A History of Ideas, animated, on YouTube. Philosophical concepts in under 2 minutes from the BBC Radio 4 programme | A History of Ideas, animated, on BBC Radio | All episodes, both animated and podcasts on BBC, downloadable. Narrated by Gillian Anderson and others. A fresh take on the History of Ideas as big subjects like beauty, freedom, technology and morality get dissected by a team of thinkers.
Writing - from the PhD research blog Deathsplanation:
"I almost went to college to study art. I even interviewed for a place. I had a portfolio and everything. That was more than a decade ago and honestly, I can’t even remember if I got in. But I didn’t go. Things changed, life took a drastic turn, and I wanted to leave everything behind. And so I did. I ended up at university, pursuing another passion of mine: archaeology; history, anthropology. [more inside]
"I have never strayed that far from art. It’s always been there, in my life. But recently, it’s been a lot more… present."
If mega-rich people could buy places on clinical trials, would this help drive forward the development of new treatments that could benefit everyone? [more inside]
"Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues." Isaac Asimov Mulls “How Do People Get New Ideas?” [more inside]
In the ultra-competitive worlds of business and freelancing, should mentorship come with a fee? Arguments for and against: "When someone asks to pick my brain, I bristle. My brain is how I earn my living — would you ask a plumber to unclog a drain for free?" "Not every investment of time has to be 'worth it.' Sometimes you just have a brief conversation with someone because—why not?"
For WIRED magazine's 20th anniversary, they've "gathered stories for, by, and about the people who have shaped the planet's past 20 years—and will continue driving the next."
6 Fast Food Mashups Worse Than The Doritos Taco (Trigger warning: vomiting)
Que Sera Sera posts about "Weird incorrect facts from childhood that other people have kept in their heads without reconsidering until the moment it hits them." Lots of people are learning new things in the comments. Via defectiveyeti.com
SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks about the future of "big idea" Science Fiction: If SF's core message (to the extent that it ever had one) is obsolete, what do we do next?
The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
Kirby Ferguson's fourth and final installment of Everything is a Remix: System Failure has been released. (Also on YouTube.) It covers intellectual property rights, the derivative nature of creativity, patents and copyright. Transcript. [more inside]
Bret Victor (previously, previouslier) shows off some mindblowing tools he's created to demonstrate not only great insights in user experience, but also his philosophy: "Inventing on Principle"
What Is Your Favorite Deep, Elegant, Or Beautiful Explanation? - Edge 2012 Annual Question (earlier)
This year the CBC Massey Lectures celebrates fifty years with bestselling author, essayist, cultural observer, and famed New Yorker contributor Adam Gopnik. His subject is winter - the season, the space, the cycle. Gopnik takes us on an intimate tour of the artists, poets, composers, writers, explorers, scientists, and thinkers, who helped shape a new and modern idea of winter. Listen to Winter: Five Windows on the Season Streaming files for this years lecture will be available until Friday, November 18. [more inside]
Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities: We show how the prevailing majority opinion in a population can be rapidly reversed by a small fraction p of randomly distributed committed agents who consistently proselytize the opposing opinion and are immune to influence. Specifically, we show that when the committed fraction grows beyond a critical value pc ≈ 10%, there is a dramatic decrease in the time, Tc, taken for the entire population to adopt the committed opinion. [.pdf] [more inside]
DO Lectures: a smaller, gentler TED, with annual conferences in Wales and the US. Every twenty-minute conference presentation is available as free online video. A sampling: Tim Berners-Lee on how the web just happened. Peter Segger on soil. David Allen on optimizing your brain. A complete list of presenters. The Do Village blog.
