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Tag: creativity

Hacking Creativity

Unlocking the jujitsu of innovation.

"One of the stranger articles Inc. magazine ever ran was a 2002 piece about the neuroscience of innovation. Actually, it wasn’t really about innovation as much as where and how innovators get their ideas. Only it wasn’t that either. It was really about what kind of peculiar mind-hacks top innovators use to come up with their ideas and—the strange part—it opens with a discussion of inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s employment of lucid dreaming to solve vexing engineering problems.

Here’s a bit of the story:

Every evening before bed, Kurzweil plucks out a vexing problem—perhaps a business strategy, a technical conundrum, or even an interpersonal issue. First he posits the characteristics of a potential solution. Take, for example, the extraskeletal walking system for paraplegics that he’s considering developing. He wants it to be simple enough for a user to put on without help. Lying in bed, Kurzweil begins to fantasize about such a system, sometimes imagining that he’s giving a speech about how he reached his conclusions. “This has the purpose of seeding your subconscious to influence your dreams,” he says. Then he drifts off to sleep.

All night, snippets of the solution filter in and out of his dreams. At the first glimmer of consciousness, Kurzweil returns to the problem. It is then, during the brief quasi-conscious state known as “lucid dreaming,” that he merges the logic of his conscious thought with the relaxation of inhibition engendered by his dreams to arrive at many of his most startling insights. “The most interesting thing about dreams is that you don’t consider it unusual when unusual things happen, like a room floating away,” says Kurzweil. “You accept this lack of logic. And that [irrational] faculty is needed for creative thinking. But you also need to be able to apply a critical faculty, because not every idea that’s different and out of the box will work.”

Over the past few decades, a number of researchers (most famously Stephen LeBarge) have done outstanding work in the field, including pioneering well-validated techniques for learning how to wake oneself up mid-dream. What hasn’t been so well-studied is the other thing that I find curious: the idea of using lucid dreams as a creative problem-solver.

First a little background: Pattern recognition is the term cognitive neuroscientists use for the brain’s ability to lump like with like—thus helping us make sense of our world. It is a capacity, as NYU professor of neurology points out in The Wisdom Paradox, that is fundamental to our mental world.

Without this ability, every object and every problem would be a totally de novo encounter and we would be unable to bring any of our prior experience to bear on how we deal with these objects or problems. The work of Herbert Simon and others has shown that pattern recognition is among the most powerful, perhaps the foremost mechanism of successful problem solving.

But as was pointed out in this recent blog, the brain actually has two different overarching pattern recognition systems at its disposal: the extrinsic and intrinsic. Here’s my earlier description: 

Human beings have evolved two distinct systems for processing information. The first, the explicit system, is rule-based, can be expressed verbally, and is tied to conscious awareness. When the pre-frontal cortex is fired up, the explicit system is usually turned on. But when the cold calculus of logic is swapped out for the gut-sense of intuition, this is the implicit system at work. This system relies on skill and experience. It is not consciously accessible and cannot be described verbally (i.e.—try to explain a hunch).

The explicit and implicit system are often described as “conscious” versus “unconscious,” but that’s not entirely accurate. What’s really going on comes down to networks. When the explicit system is involved, the neurons that are talking to one another are usually found in close proximity to one another. When the implicit system is at work, far flung corners of the brain are chit-chatting.

Creativity, meanwhile, depends on those broader implicit networks putting together information in new ways. I know this is a big broad statement and I’m not going to bother backing it up here (though if you’re curious Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine or David Eagleman’s Incognito are both great places to start). What’s most important here is that this is not often a conscious process. Certainly, we can use the extrinsic system to reason our way to a novel solution, but for our more significant “Ah-Ha! revelations,” what researchers term “sudden insight,” the broader networks of the intrinsic system are required.

And a lot of people, myself included, use this fact to our advantage. It is pretty easy to ask the intrinsic system a question—simply, like Kurzweil does before sleep (though, I often do this mid-day and wide awake), literally, ask a question. Out loud or silently, doesn’t seem to matter. 

For me it’s usually along the lines of “how do I open this article?” or “what’s the most important thing my readers need to understand first?”, but I know CEO’s who do this when trying to figure out how to boost sales and scientists who do this when they’re trying to solve physics puzzles.

