Makers: isn’t it time to embrace and extend?
Yes, 3D printing and the Internet Of things are ‘turning everyone on to the idea of making stuff themselves’, but what about working together with the ‘old-school’ DIY, craft and…
A truly social network where humans are (mostly) excluded
The truly driverless car is a distant prospect whose arrival will be preceded by cars driven not so much by their human drivers as by their need to learn what other cars know about the road ahead
Coping with startup founder setback blues
“Like being punched in the face repeatedly” is how Y Combinator’s Paul Graham characterises the devastating setbacks that founders have to be able to cope with. Here’s how you cope
What if the synapse isn’t really doing what we think?
It’s hard to find a more profound challenge to a central tenet of neuroscience: in our so far unrewarded struggle to locate our elusive memories within the junctions between brain cells, shouldn’t we also be looking inside the neuron itself?
The wild frontier of innovation intelligibility: an edgy video
I’ve been having a serious struggle deciding whether or not to share this important video because I’m just not sure how much of a struggle with intelligibility you’ll be able to tolerate
12 things wrong with educational games
It’s just a list, it’s probably way too harsh and uncompromising, so educational developers, I know you care: please don’t take it personally, let’s just start making a bit more progress towards putting these things right
“There was no national infrastructure for this, so I’ve funded it”
An Intensive Care Unit where it’s needed. In every home. Millions already connected. He cashed out two startups, spent some exit money (he’s still got $7 billion left). The Steve Jobs of healthcare?
Usability is utterly broken
The last time it was declared broken, it was Web browsing behaviour that totally invalidated ‘traditional’ usability testing: this was soon fixed with new metrics, but now there’s another elephant in the usability lab
On the Internet of Bits and Pieces, “just works” won’t be good enough
Yesterday’s light switch just works. Dark? Click. Light! Today, ‘Just works’ is lame. I want things that can see, hear, remember and tell me what they’re doing. In fact, I want anything with a switch on it to be able to do whatever I want, maybe even before I know I want it to do it
Musicians: video editing is now officially part of your skillbase
Just ‘gigging, recording and getting discovered by a record company’ is yesterday’s intro to a musical career. Nowadays, you need to be able to build your own online TV channel that does justice to your best songwriting and performances.
Startup founders: allergic to experiences they should learn to love?
Do startups fail as a result of the founder’s attitude towards doing things they don’t think they need to do?
What is soft robotics?
Solutions to just about every hard engineering problem in robotics can be found in the biology of animals, where nature seems to be telling us to ‘take a softer approach’
The switch from doing jobs to starting startups: will we even notice?
Could our increasingly online lifestyles morph smoothly into self-employment if today’s culture of ’employee-based careers for all’ gradually fades into oblivion?
Viewing the TV implications of Steam from 50,000 feet
Google TV, Apple TV, Facebook TV, Netflix, you need to watch your backs. A more ‘socially optimised consumer experience’ may give Valve’s Steam an unbeatable edge over other contenders for tomorrow’s TV
The intensifying innovation debate about mental diagnosis
The long-awaited update to the clinician’s guidebook DSM-V was released on May 18th, affecting mental healthcare for billions worldwide. How well is it keeping up with the latest developments in science, technology and ideas?
A formidable new contender on the tech review scene
His YouTube channel alone is an eye-opener: is a new standard for consumer technology review videos being set?
Is video content heading for the holodeck?
It’s time to ask whether recent technological advances should make us revisit some long-abandoned dreams about interactive content
The contest for your living room gathers Steam
Apple TV, Google TV and let’s not forget Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft or Sony. Here at the iij, our money is on someone else.
Neurologist pivots to schoolteacher, then to teaching teachers neuroscience
She was seeing a 5 to 10x spike in teacher referrals for students with epilepsy, ADHD and OCD symptoms: mysteriously, those symptoms failed to show up outside the classroom. Did they come from changes to teaching methods? What she found made her switch careers, twice
Top guitar innovation videos of 2012
Yes, you’ll find some pretty lame excuses for also including some (admittedly awesome) clips which are sometimes more about exceptional inspiration than innovation
Cultural literacy education theory humbled by games culture
A fashionable return to 19th century teaching methods is being challenged by astonishing findings on the impact of online games culture upon ‘hopeless’ struggling learners
Mel Brooks Producers as a model for lean startups
Founders having an innovative idea, a fruitful search for a solution, generous early investors: what could possibly go wrong?
