Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #39

Offline this week I learned that when I’m offline I often want to be back online. Like on the train between Newcastle and Glasgow, for example. :-p


  • The blog for Notion Ink, the people behind the amazing upcoming ADAM tablet is a must-read. Both exciting and informative! 🙂
  • Want to be like CSI and keep zooming in on images after they’ve been taken to spot tiny details? It’s coming, thanks to some work by Adobe:


  • Google New is a place to find out about all of Google’s new products which are launched pretty much every day…
  • Is this the future of the book? Hope so!

[vimeo 15142335 w=649 h=365]

Productivity & Inspiration

  • Some great advice by Peter Norvig, Google’s Director of Research here (Page 2):

People get out of balance when they see their value as being able to respond quickly. If I see myself as a machine for answering email, then my work life would never stop because my email never stops. If instead I see my value as separating the important from the unimportant and making good decisions on the important, then I can go home at a reasonable hour, spend time with my family, ignore my email and phone messages all weekend long, and make sure that when I return to work, I am in the right mood to make the good decisions.

  • “Good ideas come from the collision of smaller hunches.” What an awesome video:


  • I’m firmly of the opinion that what holds most people back in life is the conception they have of themselves. As I put it, they’re “telling themselves the wrong story”. Learn strategies for controlling your ‘negative self-talk’ in this post!

Teach yourself a new way of thinking: “Challenge” negative thoughts

Use the ABC model to help manage your thoughts and feelings

AActual Event: State the actual situation that brought on the emotional state.
BBeliefs: Describe your thoughts and beliefs about the situation that created these emotions and behaviors.
CChallenge: Dispute the negative thoughts and replace them with accurate and positive statements.

It’s time to realize that the thoughts you have are driving you life. You have been habitually thinking yourself into your current situation, and probably don’t believe you can change the way you feel.

  • I like this image that Chris Guillebeau had on his computer desktop:

  • Leo Babauta at mnmlist posted about his ‘essentials’ this week, eschewing the usual consumerism. Worth a read!

Education & Academic

  • I came across the Creativity Portal thanks to the Scottish Learning Festival, which I attended this week. Potentially useful, but is it ‘imposing’ rather than encouraging creativity?
  • Learn Something Every Day is an awesome mashup of interesting facts and cutesy graphics. Safe to use in the classroom, interesting enough to bookmark for personal use!

[vimeo 12262324 w=649 h=446]

Data, Design & Infographics


  • I love Harry Brignull’s, featuring this Guidebook for Evil Designers:


  • Need to lose weight? Watch this every time you’re hungry:


  • A full list of the public bodies (‘quangos’) liable to UK government cuts was leaked by the Telegraph this week. There’s a clickable version here with what they actually do (for FOI requests, etc.!)JISC, the parent body of JISC infoNet (who I work for) isn’t under threat, nor is HEFCE, it’s funder. 😀
  • Bat vs centipede? Wow. Turn the sound up!


In theory, the young soldiers in any country could collectively decide that they deserve most of the national wealth and then simply take it. If you think that sounds like a crime, assume that the first thing the soldiers could do is force lawmakers to rewrite the laws. If you think that sounds unethical, I would argue that the people who take the most physical and mental risks for the benefit of society should get the most pay. That seems perfectly reasonable and moral to me. And let’s assume the soldiers are smart enough to leave enough money in the capitalist system that it still works. Perhaps the CEO of a major corporation would only earn $250K per year. If he wants more, he can join the Navy.

I only bring this up because I’m fascinated by the degree to which brains have evolved to become more powerful than guns. Society’s founding geniuses engineered a social system that encourages the young people who have guns to shoot at each other instead of robbing old people. Forgive me for calling that awesome.

  • The ‘genetic fallacy‘ is to say that because you’ve explained something you’ve somehow explained it away. Witness the ‘scientific’ explanation of Moses parting the Red Sea:



Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought. (Jonathan Swift)

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. (Confucius)

Wisdom begins in wonder. (Socrates)

If you always give you will always have. (Chinese Proverb)

The time is always right to do what is right. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

(more quotations at my page)

Main image CC BY, er, me!

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