Then do something that makes you forget all about asking the question. Long walks, crossword puzzles, other work… whatever… and sooner or later the answer just shows up.

Sure, it sounds like magic, but it’s just pattern recognition. The secret, if there is one, is just about being able to relax enough for the intrinsic system to do its stuff. This is a pretty simple mind hack used by a lot of creatives.

Yet it has a drawback—there’s a time delay. I’m not sure how much this varies from person to person, but for me it’s usually between 5-48 hours. But Kurzweil has found a way to hack the hack. Lucid dreaming allows himself to directly ask questions and get answers.

This leads me to suspect that there are other hacks possible. I’m on the hunt. If anyone else has figured out a way to speed up this process, please comment here or email: steven@stevenkotler.com

(Source: creativitypost.com)

BIGGEST CREATIVITY KILLERS

via FastCoCreate:

It’s time to identify and deal with the creativity killers. Through our surveys of thousands of workshop participants from a range of backgrounds and experiences over more than 20 years, we have narrowed down the list of suspects to 7 key profiles. By recognizing and managing these effectively, we believe it will be possible to revive and nurture creative thinking. Allow us to take a creative approach to interrogating these murder suspects:

Creativity killer profile 1: the Control Crew
Also known as bully oppressors, the control killer profile tends to stifle creative thinking through suppressing the ability to think freely and independently. When systems are set up that restrict freedom of thought, and when individuals perpetuate those systems through controlling approaches and actions, creativity has no room to flourish. Like the real mafia, the control killers can operate through a coercion which instills fear, which can then itself become a killer.

To deal with this killer:
Recognize areas in your life that may have become suppressed, and identify why this has happened and how this can be dealt with.

Develop a mindset that is open to exploration.

Ask open-ended questions to challenge established beliefs and assumptions without expecting specific outcomes or solutions.

Creativity killer profile 2: the Fear Family
An often unsuspected killer that can intimidate the most intrepid, this highly prolific villain thrives on anxieties about trialling new ideas and the possibility of failure. A childlike ability to take risks and risk failure without fear is critical to creative thinking, but when anxiety intervenes the fear can be crippling. It’s not surprising that one of Apple’s guiding innovation principles is to “fail wisely.”

To deal with this killer:
Have the courage to face fears of possible failure and uncertainty. Learn to see them as an important part of the creative process.

Learn to accept and embrace apparently opposing ideas (ambiguity) to open up new possibilities.

Creativity killer profile 3: the Pressure Pack
This seductive assassin dispatches its victims by exercising a stranglehold of real or perceived expectations. The faster pace of life, a greater reliance on technology, and significantly increased communication speeds, have all contributed to its prevalence. Under pressure, the body’s instinctive response is “fight, flight or freeze.” The constant adrenaline need for the “fight” response can lead to dangerous physical and psychological symptoms and ultimately literally shut down the brain, and the “flight” and “freeze” responses can lead to an inability to face up to the pressure and deal with it effectively. By using up precious mental energy at the primitive brain stem simply for survival, thus limiting access to the pre-frontal cortex where real creative thinking can occur, this killer restricts the ability to be creative.

To deal with this killer:
Identify your own typical responses to pressure.

Stand up to pressure – recognize that you have the power to stay in control of the impact of external circumstances, and find specific ways to balance your time and energy more effectively.

Be proactive in designing your life to control pressure: eg try drawing up a fresh schedule for yourself that gives you the time and space to do the things you would like to do as well as fitting in the things you need to do.

Prepare a platform to unleash your imagination – trial ‘brain teaser’ exercises designed to stretch your mind into exploring a range of possibilities.

(Source: fastcocreate.com)

Nature’s Music.



These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.


These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.


These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.


These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.


These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.


These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.


These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.


These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.
“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”
[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]
Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?
This has everything good.

These awesome “PixCellated” sculptures were created by Japanese artist Nawa Kohei who completely covers taxidermy animals and toys with hundreds of glass beads of various sizes in order to transform these animals and unassuming objects into both beaded jewels and pixelated images made real.

