Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Recovery Position: A Step by Step guide

A step-by-step guide to putting someone in the recovery position.

You can now get FREE a photo version of this guide on your phone! Find out more about the Epilepsy Society free app here:

For more epilepsy information visit their website:

Google glasses: Streaming info to your eyeballs

When smartphones came out, it seemed like a leap in convenience to be able to carry important information on us at all times, instead of leaving it with our computers.

But soon, it may seem onerous to reach for your phone, turn it on and find the right app to get a piece of information, when you could instead just wear a pair of glasses that directly stream information to your eyeballs.

By year’s end, Google is set to release glasses that do exactly that in real time, so you won’t constantly have to reach into your purse or pocket.

The glasses, which will be Android-based, will cost about as much as a smartphone ($250-$600) and feature a 3G or 4G data connection and GPS and motion sensors and, of course, they’ll sport a screen a few inches away from the eye.

Here are some other key features:
  • A unique navigation system that scrolls and clicks with a tilt of the head: Seth Weintraub, a 9 to 5 Google blogger who broke the story says, “We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.”
  • A low-resolution built-in camera: It will monitor the world in real time and overlay relevant information about the location, nearby buildings and friends who happen to be in the area.
  • The ability to send data to the cloud: Then, the wearer can tap into services such as Google Latitude to share his/her location, Google Goggles to search images and figure out what he/she is looking at, Google Maps to find out what else is nearby, and to check in to places.

They’ll look like Oakley Thumps (pictured above), and Google expects that users won’t wear them all the time but only when they want the augmented reality view.

The glasses are being developed at the Google X offices, a secret lab that works on futuristic projects such as robots and space elevators.

"Internally, the Google X team has been actively discussing the privacy implications of the glasses and the company wants to ensure that people know if they are being recorded by someone wearing a pair of glasses with a built-in camera."

For now, Google isn’t yet thinking about developing business models from the glasses, but will wait to see if the glasses take off first.

Meanwhile, Apple is also reportedly working on wearable computing, the inform of a computer that straps around the wrist.

Meanwhile, Google is said to be building a $120 million electronics facility for testing “precision optical technology.”

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Not knowing your limits

The hypothesized phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect, was tested in a series of experiments performed by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, both then of Cornell University. 

Justin Kruger and David Dunning noted earlier studies suggesting that ignorance of standards of performance is behind a great deal of incompetence.

This pattern was seen in studies of skills as diverse as reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis.

Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

  1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
  2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
  3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
  4. recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.
Dunning has since drawn an analogy ("the anosognosia of everyday life") to a condition in which a person who suffers a physical disability because of brain injury seems unaware of or denies the existence of the disability, even for dramatic impairments such as blindness or paralysis.

To read more on "Unskilled and Unaware of it" Click here - PDF format

Ubiquity of the “Impostor Syndrome”

Discussing complicated intellectual subjects with others often involves area’s of knowledge in which we feel uncertain or inadequate.

You and I would not be the only one to have a sense of not belonging when caught in such a situation, even when we are in fact experts in that particular field.

This feeling of being found out as an impostor who talks nonsense despite the fact that we are well schooled on the subject, is a widespread phenomenon called The Impostor Syndrome. Although a rather benign sort of mental aberration, it can severely hamper our confidence.

The Cambridge professor of physics Athene Donald has broached the subject eloquently in a blog post, discussing her experience of the phenomenon in the world of academia.

She noted that it seems mainly an issue woman seem to talk about openly, but she has now followed up with a second article showing there are also plenty of men experiencing these feelings, although they seem less inclined to identify them as genuine instances of Impostor Syndrome.

If you share the feeling of inadequacy in the presence of peers or when speaking as an authority in academic or other capacity, it may pay off to read the articles and realize that this is pretty common. It’s not unlike the notion of feeling our looks, smells or physical behaviour is inadequate compared to others.

Whilst in most cases, others share these feelings, probably at the same time.

The spiritual opposite of the Impostor Syndrome is called The Dunning-Kruger effect. This effect comes down to an obliviousness to our inabilities, causing those with minor to no skill to be unable to detect their lack of competence and hence value their ability much higher than it in practice is.

If you and your colleagues all wonder how how that supremely incompetent and dislikeable manager got that position in the fist place, it may simply be the Dunner-Kruger effect in action.

The person may lack the self-consciousness and skill to realize his or her capacities are minor and hence prances around with the confidence of kings, which can translate eventually to promotion over more skilled, but far less confident, collegues.

In short, the Impostor Syndrome shows us that even the most competent of people, academics of fair repute, experts in their field, can constantly have the nagging feeling they are inadequate compared to others.

All of which brings us to a wonderful quote from the great British philosopher Bertrand Russell:
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision