Douglas Rushkoff and live team human podcast

There is a author who have been following for many years/decades. His name is Douglas Rushkoff and to be fair I have written about him a few times including the new book at the time, throwing rocks at the google bus.

It all started when I read the Ecstasy Club when I was much younger then Media Virus and Cyberia.

I had no idea about Team Human which he’s been doing for a long while but during FutureFest (blog coming soon) I got talking with Douglas and he mentioned there was a live recording for the podcast in London a few days later on Monday. I was able to juggle a few things and go along with a friend.

Team Human LIVE from Brick Lane, London

It was quite a thoughtful and intellectually stimulating night which I don’t need to describe it because the first podcast is up.

What if we stopped thinking about the future as a noun and started thinking about it as a verb? We can future together!
The second part should be with Rupert Sheldrake, whos TEDx talk was banned from TED.

I’m now subscribed to Team human and look forward to hearing how things turned out…

Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

I kickstarted Clubbed a while ago, and a few days ago I got my copy in the post. Now its got a proud spot on my bookshelf.

Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

Of course its not just about the Hacienda but lots of famous UK clubs and dance nights. Its a beautifully designed booked which reflects the graphic design of the era.

Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

Very happy to be a backer along so many others.

She means business

While doing some research around Living a conscious life. I was pleasantly surprised to find Carrie Green had included part of a conversation following the Tedx talk above, with her in North Tea Power in her book.

When I discovered this, I decided well I might as well get a copy for my ever growing library. Today I got my copy…

From the chapter – The little voice in your head

A guy called Ian Forrester climbed up to the stage, I handed him £20, the audience applauded and he went and sat down. A few weeks later we met up over a cup of tea and he told me how a brush with death a few years earlier made him make the decision that he was never going to let anything stand in his way. He said, “People are paralyzed by their fear of what might happen, and so they won’t reach out and grab what’s in front them. And that’s pretty much what I did.”

Thank you again Carrie for the quote and everything, I will never forget the moment.

Reading the dyslexic advantage at last

The Dyslexic Advantage
At long last I started reading or rather listening to The dyslexic advantage. I’m totally blown away by what I’ve been reading. I mean I knew most of this but the science behind it and how it can be a super power; has literally shocked and moved me. I have written about my own dyslexic a few times including in everyday life, in the media and my thoughts about how it may affects relationships.

From the very start the book sets its agenda, to look at dyslexia strengths and less about its weaknesses…

Most books on dyslexia focus on problems with reading and spelling. While these problems are extremely important, they’re not the only—or even the most important—things that individuals with dyslexia find critical for their growth, learning, and success.
As experts in neuroscience and learning disabilities, we’ve worked with hundreds of individuals with dyslexia and their families. In the process we’ve found that individuals with dyslexia often share a broad range of important cognitive features. Some of these features are learning or processing challenges—like difficulties with reading and spelling, rote math, working memory, or visual and auditory function. But others are important strengths, abilities, and talents; gifts we call the dyslexic advantage. While these features differ somewhat from person to person, they also form recognizable patterns—just as the different musical works of Mozart are distinguishable yet recognizably the work of the same composer.

Theres many paragraphs but I wanted to share some of the key ones I’ve read so far. The whole book focuses on M.I.N.D strengths, which are the 4 key strengths dyslexics share or in parts.

I personally have a strong amount of all 4. They are not saying its only dyslexics which have them but much more likely and much more strongly. Think of them like the Big 5 personality traits rather than Myers-Briggs types.

  • M-Strength for Material Reasoning, which is primarily reasoning about the position, form, and movement of objects 3D space
  • I-Strengths for Interconnected Reasoning, which is primarily the ability to spot, understand, and reason about connections and relationships (e.g., analogies, metaphors, systems, patterns)
  • N-Strengths for Narrative Reasoning, which is primarily the ability to reason using fragments of memory formed from past personal experience (i.e., using cases, examples, and simulations rather than abstract reasoning from principles)
  • D-Strengths for Dynamic Reasoning, which is the ability to accurately predict using patterns derived through experience the future or the unwitnessed past

The I, N & D Strengths are very much a key part of me (M too, but maybe a little less so). I always seen the world in one massively connected ecosystem. Everything is connected and its hard trying to explain to others how it all meshes together.

Patterns are observed and seem to stick in my mind. They seem to exist as a narrative or at least are stronger as narrative. This is extremely useful when finding my way places again unfolds as a narrative rather than a map or directions.