“By covering surface of an object with transparent glass beads, the existence of the object itself is replaced by “a husk of light”, and the new vision “the cell of an image” (PixCell) is shown. Most of the motifs, like stuffed animals are found through the internet. I search some auction sites and choose from the images which appear on a monitor as pixel. However, the stuffed animals which actually have been purchased and sent have real flesh feel and smell, and have a discrepancy with images on the monitor. I then transpose them to PixCell in turn.”

[via Beautiful Decay and SCIA]

Pixels IRL? Taxidermy?

This has everything good.

(via wired)

'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole.  'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole.  'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole.  'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole. 
'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole. 
'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole. 
'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole. 
'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tankto fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no morethan 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where thereis a suitable - and sizeable - pothole. 

'Potholes' by canadian creatives claudia ficca and davide luciano is a series of photographs 
depicting the concave cracks as functional tools in a collection of imaginative tableus in the city. 
captured within the backdrop of los angeles, montreal, and new york city, the set explores the urban 
flaw as a playground, creating a multitude of uses out of them including a swimming pool, an oil tank
to fry doughnuts, a bath for pedicures, a giant plate of spaghetti, and more. 

directly engaging with the street and the city, the highly imaginative series transforms the bad into good,
creating a tongue-in-cheek collection of tableus that are at once contextual and surreal. taking no more
than 10 minutes from start to finish, the photoshoots are done during uninterrupted traffic where there
is a suitable - and sizeable - pothole. 

(Source: designboom.com)

FASTCOEXIST:
THE AIR QUALITY EGG WILL LET YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE BREATHING:


This adorable little sensor might yield less than adorable results: The air around you can be quite bad for you. Now you can know precisely how bad.



It’s a good thing that the government monitors air pollution in your neighborhood, keeping tabs on the toxins you’re breathing in. Oh wait, it’s not. In fact, federal, state, and local agencies rely on just 3,000 “ambient air and deposition monitoring networks" to monitor major pollutants in all of North America (PDF). That’s approximately one for every 1,200 square miles (and you’re pretty much out of luck if you live in Nevada).
But a new sensor network is being built—one adorable little DIY egg at a time. Meet the Air Quality Egg, a system hatched to create a network of open-source sensors and a data platform that will turn everyone into an atmospheric scientist (or at least a data collector).
"The Air Quality Egg is a sensor system designed to allow anyone to collect very high-resolution readings of NO2 and CO concentrations outside of their home," according to the project’s Kickstarter campaign which has collected three times more than their $39,000 goal. “Each Egg that comes online contributes data that, in aggregate, will provide what is essentially an ‘air quality API.’”
That API, or data feed, will yield an international stream of data about concentrations of air pollution such as nitrous oxide (a precursor to ozone) and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the primary driver of climate change. A second set of sensors can also measure ozone (O3), volatile organic compounds, radiation, and particulates.
It works by positioning small electronic sensors outside your home which send regular radio signals to the egg-shaped base station inside. The data is relayed to open data service Pachube, which allows you to check out your local atmospheric profile, generate tweets and SMS alerts for certain pollutants and unleash a global coder community on an unprecedented new dataset.
The whole system—open-source hardware and software—-can be ordered fully assembled ($100) or as a kit ($70) for the DIY crowd. So the next time someone asks you about the weather, you can tell them more than they wanted to know.


FASTCOEXIST:

THE AIR QUALITY EGG WILL LET YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE BREATHING:

This adorable little sensor might yield less than adorable results: The air around you can be quite bad for you. Now you can know precisely how bad.

It’s a good thing that the government monitors air pollution in your neighborhood, keeping tabs on the toxins you’re breathing in. Oh wait, it’s not. In fact, federal, state, and local agencies rely on just 3,000 “ambient air and deposition monitoring networks" to monitor major pollutants in all of North America (PDF). That’s approximately one for every 1,200 square miles (and you’re pretty much out of luck if you live in Nevada).

But a new sensor network is being built—one adorable little DIY egg at a time. Meet the Air Quality Egg, a system hatched to create a network of open-source sensors and a data platform that will turn everyone into an atmospheric scientist (or at least a data collector).

"The Air Quality Egg is a sensor system designed to allow anyone to collect very high-resolution readings of NO2 and CO concentrations outside of their home," according to the project’s Kickstarter campaign which has collected three times more than their $39,000 goal. “Each Egg that comes online contributes data that, in aggregate, will provide what is essentially an ‘air quality API.’”

