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Solve For X

How Not to Kill Creativity – Jonah Lehrer LIVE on Big Think | Big Think TV Jonah Lehrer has been described as a kind of "one man third culture" – after training in Neuroscience at Columbia with Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, he studied literature and philosophy on a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. Since then, he has written three books that examine and blur the boundaries between science and art, reason and imagination. His latest: Imagine: How Creativity Works, looks at the neuroscience and the real-world phenomenon of creativity in case studies ranging from the emotional and spiritual burnout that led to Bob Dylan's brilliant album Highway 61 Revisited to the invention of the Swiffer. Here, Lehrer talks with Big Think's Jason Gots about failure as an integral, essential part of the creative process, and why American schools are so good at killing creativity.

d.school: Institute of Design at Stanford untitled Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009 James, Going through some old gear last month, I found my food supply lists and notes from 1976-79. I thought the old list might be of interest and the lessons I learned during the first three years in the remote Alaska bush may be helpful to a few of your readers. I do not recommend Alaska for a TEOTWAWKI retreat but the lessons I learned the hard way may be helpful to any one in a cold climate. I grew up in California listing to stories from my grandfather about Alaska and the Yukon. When I graduated from high school my grandfather gave me his remote trapping cabin in Alaska. When I got to Alaska I met my Grandfather’s old trapping partner. My first winter was a disaster. Before this the longest I had been in the wilderness was a 23 day Outward Bound survival class that I attended the year before and I had never spent a winter in a cold environment. I got out of the plane with a full back pack of gear, a duffel bag of supplies and a 30-06 rifle. Third Lesson!

Thoughts | Designing the new normal + When we contemplate the future, we may find ourselves wondering what we should be designing. Our world is changing; it always has and it always will. Our greatest challenge is often not how to recognize change, but what to do about it. What responsibility does it place upon designers? I believe that a big part of our responsibility is to look openly and honestly at change, understand the implications and then consider what can/should/could be done about the evolving context. There is no singularity of normal on our planet today. Each of us should be asking questions of ourselves as we work: Do we have a duty, perhaps even a professional responsibility, to design to broader parameters than current frameworks, like local building regulations, demand? These are really tough questions for a firm of consultants who compete in a global marketplace. When we contemplate the future, we may find ourselves wondering what we should be designing. I am Director for Global Foresight and Innovation...

The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) | Threat Level It needs that capacity because, according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) In terms of scale, Eric Schmidt, Google's former CEO, once estimated that the total of all human knowledge created from the dawn of man to 2003 totaled 5 exabytes. And the data flow shows no sign of slowing. In 2011 more than 2 billion of the world's 6.9 billion people were connected to the Internet. By 2015, market research firm IDC estimates, there will be 2.7 billion users. The data stored in Bluffdale will naturally go far beyond the world's billions of public web pages. Once it's operational, the Utah Data Center will become, in effect, the NSA's cloud. 1 Geostationary satellites Four satellites positioned around the globe monitor frequencies carrying everything from walkie-talkies and cell phones in Libya to radar systems in North Korea. 3 NSA Georgia, Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia

Why Nations Fail Co-authored by the M.I.T. economist Daron Acemoglu and the Harvard political scientist James A. Robinson, “Why Nations Fail” argues that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few. “Inclusive economic institutions that enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few,” they write. Acemoglu explained in an interview that their core point is that countries thrive when they build political and economic institutions that “unleash,” empower and protect the full potential of each citizen to innovate, invest and develop. We can only be a force multiplier. And America?

Star Wars Uncut / Watch the Movie A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... In 2009, Casey Pugh asked Internet users to remake Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. In a few months time, thousands of fans responded with extraordinary creativity from around the world. Star Wars Uncut has been featured in documentaries, news features and conferences around the world for its unique appeal. Finally, the crowd-sourced project has been stitched together and put online for your streaming pleasure. Many thanks to Aaron Valdez (video editor) and Bryan Pugh (sound design/mixing) for the countless hours they put into this masterpiece.

Jonah Lehrer on How to Be Creative Videos A Wandering Mind Is an Intelligent Mind What's the Latest Development? Resent research suggests that mind wandering is associated with good working memory, itself a measure of intelligence, reading comprehension and IQ score. The new study, published in Psychological Science, asked individuals to perform routine tasks and monitored how often their minds wandered. Later, scientists measured each person's working memory and found that people with better memories were also more likely to have a roaming mind. The results are the first indication that memory may enable off-topic thoughts. What's the Big Idea? Despite humans' proclivity for self-conscious and intentional behavior, scientists estimate that our minds wander about half the time, demonstrating the complex behavior and purpose of our brain. Photo credit: shutterstock.com

mouse Design Thinking for Social Innovation Designers have traditionally focused on enhancing the look and functionality of products. Recently, they have begun using design techniques to tackle more complex problems, such as finding ways to provide low-cost healthcare throughout the world. Businesses were the first to embrace this new approach—called design thinking—and nonprofits are beginning to adopt it too. In an area outside Hyderabad, India, between the suburbs and the countryside, a young woman—we’ll call her Shanti—fetches water daily from the always-open local borehole that is about 300 feet from her home. Shanti has many reasons not to use the water from the Naandi treatment center, but they’re not the reasons one might think. Although Shanti can walk to the facility, she can’t carry the 5-gallon jerrican that the facility requires her to use. The community treatment center was designed to produce clean and potable water, and it succeeded very well at doing just that. Design Thinking at Work The Origin of Design Thinking

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