Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #45

Offline this week I learned that fireworks displays involve a lot of standing around for brief moments of semi-pleasure, that iPads really are ‘magical’, and not to jinx yourself by stating that you’re “the only one in the family who hasn’t been ill” 😮


The Baker E-book Framework allows designers and developers to turn fixed-width HTML5 pages into an e-book format and publish the finished product. After that, all you need to do is follow the App Store submission guidelines, and you’re on your way to e-book greatness.

Productivity & Inspiration

  • Bob Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and seasoned traveller, has some great advice for travelling productivtly in this interview.
  • Lifehacker asks Is Downtime Extinct? quoting Scott Belsky:

Why do we give up our sacred space so easily? Because space is scary. During these temporary voids of distraction, our minds return to the uncertainty and fears that plague all of us. To escape this chasm of self-doubt and unanswered questions, you tune into all of the activity and data for reassurance.

Our insatiable need to tune into information – at the expense of savoring our downtime – is a form of “work” (something I call “insecurity work”) that we do to reassure ourselves.

Education & Academic

I will (and have already) publicly declared my commitment to understanding and attempting to apply the apparent rigor, depth and discipline required for recognition as a Doctor of Philosophy, but will do so informally. That is, without enrolling or submitting to an institution, faculty, discipline area or assigned supervisors. Instead, I will direct myself, using online social networks, professional contacts, all workshop and seminar opportunities that present themselves, and family and fiends to test my ideas, check the quality of my work, and help build its worthiness in line with the criteria I aim to discover. Through open documentation of our dialog, this network will play the role, and reflect an equivalence of traditional PhD supervisors. When I feel confident that I understand and have met the requirements of the PhD, I will submit a summative body of work to an assessing organisation, if there is one willing to play this role, and await their verdict.

  • I’ve been learning about Embodied Cognition this week thanks to a conversation on Twitter with @gwoodill, author of The Mobile Learning Edge.
  • A new report into Twitter in Higher Education purports to show that around a third of ‘higher education professionals’ use Twitter in their day-to-day role.
  • Theory Into Practice (TIP) is a goldmine of learning theories.
  • I could write a several-thousand-word rant on the wrong-headedness the UK government’s (and Michael Gove in particular’s) launch of the Education Endowment Fund (EEF). Instead, I’ll just point out this and this and quote, “The EEF draws on President Barack Obama and Secretary Duncan’s ‘Race to the Top’ programme.” Gah.

Data, Design & Infographics

  • Fascinatingly, you can think at about 500 words per minute (wpm) but the fastest speaker only speaks at 300 wpm (usual speech is around 150 wpm). This leaves you with a 200-350 word ‘speech differential’. As someone pointed out on Twitter, I’d like to find the original research behind this!
  • According to this infographic, a lot of people are just about to end a relationship:


  • Lots of people say they would ‘give it all away’ if they won the lottery, but this Canadian couple actually gave away 98% of their $10.2m jackpot. Inspirational!
  • The middle pane looks familiar:

A drawing workshop was undertaken with a class of 27 school children between 5—7 years of age… When asked to illustrate their favourite activity outside of school, 66% drew television and computer games, many of which contained violent content.

I think political parties made sense in pre-Internet times. It was a good way to organize and to produce candidates who had a legitimate chance of getting elected. Now it’s easy to imagine the Internet being a better platform for electing the right people. The problem is that there’s no way to get to a different type of system from here. The major parties are too entrenched to give up power, and belonging to organizations is a fundamental freedom.


Nothing is an obstacle unless you say it is. (Wally Amos)

The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become. (Brian Tracy)

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who ets the credit. (Harry S. Truman)

If you’re digging a hole in the wrong place, making it deeper doesn’t help anything. (Seymour Chwast)

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)

(more quotations at my page)

Main image taken by me at fireworks display this weekend!

2 thoughts on “Things I Learned This Week – #45

  1. What a great post. We especially liked the link to Lifehacker, in which he got us thinking about the important of taking time to be silent. Very easy to say, difficult to do, but worth the attempt!

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