“1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.”—Kurt Vonnegut (via stoweboyd)
Sara Angel, an art scholar at the University of Toronto, started the Art Canada Institute, a grand name for a modest pet project, from scratch three years ago with the goal to produce ebooks by leading scholars on seminal figures in Canadian art, like Michael Snow, Yves Gaucher, Harold Town and Emily Carr, to name a few, at the breakneck rate of one every six weeks. Did I mention with no public funding? And here’s the great part: They’re all free.
If we compare old technology products with new devices, we can notice that the technology has evolved at a bewildering speed. Smartphones, cloud computing, image recog …
Since it is not technologies alone that causes disruptions, they still is a key ingredient in socio-technical quantum leaps, it is still interesting to track and understand the potential of technologies like these. This list might however be the top “buzz” list rather than anything else…
Hess cites new Pew Study, Teens, Social Media, and Privacy by Mary Madden, Amanda Lenhart, Sandra Cortesi, Urs Gasser, Maeve Duggan, Aaron Smith. Facebook has become a social obligation, and has been colonized by disapproving, ever vigilant adults.
“The rise of the Internet of Things means billions of physical objects will soon generate massive amounts of data 24 hours a day. Not only will this make traditional search methods nearly impossible to use, it will also create an environment where instead of looking for things in the world, those things will be seeking us out to give us all sorts of information that will help us fix, use or buy them.”—How The Internet Of Things Will Revolutionize Search – ReadWrite (via futuristgerd)
Two of the smartest digital marketers I know think Vine is a passing fad rather than a legitimate marketing channel. I think the jury is still out and it’s worthwhile experimenting with. What do you think?
It turns out that we are only 10 percent human: for every human cell that is intrinsic to our body, there are about 10 resident microbes — including commensals (generally harmless freeloaders) and mutualists (favor traders) and, in only a tiny number of cases, pathogens. To the extent that we are bearers of genetic information, more than 99 percent of it is microbial. And it appears increasingly likely that this “second genome,” as it is sometimes called, exerts an influence on our health as great and possibly even greater than the genes we inherit from our parents. But while your inherited genes are more or less fixed, it may be possible to reshape, even cultivate, your second genome.
Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford, suggests that we would do well to begin regarding the human body as “an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants.” This humbling new way of thinking about the self has large implications for human and microbial health, which turn out to be inextricably linked. Disorders in our internal ecosystem — a loss of diversity, say, or a proliferation of the “wrong” kind of microbes — may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of chronic diseases, as well as some infections. “Fecal transplants,” which involve installing a healthy person’s microbiota into a sick person’s gut, have been shown to effectively treat an antibiotic-resistant intestinal pathogen named C. difficile, which kills 14,000 Americans each year. (Researchers use the word “microbiota” to refer to all the microbes in a community and “microbiome” to refer to their collective genes.) We’ve known for a few years that obese mice transplanted with the intestinal community of lean mice lose weight and vice versa. (We don’t know why.) A similar experiment was performed recently on humans by researchers in the Netherlands: when the contents of a lean donor’s microbiota were transferred to the guts of male patients with metabolic syndrome, the researchers found striking improvements in the recipients’ sensitivity to insulin, an important marker for metabolic health. Somehow, the gut microbes were influencing the patients’ metabolisms.
Our resident microbes also appear to play a critical role in training and modulating our immune system, helping it to accurately distinguish between friend and foe and not go nuts on, well, nuts and all sorts of other potential allergens. Some researchers believe that the alarming increase in autoimmune diseases in the West may owe to a disruption in the ancient relationship between our bodies and their “old friends” — the microbial symbionts with whom we coevolved.
These claims sound extravagant, and in fact many microbiome researchers are careful not to make the mistake that scientists working on the human genome did a decade or so ago, when they promised they were on the trail of cures to many diseases. We’re still waiting. Yet whether any cures emerge from the exploration of the second genome, the implications of what has already been learned — for our sense of self, for our definition of health and for our attitude toward bacteria in general — are difficult to overstate. Human health should now “be thought of as a collective property of the human-associated microbiota,” as one group of researchers recently concluded in a landmark review article on microbial ecology — that is, as a function of the community, not the individual.
Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut.
This could change things fairly dramatically. Instead of Weight Watchers, people would ingest some tablets that insert the microbiota of skinny people into their bodies, or people with sleep disorders would get bugs from deep sleepers.
You see, we’ve come to define “social” in unintentional Orwellian double-speak. “Social” has come to mean the exact opposite of what it’s meant for centuries. Instead of actual interaction and communication, we define “social” as once- or twice-removed ego validation through button-clicking.
“Social” is what happens when someone posts personal information—photos, thoughts, announcements, favorite songs, jokes—on the internet and another person comes along and clicks a thumbs up icon or a star or a heart. If someone’s really “social,” they’ll even type a comment or reply.
Kids aren’t leaving social networks. They’re redefining the word “social.” Rather, they’re actually using the word with the intent of its original meaning: making contact with other human beings. Communicating. Back-and-forth, fairly immediate dialogue. Most of it digitally. But most of it with the intent of a conversation where two (or more) people are exchanging information and emotion. Not posting it. Exchanging it.
[T]he things people put on display inevitably generate a kind of inertia. In a world where we now have extraordinarily efficient ways of communicating and displaying, the question of who you are becomes incredibly complicated.
I think that brands are a part of this. When you surround yourself with certain kinds of objects, they become a public statement about who you are. There are hundreds of choices that are necessary to fill out your life with objects and things, and I think that requires an inner logic as well.
Maybe the modern version of introspection is the sum total of all those highly individualized choices that we make about the material content of our lives…
[O]ur material choices as consumers are no longer trivial. They are now amongst the most important choices we make. They have consequences well beyond our own selves — they have global consequences… you’re saying to the world, “These are my values. This is the kind of world I want.
Recently, I noticed that Carl Sagan’s Cosmos was available on Netflix and I was blasted back to my 8 year old self, stumbling into the living room while my parents watched Carl wax eloquent from his dandelion-shaped starship. I have a few flashbulb memories from the show, such as Carl…
“Tumblr users spend an average of 14 minutes per visit, Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp revealed… The reason for the longer session time is not that Tumblr is ‘so much better,’ Karp explained. ‘It’s very different behavior. People come here for same reason they turn their TV on when they come home at the end of the day … It’s something to do before checking your email, it’s a chance to go and see stuff you enjoy, let’s you escape from the real world. And that media experience is one that ends up consuming a fair bit more time than just the amount of time you spend checking your friends updates on Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare.’”—David Karp | Users Stay Longer on Tumblr Than Facebook, Says David Karp (via courtenaybird)
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”—Alan Watts (via petite—fleur)