Who said humanities majors can’t work in tech?

For e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay, personalization is the name of the game. We live in an age where Internet pages are increasingly customized to individual users, all in the name of maximizing potential advertising or product revenue. EBay has been one of the companies at the forefront of this practice; back in late 2012, eBay launched a major redesign centered around Pinterest-like feeds. These feeds, which push content based on eBay search histories and browsing habits, now dominate eBay’s homepage.

Behind eBay’s customized homepage, app content, and landing pages lies the larger tale of a company transitioning from a traditional auction site to a middle person for brick-and-mortar companies in the digital world. This requires a staff of researchers–primarily data scientists and machine learning researchers, but also from the social science sphere–who can wed quantitative and qualitative research traditionally found in academia to the world of e-commerce. Elizabeth Churchill, eBay’s director of human-computer interaction and a veteran of Yahoo and Xerox PARC, has a unique mandate: Getting data scientists inside the heads of different kinds of eBay customers.

Churchill, whose academic background is in experimental psychology and knowledge-based systems, supervises a staff of three researchers and six interns. “One of things we have is different forms in data,” Churchill told Co.Labs. “Not just behavior data, but transaction data, a lot of data from interviews, surveys, and ethnographic work. We really do a lot of ‘experience mining’ to look at what the data doesn’t tell us, so we can find the questions we want answered. We drive ethnographic process by looking at data that exists in scale to sample the right people to talk to to find people to speak about what they do off eBay in their general life experiences, as well as what’s on eBay.”

By email, Churchill added that “We use data science techniques to classify activity types, use ethnographic research to dig deeper into the motivations behind these behaviors and to classify user types beyond the classic marketing categories, develop behavioral ‘traits’ that correspond to different shopping orientations and activities, and use our eBay data in the small and large to more deeply investigate onsite activities and develop predictive models.”

This means more than just the items that show up on the homepage or what auctions are most prominently featured in the mobile app.The emails users receive from eBay are shaped considerably by demographic information. “Demographic data is used most effectively for notifications and marketing campaigns, rather than algorithmic recommendations,” she added. A big part of this is using data about a user to figure out the sweet spot that will get them to visit eBay more often without annoying them.

Churchill added that, for her team, empathy being able to place themselves in the shoes of users who use eBay in different ways is the most important aspect. “I build multidisciplinary groups because understanding users’ emotional journeys means a mix of computer scientists, front end developers, game designers who look at gamification elements, and social scientists for ethnographic fieldwork.” In the world of commerce, data science needs all the data points it can garner to be useful. For researchers, this means embracing the social sciences as well.

anonymous asked:

hi! do you have any thoughts/articles to share on the tactics employed in the barcelona/bayern match? i've always found your 'two cents' thought provoking. thank you :)

Hello! That makes me so happy, you don’t even know. I talked briefly about that match here and here and I’ll add that the missing Bayern players (Robben, Ribery and Alaba) undoubtedly influenced their approach heavily, forcing them to play narrower, for one. This is the only tactics-focused article I’ve seen that wasn’t mostly meditations on the myth of Messi. Not that I don’t love romanticism too, but I personally prefer a clearer separation between straight match analysis and ruminations on the, uh, sociological experience of football.

Hello followers! Please take the time to check out my study abroad travel campaign! I leave for China in 6 days!! (Wednesday May 20, 2015)  Any donation will help cover my expenses and mean the absolute world to me! Reblog this and spread the word! Thank you!

There’s a classic Steve Martin bit from A Wild and Crazy Guy…

“I got a great dirty trick you can play on a three-year-old kid… Whenever you’re around him, talk wrong. So now it’s like his first day in school and he raises his hand, ‘May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?’”

I’m not sure if it’s a great idea to take parenting advice from 1970s standup albums, but this always made sense to me.

If you have a kid, why not run experiments on them? It’s like running experiments on a little clone of yourself! And almost always probably legal.

It’s disappointing how many people have children and miss this golden opportunity, usually waiting until they’re in their teens to start playing mindgames with them.

Before my son was born in 2004, I was prepared. I’d brainstormed a long list of sociological and psychological experiments with friends and coworkers, ready to unleash my inner Milgram on my unborn offspring.

My original plan was to raise him thinking he was living in a computer simulation, but sadly, my wife vetoed it. And any other potentially harmful, but funny, life-altering scenarios.

