Month: December 2010

  • An Evolutionary Hierarchy of Needs

    Parts of Abraham Maslow‘s famous 1940s hierarchy of needs are outdated and thought of as quaint by the scientific community, according to a team who have revised the hierarchy to take into consideration scientific findings from the last 60+ years. Maslow’s pyramid is used to represent the hierarchy of basic human motivations, from basic physical…

  • Dark Patterns: Evil Design Patterns

    I’ve looked at design patterns many times before: persuasive patterns, anti-patterns and interaction patterns. The missing link: dark patterns. According to Harry Brignull–the designer who really started the discussion on this topic–dark patterns can succinctly be described as “user interfaces designed to trick people” or “dirty tricks designers use to make people do stuff”. Brignull…

  • Preventable Startup Mistakes (That Caused the Downfall of Seven Startups)

    Verifiable, Wesabe, Storytlr, TwitApps, Vox, Swivel and EventVue: All companies or products that no longer exist after preventable problems caused their downfall. 37signals collects their stories so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes, presenting a set of brief post-mortems on failed startups. The recurring issues seem to be: solving problems that the world isn’t…

  • Douglas Coupland’s Thoughts on the Future

    Throughout his most popular novels, Douglas Coupland defines terms that come to define generations and also manages to create stories that perfectly describe and connect with¬†a certain culture at a certain time. In a series of recent articles, Coupland has done this once more, but¬†looks toward¬†the future, instead. One, an article covering Coupland’s prophecies for…

  • Irrelevant Neuroscience Jargon Increases Persuasiveness

    The addition of “irrelevant talk about neuroscience” makes a previously bad psychological explanation much more persuasive and acceptable. Luckily experts are not fooled by this addition of spurious neuroscience, but as an in-depth look at the study shows, almost all non-experts (including neuroscience students) are fooled and persuaded by the addition of logically irrelevant neuroscience…

  • Outliers, Regression and the Sports Illustrated Myth

    By appearing on the cover of¬†Sports Illustrated, sportsmen and women become jinxed and shortly thereafter experience bouts of bad luck, goes the¬†Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx myth. ‚ÄėEvidence‚Äô of the myth comes in the form of many individuals and teams who have died or, more commonly, simply experienced bad luck in their chosen vocation shortly after…

  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

    The¬†First Law of Fanfiction states that¬†every change which strengthens the protagonists requires a corresponding worsening of their challenges. [‚Ķ]¬†stories are about conflict; a hero too strong for their conflict is no longer in tense, heart-pounding difficulty. [‚Ķ] The¬†Rationalist Fanfiction Principle states that¬†rationality is not magic; being rational does not require magical potential or royal bloodlines…