Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #48

taste of winter

Offline this week I learned to buy more bags of winter grit than I think I need, to do exercise even when it’s too slippery to go running outside, and that a bad seated posture can give you headaches. 😮


  • Want to test out Ubuntu Server? Do it for free, paid for by Canonical, here!
  • Wow. Rome ‘rebuilt in a day’ using Flickr photographs and a home PC (albeit with 4 graphics cards)
  • Roll audio you find around the web into your own podcast using Huffduffer.
  • Upgraded your iPad to 4.2? Missing the ability to lock your screen’s orientation? Here’s how to do it quickly and easily.
  • Imagine a layer on top of websites that you could write on and leave notes at for friends. It’s here. It’s called Glass.

Productivity & Inspiration

  • Recognising the situation you’re in is half-way to solving the problem. Are you a product of Digital Taylorism?
  • Seth Godin tells us (some of the places) where ideas come from.
  • Create then tweet.
  • Gandhi’s ‘be the change you want to see’ is one of the quotations by which I try to live. That’s why I found these 5 life lessons from the great man so interesting. I especially liked number 5:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts.  Your thoughts become your words.  Your words become your actions.  Your actions become your habits.  Your habits become your values.  Your values become your destiny.”


Education & Academic

  • There’s lots of TED Talks. That’s why this list of some of them, divided by subject area, is pretty useful.
  • I’m a bit sad that Joss Winn has decided to quit Twitter. But not only did he explain why, but he posted how he works on the web. Some really interesting stuff here, and some things to emulate.
  • Summarity is a bookmarklet that auto-summarises text. Potentially useful in the classroom and for academic papers, although it didn’t do so well this this blog. Perhaps I write weirdly.
  • McDonalds is launching a degree in business management, accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University. Unbelievable, but true.
  • I wouldn’t bother reading Michael Gove’s Education White Paper. There’s a lot of hot air and propaganda and meaningless ‘we know that…’ statements. I’d just read the NASUWT’s response and this Guardian article instead. They tells you everything you need to know about this ‘assault on schools’.

Data, Design & Infographics

  • The 4_21 polytype is, apparently, “most geometrically complex and aesthetically beautiful structure in mathematics” and “models all interactions and transformations between known and postulated sub-atomic particles.” It’s so complex that machines can’t draw it (because they can’t draw perfect circles). This is hand-drawn to a tolerance of 1/10,000:

  • BBC News magazine has a really interesting article on diagrams that changed the world. I like their description of the power of a diagram being “to crystallise a new way of seeing the world”.
  • I love the music of Tycho. But I had no idea that Scott Hansen, the man behind the moniker, was such a talented graphic designer as well! Blog here.
  • Like many people, I’m super-excited and can’t wait for Tron Legacy to come out – especially as the music’s by Daft Punk. GeekDad did a post on the art of Tron Legacy. Un-frickin’-believable.


  • How to count using only one hand:

[vimeo w=649&h=365]

  • I know I should expect it having seen some of them before and watching Mad Men, but 48 ads that would never be allowed today does really make you realise how much society’s changed. The pig slicing himself into ham is disturbingly funny though.
  • This VW advert never made it onto TV. As the father of a 3 year-old literally laughed out loud:


  • A plaque found above a men’s urinal at a store selling diamond engagement rings. Is it reverse psychology or reverse-reverse psychology?


Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. (Goethe)

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed. (Shakespeare)

Success or failure is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacity. (Sir Walter Scott)

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. (Duke Ellington)

The way to succeed is to double your failure rate. (Thomas Watson, founder of IBM)

(more quotations at my page)

Main image CC BY paul (dex)

2 thoughts on “Things I Learned This Week – #48

  1. Loved the Gandhi post on Number 5 seems most compelling to me too, as a full understanding of it, affects everything else on the list. Until we understand the conscious and sub-conscious programs we are running (our beliefs), we cannot fully understand which to keep and which to discard. Once we understand that beliefs shape our lives and can recognize them for what they are, we can make conscious choices, taking control of our lives.

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