability in psychological science.</quote>
  • <quote>Neither experts nor lay people do much better than chance
    as “proven” in: Tetlock, 2006; Tetlock & Gardner, 2016.</quote>
  • <quote>psychological phenomena unfold within a temporal context,</quote> → <fancier>events occur over spans of time; therefor psychological events occur over spans of time<fancier>,
    the insight is attributed to Kurt Lewin and Lev Vygotsky; unnamed “other theorists.”
  • ngrams, as mentioned in Google Books.
  • cross-lagged statistical models
  • cross-correlation functions
  • tests of Granger causality
  • SES (Socio-Economic Status; i.e. Marx-archetype class.1
  • The Misery Index, of [NAME] Okun.
  • ecological framework
  • big data
  • econometric tools
  • insights from machine learning
  • predictive science of cultural change.
  • emerging science of cultural change
  • predictive psychological science (Yarkoni & Westfall, 2017)


Individualism ↔ Collectivism
A focus on uniqueness and independence and emphasis of self-expression (or not.
Gender Equality
Obvious: equality between the [two] genders, which are named as: Male and Female (Female and Male).
Obvious: that buddhist thing; as evidenced in self-attestation surveys.
The WEIRD Population
The white American middle-class college students.

  • Western,
  • Educated,
  • Industrialized,
  • Rich,
  • Democratic.

References (at least):

  • Joseph Nenrich, Steven J. Heine, Ara Norenzayan; The Weirdest People in the World; In Some Journal, Surely; 2009-03-05; 58 pages (23,703 words).
    Cited herein: Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010.
    Teaser: How representative are experimental findings from American university students? What do we really know about human psychology?


  • Isaac Asimov, boffo.
    Honorific: <quote>the seminal science fiction author — inventor of the fictional discipline of psycho-history.</quote>
  • Gerd Hofstede, documentarian.
  • Kurt Lewin, theorist.
  • Nostradamus; boffo.
    Opus: Quatrains, many years ago.
  • Lev Vygotsky, theorist.



  • individualism,
  • gender equality,
  • happiness.


  • model cultural change
    on a large scale.
  • using data,
    using cross-temporal data
  • using theory or theories,
    using theories derived from behavioral ecology.
  • “can usher in” [what?]
  • a new era in research,
    a new era in research social psychological and personality research.

unclear… if this means more better hard Sci-Fi or more sooth can be said:

  • more voluminous,
  • more accurate,
  • more relevant,
  • more pithy,
  • more cogent,
  • more better prognostications.


Method of Prognostication
  • ecological framework,
  • big data,
  • econometric tools.


far future: 2047 → 2117.


Obtain the Salubrious Result.

  • society,
  • the economy,
  • politics.

Events in the areas of…

  • scientists,
    specifically: behavioral scientists,
  • policy makers,
    specifically: [hired] regulators and [elected] politicians.
  • anyone,
    as such: the laity, the general public.
Charlatans, Experts
  • pundits,
  • economists,
  • intelligence analysts,
    generally, any and all analysts.
Drift, across time, same place
Results in social science are idiosyncratic and perishable. To wit:
<quote>There is no guarantee that the structure of psychological constructs (and their relationship to each other) remains consistent over time – a critical insight for anybody studying individual differences or the interaction of the social context and personality.</quote>
Drift, across time, different places
Results in social science are idiosyncratic to the place and perishable. To wit:
Second, in behavioral and management sciences that focus on cross-cultural comparisons, we need to ensure that our measurements are made contemporaneously.</quote>
Untestable, uninferrable
Documentation practices produces records as evidence; such cannot be used to as inputs to a reasoning process. To wit:
<quote><snip/> for those interested in the ways socio-cultural context impacts human minds, the new field of cultural change enables better tests of theories regarding the origin and evolution of cross-cultural variations than the cross-sectional approaches that are currently standard in the field. Time series data permit stronger inferences regarding the causes of cultural variation than is possible from datasets where putative causes and outcomes are measured only once and at the same time.</quote>
Implications, there are implications; this is important work.
<quote><snip/> have some implications for debates about replicability.
This is not to say that cultural change is likely the explanation for many or most failures to replicate previous findings, but when there is a large temporal remove between the original studies and replication attempts, it may be wise to consider this when interpreting any discrepancies or changes in effect sizes.

  • Greenfield, 2017; Varnum & Grossmann, 2017.
Drift, invalid population sampling
Whereas psychology “research” is done on The WEIRD Population, the results are incorrect.
<quote>Most samples we collect are “WEIRD,” consisting largely of white American middle-class college students who it turns out are not psychologically representative of humanity. But perhaps more importantly emerging insights from the cross-temporal study of psychological processes suggest <snide>assert<snide> that as psychologists, whether we are aware of it or not, we are studying a moving target.


  • Changes in baby naming practices in the US from the 1880’s to the 2010s and predictions for future trends through 2030.
    from Grossmann and Varnum (2015).
  • Voter turnout
  • Twenge & Campbell
  • …others…


Self-esteem, narcissism, and intelligence have increased in Western societies since 1980.
<quote>over the past several decades<quote>

  • Twenge & Campbell, 2001.
  • Twenge, Konrath, Foster, Campbell, & Bushman, 2008.
  • Flynn, 1984.
  • Trahan, Stuebing, Fletcher & Hiscock, 2014.
Social capital has declined since [sometime]
…as evidenced in e.g. involvement in civic organizations and voter turn-out.

  • Putnam, 1995.
  • Putnam, 2000.
Gender equality has risen, in “The West,” since 1950.
<quote>over the past 60-70 years.<quote>

  • Varnum & Grossmann, 2016.
Individualist attitudes, practices, and relational patterns have increased in 60+ countries
  • Grossmann & Varnum, 2015.
  • Santos, Varnum & Grossmann, 2017.
Changes in The Environmemt, generalized, cause changes in Behavior, generalized;
This occurs in individuals and composes into groups.
><quote>The idea that variations in ecological dimensions and cues like scarcity or population density might be linked to behavioral adaptations has been widely explored in animal kingdom, and recently started to gain prominence as a way to explain variations in human behavior.</quote>

  • Ellis, Bianchi, Griskevicius, & Frankenhuis, 2017.
  • Sng, Neuberg, Varnum, & Kenrick, 2017.
White-collar employment causes individualism.
White-collar employment correlates with individualism.
<quote><snip/>a shift toward greater affluence and white- (vs. blue) collar occupations was the most robust ecological predictor of levels of individualism over time, further shifts in levels of SES consistently preceded changes in levels of individualism in America – a finding that has since been extended and cross-validated by our team in a study examining the rise of individualism around the globe.</quote>

  • Grossmann & Varnum, 2015.
  • Santos, Varnum, & Grossmann, 2017.
Disease causes sexism.
The disease level cause the sexism level.
Infectious disease level decline causes the gender equaltiy increase.
<quote>It turned out that a decline in levels of infectious disease was the most robust factor predictor of rising gender equality, a finding we were able to replicate in the UK, and in both societies we found evidence that changes in pathogen levels preceded shifts in gender equality</quote>

  • Varnum & Grossmann, 2016.
Happiness has decreased in the United States since 1800.
<quote>Research examining affect in books and newspaper articles over a 200-year span shows a long-term decline in American happiness.</quote>

  • Iliev, Hoover, Dehghani, & Axelrod, 2016.
Misery causes inverse happiness
Whereas well-being is functionally the same as happiness, the Misery Index measures inverse happiness.
<quote>Levels of well-being in [these] studies appeared linked to Okun’s Misery Index, an economic indicator that combines unemployment and inflation rates, consistent with the idea that scarcity or abundance of resources matters for happiness.</quote>

  • Iliev et al., 2016.
Only the level of envy matters.
Whereas well-being is functionally the same as happiness,
and envy being a manifestation of differential happiness,
and happiness decreases as inequality increases;
thus absolute levels of happiness do not matter,
the differences between the happiness levels matters,
the level of envy matters.
<quote>Another study exploring the cause of changes in levels of well-being over time in the US found strong links to levels of economic inequality, suggesting <snide>asserting without proof</snide> that happiness decreases as inequality increases, suggesting<snide>asserting</snide> that not only absolute levels of resources but their distribution in an environment (what behavioral ecologists call “resource patchiness”) help to explain changes in well-being over time.</quote>

  • Oishi, Kesebir, & Diener, 2011.