But I managed to sneak one in anyway.

anonymous asked:

do you think most famous people used to be losers because I want to be famous and I'm a loser so I'm hoping they go together

I read celebrity gossip columns and watch a lot of celebrity interviews and I think many of them are still losers.  They’re just beautiful, rich, losers.  I don’t know if being a loser is mandatory for becoming a star or if becoming famous turns you into a loser.  It would be an interesting sociological experiment.

However, I would say that if you’re as young as I think you are, most people your age believe they’re losers.  Take it from an old broad, they’re and you’re not.  True loserdom doesn’t begin until you’re at least 30 when you’ve had plenty of time to work out the kinks and move out of your mother’s basement.  If you’re still useless at 30 then you may feel free to label yourself a loser.

You’re fine.

Thanks for the ask, drop by again and let us know how the road to fame and fortune is going.


Tagged by: asgardianhammer & whereherloyaltieslie


name: Laura
preferred pronouns: She/her
sexuality: Chris Hemsworth’s thighs
zodiac sign: Taurus
taken or single: Voluntary crazy cat lady.
three facts:

  • My middle name is after Keren Woodward from the pop group Bananarama
  • I have a minor (read: major) Pepsi addiction.
  • I have an avid interest in Psychology, Sociology and Criminology.

how long (months/years?): Oh wow, so just shy of nine years on and off.
platforms you’ve used: Bebo, Email, MSN, AIM, Skype, Livejournal and Tumblr.
best experience: Whenever I’ve been going through a rough patch OOC, it’s always been so great to have the support and friendship of people online. I’d definitely say moving from email and IM roleplays to Tumblr was a good move. c:

muse preferences:

female or male: I’ve played both, predominantly men but right now my muse is female so?? I really don’t mind either way.
favorite face:  *shrug*
least favorite face: To each their own, but some FCs do seem to be used to death.
multi or single: To play? Multi-verse but single-muse. Everyone else can do as they please.

writing preferences: 

fluff, angst or smut:  Fluff, angst and smut.
plots or memes: It depends. I like memes because they serve as icebreakers, but I do enjoy plotting based on wishlists etc when I get to know people out of character ^^ When I played an MCU character, the vast majority of my roleplays were plotted but now with Iðunn I’m thankful for any and all interactions.
long or short replies: The whole kit and caboodle.
best time to write: During the week from around 4pm GMT to 10pm. At the weekend, from like noon to midnight. It used to be the early hours of the morning but now if I’m even a little bit tired my ability to write disappears.
are you like your muse(s): Noooooo. I wish I was, because she’s a happy little bundle of sunshine but in reality I am more like one of the grumpy sods Iðunn would drag along with and love on until they cracked a smile hehe :P

Tagging: ancientbabylongodofdarkness mischixvous ladiesoftheninerealms beautiful-mischief vexing-obsidian

A Sociological Experiment

Smartphone addiction—Try this, take out your phone and start using it, and observe that the people next to you soon do the same. The compulsion has been hardwired over the years.

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Social structure of hunter-gatherers explained through sex equality.

New study at University College London explained unique social structure of hunter-gatherers through sex equality in residential decision-making. During the research scientists interviewed hundreds of people in communities of hunter-gatherers in Congo and the Philippines. It is the first to…

Read more


Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover the hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough. This entertaining documentary showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who discover they can change the world one bite at a time.

Faking It

Politicians pursue power. Whether in a free society or one ruled by Democrats, the pursuit of authority defines nearly everyone who seeks to wield it. That, of course, creates a permanent political class made up almost entirely of people who can’t be trusted. Therefore, scientists and the media are both supposed to pursue truth, both for truth’s own sake and as a counter to the control-at-all-costs politicians. Knowledge is power, after all. But when politicians, academics and media are all united in the common pursuit of power, then no one is left to pursue truth.

So you’ll pardon me if I’m not stunned to learn that another “groundbreaking study” has turned out to be as valid as an Obamacare promise. First published in Science magazine, the work by Columbia University professor Donald P. Green, Ph.D., and graduate student Michael LaCour documented a sociological experiment in which canvassers attempted to talk people into abandoning support for California’s Proposition 8 barring legal recognition of same-sex marriage and pro-life policies. Green’s and LaCour’s findings revealed that canvassers who have a personal stake in legalizing marriage equality and/or abortion could alter the subject’s attitude toward those topics.