A bridge builder, a student of how societies hold together; an advocate of dialogue. Standing against polarized and simplistic styles of thought. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is Canada's best known and most widely read contemporary thinker. In books like Sources of the Self and A Secular Age, he has attempted to define the unique character of the modern age. He maps the fault-lines in our modern identity, and points to both the pitfalls and the promise of our condition. Learn about his life, history, upbringing, and... ideas. Now available, CBC IDEAS in five one-hour parts: the malaise of modernity (this special program has the same title as the 1991 Massey Lecture of the same name, but is not the same [MP3's, get them now, they will go away, and then you can only stream them]). One, Two, Three, Four, Five. [more inside]
"The paper puts forward a small but novel idea of how we can cut down the incidence of bribery. There are different kinds of bribes and what this paper is concerned with are bribes that people often have to give to get what they are legally entitled to. I shall call these 'harassment bribes'. Suppose an income tax refund is held back from a taxpayer till he pays some cash to the officer. Suppose government allots subsidized land to a person but when the person goes to get her paperwork done and receive documents for this land, she is asked to pay a hefty bribe. These are all illustrations of harassment bribes. Harassment bribery is widespread in India and it plays a large role in breeding inefficiency and has a corrosive effect on civil society. The central message of this paper is that we should declare the act of giving a bribe in all such cases as legitimate activity [PDF]. In other words the giver of a harassment bribe should have full immunity from any punitive action by the state." [more inside]
The Internet Wishlist. Amrit Richmond has launched The Internet Wishlist, a collection of ideas for apps and websites people are wishing for, that she calls “a suggestion box for the future of technology”. To share your idea, just post on Twitter about an app or website that you would like to see built and include #theiwl in your tweet. Via: Laughing Squid.
Dogs Themselves - A 3-Part CBC Ideas Program (MP3) Do they think in visual images - or maps, or strings of ideas, or perhaps in whole stories? Do they think at all? [more inside]
The Bra Mask. The Youth Condom. The Train That Never Stops. The Meat Dress. The New York Times' unveils The 10th Annual Year In Ideas. (Including The Megalobster!)
Karen, Rick, Luke and Rachel are four people marooned in an airport lounge sometime in the very near future. The price of oil goes through the roof, and a kind of apocalypse takes over the world- or at least the world that they can see through the windows of the bar and on the crackling, intermittent news reports. Thick ash falls from the sky. The taps are dry. Cellphones don't work. Sealed in, the four can only talk to each other, examine their lives and the meaning of love, and try to confront their own demons. There is no turning back, they realise. [more inside]
Dominic Wilcox (previously) spent a month speed-creating - inventing something new every day for 30 days with the resources around him. Amongst his creations are lightbulb bread, a diary in the form of measuring tape, and a football that makes smoothies.
Language, culture, society and the frameworks used to define experiential reality; living a good life, pathways of decolonization
An internationally recognized Kanien'kehaka (Mohwak) intellectual and political advisor, Taiaiake Alfred is well known for his incisive critiques and groundbreaking work in the fields of Indigenous governance and political philosophy. In the past, Taiaiake has served as an advisor on land and governance and cultural restoration issues for many indigenous governments and organizations, and he has authored several important books including Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom and Peace, Power, Righteousness. Currently, Taiaiake serves as a Professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Recorded March 23, 2009 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, University of Victoria Professor of Indigenous Governance; a broad, deep, and beautiful discussion of pathways toward the future for indigenous people, Gerald Taiaiake Alfred talks about the “Resurgence of Traditional Ways of Being: Indigenous Paths of Action and Freedom” [more inside]
Spike Magazine offers up a splendid enchanting 598 page behometh anthology of interviews, features and book reviews taken from the last 15 years of this wonderfully eclectic magazine (Direct PDF / Zip) . Nicely formatted and with enough content to keep even the most avid britlit fan happy. Highlights include interviews with (among many others) Will Self (p451,460,464,467) , JG Ballard (p27,32,35, 39), Iain Banks (p54), Nick Hornby(p276). Enjoy.
You know about TED, but do you know about the WGBH Forum Network? A project of the venerable Boston public TV station, the Forum is a web platform which aggregates lectures from cultural institutions, museums, libraries, bookstores, and colleges across the US - everything from current research in social science and hard science to author and poet talks. Presentations vary in topic, length, format, and level of eggheadiness, but if you love ideas, you'll find some good stuff here. Streams on demand, downloads often available if you register.
Outsourcing has been a mainstay of internet marketers and lifestyle designers ever since Tim Ferriss made it popular. But at least one of its biggest proponents is now wondering: is outsourcing exploitative by taking advantage of international economic inequality?
How to be cool? How to stay calm? How to have better conversations? How to make love last? The School of Life is a place to step back and think intelligently about these and other concerns. [more inside]
Writers get pirated too - so how can they still earn money? Here are some ideas, but are they workable? [more inside]
The Year in Ideas from the New York Times Magazine.
