Blog of Sara Jakša

Lent without Sweets

While I am not religious, the part of my family is. And it is the part of the Christian tradition to observe the Lent during the time from the carnival to the Easter. Well, I think it is called Lent, in my language it is called post, which does translate to Lent, and the descriptions on the internet match? We use the same word for fasting in my country.

I decided that this is a perfect excuse to try and do something that I had wanted to do for a while. Well, I actually wanted to do the no sugar thing, but that seemed a bit too hard. Especially with how little willpower do I have to resist chocolate. And I ate a lot of bread during this time, and I know there is sugar in bread.

I still remember the first day. I think I came to stare at the Milka chocolate. I would be standing there, with the drawer with sweets open, and I would stare at it. The only way that I could survive that, was imagining, that after it is going to be over, I would eat it. It is only these two rituals, that helped me made it through the first couple of days. And I did not cave.

The days afterwards were easier.

I did notice, that it is convenience and more imagined testiness that made me choose sweets. Why do I say imagined testiness? Because none of the sweets are better than raspberries, but I would feel a stronger pool towards sweets. I would feel stronger desire for sweets. (I still do)

But after I figured out the snacking part, it was easier. I always had a thawing raspberries with plain yogurt in the refrigerator. And I ate a lot of oranges. Lots and lots of oranges and other fruit, but the oranges predominated. And drank more strawberry smoothies that I had before in probably more than a year, and that was all toward the end of it. Now, I am not sure how much healthy it was, but it sounds more healthy.

There were three times, that I broke the post and they all show, where do I need to be careful, when I am going to attempt it in a long term.

The first time it was, when I used sour cherries in my yogurt. I still live with my family (I know pathetic :) ), and there were some left over sour cherries. I added them to my yogurt, since I hate food waste. Only days later, did my father told me how much sugar did he pour in (a lot). And this food waste perspective will bring me trouble. I have not been eating meat for almost a decade now, except in the situations, when it was clear, that it will be thrown out. The urge is getting smaller and smaller each year, but it is still there.

Well, the problem will mostly solve itself, once I get my own place. It is the food waste in my home, that is the most hard to deal with. Which is good, because I don't want to spend another decades, going through that again. But on the other hand, I also don't want to wait until I get my own place. Just because I have a limit of about year and a half, does not mean, that it will happen much sooner than that.

Which is why, the two weeks that I spent at the sea side were easier, even though the next two transgressions happened there.

The second time was because of my grandmother. She knew, that I had a no-sugar eating period, and she sends me a apple strudel with my grandfather. And then she pester him, if I am eating right. And she is the type of person, that does not like sweets at all. So I caved in the social pressure. And it was too sweet for my taste buds. But this I know how I will deal with eventually. By going through it. On the long run, once I go do it full time, this is not going to be a problem for long.

But if I am not full time, then my family tries to be helpful by making me to try and break the commitment.

The third one was the first day of menstruation. I think this will be like my cheat day of the month, because there is no way, that I am going through that pain with no chocolate.

Surprisingly, the maturational pain this time around was shorter than usual. And I do wonder if it was because of lack of sugar? Or maybe the chocolate had a bigger effect, because of the lack of it in the days before? I don't know...

Now I am back to my sugar filled days, and I wonder if the sudden lack of productivity compared to that time is the consequence of that? Because I am back on eating a lot of sweets. But I also know, once I came from Austria, I am going to try and make this a more permanent, even if not as strict endeavor. Maybe starting with having the workdays or weekends to be sugar free, with no restriction to the rest of the days? I am still thinking about it.

The Changing Focus in Life

Relatively recently, I was having a lemonade with a friend of mine. I mean, considering I was not in the best mode that day, I hope she did not find it a complete waste of time. :) But there was an interesting comment, that she said in the end. I don't remember the exact words, but she said something like, how she preferred my shorter blog posts about personality, than what I am currently writing.

That got me thinking a bit. I mean, I don't actually expect people to read this blog. It is more a documentation of my thinking process, than a marketing tool. But that also means, that it reflects, what I am currently thinking about it, and I am currently in the phase, where individual differences sort of took a back seat for a while. Programming seems to be in the front for the last couple of months. And I think this is reflected in what I am writing on my blog. A lot more data science/programming posts, less cognitive science/individual differences posts.

But what does this mean for me? There are at least a couple of things, that have to be kept in account. One of them is from decision making. I remember reading in an interview of similar with the Supercasting author Tetlock, that the more people are known for something, the less likely they are to change that part of them. Which means, that even though I don't expect people to read these notes to myself, I might still be putting myself in the mold.

I have recently read a couple of things about changing opinion. From situational factors, to individual factors, to how much message is targeting the right level of personality traits, to the self-concept and how important that identity is to people and so on. And a lot of them work in a way, that they keep the opinion stable. Though, if you have the minority with opinion, that they are not willing to bend on, this can shifts the entire societies (economists have some pretty interesting simulations).

