Problem Solving Tips: Patterning, framing and the astronaut’s pen …


Originally posted on The Homa Files:

Excerpted from Think Better

Among the many discoveries NASA made when it began sending people into space was that the astronauts’ pens did not work well in zero gravity.

The ink wouldn’t flow properly. You can simulate the effect at home by trying to write with the business end of your pen pointing up.

Pretty soon, the ink stops flowing and the pen won’t write.


The solution – giving astronaut’s a way to write upside down —  depends on how you frame the problem …

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Condensed thoughts: possibilities for nanoethnographies

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Originally posted on Pablo Figueroa | Cultural Anthropology, Japanese Studies:

Anthropologists working in higher education have little time for on-site fieldwork research. Teaching loads, administrative tasks, symposiums, and other related obligations has made extended periods of fieldwork research something of the past, a sort of academic luxury that most teaching professors cannot afford.

Actually, getting any research done during the semester can be hard. Many good ideas end up undeveloped or in the waste paper bin.

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The Ecology of Extended Minds


Originally posted on Knowledge Ecology:

nunzio-paci-38[Image: Nunzio Paci]

I wasn’t going to post this since the event has unfortunately been canceled, but Matt Segall threw his up so I figured I’d leave this here for future reference. The below abstract was meant for a conference on theoretical archaeology in Copenhagen. Readers will notice that the abstract continues to develop the themes that have occupied my recent posts. The paper is about 2/3 finished, and I’ll probably end up pitching it to a journal or using it for another conference down the line.

Abstract Proposal: XV Nordic TAG 2015 

Title: Cognitive Archaeology and the Ecology of Extended Minds

Author: Adam Robbert

Panel: Disentangling the Neolithic ‘Revolution’ in Southwest Asia

Abstract: The role of the cognitive archaeologist is to re-construct the values, thoughts, and beliefs of past societies. In this paper I argue that the best way to understand human experience, now or in history, is…

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The Paradigm Shifters for a New Way to Work in 2015


Originally posted on A New Way to Work:

Paradigm NewI admit it:  I’m somewhat addicted to the TV show, NCIS.  In watching a multi-day marathon over New Year’s, I started thinking about Gibbs’ Rules:  basic paradigms on how to avoid the common pitfalls of being a special agent.

Since inspiration can come from unlikely and unanticipated sources, I reflected on my own hypotheses to create a new, more enjoyable way to work in this hyperactive, hypercompetitive 2015 work environment.

Beginning in 2015, I’ll be posting weekly Paradigm Shifters to help you to accomplish more and enjoy your work and create and enjoy your life outside of work.

(FYI:  Just like Gibbs, the Paradigm Shifters will be posted in a random order – so they don’t have to be “followed” in any particular sequence.)

Watch for my Paradigm Shifters at every Friday in 2015.  Feel free to share, comment, or even add some of your own insights to…

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Brain teasers to help teens and adults test cognitive skills…and cognitive biases


Originally posted on Brain and Mind Fitness News:

brainteaser_considerlindaBrain teaser: Please con­sider Linda, a 31-year-old woman, sin­gle and bright. When she was a stu­dent, in high school and in col­lege too, she was deeply involved in social jus­tice issues, and also par­tic­i­pated in environmental protests. Which is more prob­a­ble about Linda’s occu­pa­tion today?

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Finding what you want to find!


Originally posted on beyond a bug's life:

“Because I was looking for it”, says Sherlock Holmes, half-patiently, in the middle of an intense fight with Lord Blackwood. He was referring to the poison-tipped fine-glass needle.

While this story had a happy ending, looking for what you want need not necessarily be the perfect way ahead. The neurosurgical team at Tufts had a tough lesson to learn.

They found what they were looking for and pretty much shut out everything else.

While the neurosurgeon had asked for omnipaque, the pharmacist had informed the nurse about the unavailability of omnipaque, and had instead supplied them with two bottles of MD-76, which clearly was contraindicated for spinal infusion. The serious warning saying “NOT FOR SPINAL INJECTION” had slipped through multiple barriers not because nobody was looking for it. Rather because everyone was looking at the positive signs such as being handed over by a trustworthy pharmacist or nurse.

You expect…

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