Finding new ideas, the demographics of religion, triple overload, chance determines everything and the dangers of pie charts.

World wide wanderings, in batches of five … or, “Cultural Learnings of the Internet for Make Benefit Glorious Readers of Medium” (with profound thanks and apologies to Sacha Baron Cohen and Borat).

1: If you are looking for a new idea, start at the edge of what is known

What’s up? Where do great ideas come from?

What’s new? This video takes us on a journey to explore a possible scheme that explains the birth of the new. Learn more about the “adjacent possible” — the crossroads of what’s actual and what’s possible — and how studying the logic that drives it could explain how we create new ideas.The video exposes the infinite vista of new ideas and innovations, presenting an encouragingly positive perspective of the future.

So what? To begin with, go to Facebook or LinkedIn or some such (humour me and do it). Go to the wall or profile of any one of your friends/ followers and pick some post at random. From the many second order friends/ followers that are listed, click on any one at random. Scroll down their posts and you will find an amazing number or rabbit holes that you can fall into. Alice in Wonderland via social networks. Have fun.


2: Religion isn’t going anywhere, but the demographics are shifting dramatically

What’s up? Religion is still an integral part of many modern societies, influencing laws and people’s behaviour, as well as the way adherents relate to others in the world.

What’s new? Are religions going away any time soon? Despite what some decry, there is little evidence of that.

So what? What is changing is the composition of the world’s believers.

Here’s a quick video explainer of the salient facts behind the data from Pew Research.

MORE at: Pew Research

3: The triple overload: data, communication and cognition

What’s up? We are being bombarded with more data, more communication, and more interruption than ever before, creating ever more demands on our limited time and attention.

What’s new: That can leave us burned out and feeling as though there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for us to achieve everything we need — and want — to do. Triple Overload — data overload, communication overload and cognition overload — is a multifaceted problem; three separate yet interconnected issues that plague almost everyone, in every walk of life. Each is a direct result of the explosion of information and technology that has come to define the modern world.

So what? This piece has a set of recommendations to handle the problem.

MORE AT: Evernote blog

4: The pie chart: data visualisation’s star or villain?

What’s up? The pie chart is one of the most common visual tools for depicting data.

What’s new? Multitudes of statisticians and visualisation experts have attacked the pie chart and pushed for the use of alternatives. Though early criticism primarily appealed to logic, in the last 40 years, pie chart critics have marshalled experimental evidence that seems to demonstrate the inferiority of pie charts at accurately conveying information.

So what? Maybe so, but we still like the pie.

The disadvantages of the pie chart are many. It is worthless for study and research purposes. In the first place the human eye cannot easily compare as to length the various arcs about the circle, lying as they do in different directions. In the second place, the human eye is not naturally skilled in comparing angles… In the third place, the human eye is not an expert judge of comparative sizes or areas, especially those as irregular as the segments of parts of the circle. There is no way by which the parts of this round unit can be compared so accurately and quickly as the parts of a straight line or bar.

MORE AT: Priceonomics

5: Your success is never of your own making; chance determines everything

What’s up? The person born in poverty, with no parental support, who scrimps to put himself or herself through college, finally achieving success through ceaseless suffering, owes their triumph no less to luck than, say, a Kennedy or Prince William. You didn’t choose your parents or most of your teachers; and in any case, you might not have been gifted with the self-discipline to learn from them.

What’s new? OK, but what if you taught yourself the self-discipline? Still luck: you were gifted with the sort of character capable of cultivating self-discipline. You still had to be the kind of person able to pursue it; and even if you became that kind of person by the sweat of your brow, you still must have already been the kind of person who could raise that sweat.

So what? All this is dizzyingly unsettling, but that’s just your tough luck.

MORE AT: The Guardian

If you liked these items, there’s much more at: Thinking | Teaching |Talking



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