For dyslexic brains, excellent function typically means traits like the ability to see the gist or essence of things or to spot the larger context behind a given situation or idea; multidimensionality of perspective; the ability to see new, unusual, or distant connections; inferential reasoning and ambiguity detection; the ability to recombine things in novel ways and a general inventiveness; and greater mindfulness and intentionality during tasks that others take for granted.
Nondyslexic brains often excel at applying rules and procedures in an expert and efficient manner. Dyslexic brains often excel at finding “best fits” or at ad hoc problem solving.

I hadn’t really thought about it this way but makes so much sense. Maybe this is why Art just makes sense for me. Its also clear a gist, conversation, sentence or just a word can spring tons of connected thoughts. For example the idea of “local evil” which was a title for a event had my mind cycling for weeks.

The cluetrain manifesto is another example, from the 95 rules I could almost tell the thesis as a complete narrative without reading any of them. My favourite being #7 Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

The power of Interconnected reasoning lies in its ability to link all of an individual’s knowledge, ideas, and mental approaches into an integrated conceptual matrix. This integrated matrix is incredibly powerful because it allows objects of thought to be approached from many different angles, levels, and perspectives, so they can be seen in new ways, related to other phenomena, and understood in a larger context. The three core skills, or I-strengths, that help form this conceptual matrix are the abilities to detect relationships between different objects of thought, the ability to shift perspectives or approaches, and the ability to reason using a global or top-down perspective.

Can’t tell you how useful this is, its sometimes hard when explaining to others different angles or the bigger picture. Maybe this is why the end of interstellar just made such sense and I actually use it in a few presentations.

Variations not versions
While talking about D-strengths and the incredible power of insight, this point was made.

“Given a problem and an hour to solve it, we typically spend the first three minutes intuiting the answer, then spend the other fifty-seven backtracking . . . to check our results through data collection and deductive logic.” According to Sarah, this intuitive approach “functions in leaps rather than by neatly ratcheting intervals” and is “less lineal than iterative or circular.”
This intuitive approach—used very heavily by individuals with dyslexia who excel in Dynamic and Narrative reasoning—can be very powerful, but it does present a problem: when viewed from the outside it can look an awful lot like goofing off.

Absolutely… Its always painful to backtrack and explain the leaps in thinking. I know its a important part of the scientific process but it doesn’t stop it being not the way our minds are wired.

To be honest, I felt like its not just the education system which is trying to kick this out of us but also society. Partly if you look at the systems which surround us and who is writing them.

One day at work she was standing by her office window staring serenely out at the mountains while trying to let her mind “ease itself around a problem.” Her CFO walked by her door, looked in, and saw one of “his people” staring out the window, so he snapped at her to get back to work. Sarah calmly replied, “You work in your way, I’ll work in mine. Now stop interrupting me.” Sarah later wrote of this episode, “What this CFO didn’t know was that staring into space is precisely how we work. It is our capacity to throw our brains into neutral and let connections assemble . . . that makes it possible for us to see connections that others can’t. We relax into the work.”

I can’t tell you the disbelieve some people have around me working in the northern quarter. The different buzzy environment completely changes the way I think, like staring out the window or being less focused.

This need for patient reflection can also create enormous problems at school, where time for reflection is in critically short supply. Try convincing a teacher that staring out the window is how you work best or that “getting busy” means you’ll get less done. Yet this passive and reflective approach really is a valid problem-solving method, and there’s plenty of scientific evidence to support its validity and effectiveness. In the research literature, this method of problem solving is referred to as insight.

Absolutely… Says it all! Always said hours does not equal effort. I’m personally more effective late at night, when I’m in a more relaxed state and have room/space to think wider and larger. There was a period when I found it hard to sleep because my mind just buzzed away.

Although insight-based problem solving is very powerful, because much of its connection-making process takes place outside the person’s conscious awareness, it can often seem second-rate, mystical, shoddy, or even slightly disreputable. But there’s an observable neurological mechanism underlying insight that’s been well worked out over the last decade by researchers.

Yes insight is always seen as hooky, non-scientific or a joke. There is a large section debunking insight as this but its well worth a blog post on its own. But I think this is a fitting end to insight discussion.

…As teachers, parents, co-workers, and bosses, we need to be watchful for individuals who frequently reach the right results through insight, and when we find them we need to treat their different reasoning style with the seriousness it deserves. Not all staring out the window is productive reasoning, but quite a lot is; and it’s important to understand that some people—including many of the most creative—really do need to “relax into their work.”

I haven’t even finished the Dyslexic advantage but I’m already raving about the book. Its clarified many things and given much more fuel for the things I kind of knew was true but found hard to explain. Gaining deductive logic or insight about my insight (ha!)

