why I read evolutionary psychology papers

It might seem odd that a bioinformatician with an engineer’s training would read evolutionary psychology papers on a regular basis. Here is why I do so: Suppose the human brain changes on an evolutionary time scale. It would follow then that not much has changed about our minds since before the invention of agriculture, and […]

myers-briggs personality interaction map

After my last consulting gig for Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems (YPS), they invited me back to troubleshoot their R&D team’s group dynamics [1][2]. To get started, I administered a web-based Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment to each member of YPS’s R&D team to discern their personality types [3]. I then plotted the personality similarities between the individuals […]

principles of respectable self-promotion

I generally limit my writing about leadership to 128 character declarations (the length of a tweet minus the “#leadership” tag). Anything longer feels too verbose for the subject. However, I’ve been asked twice in the last week for advice on self-promotion, and need a bit more space to wrestle the ideas into prose: Promote those […]

the value of internal blogging (blogging on your company’s intranet)

Many corporations and other organizations now use social networking platforms (such as Jive) as their corporate intranet. These platforms allow any employee to post material such as technical and business documents to their entire organization. The platforms also offer employees the opportunity to blog about their work—again to their entire organization. I call this practice […]

bias reinforcement through survey questionnaires

Today I play media theorist and examine how survey questionnaires reinforce survey designers’ biases: The knowledge that biases emit from survey questionnaires is nothing new. The extreme case, “push-polling”, intentionally guides the questionnaire reader toward a viewpoint, without real interest in their prior opinion. Any survey writer willing to push-poll already understands my concerns about […]

a better way to ask about gender in survey questionnaires

Survey questionnaires regularly ask respondents’ sex or gender, and mostly offer only the binary options: When presented with such a survey on paper, I typically add and then select a third option: “Fuck you”. (Similarly, I do the same with race/ethnicity questions when asked to choose one out of four or five options). However, we […]

cluster analysis of marketing survey ranking questions

Recently I’ve become extremely interested in survey analysis and, more broadly, the social consequences of survey-based decision making. So when a friend asked for help extracting business intelligence from a market research survey they conducted, I jumped at the opportunity to test out some ideas. The analysis presented below details a use of hierarchical clustering […]

marketing to scientists will give Red Bull new wings

“I don’t always drink rocket fuel, but when I do, I prefer Red Bull.” I hereby offer Red Bull a unique opportunity to sponsor my science career:  I’ll drink Red Bull while giving talks at scientific conferences and at my eventual Ig Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony, while Red Bull pays me lots of money. Scientists […]

data scientist walks into a bar…

A data scientist walks into a bar and observes a large crowd cheering intermittently. The crowd’s eyes track events on a large TV screen, following a bouncing spherical projectile’s motion as fit actors throw it through one of two metal rings. One of these rings elicits cheers from the crowd as the object passes through, […]