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Jan312010

What caught your attention? Some recent WOWs

40-03-03/50REMBRANDT3

What caught your attention? Some recent IdeaMatt Wows Two things. First I'll be recovering from some surgery next week, so I leave you with a list of ideas that activated the IdeaMatt WBC (Wow Brain Center). The last similar entry was Is Life Is A Series Of ... Wows? I hope you enjoy them. Second, in my continued battle with comment spammers (whose results are threatening to have my host give me the boot), I've signed up with Mollom. Please let me know if you have trouble commenting.



  • Beautiful patterns?: "There are behavior patterns in success. If the process is as beautiful as the product you know it will succeed. A beautiful product is inherently based on a beautiful process" -- My Think, Try, Learn partner Liza


  • *Is* there a pattern?: Because the cost of making a type I error is less than the cost of making a type II error, and because there is no time for careful deliberation between patternicities in the split-second world of predator-prey interactions, natural selection would have favored those animals most likely to assume that all patterns are real. -- Why People Believe Invisible Agents Control the World


  • Wait for it: The ability to delay gratification for better rewards in the future is a fundamental skill in success. -- Delayed gratification and the science of self-control


  • What if you don't know what you're looking for?: "Their goals are kind of very, very imprecise. They don't plan anything in advance, they work sort of by trial and error. They do endless iterations of the same idea. They're constantly redoing and redoing and redoing in this kind of poking around and trying to find something, work toward some kind of distant, imprecise, and badly understood goal. They're searching, in other words, for what it is they want to create, and that searching can very often take an entire lifetime... groping towards something they can't quite define." -- "Age before beauty" by Malcom Gladwell


  • What keeps you going?: "Performance is increasingly determined by factors that can't be overseen: Intelligent experimentation, ingenuity, interpersonal skills, resilience in the face of adversity, for instance." -- The Competitive Imperative of Learning, Amy C. Edmondson, HBR, July‚ÄďAugust 2008


  • Tasks and failure: "In psychologically safe environments, people are willing to offer up ideas, questions, concerns - they are even willing to fail - and when they do, they learn. In her studies, Dweck found that some children - those who early on were rewarded for effort and creativity more than for simply giving the right answer - see intelligence as something malleable that improves with attention and effort. Tasks are opportunities for learning; failure is just evidence they haven't mastered the task yet. Driven by curiosity about what will and will not work, they experiment. When things don't pan out, they don't give up or see themselves as inadequate. They pay attention to what went wrong and try something different next time. In adults, such a mind-set allows managers to strike the right tone of openness, humility, curiosity and humour in ways that encourage their teams to learn." -- ibid.


  • Information: Too much or too little?: "Learn to feel comfortable ignoring information. I'd rather deal with a flood than a famine." -- Questions, Not Answers, Make Science the Ultimate Adventure


  • Path of least resistance: "You want to make it easier to do something you want done and harder not to." -- The Easiest Way to Change People's Behavior


  • I gotta' figure this out: "Science is a process of trying to figure out how the world works by making careful observations and trying to make sense of those observations." -- Project 2061 ~ AAAS "What people expect to observe often affects what they actually do observe. Strong beliefs about what should happen in particular circumstances can prevent them from detecting other results." -- ibid.


  • What goes "pop?": "A single atom of uranium is strong enough to twitch a grain of sand." -- Tom Zoellner in Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World


  • Interesting...: "Our brains have obviously been designed to find learning fun .. Brains that learnt well had more offspring, and so learning evolved to be rewarding. .. In lots of teaching situations we focus on the right and wrong answers to things, which is a venerable paradigm for learning, but not the only one. There is a less structured, curiosity-driven, paradigm which focuses not on what is absolutely right or wrong, but instead on what is surprising. A problem with rights and wrongs is that, for some people, the pressure of being correct gets in the way of experiencing what actually is." -- Learning Should Be Fun


  • Your calendar: Up or down?: "The calendar should be used as a tactical, not a strategic, tool." -- Reader Greenman's comment on The World's Simplest Productivity Method, With Bonus Mini-Processing Examples


  • Half > whole? "The more perfect I THINK it is, the less willing I'll be to let anyone change it." -- Why Doing Things Half Right Gives You the Best Results


  • Let me think a sec...: "Note that we can switch this critical thinking unit on or off. As I noted earlier, we may switch it off entirely if dealing with religious or other transcendental matters. Sometimes, we deliberately switch it on: 'Hold it a minute, let me think this out,' we might say to ourselves when someone tries to extract money from us for an apparently worthy cause." -- Belief Engine


Reader Comments (2)

# I gotta' figure this out: "Science is a process of trying to figure out how the world works by making careful observations and trying to make sense of those observations." -- Project 2061 ~ AAAS "What people expect to observe often affects what they actually do observe. Strong beliefs about what should happen in particular circumstances can prevent them from detecting other results." -- ibid.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterE20-322

What part of it are you working on understanding?

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

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