This is the kind of book with some tweaking could be a very powerful book for young dyslexic children growing up. Its a little inaccessible but the audio book is great and having both really works.

DatingYarns.com fictional dating stories based on real experiences

internet changed my life

I decided after my TEDxManchester Talk, that enough is enough its about time I stopped talking about my dating stories and just
started posting them. So I bought a domain name – datingyarns.com and setup a tumblr blog on it. As it says, its fictional dating stories based on real experiences. I change peoples names, change places and maybe combine the start of one date with the end of another in the rare case, as most don’t need much crafting at all. I’m mainly changing them to stop myself being sued or causing upset to those involved.

Its also not going to be anything like the tale of Jared Rutledge or even 52 First dates. Nobody will be picketed outside vivid lounge calling for my castration (I hope). Its more like no bad dates just good stories but with very dates stories?

I was thinking about posting them here on cubicgarden.com but I decided I really wanted to have others post their yarns/stories/tales too. As some of them are far better/tragic than the experiences I have had.

Its all a bit of fun (a good yarn) and I hope you will enjoy the stories and have fun working out which bits are fictional and not. You will be very surprised… Maybe I’ll meta blog about a few of them sometime.

My first yarn/chapter/story is up and its called Everybody lies online right?

Enjoy! I have many more where that came from…

Can you pay me back for the Coffee? #OcadoAndChill

date @ simone's 2324

When Hannah sent me a link to the metro piece about one of the bloggers I follow a bit

Basically person A meets person B, things don’t go so well on the chemistry front. Person A decides things to call it a night or go home. Person B goes away then a few days later, contact Person A wanting compensation in return.

Here’s the story as my date told me

My mystery into who pays on the first date stemmed from a journal I wrote on OkCupid when I went on a date with a previous woman. She had made a bit of a song and dance about paying and I kind of innocently wondered, out loud. I do wonder sometimes if I should wonder a little quieter. This time my post on OkCupid caused a small flurry of comments and discussion (and I guess more dates).

My date brought up who pays on the first date and we natter away about that date. However My date told me a story which literally made my chin drop for ages.

On her previous date, she had gone after a bit of chat back and forth. The man had come across quite strongly and My date decided to give him a chance anyway. On the date he wasn’t really make a good impression, and when the bill came she offered to pay half. The man didn’t think this was a good idea and insisted on paying for the whole thing. My date said again, she was willing to go dutch and split the bill. Again the man insisted to pay for everything. Feeling like she may have insulted his inner ego, she backed down and let him pay.

The man walked her to her bus stop and suggested another date should be on the cards. My date righly said maybe she will see. The next day he called her to see how she was and about the second date. She broke it to him nicely, there wasn’t any chemistry and there wasn’t going to be another date sorry. His answer back was frankly shocking…

He said WHAT? I couldn’t believe it… I felt like I had misheard My date in the low level buzz of Bakerie.

“He said he wanted his money back!”

Yes the man My date had last dated wanted his money back after My date had offered to have pay half orginally.

My date must have sat there looking at my face of shock and horror for about 5mins. Every once in a while I would repeat her words again… “he wanted his money back?”

Both are pretty shocking to be honest even in the face of Dating awkwardness.

As nobaddatesjustgoodstories says,

I don’t come with a money back guarantee. Dates aren’t commodities.

I actually felt angry, because as you’ll know if you read this blog often, I am a massively big believer in women always offering to pay for dates.

His response is just beyond me!

Absolutely… I can not even imagine what it must be like to be treated like this.

However my date had a very good reply, one that was genius…

After a while we broke up in laughter, when it had all sunk in and I could ask what happened next?

My date was a strong willed woman and I just knew that couldn’t be the end of the story. It wasn’t… She told me.

She explained how hurt she felt but she thought on her feet and told him, to send his address to her and she will send him a cheque for the exact amount of the money to the penny.

Oh my date was good! I commented to her… Yes she continued. And I have not heard anything from him since.

I pretty much fell back and clapped my hands, attracted a few glances around the Bakerie environment. “Amazing!”

My date was amazing, and what a story. I thought my dates were bad but she had taken the biscuit, put cheese on top and eaten it whole.

This is only one chapter out of a collection of stories in a book/blog keep meaning to make public… Maybe its about time?

Think and a Drink with Frank Rose

Frank Rose

Having been invited to join a panel about new forms of storytelling in Gateshead, with Frank Rose in Newcastle. I was looking forward to meeting him and hearing what he had to say.

