Job Creation/Job Destruction

from Seth’s Blog For years before 1992, experts warned that the fisheries in Eastern Canada were in peril. Industrialized fishing processes (sonar, trawlers, etc.) were pulling dramatically more cod out of the Atlantic, and the fishery was severely threatened. Insiders ignored the warnings, shouting about job preservation instead. 35,000 workers were directly involved, with more than 100,000 people supported as a result of the fishing trade. Jobs needed to be defended. In 1992, the catch dropped 99%. Every single job was lost, because the entire system collapsed. It’s easy to defend the status quo, except when the very foundation you’ve built […]

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This Throwable Computer Teaches Kids How To Code

from co.Exist Coding is a great skill for kids to learn but it can be a lonely, sedentary endeavor. Hackaball, a new toy created from a partnership between the design agencies MAP and Made By Many, promises to get kids off their butts and playing outside—all while teaching basic coding skills and empowering kids to invent their own kind of play. It’s a lot to ask from one product which is why Hackaball had to be meticulously designed. The ball is bigger than a baseball but smaller than a soccer ball, and it comes with several simple parts that can be put together using […]

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Labor Unions In A Post-Industrial Age

from Seth’s Blog The us/them mindset of the successful industrialist led to the inevitable and essential creation of labor unions. If, as Smith and Marx wrote, owning the means of production transfers maximum value to the factory owner, the labor union provided a necessary correction to an inherently one-sided relationship. Industrialism is based on doing a difficult thing (making something) ever cheaper and more reliably. The union movement is the result of a group of workers insisting that they be treated fairly, despite the fact that they don’t own the means of production. Before globalism, unions had the ability to limit […]

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What Blogging Has Become

from The Atlantic This is a post about Medium, which is a fascinating company partly because it has a lot of money, and partly because its leadership team first brought you Blogger (the first really successful blogging tool) and Twitter (Twitter), and which released a whole slate of new features this week in a kind of confusing way. But first it is about this question: What is web writing in 2015? More here.

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Go Digital By All Means, But Don’t Bring The Venture Capitalists In To Do It

from the guardian It’s brutal out there for public service institutions. They are under relentless pressure to conform to a bizarre form of market logic that requires them to turn a profit, even if the only way to do so is at the expense of the public that has supported them for all these years. Whether that’s archives that are being told to make up their budget shortfalls by selling digital access or the BBC being told to expect a much-reduced license fee and to make up the difference by figuring out how to grow Worldwide, its commercial arm. Even when it’s […]

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‘Connect to’ vs. ‘Connect’

from Seth’s Blog An organization might seek to ‘connect to’ its customers or constituents. Connection is a form of permission, the ability to deliver value to the people who request it. Vertical connection creates the ability to communicate and delivers a barrier to entry. Most online stores are connected to their customers. Most freelancers seek to connect to their clients. Most teachers work to connect to their students. That’s different, though, than ‘connect’. When you connect your customers or your audience or your students, you’re the matchmaker, building horizontal relationships, person to person. This is what makes a tribe. People caring about people. Side […]

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Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft

from Medium Backchannel When I became a technology columnist in the mid-1990s, the public Internet was just beginning its first big surge. Back then, I advised my readers to avoid the semi-political, even religious battles that advocates of this or that technology platform seemed to enjoy. Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is?—?a tool?—?and use what works best. So why am I typing this on a laptop running GNU/Linux, the free software operating system, not an Apple or Windows machine? And why are my phones and tablets running a privacy-enhanced offshoot of Android called Cyanogenmod, not Apple’s iOS or standard Android? […]

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Pitchers and Hitters

from Seth’s Blog Hitters don’t have much of an agenda other than, “swing at the good balls.” No one blames the hitters when the pitcher has a hot hand and throws a no hitter. Pitchers, on the other hand, decide what’s going to happen next. Pitchers get to set the pace, outline the strategy, initiate instead of react. When your job is in reaction mode, you’re allowing the outside world to decide what happens next. You are freed from the hard work of setting an agenda, but in exchange, you dance when the market says dance. “I did the best […]

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The Future of the Internet Might Hinge on This Bet

from Medium Humans are driven by metaphors. We can’t help it. “Internet access is like electricity,” we say, and that leads to a host of other mental images: standard plugs for a wealth of devices, warm light against a dark frozen landscape, the burdens of life made more bearable. The warring metaphor now is “the Internet is the new TV,” thoroughly managed, channelized, bent on entertainment, ad-driven, interactive only when it suits someone’s business plan. Both of these metaphors are limited and not quite right. That’s the way metaphors work. But we are in fact ants on a wrinkle of […]

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Rod Serling On Where Good Ideas Come From

From brain pickings The questions of where good ideas come from, what inspiration is made of, why some people are more creative than others, and how we can optimize ourselves for creativity are perhaps as enduring as the act of creation itself. In this short clip from the vintage TV special Writing for Television, Rod Serling, creator of the cult-classic The Twilight Zone, manages to articulate the combinatorial nature of creativity, as well as Arthur Koestler’s seminal theory of “bisociation,” in a mere sixty-four seconds: More here.

