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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Joshua Seth understands the importance of creativity.  As a best-selling author, accomplished public speaker, world famous illusionist, and the voice of nearly one hundred different animated characters he has made a career out of acting and thinking creatively.  A skill that is suddenly in high demand thanks to the new Era of Creativity that we suddenly find ourselves in.

As Scott Belsky writes on Medium, “While productivity is about squeezing all the value out of existing resources, creativity and creative thinking are about discovering new resources: creative problem-solving that turns an obstacle into an advantage, inspiration that leads to a new product, creative reinvention that changes the course of your career.  The transition to the Era of Creativity will undoubtedly be difficult for some people, as all economic shifts are. But in the end, it’s a positive change for humankind. Being more productive can be satisfying, but ultimately it just makes you a more efficient cog in a faster machine. Being more creative, on the other hand, brings very different forms of fulfillment: joy, self-discovery, creative expression, new ways of doing old things, connection to others. In economic terms, GDP in this era will measure more than just raw economic output. It will measure happiness.”

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang would seem to agree with that view with his recent calls for a new way of measuring GDP.  One that adds a human element to the equation.

As The Hill recently reported, “Yang cited what he called human-centered capitalism as an important metric for measuring the economy.

‘I’d like to talk about my wife, who is home with our two children, one of whom is autistic,’ he said. ‘GDP would include her work at zero when we know it’s the opposite of the truth. So we need to start measuring things that actually indicate how we’re doing — things like health, mental health and freedom from substance abuse, childhood success rates, clean air and clean water, and other social indicators.’”

So if all this is true, if we’ve really entered into a new Era of Creativity, one in which GDP gets updated to measure our happiness, one in which creative jobs spring up to replace those lost to AI and automation, how will we adjust to our new reality? How will we survive?  By thinking more creatively of course.  And that’s where Joshua Seth comes in.  His newly created creativity card game could become a key resource for individuals and corporations alike, an invaluable resource for unlocking the creativity that lies inside every single one of us.

As Joshua recently told me, “We tend to think that creativity comes from a spark of inspiration but in reality for it to be sustainable you need a process.”

In theory, his card game is that process.  But there’s more to being creative than just playing a game that harnesses your creative juices and helps you collaborate with others.  You also need to be present in the moment.  As he puts it, “the key to creativity is finding focus and being present in the moment.  Do it with your whole heart and being.  Not perfectly.  Just better than the last time.”

Which is probably good life advice in general.  Just stay focused, live in the moment, and let your creative juices flow.  The rest will take care of its self.  One idea at a time.

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Is a creativity card game the Greatest Idea Ever?

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People living a hundred years ago never could have predicted the invention of the microwave and the rise of the TV dinner.  Nor could people living twenty years ago have predicted the Impossible Burger and other lab grown meats that are currently hitting supermarket shelves.  When it comes to predicting the future of food there’s only thing that we can be certain of: it’s going to be vastly different than it is now and we’re probably going to think it’s weird.

Which brings me to hyper-personalized food.  Meals that are specifically catered towards each individual person’s biochemistry and their corresponding nutritional needs.  An approach that is even weirder than growing food in a laboratory.

As Futurism puts it, “You’ll need more than a reservation to dine at Sushi Singularity — you’ll also need to be willing to share samples of your bodily fluids.

The futuristic restaurant, which is set to open in Tokyo in 2020, collects samples of reservation-holders’ saliva, feces, and urine two weeks prior to their visits. Then it analyzes the samples to determine each diner’s unique nutritional requirements, tailoring their meal to meet those needs.”

To make this an even more futuristic sounding idea the tailored meals are also going to be 3D printed.  Because of course they are.  Personally, I’m not sure that I would want to eat in an establishment that I know is also housing thousands of samples of saliva, feces, and urine.  That doesn’t exactly sound all that sanitary.  But then again eating raw fish in the first place doesn’t all that sanitary to me either.  So what do I know?

But for people who take their health seriously, who count calories and watch everything they eat, I can certainly understand the appeal in wanting to eat a highly personalized nutritional meal. Even if that meal is 3D printed sushi.

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Is personalized sushi the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,554 – Zucklight

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has already invented something that has changed the world.  Now, he’s hoping to do it again by creating a device that would help people fall asleep.  Or at least fall back to sleep.