Frank ran through a bunch of examples of how storytelling and narrative structures have hardly changed over the years. Most I assume is in his book which he was quietly promoting (I bought a copy, even through I admitted to Frank I would end up buying the ebook version and the book would be lent out to friends who are interested).

The event went pretty flawlessly but there was no real disagreement, so hence no conflict. I did find issue with the lady I was sitting next to (Agnes Wilki). Her comment about quality of content I hear a lot from people within the BBC. So I had to point out that quality can be two things (actual pixel quality and the more subjective idea of quality of the overall concept) some audiences care about one over the other and some don’t care at all.

The overall talk was good but really needed more time for the discussion which started but never really got going unfortunately.

Straight after the talk, was food and the food choice was pretty excellent. The only shame was the lack of flat surfaces to really eat and chat. Frank signing his books the art of immersion and I got talking to a bunch of people including Frank’s wife about the differences and similarity’s of the UK north and south with the American north and south. As she asked me about the BBC’s move to the north of england.

Overall the event was good and well worth visiting if your in the North east. Glad to be part of it and I look forward to coming to more of them in the future. Its also worth mentioning Franks blog on the same subject is full of gems.

TED Books? But will it share?

In my email today, a email from Chris Anderson of TED,

I’m delighted to share with you a significant new step in our efforts to promote "ideas worth spreading". We’re announcing today the launch of TED Books. TED Books are to Books as TED Talks are to lectures. They’re short, pithy, riveting. They’re designed to express a single big idea in a way that can be absorbed in a single sitting. A typical 18-minute TED Talk might be around 2000 words. A typical traditional book is at least 60,000 words. TED Books nicely fill the gap in between. They come in at 10,000-20,000 words. So they can be read and absorbed in an hour or two.

These books are designed for electronic distribution. We are launching with the Amazon Kindle Singles program which opened today. The Kindle platform allows books to be read on iPad, iPhone, Android phones, PC and Mac – as well as the dedicated Kindle readers. Each TED Book costs just $2.99 (but may cost more in international markets)

Interestingly me and Nicole were just talking about my Kindle and reading non-fiction books. I have quite a few non-fiction books like Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent tipping point. I regularly lend them out to friends and family.

I’ll be interested to see what permissions are attached to the these ebooks. Ideally it would be very open and easily sharable. But thats not going to happen… Wishful thinking on my behalf I think but its a shame because the authors seems to be publishing under the TED brand, so I imagine it wouldn’t be that hard to convince the authors to make there work freely available or at least with less restrictions. Oh well…

Kindle everywhere your ebooks everywhere…

Kindle everywhere

Amazon are really cornering the reader market. Not only do they have one of the best ebook readers, but its also one of the cheapest (using there ability to ship many of them). But what really smashed it for them has to be the app which pretty much runs on everything. From PC’s to Android phones. Windows phone 7 to the ipad. Now there launching a kindle for the web. This will optimise any browser into a ebook reader. Impressive stuff.

But I’m worried…

This all seems to be out of the same play book as Apple and there itunes music ecosystem. I can already imagine the special links being sent around social networks pointing into the kindle ecosystem. The only saving grace is the kindle for the web.

Hopefully Amazon will follow the Google approach with these things and leverage the web not fight against it.

If Amazon screw up, Google seem to be right behind with there own ebook store.

What does this mean for the Kindle device, well this is all good news for the Kindle. Kindle is a fantastic eink device but shouldn’t be the only place to see ebooks. Hopefully more people will make there way through ebooks on devices like their phones then make there way towards reading on a eink device. I use to read my ebooks on my PDA (compaq ipaq) and it was painful but I found myself getting use to it. Now I can’t imagine using a phone or anything LCD like to read large amounts of text. But thats just me…

Its great Kindle is everywhere, and people can choose how they want to view the ebooks, period. Choice is good!

Now if they can just sort out the ability to buy a book and ebook version at the same time that would be great.

Code v.2.0 launched today

Code 2.0 book

Lawrence Lessig just launched Code version 2.0 today and best of all he released it under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

So Code v2 is officially launched today. Some may remember Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, published in 1999. Code v2 is a revision to that book — not so much a new book, as a translation of (in Internet time) a very old book. Part of the update was done on a Wiki. The Wiki was governed by a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. So too is Code v2.

Thus, at http://codev2.cc, you can download the book. Soon, you can update it further (we're still moving it into a new wiki). You can also learn a bit more about the history of the book, and aim of the revision. And finally, there are links to buy the book — more cheaply than you likely can print it yourself.

Lessig is already asking for remixes, which is great because I'm certainly going to convert it so it works on my phone soon.

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