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Matthew Skinner
Never know your luck in a thunderstorm
Never know your luck in a thunderstorm

Matthew's posts

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So I went through a stint of supporting kickstarter's. I have finally received one of them that MinInch Click Pen Tool. I must say it is a beautiful piece of work.

I found I also hunted down other things from Kickstarter to buy, especially ones that have completed. So far only one thing has really disappointed me and that was they sports phone hand glove, they didn't design it very well and it wasn't worth the money.

Most of the things I have wanted to buy have been inclined towards portable/wearable items, MinInch for me goes with my Arm-adillo band.

So you can see where I am going

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"Magic: The Complete Course - How to perform over 100 amazing tricks"

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So to my Google+ people does anyone here use Retroshare? (Apart from me that is)

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"Device lets big airplanes fly with smaller tails"

Now that is what I call an advantage in flight 

Our Growing Addiction to “Cognitive Ecstasy” Drives Technology’s Progress…And That’s Okay
Why are humans so damn curious? Because discovery is pleasurable. Jason Silva,
in his latest video, says humans don’t care about spectacle—what we care about
is ecstatic understanding: “In other words, cognitive ecstasy defined as an
exhilarating neurostorm of intense intellectual pleasure.” Maybe you’ve
experienced this “cognitive ecstasy” at one […]

Why are humans so damn curious? Because discovery is pleasurable.

Jason Silva, in his latest video, says humans don’t care about spectacle—what
we care about is ecstatic understanding: “In other words, cognitive ecstasy
defined as an exhilarating neurostorm of intense intellectual pleasure.”

Maybe you’ve experienced this “cognitive ecstasy” at one time or another. I
get a jolt of it after small discoveries in a book, conversation, or after
writing an article.

Silva notes it happens with great regularity as children, and then tails off.
And to a certain extent, I think he’s right. But it isn’t true for everyone. I
tend toward the curious and may be more interested in learning and adventure
now than ever before.

And I’ll go further. I think “cognitive ecstasy” is one reason humans persevere
in science, art, and invention, though the process can be long and frustrating.

In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From
<>, Steven
Johnson argues that great ideas aren’t usually about instantaneous inspiration,
though we often remember them that way. In fact, they rarely happen fast, but
are instead a culmination of what he calls the “slow hunch.” An idea that takes
month, years, or even decades to fully form as our brains toss together diverse
ingredients of experience and learning.

For many thinkers and inventors, I’d bet hits of pleasure from small doses of
daily discovery and the prospect of a large dose later, among other things,
drives them through years of intellectual labor, uncertainty, and failure in
between epiphanies.

If you buy Johnson’s view, the modern world and its increasingly extensive
open human networks may be tailor-made to accelerate such endeavors.

Today, people are densely packed together in cities and digitally linked
online. We’re constantly seeking and finding discovery of all kinds. This
extends the reach of our thoughts and ensures the collision of ideas at oblique
and surprising angles.

New combinations of ideas can result in new inventions.

Take the creation myth
of VR firm, Oculus. Founder Palmer Luckey loves video games, he’s inspired by
The Matrix. He goes to online forums about virtual reality, geeks out on the
problems and pace of the tech, buys an array of existing VR hardware.

Ultimately disappointed, he decides to build the experience he wants.

I can almost imagine him disassembling his smartphone. Laying the parts out
on the table and just looking at them. Well, there’s a decently high-resolution
screen, a processor, a battery, and a few cheap, powerful motion sensors.
That’s interesting.

He embeds the screen in a begoggled box and splits the image to create parallax
and depth. Then he hooks up the motion sensors, writes some code digitally
linking the hardware, duct tapes it all together, straps it to his head, likes
what he sees—and sends it along to a gaming legend to unleash on the world.

Affordable immersive virtual reality is fundamentally new. But it depends on
all kinds of prior inventions developed for mobile computing. And it depended
on Luckey being willing and able to learn from prior efforts and discover which
problems to solve.

Using a term coined by the scientist Stuart Kauffman, Johnson calls this
exploring the “adjacent possible,” an almost fractal-like process in which each
new technological combination enables the next set of possible combinations.

“Think of it as a house that magically expands with each door you open. You
begin in a room with four doors, each leading to a new room that you haven’t
visited yet. Those four rooms are the adjacent possible. But once you open one
of those doors and stroll into that room, three new doors appear, each leading
to a brand-new room that you couldn’t have reached from your original starting

All the special problems Oculus solves in its quest for virtual reality may
well enable altogether new and useful combinations of technology for some other

So, what drives us to keep opening doors?

In part, it’s those pesky “neurostorms of intense intellectual pleasure.” Or
as Silva puts it—because we’re “wonder junkies.” Humans love the sense that
we’ve stumbled on something new or unknowingly wandered into uncharted

We’re like our own neurons, extending psuedopods into cyberspace. A few
billion humans are already a part of this global brain, and afew billion more
will join soon
. The result? Unfathomable new permutations of information in innumerable

Think of the dizzying number of slow hunches forming globally this very
instant. The cross-disciplinary light bulbs flashing on. Slow hunches on
nanotechnology, computing and AI, warp drive, the perfect post-apocalyptic
young adult novel. New ideas about recipes, songs, images, sculptures, fashion
statements, galaxies, cells, and sub-atomic particles.

It seems less a matter of time and more a matter of probability. As more
people tune in and exchange experiences and ideas, are rewarded and driven on
by chain reactions of cognitive ecstasy—the pace of invention and discovery
will speed up.

The prospect is both thrilling and terrifying because humans, individually
and collectively, inextricably link light and dark, creative and destructive

It’s said there’s an ancient curse that goes, “May you live in interesting
times.” That’s half right. As anxiety-provoking and uncertain as interesting
times are—for our creative brains, they’re also fuel for novelty and invention.

Image Credit: Shots of Awe/YouTube
<The Ecstasy of Curiosity>;
Sergey Galyonkin/Wikimedia Commons

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Ancient Campfires Led To the Rise of Storytelling
sciencehabit writes A study of evening campfire conversations by the Ju/'hoan people of Namibia and Botswana suggests that by extending the day, fire allowed people to unleash their imaginations and tell stories, rather than merely focus on mundane topics. As scientists report, whereas daytime talk was focused almost entirely on economic issues, land rights, and complaints about other people, 81% of the firelight conversation was devoted to telling stories, including tales about people from other Ju/'hoan communities. The team suggests that campfires allowed human ancestors to expand their minds in a similar way and also solidified social networks. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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