My personal desire to question deduction’s seduction has motivated my search for the truth in many different places. Although some avenues of inquiry have proffered little, I was excited to find Michael Scroggins’ “Ignoring Ignorance: Notes on Pedagogical Relationships in Citizen Science” in Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 3 (2017).

It is high time that we let go of our adoration of “knowledge” and the high price that that form of worship requires and look more honestly and empirically at the world. The following quotation depicts the value that can be gained by problematizing knowledge and ignorance from Scroggins’ refreshingly new angle.

Theoretically, this article seeks to broaden the conceptualization of ignorance within STS by drawing on a line of theory developed in the philosophy and anthropology of education to argue that ignorance can be productively conceptualized as a state of possibility and that doing so can enable more democratic forms of citizen science. In contrast to conceptualizations of ignorance as a lack, lag, or manufactured product, ignorance is developed here as both the opening move in scientific inquiry and the common ground over which that inquiry proceeds.Scroggins 2017
My hope is that this article is the start of a new approach that will result in more realistic appraisals. This ethnographic report of the struggles of citizen scientists comes from the field of STS (Science, Technology & Society) but do not assume that such an approach is limited to the “tech world”. We can attribute much of these first steps to Columbia Universtiy it seems. Scroggins, a Columbia graduate is building his argument upon Varenne and Firestein, two Columbia faculty from two different colleges who are working from the same idea yet from very different perspectives. Whereas Varenne’s search for value in ignorance is grounded in Ranciere’s philosophy of education, Firestein’s approach is grounded in the philosophy of science. Regardless of their varying starting points, we can see that the value of this idea is richest in its application as Scroggins has so eloquently illustrated.

Cites Sources

Yesterday, I gave a presentation about TheAnthroGuys‘ core competency: Analytic Induction that gets practiced in search of opportunities to “add value“.

This is a rather clunky way to express what we do but we are still sharpening our ‘laser focus’ so bear with us.  Once we reach Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, I’m sure it will sound better.

Ethnographers and entrepreneurs share a reliance on inductive skills to accomplish their goals.  Once this is understood, we can learn a great deal from each other.

The presentation can be found here:

Ethnographic opportunity analysis sp16 part1(mullooly) from James Mullooly PhD

In a few weeks, I will return to their class to continue this discussion.  My hope is that some – if not all – of these students will see the value of this skill set.


Elsewhere, we have observed that our world is utterly overshadowed by ignorance, yet few people notice this.  Ethnographers and entrepreneurs share a reliance on inductive skills to accomplish their goals.  Once this is understood, we can learn a great deal from each other.

It is important to note that the similarities between anthropologists and entrepreneurs are numerous. The table below illustrates this point:

Anthropologists   Entrepreneurs Application
Trained to think holistically Intuitively holistic visionary, iconoclastic
Take an evolutionary approach Forward-looking know future demands
Seek the insider perspective Intuitively know consumers wants know when something will have value to others
Trained to be inductive Intuitively inductive keen observers, see openings

Other helpful guides include:

Read this article http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/03/anthropology-inc/309218/?single_page=true from The Atlantic entitle, “Anthropology Inc.”.

Or, Watch the clip that was attached to the above article  http://bcove.me/k6szvgkh from The Atlantic.

-Check out: “A Crash Course on Creativity” (Tina Seelig, Executive Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program)

-View the following 3 min video entitled: Field Observation with Fresh Eyes by Tom Kelley | IDEO

-View the following 4 min video entitled: Thinking Like a Traveler by Tom Kelley | IDEO

-Read: “Can’t You Just Ask People?” (Delcore)

-Watch: Parc’s use of these techniques.

-Define: The notion of “workarounds”

-Define: Ethnography


The directions for the Assignment are in the presentation slides.


I have included how the assignments are evaluated but the the main point is that this is NOT rocket science. Rather , it’s social science!  Applied systematically, humans’ natural observational skills can notice things that are typically ignored.  With some analysis, suggestions can be made to improve lives, products, profit margins, whatever.

If you have further questions about the assignment or the course, feel free to contact me.

Note, the following table is used to evaluate these assignments.

LINK TO Ethnographic Opportunity Analysis Assignment Rubric

Apocryphal or not, I love the idea that Plato carried a sentiment about the younger generation that we hold today. The next time you are thinking, “the kids these days are so….” remember that that may not be as unique an observation as you assume.
The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.
Attributed to SOCRATES by Plato, according to William L. Patty and Louise S. Johnson, Personality and Adjustment, p. 277 (1953).
Below, I have made my own version of this sentiment to update it into current language.
 Patty& Johnson                                    Mullooly
The children now love luxury;
they have bad manners,
contempt for authority;
they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.
Children are now tyrants,
not the servants of their households.
They no longer rise when elders enter the room.
They contradict their parents,
chatter before company,
gobble up dainties at the table,
cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.
Kids these days are self-indulgent;
they have bad manners,
contempt for authority;
they show disrespect for elders and love gossip in stead of work.
The kids these days are self absorbed, not members of their households.
They are rube to adults.
They contradict their parents,
openly gossip before company,
eat like pigs at the table,
slouch in their seats,
and disobey their teachers.

Getting Stuff Done(mullooly)5 1-15

This is a talk I gave about getting organised.