As Zuckerberg himself describes on Instagram:

“Being a mom is hard, and since we’ve had kids Priscilla has had a hard time sleeping through the night. She’ll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can’t fall back asleep. So I worked on building her what I call the ‘sleep box’. It sits on her nightstand, and between the hours of 6-7 am it emits a very faint light — visible enough that if she sees it she’ll know it’s an okay time for one of us to get the kids, but faint enough that the light won’t wake her up if she’s still sleeping. And since it doesn’t show the time, if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she knows to just go back to sleep without having to worry about what time it is. So far this has worked better than I expected and she can now sleep through the night.”

Similar to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept Zuckerberg gave the idea away for free in hopes that someone would build it for him.  Which is exactly what happened in the form of a product known as the Zucklight that has launched on Kickstarter.  And to be honest it actually sounds like a very desirable product, coming chock full of additional bells and whistles including:

  • Wireless Charging
  • Temperature, Humidity and CO2 Sensors
  • Sound Audio System
  • 2 Extra charging coils for wearables

Personally, I’m not sure if a sleep box would work for me.  Wouldn’t wondering what time it was stress you out just as much as knowing?  And can’t you tell what time it is from other clues in your surroundings such as whether or not it’s light outside? But at the same time I could see how a sleep box could be helpful, if for no other reason than it would make people pick up their phones less, which would lower the chances that they get sucked into checking their messages and emails when checking the time.  Meaning that Zuckerberg may have invented something that makes people use Facebook less.  Ironic? Yes. Worth losing sleep over? Not anymore.  

 

Is Zucklight the Greatest Idea Ever?

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An action packed week.  Even more so than usual.

1. The most habitable exoplanet yet.

Scientists have found water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet making it the most habitable place we’ve yet found!

As Wired puts it, “On Wednesday, a team of astronomers from University College London announced that they detected water vapor in the atmosphere of a ‘super-Earth’ planet outside our own solar system. This is the first time water has been detected in the atmosphere of an exoplanet that is not a gas giant, which the researchers say makes it the most habitable exoplanet currently known. The planet, known by the catchy name K2-18b, is 110 light years away and orbits a red dwarf star about half the size of the sun. The planet is twice the size of Earth, eight times as massive, and orbits its host star once every 33 days.”

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2. New lens works better than human eye.

A revolutionary new lens could transform every optical instrument from cameras and eyeglasses to telescopes.

According to Endgadget, “A new breakthrough could soon revolutionize the design of almost every optical instrument in use today, including cameras, eyeglasses and telescopes. Combining recent developments in artificial muscle and flat lens technologies, a team of researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have created a new lens that functions a lot like the human eye. Not only is the instrument capable of focusing in real-time thanks to an elastomer muscle, it features none of the bulk of a traditional spherical lens. It can even do some things the human eye can’t, including adjusting for astigmatism and image shift, two variables that lead to blurry vision.”

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3. Miracle Sheets.

A new brand of bedding could revolutionize home hygiene.

As Futurism puts it, “Miracle brand products are woven with anti-microbial silver that kills 99 percent of bacteria, meaning they stay cleaner and healthier much longer than a typical pillowcase or washcloth. To put it in more precise terms, Miracle’s products can be washed three times less often than other silver-free products because they’re essentially self-cleaning. How does silver accomplish all this? It all comes down to the precious metal’s ions, which naturally carry a positive charge that draws in bacteria and other microbes like a magnet before destroying them before they reproduce.”

Having to clean and do laundry less often? It’s a miracle!

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4. Liquid Magnets.

The list of amazing accidental discoveries just got a little bit longer.

According to Futurism, “Scientists created a metallic liquid capable of maintaining a magnetic field for the first time in history — and they did it entirely by accident.

University of Massachusetts Amherst engineers were working on 3D-printing liquids when they discovered that the droplets of iron, oil, and water were able to maintain a magnetic field, the researchers told Live Science, a first for any liquid.”

The discovery could lead to the invention of programmable tools.

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Are any of these the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Google Glass and other augmented reality displays haven’t fully caught on yet but perhaps that’s because the technology is too broadly applied, an approach that might not work since mainstream appeal would require tech that it also aesthetically pleasing.  A niche approach may work better as witnessed by the fact that Glass may have found a home in factories as an enterprise tool.  Further evidence that the niche approach may be best now comes to us from an unlikely source: the swimming pool.  In the form (pun intended) of AR infused swimming googles that provide Michael Phelps wannabes with all the information they need to improve their performance one stroke at a time.

