James Burke Connections App for Your Thinking Needs

James Burke is known for his series on BBC called Connections, which was all about how seemingly random inventions (or concepts) are actually connected in interesting ways. He has spent his life advocating for people to look at the in-between of industries and fields of research because it is there that we find true innovation.

In our modern era we find that we can create our own filter bubble (which is a big issue with the recent election in the USA) which can make finding connections a problem. Burke’s solution to this is to Kickstarer an app that uses his own specially designed database and cross-references it with Wikipedia in order to help you break out of your bubble and discover cool new connections!

You may have noticed that when we browse the news or type into Google we tend to seek confirmation more than we do information. We predict our current model will remain untarnished. When we want to make sense of something, we tend to develop a hypothesis just like any scientist would, but when we check to see if we are correct, we often stop once we find confirmation of our hunches or feel as though we understand. Without training, we avoid epiphany by avoiding the null hypothesis and the disconfirmation it threatens should it turn out to be valid.

Since the 1970s, Burke has predicted we would need better tools than just search alone if we were to break out of this way of thinking. His new app aims to do that by searching Wikipedia “connectively” and producing something the normal internet searches often do not – surprises, anomalies, and unexpected results.

Read more.
Check out the Kickstarter.

Kickstarter CEO Wants You to Have a New Job

Yancey Strickler is the CEO and cofounder of Kickstarter he sees the future of work and the economy different than most CEOs. Strickler sees a future with people working jobs that actually matter for causes that make the world a better a place. Instead of profit over people, we can have people who all profit.

He suggests many alternatives to the bland, “normal”, work life of 9-5 in a depressing office. You can work for a co-op, a charity, a benefit corporation, or do your own thing!

This is a talk about what happens when a culture is driven by the need for money to make more money.

Don’t sell out your values, don’t sell out your community, don’t sell out the long term for the short term. Do something because you believe it’s wonderful and beneficial, not to get rich.

And — very important — if you plan to do something on an ongoing basis, ensure its sustainability. This means your work must support your operations and you don’t try to grow beyond that without careful planning. If you do those things you can easily maintain your independence.

Read more.

Remote, Intelligent Air Conditioning Device and App

tado° is looking to get funded on Kickstarter is designed to make your home more efficient. If you use an AC unit to cool your house then you should consider backing this project as it can save you money and the environment. Every summer regions in North America suffer blackouts because energy consumption is too high – this is usually due to too many people running air conditioners.

With the tado° app on your smartphone you can keep an eye on how tado° is working for you. It also allows you to adjust your home temperature according to your preferences – even while on the move. On the tado° Cooling device itself there is a translucent matrix LED display and a capacitive touch interface for quick and easy adjustments.

Don’t forget – the most efficient way to cool buildings is with passive designs.

A Toy Designed to Increase Empathy

Who doesn’t like toys? Nobody! Everybody loves playing and we all can remember the joy that toys bring us when were kids. Now some educators are looking to make a toy that is not only fun but also teaches kids empathy. Empathy is perhaps the most important skill one can acquire in this modern age.

Empathy and play allow us to understand different perspectives and imagine new possibilities. And isn’t that what great education is all about?

The Empathy & Creative Dialogue Toy is a 3D puzzle game that challenges players to place themselves in each other’s shoes. It’s an easy to use game that leads to surprisingly complex insights from its players. Each toy comes with domain-specific resources — including minds-on activities, gameplay scenarios, and discussion topics. It’s been designed with input from educators to help teachers, facilitators, and parents harness the educational power of empathy and play. The toy has garnered so much attention that it’s even been featured in two TEDx talks — one on designing for empathy & communication, the other a rallying cry for play in our school systems.

More on Kickstarter.

Thanks to Mirella!

Crowdfunding for Political Change

Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have changed the way some projects get funding by using contributions from individuals on a large scale. There have been many art projects and products that have come into existence thanks to this new trend in crowdfunding.

Todd Aalgaard has wondered if crowdfunding can be used to encourage progressive politics. His insights into what crowdfunding can mean to political movements is a good read.

Expanding on the social remedy to this crisis that crowdfunding provides, the white paper goes on. “Besides the obvious benefit of increased fundraising potential,” it reads, “crowdfunding also offers a creative and engaging approach to raising awareness of your mission and, ultimately, growing your brand.”

“Think about it like this. It’s what we like to call the Rule of 10,” it reads. “First, imagine your organization has a donor list of 100 people. Now imagine your organization builds a crowdfunding campaign, and 10 of your supporters participate. Those 10 people create personal fundraising pages and then broadcast these pages to their social networks on a site like Facebook.”

The knock-on result, it suggests, is that the ripple-effect outreach brings a message, political, humanitarian, or otherwise, to roughly 10 times your initial donor base. In an emerging reality where democracy is influenced by a select and very powerful few, fundraising working in tandem with outreach—a basic strategy in both of Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaigns—is a way to resist the forces working against the public at every turn.

Read more at the Bankless Times.

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