friday five 3.10.17

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1. the magic of microcopy

I interviewed John a while ago about UX writing, because I'd never heard of it before (I'd assumed it was just part of UX designing). I didn't know it was actually someone's job to write all of the little messages and things that users interact with. But it makes sense, given that it's something that plays such an important role in the way we experience technology. It's that little voice that makes a product feel almost-human.

2. the oscars' voting process awards safe movies

I had no idea that this was how the Oscars worked, but I guess that's why "Oscar snubs" make sense and why people were actually surprised that Moonlight won over La La Land. Arranging in order of preference is highly relative; when you have ten choices for Best Picture, you don't have to love a movie, you just have to like it slightly more than the other choices. There's a psychological term for this method of thinking that I can't quite remember from Psych 1, but it's basically your brain's way of taking a "shortcut," so that it doesn't have to think as much, you just have to fill in the slots (if someone can remember the term, please leave it in the comments...Google isn't helping and it's going to bother me forever).

3. ronda rousey vs. bruce lee: what progressives can learn from mixed martial arts & game theory

This is so fascinating. I actually considered taking Introduction to Game Theory for fun in college, but then I found out that there were prereqs, and there was no way in hell I was going to take Econ 10A. But it's the ultimate theory of decision-making, which I've always loved and actually acquired a basic understanding of from my Decision Analysis class in senior year. It's just really amazing that game theory explains practically everything and can be applied to such different disciplines, from Mixed Martial Arts to social justice movements. It really reframes the way we approach problems, and offers insight into how we should apply game theory to our everyday lives.

4. you may want to marry my husband

I actually found this piece on a Reddit thread, and it absolutely devastated me. It's so bittersweet, and I can't even imagine all of the emotional strength it took to write this. This is a candid expression of real and unselfish love, the kind I think everyone craves. I think everyone wants to be loved this way, and that everyone should aspire to love this way. But this reminds me that there are so many stories out there in the world, and that all of them are worth telling, even if they break your heart a little bit.

5. this on-demand taxi service is saving expectant mothers' lives in tanzania

I love this, because it's an example of a tech startup actually doing good and solving real problems. I've expressed this frustration with technology before, but the reason that much of the "innovation" in Silicon Valley doesn't impress me is that it's not particularly revolutionary. Contextually, "revolutionary" means that it completely changes the way we do something. But a lot of the startups simply make our lives just a little bit more comfortable, or eliminate minor inconveniences. They don't solve problems, but rather create them. It's the same issue I have with a lot of advertising: it identifies a need you didn't know you had (and in many cases don't have), and only then does it provide a solution. But this is something that's actually saving lives. It's recharting history and actually making a difference. And that is truly revolutionary.