This can be then brought together with the theory, that a classmate of mine from Vienna presented to me last year. The theory says, that we have a huge conformational bias, and that is why conversations exists, so we can come up with the better, ... I don't know if consensus is a good word, but sort of going in this direction (and I probably butchered the theory as well :) ).

But people change. I am reminded of the quote from a series that I watch: "Change happens. Tragedy happens. People make choices and those choices affect everyone else." Well, I have not experienced a lot of tragedy, but the change does happen. Some parts of us are shed away, some are tired on and some of the tried ones are then adopted. Though there are things that I can see are going to come back. As long as I don't understand people enough, to know what to do with them without analysing, that long I am going to keep coming back to individual differences and personality. On the other hand, who needs Toastmasters, when you can have a lightning talk on each Python Meetup? Or find some other, more interested (even if more demanding) audience? (Just a joke, Toastmasters does have a role in helping people get rid of fear of public speaking and give the people the opportunity to socialize).

So on the end, what does thins means? Probably nothing. I don't think I will start writing more likeable material for the audience. At least not yet (nobody knows what the future holds (I am using a lot of parentheses, am I not?)). Even after having more than 500 entries here, I still have no idea, what do I want this blog to be, so for now, I will continue as I did so far. Because I don't think I want to turn this into personality blog (even if I though about it a time or two before).

The Role of Role-playing

In one of our master seminar sessions (where each of us presents what we are doing for master thesis) there was an interesting presentation. That presentation was about using role playing to increase creativity.

The topic was presented by a person who plays LARP, where he noticed that a lot of times people can use role playing to get over their fears or to change themselves. He gave an example of how people can get over their fear of public speaking, when they are in the character.

That got me thinking. While I had never LARP-ed, I did regularly attended the story games meetings in Vienna. Plus, I have that weird habits, that freaks people out, where I start thinking about the story and I play it out, and people then think there are multiple people there, because I change voices. But don't worry, I will try to concentrate on the first one in this post.

When I look over my experience of this, I notice some weird themes going on them. I think that there were always traits, that reflected myself. For example, unless the story explicitly demanded otherwise, I always had a badass characters, that were amoral, always depended on their own intelligence and did not usually go into cooperating, unless it was clear what was in it for them. I mean, in one story, we ended up cutting every man's dicks. In another one, I was playing that badass woman named Irene, who wanted to take on the criminal families of Victorian (I think, it was Victorian?) London by herself. In another one, I was given a character, but he still tired to manipulate everybody around him. In my defence, in the last example, I did give the grandma, who wanted to kill her sick husband, some sweets with heroin. On the other side, I did not tell her, she just helped me bake sweets with heroin. I think you get the feeling.

I do wonder, if this is my base personality coming up. Let me take example of non-cooperation and manipulation of people. When I test for the big five, I tend to test as very low agreeableness. People with low agreeableness tend to be more direct, more competitive instead of the cooperative, and not care about the people that much. The last one is probably the reason, why we on average score lower on tests of theory of mind and empathy.

But in the real world, I needed to get socialized. I can cooperate with people, in a lot of cases, because of the social structures, the cooperation is the -easiest way forward. But in the story games, there is usually a world, where at least some of these social structures are gone. In this case, I am going toward what is more natural for me, and this means... well I don't really have a word for this, but you have a description up above.

Makes me wonder about the role of social structures as well. Right now, I am reading the book by Philip Zimbardo titled The Lucifer Effect. I am at the start, and it starts with the description of the Stanford prison experiment. This is the one, when normal people were divided into prisoners and guards and they had to stop it prematurely, because of the extent of the abuse, that happened there. The thesis of the book is, as far as I can tell, that it is the situation that define the person.

Well, in science it has been excepted that both inner qualities (like genes and personal environment) and the situation make us who we are. Even if I have to admit, that my interest always tinted toward the former. But that makes me wonder in the different direction.

The role-playing (not just story games) can break down and create new social structures. Which would be a good way for better personal development. One is the obvious one, that my classmate was tackling. Being a different person can help us be more courageous and creative. But I would go in the other direction, it can also lead to better self-knowledge.

Just like it showed me, that deep down I am a manipulative person (I just don't let it surface as much). Or a more courageous one, that I would like to admit. I also think that maybe it can help other people discover, what they are like deep inside.

You will Learn a Lot and you will Meet a lot of People [Python Meetup Ljubljana April 2019]

So, last month I was on my first python conference. More about it can be found on my summary blog post. In this blog post, I am going to concentrate more on the advice for anybody like me, when they are going to attend their first python conference.

So, when I went to my first one, there was just two pieces of information that I had. The first one was, that some members of the Python community in Ljubljana talked about it like it was the best thing since sliced bread. The second one was the one that I directly solicited. When I was at the last Python meetup before leaving for it, I asked one of the person present, for whom I knew he was at the programming conferences before, if he had any advice. His answer was, that I will learn a lot and that I will meet a lot of people.

Sure, it helped my figure out what to expect, but this is not actually advice. It does not tell me what to do at the conference. Plus, from what I find out at the conference, could also me misleading. No everybody learns a lot and not everybody meets a lot of people. So I will try to say what worked for me and how I decided what to do, for people that are maybe in the same situation than me.

