Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #47

Red trees, LWPF, & a path

Offline this week I learned that large beanbags offer the most comfortable typing position ever, not to drink cheap red wine, and that the seats by the Chinese books in Newcastle City Library are almost always vacant… 😉


[vimeo w=649&h=519]

Productivity & Inspiration

James Bond is a hero because the tougher the world got, the cooler he got. Symphony conductors don’t endure the pressure of a performance, they thrive on it.

If being a little behind creates self-pressure that leads to stress and then errors, it’s no wonder you frequently end up a lot behind. If the way you manage your brand inevitably leads to a ceaseless race to the bottom, it’s no wonder that you’re struggling. A small bump gets magnified and repeated until it overwhelms.

Education & Academic

  • The ‘Justice’ course at Harvard is its most popular. Now you can join in and debate where Jack Bauer should torture people.
  • Love him or hate him, Stephen Downes knows his stuff:

The person whose voice is most respected in any group is not the person who leads, or is smartest, or is even right. It is the person perceived by the rest to have the least self-interest, the person who is there to help rather than the person who is there to pursue an agenda or toot their own horn. A minute spent helping the other person achieve their ends (which are often not even in conflict with yours) is far more productive than a minute spent arguing with them.

  • I love the fact that social networks such as Twitter coupled with the blogs and random stuff people collect allow me to peer into their thoughts. Take Joss Winn’s things that stick, for example, which turned up this gem recently:

Historically regimes do undergo radical change. Succession tends to begin within a network of pioneering organisations, technologies and users that form a niche practice on the margins. Niche situations (e.g. unusual applications,demonstration programmes, social movements) provide space for new ideas, artefacts, and practices to develop without full exposure to the range of processes channeling regime development

Niche-based approaches explore problem framings (e.g.mobility, food, energy services) and search for solutions – in contrast to technology demonstration projects that begin with ‘technical solutions’ to tightly framed problems. Niche practices that resonate with widespread public concern sometimes catch on, get copied, become adapted and spread.

Data, Design & Infographics

  • 20 Things I Learned is a wonderful example of what CSS3, the power of Google, and some design thinking can bring you.
  • Animated gifs created from seminal films. Freaky. And here’ how to create your own.

LinkedIn treemap


  • Best. Autocorrect. Ever.


So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns-but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.

  • Pointless or profound? You decide. 4’33” is silence ‘played’ by a full orcehstra:



Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance. (Samuel Johnson)

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. (George Bernard Shaw)

Strength is a matter of a made up mind. (John Beecher)

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

When one realises one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake. (P. D. Ouspensky)

(more quotations at my page)

Main image CC BY-SA joiseyshowaa

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