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Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Exploring the possible , the probable, the plausible
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» The Importance of Mind-Wandering

» The Importance of Mind-Wandering | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
When people are immersed in monotony, they automatically lapse into a very special form of brain activity: mind-wandering.

 

It’s easy to underestimate boredom. The mental condition, after all, is defined by its lack of stimulation; it’s the mind at its most apathetic. This is why the poet Joseph Brodsky described boredom as a “psychological Sahara,” a cognitive desert “that starts right in your bedroom and spurns the horizon.” The hands of the clock seem to stop; the stream of consciousness slows to a drip. We want to be anywhere but here.

However, as Brodsky also noted, boredom and its synonyms can also become a crucial tool of creativity. “Boredom is your window,” the poet declared. “Once this window opens, don’t try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open.”

Brodsky was right. The secret isn’t boredom per se: It’s how boredom makes us think. When people are immersed in monotony, they automatically lapse into a very special form of brain activity: mind-wandering. In a culture obsessed with efficiency, mind-wandering is often derided as a lazy habit, the kind of thinking we rely on when we don’t really want to think. (Freud regarded mind-wandering as an example of “infantile” thinking.) It’s a sign of procrastination, not productivity.

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Can Collective Intelligence Provide Answers to Climate Change Questions? | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Can Collective Intelligence Provide Answers to Climate Change Questions? | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Few science policy issues today are as complex or divisive as climate change. For that very reason a team of researchers is using the topic as ...
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Makers of infamous BigDog robot unveil human version - PETMAN (w/ video)

Makers of infamous BigDog robot unveil human version - PETMAN (w/ video) | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
(PhysOrg.com) -- Uh oh. Boston Dynamics, makers of the BigDog robot that can haul stuff around for the military has released a video of PETMAN, a human version that looks like a combination of the Terminator and a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica.
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Controlling an avatar with your brain | KurzweilAI

Controlling an avatar with your brain | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The Advanced Virtuality Lab (AVL) at the Interdisciplinary Center Israel, is developing a system for controlling a virtual or physical body using only the...
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"How many genders or sexes are there?"Gauging Gender - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

"How many genders or sexes are there?"Gauging Gender - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

"How many genders or sexes are there?" Jaak Panksepp asks his students.

Panksepp, who is the father of affective neuroscience and currently Baily Endowed Chair of Animal Well-Being Science at Washington State University, waits patiently for them to overcome their confusion and venture the obvious answer: "Two."

"No, there are at least four, and probably many more," he informs them. The standard setup is, of course, a male brain in a male body or a female brain in a female body, but we regularly find a brain-body mismatch; feminized brains in masculinized bodies and vice versa.

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Can an algorithm be wrong? Twitter Trends, the specter of censorship, and our faith in the algorithms around us

Can an algorithm be wrong? Twitter Trends, the specter of censorship, and our faith in the algorithms around us | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The interesting question is not whether Twitter is censoring its Trends list. The interesting question is, what do we think the Trends list is, what it represents and how it works, that we can pre...
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The Book Bench: Is Self-Knowledge Overrated?

The Book Bench: Is Self-Knowledge Overrated? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and the author of the new book...
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What's Magic About Mushrooms

What's Magic About Mushrooms | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Richard Mabey reviews Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone.
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Fewer drops to drink-Harvard experts work to solve world’s growing water problems

Fewer drops to drink-Harvard experts work to solve world’s growing water problems | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
With water scarcity a growing worldwide worry, Harvard programs, faculty, staff, and students are exploring ways to protect precious supplies, both globally and on campus.
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The Relentless Pursuit of Magical Energy - Forbes

The Relentless Pursuit of Magical Energy - Forbes | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Cold fusion and similar hopes for magical new energy sources continues to fascinate and entice investors but even if they are found, they won’t make much of a difference in the real world.
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To perform better, focus on ‘we’ not ‘me’

To perform better, focus on ‘we’ not ‘me’ | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

MICHIGAN STATE (US) — Individuals perform better and are more confident when they focus on the power of “we.”The findings, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, show that simply changing “I” to “we” in motivational self-talk—the internal talk one does in getting ready for performance—has a significant impact on an individual’s—and thus a group’s—performance.

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The Internet, peer-reviewed | KurzweilAI

The Internet, peer-reviewed | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
It could be one of the most important innovations on the Internet since the browser.
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Artificial blood could be used within next decade - Telegraph

Artificial blood could be used within next decade - Telegraph | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Patients undergoing transplant operations could be given artificial blood
produced from stem cells within the next decade, researchers claim.
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Study: A rich club in the human brain

Study: A rich club in the human brain | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Just as the Occupy Wall Street movement has brought more attention to financial disparities between the haves and have-nots in American society, researchers from Indiana University and the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands are...
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Free software models how humans move

Free software models how humans move | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
STANFORD (US) — An open source software application modeling human motion is helping medical professionals and bioengineers study, diagnose, and correct abnormalities in how people move.

Research news from leading universities...

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Our bodies are a global marketplace where bacteria trade genes | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine

Our bodies are a global marketplace where bacteria trade genes | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Bacteria | There is a vast, unseen marketplace that connects us all.
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Studies Consistently Fail To Show Benefits Of Dietary Supplements – Experts Think It’s Time To Reevaluate | Singularity Hub

Studies Consistently Fail To Show Benefits Of Dietary Supplements – Experts Think It’s Time To Reevaluate | Singularity Hub | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

“Don’t forget to take your vitamins?”

That healthful reminder from mom may soon become a thing of the past. While dietary supplements remain popular in the US, a continuous stream of studies are casting increasing doubt that the widely-accepted benefits are real. Researchers and regulators are taking notice, and some are beginning to deliver a different message.

Two studies published earlier this month are the most recent examples. One takes aim at vitamin E, the other at multivitamin supplements for women.

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Quantum computer components 'coalesce' to 'converse' | e! Science News

Quantum computer components 'coalesce' to 'converse' | e! Science News | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
If quantum computers are ever to be realized, they likely will be made of different types of parts that will need to share information with one another, just like the memory and logic circuits in today's computers do.
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Daniel Kahneman: How cognitive illusions blind us to reason

Daniel Kahneman: How cognitive illusions blind us to reason | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Why do Wall Street traders have such faith in their powers of prediction, when their successes are largely down to chance?
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The Internet Hasn't Changed Much in 15 Years

The Internet Hasn't Changed Much in 15 Years | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
You may think that the web has evolved at breakneck speeds over the past decade and a half, but Jared Newman over at Technologizer has a first-hand document showing that the early Internet wasn't all that different from now.
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Success for Andrea Rossi's E-Cat cold fusion system, but mysteries remain (Wired UK)

Success for Andrea Rossi's E-Cat cold fusion system, but mysteries remain (Wired UK) | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Against all the odds, Andrea Rossi's E-Cat cold fusion power plant passed its biggest test yesterday, producing an average of 470 kilowatts for more than five hours...
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The social future is one of digital narcissism - Watch Andrew Keen's talk at Wired 2011 (Wired UK)

The social future is one of digital narcissism - Watch Andrew Keen's talk at Wired 2011 (Wired UK) | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We shouldn't be corrupted by the kind of narcissism and stupidity that social media is promoting, said author Andrew Keen at Wired 2011 this afternoon...
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What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really? | NeuroTribes

What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really? | NeuroTribes | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

"Using the mind to watch the mind, and ultimately to change how the mind works, is known in cognitive psychology as metacognition. Beneath the poetic cultural trappings of Buddhism, what intensive meditation offers to long-term practitioners is a kind of metacognitive hack of the human operating system (a metaphor that probably crossed Jobs’ mind at some point.) Sitting zazen offered Jobs a practical technique for upgrading the motherboard in his head."


Via Howard Rheingold
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Smart fabrics: Transistors from cotton

Smart fabrics: Transistors from cotton | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
CORNELL (US) — Smarter, more functional clothing made with wearable electronics may be possible in the near future.

“Creating transistors from cotton fibers brings a new perspective to the seamless integration of electronics and textiles, enabling the creation of wearable electronic devices,” says Cornell University fiber scientist Juan Hinestroza, who was part of an international team that developed transistors using natural cotton fibers..

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Faster-than-light test runs again

Faster-than-light test runs again | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Scientists who announced that sub-atomic particles might be able to travel faster than light are to repeat their experiment in a different way.
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