So lets start with the first part of advice: "You will learn a lot". I actually had a conversation about this piece of advice with at least two way more experienced people than me. The first one was on the very beginning of the conference and the conversation was mostly concentrated on me. He agreed with the advice, so there was something about it. But the conversation was about me, and he knew at the time that this is my first time. The second one was on the last day of the conference, during the lunch break. I talked to another person, and I asked him, what he learned from this conference. He started with a remark, that he did not learn anything, but that this is normal. Then he paused and told me, that he learned something new from the talk, I think it was about network penetration testing? I am not sure, I was not on that one. He sounded surprised. And he then shrugged, that next year he can go back to not learning anything new.

So that means that it is possible to participate in the conferences and not learn anything new. Assuming a person is somebody that has a lot more knowledge and program a lot longer than I do. And I don't really know, how to solve this for the people, since I am far away from that stage.

But here is the two piece of advice for people, that are a bit more on the beginner side. The first one is that workshops are better than talks (on average). And that there is a difference between talks - there are inspirational talks, marketing talks, technical talks and skill-based talks. And each one has it pros and cons and each one is good for different things.

Let me start with the first one. Tutorials are better than talks. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first one is, that workshops are usually longer, so there is more that can be covered in a tutorial as compared to the talk. The second one is, that in tutorials, they already force you to use the new found knowledge immediately, instead of a talk. And an important one for me is motivation. I have way too many thing, that I want to try. And I don't have time and energy to try all of them. So instead of listening to another talk, to give me even more ideas, I can just start working on one as part of the workshops.

But what I also noticed is, that they are all basic in that specific subfield. So, if you already know, how to do a networking analysis, maybe you would not get anything from a workshop on network analysis. But no matter how experienced programmer you are, if you had never tried it, like writing a GitHub bot or created a passwordless authentication service, I still think they can be useful. And yes, there were all the workshops, that I attended at my first Python conference.

The second piece of advice is based on the differences between speeches. There are a couple of different types of speeches, each with their own role.

Let me start with the inspirational ones. These are the talks that talk about something they did, which is inspirational, but there is nothing actionable that can be gleaned by it. The example of a talk like that was the one that talked about, how they are sending the satellites in space, and then take pictures. I mean, it is inspirational and it can show what it is possible to do with python, but otherwise... not that useful? I don't know. If anybody is attending the conference for the motivation, these are the talks to listen to. I don't, so I did not find them that useful.

The next one, that I would sort of group together with the upper ones were the 'marketing' ones. These were the talks that presented services, that could be used by us or companies. The Arvil one and the Google API one were an example of this. Maybe even MindsDB would also be put in this group. These are the talks, that would not make one a better programmer, but they might be useful to people, that are building stuff and running companies. I mean, I am an economist and I believe in the division of labor, so I understand that sometimes it makes sense to use something, that some other people did. Since it would likely be better that something you would come up with yourself. So, from this perspective, they are useful. But I am a student, and my job is in react-native, which is not Python, so the only thing, that I might be using is MindsDB, since this is something that I could see using for my own projects. So these were useful in a different way and to the different people, in this case the people with companies, who don't only have to worry about building stuff.

The I would combine the technical and skill-based ones. The technical ones was for example the detailed examples of Django's ORM or that guy who talked about the weird things python does because of optimization. The skill based one were the ones like about the time-zones, OAuth and GutHub bots. But I think there is a continuum, based on how high level vs. going into technical details they were. I think there were the ones, where I actually learned new stuff. Not as much as with tutorials, but this were the talks, that I would recommend to my past self. I think these are the most useful talks to a person at my level with my interests and in my position.

But as I said before, not everybody is in my position, so I hoped that I clearly explained the difference between talks and for what is each type useful. But what I would add to the end is, that if you are already at the conference, attend as many workshops and talk as you can. This can also be helpful and maybe you realize that some other things, that I did not even notice, are what is important to you. At least for the first one, attend as many things as you can.

Let me now go to the second piece of advice, which is "You will meet a lot of people". Well, this one is depends. And I figured this one out on the first day, before lunch. My goal for this conferences were mild, which were talk to at least one person (which I managed to do, before the conference officially started) and figure out for what are these conferences good at and if I wanted to add them as part of my plans.

But just because this happened, this does not mean, that I could not go with the flow. But not a lot of things work for me, when I go with the flow. I have low extroversion, which means that I don't get motivated by achieving more and more and I am an introverted thinker, which means that I analyse everything. And things did not go alright. In the first day, there was a Slovak track and there was an English track. But there was one Slovak presentation in the English track as well. So the organizers told us, that we can go outside, where they organized the discussion. Well... for me, that ended up being an hour, that I spend to myself.

I came outside and I was not the only one. There was a small group, that stated a discussion about the details of technology, which I could not even follow along enough to ask smart questions. So I left, and I realized, that I needed a plan of attack for my socialization. But of course, I did not make that plan.