  • Ellis, B. J., Bianchi, J., Griskevicius, V., & Frankenhuis, W. E. (2017). Beyond risk and protective factors: An adaptation-based approach to resilience. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(4), 561–587. DOI:10.1177/1745691617693054
  • Flynn, J. R. (1987). Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101(2), 171 – 191. DOI:10.1037/0033-2909.101.2.171.
  • Greenfield, P. M. (2017). Cultural change over time: Why replicability should not be the gold standard in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(5), 762-771. DOI:10.1177/1745691617707314
  • Grossmann, I. & Varnum, M. E. W. (2015). Social structure, infectious diseases, disasters, secularism, and cultural change in America. Psychological Science, 26(3) 311-324. DOI:10.1177/0956797614563765
  • Henrich, J., Heine, S.J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 62–135. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999152X
  • Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind (revised and expanded). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill I
  • liev, R., Hoover, J., Dehghani, M., & Axelrod, R. (2016). Linguistic positivity in historical texts reflects dynamic environmental and psychological factors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesof the U.S.A, 113(49), 7871-7879. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1612058113
  • Oishi, S., Kesebir, S., & Diener, E. (2011). Income inequality and happiness. Psychological science, 22(9), 1095-1100. DOI:10.1177/0956797611417262
  • Putnam, R. D. (1995). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. Journal of Democracy, 6(1), 65-78.
  • Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. In Culture and politics (pp. 223-234). Palgrave Macmillan US.
  • Santos, H. C., Varnum, M. E. W., Grossmann, I. (2017). Global increases in individualism. Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/0956797617700622
  • Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E., & Kenrick, D. T. (2017). The crowded life is a slow life: Population density and life history strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112(5), 736 754. DOI:10.1037/pspi0000086
  • Tetlock, P. E. (2006). Expert Political Judgment. How Good Is It? How Can We Know? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Tetlock, P. E., & Gardner, D. Superforecasting: The art and science of prediction. Broadway Books.
  • Trahan, L. H., Stuebing, K. K., Fletcher, J. M., & Hiscock, M. (2014). The Flynn effect: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 140(5), 1332 – 1360. DOI:10.1037/a0037173
  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2001). Age and birth cohort differences in self-esteem: A cross-temporal meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(4), 321-344. DOI:10.1207/S15327957PSPR0504_3
  • Twenge, J. M., Konrath, S., Foster, J. D., Keith Campbell, W., & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Egos inflating over time: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality, 76(4), 875-902. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00507.x
  • Varnum, M. E. W. & Grossmann, I. (2017). Cultural change: The how and the why. Perspectives on Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/1745691617699971
  • Varnum, M. E. W. & Grossmann, I. (2016). Pathogen prevalence is associated with cultural changes in gender equality. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(0006). doi:10.1038/s41562-016-0003
  • Yarkoni, T., & Westfall, J. A. (2017). Choosing prediction over explanation in psychology: lessons from machine learning. Perspectives on Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/1745691617693393

Previously filled.

On Constructed Culture and Technological Determinism as Self-Fulfillling Prophecies

Harro van Lente, Arie Rip; Expectations in Technological Developments: An Example of Prospective Structures to be Filled in by Agency; 28 pages; ;; landing, (a photocopy of a paper article), landing as Chapter 7; In Cornelis Disco, Barend vander Meulen, Getting New Technologies Together: Studies in Making Sociotechnical Order; Walter de Gruyter; 1998; An earlier version of this paper was prepared, submitted, presented at the XXIth (21st?) World Congress of Sociology, ISA, Bielefield, DE, 1994-07-18; separately filled.

Mads Borup, Nik Brown, Kornelia Konrad, Harro Van Lente; The Sociology of Expectations in Science and Technology; an editorial; In Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Volume 18, Numbers 3/4, 285 –298, July – September, 2006-07; 14 pages; DOI:10.1080/09537320600777002; paywall; copy; separately noted.

Leonardo Bursztyn, Georgy Egorov, Stefano Fiorin; From Extreme to Mainstream: How Social Norms Unravel; Working Paper No. 23415; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); 2017-05; paywall; separately noted.
tl;dr →something about needing “just the right” amount of correlational clustering to allow ideas to spread appropriately.

Rand Waltzman; The Weaponization of Information; CT-473; Rand Corporation; 2017-04-27; 10 pages; landing.
Teaser: The Need for Cognitive Security

Testimony presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity on 2017-04-27; separately filled..

Christopher Paul, Miriam Matthews; The Russian “Firehose of Falsehood” Propaganda Model; PE-108-OSD; Rand Corporation; 2016; 16 pages (landscape, like slideware); landing; separately noted.
Teaser: Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It


Roundup of miscellaneous notes, captured and organized

Blockchain Culture

The Seven(Hundred) Dwarves

  • Blockstack(.org)- The New Decentralized Internet
    • blockstack, at GitHub
    • Union Square Ventures (USV)
    • Promotion
      • Staff (USV); The Blockchain App Stack; In Their Blog; 2016-08-08.
      • Blockstack Unveils A Browser For The Decentralized Web; Laura Shin; In Forbes; 2017-05-15.
        tl;dr → <quote>Tuesday, at the main blockchain industry conference, Consensus, one of the companies working on this new decentralized web, Blockstack, which has $5.5 million in funding from Union Square Ventures and AngelList cofounder Naval Ravikant, released a browser add-on that enables that and more.<snip/>The add-on enables a browser to store the user’s identity information by a local key on the consumer’s device.</quote>; Ryan Shea, cofounder.
  • Everyone has something here.

Bluetooth Culture

Bluetooth LE (BLE)

  • and?

Bluetooth 5

  • Something about mesh networking
  • Something about the standard being released “summer 2017.”

C++ Culture


  • The roadmap onto the twenties.


  • MapReduce, from ETL or EU somewhere.
  • Kyoto Cabinet, Typhoon, Tycoon
  • Virtual Reality packages
  • Ctemplate, Olafud Spek (?)
  • Robot Operating System (ROS)
  • libgraphqlparser – A GraphQL query parser in C++ with C and C++ APIs

Computing Culture

Ubicomp, <ahem>Pervicomp</ahem>

  • Rich Gold
  • Mark Weiser

Dev(Ops) Culture

Futures Cult(ure)


  • Cory Doctorow, the coming war against general purpose computing, an article; WHERE?
  • Cory Doctorow, dystopia contra utopia, an article; WHERE?


  • Cory Doctorow, various works

Imagine a World In Which…

  • Stocks vs Flows
  • Chaos vs Stability
  • Permission vs Permissionless
  • Civil Society ↔ Crony Society
    • Transparency
    • Deals
    • Priorities
  • Predictive Technology “just works”
    • is trusted
    • is eventual
    • is law
    • “is” equates with “ought”

Fedora Culture

  • Flatpak

Fedora 26 Notes

  • nmcli reload con down $i
  • nm cli reload con up $i
  • eui64 must be manually configured

Internet of (unpatchable) Thingies (IoT)

  • MQTT
  • mosquito

Language Lifestyles

Go Lang

  • Go for it.
  • A package manager


  • theory
  • implementation?

Rust Lang

  • Was there a NoStarch book?


  • C++20?
    hey, surely someone has modules working by now, eh?



  • Repig, in C++, with threads, in an NVMe


  • sure, what?


  • Interface to the (discontinued) Proliphix thermostats


  • CDN Store
  • Picture Store
  • Document Cache (store & forward)


  • Firefox Tiles

SCOLD Experiences

SCOLD near-syntax, common errors

  • #import <hpp>
  • missing #divert
  • #using, a declaration
  • #origin
  • #namespace
  • $@


Build System
  • –with-std-scold or maybe –with-scold
  • vecdup, like strdup
  • vectree, like strfree→free
  • json::check::Failure or json::Cast.
  • namespace json::is
    • is_array
    • is_null
    • is_object
  • json::as<…>(…)
  • pathify(…)
  • column result
  • concept guarding the template parameter, from C++17
  • typed strings
    • location
    • path
    • etc.
  • and

Surveillance Culture


  • Eigenpeople
  • Eigenpersonas
  • Personality modeling


Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Jordi Quoidbach, Florent Robic, Alex (Sandy) Pentland; Predicting Personality Using Novel Mobile Phone-Based Metrics; In: A.M. Greenberg, W.G. Kennedy, N.D. Bos (editors) Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction as Proceedings of Social Computing, Behavioral (SBP 2013), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 7812; 2013; paywalls: Springer, ACM. Previously filled.


