The modern world has given us much, but it has also set us many traps that require careful thought if we are to avoid them. Living a meaningful life in the 21st century is not a simple task. In a world that is exploding with the shiny allure of technology and consumerism, many people are surrendering their time and energy in ways that are not fulfilling.
Archive for September, 2017
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One may think that pessimism is widespread today. Everyone, on all sides, is outraged at injustices and worried about the problems we face. But just beneath the surface, everyone, on all sides, shares an optimism that progress is not only possible but likely. Everyone believes that once problems are identified, they can be solved, and in time they will be. This myth of inevitable progress is our modern faith, and like many faiths before it, it is a false faith generated by deep‐seated human desires. Only the pessimist can see clearly the problems we face, and at the same time understand that progress is unlikely, and that our future, in many ways, is likely to be bleak.
The effects of noise on the world, and on our views of the world, are profound. Noise in the sense of a large number of small events is often a causal factor much more powerful than a small number of large events can be. Noise makes trading in financial markets possible, and thus allows us to observe prices for financial assets. Noise causes markets to be somewhat inefficient, but often prevents us from taking advantage of inefficiencies. Noise in the form of uncertainty about future tastes and technology by sector causes business cycles, and makes them highly resistant to improvement through government intervention. Noise in the form of expectations that need not follow rational rules causes inflation to be what it is, at least in the absence of a gold standard or fixed exchange rates. Noise in the form of uncertainty about what relative prices would be with other exchange rates makes us think incorrectly that changes in exchange rates or inflation rates cause changes in trade or investment flows or economic activity. Most generally, noise makes it very difficult to test either practical or academic theories about the way that financial or economic markets work. We are forced to act largely in the dark.
Excerpt of an essay by Fischer Black.
Summary: Flat interfaces often use weak signifiers. In an eyetracking experiment comparing different kinds of clickability clues, UIs with weak signifiers required more user effort than strong ones.
Sure, and that absolutely makes sense, but these flat UI elements were surrounded by designs that didn’t create a particularly great UX either. Still, a very important result.