But I knew, that there are three ways of attacking the socialization problem, and I managed to use all of them over the remainder of the conference.

Even before that, I relied on the luck strategy. Simply wait for people to approach me. This worked for the talk before the beginning of the conference and this worked for the person I spend talking with during my first lunch. They were the ones that started talking to me, without giving them the reason to. If you are alright with hanging around five people at the conference, this method works quite well. Just be yourself, and there will be people that will try talking to you. It is a very passive, low-maintenance way of doing it.

And I planned to stick to it for my conference, until I heard the announcement, that everybody can have a lightning talk. I think the one advice, that I had heard about social skill, that gave me the most positive impact, was to give a talk. When you give a talk, then people come and talk to you. Especially, if they are interested in the same thing you presented. It is a great way to talk to people you never talked before.

The reason I needed a strategy like that is, that a lot of times I would come to the group meeting, where I did not know anybody, and I would be forced to socialize. So this is one very easy tactic for me. The other two that I developed were talk to the shyest looking guy in the room and stand next to the group until they include you. But giving a talk is the most fun and the easiest for me to do.

So I knew, that I would need to give a lightning talk. And I tried to talk myself out of it, but damn when a part of me knew, that I could not. Having somebody else voice in my head (if you are by any chance reading this, you know who you are) did not help with discouraging me. It was pushing me to do it. Since than, I had internalize, that these 'voices' can't make me do something, I don't want to do, but they could seriously mess up my timeline and my reputation. Thankfully, I only care about the former of the two.

So, I knew I will have a lightning talk. But I had nothing prepared and I did not have a time for myself to prepare anything. So I just sort of recycled my first lightning talk, that I had at Python Meetups in Ljubljana. Which was months ago. So what I did, was just basically rant for about three minutes, with about 200 listening (my estimation) and a lot of them not understanding my arguments (based on the fact, that multiple people afterwards told me that). I mean, if you can come on the stage and say something, you will end up creating better impression than I did. I mean, I am sure you will be hard pressed to rant more than me, be more unprepared than me, be less clear than me and choose a more controversial topic than me.

So take my advice and actually prepare a lightning talk in advance and then give a lightning talk. This will take care of a lot of socialization, since you will give people a topic to start a conversation with you. And people will do this. I call this a lecturer type of socialization. It takes a couple of minutes of work and in my case around 24 hours of anger, but if you know in advance that you will do it and you prepare for it, there will be no reason for anger.

The third one I call the pick up version of socialization. It is the most active version, but I think it can still be useful. Especially for people like me, who for some reason induces fear in other people. But it is easier to use in the socialization events, than at the conference. Which is come to people and start having conversations with them. Which in my case looks like this: I get to a group of people, I sit next to it and I listen and a lot of times (but not always) people will include you in the conversation. I actually had a lot more of success rate with this technique in the programming community, than for example at the neuro-linguistic programming lectures or at personal development seminars. I have a hypothesis, why this is so, but I am not sure, if it is right. I think the reason is, that programmers are stereotyped as people without social skills. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, so that means that a lot more people in this group probably had to work on their social skills. So they are more attuned to the social struggles of other people.

It is like a comment from this article, if you are wondering, why we needed to explain the fact, that some people use empathy all the time, then you are probably normal.

But this very crude techniques, along with the lightning talk that I gave, allowed me to talk over dozen of people in one evening. And when I say that, with a lot of these people, I ended up having talk, that went beyond small talk. So in that way, yes, I did meet a lot of people, but I ended up having to actually do something about it.

Maybe you are a type of person, that don't have to do this. But there are at least three reasons why I needed to be more active. First, I have a low extroversion and low agreeableness score. Which means, that if I don't talk to anybody for two weeks, I will not find anything wrong with it. I don't have the innate drive and wish to interact with people. If you have that, maybe going ti with flow would work. The second one is that people are afraid of me. Even people that never talked to be before. And I got this feedback again at the socialization event at the conference. When I was standing there talking with two people, somebody came there. And then he asked me, if I was the one that gave that lightning talk, which I was. Then the person continued, that they have been discussing that for the last hour, but people were too afraid to ask me to join.

But I knew about this two reasons, the third one was a surprise. And it has to do with me being a woman in a male dominated event. What the third wave feminists did, was instill a fear in some people about talking to the 'marginalized' people in environment like that. Which apparently a woman in programming is? And they should not make us feel unwelcome, because we are 'victims'. God, I am wondering if stabbing one of them would make it easier to deal with them. WOMEN ARE NOT VICTIMS. I hope that was clear enough. I can't believe that this is one of the reasons, why we need socialization tactics.

So summarizing the advice is, give a lightning talk and attend the socialization events, joining the groups that already exist. If you are too afraid to give a talk, then you will have to work more on the starting to talk to people part, or be alright with talking to only around 5 new people. Which is also a good strategy, since these things compound. They introduce you to new people and so on. But if can go over the fear of public speaking, then definitely go for it.

