Well, the key point is you can’t mix, you know, words. Creativity is not innovation. Creativity is idea generation. And, you know, you might create a lot of ideas smoking pot or sitting in a room, but innovation is implemented ideas. Innovation is ideas that come to marketplace.
- John Sullivan
I love this quote. Simply stated and to the point. Note that if you're paying attention and feeling altruistic you don't care if YOU bring them to the marketplace, just that SOMEONE brings them to the marketplace.
Traditional play has often involved creating stories around characters and environments, through which children explore and learn about the world around them and understand their place within it. Digital play is driven by the same impulse. Most children have a couple of areas of interest about which they are really passionate, and around these themes children will often form a web of content and expertise, a universe, which fuels their stories.
Interesting research article on kids and “Systematic Creativity in the Digital Age” from Lego.
The diet of the future will be largely, if not completely, synthetic. Much as I wish it wasn't I'm not convinced there's any other option.
I hypothesized that the body doesn't need food itself, merely the chemicals and elements it contains. So, I resolved to embark on an experiment. What if I consumed only the raw ingredients the body uses for energy? Would I be healthier or do we need all the other stuff that's in traditional food? If it does work, what would it feel like to have a perfectly balanced diet? I just want to be in good health and spend as little time and money on food as possible.
I haven't eaten a bite of food in 30 days, and it's changed my life.
I urge you to read the whole piece. Your initial reaction is almost certainly one of danger - and with good reason - a phrase “I stopped eating” is typically followed with a tragic story of death and ill health.
But there's something here. Some glimpse of a future that we're not quite ready for yet. If your reaction to this synthetic diet is that it's somehow “not complete” then I urge you to also take a long hard look at the long detailed ingredients list for the synthetic drink soylent and then compare it to the diets of the people around you.
How healthy is the average western diet?
You see the uncomfortable truth is that most western foods are already engineered. But they're engineered not for health, but for addiction:
But it’s not simply a matter of comparing Color 23 with Color 24. In the most complicated projects, Color 23 must be combined with Syrup 11 and Packaging 6, and on and on, in seemingly infinite combinations […] With production costs trimmed and profits coming in, the next question was how to expand the franchise, which they did by turning to one of the cardinal rules in processed food: When in doubt, add sugar.
The soylent compound is almost certainly not complete and as such, likely damaging in the long run. But I strongly believe in Rob's vision of a synthetic diet, optimized for health, over the existing vision for synthetic diets optimized for addiction. I hope that Rob doesn't damage his health but I also hope that this form of experimentation leads to a change in thinking about diet.
I look around and see nothing but a society that's addicted to sugar, crippled from obesity and ruled by the food they consume both mentally and physically. Which side of the synthetic diet revolution do you want to be on?
In 1543 Copernicus published De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) in which he reasoned that the Earth orbits the Sun. 400 copies were printed. It didn't sell out.
Still, the heliocentric model for the solar system would cause quite an upset when it was championed by Galileo almost 100 years later. Galileo was imprisoned in 1633 under house arrest for “following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture”
In the margin of the original manuscript Copernicus doodled a little meteor:
Of what significance the doodle we shall never know.
I first learned about Copernicus' doodle many years ago in a documentary by Marcus du Sautoy - the beauty of diagrams. But it wasn't until I recently read Robin Sloan's Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore that I thought to look up the doodle. It turns out very little had been written about it that I could find using Google. So I went on a digital adventure and eventually unearthed a copy of the original manuscript online here.
Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore is a wonderful story that touches on the real and imagined, digital and physical, archived and lost, serious and playful.
Somehow reading the book tickled my neurons in a way that made me go on a hunt to track down a doodle in a book that's 500 years old. Doesn't get much better than that….
Two essays that have made me think more thoroughly than anything else I've read in a long time. What use is education? What force is poverty? Both of these are very long reads but definitely worth your time.
What happens if we keep trudging along this bleak course? What happens if our most intelligent students never learn to strive to overcome what they are? What if genius, and the imitation of genius, become silly, outmoded ideas? What you're likely to get are more and more one-dimensional men and women. These will be people who live for easy pleasures, for comfort and prosperity, who think of money first, then second, and third, who hug the status quo
How could the “moral life of downtown” lead anyone out from the surround of force? How could a museum push poverty away? Who can dress in statues or eat the past? And what of the political life? Had Niecie skipped a step or failed to take a step? The way out of poverty was politics, not the “moral life of downtown.” But to enter the public world, to practice the political life, the poor had first to learn to reflect. That was what Niecie meant by the “moral life of downtown.” She did not make the error of divorcing ethics from politics. Niecie had simply said, in a kind of shorthand, that no one could step out of the panicking circumstance of poverty directly into the public world.
