This Week I Learned - Week 31 2021

What is this? An semi-unstructured brain dump of things I read or learn - hopefully weekly. Next week I will be on hiatus.

Effect of the Week

A new category describing a psychological effect or cognitive dissonance, that I find interesting. Barnum Effect or Forer Effect happens when we believe that a vague description of our personality (e.g. personality test or horoscope) fits our personality perfectly. The effect is stronger if the description seems tailored (but might not be), describes positive attributes, and the evaluator is perceived as an authority.


  • Learning Styles (visual, auditive) are probably the most common myth in pedagogics and education. Learning Style Theories states, that people learn in different styles and learn more if the information is presented tailored to their preference (meshing hypothesis). There is not only any scientific evidence for this assumption and it has been repeatedly debunked.(Pashler et al., 2008) “Results demonstrated no statistically significant relationship between learning style preference (auditory, visual word) and instructional method […]”(Rogowsky et al., 2015) of Instead of tailoring learning to learners learning styles, we should see them just like different ways to receive and process information. When more cognitive processes are involved, memory and recall improved. Multi-modal approaches, where we use audio, text, and images, are better for learning than focusing on one style. So why is it so popular? We can categorize students, but the most successful category is differences in prior knowledge and ability. (Cronbach and Snow, 1977)


  • A new trend called Polywork seem to emerge, where people work in multiple jobs at the same time. There is even a “social network” for these people named Polywork, that challenges LinkedIn by trying to more adequately capture capabilities, interests, and motivations rather than job titles.

Software Engineering

  • Software changes consist of three components: Value, Filler, Chaos. Chaos destroys Value and Filler is something that nobody wants, Value is the thing we want to create. This follows this formula Value=1FillerChaos\text{Value}=1-\text{Filler}-\text{Chaos}. IISM has great & free ressources to make leading software teams better.
  • I just started reading Python Tricks by Dan Bader so let’s document some things from the first chapter for further use here.
    • Context Managers manage creation and cleanup of ressources. You can use any class with an __enter__ (for creating ressource) and __exit__ -function (for cleanup) with the with functionality.
    • Underscores in Python sometimes have a meaning and sometimes not.
      • Functions and Variables starting with one leading underscore e.g. def _myfunc() are assumed to be internal, but function normally, except they are not included, when importing all names e.g. from mymodule import *
      • Single trailing underscores have no special meaning, but avoid conflicts with Pythons default keywords
      • A single _ returns the value of the last expression and is often used to ignore an unneeded value (e.g. val1,_,_ =returnsthree())
      • Leading double underscore e.g. __myfunc()) and Variables with leading double underscores __ are rewritten s as they are rewritten
      • Leading and trailing double underscores - also called Dunder Methods - are special python methods like __init__


Lee J Cronbach and Richard E Snow. Aptitudes and instructional methods: A handbook for research on interactions. Irvington, 1977.

Harold Pashler, Mark McDaniel, Doug Rohrer, and Robert Bjork. Learning styles: concepts and evidence. Psychological science in the public interest, 9(3):105–119, 2008.

Beth A Rogowsky, Barbara M Calhoun, and Paula Tallal. Matching learning style to instructional method: effects on comprehension. Journal of educational psychology, 107(1):64, 2015.