So the next time somebody asks me for the advice about the first conference, I will probably start with the same one: "You will learn a lot and you will meet a lot of people". But then I would continue, with, attend as many workshops and talks as you can, give a lightning talk, go to the socialization events and talk to people there.

Different Social Understanding

I am right now going through my philosophy of mind notes (I can't believe, that I am only doing it now - but it does give me perspective, to only take the most interesting things). While toward the end of the semester, we also dealt with different theory of how we act in social interactions. So here I am going to try and write, from sparse notes and memories, what these different theories were.

The first theory is the folk theory of interaction. This one is understanding people based on their beliefs. So, each person is having beliefs and desires and we can predict intentions from it. So, a person is seen walking quickly, so they must be in a hurry sort of things.

In that was, it is a bit similar to the theory of mind, where we use the systematic models and law-like knowledge of people, in order to make prediction. So, a person knows about her opinion, so he will act like that sort of way.

The next one is simulation theory, where we simulate what is going to happen. This can happen subconsciously as well. The emotions are used and the main question is what, not how. So, what would I do?

The next one is sort of embedded theory. Normal children learn interaction skills through responses, since understanding of situation is part of the interaction. That is how we can immediately recognize that smile is joy, in a first person way. Here, not understanding another person is a feeling, not lack of knowledge. But there is a default assumption, that we are similar and act in accordance to social norms.

The last one is from enactivism. It is the structure of the environment, that makes people predictable. We know, how people will act in the funeral or while waiting for the bus and so on. Here misunderstanding means, that there is a lack of mutual reciprocity feeling. It uses the narrative building to create a story. We also create beliefs in a sense-making activity through interaction with other people.

I guess, at least phenomenologically, we use all of them in some situations. Which makes it so much harder to understand.

Change Latex file to Word

I have recently tried to change my latex file into doc. I needed to send my economic thesis to somebody, and they don't know what to do with the latex file. The first time, I had send the pdf, but they prefer making comments in word.

So I figured out, that I am just going to transform pdf to word, and I already did once. This time, the results were not pretty, so I tried to find another way.

The next one was pandoc, which have the ability to transform latex to docx, but the first time I tried, there was no citations (which is a big no-no for master thesis). So I tried to include the citation.

When I was doing the transformation the first time, it just hang there, and nothing happened. When I came to check my bash history right now, to copy the one that did not work, and I figured out, why it did not work. The following one did work right now:

pandoc texfile.tex --bibliography=bibfile.bib --csl=style.csl -o finalfile.docx

Which means, that I sent the wrong version to a mentor again. That is embarrassing. Really embarrassing.

Well, while I was trying to figure out, why it was just hanging (I forgot to include the latex file), I checked the internet. One thing that they noted was, that bib file should be ASCII only. Well, mine certainly was not. So I had to find a way to find these non-ASCII characters. So I found this somewhere, which prints every line with non-ASCII characters and highlights them:

grep --color='auto' -P -n "[^\x00-\x7f]" filename

The --color tells us, when to highlight things (always, never or auto), the -P means that the expression is Perl regex expression, and -n also prints line numbers, so things are easier to find in the file.

So, if anybody want to transform latex to word, this is a way to do it.

Analysis of My Citations for Economic Master Thesis

The Jupyter-Noteboom can also be found here: My_Citations_For_Economic_Master_Thesis

I have finally sent the final version of my economic master thesis to my mentor. While I was doing this, I decided to try and analyse what kind of citations was I using in my master thesis.

Importing the libaries

import os
import re
import pandas

Regex patterns

citations_re = r"cite{.+?}"
re_entry = r"@\w*{.+?timestamp.+?}"
re_type = r"@\w*{"
re_journal = r"journal[\s]+?=[\s]+?{.+?}"
re_name = r"@\w*{.+?,"
re_year = r"year.+?=.+?{.+?\d+?.+?}"

Get all citations from tex files

In this stage, what I did was go over all my tex files and put out all the citations (\parencite{}, \cite{}, \textcite{}).

all_citations_in_my_work = set()
for filename in os.listdir("files"):
    with open(os.path.join("files", filename)) as f:
        data = f.readlines()
        data = " ".join(data)
        all_citations = re.findall(citations_re, data)
        for s in all_citations:
            s = s.replace("parencite{", "")
            s = s.replace("textcite{", "")
            s = s.replace("cite{", "")
            s = s.replace(" ", "")
            s = s.replace("}", "")
            if "," in s:
                s = s.split(",")
                for c in s:

I used 157 different citations in my work. Which I think is not bad for a master thesis.


