Category Archives: ideas

The best, easiest, and most effective New Year’s resolution to make (perfect for procrastinators, too) is

The best, easiest, and most effective New Year’s resolution to make (perfect for procrastinators, too) is this: I resolve to make a new resolution every week (or month, or quarter or season, or….you get the idea).

It sounds like a lame suggestion, but think about it for a minute. By making this resolution, you have already made a resolution. Good for you! One down. That out of the way, you can decide what is a schedule you are most likely to stick to. Once a week? Possible, but tough. Monthly? More likely. I personally like quarterly or seasonally. The idea of having a new resolution every season is a great way to kick off a season. In spring you can resolve to plant new / more plants. In summer you can resolve to go to the beach more, or go on that trip you always wanted, or spend more time in the park reading or exercising. In fall you can resolve to get out and take in more culture. And in winter you can resolve to get in shape for next spring and fall.

Whatever you do, keep a list. You will be surprised at the end of the year how many resolutions that you made and kept.

The other good thing about this approach is that you keep up the resolutions, rather than making a bunch in January, only to have them die off.

Good luck!

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One of the greatest disrupters is one never mentioned in that way

The word “disrupters” is very much in vogue (see here and much of what comes out of start ups from Silicon Valley). Although not spoken of in those terms, one of the great disrupters of the 20th century, Mikhail Kalashnikov, creator of the AK-47, just died. Most disruption is a destructive action as well as a creative one. The AK-47 allowed more disruption to occur than almost any other technology in the last 100 years, and while it brought death, it also brought great change. I don’t support change brought on that way, but when people heap praise on disruption, ask them what they think of the AK-47. If they don’t have a good answer, they don’t have an opinion on disruption worth listening to.

What if life follows Moore’s Law

A fascinating idea: what if life on earth follows Moore’s Law? If it does, as discussed
here, then it could explain why there are no beings in the universe advanced much beyond ours. It could also mean that life on Earth came from somewhere else.

The article in MIT’s Technology Review is well worth a read. It also makes me think that Moore’s Law could be a fundamental way of understanding much more than integrated circuits.

How to be a creative person? follow these rules

From the excellent tumblelog, Daily Meh

It mirrors some of the ideas from the book, Art and Fear, that I blogged about earlier.

Six Degrees vs The Tipping Point and the problem with metaphors.

Kevin Kelly writes on something that is getting a fair amount of attention: the new book by Duncan Watts (Six Degrees). Watts critiques another book by Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point), and Kevin Kelly does a good job of commenting on it.

My problem with all this analysis is the use of metaphors. Using metaphors of disease or forest fires helps model and understand the characteristic of certain activities (e.g. the success of failure of certain forms of communications), but they are just that, models. And limited ones at that. It’s good that Watts has shown the limits of Gladwell’s metaphor. But I suspect his metaphor is just as limited.

Philosophical podcasts from Schopenhauer to Plato

When everyone else on the bus is bopping along to hip hop, you can be grooving to Schopenhauer’s “The World as Will and Idea” if you surf over to here.

For truly smart people. (I didn’t know they had podcasts in Plato’s time! :) )

Why giving up your privacy doesn’t make you more secure.

Over at is a very concise argument on why giving up your privacy doesn’t make you more secure. Key quote:

“Confiscating shaving cream and nail files at the airport doesn’t make anyone safer. Neither does creating a national ID card, because terrorists rely on surprise, not anonymity. The fundamental issue is that real security involves focusing resources on identifying and stopping the tiny fraction of the population that is engaged in criminal and terrorist acts. The vast majority of people pose no threat to anyone, and it’s a waste of resources to monitor them. “

See Techdirt: If You’re Watching Everyone, You’re Watching No One for the entire article.

What the future looks like

It’s shifting

David Byrne explains the music industry

There is alot said about the state of the music industry. Much of that is dire. Then I read this article

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars

by David Byrne in WiReD. His knowledge of the industry and his insights make for a fascinating article. If you are musician, or if you love music, it’s a great read.

Masks for every day use / privacy in the 21st century

Over at Razor Apple is a feature on 11 Masked Hoodies to Hide Your Face. With the rise of more and more public cameras, there may be a trend to more fashion that (stylishly) covers the face.

The World is NOT flat

James Fallows over at the reviews and recommends: “A Flat World, A Level Playing Field, a Small World After All, or None of the Above?” by Edward Leamer of UCLA. There is a link to the article, as well as a summation of it, as well as a critique of Friedman. Quote:

* When I asked Friedman on the show why he said on virtually every page of the book that the world was “flat,” when he knew very well all the reasons it wasn’t, he disarmingly said: In the columnist game, you don’t sell things 51-49. You decide what you think is right, and you push that all the way. So, he could have more accurately said that the world is “flattening,” but that wouldn’t have had the ooomph.