A little while back I built Fuck Yeah Spotify as an experiment in music discovery - it was designed to aggregate the top 20 tweeted Spotify albums each day.
The problem is that it doesn't work. Well, rather it doesn't work like I intended…
Instead, the site somehow finds a somewhat random collection of Spotify albums and posts them. It's been doing this every day for a year and a half and I love the site dearly. It matches my intent perfectly - surfacing music I'd never otherwise have found.
This all came to a head on June 24th when the algorithms found this random collection of albums:
Included on the list was Stuck between the devil and the blues in drop C by Kill Kasper
Jamie the front man of Kill Kasper reached out to me to ask how his album made it onto the list:
Yesterday (24th June 2012) our EP release (Stuck between the devil and the blues in drop C by Kill Kasper) ended up on your most shared list, along with the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins and Linkin park…
We only told a few mates about it, and none of us use twitter!!! We couldn't find anything searching twitter either, so I thought I'd ask… How the fuck did we end up on your most shared list??? :))
Jamie K, confused (but very happy) front man!
In truth I had no idea but I'm glad that I was able to make him happy for one day at least. Our email exchange ended like this:
Your broken algorithm, made my day, I'm glad you didn't fix it :)
The least we can do is all go listen to the EP right? It's kind of good. Check it on myspace here or on Spotify.
Celebrate the Broken, Obscure and Random Things In Life
I have no desire to “fix” my site. I like it just like it is - in the same way I loved my first radio as a kid. It didn't work quite like I wanted but it was mine and that meant something.
I have an aversion to things that “just work” - I prefer things that I can relate to and sometimes I'm broken, obscure and irrational.
We should celebrate those things and this post is dedicated to everything that doesn't quite work properly in this world but that we love dearly anyway.
RJ Metrics' report […] is yet another indicator that Google+ might indeed just be a “virtual ghost town,” as some have argued
Google's stance is that all critics ignore the large amounts of private sharing:
a Google spokesperson challenged the claims made in RJM's report. “By only tracking engagement on public posts, this study is flawed and not an accurate representation of all the sharing and activity taking place on Google+,” the spokesperson said. “As we've said before, more sharing occurs privately to circles and individuals than publicly on Google+. The beauty of Google+ is that it allows you to share privately–you don't have to publicly share your thoughts, photos or videos with the world.”
It's a data point of one but I hope this post strongly supports that statement.
Why We Use Google+ For Communication
3 offices, 3 time zones. NYC. LON. SEA. Managing internal communications is tough at Distilled.
We're productivity ninjas and inbox zero addicts so like to keep email focused. Email should be for directed, short and important communication.
However it's crucially important for us to maintain culture. Sharing memes, gossip and debate is fundamental to what it means to work at Distilled and Google+ let's us do that without interrupting the importance and efficiency of email.
There are three rules about using D+ (what we call Google+ internally):
- If this is your first post, make sure it's a meme
- Share whatever you want
- If your message is important but doesn't need to be seen by everyone in the company, share it on D+, don't send an email
It's that simple. We do try to encourage positive engagement and discourage slagging off competitors etc - the broken window theory is powerful.
Crucially I think the success is down to the following reasons:
1. No install or login. Everyone is already signed into gmail and so there is no overhead or admin involved with “using” D+, it's seamless
2. Integrated with email for smart notifications and threading
3. Excellent mobile integration for access and participation on the go
4. Strong visual element (memes ftw!)
The Mechanics Of How It Works
I'm going to admit that the first few days were a little bit of a nightmare - everyone has (at least) two Google+ accounts tied to various personal and professional identities and so we had to get everyone in the right circles etc.
Once that's set up however it works like a charm.
When you're on Google Apps you no longer need to share with a circle, instead you can share with an organization which makes the whole process very slick:
I love the fact that Google remembers your last sharing setting so I never have to worry about my posts becoming public.
Note as well that it's not always about debate. It's nice to have more passive sharing going on. For example, here's a sample post that had zero comments (note the 7 plus ones):
And note as well that some of those “zero comment” posts were in fact just posts like this:
Google+ may not be perfect and it may not be for you. But I wanted to call bullshit on the “Ghost Town” articles. Google+ has transformed how communication works within our business.
If you provide excellent content, social media users will take the time to read and talk about it in their networks. That’s what you really want. You don’t want a cheap thumbs up, you want your readers to talk about your content with their own voice.
An excellent piece by iA on social share buttons.
It's one of the reasons I love the Svbtle platform so much - the only button on the page is the Kudos button which is a fascinating experiment in it's own right:
Somehow, when that hover button is triggered, people feel like part of their soul is being sucked in through the monitor by a CSS animation. Many use the word “theft”.