  • POSS (Post Open Source Software)
    defined as: if everything is on GitHub, then who needs licenses?
    Was this ever amplified?
    Certainly it is facially incorrect and facile.


  • Rob Horning; Sock of Myself, an essay; In Real Life Magazine; 2017-05-17
    tl;dr → riffing on happiness, Facebook. Is. Bad. Q.E.D. R.D. Laing , The Divided Self,; John Cheney-Lippold’s We Are Data; Donald Mackenzie.
  • Michael Nelson; University of California, Riverside.

Purposive directionality

  • increase
    • predictability
  • reduce
    • uncertainty
    • variability


Uncomprehensible, Unknown, Unpossible

  • Sunlight, a package? FOSS?

What Future Studies Is, And Is Not | Jim Dator

Jim Dator (U. Hawaii); What Future Studies Is, And Is Not; WHEN? 2 pages ← whatfuturestudiesis


  • ideas about the future.
  • images about the future.
  • envisioning the futures
  • alternative futures.
  • several conflicting images at one time


  • as predictive science → fortune telling (ahem, shame on you)
  • as anticipation → as prudence & reasonableness.

Dator’s Laws of the Future

  1. “The future” cannot be “predicted” because “the future” does not exist.
    1. While “the future” cannot be “predicted,”
      yet “alternative futures” can and should be “forecast.”
    2. “The future” cannot be “predicted,”
      but “preferred futures” can and should be

      • envisioned,
      • invented,
      • implemented,
      • evaluated,
      • revised,
      • … and other verbs.
      • rinse & repeat.
    3. Futures Studies precedes, then linked to
      • Strategic Planning,
        and thence to
      • Administration (Execution).
  2. Any useful idea about the futures should appear to be ridiculous.
    1. Because new technologies permit new behaviors and values,
    2. “The most likely future” is often one of the least likely futures.
    3. To be useful, the theoretician’spractitioner’s ideas should expect to be ridiculed and the ideas rejected (initially).
    4. The practitioner must defend the implausible condepts proposed (that’s the job).
  3. “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”

Methods & Frameworks

  • long wave (theory)
  • cyclical forces (theory)
  • generations (theory)
    the “generations” through their life cycles (age-cohort analysis)


  • forecasting
  • envisioning
  • creating

but definitely not predicting


  • “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,” attributed to Marshall McLuhan.


  • Wendell Bell, Foundations of Futures Studies. Transaction Publishers, 1997. Two Volumes.
    • Foundations of Futures Studies: Volume 1: History, Purposes, and Knowledge; Routledge; 2003-08-31; 404 pages; Amazon:0765805391: paper: $32+SHT.
    • Foundations of Futures Studies: Volume 2: Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society; Routledge; 2004-03-31; 404 pages; Amazon:0765805669: paper: $32+SHT.
  • Jim Dator, Advancing Futures: Futures Studies in Higher Education. Praeger, 2002-04-30; 408 pages; Amazon:0275976327: paper: $36+SHT.


Tom Insel is “The Smartphone Psychiatrist” at Mindstrong Health | The Atlantic

Tom Insel is “The Smartphone Psychiatrist” promoting his employer ‘Mindstrong’;
David Dobbs; In The Atlantic; 2017-07.

tl;dr → a promotion of Mindstrong Health, announcing $14M in funding today
tl;dr → a hagiogaphy of Dr. Thomas Insel, its public face.


Mindstrong Health Raises $14 Million in Series-A Funding; press release; 2017-06-15.
Teaser: Founding team includes the former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Tom Insel, and former Director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Richard Klausner

Tom Insel
  • Mindstrong, startup, Palo Alto, CA
  • Product Manager (Director?), Verily (the ‘V’ in the Alphabet pantheon as Google’s “health” hobby).
  • (ex-)National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
  • other institutions in the article.
Mindstrong Health

See below


  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
  • Verily of Google
    Mountain View, CA
  • Tom Insel
    • one of four brothers
    • curriculum vitae in the article
    • Pleasanton, CA
  • H. Herbert Insel
    • father of Tom Insel
    • an eye surgeon
    • Dayton, OH
  • clomipramine
  • OCD
  • prairie-vole
  • Insel, Wang, and Young
  • biology vs environment, teach the controversy (nature vs nurture)
  • Thomas Insel; Towards a New Understanding of Mental Illness; TED Talk, 2013.


<quote>The force they hope to harness is the power of daily behavior, trackable through smartphone use, to reflect one’s mental health. As people start to slide into depression, for instance, they may do several of the following things easily sensed by a phone’s microphones, accelerometers, GPS units, and keyboards: They may talk with fewer people; and when they talk, they may speak more slowly, say less, and use clumsier sentences and a smaller vocabulary. They may return fewer calls, texts, emails, Twitter direct messages, and Facebook messages. They may pick up the phone more slowly, if they pick up at all, and they may spend more time at home and go fewer places. They may sleep differently. Someone slipping toward a psychotic state might show similar signs, as well as particular changes in syntax, speech rhythm, and movement.</quote>


<quote>Psychiatry has always struggled to be taken seriously as a science. By the 1980s, the field seemed especially lost. Its best drugs were from the 1950s and ’60s. Most of its hospitals, their failings made infamous by works such as Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, had been closed. Talk therapy, which often works, but by psychobiological pathways painfully difficult to discern, was frequently lampooned. For these and other reasons, including its penchant for savage infighting, psychiatry in the ’70s was “a collection of diverse cults rather than a medical science,” as Melvin Sabshin, a onetime medical director of the American Psychiatric Association, later put it. </quote>

<quote>A therapist, the joke goes, knows in great detail how a patient is doing every Thursday at 3 o’clock.>/quote>



the two components necessary to any approach to mental-health care—assessment

  1. collection and analysis of “data”
    • self-attested by the patient
    • logged by the phone
  2. intervention
    • informal social
    • medical support, inpatient
    • medical support, outpatient

prime, an app

  • prime → (Personalized Real-time Intervention for Motivation Enhancement
  • Danielle Schlosser
    • a clinical psychologist
    • recruited to Verily from the psychiatry department at UC San Francisco by Thomas Insel
    • developed prime. a monitoring app, for an outpatient’s phone
  • Concept
    Social proof to the cohort that they are all “normal” people who are able to “function.”
  • Applicable
    • people ages 14 to 30
    • recently diagnosed with schizophrenia
  • Feature-Function

    1. modeled on Facebook
      i.e. a circle of ‘friends’
    2. connecting people so they can turn to one another for help, perspective, and affirmation.
    3. reading material → set of motivational essays, talks, and interactive modules
      [which] guide with decisions and review dilemmas common among the membership.
    4. monitoring & alerting → spotting emerging crises and responding with peer, social-service, and clinician support.


Mindstrong Health

  • co-founders
    • Richard Klausner
    • Paul Dagum
    • Michael Friberg
  • Palo Alto
  • something about 2017-05, probably the date of the interview for the article
  • Roles
    • Insel → expertise and connections in the mental-health field
    • Klausner → business
    • Dagum → data-analysis


<quote ref=”presser>Based in Palo Alto, California, Mindstrong’s patented science and technology was developed by Dr. Dagum, and is based on four years of extensive clinical studies applying machine intelligence to human-computer interactions patterns. Mindstrong products are in clinical trials in numerous partnership projects with payers, providers, academics and the pharmaceutical industry to bring these new tools to bear on answering the most fundamental questions in behavioral health. Its Board of Directors includes Richard Klausner, MD, Jim Tananbaum, MD, Robert Epstein, MD, Thomas Insel, MD, and Paul Dagum, MD PhD.</quote>


  • Mindstrong does assessment.
  • Mindstrong does “learning-based mental-health care.”
  • Mindstrong does continuous assessment and feedback [which] would drive the interventions.
  • Mindstrong does measurement-based practices [would be for] all therapies

<quote>Smartphones can track daily behaviors that reflect mental health. A phone can sense the beginning of a crisis and trigger an appropriate treatment response. This idea has been floating around Silicon Valley and mental-health circles for several years. Insel estimates that a good five or 10 other companies or research teams—including Verily—are trying to do something similar. Mindstrong hopes to gain an edge by combining Insel’s expertise and connections in the mental-health field with Klausner’s business experience and Dagum’s data-analysis tools and skills—and by moving quickly.</quote>


  • 2018 & 2019 → testing phone-based data-collection-and-analysis systems,
  • 2019 & 2020 → explore ways to partner with others to provide intervention.

Intellectual Property

three patents for a data-collection-and-analysis system for such purposes.
Paul Dagum designed this system [is a named inventor?]


