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The Vehicle of the Future Has Two Wheels, Handlebars, and Is a Bike | WIRED
"WHAT’S THE SHINIEST, most exciting new technology for transportation? Well, there are plenty of candidates! We’ve got the self-­driving car and drones big enough to carry people. Elon Musk is getting ready to bore hyperloop tunnels. When it comes to moving humans around, the future looks to be merging with sci-fi.

But from where I stand, the most exciting form of transportation technology is more than 100 years old—and it’s probably sitting in your garage. It’s the bicycle. The future of transportation has two thin wheels and handlebars.

Modern tech has transformed the humble two-­wheeler, making the bike-share model possible: You check out a bike from a docking station, use it for an hour or so, then return to any other docking station. The concept was tried back in the ’60s but failed miserably because no one could track where the bikes went.

Today, that’s been solved with smartphone-ized tech: GPS, Bluetooth, RFID, and mobile-payment systems. And bike sharing has unlocked a ton of American interest in navigating cities on a bike: Usage has grown from 320,000 rides in 2010 to 28 million in 2016. In China, where gridlock in cities like Beijing is infamous, the trend has grown even faster.

But cooler tricks are possible. We’re now seeing dockless bike sharing, where all the tech is crammed into each bike, eliminating the need for docking stations. When riders are done, they just park and lock the bike and walk away; the bike simply awaits the next user. This makes the systems cheaper (those docks cost a lot), so dockless bikes can be rented for as little as a buck an hour.

“It’s personal mobility for the last mile,” as Euwyn Poon, cofounder of dockless bike-­sharing firm Spin, says.

Dockless also creates something like self-governing internet logic, with bikes as packets routed where they’re needed, rather than where docks will fit. This seems to make bike sharing more fair: Seattle city council­member Mike O’Brien has observed anecdotally that dockless bike sharing is used by a broader demographic, in part because it’s super cheap and the bikes can circulate outside the well-off downtown neighborhoods.

Want even more inventiveness and innovation? Behold the next phase arriving in a few years: dockless electric bikes. Batteries are cheaper and lighter than ever. One US firm, Jump Bikes, has custom-­designed dockless ebikes sprinkled around San Francisco and Washington, DC. CEO Ryan Rzepecki suspects they’ll eclipse the appeal of regular bike sharing, because you could arrive at work without being drenched in sweat. “The number of people who are willing to ride electric bikes is probably 10X that of people who are willing to ride a regular one,” he says.

Clearly the bike-share revolution has limits. It probably won’t work outside urban areas. And if too many bikes flood a city, dockless systems can produce chaotic piles of bikes on certain sidewalks and streets, as has happened in China. This is a pretty solvable problem, though, if cities decide to limit the number of dockless bikes.

So sure, bring on the self-driving cars. Dig those hyperloops! But for a world that’s rapidly urbanizing and heating, the truly cool tech is bikes. And bike sharing has oodles of civic benefits too, says Elliot Fishman, director of Australia’s Institute for Sensible Transport: It relieves pressure on public transit, produces vanishingly small emissions compared to cars, and, at least with nonelectric bikes, boosts the overall exercise level (duh!).

Best of all, the bike-tech revolution reminds us that innovation isn’t always about the totally new. It’s often just as powerful to blend a robust, old tool that works well with a bit of new tech to make it better. Sometimes you truly don’t need to reinvent the wheel."
bikes  biking  bicycles  transportation  efficiency  mobility  2018  bikesharing  clivethompson  cities  urban  urbanism 
may 2018 by robertogreco
The tools matter and the tools don’t matter
"What I love about Gardner and Barry is that they believe that the tools you use do matter, but the point, for them, is finding the proper tools that get you to a certain way of working in which you can get your conscious, mechanical mind out of the way so that your dreaming can go on, undeterred.

You have to find the right tools to help your voice sing.

For Lynda, it was the paintbrush that allowed her to get to the point where she could basically take dictation—“to dream it out” without editing—but it could’ve been anything, really. (I should note that Lynda happily details the exact sumi-e brush and ink she used to make One! Hundred! Demons! in the back of the book.) While I don’t myself use a brush and legal paper to draft my work, I keep a page from the manuscript hanging in my bedroom to remind me of the importance of handwriting and slowing down."



"As for non-fiction writing, my friend Clive Thompson took the “pencil vs. typewriter” thing literally and researched when you should write with a pencil and when you should type on the keyboard.

What he discovered was that handwriting is great for coming up with ideas, for note-taking and big picture thinking. So, when you’re at lectures or in meetings or brainstorming ideas, it’s a good idea to scribble or doodle in your notebook. So always carry a pencil. (Clive got me into Palamino Blackwings.)

Typing, on the other hand, is great for producing writing for other people, say, writing an article. The faster you type, Clive said, the better your ideas will be. There’s a thing called “transcription fluency,” which boils down to: “when your fingers can’t move as fast as your thoughts, your ideas suffer.” If you help people increase their typing speed, their thoughts improve. (Learn to type faster!)

So, yes, the tools matter, but again, it’s all about what you are trying to achieve. So a question like, “What brand of pen do you use?” is not as good as “How do you get that thick line quality?” or “How do you dodge Writer’s Block?”"
austinkleon  tools  writing  howwework  2018  advice  art  lyndabarry  johngardner  clivethompson  typing  handwriting  ideas  notetaking 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Close Reading — Real Life
"In transitioning ambient intimacy from one mode to the other, it turns out that our desires are more ambient in text and more intimate when visual. Even among the rather ordinary set of people I follow on Instagram, there is an undercurrent of the erotic more immediate and obvious than on places like Twitter. An ambient sense of social desire is something else when it is visual; we aim to be seen, and are thus asked to be seen in certain ways. And if the camera asks you to be seen, it also offers a chance to determine how you are seen and by whom, this new insistence on the scopophilic turned back against the viewer. I have watched people I know who long seemed to avoid being looked at settle into a new idea of who they are: The ego, once pinched, releases and expands from the center to the skin, a kind of warm fluid of confidence, a body now radiating a newly-minted sense of self-possession. A watchful eye once avoided is reclaimed, welcomed, relished — and so of course, the connective tissue of our communication came to include the image of the body.

There is a tension in this, though. It is hard to separate visual culture from economies of various sorts, from systems of circulation and exchange. The demand to place yourself into the swirl of images comes with certain rules. These are the boundaries of our particular modal shift. One can, for example, embrace body acceptance, can challenge regimes of corporeal domination, but it helps to do so symmetrically, in fashionable clothing, against well-lit backgrounds, engaging in the logic of the rectangular image, augmenting one form of desire with another. When intimacy is a thing to be as much seen as felt, one must, if not contort oneself, at least turn one’s life to the camera. The lens is like a supportive mother believing she is simply doing the right thing: “Be who you are, dear, but at least make yourself presentable.”

Yet there is warmth in the feed of images, too: a steady cavalcade of tiny, precious detail, a gentle flood of affection for both others and ourselves. For the lonely, sitting by themselves in quiet rooms and apartments, it represents an emergent social field, a kind of extra-bodily space in which one communes. The modal shift of ambient intimacy from text to the image is itself a minor analog of the broader one, from mass media to the network, from the body to its holographic pairing. There is in it surveillance and self-surveillance, the insistent saturation of capital down to our most private core. In its most ideal state, the collection of stories on otherwise faceless platforms is like an auditorium of holograms, a community of bodily projections. In those rare moments, one does not find oneself simply alone in the dark and cold, barely lit by a glowing phone. Instead, if only for a fraction of time, it is a field of light made full by incandescent strands of connection, staving off a colourless abyss, an intimate ambience that is — temporarily at least — just enough."
ambientintimacy  socialmedi  twitter  instagram  clivethompson  2017  socialmedia  intimacy  capitalism  capital  loneliness  smartphones  bodies  presentationofself  communication  media  news  photography  imagery  imagessurveillance  self-surveillance  economics  body 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The Minecraft Generation - The New York Times
"Seth Frey, a postdoctoral fellow in computational social science at Dartmouth College, has studied the behavior of thousands of youths on Minecraft servers, and he argues that their interactions are, essentially, teaching civic literacy. “You’ve got these kids, and they’re creating these worlds, and they think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity,” Frey says. “They have to solve the tragedy of the commons.” What’s more, they’re often anonymous teenagers who, studies suggest, are almost 90 percent male (online play attracts far fewer girls and women than single-­player mode). That makes them “what I like to think of as possibly the worst human beings around,” Frey adds, only half-­jokingly. “So this shouldn’t work. And the fact that this works is astonishing.”

Frey is an admirer of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize-­winning political economist who analyzed the often-­unexpected ways that everyday people govern themselves and manage resources. He sees a reflection of her work in Minecraft: Running a server becomes a crash course in how to compromise, balance one another’s demands and resolve conflict.

