The Jessica Post RCA Adventure Happiness Diagram
A presentation given to the 1st and 2nd years of MA Design Interactions at the RCA about my Post RCA adventures since 2007. A great opportunity for reflecting on my past and deciding on my future. Quite a weird feeling going back to college but was nice to meet with the students especially to also be sharing my presentation time with Anab Jain and Susanna Soares. There was an overall optimistic feeling especially as these students will be graduating smack bang in the middle of credit crunch. There was a group wave of joy as we all decided that these students wil be changing the face of recession and by their very enthusiasm and forward critical thinking approaches they will be creating the new design economy. Design is kicking ass at last!
SAN FRANCISCO — There is a new common symptom of the flu, in addition to the usual aches, coughs, fevers and sore throats. Turns out a lot of ailing Americans enter phrases like “flu symptoms” into Google and other search engines before they call their doctors.That simple act, multiplied across millions of keyboards in homes around the country, has given rise to a new early warning system for fast-spreading flu outbreaks, called Google Flu Trends.
Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org has released a new site that tracks the incidence of flu in the US based on terms used in Google searches.The system uses aggregated, anonymous results from searches for flu-related terms and plots their locations.The approach, validated against Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu records, provides timely data that could be two weeks ahead of government figures.
High Anxieties: The Mathematics of Chaos was an ace bbc4 doc that was on last week and shown at just the right time in amidst the economic MELTDOWN that is all around us!! David Malone has put together a film about the mathematics of chaos , why things happen the way the do and can they be predicted with a model? From the mechanicalreliability of Newtonian theory, through the shock of the Great Depression and the rise of equilibrium theory to chaos theory, which suggests that we are roller-skating in the dark, with no idea of when we’ll hit the one-in-three downward slope that lies somewhere ahead of us.
Random Walk—Characterized by volatility. You only find these in textbooks and in essays on probability by people who have never really taken decisions under uncertainty.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the man who wrote of the black swans, the highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact, has recently written an essay for EDGE about how those who are putting society at risk are “no true statisticians”, but merely people using statistics either without understanding them, or in a self-serving manner. its entitled THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS and can be found on the EDGE site here>
Statistical and applied probabilistic knowledge is the core of knowledge; statistics is what tells you if something is true, false, or merely anecdotal; it is the “logic of science”; it is the instrument of risk-taking; it is the applied tools of epistemology; you can’t be a modern intellectual and not think probabilistically—but… let’s not be suckers. The problem is much more complicated than it seems to the casual, mechanistic user who picked it up in graduate school. Statistics can fool you. In fact it is fooling your government right now. It can even bankrupt the system (let’s face it: use of probabilistic methods for the estimation of risks did just blow up the banking system).
From the Jounal of the National Cancer Institute:
“To make sense of the disease risks they face, people need basic facts about the magnitude of a particular risk and how one risk compares with other risks. Unfortunately, this fundamental information is not readily available to patients or physicians. We created simple one-page charts that present the 10-year chance of dying from various causes according to age, sex, and smoking status.”
From this data Alexis Madrigal has created an interactive chart that can help calculate your risk of death at a certain age.check out the interactivity here
“World Database of Happiness: A Continuous register of scientific research on subjective appreciation of life” is being created by Ruut Veenhoven at the Erasmus University Rotterdam
It collects all the available information about what makes people happy and why. According to the research, married, extroverted optimists are happier than single, pessimistic introverts. Nurses enjoy life more than bankers, and it helps to be religious, sexually active and a college graduate with a short commute to work. The wealthy experience more mirth than the poor, but not much. Sounds to me that if you don’t know any better and feel that you are expected to be happy then you would probably say you were happy,
And currently the happiest people are in Iceland and the country with the highest rate of suicides is Lithuania and the UK gives out the most anti-depressants to its population but the US deems to be the most depressed country perhaps based on their long working hours and the fact that they have no statutory holidays.
other related links:
The secret of happiness | It’s in Iceland | Economist.com
The science of happiness season on BBC last year
Happiness is the measure of true wealth by A C Grayling
Suicide rates of the world
The happiest country in the world
The most depressed place in the world
Bureau of labor statistics: how leisure time is spent in the US
Centre for Economic and Policy research: The No-Vacation Nation
The international labour organization
National Statistics Online