  • Mindstrong will collect information
  • Mindstrong will use an opt-in
  • Mindstrong will use encryption
    <quote>all data will be strongly encrypted</quote>
  • Mindstrong will use HIPPA<quote>All data will be firewalled according to strict patient-privacy practices.</quote>
  • Mindstrong will only store metadata
    • not
      • voice
      • typed
    • e.g.
      • semantic structures
      • repeated use of key words or phrases
      • estimated
      • emotional state
      • cognitive states,

        • depression,
        • mania,
        • psychosis,
        • cognitive confusion.


Verily (Google)

  • Andy Conrad, CEO
  • <quote>a 500-person company (Verily>part of a 74,000-person company (Alphabet)
  • South San Francisco

7 Cups

  • Has an app.
  • Another private venture.
  • Glen Moriarty, CEO
  • Insels daughter NAME is an employee.
  • Demographic
    • young
    • diverse
    • 90% are under the age of 35
    • “likely to go underserved by traditional mental-health care.”
  • Applies DASS‑21Anonymizes the results.

<quote>7 Cups provides text-based peer counseling and support for people with depression or anxiety or a long list of other conditions. Registering for the simpler services, such as peer connection, takes only seconds, and users can also get referrals to either coaches or licensed mental-health counselors and psychologists.</quote>


DASS-21 → Depression Anxiety Stress Scales

DASS, University of New South Wales, AU

There is a manual


Separately filled.

Big Data, Psychological Profiling and the Future of Digital Marketing | Sandra Matz

Sandra Matz; Digital Psychometrics and its Future Effects on Technology; 34 slides.


  • Sandra Matz; Digital Psychometrics and its Future Effects on Technology; Keynote at ApacheCon; 2017-05-16; video: 23:08.
  • Sandra Matz; Big Data, Psychological Profiling and the Future of Digital Marketing; President’s Lecture, at The Berlin School; On YouTube; 2017-02-20; video: 1:10:52.


  • Cambridge Analytica
  • Apply Magic Sauce, Prediction API
  • myPersonality Project
    • myPersonality Database


  • Personality (Big Five, OCEAN)
  • Values
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Impulsivity
  • Openness to experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism





Is Facebook Targeting Ads at Sad Teens?


Michael Reilly

      ; In

MIT Technology Review

      ; 2017-05-01.

The social network appears to leverage sensitive user data to aim ads at teenagers who say they feel “anxious” and “worthless.”

The Traits (sensation-seeking, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity & hopelessness) Puts Kids at Risk for Addiction | NYT

The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction; Maia Szalavitz; In The New York Times (NYT); 2016-09-29.


  • Program: Preventure
  • Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal


  1. sensation-seeking
  2. impulsiveness
  3. anxiety sensitivity
  4. hopelessness


  • Personality test
  • Two 90-minute workshops


Madeline Levine




Separately Filled

Separately Noted

Tiger Cub Strikes Back: Memoirs of an Ex-Child Prodigy About Legal Education and Parenting | Peter H. Huang

Peter H. Huang (University of Colorado Law School); Tiger Cub Strikes Back: Memoirs of an Ex-Child Prodigy About Legal Education and Parenting; In 1 British Journal of American Legal Studies 297 (2012); 2011-11-11; 51 pages; ssrn:1958366.

tl;dr → starts with a diversity theme, moves on to cultural misunderstandings of the immigrant experience and then it’s just straight out growing up and coming-of-age and launch into adult life.  Wholly within the isolated world of academics & educators.


Available at SSRN

I am a Chinese American who at 14 enrolled at Princeton and at 17 began my applied mathematics Ph.D. at Harvard. I was a first-year law student at the University of Chicago before transferring to Stanford, preferring the latter’s pedagogical culture. This Article offers a complementary account to Amy Chua’s parenting memoir. The Article discusses how mainstream legal education and tiger parenting are similar and how they can be improved by fostering life-long learning about character strengths, emotions, and ethics.

From the paper

I am a Chinese American who at 14 enrolled at Princeton and at 17 began my applied mathematics Ph.D. at Harvard. I was a first-year law student at the University of Chicago before transferring to Stanford, preferring the latter’s pedagogical culture. This Article offers a complementary account to Amy Chua’s parenting memoir. The Article discusses how mainstream legal education and tiger parenting are similar and how they can be improved by fostering life-long learning about character strengths, emotions, and ethics. I also recount how a senior professor at the University of Pennsylvania law school claimed to have gamed the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings.

Responsive to

Amy Chua; Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother; Penguin Books; 2011; 258 pages; kindle: $10, paper, $0.01+SHT.


  • Amy Chua
  • tiger mom
  • Madeline Levine
  • Martin Seligman
    • founded positive psychology
    • defined flourishing
      requires five items (PERMA)

      1. Positive Emotion
      2. Engagement
      3. Positive Relationships
      4. Meaning
      5. Accomplishment
  • Judgement & Decision-Making (JDM)
  • cognitive intelligence
  • Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
  • Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
  • Assertions (assumptions of the article, the thesis of the article)
    1. JDM is required for success.
    2. JDM is [the set of] skills of emotion, emotional intelligence.
    3. <quote>education concerning and life-long practice of cultivating one’s character strengths, ethics, and professionalism are crucial to achieving happiess and satisfaction in school, work, and life.</quote>
  • Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Model Code of Judicial Conduct.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)
  • Cites Star Trek, page 22.
    • Star Trek; the original series, Season 1; 1966.
    • Star Trek: The Devil in the Dark; NBC; originally broadcast 1967-03-09.
  • lots of personal antecdotes



  • Paper Tigers; Wesley Yang; In New York Magazine; 2011-05-08.
    Teaser: What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?
  • Mark R. Lepper & David Greene, Undermining Children’s Intrinsic Interest with Extrinsic Reward: A Test of the “Overjustification” Hypothesis, 28 J. PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOL. 129 (1973).
  • Edward L. Deci, Richard M. Ryan, The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior, 11 PSYCHOL. INQUIRY 227 (2000)
  • Ben Dean, Learning about Learning; In Some Blog entitled AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS; circa 2004,
    tl;dr → defining love of learning, explaining its benefits, and how to develop and nourish it.
  •  Race to Nowhere, a movie

Via: backfill.

Onboarding the Always-On Generation | WSJ

Onboarding the Always-On Generation; Gary Beach; In The Wall Street Journal (WSJ); 2016-01-20.

Gary J. Beach

tl;dr → some factoids, a book promo.

Original Sources


  • Generation Z
  • always on generation
  • multi-generational workforce
  • Definition: Generation Z
    <quote>four years after the Web was invented<quote>

    • (maybe?) 1998 = 1994+4,
    • (alternate?) 2001 = 1997+4.
  • The Great Recesssion
    circa 2008-2016.



For color, background & verisimilitude

  • Bob DiGuardia, Suffolk University in Boston MA.
    • Director of Enterprise Applications
    • Adjunct Professor of Management
  • Anna Matthai, Research Manager, CompTIA.
  • Anthony Denhart, university relations manager for General Electric
  • Dan Schawbel, founder. Millennial Branding; Promote Yourself: New Rules for Career Success (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014-09-02, 304 pages, kindle: $10, paper: $5+SHT).


Get Ready for Generation Z; Enactus, Robert Half International; 2015-07; 24 pages.

  • Joe Kristy (IBM); The Changing Workforce: Urgent Challenges and Strategies, Human Capital Management Practice, IBM; 2007.
  • Bruce Tulgan, founder, RainmakerThinking.

