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New Moon Rising

There’s a great episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns builds a giant disk to block out the sun to force Springfieldians to pay for electricity from Burns’ nuclear power plant 24/7. I was reminded of that diabolical plan to alter the heavens when coming across this article, in an opposite kind of way. See, the Chinese want to hang in the heavens an articifial moon to provide a single city with a new source of light at night.



The Non-Science Behind the MBTI®

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve taken a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality test. The assessment has been a staple of corporate human resource management for decades now. (Thanks to my time in corporate America, I discovered I’m an ENTJ.) While it feels like psychological science put to practical use, is it? A new book, The Personality Brokers, examines the history of the MBTI and its creators – the mother-daughter duo Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers.


“Money Laundering for Bias”

Speaking of corporate HR fads meant to replace human judgment with something “science-y” … it turns out that computer algorithms meant to objectify candidate screening for hiring may not be all that objective after all. Companies are now realizing that they can be held liable for bias in their hiring process even though they rely on a machine learning algorithm to sort resumes (and the candidates they represent). Just because a result comes from a computer based on math doesn’t make that result objective and unbiased.

The quote “money laundering for bias” about machine learning comes from Maciej Cegłowski, creator of bookmarking site Pinboard. The context of this line was a panel discussion on the Moral Economy of Tech at the 2016 SASE Conference. Ceglowski’s comments are worth reading in whole.


More Fun With Hi-Tech Archaeology

Last week in the #4 spot was a story about using lasers from the sky to uncover the century-old terrain scars of WWI. This week, it’s the use of robotic vehicles at a depth of almost 1.25 miles at the bottom of the Black Sea. There a team of researchers found a well-preserved ancient Greek sailing ship with an estimated age of over 2,400 years. The 75-ft long ship is in remarkable shape due to the lack of oxygen in the water at that depth. No oxygen, no degradation of the wood.


The Importance of Connection

A powerful look at the connection between family, neighborhood, and a poor child’s chances at succeeding in life. More specifically, the data shows that a child’s chances of climbing up the income ladder and avoiding the detour of incarceration are greatly affected by the concentration of two-parent families in their neighborhood.

I found this fascinating, as it is distinct from the data and argument about the value of a child being raised in a two-parent home. According to the work of Harvard University’s Raj Chetty, a poor child’s chances benefit from being surrounded by a community where two-parent homes are the norm, even if that’s child himself is being raised in a single-parent home (as I was for much of my childhood years).

This idea is part of a larger, necessary cultural conversation on the critical role connection has in the lives of people, both as individuals and as a society. Some more examples of that conversation worth reading: