The Why of Urgent vs. Important

from Seth’s Blog You know you should be focusing on the long-term journey, on building out the facility, signing up new customers or finishing your dissertation. But instead, there’s a queue of urgent things, all justifiable, all requiring you and you alone to handle them. And so you do, pushing off the important in favor of the urgent. Of course, everyone has this challenge, but some people manage to get past it. Even you, the last time you made a major move forward. Think about it–those urgencies from a few years ago: who’s handling them now? The reason we go […]

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So, Um, How Do You, Like, Stop Using Filler Words?

from NYTs So, how do you, like, um, stop using verbal fillers that can make you sound, you know, nervous or not so smart? Is there a name for this? Communications experts describe “um,” “aah,” “you know” and similar expressions as discourse markers, interjections or verbal pauses. They often occur when we are trying to think of the next thing we are going to say, Susan Mackey-Kallis, an associate professor at Villanova University who teaches public speaking, said in an email. When stakes are high or we are nervous — in a job or media interview, or during a speech, […]

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The New York Times Claws Its Way Into The Future

from Wired ARTHUR GREGG SULZBERGER doesn’t remember the first time he visited the family business. He was young, he says, no older than 6, when he shuffled through the brass-plated revolving doors of the old concrete hulk on 43rd Street and boarded the elevator up to his father’s and grandfather’s offices. He often visited for a few minutes before taking a trip to the newsroom on the third floor, all typewriters and moldering stacks of paper, and then he’d sometimes go down to the subbasement to take in the oily scents and clanking sounds of the printing press. This was the early […]

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What Posterity Has Done For Us

from Seth’s Blog Sir Boyle Roche famously said, “Why we should put ourselves out of our way to do anything for posterity, for what has posterity ever done for us?” Quite a lot, actually. We were born into a culture that took generations to create. The people who came before us built a civil society, invented a language, created a surplus, enabling us to each grow up without contributing much at all for the first 15 years of our life. Posterity, as created by the folks that came before, solved countless problems so we could work on the problems that lie ahead. Posterity gave us […]

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Forget Coding—Here’s The Skill You Need Most When You Start Your Career

from Fast Company It used to be that the only way to climb a career ladder was to pick up more skills. Learn how to do X, get paid more for it, and earn job-title Y. Up you went. Each new capability you mastered got you to that “next level,” either inside your current company or at a different one. Today, many of those ladders have fallen and shattered, with just a few left standing. Lately there have been efforts to hammer together some new ones, with new skills—usually tech-based—like cybersecurity or coding expertise held up as the new keys to staying competitive in the future […]

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Does Your School Need Better Technology Or Better Thinking?

from TeachThought Using technology to enhance learning is an incredibly exciting idea, and as an area of education is growing fast. Blended learning, mobile learning, connectivism, and other increasingly popular ideas all owe their existence to technology. But the reality in the majority of public schools in the United States is less than cutting edge. While there is little data available to pinpoint exactly what is being done where, five of the more common applications of technology in the classroom appear below. The unfortunate reality here is that in lieu of significant progress in how technology is used in the […]

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Who Will Lead In The Smart Machine Age?©

from Forbes We are on the brink of a technology tsunami that will likely be as challenging and transformative for us as the Industrial Revolution was for our ancestors. This tsunami will be led by artificial intelligence (AI), increased global connectivity, the Internet of Things, major advances in computing power, and virtual and augmented reality.  As a result, the Smart Machine Age (SMA) will fundamentally change the availability and nature of human work and make obsolete the dominate Industrial Revolution model of business organization and leadership. The organization of the future will be staffed by a combination of smart robots, […]

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Long-Term Strategy: Don’t Be A Jerk

from Seth’s Blog In the moment, when you have power, no matter how momentarily, how will you choose to act? Jerk comes from the idea of pulling hard on the reins, suddenly and without care. Horses don’t like it and neither, it turns out, do people. More than just about anything else, what you do when you have the chance is what people say about you and remember about you. The community pays careful attention to the restraint (or lack of it) that you show when the opportunity arises. Whether you’re a parent or a multinational, in the long run, the wheel is going […]

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How Computers Are Learning To Be Creative

from TED We’re on the edge of a new frontier in art and creativity — and it’s not human. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, principal scientist at Google, works with deep neural networks for machine perception and distributed learning. In this captivating demo, he shows how neural nets trained to recognize images can be run in reverse, to generate them. The results: spectacular, hallucinatory collages (and poems!) that defy categorization. “Perception and creativity are very intimately connected,” Agüera y Arcas says. “Any creature, any being that is able to do perceptual acts is also able to create.” More here.