Depending on which state you call home, you may be spending anywhere from 28 to 46 minutes on average on housework every day. And while this may be significantly less than the amount of time that was generally devoted to home-upkeep half a century ago, it’s still more than most of us would like to be spending on things such as vacuuming, doing laundry, etc. Thankfully, as technology continues to advance and our homes become more automated, we’ll soon see even more of our time being freed-up for more interesting, entertaining, or rewarding pursuits. Here are five soon-to-be-commonplace home devices that will free us all from the merciless task-master that is housekeeping.

  1. Robotic vacuum cleaners

The air you breath may seem clean, and for the most part it is. However, hidden within the drafts and gusts that circulate through your home are tiny bits of particulate matter. Dirt, lint, flakes of dead skin, insect parts—all are small enough to be carried easily through the air without your noticing, but they still have weight. Eventually they settle down, and when they do, they collect on surfaces, especially the floor. We combat this menace by hauling out the vacuum cleaner or broom, but it’s a war that is ongoing. Roomba is an automated weapon designed to help you fight that war. In essence, it’s a robotic vacuum cleaner which regularly patrols your home, vacuuming up dirt and debris as it goes. When it runs low on battery power, it simply returns to its docking station for a recharge. It can even be set to only operate at night, so you won’t have to worry about tripping over it while you’re moving around the house.

  1. Smart washing machines and dryers

Thanks to the washer and dryer, most of us will never have to worry about breaking our backs over a washboard or dealing with frozen laundry on clotheslines during the winter. But just because our laundry appliances are already amazing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no room for improvement. LG has been developing smart washers and dryers that make it possible to monitor laundry status remotely, communicating the remaining time directly to your mobile device, and sending messages when cycles are completed. They also feature Smart Diagnosis, which means that should something go wrong, the machine itself will do its best to solve the problem on its own. You can also directly download updates as well as specific instructions tailored to wash-types.

  1. Smart Sprinklers

Sprinkler systems that automatically turn on at specific times are probably the only thing keeping our lawns green throughout the long, hot days of summer. Of course, having sprinklers that turn themselves on at the same time every day isn’t always a good thing. For example, if a rain storm is currently dumping gallons and gallons of water into your yard, running your sprinklers is only going to waste money and resources. Skydrop has created a smart sprinkler controller which not only allows for remote operation of an entire sprinkler system, but one that also keeps track of local weather patterns, thus ensuring that lawns and gardens get the right amount of moisture, without forcing homeowners to manually deactivate the system every time dark clouds appear.

  1. Smart dishwasher

Speaking of water, there aren’t many chores that are as water-wasteful as washing dishes. But what can you do? Water is the universal solvent, which means that if you want to be able to reuse those dishes in any state of cleanliness, you’re going to have to run the faucet, one way or another. Still, even if you can’t wash dishes without wasting water, you can reduce the environmental impact of your need to eat off of clean surfaces. The Whirlpool Smart Dishwasher, in addition to featuring remote access via smart devices, keeps track of how much energy is being used by the appliance. They also feature ultra-efficient running cycles, which means less water waste overall.

  1. Smart refrigerator

Grocery shopping is a pain, and never more so than when you don’t know what you need to get. Sure, you could keep a list, but that only helps with items that you consider before you leave the house. If you happen to walk through the pickle aisle and then can’t remember if you have pickles at home, then a list isn’t going to help you much. An internet-connected internal refrigerator camera, on the other hand, could save you some confusion. LG is currently developing a smart refrigerator with a built-in internal camera, so that if you ever need to see what’s happening inside your icebox, all you’ll have to do is log on through a mobile smart device. The refrigerator will also feature LG Homechat, which allows users to actually communicate with their refrigerators regarding fridge contents. The touchscreen located on the outside of the refrigerator door keeps inventory of what food is available and what’s likely to expire soon, and can even offer recipe ideas based upon what foods are inside.

So, stop wasting all of those minutes on housework. Smart technology is giving you back the time you need to follow your dreams…even if those dreams consist of taking a half-hour nap while your robotic vacuum cleaner sucks up your spilled Dorito crumbs. Hey, we didn’t say that you have to use the time well, only that smart devices would be giving you more of it.

Norwich University – Master of Arts in History Online

Today’s students are profoundly different than those of twenty years ago. These students come to class equipped with powerful technology. As personal devices become increasingly accessible, they begin to impact students’ educational experiences and expectations. As a result, BYOD (“bring your own device”) policies have become common in the higher education classroom.

Top Hat is a mobile student engagement system that allows students to use their personal devices to interact with course material. Instructors are able to harnesses the multi-functional and robust features of mobile devices to enhance the learning experience for students of this generation. The lecture transforms from passive to active.

Top Hat can be used to conduct assessments, collect feedback, administer quizzes and more. Results are aggregated and displayed in realtime while synchronously updated in individual student gradebooks. Its design is simple and intuitive for students and professors. Beyond these fundamental student response features, Top Hat is the most versatile solution on the market — instructors can create 6 different question types, students can initiate questions, and either can launch long-form discussions that continue beyond the classroom. In addition, it has unique features, such as a “tournament” module that allows students to go head-to-head in a fun competition to demonstrate their knowledge.

Top Hat is a tool for 21st century educators and students. In addition, they have recently published a few ebooks on The Modern Student and The Modern Classroom. Browse their resources page to learn more about opportunities to learn more about their mission and their product here: www.tophat.com/modern-educator-resources.