A study at Ohio State University suggests that highly educated Americans were the most likely to accumulate debt that they couldn’t handle in the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008.
October 10th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
August 26th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
While this isn’t a political blog, every once in a while politics start to get personal. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership) poses a threat to the Internet and the economy, and therefore, me. As a result, for completely selfish reasons, I have no choice but to step onto my soapbox once more.
June 18th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
What if creativity wasn’t what you thought it was? What if was measurable, repeatable, almost tangible? What if it was possible to manufacture creativity?
On one level, the idea that creativity could be manufactured is almost terrifying. On another, it’s exciting. It means that we can foster it, encourage it, and that we don’t have to be born with it.
Economies, businesses, and, of course, people, rely on creativity more today than ever before. Sometimes it is disguised under the label “innovation” or “ingenuity,” but we’re talking about the same thing.
Creating something that didn’t exist before.
Of course, creativity continues to defy any universally precise definition. But is there a method to creativity? A process? A growing number of researchers believe so, and they are setting out to discover it, with surprising results. Much of the time, our expectations are confirmed.
Other times, we find out we had it dead wrong.
For the short version, browse the infographics on the right-hand side of this post. Click here to skip to a short list of takeaways.
March 20th, 20121 Comment, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
Those of you who have been paying attention probably noticed that this site has been free of ads since it was first created. This will soon be changing. Before I get into why, I’d like to take some time to explain why I was opposed to ads in the first place, since that’s something I’ve never actually taken the time to elaborate on.
March 17th, 2012
Howard Rheingold On Social Media, the Intelligence of Networks, and the Skills We Need to Understand ThemNo Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
Social media is everywhere now, but there was a time not so long ago that it wasn’t much more than an abstract theory. In the 1980s, a few academics theorized about virtual worlds, and Howard Rheingold was among them.
Rheingold has written extensively about the capacity of technology to act as a “mind amplifier.” His latest book, Net Smart, discusses how the “social web,” a term that he coined in 1996, is making us smarter, and more distracted. He discusses the “knowledge divide” and the myth that all young people are digital wizards.
Between launching a book and teaching students how to set up blogs, Rheingold is a very busy man. He didn’t have a lot of time for me, but what he had to say was very intriguing.
February 28th, 201210 Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
Traditional economists and financial professors like to pretend that we live in a rational world, but a growing body of evidence challenges many of these basic assumptions. Evidence from psychology demonstrates that there are limits to human rationality, and that cognitive and emotional biases are a part of the package. Thankfully, a growing number of economists and financial experts are starting to incorporate some of this knowledge into their theories.
Victor Ricciardi is a Finance Professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. He is an expert in behavioral finance and recently, I had the pleasure of reading several book chapters he has written on the psychology of risk. Professor Ricciardi posts behavioral finance news and research on his Twitter account.
December 31st, 2011No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
Smarter isn’t always better.
This, at least, was the conclusion of Thomas Hills and Ralph Hertwig in a new meta-analysis. They pointed to studies of drug research and enhanced mental traits.
In cases where drugs were used to boost brain performance, inverted u-shaped performance curves were the norm. In other words, past a certain stage, “enhancement” actually had a counterproductive effect. It was only helpful up to an optimal point.
In cases where specific aspects of brain performance were enhanced, there was usually a trade-off elsewhere. Those who excelled in certain types of intelligence, in other words, would usually languish in others.
People with high IQ, savant tendencies, or photographic memories, for example, often suffer from much higher rates of autism, extreme synesthesia, and neurological disorders.
Sometimes there’s a limit to just how good something can get. Trying to push things past that point can have unintended consequences.
November 18th, 20114 Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
Change is in the air, and most people can tell. The economy has undergone some serious disruptions. Marketers are starting to say that companies need to start speaking with, and actually listening to, their customers in order to survive. Protest movements, from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, are popping up without central leadership. The open source movement questions the very idea of proprietary technology.
While some people think that these disruptions are temporary, others think they are signs of the future. Peggy Holman is one of these thinkers, and I share her position. In Engaging Emergence, she talks about how the new science of complexity applies to these types of organizations.
Could organic networks replace a strict chain of command? As you’ll see, it’s a definite possibility. In some places, it’s already happening.
November 5th, 2011No Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
Something’s been bothering me, and only a rant from the soapbox will scratch the itch.
“News” programs, no longer interested in paying for a fact-checking department, now prefer to pit pundits against one another as a form of entertainment. One of their favorite tactics is to pit an educated “expert” against an opinionated “activist.” The activist may be highly educated, highly opinionated, or simply a nutcase singled out to make all activists look bad.
What’s bothering me specifically is a moment that almost always occurs during this exchange. The expert, nose held high in the air, will inevitably say something that triggers a knee-jerk, “That’s what they want you to do/think/say,” from the activist.
This is when the expert moves in for the kill. Grinning sadistically, he or she jumps on the activist like a predator. “There is no Big Brother orchestrating world events,” they proclaim triumphantly, and reveal the activist to be nothing more than a single-minded, paranoid, delusional conspiracy theorist.
September 4th, 2011No Comments, All Posts, Featured, by Carter Bowles.
A couple months ago, I interviewed Barbara Oakley about her upcoming book: Pathological Altruism. While she agrees that altruism is a helpful evolutionary adaptation, she argues that it can also be used against us.
The following month, fellow blogger Levi Asher reviewed another one of Barbara’s books, Cold-Blooded Kindness. In the process, he said something that made me start thinking about human nature, the way we look at the world, and how none of us are really living in an objective reality.