That API, or data feed, will yield an international stream of data about concentrations of air pollution such as nitrous oxide (a precursor to ozone) and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the primary driver of climate change. A second set of sensors can also measure ozone (O3), volatile organic compounds, radiation, and particulates.

It works by positioning small electronic sensors outside your home which send regular radio signals to the egg-shaped base station inside. The data is relayed to open data service Pachube, which allows you to check out your local atmospheric profile, generate tweets and SMS alerts for certain pollutants and unleash a global coder community on an unprecedented new dataset.

The whole system—open-source hardware and software—-can be ordered fully assembled ($100) or as a kit ($70) for the DIY crowd. So the next time someone asks you about the weather, you can tell them more than they wanted to know.

15 Big Ways The Internet Is Changing Our Brain

Noted science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov predicted that one day, we’d “have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else,” and with this appliance, be able to truly enjoy learning instead of being forced to learn mundane facts and figures. His insight has proven to be amazingly accurate, as we now live in a world with the Internet, where nearly the entire wealth of human knowledge can live at our fingertips or even in our pockets. Such an amazing feat, of course, doesn’t happen without impacting our lives, and scientists have begun to note that the Internet has not only served to fulfill our brains’ curiosities, but also rewired them. So what exactly is the Internet doing to our brains? 

Click the links below for more information on each-

1. THE INTERNET IS OUR EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE

2. CHILDREN ARE LEARNING DIFFERENTLY

3. WE HARDLY EVER GIVE TASKS OUR FULL ATTENTION

4. WE DON’T BOTHER TO REMEMBER

5. WE’RE GETTING BETTER AT FINDING INFORMATION

6. DIFFICULT QUESTIONS MAKE US THINK ABOUT COMPUTERS

7. IQ IS INCREASING OVER TIME

8. OUR CONCENTRATION IS SUFFERING

9. WE’RE GETTING BETTER AT DETERMINING RELEVANCE

10. WE’RE BECOMING PHYSICALLY ADDICTED TO TECHNOLOGY

11. THE MORE YOU USE THE INTERNET, THE MORE IT LIGHTS UP YOUR BRAIN

12. OUR BRAINS CONSTANTLY SEEK OUT INCOMING INFORMATION

13. WE’VE BECOME POWER BROWSERS

14. ONLINE THINKING PERSISTS EVEN OFFLINE

15. CREATIVE THINKING MAY SUFFER

The Atlantic: The Perspiration Theory

theatlantic:

Dixon Galvez-Searle writes:

How do I come up with ideas? I work on them. Let me be clear; the germ of an idea can hit at any time: in the shower, at the park, even (gasp!) at work. But the germ of an idea is not worth sharing. Only a fully fleshed out, rigorously developed idea is worth sharing, and that process takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Consider novels. I think of ideas for novels all the time, but they are usually limited to a single illuminating feature: a unique setup, an evocative setting, a resonant character, etc. How do I fashion what may be an inspired nugget into a bona fide story that is worth sharing with the world? I sit down at my desk and beat said nugget with a hammer until it starts to take shape. This can be difficult and disheartening, but for me, there is no other way. Furthermore, it seems to me that what makes a novel worth reading (or what makes an idea worth sharing) is not the original jolt of inspiration, but rather the months and years of hard work that follow.


SOLAR ENERGY INSPIRATION FROM BUTTERFLIES 
The New York Times:
"Butterfly wings are not just beautiful. They are also sophisticated collectors of solar energy that help butterflies stay warm, and researchers say that their shinglelike structure could provide valuable clues into developing better solar technology.



The structure of butterflies’ wing scales helps them harvest light to stay warm.



“Light manipulation and light-harvesting abilities are important for the performance of solar energy devices,” said Tongxiang Fan, a materials scientist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China who is leading the effort. He and his colleagues reported their findings last week at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Diego.
The scientists used an electron microscope to study the wing structure of two species of black butterflies. (They picked black wings because they absorb the maximum amount of sunlight.)
They found that the wings are composed of elongated rectangular scales, arranged a bit like overlappingshingles on a roof. The scales on each type of butterfly also had steep ridges, with small holes on either side leading to a second layer.
These features direct light to the second layer, helping the butterfly to capture a lot of heat.
The researchers also built a model to harness solar power the same way the butterflies’ wings do.
“The prototype is very, very effective,” Dr. Fan said. He and his team are now working to create a commercial product that uses the wings as inspiration. “This is only the first step,” he said.”