Three years ago, the public library in Darien, Conn., decided to host its own Minecraft server. To play, kids must acquire a library card. More than 900 kids have signed up, according to John Blyberg, the library’s assistant director for innovation and user experience. “The kids are really a community,” he told me. To prevent conflict, the library installed plug-ins that give players a chunk of land in the game that only they can access, unless they explicitly allow someone else to do so. Even so, conflict arises. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘This is Dasher80, and someone has come in and destroyed my house,’ ” Blyberg says. Sometimes library administrators will step in to adjudicate the dispute. But this is increasingly rare, Blyberg says. “Generally, the self-­governing takes over. I’ll log in, and there’ll be 10 or 15 messages, and it’ll start with, ‘So-and-so stole this,’ and each message is more of this,” he says. “And at the end, it’ll be: ‘It’s O.K., we worked it out! Disregard this message!’ ”

Several parents and academics I interviewed think Minecraft servers offer children a crucial “third place” to mature, where they can gather together outside the scrutiny and authority at home and school. Kids have been using social networks like Instagram or Snapchat as a digital third place for some time, but Minecraft imposes different social demands, because kids have to figure out how to respect one another’s virtual space and how to collaborate on real projects.

“We’re increasingly constraining youth’s ability to move through the world around them,” says Barry Joseph, the associate director for digital learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Joseph is in his 40s. When he was young, he and his friends roamed the neighborhood unattended, where they learned to manage themselves socially. Today’s fearful parents often restrict their children’s wanderings, Joseph notes (himself included, he adds). Minecraft serves as a new free-­ranging realm.

Joseph’s son, Akiva, is 9, and before and after school he and his school friend Eliana will meet on a Minecraft server to talk and play. His son, Joseph says, is “at home but still getting to be with a friend using technology, going to a place where they get to use pickaxes and they get to use shovels and they get to do that kind of building. I wonder how much Minecraft is meeting that need — that need that all children have.” In some respects, Minecraft can be as much social network as game.

Just as Minecraft propels kids to master Photoshop or video-­editing, server life often requires kids to acquire complex technical skills. One 13-year-old girl I interviewed, Lea, was a regular on a server called Total Freedom but became annoyed that its administrators weren’t clamping down on griefing. So she asked if she could become an administrator, and the owners said yes.

For a few months, Lea worked as a kind of cop on that beat. A software tool called “command spy” let her observe records of what players had done in the game; she teleported miscreants to a sort of virtual “time out” zone. She was eventually promoted to the next rank — “telnet admin,” which allowed her to log directly into the server via telnet, a command-­line tool often used by professionals to manage servers. Being deeply involved in the social world of Minecraft turned Lea into something rather like a professional systems administrator. “I’m supposed to take charge of anybody who’s breaking the rules,” she told me at the time.

Not everyone has found the online world of Minecraft so hospitable. One afternoon while visiting the offices of Mouse, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that runs high-tech programs for kids, I spoke with Tori. She’s a quiet, dry-­witted 17-year-old who has been playing Minecraft for two years, mostly in single-­player mode; a recent castle-­building competition with her younger sister prompted some bickering after Tori won. But when she decided to try an online server one day, other players — after discovering she was a girl — spelled out “BITCH” in blocks.

She hasn’t gone back. A group of friends sitting with her in the Mouse offices, all boys, shook their heads in sympathy; they’ve seen this behavior “everywhere,” one said. I have been unable to find solid statistics on how frequently harassment happens in Minecraft. In the broader world of online games, though, there is more evidence: An academic study of online players of Halo, a shoot-’em-up game, found that women were harassed twice as often as men, and in an unscientific poll of 874 self-­described online gamers, 63 percent of women reported “sex-­based taunting, harassment or threats.” Parents are sometimes more fretful than the players; a few told me they didn’t let their daughters play online. Not all girls experience harassment in Minecraft, of course — Lea, for one, told me it has never happened to her — and it is easy to play online without disclosing your gender, age or name. In-game avatars can even be animals.

How long will Minecraft’s popularity endure? It depends very much on Microsoft’s stewardship of the game. Company executives have thus far kept a reasonably light hand on the game; they have left major decisions about the game’s development to Mojang and let the team remain in Sweden. But you can imagine how the game’s rich grass-roots culture might fray. Microsoft could, for example, try to broaden the game’s appeal by making it more user-­friendly — which might attenuate its rich tradition of information-­sharing among fans, who enjoy the opacity and mystery. Or a future update could tilt the game in a direction kids don’t like. (The introduction of a new style of combat this spring led to lively debate on forums — some enjoyed the new layer of strategy; others thought it made Minecraft too much like a typical hack-and-slash game.) Or an altogether new game could emerge, out-­Minecrafting Minecraft.

But for now, its grip is strong. And some are trying to strengthen it further by making it more accessible to lower-­income children. Mimi Ito has found that the kids who acquire real-world skills from the game — learning logic, administering servers, making YouTube channels — tend to be upper middle class. Their parents and after-­school programs help them shift from playing with virtual blocks to, say, writing code. So educators have begun trying to do something similar, bringing Minecraft into the classroom to create lessons on everything from math to history. Many libraries are installing Minecraft on their computers."
2016  clivethompson  education  videogames  games  minecraft  digitalculture  gaming  mimiito  robinsloan  coding  computationalthinking  stem  programming  commandline  ianbogost  walterbenjamin  children  learning  resilience  colinfanning  toys  lego  wood  friedrichfroebel  johnlocke  rebeccamir  mariamontessori  montessori  carltheodorsorensen  guilds  mentoring  mentorship  sloyd  denmark  construction  building  woodcrafting  woodcraft  adventureplaygrounds  material  logic  basic  mojang  microsoft  markuspersson  notch  modding  photoshop  texturepacks  elinorostrom  collaboration  sethfrey  civics  youtube  networkedlearning  digitalliteracy  hacking  computers  screentime  creativity  howwelearn  computing  froebel 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The Most Important Thing on the Internet Is the Screenshot | WIRED
"Screenshots can also be almost forensic, a way to prove to others that you're really seeing the crazy stuff you're seeing. The first viral hit of the screenshot age was the often-filthy autocorrect errors in SMS. Now screenshots hold people accountable for their terrible online words. When Australian videogame reviewer Alanah Pearce was getting harassed online, she discovered that many of her trolls were young boys. She tracked down their mothers and sent a screenshot to one (who then demanded her son handwrite a letter of apology). DC writers eagerly pounce on politicians' social media faux pas, preserving them before they can vanish down the memory hole—part justice, part gotcha.

Even more arrestingly, though, screenshots let you see other people's screenworlds, increasingly where we all do our best thinking. They invite a useful voyeurism. Venture capitalist Chris Dixon tweeted a link to an article on how “Nikola Tesla predicted the iPhone” and got 109 retweets; when he tweeted a readable screenshot of the piece, it got over 4,200. Indeed, one of the more delightful aspects of screenshot culture is how often people share text instead of just the clickbaity headline. Developers have strained for years to devise technologies for “collaborative reading.” Now it's happening organically.

We're going to need better apps to help us share, sort, and make sense of this new flood. Screenshots are more semantically diverse than typical snapshots, and we already struggle to manage our photo backlog. Rita J. King, codirector of the Science House consultancy, has thousands of screenshots from her online ramblings (pictures of bacteria, charts explaining probability). Rummaging through them reminds her of ideas she's forgotten and triggers new ones. “It's like a scrapbook, or a fossil record in digital silt,” King says. A lifetime of scraps, glimpsed through the screen."
clivethompson  screenshots  internet  online  communication  perspective  pov  chrisdixon  2015  evernote  joannemcneil  photography  digital  imagery  computing  mobile  phones  smartphones 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Knowledge sharing: The solution to hunger, disease and bad art — Medium
"When David Runkles chose his Master’s thesis topic, he didn’t know that his research would force him to track down a researcher in the war-torn Sudan, navigate complex academic institutions and their arcane policies, and eventually turn to crime. Which is great, because had he known, the world would have missed out on this.

As a student at the London School of Economics, David had access to more research than he could possibly read in a lifetime. But the research he needed — the work of famed famine researcher Alex de Waal — had been lost while de Waal was working in Sudan, in the thick of the nation’s bloody civil war. Only a partial copy of the data was left, locked inside Oxford’s Bodleian, a formidable labyrinth of library prestige. In an email exchange from across the ocean, de Waal requested that if David was somehow able to get his hands on the data, would he please send over a copy. De Waal himself did not have access to his own work.

A two hour bus ride, an arduous process for approval to enter and several hours of searching later, David was able to find a portion of the research he needed. But the library had a strict copying policy (no more than 5 percent of any single work could be photocopied) and strict rules about removing any research from its fortified walls. Which left David, a previously upstanding citizen, no choice but to smuggle in a pen scanner, an illicit device that he used to scan the entire work while hunkered down in a dark corner, stealing the work for the author one page at a time.

There had to be a better system.

In response to this absurdity, David later started bulb — a publishing network for knowledge (and where I now work). And this is the problem we are trying to solve: how do you give everyone in the world a place to publish and find knowledge?

Why is the best information the hardest (and sometimes most expensive) to get?

