The importance of bad ideas

“The next time a project is being discussed in its early stages, grab a marker, go to the board, and throw something up there. The idea will probably be stupid, but that’s good! McDonald’s Theory teaches us that it will trigger the group into action.”

– Jon Bell (via John Gruber)


“Those who wish to protect natural ecosystems learn, to their stupefaction, that they have to work harder and harder — that is, to intervene even more, at always greater levels of detail, with ever more subtle care — to keep them ‘natural enough.'”

-Bruno Latour, in Love Your Monsters


“The history of the design professions is largely a history of overqualification, of men and women who have insisted on doing more than either clients or public ever asked for.”

-Ralph Caplan, By Design

Statistics on a daily basis

“Statistics: that’s a subject that you could and should use on a daily basis. It’s risk, it’s reward, it’s randomness, it’s understanding data. I think if… all American citizens knew about probability and statistics, we wouldn’t be in the economic mess we’re in today.”

-Arthur Benjamin [TED talk]

Educating for the future

“Children starting school this year will be retiring in [2070]. Nobody has a clue what the world will look like in even 5 years time, and yet we’re meant to be educating them for it. The unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary.”

 – Ken Robinson [TED talk]

Advice from Steve Jobs

I thought this was worth coming back to. From an article titled “Heart Before Head: The Legacy of Steve Jobs.”

Jobs: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

You: What do my inner-voice and heart want most for me to do with my life?

Jobs: “Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

You: If I trusted that eventually the dots will connect when I follow my heart, what would be my vision and what would I do next?

Jobs: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

You: What big choices would I make if I only had a short while left to live?

Data manipulation

To plan a statistical hypothesis test, specify the model you will use to test the null hypothesis and the parameter of interest. Of course, all models require assumptions, so you will need to state them and check any corresponding conditions.

When the conditions fail, you might proceed with caution, explicitly stating your concerns. Or you may need to do the analysis with and without an outlier, or on different subgroups, or after re-expressing the response variable. Or you may not be able to proceed at all.

Intro Stats (De Veaux, Velleman, Bock)

School gridlock

“Schools are government-run and their employees are unionized; how do you expect to get anything to change?”

-Evan Miller

Agents of change

“Children are phenomenal agents of change.”

-Jaime Lerner (former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil; via Scientific American)