SOLAR ENERGY INSPIRATION FROM BUTTERFLIES 

The New York Times:

"Butterfly wings are not just beautiful. They are also sophisticated collectors of solar energy that help butterflies stay warm, and researchers say that their shinglelike structure could provide valuable clues into developing better solar technology.

The structure of butterflies’ wing scales helps them harvest light to stay warm.

“Light manipulation and light-harvesting abilities are important for the performance of solar energy devices,” said Tongxiang Fan, a materials scientist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China who is leading the effort. He and his colleagues reported their findings last week at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Diego.

The scientists used an electron microscope to study the wing structure of two species of black butterflies. (They picked black wings because they absorb the maximum amount of sunlight.)

They found that the wings are composed of elongated rectangular scales, arranged a bit like overlappingshingles on a roof. The scales on each type of butterfly also had steep ridges, with small holes on either side leading to a second layer.

These features direct light to the second layer, helping the butterfly to capture a lot of heat.

The researchers also built a model to harness solar power the same way the butterflies’ wings do.

“The prototype is very, very effective,” Dr. Fan said. He and his team are now working to create a commercial product that uses the wings as inspiration. “This is only the first step,” he said.”

(via rkolt)

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The act of feeling frustrated is an essential part of the creative process. Before we can find the answer — before we can even know the question — we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach. We need to have wrestled with the problem and lost. Because it’s only after we stop searching that an answer may arrive.

Jonah Lehrer on the importance of frustration in the creative process, live-illustrated by Guggenheim Fellow Flash Rosenberg

(Source: explore-blog)

Why Creativity Necessitates Eclecticism: Nick Cave’s Influences

Brainpickings:

What Dostoevsky has to do with the hunchback of Notre Dame, Muhammad Ali, and dandelions.

"As a firm believer in combinatorial creativity, I’m always interested in theecosystem of influences and how we honor those who inspire us. Reader Will Shaw points me to this handwritten note by music icon Nick Cave entitled “More Things to Remember…,” courtesy of Melbourne’s Arts Centre, in which Cave lists some of his influences.”

The Disruptive Peacock, or Why the ‘wrong’ Way Might Be the Best Way

Disruptive Thinking asks you to look at a problem in a new, counter-intuitive way. Disruptive Thinking might just be the most powerful tool in the creative thinking arsenal.

"It is often appropriate to represent the thinking of the typical human as something that is linear; something that does not and indeed often cannot, deviate from the path it sets out upon, much like a Roman road.

With linear thinking, the outcome is almost always known before it is necessarily arrived at – there is no real scope for choice of deviation. Your options are to go forward along your pre-defined path, go backwards across ground you have already covered, or to stay still, not progressing.

Fan thinking, or The Peacock, offers you the opportunity to broaden and change the final outcome, whilst allowing you to hold on to some of the comfortable values and ideas you have invested in over the years.

The peacock’s tail, when closed, is much like the path above: narrow, linear and therefore limited or without possibility.

When a peacock opens its tail, the impact is quite astonishing. A very simple creature becomes both beautiful and intimidating, but more importantly it demonstrates to us, metaphorically at least, how easy it is to switch from the linear to a varied, multi-faceted approach of thinking.

The peacock’s feathers all originate from the same place, but each feather now represents either a widening of that single path, or perhaps many different paths or options that are now available to the creative thinker. The wider the peacock’s tail spreads, the more possible outcomes you have.

The important question of course, is what must one do, to open up the peacock’s tail?

The answer is:

  • Ask questions
  • Make suggestions
  • Find multiple solutions
  • Anything – including what is obvious

So what is Disruptive Thinking?

Disruptive Thinking is a concept that is based upon doing the opposite of what is expected/what convention tells you will be successful.

Disruptive Thinking is not the solution to every problem. But, understanding it, utilising at the right times and allowing it to be a part of your problem-solving-creativity arsenal will make you a more exciting and innovative thinker.”

Read the entire article at: http://www.creativitypost.com/

(Source: creativitypost.com)

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