Every year, millions of hours of research and an untold amount of data is compiled into papers and filed away into a university library, where access is limited and chances that it will ever get looked at again become slim and grow slimmer with time. It’s privileged information reserved for the privileged.

That’s actually the positive spin on things. Even more work gets lost forever, stored or thrown away by those whose thesis/research/writing, while potentially valuable, won’t make it into a journal or other publication for one reason or another, and let’s be real here, who is going to take the time to design a website for self-publishing and then pay $10/month to keep it up? Maybe a very small number. Another small number might start a blog but soon realize that their academic work doesn’t fit into a diary-style, chronological structure unless you publish it backwards. Neither of these options have any actual audience included except the one the author builds, and someone dedicated to their work isn’t going to take the time to learn content marketing to do so. And good for you, scientists, please do stay focused on curing cancer, not on SEO, for the love of pete.

This lost work doesn’t just hurt other students who may be able to reference, build upon or solve a problem with it (think Minecraft), but we all lose out collectively because we don’t utilize everyone’s knowledge or give everyone with some unique insight a voice. The people whose voices get heard the least tend to be the least powerful, but that doesn’t necessarily make their knowledge any less valuable, so our knowledge network itself is poorer for it.

So not everyone can participate in our collective knowledge network because we don’t have a good system for storing and sharing the information we do have. This is not just limiting but devastating."



"Despite an internet structured for inclusivity, the apps we most frequently use and the business models that support them typically aren’t. It’s much easier to create an app for an exclusive market because you can sell it immediately — making the creation of exclusive apps more profitable, faster and therefore sustainable. But selling a knowledge sharing platform to an exclusive market doesn’t tackle the goal: to keep knowledge from being stored and siloed and to do it in a way that encourages more people to contribute. A true knowledge-sharing network cannot sell exclusivity because exclusivity would ruin it.

So getting more people to publish what they know is not only better for those of us who, like me, are trying to make a profitable business in UGCN land — it’s better for the world at large. The more people you invite to participate in the network the better the network is and the better the world is for it. Just like pool parties!

This vision for a fixed and functioning knowledge network has to be a global one because we are living in a global world (welcome to 1999). And while I admit a global knowledge network that values everyone’s voice may not be the panacea for every world problem, it has truly amazing potential to connect valuable information with those that need it most. This is not a one-way info street from developed country to developing (and if you think that’s the case you missed the point). Being able to share and distribute quality information across cultural, racial, socio economic and other silos is crucial to allow that knowledge to reach its full , applicable potential and until a network that allows for this is realized, we’ll continue to see knowledge die in the hands of those that no longer see use for it — hands often carrying $15,000 library cards."
maggieshafer  clivethompson  davidrunkles  alexdewaal  sudan  research  access  accessibility  inclusivity  exclusivity  information  knowledge  libraries  internet  web  sharing  silos  penicillin  ernestduchesne  alexanderfleming  inclusion 
march 2015 by robertogreco
That Way We’re All Writing Now — The Message — Medium
"[When you(r)…
That moment when…]

This style has been huge for some time now. Do you love it, or hate it?

Me—I’m in! Mind you, I’m a fan of all the betentacled linguistic lifeforms that have emerged from our cambrian explosion online. These days, people write insanely more text than they did before the Internet and mobile phones came along. So the volume of experimentation is correspondingly massive and, for me, delightful. One joy of our age is watching wordplay evolve at the pace of E.coli.

But this trend: What’s going on with it? How does it work? Why do people employ it so frequently?

It turns out there are four big reasons why.

To suss this out, I called up some linguists: Gretchen McCulloch, a who specializes in analyzing netspeak (her Toast essay explaining “the grammar of Doge” is a gorgeous example), and Ben Zimmer, a linguist with Vocabulary.com who writes for the Wall Street Journal. As they pointed out, this style of wordplay initially appeared—like most online memes — on image-boards, Tumblr and Youtube. An early version was the meme “that feel when”; variants morphed into the standalone phrase “that awkward moment when”, which by last year was common enough to appear as a movie title.

But it’s more than just movie titles. This stylistic gambit— “that moment when …”, “the thing where …”, “when you realize …” — is omnipresent now. And that’s because it achieves a few conversational goals:

1) It creates a little puzzle. …

2) It makes your feeling seem universal. …

3) It’s short. …

4) It’s a glimpse of the next big way the Internet is changing language. …

For the first fifteen years of the mainstream Internet, the main way language changed was at the level of the individual word. We invented a lot of ‘textisms’ — short forms like ‘ur’ for “you’re”, LOL-style acronyms, or alphanumeric l33tspe@k. And of course, a lot of words got invented, like “selfie”.

What’s happening now is different. Now we’re messing around with syntax — the structure of sentences, the order in which the various parts go and how they relate to one another. This stuff people are doing with the subordinate clause, it’s pretty sophisticated, and oddly deep. We’re not just inventing catchy new words. We’re mucking around with what makes a sentence a sentence.

“Playing with syntax seems to be the broad meta trend behind a whole bunch of stuff that’s going on these days,” McCulloch tells me. And it goes beyond this subordinate-clause trend. Many of the biggest recent language memes were about syntax experimentation, such as the “i’ve lost the ability to can” gambit, or the gnarly elocution of doge, or the “because” meme. (Indeed, Zimmer points out, the American Dialect Society proclaimed “Because” the Word of the Year for 2013, largely because it had been revitalized by this syntax play.)

Why would we be suddenly messing around with syntax? It’s not clear. McCulloch thinks it may be related to a larger trend she’s identified, which she calls “stylized verbal incoherence mirroring emotional incoherence”. Most of these syntax-morphing memes consist of us trying to find clever new ways to express our feelings.

“You want to convey that you’re kind of overwhelmed by your emotions,” she says. “But you don’t want people to think that you’re completely naive about it. So you’re maintaining a certain level of sophistication. You need to stylize your incoherence, so that it’s part of a broader thing people are doing. You don’t just kind of keysmash all over the place. You also want to be witty while you’re doing it.

“You get more attention online if you’re witty, and people actually engage with you if you’re witty about your feelings.”

On the other hand, if you really don’t like this trend, there is—as it happens —an image-meme for your feelings, too. Better yet, it’s a complete sentence!"
clivethompson  2015  language  internet  memes  syntax  linguistics  writing  howwewrite  gretchenmcculloch  doge  grammar  text  texting  play  communication  brevity  universality  belonging  humor  emotions  benzimmer  wordplay  words  sentences  that 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Instagramming Dinosaurs: Clive Thompson on Museums in the Digital Age (4 of 4) | Moosha Moosha Mooshme
"Q: Clive, we’re sitting here talking about all these ways that digital media can augment our abilities to think, to access our minds, to connect with others, think with others and have deeper understanding and reflection after the event. We’re doing this in a museum that was founded in 1869, looking at dinosaurs that are millions of years old, where the tools that we are talking about that can empower that kind of thinking are like “a blip of a blip” in the timeline.

So if this museum was created today, if you were re-designing this hall, and you were thinking about what it would mean for a Natural History Museum to create a space that could support people to use these tools, what would you do?

A: That’s a really good question. I’ll start off by saying I have an enormous respect and fondness for people that create museum exhibits. They’re the first people to have had to think through the implications of multimedia. When they are communicating this to the public, trying to explain dinosaurs, they use text. There’s pictures. They had to decide what physical items should we have. And then there are these sound guys, the first people to start asking, “Why don’t we have the ability to walk through here and have someone talk on computers?” So in this room there’s four forms of media, being used right now, pioneered by museum people. People in the news media didn’t have to think this way. Teachers didn’t have to think this way. But museum exhibit people have been working in multimedia for like a 150 fifty years, frankly, so this room is already a lot richer than most other places you’d see.

If you wanted to add more to it, there are a couple of low hanging fruits. The dinosaurs are wonderful physical artifacts and it’s often startling to realize how big they are, or what their shape is. Look up there at how serrated that tooth is on that T-Rex. How big is that? Well, what would it be like if I held it in my hand? In fact one thing you can start to do is to make these physical objects shout using 3D printing. These days you have a lot of 3D printers that are becoming cheaper. This is essentially the transmission of physical piece of knowledge across the ether. What if I could go to an online site and download and print a copy of any parts of this dinosaur, because I would love one of those teeth, you know? Imagine: having just one of those just sitting on my desk would be a really cool way to reflect on the size and might of this enormous creature. So the physical sharing of these rich artifacts I think is a fantastic new form of media that’s coming along.

The second thing is you can actually do some really cool things with augmented reality. Augmented reality is the concept of being able to hold up the phone and having it overlay over what you’re seeing – information that helps you look at in a different way or learn things about it. And by and large a lot of our augmented reality has not worked very well in the everyday world, but I think it’s because in the everyday world, we often don’t really want a huge information rich experience as we walk down the street. But I could have a little app that I can load and pull it back and forth and be able to see different parts of that dinosaur, with labels, as I move it back and forth, or see the way that the jaw moved. These are ways that would really help me get new dimensions out of what’s physically in front of me. So there is a couple of things that I think we could start to do.

