Monthly Archives: June 2014

Facebook Science?

I was just speaking to Kaleesha this morning about my vacation from Facebook and then this pops up. On the one hand, science! On the other hand how does it feel to be unwittingly manipulated in such an experiment. Even more, consider the ramifications. Facebook was, previous to this, interested in the potential for manipulating its users and took the time to investigate. Now it has confirmation of what it can do. The first time (?) was for science what about the next time. What do you think?

Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.

Rhubarb and Sam, Episode 2

This week in Rhubarb and Sam we touch on child rearing, aquarium disasters and the evolution of family life. In short, it’s a balancing act that starts fresh every day. Have a listen!

Please note that you can subscribe to the podcast in several ways: At the iTunes store via this link.

If you are using an RSS reader or podcast app use this link.

Our Podcast

Rhubarb and Sam LogoIt’s been a good long while since I had a podcast. I think I was one of the first back in 2004 and I kept it up for awhile but soon dropped the ball. This time around, I have a partner. We’ll keep them relatively light (usually) and fun, probably a bit absurd. Not saying we won’t occasionally delve into something serious or deep but, for the most part, that is not the intent. You can subscribe to Rhubarb and Sam via rss or via iTunes.

Apple cider vinegar is not a “healing tonic” or cure-all

Another fine example of psuedo-science and misinformation. Unfortunately shared thousands of times on Facebook. At least they admit that actual proof is not important to them:

“Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most incredible healing tonics you will find anywhere, period. I’m not even exaggerating, I don’t have to. The results that you experience as you put it to use will demonstrate enough that you don’t need a “peer reviewed journal” to tell you that it’s a miracle juice. The proof is in the pudding.”

Proof? We don’t need no stinkin’ proof!