Monday, August 4, 2008

youtube: an anthropological introduction

Recently, I've found myself defending YouTube (in the context of defending technology as a whole).* I wonder how those people would react to this video.

It's an hour long but make some time, it's worth it.

*This is what happens when you have friends that actually work outside the tech industry. I know, tots amazing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

is it better for a customer service email to feel automated or be full of grammar errors?

I e-mailed Comcast customer service to ask about the process of canceling service since I'm moving. I specifically said I wasn't transferring service to another location (which was explained on the website), but completely canceling.

Thank you for your time in contacting Comcast.

You will going to cancel your services in your old address and set up a new account on your new address because you cannot use the current services that has in the new address you have.
[WHaaaaa?? Off to a good start.]

With regard to your concern, this issue is very delicate and requires a security verification process. Because here at Comcast we make sure that your privacy should always be protected and by which we need you to phone in for this concern because you need to verify security information.
[By which, you are saying I am delicate.]

During your most convenient time, you might want to call us at
1-800-COMCAST or you might want to chat in, and I guarantee we will definitely help you with your concern. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and I hope you could call or chat really soon so your
concern can be address to immediately.
[Most convenient time? Like, evar? Will definitely contact you. Fer sure.]

By the way, you'll notice she's not even responding to the right question. Was this ambiguous:

Hi there,
I am moving out of my apartment at the end of the month. I do not need to transfer the account as the apartment I am moving into already has Comcast there.
I only saw how to transfer, how do I cancel altogether? Up to which date will I be billed?

Now, I understand that most likely this isn't being responded to in the U.S. nor by someone who's first language is English...but in that case, maybe something more automated is better than what we have above, no?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

unsubstaniated but interesting scientific claims

We've all read about the role of smell in attraction (& the t-shirt test) e.g. having MHC too similar to a partner's is problematic for progeny so we are attracted to people who's MHC is significantly different from ours. Time touched on this in a recent article on love & mentioned an unsettling hypothesis:

Precise as the MHC-detection system is, it can be confounded. One thing that throws us off the scent is the birth-control pill. Women who are on the Pill—which chemically simulates pregnancy—tend to choose wrong in the T-shirt test. When they discontinue the daily hormone dose, the protective smell mechanism kicks back in. "A colleague of mine wonders if the Pill may contribute to divorce," says Wysocki. "Women pick a husband when they're on birth control, then quit to have a baby and realize they've made a mistake."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I meant to post about this topic months ago & today the always delightful Oddly Enough Reuters news informed me of the actual brain implications of the phenomenon, so I figured I'd resurrect the topic:

Higher wine prices boost drinking pleasure. Yes, that's right expectation of taste actually triggers activity in the region of the brain associated with pleasure (without regard to the actual taste).

An excerpt from the original Good Experience post I intended to post about:
... he served fifty-seven participants a midrange red Bordeaux from a bottle with a label indicating that it was a modest vin de table. A week later, he served the same wine to the same subjects but this time poured from a bottle indicating that the wine was a grand cru. Whereas the tasters found the wine from the first bottle “simple,” “unbalanced,” and “weak,” they found the wine from the second “complex,” “balanced,” and “full.” (original New Yorker article I've yet to read.)

Wine is growing on me but my original hesitation about the snobbery associated with it remains, albeit with some amusement.

[Usual caveat about it only being one study that needs to be replicated, etc., etc.]

Friday, December 21, 2007

I posted this in my old blog a long time ago but I think it's worth re-sharing with the world.

Several items in the news may have left you with some questions -- from Juno to Jamie Lynn Spears, we have heard a lot about unexpected pregnancies.

For this, I bring you a wonderful piece of literature that may answer many of your queries.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

influence of online video on human behavior

But Hoffmann admits he was less worried about the stolen cash than how he might look on the video-sharing site YouTube.

"What was going through my mind at that point was that the security tape is either going to show me run away and hide in the office or whack this guy in the head, so I just grabbed the cup and clocked the guy pretty hard."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

oh hey. you just caught us blogging.

just doing my part for the blogopolis.