You could probably think a little bit about integrating public thinking into an environment like this. [re: part two of this interview]

Q: How can I, as a visitor to this hall, know what other people are thinking here?

A: Well, yeah, that’s a fun question: so how can we identify the most interesting things anyone has said about this dinosaur? You know, what are the three most up-voted smartest reflections. It could be someone’s having a thought, or a visitor who had some interesting visceral reaction to this, or it could be someone who has found an amazing quote in one of the newspapers in the 19th century when this thing was first uncorked. Those things are hard to engineer because the signal-to-noise ratio can be really high in public thinking. 90% of what people say online it pretty banal. And so we have that challenge, to find the best stuff people have said about this dinosaur, over and over again.

That’s a hard one to surmount, but pretty cool if you could do it.

Wow, I hadn’t seen that tail before. Holy Moses, that’s long!"

[The full set: http://www.mooshme.org/?s=clive+thompson ]
clivethompson  amnh  2014  barryjoseph  socialmedia  instagram  learning  museum  interactive  interactivity  multimedia  augmentedreality  publicthinking  3dprinting  museums  exhibitions  exhibits  exhibitdesign  design  ar 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Instagramming Dinosaurs: Clive Thompson on Mindfulness as a Defense Against Digital Distraction (3 of 4) | Moosha Moosha Mooshme
"Yeah, get into conversation with people about these experiences and then reflect on it. She might find someone who she didn’t really know respond, “I was there last year and here is my thoughts on it.” Scientist call this “multiples,” which is the fact that people are often thinking of the same thing you are thinking about. They discovered earlier on that frequently someone would start working on a scientific problem and they would spend four years on it only to discover that someone around the world was working on the same exact thing. It’s because, you know, great minds think alike. So scientist realized a long time ago they should be thinking public because then they will be able to find each other.

But the point you raise is about relatives that worry about someone being overly mediated, not paying attention, to the world around them. I do think those fears are a little bit over-blown because we have actually done studies of people’s behavior in public places. It turns out that there is only quite a small minority of people resorting to their phones. A recent Canadian scientist gathered dozens and dozens of hours people outside in a park. And only 3% to 10% of the people were actually on the phones. I would go, “Wait a minute? Seems like there is a lot more.” Well, that’s because I’m sort of noticing the kind of annoying people who will stare at their phones and I’m not noticing the people that are just walking around looking with their eyes.

I will say one thing that I think some of your relatives might be on to, which I agree with, are the danger of our connective thinking, with connection to other people, with the fact that we have devises with us all the time. It can be a distraction. When we have all these different ways to reach and contact each other, we are social beings, so we start to build up too much of a habit of yanking our phone out all the time, just to see what people are saying. And distraction is a real issue if you want to absorb something. Now, I think that actually recording it, talking about it via your phone, is actually a way of paying attention to it. But if you are sitting here looking at the dinosaur and suddenly feel a buzz and you pull out your phone and then see someone in Facebook talking about the party that they are going to have on Friday and you start talking about that, well, now you are in what they a call a completely different domain. You are no longer at all thinking about dinosaurs. And that is a distraction. I think that is a genuine bad thing for your cognition.

But how do you cultivate practices to distinguish between using media to augment the way that you are looking at the world and using it in away that distracts you?

Well, this has to do with mindfulness. Our brains are very flighty, self-distracting things. Half the time when we are distracted it’s not because a phone rings but because our brains just go, “Oh, I wonder about that.” And we stop what we are doing. Monks noticed this a thousand years ago and they started developing mindfulness, which is paying attention to your attention, noticing what you are paying attention to, so that when your brain wants to go and check Twitter “just because” you notice your brain doing that. And when you start paying attention to attention, we become much better at resisting non-productive distractions, like when I will be sitting here, looking at the dinosaur, and part of my brain will go, “Huh! I wonder if anything interesting is happening on Instagram.” If I gave into that temptation and pull it out I will be distracting myself. But if I’m paying attention to my attention, I will sort of notice where this is going and I can decide to check it in a hour when I’m having a coffee.

I have talked to a lot teachers who train their kids, saying, “Hey, you have a brain. Don’t be a slave to where your attention goes. Just pay attention to it.” If you just spent 10 minutes a day practicing it, it starts to become a habit and a really good habit. So it’s something that can be taught.

I’m not even vaguely a meditation person. I joke I’m the least centered person I know. But the truth is, even when I started learning about this, I started paying attention. And it really worked. If I’m out at a museum and looking at the exhibit here, looking at this fossilized head of a T-Rex in front of us, and part of my brain goes, “There is an email coming in!” instead of just being a slave to that I’m like, “I’m aware that my brain is trying to do that to me.”

So mindfulness is the key to using media in a way that augments and enriches your thinking in a way that doesn’t distracts your thinking.

The funny thing is, when I started researching my book, the more I looked at it the more I realized there is no magic bullet here. There really is a human problem here we’ve being dealing with for a long time. Every new technology that offers us new media has always sort of freaked us out; we’ve had to make our peace with them. When glass became cheap in the 19th century and windows suddenly emerged, writers like Virginia Woolf sort of panicked because it was actually distracting to have this window next to you while you worked. I mean it sounds funny but it’s true. I like to joke, We have lot of windows on our computers and on our phones, but those are the original windows."

[The full set: http://www.mooshme.org/?s=clive+thompson ]
clivethompson  amnh  2014  barryjoseph  attention  socialmedia  focus  scrivener  timeout  mindfulness  reflection  publicthinking  writing  behavior  distraction  teaching  howwelearn  howweteach  habits  habitforming 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Instagramming Dinosaurs: Clive Thompson on Public Thinking (2 of 4) | Moosha Moosha Mooshme
"I actually did see, as I was walking in here, someone making a Facebook posting. Just as I was approaching the museum. There was a group of college students, and two of them were taking a picture of the other ones in front of the Teddy Roosevelt statue upfront. And one of them was writing a little note about it. I couldn’t read the note (I wasn’t being that naughty) but they were writing some notes about it.

And so this shift is very interesting because, for a long time, the average person didn’t really do much expression at all, and almost no public expression. You basically went through high school, you finished college if you went to college, where you sort of wrote papers where you tried to formalize your knowledge or share that knowledge with someone else, but once you finished college or high school that was basically it. You didn’t really write anything down, you didn’t express your ideas because there was no venue for it. There was no way to publish what you were thinking about. And this is always something very hard for journalists and academics to understanding, because we spend our lives constantly writing and writing and writing and putting things before audiences, but for the average person this was simply not a common experience at all.

So we have in the last 15 years this sudden vertiginous shift to where people routinely are writing down their experiences, their thoughts, and putting them out for other people. If you talk to psychologists about what happens inside your head as you do this, as you are here in the museum and you are looking at the dinosaur and you are taking a picture and you are writing a note about it, a couple of interesting things happen.

One is what’s called the audience effect, which is where, anytime you go before an audience, you suddenly panic a little bit. You don’t want to look stupid, and you work harder to look smart. Over and over we see this. If you take a bunch of students and ask them to write a paper for their teacher, they will try to do their best job but they are aware that this is kind of a fake audience, as the teacher is being paid. It’s not an authentic audience. Whereas if you say to them you are  going to show this online, to other students and other countries, suddenly they write forty percent longer, and they use more complex senses, more complex thoughts, because they are worried about looking stupid. They want to impress. And this is the audience effect. We see this all the time. Athletes feel it. Performers feel it. And on an everyday level, people feel this now."

[The full set: http://www.mooshme.org/?s=clive+thompson ]
clivethompson  2014  amnh  socialmedia  museums  instagram  facebook  writing  reflection  thinking  publicthinking  joekahane  barryjoseph  howwelearn  audienceeffect  howwewrite  weaklinks 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Instagramming Dinosaurs: Clive Thompson on Digital Memory (1 of 4) | Moosha Moosha Mooshme
"I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re actually expanding their memory, because it’s not clear when you record things that it necessarily cements it in our heads any better. They’re expanding their abilities to reflect on the past. When we decide that we want to go back and look at something, we now have the ability to go back and look at it in a much more granular detail, in much more richer emotional and semantic detail-"



"That’s one of the great fears people have, that we’re not going to look at the world around us while we are holding our phones up. The truth is, I think that’s kind of an overblown sentiment. Even if you look around us here, even the kids that have phones, they pull them out, they look at something and then they put them down. And they’re still using their eyes 99% of the time. We see someone holding up a phone at a concert and we are like, “Oh my God! They are not looking at the concert.” But they don’t spend two hours with the phone in front of them. I think we have a healthy fear of life becoming over-mediated, but if you look at it more like a scientist and study what’s going on you will still see a lot of people looking at things.

