…on “we are experiencing high call volume…”

If I call your company’s 24 hour support hotline at nine on a random Sunday night and the first thing that comes on the line is your front-end message announcing “unusually high call volume,” what you really are telling me is that you not only don’t care about service you’re giving your customers, but don’t care how routinely overworked your call center staff is as well.

“We are experiencing high call volume” is just like “please listen carefully as our menu options have recently changed” – they are the “under construction” clip art of the 21st century IVR system. Just don’t use it.

That Corned Beef Sandwich Steals the Spotlight, Again

John Young died January 5 at the age of 87. He was NASA’s longest-serving active astronaut, having flown two missions each for the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. He commanded the maiden Shuttle flight, taking the Columbia out for a spin with Bob Crippen. He was also one of only three people in human history who returned to the moon for a second visit.

But despite his storied career and extensive experience as a master spaceman, his accomplishments have always seemed overshadowed by an incident onboard Gemini 3. Continue reading “That Corned Beef Sandwich Steals the Spotlight, Again”

I wish I was the person my Pocket reading list says I am — Quartz

“Maybe you have an account with Pocket, or Instapaper, or Flipboard, or a reading list on your browser or Kindle. In theory, these are exceptionally useful places to store intriguing reading for more convenient times.

“But I suspect a lot of people use Pocket in the way I use Pocket: less as a practical tool than a type of intellectual hoarding. It’s a place to put the ideas I’m certain I’ll make room for, someday. It’s the digital equivalent of the stacks that used to litter the homes of voracious readers in the pre-Internet era: months’ worth of The New Yorker, yellowing newspaper sections, anthologies plucked from the library book sale.”

Source: I wish I was the person my Pocket reading list says I am — Quartz

On Privacy in a Social Network

(Ringer illustration)

I’m fine living in a world where John Mayer is celebrated but I’m not fine living in a world where John Mayer is celebrated without the appropriate corresponding level of remorse. Spotify recently nixed its much-loved but infrequently used direct messaging feature, citing low engagement. Instead of getting rid of features, however, what Spotify needs most of all is a healthy sense of shame.

Source: Every Spotify Session Should Be a “Private Session” by Kate Knibbs

Happy Little Data Points…

In total, Ross painted 381 works on the show, relying on a distinct set of elements, scenes and themes, and thereby providing thousands of data points. I decided to use that data to teach something myself: the important statistical concepts of conditional probability and clustering, as well as a lesson on the limitations of data.

So let’s perm out our hair and get ready to create some happy spreadsheets!

Source: A Statistical Analysis of the Work of Bob Ross | FiveThirtyEight

“…a sample size of one…”

Such thought experiments can be useful tools for exploring situations that can’t be studied in the laboratory. Occasionally, however, unfortunate accidents yield case studies: opportunities for researchers to study scenarios that can’t be experimentally induced for ethical reasons. Case studies have a sample size of one and no control group. But, as the neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran has pointed out in Phantoms in the Brain (1998), it takes only one talking pig to prove that pigs can talk.

Source: Large Hadron Collider: What happened to the scientist who stuck his head inside a particle accelerator — Quartz