The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis are in the U-Curve | The Atlantic

The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis; Jonathan Rauch; In The Atlantic; 2014-12.
Teaser: What a growing body of research reveals about the biology of human happiness—and how to navigate the (temporary) slump in middle age

Jonathan Rauch is

  • a contributing editor of The Atlantic
  • a contributing editor of the National Journal
  • a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

tl;dr → 6200 words; the U-Curve, the happiness U-curve, happiness economics, wisdom research


  • the middle age is defined as “the 40s into the early 50s”
  • Donald Richie
  • Richard Easterlin
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • 1970s
    • University of Southern California
      • contemporary
  • Happiness Economics
  • David Blanchflower
    • labor economics
    • Dartmouth
  • Andrew Oswald
    • labor economics
    • University of Warwick
  • Carol Graham
    • developmental economics
    • Brookings Institution
  • median nadir, age 46
  • Carol Graham, Milena Nikolova; A Study. That. Shows.; uncited, undated.
  • Caveats
    • occurs (mostly) in wealthy countries
    • only “adjusting” for variables
      • income
      • marital status
      • employment
  • Carol Ryff
    • psychologist
    • director, Institute on Aging, University of Wisconsin.
  • Claim, due to Blanchflower, Oswald
    <concept>aging from age 20 to age 45 entails a loss of happiness equivalent to one-third the effect of involuntary unemployment.</concept>
  • Andrew Oswald, Terence Cheng, Nattavudh Powdthavee; A Study. That. Shows; uncited; undated.
    tl;dr → found the U-shaped curve in 4 longitudinal data sets.
  • David Blanchflower, Andrew Oswald; A Study. That. Shows. uncited; undated
    tl;dr → a hill-shaped pattern in the use of antidepressants, peaking in people’s late 40s, doubling the likelihood of using antidepressants.
  • Andrew Oswald, et al. (4x others); A Study. That. Shows; uncited, 2012.
    tl;dr → find the U-Curve in chimpanzees and orangutans via zookeeper interviews.
  • Lifecycle Model
    due to an anonymous 2x friends of the author

    • 20s → exciting
    • 30s → hard work, steady rewards
    • 40s → surprises, problems, setbacks.
    • 50s → better
  • Laura Carstensen, et al. (7x others); A. Study. That. Shows; uncited; 2011.
    tl;dr → <quote>the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade <snip/> often met with disbelief in both the general population and the research community,</quote> <quote>As people age and time horizons grow shorter, people invest in what is most important, typically meaningful relationships, and derive increasingly greater satisfaction from these investments.</quote>
  • Elaine Wethington
    • professor
    • human development and sociology
    • Cornell
  • Andrew Oswald, quoted.
  • Hannes Schwandt
    • is young
    • economist
    • Center for Health and Wellbeing, Princeton University
    • A Study. That. Shows; uncited, undated.
      tl;dr → German longitudinal survey, with data from 1991 to 2004
      <concept>So youth is a period of perpetual disappointment, and older adulthood is a period of pleasant surprise. </concept>

      • young people overestimate how happy they will be 5 years later
      • old people underestimate how happy they will be 5 years later
      • middle people have two effects
        tend to feel both disappointed and pessimistic, a recipe for misery.

        • satisfaction with life is declining (that’s the U-curve, which manifested itself clearly)
        • expectations were also by then declining (in fact, they were declining even faster than satisfaction itself). middle-aged people
      • <quote>This finding, supports the hypothesis that the age U-shape in life satisfaction is driven by unmet aspirations that are painfully felt during midlife but beneficially abandoned and felt with less regret during old age.</quote>
  • Dilip V. Jeste
    • is distinguished
    • psychiatrist
    • professor, University of California at San Diego
    • past president, American Psychiatric Association
    • a wall full of awards; a paragraph of recitals.
    • 2x Studies. That. Show
      • 2006
      • 2013
    • wisdom research
  • Lisa Eyler
    • clinical psychologist
    • University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • wisdom research
    • defined: <quote>The traits of the wise tend to include compassion and empathy, good social reasoning and decision making, equanimity, tolerance of divergent values, comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity. And the whole package is more than the sum of the parts, because these traits work together to improve life not only for the wise but also for their communities. Wisdom is pro-social. (Has any society ever wanted less of it?) </quote>
    • <quote> psychological screening test for wisdom contains 39 quite diverse questions; psychologists at UCSD are working on reducing the number to a more manageable dozen</quote>
    • an emergent property
  • Dilip Jeste, Lisa Eyler
    • conducted brain-imaging experiment in an fMRI machine
      observing compassion (which is an element of wisdom)
    • subject
      • age 71
      • female
      • business coach
      • pseudonym: J. (just the initial)
  • Unnamed authors (German); “Don’t Look Back in Anger! Responsiveness to Missed Chances in Successful and Nonsuccessful Aging,” In Some Venue; 2012; landing.
    tl;dr → old people have a reduced regret response. The regret response is defined as feeling unhappy about things one can’t change.
  • “Young people just have more negative feelings,” attributed to Elaine Wethington.
  • “Young people are miserable at regulating their emotions,” attributed to Laura Carstensen.
  • Old people show more spirituality, to offset decline in reasoning, due to Dilip Jeste.
  • Gail Sheehy; Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life, 1974.
    tl;dr → parable of the midlife crisis of a man
  • Elaine Wethington; A Study. that. Shows; uncited; 2000.
    tl;dr→ 1/4 Americans have experienced a midlife crisis; there is stigma attached to the “crisis” concept.
  • Hannes Schwandt, is quoted.
  • Andrew Oswald, is quoted.


Via: Carol Graham, Milena Nikolova; work uncited; undated; based on Gallup polling, United States.

Via: backfill.

When Are You Really An Adult? | The Atlantic

When Are You Really An Adult?; Julie Beck; In The Atlantic; 2016-01-05.
Teaser: In an age when the line between childhood and adulthood is blurrier than ever, what is it that makes people grown up?

tl;dr → 7000 words; it depends; ultimately <concept>when one is secure with ones self</concept>


Recent book releases


  • What is it about 20-Somethings; Robin Marantz Henig; In The York Times (NYT), Magazine, 2010-08-18.
    Teaser: Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?
    tl;dr → 8000 words, basically the same as this article, except done by someone else, and appearing in the NYT and executed five years ago.


  • Failure to Launch
  • Steven Mintz
  • Kelly Williams Brown
    • age 31
    • bloggist
  • Generational Model
    • Millennial
    • Generation X
    • Baby Boomer
  • Social Constructions
    • Chlidhood
    • Adulthood
  • Noel Cameron
    • professor, human biology, Loughborough University, U.K.
    • quoted
  • Laurence Steinberg
  • James Griffin
    • deputy chief, Child Development and Behavior Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
    • is quoted on emotions
      <quote>the four Fs—fight, flight, feeding, and fuckfooling around.</quote>
  • Jeffrey Jensen Arnett
    • research professor, psychology, Clark University
    • Emerging Adulthood
      a new category, proposed & defended by him (see the book)
    • The Big Three, a framework
      1. taking responsibility for yourself
      2. making independent decisions
      3. becoming financially independent
  • James Côté
    • sociology
    • “The Dangerous Myth of Emerging Adulthood: An Evidence-Based Critique of a Flawed Developmental Theory”; In Applied Developmental Science; Volume 18, Issue 4; 2015; paywalled.
  • <quote>Of the Big Three, two are internal, subjective markers. You can measure financial independence, but are you otherwise independent and responsible? That’s something you have to decide for yourself. </quote>
  • Erik Erikson
    • psychologist, development
  • Anthony Burrow
    • assistant professor, human development, Cornell University
    • Rachel Sumner, Anthony L. Burrow, Patrick L. Hill; “Identity and Purpose as Predictors of Subjective Well-Being in Emerging Adulthood; In Emerging Adulthood; 2014-04-30, updated 2015-01-08; paywall.
  • <quote>In other words, the flailing isn’t fun, but it matters.</quote>
    • Four-box model (not shown)
    • Something about Taylor Swift, lyrics from “22.”
      <quote>We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.</quote>
  • Robert Havighurst
    • education researcher
    • era “the 20th-century”
    • A Life Stage model, with tasks
      • Finding a mate
      • Learning to live with a partner
      • Starting a family
      • Raising children
      • Beginning an occupation
      • Running a home.
  • The “Leave it to Beaveradulthood”, branding due to the reporter, Julia Beck.
    • <quote?These are the things Millennials are all-too-often criticized for not doing and not valuing.</quote>
    • Something about how this was a brief golden age that came and went.
      • Wasn’t thus before.
      • Isn’t thus now.
      • It’s a fiction of the Baby Boomers.
  • <quote>When people who are in their 50s, 60s, 70s now look at today’s emerging adults, they compare them to the yardstick that applied when they were in their 20s, and find them wanting. But to me that’s, ironically, kind of narcissistic, frankly, because that’s one of the criticisms that’s been made of emerging adults, that they’re narcissistic, but to me it’s just the egocentricity of their elders.</quote>, attributed to Jeffrey Jensen Arnett.
  • Rachel Sumner
    • graduate student, Anthony Burrow
    • Rachel Sumner, Anthony L. Burrow, Patrick L. Hill; “Identity and Purpose as Predictors of Subjective Well-Being in Emerging Adulthood; In Emerging Adulthood; 2014-04-30, updated 2015-01-08; paywall.
  • Denoument, Counterpoint & Onward
    • Many ways to become an adult
      but then the category means nothing; this rebuttal is rebutted.
    • Adulthood is
      • independence, but loneliness,
      • Responsibility causes stress.
    • Chroniclers & fictionalists
      • Saul Bellow
      • Mary McCarthy
      • Philip Roth
      • John Updike
    • Avatars & Actrons
      • old Hollywood visions of adulthood
      • Cary Grant
      • Katherine Hepburn
    • <quote>We live in a youth culture that believes life goes downhill after 26 or so. When I argue that we need to reclaim adulthood, I don’t mean a 1950s version of early marriage and early entry into a career, What I do mean is it’s better to be knowing than unknowing. It’s better to be experienced than inexperienced. It’s better to be sophisticated than callow.</quote> attributed to Steven Mintz,
    • <quote>[Adulthood is] taking care of people, taking care of things, and taking care of yourself.</quote>, attributed to Kelly Williams Brown.


largely by discursion & negation, the “post-modern” explanation.