I think, actually, the bigger danger, in a weird way, is what happens when we almost store too much. Everyone who you know, who comes to the museum here, might take 40 or 50 photos in one day, maybe more. I’ve got friends that tell me when they go on vacation they walk away with 800 photos. There is no way you are going to look at those pictures. So really the problem becomes that you can sort of build up this corpus of information that is functionally sort of useless, because you are really never going to look at that stuff. And one of the great challenges to me that’s really interesting is how do we make productive use of this enormous explosion of digital memory, right? And it turns out that some of the really interesting solutions are very simple little techniques for algorithmically finding interesting patterns in this stuff, patterns that we are never going to bother to find ourselves.

Here is a really simple example: there is this app that is becoming enormously popular called Time Hop. Every day, it goes in to your archives of stuff that you recorded a year ago. It could be a photo you took. It could be a text message you shared. It could be like a posting on Facebook. And it gives you a little daily gazette, saying, Here is what you did a year ago. Here is photo. Here is your text message. People regularly tell me how delightful it is to wake up to this momentary reflection of what they were doing a year ago. They say it’s a sort of philosophically-enlarging experience because they think about the shape of their life. It retriggers things they wouldn’t have thought about it, provoking new, interesting thoughts. And so if you came in here with Time Hop, and you took all these pictures, a year later you will be getting ready to go to the dentist or something, and you look at your phone and you go. Oh, you know here is a pictures of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and your children and something that you posted about it, on Facebook. And suddenly this day will come swimming back in to your memory.

So little clever simple techniques like this, where you use what computers are really good at doing, which is following routines, and you use what humans are really good at doing, which is making meaning out of these traces and records, is really the future of how we are going to pull enormous emotional and intellectual and spiritual values out of these digital memories."

[The full set: http://www.mooshme.org/?s=clive+thompson ]
clivethompson  2014  memory  socialmedia  photography  mobile  phones  instagram  museums  barryjoseph  amnh  timehop  facebook  digital  recording  reflection  review  outboardmemory  attention  noticing  media  history 
january 2015 by robertogreco
A Sad Fact of Life: It's Actually Smart to Be Mean Online | WIRED
"I'm generally upbeat on Twitter. Many of my posts are enthusiastic blurts about science or research in which I use way too many exclamation points!! But I've noticed something: When I post an acerbic or cranky tweet, it gets recirculated far more widely than do my cheerier notes. People like it fine when I'm genial, but when I make a caustic joke or cutting comment? Social media gold. This is pure anecdata, of course. Still, it made me wonder if there was any psychological machinery at work here. Is there a reason that purse-lipped opinions would outcompete generous ones?

Indeed, there is. It's called hypercriticism. When we hear negative statements, we think they're inherently more intelligent than positive ones. Teresa Amabile, director of research for Harvard Business School, began exploring this back in the 1980s. She took a group of 55 students, roughly half men, half women, and showed them excerpts from two book reviews printed in an issue of The New York Times. The same reviewer wrote both, but Amabile anonymized them and tweaked the language to produce two versions of each—one positive, one negative. Then she asked the students to evaluate the reviewer's intelligence.

The verdict was clear: The students thought the negative author was smarter than the positive one—“by a lot,” Amabile tells me. Most said the nastier critic was “more competent.” Granted, being negative wasn't all upside—they also rated the harsh reviewer as “less warm and more cruel, not as nice,” she says. “But definitely smarter.” Like my mordant tweets, presumably.

This so-called negativity bias works both ways, it seems. Other studies show that when we seek to impress someone with our massive gray matter, we spout sour and negative opinions. In a follow-up experiment, Bryan Gibson, a psychologist at Central Michigan University, took a group of 117 students (about two-thirds female) and had them watch a short movie and write a review that they would then show to a partner. Gibson's team told some of the reviewers to try to make their partner feel warmly toward them; others were told to try to appear smart. You guessed it: Those who were trying to seem brainy went significantly more negative than those trying to be endearing.

Why does this bias exist? No one really knows, though some theorists speculate it's evolutionary. In the ancestral environment, focusing on bad news helped you survive.

Like I said, this is based on anecdata—and you can't easily generalize about why things go viral in the roiling, wine-dark sea of social media. Some utterly saccharine posts get wildly liked; certain smartly critical thoughts are loathed. (Compare the rollicking success of the feel-good site Upworthy to the abuse directed at women and minorities who write intelligent criticism.) And what's “negative”? Is a manifesto for social change negative because it criticizes the status quo or positive because it's idealistic?

But knowing about negativity bias has made me more skeptical of high-brow punditry that defaults to dour views. If caustic wit is what garners a person whooping accolades for their intelligence, surely public intellectuals adjust their approach accordingly.

Gibson told me that his study hadn't been cited or followed up on much by other researchers. “Maybe you weren't negative enough?” I asked. He laughed: “I guess so.”"
bias  negativity  twitter  socialmedia  pundits  clivethompson  2014  bryangibson  criticism  amiability  teresaamabile 
november 2014 by robertogreco
The Joy of Typing — The Message — Medium
"The truth, of course, is that the cognitive styles of handwriting and keyboard are both invaluable. In an ideal world, we should be fluent in both modes, so we can flit between the two — which, frankly, is how most white-collar people work and think all day long. (Me, I’ve been working on my handwriting. Three years ago I became so appalled at its quality that I bought a book to help me fix it.)

It’s also true, as Steve Graham points out to me, that the educational culture-wars over handwriting-versus-typing are somewhat overwrought. So long as kids — and adults — can move fast enough to fluidly get their ideas out, they’ll perform reasonably well, he notes. As you can probably tell by now, I’m a rabid advocate for superfast typing. (This entire essay is totally self-flattering, because I’ve been touch typing since middle school.) If I had my way — and infinite educational budgets — kids wouldn’t be allowed to graduate high school until they could type 70 WPM. But the science doesn’t completely support my lunatic enthusiasm, nor does everyday experience. I know plenty of novelists, academics, business folks and journalists who produce thoughtful, incisive work while moseying along with a hunt-and-peck style of perhaps 15 words a minute.

These days, I’m wondering how our cognition will be affected by the next great shifts in compositional technologies: The rise of voice dictation and heavily-AI-assisted full-sentence autocompletion technology.

Now that’ll be fun to argue about."
2014  clivethompson  education  productivity  typing  writing  handwriting  thinking  howwethink  concentration  creativity  learning  howwelearn  notetaking  cognition 
june 2014 by robertogreco
How to Keep the NSA Out of Your Computer | Mother Jones
[See also the follow-up Q&A on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1l9oud/iama_journalist_with_mother_jones_magazine_who/ ]

"Sick of government spying, corporate monitoring, and overpriced ISPs? There's a cure for that."



"JOSEPH BONICIOLI mostly uses the same internet you and I do. He pays a service provider a monthly fee to get him online. But to talk to his friends and neighbors in Athens, Greece, he's also got something much weirder and more interesting: a private, parallel internet.

He and his fellow Athenians built it. They did so by linking up a set of rooftop wifi antennas to create a "mesh," a sort of bucket brigade that can pass along data and signals. It's actually faster than the Net we pay for: Data travels through the mesh at no less than 14 megabits a second, and up to 150 Mbs a second, about 30 times faster than the commercial pipeline I get at home. Bonicioli and the others can send messages, video chat, and trade huge files without ever appearing on the regular internet. And it's a pretty big group of people: Their Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network has more than 1,000 members, from Athens proper to nearby islands. Anyone can join for free by installing some equipment. "It's like a whole other web," Bonicioli told me recently. "It's our network, but it's also a playground."

Indeed, the mesh has become a major social hub. There are blogs, discussion forums, a Craigslist knockoff; they've held movie nights where one member streams a flick and hundreds tune in to watch. There's so much local culture that they even programmed their own mini-Google to help meshers find stuff. "It changes attitudes," Bonicioli says. "People start sharing a lot. They start getting to know someone next door—they find the same interests; they find someone to go out and talk with." People have fallen in love after meeting on the mesh.

The Athenians aren't alone. Scores of communities worldwide have been building these roll-your-own networks—often because a mesh can also be used as a cheap way to access the regular internet. But along the way people are discovering an intriguing upside: Their new digital spaces are autonomous and relatively safe from outside meddling. In an era when governments and corporations are increasingly tracking our online movements, the user-controlled networks are emerging as an almost subversive concept. "When you run your own network," Bonicioli explains, "nobody can shut it down."

THE INTERNET may seem amorphous, but it's at heart pretty physical. Its backbone is a huge array of fiber-optic, telephone, and TV cables that carry data from country to country. To gain access, you need someone to connect your house to that backbone. This is what's known as the "last mile" problem, and it's usually solved by large internet service providers such as AT&T and Comcast. They buy access to the backbone and charge you for delivering the signal via telephone wires or cable lines. Most developed nations have plenty of ISPs, but in poor countries and rural areas, the last-mile problem still looms large. If providers don't think there's enough profit in household service, they either don't offer any or do it only at exorbitant rates.

