Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The paradox of choice: Why more is less

I recently finished reading this book from Barry Schwartz, where he argues against one of the most central "axioms" of western civilization, that is, the "freedom" and happiness offered by the plethora of choices. He cites research in psychology and makes arguments that support the opinion that, contrary to the well-established beliefs, the plethora of choices has made us more inactive and less happy. The abundance of choices make it virtually impossible to identify the optimal "product" we are looking for and this will cause delayed actions and even less satisfaction with a "good-enough" alternative. What if we went to one more store? What if we had picked the alternative retirement plan? For Schwartz, key elements for happiness are the low expectations and being a satisficer rather than a maximizer in our choices. It is definitely an intriguing read and you can also watch the TED talk for this book where he summarizes many of the main points made.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Computational Social Science: Current state and challenges going forward

This interesting article from Duncan Watts captures the advancements of computational social science and its current pitfalls in a nice and compact yet comprehensive way.  I think it is a very good read for everyone that does research (or is just interested) in this field.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Crowd-funding and Scientific Research

In this article a novel take on research funding is presented.  I am not sure how it can be used and how prevalent it will become but it is worth thinking about it.  It is another example on how technology  changes traditional means of completing a variety of functionalities.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Big Urban Data

This is an article on the importance of (big) data analysis and mathematical modeling on improving the urban life.  A very interesting read!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An interesting book

I found this book to be a very interesting reading. It deals with some important aspects of statistical thinking illustrated through real world examples. Topics touched are the importance of variation (as compared to the average), the difference between causality and correlation, the group difference, the two types of statistical errors (false positives and false negatives) and the probabilistic way of thinking. I would strongly recommend it!