Preparing bib for parsing

In the next stage, I parsed the bib files, so that I could search them based on what I wanted to find.

lines = ""
for filename in os.listdir("bib"):
    with open(os.path.join("bib", filename)) as f:
        data = f.readlines()
        data = " ".join(data)
        lines = lines + data
lines = lines.replace("\n", " ")
lines = re.findall(re_entry, lines)

From what scientific journals were my scientific articles

In the next step, I parsed the data to try and figure out, what scietific journuals were I using.

my_journuals = dict()
for line in lines:
    name = re.findall(re_name, line)
        name = name[0].split("{")[1].replace(",", "")
    except IndexError:
    if name in all_citations_in_my_work:
        t = re.findall(re_type, line)
        t = t[0][1:-1]
        if t.lower().strip() == "article":
            j = re.findall(re_journal, line)
            if j:
                j = j[0].split("{")[1].replace("}", "")
                if j not in my_journuals:
                    my_journuals[j] = 0
                my_journuals[j] += 1

Here I first counted the number of articles.

articles = 0
for j, n in my_journuals.items():
    articles += n

And then I counted the number of journuals, that I was using.


So I took about 1.5 articles from each journual.


I then tried to see, if there were any journuals, that I used more. I used Computers in Human Behavior the most. You can see below, which ones did I used more than twice.

my_journuals = pandas.DataFrame.from_dict(my_journuals, orient="index", columns=["Count"])
my_journuals.sort_values("Count", ascending=False, inplace=True)
my_journuals.reset_index(level=0, inplace=True)
index Count
0 Computers in Human Behavior 13
1 Personality and Individual Differences 6
2 Annual Review of Psychology 5
3 Social Media + Society 4
4 Information Systems Frontiers 3

What type were my sources

Next I wanted to see, what different types were my sources. Here is the code.

types = dict()
for line in lines:
    name = re.findall(re_name, line)
    name = name[0].split("{")[1].replace(",", "")
    if name in all_citations_in_my_work:
        t = re.findall(re_type, line)
        t = t[0][1:-1]
        t = t.lower()
        if t not in types:
            types[t] = 0
        types[t] += 1

As you can see, the articles were the most frequent (99). The books were less so, even combining the whole books and the chapters (18). The rest were used 5 times or less.

{'online': 2,
 'www': 1,
 'electronic': 1,
 'report': 3,
 'manual': 1,
 'inproceedings': 5,
 'incollection': 5,
 'book': 13,
 'article': 99,
 'thesis': 2}

From what year were my sources

Next I tried to see, from what year were my sources, that I used.

my_years = dict()
for line in lines:
    name = re.findall(re_name, line)
    name = name[0].split("{")[1].replace(",", "")
    if name in all_citations_in_my_work:
        t = re.findall(re_year, line)
        if t:
            t = t[0].split("{")[1][:-1]
            if not t in my_years:
                my_years[t] = 0
            my_years[t] += 1
my_years = pandas.DataFrame.from_dict(my_years, orient="index", columns=["Count"])
my_years.sort_values("Count", ascending=False, inplace=True)
my_years.reset_index(level=0, inplace=True)
my_years.sort_values("index", ascending=False, inplace=True)

I have used 1 source from this year. It seems that most of my sources were recent. The most sources were from last year, then the year before, then four years before (not sure, why there are not more sources from 2016).

Looking more into the past, oldest reference was from 1970. I used 4 from the 70', 1 from the 80' (so before I was born), 3 from the 90' and additional 33 from the 00'. All the rest are from the time, when I was already attending the university.

index Count
18 2019 1
0 2018 26
1 2017 15
7 2016 6
2 2015 12
9 2014 5
3 2013 8
6 2012 7
10 2011 5
8 2010 5
4 2009 8
13 2008 3
5 2007 7
22 2006 1
12 2005 3
11 2004 4
26 2003 1
14 2002 3
24 2001 1
16 2000 2
17 1999 1
23 1991 1
19 1990 1
25 1988 1
15 1977 2
21 1973 1
20 1970 1

Spending Based on Personality can Increase Your Happiness

I have recently read a pretty interesting article. I think by now it quite widespread knowledge, that more money does not make one happy. It helped until about 60.000$ (based on US standard), and after that it has minimal effect. So it was pretty interesting to see a scientific article, that had a different thesis.

The article Money Buys Happiness When Spending Fits Our Personality talks about how people with different personalities spend, how well this predicts their happiness level and if this could be manipulated to increase people's happiness. The quick answers were that people with different personalities spend money on different things, that the more a person spend in accordance to their personality, the happier they were (which was the stronger predictor than total income and total spending) and this can be manipulated by making people spend money on certain things.

Lets get first to the point of personal relevance: how can this help me spend money, to make me more happy? Well, I used the aggregate data from the article and created a small program, that helps you figure this out. Here you just input the percentile scores for each Big Five trait, and it will generate a score for each activity in the dataset. Since there are a lot of them, you can set a threshold, so only activities higher than certain values are shown.

If you don't have a Big Five percentile test, there are a couple of places, that you can get it. I recommend the SAPA test, but this one can be quite long. If you have a long text written in English or a Twitter account where you tweet in English, you can also just put it in this IBM Personality Tool, and it will also generate you a personality profile. But any test, you can find on the internet, and gives you results from 0 to 100 will work. Just search for Big Five personality tests. Or any apps, that will give you the same type of results from some other stuff. I know that there exists at least one, were it is calculated from Facebook account.