Meshes evolved to tackle this problem. Consider the Spanish network Guifi, which took root in the early aughts as people got sick of waiting for their sclerotic telcos to wire the countryside. "In some places you can wait for 50 years and die and you're still waiting," jokes Guifi member Ramon Roca. The bandwidth-starved Spaniards attached long-range antennas to their wifi cards and pointed them at public hot spots like libraries. Some contributed new backbone connections by shelling out, individually or in groups, for expensive DSL links, while others dipped into the network for free. (Guifi is a complex stew of charity, free-riding, and cost-sharing.) To join the bucket brigade, all you had to do was add some hardware that allowed your computer's wifi hub to pass along the signal to anyone in your vicinity. Gradually, one hub at a time, Guifi grew into the world's largest mesh, with more than 21,000 members."

[For further exploration:
http://beforeitsnews.com/eu/2013/01/build-a-parallel-internet-avoid-control-2503606.html
http://igniteshow.com/videos/creating-grassroots-wi-fi-mesh-network-downtown-raleigh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_community_network
https://www.wepay.com/donations/1129617243
http://www.dawn.com/news/1077527/anonymous-the-parallel-internet ]
internet  mesh  networks  privacy  2013  nsa  clivethompson  meshnetworks 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on the Problem With Online Ads | Wired Magazine | Wired.com
"Here’s how to make some money: Start a social networking service that runs on phones. Include tight, granular privacy controls, and charge $1 a month for it. Carve out a mere 1 percent of Facebook’s user base and you’ll still be making millions a month.

I predict that in 2050, we’ll look back at the first 20 years of the web and shake our heads. The craptacular design! The hallucinogenic business models! The privacy nightmares! All because entrepreneurs convinced themselves that they couldn’t do what inventors have done for centuries: Charge people a fair price for things they want."

[See laso http://powazek.com/posts/3024 AND http://blog.pinboard.in/2011/12/don_t_be_a_free_user/ ]
del.icio.us  facebook  payment  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  pay  web  online  onlineads  clivethompson  2012  maciejceglowski  pinboard  businessmodel  advertising  maciejcegłowski 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Nothing Grows Forever | Mother Jones
"Handled correctly, this could bring about an explosion of free time that could utterly transform the way we live, no-growth economists say. It could lead to a renaissance in the arts and sciences, as well as a reconnection with the natural world. Parents with lighter workloads could home-school their children if they liked, or look after sick relatives—dramatically reshaping the landscape of education and elder care."
economics  growth  sustainability  ecology  environment  petervictor  clivethompson  johnstuartmill  adamsmith  globalwarming  population  2011  thomasrobertmalthus  history  well-being  happiness  france  netherlands  unemployment  employment  leisure  leisurearts  art  science  dennismeadows  hermandaly  keynes  motivation  psychology  capitalism  no-growththeory  wealthdistribution  standardofliving  us  europe  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  productivity  post-industrial  post-development  work  labor  uneconomicgrowth  artleisure 
october 2011 by robertogreco
collision detection: "The tag is the soul of the Internet"
"Okay, enough of these stoner epiphanies! The point is that Instagram’s tags, primed by de Kerckhove’s provocation, made me think anew about the cognitive power of tags — their sense-making ability. But I also realized I haven’t seen designers do anything particularly interesting with tags in a while. I haven’t seen anything that helps me spy patterns in data/documents/pictures in similarly weird and fresh ways. Maybe tagging, as a discipline, hasn’t been pushed in very interesting ways. Or maybe I haven’t been looking in the right place?

(Irony of ironies, I realize I’ve never bothered to tag my blog posts.)"
clivethompson  tags  tagging  folksonomy  perspective  instagram  flickr  blogs  blogging  sensemaking  2011  photography  discovery 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy | Hack Education [Contains links to other critiques of Khan Academy]
[Necessary response to the Clive Thompson article: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/07/ff_khan/all/1 ]

"Khan Academy has stirred up a lot of passion—both positive & negative—in part because it’s at the center of so many major trends: the “gamification of everything”; the potential for widespread distribution of educational materials online; YouTube-created stars bypassing the sanctioning of older institutions (Rebecca Black, Justin Bieber, Salman Khan); an anti-teacher climate (Waiting for Superman, Wisconsin, etc); a reliance on standardized testing to gauge students’ learning; & various education reform movements.

Some of these reformers do see Khan Academy as “revolutionizing” education, while others, including lots of educators, contend that Khan Academy is actually far from that. As the title of Clive Thompson’s Wired article observes correctly: the rules of education are changing. But is Khan Academy the cause? Or the symptom?"

[via: http://www.downes.ca/post/55925 ]
education  teaching  pedagogy  salkhan  khanacademy  billgates  gamification  learning  constructivism  clivethompson  reform  2011  garystager  sylviamartinez  audreywatters  salmankhan 
july 2011 by robertogreco
collision detection: How Instagram changes the way I look at things
"really deep appeal of Instagram…It changes the way I look at the world around me.

I’m not a super visual person; I do not normally take a lot of photos. But now I am, & do. Whenever you join a new social network, there’s this sudden, gentle pressure to be more interesting. In the case of Twitter…a pressure to post ever-more-cool undiscovered URLage. In the case of Instagram, it means posting ever-more-nifty snapshots. And this in turn means that I’ve begun looking at the world around me anew. I used to walk around my neighborhood blissfully — or stressfully — ignoring my surroundings, while staring at the sidewalk (or, ironically, my iphone). Now I find myself spotting unusual bits of graffiti, or patterns that fall trees make against the sky, or how super strange the robot is on Yo Gabba Gabba when my kids watch in the morning. Or that blue door on the brownstone in the picture above: How did I not notice how pretty it was? It’s like my third eye has opened up!"
attention  instagram  photography  noticing  classideas  details  clivethompson  glvo  lomo  lomography  socialmedia  visual  interestingness 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on the Death of the Phone Call | Magazine
"The telephone, in other words, doesn’t provide any information about status, so we are constantly interrupting one another. The other tools at our disposal are more polite. Instant messaging lets us detect whether our friends are busy without our bugging them, and texting lets us ping one another asynchronously. (Plus, we can spend more time thinking about what we want to say.) For all the hue and cry about becoming an “always on” society, we’re actually moving away from the demand that everyone be available immediately.

In fact, the newfangled media that’s currently supplanting the phone call might be the only thing that helps preserve it. Most people I know coordinate important calls in advance using email, text messaging, or chat (r u busy?). An unscheduled call that rings on my phone fails the conversational Turing test: It’s almost certainly junk, so I ignore it. (Unless it’s you, Mom!)"
mobile  clivethompson  cellphones  calls  digitalculture  2010  email  facebook  im  communication  culture  socialmedia  trends  twitter  texting  technology  phones 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on Why We Should Learn the Language of Data | Magazine
"There are oodles of other examples of how our inability to grasp statistics — & mother of it all, probability — makes us believe stupid things. Gamblers think their number is more likely to come up this time because it didn’t last time. Political polls are touted by media even when their samples are laughably skewed. (This issue breaks left & right...Intellectually serious skeptics of anthropogenic climate change argue that the statistical case is weak — that Al Gore & fellow travelers employ dubious techniques to sample & crunch global temperatures.)
clivethompson  statistics  literacy  politics  policy  analytics  visualization  mathematics  education  economics  data  environment  information  climate  reason  probability 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson to Texters: Park the Car, Take the Bus | Magazine
"We should change our focus to the other side of the equation & curtail not the texting but the driving. This may sound a bit facetious, but I’m serious. When we worry about driving & texting, we assume that the most important thing the person is doing is piloting the car. But what if the most important thing they’re doing is texting? How do we free them up so they can text without needing to worry about driving?
texting  driving  safety  transportation  us  japan  europe  future  focus  multitasking  clivethompson 
february 2010 by robertogreco
collision detection: In Praise of Obscurity: My latest Wired column
"My latest column for Wired magazine is now online, and it’s a fun topic: I analyze the downside of becoming Twitter famous. You can read the full text below — or for free at Wired’s site, or in print if you race out to a newsstand this very instant and pick up a copy! — but the gist of the argument is simple: If you have too many followers, the conversational and observational qualities that originally make Twitter fun start to break down … and you’re left with old-fashioned (and often quite dull) broadcasting." [also at: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/01/st_thompson_obscurity/]
culture  internet  obscurity  scale  socialnetworking  intimacy  clivethompson  online  broadcasting  conversation 
january 2010 by robertogreco
collision detection: Does calorie labeling get Starbucks customers to eat light? With food -- but not with drinks
"Say you order a Venti “Caramel Brulee Creme” with nonfat milk? That’s 480 calories, 70 of which are fat. Or how about a Venti “Double Chocolaty Chip Frappucino Blended Creme” with whipped creme? Friend, you just inhaled a whopping 670 calories, 200 of which were pure fat.
starbucks  health  food  drinks  clivethompson  humor  coffee 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on the New Literacy
""I think we're in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven't seen since Greek civilization"...For Lunsford, technology isn't killing our ability to write. It's reviving it—& pushing our literacy in bold new directions...The fact that students today almost always write for an audience gives them a different sense of what constitutes good writing. In interviews, they defined good prose as something that had an effect on the world. For them, writing is about persuading & organizing & debating, even if it's over something as quotidian as what movie to go see. The Stanford students were almost always less enthusiastic about their in-class writing because it had no audience but the professor: It didn't serve any purpose other than to get them a grade. As for those texting short-forms & smileys defiling serious academic writing? Another myth. When Lunsford examined the work of first-year students, she didn't find a single example of texting speak in an academic paper."