  • not physical maturation, that varies by age
  • not by education, which is demarked by age anyway.
  • not by cultural (religious) rites, in theory only.
  • many paths
  • Milestones & Experiences


  • Henry David Thoreau
    • Harvard (undergrad)
    • odd jobs
    • A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
      • age 31
  • Maria Eleusiniotis
    • testifies
  • Stephen Grapes
    • testifies
  • Anonymous
    • testifies
    • roles
      • OB/GYN
      • mom
  • Anonymous
    • testifies
    • role
      • then-intern
      • (now?) doctor
    • <concept>You become an adult when you are in charge, responsible, accountable.</quote>
    • <quote>The question of when a tree becomes a tree and no longer a sapling is obviously impossible to determine. Same with any slow and gradual process. All I can say is that the adult potential was there, ready to grow up and be responsible and accountable. I think personal industry, devotion to something bigger than oneself, part of a historical process, and peers who grow with you all play roles.Without focus, work, hardship, or a pathway with other humans, I can imagine someone still believing they are a child at 35-45: I meet them sometimes! And it is horrific.</quote>
  • Deb Bissen
    • testifies
    • a new mom
  • Anonymous
    • age 53
    • testifies
    • manages
      • her parent’s transition ot managed care via “micro betrayals” (white lies)
      • the parent’s subsequent death, 2013.
  • Anonymous
    • testifies
    • 1st-generation immigrant
    • milestones
      • age 27
      • married
      • living alone (with spouse?)
      • employed, as a manager, stable.
    • adulthood came too quickly
  • Anonymous
    • testifies
    • quibbles with the term ‘adult’ as being synonymous with “reserved” or “passionless.”
  • Anonymous
    • testifies
    • milestones
      • age 56
      • married
      • masters degree
      • stable job, apparently a teacher (has students).
      • has traveled
      • no children
    • charged with “You never really grew up, did you?”
    • rebuts
      • have experienced death
      • have made end-of-life decisions (of a pet)
      • takes care of elderly parents
      • care about retirement
      • grey hair
      • knees hurt



  • Some Statistic, Bureau of the Census, United States
    evidence towards marriage age
  • Some Statistic, Bureau of the Census, United States.
    evidence towrds marriage age occurring later in life
  • The Case for Delayed Adulthood; Laurence Steinberg; In The New York Times (NYT); 2014-09-21.
    tl;dr → a book promotion
    Laurence Steinberg

  • Some Statistic, Department of Labor, United States.
    evidence for the statement: <quote>kids can hold a job as young as 14, depending on state restrictions</quote>
  • Some Statistic, Department of Labor, United States.
    evidence for the statement: <quote>[children can] deliver newspapers, babysit, or work for their parents even younger than that</quote>.
  • Some Statistic, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), United States.
    evidence for the statement: <quote>9 and 14 for boys, and still be considered “normal.”</quote>
  • Some Statistic, Department of Education?, United States; WHEN?
    evidence for the statement: <quote>by 1918, every state had compulsory [school] attendance laws.</quote>
  • Leo B. Hendry, Marion Kloep; “How universal is emerging adulthood? An empirical example”; In Journal of Youth Studies, Volume 13, Issue 2, 2010; paywalled.
  • James Côté; “The Dangerous Myth of Emerging Adulthood: An Evidence-Based Critique of a Flawed Developmental Theory”; In Applied Developmental Science; Volume 18, Issue 4; 2015; paywalled.
  • Rachel Sumner, Anthony L. Burrow, Patrick L. Hill; “Identity and Purpose as Predictors of Subjective Well-Being in Emerging Adulthood; In Emerging Adulthood; 2014-04-30, updated 2015-01-08; paywall.
  • Koen Luyckx, Luc Goossens, Bart Soenens, Wim Beyers; “Unpacking commitment and exploration: Preliminary validation of an integrative model of late adolescent identity formation”; In Journal of Adolescence; Volume 29, Issue 3; 2006-06; pages 361–378; paywall.
    tl;dr → something about forming an identity
  • Koen Luycks, Seth J. Schwartz, Luc Goossens, Sophie Pollock; “Employment, Sense of Coherence, and Identity Formation: Contextual and Psychological Processes on the Pathway to Sense of Adulthood”; In Journal of Adolescent Research; Vol. 23, No. 5; 2008-09; pages 566-591; paywall.
    tl;dr → something about how people who’ve committed to an identity are more likely to see themselves as adults.

Via: backfill.

Why Google, Target, and General Mills Are Investing in Mindfulness? | HBR

Why Google, Target, and General Mills Are Investing in Mindfulness | HBR; Kimberly Schaufenbuel; In Harvard Business Review (HBR); 2015-12-28.
Kimberly Schaufenbuel is a program director of Executive Development at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

tl;dr → because: the benefits (which are rehearsed); because they can; because they have the extra cash; because the Millennials, they demand it.

tl;dr → same material as The Financial Times piece, 2012-08 (forty months ago, three and a half years ago).


The mind business; David Gelles; In The Financial Times (FT); 2012-08-24
Teaser: Yoga, meditation, ‘mindfulness’ – why some of the west’s biggest companies are embracing eastern spirituality.
tl;dr → General Mills, Google, Target, First Direct, Harvard Business Review, Green Mountain Coffee; Jon Kabat-Zinn, the book.

  • Exemplars
    • First Direct
    • General Mills
    • Google
    • Target
  • Quoted
    • Janice Marturano
      • deputy general counsel, General Mills.
      • founder, Mindfull Leadership, General Mills
    • William George
      • deputy general counsel, Goldman Sachs
      • (ex-) chief executive, Medtronic.
    • staff, Aon Hewitt
  • Chade-Meng Tan, Daniel Goleman; “Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace); HarperCollins, 1st edition; WHEN; HarperCollins, reprint 2014-09-02; 288 pages; Amazon: kindle: $12, paper: $9+SHT.
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn; Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life; 1st edition 1994; Hachette, 10th edition; 2005-01-05; 304 pages; Amazon: kindle: $10, paper: $6+SHT.


<snide> Kimberly Schaufenbuel writes in the Harvard Business Review. She looks at several companies, from Aetna to Target Corp., that have created mindfulness programs over the years. At General Mills Inc., employees can take weekly meditation sessions and yoga classes. Every building on campus has a dedicated meditation room. Visualize profits.</snide>, via light & fluffy snacking at the WSJ.


  • emotional intelligence
    to better understand others motivations
  • resilience
  • Metrics
    • stress levels
    • heart rate measurements
  • Goals
    • being present; i.e. engagement.
    • better decisions; i.e. consider & discard more alternatives.
    • resilience
  • Viniyoga Stress Reduction and Mindfulness at Work — in collaboration with Duke University, eMindful, and the American Viniyoga Institute. The goals of the programs were to help
  • Awake@Intel mindfulness program in 2012. On average, participants report a two-point


  • Aetna
    • Programs
      • Mindfulness at Work™ (mindfulness meditation)
      • Viniyoga Stress Reduction
    • Developed with
      • Duke University
      • eMindful
      • American Viniyoga Institute
    • Study. That. Shows.
      • <quote>the study found that these improvements could be realized regardless of whether the programs are presented in person or online, as there were statistically equivalent results between the delivery methods.</quote>
      • Aetna Delivers Evidence-based Mind-Body Stress Management Programs; press release; 2012-12-23.
        presser references as <quote>Aetna (NYSE: AET)</quote> in case the audience wanted to trade against the knowledge of the announced program.
  • General Mills
    • Meditating Merchants, a ”network”
      •  began in 2010
    • Mindfull Leadership
      • created by Janice Marturano
  • Google
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
    • Substantially no details in the HBR piece; details are in the original at FT.
    • Concept
      • day-long retreat
      • employees, friends & family
      • Shinzen Young, teacher, American Buddhism
      • Waterbury, VT
  • Intel
  • Target
    • Meditating Merchants, a program name
      • commences 2010
      • Minneapolis headquarters
      • available
        • all employees
        • some locations


In order of appearance in the piece.