Only show activities with score higher than:

Based on my results, spending money on books would make me happier. Which I agree with, as most of my money, after spending for neccesities (rent, food, ...) goes for books, DVDs, courses and conferences. Books being one of the important parts.

Now, that I got my programming self-plug out of the way (I still hope it was useful to somebody), I will return back to the article. I will first copy the table of different categories and their correlations with different personality traits. Here you can see some of the connections.

Category Openness Conscientiousness Extraversion Agreeableness Neuroticism
Accountants’ fees −1.81 2.02 −1.40 −0.68 −0.62
Advertising services 1.98 0.70 2.04 −0.04 0.34
Airports and duty-free shops −0.50 0.96 0.34 −0.18 −0.02
Arts and crafts 2.51 0.20 1.05 1.71 −0.46
Bakers and confectioners 1.45 1.59 0.86 1.41 −0.80
Books 1.71 1.92 −0.82 1.53 −1.39
Cable and satellite TV 0.48 0.00 1.29 −0.17 0.14
Car rentals −0.53 1.39 −0.06 0.31 −0.96
Caravans and camping 1.65 0.60 1.51 1.00 −0.64
Catalogue and bargain stores −0.34 −0.27 0.35 0.54 −0.21
Charities −0.35 1.65 0.10 2.31 −1.39
Cinemas 2.30 0.22 1.75 0.71 −0.02
Clothes 0.83 0.44 0.96 0.89 −0.44
Coffee shops 0.89 1.24 0.45 1.79 −1.23
Computers and technology 1.36 2.05 0.28 0.19 −1.00
Confectioners and tobacconists 0.75 0.21 0.77 0.42 −0.06
Days out and tourism 2.19 0.57 2.25 1.10 −0.28
Dental care −1.25 1.79 −0.59 0.32 −0.59
Department stores −0.30 1.28 0.70 0.57 −0.62
Digital 1.55 1.05 0.77 0.02 −0.45
Discount stores −0.17 −0.42 0.32 0.28 0.19
DIY projects 2.22 1.37 1.20 0.98 −0.54
Eating out: pubs 1.35 −0.41 2.22 0.40 0.48
Eating out: restaurants 1.56 0.44 1.74 0.91 −0.39
Entertainment 2.67 −0.43 2.51 0.31 0.49
Family clothes −0.28 0.43 0.00 1.16 −0.96
Florists 1.69 1.38 1.13 1.87 −0.98
Foreign travel 2.54 0.65 2.15 0.85 −0.11
Gambling 1.55 −2.08 2.33 −1.81 1.98
Gardening 0.59 1.75 −0.73 1.94 −1.59
Gift shops 0.83 0.94 0.55 1.74 −0.94
Hair and beauty 1.91 0.31 1.49 0.85 0.22
Hardware −0.78 1.73 −0.61 0.04 −1.22
Health and fitness 0.32 2.22 1.29 1.00 −0.93
Health insurance −1.61 1.52 −1.11 −0.16 −0.50
Home furnishing 0.63 1.48 0.17 1.38 −1.22
Home insurance −2.05 2.40 −1.46 0.33 −1.48
Hotels −0.16 1.69 0.31 1.55 −1.63
Information technology 0.93 1.36 0.33 0.15 −0.80
Jewelry 1.60 0.73 1.43 0.96 −0.61
Life insurance −1.30 2.21 −1.02 1.11 −1.25
Mobile telephone 1.02 1.33 1.65 0.33 −0.13
Motor sports 1.34 0.09 2.32 −0.55 0.82
Music 2.61 0.12 2.33 0.94 0.15
Newsagents −0.22 0.76 1.06 −0.29 0.12
Pets 1.14 0.08 2.04 1.98 0.24
Photography 2.33 0.69 1.44 1.09 −0.33
Residential mortgages −2.10 1.98 −1.40 −0.48 −0.85
Shoe shops 0.40 1.19 0.43 0.58 −0.77
Sports 1.44 1.30 2.24 −0.41 0.77
Stationery −0.14 1.98 −0.78 1.51 −1.63
Subscriptions −0.43 1.42 −0.26 0.44 −0.86
Supermarkets −0.69 1.27 0.51 0.58 −0.73
Takeout food 0.84 −0.07 1.16 0.23 −0.19
Toys and hobbies 2.19 −0.90 1.94 0.78 −0.06
Traffic fines −2.25 0.91 −0.58 −2.33 1.34
Travel 2.51 0.24 2.37 1.18 −0.20
TV license −0.17 1.29 0.26 −0.33 −0.39
Unions and subscriptions −1.04 1.26 0.42 −0.58 0.25

One of the experiments was also quite interesting. They collected introverts and extroverts. And then they gave half of each the voucher for book and half of each a voucher for a drink in a bar. Then they asked them, when they were making purchase, about their happiness. The extroverts were satisfied with both, but there was a large difference with introverts. They were a lot more happy with the book.