[more here: http://snarkmarket.com/blog/snarkives/books_writing_such/reading_revolutions/ ]
writing  audience  research  teaching  schools  socialmedia  digitalliteracy  communication  clivethompson  21stcenturyskills  education  learning  technology  internet  trends  newliteracies  newliteracy  rhetoric  literacy  digital  blogging  texting  change  newmedia  students  tcsnmy 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on Remembering Not to Remember in an Age of Unlimited Memory
"Mayer-Schönberger argues that we need to stop creating tools that automatically remember everything. Instead, we need to design them to forget...here's what makes Drop.io unique: When you upload a file, the service asks you to put an expiration date on it. It could be a month, a few hours, even "after five people have seen it." If you don't set a date, the default is one year. And when that time arrives, the file is deleted...Another case of intentional forgetting is the Guest Pass feature on Flickr...Being required to think about whether to retain or discard a digital memory will have another side benefit: It will make us pay closer attention—in real time!—to our experiences. If you decide a sunset or a conversation is going to live only in your mind instead of on your hard drive, you'll probably savor it more richly. Just ask Marcel Proust."
memory  forgetting  clivethompson  technology  socialmedia  history  future  privacy  flickr  drop.io  software  storage 
august 2009 by robertogreco
collision detection: James Bridle publishes two years of his tweets in a hardcover book
"If you’ve used Twitter for any length of time, eventually it probably occurs to you: Hmmm, this lifestream is a pretty weird record of my life, isn’t it? A zillion little things that happen to you, random stray thoughts, links of things you were looking at: A pointillist memoir, as it were. Every tiny piece seems daft or meaningless, but — as I’ve written in my articles about Twitter/Facebook before — when you add them all up you get a curiously rich sense of someone’s existence.

So I was tickled to see that James Bridle has taken this conceit to the extreme — by publising two years worth of his tweets as a hardcover book. He hoovered them out of Twitter using a custom script, designed it nicely, and sent it to Lulu.com to be printed up! As he notes:"
books  twitter  clivethompson  memory  publishing  microblogging  papernet  lulu 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time
"about 95 percent of what I do on a computer can now be accomplished through a browser. I use it for updating Twitter and Facebook and for blogging. Meebo.com lets me log into several instant-messaging accounts simultaneously. Last.fm gives me tunes, and webmail does the email. I use Google Docs for word processing, and if I need to record video, I can do it directly from webcam to YouTube. Come to think of it, because none of my documents reside on the netbook, I'm not sure I even need the trash can. Netbooks have ended the performance wars. ... Most of the time, we do almost nothing. Our most common tasks—email, Web surfing, watching streamed videos—require very little processing power. ... What netbook makers have done, in effect, is turn back the clock: Their machines perform the way laptops did four years ago."
clivethompson  netbooks  laptops  computers 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: 'Flower' Power Blooms in First Climate-Change Game
"Yet here's the ultimately cool thing: Flower does not, in the end, demonize human civilization. When you begin the game, you start with a bleak, gray-scale vision of a city, where cars stream through the dark streets. At the conclusion of the game, if you succeed in bringing the various blighted fields and areas to color and life, what's your reward? To hang around and glory in those lovely fields of gold?
games  gaming  videogames  flower  jenovachen  ps3  environment  sustainability  humanity  clivethompson 
february 2009 by robertogreco
collision detection: 41% of museums don't know how dogs actually walk
"But the fact is quadruped leg-motion isn’t intuitive: When you close your eyes and visualize it, it makes more sense for the legs to alternate steps left and right, much like the screwed-up skeleton above. What we see in our mind’s eye doesn’t match what we actually see in the world around us — so we ignore the evidence in front of our eyes. It’s kind of like how Aristotle maintained that men had more teeth than women because it made more sense to him, and never bothered to actually check inside an actual woman’s mouth."
animals  motion  dogs  glvo  eadweardmuybridge  anatomy  museums  clivethompson  movement  animation  taxidermy  science 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on How More Info Leads to Less Knowledge
"What's going on? Normally, we expect society to progress, amassing deeper scientific understanding and basic facts every year. Knowledge only increases, right?

Robert Proctor doesn't think so. A historian of science at Stanford, Proctor points out that when it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases.

He has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is "the study of culturally constructed ignorance.""
clivethompson  criticalthinking  creationism  agnotology  corruption  society  culture  information  knowledge  technology  ignorance  facts  fraud  control 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on Finding Genius — School of Visual Arts — MFA in Interaction Design
“If you want to learn, you can’t study the object, that will tell you nothing. What you need to find out is all the things that didn’t work.