Via: backfill.

Tracking the Digital Footprints of Personality | Lambiotte, Kosinski

Renaud Lambiotte, Michal Kosinski; Tracking the Digital Footprints of Personality; In Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Volume 102, Issue 12; 2014-12 (2015); 6 pages.
Teaser: This paper reviews literature showing how pervasive records of digital footprints can be used to infer personality.

tl;dr → Very broad, not even a survey really.  More of a introduction to the area.  The References.


A growing portion of offline and online human activities leave digital footprints in electronic databases. Resulting big social data offers unprecedented insights into population-wide patterns and detailed characteristics of the individuals. The goal of this paper is to review the literature showing how pervasive records of digital footprints, such as Facebook profile, or mobile device logs, can be used to infer personality, a major psychological framework describing differences in individual behavior. We briefly introduce personality and present a range of works focusing on predicting it from digital footprints and conclude with a discussion of the implications of these results in terms of privacy, data ownership, and opportunities for future research in computational social science.


  • myPersonality
    • Michal Kosinski, coordiator
  • Michal Kosinski, publications.
  • Five Factor Model of Personality (FFM)
    1. Openness to Experience
    2. Conscientiousness
    3. Extroversion
    4. Agreeableness
    5. Emotional Stability (contra neuroticism)
  • Previous Work
    • Facebook
    • Twitter


  • Call Data Records (CDR)
  • Community Similarity Networks (CSN)
  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Global System for Mobile (GSM)


  • 54 references
  • M. Kosinski, ‘Measurement and prediction of individual and group differences in the digital environment, Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Psychology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, U.K., 2014. 200 pages. Lulu: $11.

On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit | Pennycook, Cheyne, Barr, Koehler, Fugelsang

Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek J. Koehler, Jonathan A. Fugelsang; On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit; In Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, 2015-11, pp. 549–563


Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.


How Useful Is Christensen’s Theory Of Disruptive Innovation? | Roundup

tl;dr → it is wrong; Clayton Christensen’s theory of Disruptive innovation is

  • not explanatory
  • not a causal path
  • merely a warning to others

Everyone is covering the paywalled article.

Original Sources

  • Andrew A. King (Dartmouth), Baljir Baatartogtokh; “How Useful Is the Clayton Christensen’s Theory of Disruptive Innovation?”; In MIT Sloan Management Review; Fall; 2015-09; paywall.


  • Disruption
  • Innovation
  • <quote>The theory of disruptive innovation provides a generally useful warning about managerial myopia. Many of our experts noted examples of managers who overlooked or misunderstood the importance of an emerging threat…. the theory of disruptive innovation provides a useful reminder of the importance of testing assumptions, seeking outside information, and other means of reducing myopic thinking.</quote>, attributed to King & Baatartogtokh.
  • <quote>The authors do not consider the possibility that the incumbent firms had a particular way of managing—inward-looking hierarchical bureaucracy—that made them prone to fail at innovation. The firms were not merely accidental victims of the law of averages. Their ability to innovate was crippled by their own management practices aimed at preserving the status quo. Given their advantages as incumbents, they could and should have had more success if they had been practicing management more suited to innovation.</quote>, attributed to Steve Denning (Forbes)
  • Incubents choose to die 90% of the time
  • Incumbents choose to “innovate” 9% of the time.
  • Method
    • Canonicalize history to cases.
    • Analyze canonical cases
    • Quantify
    • Conclude.
  • MindMatters; some survey


  • The Disruption Machine: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong; Jill Lepore; In The New Yorker; 2014-06-23; previously filled.
  • Clayton Christiansen
    • The Innovator’s Dilemma
    • The Innovator’s Solution
    • Key Concepts
  • Chunka Mui, Paul B. Carroll; The New Killer Apps; 2013.
  • Some Reportage; Harvard Business School 2013
    tl;dr → America can’t compete; is losing the ability to compete
  • Michael Porter, Jan Rivkin, Rosabeth Moss Kanter; Rebuttal & Analysis of ‘Some Reportae’ ; Harvard Business School.
    tl;dr → management excellence is excellence; everyone else is failing; this is a strength.  The strength is <quote>Apparently it’s the limited challenge of making the quarterly numbers with the existing engineering skills, product designs, and production facilities.</quote>, attributed to Steve Denning (Forbes).
  • Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg; How Google Works; 2014.

Via: backfill.

Scott Fogel, FirstBorn baits you: Why Everything Brands Say About Gen Z Wrong | Co.Create

Why Everything Brands Say About Gen Z Wrong; Scott Fogel (Firstborn); In Co.Create; 2015-10-01.
Scott Fogel, staff, Firstborn (a lifstyle agency & ideas boutique)

tl;dr →The agency, Firstborn, has insight.

Via: backfill.


  • Generation Z
    (a nonstandard definition per the doctrinaire usage in Strauss & Howe; as-stated, the cohort is usually positioned as second-half Generation Y/Millennial)

    • Age 12 to 20 years old.
    • Born 1995→2003.
    • They are now or were recently are in High School
      They do not have jobs, careers, families yet.
      They are still “kids.”
  • They are so young!
  • They are so creative!
  • They are so passionate!
  • They use consumer electronics (
    • <quote>it’s how they choose to live their lives in digital.</quote>
    • They have had consumer electronics all their lives.
  • Exemplars
  • Platforms
    • Snapchat
    • Vine
  • <quote>[A goal of media use] entered around making people think you’re offbeat or quirky.</quote>
    [Ahem.  This sounds like stereotypical High School behaviors.]
  • Dichotomy
    • then→<quote>jocks, theater nerds, band geeks,or prepsters.</quote>
    • now→<quote>gamers</quote> and subgenres of that rap message boards,,sneaker blogs, skating. Something vague about <quote>[this cohort] tends to use their passions and identity interchangeably.</quote>


Themes in the form of a listicle

  1. [They've] gone from clever to offbeat.
  2. There are no more subcultures, everything is a subculture.
  3. Online “leisure” isn’t just fun, it’s crucial to a healthy and happy life.


in the form of a listicle

  1. Give them tools (insteade of using messages)
  2. Build for [their] communities (instead of using messages)
  3. Be polarizing (this “often” strengthens connections).


Roughly in order of appearance



Everything you’ve heard about millennials is wrong; Chris Osterndorf; In The Daily Dot; 2014-08-02; separately noted.
Everything you’ve heard about millennials is wrong; Chris Ostendorf(sic); In Salon; 2014-08-02.
Teaser: They’re stunted, privileged, lazy and ruining the institution of marriage according to a new study. It’s all bunk

Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z | NYT

Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z; Alex Williams; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-09-18.
How To Spot a Member of Generation Z; Alex Williams; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-09-18.


  • Generation Z
  • “millennials on steroids”, attributed to Lucie Greene
  • Avatars
    attributed to Lucie Greene

    • Millennial, Generation Y → Hannah Horvath from ‘Girls’ (a television sitcom)
      • self-involved
      • dependent
      • flailing financially
      • dream fantasy collide with reality
    • Generation Z →Alex Dunphy from ‘Modern Family’
      • conscientious
      • hard-working
      • somewhat anxious
      • mindful of the future
  • Social Media
    • Secret
    • Snapchat
    • Whisper
    • (they avoid) Facebook
  • personal brand
  • Generations
    the definitions, the boundaries

    • “others” → 1995, Generation Z
    • Neil Howe → start 2004, Homeland Generation, Silent Generation (grandparents of Homelanders)
  • Generation X
    • 1970s
    • latchkey kids
    • jaded
    • funk
    • post-Watergate
    • post-Vietnam
    • Nirvana
    • slasher movies
  • Generation Z
    • children of Generation X
    • safety concerns; antecdotes given via mommy blogs
    • pragmatism
    • entrepreneurs
    • Fashion, via companion.
      • Gender-Neutral (androgynous)
      • Rocker Redux
      • Normcore
  • pragmatism
    supported by of quotes-as-evidence & antecdotes-as-evidence
  • <quote>This vision of a generation with wired brains, making their way in an ethnic-stew society of the future, makes them sound like the replicants from “Blade Runner.”</quote>
  • Silent Generation
    framing by Neil How

    • Grandparents of Generation Z (Homelanders)
    • Great Depression
    • New Dealers
    • work within the system
    • richest
    • the man in the grey flannel suit.
    • Exemplars
      • Martin Luther King Jr.
      • Elvis Presley
      • Andy Warhol


  • Emily Citarella, age 16, student: high school, Atlanta, GA.
  • Hannah Payne, age 18, student: U.C.L.A., bloggiest, lifestyle genre.
  • Ruby Karp, age 15, New York, bloggist HelloGiggles.
  • Anthony Richard Jr., age 17, Gretna, LA.
  • Seimi Park, age 17, student: high school (senior), Virginia Beach, VA.
  • Andrew Schoonover, age 15-year, Olathe, KS.


