Archive for November 2012
“Why Famo.us matters
I am of the belief that apps of tomorrow have to be data informed and as such need to be able to take in a lot of information, and render it in a simple and easy to use, touch-oriented manner. So, when Newcomb announced the company and showed his demo at Disrupt, I got quite excited because I believed that they had developed technology that would allow us to solve the vexing problem of a data soaked future.
At Disrupt, Newcomb showed off a periodic table that could be manipulated to call up data behind each element. Now imagine a similar immersive interface that sits in front of Pinterest, eBay or Mr. Porter for a new kind of online store front. Or imagine a brand new way of interacting with Facebook photos and data. You get the drift!
The real opportunity for the company could be working with larger players who desperately need a way to stay relevant in the bi-polar world of Apple and Google. In a time when we are swimming in a sea of mediocre and meh startups, Famo.us clearly has a big, hairy audacious idea. Today it is almost famous. And if things go right – that is, developers sign up – then Famo.us will truly be worthy of its name.”
AN: this curated posting is perhaps more esoteric to some as it is technophile orientated. It is however, in the disruptive technology realm and giving this more exposure is simply a heads up to something that will most likely expand in a viral fashion amonst web developers who “get it “. The public will see and hear more about this soon I am sure.
via Unlike Facebook, Famo.us thinks HTML5 rocks. Here is why. — Tech News and Analysis.
NEWS FLASH – The outright world speed sailing record was smashed this afternoon (November 24) by Paul Larsen in the Vestas Sailrocket 2 with the astonishing time of 65.37 knots. (75.23 mph – 121.06 km/h). See Paul’s blog for the very latest as it happens.
AN: for the human spirit, a limit is a target to reach, admire and to supercede. Bigger, higher, and in this case specifically for sailing…faster.
via Sailrocket runs 65.45 knots (75 mph) to smash World Speed Sailing Record.
Begun in 2011 by Big Think and the Jack Parker Corporation, The Floating University is an online educational initiative that debuted at Harvard, Yale, and Bard College. The purpose of The Floating University, according to its site, is to “democratize access to the world’s best thinkers” by providing free, approximately one hour-long courses on a wide range of topics, taught at a university level by experts and professors in the various fields. The inaugural course, the most favored at the three universities, is Great Big Ideas, and it more or less does what it says: tackles some of the largest, most perplexing questions in digestible introductions that also manage to be rigorous, informative, and thought-provoking.
In the lecture above, for example, Harvard cognitive psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker presents an “eSeminar” in linguistics, addressing dogged questions in the field over whether or not humans have an innate, universal grammar (as Noam Chomsky has famously argued); why language is so fundamental to our social relationships; and how language evolved. Pinker, who describes human language in broad terms as a “miracle” and a “window into the human mind,” also gets into the specific subfields of linguistics, discussing them in terms that any layperson can understand without much diluting the fascinating philosophical and scientific debates around what Darwin called our “instinctive tendency to speak” to one another, from infancy onward, all over the world, in some 6000 different languages.
The Great Big Ideas (now added to our list of 550 Free Online Courses) lecture series consists of twelve lectures total, including Pinker’s.
AN : A fast moving but highly informative video ( see source article ) covering language, language learning and linguistics. Eleven other topics and links there as well.
via Great Big Ideas: Free Course Features Top Thinkers Tackling the World’s Most Important Ideas | Open Culture.
“Caelin White knows he will spend 24 hours trudging through layers of ice-cold mud and climbing 12-foot walls, one after another.
Possibly while carrying a truck tire.
What he doesn’t know is in what order he will have to tackle these obstacles, and just how many times he will actually finish the 16-kilometre course as part of the World’s Toughest Mudder race in Englishtown, N.J.
White, 33, left Winnipeg on Wednesday and will start racing Saturday at 9 a.m. to complete the Tough Mudder obstacle course as many times as possible before 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Manitoba is racing to raise awareness of mental health — specifically the stigma placed on those with mental health issues, and a lack of access to services.
“This obstacle course that I’m running is like a perfect parallel for what people in Canada have to endure to get mental health services, it’s just obstacle after obstacle,” he said.
White, who serves on the board of the Manitoba Psychological Society, started the Mind Your Mental Health campaign to align with his Tough Mudder race.
You can read more on the website: http://mindyourmentalhealthcampaign.wordpress.com ”
Do watch the short video profile which also shows some of the actual activity of the race.
AN : having lived for a decade and a half in Winnipeg I understand the psyche of the people and the climate conditions there. Lets put it this way….Siberia, Russia is warm compared to Winnipeg.
But what that brings out in you , as demonstrated in this article and profile, is tough people who can tough it out and sharing, caring people because they recognize the essentials of life and the need for cooperation.
The ” Tough Mudder ” race in its various iterations has become a phenom celeb in the endurance style race / competitions.It has been billed as : “Tough Mudder – Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet ” http://toughmudder.com/ .
“Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $3 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.”
How does this profile / article fit in with thought leadership ? Precisely because we may think only that creative and critical thinking is the main forms of thought leadership. I would submit that the use of the mind , in testing the limits of coordination with physical endurance and stamina, is also a significant indicator of mental capabilities. Mind over matter , if you will, matters too !
“We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.”
I applaude Caelin White and others who challenge themselves for causes like mental illness etc and do things that test the limits so that others can have hope and help.
via Tough Mudder Winnipegger races against the world on Saturday – Winnipeg Free Press.
“A rare conversation with Walter Isaacson and John Huey, the writers who got inside the heads of these two extraordinary business leaders.”
AN : “getting into their heads”….getting into anyone’s thinking , especially of leaders , is a precious opportunity for mentorship and insight .
via Steve Jobs vs. Sam Walton: The tale of the tape – Fortune Management.
