Friday, October 31, 2008

ESPN College Gameday Brings Fun to Lubbock

Much fun is being had in Lubbock because ESPN's College Gameday show is in Lubbock for the Texas vs. Texas Tech match up.

Cynic Wes Wise said it would never happen.

Here I am with lab crew Wes Wise, Brandon Nutting, Wendy Maxian, and Kelli Brown.

Wreck 'Em!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wisdom from The Paper, Drivel from Me

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Paper with Michael Keaton and Robert Duvall. Love it!

Since I used to be a newspaper man, it tugs at my heart.

Anyway, in one scene, the divorced, disowned by his daughter, borderline alcoholic, prostate cancer having Duvall is sitting on a barstool talking about life.

And the Internet is ticking me off by not revealing this quotation, but he says something akin to:

Between your work, your house, and your family, they want more than you have to give. There are only 24 hours in a day. So your crap on your family because they're people, and they'll understand.

So that's basically how I feel working so much lately. Sorry family.

As I was writing this, the wife comes by and says, "I thought you were going to spend time with me."

Oops. Gotta go.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Need to Win Lottery So I Can Design Cool Stuff

I could have thought of this.

I should have thought of this.

With a little bit of help, I could have coded this.

I feel as if I missed out.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Book Contract Feels Like Faustian Deal

I officially signed a book contract this week. Along with three other authors, most notably former advertising department chairman Donald Jugenheimer, we're writing a textbook on research in advertising and public relations.

In the next three months, I will have to write 8 chapters in a little under 90 days. This means that I will have to write more than I have since I was a daily reporter at the Las Cruces Sun-News about a decade ago.

That'd be fine if there weren't these classes to teach and research projects to finish. But there are.

So the blogging will likely suffer. As will the sleep and the family life.

But hopefully it will be a worthwhile journey once we are done.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Take That, Annual Review!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Get Rid of the Performance Review!

It destroys morale, kills teamwork and hurts the bottom line. And that's just for starters.


You can call me "dense," you can call me "iconoclastic," but I see nothing constructive about an annual pay and performance review. It's a mainstream practice that has baffled me for years.

To my way of thinking, a one-side-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense. It's a negative to corporate performance, an obstacle to straight-talk relationships, and a prime cause of low morale at work. Even the mere knowledge that such an event will take place damages daily communications and teamwork.

he alleged primary purpose of performance reviews is to enlighten subordinates about what they should be doing better or differently. But I see the primary purpose quite differently. I see it as intimidation aimed at preserving the boss's authority and power advantage. Such intimidation is unnecessary, though: The boss has the power with or without the performance review.

Read the entire piece here.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More Political Ads Publicity for Angelini

See the interview of James Angelini, Ph.D., at the University of Delaware's UDaily.
“What I think the producers of these messages have to realize is that they cannot take it to the extreme that some political advertisements have gone over the past eight to 12 years,” Angelini said.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spinoza on Perceived Reality

From The Ethics, Nature and Origin of the Mind:
PROP. XLIV. It is not in the nature of reason to regard things as contingent, but as necessary.

Does this mean Spinoza felt that the default value was "true"?


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brandon Has a P300 ... and Lives to Tell

For fun today in the lab, we decided to see whether we could measure EEG activity using our Coulbourn Instruments LabLinc V system.

So poor Brandon Nutting's forehead got scrubbed, we attached some sensors, and collected some data. We don't have a cap yet, so we were limited to the forehead.

Here you see Event Related Potentials to a 100 ms 70 dB audio tone with a 10 ms rise time.

There were 49 trials.

You can see a recognizable P300 component about 300 ms after stimulus offset. You can also see a N100 in the Fp1 component.

The black (F7) and red (F8) locations were collected at the sides of his forehead, and the blue (Fp1) location was collected at the left-center of the forehead.

You can check out the locations of the International 10-20 System here.

Thanks to Justin Keene and Wes Wise for helping this experiment today. In under three hours, we took the equipment out of the box, wrote the collection program, collected the data, reduced the data in MATLAB, and plotted it. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon.

(And, yes, Brandon and I are both wearing Indiana shirts. Go Hoosiers!)

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Angelini in Newsweek: Startling Political Ads

My co-author on a study of negative political ads was featured in an online Newsweek segment today. Read the comments of James Angelini, Ph.D., online, in a piece titled, Expertinent: The Biology of Negative Advertising.

The original research was published in the Journal of Advertising titled, Psychophysiological and memory effects of negative political ads: Aversive, arousing and well remembered, and a PDF of the research can be retrieved for research purposes here.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tech Doctoral Student Pens Again

In our doctoral program in the college of mass communications at Texas Tech University, we have one of the most prolific authors in America today.

Bob Schaller has authored more than 40 books, and that number continues to increase dramatically. It seems as if he writes a new book each week.

Mr. Schaller's latest book, Michael Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion, is scheduled to be released Oct. 21 from St. Martin's; however some reports have the books on some shelves now.

The Phelps book was the subject of a Publishers Weekly cover story this week (see photo). This is an honor, and it reflects positively on both Mr. Schaller and the college. has the mass market paperback for just $6.99 and available for preorder, and it is my understanding that this book will have many interesting insights filtered from the official Phelps biography.

Having read some of Mr. Schaller's work, I highly recommend it. I'll be buying my copy in a little under two weeks.

Congratulations, Bob.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day of Good (Really) Meetings

Today was mostly lost to meetings, but they were good ones.

I had coffee with a colleague who, despite having spent time at Michigan, is a very interesting guy. He even sparked a grant idea, which is never a bad thing.

Later I met with a psychophysiology colleague across campus who showed me how they do things in his lab.

It was fun to be an academic today.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm Glad $700 Billion Led to Stock Rebound

Oh wait. It didn't.