According to Digital Trends, “Athletes wearing the goggles can view their performance metrics on an augmented reality display that is built into the lens. Swimmers can see their stroke rate, distance, pace, split time, and more on the integrated display. Because it is an AR overlay, the swimmer’s view of the pool and other people in the water are not obscured.  [In fact] swimmers can customize the goggles allowing them to choose which two metrics they want to see on the swim screen. Swimmers also can decide when each parameter appears — while swimming, after turns, or during rest. When they are done swimming, the swim details are sent to the Form mobile app where it can be analyzed and shared with coaches as well as the Form community.”

For swimming fans this is a real game-changer for instead of having to choose form over function they can now use Form to improve how they function.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.

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Is Form the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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Snoring is something that affects all of us.  Either because we know someone who snores or because we’re the guilty party ourselves.  There have been attempts in the past at curing snoring but nothing has completely eliminated the problem to date.  Until now that is.

That’s because there’s a new product in the market that seems to actually be capable of curing snoring.  Regardless of how you sleep or what kind of pillow you use.

Inverse sums it up:

“What exactly is Smart Nora? It’s a three-piece system that detects when you’re snoring and moves your pillow so you resume natural breathing. The three parts are

• An insert you put in your pillow—it works in any kind of pillow. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head on the pillow or whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach.

• A small device called the pebble, which is shaped like a computer mouse, that detects snoring.

• A portable case you place by your bed that inflates the pillow when the pebble detects snoring.”

It really is that simple.  Detect snoring, move pillow, rinse and repeat.  Now I’m not sure that I would want to use this device personally.  I’m the princess and the pea capable of detecting the slightest disturbance in my sleeping area.  My fear would be that I would feel the pillow insert or wake up when the pillow moves.  But if you’re not a super light sleeper and snoring really is ruining your life, then maybe Smart Nora is worth a shot for you.

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Is Smart Nora the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,537 – Neom

Saudi Arabia is said to be planning a large-scale futuristic city in the desert that will be the size of Massachusetts and feature all kinds of quirky technological wonders.  According to Business Insider, “The city will be known as Neom, a portmanteau of the Greek word neos, meaning ‘new,’ and mustaqbal, the Arabic word for ‘future.’”  It will be a place for the “dreamers of the world” and will be about all things “future-oriented and visionary”.  Sounds like my kind of place! 

But what exactly are we talking about?  Futuristic cities aren’t a new idea.  There are several “smart cities” wired from head to toe that already exist.  Data driven places that exhibit the very best that the Internet of Things has to offer.  But Neom will be much more than just your average run of the mill futuristic city.  Instead, it will take what it means to be futuristic to a whole new level as it is likely to include a lot of wild ideas and concepts, some of which will sound like science fiction, others like they came from a child’s overactive imagination.  

Some of these will be technologically possible in the near future while others are purely theoretical for now.  But either way, Neom is likely to deliver on its promise as being the place to be for those interested in living on the cutting-edge of society.  Among the technologies currently being considered are flying taxis, driverless cars, an artificial moon to illuminate the night sky, cloud seeding technology to control the weather, and holographic teachers to create a world-class education system. But of course no futuristic city would be complete without a Jurassic Park-like island populated by robotic dinosaurs!!

As the Verge puts it, “Taken together, the plans remind of you what a dedicated nine-year-old can achieve in Minecraft. Yes, the scale and ambition are impressive, but it’s not like you could do this in real life, right?” 

But doing this in real life is exactly what Saudi Arabia is planning on doing even if the funding isn’t clear and the logistics murky.  So much so, that they even want to push the envelope as far as humanly possible as they look to populate the futuristic city with genetically enhanced people that will have increased strength and IQ.  Enhanced people that will get waited on hand and foot by robotic maids that do all of their chores for them. 

As crazy as all this sounds, as unlikely as it all may be, I’m still all in on this idea.  With an area the size of Massachusetts there is a lot that you can accomplish.  Especially if Neom lives up to its billing as a future focused place that would attract the world’s dreamers.  A place like that could do a lot to inspire the rest of the world to work harder, to dream bigger, to reach for the stars like never before.  Which is exactly the kind of place that we need in a world that is likely to face a lot of tough technological challenges in the decades to come as we face down Climate Change and everything that comes along with it.

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Is Neom, a futuristic city with robotic dinosaurs and an artificial moon, the Greatest Idea Ever?

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