"Modern societies have tended to take science for granted as a way of knowing, ordering and controlling the world. Everything was subject to science, but science itself largely escaped scrutiny. This situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Historians, sociologists, philosophers and sometimes scientists themselves have begun to ask fundamental questions about how the institution of science is structured and how it knows what it knows." How to Think About Science is a 24-part series from CBC Radio's Ideas, featuring interviews with Steven Shapin, Ian Hacking, Bruno Latour, and others. The streaming audio links on the show's website seem to be out of commission, but direct links to all of the episodes can be found here.
highDEAS: Unique ideas or insights generated while one is under the influence of cannabis that wouldn't have existed otherwise (like the one for this link)
Dude, wouldn't it be totally cool if there was an opposite microwave to cool tasty canned beverages in seconds? What if underwear had pockets? They'd be called Underawesomes! And don't you think ketchup packets should be bigger? Oh man, speaking of munchies, what if you had see-through fudge? You could see right through it! Dang, it would be rad if there was smokable tape you could use to repair your busted spliff, huh? But I mean, dude, there should like really be a website where stoners could post and discuss the ideas they get when they're super high. I'd call it highDEAS.
Innovation, Ideas and the Global Standard of Living by Charles Kenny: "The Success of Development acts like a sword through many of the Gordian knots plaguing the development community, especially those surrounding the rate of economic growth in many developing countries. Put that question to one side, says Kenny, and suddenly a lot of much more interesting questions, about issues like education and healthcare and clean water and human rights, come into a lot more focus. And if you use those metrics, rather than GDP growth, to judge the success or failure of developing countries, then things look rather more optimistic than you might think." (pdf) Glenn Hubbard's review, cf. Technological Creativity and Economic Progress [more inside]
"In fact, while transactional credit provision is a perfectly good business, it might be reasonable for the state to offer basic transactional credit as a public good." Blogger Steve Randy Waldman has an idea that's so crazy it might work. He buried it in a nice wonky, obscure post about transactional and revolving credit, but now has been linked by Ezra Klein at his new WaPo blog. Will Metafilter heads explode?
Jared Diamond on the Evolution of Religions. (SLYT)
Which way are the winds blowing in the world today? From New Calvinism to Ecological Intelligence, here are 10 ideas that are changing the world right now.
The Signtific Lab invites people to develop cutting-edge ideas through experiments of imagination and discussion. Experiment One: what would happen if outer space becomes as accessible as the Web today?
"What are the new liberal arts?", asks SnarkMarket, inspired by Jason Kottke's tagline and Edge. The blog post has turned into a pitch for a new collaborative book, with spirited discussions and over 100 suggestions including photography, design, relationships, mythology, intuitive thinking, synthesis, knowledge mastery, search, archiving, play, and home economics.
A New State of Mind. "New research is linking dopamine to complex social phenomena and changing neuroscience in the process."
Philip Pullman interviewed about the ideas behind "His Dark Materials" [YT,1 hour, South Bank Show,parts 2,3,4,5,6,7]. Inside, and hidden from those who don't want spoilers, are links relating to the ideas raised and about the books generally. [more inside]
Teams of student entrepreneurs around the world had six days to add value to a stack of Post-It notes as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The results are documented in Imagine It!, which aims to promote creative thinking. [more inside]
Moving houses but don't want to buy bulky furniture? Get a Casulo.
"When the world's great scientific thinkers change their minds". Some Big Name thinkers (Dyson, Pinker, Venter, ...) change their minds on some Big Ideas (race, evolution, global warming,..) and explain why in about a paragraph each. Via Edge.
Better World Books - Recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the best for-profit social enterprises of 2008, they offer a wide selection of new and used books with free shipping in the US and less than $3 shipping elsewhere. A portion of the profits go to fund literacy organizations such as Room to Read and WorldFund, and their shipping is carbon-neutral. The only thing missing is the ability to import Amazon wishlists.
64-year-old Frank Pringle has figured out a way to extract oil and natural gas out of nearly anything.
The Ideas Catalogue is a weird and wacky thing. It features ideas of things, and nothing more. They are for sale, and some have been bought.
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