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Among the Disrupted

From NYTs Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores, which have been destroyed by the greatest thugs in the history of the culture industry. Writers hover between a decent poverty and an indecent one; they are expected to render the fruits of their labors for little and even for nothing, and all the miracles of electronic dissemination somehow do not suffice for compensation, either of the fiscal or the spiritual kind. Everybody talks frantically about media, a second-order subject if […]

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Speaking While Female

From NYTs YEARS ago, while producing the hit TV series “The Shield,” Glen Mazzara noticed that two young female writers were quiet during story meetings. He pulled them aside and encouraged them to speak up more. Watch what happens when we do, they replied. Almost every time they started to speak, they were interrupted or shot down before finishing their pitch. When one had a good idea, a male writer would jump in and run with it before she could complete her thought. Sadly, their experience is not unusual. More here.

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Artificial Intelligence Is Real Now And Its Just Getting Started

from Gigaom Artificial intelligence is already very real. Not conscious machines, omnipotent machines or even reasoning machines (yet), but statistical machines that automate and increasingly can outperform humans at certain pattern-recognition tasks. Computer vision, language understanding, anomaly detection and other fields have made immense advances in the past few years. All this work will be the stepping stones for future AI systems that, decades from now, might perform feats we’ve only imagined computers could perform. There are brain-inspired neurosynaptic microchips under development, and quantum artificial intelligence might only be a decade away. Some experts predict general artificial intelligence — perhaps even artificial superintelligence — will happen easily within […]

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Unprepared

from Seth’s Blog Is there anything worse we can say about you and your work? “You are unprepared.” But the word “unprepared” means two things, not just one. There is the unprepared of the quiz at school, of forgetting your lines, of showing up to a gunfight with a knife… this is the unprepared of the industrial world, the unprepared of being an industrial cog in an industrial system, a cog that is out-of-whack, disconnected and poorly maintained. What about the other kind, though? We are unprepared to do something for the first time, always. More here.

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Cluetrain: We Have Met The Internet’s Enemy, And He Is Us

from Gigaom When the Cluetrain Manifesto first appeared in 1999, the consumer internet was still in its infancy. The vast majority of people still used dial-up phone services to get online, if they got online at all, and GeoCities and Yahoo were the kings of the web — the closest thing to social media was AOL’s Instant Messenger. But the authors of the Manifesto saw what was coming: a world in which users, consumers and people in general would be connected in more ways than anyone imagined. That world is the one we live in now — a world in which […]

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Nobody Tells This To Beginners

from co.CREATE Few have been able to articulate the struggle of finding your creative footing better than Ira Glass. The producer and public radio magnate gave some advice on the topic to Public Radio International in 2009 that has resonated deeply in the years since. Pitched toward people just starting out, his advice focused on the gap between having good taste and producing good creative work—and battling the self-doubt that comes along with it. As the new year stirs feelings of dynamism in many of us, the team at Creavite has now animated Glass’s words into an inspiring new video. More here.

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Disruptive Innovation: Estonia Will Do To Citizenship What Uber Is Doing To Taxis

from The Ladder A term that seems to be thrown about in the technology sphere, and indeed in the mainstream press these days is ‘disruptive innovation’. It’s the thing that every start-up, entrepreneur and venture capitalist strives towards. In the never-ending quest for convenience, consumers wholeheartedly buy products and services that save us time. So, when Uber came along and started providing a quicker and more efficient way to hail a taxi, the only people who properly objected were the cabbies themselves. With the growth of the internet, distances are shrinking, the level of consumer choice is many times what it was twenty […]

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5 Predictions For The World In 2039

from co.EXIST Natalia Hatalska says there are two types of people in the world: those “who take one day at a time” and “those who have a vision, look far ahead [and] see its opportunities and threats.” She puts herself in the latter camp, and she’s gazing pretty far ahead in her new book “FutureMakers.Today”. Looking to the year 2039, her book includes interviews with a dozen well-known futurists on everything from brain research to the future of cities and money. Download the free version here. We picked out a few ideas below. More here.

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Go For A Walk

from Seth’s Blog The best time is when you don’t feel like it. Going for a walk when you don’t feel like it will change your mood, transform your posture and get you moving. And if you don’t feel like talking with someone, bring them with you on the walk. More here.

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