What can this help us? Well, for one, if you have no idea what to give somebody for a gift, and you don't want to ask them, it help help you choose something, that they might be more happy with. It help help you see, if you are spending more than average on something that makes you unhappy, and you can try a test to spend less, to see if that makes you happier. You can increase the spending for things that make you happier. I don't know, I think there are a lot of way, this can be used, just like most self-knowledge tidbits.

I also added the Jupyter-Notebook analysis of it.

Profiling from Blogs and from Social Media

On the first of April, I had presented my cognitive science master thesis topic at the class. The slides can be found here (in Slovenian). Very short summary would be, that I am researching the individual differences in sharing the opinion on social media.

After the presentation, I was talking to my classmates. One of them mentioned, that if this means, that I am more careful with what I post on the internet. My reply was, that I am posting my blog (the one that I am reading right here). And I don't mind, if anybody tries to analyse me based on this.

But on the other hand, I don't really post things on social media (I really need to delete the last remaining ones, that I have). And for anything that I can get in stores here in Ljubljana, I am using cash. So in a way, I am more careful in what data am I leaving, just in a different way.

I also studied business informatics, and this gave me a glimpse of what people can do with the data. Once the data is cleaned in the databases/tables, there is a lot of information, that can be gleaned from comparing the users. It is how the basic recommendation systems work. You find people or groups of people, that have the similar evaluation of the same works. And then check, what other works did these people also rated high and then recommend it to people, that they did not rate it yet.

Another example if the information, that can be gleaned from the liking behaviour. There was a good article, that showed how personality, gender and other attributes can be discovered through liking. People with different individual differences like different things, and this can be used to discover things about people.

But in order for this to happen, the data has to be in sort of a structured form. The blog is not exactly the structured form (unless it includes a lot of semantic web features). It is unstructured text, with maybe some videos and podcast thrown in. Maybe a picture or more as well. This means, that there is more work needed, in order to get these data in such form (the search engines still do it). So no everybody will do it with everybody.

The other reason I will borrow is from Janor Lanier book titled Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. And this is the BUMMER principle. But the BUMMER only makes sense, if the companies can get some money out of it. On my blog, I have no advertisements and I doubt I will ever have it, so what is the point of doing it?

Does this mean, that there is no way that people will abuse it? I mean, if I have a person trying to target me directly, I am sure they will go through all the writings that I wrote, trying to find something about me. But I am not afraid of that. I just don't want to be just another entity in the database.

Which is why I don't mind sharing the info through the Indie-web, which blogs are. And there is another plus form my side, and this is that the content is under my control. Nobody can delete the blogs but me. And even if the servers go down and the country blocks my webpage, I still have my backup. I don't have thin on any website, which I do not control. I had already lost some of my data, because the website stopped working. But here it depends on whatever I want to continue paying for the domain and hosting and nothing else.

How I Managed to Force Myself to Finish my Master Thesis

The last two weeks, I had spent at the seaside, finishing my economics master thesis. The finished version was already send to my mentor, and I have to say, that I am still coming back for that. I am still tired, probably mostly mentally.

But how did I manage to finish something in two weeks, when I had procrastinated on it for months? I mean, I knew in January that I had enough data and I had procrastinated with that as well? I know that I did not do anything from January to April.

I think there were multiple reasons, most of them connected with solitude. Since it is not a season yet, there were not many people there. I exchanged words with three people, and one of them was the lady selling the bread. Which freed my mental capacities, so I could concentrated on the master thesis only.

The second reason is similar in a way. Because I was there just for master thesis, there was no context switching. I did not anticipated, how much would it help, that I did not had to do this. When I came back to the same project all the time, it was just easier to start.

The third was probably, that I wanted to put it out of my plate, and the grand gesture of travelling an hour and a half and putting everything else aside helped. I remember reading that grand gestures can help with the motivation and it really helped with it.

I have to say, that I still procrastinated. There were three days in these two weeks, that I had done nothing (one was the first day of menstruation, which is understandable). The rest of the day, the day when I put three hours of work was deemed unproductive, and on the productive day I could work 12 hours.

Which is probably why I was exhausted when I came back and why I am still tired.

I am still happy I did this, and I am already planning how I am going to repeat the experiment, when I am going to be finishing my cognitive science master thesis.

But I think, what it also showed me, is that I like working on one project at the time. I don't think this is quite possible in the work-force, especially if one if an entrepreneur. But maybe scheduling things in that way would be helpful. So, work on one thing until it is done or I am stuck, either because I no longer know how to continue forward or because I am waiting for somebody else to do something.

And I could also put this in my leisure. I could stop reading the articles, that are interesting, but are not my main focus. I should do these in the daily bursts as well (or however long am I interested) and put the rest of the time to more focused approach.

Which is why today and tomorrow, I am seeing how many of the notes that I had can I change into blog posts or delete, if they are no longer relevant. I have some of the non-processed notes from 2017, which is horrifying. Because, yes, they are almost two years old.

I don't know if this type of work is for everybody, but I don't know if I would be convinced, if I did not take on this experiment. And I do recommend to everybody, to try.