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But Where Did The Algorithm Come From?

from Seth’s Blog Imagine if the owner of the local bookstore hid books from various authors or publishers. They’re on the shelf, sure, but misfiled, or hidden behind other books. Most of us would find this offensive, and I for one like the freedom I have (for now) to choose a new store, one that connects me to what I need. The airline tickets I purchased last week are missing. Oh, here they are, in my spam folder. Gmail blames an algorithm, as if it wrote itself.  That person who just got stopped on her way to an airplane—the woman who gets […]

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Even Steve Jobs Didn’t Predict the iPhone Decade

from Wired When Apple set out to build a smartphone, the team tasked with doing so didn’t plan on changing the world. It didn’t foresee the App Store becoming a billion-dollar business full of billion-dollar businesses like Uber, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. It wasn’t trying to reinvent how people communicate, shop, and even hook up. It was trying to build an iPod that made phone calls. “The grand vision wasn’t really articulated, because there wasn’t one,” says Andy Grignon, a senior manager on the project and now a partner at design firm Siberia. Even the name, iPhone, started as an homage to Apple’s hit music player. Most early prototypes featured a screen and a click […]

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Should Policymakers Make College Free Or Better Support Institutions?

from Brookings Making public higher education tuition-free has gone from a fringe idea to the platform of the Democratic Party in a short period of time. President Obama proposed making community college free in early 2015. Hillary Clinton has augmented that proposal to include four-year colleges for families making up to $125,000.[i] Many Democrats will push for federal action to make college free when the new Congress convenes in 2017, and they will have a powerful supporter in Clinton if she wins the presidency. The Clinton campaign estimates that her higher education plan will increase federal spending on higher education by […]

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Your Discomfort Zone

from Seth’s Blog Most of us need an external stimulus to do our best work. It helps to have an alarm clock if you want to get out of bed before dawn. A presentation. A deadline. A live performance. The threat of foreclosure, an upcoming review or some sort of crisis. We can use these pressures to dig deeper, find new resources and overcome our self doubt. The challenge is that sometimes, we pick the wrong stimulus. We choose a prompt to serve us, but we end up serving it, in a situation that hurts us (and others) instead of […]

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I Dream of the Post Office Buying Twitter

from StartupGrind Yes, it’s a goofy dream. Yes, Congress won’t let them stop Saturday delivery, let alone spend $30 billion on a wobbly and weird social network. Yes, this will never happen. Yes, $30 billion could buy 90 F-35s instead. But: I can’t get this idea out of my head. My mind stumbles on it every other commute. Every news item about Twitter’s sale spurs the notion. Google and Disney are walking away leaving only Salesforce, but oh: they just bought Krux. Maybe there won’t be a suitor. Their market cap is down to less than $15 billion on the news. Hmm, that’s only 44 F-35s… Ok. This won’t […]

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Don’t Like the Candidates? Vote Anyway

from NYTs To secure the right to vote, Americans have been beaten, jailed and tortured. Some even died. Yet in the 2012 presidential election, less than 54 percent of the eligible population turned out to vote. That’s 93 millionpeople who didn’t bother to weigh in on who would lead their country. Voter turnout has been a big problem for decades. Since 1980, it has hovered between 48 and 57 percent in American presidential elections. That’s a far cry from most developed countries — in recent national elections voter turnout in Belgium was 87 percent, and Australia and South Korea cleared 80 percent. Of the 34 countries in […]

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Teaching Certainty

from Seth’s Blog Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling: You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow. The class will certainly follow the syllabus. There will certainly be a test. If you do well on the test, you will certainly go on to the next year. If you do well on the other test, you’ll certainly get to go to a famous college. After you repeat these steps obediently for more than ten years, there will be a placement office, where there will certainly be a job ready for you, with fixed hours and a career path. People telling you what to […]

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How Star Trek Artists Imagined The iPad… Nearly 30 Years Ago

from ars technica One interesting characteristic of Star Trek: The Next Generation—one that separated it from the original series and most of the early films—was its widespread use of smooth, flat, touch-based control panels throughout the Enterprise-D. This touch interface was also used for numerous portable devices known as PADDs, or Personal Access Display Devices. These mobile computing terminals bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPad—a mobile computing device largely defined by its smooth, flat touchscreen interface. To understand the thinking that led to the design of the Star Trek PADD, we spoke to some of the people involved in production of ST:TNG (as well as other Star […]

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A New Map for America

from NYTs THESE days, in the thick of the American presidential primaries, it’s easy to see how the 50 states continue to drive the political system. But increasingly, that’s all they drive — socially and economically, America is reorganizing itself around regional infrastructure lines and metropolitan clusters that ignore state and even national borders. The problem is, the political system hasn’t caught up. America faces a two-part problem. It’s no secret that the country has fallen behind on infrastructure spending. But it’s not just a matter of how much is spent on catching up, but how and where it is […]

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The Two Risk Mistakes

from Seth’s Blog Risk mistake number one: Risk means failure. This worldview equates any risk, no matter how slim, with a certainty. If the chances of hurting yourself skydiving are 1%, it’s easy to ignore the 99% likelihood that it will go beautifully. If you carry this worldview around, you’re not going to take many risks, because your fundamental misunderstanding is that whatever is uncertain is bad. Risk mistake number two: Low risk events don’t happen. This is the stock investor who freaks out when the market doesn’t go up the way he and everyone else expected it to. The reason that […]

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