News and Features

Some Social Science For Your Weekend: TDO Picks of the Week

Editor’s Note: On weekends we bring you #TDOPicks – our picks for the best social science features we’ve found on the Internet this week. We feature a variety of content aimed at both the layman and the social science professional. Tell us what you’re reading or watching by tweeting @theDailyOpium with #TDOPicks or posting links on our Facebook page.

This week: Myths and Facts on Metro Manila’s Urbanization, Design Thinking and the pseudo-profundity of Max Gladwell.

Reframing Metro Manila, Part 1” Benjamin dela Pena,

An Urban Developer discusses Metro Manila, its urbanization and the problems associated with it.

Metro Manila, for all its insanities, is the engine of our economy. We can look at its problems and be dismayed, or we can view them as challenges to do better, to create a more livable and efficient engine.

Reframing Metro Manila, Part 2: Getting over the insanity of congestion” Benjamin dela Pena,

An Urban Developer discusses the Myths behind ‘solving’ the problem of congestion in Metro Manila.

It’s high time we debunked these two myths of decongestion. We can’t decongest Metro Manila by moving people out of it—unless we want its economy to fail. And we can’t decongest traffic by building more roads.

[Thinking Through Design] Design Research: An everyday example” Pamela Cajilig,

A business and design anthropologist differentiates design thinking and market research while discussing its positive impact in product building.

Formal training also grounds researchers in discussions that are relevant to all types of research: ethics, validity, generalizability, and accuracy. However, the most important characteristics needed to succeed in design research are often not covered by formal training: curiosity and empathy.

Portrait by David Yellen. Photo from

Portrait by David Yellen. Photo from

The pseudo-profundity of Malcolm Gladwell”, Steven Poole,

The article discusses concerns on “exploring ideas” over a rigorous process of scientific validation.

Malcolm Gladwell has thus done everyone a service by illustrating all too clearly the baleful drawbacks of “exploring ideas through stories”. In doing so, you might, like him, become incapable of understanding the stories in any other way than through the lens of your prefabricated idea. And so, because your idea is never allowed to be challenged by opposing evidence, it will languish forlornly, like Malcolm Gladwell’s, at the level of vapid homily.