For more, see James Fallows (September 07, 2007) – Golden Oldies: the world is not flat

Feminism and Aliens

I remember when I first watched Aliens, I was taken by how the movie flew by, even at 2+ hours. It was thrilling.
I thought about it later and how well it was made. We had already seen the Alien in the first movie, which was a great cross of the genres of science-fiction and horror films. James Cameron made a different movie by crossing the genres of war film and horror film with Aliens. This was interesting in itself. But he also did another interresting thing: he explored the notions of feminism within the film, or at least, the bonds between mother and daughter. (Just like he explored the notion of Father and Son in Terminator 2.) Cameron is not Renoir or Bergman, but Arnold might not have been joking when during the “Titantic” Oscar he joked about starring in Cameron’s “art films”.

The other interesting thing is the juxaposition between maternalism and the action film genre. The contrast gives the films punch. I am sure Camille Paglia would approve. :) See:

As Andrew Sullivan said, one of the best movie lines ever.

77 Million Paintings By Brian Eno

Brian Eno has new work at the Long New Foundation that was featured at the Venice Biennale

You can (and you should :) ) read more about it here: 77 Million Paintings By Brian Eno

Or go to The Long Now Foundation

and learn a whole lot more interesting things.

Is Holland the lab for Global Warming?

Technology Review has an article on Holland and what it is doing in coming to terms with the affects of Global Warming, since it will be affected sooner than anyone. See Part I: Saving Holland

Get (back) your life

I saw Tim Ferriss talk recently . Now he’s featured in the web site:

The Hectic Chronicles – New York Times

He has lots of great advice on his web site and in his book: The 4-Hour Workweek.

I recommend you check them both out now (instead of continuing to plough through your email. Go on…the email will be there when you get back :) ).

The hilariously brilliant Ken Robinson on Education

What I find remarkable about this talk by Ken Robinson is how it manages to be insightful and very funny. You can watch it just for the humour and have a good laugh. But like any TED talk, you will also gain alot by the ideas presented. Goto YouTube and see:

Do schools today kill creativity? (Ken Robinson, TEDTalks)

It’s also a Master class in how to present.

Captchas or the V-K Test

The online has a good article on the problem of captchas are having. It’s a bit worrisome. See A Dog or a Cat? New Tests to Fool Automated Spammers – New York Times

Perhaps it is time to get out the Voight-Kampff machines.

An awesome, terrifying, beauty

When I watch this video, I feel like two different parts of my brain are working at the same time: one part comprehending the beauty and another comprehending the terrifying content. See it yourself:

On the artifice of beauty

Two striking videos on this subject matter, including the famous Dove Evolution ad. The first one, Doll Face, is longer, but it is worth watching.

YouTube – Doll Face

YouTube – dove evolution

Visualizing wartime

IBM has a tools called Many Eyes that allows people to create visualizations of day. This is related to my previous entry, but this time it’s Coalition fatalities in Iraq

Design That Solves Problems for the World’s Poor

The New York Times has an article on a show at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York which includes many items to show a grasp of the depths of world poverty and ingenious ways to attack it. such as the 20-gallon rolling drum for transporting water, above.

The OLPC is also there, as well as the design of other things.

I thing there are things people need that are essential — whether they be materially well off or not — and things they don’t need. I believe the exhibit focuses on the former. For example, as Nicholas Negroponte says, the point of OLPC is not the laptop, it is the focus on education that the OLPC enables. It is not that every child in the world should have a new thing.

That said, I think some of the design is….cool. Now if someone would design a half decent cart to help me get my groceries home without a car, I would be happy. But I digress.

The great Kevin Kelly

One of FM’s author is Kevin Kelly, of Kevin Kelly — Cool Tools

He’s much more than this. He has been doing cool stuff for many years, whether he was working on the Whole Earth Catalog (the Internet in a catalog form :) ) or helping launch WiReD (before it became TiReD). His cool tools section of his web site always has interesting articles in it.

It’s a shame the Whole Earth Review isn’t around anymore. But KK’s web site is: soak it up.

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So check out their author list: it’s a good one.

reCaPTCHA is a fascinating Web 2.0 idea

What is reCAPTCHA?

To quote the WiReD blog:

The idea behind reCAPTCHA is that, as long as we’re all solving these CAPTCHA puzzles, why not throw in some minimal additional data? By adding a second image with an unsolved word from the Internet Archive book scanning project, ReCAPTCHA allows users to channel their CAPTCHA solving skills into real world benefits.

To me, this is an innovative idea of putting the world to work. I wonder how many more companies are employing this approach?

Since you have to work….

….why not try to get in the middle of these three circles?

The blog, The Chief Happiness Officer, can help.

How good is your Karma?

You can find out here at Get Good Karma.

Hey, you don’t want to come back as a bug, do you?

New ways word can trip you up.

I think this is fascinating. A professor downloads some Word documents that were posted with changes still in them and his 8 year old son finds them for him.

See the story here: The views of Iraq you weren’t supposed to see | Salon News

Among other things, it is an illustration of how even a common software product like Word is too sophisticated for it’s users

How do the numbers add up (visually!)

Chris Jordan does an amazing job of depicting statistics. The magnitude is simply….awesome.

Check out his current work here.

For instance, see

a depiction of two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

Need a new idea? Go to a different room

ScienceDaily has a good article on how our spaces affect the way we think, feel and act:

Ceiling Height Can Affect How A Person Thinks, Feels And Acts