You need to see the prototypes that are shitty that didn’t work, the horrible stuff that made no sense at all and you need it lined up chronologically, and then, you can see genius emerging.”
learning  genius  design  clivethompson  towatch 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on How YouTube Changes the Way We Think
"Marshall McLuhan pointed out that whenever we get our hands on a new medium we tend to use it like older ones. Early TV broadcasts consisted of guys sitting around reading radio scripts because nobody had realized yet that TV could tell stories differently. It's the same with much of today's webcam video; most people still try to emulate TV and film. Only weirdos like MadV are really exploring its potential.
clivethompson  youtube  online  web  video  social  collaborative  media  change  communication  culture  internet  collaboration 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on How T-Shirts Keep Online Content Free
"Burns is not alone. Increasingly, creative types are harnessing what I've begun to call "the T-shirt economy"—paying for bits by selling atoms. Charging for content online is hard, often impossible. Even 10 cents for a download of something like Red vs. Blue might drive away the fans. So instead of fighting this dynamic, today's smart artists are simply adapting to it. Their algorithm is simple: First, don't limit your audience by insisting they pay to see your work. Instead, let your content roam freely online, so it generates as large an audience as possible. Then cash in on your fans' desire to sport merchandise that declares their allegiance to you."
clivethompson  copyright  media  business  culture  longtail  t-shirts  tshirts  fandom  diy  fashion  clothing  cafepress  businessmodels  economics 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: Victory in Vomit
"Why does this game get its hooks into my brain so effectively? Why does it feel so much more visceral? I think it's because Mirror's Edge is the first game to hack your proprioception. That's a fancy word for your body's sense of its own physicality — its "map" of itself. Proprioception is how you know where your various body parts are — and what they're doing — even when you're not looking at them. It's why you can pass a baseball from one hand to another behind your back; it's how you can climb stairs without looking down at your feet....Mirror's Edge...does something very subtle, but very radical. It lets you see other parts of your body in motion.
games  gaming  parkour  clivethompson  proprioception  neuroscience  videogames  gamedesign  body  sports  psychology  perception  mirrorsedge  embodiment  bodies 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Build It. Share It. Profit. Can Open Source Hardware Work?
"50,000 Arduino units have been sold worldwide since mass production began two years ago. Those are small numbers by Intel standards but large for a startup outfit in a highly specialized market. What's really remarkable, though, is Arduino's business model: The team has created a company based on giving everything away. On its Web site, it posts all its trade secrets for anyone to take—all the schematics, design files, and software for the Arduino board. Download them and you can manufacture an Arduino yourself; there are no patents. You can send the plans off to a Chinese factory, mass-produce the circuit boards, and sell them yourself — pocketing the profit without paying Banzi a penny in royalties. He won't sue you. Actually, he's sort of hoping you'll do it."
arduino  opensource  clivethompson  entrepreneurship  hardware  technology  diy  openhardware  microcontrollers  electronics  adafruit  wrt54g 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: How Videogames Blind Us With Science
"And it's pretty much how kids already approach the games they love. They're already scientists; they already know the value of the scientific method. Teachers just need to talk to them in their language, so that the kids can begin to understand the joy of puzzling through the offline, "real" world too."
science  scientificmethod  classideas  teaching  learning  games  gaming  clivethompson  children  culture  videogames  tcsnmy  spreadsheets  wow  gamechanging 
september 2008 by robertogreco
I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You - Clive Thompson - NYTimes.com - "ultimate effect of the new awareness brings back the dynamics of small-town life, where everybody knows your business"
"paradox of ambient awareness...Each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But...together, over time...coalesce into surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ & family members’ lives, like dots making pointillist painting...never before possible, because in real world, no friend would bother to call you up and detail the sandwiches she was eating...ambient information becomes like “a type of E.S.P.,”...invisible dimension floating over everyday life." ... "common complaint I heard, particularly from people in 20s...If you don’t dive in, other people will define who you are. So you constantly stream your pictures, your thoughts, your relationship status and what you’re doing — right now! — if only to ensure the virtual version of you is accurate, or at least the one you want to present to the world."
clivethompson  ambientintimacy  ambientawareness  tumblr  twitter  facebook  technology  relationships  co-presence  mimiito  messaging  sms  mobile  phone  online  dunbar  leisareichelt  danahboyd  caterinafake  flickr 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: Games Give Free Rein to the Douchebag Within
"But interestingly, the rest of the world is beginning to realize that one's game preferences can be regarded as a Myers-Briggs personality type for the digital age. Plenty of college kids list their most-played games on their Facebook pages, under the presumption that this speaks as clearly about their inner lives as their religion or political stances. And in the last few years, Silicon Valley companies have begun actively recruiting the leaders of major World of Warcraft guilds, under the assumption that people who choose those roles are good at being leaders, motivating teams and defusing interpersonal drama."
games  gaming  play  psychology  videogames  clivethompson  personality  choice  myers-briggs  escapism  profiling  facebook  classideas 
august 2008 by robertogreco
And Snap! on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"Reading the comments to Clive Thompson's slightly-product-placementy story (http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/commentary/games/2008/08/gamesfrontiers_0811 ) on Weight Watchers as RPG (with obligatory Jane McG reference) someone referenced Mary Poppins. And of course, this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5IW9wK_HNg is the Ur-Object of Serious Gaming. Which is *probably* why I get turned off by it. No matter how fun, or playful it is made - it is *not* play. If someone makes you play, it's not play. It is not transgressive or disruptive - it's Mary Poppins conning you into doing something for the forces of order with a spoonful of sugar. Maybe I should have some coffee. No sugar. "
mattjones  clivethompson  marypoppins  gaming  seriousgames  janemcgonigal  play  weightwatchers  authenticity 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on Real-World Social Networks vs. Facebook 'Friends'
"Almost every time he analyzes a group, Waber discovers that the super-connector — the crucial person who routes news among team members — isn't the manager. "The manager is almost always peripheral," Waber says. "It's some random guy." And that person is usually overworked and overstressed. He isn't given enough support to fulfill his role, because nobody in the firm knows he's doing it in the first place. If you study the org chart, the higher-ups are in control. But if you study reality, those same managers barely know what's going on...This type of research has evolved into a new field called reality mining."
research  realitymining  clivethompson  networks  community  collaboration  communication  datamining  management  socialnetworking  psychology  networking  socialnetworks  connectivity 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: Go Ahead, Punk, Make Your Game
"I recently found out when I spent some time with Blast Works, a brilliant new Wii title that allows you to create your own games. What I discovered is, as you might expect, it's pretty damn hard to make a fun game. You'll probably fail."
clivethompson  creativity  games  gaming  gamedesign  play 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: 'Spore' Releases the Pixar in You
"what Spore will do, very subtly & quietly, is begin changing way people interact w/ 3-D culture. 3-D art will suddenly seem less opaque & more understandable...next time you go to animated movie, you'll see onscreen characters as series of design decisio
clivethompson  spore  games  gamedesign  animation  3d  play  pixar  gaming  willwright 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: 'Grand Theft Auto IV' Delivers Deft Satire of Street Life
"I may never finish the game. In a city this vibrant, it's hard to stop getting distracted. At one point, I finished a mission on top floor of decrepit apartment...started to head back downstairs to my car, then wondered: "Hey, what's up on the roof?"
immersion  games  gaming  gta  clivethompson  nyc  detail  exploration  gamedesign  reviews  simulations  openplay  open-endedplay  grandtheftauto 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: Poetic 'Passage' Provokes Heavy Thoughts on Life, Death
"Seriously artistic games probably never will make any money; most "high art" never does. Artistic games won't crack the Top 10. But they'll change the way you think about life."
clivethompson  passage  videogames  art  games  gaming  culture 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on Why the Next Civil Rights Battle Will Be Over the Mind
"We think of our brains as the ultimate private sanctuary...but...boundaries are gradually eroding...host of emerging technologies aimed at tapping into our heads...raise a fascinating, & queasy, new ethical question: Do we have a right to "mental privacy
brain  ethics  neuroscience  surveillance  advertising  privacy  science  society  personalinformatics  technology  mind  intelligence  research  rights  future  psychology  politics  philosophy  clivethompson 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on How DIYers Just Might Revive American Innovation
"Notably, all this is happening outside our broken educational system. America is healing itself at the grass roots — rediscovering the mental joy of making things and rearming itself with mechanical skills."
diy  education  make  autodidacts  learning  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  gamechanging  clivethompson  us  innovation  creativity  culture  design  crafts  future  society 
february 2008 by robertogreco
collision detection: Why solitary workers can be faster workers
"When subjects were working alongside companions, they worked more slowly. Welsh theorizes that when we watch someone else performing a task, it triggers our mirror neurons, and mentally we begin modelling the task ourselves. If we're simultaneously tryin
productivity  psychology  work  offices  clivethompson 
february 2008 by robertogreco
collision detection: Study: Gamers actually enjoy dying in first-person-shooters
"... instead of joy resulting from victory and success, wounding and killing the opponent elicited anxiety, anger, or both." In addition, "death of the player's own character...appear[s] to increase some aspects of positive emotion." This latter finding t
death  gamedesign  games  gaming  play  psychology  emotions  clivethompson 
february 2008 by robertogreco
collision detection: "Social proprioception" in the workplace
""social proprioception" -- the ability of a large group of friends and colleagues to know what each other are doing, and to co-ordinate themselves accordingly"
clivethompson  facebook  socialproprioception  social  work  ambientintimacy  awareness 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Is the Tipping Point Toast? -- Duncan Watts -- Trendsetting
"Marketers spend a billion dollars a year targeting influentials. Duncan Watts says they're wasting their money."
socialnetworking  networks  tippingpoint  malcolmgladwell  advertising  marketing  trends  viral  money  waste  revisit  socialmedia  economics  culture  sociology  clivethompson 
january 2008 by robertogreco
collision detection: Flattery begins at four
"Lee's not sure which strategy the four-year-olds are pursuing. But because they flattered strangers as well as people they knew suggests "they are thinking ahead, they are making these little social investments for future benefits."
children  psychology  behavior  flattery  relationships  interaction  clivethompson  parenting 
january 2008 by robertogreco
collision detection: Is text-messaging the new word processor?
"But if you think of the phone as a new type of word processor, then a different picture emerges. The reason all these young people are writing novels is that they've discovered, quite by accident, that they're carrying typewriters around in their pockets
writing  trends  texting  youth  japan  literature  mobile  phones  tools  society  technology  constraints  clivethompson 
january 2008 by robertogreco
collision detection: The subtle pleasures of wasting time
"how badly our culture understands meaning of play&games...partly because ludology isn't taught at ...one of the whole points behind play and games is to waste time. It's not the sole point or even the chief point, but it's a frequent one."
time  work  play  games  gaming  children  education  learning  videogames  ludology  culture  society  clivethompson  playethic 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on Why Sci-Fi Is the Last Bastion of Philosophical Writing
"If you want to read books that tackle profound philosophical questions, then the best place to turn these days is sci-fi...last great literature of ideas...traditional "literary fiction" has dropped the ball...well — bored."
clivethompson  literature  scifi  writing  sciencefiction  science  fiction  future  reading  ideas  philosophy 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Rant: Why "Reality Fatigue" Has Made Science Fiction More Interesting Than Literature
"One of Wired magazine's brainiest writers, Clive Thompson, has a great essay in the latest issue about why science fiction novels have become more philosophically rich than literature."
clivethompson  literature  scifi  writing  sciencefiction  science  fiction  future  reading  ideas  philosophy 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on How the Next Victim of Climate Change Will Be Our Minds
"Albrecht has given this syndrome an evocative name: solastalgia. It's a mashup of the roots solacium (comfort) and algia (pain), which together aptly conjure the word nostalgia. In essence, it's pining for a lost environment."
psychology  globalwarming  climatechange  climate  environment  nostalgia  memory  society  science  place  earth  global  culture  clivethompson 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson: Why Science Will Triumph Only When Theory Becomes Law
"Public discourse is inevitably political, so we need to talk about science in a way that wins the political battle — in no uncertain terms."
culture  evolution  language  society  clivethompson  law  religion  science  semantics  theory  words 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Suicide Bombing Makes Sick Sense in 'Halo 3'
"Humiliated and hopelessly outgunned, a revenge-seeking gamer adopts the tactics of a suicide bomber. Who knew a videogame could put you inside a terrorist's head? Commentary by Clive Thompson."
clivethompson  halo3  games  videogames  srtategy  psychology  war  terrorism 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense
"It's almost like ESP, which can be incredibly useful when applied to your work life...Twitter substitutes for the glances and conversations we had before we became a nation of satellite employees."
twitter  socialnetworking  communication  culture  socialnetworks  socialsoftware  internet  collaboration  awareness  attention  experience  networking  participation  productivity  relationships  messaging  blogging  online  friends  storytelling  mobile  tumblr  clivethompson  web2.0  social  community  visualization  dunbar  collectivism  cyberspace  jaiku  psychology 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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