The media repeated the revelations at the tops of their lungs. Here was academic proof that just a few minutes a day needling Great Aunt Esther could swing her into the leftward column. Finally, science provided a way to crush those stodgy old homophobes once and for all. One teensy little problem: Green’s and LaCour’s “groundbreaking study” was bogus. Despite hitting the media last December with all the fanfare of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour, their “work” was as short on facts as it was long on hype. As of Wednesday morning, it had been formally retracted due to academic malfeasance on the part of co-author LaCour.

I’ll leave the moral issues surrounding marriage equality for another column, mostly because they’re tangential to the growing crisis of American academics and journalists willingly subjugating themselves to politicians. To be honest, the idea that someone would conduct a study on the effects of repeatedly needling Great Aunt Esther is nearly as silly as concocting such a study. You shouldn’t need a months-long academic experiment — real or otherwise — to tell you to stop bothering Great Aunt Esther. But the saga of Green and LaCour isn’t new. It’s hardly the first time professional academics and professional journalists huddled together with professional politicians to produce amateurish results.

We shouldn’t be surprised at the disintegration of yet another liberal pseudo-scientific-turned-pseudo-journalism snipe hunt. The left has been using academia, journalism and often both in concert since Karl Marx was just another spoiled rich kid backpacking his way through Europe on his old man’s nickel. We can put the Green/LaCour fabrication up on the shelf with “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” “What difference does it make?” and whatever they’re calling “global warming” this year.

Sadly, we also shouldn’t be surprised the MSM that baked up this piping-hot serving of crow now refuse to eat it. Exposure of the Green/LaCour fraud made hardly a ripple compared to the tsunami the release caused back in December. Left-leaning commentators have already cued up the “taking liberties with the facts doesn’t undo the Greater Truth” narrative. Green himself told one reporter: “Maybe the thing to convey … would be something to the effect that just because the data don’t exist to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method of changing minds doesn’t mean the hypothesis is false.”

Actually, “Dr.” Green, the only relevant “thing to convey” is that yet another liberal invented yet another lie to push yet another leftist ideal.

It’s disturbingly familiar refrain. Other than writing what I expect will be a check with more zeroes than a “Ready for Hillary” coffee klatsch, Rolling Stone suffered no lasting effects from its spectacular self-immolation over the University of Virginia rape hoax. George Stephanopoulos remains employed at ABC “News” despite his personal, financial and not-just-a-little-bit-creepy entanglements with the Clinton family and their money trough — er, “Global Foundation.” Perpetually embattled NBC, including its idiot stepchild MSNBC, has been caught fudging the facts so frequently that the disgrace of talking hairdo Brian Williams didn’t really hurt its cache, mostly because it had none left to damage.

Scientists faked data to advance politics; and the media not only failed to spot the fraud, they gleefully advanced it. In that pipeline, there’s no room for the truth. Consequently, there’s no room for us. When academics and journalists all willingly kneel before politicians, we the people lose big.

Think I’m overstating the case? Perhaps. But the same day Green and LaCour were forced to retract a study published with all the hype of a campaign kickoff, President Obama told the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that “denying” or “refusing to deal with” so-called “climate change” constitutes a “dereliction of duty.”

–Ben Crystal

The post Faking It appeared first on Personal Liberty.

from PropagandaGuard

from WordPress

the printer (or is it a vending machine) in the third floor of the library sounds like a rooster

so the first time i heard it i was like… “wtf? who has a rooster in a library. must be some sort of sociology experiment…”

a testament to how weeiiirrdd college is. that you just so readily accept whatever crazy thoughts come into play. 

I’ll need to do more reading about relativism, but right now the divide between free will and causally determined actions seems at the heart of many debates in Baltimore and Ferguson as well as simply in my experience with Sociology. I think in many ways I have started to become more of a hard determinist (to believe that free will has less of a role than the situations surrounding someone in their youth. The philosophical theories should not be applied to real life as rule I have done enough reading to know that is the case. Yet, I find myself wondering how to wrestle with that divide. Should I look to find an answer? Is it better to find a place between recognize that the divides exist and appreciate the complexities of both sides of the arguments?


I find extremely gratifying writing down the bibliography of each exam and then highlighting the ones I’ve already studied as I go by… Next thing I wanna do is re-organize the board behind my laptop and hang on it all the important keywords/concept of the exams I’m currently studying for: Local government and Environmental sociology!