“If you’re given an empty canvas and asked to paint your inner thoughts, the brush is likely to slither across it with abandon, giving form to your whims and fancies. Art is freedom and a conduit to express individualism. But, if the canvas turns into a priceless gold dial, the brush morphs into a scientific engraver, and your job is to carve microscopic details on it, being an artist takes on a new meaning. The fear of faltering on a tiny piece of metal, that a team of engineers and artists have already spent years labouring on, is at once unnerving and challenging.
Like a good timekeeper Vacheron Constantin rules out any uncertainty by using the past and the future to its advantage. So, while the age-old know how is passed on to the apprentices, they are also encouraged to invent. The young watchmakers undergo a four year training programme under the aegis of old-timers and pick up rare skills like assembling astronomic and navigational complications and understanding the metrical placement of the watch’s gear-train and escapement.
The 250-year-old tradition might be weighty enough to eclipse any effort at innovation and change, but it doesn’t. Just as watchmakers in the 18th century were referred to as ‘cabinotiers’, or craftsmen, today’s generation too treasures its association with art and innovates order to keep creativity at the fore. What’s more, the brand seats them in a little heaven near Geneva where they look out into grassy stretches, enjoy the cool breeze and hear chimes of cow-bells while they ideate. With pictures of their family and quotes on horology pinned around them, they are hunched over in a relentless passion for their product, and for life in general.
In 1994, the brand observed the 400th death anniversary of Gerardus Mercator, the architect of the world’s first flat geographic maps, by enamelling his creations on the dials. More scientific than creative though, but its success served as a yardstick for future interpretations. Ten years later, the Metiers d’ Art was born to preserve traditional arts like enamelling and engraving.
The first series recreated the historic journeys of Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus. For this, the dial was diagrammed with the geographic locations of their adventures, in their latitudinal exactness. The art at play here is ‘Grand Feu’ which involves placing the visual composition on the dial, dot by dot with a fine tipped brush. The movement too blends with the theme, as the hour glides across 120 degrees like a ship in sea-tide and the minutes inscribed on the lower enamel dial resemble markings of a nautical compass.
The Metiers d’ Art Les Dragons Collection embodies the Chinese sacred symbol through a Guilloche motif which results from an alternating use of two machines, one to engine-turn straight lines and the other to rotate the work- piece on its axis for engraving curves. For the first time, this created non-geometric lines that ran erratically over the colourfully metallic dials, leaving a dramatic visual effect.
The Metiers d’Art La Symbolique des Laques roped in artisans from Kyoto’s oldest lacquer house, Zohikoto, to unleash on its watch-faces, the art of ‘maki-e’. This involves sprinkling gold and silver dust on moist black lacquer to define the delicate motifs of flora and fauna. To complement its delicate patterns, the 1003 calibre movements were done in 14-carat white gold and skeletonised exquisitely in its nucleus. But, the most unusual Metiers is Les Masques that replicates extinct tribal masks from Geneva’s Barbier Mueller Museum. As if afloat, the masks sit on translucent glass as the calibre 2460 movement stands concealed underneath.
To boost such ancient crafts, the brand has set up the Cercle 250 project that generates awareness with corporate sponsors. To cut a long story short, Vacheron has committed itself to preserving what’s good and creating what’s better, and has succeeded each and every time.”
AN : totally inspiring ! The art of anyone who creates and is a craftman / woman at their chosen passion , indeed sets them and their work apart in this era of repetition and exact reproductions. What a strong credo : “ preserve what is good and create what is better ” !
via World’s oldest watchmaker in operation: Vacheron Constantin – Business Today.
As told by Jen Christiansen :
“As an attendee at the inaugural VISUALIZED conference last week in New York City, I was ready to experience, as the website described, “an inspiring two-day gathering with the brightest minds and social innovators from around the world who are changing how we understand and interact with data; and gain insight into designing data-driven narratives that connect with audiences and visualize the human experience.”
The event certainly delivered on that promise. With a rapid-fire lineup of 32 speakers over two days, things skewed interestingly—but perhaps not surprisingly—towards the experimental. Or perhaps those are the presentations that made the biggest impact on me among several days of maps, network diagrams, dynamic charts and bubble diagrams.
On second thought, I should use the word “experiential” instead of “experimental.” It’s a term that came up many times as the presenters emphasized a need to engage with the audience in order to inform them. Cartogram wall sculptures as prompts for storytelling, generative sound sculptures, personalized place-based network jewelry, and sound from scribbles certainly engaged me. But I’m not sure how much they informed me. I can’t deny that these more abstract examples of data visualization do tell stories—as does art, poetry, dance, and music. Inspirational? Most definitely. But several steps away from data journalism, and outside of my world as the art director of information graphics at Scientific American. And yet these are the examples I’m compelled to share.
Other themes and examples were more directly connected to the sort of work I do every day. Presenter after presenter spoke of the need for context. Simon Rogers, data journalist and editor at the Guardian, summarized that need succinctly: “Numbers without context are just numbers.” And as Amber Case, cyborg anthropologist and the founder of Geoloqi, and others emphasized, it’s our job to make the invisible visible.”
AN : Jen Christiansen blogs for Scientific American here re a recent ” Visualization ” conference in NYC. Grappling with numbers and data is made easier through visual means including infographics but we are reminded that context and analytics of data are not precluded by the mere exercise of visualization. What we need in all of this demystifying of the murkiness is to ” make the invisible visible ” ! I am reminded of the Biblical scriptural refernce in Proverbs ch.4 : 7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding. ” . We should not just gather information and then portray it…we need also to realize its implications , interpertations and its power to and for us.
via Storytelling with Big Data: Thoughts on VISUALIZED | @ScientificAmerican, Scientific American Blog Network.