February 8th, 2013
Forward Thinking, Vol. 113 – Non-Industry Inspiration
Hello and welcome back to Forward Thinking. This week, we’re featuring the things outside of our “industry” that inspire us and make us think. Let’s begin with a flashback to the ‘60s.
1. “A telephone is this instrument here…”
As part of his series on the 21st Century, Walter Cronkite walks us through the home office of the future. He’s pretty close in predicting some of the things we use technology for (the news, weather, stocks, video calls), but a little off when it comes to how many screens it takes. As one YouTube commenter put it, “He’d crap his pants if you told him that actually all that stuff fits in your pocket … and we mainly use it to share pictures of cats.”
2. Magic art
Silk is a beautiful (and magical) interactive artwork tool. Basically, you just create wisps of color with your cursor, but somehow everything you do looks phenomenal. Small warning: the site has audio. Go play!
3. AARP and still kicking
A surprising trend is emerging in the music industry: the top-grossing acts are largely people over 50 years old. From Madonna to Mick Jagger to Bruce Springsteen, does this mean we have a higher value for nostalgic entertainment than music on the cutting edge?
4. Beauty and the teeth
It’s always been true that standards for beauty vary across the globe, but we never realized how differently people think about their teeth. From crooked teeth, to sharpened ones, to no front teeth at all, the different takes on oral fashion are surprisingly diverse.
5. Merit or data?
Just how accurate is Spotify’s music recommendation algorithm? Based on user listener data Spotify is attempting to predict this Sunday’s Grammy Award winners from album and single track streams. Since the Grammy Awards are panel judged on merit, could copious amounts of data answer an equation that is largely unknown?
6. I’m a survivor, I’m not goin’ give up
Psychologists have uncovered a curious phenomenon that links serious brain injury with higher life satisfaction. The doctors found patients who suffered serious brain injury experienced a stronger sense of identity through seeing themselves as survivors, as well as stronger relationships from having to rely on others.
7. Miniature health
The “lab on a chip” diagnoses HIV with a single finger prick on the spot, in 15 minutes with almost 100% accuracy. The chip itself analyzes the blood sample, then sends the reading to medical records in the cloud. Another reason to bow down to the almighty cloud.