Rescuing serious journalism by productively reducing it to mindless fun
Few news editors would claim that they are not an endangered species, so even the most whimsical-sounding ideas are no longer quite so easily dismissed as being irrelevant or unnecessary
Post-Genomics: Wikipedia says no
There is no Wikipedia article on this subject at the time of writing, but it is now a well established field which cries out for a much wider public understanding
Science shows that self-discipline taxes the soul
We wisely use our ‘self-restraint muscle’ to get things done, but research shows that even exercising it just a little bit can turn the most robust of minds into momentary marshmallow
Coming soon to a learning experience near you: metacognitive strategies
Counter-intuitive way of reducing unnecessary pressure on students? Stop telling them how easy it’s going to be.
New Bond Thriller, With Social Impact
Don’t let the impenetrable jargon put you off. Social Impact Bonds, which bring “only paying for success” to public funding for privately-run social projects, are genuinely innovative. But will they make a real difference?
10M die every year, just begging for better diagnostics
Cheaply improving diagnosis in the developing world has an impact which is simply staggering. There’s a vast backlog of breakthrough science and technology waiting to be applied
Building systems that can solve tougher problems
To achieve this, a system (involving people and machines) should be constructed so that it can ultimately, in some relevant ways, become ‘smarter’ than any of its individual (human) participants
Nomination For the 2012 Infinitely Improbable Pivot Award
And you thought AirBnB’s Chesky’s early switch into repackaging breakfast cereals which he eventually had to eat in order to survive would clinch it? Nope. Not improbable enough.
Fixing the ‘unsolved problem shortage’ that holds back potential startup founders
Shortages of easily-tackled unsolved problems are a first world problem: elsewhere, countless established ‘solutions’ are just unaffordable, each one a gift to any problem-seeking would-be entrepreneur
What if a time-travelling, pre-Apple Jobs & Wozniak applied to Y Combinator without a startup idea?
What kind of problem would YC have suggested for these prospective startup founders to work on?
Codecademy horror? 40 years of research into computer learning ignored
The ‘teach yourself to program’ site is just not equipped to have an intelligent conversation about any problems you’re having as you go along. What impact is this having on the dropout rate?
Is blaming PowerPoint really just “shooting the messenger”?
It turns out that claims of causing “Death by PowerPoint” may conceal a far more pernicious offense: our unpardonable ignorance of how human attention actually works
Major debate video: Is ‘who we are’ more than just brain-wiring?
Which side are you on? Are you a ‘connectomist’ who believes that once we fully map the connections in the brain, all it’s secrets will be revealed? Or are you ‘connectome-quizzical’ and looking for a wider range of perspectives before taking up a position?
1.8 million regular listeners to a US science and philosophy radio show?
Is the BBC’s long-established domination of ‘serious’ talk radio finally seeing a serious challenge?
Video: talk brings you up to date on just about every major field in genomics
A roller-coaster ‘how we got to where we are today’ tour by the US government’s Director of Research, starting with a look back to the point eleven years ago when the momentous results of the Human Genome Project were made public for the first time
Humanoid, moi? We’re all Stepford wives now
It’s 1996: students experiment with being cyborgs. That strange circuitry covering one eye? People imagine they’re disabled, offer them chairs. Nowadays you’d need to pry our ubiquitous connections to the borg collective (er, sorry: ‘cloud’) out of our cold, dead hands. So are we there yet?
He’s a NASA legend, acclaimed songwriter and science marketing guru
If it’s a tough time to be a scientist, maybe that’s more than just a branding issue. Nonetheless, scientists would probably be unwise to ignore thoughtful advice about presentation from someone highly regarded in both the arts and sciences
Scientists, so impractical? The results are in: Commercial Targets: 0, Freedom: 1
Scientific creativity. An engine of growth and innovation, held back by a lack of market focus and managerial discipline? So a stricter commercial regime should turn science into a lean, mean, innovation machine, right? Well…
It self-tunes, it’s not a $4,000 Firebird X and it costs $495
Am I the only one in the world who thinks the motor-tuned $4,000 Firebird has the best guitar shape ever?
Puzzles are (deliberately) bad user interfaces. We’re told to love the look of things which have ‘invisible’ interfaces, because designers love simplicity. Hide those countless features, make it look simple. But this turns things into games with hidden rules. Not everyone wants to play.