The Big Think

May 4, 2014

Daedalus

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 12:15 pm

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first create the universe.”

You are stranded on a desert island with a dozen people, the contents of your pockets, and a copy of the internet. Your goal: build an airplane that can travel 100 miles with a single person and get help. You have to create all the tools to make the tools that you need (as well as the accompanying infrastructure to distill fuel, mine and smelt metal, create and fashion materials, etc). What do you do? What are the steps you’d need to take? Again, an _airplane_ is the goal here, not some clever solution to get a message across the water.

Concurrent thought: what sorts of knowledge base would you want to have with you? That is, what kinds of experts would you want as part of your group?

I’ve been geeking out deeply on technology trees and the development of technological civilizations lately and stumbled upon this article. What an incredible thought experiment.

Curiosity

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 9:32 am

Curiosity: the secret to your success:

“We are all born with boundless curiosity, but as we grow older, a battle springs up between what Kashdan calls the ‘anxious mind and the curious spirit’. Our instinct to explore is tempered by our desire to conform. We stop asking questions, because we learn that it makes us look stupid. We stop putting ourselves in positions where we are open to uncertainty — and therefore vulnerable. But in our pursuit of a secure and comfortable life, we lose sight of what really drives us. ‘It begins in compulsory education,’ says Kashdan. ‘When we train people to follow rules, we stop them listening to their own instincts. We stop asking, What am I excited by, what am I motivated to pursue?’

People with the greatest fear of the unknown — those of us who suffer from a ‘hyper-avoidance’ of distress — tend to be the least open, or curious. But cultivating a curious attitude can help to curb our general anxieties.”

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