Cody R. DeHaan

Tracking Your Digital Movements

Have you ever shopped for something online, and then seen advertisements for that product follow you around the internet? This is an attempt to monetize your attention through targeted advertisements. Different entities spend lots of money to get their ads seen by you, whatever form they take. But these clumsy attempts are just one manifestation of a troubling trend. Our attention is for sale each and every day. We realize this in a small way every time we see a commercial on TV, a print ad in a magazine, or a billboard. ... Continue Reading →

Intentional Technology

Have you ever picked up your phone, scrolled through your screens of apps like you were looking for something, realized you weren’t, and then set it back down again? I was finding myself doing this all of the time. I do almost all of my work on my Mac, and I’m rarely far from my iPad or iPhone. I can get around all of these devices at nearly the speed of my thoughts, but this means that when I’m using them, even the slightest distraction can cause me to ⌘-Tab to another window, or swipe to a new app, almost before I’ve even realized it. ... Continue Reading →

The Path Forward

So much of the current political climate in the United States seems to be born of a dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, and a desire for change. One of voters’ top concerns in the 2016 presidential election was the economy. Despite numbers showing the economy has been improving, many Americans weren’t feeling those improvements. It’s unsurprising that Americans are feeling stuck in light of the distribution of wealth in the U. ... Continue Reading →

Stronger Together

I’m a strong believer in the inherent good-ness of most people. I believe that, provided the right conditions and circumstances, people move in a healthy, growth-oriented, and positive direction. However, given imperfect circumstances, we cannot fully expect individuals to act in positive ways, ways that are prosocial, growth-oriented, and inclusive of others. What we’ve seen in this election cycle is that many individuals find themselves in circumstances that leave them feeling unsupported. ... Continue Reading →

Rewards Programs

I tend to avoid rewards programs. You know them, the kind that offer you points for spending money. The reason is that rewards programs are designed to subtly change our behavior in ways that we don’t notice, and I am always trying to be more intentional in how I spend my money. Rewards may seem worthwhile on the surface, providing cash back or points for things you’re already doing. Get some points for coming in and spending money, and once you have enough of them you can get something for free! ... Continue Reading →

New Year's Resolutions

The prospect of a new calendar year prompts many of us to think about changes we want to make in our lives in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Or as is often the case, re-making resolutions from past years. New Year’s resolutions often get a bad reputation, mainly because many of us make them, but often we fail to follow through with them. However, New Year’s resolutions, at their core, are no different from any other behavior change. ... Continue Reading →

Soylent

Soylent has been showing up in the news for the past year or so. This is largely because of its mission: to be able to replace your food. The Soylent website provocatively asks: “What if you never had to worry about food again?” I found out about Soylent earlier this year, and was immediately intrigued. I’ve realized that I’m actually not that great at feeding myself. That’s a funny thing to say, but I fail to plan meals for a week. ... Continue Reading →

Feed Readers

Keeping up with the developments in any field can be a challenge, especially with so much information spread across so many sources. Frequently this information is accessible online, but it’s tedious to regularly visit each of these sites for new content. I’ve found this to be especially true with academic journals, where there are a whole series of publications relevant to me, each with their own website and own release schedule. ... Continue Reading →

Attention

The things that we give our attention to largely indicate what our lives are. The philosopher José Ortega y Gasset concisely stated: Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are. This really resonates with me. What occupies our time and our thoughts, which is to say our attention, is often a clear sign of our priorities, even if we’re unaware of it. ... Continue Reading →

Coffee and Mindfulness

I have enjoyed coffee for quite some time, but it’s not until recently that I think I’ve started to truly enjoy coffee, as opposed to all the things that go with it. I can’t really remember when I first started liking it, but I am pretty sure that the experience of going to get coffee with friends or stopping to pick something up before work played a big role. Jerry Seinfeld addresses this well in an interview with NPR, commenting on why he thinks coffee is so central to our culture: ... Continue Reading →

Clean Slate

I decided to start from scratch with my website, because I wasn’t happy with where it had ended up. For a while, it has seemed like my site was a collection of old links and quips, but very little original writing. All of this old content created a lot of friction and baggage that was limiting my desire to continue writing. I want this site to be a place I can use to explore the burning questions and topics that are on my mind, as well as to share some observations, tips, and tricks that I have stumbled across in research and technology. ... Continue Reading →