For color, background  & verisimilitude


Towards diversity

variously from United States Census summarizations..
  • The count of Americans self-identifying as
    • mixed white-and-black biracial rose 134%.
    • mixed white and Asian descent grew by 87%.
  • From 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew at four times the rate of the total population.

Towards pragmatism (contra risk behavior)

variously from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (uncited)
  • the percentage of high school students who had had at least one drink of alcohol in their lives declined to about 66 percent in 2013, from about 82 percent in 1991.
  • The number who reported never or rarely wearing a seatbelt in a car driven by someone else declined to about 8 percent, compared with about 26 percent in 1991.


Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation | David H. Autor

David H. Autor (MIT). 2015. Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation. In Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(3): 3-30. DOI:10.1257/jep.29.3.3; landing.

David H. Autor is Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; ex-Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2009 to 2014.

tl;dr → automation creates more manual work around it; journalist boosters overstate the contribution of automation; polarization won’t continue.


In this essay, I begin by identifying the reasons that automation has not wiped out a majority of jobs over the decades and centuries. Automation does indeed substitute for labor—as it is typically intended to do. However, automation also complements labor, raises output in ways that leads to higher demand for labor, and interacts with adjustments in labor supply. Journalists and even expert commentators tend to overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities between automation and labor that increase productivity, raise earnings, and augment demand for labor. Changes in technology do alter the types of jobs available and what those jobs pay. In the last few decades, one noticeable change has been a “polarization” of the labor market, in which wage gains went disproportionately to those at the top and at the bottom of the income and skill distribution, not to those in the middle; however, I also argue, this polarization is unlikely to continue very far into future. The final section of this paper reflects on how recent and future advances in artificial intelligence and robotics should shape our thinking about the likely trajectory of occupational change and employment growth. I argue that the interplay between machine and human comparative advantage allows computers to substitute for workers in performing routine, codifiable tasks while amplifying the comparative advantage of workers in supplying problem-solving skills, adaptability, and creativity.



There have been periodic warnings in the last two centuries that automation and new technology were going to wipe out large numbers of middle class jobs. The best-known early example is the Luddite movement of the early 19th century, in which a group of English textile artisans protested the automation of textile production by seeking to destroy some of the machines. A lesser-known but more recent example is the concern over “The Automation Jobless,” as they were called in the title of a TIME magazine story of February 24, 1961:

The number of jobs lost to more efficient machines is only part of the problem. What worries many job experts more is that automation may prevent the economy from creating enough new jobs. . . . Throughout industry, the trend has been to bigger production with a smaller work force. . . . Many of the losses in factory jobs have been countered by an increase in the service industries or in office jobs. But automation is beginning to move in and eliminate office jobs too. . . . In the past, new industries hired far more people than those they put out of business. But this is not true of many of today’s new industries. . . . Today’s new industries have comparatively few jobs for the unskilled or semiskilled, just the class of workers whose jobs are being eliminated by automation.

Concerns over automation and joblessness during the 1950s and early 1960s were strong enough that in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson empaneled a “Blue-Ribbon National Commission on Technology, Automation, and Economic Progress” to confront the productivity problem of that period—specifically, the problem that productivity was rising so fast it might outstrip demand for labor. The commission ultimately concluded that automation did not threaten employment: “Thus technological change (along with other forms of economic change) is an important determinant of the precise places, industries, and people affected by unemployment. But the general level of demand for goods and services is by far the most important factor determining how many are affected, how long they stay unemployed, and how hard it is for new entrants to the labor market to find jobs. The basic fact is that technology eliminates jobs, not work” (Bowen 1966, p. 9). However, the Commission took the reality of technological disruption as severe enough that it recommended, as one newspaper (The Herald Post 1966) reported, “a guaranteed minimum income for each family; using the government as the employer of last resort for the hard core jobless; two years of free education in either community or vocational colleges; a fully administered federal employment service, and individual Federal Reserve Bank sponsorship in area economic development free from the Fed’s national headquarters.”

Such concerns have recently regained prominence. In their widely discussed book The Second Machine Age, MIT scholars Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (2014, p. 11) offer an unsettling picture of the likely effects of automation on employment:

Rapid and accelerating digitization is likely to bring economic rather than environmental disruption, stemming from the fact that as computers get more powerful, companies have less need for some kinds of workers. Technological progress is going to leave behind some people, perhaps even a lot of people, as it races ahead. As we’ll demonstrate, there’s never been a better time to be a worker with special skills or the right education, because these people can use technology to create and capture value. However, there’s never been a worse time to be a worker with only ‘ordinary’ skills and abilities to offer, because computers, robots, and other digital technologies are acquiring these skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate.

Clearly, the past two centuries of automation and technological progress have not made human labor obsolete: the employment‐to‐population ratio rose during the 20th century even as women moved from home to market; and although the unemployment rate fluctuates cyclically, there is no apparent long-run increase. But those concerned about automation and employment are quick to point out that past interactions between automation and employment cannot settle arguments about how these elements might interact in the future: in particular, the emergence of greatly improved computing power, artificial intelligence, and robotics raises the possibility of replacing labor on a scale not previously observed. There is no fundamental economic law that guarantees every adult will be able to earn a living solely on the basis of sound mind and good character. Whatever the future holds, the present clearly offers a resurgence of automation anxiety (Akst 2013).

In this essay, I begin by identifying the reasons that automation has not wiped out a majority of jobs over the decades and centuries. Automation does indeed substitute for labor—as it is typically intended to do. However, automation also complements labor, raises output in ways that lead to higher demand for labor, and interacts with adjustments in labor supply. Indeed, a key observation of the paper is that journalists and even expert commentators tend to overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities between automation and labor that increase productivity, raise earnings, and augment demand for labor.

Changes in technology do alter the types of jobs available and what those jobs pay. In the last few decades, one noticeable change has been “polarization” of the labor market, in which wage gains went disproportionately to those at the top and at the bottom of the income and skill distribution, not to those in the middle. I will offer some evidence on this phenomenon. However, I will also argue that this polarization is unlikely to continue very far into the foreseeable future.

The final section of this paper reflects on how recent and future advances in artificial intelligence and robotics should shape our thinking about the likely trajectory of occupational change and employment growth. I argue that the interplay between machine and human comparative advantage allows computers to substitute for workers in performing routine, codifiable tasks while amplifying the comparative advantage of workers in supplying problem-solving skills, adaptability, and creativity. The frontier of automation is rapidly advancing, and the challenges to substituting machines for workers in tasks requiring flexibility, judgment, and common sense remain immense. In many cases, machines both substitute for and complement human labor. Focusing only on what is lost misses a central economic mechanism by which automation affect the demand for labor: raising the value of the tasks that workers uniquely supply.



  • yes


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Via: backfill.

Mindfulness is a capitalist grift: How faux enlightenment maintains our status quo | Salon

Mindfulness is a capitalist grift: How faux enlightenment maintains our status quo; ; In Salon; 2015-07-15.
Teaser: The meditative practice favored by America’s titans of industry bears no relation to its anti-materialist origins
The article originally appeared on AlterNet.

tl;dr → U R Doin it Rong.  But lots of background is presented if you avail yourself of it.


<quote>absent a sharp social critique, Buddhist practices could easily be used to justify and stabilize the status quo, becoming a reinforcement of consumer capitalism.</quote> attributed to Bhikkhu Bodhi in Beyond McMindfulness; Ron Purser, David Loy; In Huffington Post; 2013-07-01.


Via: backfill.